The first surreal one-off industry gathering of 2017 was not a party, but a protest: the Women’s March at the Sundance Film Festival. In between that Saturday morning in Park City, Utah, and the year ending with a less-merry-than-usual awards season marching through the industry sexual assault reckoning, there were standout moments on the Hollywood party circuit.
Here are eight of the best bashes, moments and debuts.
Chris Martin Serenades Julia Roberts With “Pretty Woman”
At the L.A. amfAR Gala in October, this crazy rare performance of the Coldplay frontman serenading the movie star on the eve of her 50th birthday got lost in blowback over James Corden’s Harvey Weinstein jokes. Separate from that controversy, the Tom Hanks, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson dinner party in Ron Burkle’s Bel Air backyard hit all the right notes.
As dessert, Fergie danced her way through the crowd while singing “I’ve Gotta Feeling,” ruining all future wedding and bar mitzvah bandleaders’ attempts at the same for the rest of our lives.
CAA’s Emmy Celebration
This Beverly Hills soiree left me asking one question:
“Jane’s” Hollywood Bowl Movie Premiere
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” wasn’t the only film to get a super-sized rollout this year. In October, National Geographic and Brett Morgen leveled-up with a King Kong-sized outdoor seated dinner, premiere and live orchestra scoring the Jane Goodall documentary for over 15,000 guests.
John Mayer Plays An L.A. Dive Bar
There was a surprise within a surprise when Alessia Cara joined John Mayer’s Bud Light Dive Bar Tour on July 26. They sang together an Erykah Badu cover, “Gravity” and Cara’s “Stay” for just 300 fans, part of a full 90-minute set. The beer giant’s muscular “underplay” went over big, with Lady Gaga beating this same path amidst the Super Bowl Halftime Show and stepping in as an emergency replacement headliner at Coachella.
The Block Is Hot in Hollywood
The undisputed L.A. nightlife game change in 2017 was the arrival of the Tao Group complex in Hollywood. The three restaurants, Avenue nightclub and the mixed-use rooftop pool club and night lounge The Highlight Room enveloping the new Dream Hotel tilted the social axis. The New York and Vegas heavyweights waited over a decade before planting a flag in L.A., but when they did, their peers came to celebrate.
The opening night party back in March was a stunning congress of hospitality rivals, competitors, big shots (present and long ago retired), festival titans, and at least a few former partners-turned-litigants, all responsible for captaining the U.S. nightlife industry over the past three decades. Of course, Leo D. was in the corner booth.
Nobody will ever remember that one of the sneak peek pre-opening events was the (last-ever) Weinstein Company Oscar night viewing party.
Rapper Desiigner Pukes on a Table in Front of his Label Bosses, as Katy Perry Mocks Pop
This list is heavy on music, but those guys have the most fun.
On the afternoon before the Grammys, Universal Music Group’s four-hour-plus showcase at the Ace Hotel in downtown L.A. brought artists as varied as Machine Gun Kelly, Bishop Briggs, Niall Horan, Jordan Smith and Lil Yachty to the stage for an industry audience of label heads.
Desiigner rose to the occasion (literally, standing on a cocktail table with his shirt off) by vomiting twice mid-song, and Katy Perry recalled her time working in a cubicle in Calabasas.
Sir Lucian, this event needs a TV deal.
Genius Innovation: Shared Table Bottle Service
The sharing economy of Lyft, Airbnb and urban Bike Share came to nightclub bottle service this year.
Dubbed “V-I-We,” it is the brainchild of longtime TAO executive Mike Snedegar. The Kentucky native launched it with a professional infomercial. (See above, he plays newsman Kent Brockman).
Between 40-50 guests a night — think of bachelorettes on a budget, couples and younger clientele — get access to the VIP Skybox where Kim Kardashian has celebrated her birthday on the E! show for bottomless bottles at the Las Vegas hotspot for a $100 flat buy-in (plus tax and gratuity).
Cocktail waitresses mix the drinks, presumably to keep the peace, and patrol the party pests known as “Grey Goosae Vulturus,” latin for “bottle vultures.”
“It’s a party within a party,” Snedegar told The Party Report at launch.
George Clooney, Rande Gerbe, and Mike Meldman’s Casamigos Halloween on the Sunset Strip
In June, the celebrity tequila buds sold their startup spirit in a deal reported to be worth up to $1 billion. This upped the volume on their ’70s-themed Halloween party in the old Tower Records on Sunset.
While George did not make it, Mrs. Amal Clooney stole the show, along with the Kardashian “Sonny and Cher” costume, and Adam Levine (center), whose band played a surprise set as AC/DC.
Bonus: A 2018 Red Carpet Game Changer?
There’s now a device that snaps on to the back of your phone that will have you shaking your photos of Chris Martin, Kim Kardashian, Amal Clooney and more like a you-know-what.
This Polaroid Insta-Share is a hardware mod for the Motorola’s Moto Z phone. Other mods can turn phones in to 70-inch projectors and 360-degree cameras. This printer’s won some “Best of the Best” awards among tech press, but hasn’t yet dented the binary iPhone/Samsung mindset of the entertainment industry and event community as a red carpet novelty.
Wake up people!