"Of course, we are happy to have him. I will personally meet you at the front gate to make sure you have a smooth entrance. My name is Misha, I am the art director for Shambala."
"You'll know when we're there. We have a television crew with us. Just don't make Buns wait."
"I'll be waiting."
Schliefer repeated the same schtick to the PR director at First, which also promised VIP entry, guest list, chocolate martinis and "no problems."
And with that, we were off.
The cops outside of Shifrin's apartment were getting restless. They'd been told that they were going to escort a famous American pop star, which they agreed to for $75 per hour in a deal arranged through an Orthodox priest.
Cops aren't used to waiting, so in spite of getting paid a week's wages every hour, they threatened to bolt.
And then Buns McGillicuddy appeared. It was strange, but from a hundred meters away, Jeremy actually looked and behaved like a star. His entourage moved in that same school-of-fish detail: a few faster ones out front darting ahead and back, followed by a thicker body in the middle of slower-moving, confident fish.
"The cops want to meet Buns," Shifrin told us, trying to hold in his laugh.
When it happened it was amazing: Jeremy walked forward like a giant, the cops waited by the car respectfully but excited, Jeremy shook each of their hands and smiled politely, and then Johnny, noticing that the journalists were about to take a picture, grabbed Jeremy and hustled him away, yelling, "No pictures! No pictures!"
That was all the cops needed to see. They were sold.
Putting The "Sham" In Shambala
1:20 a.m. A sparkling white Ford Taurus police car slowly wades through a crowd of clubbing hipsters, flashing its siren and barking for people to move out of the way. Behind the cops is the silver Mercedes. In the front seat, Johnny as The DJ Formerly Known as DJ-DJ; in the back seat, Marc Schliefer as Jelly Kowitz, blue-tooth attached to his ear, screaming into another cellphone held to his other ear. Next to him, Jeremy as Buns McGillicuddy, nursing home shades down and ready. At his side, Lena playing the confident bitchy model, bare breasts sparkling. Behind the Mercedes is a rented London-style cab holding the journalist crew.
They stop in front of entrance, where a mob of hundreds of hipsters are already fighting to try to push their way past feis kontrol. Misha, Shambala's shaven-headed "art director," stands at the special VIP opening at the metal barricade, waiting nervously.
The Negro gets out of the Mercedes first, looking around protectively as Jelly Kowitz bursts out screaming on both cell phones. The camera crew runs out from behind, and just as the bright camera light flashes on, Buns McGillicuddy and his model partner emerge from the car. Buns is cool, looking bored and a little annoyed; he's done this a million times; clearly he's not going to get the much-needed rest here in Moscow.
Jelly Kowitz runs up to the Shambala art director, hands him the Guest List, and tells him to make sure Buns and his entourage have a smooth entrance. As Misha starts to assure him, Kowitz nervously ignores him, yelling into the phone, "Yeah, yeah! We'll talk about it at the airport! I'm busy now, damnit! We'll talk about it when I'm at the airport!"
Keep in mind, Schliefer, like nearly all of us, has suffered his share of denial-humiliation at Shambala. Tonight, the art director was greeting him at the door and taking orders from him.
From just inside the club, where I was standing, you could feel that something was happening out there. First commotion. People crowd in and get out of the way at the same time. Then the commotion moved. By the crowded gate, a sea of humanity parted. Some drifted towards the TV videocamera light, others walked away in a nervous daze. It was amazing -- even I felt that intangible star buzz, and I was part of the joke's creation!
It was precisely at this time, just as Jeremy-Buns approached the special VIP entrance, that the most amazing thing happened: Misha, the art director for the snottiest elite club in Moscow, reached out to shake eXile intern Jeremy Lanow's hand...and then ...Misha actually bowed down with an obsequious smile and pulled Jeremy's hand to his mouth, making as if to kiss it, before realizing that Buns might not like strange people touching him too intimately, so Misha turned it into a lackeyish bow-and-scrape before leading him inside.