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Demme era of nightlife at the Roosevelt ends

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Special to The Times

HOLLYWOOD hot spot Teddy’s has been temporarily shut down, and when it reopens later this spring it will do so without Amanda Scheer Demme, whose address book full of A-listers gave the nightclub its sizzle.

Ending a run marked by success and controversy, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel this week severed ties with Demme, the 38-year-old widow of movie director Ted Demme and the name and face behind Teddy’s and the poolside Tropicana Bar. Contrary to numerous accounts that reported Demme was bought out of her contract, Stephen Brandman, chief executive of Thompson Hotels, the management company that runs the Roosevelt, said that owners Goodwin Gaw and David Chang merely “terminated the agreement.”

Under Demme’s stewardship, the Tropicana Bar and Teddy’s became celebrity playgrounds, generating fodder for Internet gossip sites and frequently making headlines. In separate incidents last July, rock star Courtney Love was hospitalized after leaving a party at the hotel and Demme herself was arrested for noise violations.

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Still, Demme told The Times on Wednesday, she was “beyond surprised” when she received the news of the hotel’s decision on Monday. Although she acknowledges the relationship with its management has at times been tenuous, she says she was particularly taken aback by the timing, coming only three days after a star-studded concert by Prince at the hotel on Friday night. “The concert ran smoothly; everything was great,” she said.

Said Brandman: “At the end of the day the owners felt comfortable it’d be best to handle [the venues] differently.” He added, “There are some statements that have been printed in the press that helped affect the decision.”

Demme described the reasons for her departure as “creative differences,” adding, “I wanted us all to be one big happy family. If it could have been salvageable I would have loved for it to have been.”

The Tropicana Bar will remain open, while Teddy’s will likely reopen in the late spring. “It’s in the best interest of that bar to retune it. It will still open up as an elegant ultra-lounge,” Brandman said. “We’re looking into [new] people to manage the bar and Teddy’s. We are evaluating how we’re going to handle the marketing and supervision of it.”

There’s no question that Demme’s celebrity lure has helped, as she said, “put the Roosevelt back on the map.” But Brandman believes the hotel will continue to be a hot spot without her. “This is an iconic building; there’s a history that’s tremendous,” he said. “The hotel is doing really well, up over 200% from last season. It has been clearly repositioned over the last year, and it will continue to be more popular and more popular as time goes by.”

“I can look at this two ways,” Demme said, “I can either be sad or I can say, ‘Hey, it was a great ride.’ I wish the Roosevelt well.”

With a project in Las Vegas already in the works, Demme said that she plans to rebound quickly. “I’m going to go on and do something else soon in L.A. I’ve gotten a great outpouring of love from people, and the important thing is to keep moving.”


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