12 VIP Things to Do This Summer in L.A.
From awards shows to a 'Pretty Woman' anniversary bash in Beverly Hills, Hollywood insider events will impress your visitors.
What: Malibu fireworks
When: July 4
Where: Nobu Malibu
Why: It’s no secret that it’s the best spot to ooh and ahh. You could put a blanket down on the beach, which is what Drew Barrymore, Jim Carrey, Kendall Jenner and Paris Hilton have done in the past. Or you could party at Nobu Malibu, which hosts an exclusive event on its oceanside deck where Emmanuelle Chriqui, Chris Brown, Elle Fanning and Russell Simmons were spotted last year. While Malibu isn’t officially in favor of fireworks — "All displays are done through private residents and only on barges far enough from the beach; the only reason we put them on our website is so people can properly medicate their pets in time," a city employee told me — the best spots to watch can be figured out by the permits posted on their website.
What: The Dalai Lama’s Global Compassion Summit and 80th Birthday Celebration
When: July 5-7
Where: The Honda Center in Anaheim and the UC Irvine campus
Why: His Holiness is an incredible force for good and peace. He’s also a friend to Leonardo DiCaprio, Richard Gere and Goldie Hawn, so when he was invited to spend his 80th birthday in SoCal, he graciously accepted. "He’s done talks before, but what’s not common is that the talks will invite special guests — fellow Nobel laureates, celebrities and artists — to join the dialogue and the celebration of his Holiness," says Katy Saeger, the CEO of Harmonica, who is handling the press for the event. Saeger says there will be a few ultra-exclusive events that are so secretive they can’t be mentioned. VIPs can inquire to be invited to them — though there are no guarantees — but there are also VIP tickets for the summit available for $180, which gets you extremely good seats. For more information about the VIP events, please contact Saeger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Comic-Con International
When: July 8-12
Where: San Diego Convention Center
Why: A spokesperson for Comic-Con quickly pointed out that the comics and superhero convention was adamantly nonexclusive and that every event at Comic-Con is open to everyone with a badge, space permitting. That said, there’s almost no place a kid might want to go than the San Diego event, where they can see superheroes in real life. It’s also where some of the biggest names in superhero media congregate — some even go incognito and join the crowds, like Maisie Williams as Guy Fawkes, Daniel Radcliffe as Spiderman, Audrina Patridge as Mystique and director Peter Jackson as a creepy jester. Plus, there are always premiere screenings of films and TV shows to attend, panels with A-listers talking about their latest projects, and events and workshops for the whole family. And after the kids have gone to bed, there’s usually an amazing afterparty or two.
What: The ESPYs
When: July 15
Where: Nokia Theatre L.A. Live
Why: ESPN’s sports awards, the ESPYs, are unlike any other awards show, and this year will be even wilder with Community’s Joel McHale on hosting duties and Caitlyn Jenner to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for showing "the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark on a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces." A few super-exclusive events happen around the ESPYs, including the Body at ESPYs party, but a rep at ESPN tells THR that you "really have to know an athlete being honored" to get in. Tickets to the ceremony itself fetch up to $500 for the best seats, with proceeds going to the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research, named after the legendary college hoops coach.
What: MAK Games
When: July 18
Where: Sheats-Goldstein House
Why: Why not take your guest to the most exclusive tennis tourney in town, the MAK Games? Back for its third year on the infinity tennis court at L.A. eccentric James Goldstein’s insane John Lautner-built pad, the MAK Games benefit the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. Every year features a few celebrity players of varying skills. Viveca Paulin, Gavin Rossdale, Timothy Olyphant, Stephen Gaghan, David Gersh, and Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse — as well as a bevy of tennis pros — have faced off in the past. This year, CAA’s Elan Ruspoli, Joel Lubin and Jack Whigham; actors Ryan Kwanten and Tiffany Lonsdale-Hands; and a handful of art stars and starchitects will serve up the fun.
What: 25th Annual Los Angeles Golf Tournament
When: July 27
Where: Riviera Country Club
Why: What might be the most exclusive round of golf in Los Angeles, "the Riv" is strictly members-only with an initiation fee reportedly costing $250,000, so if you are a member, this is the perfect place to impress your out-of-town guests, but nonmembers can sign up to play in the Los Angeles Golf Tournament. High-powered players like actors Mark Wahlberg, Adam Sandler, Dennis Quaid and Luke Wilson; producers David Friendly, Lloyd Braun, Art Linson, Craig Baumgarten, Jeff Ross and Mark Canton; Lionsgate's Jon Feltheimer; UTA's Jay Sures; WME's Ari Emanuel and Nick Stevens; Summit's Rob Friedman; and Larry David have been known to enjoy the links. Plus there’s guest suites, tennis courts, beautiful grounds, and an exquisite restaurant for the whole family to enjoy.
What: Crab Cake 2015
When: August 2
Why: The Maryland blue crab is the official "State Crustacean" of Maryland, and there’s no better place to try the delicacy than at Crab Cake 2015. Hosted by Mad Men’s Ben Feldman; chefs Michael and Bryan Voltaggio and Duff Goldman; and Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden, each of whom hail from Maryland, Crab Cake always picks an amazing sponsor to donate the proceeds to. This year will benefit Chrysalis Enterprises, which helps homeless individuals with the resources they need to get back on their feet. "A real VIP is tired of wearing dress shoes and eating hors d’oeuvres off of trays," Feldman tells THR. "This is the anti-Hollywood event, and the only way to party on a summer afternoon."
What: Hugh Hefner’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Party
When: Tends to fall on the first Saturday of August
Where: The Playboy Mansion
Why: This one’s definitely not for the kids, but Hef’s annual Midsummer Night’s Dream Party is a charmed festivity with a thematic decor that resembles enchanted forests and magical gardens. Faeries — aka Playboy Playmates — dance around, and there’s usually entertainment (Pitbull played last year) and plenty of food by Dan van den Berg, the head chef at the Playboy Mansion. A rep at Playboy says that Hef pays a lot of attention to the guest list, mostly focusing on beautiful women and celebrities — George Lopez, Diablo Cody, Miles Teller, Jamie Foxx and Jon Lovitz attended last year — but that if you do find yourself on the grounds of the Mansion, expect the time of your life. Oh, and the dress code is strict: pajamas for men and lingerie for women.
What: Teen Choice Awards
When: August 16
Why: The Teen Choice Awards is the perfect event to attend for an awards show experience that’s family friendly. The Teen Choice Awards are a different kind of awards show — you can’t "buy" your way onto the red carpet like at, say, the Oscars or the Emmys. In fact, a Fox representative tells THR that she fields requests from studio executives and tells them they have to buy tickets like everyone else. Of course, there’s the option of buying the most expensive seats, which the rep says means you’ll likely be sitting next to a nominee, plus you’ll be front-and-center to watch the performances — Demi Lovato and Jason Derulo were among the performers last year — as well as the presenters, which in the past have included icons Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, and Selena Gomez.
What: 10th Anniversary Guest Chef Series
When: August 18
Why: To celebrate their 10th Anniversary, Los Angeles restaurant Providence, bearer of two Michelin stars, is hosting a "commemorative celebrity guest chef dinner series." On Aug. 18, Providence’s Michael Cimarusti will team up with Suzanne Goin (Lucques) and Dominique Crenn (San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn), the latter of whom also has a Michelin star to her name. While it’s not necessarily closed-to-the-public exclusive, Providence is probably Los Angeles’s most in-demand fine-dining restaurant, so it would be wise to book that reservation now.
What: "50 for 50: Gifts on the Occasion of LACMA’s Anniversary"
When: Now through Sept. 13
Where: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Why: LACMA is the perfect place to bring an out-of-towner — the museum campus is massive, and there are always several exhibitions worth seeing. Take them to see the iconic street lamps installation Urban Light by the legendary artist Chris Burden, who passed away in May; The Clock by Christian Marclay (July 5-Sept. 7), a 24-hour film of time-related scenes from movies; and the incredible show by the late Joshua Tree-based artist Noah Purifoy. But the most impressive show at LACMA is the one where former Univision head A. Jerrold Perenchio, Steve Tisch, and other LACMA trustees gave a treasure trove of masterpieces valued at $675 million — including works by Degas, Monet, Picasso and lots of contemporary art — to the museum for their 50th anniversary. Private tours of LACMA are available by inquiring through the museum’s website. "There’s always a ton of activity that cuts across generations," says LACMA curator Franklin Sirmans, who co-curated the Noah Purifoy exhibition. "When I think of summer, I think of Friday night Jazz and Saturday Latin Jazz — the element of music enlivens the campus. Of course, the "50 for 50" show is unlike anything we’ve done or likely will do again. All that work from different time periods in one room."
What: Pretty Woman for a Day
When: Summer 2015
Where: The Beverly Wilshire Hotel
Why: To toast the 25th Anniversary of the timeless rom-com, the Beverly Wilshire — where many scenes were filmed — crafted the "Pretty Woman for a Day" experience. Live out your Julia Roberts-Richard Gere fantasies by staying in the Pretty Woman Presidential Suite, shopping on Rodeo Drive, taking a Rolls-Royce limo service to a barefoot picnic in a nearby park, and going on a date night at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts or the L.A. Opera. Different variations range in price from $15,000 to $100,000.