Hollyball or Bust

  Photo:  Paul Whelan in his tuxedo with his dear friend Larry Barron

Photo:  Paul Whelan in his tuxedo with his dear friend Larry Barron

Prologue:  The best and worst outfit I ever wore to the Hollyball was when I was President of WSTLA. It was an election year.  We were fighting for the insurance fair conduct act.  And if you added to all that -raising my girls and handling my job...well....There was no time for shopping.

The theme was the Red Hot Hollyball.  And I was determined to do it right.   So a few days before the big event, I went online.  Promdresses.com or some such website. Found a red hot hollyball dress.

The dress arrived two days later.  But didn't have time to try it on until the night of the Hollyball.  It was red and slinky and actually fit which was a good thing.  But there was a problem.   The neckline was more like a chest line.  It was broad and deep and plunged down to my navel.   Real fitting for the president of the trial lawyers.

It fit though.  And since there was no time to do anything about it, I put on a smile and sashayed forth.


Today, as usual, the Hollyball arrives before I have figured out what I'm going to do about it.  A couple months ago I had a few plans and ideas.  But one of my cases exploded and that was that.

Get up.  Go to office.  Work.

Anne comes in around one.  She is the opposite of me in terms of being put together.  Her hair is curled, she is wearing sparkles, her lips match her nails.  I am wearing yoga pants, a sweater hoodie, nike boots, mascara, trader joe chapstick, hair yanked back, and my nails are uniformly chipped and raggedy looking.

I tell her my goal is to spend an hour getting ready for the Hollyball.  Even if I didn't buy an outfit, I can dig around and find something.  Anne gives me a pep talk.  Something about Sharon Stone tying a plain white shirt around her waist with a long black skirt.

Work more.  Need to get going soon if am going to stay on schedule.  Plan is to go for run with Nala before primping.

Text message bleeps.  Open phone.  Photo of smashed bumper.  Alysha has been hit.  Call her.  She's okay.  Happened up on the hill.  Some dummy drove throught the intersection without yielding.    All but admitted he was texting.  She manages to drive the few blocks home.

Finish up stuff at office.  Head home. Park in front of her car.  Get out.  Look at the crumpled little bumper.  Neighbor drives up.  Examines it with me.  Go inside house.  Hug Alysha who is calm.   Wait for tow truck.  They come.  Drive to Hertz downtown.  Drop her off.  Drive home.  Consider getting gas.  12 miles per warning light.  Will get gas later.  Don't make a wise route decision.  Get caught in traffic.  Finally arrive home.  Gas down to 6 miles.

3:15.  Look at computer.  Handle emails until 3:40.  What am I thinking.  Sunset is at 4:18.  Throw on running gear.  Nala twirling around in circles of excitement.  Go for run.  Sun goes down.  Run in the dark.  Make it back.  Go to put Nala's booties back on.  She is filthy.  It wasn't raining but the sidewalk/roads/grass/weeds and mud puddles were wet.  Give her a shower.  Dry her off.  Send her on her way.  Take shower.  Look at clock.  5:45.  How did that happen.

Look in closet.  Nothing is inspiring.  Close it.  Get out hair dryer.  It is happy to see me.  Usually just let hair air dry or pull back in a pony tail.  Get most of it dry.  Decide to put on more eye makeup than usual.  This means some gold and dark gray.  Red lipstick.  There we go.

And now comes the hard part.  What exactly am I going to wear.

Open closet back up.  Look at the dresses.  Decide am not in the mood.   Pull on some black velvet bcbg leggings, add a draping blouse tunic type thing that came from Barneys about four years ago.  Grab pencil heeled velvet black boots (these at least are Hollyball worthy).  Little Prada silk bag have had for over a decade.  Throw on Nike boots and black puffy coat.  Out the door.

Car is giving me angry red warnings.  Am going to run out of gas.  Stop at station.  6:30.  Hollyball is starting.  Drive downtown.  Three miles.  25 minutes.  It's that time of year.

Get to the Four Seasons. Pull off Nike's and put on lovely boots.   Valet gives me stub.  Walk into hotel.  Turn right.  Head towards Spanish Ballroom.  Reach it.  Empty.  Oh dear.

Wrong hotel.

Rush back to valet.  They have driven off already.  Talk to the door man.  He has been here over 20 years.  This hotel is the Fairmont.  Used to be the Four Seasons.  So I wasn't totally dreaming.   The correct one is on First and Union.

Go inside until he comes and gets me.  20 minutes later.  Tip him for being nice.  Tip the driver for having to drive it for nothing.

Drive down around and over to the correct Four Seasons.   Arrive at destination at 7:20.  Head toward garage but valet motions me over.  Obey.  He hands me a stub.

Head upstairs.  There are tuxedos and nice suits.  Superbly coifed women in sparkly dresses.  Everyone looks like they have made an effort.  They are so lovely and festive.

And then there's me.  Looking like I'm going to the club.

But no one seems to think it odd.

And we hug and kiss and Hollyball the night away.