From A-List to Zero: Arenas's Celeb-Rich Bash

By Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 7, 2007

There are upsides to a January heat wave, upsides immediately obvious to us as we stand outside Love nightclub in the wee hours between Friday and yesterday, waiting for the happenings to happen:

The naked painted ladies, part of the evening's entertainment -- and yes, naked naked, save for a thong and a head-to-toe paint job -- don't have to worry about goosebumps ruining the effect of all that . . . paint.

More advantages: Nobody needs a coat at this birthday blowout to end all birthday blowouts, so the party people from Bowie and Gainesville are bopping around the outdoor tent unencumbered, as the rapper Lil Wayne, equally unswathed, bops around onstage. The paparazzi on the red carpet (well, more like black AstroTurf) don't freeze their tootsies as they wait and wait and wait some more for Diddy to make his appearance.

But there are downsides, as well, to eerie winter heat waves. Big waste of money renting those giant outdoor space heaters. Such a pity, pass the champagne.

The biggest downside of them all: The birthday boy is melting.

Gilbert Arenas, a.k.a. Gilbert the Great and Agent Zero, the NBA's newest darling, stands outside the club in Northeast on the eve of his 25th, the occasion for all this glitz and glitter, silently greeting 7,500 or so of his closest friends, dressed in his athletic finery, basketball in one hand. Water soaks through his number zero Wizards jersey. His fingers -- the ones not holding the basketball -- are pretty much gone, liquid running in rivulets down the remaining stubs and threatening to erase his hands, too.

As Nelly, one of the expected guests, would say: it's hot in herre.

Perhaps that's why the real Arenas, as opposed to the stand-in sculpted from ice, was rumored to have spent a good chunk of time on this night camped out in his Lamborghini. This is a guy who's often described as a loner. Which begs the question: What's with the giant plasma TVs playing non-stop loops of all things Arenas, with the dueling artists outside painting portraits, with the "Vote for Gilbert" buttons, with the exclusive "Arenas Express" invites, the ones that cost nearly $40K to make and another $20k to send out via FedEx?

Hold that thought.

In the meantime, let's play guess-the-celebrity, shall we? The chick with the splendiferous 'fro and the slinky halter dress. Over there. The one posing for the cameras. Somebody? Or Wannabe Somebody? Look, there's Etan Thomas of the Wizards, looking laid-back and boho in a knitted Rasta cap. And there, there's the guy from "The Wire." You know, the one who plays Slim Charles -- Anwan "Big G" Glover, a legend of go-go music in DC.

"I only missed three episodes this season," Glover tells us, adding that he'll be back for the HBO drama's final season.

Folks crawl through four floors of gridlock, zapping text messages of sightings and rumored sightings into BlackBerrys and Treos. Halle Berry's in the house! (Unsubstantiated.) The Pussycat Dolls dropped by to hang out! (Oops, maybe not.) Where's Jamie Foxx? (Heck if we know.) On the radio, a deejay claimed to have had a Mariah Carey spotting. We didn't see Mariah. We did, however, see Doug E. Fresh.

CONTINUED     1           >

© 2007 The Washington Post Company