GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Plush Bunny

I found myself standing at the entrance of the Plush Bunny behind a velvet rope when someone waiting to get in asked me a question. There was too much noise--a band playing inside the club and a noisy crowd outside--and I didn't hear what he was saying. I was about to ask him to repeat his question when I saw that he was preparing to punch me in the face. Talk about telegraphing a punch, this guy took a longer wind-up than Hideo Nomo. I was going to wait for him to throw it and parry the blow. As a guest in Matthew's night club, I didn't want to abuse his hospitality by delivering a counter-attack to one of his paying customers. Before any of this could develop and before the fellow could conclude his extended wind-up, a fist went flying past my left ear from behind and landed squarely on the malcontent's nose causing a deformation worse than the time Matthew crushed the front end of the Breadvan into a mountainside in Malibu. It was 'lights out' and the fellow dropped like the proverbial sack of potatoes. Ronnie Melthrotter had a devastating right and was never slow to demonstrate it. He ducked under the rope and gave the fellow a nine-count while his assistant Richie glowered at the crowd discouraging any further shenanigans. As the fellow regained consciousness, his friends carried him off to a car never to be seen again.

The 'Bunny was an interesting night club and Margaret Mead would have found plenty to fascinate over watching the dynamics and inter-actions of the patrons and staff. There was always live music, minimal conversation and some pool tables. I was commonly at the 'Bunny when I should have been in school--I signed up for night classes because Peter Gibbons and Elliot Bliss were teaching cinema classes in the evening after putting in a full day at CBS Cinema Center as heads of the camera and sound departments. I got straight As in all my courses, so my absences did no damage. The same might not be said of my attendance at the 'Bunny. I became quite a good pool player though I discovered you can shoot ten great games and the eleventh reveals you to be a complete fraud. The music was hot, the girls were hotter and there was always action of one sort or another to keep things from getting dull.

Regularly, Matthew would appear at the door to his offices and motion me inside. I'd follow him through the outer office--always filled with people I didn't know and whose function was undefined except to say you sure as Hell weren't going into the inner office to see Matthew unless you were invited or were one of the inner circle. I had open access. I would be summonsed to hear a wacky deal proposition from someone completely out of touch with reality, to meet an amazing woman or to be introduced to some legend in the Ferrari world. Nothing short of these would warrant pulling me away from the pool tables and the other action in the club. This was 'A Moveable Feast' that delivered to your door.

Every year, the 'Bunny celebrated New Year's Eve by announcing a gala presentation of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. It was always a sell-out and much anticipated. I would be surprised if scalpers weren't re-selling the tickets. I always made it a point to be present. Every year, at the beginning of the evening, Matthew would go onstage to make the introduction for the night's entertainment, but only after reading aloud a telegram from Ike Turner apologizing for their absence and explaining that the tour bus had broken down in Blythe or some other godforsaken place. The replacement would be Mr. Clean, a black saxophonist with a shaved head who did great Junior Walker covers, or El Chicano playing their then current hit Viva Tirado. In any case, no one wanted a refund.

At two in the morning when the club would close, Matthew and I would climb into our Ferraris-- the Breadvan and the GTO--which were parked at the club's entrance and race away with the girls we had invited to breakfast. I usually made it home by ten the next morning and to school for afternoon classes. In the following years, Matthew would have other clubs but they were more conventional and not the exclusive sort of domain that was the Plush Bunny. What wonderful times they were!

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