What gilded lives luminaries lead, kissed by fate, enraptured by pedestrians in corridors that are cathedrals to celebrities.
Late Saturday night, Rumer Willis (the actress and famous daughter) posed for photos across a red carpet in a Venetian hallway as part of the Vegas custom of “hosting” a nightclub (Tao) on the occasion of her 21st birthday.
From nearby railings, tourists stared at her.
Before and after the red carpet, Rumer celebrated with her father, Bruce Willis (the actor), her mother, Demi Moore (the actress), her stepfather, Ashton Kutcher (the actor), her stepmother, Emma Heming (the actress), her boyfriend, Micah Alberti (the actor), her friends Audrina Patridge (the actress) and Briana Evigan (the actress) and …
Here’s what everyone did, according to sources, edited for clarity and excised of direct quotes:
Early in the day, Rumer’s friend Patridge and her boyfriend, Corey Bohan, were spotted soaking up rays at Tao Beach, the pool at The Venetian.
For supper, Bruce Willis dined at steakhouse Strip House at Planet Hollywood Resort in a corner booth with four guests including his wife and Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl. They shared everything — a bacon salad, an iceberg salad, garlic bread with gorgonzola fondue, three rib eyes, a 16-ounce strip steak, creamed corn, creamed spinach, potato puree, mushrooms and a baked potato. They drank two bottles of Two Hands Shiraz. No dessert.
Later, Bruce Willis joined Rumer at Tao restaurant, along with Demi and Ashton, and Emma, and younger sisters Tallulah and Scout. They dined on Chilean sea bass, tofu lettuce wraps, and crispy rice.
After the 10:30 p.m. red carpet, the official birthday began when the clock struck midnight, the minute Rumer turned 21.
She was toasted with Patron Platinum, and a special cake was brought out made to replicate her favorite berry cake from a bakery in L.A.
After the candles were blown out, Bruce and Demi hugged, sharing in their daughter’s excitement.
Rumer’s entire party, minus her underage sisters, headed upstairs to Tao nightclub.
The large group — including Soleil Moon Frye and her husband, Jason Goldberg (Ashton’s business partner), Holly Madison and Robert Earl — took over several tables in the “VIP Moat” section.
Rumer was pulled up on to the catwalk and surprised with a second cake delivered by showgirls while a classic Vegas Elvis impersonator sang “Happy Birthday.”
Later, a Madonna impersonator brought over a bottle of Cristal. (Madonna and Rumer share the same birthday).
Rumer and cast mates from her upcoming movie “Sorority Row” partied at Tao until the wee hours of the morning. Rumer said she felt so lucky to be celebrating her birthday at Tao, surrounded by family and friends.
Rapper Nelly arrived around 4 a.m., along with several other up-and-coming rappers. The group drank Moet Nectar Rose, Patron Silver and Grey Goose and jumped on the microphone and entertained the club crowd until nearly 5 a.m.
When Rumer arrived on the red carpet, she was accompanied by her boyfriend. She looked glamorous in a vintage dress and Fendi shoes and sparkling in vintage jewels. Also there were “Sorority Row” co-stars Patridge and Bohan, Evigan, Margo Harshman, Jamie Chung and Matt Dallas.
Beaming, Rumer expressed gratitude for her night.
“Getting to come here is pretty amazing,” she told a few of us writers. “Just to be able to have all of my friends and family here — it’s such a cool thing. To be in Vegas on your 21st birthday, I mean what (more) could you ask for?”
Why was Vegas her destination?
“I know some people might think it’s kind of cliché or whatever, but why not? You get to be in the center of all the things that you get to try out when you’re 21, so why not?”
She knew she was lucky.
“Not many people get to have something as special as this.”
She hadn’t received gifts yet. Considering previous presents, the best gift she ever unwrapped came when she was 12.
“I’d always wanted a dog, and my dad came home one day, and he had something wrapped up in a towel, and he was just holding it. And we were talking in the kitchen for a good-maybe 10 minutes, then he said, ‘Oh here, can you hold this for me?’ And it was a puppy.”
Daisy was a golden retriever.
Her craziest gift ever:
“One time, my dad got me a statue, just like one you’d put out by a pond or something? And I opened it and I looked at him and said, ‘I don’t really understand this, but you know, I’m happy to take it.'”
Off she went, gliding into the great here and now.
Once she was gone, hundreds of spectators began filtering away. Among them was a man from the city of museums, Chicago, who came to Vegas coincidentally to celebrate his own 21st birthday, and he was coincidentally standing next to his mom, too, who, like Demi, was accompanying her child to Vegas 21.
The kind Chicagoans were Peter Prusinski and Linda Prusinski. Why was Vegas Peter’s destination?
“It’s such a fun place,” he said, since the city is glitzy “with all the lights and everything. It’s crazy. Gambling. Going out. Nightclubs. Everything. There’s nothing like it.”
Not to sound like an egoist, but Linda and Peter came to see Rumer Willis after reading my column in Friday’s newspaper, listing the event as a “pre-sighting.”
Linda, who frequents Vegas just about every year, said Rumer was beautiful and looked like her mother.
Linda said she and other stargazers “just want to follow other people.”
“It’s exciting and fun. We’re not obnoxious people,” she said. “But we heard about it, so it was nice to sit here.”
Peter actually turned 21 in December. He saved up “a lot” to get here this weekend.
Is he ever treated on his birthday like Rumer is?
“No way,” he said.
I forgot to ask Peter and Linda what they do for a living, as I’m accustomed to knowing what my famous interviewees do, as I usually know too much about them already.
But they shared something else with Demi and Rumer. To the Chicagoans and to the actors, this was a special night, an extravagance. Yet, to we locals who are familiar with ceremonies, it was completely and flawlessly common.
Doug Elfman’s column appears on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 383-0391 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.