Grace Jones and I checked into the Mondrian in Los Angeles last week for a four-day stay. How do I know it was Grace? Well, even for LA, wearing a black veil at 5 in the afternoon might have been clue # 1. Clue # 2 was the subservient Gooch-like assistant circling around Grace's every move like a bee on a rose bush. Clue # 3 was the lobby drunk guy who sloshed his way through a karaoke-less version of "Pull Up To The Bumper."
As I reached for my brand new movie tie-in "Star Wars Darth Maul" binoculars, real binoculars with an audio amplifier and retractable earpiece, to listen into Grace on her cell phone, I looked around at the Ian Schrager-inspired California cool elegance. In the crowd I spotted a woman who onceguest starred on "Dallas" as JR's whore, a waiter who was once Kirstie Alley's younger brother in a failed pilot, and the apparent sister of the cousin of Madonna's former aura adjustor/tailor, whispering to her friend that Asia de Cuba, now open three months, is "over."
Despite the Mondrian 2nd tier celebrity lobby, Los Angeles, for one brief week, was taken over by the Book Expo conference. Irony ruled. Bookish fortysomething and pale women squinting their 2nd tier editors' eyes into the sun light. New York boys in the traditional Eastern blue-gray. It was a five-day immersion into outdoor culture, tattoos and sunstreaks, valet parking at Starbucks, 20 something girls with too much Tori-Spending-Daddy's-Money-Spellingitis, Sunset Strip, and "all the stars who never were, parking cars and pumpin' gas."
At the end of the Millenium this is what we'll have: Grace Jones and Y2K compatibility. Grace has survived. Survival is the true key to 2nd tier celebrities, as common to Los Angeles as bugs in a bayou.