Pamela Knows How to Throw a Good Party

What is a conference without a few high-class parties? True to Phocuswright form, last night I made my way up to the 20th floor to a party thrown by Pamela Johnston, who runs PJ Public relations in New York City. The job of an effective PR company, of course, is to make her clients look good and to draw buzz, flattery and attention to those clients. Pamela is an attractive blond with steely eyes who is savvy and at the same time, warm and inviting. She and her VP wore matching aqua blue dresses from Phoebe couture. She cracked me up when someone handed me a ‘cigarette’ and told me to light it up and pass it around.

The party was held in a swish penthouse apartment with wrap-around floor to ceiling windows that showed the panorama of Hollywood’s glitter all around us. In the distance spotlights waved back and forth, shooting their distinctive pillars of light up into the sky. At the door we were crossed off the list, and more than a few people were turned away. I asked Pamela how she decided to create this list of about 100 people, from the more than 1100 conference attendees. “I just used my gut, no real method or system,” she told me. I was glad to be on the list.

There were delicate little appetizers and artfully made tiny desserts, and servers in black made their way around the room with little green martinis. I settled into a fascinating conversation with the very unassuming Rich Beattie, online executive editor of Travel and Leisure’s website. I skillfully contained my exuberance at meeting him, he and I knew a few editors in common, and it was a pleasure talking shop while we sipped chardonnay.

Then a big tall guy in the ad business bounded toward the door, saying that he wanted to find some women. He said he was going to a country music bar on Hollywood Boulevard, and invited me to come along. It was after midnight, and I had set up a breakfast meeting, so I declined.

This morning I saw him and asked how the bar was, and whether he met any hot women. “Actually, they threw me out,” he said sheepishly.