Paris Hilton: heiress, reality star, socialite... DJ?
That, it seems, is what Miss Hilton is going for. Tan and fresh-faced from her summer DJ residency in Ibiza, the leggy blond took to the ones and twos at her single-release party for “Good Time” at SBE's Create Nightclub in the heart of Hollywood, California. The joint was brimming with celebrity guests, fans, and club kids eager to get a peek at heiress’s DJing chops. Were the people there to cheer her on or pray for her to fail?
It’s Tuesday night at 11:30 p.m. The entrance to the 20,000 square-foot nightclub is a sea of asphalt—a huge parking lot. Girls are milling outside in mini-dresses and low-cropped tops talking to bouncers behind the red velvet ropes. At the far end of the lot is a red carpet where former contestants from The X Factor and Project Runway stroll down. Christina Milian—who starred with Hilton in Rich Gang’s “Tapout” music video earlier this year—is one of the biggest stars to walk the carpet.
Excitement erupts when the 32-year-old Hilton arrives. She struts out in a black Versace mini-dress (gold-studded with a lion head emblem featured on the front) paired with stiletto boots. Her Spanish model beau River Viiperi, 22, stands off to the side, lugging two large purses and a pink quilted laptop bag. He refuses to answer any questions from the media. “It’s about her, not about me,” he shouts. “Jesus Christ!”
He’s right: the event is all about Hilton. She’s celebrating her foray back into recording music after the failure of her 2006 debut album, the reggae-infused Paris. “Good Time” is the first single she’s released in seven years, a song featuring platinum-selling rapper Lil Wayne, and produced by dance music maestro (and former boyfriend) Afrojack. Her new album, released via Lil Wayne’s Cash Money Records label, is expected to drop in early 2014 with collaborations from the likes of Snooop Dogg and Flo Rida.
“My first album was very pop,” Hilton tells The Daily Beast. “This [upcoming] one is very inspired by dance music and electro-pop. It’s very fun, bouncy, and [has a] lot of club bangers."
You know, the first thoughts you have about Paris Hilton aren’t always good.
Inside Create Nightclub, the place is packed with a young, mixed crowd ranging from the model-esque to local scenesters. One bespectacled man on the balcony is wearing a white tank top that has “STOP BEING POOR" emblazoned across its chest. Dance music is blaring, along with a mix of top 40 tracks from Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” to Kanye West’s “New Slaves.” The back of the stage and the DJ booth are adorned with wall-to-wall LED screens. Nearly 100 friends and family of Hilton’s are standing behind the DJ booth on stage.
Suddenly, Hilton’s mother Kathy gets in the DJ booth. She faces the crowd while the opening DJ spins and proceeds to pose, wave, and blow kisses like a beauty pageant queen—similar to her daughter’s signature poses. It feels bizarrely out of place, and the horde of modish Angelenos decide to capture it on their iPhones and Androids. After a few minutes of this, she steps back just a couple of feet behind the booth and dances, pointing her index fingers in the air.
A little after midnight, the DJ announces that Hilton is getting on stage as he blasts Jay-Z’s “Holy Grail.” Footage of her DJing in Ibiza plays on the LED screens in the background. It takes nearly the entire length of the song for her to get from one end of the stage to the DJ booth. Camera flashes from both onstage guests and the audience shutter like strobe lights. Everyone is playing paparazzi. The crowd seems genuinely ecstatic to catch a glimpse of Hilton, pushing each other to capture photos and video footage of her. The majority of them don’t put down their smartphones until she's about halfway through her set.
On stage, Hilton is wearing black fingerless gloves--gold-studded, just like her dress. She stops to smile at the crowd and then gingerly puts on gold-embellished headphones.
“Are you guys ready to have fun tonight?” Hilton asks the crowd. “Fuck yeah, so am I!”
She opens with Avicii’s EDM-meets-folk track, “Wake Me Up.” Six dancers donning 1960s-style black-and-white houndstooth pantsuits march out onstage waving large American flags. Their bright red lipstick is smeared across their faces like Heath Ledger’s deranged Joker. Hilton throws off her headphones when she drops Empire of the Sun’s “Alive,” then sings along and dances, flips her hair, poses for photos, and twirls around, dropping the occasional wink. This will continue throughout the evening.
Gusts of cold air are frequently blasted at the audience, which is decidedly un-Ibizan, while white confetti drops down onto the crowd. Hilton’s go-go dancers throw 18-inch foam pulsating rainbow glow sticks into the audience. People are so eager to grab them that one man dives into the crowd like an NFL linebacker. The centerpiece of the event takes place when she plays her “Good Time” single. At the same time, her music video for the song—which landed the same day—is projected on the screens behind her, revealing Hilton in a bejeweled and skimpy bathing suit. She sings along, mouthing the auto-tune lyrics, “I’m havin’ a good time / and I might be a bit tipsy / but that’s OK ‘cause you’re with me.” Sadly, no sign of Lil Wayne.
But in his place are rappers Snoop Dogg and Too $hort. Snoop, who is wearing a black beanie on stage with sunglasses, casually smokes a blunt, and tells the crowd, “Smoke weed, motherfuckers.” They stand next to Hilton for a few songs. “I love you boys,” Hilton says. “I’ve known them for years.”
For unexplained reasons, a group of girls wearing neon football gear with booty shorts march out to the balcony with huge inflatable footballs, and then quickly leave. Hilton’s set comes to an end a little after 1:30 a.m. She thanks everyone and promises the party is not over. The club closes at 4 a.m. after all.
After Hilton’s set, Hobie Williams, 27, is standing outside in the patio, which is decorated with graffiti art by artist Alec Monopoly. He admits he came to the show last-minute when his club promoter friends offered him a free ticket... a decision he made while eating tacos. “It was good,” he said. “I was surprised. I came out here thinking it could be kind of whack. You know, the first thoughts you have about Paris Hilton aren’t always good.”