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Welcome to Their Casbah

August 14, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

Maxim magazine's party at the Friendly Farmer's Daughter's Motor Inn on Fairfax Avenue on Thursday night was a rager, the kind where even celebrities got turned away at the door . . . until it was shut down by fire marshals and police in riot gear due to overcrowding.

The line of cars and people nearly blocked off Fairfax to through traffic, but inside it really didn't seem overcrowded, and many revelers thought the show of force was excessive. But the police and fire departments are on tactical alert for the Democratic National Convention and "any potential situation will be dealt with as such," Capt. Brian Jones of the L.A. County Fire Department said Friday.

But it was a blast while it lasted. Party planner extraordinaire Jeffrey Best transformed the demure motel into a kind of a glam frat house with nearly two dozen theme rooms for the men's magazine. The scene was not for the faint of heart. There was a honeymoon suite with a vibrating heart-shaped bed, a casbah with floor pillows and shimmying belly dancers, and an S&M room where guests could--and did--take turns handcuffing one another.

Outside, the parking lot became a dance floor as guests pounded the pavement to the sounds of the Cult, and "cleaning ladies" in garter belts passed out shots of rum. "The next time I have a one-night stand, I'm coming here!" joked Nikki Halliwill , 27.

In one of the tamer rooms, miniskirted manicurists polished nails for free. "It's going to be the best party of the year, I already know it," said Susie Wan, 31, as she gave aspiring actor Tim DePriest, 24, his first manicure. "He's a virgin," she said, "but he should get his nails done regularly to keep his image." DePriest joked, "Keep my image . . . I've got to get an image."

Down the hall, a room was transformed into a graffiti gallery as partyers tagged the papered walls with love notes and drawings. Next door, two lap dancers kept a steady stream of males enraptured. "I just happened to wander into this room and decided to stay awhile," said a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer who, for obvious reasons, didn't want to give his name.

In room 234 1/2, four tiny adults were dressed as the band KISS--face paint, leather chaps and all. "This epitomizes the insanity, the genius and ridiculousness of Hollywood right now," said television producer Seth Howard, 30.

Fire marshals began to clear people out shortly after 10 p.m. Swigging one last sip of beer, a 20-something moaned: "Time of death, 10:21 p.m. Hey, did I hear there's a Playmate party at the Sunset Room?"

*

Booth Moore can be reached at booth.moore@latimes.com.

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