Poker mania has hit Hollywood with a bang. Such stars as Mimi Rogers, Sharon Stone, Dennis Hopper and David Arquette are among the regulars at music agent/entrepreneur Norby Walter's Wednesday weekly game at his Westside digs. James Woods, known for his intelligent edgy performances, extended his passion for poker by forming the Hollywood Poker Club, along with Vince Van Patten, top tennis pro and actor. They were among the celebs at Norby's Annual Night of the 100 Stars Oscar Viewing Soiree, and even brought along a camera crew to record the festivities.
They interviewed such luminaries as Keith and David Carradine, Michael Madsen (who was thrilled about sister Virginia's Oscar nomination), Lou Diamond Phillips and the Gastineau Girls, whose TV series on E! Entertainment is a hilarious hoot. But the intrepid reporters stayed clear of sassy Sean Young, wearing a form fitting pink and white gown, to avoid any clashes with ex lover Woods. Their famed relationship was front page news years ago, when they both had problems splitting up – restraining orders and all!
There were many former Oscar winners in the room, including Shirley Jones, who brought her Oscar from Elmer Gantry for a TV special being filmed in the Crystal Ballroom. Others schmoozing or being interviewed by such crews as ABC's Good Morning America, Inside Edition and the Howard Stern Show included Elle MacPherson, Meatloaf and the Larry Hagmans,' fresh from a fat money promo tour of the Dallas DVD collection.
The reaction to Chris Rock was mixed. No boos, but certainly no cheers either. More exciting action was in the ballroom, than on the screen that evening.
Norby & Oscar
No surprise that Alexander Payne's Sideways swept the Independent Sprit Awards at the beach in Santa Monica. They won best feature, best director, best male lead (Paul Giamatti), best supporting male (Thomas Haden Church and best supporting female (Virginia Madsen). We ran into both best supporting actors at Spagos, and shared a glass of wine (courtesy of Wolfgang Puck) a few days before the awards. Puck and exwife Barbara Lazaroff have to be the most genial hosts in town. We have never dined at their myriad of restaurants when they have not gone out of their way to welcome guests. A lesson that other celebrity chefs should learn: in the hospitality business, one should be hospitable. Did you know that he will be opening a new eatery at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel? No wonder Wolfgang is "King of the World."