Mariah CareyÃ‚â€™s Grammy after party last night was one of several around Hollywood that was shut down by the Los Angeles Fire Marshal and the police department.
Yes, this is a town quite unlike New York, and the marshal is always waiting to shut something down early. Call it retribution from the unions to the celebrities who run wild all over the place here. ItÃ‚â€™s as regular as the smog.
MariahÃ‚â€™s party was a private one at the unbelievably magnificent Beverly Hills mansion/estate of grocery magnate Ron Burkle. High in the hills above the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Burkle castle once belonged to legendary comic actor Harold Lloyd.
It was on 18 acres then, but itÃ‚â€™s whittled down to six by now. The place looks like something out of Jackie Collins meets F. Scott Fitzgerald. And among the principal guests in the last couple of years: Bill Clinton and Michael Jackson.
Last night, Mariah and Jermaine Dupri, her co-host, overbooked. The result was over 600 people trying to go up a long and winding driveway. Some went by foot, others by fancy golf cart. Shuttle buses brought people to the foot of the drive from a gathering place near the Beverly Hills Civic Center. One hundred or so private cars went directly to the house, even though only the permit was only for 50. And so on.
The problem, we heard, was that BurkleÃ‚â€™s staff had only applied for a permit for a temporary structure theyÃ‚â€™d erected on his tennis courts. The permit didnÃ‚â€™t cover the whole estate. The marshal seized on this mistake like Paris Hilton in a swag tent.
Who got in? Well, Rob Thomas and his wife Marisol made it, and they got to meet Joaquin Phoenix. Quincy Jones was turned away initially, but eventually found a way past increasingly agitated cops whoÃ‚â€™d gotten irate calls from BurkleÃ‚â€™s neighbors to shut off the loud music and untangle the traffic in front of their homes.
When one of the partyÃ‚â€™s planners came down the drive to rescue Kelly Clarkson from the melee, he himself was barred from returning by the police.
MariahÃ‚â€™s back-up singers waited an hour before they were rescued. You get the picture. Part of Stevie WonderÃ‚â€™s 30-member entourage got sidelined, but Tyra Banks was smart enough to arrive on the early side.
Producer David Foster got in and out without any trouble, as did musicians Alex Orbison, Roy Orbison Jr., Cisco Adler and his girlfriend Mischa Barton.
Once we managed to overcome all the obstacles Ã‚â€” thanks to Benny MedinaÃ‚â€™s super-smart friend and business associate Ken Starr (not the Whitewater guy) Ã‚â€” we got quite an eyeful.
And yet Mariah looked lovely, and was excited about her three Grammy wins. Medina, her manager, was over the moon about her performance at the show, especially Ã‚â€œFly Like a Bird,Ã‚ the number that sent the audience into a frenzy.
Ã‚â€œThree Grammys and that performance?Ã‚ Benny said to me backstage. Ã‚â€œWe donÃ‚â€™t have anything to complain about.Ã‚
That and the fact that MariahÃ‚â€™s voice and fashion were as good as you can get. Believe me, she sold more copies of her Ã‚â€œMimiÃ‚ album last night to put it back in next weekÃ‚â€™s top 5.
LINK: Mariah: She Was Almost On Fire (Fi-ah)