No Vanity Fair party? Dahling, it just can't be true

Washington Post

Yoo-hoo, Mr. Landscaper! Cease trimming all that ficus into the letters V-A-N-I-T-Y F-A-I-R, please! Just shape what you've already done, into, oh, we don't know, a nice topiary of a hippo or a Dora the Explorer hedge, and we'll have it delivered to the sick children's wing at Cedars. Hello, In-N-Out? Yes, we need to cancel those 575 "animal style" burgers, pronto. Hello, we're trying to reach Portofino Potties? We have sad news about the loos. . . .

People, we have party interruptus. The annual post-Oscars Vanity Fair celebration has been canceled because of . . . the climate?

"I know. I know. We'll miss it too. Because this year they really look like a group of heavy drinkers, which we like," says Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair magazine and the usually jolly Santa-esque host now being fitted for his Grinch costume. "But it didn't seem the right time to be in a celebratory mood in L.A. Because of the climate."

Wait. Carter is speaking by telephone from New York, so maybe we're not getting this right. The climate? What does Al Gore have to do with this? He won his Oscar. He had his Vanity Fair party. Anyway, what climate?

"I surveyed a lot of friends in the film industry," Carter continues. "I came away with the feeling that this is not the time. There is lingering animosity out there."

It seems the lingering animosity of the writers strike has created this feeling that gathering together several hundred of the most talented, most famous, most beautiful people in the world would be bad. "We're a magazine. We're writers and photographers, not that different from actors and screenwriters. It is an act of solidarity against those studio fat cats. We'll take a year off. Maybe they'll appreciate us even more. Did I say studio fat cats? Did you get that?"

But it's not like they were going to invite a bunch of screenwriters to the party. Seriously, have you seen the picket lines? Could they go to the gym? The Vanity Fair party is not about writers. OK, a few. But they really are more like winners than writers. Like Diablo Cody, who wrote "Juno." We really wanted to follow her around and see if she could provide any one-liners.

Apparently not. "There Will Be Blood," but there won't be us. No Late Night for Old Men, either. It leaves us talking like Keira Knightley in "Atonement": No, they simply cahn't, they cahhnn't. Oh, love, but they cahn.

What's left? Elton John's annual Oscar-night dinner party is still on, according to a publicist. Then there are all those private parties given by top agents and producers, but that would feel like crossing some kind of forbidden line.

We mourn the loss of this year's VF party, even as we sniffle and bravely understand. What did we want, exactly, that we haven't already gotten in the past? The naughty amounts of cigarette smoke? More "accidental" bumping into Cate Blanchett? Fraternizing with the Afflecks, deciding that Casey really is more interesting (and then, an hour later, saying, no, it's Ben)? Seeing if we can still say the name "Saoirse" past 2 a.m.? Sher-shuh. Swershey. Slursha. (Valet! My car!)

On Monday, the Oscar nominees attended the academy feast in their honor. A select few were steered into the press corrals, and one thing we learned is that movie stars are not all indolent millionaires who smell good, but super-radicalized union members. George Clooney, just back from Africa, where he was busy ending war, warned, "I've never crossed a picket line."

Yet, strange, as Clooney's mouth was moving, we were obsessing on his hair. It just keeps getting better, doesn't it? It was as if his gray is somehow better than all other grays. Just so . . . vital. It's like 007 gray. You know those grays you see in the advertisements for Levitra, well, this is not that gray.

You say: Go ask if you can touch his hair. Maybe now you understand our pain about losing the VF party, because there, on that night (and only there, and only that night), in the most dense collection of celebs in the universe, we might have, could have, would have.

It's all about what happens in the moment. And that is why we will miss the Vanity Fair party.

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