The paparazzi were allowed inside. That's what kind of a party it was. Of course, they were kept behind a rope.
Lots more photographers clustered on the sidewalk outside Westwood's Hamlet Gardens. Perfect, since this was a party celebrating Rupert Murdoch's The Star--the tabloid-turned-magazine-style newspaper.
The flashes only occasionally popped--but suddenly went off in a vast explosion at the arrival of the first kind-of-well-known face. (Lois Hamilton has old-time Hollywood know-how for putting her star in The Star. The actress, who appears in the current release "Armed Response," pulled off her gold jacket to reveal a low-cut gold top dress, then posed smilingly as her zillionaire spouse, Charles Knapp, stood in the background.)
The party was a perfect example of L.A. back scratching. Hamlet owners Marilyn and Harry Lewis employ the same public relations firm as The Star--and several of the want-to-be-stars too. So mutual interests collided over fancy pizzas, roasted oysters and a crowded buffet table. Even though The Star is supposed to peek into stars' private lives, the Hollywood types showing up were seemingly delighted to be there. Star editor Les Hinton said the weekly was becoming more acceptable--that a lot of the "resistance and suspicion don't exist in the same way."
But still apparently not acceptable enough to attract the more brand-name stars who had been expected. "Is that Vanna White?"asked one observer from across the bar. "No. It if were Vanna, the flashes would surely go off."
Outside the party, actress Brenda Vaccaro leaned out the passenger side of a four-wheel-drive vehicle and yelled to photographer Ralph Dominquez on the sidewalk about what was going on inside.
"So it's really crowded. So we should just go somewhere and have a nice dinner," she said. And then, pointing to the diamond jewelry around her neck, "So I should show this off some other night."
So she drove away. So that's Hollywood.
HIP OR HEALTHY?--Wait a minute. Now the Beverly Wilshire's El Padrino Room is filling everybody's water glass with Evian, at no charge.
PLAYING POLITICS--Almost Democratic State Chairman Pete Kelly hosted Rep. Beryl Anthony of Arkansas this week at Kelly's regular booth at Harry's. On the agenda--a discussion with Lockheed's Steve Chaudet, Irvine's Michael Stockstill and others about how Anthony could raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (He about tosucceed Rep. Tony Coelho of California as its head.)
HAPPY NEW YEAR--When Madame Sylvia Wu holds her annual Chinese New Year's at her Santa Monica restaurant Jan. 29, it will benefit the Loretta Wu Wong Scholarship Fund at Loyola Marymount High School. It's the Year of the Rabbit, by the way, and among famous rabbits are Queen Victoria, Albert Einstein and Bob Hope. Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (unknown if he's a rabbit) will co-host.
LINING UP--With Rep. Sala Burton ill, San Francisco Democrats are lining up as potential replacements. Heaviest speculation seems to be hitting former State Chairwoman Nancy Pelosi, an old friend of Burton's and, in light of her work this last year raising money for Senate candidates, one of the country's top fund-raisers.
KUDOS--Bea Arthur, Sherry Lansing and Bonnie Franklin got honored Wednesday at the Anti-Defamation League Women's Division luncheon. Lansing spoke of her long association with ADL--and how she believed seven years ago that the need for a group like ADL was disappearing. Then, she said, when she read of the Iran- contra scandal being linked to Israel, she saw an "anti-Semitic backlash. I am scared." She said "constant vigilance" is necessary to thwart such a backlash.