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RSVP / THE GRAMMYS : A Golden Age Splash of Ritz and Class

March 03, 1995|HILLARY JOHNSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

At the Hollywood Colonnade after the Grammy Awards, a crowd of 1,000 guests moved through three floors of recreated Golden Age splendor at a party meant to announce BMG Entertainment's presence in Hollywood.

Strauss Zelnick, president and CEO of BMG North America, welcomed BMG nominees Ace of Base, Kenny G., Martina McBride, Etta James and Toni Braxton. Others in attendance included David Hasselhoff, Carly Simon, Wild Orchid, John Singleton, Robert Zemeckis and Clive Davis.

As of 10 p.m., there was only one pierced eyebrow and not a single gray ponytail in sight. Very classy, very cool.

Party Planners West transformed the 1921 former Masons lodge into a Golden Age of Hollywood theme park. Guests ascending the red-carpeted stairs were greeted by costumed cigarette girls (candy smokes only) and a double phalanx of waiters bearing trays of champagne. Six rooms served up a variety of libation and entertainment. If this place were open every night, it would be one heck of a nightclub. BMG earns big points for introducing Los Angeles to this undiscovered venue.

In the Grand Ballroom, silver Erte-inspired statues lined a Fred-and-Ginger stairway from stage to black-and-white checkered dance floor. The big band music came from BMG's collection of re-releases. Upstairs in the Green Room, which was more often referred to as the pasta room, a jazz combo played. The Brown Derby Room, done up in plush red and dark wood, served up Chasen's chili and cobb salad. The seashell-pink room off the foyer offered seafood and chilled vodka.

After 11, the Jungle Room opened in the basement, with Madonna and Prince's favorite party DJ, Mike Messex, spinning tunes. The room was a '60s fantasia, with polka-dot walls, zebra-striped tablecloths, neon and some well-preserved fur-covered psychedelic columns from the '60s, which are actually under landmark protection--just in case you always wondered what Freemasons kept in the basement.

Certainly the music industry evokes the N.Y.-versus-L.A. thing. "In New York, within 15 minutes of the awards show ending, I'm in my own bed," said New Yorker Carly Simon. Michele Lee, an Angeleno, on the same phenomenon, said, "The wonderful thing about L.A. is that it's only 8 p.m. and now we get to party!"

David Hasselhoff, a huge recording sensation overseas in addition to being Asia's favorite lifeguard, discussed the pleasures of being arguably the biggest star in the universe. "I jogged with President Clinton yesterday. We talked about the illegal CD trade in China."

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