Maxed Out
Maxim holiday party: plenty of ice, not much fire

Maxim, the wanky men's magazine transplanted to our shores from Britain in '97, threw a holiday bash in Manhattan last week titled "Subzero." No, not the IQ of its typical reader, but a fake-snow-adorned theme-club serving a bit of the old T & A on ice over a bed of unthawed second-string celebrities.

See also...
... by Lex Lonehood
... in the Dirt section
... from December 16, 1999

The party came with a guarantee you'd wake up with a hangover the size of New Jersey -- what with the Grey Goose Vodka flowing like tap water out of bars made of ice and the lack of anything resembling solid food. The vodka was pushed by an army of scantily clad bartendresses with silver paint raccoon eyes (that hideous runway look of several seasons ago) and tacky fake-fur boot leggings. You could even drink shots they poured down a giant ice slide into your mouth/glass.

Set up over two floors of the cavernous Altman Building were white chill-out tents that smelled of fresh plastic and a dance floor with dry ice swamp gas that made your legs disappear from the knee down. Given the nature of Maxim (the publication is credited with the dumbing down of the entire men's magazine industry in order to keep up with the Boners… errr Joneses) I expected more SEX. But beyond the vodka tarts, there were just a couple of go-go girls on rattly aluminum stages doing stripper-lite and a gorgeous blonde in a tiny white leather bikini posing with two Samoyeds on a leash.

"There's Shannon Elizabeth," said the PR witch. Who? Oh, the ingenue from American Pie. How could I be so dense? The press zone was cluttered with camera people from outlets like the E! channel waiting for someone noteworthy to show up and pose in front of a wall of ice with Maxim's banner across it. Apparently Maxim's invitations to Hollywood's top-notch actress babes -- Gwyneth, Winona, Claire, and Mira -- went unanswered. But a string of supporting actors from TV shows like Party of Five and General Hospital kept the bulbs flashing, even though no one seemed to know their names.

Who is that middle-aged sitcom guy in the tux? "Oh I think he was the neighbor on Mad About You," postulated the photographer from World Photo. The cute young blond guy? "Uhh, I think he's a hockey player or something," said my informant. But wait, here's a "genuine" movie star: Rob Schneider, freshly adorning our screens as Deuce Bigalow, posing sneerily for the cameras before darting off to chase a human toothpick. Meanwhile, Jake Hoffman (the son of Dustin) was said to be pleading desperately for an hour at the door, unable to reach Daddy on his cell phone, before finally being let in with his posse. The arrival of faded rock icon Simon Le Bon whipped up a little froth. Looking boyish without the cakes of new-wave makeup, he inked his John Hancock on a blonde's flat tummy but slithered away before I could ask him about Duran Duran's next comeback.

Luckily, I brought my own celebutante, Fluff, the great undiscovered American playwright. He'd spent $5 gluing marshmallows onto a sweatshirt turned inside out and carried a jar of Fluff with a straw in it. He was a giant hit among the bland sea of industry flacks desperate to lap up something with the slightest whiff of creativity. They all wanted a piece of Fluff, pointing, grabbing, and biting at his precious marshmallows.

But we had bigger fish to fry. We momentarily cornered Mike Piazza, star slugger of the NY Mets; the peroxide-blond hunk in a black leather jacket looked curiously at Fluff. "I prefer peanut butter," he told us.

Lex Lonehood lives in New York and writes for and Art Bell's "After Dark."