On the roofdeck at 230 Fifth Avenue last night, a man was taking pictures of La Toya Jackson with an iPad. "I saw Spike Lee take Obama's pic with that thing!" said a photographer. Apart from press, the crowd tended towards rejected Real Housewives. (One partygoer named Cheri aspired toward both a singing career and a gay sidekick.)
"Is this the closest you've ever been to a Jackson?" someone asked.
"Well, my brother was in a hot tub with Michael in 1983, so that's got to count for something," someone else said.
La Toya entered her book party—she is the author, as of today, of Starting Over, a memoir about her life with Michael—in a one-shouldered super-ruffled white dress. She wore a quite heavy looking diamond necklace and an even more blinged-out cuff bracelet. While Latoya stood on her mini red carpet, onlookers baited her to look back at them like Roberto Benigni did in that opera scene in Life Is Beautiful.
After posing with the cover of her book for pictures, La Toya was ushered into a small VIP section. "Can someone please acknowledge like they heard me about the Cristal magnum?" an organizer screamed into a walkie-talkie. "If this is how long bottle service takes at 235 Fifth—it's pathetic!"
Bottles were popped; Latoya barely touched her glass, having no more than two sips. She did make sure to ask every empty-handed person around her if they wanted a glass for themselves. All of the press watched La Toya have fun with her friends from beyond. As Smash Mouth's "Allstar" blasted, I was ushered in to discuss the book.
"I started writing it because so many women were coming up to me and wanting to know the story of being abused," La Toya near-whispered to me. "They wanted me to tell my story and they were telling me their story. And I felt like, why not reach out?"
All of her inspiration got me very excited. "Are you the next Oprah?" I asked. She smiled politely. "Oh that's very interesting," she said, "but I just want to be able to reach out and help people. That's very, very, important. If I can inspire by speaking up, by all means I'll continue to do it."
Nikki M. James, the very-recent "best featured actress" Tony winner from “The Book of Mormon," arrived. Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done For Me Lately" came on the sound system, and La Toya made a quick exit out the back.
I congratulated Nikki on her Tony win and asked why she was here. At first she just looked at me. Then she yelled: "She's fucking incredible! She's a woman in a man's world. I'm a black girl and she's a Jackson! I love her!"
Myles Tanzer would love to come to your party.