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ROAD TRIP

If You Roll It Out . . .

January 27, 2008|Emili Vesilind | Times Staff Writer

Red carpets -- and the celebrity shenanigans they inspire -- may be in short supply in L.A. these days, but at the grand-opening soiree for the Las Vegas outpost of Barneys New York, the red carpet was more action-packed than the party itself.

Hilary Swank, Mandy Moore, Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O'Connell almost sprinted by on their way into the new store. Billionaire casino owner Sheldon Edelson took his sweet time, talking up the features of his newest mega-property -- "double sinks!" "double electrical outlets!" The party was the centerpiece of a week of events celebrating the opening of the Palazzo Las Vegas -- casino, resort, spa, shops, restaurants, you name it. Maybe it was the fairy-like dancers in the middle of the fountain, maybe it was just Vegas, but the evening quickly took a surreal turn.

Nicolette Sheridan challenged the Blue Man Group to a staring match. The gents -- who were in full-indigo character, inspecting microphones and tape recorders with alien-like wonder -- won. Sheridan got them back by pushing a finger into one of their glistening faces and coming away with a glob of thick makeup. "I think I'll be blue tonight," she said, rubbing the makeup into her forearm.

The chef contingent wasn't about to be outdone. Wolfgang Puck -- with Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse and Charlie Trotter in tow -- strolled the press line with piping-hot pizza in hand, doling out cheesy slices to reporters and fellow chefs, all of whom have restaurants at the Palazzo.

The Vegas stalwarts seem normal in comparison. Wayne Brady showed up in a dapper three-piece suit from Nana Boateng, topped by a black straw fedora. "I'm trying to pull a black Celine Dion," he joked. Rita Rudner, the city's "comedian of the year," wore earth-tone color blocks.

Clare Danes, in a flesh-toned jersey Donna Karan dress, was one of the few celebrities who didn't immediately duck out of the party once she got inside (granted, the corridor was overly lit and sparsely populated, affecting all the charm of, well, a shopping mall). Danes noted that this was only her second visit to Las Vegas, "so it all seems very exotic still."

"Desperate Housewives" star Jesse Metcalf, dressed in a slick black Louis Vuitton suit, admitted that he'd already parted with some cash on the tables, adding with a smile, "Yeah, I'm a little bitter about it." Christina Ricci, clad in a midnight blue, empire-waist cocktail dress, said anything she wins goes into fortifying her wardrobe. "The last time I won big," she said, "it went immediately to Manolo Blahnik."

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emili.vesilind@latimes.com

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