Monday, February 28, 2005

Oscar Satyricon : Diller Versus Trimalcho: Quien Es Mas Macho?

Petronius

Oh, how we love our Page Sixxies, the clever guardians of the twin adamantine Gates of Fama and Fortuna, (The Corsair guillotines, then elegantly sparks up a Vegas Robaina Clasicos) who report so dutifully on what the elegant blogger James Wolcott called Graydo's Morton's bash, and, by implication, all Oscar bashes, namely "The Satyricon."

Only, this particular Page Six Satyricon wasn't Vanity Fair's infamous prestige party, no, no, no, true believers -- VF's bash was so very "first room" -- rather, this one was hosted by the "Arbiter Eligentiae" of the American -- not Roman -- Empire, Our ... Barry Diller, joyful HomeShopping Network pagan that he is, spewing black "Pan passions." (The Corsair sips the black wine of Cahors, elixir of Popes) And what not:

"OF all the Oscar parties, the best might be the lunch Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg threw the day before at their splendid estate in Coldwater Canyon. It was the ultimate mix of east and west, with guests lounging on Persian carpets and pillows arranged on a sunswept lawn, devouring roast duck, sausages and pasta."

Persian carpets? Sausages and roast duck? Did boys from Alexandria "pour snow water on the hands" of the guests? Such Imperial Overreaching Excess asks -- no, demands -- to be roasted on a "bonfire of the humanities," so to speak; and who, my dear readers, is more qualified that I, The Corsair, to have at such a lush and fertile target with my snarky abandon?

Having said that, We cannot fail to note here the passing resemblance of Diller's fete to our favorite scene from our favorite Ancient novel -- the first Western novel ever, in fact -- you guessed it, Petronius' "Satyricon," known to all Classical Greek Geeks like The Corsair as "Trimalcho Feast."

Quien es mas macho? Whose bash was the more decadent, more redolent of the overripe aromas of the zenith of an arrogant Empire? Trimalchio or Diller? As the immortal event -- Trimalcho -- was served:

"The first course was served and it was good, for all were close up at the table, save Trimalchio, for whom, after a new fashion, the place of honor was reserved. Among the first viands there was a little ass of Corinthian bronze with saddle bags on his back, in one of which were white olives and in the other black. Over the ass were two silver platters, engraved on the edges with Trimalcho's name, and the weight of silver. Dormice seasoned with honey and poppies lay on little bridge-like structures of iron; there were also sausages brought in piping hot on a silver gridiron, and under that Syrian plums and pomegranate grains."

Advantage: Trimalcho. Sorry Barry; Pasta does not compare. "Trim," as we like to call him, had us at the "Syrian plums." They remind us of Salma Hayek's pendulous dirty pillows at the Oscars. We'd even sell our sweet Ugandan ass to Lizzie Grubman for some Syrian plums served in Corinthian bronze. Further:

But back to Our Diller, who, not one to play second fiddle to any 1st Century Roman parvenu, "puts a little salt up in his game" in the guest list, which was a keen study in American power:

" ... The event this year honored Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter, who was joined at the hip with his fianc�e, Anna Scott. Where else would you find the top moguls in the media ? Michael Eisner, Rupert Murdoch, Sumner Redstone, Howard Stringer, Les Moonves, Tom Freston, Peter Chernin and Brad Grey ? mixing with society figures like Reinaldo and Carolina Herrera, Aileen Mehle, Eric Wachtmeister and Tim Jeffries?

" ... Then add fashionistas like Tom Ford, Elle Macpherson and Andre Leon Talley. It's the one bash where the movie industry isn't triumphant, where you'll also spot L.A.P.D. chief Bill Bratton and his wife, Rikki Klieman, artist David Hockney, plus restaurateurs Brian McNally, Amy Sacco and Rocco DiSpirito, and writer Christopher ("Hellbound") Hitchens. In the minority were show biz types like Warren Beatty, George Hamilton, Anjelica Huston and husband Robert Graham, Robert Downey Jr., Peter Gallagher and Mariah Carey, who was holding hands with Brett Ratner for a few minutes."

Trimalchio only has the philosopher Agamemnon, some slaves, some sundry denizens of the Empire, and student adventurers Encolpyus and Aschyltus. Advantage: Diller. Now dress:

"Diller, setting the 'very casual' dress code, wore pajama bottoms and Converse sneakers."

Were the PJ bottoms inscribed "Juicy"? Did his ass fit snugly therein? Does The Corsair overstep the bounds of propriety by making such a lewd observation? Forgive us. Trimalchio, too, steps up his game:

"... We were in the midst of these delights when Trimalchio was brought in with a burst of music. They laid him down on some little cushions, very carefully; hereto some giddy ones broke into a laugh, though it was not much to be wondered at, to see his bald pate peeping out from a scarlet cloak, and his neck all wrapped up and a robe with a broad purple stripe hanging down before him, with tassels and fringes dingle-dangle about him."

Advantage: Again, Trimalchio. Come on, Barry. Make it a contest! Whatever happened to the leonine competitive spirit exhibited, so ferociously, at Fox? The Page Sixxies report:

"The best moment was when Angela Janklow showed David Geffen her Dolce and Gabbana purse festooned with the letters 'DG' in rhinestones. 'Maybe you should have this,' Janklow teased. D.G. declined."

But Trimalchio one ups:

"'A poor man and a rich man were enemies,' Agamemnon began, when: 'What's a poor man?' Trimalchio broke in. 'Well put,' Agamemnon conceded."

Winner: Trimalchio, TKO. Aww, we still have love for you, Barry.

The Satyricon
Barry Diller's Bash


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