by Alexandra Rowinski
24 hours before all of the designer-clad and diamond-studded celebrities posed for flashing cameras on the red carpet, I threw on an old cocktail dress, pinned back my hair and happily danced my way up the steps of the Kodak theatre to attend the preview of the 52nd Annual Governor’s Ball. Despite the rain, the crowd of curious onlookers was rather large! No one wanted to miss the sneak peek to one of the biggest parties in Hollywood, the traditional and lavish follow-up to the annual Academy Awards ceremony.
Needless to say the Champagne was flowing and little did I know that when I tipped back my glass of Moët & Chandon offered to me at the entrance, that “Hurt Locker” director Katherine Bigelow would be proudly posing with two Oscars in hand on that very spot 24 hours later.
The grand ballroom was draped in sumptuous silk and taffeta fabrics—lavish purples, silvers, coffees, plums, and golds illuminated every corner. As a tribute to a 1930’s “supper club,” the décor embodied a “streamline moderne” style, even complementing the theme with elegant jazz and classical music—the kind of songs you would expect to be played on a record player and imagine Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers dancing to.
Extravagant flower arrangements of orchids, purple peonies, roses, and lilies decorated each neatly assembled table and their sweet fragrances were hard to ignore. Despite standing a tall 5’9”-plus in heels, the massive flower-filled vases still managed to tower over my head, resembling elongated tree branches more than bouquets of Clearwater roses.
The exterior terrace opened up to a generous sushi bar that offered yellowtail, tuna, salmon and sweet shrimp sashimi, as well as California rolls and fried shrimp heads. Waiters and waitresses decked out in tuxedos and gold cocktail dresses perpetuated the 1930’s style in their classic garb, and while I half expected them to shout out, “Cigars! Cigarettes” every time they passed by, they interweaved the crowds with trays of appetizers instead, churning out decadent food made by none other than our Restaurateur of the Year, Wolfgang Puck. Basil and tomato aricinis, spicy tuna cones, steak tartare, mini kobe beef hot dogs and burgers, “Spago-style” pizza, crème brûlée pastries and chocolate mousse cups were just some of the delicious dishes that the celebrity chef cooked up for the evening.
And while I have never been one to gawk over celebrities or get excited about their lives (perhaps a result of being a native Angelino all my life), a little part of me couldn’t help but be thrilled to have an inside look into such an extravagant A-list event. And who knows, Oprah Winfrey may very well have sat in the chair I draped my coat over or maybe Jeff Bridges stepped right over that red stain I left on the carpet after clumsily dropping a slice of Wolfgang’s pizza. What a waste of delicious food!