'Ok, so be at the parking structure at the corner of Sunset and Westwood. Park there and a shuttle will meet you at 6:40.'
"Huh? To where? What the hell are you talking about?"
So here it is. A lifelong pursuit has come to fruition. Well, I actually never really pursued it because I didn't really think it would ever materialize, but here it came, with an hour's notice, crossing my path through the unlikeliest of ways. Must have been "The Secret."
Jeans. T-Shirt. Adidas.
The grotto. The peacocks. The bunnies.
The Playboy Mansion.
The Playboy Mansion.
And he's off...
Rush home. Throw on a shirt. Take an insta-shower (cologne). Go go GO! By god, here it is. After twisting and turning through the narrow streets in the hills of Bel Air overlooking the northern end of the UCLA campus, we pull up to the infamous gate where, predictably, we see a black Lamborghini and, not so predictably but quite telling and refreshing, a white Toyota Prius, resting on the lavish cobblestone courtyard welcome mat.
The shuttle pulls through the tight curved stone corridor (he must have done this before) leaving less than an inch to spare on either side between the windows and the wall. It comes to a stop just outside it and the doors pop open. I knew I was no longer existing in reality when the first 5 people I see are John Popper chatting it up with 4 of the most beautiful specimens of the female species my eyes have ever spied...and as I walked by and in between, they smiled...and said hello. To me!!!
But alas, back to reality...let's not forget why we were here...Marijuana of course.
The Marijuana Policy Project is "the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States." The organization boasts over 21,000 dues-paying members, an annual operating budget of $4 million dollars, and lobbyists on retainer in 4 state capitols. The MPP monitors all marijuana-related bills in all 50 states and their efforts have led to a wide array of influential accomplishments including a successful campaign to change federal marijuana sentencing policies resulting in the early release of hundreds of federal marijuana prisoners, drafted and gained passage of medical marijuana laws in Hawaii, Maryland, Vermont, and Rhode Island, and worked with Congress in the House and Senate to introduce the 'Truth and Trials Act.'
This particular party was billed as an event designed to celebrate the MPP's recent medical marijuana victories and to raise funds to continue MPP's political lobbying efforts. Good enough for me! Was hard not to support any cause that found you being greeted by Playmates, peacocks, and Picassos. Yes, Picassos. As part of the fund raising efforts, there was a silent auction on the grounds that included original etchings and drawings by Picasso, Matisse, and Dali among others. As I was preparing to place a petty $28,000 bid for Picasso's "Spectacle de Gladiateurs," my attention was diverted to the Blues Travellers who have taken the stage atop the waterfall above the famous mansion pool. "Get as loaded as you can!" announces John Popper, "...legally!"
Well...if you insist...
At that point, the half naked fire-dancers took their positions around and across the pool and began their whirling dervish siren antics. As if it wasn't hot enough in here already. After scampering around the grounds taking random photographs (for research sake of course) with many of the friendly hosts while washing down the mini quesadillas and chocolate covered strawberries with various libations, we decided to take a walk around and see if we could recognize anyone. While the event was hosted by comedian Joe Rogan and beats were bumpin' all night courtesy DJ Pooh, we were told that Bill Maher would be honored as well. We completely missed that...I think at that point we were enamored in deep and philosophical conversation amongst a few of the guests discussing the role of foreign investments on the global market and it's effects on impoverished nations. Uh...yeah...that's what it was.
Anyhow, what can really be said about a party at the Playboy Mansion? If your organization has gotten to the point where Hef's Palace would play host to your aims and accomplishments, you know you're on the right track, and there's no question that the Marijuana Policy Project has far surpassed the lead in their efforts to make available a necessary and beneficial medicine to millions of thankful patients the country over. If it wasn't for the MPP, many of these people would...bluntly if i may...already be dead.
Welp, on their behalf and ours, time to check out the trees...