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A Lot of Volume at ACLU Benefit

The Scene: Thursday night’s premiere of “Pump Up the Volume,” a benefit for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Musical Majority. (Despite the allusion to Jerry Falwell, the M.M. supports free expression within the record industry). An after-party at the Hollywood Boulevard club Spice was hosted by New Line Cinema and MCA Records, which are putting out the movie and the soundtrack respectively. Each corporation even had its own eponymous ice sculpture.

Who Was There: Stars Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis and Lala, along with writer/director Allan Moyle, producers Rupert Harvey and Sandy Stern, and guests C. Thomas Howell, Richard Grieco (with his sisters), Lou Diamond Phillips, Polly Bergen and the ever-nightlife-lovin’ Drew Barrymore. There were also several thousand publicists representing everyone and every group concerned.

Dress Mode: Ponytails and earrings--for the guys, of course. Most of the women were clad in garments cut down to there and up to here . Lots of big hair for both genders.

Chow: Shrimp, lox, salads, fondue and strawberries so obscenely large, so simply red that they looked like David Lynch props or as if they’d been cultivated at Chernobyl. Slater, who will soon be 21, received a birthday cake with an icing picture of a St. Bernard carrying a keg.

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Entertainment: Performances by Liquid Jesus and the Cowboy Junkies. Dancing to taped music. Watching in fascinated horror as guests used their heels to put out cigarettes in the carpet.

Decor: Posters for the picture urged, “Give an Attitude"--as if L.A.'s club-goers need any encouragement. In addition, the walls were painted with faux -subway graffiti, including the mysterious injunction, “Everybody Do the (expletive).” (If that’s a new dance, we don’t want to see it.)

Favors: “Volume” buttons and soundtrack cassettes, plus--courtesy of the ACLU--a copy of the Bill of Rights and a bilingual, wallet-sized pamphlet about what to do if you’re arrested. (FYI: You get two phone calls, not just one like in “Dragnet,” and one of them can be to your “bail bondsperson.”)

Noted: The party had a designated “celebrity door,” through which those who were more famous-than-thou were given ingress to meet the press and press the flesh.

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Quoted: The flick is about a teen-ager who challenges rights of free speech with his own pirate radio station. Writer/director Moyle says he began working on the story long before the 2 Live Crew and record-labeling controversies. “The FCC is just a pernicious, toxic government agency,” he said. “It’s a shame we have it in such a cool country with such a cool Constitution.” (Speaking of cool, Christian Slater kept muttering an oft-repeated mantra in the crowded VIP area: “It’s hot in here.”)


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