Los Angeles invaded Manhattan this week for the 33rd Annual Grammy Awards, doled out Wednesday night at Radio City Music Hall with full festivities around the city afterward. It was the first time in three years (and only the fifth time) that the Grammys were held in New York, and the influx of West Coast executives and artists seemed to have brought L. A. weather to a town that had seen snow flurries on Monday. The city was definitely Grammy conscious, from Sinead O'Connor displays in Midtown bookshops to a Sony TV screen suspended over Times Square that played nominated music videos day and night.
"I think the Grammys should be held everywhere. Chicago, Nashville, New Orleans," said singer Deborah Harry, relaxing at the Four Seasons after the show. The tony restaurant was the site of MCA Records' bash, and the discreet dress code posted by the coat checkroom--no jeans, jackets for gentlemen--was suspended for the night.
Donald Trump created a stir when he entered with Marla Maples, high-fiving a group of rappers as he came up the stairs. The Donald thought L. A. and New York should switch off Grammy responsibilities, adding, "I was so happy for Phil Collins and M. C. Hammer. Hammer's a good friend of mine.
Rod Stewart and wife Kelly Emberg made a quick entrance and exit, but others stayed around, including Bernadette Peters (in a gravity-defying strapless dress), jazz vocalist Diane Schuur, New York party perennial Sylvia Miles, rapper LL Cool J, blues singer B. B. King, singers Bell Biv DeVoe, comedienne Joan Rivers, singer Bobby Brown, the rock group Aerosmith, singer Patti LaBelle, the rap group Young Black Teen-agers (all of whom, of course, are white), and country singer Vince Gill.
Country singer Lyle Lovett, who presented B. B. King with his Grammy, brought the L. A. vs. N. Y. issue down to earth. The best thing about having the event in New York, Lovett said, "is being able to walk to the show and the party afterwards."
The best-ever comment at the Four Seasons came from a New Yorker who was talking to an L. A. visitor. "I hear your drought has just been terrible," she said politely. "I hear you people can't even bathe or brush your teeth any more."
After hearing that, it seemed time to head across town to where the Polygram Group was hosting a party for 2,000 guests at the Ritz. The cavernous club had been decorated with a Mardi Gras scene, including strings of plastic beads that served as admission tickets, traditional Southern dishes, a seafood bar, and zydeco music blaring over the loudspeakers.
Grammy winner Luciano Pavarotti was promised but turned out to be a no-show, eliminating the chance to see paparazzi mob Pavarotti. On hand, though, were Sting, Suzanne Vega, Vanessa Williams, Don Henley, Grammy winners the Kentucky Headhunters (who stayed as far from the overcrowded VIP room as they could get), Dennis Hopper and Broadway favorite Jackie Mason (who entered the VIP area with a man who yelled, "Jackie, do you want me to announce you?")
Guests devoured traditional Southern dishes, including grilled shrimp, oysters on the half shell, Cajun sausage and pralines, but there were few takers for a black-eyed pea salad dispensed by a harassed-looking waiter.
Things were still going strong at the Ritz at 3 a.m., but it was time to leave and collect a complimentary cassette of the Polygram Group's Grammy-nominated artists--ranging from Anthrax to Leonard Bernstein.
Out on the sidewalk, an aggressive panhandler was begging for spare change. One man with no change tried to give the guy his Polygram cassette, but the panhandler didn't want it. Apparently, the Grammys were over for another year.
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