Art of Elysium: Dominoes at the Beverly Hills Hotel

02-21-08_2214.jpgOur friend and founder of The Art of Elysium, Jennifer Howell, invited us to an evening of dominoes not to be forgotten. “Y’all have to be there,” she said to Sam.

We love this charity as much as a night on the town, this is proven, and Jennifer’s comforting, southern request was all we needed to hear.

There’s nothing like throwing on a tux for a great cause and an hour long visit to the Beverly Hills Hotel, on a rainy Thursday night at 9. And the timing is perfect. It’s Oscar week, so everyone’s in town.

It’s been a long time since Sam and I have been there, and this is our first time there together… with the happy accident that today marks our 28 months together. We observe every month on the 21st with some degree of ceremony, whether it’s gifts or simply twin pints of Ben & Jerrys.

We were late for the red carpet, but got a snap just the same. The event was sponsored by De Grisogono, and some of their sparkling jewelry confection was on display in lit cases around the room. It was hard not to feel like James Bond. Sam and I both felt it. It was hard to believe that just three hours before, I was in boots and jeans and a polo at Warner, and Sam was in sweats, counting reps. I have to admit we clean up pretty well. We had champagne and oysters on the half shell, which is our latest favorite thing – we’re looking forward to more of those this weekend with our friend Kristin Withers in San Francisco, at the W for Wondercon, and the premiere of Appleseed Ex Machina (for which I did the DVD and advertising). But that’s another post.

Penelope Cruz playing Dominoes

above: Guy Oseary and Penelope Cruz at the Domino Table

Jennifer Howell isn’t hard to single out in a crowded room. Follow the magnolia-scented air of southern gentility and you’ll find her the source of it, especially at a Hollywood party where such good comportment is unheard of. When we found her, she not only looked incredible, but very intense as she concentrated on a game of dominoes with Guy Oseary and Penelope Cruz, among others.

02-21-08_2209.jpgThere were six or so dominoes tables in play, each with an anchor player or two. Rumer Willis at one, Charlize Theron and Kate Hudson at another, Ashton holding down still another, with his wife and arguably the most stunning woman in the world, Demi Moore, at another twenty feet away, testing her skills across the table from Donna Karan. In fact, Demi’s even prettier than her husband, and that’s really saying something.

But more important than who was at what table is the charity that benefited from the evening, The Art of Elysium, and the great time that was so obviously being had by all – people who may or may not understand the game of dominoes, but who were looking on with an enthusiastic intent that surpassed recognizing the who’s who.

L.A. can be a small town sometimes. At lunch today, I jumped ‘over the hill’ from Burbank to Hollywood to the corner of La Brea and Sunset to L.A. Tanning, where our friend Joe works. I told him where we were headed tonight, and he said, “Tell Jennifer I said hello… I remember when she started that charity, in a two-person office, ten years ago.” She’s really come a long way, and created something truly worthwhile and lasting. Congratulations to her on that generous accomplishment.

02-21-08_22111.jpgEarly in the evening, Sam and I toasted with a glass of champagne, to all of the crazy, fabulous, interesting eventfulness of our first 28 months together, and the years of it to come. We’re grateful that we get to celebrate days like this one against backdrops like tonight. It took us ten years to “get to this room. ” I’m so glad we made it here together.


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