It was the season to be jolly. As examples of jollity circa 1995, we put forward these affairs:
* The party at the Beverly Hills hotel hosted by GQ magazine for Variety's editorial director, Peter Bart. It's not every day you see former O.J. girlfriend Paula Barbieri, Nicole Simpson's buddy Faye Resnick and prosecutor Chris Darden (who was immediately hugged by O.J. defense attorney Robert Shapiro) in the same room. The presence of Sharon Stone and Joe Eszterhas added to the feeling of festive surrealism.
* The opening party for the Prive hair salon, where Santa was made over with white dreadlocks, a goatee and a blond helper named Vixen in red vinyl hot pants.
* The party hosted by Detour magazine, Mossimo and United Talent Agency with 2,700 guests at a rambling mansion formerly owned by Eddie Murphy. This jollity was eventually shut down by the fire department. To get an idea of what it was like, imagine a mob clad in designer black invading Versailles. Among the guests were David Geffen, Johnny Depp, Traci Lords, Robert Downey Jr., Elizabeth Berkley and, last, but not least, Engelbert Humperdinck. Would any Christmas party be complete without him?
A Hollywood Ending: One line from an Oliver Stone aficionado who was looking forward to seeing "Nixon": "I hear they went with the happy ending. It goes all the way to the funeral."
Hidden Treasure: With great stealth, South Pasadena has become Southern California's culinary ground zero. According to the 1996 Zagat Survey the top-rated restaurant for food was Shiro, a modest California/Asian cafe on a quiet South Pasadena side street where the house specialty is catfish.
"This proves the absolute unpredictability of the dining scene in Southern California," said co-editor Merrill Shindler. "Of the Top 10 restaurants, only two are on the Westside."
As a further sign that the restaurant scene is cooling locally, the New York Zagat listed 305 new eateries, while L.A. came up with only 39.
A First-Class Gift: This comes under the category of Dilemmas You Would Die to Have Yourself.
What do you do after you've put $5 million worth of art purchases on a credit card that gives airline mileage but you own your own jet?
Start your own airline? No, you donate the mileage to charity. Which is how Operation USA came into 1 million miles. The international relief group estimates the gift to be worth $20,000.
And, no, if you just spent $5 million on art, you don't want your name in the paper.
COMPILED BY THE SOCIAL CLIMES STAFF