pretty boys and party animals

Allan Carr made his reputation producing and promoting such major movie hits as Grease, Tommy and the Broadway smash La Cage aux Folles.

Allan Carr (left) found here

Carr also anointed himself Hollywood’s social patriarch, hosting extravagant parties with guest lists that included legends as well as rising stars. Invitations to his opulent home with its bars, disco, and private rooms where guests could indulge their cocaine habits or sexual exploits were highly coveted.

Allan Carr and Joe Namath found here

In Party Animals (Da Capo Press), author Robert Hofler examines the glittery life and drug-riddled excesses of the overtly gay Carr in delightfully delicious detail. Grease may have been the word, but nothing lubed Carr’s wheels better than pretty times, pretty caftans, pretty drugs and pretty boys.

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Throughout the 1970s he threw bigger and better parties than anyone else in Hollywood. Even though he was morbidly obese and openly gay (and Hollywood was very homophobic then) his invitations were like gold among the town’s celebrities and powerbrokers. He titled his parties like movies: the Roman Polanski Rolodex Party, the Mick Jagger Cycle Sluts Party and the Truman Capote Jailhouse Party where upon arrival, each guest was frisked and fingerprinted. At the Rudolph Nureyev Mattress Party, Carr laid out hustlers in every room, like canapés, for his guests’ entertainment. Young, hairless men  staged priapic wrestling matches. And people queued up to ride sexually voracious stars as if they were Disneyland attractions.

Nureyev found here

There was a lot of cocaine and many gorgeous and willing young men and women. Other people had A-list parties, but they didn’t invite the hot pool boy from next door. Allan Carr did. He also invited a lot of rock stars like Elton John, Rod Stewart and Alice Cooper, who were very new to the Hollywood scene. Carr had great respect for old Hollywood, so you’d find Mae West and Groucho Marx there too. He always made sure that there was something for every sexual orientation at his parties.

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He had hidden cameras in the discotheque in his basement and used to entertain himself by watching what the celebs did down there from his TV in the master bedroom. But this voyeurism was for his personal entertainment only, he would never have used it to embarrass anyone. Creating the neologism “glitterfunk” to describe himself, he sashayed forth in a wardrobe of flowing caftans and kimonos, ankle length mink coats and vixenish diamond jewellery, his small round head ringed with curls permed by Vidal Sassoon.

Vidal and Mia found here

He released a cannibalism exploitation movie called Survive! right before United Artists was going to make a similar film called Alive! Time Magazine called it “the nastiest ninety minutes ever to appear on screen”. Carr also said, “I’m making a movie version of Grease. Maybe UA can beat me to it and release a film called Vaseline.”

The entire making of Can’t Stop the Music was a comedy of errors. He cast it with a lot of ex-boyfriends, but on the set they got out of hand and Allan had to issue an edict: Anyone caught having sex on the set would be fired! One night he went to see Maxwell Caulfied in Entertaining Mr. Sloane off-Broadway. He wanted to cast Caulfield in Grease 2. Carr’s date was Valerie Perrine, and on the way to the actor’s dressing room he said to Perrine, “Who’s going to get lucky tonight, me or you?”

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He turned his homosexuality into a calling card. He was the Auntie Mame gay court jester, if you will. In 1989, Allan Carr produced what has come to be called the worst Oscars ever. It’s the one where a tone-deaf Rob Lowe serenaded a squeaky-voiced Snow White in the opening number. Even before the big night, some Hollywood oldtimers were outraged that this “flamboyant” man was in charge of the sacrosanct Oscars. Flamboyant was code for gay.

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There were a lot of innovations at that 1989 Oscars, ones that still carry on today. “And the Oscar goes to…” was Carr’s idea. Before him, they used to say “And the winner is…” on every awards program. But the biggest innovation of all was the extended coverage of the red carpet. Again, Carr was a real showman, and he believed that the fashion should be emphasized. All this red carpet hoopla that we have today started with Carr.

worst oscar dress of all time? see more here

Published in: on February 13, 2012 at 9:43 pm  Comments (49)  
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a committed aesthete

Alexis Dieter Rudolf Oscar von Rosenberg, 3rd Baron de Redé (1922 – 2004) was a prominent aristocratic aesthete, collector of French 17th and 18th-century furnishings and socialite both in European circles and in New York.

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The Baron de Redé was a committed aesthete. His life was dedicated to manners, protocol, museum-quality collecting and entertaining on a hugely imaginative scale. In 1949, he moved into the ground floor of the 17th century Hôtel Lambert in Paris and restored the building and its décor.

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Redé’s notoriety rested on being the best-kept man in Paris: his wealth derived from his lover Arturo Lopez-Willshaw, whose staggering wealth was derived from guanoRedé had met Lopez-Wilshaw, who was married to his own cousin, Patricia, in a New York City restaurant. “I was not in love,” Redé recalled, “but I needed protection, and I was aware that he could provide this.

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In 1956 he hosted the Bal des Têtes, introducing an unknown named Yves Saint Laurent to Paris society through the decorations and confectionary headpieces of plumes and paillettes that the baron had commissioned. Thirteen years later he bested himself with the Bal Oriental, complete with life-size papier-mâché elephants, a cabaret à la Turc and bare-chested bodybuilders brandishing flaming torches and costumed as Nubian slaves. One guest came dressed as a pagoda; her costume was so big and rigid that she had to be hauled in on a truck and was unable to sit down.

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Among his other peccadilloes, the baron was severely repulsed by men who crossed their legs to expose a sun-starved length of calf; he thought it bad taste to speculate as to who might or might not have good taste; and he held that nothing less than a whole rose head per finger bowl would do, petals being for concierges.

green rose found here

Even more astonishing was his insistence that platters of food look the same at the close of a soiree as at the beginning. No picked-over fish frames, gouged mounds of pilaf or drooling aspics. “It does not matter if people do not eat the food at the end of the evening, as there are always others you can give it to.”

Recounting a dinner given by ballet impresario Marquis de Cuevas, the baron notes the presence of a “coloured” orchestra. Elsewhere his attention is diverted by a “good-looking but boring man, remembered for a diminutive posterior.” As Alexis had a nearly negative sex drive, it must have really been something.

Sonny Clay band found here

De Rede’s own position was that the only person he ever loved was a randy Polish classmate at his prep school who bedded every boy and farm girl he could lure into the hayloft. The baron never acted on his love, which seems sad, but he did keep good company. Prince Rainier and the future Shah of Persia were fellow pupils.

Rainier and Grace found here

In 1962, Redé inherited half of Lopez-Wilshaw’s fortune; and, to manage it he joined Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein in taking control of a bank where he served as Deputy Chairman. With Loewenstein, he was closely involved in managing the money of the Rolling Stones. Though the Stones’s music was obviously not his cup of tea, he did go on tour with them and was at least able to talk shoes with Charlie Watts.

Charlie Watts buys his handmade shoes here

party preferences

Which of the following parties do you think sounds like it was the most fun? This Parisian ball……

“At a costume ball in Paris in the 1920s Lucien Daudet appeared as Spectre de la Rose. At the end of the evening the effete Daudet was stark naked. The guests had plucked the rose petals his devoted mother had sown onto his tights, and eventually the tights disappeared along with the roses. Jean Godebska came as a house of cards and his friend Radiguet as a shooting gallery while the Princess Soutzo was a Christmas tree. 

Princess Soutzo found here

Jean Hugo attended as a waiter carrying a large tray. On it was perched the Maharani of Kapurthala, disguised as caviar. Hugo was somewhat tipsy and let the tray drop. When the maharenee almost fell to the floor, the maharajah was heard to mutter, “In India he would have been put to death at once.”

Maharani found here

The Duchess de Gramont organised an entrance that represented the beheading of John the Baptist. Dressed in the black costume of an executioner, she appeared carrying  a platter with a wooden head of John the Baptist that looked suspiciously like the party’s host. As Salome, the Prince de Chimay covered his face with veils but liberally exposed the shapely legs he was so proud of. Hiding all evening in a bedroom like children at a costume party, they missed Marie Laurencin as Malade Imaginaire attended by a friend dressed as measles, with red spots painted on his face.

Le Malade Imaginaire found here

Or would you prefer to attend P Diddy’s soiree?

On Thursday, August 29th, 2002 – P. Diddy and Guy Oseary celebrated the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards with a post party in New York City’s exclusive Cipriani’s. “It was top shelf and caviar all the way” said one guest. 

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Attending celebrities received a gift basket valued at over $25,000 which included an exclusive Surf Camp t shirt and a week at Surf Camp. The drawback was the “party policy,” which included an amusing–some might call it obscene–set of guidelines re: scuffed shoes, haircuts, and clothing (though someone should have told Puffy that Mr. Dolce’s partner spells his surname “Gabbana”). “Pull out the flyest shit in your closet” Puffy said. “Women must be waxed, pedicured and manicured to the hilt.”

$32,000 manicure found here

And one final instruction….. P.S. Do not disturb the sexy.

click to enlarge or read at the original source here

a Proustian moment in time

In a Paris hotel in 1922, two society hosts brought off an amazing coup when they threw a party for Proust, Joyce, Diaghilev, Stravinsky and Picasso.

Diaghilev and Stravinsky found here

The party was a gem of cultural history. The Majestic was second choice as a venue; the Ritz had been discounted because it did not allow music to be played after 12.30am. The menu was chosen to appeal to both the Russian exiles in attendance – caviar and Russian hors d’oeuvres – and to the Proustians within the group, with dishes plucked straight from the pages of his novels – asparagus, boeuf en gelée, almond cake and coffee, and pistachio ice cream.

Cacao Pistachio Florentine and Mint Ice Cream Sandwich found here

The Schiffs might have been the hosts, but Diaghilev was the master of ceremonies. He “netted” Stravinsky and Picasso, who were both involved with the Ballets Russes, but the Schiffs really wanted the two great modernist novelists, James Joyce and Proust, both of whom were notoriously flaky when it came to social engagements.

James Joyce found here

James Joyce eventually rolled through the doors, visibly intoxicated and paralysed with nerves, as the diners were drinking coffee. The Schiffs were delighted, but the evening wasn’t complete until 2.30am, when “a small dapper figure … clad in exquisite black with white kid gloves … entered with an insinuating air“. Marcel Proust had arrived.

Marcel Proust found here

His attendance was a coup. Proust, one-time social butterfly, became a recluse in his final years, too fond of his sickbed-cum-writing desk to leave his apartment. This party was his first outing for a fortnight; he had been too ill to socialise since scorching his throat with a hefty dose of adrenalin, taken, ironically, to give him strength for dinner with the Schiffs.

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On New Year’s Eve 1921, he built up to the evening’s celebrations with typically hysterical panache. “From fear of being unable otherwise to come to you, I have taken drugs in such profusion that it will be a man half-aphasic and especially wobbly on his legs, from vertigo, that you behold,” he wrote in advance to the host. He also asked his maid Céleste to call ahead 10 times to ensure that he was greeted with “a cup of scalding tea“, and that there were no draughts at the venue. In the last year of his life, this hypochondria became so extreme that he requested his morning post to be steamed in disinfectant. 

ducklings in a teacup found here

The inveterate social climber was no doubt tempted out of his bed by the stellar company on the menu at the Majestic. Diaghilev, “the most wonderful Falstaffian character”, impressed the author. He was fascinated by Diaghilev’s turbulence in his emotional life, his desperate, passionate love for sometimes very inappropriate young men, for which he was willing to risk artistic success.

Diaghilev and Serge Lifar found here

As for Picasso: “Although one mustn’t read too much into this, Proust was quite attracted to stocky, not very tall, southern-looking men. The great love of his life, his chauffeur, Alfred Agostinelli, looked like a plumper version of Picasso. So Proust was definitely pro-Picasso, though I don’t suppose Picasso was pro-anyone very much except Picasso.

Picasso found here

Proust’s conversation with Stravinsky had a less-than-auspicious start. Princesse Violette Murat flounced out of the party, looking daggers at him as he arrived. Gossip about her meanness was rife, and she was mortally offended by rumours that one of Proust’s particularly parsimonious characters was based on her. With her strange lack of physical proportions, he once said of her “She looks more like a truffle than a violet

The meeting of the two modernist minds was by far the most eagerly anticipated of the evening and, as a result, there are varying accounts of the exchange between Proust and Joyce. Joyce  was quoted as saying, “Our talk consisted solely of the word ‘no’. Proust asked me if I knew the duc de so-and-so. I said ‘no’. Our hostess asked Proust if he had read such and such a piece of Ulysses. Proust said ‘no’. And so on. The situation was impossible.”

the party of the century

Don Carlos de Beistegui y de Yturbe (1895 – 17 January 1970), was an eccentric multi-millionaire art collector and interior decorator and one of the most flamboyant characters of mid-20th century European life. His ball at the Palazzo Labia in Venice in 1951, an event so extravagant it was criticised by the Vatican, is still described as “the party of the century”. He was often referred to as “The Count of Monte Cristo”

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In the early 1930s, he had a penthouse built on the Champs-Élysées, designed by Le Corbusier. It included an electronically operated hedge that parted to reveal a view of the Arc de Triomphe, and a roof terrace designed by Salvador Dalí.

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In 1948, Beistegui acquired the Palazzo Labia, just off the Grand Canal in Venice, and began an intensive restoration. He purchased frescoes by Raphael, Annibale Carracci, and Guido Reni. These works of art, coupled with tapestries and antiques, restored the palazzo to its former splendour. So avid a collector was Don Carlos that his taste became known as “le goût Beistegui” (the Beistegui style). It was said that, in order to avoid the clatter of dishwashing at parties, he frequently ordered his soiled gold tableware thrown into the canal at the end of each course. (The ugly gossip was that he had laid a stout fish net on the canal bottom beforehand.)

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On 3 September 1951 Beistegui held a masked costume ball. It was one of the largest and most lavish social events of the 20th century. The invitations went out six months beforehand. The guest list included the Aga Khan III, Barbara Hutton, Gene Tierney, Orson Welles, Gala Dalí and many others. 

image of guests at the ball found here

Christian Dior and Salvador Dalí designed each other’s costumes. Winston Churchill and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were invited but did not attend. Many who would have liked to have been invited were not. The host wore scarlet robes and a long curling wig, and his normal height (5 ft. 6 in.) was raised a full 16 inches by platform soles. Cecil Beaton’s photographs of the ball display an almost surreal society, reminiscent of the Venetian life immediately before the fall of the republic at the end of the 18th century. The “party of the century” launched the career of Pierre Cardin, who designed about 30 of the costumes. Nina Ricci was another designer who was involved.

Pierre Cardin shoes found here

Champagne, lobsters, ballets, minuets, rumbas, sambas, Charlestons and a troupe of acrobats diverted the guests in the palace until dawn. In the courtyard, lordly Don Carlos had provided a special party for the common folk, including soft drinks, which they paid for, a free Punch & Judy show, and a contest to see who could climb to the top of a greased pole.

 

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Despite this colossal extravagance and the enormously high-profile guest list he was able to attract, Beistegui did not generally warm to people, nor they to him. He remained personally aloof and shadowy, and was often accused of treating his friends and mistresses very poorly. He never married, and although he was said to have had many mistresses, his sexuality was the subject of speculation. A certain duchess was said to have been his illegitimate daughter….

not this duchess

mars bar sandwiches

Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner, celebrated his 60th birthday in grand style. He chartered a 440 foot four masted sailing vessel and had 130 of his nearest and dearest installed in its 75 state rooms for a week long cruise from Santa Lucia to Martinique and Mustique.

Lord Glenconner found here

The guests were hermetically sealed in the elegant confines of the vessel, where they swam in the pool, gambled in the casino, worked out in the gym, drank at the bar, danced in the disco and watched a selection of 58 pornographic videos. 

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On the night of the party, wearing a gold crown and a rope of pearls, Lord Glenconner was dressed in white magnificence, his robes encrusted in gold embroidery. Handsome, almost nude black males, with their private parts encased in coconut shells painted gold, lined the pink carpeted walkway to the house.

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There were princesses galore at the party, Princess Margaret, two of the Lowenstein princesses and Princess Tina who provided cabaret entertainment. She performed gymnastic gyrations while she balanced full glasses of champagne on her head and pelvic area. A heavily wined English lady sat in the reflecting pool in front of the pleasure palace and pulled up her skirts to the refreshing waters. “My god, look at her – she’s showing her bush!” another lady cried out.

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After Margaret’s marriage to Lord Snowdon on 6 May 1960, the couple honeymooned in the Caribbean; Glenconner made them a wedding present of 10 acres of land on Mustique. She went out twice a year, in February and late autumn, presiding over a social set which sometimes lurched into loucheness, with characters such as the East End-criminal-turned-actor John Bindon. However, Glenconner denied that Bindon had produced his prodigious manhood for royal eyes; the flashing was done to one of her ladies-in-waiting, who merely commented, “I’ve seen bigger

John Bindon found here

Early in the 1980s, Tennant paid around £200,000 for Jalousie Plantation, 488 acres of virgin rainforest in St Lucia. He sold half the land to a holiday resort developer, while he, next door, opened a restaurant he called Bang Between the Pitons because potential clients always had to ask where it was and were told: “It’s bang between the Pitons [two volcanic peaks].” He had a seaside shack with one bedroom containing a solid silver four-poster bed. One commentator wrote that Bang Between the Pitons was the only place in the world where you could find Princess Margaret and a member of Led Zeppelin eating bananas and Mars Bar sandwiches.

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In a last wilful act, committed just before he left his adopted home of St Lucia to return to Scotland for a brief visit, the beady old reprobate cut his family out of his will — and left everything to his faithful manservant, Kent Adonai. As one mesmerised critic noted: “Lord Glenconner was the Basil Fawlty of the aristocracy.”

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chicago ain’t no sissy town

I’m trying to plan another holiday with daisyfae this July. Unfortunately dolce can’t join us like she did in Greece last year *sob*

Lesbos July 2010 – we had fun didn’t we girls?

So far I’m considering New York, Chicago and/or Hawaii. Chicago sounds like a riot of a town

Nearly 20,000 drunken, yelling, brawling revelers filled the Coliseum and clogged the street by the time the Honorable John J. Coughlin arrived at the First Ward Ball by carriage in December 1908.

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For more than a decade this was the city’s most notorious party, hosted by “Bathhouse John” and Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna. Tiny cigar-chomping Kenna was a genius at political organization and the owner of a popular saloon. Coughlin had been a bathhouse masseur, wrote terrible poetry and wore garish clothes. He blustered while Kenna said little. 

Hinky Dink and Bathhouse John found here

They conceived the First Ward Ball as a way of stuffing their pockets, already bulging with graft, through imposed ticket and liquor sales. The first ball, held in 1896, attracted a wild mix of society thrill seekers, police captains, politicians, prostitutes and gamblers.

image found here at flickriver

The 1908 ball made that affair look tame. During the course of the evening, revelers slopped up 10,000 quarts of champagne and 30,000 quarts of beer. Riotous drunks stripped off the costumes of unattended young women. A madam named French Annie stabbed her boyfriend with a hat pin.

French actress Annie Giradot found here

“It’s a lollapalooza! . . . There are more here than ever before. All the business houses are here, all the big people,” Kenna proudly proclaimed. “Chicago ain’t no sissy town.”

Almost half a century later, Hinky Dink died, at age 89.

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He and his lifelong partner, Bathhouse John Coughlin, had set out to rule the new metropolis. Bathhouse John, once a rubber in a Turkish bath, was the front man. He was a huge, bumbling, handsome ruffian, full of pomp and speech. Tight-lipped Hinky Dink was the boss. They were elected aldermen; together they controlled the vote, became loved, feared, respected.

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The pair staged an annual ball which was attended by thousands of whores, pickpockets, hopheads, politicians and pimps. Their guests drank free champagne, brawled, engaged in orgiastic dancing, and cheered as Bathhouse John led the Grand March wearing a bright green cutaway, mauve vest, lavender pants and a high silk hat.

vision in purple found here

Times changed. Prohibition put Hinky Dink out of his saloon; Al Capone stole much of his power. Bathhouse John died in 1938, old and broke. In 1943, diabetes and old age beat Hinky Dink down. He retired to a hotel room. His fortune (estimated at $2,000,000) afforded him but little comfort beyond the dozen $1 cigars he smoked every day. He died attended only by a male nurse.

Al Capone fishing found here

Jack (“Greasy Thumb”) Guzik, one of the successors to Capone’s power, came to his wake. Hymie (“Loud Mouth”) Levin, another underworld kingpin, sent flowers. But the funeral was a disappointment—half the seats were empty, and Hinky Dink got only three automobile loads of flowers, as compared to Bathhouse John’s seven.

Don Corleone’s funeral flowers found here

An apologetic First Ward lobbygog (Chicagoese for ward heeler) explained: “He was retired too long. If you don’t go to other people’s funerals they won’t go to yours.”

better to be leaving than arriving

This advertisement appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 1961 and was reported in Time

FATHER CROWLEY’S LOSS IS YOUR GAIN. 1961 Mercedes-Benz 1905L, air-conditioned. This car is only 3 months old. Save $1,350.

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The Rev. Richard Anthony Crowley, 51, has been reassigned by his bishop to a parish in Springfield, Ill., where a Roman Catholic priest might look a bit out of place in a $6,850, 105-m.p.h. white sports car with green leather upholstery. Last week the Vegas crowd threw Father Crowley a farewell party in the town’s flying saucer-shaped Convention Center.

Las Vegas convention centre (1959) found here

It began at 9 p.m. with an hour-long cocktail party and ended at 3:30 a.m., with the crowd singing God Bless America. In between, while klieg lights stabbed the desert sky, 9,000 guests milled and drank and watched an assortment of 64 entertainers ranging from acrobats and show girls to Stand-Up Comics Shecky Greene and Myron Cohen. The guest of honor, slight, grey-haired and merry as a grig, shook hands, soft-shoed with a bowler hat and sang Harrigan, That’s Me.

Myron Cohen and Phil Spector found here

Father Crowley won his popularity by ministering to show people and by strenuous relief work for the migrant farm workers who abound around Las Vegas. But what won him fame is the Mass that for the past three years he has been holding at 4:30 a.m. for around 500 show people, croupiers and early-bird tourists of the 24-hour town. Crowley held it each Sunday in the Stardust Hotel, which features the “Lido de Paris 1961 Revue,” with 13 bare-breasted girls. Such a broadminded willingness to bring religion to The Strip won him much gratitude: Wilbur Clark, owner of the Desert Inn Hotel, donated a $185,000 site near The Strip for a Catholic church, and an anonymous benefactor gave Father Crowley his Mercedes-Benz.

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Yet does any man of God, though his intentions are good and his boons indisputable, have to seek sinners quite so flamboyantly? Nevada’s Catholic Bishop Robert J. Dwyer gave his answer when he advised Catholics to boycott places of such “filthy and immoral” entertainment. Crowley took it in his stride. Comparing last week’s sendoff “bash” with the modest welcoming reception planned for his successor, he ruefully noted: “It is evidently much better to be leaving Las Vegas than to be coming here.”

cartoon found here

he who turns the other cheek has the last laugh

Anna Ivanovna was Empress of Russia from 1730 to 1740. Anna was famed for her big cheek, “which, as shown in her portraits”, Carlyle says, “was comparable to a Westphalian ham“.

Cheeky Anna found here

She reigned for ten years and was, on the whole, not liked by her people. Anna also had an unhealthy interest in grotesque, foolish or malformed people. She even had her own private collection and liked to have a hand in the marriages of all her courtiers.

Todd Browning’s Freaks found here

And, it didn’t do to not ask her permission, as one poor prince was to find out. Prince Michael Alexievich Golitsyn made a terrible error when he fell in love with an ordinary girl and, in order to marry her, became a Catholic. A double faux pas because Anna herself was Orthodox. Unfortunately, his wife died not long after the wedding.

check out this Russian Prince here

Anna’s first punishment was to demote the prince to the role of jester, a great humiliation for him. She then decided to pick another wife for him. Looking to her strange entourage, she chose an ugly Kalmuk serving woman called Avdotia, who she had nicknamed ‘Bujenina’, after her favourite dish of pork and onions.

Recipe for onions stuffed with pork found here

Even this wasn’t enough revenge for Anna. She commissioned a palace to be built entirely from ice for their honeymoon. Though a cruel joke, the palace was an architectural marvel. It was the one of the coldest winters Europe had experienced for 30 years. All the major rivers had frozen over, including the Seine, in Paris, and the Thames, in London.

frozen Thames found here

The palace was designed, in a classical style, by the architect Peter Eropkin. It was 80 ft long and around 30ft high and located on the Neva River. The ice was specially picked for its transparency. Every block was expertly measured, cut and joined together with water, which froze instantly in the cold weather. Additions to the castle, also made of ice, included trees, some with ice fruit, birds and statues, and six cannons. Even the windows were sheets of ice. Inside the palace, the furnishings were made of ice – a four poster bed, mattress, quilt, pillows, a clock. There was even a life-sized elephant in the grounds, also made of ice. It spouted 24 ft of water during the day. At night, petroleum was used to make it spout flames.

ice elephant found here

On their wedding night, the couple took part in a procession to the palace. They were locked in a cage sitting on top of a real live elephant, and led by Anna’s entourage of strange people. 300 guests were invited to a fantastic feast and transported on sleds pulled by a variety of animals, including pigs and bears.

Russian car sled found here

When they arrived at the castle, they were taken to their ice bedroom and made to spend the night there. Guards were posted on the doors to make sure they didn’t escape. One story has it that the prince had drunk a fair amount and didn’t feel the cold as badly as his new wife. In another version she swapped a pearl necklace, which Anna had given her as a wedding present, for the guard’s fur coat. She used it to keep them both warm enough to survive the night.

pearl necklace found here

The couple found that they got on really well and lived a long and happy life together. Empress Anna died of kidney disease soon after the ice palace incident, at the age of 47.

Khashoggi’s cosmos

Adnan Khashoggi was once touted as the richest man in the world, which was probably an exaggeration, but he certainly knew how to spend.

High above the clouds, Adnan Khashoggi’s DC-8 is cruising noiselessly toward his estate in Marbella, Spain. His guests, sipping 1961 Chateau Margaux from crystal goblets, lounge on the jet’s cream-colored chamois-and-silk banquettes. His masseur, his valet, his barber and his chiropractor — they accompany him everywhere — are relaxing as well because “A.K.,” as he is known to his employees, is fast asleep on the $200,000 Russian sable spread covering his 10 foot wide bed in one of the plane’s three bedrooms.

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In the plane’s fully equipped kitchen, Khashoggi’s chef is preparing hors d’oeuvres. They will be served on white china, embossed in gold with the letters AK, designed, along with the crystal and flatware, at a cost of $750,000. The plane, which Khashoggi bought for $31 million and had reconfigured for an additional $9 million, has the streamlined and futuristic feel of a flying 21st century Las Vegas disco. In the sumptuous lounges, digital panels indicate the time and altitude, and electronic maps chart the jet’s current position. Inside a coffee table, a color monitor shows a view of the ground. Built into the ceiling is an elaborate electronic map of the cosmos, a 50th-birthday gift to Khashoggi, who is fascinated by astronomy. One by one, against a dark background, the outline of the constellations lights up, the tiny stars winking against the blankness. Aquarius . . . Cancer . . . Gemini . . . Then there is Leo, Khashoggi’s birth sign, and as the constellation brightens, a small image of the round-faced, mustachioed Saudi Arabian arms merchant and businessman flashes on and off, on and off.

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Fantastic parties are a Khashoggi signature. Christmas was a simple tea compared with his 50th birthday fete in 1985, at which he entertained more than 400 guests at a three day extravaganza. His birthday cake, a model of Louis XIV’s coronation crown, was created by a chef who was flown to the Louvre to study the original.

Moroccan pillow cake found here

Khashoggi’s parties also take place in his 30,000 sq.ft. quarters incorporating the 46th and 47th floors of the Olympic Towers in Manhattan. Created out of 16 separate apartments, the abode has a pool that overlooks the spires of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

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His wife Lamia dresses according to the Joan Collins Dynasty handbook, complete with diamonds and decolletage. With her, as with her husband, more is definitely more. Her idea of casual is to wear a one-inch ruby-and-diamond ring with matching ruby earrings. Her 40- carat diamond wedding ring covers the lower half of her ring finger. She asserts that size does not matter. “It’s the sentiment that counts,” she says.

Lovely Lamia found here

Published in: on February 7, 2011 at 7:34 am  Comments (43)  
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