Monday, April 18, 2011

The Chateau Marmont 

When a bunch of us went to LA to see OSU get whipped by USC, my friends stayed at the Chateau Marmot.  Brad and I  stayed in Venice Beach, which was equally wierd and awesome (future post) with some other couples.  Anyway, the Chateau Marmot is the coolest place on the planet.  There are all these twists and turns in the hallway, and the lighting is always dim and orange.  It sits up on this hill, off of Sunset Blvd, at the end of this winding driveway.  There are about four people in dark suits that stand outside of the unassuming front door of the hotel, with their arms folded as they ask you the nature of your business.  I guess, the Chateau is known for being an ultra private safe haven for celebrities.  On top of it's rich history, (John Belushi and Jim Morrison fame, Jessica Simpson getting busted by the Paparazzi, with her club clothes she put back on, on her walk of shame back to her car in the Chateau Parking lot after hooking up with Adam Levine), what is so cool about it, is that the decor has not changed in about 60 or so years.  The bathrooms and kitchenettes are all 40's art deco style in those impossibly hip colors, but the technology is updated with contemporary surround sound and state of the art flat screen tv's.  And you can just imagine the service.  I guess the Chateau Marmot, is also known for getting you practically anything you can dream up.  The food is awesome, too.  And the coffee rocks, natch.  But, as a mother, I kept wondering when was the last time they had their carpets cleaned.  I mean, history can be unsanitary, too.

I want to make sure that I capture the magic of this place for you, if I can.  The balconies are all stone and they overlook this heavy vegetation that is absolutely gorgeous and almost wild like.   You can see the tops of the famous bungalows that celebrities often stay in when their shit hits the fan, like when Brad pit left Jennifer Anniston and was hooking up with Angelina Jolie, he was living there for a while.

I vividly remember the GQ interview, in which the author described the bungalow and Pitt famously said, when they were both listening to a angry voicemail from his mother, "All my bitches be mad at me right now."  The W cover and photo shoot had just been published and he was in the middle of this shitstorm, so he just holed up at the Chateau for a while.  And then here I AM on a balcony overlooking a bungalow that may or may not be that famous bungalow that Brad Pitt stayed in.  It was exhilarating!  A huge starf**ker moment for me, fo sho.

So we go out to Sky Bar after "cocktailing at the Chateau", (OMG I can't believe I just wrote that, Hilarious) and this I remember vividly.  The rest of the night - not so much.  At the restaurant next to Skybar, was where we ate dinner, and there was a large table of I don't know, say 12-year-olds, having a birthday party and then a large group right next to them, who seemed to be the lucky girls' parents and their friends.  THIS is the way they do children's tween birthday parties in LA.

They were all dolled up in Junior Couture,  while they toasted each other with, I'm assuming, non-alcoholic drinks served in champagne flutes and martini glasses.  The birthday girl was wearing a tiara, no not the ones you get from Claires, like the real deal, borrowed from Harry Winston, and I figured out what was going on when all the adults got up from THEIR table to accompany the professional photographer in singing "Happy Birthday" when the five tier birthday cake, that was nicer than the one at my wedding, was delivered.  You realize, this kind of thing is EXACTLY what I live for.  LA is a whole different world.  I could do 100 posts on that weekend alone.

So, of course, we have this insane night where we club hop and all this crap and then we end up back at the Bar Marmont, at the end of the night.  It next door to the hotel, and only hotel guests, their Velcro friends (Brad and I), and "industry" people go there.  It is the coolest bar I have ever been to.  If you haven't noticed, I am big on "atmosphere" and this place was oozing with it.

My friend, we'll call him "Paula", who is a married, heterosexual male, girlfriend of mine (he's my friend, Kim's husband) and I got lost from the pack and at one point we ended up on the patio of the Chateau, that has these cool rod iron tables amongst that thick vegetation I was talking about, and and lit only by tiki torches.  I swear that I saw Isla Fischer and Sasha Baron Cohen having dinner with a group, while they smoked cigarettes and told stories.  So, Paula and I sat there for a while, waiting to be served, and admiring all the atmosphere and finally a super protective server came over and told us that we had to leave because we were in the middle of this celebrity filled private party.  COOOOOLLLLL.

We promptly leave and catch up with our friends at the Bar Marmont, next door, and as we are waiting to get our ID's check (that's right, beeeaaachhhes, I look GOOOOODDD.) Jason Segal rides up on his Vespa.  I was with my friend, Kim, and she is a bigger star hooker than I am.  She starts this stream of consciousness conversation with him, about every job he has ever had.  I asked him what he had been doing that night, and he said that he went to see his buddy Seth (Rogan, for those of you who are not in the KNOW.) do stand up at The Comedy Store.  How cool is that?  Kim and I nodded like we were regulars there and he sped off on his VESPA.  But, not before Kim got a pic of the three of us.  GO KIMMY.  See above.

So the bar closes and we go back to Paula's room and I decide I can't get enough and want to stay.  Okay, here is where I praise my friends again.  Paula (Kim's husband) says I can stay in his $$$$$ a night hotel room with them and he will sleep on the couch, ON A WEEKEND GETAWAY FROM HIS KIDS IN L.A AT THE CHATEAU MARMONT.  That, my friends, is a friend.  He does not get his account serviced on his vacation when he is shelling out MAJOR cash for this insanely cool suite, so that I don't have to go back to my really nice hotel, on MY weekend getaway.  This is all because we get each other and he realizes that I am having a ball at the Chateau, and well basically, this scenario is  the "example" provided at the end of an entry for "TRUE FRIEND" in Webster's Dictionary.  He is A OK in my book because of that ONE sweeping gesture, and he always will be.

So Okay, one of the funniest things about this whole "sleepover" is that in the morning, I had to get back to my hotel, because it was Gameday, and I had to get ready to ride around in a limo for four hours (see other post).  Paula walked me down through the maze-like, low lit corridors of the Chateau (because Kim was all "walk her down, Paul, for Christ's sakes - don't make her look like a prostitute.  Thanks Kim.), to the waiting "secret service-like security guards with ear pieces in,  at the entrance.  The parking garage was just adjacent, and of course I had lost my valet ticket.

I am wearing my "party outfit" from the night before, looking like you can imagine and here is Paula, a guest at the hotel, saying goodbye to me and helping me find my car.  I am sure this is not a new scene to the security, but it had to be entertaining to them, that we were Midwesterners in our late thirties.

"What kind of car were you driving?" the impossibly professional and hip security guy said to me.

Paul and I couldn't help but survey the tricked out Range Rovers, the Mercedes, and the other insanely expensive cars parked there.

" I think it's a KIA."  I said smally, under my breath (Thanks Brad). "I don't remember WHAT my husband RENTED.  I just know it's a RENTAL, not my, you know, the car that I OWN," I recovered, NOT.

I look over and there is a Kia sport or whatever, sandwiched between a Lamborghini and a BMW sportster.  I wanted to die.

"See you later," Paula said, "I'm goin' back up to the room."

"Thanks for everything." We hugged while the security detail snickered.

They brought my KIA around and I tried to hold my head high while I slipped into the front seat.  I drove as fast as I could down the snaking driveway to Sunset Blvd.  The paparazzi  that were poised at the end of the drive, quickly put their cameras down and lit cigarettes.  I stopped at a Starbucks, rolled down all four windows, and called my best friend on my impossibly outdated cellphone.  Life was good.

I have a huge girl crush on Sophia Coppola.  It started when I saw the Virgin Suicides, the first film she directed.  Then, she followed with "Lost in Translation".  Did you know that movie was supposedly about Sophia's (Scarlett Johnson's character) short lived marriage to Spike Jonze?  Supposedly, she wrote the movie, while Jonze was making a video in Japan.  She wrote it in the famous Tokyo Park Hyatt Hotel.  LOVE IT.  I watched that movie at 4 o'clock in the morning on my portable DVD player in Tokyo, when I couldn't sleep, and it was my first time there, and it was SPOT ON.

I became interested in her, when she had a part in The Godfather III and she caught a ton of shit for her awkward sex scene with Andy Garcia, another huge crush of mine.  She SUCKED.  And coming from a family of HUGE Godfather trilogy fans, I wrote her off.  You must understand, I probably saw Godfather I and II when I was in 6th grade or maybe earlier, I can't remember.  There was no such thing as inappropriate programming, in my parents' opinion.  I am not saying that we ever watched sex scenes together when I was young, but we watched  a SHITLOAD of violence together.

"Pay attention," my Dad would say, "the Godfather sent him a message by cutting off his prized horse's head and put it in the bed with him.  Look at all that blood!"

ANYWAY,  I fell in love with Sophia Coppola with Lost in Translation and when she rocked that Marc Jacobs dress with ballet flats at the Golden Globes, before Winona Ryder even THOUGHT about getting high on vicoden and shoplifting at SAKS.  Sophia is cool as a cucumber and is probably in my top ten celebrities that I would like to hang out with.  I imagine not understanding her overschooled and worldly references, but just taking her in the entire time as I pretend to keep up with the conversation.

To be fair, I have not seen "Marie Antoinette", her big budget flop.  But, because I am GAY, I did read a ton of articles describing the shoot and the movie, but I never saw the film.  I am not a big period drama person.  I like films in real time, if I can get them.  There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part I dig a low budget, well directed, slice of life drama, OR any Will Farrell movie.  My tastes are varied and complicated.

So this Friday night, Brad and I come across Sophia Coppola's latest movie, called "Somewhere". It is set at the Chateau Marmot, and it echos that Lost in Translation feel completely.  It may be that I just loved Lost in Translation so much because I could totally relate to it, but I don't think so.  I admire how Coppola has differentiated herself from her famous father, who now makes mediocre wine.  Just think about it, it would be so daunting to be his daughter and then choose to direct. Maybe I am drawn to her new film, (on DVD and ONDEMAND, so not that new) because I have "stayed" at the Chateau Marmont.  But, my gut feeling is that she is in it for the long haul, and she is a filmmaker to watch.   I am sure that some (maybe a lot) of you will watch "Somewhere" and be bored to death, but it is totally my cup of tea, for what it's worth.

Here's the URL for The Chateau....

1 comment:

  1. Debbie Downer says: "wierd" is spelled WEIRD...remember it like--WEEird. Not to take away from your blog...which is always so funny. I've been trying to think of childhood stories for you to have literary fun with, but the ones that come in most clearly are before you were born or when you were too little to remember...I remember our next-door-neighbor & my best friend (at the time) Jim saying "your mom's getting FAT" and I defended her by saying, "No she's not--she's having a baby..." And that was you.

    She did manage to keep the baby bump hidden from TMZ for 7 months.

    XOXO Patrick