Fear and Loathing in Hollywoood


Hollywood- There are two kinds of people in Hollywood. The famous and those who want to be famous.

The ironic thing is that the famous say they don't want the attention and those who want to be famous will do anything to get it.

Everyone knows who the A-listers are. Those are the ones who get invites to the Golden Globes. The others, who are working their way up the list, have to go to the endless promotional parties that their publicists set up and hope they can get some ink in Page Six.

This week I got to see the whole gamut.

Monday was another Award Show, the Golden Globes. It's less like an award show and more like a free-wheeling party in the ballroom of the Beverly Hilton. There is dinner and drinks. Celebs sit at tables and mingle. Everyone goes home happy.

If you saw the show, you know who won. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the awards, have plenty of categories for both film and television including drama and comedy, where everyone goes away happy.

The whole event is a barometer of who's in and who's out in Hollywood. Who gets to arrive in a limo, and who arrives on a bus. The media parking lot was in Century City via a shuttle bus. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were not on that bus.

A party for Donald Trump's Vodka on Wednesday was another story. This is more of the down and dirty Hollywood.

Les Deux, a night club off Hollywood Blvd. was location for this little event.

These promotional events serve many purposes. The main mission if to promote a product or service. In this case, Trump Vodka. The other benefits are self-promotion, which come hopefully when you photo is published in a magazine or you get interviewed by television.

The Hollywood clubs also serve as a meeting ground where a group of trust-fund babies hang out nightly. Some of the names you know, Paris Hilton, whose great-grandfather, Conrad Hilton, started the Hilton Hotel chain. Others include Kimberly Stewart, daughter of rocker Rod Stewart, her brother, Sean, Kim Kardashian, daughter of O.J. Simpson attorney Robert Kardashian, Brandon Davis, who late grandfather is billionaire Marvin Davis, Brittny Gastineau, whose father, Mark, played pro football for the New York Jets, and even the DJ at the party, Steve Aoki, whose father is Rocky Aoki of Benihana fame.

Absent from this particular party was Lindsey Lohan who just checked into rehab after a particularly rough night at some Golden Globes after-parties. But Jessica Simpson and her sister, Ashlee, made an appearance, trying to evade photographers.

Part of any Hollywood event is the parade of starlets and young actors that walk the red carpet. The amazing thing is that every now and then a few get plucked from obscurity and flung into super stardom. A couple years back Scarlett Johansson was an actress that photographers had to ask each other who that was. Before "Desperate Housewives" became a hit, Eva Longoria dutiful walked down every carpet indistinguishable from the rest.

First, some rules on who gets picked. Generally, you have to be young and pretty. Over 25? Forgetaboutit. You also need a vehicle for stardom. That vehicle can be a movie, a hit TV show, a hit record, even a porn video (Paris Hilton). Or you can be somebody's famous best friend or lover (K-Fed anyone?).

You can't be boring. Drug rehab, arrests, marriages, divorces, babies, affairs, all contribute to the mix.

So what's a pre-stardom star like? That person could be a waitress like Julianne Moore or sleeping in their car like Hilary Swank. On a soap opera like General Hospital in the case of Demi Moore.

And no one can predict the future. So photographers snap everyone that comes down the red carpet. Maybe one day that person will be in the spotlight and that photograph becomes valuable. It's like investing in penny stocks, even Microsoft started small.

Pity the photographer who doesn't take at least one photograph of someone because they think that person isn't worthwhile.

Everyone who shoots a lot of celebs knows of a guy who didn't bother shooting an ex-football player whose days were long gone at a movie premiere with his family. That player was O.J. Simpson with his wife, Nicole and kids, the last time they were photographed publicly before Nicole was murdered. I'm sure everyday that photographer wished he had just taken a few frames, not that he could of retired on the money, but because missed opportunities are a photographer's bane.

I got a lot of photographs of obscure people that will never see the light of day. Somewhere in that batch are a few diamonds, waiting to be mined.