Sunset Tower Oscar Plans Include Free Dinner for Winners, No-Photo Policy Suspended (EXCLUSIVE)

Marc Malkin
·5-min read

The Sunset Tower is getting ready for Oscar night. Owner Jeff Klein tells me that freshly minted winners will be treated to dinner if they come in after the show with their statuettes. The public can also book a meal at the hotel, and rooms are available for private COVID-safe viewing parties. Options range from four people in a deluxe king suite with Champagne, popcorn and movie candy to a sit-down dinner for 15 in a townhouse or penthouse. Plus, Klein is doing away with the hotel’s no-photo policy for the night so guests can share their evening in social media if they’d like. And it looks like swag suites are back. The GBK Brand Bar & eOn Hand Sanitizing Mist lounge just sent out a release that it will be handing out freebies on April 21 in West Hollywood. Attendees will have to take a rapid COVID test before entering the suite.

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Speaking of Oscars, Bella Thorne says on this week’s “Just for Variety” podcast that she hopes to win an Academy Award someday. The 23-year-old actor says she’d like to expand her production company, Content X, into a full-fledged Hollywood studio by the time she’s 27. But first things first. Thorne, who just dropped a Guillermo del Toro-, Tim Burton– and “The Twilight Zone”-inspired music video for her single “Phantom,” also reveals that she’s going to start seeing a therapist for the first time. “I want to be this better version of myself that I know I can be,” the former Disney star says. “And I just need to do the mental work to get to that place that I want to be, which is happy, not always dealing with depression.” Thorne, who identifies as pansexual, recently announced she is engaged to Italian musician Benjamin Mascolo. “I always wanted a partner that I could grow with, build a family with, and I know that this person, I can fully trust them to my core,” she says.

Ronen Rubinstein is living his truth. In an exclusive interview, the 27-year-old actor reveals that he is bisexual. It was his work playing Rob Lowe’s gay son on Ryan Murphy’s “9-1-1: Lone Star” that inspired him to explore feelings he’s had for as long as he can remember. “I fully identify as bisexual,” the Staten Island native says during a conversation with me on Zoom from his Los Angeles home. “I literally just got goose bumps saying that. It feels so good to first of all talk about it, [and] it feels so good to finally be comfortable with it.”

SIGHTING: Rami Malek and his family enjoying the pool at the West Hollywood Edition hotel. … Congrats to former KTLA VP of news Jason Ball and his husband, Troy Jones. The two are the new owners of Old Ranch Inn, a boutique hotel in Palm Springs. … The 23rd OUTshine Film Festival in Miami will open on April 23 with a screening at Dezerland Drive-In of “Potato Dreams of America,” director Wes Hurley’s semi-autobiographical comedy about growing up in Russia and moving to the U.S. with his mail-order-bride mother. The LGBTQ festival runs through May 2.

Great Pottery Throw down 2020
Great Pottery Throw down 2020

If you haven’t been watching “The Great Pottery Throw Down,” you’re doing something wrong. Think “The Great British Bake Off,” but with clay and kilns. Judge Keith Brymer Jones (above, in the red tie) tells me that Bruce Springsteen and Dolly Parton are fans of the program. So much so that when Springsteen learned that contestant Alon Shahar had to make a bust of the Boss for one of the challenges during Season 4, “he actually gave us his personal mobile number and said if Alon has any problems or any questions, he should give him a call.” As for Parton, I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so tune in to the show, available on HBO Max, to find out what she did for the contestants. Jones says he’d love to collaborate on a garden piece with Prince Charles. He met the royal a few years ago when he visited Middleport Pottery, where the show is shot. “We had a long conversation about dry stone walling, which wasn’t so interesting,” Jones says, laughing. “And I kept calling him ‘lovey’ instead of ‘your royal highness’ because I call everyone ‘lovey.’ But I did say, ‘I don’t think we’re going to do a dry stone walling program. I really can’t see that happening.’”

I’m talking with Jones over Zoom from his studio. Before the interview begins, he introduces me to his wife Marj Hogarth.

As for Jones’ signature moments when he’s moved to tears while praising a contestant’s work, he says he wouldn’t mind an endorsement deal with Kleenex. “I would love that!” Jones exclaims before adding with a laugh. “Marj and I are looking for a new home.”

Umami Burger has teamed up with TBS to celebrate the premiere of “Chad,” the network’s coming-of-age comedy about a 14-year-old Persian-American high schooler played by “Saturday Night Live” star Nasim Pedrad. The Chad Burger ($10) features a Kofta patty with onions and garlic and topped with lettuce, tomato, mint-cucumber yogurt, parsley and Kewpie mayo. Available through April 27 at Umami locations in Santa Monica, The Grove and downtown L.A. umamiburger.com

Tara Reid and Cassie Scerbo attend Cassie Scerbo’s Birthday Party benefitting Boo2Bullying at Raif Lounge in Malibu, California on March 30, 2021.
Tara Reid and Cassie Scerbo attend Cassie Scerbo’s Birthday Party benefitting Boo2Bullying at Raif Lounge in Malibu, California on March 30, 2021.

March 30

Cassie Scerbo Birthday Party

Rafi Lounge, Malibu

“Sharknado” star Cassie Scerbo’s ’80s-themed bash included a rainbow red carpet and a Jazzercise class with musical performances by Hana Giraldo, Jamie Miller, Katie Welch and Jack Griffo & the Pretty Grit. The festivities, emceed by “The Real World: D.C.” star Mike Manning, benefited Boo2Bullying. “Since it was most of our guests’ first time being out in a bigger social setting since the pandemic, having a themed party would make it extra special for everyone,” Scerbo (pictured above, on the right with Tara Reid) told Variety.

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