Inside move

Even by H'w'd standards, this week is hopping

Forget New Year’s Eve. The hottest nights of the year are tonight and tomorrow, and if you don’t have somewhere to go, you’re hanging with the wrong crowd.

Through most of the year, the industry works carefully to avoid conflicting showbiz events. But a disharmonic convergence of the holidays, year-end film openings and the Western Cable Show mean that nearly every evening this month is jam-packed.

One studio exec admitted, “When you get into December, it’s harder to plan. No one can get a night to themselves. It’s crazy, it’s all over the place.”

While December’s showbiz gatherings include everything from the grand opening of Ritmo Voodoo to a benefit for the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project, the town’s busiest nights are this week.

Tonight alone, there are premieres for Universal’s “The Hurricane” and Fox Searchlight’s “Titus,” more than 30 Oscar screenings of various films, and Warner Bros.’ all-media screening of “Any Given Sunday,” plus MTV’s party at La Boca and the Hot Networks fete at the Conga Room.

On Wednesday, aside from Fox’s “Anna and the King” premiere at Mann’s Chinese, there are dozens of Oscar screenings and no less than three all-media screenings: “Titus” (Landmark NuWilshire) and U’s back-to-back showings of “Snow Falling on Cedars” and “Man on the Moon” at the DGA. In addition, BMI and U are holding a screening and dinner for “Hurricane.”

Meanwhile, startup cabler Oxygen is throwing a cocktail party at Sunset Gower Studios, while Si TV, Schroders and Newberger Greenberg & Associates are hosting a cocktail reception at the Tangiers Room at the Hotel Figueroa downtown.

And John Wells, John Sykes, Sean Penn and Garry Shandling are taking part at the ACLU of Southern California’s annual Bill of Rights dinner at the BevWilshire, while L.A. Models and L.A. Talent are tossing an invitation-only fete at the Sunset Room.

One Universal rep shrugged off the gridlock. The studio had already screened “Cedars” and “Moon” to the major papers, critics orgs and key editorial press, so “this was sort of a catch-up for everyone else that hadn’t had a chance to see it. It was either this or not show them at all.”

The key event tomorrow night, however, is the one that no doubt will prove to be the hottest invitation in town: Daily Variety will hold its annual staff party. If you weren’t invited, there’s always next year.

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