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Party gridlock

Special to The Times

There is one simple way to guarantee entrance into all the star-studded Golden Globe post-parties at the Beverly Hilton on Monday: win.

This year there will be seven parties, up two from past festivities. For the first time, E! Entertainment Networks is partnering with the Environmental Media Assn. for a bash in the adjacent former Robinsons-May retail space, where Paramount is also holding what looks to be the party of the night.

The other big five will be spread across the Beverly Hilton. The InStyle/WB party will be just off the hotel lobby. The 20th Century Fox/Fox Searchlight bash will be at Stardust on the hotel's penthouse level. The NBC/Universal/Focus is planned again for the rooftop of the parking garage. Harvey and Bob Weinstein's fete is back in their traditional Trader Vic's spot. Finally, HBO will be taking over the new downstairs restaurant Circa 55 and the prime pool area.

The downside of all this celebration is that it sounds easier to navigate than it is.

With two new parties adding more than 1,500 expected guests, valuable party time will be spent waiting in line to take an elevator up to the roof or waiting in another long line to get into Trader Vic's while glassy-eyed winners clutching gold statues are escorted in with ease.

Yet Globes organizers say this year will be seamless. No, seriously. There will be no added security check-in (beyond the initial metal detectors and guards) for the parties at the Robinsons-May space, just studio public relations people checking the invites.

"We didn't want to make those parties feel like the ugly stepchildren. Guests will be able simply to walk the red carpet there and back," explains Globes organizer Steve Locascio. "The carpet will stay in place for the night."

But there will still be a jam time. When the show ends at 8 p.m. (when the broadcast on NBC begins) and the 1,400 guests from the ballroom mix with the crowds of guests arriving for the post-parties, it's expected to get tight.

"Party guests are not let into the hotel until the show is over," says Locascio. "That's when the crunch time is in terms of getting into the parties. After that, it's much easier and it should be pretty seamless this year to get from party to party."

Naturally, most people flock first to the party with the most wins. But being the night's hot party isn't what it used to be.

The days of A-list stars chilling, flirting, making out and hanging out for more than 15 minutes of flesh-pressing and schmoozing are over. The increasing number of reporters inside these parties makes it difficult for a star to relax without prying eyes watching their every move.

These days, most stars pose for photos outside the parties, greet the necessary honchos inside, then bolt out the back way to more private celebrations, such as the Creative Artists Agency party that used to be held at Chaya Brasserie. This year, it will be at an undisclosed hotel on the Sunset Strip. "Everyone who is anyone ends up there," says a CAA insider.

Though the night has become a race to the finish for many stars, some still like to cut loose.

While no one has jumped into the pool since Angelina Jolie did several years ago, Felicity Huffman boogied the night away last year at the InStyle/WB bash with her hubby, William H. Macy, while George Clooney hung out with a few of the "Desperate Housewives" and the cast of "Grey's Anatomy" had a consultation on the smoking patio.

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