STARS AND CARS AT THE PLAYBOY MANSION
By Reed Berry
Hey, I'm at the Playboy Mansion.
I want to say that I'm here to hang out with Hef and the girls frequently, but
truthfully I'm making my first visit. I find myself staring at the front
entrance at a distance of about 150 feet. It's not that I am afraid to move
closer, but merely because I'm now standing in front of one of the most famous
houses in the world – a building I have seen on TV and in magazines for decades.
What's the big deal? It's just your average house. Hardly – a 30-room gothic and
tudor mansion on six acres of land makes this one impressive piece of real
estate. Built in 1927, Playboy acquired the property in 1971 for $1.05 million.
The mansion, located in L.A.'s Holmby Hills, has an aviary, a waterfall and a
private grotto. The only thing missing here is a Starbucks.
Today's event is the Beverly Hills Concours d'Elegance, so obviously there is an
impressive collection of perfectly maintained classic cars neatly arranged on
Hef's front lawn. Among them I see a 1946 Morgan 3-Wheel F-Super, a 1937 Packard
Convertible Coupe 120 and an eye-catching 1956 356 Porsche Speedster. There is
even a unique 1915 AutoCar Motor Truck which, after being parked for two
decades, underwent a three-year ground-up restoration after being purchased by
its current owners in the late 1980s.
In addition to the classic cars on display, there are some brand new high-end
cars you expect to see making their way up the driveway of the Playboy mansion,
such as those produced by Jaguar and Aston Martin. In my opinion, nothing makes
a shiny new Aston Martin look even better than a beautiful Playboy Bunny.
According to one of the press releases, among the stars expected to attend are
Jay Leno, Nicolas Cage and Eva Longoria. Unfortunately, they are not here. Other
familiar faces are, including Mad Mike from MTV's “Pimp My Ride”, Olympic
swimmer and July 2007 Playboy model Amanda Beard, and retired basketball star
turned talk show host John Salley. At 6 feet, 11 inches, Salley is undoubtedly
the tallest celebrity at this event.
Attendees are now making their way from the Concours in the front of the house
to the grotto in the back to socialize, as well as to enjoy the tasty hors
d'oeuvres (my favorite is the chicken sate with a zesty chutney-curry sauce) and
alcoholic beverages from an inviting poolside bar. Nearby, a large tent has
seating for guests and a runway for a fashion show featuring models from the
Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency.
There is also a selection of unique silent auction items, including celebrity
and sports memorabilia, as well as guitars autographed by legendary rock bands.
Hef is inside the mansion (reportedly upstairs watching a movie) but has not
made an appearance at this event. Kendra, the youngest of his three live-in
girlfriends, has come out to browse the auction items. A live auction will also
take place, followed by live entertainment provided by the band Lawa from the
island of Maui.
The people attending this event are dropping more than a couple of nickels for
the privilege. The basic ticket price is $750. Add another $750 (yes, that's
$1,500) and you will receive a VIP ticket with valet parking, VIP seating for
the fashion show, private cocktail service and a gift bag. If you want to bring
nine friends along, you can reserve a VIP Luxury Private Table for 10 for just
It may seem like a lot of money, but it's for a good cause. Proceeds from the
event benefit the Playing For Good Foundation, an organization that makes
contributions to such worthwhile charities as Millennium Promise, Spread The
Net, and Keep A Child Alive.
This event kicks off the 2007-2008 National Tour d'Elegance, a series of weekend
automotive festivals in cities across America designed to combine the best in
automobiles, gourmet food, wine and fashion.
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