There are times when a media blackout for a meaningless conference like this is completely unnecessary.
But after what I saw last night (and can now never un-see), the media blackout was fortuitous and absolutely necessary.
No one outside of the (mostly) horrified people in that room can EVER see what happened last night. I just pray the GoPro dude didn’t have his helmet cam going (and why must he always wear that goddamned helmet – even during dinner?).
A little backstory before I get to the narrative… Herbie Allen likes to shake it up a bit during these conferences. There is always one night that is completely fucked up, nonsensical and, frankly, bat shit crazy.
This year’s special night put us so far out of our comfort zone that, I’m sure, many contemplated suicide, murder (or both) or, at the very least, to gouge out their eyes with a fork.
On Barry Diller’s suggestion (which no one ever ignores), Herb decided to stage a concert version of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” starring, duh, Barry Diller as Dr. Frank N. Furter. Supposedly, Barry knew the part by heart after seeing hundreds of midnight screenings over the years.
We Hollywood moguls (and Silicon Valley punks) have seen a lot of fucked up shit over the years. But this promised to be the fucked-up-est shit we would probably see in our lifetimes.
Sheryl Sandberg was slotted in to play Janet (after Marissa Mayer was un-coupled unceremoniously from the conference by Herb Allen). Sheryl (spoiler alert) actually had an amazing Broadway-quality voice and a fearless stage presence. It was, yes, cringe inducing to see her in basically the exact costumes that Susan Sarandon wore in the movie – but she pulled it off.
Snapchat’s Evan Siegal, you would think, would be the perfect choice for the uptight, white bread jerk Brad but failed miserably due to his complete lack of any creative ability. Which is fine. He’s not an actor. But the look on his face as though he thought he was awesome was annoying.
Riff Raff, the creepy sidekick of Frank N. Furter was played by movie producer Brian Grazer (due to his ability to learn choreography fast) and his woman friend Magenta was played by a Silicon Valley guy in drag that I will not name for fear of being murdered. (Remember, not many women get invited to this conference unless they are a wife getting spa treatments – so there is a very small talent pool for key female roles.)
And, needless to say, the part that Meatloaf played in the movie – was attempted pathetically by Harvey Weinstein.
I could give a very long detailed review of this… event… but I will not. Key highlights as follows:
As soon as the lights black out to indicate the beginning of the show, the room full of drunken moguls make dumb jokes about renewable energy in Sun Valley. The power is fine it’s just the start of the show.
Herb Allen, wearing a mask with just red lips that seem to float in the air, starts the opening number. To get a better visual idea of what we saw – though less polished – I am embedding clips from “Rocky Horror” that are relevant. Remember while watching this that Herb Allen’s voice is fingers-on-a-chalkboard horrible:
The opening song was the longest four minutes of my life. Much longer than the four minutes I was locked in a steamer trunk without air in Singapore (off the record).
Well, that is, until Barry Diller came out as Frank N. Furter in, what I was told, was the actual costume – bought at auction by Barry – that Tim Curry wore in the original movie.
It didn’t quite fit Barry’s current frame which really made his first song “Sweet Transvestite” hard to watch. The song was staged by Herb almost exactly as the movie – so you can picture what was attempted here:
I just can’t go on with too many details.
I should have just let last night’s insanity die the death it deserved.
If it was all in fun, that’s one thing, but Herb was serious – and that makes him psychotic. He thought there was good work being done.
Just imagine Harvey Weinstein doing this scene – which he… did?
All this said, as horrific of a night as it was – and even the incredible Bin Tran could not serve enough alcohol to make it all go away – there was one moment that was sublime.
Once you had accepted that Barry Diller was wearing a ten size too small costume for Frank N. Furter and was badly stumbling through the songs and choreography, when he got to “I’m Going Home” – knowing the context of his real life – his impatience with idiots, stupid people and morons – his brilliance in media and his laser focus on the future – there was not a dry eye in the house when he was finished.
Tim Curry was a no talent hack compared to Barry last night:
It was a triumphal moment of “fuck you” to anyone that says attempting things that are unconventional and uncomfortable is foolish.
It was a crazy night of Herb Allen being Herb – well done, sir.
Evan Spiegal at Snapchat was the only punk bitch of the night only because Barry Diller got all the accolades and Spiegal got nothing but bad reviews and downgraded stock outlook by Morgan Stanley. At least you had a BMW in college, B.
Tomorrow should be fun – I think Usain Bolt is giving a speech on how we can all the fastest person in the world!