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w stands for...

May 07, 2000|Mark Ehrman'

where: Grand opening of W Hotel in Westwood.

what: "Where's the lobby?" wonders Porno for Pyros' Perry Farrell as he wanders the W's halls. Strong buzz and nifty diamond-ring invites result in an entire ground floor clogged with stylish scenesters, celebs and--thanks to porous security--crashers. It's an understandable question considering that the former Jane's Addiction frontman and Lollapalooza impresario has been ushered in through a back entrance. "Ian Schrager hotels are notorious for being very imaginative and fun, so before I get into the studio, I thought I'd have a drink," he says. Actually, the W was designed by Dayna Lee, but the cool minimalist redesign of what was once the Westwood Marquis does invite comparison, not to mention confusion, with Schrager's Mondrian and Andre Balazs' Standard. "I feel like I'm in Miami," says "Team Baywatch's" Traci Bingham, working off such hints as mambo dancers, feathered headdresses and coconut-battered shrimp. As if the Ricky Ricardo-esque eye candy isn't hot enough, Bingham brings heat with her charcoal-colored Armani suit. "It's so weird," she says. "I thought for once in my life I would get dressed up and not have my boobs or legs hanging out, and I'm getting more attention than I ever have."

who: With guests given the run of compound W, celebs can be found everywhere except the empty VIP zone. Stephen Baldwin holds court in a cabana. "When I go to the Hard Rock in Vegas, I always get one," says the youngest Baldwin. "I think I was a cabana boy in a past life." Peta Wilson circumnavigates the pool on a secret mission, saying, "I'm very interested in hotels and that's all I'm going to say, because I've got something on the burner." There's little time to decipher La Femme Peta's cryptic remark, however, because Mark McGrath is returning downstairs after a ground-to-penthouse review. The Sugar Ray crooner pronounces the W "very cool," but has trouble taking any of it seriously. "Part of the pomposity of being, like, 'a celebrity,' is you get asked to come down here to see if the hotel is good," he says. "I'm like, 'Why me? How about asking the insurance guy who really uses them?' "

what's the score?

CELEB QUOTIENT: Not many, but finding the famous among the merely glam makes for a fun star search.

goody bag: A deck of cards and a tick-tack-toe board heavy enough to break a bellhop's back; where's the Kiehl's?

CHOW LINE: 700 pounds of lamb, 6,000 servings of ceviche and plenty of hustle keep the hordes well hors d'oeuvred; now if they could spare a pinch of seasoning.

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