I went to The Bel Air Hotel today to a wedding. I imagine I am some sort of Boheme when in fact I am a Hollywood house husband with a decent spending allowance.
I wish it was still 1973 and I was in a rock-folk band and the world was evolving into love, understanding and socialism and that we all felt calm and equal and safe. But in actuality, the gap between the rich and the poor is only getting larger and I have fallen in with the people with money and all I feel is plain lucky. And a part of me is disgusted. And a part of me always knew it would be this way.
The Bel Air Hotel is lovely. It is on the west side of Stone Canyon above Sunset Boulevard not far from UCLA. The grounds are covered with incredibly old trees. California Sycamores and Redwoods. It looks like Topanga, even a bit like Yosemite. It’s truly gorgeous. There is a fake, yet nice stream filled with white swans the size of pigs.
There are pink bungalows and stone walkways.
The rooms go for about $500/ night.
And there we were for the wedding. Adam, my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner, works on a sitcom called Two and a Half Men. It stars Charlie Sheen.
One of the creators was getting married. A tall, older Jewish guy. His wife, Iraqi American. The master of ceremonies/pastor? Ben Vereen. He acknowledged the Jewish-Arab harmony. He also sang.
It wasn’t so sad that Ben is no longer acting and instead officiating weddings, but actually surprising.
I mean, Ben was a big black deal in the 1970’s. I saw him on Broadway, in Pippin. “Join us, leave your Fields to Flower. Join us, leave your cheese to sour. Join us, come and waste an hour or two. Doodle-di-do.”
His spiel at the wedding was half new age, half revival, and overall, unfocused.
The television writer who was getting married occasionally did bits, pretended to have a conversation on his cell phone during the nuptials and generally hammed it up for the crowd.
His Iraqi-American wife was beautiful, has a degree in spiritual psychology (perhaps this is what brought in Ben?) and also makes films.
Who knows what the hell this couple is up to. I mean, they do seem happy. So that's great. And I was happy to be hanging out at the Bel Air Hotel.
The food was lovely. The crowd was privileged. The setting was Los Angeles swanky. I sat at a great table with lively, interesting people who were very funny and present in mind and character. Charlie Sheen was there in his violet sunglasses.
I got drunk.
And so did a lot of other people. The conversations ranged from, “That was a weird ceremony. Half Ben Vereen spiritual, half comedy,” to “We are so lucky to be here. Look at us. Our biggest problems are whether or not they have the size we want of a shirt we like at Fred Siegel. How did we get to be here?” to “I don’t know about these belly dancers.”
People snuck out without saying goodbye.
I think at one point I told Ben Vereen that I saw everything he ever did in New York when I was a kid, when of course, I didn't. He walked away from me politely and quickly.
Tune in next week when we go to a wedding in Malibu. I found out today that it will be officiated by Marianne Williamson. Will this be a return to love?
Sometimes, I think about the smell of the brakeshoe plant, the dog food factory and the water treatment facility that surrounded my neighborhood growing up and I think, “Yeah, I knew it would be different when I got older and I like rich, white people who are extremely liberal and beautiful, but when the bottom falls out, where will I be able to find the thick ankled grandmothers in the house coats with the good pots of soup?”