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INTO THE NIGHT

RSVP: Leather, Bikers and Celebs Mean Just One Thing

July 18, 1994|MARK EHRMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Reborn to Be Wild: The crowd at the Laemmle's Sunset 5 on Thursday was redolent with recently purchased leather wear for the premiere of the 25th anniversary and re-release of the hippie-biker classic "Easy Rider." (The pre-screening paparazzi frenzy was partially eclipsed by Julio Iglesias making an appearance at the record store one flight below.) There was also a post-screening party at Thunder Roadhouse, a biker-themed restaurant and emporium on the Sunset Strip. This '60s flashback was the brainchild of the co-owners of the restaurant, Mike Eisenberg and the film's stars, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper.

Who Was There: A generous helping of film- and music-biz types, erstwhile bikers and biker wanna-bes (with a dash of the real thing), and a smattering of celebs culled from both the Age of Aquarius and Generation X. These included Fonda and Karen Black from the film, Jon Lovitz, Sally Kirkland and Rick (once upon a time known as Ricky) Schroder. Disappointing no-shows included Hopper, the film's director and star, and "Easy Rider" fan Tonya Harding.

The Big Event: After the film, Fonda roared down Sunset Boulevard with the Uglys, the salt-and-pepper-topped biker gang he belongs to. "It was their idea," Fonda said about the 20-bike procession to Thunder Roadhouse. "They're very ugly about these things."

Chow: A buffet of Roadhouse ribs, beef chili, pasta and salad.

Quoted: "I've become an icon," said Fonda, who pointed out that "Easy Rider" was the eighth of 44 films he's been in. "Wherever I go in the world, I'm introduced as 'Captain America' or 'Easy Rider.' And that's 25 years of it. And it'll never be different. But that's OK."

Overheard: "Oh, this?" remarked one guest who eschewed black leather in favor of more season-friendly summer cottons. 'I call it 'Born to Be Mild.' "

Fondest Look Back: "I never did realize how pretty I was," said Black, who hadn't watched the film since it was first released. "All that stuff is from one's self, and when I was saying in the movie, 'Oh, I want to be pretty. Oh, I want to be pretty,' I really wanted to be pretty. I guess I already was and I didn't know it."

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