Awards Season

What You Didn't See on TV: My Night at the Golden Globes Parties as a Non-Celeb

It's as decadent as you might imagine. For starters, think champagne vending machine!

Through my work as a writer, I’ve been heavily steeped in the party scene in Los Angeles for more than a decade and I’ve been privileged to be behind most of the most coveted velvet ropes. (Hey, it’s a living!) But there are a few things about the Golden Globes that make it one of my favorites for a working date night — and one of the most truly dazzling events in town.

For one thing, Los Angeles is well known for being casual, and short dresses (or even jeans!) pass at just about every event. But the Golden Globes are black-tie formal all the way. For the big night, I bought a DVF navy lace wrap dress off-the-rack at my favorite outlet mall near Palm Springs this summer, and had it all set to go. Then I dispatched the GlamSquad app to my house for a smoky eye and updo. Naturally my hair and makeup ladies mentioned they were scurrying about all weekend to accommodate all the Globes-related demand in town.

#GoldenGlobes glam going down💄💆🏼Thanks for the house call @glamsquad!

A video posted by Alesandra (Alice) Dubin (@alicedubin) on

Then it was off in an Uber to go not straight to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, along the Western border of Beverly Hills, where all the action was happening, but to a remote shuttle location to be transported to the hotel. You see, streets are closed and security is tight at the hotel, and drop-offs and pickups are not allowed (well, you know — not for normal people like me). Naturally, celebs' own limos roll up directly to the hotel without security challenge, and when later in the night a driver called out the window for "Mr. [Jeff] Bridges," who was standing right next to me, I mused about how convenient that must be! (Stars are not always just like us.)

As well, it’s a logistical matter: There are simply too many party people to make a simple parking arrangement easy. Not only does the Golden Globes ceremony take place in the International Ballroom for 1,300 A-listers, but also every other major viewing- and after-party on Globes night takes place in and around the hotel, instead of throughout the city. 

That’s another thing that makes Globes night so unusual and so special: The place becomes its own mini-city of 6,000 well-heeled celebs, execs, and other VIPs, all crossing each other on the red carpet and in the lobby like ants in a very fancy ant farm. Ants who occasionally step on each other’s trains and pose for selfies. I briefly shared a cocktail table with Jenna Bush Hager, while Giuliana Rancic swirled by next to us in her confection of a frock.

The hotel’s horseshoe-shaped driveway becomes a massive arrivals line to rival any other in the planet: 30,000 square feet of red carpet line the driveway and entrance, with worldwide cameras and crew capturing all the action frenetically. Even for a seasoned event-going vet — it’s a marvel to behold.

This year, the iconic signs over the carpet were covered for rain... which didn't end up hitting L.A. until much later in the night.

Oh hello, is that Chrissy Teigen? Perhaps Meryl Streep? (No, it's me.) Nearby, pre-vetted fans sat in bleachers for a glimpse of the truly stunning arrivals action.

Naturally, I wasn’t among the stars walking the red carpet, but I did hop into the photo booth situated right at the end. It’s a funny thing: Hundreds of professional cameras from around the world, but a regular old photo booth is still like catnip to people. Inside, a marker encouraged celebs to sign. I saw signatures from Questlove and Kristen Bell among the others.

Whose signatures can you spot?

The parties glittered with sparkling decor and design, diverse catering options and opulently stocked bars, plus sponsor swag — not to mention serious star sightings.

But sometimes in the parties too, it was the more old-school-type detail that got people really hyped. Of course, each party had its own crowd-pleasing photo booth — but upgraded with some kind of magical black-and-white setting that makes everyone look airbrushed. (The Hollywood way!)

But also consider this fun detail: Long-time sponsor of the show and related events Moët & Chandon set up a vending machine at the Netflix and Weinstein Company party, where guests used a golden token to dispense their mini bottles. Of course, those bottles were also readily available throughout bars and on passed trays, but picking up one that way wasn't as fun... and didn’t make for the same level of Instagram opp!

@Moët vending machine 🍾🥂 #GoldenGlobes #moetmoment

A video posted by Alesandra (Alice) Dubin (@alicedubin) on

After whirlwind stops at a few parties, I sat down at an elegant flower-topped table for a breather... and realized my stiletto-suffering feet would barely allow me to get up again.

And so it was time to wrap up another year that delivered on all of its traditional dazzling glamour, excitement... and accompanying fatigue.

Until next year, Beverly Hilton!

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