Letter from occupied Bel-Air

Our fearless correspondent's second dispatch from the entertainment industry's demilitarized zone: Ass-kickings at Cirque du Soleil, silence and clanking silverware at the 7th Annual Diversity Awards and a ride in George Clooney's limo!

Read communiqu&#233 No. 1!

Published October 22, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

Dear Button,

Things down in the "South Park" offices have been hectic. But we have had time for a couple small excursions. Trey wanted to see Cirque du Soleil. Have you ever seen it? Here's how it works: The lovely and talented Jennifer calls William Morris. William Morris calls Cirque VIP, and then blah blah Hollywood handshake blah, next thing you know four of us are sitting fifth row in the big yellow-and-blue tent on the pier in Santa Monica. And of course it's all fantastic, the tumblers all hit their marks and the juggler doesn't drop his balls (he went up to seven). But what really sent it over the top was the music being played live. Total blowout -- especially the male singer, whose falsetto fooled us into thinking he was a she. Then, after a couple of numbers he dropped out of the higher registers and into his wheelhouse (as they say in baseball) and we all nearly burst into flames. As Trey said after: "It's good to have something kick your ass once in a while."

The only drawback I could see was that they didn't serve alcohol in the VIP tent. I mean, Hey, thanks for the free souvenir program, fella, but where's the bar? So we shot up to the beach-house bar and each put away two fingers of Glenfiddich for courage. It went down so well, we went back during intermission. The other drawback was the clown contingent. I mean, it is a Cirque, but enough with the zany. There was one clumsy and awkward guy who wore glasses and looked like an aging man-child clown, if that makes any sense. He would get very pleased with himself in a disarming, childlike way and make an attempt to speak through the megaphone, but all that would come out was a breathy giggle. Tres humorous. I even thought of being him for Halloween, but then there would only be me and three other people who got it. So I think I will go as a naughty nurse.

What are you going to be for Halloween? I always find Halloween an interesting night for revelation. To some degree, what you are for Halloween represents some side of you that you want others to know about, but are afraid to expose directly. Halloween is just big excuse night. "I'm only dressed like a dominatrix because it's Halloween!" You hear that a lot during the evening. On the other hand, I went as a Mormon last year, so forget the whole theory.

We went to the 7th Annual Diversity Awards on Tuesday night. Holy shit. It was not cool. OK, so I've been to awards shows. I even endured James Cameron thanking every single fucking person who worked on "Ti-Snore-ic" at the Producers Guild Awards. (The only thing that kept me from killing myself was the fact that I had just met Clint Eastwood.) But this one ... The first award speech consisted in large part of a paean of gratitude to Anheuser-Busch for sponsorship. Then, the next speaker (a Native American) went on to decry the rampant alcoholism among the Indian population. You make the call.

Right off, our ship was out in rocky seas and no one knew where she was headed or who was driving. Luckily, Trey and Matt were light and funny and the clip of Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride broke some tension. Before that, all you could hear while people spoke was clanking silverware. The one place you don't want diversity on a night like that is where they had it in spades: talent level. I mean, no matter how you slice it, Paul Rodriguez is not funny. He was, unfortunately, the emcee.

Martin Landau was there, however. What I like most about him (aside from his performance in "Ed Wood") is that his wife has got to be 28, tops. Go Martin! And that Sally Kirkland is a bouncy, flouncy fireball! Is flouncy a word? She came over pouring copiously out of her dress to meet Trey and Matt. It was a sight. But the sweetest moment came when a very small, very cute Native American girl in a pretty white dress shyly approached Matt and Trey and gave them each a bear claw necklace. They each knelt down and got pictures. Priceless!

Oh, and something else noteworthy happened at the "Three Kings" premiere that I forgot to mention when I wrote you last. The film ended and our friend Amy (who is George Clooney's right-hand woman) sees us and immediately gets on the L.A. headset and Presto! the six of us are riding in a limo to the party. Awesome. So we're talking about the movie and basically we all hated it. (Jennifer tried to like it a little, for George's sake, and he was great in it -- it was the director who killed it.) Then Trey, who hasn't seen a movie in a movie theater (besides his own) in over a year says, "I'm sitting there watching the film, and I'm saying to myself, None of this ever really happened!"

At home, all we ever watch is "Investigative Reports" and "Biography" and "American Justice." So when you see a dead body in a movie, it seems silly in a way because you've seen the real thing. Verisimilitude seems silly when you've got A&E.

Anyway, George rocked in the movie. He's a stabilizing force. When Spike Jonze's character is freaking out before a battle with Iraqi bad guys and wondering why courage is not kicking in, George looks him square in the eye and says, roughly, "No, you're nervous before a fight and you do your best. The courage comes after." And you think, I'd follow this man into hell if he told me it was necessary. Only someone who has been through the ringer can deliver lines in such a way. Which makes me nervous, because apparently George wants to take Trey out for his 30th birthday, and Trey seems to think we can teach George a thing or two about partying. I just hope I live through it. If you don't hear from me in a couple weeks ... call someone.



P.S. I just got back from Trey's house on Kauai and have many mischievous stories to relate. However, I no sleepy yet. More later.

By David Goodman

David Goodman, like Steven Spielberg before him, grew up in Haddonfield, N.J. He writes for "South Park" and is the editor of bluelawn.com.

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George Clooney