Playboy party spares nothing for wearing little

Feb. 1, 2004
Copyright 2009Houston Chronicle


Playboy has had the formula for titillating, teasing and pleasing men for half a century. So it was no surprise that the magazine's Heaven & Hell party Saturday night succeeded at all three.

Bill Olive / Special to the Chronicle
A "Painted Lady" was among those at Playboy's Saturday night bash.
The lower level of the Corinthian shimmered with She-devils in red net petticoats, black bras and black fishnet stockings. On the balcony level, the party oozed ethereal moments as "Angels" in white bras and feathery wings drifted through.

Houstonain Kelly Weddel, whose business connections scored his ticket, said, "I'm thoroughly impressed. Jackson (Hicks) is putting on a heck of a show."

What about the girls?

"Very impressive. Very nice outfits," Weddel said.

For Frank Garvey, owner and developer of the building, this was his finest hour. Particularly the moment when he found himself on the elevator surrounded by girls dressed in body paint. And thongs.

Copies of the February issue of Playboy filled the cocktail tables. White-jacketed waiters swirled through the room as if it were the city's finest nightclub. Smoked salmon and beef tenderloin were served from silver dishes, and everything was first-class for Playboys' 1,500 guests.

And those guests included athletes, celebrities, VIPs and sponsors. They mingled with 20 Angels and Devils, 11 Playmates, the Painted Ladies and scores of females who showed up in nothing but lingerie.

Three local lovelies -- Tracy Mack, Julie McClain and Jenna Laurie -- paraded around in brand-new lingerie bought just for this party.

The evening was not without a redeeming side. A silent auction of sports memorabilia and travel opportunities such as tickets to Playboy's 50th-anniversary club tour party beckoned big spenders. Last year, the auction raised $80,000 for Athletes Helping Kids.

There was no mingling or schmoozing with the stars this night. Nicole Richie was whisked straight into the VIP area. There, she joined Paris and Nikki Hilton, who were hanging out with the members of Duran Duran and Run DMC. Others spotted in the crowd: Nick Carter, Joey Fatone, Eddie George, Shannon Elizabeth, Tara Reid, Clyde Drexler and Cal Ripken.

Rockets assistant coach Patrick Ewing, towering above the hot crowd, had little to say. "It's my day off today," Ewing said.

As the evening grew later, the celebrity quotient ratcheted up, and all those scantly-clad women became secondary.