In location scenes for his cameo on last Sunday’s “Entourage,” music blared by the pool at Brett Ratner’s Benedict Canyon home. Women were clad in lingerie. Women wandered in bikinis. In fact, at this party, women were everywhere.
That should give a sense of how unlikely a place Ratner’s pad will be for a Hillary Clinton fund-raiser next Wednesday.
Event is aimed at young Hollywood, and although organizers say the vibe will be quite a bit more staid with Clinton’s visit, it reflects the new efforts presidential campaigns are making as they search for new dollars.
As the year goes on, it becomes harder and harder to find untapped donors, particularly since so many people have maxed out. They cannot give more. So like Barack Obama, Clinton is turning to cheaper and hipper events. Ratner’s event costs $250 per person, $500 per person to also get into an after-party, and $1,000 for a VIP reception, the main reception and after-party.
Ratner, who said the event is sold out, said he plans for the event to be “fun” and draw a crowd that may be turned off on the sort of “stuffy, kind of uptight” events fund-raisers usually are.
“What is exciting is I think a lot people are going to come and hear Hillary speak that normally wouldn’t go to a political fund-raiser,” Ratner said from Cannes. “That is what exciting about the way we are doing it. The list (of attendees) is a very interesting list.”
He said that he is “supporting the Democratic party” — and plans to hold an event for John Edwards as well.
“I love Hillary, and I think she’s amazing. I am happy to just introduce people to this who haven’t been exposed to politics, aren’t thinking about politics or don’t have a political point of view.”
Ratner’s Benedict Canyon home, called Hilhaven Lodge, has a fabled history — Ingrid Bergman lived there, as did Kim Novak and James Caan. For much of the 1970s and ‘80s it was the pad of producer Allan Carr. He had a disco installed in the basement (which will be open at Ratner’s event). Ratner restored the house and added an arcade-style photo booth; he’s published a book on the various guests who’ve crawled in and had their photo shot (Among them: Chelsea Clinton).
On the committee for Clinton’s event are Christina Aguilera, Matt Alvarez, Brent Bolthouse, Doug Ellin, Victoria Harvie, Eric Kranzler, Debbie Liebling, George and Phil Maloof, Jamie Patricof, Ben Schwerin, Brian Weinstein, Penelope Cruz, Angie Banicki, Heather Graham, Eva Longoria, Ben Silverman, Jeremy Piven, Mike Myers, Will.I.Am, Todd Phillips, Noah Mamet, Christina Martin and Chad Griffin. Ratner is hosting along with Scott Budnick, Michael Kives, Steve Bing and Ron Burkle. Bing and Burkle asked Ratner to host the event.
One organizer said he hopes that the fund-raiser will help soften the campaign’s image as being stiffer and more formal than Obama’s. Last month, Obama attended a fund-raiser at the Hollywood nightclub Boulevard 3, drawing a crowd that included Hill Harper, Jessica Biel, Taye Diggs and Amy Smart, and a group of young professionals have formed their own Obama group, O08 The Movement.
To be sure, before she goes to Ratner’s, Clinton will be at the home of Peter Chernin for a much more traditional fund-raiser co-hosted by Steven Spielberg and Haim Saban. By coincidence, on the other side of the political aisle, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be throwing a fund-raiser on the same night at the Beverly Hills Hotel, just down the street from Hilhaven.
Will Hillary get her photo taken? “Absolutely,” Ratner said. “She will go straight from Chernin’s to the photo booth.”