Death Match!

I don't need to tell you how I feel about Chris Isaak: the mortifying schoolgirl longings; the near-mystical trance (Look, Ma! I'm Catherine of Siena!) that takes me at the mere thought of his sexy 45-year-old self; the fact that every time I break up with someone, I just imagine Chris Isaak's my boyfriend and he'll be home soon for dinner. Once he was my beau for like a year, and he didn't even know it.

So when my dear friend Kedric Francis, editor of the new upscale-lifestyle mag Riviera, called to say Isaak would be playing the grand opening of the outrageously chic St. Regis Hotel in Dana Point on Aug. 11, I was humming with a new mantra: this time, when I meet Chris Isaak, I will not be retarded.

But then a horrible thing happened: Kedric's other date, Helena, showed up. She is Filipina, Chinese and Spanish. She is beautiful. She wears Ferragamo. And she had no compunction about leaving Kedric to stare sadly into the dregs of his drink should she get the nod from a higher power. I was not pleased—and sadly (if I was going to get time with the Man), I was not Asian either.

San Francisco's Super Diamond—a Neil Diamond cover band that's actually better than the real thing because the real thing is all old and bald now—played a superb poolside set with the sun sinking in the unbroken sky behind them. Fantastically rich people—like a million of them—ate many, many plates of truffle risotto and lobster surrounded by what must have been $80,000 worth of gaudily full-blown roses. The surprisingly short star of The Practice, Dylan McDermott—we're talking Tom Cruisediminutivewandered around looking uncomfortable (but nice). We saw Paul Sorvino, too, and Kedric spotted Selma Blair. But we only had a bellboy's word for it that the ne plus ultra of all celebrity sightings had taken place: ladies and gentlemen, Mr. David Hasselhoff!

The ballroom for the Isaak show was still off-limits—security everywhere talking anxiously into their sleeves—so we told many lies (we'd already waltzed into the ballroom unimpeded for the sound check; we were getting good at this) about what our destination was and then made cleverly circuitous routes until we stood in front of the ballroom doors. Soon there were 30 of us, and security was shouting that we had to step back onto the lawn because we were blocking a fire exit. Guess how many of the rich people went where they were told? Good guess! The very, very rich do not take orders from the help. I wouldn't have been surprised if an AYSO soccer riot had broken out.

And then calamity struck. Helena and I squeezed ourselves into the front row, with Kedric taking up the real estate behind us, and squeezing in next to us were two hot blondes with nose jobs and big, old fake knockers and their big-old-fake-knockered friend. And she looked Taiwanese, or maybe Thai. They started surreptitiously making fun of Helena for being flat-chested, although that might have been because we were already not-so-surreptitiously making fun of them for having big old saline udders and tiny little noses. Yes, it would be a fight to the death. Who knew that we could lose?

Helena and I played it elegant and sweet. Wrong war plan, as the hoochie mamas next to us showed us up for the naive chits we were. The Thai girl actually took down her top during the show and flapped her skirt up and down to air out her itchy, sweaty womanhood. They make ointments for that, you know. They even played the lesbian card. Chris Isaak never stood a chance.

After the show, we were as crabby and defeated and sour as only thwarted love can make one. But the night was saved when we heard a rolling Russian voice behind us. It was Victor! Victor, who needs no last name because he is beautiful and Russian and gay and everywhere, although I'm still not sure exactly what he does. Whatever it is, he does it impeccably. "Are you wearing Salvatore Ferragamo?" he purred to Helena. Oh, yes. Victor is so gay. Victor, take away the pain!

It was nearly midnight when I got up to Linda's Doll Hut for the birthday party of Linda herself. Unlike the St. Regis crowd, the famous people at Linda's weren't at all uncomfortable about being in a public place. (Famous people must stay home in their bunkers and watch an awful lot of television; even among the very, very rich, they're afraid to talk to anyone.) John Doe was affable and smiley (and handsome and sweaty) following his set. He did not go into a private room where he could be away from the demands of the hoi polloi. Nope: he fetched beers for people, and did you need a light? Allow him! He was almost as soothing as Victor. Did I mention Victor is gay?

On Friday night, I traveled up to the Hollywood Bowl for a Great American concert with my boyfriend-type-person, Bob. Some of it blew (the LA Opera's Rodney Gilfry sported a ridiculous drawl for "People Will Say We're in Love"from Oklahoma!) and the selections from the Leonard Bernstein bomb 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (it closed its Broadway run after an embarrassing seven performances) were dreary, though they tried to be fetching. But the conductor, doing standup with an amusing story about how to order at Starbucks—though that bit was first seen eons ago in the forgettable Steve Martin flick LA Story—had good comic timing; an old man across the aisle chortled delightedly that the conductor could match Bob Hope or Jack Benny. (The same codger later gave mad props to the Declaration of Independence: "The Declaration of Independence is a damn fine document!" the member of The Greatest Generation declared. If only Tom Brokaw had been there to roll at his feet.) And the Batman suite featured the Philharmonic bathed in satanic red light as they got all Metallica—or was it more Ozzy?—on us, an electric guitar wheedly-wheedly-wheeing as the drums pounded a ferocious dirge. Brilliant! Sadly, though, I didn't spot any groupies flapping their skirts over their moistened selves. The rock & roll itch is a capricious bug. It rarely strikes at the symphony, even when the orchestra is a bunch of damned Hessians. Now, could I get a half-caf grande in a venti cup?

Soothe the girl:


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