Monte Carlo Night – Denim & Diamonds
In Chicago, the hip newspaper to read has always been The Chicago Reader. Like the L.A. Weekly or the Village Voice in New York, it’s the weekly alternative newspaper to the mainstream daily. In it, my friends and I would always like reading the cartoon, ‘Life in Hell’ by Matt Groening. It was cool, jaded, yet funny. We all related to it. We rebelled against the mainstream, including most all television. Yet when a show called The Simpsons came out, by Matt, we could hardly believe it.
We were all hooked, and so, in the bohemian brownstone hipster neighborhoods of Chicago, as well as across America, spread Simpson’s parties. Cool kids in their teens and twenties actually made a point to gather around the tube and watch a grown up cartoon that for once on prime time, related to them and their counter cultural mindset. Bart Simpson was of course, the undisputed star of the show. His blobby little body and smarmy face was awesome, but it was his personality, and ‘that voice’ that made him an instant cult phenomenon loved and imitated in social circles around the world. And so when the person behind that voice, the cool as ever Nancy Cartwright had her annual Monte Carlo Charity Fundraiser Party last Saturday night, I was not about to miss it if I could help it.
With massive media in attendance for Bart’s friends, we saw here ABC News, Getty Images, Entertainment Tonight, and the sexy Terri Seymour from Extra! The heat wave in this particular area of Southern California was brutal, and we were all boiling in about a hundred degree or more weather, and so unlike most red carpets where the press / media are often treated less than humane, Nancy Cartwright- being the outstanding person she is- kept a constant supply of bottled water flowing to us, to the point where we actually had full water bottles just sitting there, piling up. Between that, she had her staff bring the press amazingly delicious gourmet hors d’vours, and asking us regularly if we needed anything, making us all feel as if we were important, appreciated, cared for, and that our jobs really mattered. What a lady!
Stars flooded in at a steady pace, to keep everyone asking, who’s next? Is that Kirstie Alley? Is that John Travolta? And they came and kept coming, for hours on end. Ann Archer (whose mother Marjorie Lord gave a great press talk last week at CBS for the Republic Pictures party) arrived. Most others, including The Blind Sides’ Quinton Aaron, were very generous with their time, as was Nancy Cartwright herself. The massively tall Quinton actually scooped up the sweet, petite Nancy Cartwright in his arms like a basketball on the red carpet. It was unreal, yet the good natured Nancy, who did a little jig before waltzing off, was as cool as ever, and actually came out on the red carpet several more times for the press, and neighborhood kids trying to catch a peek, who she fed.
Camryn Manheim (The Practice), Kate Linder (The Young and the Restless) in some sexy skintight stretch pants, the sexy blonde Shandi Finnessey (former Miss USA), and many more, filed in, along with about two dozen police cadets, and some of the biggest poker stars in the world, many in sunglasses and cowboy hats. Yeehaw! The Bart Zoo was filling up! Inside “The House that Bart Built,” on the sprawling acre estate, we had the ‘cigar bar’ to the left near the pool. Beyond that was the raffle table, where Nancy and the awesome voice of “Sponge Bob Square Pants,” Tom Kenny raffled off cool items including a John Travolta autographed ‘Pulp Fiction’ poster, a Grammy Awards gift bag, and tons more.
Ahead to the left and right, were the outdoor poker lounges, where WSOP (Word Series of Poker) stars Jerry Yang and Mary Jones hosted dozens of Texas Hold Em’ tables for the stars and VIP crowd. Rows of gourmet catered food from ‘The Kitchen’ abounded all day and night for all to enjoy, as well as endless full open bars in every direction all night long, with table service, and wandering trays of great desserts served by charming tuxedo’d men and women with perfect faces.
A flood of magnificently colored lights whose structure reached some thirty or forty feet in the sky showered an already stunning tree behind the stage with a kaleidoscope of brilliant shades of light, as bold as a Simpson’s montage itself. On the massive stage, singer Dee Dee O’Malley rocked the crowd, with a great duet with Nathan Osmond, and earlier, some very competent covers by the band Saint Tones, including a cover of Men at Work among more, which successfully lifted the tone of this night that only got better and better.
Aside from a cute line dancing instruction session in front of the 500 strong crowd- led by the charming Palmer Davis (formerly a Rockettes dancer), the best part of this incredible night and day was when Bart Simpson and SpongeBob Squarepants (Nancy Cartwright and emcee for the night – Tom Kenny) sang a hilarious, rocking version of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” which got thunderous applause. Later, Nancy Cartwright confessed, “I’m not one to gamble much, but…I love to throw a party!” And my, what a party it was.
The cause of the event was to help children avoid gangs and learn good moral values, by supporting the Boys & Girls Club of The West Valley, and the LAPD Devonshire PALS. A dozen or more cadets marched in unison to a trumpet ringing. Several boys and girls club members took the stage and spoke of how their lives have been changed for the better by one hilarious, talented human being, whose work to better the lives of others is no joke- Nancy Cartwright. The Mayor of Los Angeles’ office took the stage and presented Nancy Cartwright with a humanitarian award for her service to children and to the city. A flag in Washington now flies in her honor.
Most arrived here hot, tired, overheated, and many- cranky. We all left cool, refreshed, stuffed, entertained, uplifted, and full of the beautiful spirit of an American television legend who beyond Bart Simpson, is making the world a better place by helping children, not just once a year, but every day. Nancy Cartwright- she deserves those 20 plus years on Fox, and 20 more.
Thanks Bart, we love you dude.