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Passing Through

The Great Silver Lake Medicine Ball

January 13, 2002|MARK EHRMAN

Invited to: Opening night of "Silverlining Silverlake," a two-night celebration at the Paramour Estate in Silver Lake to benefit the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic.

Tell us where it hurts: "I've never been to the clinic," says indie-film princess Christina Ricci, co-hosting along with Robert Downey Jr. for a second year. Not that visiting a free clinic should be the stuff of celebrity bios, of course, but raising money to provide needy Angelenos with health care certainly merits their involvement. As for the entertainment, "it's the mother of all challenges to follow Elton John," declares Sting, second in a line of generous sets that include performances by Daniel Lanois and Downey's ex-wife, Deborah Falconer. Downey himself duets with both Sting and Elton. "It wasn't really until after the first year that I started learning about what I'd hosted," says Downey, a former "Ally McBeal" love interest. While a variety of explanations might account for this, he may be relieved to hear Erika Christensen of "Traffic" admit that she's not exactly up to speed on why we're here. "I mean," she says of her first outing to the landmark private residence that occasionally doubles as a party venue, "I just believe in charity, period."

we're on the list, too: Patricia Reeves, mother of Keanu, sports a see-through lacy body wrap (this at an outdoor party on a chilly night). Paramour habitue Beck checks out the fine-art items hanging for silent auction on the seaweed-green tiles of the (yes, drained) swimming pool. David Spade is briefly sighted. Otherwise, the rambling hilltop grounds of the former Canfield-Moreno estate--whose neighbors aren't eager for any return to its roaring '20s heyday--swell with Silver Lake hoi polloi rather than Hollywood elite. No surprise there, considering that community mollification requires guests to be shuttled up from a Kaiser Permanente parking lot. But when fire marshals arrive and bar an expanding crowd of bona fide $250 ticket-holders from entering, Paramour proprietress Dana Hollister attempts some after-the-fact triage. "Anyone who's got a comp, anyone who just got in and anyone who is a friend of mine," her voice booms over the P.A., "if you got in free, I'm asking you to leave."

Celeb Quotient:

Anemic, considering the megastar performers.

Wow Factor:

Panoramic outdoor setting with festival-length concert that gives neighbors apoplexy but delights guests.

Grazing Level:

Restaurants such as Joseph's, Vienna Cafe, Coffee Table and Fabiolus create an international buffet of falafels, goulash, gumbo, ziti; the food is yummier than fancy hospital fare, but the long line is worthy of HMO urgent care.

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