Friday, May 15, 11:58 p.m.
Oh, DJ Adam Goldstein, I’ve come to Rain nightclub to pray at the foot of your booth, to rock out and lip-sync along with whatever tidbit of a song you deign to play before yanking it out from under me like a rug, moving on to your next party anthem or era, knitting hip-hop to hair metal as if the two had never been apart. When you say “put your hands up in the air,” I will actually consider it before disobeying as usual. Just for you. When you do your little geek dances behind your rig (read: laptop), I will decide they are cute, and no mention of Nicole Richie will escape my lips while within these hallowed walls. In the names of the godfathers of rock, hip-hop and mash-ups, amen.
Actually, I love DJ AM. I’ve loved him since we spoke on the phone years ago for an interview, me on my couch, him zipping down the PCH to Malibu to pick up yet another pair of vintage sneakers for his voluminous collection. And then again a few years in a row at Sundance, me blushing, him brooding like James Dean over a cigarette between sets. Charm aside, it’s not so much AM that delights me as his crowd—they’ve come to party.
Sure, the line outside Rain doesn’t wrap around Garduños like it used to, but it’s healthy and not nearly as militant as back in the day. Girls in tight black dresses march between the comp and pay lines with fistfuls of red, yellow, green and black wristbands like tacky drive-through-wedding bouquets, their heads held high like show ponies.
Watching the VIP machine in motion makes me dizzy. The ranking, sorting and depositing of would-be VIPs around the room. I join a VIP table right on the dance floor in front of the DJ booth, where DJ R.O.B. is wrapping up his set. That annoying song that goes “Wheeoohwheeoohwhee” gives way to a siren, then to “Umbrella.”
It’s a mild hip-hop night, the urban edge buffered by heaps of classic party rock and cheese so as to render even the hardest gangsta song (of which you’ll only hear one minute, max) harmless. In the last moment of p.m., before DJ AM takes his place, someone throws on his video-montage intro, and then the dark, slender DJ springs up to the booth, gingerly dons headphones and gets on with it.
This being the fourth week of his new residency, AM has of course brought his A-game. But once he’s been on for about 15 minutes, I get the sense that I’ve seen the main attraction. This rocket just took off and is pretty much aimed at dawn. Now what? What else you got, Mr. Goldstein? Fire, smoke, foam snow? Yep. And every song elicits an “Awww! I remember this one!”
But it’s not a very fun night if you’re flying solo; a DJ AM party requires that you bring the party people with you. So I find people. I find a person. I find myself blushing once more, deep in the throes of a five-hour conversation by the Palms pool with the most mythical of creatures: the single, straight, employed, articulate Jewish Manhattanite sex god. Scotch from a plastic cup never tasted so good as it does from the top of the Fantasy Tower at dawn. Trust me.
As I pull up to the Artisan for afterhours in the first tender, peachy rays of morning, the tree-lined driveway has exploded in plumes of green that all but eclipse the boutique hermitage, like some decadent page out of Great Expectations.
I can feel the bass from valet; I promise the attendant I won’t be long. My very veins vibrate, and woe be it to any guest room within earshot. The only light in the lounge comes from dim chandeliers and TVs playing old movies. In utter denial of the late hour, I perch on a stool, virtue intact but cheeks still hurting from returning my hero’s smiles. I try to listen, I try to care, but I can’t do it—afterhours will have to wait for another Saturday morning. I need sleep if I’m going to show this hunky nomad a side of Vegas’ nightlife scene later tonight that doesn’t involve a plastic cup. To be continued …