Last night's Fontainebleau opening was a cocktail soaked, Manolo-heeled fun house of sorts, a wedding, bar mitzvah, polygamist's family reunion and circus-all-in-one, where thousands milled around the labyrinthine mega resort marveling at its restoration, renovation and, mostly, at the random mix--a celebrity Chex Mix, if you will--of A, B, C and Z listers who were around every corner. Making the rounds, Martha Stewart, who posed for pix graciously but when it came to helping our gourmand friend out with tips for the perfect Thanksgiving pie, Stewart, who was marveling over empanadas and truffle pizza in one of the resort's many restaurants, was mum, saying, "I'm not working tonight."
That not-so-subtle snub was remedied by a fabulous musical performance by actor Terrence Howard, who proved that not every actor has to play Ray Charles to get up and earn serious stage creds. Randomness prevailed at the blue-hued circular bar in the main lobby, where Breakfast Club turned Dead Zone actor Anthony Michael Hall waited thirty minutes for a glass of champagne, which he downed in less than two seconds.
Inside one of the ballrooms, Mr. Tan Man himself, George Hamilton, glowing in the dark and scouting the seafood buffet line for stone crab and talent. The biggest buzz began with reported Gwyneth Paltrow sightings, which made sense since her Coldplay hubby Chris Martin, was indeed in town. We didn't buy it until we literally almost stepped on her in the lobby right before the ribbon cutting ceremony. Gorgeous Gwyneth, rocking a sleek bob and short white dress, seemed out of place in this bastion of hype and circumstance, but was ever elegant, smiling and making small talk with whomever came near her. Overheard in the crowd, gasps when one reveler discovered Paltrow also rocked some cellulite. The discovery--and the sighting-- was the party's equivalent of striking gold.
That is, until, after a John Stamos and Jason Lewis sighting, in yet another ballroom, crooner Robin Thicke hit the stage and wooed the crowd with a rousing rendition of the Al Green classic Let's Stay Together. Taking the song literally, everyone crammed the stage to catch the headliner, Mariah Carey, who also put on an incredible performance, a mini-concert of several hits with dancers and backing band, which had some local publicists speechless for a change. Mariah was on fire, and so were some very funny-smelling cigarettes wafting through the ballroom. Perhaps the most random spotted in Mariah's audience was none other than Deborah Harry of Blondie fame. The legend herself was seen several rows deep and when we bowed to her and asked if she wanted to move up to the stage, she motioned to us that she was fine where she was, sort of like Oprah in Grant Park the night of Obama's big win.
In the Carey crowd, a VIP section of more scene stealers, including Paris Hilton and her real BFF Vegas showman Jeff Beacher, FB owner Jeff Soffer's BFF Brett Ratner, whose Prison Break star, Sucre, aka Amaury Nolasco, was among the most gregarious in the house. Also there, randomly, Kate Hudson with a mega entourage that could have smacked down Diddy's.
After Carey sang her last high note, the frenzied crowd crunched into Blade, the resort's subterranean lounge, which was a gawker's dream come true. At one table, Alex Rodriguez and BFF Ingrid Casares (overheard in the crowd, someone saying something about Rodriguez inquiring about some celebrities "activeness" in the Kabalah movement. He may have been asking about Paltrow, a Madonna pal); holding court at another table, the meaty Mario Lopez; in a corner table, a soigne yet sleepy Chloe Sevigny and entourage; and, at the bar, Russell Simmons, who, according to someone next to us, "was trying to make out with every hot chick there."
The party was still going strong at 3:30 a.m. when we banged into Thicke, sporting a ciggie behind his ear and trying to get outside for some air. We stopped to tell him how good he was, and unlike George Hamilton, who blew off some people who were fawning over his new memoirs, Thicke actually stopped to make conversation, going as far as asking our names. Classy. Just like the entire evening--give or take a few broken glasses, spilled champagne and overzealous and hungry party goers trying fruitlessly to cut the buffet lines.
Paltrow/A-Rod photo: Manny Hernandez