Party guests were greeted by China Chow, who handed out fragrant party favors at the 50th anniversary party for her father Michael Chow’s eponymous eatery, Mr. Chow. The ambiance evoked various eras from the famed eatery’s history — Warhol’s industrial Factory in the ’60s, the drug-fueled debauchery of ’70s-era Studio 54, art-world extravagance in SoHo circa the ’80s and the flashy hip-hop scene of the ’90s — but the setting could not have been more au courant: Vernon, the increasingly cool and edgy neighborhood just south of the Arts District in DTLA.
The eclectic crowd consisted of assorted legends and luminaries, including rock stars (Billy Idol), Hollywood actors (Michael Keaton), former Oscar hosts (Chris Rock), international chefs (Eric Ripert), Grammy-winning artists (Mark Ronson), industry veterans (Mitch Glazer), art dealers (Jeffrey Deitch), fashion designers (Eva Chow) and music producers (Quincy Jones).
Self-serve appeared to be the evening’s theme. Anjelica Huston and Jerry Hall posed for selfies, Adrien Brody waited patiently for dinner in the long, winding buffet line, and Ricky Martin ordered his own drink at the bar. “You know what? It’s funny. We’re going to meet tonight,” Martin told Variety, referring to the evening’s host. “I know the way he works is very family-oriented. I’ve met his daughters, who are amazing, and the way he drives his business is admirable.”
The wife of Rupert Murdoch, however, happens to be an old friend of Mr. Chow. “I’ve known him about 40-something years,” Hall told Variety. “When I was seventeen, my first holiday in L.A., I stayed with him and Tina,” she said, referring to Chow’s late second wife.
Another longterm admirer is music mogul Lyor Cohen, who summed up Mr. Chow’s winning recipe for a seemingly eternal hotspot. “It’s a New York collision of art, fashion and rap music — that combination made it interesting every night. And the food’s good,” added Cohen, surveying the scene. “I would say this is like Studio 54 in 1979. There’s a lot of survivors of that era here that I saw here, so it’s nice to see those people again.”
But then other guests who were mere toddlers at that time, such as the cool girl-combo of Miranda July and Carrie Brownstein, who were enjoying a girl’s night out. “Just the fact that, like, I think none of us fully understand where we are geographically in L.A. is kind of exciting,” July told Variety about the party’s location. “But that kind of disorientation and otherworldliness kind of works,” said Brownstein. “It’s like Mr. Chow put us down in some kind of alien space.” And yet the vibe was oddly familial — like an epic house party. As it turned out, the sprawling 57,000-square-foot property belonged to Mr. Chow. “We bought the building. This space is Michael’s studio where he paints,” Eva Chow told Variety. “This party very much reflects how we are: Mr. Chow loves Hollywood, but Mr. Chow encourages and promotes and appreciates talented, beautiful people no matter what the genre or field it. People feel good when they’re at our place — it’s like a club-kind of atmosphere where everybody knows everybody. We flew in all the key staff from New York, London and Miami. We are like one big, happy family and this celebration is for them as well.”
But the entertainment was just getting underway as the clock approached 11 p.m., and Mr. Chow took the stage to show off his new coffee table book, Mr. Chow: 50 Years, which features a painting of him in a bath tub full of noodles by the late Keith Haring on its cover. Then it was time for a surprise movie premiere, a documentary spoof starring Ken Jeong as the bespectacled restaurateur. After the short film ended, the crowd enjoyed the performance of traditional dragon dance in recognition of Chinese New Year. Granted, the only fireworks display seemed to be between Brody and Heidi Klum, but by midnight the dance floor had erupted into a full-on disco inferno.