PAUL’S NIGHT AT THE W

I should have blogged live like Mr. Dallas did. But I was too busy throwing back the Absolut and Seven, Ketel One and Seven, Grey Goose and Seven, and then repeating. (I read, I think in Esquire, that drinking vodka lessens the hangover. It does and it doesn’t.)

Herewith, a hazy, somewhat breathless retelling of my evening, in which Big Bob “Fingers of Fury” Wilonsky and I accost former mayor Ron Kirk, I sneak into Ghostbar and dance next to, but not in, the VIP area, and then relieve myself next to Dirk Nowitzki.

My girlfriend, our friend Brian and I arrive around 8. Since she edits DailyCandy, we’re met at the door by lots of women (all of them W employees?) who know Sonya. Lots of talk about Ohmygod how cute everyone looks, and we’re inside.

It’s a beautiful place. Dark wood. Chandeliers. Marble staircases. (I think it’s marble. Should have taken better notes. Or any notes.) Then, more women Sonya knows. Ohmygod. Cute. I say hi to Texas Monthly’s Skip Hollandsworth, who’s trying to persuade a harem of women to head upstairs to watch the sunset with him and his wife.

Upstairs now to the second floor, sans Skip, who is lost in the crowd. We got into a room with spreads from Craft (the restaurant, not the cheese) and a woman on stage playing the saxophone. She takes a break, and the Rolling Stones are piped through the system. They’re better. The food here is good–jumbo shrimp and cuts of prime rib–but must move on.

I see those under FBI investigation: Rep. Terri Hodge, in a jacket and jeans with stitched-on flowers curling up the side, alone; Don Hill and his girlfriend, Sheila Farrington, neither of them yet indicted, neither of them (just tilt that hand a little…more…Sheila) engaged; I see D’Angelo Lee, by the bar.

Outside now, on the patio of the 16th floor. The Bliss Spa, at sunset, and it’s wonderful. There’s a pool here, the Dallas skyline just beyond your reach, and, ew, a very buff man in very small swimming trunks standing beneath a stream of water near the pool’s edge. Cuba Gooding Jr.’s supposed to be around, but I don’t see him. I see Robert “Fingers of Fury” Wilonsky, the Observer’s critic, writer, and blogger extradonaire. He’s quite drunk. He shows me pictures of his kid. He slurs his words. And now, with former mayor Ron Kirk walking past, he heads him off. [And says something like the following, though not exactly the following, because, again, I had no notes.]

BOB: How does it feel, Ron, to approve this? To see your hard work come to fruition?

RON: It feels great. Tonight is a night for celebration. [Was that a not-so-subtle dig, Mr. Kirk?]

BOB: How does it feel to know that you voted for this, and the current mayor didn’t?

RON: To be honest, I haven’t thought about it. I don’t want to think about Laura Miller tonight.

BOB: I don’t believe you. [Because I know I think about Laura Miller every night. Ba-dup, boom.]

Then Kirk looks painfully for someone he knows, finds that person–or maybe just stands away from us until he’s noticed.

Night now and still on the Bliss patio. Sonya runs up. “We need to leave now.” We walk to the back end of the room, to the industrial elevator for the W staff. A bouncer’s at the door and–what’s this–letting us through. We’re going to Ghostbar, Sonya says. But we’re not waiting in line for an hour at the elevator like the other schmucks. We’re heading up through the waitstaff’s entrance.

And…it’s a bar. A cool one. Great view of the downtown skyline. But what’s with the VIP room that’s nothing more than a velvet rope and surly men in suits cordoning off the back eighth of the place? Strange. How is that Very Important?

I see Tim, Adam, their wives. Eric Celeste of Spirit. They’re not Very Important. They’re just having a drink at a table. Then they leave. I stand in line for drinks despite someone having used pepper spray. (Committed to the cause, baby.)

And then Biggie comes on.

One must dance when Notorious B.I.G. is played. One does.

I head to the bathroom to pee and Dirk Nowitzki walks in. His sunglasses are on his now-shaved head. He’s wearing a t-shirt and jeans. I’d like to say, “Good season,” but bathroom etiquette calls for no talking. Just straight-ahead staring. He finishes before I do.

I see Mark Cuban outside. More drinks. More dancing. Then Terrell Owens shows around 12:30. Gets right into the (heavily crowded) V.I.P. room. Terrell Owens leaves around 12:45.

Or maybe a little later. I can’t really tell. We leave around 2. Sonya drives home.

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