Red Carpet


Had pictures taken on the red carpet again last night. That’s Hollywood. You show up to an event as a bum. Well dressed, nice car, but still a bum. You hang around the somebodies and drink expensive free wine poured by a tall gorgeous thing named Melinda. I didn’t ask her name, she offered it. Probably because I was the only one tipping. More beautiful things slip silently around the room, bearing platters of edibles you can’t identify, usually. Never admit it, though. Never a what the hell is that, lady? Just take, eat, and thank her.  Every one around you knows everyone around you except you, it seems, then you know everyone around you too, for a moment, then you move to another part of the room seeking more oxygen and less carbon dioxide and don’t know anyone around you all over again. You watch. The dudes look cool, almost all of them, they got it. And there are far too many gorgeous dames for such a smallish room. Art everywhere, mostly musicians in photos and portraits, and album covers. This Aladdin Sane really stands out, as does Miles Davis in a grey suit, looking bad ass. There’s Hendrix over there. The Beatles. Stones. The sixties seem to dominate everything still, and always will. My time not so much. The seventies were too underground and small. Oh well. Don’t dwell on it, not here. Lay off the moody intellectual crap and get busy schmoozing. Meet new people, find unexpected connections, actually have to hand out business cards, how droll. This is a Miles Davis party, yet another one, he’s a whole party industry, and he’s not even around to stand us up. There’s a book, Miles Davis, the Collected Artwork, lovingly assembled by son Erin Davis and nephew Vincent Wilburn Jr., and it’s a vast thing, a superb coffee table tome so heavy you could kill someone with it, like in a murder mystery. People crowd around the table. It’s a hit and they’re grabbing them at fifty bucks a pop. One guy struggled with three, had he dropped one he would have smashed toes, but he didn’t. Look around again…there’s Summer Watson looking lovely, been ages, big hug. She’s with John Altman who knows everyone in the known hip universe and he did here too, the Miles Davis offspring, Wah Wah Watson, everybody. He offered introductions. I demurred. No Idea why. The crowd grew and grew. I hid in the back room a bit where there was air and remarkable jazz record collection, every time I pulled out an album at random, it was classic. I asked about them. The gallery owner (Sam Milgrom, a cool guy) had run a record store in Chicago and moved out here and opened this place, Mr. Musichead Gallery. They have a nice website, but in real life they’re a great little gallery a couple doors down from the Guitar Center. Rock stars past and present probably wander in here and buy something for the studio wall. I wanted to buy the Miles Davis LP cover. I didn’t (well, couldn’t). Back into the crowd. The deejay had tried valiantly to play acoustic Miles but gave up. I heard Bitches Brew later. Began to recognize people now. They nod, I nod back. Back at the table I flip dreamily through the book again. The art is really striking. The kind of thing a jazz lover buys himself for Christmas. But alas, it’s time to leave. The wine was too fine. And free. Out the door, through, we were ordered onto the red carpet. Smile! We smiled. A half dozen quick snaps. The valet brought round the car, and back we were, bums again.  What an odd world Hollywood is. You can almost get used to it.

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