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INTO THE NIGHT

All the Brightest Stars Were on the Ceiling

April 09, 1993|BILL HIGGINS

The Scene: Reprise Records' listening party Wednesday at the Griffith Park Observatory Planetarium for Chris Isaak's latest album, "San Francisco Days." Many in the crowd said they hadn't been to the Observatory since grammar school.

Why the Locale: "I thought 'What's the most relaxing way to listen to music?' " said Isaak. "Sit in the dark and watch the stars." Aside from some poetic license taken with planetary orbit to make the Planetarium show conform to the music, it was also a classic astronomy exhibit. "Is the ceiling moving, or are we?" asked one woman who might have had one drink too many at the reception.

Who Was There: Aside from Isaak and "Northern Exposure's" Anthony Edwards, it was a uniformly anonymous crowd of 300 radio and record store employees, marketing execs, promoters --pretty much anyone with any pull in getting a record on the air or into a store. "It's anti-star studded," said one Reprise exec.

Joe Franklin Is Alive in Paris: Isaak had just flown in from France where he'd been a guest on a French TV musical program with a guy who billed himself as "Mr. 100,000 Volts." Isaak said he found European television "a little weird . . . Like in Sweden. They have the Prime Minister talking for 30 minutes. Then you come on and do your song. Then they go back to the Prime Minister talking politics."

Fashion Statement: Isaak combined an exquisite gray Italian suit Bernardo Bertolucci gave him while filming "Little Buddha" with cowboy boots, a black shirt his mother found in a Stockton thrift store, an enormous ring featuring a nude Marilyn Monroe, and a brown leather belt engraved with his name. "Bad taste goes with everything," he said. As for his retro, Elvis/Ricky Nelson pompadour, the secret is "plenty of grease"--the kind in "those cans you have to open with a screwdriver."

Burning Question: Is this The Year of the Nose Ring, or is pushing the metal to the septum dated? "My nose ring almost cost me my job," said one woman. "My boss said it was passe. He said he wouldn't introduce me to any famous people anymore."

Pastimes: Playing with astronomy-oriented educational machines. "It's better than going to the Whiskey," said one guest. "You get a little culture and learn your weight on the moon."

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