The party started out on the street and continued into every nook and cranny of the Biltmore's event venues, where the lavish choices of food and the eclectic entertainment made the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences' post-Grammy celebration a hot time in old Downtown Los Angeles at night.
Bused, limoed or self-driven from the awards ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium, party guests stepped out on a red carpeted block of 5th Street, where the African rhythms of Osibisa bounced into the open sky.
Inside, the main corridor was massed with flowers. Champagne in hand, party-goers wandered through the lobby, the Biltmore Bowl, the Gold Room, the Grand Avenue Bar and the Crystal Ballroom to the sounds of Asleep at the Wheel's country and Cachao's tropical Latin beat, as well as chamber music and jazz. A range of food--from Jackson's Maine lobster and morel mushroom ragout, to Chinois on Main's grilled Mongolian lamb chops to Citrus' chocolate creme brulee were designed to tempt any palate.
"After all these weeks of intense activity, I need to find a dark corner to hide in," said NARAS president and CEO Mike Greene, who momentarily settled into a Bowl back table, next to the pounding sounds of the Brian Setzer Orchestra. But soon Greene was on the move again, official photographer in tow, meeting and greeting and receiving congratulations on the fighting words of his "save the arts" speech at the ceremony.
Standing out in the sea of black tuxedos and little black dresses were such eye-catchers as Setzer and his wife, Christine--he in a faux leopard tail coat, her basic black dress garnished by her extravagant red beehive and leopard stilettos.
Among guests were baseball great Dave Winfield, with wife Tonya, and the San Francisco 49ers' Ricky Watters, who was somewhat upset because he hadn't been able to get his "friends and bodyguards" past the security.
Some party-goers moved on. In the next block, at EMI's bash at Rex, the buffet included--honest--suckling pigs. At a reserved table, Bonnie Raitt and husband Michael O'Keefe sat with her father, John, who will record an album of Broadway legends for EMI subsidiary Angel. Other stars passing through included Nick Rhodes, Jon Secada, Peter Gabriel, Wayne Gretzky and Placido Domingo, on his second party of the night and "longing for bed" having sung the previous night in Vienna before jetting in to perform at the awards.