It’s that time of the year again…Formula E Racing is coming to town!

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It’s that time of the year again…Formula E Racing is coming to town! After a successful debut in 2015, Formula E racing is back in Long Beach with a weekend of amazing celebrations, dinners and parties. The best part of this event is that it is organized by one of my best friends: Giorgio Veroni, who happens to be married to my best friend Tamara Beckwith; so it’s really a full on “Best friends” extravaganza. These 2 are so much fun and they definitely have made “Jet setting” an art form of their own; a really, really fun time is always guaranteed with this couple that I have know for almost 3 decades!

The weekend marathon starts Friday night with a private dinner at Chateau Marmont, probably the coolest hotel and restaurant in LA. Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag and Giorgio Veroni are hosting a small cocktail party followed by dinner for 30 close friends. The invited group includes the usual suspects, celebrities, some fashionable Euros and a little royalty with the Duchess of York. One hour goes by in second catching up with Tamara Beckwith, super model Claudia Mason, jeweler designer Alice Evans Gruffudd and her adorable husband Ioan Gruffudd, the talented Welsh actor; all old friends of mine whom I haven’t seen in a while. Also in the group is the nutty Sara Ferguson, the Duchess of York, who is always hilarious and so very entertaining.

 

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Claudia Mason and Alice Evans Gruffudd

 

The duchess is seated next to me at the dinner table along with Tamara on the other side; needless to say, the evening is a hoot and a holler; these 2 broads are just too much fun!!! We are all trying very hard not to get too carried away tonight and save ourselves for tomorrow’s race day and then the big closing party at Chateau Marmont for 500 guests. By dessert time, both the Duchess and myself are ready to take our leave; so after our goodbyes, we make our way through the very popular and sceney outdoor terrace of Chateau Marmont and on to our waiting Uber rides.

 

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Robert Kass with Sara Ferguson, the Duchess of York, sporting matching rings by Alice Evans Gruffudd

 

It’s Saturday morning and I’m ready for some action! My race partner today is the gorgeous model: Celesta Hodge, who picks me up at 12 noon in her new, flashy, red Ferrari (how appropriate for this day). After getting lost 7 times on the way to Long Beach (she’s gorgeous with a gorgeous car…but she can’t drive for the life of her!!!), we finally arrive to our destination. It’s a beautiful day and the temperature is perfect compared to the sweltering heat of last year’s race. Giorgio has kindly arranged for some VIP passes for me and Celesta, so we make our way to the Formula E, E-MOTION Club, where all our friends are surely getting drunk on Rosée before the races start.

 

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My Formula E partner in crime: Celesta Hodge. I don’t know what she did to this photo but we look like we just escaped Madame Tussauds wax museum

 

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Entrance to the VIP area: Emotion Formula E Club

 

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My VIP badge…as one does!

 

After socializing for an hour, Giorgio invites a group of us to visit the “Grid”, meaning, the actual race course where all the race cars are parked and ready to go. Visiting the “Grid” is a big deal in the racing world, only a selected few get the chance to see the cars upfront and talk to the drivers. Alright…it’s almost time for the race to start so we are all ushers back to the VIP area stands to witness the famous racing line: “Gentlemen, please start your engine!!!”. The one thing that you will immediately notice at a Formula E race is the noise factor of the lack of. Electric engines are silent and all you hear is a high pitch hiss every time the cars pass in front of you; it takes a little getting used too, specially after experiencing Formula 1 races where the sound of the engines is deathining and thrilling at the same time.

 

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Lady Victoria Harvey, Tamara Beckwith, Giorgio Veroni,  Claudia Mason and Robert Kass

 

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The Michelin Man giving me the thumbs up

 

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On the Grid with the Andretti team

 

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BMW’s electric Pace Car

 

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Being silly as usual

 

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The Glamour Crew: Tamara Beckwith, Giorgio Veroni, the Duchess of York, Claudia Mason and Lady Victoria Harvey

 

The race cars have to go around the track 45 times to reach the end, but after 20 laps I’m ready to go! Not very sportsmanship of me, but I really want to go back home and get a little downtime before getting ready for the big party at Chateau Marmont. Tonight I have 2 very special dates I’m taking with me: my BFF Loree Rodkin and the beautiful Melanie Griffith.

 

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Emotion’s viewing bleachers

 

It’s show time and I’m all dolled up for tonight’s event. Once again, the party is taking place at Chateau Marmont; there is a sit-down dinner for 200 people, some speeches from the organizers and the winner of the race and the after party for an additional 200 guests. By the time I arrive with my girls, the party is in full swing; among the many guests, you can spot some familiar faces like Leonardo di Caprio, a big supporter of the electric car movement, Adrien “Brooding” Brody, Victoria’s Secret model Irina Shayk, supermodel Elaine Irwin, my old friend Misha Barton, Demi Moore and so on. For dinner I’m seated between my two beautiful dates: Loree Rodkin and Melanie Griffith and across from me is Erica Pelosini, the queen of the “Duck face” pose on Instagram along with some handsome Euro hipsters. It’s a lovely combination of Hollywood people, Euro fashionistas, sportsmen, society and our royal favorite: the Duchess of York. It’s a really fun dinner with very interesting people to meet. After what seems like hours, the after party is bursting in the seams with a whole slew of new faces arriving for the second part of the evening. It’s now past 1am, I’m a little tipsy but mostly exhausted from a long day…it’s time to get out of here and dive in my lovely California King, huge bed…alone!

 

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Giorgio Veroni and Tamara Beckwith. Photo credit Tamara Beckwith

 

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Irina Shayk with Spanish Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag. Photo credit: Tamara Beckwith

 

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Mischa Barton with Nelson Piquet Jr, Winner of the Race. Photo credit: Tamara Beckwith

 

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Robert Kass, Melanie Griffith and Loree Rodkin

 

It’s ben such an amazing weekend; thank you so much Giorgio and Tamara, you sure know how to throw a party…I love you guys!!! As Tamara would say: “Ciaoyee for nowyee”!

My Hotel project is finished and I definitely need a brake…off to Switzerland for some great skiing

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After five months of hard work, I have finally finished designing my first Hotel in my long and multifaceted career. Interior design has always been one of my favorite interests in life, and though I never pursued it professionally, I have designed dozens of restaurants and bars through the years along with some other projects for fiends of mine, but this project was quite special; not only it’s my first hotel, but also the first time I work for a proper client, beside my projects and my friends. I am so grateful for being given the opportunity to take on a project of this kind and visibility on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and to really show my work at a whole different level! None of this would have happened if not for my beloved BFF Ilona Margolis who promoted me and my talents to the right people with more passion and conviction than I would ever be able to do. I have now been entrusted with designing my clients’ next hotel in Brentwood; but in true Kass fashion, before I dive into my second hotel, I need a little brake and I can’t think of anything more extreme than a week in the Swiss Alps for some skiing in freezing weather and another week in scorching hot Tanzania, Africa!

 

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Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel Entrance


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New Club sign

 

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New reception area


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New Lobby

 

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New Lobby

 

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Library detail with Salvador Dali print

 

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One of the many beautiful pieces of art at the new hotel

 

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The dramatic Lacquered wood paneled hallway at the new Luxe Hotel

 

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The new outside patio on Rodeo Drive

 

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The new Bar at The Luxe Hotel

 

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Bar detail

 

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New bar and dining room

 

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New dining room

 

To celebrate my latest achievement and my last night in LA, I decide to spend the night at home alone with a bowl of Beluga caviar, a bottle of Tattinger Champagne, toasted Pain de Mie and Leonardo di Caprio’s latest epic movie: The Revenant…my kind of BLISS!!! The next day is a whole different thing…I spend most of the morning agonizing on how to pack for such an extreme combination of climates; finally I go for a larger suitcase packed with as many cashmeres I can get my hands on, all my sky gear and any warm clothing item I can find and a smaller suitcase with flip flops, bathing suit, t-shirts and two large cans of mosquito repellent…a must when traveling in Africa!!! Perfect, it’s time to Uber myself to LAX for my long haul to Zurich, Switzerland where my brother will pick me up and drive me to the most beautiful winter wonderland in the world: St. Moritz!!! Of course, I fly my beloved Swiss Airlines, who surprised me this time with a better than usual dinner menu that I thoroughly enjoyed before popping my sleeping pill for the twelve hour beauty-sleep to Zurich.

 

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My idea of a perfect night!

 

I was having dreams of mosquitos attacking me in Africa when I get a tap on my shoulder and awake to find out we are arriving in Zurich! After a short layover I board the small propeller plane to Lugano where my brother is waiting for me for the 2 hour drive to St. Mortiz. The drive is beyond amazing from Lugano through the Swiss alps, covered in snow to our final destination, the super chic Kempinski Hotel.

 

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View from my seat

 

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Delicious dinner on Swiss Airlines

 

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Abord the small propellor plane to Lugano


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Zurich at dusk from my plane

 

IMG_7411Amazing views of the Swiss Alps at dusk

 

We are staying at the beautiful Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains in St. Mortiz, the historical ski resort that had its first winter season in 1814-15;  it’s charismatic director is my childhood friend Reto Stockenius, one of Switzerland’s best Hotel General Managers and long time friend of mine from my early days in Lugano Switzerland. Reto is the kindest and most generous soul and he is married to yet another childhood friend of mine from school: Simona Stockenius. It’s a real treat to be able to stay at his hotel and share some time together after soooo many years knowing each other. Reto’s class-act style is evident form the first minute I enter my room with a welcome bottle of Veuve Clicquot, a delicious almond tart, typical of this region and more goodies in toe. What was supposed to be a standard room, was upgraded to a one bedroom stunning suite with the most incredible view of St. Mortiz and the Swiss alps skyline. I’m in Heaven!!!!


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The stunning Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains in St. Moritz

 

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The best welcome treats in my suite from my dear friend and Director Reto Stockenius



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The Stunning vIew from my suite with full moon

 

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More images form my room

 

After settling in Jonathan and I make our way to one of the oldest and most renowned eateries in St. Moritz: Veltlinerkeller. This place has been around for generations and we’ve been going here since I was a kid; they are famous for their Pizzoccheri, which is whole-wheat pasta with potatoes, Spinach smothered with a local melted cheese…divine!!!! I was a little apprehensive about dining under a huge head of a Moose, but after a few glasses of wine, he turned out to be quite interesting! I have the best time catching up with my little brother, but j between my main course and dessert, jet lag kicks in and I’m ready to go back to my fancy suite and turn in!

 

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One of my favorite restaurants: Feltlinerkeller

 

IMG_7457The very Swiss interior at Feltlinerkeller


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Their signature dish: Pizzoccheri della Valtellina



IMG_7470My brother Jonathan Kass and someone we picked up along the way…


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Being naughty with our new friend

 

Oh…by the way, did I mention it’s 18 degrees below zero in St. Moritz? I am quickly reminded how thin my blood has become living in LA for so many years; the frost is truly unbearable!!!! Once back at the hotel, I can’t help feeling so nostalgic, overwhelmed by so many memories from my past in this place: from my late father, to my many friends from my youth I lost touch with and so many glamorous events I was so lucky to attend in St. Moritz. I can’t wait to be back on the slopes tomorrow for the first time in 20 years. I hope this old carcass of mine will make it though the day without braking anything!

Good night everybody from this enchanting place…bloody freezing too!!!

 

Jetting to the South of Turkey for a week of “Yachting”, on a dime…of course!

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Good morning everyone!!!! I’m so ready for a little boat action in the beautiful South of Turkey (actually, more like a big boat action). After the waterfront breakfast ritual…this time with the house pet: the totally “Bonkers” Lillie the Kitty, who today decided to join me for breakfast…more specifically, decided to wrap herself around my neck, like a Stole. One last scrambled eggs with Sukuk (the lethal Turkish sausage) and it’s time to pack…BTW I have no idea who’s cigarettes are those by my side…bad kitty! By late morning a caravan of sedans with myself, Raphael and Nibbles’ family make way to the airport for the fairly short flight to the South of Turkey, specifically: Göcek. Göcek is a stunning ocean village that has not yet suffered the claws of tourism and over development, as it’s neighbor Bodrum has. The natural layout of islands and coves in this large and secluded bay makes it a perfect place for the yacht set. Furthermore, in 1988, Göcek was declared a Registered Area of Special Protection, so multi-story buildings are not allowed, this has literally killed all plans to over-build and develop, making it renowned as a much more peaceful and exclusive settlement than some other tourism areas.

 

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Last Turkish breakfast on the Bosphorus…with Lillie the Kitty

 

After a delightful flight on a Falcon 900 private jet, we arrive in Dalamal Airport and into a new caravan for our final destination. At the marina, our dingy is waiting for us to take us to our fabulous yacht where we will be spending the next week, cruising up and down the Turkish coast and across the Mediterranean to a few Greek Islands. At the boat, the fabulous staff, lead by the charismatic head steward Paolo, greets us with cocktails and nibbles; It’s really hot in Göcek and both Raffi and I can’t wait to get in the water. After settling in our guest suites we all meet on the deck for more drinks and to visit with our dear friend Burçak, who is herself, on her boat a few bays away. I’ve known Burçak for many years and it’s always such a pleasure to see her and her husband Selim. One of the features of these Yacht populated micro systems, is that you make friends with neighboring yachts and before you now it, you become part of this exclusive posse; you are going from party to party, to dinner to dinner, cocktail to cocktail…all on yachts of course. If you suffer of seasickness…well, then you should consider another glamorous form of transportation. The thing about yacht life is that there are only three things to do: eat, drink and, for the more industrious: water activities. I happen to enjoy all three equally, so after a few welcoming cocktails, a few local raw nuts and 3 glasses of Ornellaia, I’m jumping in!!!!!

 

 

IMG_4722Boarding the Falcon 900 for our trip to Göcek

 

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Someone is very tired…

 

The water is warm and crystal clear and the view of the untouched, natural plush landscape is riveting; after a few Esther Williams laps around the boat, it’s time for toys! This boat happens to have all the toys a kid or a immature, adult as I am, could hope for; it’s Disneyland on the water and between me, Raffi and Nibbles’ kids, it’s a never ending race on who can out due the other. I’m into the new See-Bob, a submergible that propels you under water like a submarine; all you have to do is press a button and hold on for dear life and this thing will drag you under water for as long as you can stand it. There is a lot of seawater drinking at the beginning until you get the hang of it. Raffi, on the other hand, is going for Fly-boarding, a very popular contraption that you wear on your feet and with the help of an altered jet sky; it will lift you out of the water through water jets. Last time I tried this I fell on my face 23 times until I finally raised from the waters like a water angel…so I’ll tackle that tomorrow. Nibbles opts for a good old classic waterskiing session behind a very powerful See-Doo. After swallowing half the bay of Gocek behind my See-bob, I decide to go back and have a Leonardo moment: “King of the world” at the front of the boat before joining the rest of the gang for cocktail hour #3.

 

 

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The Russians have arrived. They always have the biggest boats…Hummm

 

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Grandma’s spectacular 1920′ steamer yacht

 

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The head steward on the boat, the lovely Paolo

 

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The beautiful Burçak Sayilgan with Robert Kass

 

IMG_4896A very traditional Turkish snack: raw almonds and walnuts on ice

 

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Jesus juice…Ornellaia

 

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The Canadian getting psiched-up for “Fly boarding”

 

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And he’s up…


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Robert Kass channeling Leonardo di Caprio

 

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This one never takes a bad photo…we will call her “Cover girl”

 

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“Cover girl” mono-skying in Göçek

 

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Raphael Tessier enjoying the warm waters of the Mediterranean

 

One of the many unique things about Gocek is their amazing restaurants on the sea that you can only reach by boat; tonight we are going to one of my favorites that specializes in Mediterranean foods who’s name escapes me…I know, ridiculous! I spent 1 hour on the internet looking for the name of this restaurant but that’s how exclusive it is…You can’t find it!!! You can only get here by boat and the food is fresh and delicious with the usual Turkish specialties and my favorite: Linguini with fresh lobster. There is not a sound around you but the restaurant activities, the water is now flat as a mirror and there is this sense of peace that i can’t describe. Looking out form out special table on the sand, you can see the many little green islands disappearing into the night and the silhouettes of the yachts anchored for the night. It’s time to go back to the boat for a late movie on the top deck under the stars and Paolo’s bed-e-buys nightcap before I hit the bed: Grappa and black cherries…when in Rome!

 

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Arriving at one of my favorite restaurants on the beach

 

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Our table…right on the water

 

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“Cover girl” strikes again

 

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The charming “Al fresco” dining

 

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Dusk in Göçek



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Our floating home at Dusk

 

IMG_4842 Paolo’s idea of a night cap: black cherries and Grappa

 

Yacht life is exhausting!!! I know…shoot me!



Formula E USA debut: Long Beach California

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I’m a big fan of Formula 1 Racing so when my dear friend Giorgio Veroni told me a few years ago that he was getting involved in the new Electric racing car business, I was intrigued. Through the years I learned more and more about Formula E Racing from Giorgio and after its world debut in Beijing last year (which sadly, I was not able to attend), Formula E has arrived in Long Beach California!!!! (http://www.fiaformulae.com)

I haven’t been in Long Beach since I was tricked into visiting the Queen Mary 20 years ago, when I just moved to LA from Switzerland. It was so boring I wanted to stick needles in my eyes…let it sink!!! The second time I got tricked into going to Long Beach, it was to board a helicopter to the: “Ohhh sooo exiting island of Catalina”…equally as uneventful as the old, crusty boat. I swore I would never go back to Long Beach, but today, I’m exited and open minded. I’m so curios to experience Formula E  (as in electric my dear possums!) But most of all, I’m thrilled to spend some time with the man of the hour: Giorgio Veroni and his extraordinary wife Tamara Beckwith, which happens to be one of my best friends for many, many years. I get picked up at 11am by my stunning blonde date: Celesta Hodge; who arrives to my home in her shiny Audi R8 (a perfect choice for this day…BTW). The 45 minutes ride turns into just 20 minutes thanks to Celesta’s diabolic driving skills; I just sank my nails into the dashboard and held on for dear life. The event was so well organized and so very chic…as only Giorgio could do! After arrivals we were treated to a lovely luncheon under a tent in 120 degrees fahrenheit and soon after we got to visit the pits where all the different teams hold their racing cars. We got to talk to the different team sponsors and drivers…all of which gorgeous (must be a pre-requisite to be a race car driver)! After a few hours of cocktails and pleasantries  we are ready for the race. We are ushered to the “Emotion” private VIP bleacher right at the start line and off they go!!!! The experience is just as intense as formula 1, minus the deafening sound of combustable engines. I will say, it took a little time to adjust to the super quiet electric cars, but eventually it was a thrill!!!! The handsome Brazilian Nelson Piquet with The China Racing Team won the race after just under an hour and the French Jean Eric Vergne came in second for the Andretti Race team.

 

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The Invite

 

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Robert Kass and the girls: Tamara Beckwith Veroni, Lady Victoria Harvey, Celesta Hodge and Vivi Veroni

 

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In the Renault Pit

 

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Lawrence Bender, Celesta Hodge and Tommy Alastra with friend

 

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The Virgin Pit (sounds inappropriate)

 

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On the grid before the race starts

 

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With my darling Tamara Beckwith Veroni and the beautiful Vivi Veroni

 

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My gorgeous blond date Celesta Hodge

 

The second part of this special day is the sit-down dinner Gala and after party at the iconic Chateau Marmont (www.chateaumarmont.com) in West Hollywood…definitely more up my alley! Just enough time to go back home, recover from the 15 champagne glasses and 1 cheese square I had for lunch and off I go! The Chateau Marmont is an LA landmark; a symbol of coolness, debauchery, chicness and lots of fun… an absolute celebrity mecca. Don’t bother trying it out…you can’t get in unless you’re famous, super rich or devastatingly gorgeous (don’t ask me how I get in…). The evening starts off with cocktails in the medieval style main lobby of the hotel. The room is filled with well dressed beautiful people (must be European) and the customary list of celebrities, among which: the always brooding Adrian Brody, Leonardo di Caprio, who is a major voice for 0 emission transportation and…me!

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The lobby of the Chateau Marmont

 

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Beautiful outdoor dining

 

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The “Rush” table

 

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My table with both #1 and #2 winners of the race: Piquet and Virgne

 

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With my “Hermano” Eugenio Lopez and snack

 

Finally dinner is served! All the large tables were named after a racing movie such as: Rush, Fast and furious…you get the shtick! I was seated at Giorgio and Tamara’s table with both the winner of the race Roland Piquet and the runner up Jean-Eric Vargne and his beautiful girlfriend who was next to me. I spent the entire dinner talking to the Swedish beauty, who’s name escapes me, until I started getting dirty looks from her French boyfriend. I re-directed my focus to the lovely Anna Mathews, seated across from me, to avoid a global scandal. Around midnight, dinner ends and the after party begins; this is when I usually start shining, but sadly, after being ON since 11AM, I was just out of fuel!!! The new round of exited guests started arriving, I waited for my dear friend Eugenio Lopez, hung out a little and finally staggered out of the party in hopes to reach my bed without passing out on the way from complete exhaustion. The next day was Easter Sunday and, unlike Jesus, I was not able to resurrect…I was in bed the whole day!