Showing some love for L.A.

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The scene at Leslie Klotz’s birthday dinner at a new private club in West Hollywood.

 I had just arrived in L.A. after what out there they call a cold snap — 50s!  Thankfully the weather had returned back to perfect — dazzling blue sky and its bronzing (as all denizens are) sunshine. I was there for my BFF Leslie Klotz’s birthday, staying at her uber chic, mid-century house on a pretty street just down from the center of West Hollywood where the city never sleeps … until 2 a.m. when everything closes. Leslie’s house is in a quiet little neighborhood on a dead end street and you can walk to Cecconi’s, Piccolino’s, etc. I was in heaven.

The facade of Leslie Klotz’s house on Huntley Drive in West Hollywood.
Bancroft topiary dog gift hanging out in Leslie’s back yard.

Leslie runs celebrity relations for the ASPCA and was, when I arrived, madly reaching out to animal lovers and protectors in New York to support the fur sale ban.  I spent the first 11 hours working on the place cards for her birthday dinner. I typically personalize each with a picture of one’s dog, craft, empire — whatever resonates.

Leslie in her kitchen with Brinkley and Luther.

I forced myself to sleep till almost 9 on Friday. Then off for a stroll where I was wowed and lulled by the lush flora and fauna — those tender, lavender blossomed Jacaranda trees lining the streets, then the sidewalks as their brief bloom ends? Had lunch with my boy Will at Hugo’s on Santa Monica and Holloway. We sat outside where there were as many dogs as people, which we quite liked.

Lulled by the lavender blossomed Jacaranda trees.

The birthday girl’s house was ripe with anticipation for the evening’s dinner party. The national face-saver, Glam Squad, arrived with powder-laden brushes and polished our faces into party-ready glows. Then off we went to the loveliest new private club in West Hollywood. Place cards placed, many martinis sipped, and the chopped salad, steak and salmon were served in old school, East Coast tradition.

Debbie’s personalized place cards created for Leslie’s birthday dinner.

Toasts were made — but none as brilliant as Leslie’s which were: snippets from her less than stellar 4th grade report card: “Leslie makes an excellent lunch partner,” and “Leslie craves her alone time, said no one EVER” and a hysterical, bonafide recitation of a Tinder exchange, ending in terrified crickets. You had to be there.

The birthday dinner.
Will Bancroft giving a toast.
Debbie giving her toast.
Jwan Yosef, Leslie Klotz, and Brett Williams.
Jed Weisman toasting.

Her friends are an assortment of the brightest, most beautiful souls in L.A. including Ricky Martin, his artist husband Jwan Yosef; Rob Haskell (writer and psychiatrist) and his film piracy protector partner, Brett Williams, tennis pro Anne White, James Corden, producer Jed Weisman, among many other clever, gorgeous folks, and Will, her Godson and my real son.

Alex Kordas and Will Bancroft.
Kathy Suder, Graham Steele, and Ricky Martin.
Leslie with Brett Williams.

After dinner we had quick nightcaps outside, where folks could smoke (can you believe these perfect, chiseled, buff creatures smoke!?)

Will, Leslie, and Alex post-dinner party.

The next morning we combed through the presents. Our family’s topiary dog gift was quite a hit. Then to lunch with Kathy Hilton at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Leslie and Kathy are hands down my two funniest friends, and Bloody Marys only made all funnier. We had a viewing of Paris Hilton’s new video ‘I Can’t Stop Looking at my Best Friend’s Ass.” It was, of course, about Kim K., whose lower region has its own zip code.

Leslie, Debbie, and Kathy Hilton at the Polo Lounge.
Glamorous Yorkie receiving admiration in the BHH lobby.
The famous flowers in the BHH lobby.

Sated, beat, and on joy overload, we had a normal end of day — a dog walk, simple supper and a wonderful movie — Booksmart.

I loved waking every morning to the fragrance wafting from the vines outside my window, and our little routine of going to Verve for coffee — delicious, overpriced and populated with people prettier than we see dressed up at night, in New York City. Cecconi’s is everywhere — London, NY, Miami — but I love it most here.

End of day dog walk with Rumplemeyer, Brinkley and Luther.

The next day we had a wonderful lunch with my friend Alana Mayo (Head of Production and Business Development at Michael B. Jordan’s company, Outliers), her partner, the writer, actress and it girl (January Vanity Fair cover), Lena Waithe and their family, including beautiful baby Marley.

Lena Waithe, Alex Mayo, Debbie, Jelani Hasan, Leslie, Alana Mayo, Clichè and Marlow.

What felt like moments after that long, languorous lunch, we were off again to meet my pal Sela Ward, her husband Howard Sherman, and two New York girls with footholds in L.A. — Elizabeth Callendar and Julia Eisenman.

Austin Ward jamming at The Moroccan Lounge.
Ward’s many friends and fans.

We dined that evening on pasta at Il Pastaio in Beverly Hills, then dashed off to hear Sela and Howard’s son, Austin Ward’s concert at The Moroccan Lounge, in gritty and cool, East L.A. I felt so young again getting a wrist band, bellying up to the bar, and shimmying to Austin’s mesmerizing music. Watch for this fellow. All the while I thought about not leaving L.A. Ever.

Proud mom Sela Ward with son Austin Ward.

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