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Page 2 / IDEAS, TRENDS, STYLE AND BUZZ | SoCal Confidential

The Worm and His Roadies Party Hardy . . Sans Celebs

September 04, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

Expectations were high at the launch party for Dennis Rodman's 24-hour Web site,, Thursday at the El Rey Theatre. After all, the NBA-star-turned-limelight-hog is by all accounts a party pro. His Newport Beach house, dubbed "Club 4809," hosts a bash nearly every night, and the police have had to drop by more than 70 times in the last two years. So, naturally, guests and passersby were hoping for a night to remember.

Folks at the Electric Lotus, the restaurant adjoining the theater, were standing outside, searching for a famous face. At the check-in table, a crasher tried his rap: "I'm with the woman in gold who just went inside," he said desperately. "I'm her roadie." (Whatever that is.)

As a white stretch limo slowed to a stop, camera lenses--ABC, Fox and "Extra"--sprang into action. The micro-miniskirted co-host of, Keri Windsor, teetered toward the car. Cameraman in tow, she was ready to welcome Carmen Electra, Jenny McCarthy, Vince Vaughn or any of the other dozen or so celebrity guests promised by party organizers.

The driver got out, sidled over to a woman gripping a guest list and whispered in her ear. After scoring four invitations for his passengers, he returned to the car, and suddenly I knew what a roadie does. Out from the limo strutted several studies in silicone and blond streaks. Nobodies. Fittingly, in the night sky above them was a billboard for the upcoming film "Almost Famous."

A second limo pulled up. Couldn't be him, a photographer sniffed. "Too rundown." It wasn't. Next, a tour bus. Out spilled Dennis' entourage, rowdy regulars from his O.C. pad such as Chris Gerra, 22, whose uncle trained the basketball shock jock. A college student visiting from New York, Gerra has spent nearly every night at 4809 for the last week. Rodman's parties "aren't Hollywood," he said. "They're real world."

Next in the cavalcade of freaks was a Humvee with naked ladies painted on it, carrying the Rodman girls--powder-puff pink princesses, dressed in cotton panties and marabou-trimmed baby dolls.

At long last, a white Lincoln Navigator pulled up, and out slithered the Worm, dressed in a red tie-dyed suit and black cowboy hat, white bug-eyed sunglasses, nose and lip rings. His "bodyguards," four tuxedoed little people, were lost in the media crush as Rodman worked the red carpet, telling reporters he's sworn off basketball for a life of partying. Three well-heeled transvestites brought up the rear of the Rodman show, clawing through the crowd.

Inside, stereo pumping, Rodman thanked the 200 or so guests for coming, as red and blue balloons rained down on the mostly empty theater. A 1970s cover band took the stage, and the silicone set started to bump and grind.

By 10 p.m., the news crews were gone and the paparazzi were cranky--there would be no celebs this night. Many guests left, tired of the cash bar and so-so scene.

Onstage, top-heavy women played peek-a-boo with their halter tops to the pleasure of the smallish crowd that remained--mostly tongue-wagging men. Rodman was subdued. He'd seen wilder times, and there would be plenty more served up on his Web site.

Eight cameras have been installed around his house (minus the bedroom area) to transmit live streaming video 24/7 for Internet voyeurs willing to pay a $29.95 monthly fee. "I'm not hurting anyone," he said, sipping a cocktail through a straw. "The cops just need to leave me alone."

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