TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: The puck stops here - Wolfgang sings hisswan song at Spago

The only surprise about this year's Academy Awards was the show's

length. These spectacles usually drag on so long they are measured in

terms of life events. Last year's gig lasted about the length of a

Hollywood marriage. The previous year's was roughly equivalent to a

15-inning game between the Dodgers and Reds. In 1996, the show took the

amount of time it takes to get from Marina del Rey to Studio City on

Friday afternoons.

So it was impressive that producer Gil Cates and host Steve Martin set a

crisp pace for the show, closing the curtain well before the usual

four-plus hours and thus allowing attendees to get a jump-start on the

evening's post-Oscar festivities.

Despite A-list guests and the high profile of the Vanity Fair party at

Morton's, the most memorable soiree took place at Spago. Memorable

because it was the last one to be held at Wolfgang Puck's landmark

Hollywood restaurant, which closes this week. (I was once asked to leave

there because of the obstreperous behavior of my guest. The waiter was

kind enough to box my cheesecake to go. Now that's class.)

Spago has new Beverly Hills digs, and for some of Puck's long-time party

attendees this was akin to the closure of Boston Garden or Fenway


Spago is where the post-Oscar party tradition took off, creating a media

event which rivals the show.

The party's publicist, Robert Wynne, told me the place was again a

feeding frenzy. Along with some 500 guests, five TV stations were there,

as was Good Morning America, CNN, Time, People, the Bug Tussle Beacon

and others.

Wynne says someone posing as a reporter for Variety managed to crash,

but was soon found out and tossed out on his veritable Army Archerd.

Sponsored by Los Angeles Magazine, the party benefited the Children

Uniting Nations charity. I have to confess I'm not familiar with the

group, but then I only found out yesterday that new President Bush is a

different guy than old President Bush. Anyway, I'm sure Children Uniting

Nations is a great organization, but its warm and fuzzy title makes me

recall the charity George Costanza devised in an episode of Seinfeld.

Besides, anyone who's ever seen five-year-olds argue in a sandbox

wouldn't bet the farm they could bring about world peace. These kids

play rough!

The biggest news was the resurfacing of the boy band Hanson. Haven't

heard much from the Tulsa teen troupe since 'Mmm Bop' became 'Oh, Stop.'

And you know who else was there? Former teen idol Bobby Sherman! What

publicist wouldn't drool over the chance to put these two on a double


And of course, no Oscar night party would be complete without the

requisite question, 'Who are you wearing?' If only Hannibal Lecter had

been there to answer.

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