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Status on the table

For post-Emmy dining and revels, just as in L.A. real estate, location is no small matter.

September 20, 2004|Louise Roug | Times Staff Writer

Outside the Governors Ball, handlers waited for their celebrities like tour guides awaiting tourists at the airport. Charlie Sheen, this way; Anjelica, over here. Inside, more than 400 Patina waiters in their Mao jackets had been instructed: no stargazing. But that didn't prevent the scuttlebutt -- "420, that's the best table in the house," one waitress said. Clearly, Al and Meryl's.

Earlier, at the bar, Ellen DeGeneres had cornered Elaine Stritch. "Brilliant," said DeGeneres, likely referring to Stritch's onstage performance earlier. The Donald walked by with the Cleavage ... "This is nice," he said. Naturally, it was all about location, location, location. Where was his table? he asked a waiter. (Close to the center).

In the banquet room decorated in turquoise and chartreuse, flat-screen televisions hung overhead like Calders, playing a medley of the night's show and other TV highlights. In the middle of the room, a jazz combo performed on a circular rotating band shell.

Forty minutes after show's end, table 420 was still empty, proving the Hollywood adage, "The bigger the star, the later the arrival." (Tom Selleck was already in the house; other celebs were still making their way through a media phalanx backstage.)

"Sex and the City's" Big (Chris Noth) at one table plunked his chewing gum down on his plate before digging into the crab meat in front of him. His date looked dismayed. Billy Crystal at table 321, meanwhile, was dishing up the carbs. Some celebs just floated -- William H. Macy seemed happy to wander.

In the crowded room, cellphones had dual functions as navigating tools ("I'm at table 504, where are you?") and as tools to commemorate the evening (turns out stars like taking pictures of other stars too).

In a corner undisturbed by the paparazzi was "Angels in America" writer Tony Kushner. "I don't know who he is," said one cameraman to a colleague. "A producer or something. He's certainly not a celebrity."

Kushner was sanguine when asked by a well-wisher about his awards. "Eleven, it's some sort of record, I think," he said.

A few minutes later, Cynthia Nixon made her exit flanked by two publicists. "We're leaving," they said. "She's going to the next party, the HBO party."

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