Friday, March 23, 2012

Helena's: Hollywood Heaven.

Hollywood sign from 1924.

An excerpt from Pamela Miller Des-Barres' I'm with the Band follow-up book, Another Little Piece of my Heart :

"I was beginning my thirty-eighth year of life, and with my book ["I'm With The Band"] completed and soon to be published began a much-needed cycle of renewal.  Michael [Des Barres, her husband at the time] and I had an unspoken love-truce and started having a little more fun.  For my birthday he and Patti (
D'arbanville) threw me a feast-fete at Helena's downtown in a gone-to-seedy area behind Silverlake.  The barely opened pleasure sanctum had been discovered by that chic chick, the divine Melanie G. Former unique bohemian-freak a tress, Greek belly-dancer Helena Kadianiotes ran the joint, with the financial aid of her two next-door neighbors, Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando.  "Mother Teresa feeds the poor,"  Helena said to me, "the rich and famous need it more."  She was the patron saint of the super-elite.  Helen's was an over-the-rainbow, beyond-belief, hipper-than-thou experience to be relished by the too, too few.  My girlfriends dolled up to chomp on the goat cheese, sun-dried tomato special, and the double-heart carrot cake Melanie (Griffith) had so kindly provided. Michael toasted me, praising my efforts even though I had spared no mushy, horny detail about any of my amores.  Bruce Willis was there with my friend, Sheri, and almost unknown cute actor, Robert Downey Jr, came with his trendified manager, Loree Rodkin, and Patti snapped at least sixty Polaroids white the place clogged up with actors, musicians, producers, directors, tall, willowy model-types, and all the truly ravishing people.  
Helena's soon became our new hang-spot.  That twinkly magic man Jack Nicholson was there every Friday night, lighting up the dive.  He held court in the corner, allowing only certain babes to grace the seat next to him for no more than five minutes at a time.  Lou Adler was usually with him, and sometimes the old charmer, Warren Beatty came by for a glass of Evian, scanning for beauty.  We got to be fairly friendly, flirting like fools, and I graced Jack's table for several five-minute slots of fun, wondering what it might be like to find myself trapped in his naughty lair for several five-hour slots of sin.  Can you tell I was slowly turning into a horny beast?  I guess writing about all my lovers woke up my sadly neglected libido.  It's all the more sad because even the smell of Michael, the touch of his silky skin still thrilled me.  But it seemed he believed the grass was always more emerald, chartreuse, sea green, jade green, lime green moss green, avocado, and leaf green way over on the other side.  
One night when the peel-back ceiling was peeled back to reveal the splendor of the smogged-out stars, Marlon Brando made a brief appearance at Helen's, and eve the high-stepping cream of the swank set started buzzing.  I was tempted to sashay over to Brando's table to ask what he did with all those half-naked shots I sent hi back in '72 but decided to keep my cool intact.  One night somebody claimed they saw Jack Nicholson and Sean Penn peeing against a wall outside , and it became a spirited topic of conversation-- just to show you hw really silly Hollywood-types can be.  I was an observer the night Sean boped a guy called "Hawk" over the head with a chair for cozying up to closely to Madonna. Even Prince showed up on a fairly regular basis, sitting near the dance floor with his dad and two giants who constantly kept their eyes peeled like neon grapes, peering in tot he dim, creamy night light.  Helen must have paid a pile of loot to make the beautiful people look and feel even more beautiful with in her precious pinkened walls.  I was feeling pretty delicious one Friday night, dancing maniacally to Prince's "Kiss" in a skintight getup, when his majesty arrived wearing that very daring, belly-button-baring black Kiss ensemble and a pair of pitiless black sunglasses that screamed "I VANT to be alone," even though he was at the world's hippest nightspot.  While I reamed the dance floor, the funniest thing happened:  Just at the part in the song that goes, "You don't have to watch Dynasty to turn me on," Michaelf Nader, who played the sensitive yet studly hunk on Dynasty, walked through the door and stood grandly, in plain view of the entire place.  Even Nader didn't get the hysterical significance.  I laughed so hard all by myself, hoping that at least Prince caught the retarded magnitude of the ludicrous moment.  I took a peek but couldn't tell because his shades were as dark as night and twice as impenetrable.   
After just about having sex with myself on the dance floor two feet from where Prince sat, I dared to approach his table, tossing my cool and all caution out the star-roof.  "I love you, I love you, I love you," I declared, forgetting I wasn't Pam Miller in Reseda, circa 1962.  I stood there after the brazen preteen act, frozen to the spot, and all he did in response was to lower his shades a smidge so I could gaze at those rich brown beauties for a brief instant.  I fell across the floor like hot-rod lightning and took a few swigs of my white wine spritzer.  "What made me do that?" I wondered out lord.  I told Patti about it and she spit her cappuccino across the table, getting a splotch on Rob Camelletti, Cher's boyfriend--the poor, innocent guy the rags called "the bagel boy"-- but he didn't seem to feel a drop.   
One packed Friday eve, as the star of stage, screen and CD bopped to the beat, a rancid odor filled the dance floor, engulfing the hipsters with skunk-stench.  Scattering, they all headed for the door.  Who dared to let off a stink bomb at Helen's on a Friday night?  Helen's eyes spit fire as she blazed around, scanning for the perpetrator.  I saw that unruly, outspoken diva-donna, Sandra Bernhard slyly sneak out of  everyone's way, like she knew they just might be getting ready to leave.  What a daring, villainous deed.  
It would be a Helen's that December, amid tons of joviality and Christmas cheer, that Michael would finally meet the girl of his--- and my --nightmares.  Where else? "


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