9.08.2010

Pardon the Interruption: 'Mad Men' Cast Party

Last night was perhaps one of the coolest, most "L.A." things I've ever done. My husband owns an audio/visual rental + installation company called Tower Sound & Vision, and he has a regular client who is an event planner in Los Angeles. They do a lot of cast parties, so when she called him last week about doing video at another one, no big deal. BUT...when she said it was for the cast of "Mad Men," I almost lost it because that show is by far our favorite on air right now.

There didn't even need to be a discussion: I was going. As my husband's assistant, his arm candy, his drink wench...whatever it took. I didn't care. Luckily the event planner was more than happy to oblige. She also loves the show (we analyzed last week's episode for a long time last night), so I'm sure she understood my hope of being able to see fellow St. Louis native Jon Hamm in the flesh.


Cafe Pinot, day and night
The party was held at Cafe Pinot, right in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles. It was a beautiful setting, with a gorgeous outdoor courtyard nestled among the skyscrapers, and a grassy park off to the side protected by trees. The manager said they were the only freestanding restaurant in the downtown area, and played host to a lot of weddings.

We got there around 5 p.m., had our part set up by 6:30, and the party officially started at 7:30. As expected, the first 45 minutes brought in mostly crew members and other behind-the-scenes personnel. Around 8:15 we spotted our first supporting character: Rich Sommer, who plays Harry Crane on the show. He was dressed very casual: a dark brown hoodie with a button-up shirt underneath, jeans and (I think) sneakers. He was wearing the same glasses he wears on the show, with a similar hairstyle, so he was easy to spot. I watched him as he talked with people, and I think it's safe to say that he's probably a really nice guy. He was always smiling, giving hugs, and seemed pretty down to earth.

DISCLAIMER: I want to take a moment to lay something out for you: If you're reading this post hoping to see some live shots of the actors from the party, prepare to be sorely disappointed. 1) We're not really those kind of people, as in the ones who walk up to celebs and ask to take a picture with them. I'm happy enough to have the memory in my mind. 2) We had to keep in mind we were there as part of the staff of the party, which means (if you're a professional) you don't try and chat up the guests. Ultimately, these guys were here to just hang out, let loose and be normal without having to worry about people taking pictures of them.

Now, commencing with the fun.

Shortly after spotting Harry, I noticed a man with brown hair, a blue-and-white pinstripe shirt and jeans. He was stopping here and there to talk with people, shake hands, give out hugs. His hair was loose and kinda long, so I didn't think it wasn't anyone to note. Then, as he walked over to the bar, he glanced in the direction my husband and I were sitting and, for about 1.5 seconds, I locked eyes with Jon Hamm. Yesss. He was mingling mostly near the restaurant, so I lost track of him after a while.

I could've called it a night after that, but we still had about 5 hours left. Here are some more spots + anecdotes from the rest of the night:

The People
+ Christopher Stanley, who plays Henry Francis on the show, was there pretty much the whole night with his wife. They smoked, drank and danced, but a lot of times I saw him just hanging out by himself at a table.

+ Kiernan Shipka, who plays Sally Draper, was adorable. She was with her mom, and had her hair pinned back in a bun, wearing a light blue coat and knee-high boots. She walked around talking with people, and you could tell at certain points she was bored. She is a kid after all! Something I always forget, but when you see child stars in person, it's easier to remember they're just normal kids, too.

+ Robert Morse, who plays Bert Cooper on the show, was there minus facial hair, which is weird to see. I'd seen a photo of him from the recent feature in Rolling Stone without the fake beard and mustache, and it makes him look totally different.

+ Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Pete Campbell, was hard to miss! He's as skinny in person as he looks on the show, wearing jeans and an untucked button-up shirt. After they played the gag reel (which had some classic moments in it), he was one of the first to hit the dance floor. Not sure if it was the open bar, or if he just likes a good time, but he danced from group to group, doing this little slide-step thing, trying to get others to join him (mostly unsuccessfully). And, honestly, he seemed about as nerdy in real life as his character on the show. I was looking at the faces of the girls he was chatting up, and they just kind of politely smiled and laughed until he went away. (Sorry if you're reading this, Vincent...I'm just sayin' what I saw.)

+ Alison Brie, who plays Pete's wife, Trudy, on the show, was there donning a really "hard" look. Her hair was in this kind of teased ponytail, she had a teal bolero jacket, black shirt and leggings, and those heels where it's like you put a stiletto on a black shoe, and left a small peep-toe. I'm sure there's a name for them, but it's lost upon me. When I saw her she was talking in the little circle that had formed around Matt Weiner, the show's creator, who had to stop what he was saying every minute to give someone a hug or a kiss.

+ Mark Moses, who plays Duck Phillips on the show, was there in a tan suit. That's about all I noticed about him. :)

+ Joe O'Connor, who plays Trudy's father on the show and was the dad on "Clarissa Explains It All" was there with his wife. And they were still cutting a rug when we packed up and left.

+ John Slattery, who plays Roger Sterling on the show, came around 9:30 or so. Easily spotted by the mound of white hair, and wearing black-frame glasses. He also sported jeans, a button-up shirt and a camel-colored blazer. The party went to the next level when he came in, and people were constantly swarming him to chat, take photos, etc.

Unfortunately, the one person I wanted to see the most, Christina Hendricks (Joan), wasn't there, which was a bummer. January Jones (Betty Draper) was also absent, as well as Elizabeth Moss (Peggy) and our beloved Ken Kosgrove (played by Aaron Staton). Oh well. Maybe next year!

The Food
I can't end this post without talking about the food at Cafe Pinot. We were allowed to wine and dine while we were there, so at the beginning of the party we went into the main area and stood by a table as the tray passing started.

For appetizers they served tomato bruschetta, tempura-battered portobello mushrooms, and ahi tuna tartare. For dinner was an amazing arugula salad with walnuts, blue cheese and raisins; a sauteed vegetable medley; super smooth mashed potatoes; mushroom risotto; and chicken and short ribs (which the hubs happily ate and I happily passed on). And everything was amazing! If you're looking for a place to have a nice dinner in the downtown area, Cafe Pinot would be worth your time.


The Drinks
As a cute tie-in to the show, the event planner had the bar sponsored by Stolichnaya, and they had a special drinks with three cocktails named after three characters.

+ The Stoli White Pom Sterling Sparkler
  • 1 1/2 parts Stoli White Pomegranik
  • 3/4 parts agave nectar or simple syrup
  • 3/4 parts orange juice
  • 1/2 part lime juice
  • Soda
  • Shake and strain into a highball glass
  • Garnish with a lime twist
+ The Draper Martini
  • 3 parts Stoli Gold
  • 1/2 part olive juice
  • Shake with ice and strain into chilled martini glass
  • Garnish with olives on a cocktail pick (4 small or 2 large)
+ The Stoli O Harris Seduction
  • 1 1/2 parts Stoli Ohranj
  • 1 part fresh grapefruit juice
  • Dash of pomegranate juice or grenadine
  • 3/4 part simple syrup
  • 1/2 part fresh lemon juice
  • Served in a cocktail glass
  • Garnish with a grapefruit twist
I spent most of the night ordering the sparkler drink (very good) and tried the Harris seduction (also good but a little too fruity).

By the end of the very late night, we were exhausted. We packed up, loaded the van and slept until late this morning (thus the very late post!). But it was certainly a night to remember. And we have these pictures to help us:

The hubs in front of his work

Me with the Emmy and celebratory cake (which was delicious!)

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