We just got home from the IFC's  Indie Film Celebration that serves as the after-party for the Independent Spirit Awards and are still incredibly bummed that we just missed Jon Hamm by thismuch (this did not stop us from scouring the place for him). The party, held at Shutters, a beachfront hotel  in Santa Monica, is a relaxed, no-black tie, laid-back affair that is the perfect precursor to the glitz and glamour of the Oscars. Speaking of, most of the Oscar nominees have other events they rush off to after the Spirit Awards, but best actress nominee Melissa Leo ("Frozen River") was there fresh off her Spirit Award win for best female lead. Another Oscar best actor nominee Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor") was also in our midst.

Spirit Award best male lead Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler") wasn't at the after-party, but Eric Roberts, whom Rourke gave a shout-out to and called the best actor he ever worked with during his acceptance speech, was roaming around, eager and friendly to chat with all who approached. Also happily posing for pictures was "Dollhouse's" Eliza Dushku. Other attendees included Rainn Wilson, Rosie Perez, Mary Kate Olsen, Vondie Curtis-Hall, John C. Reilly, John Waters, Ron Livingston and Dominic Monaghan. The DJ was DJ Mom Jeans, better known as "That 70s Show's" Danny Masterson.

I spent a few minutes talking to Michael Bolton. I have no idea what his connection to the Spirit Awards is, but I hadn't seen him since I'd left Billboard a few years ago. We'd always had a congenial relationship, except for when Billboard gave his classical album a horrible review. He seemed over that today, but it was tough going there for awhile. A little known fact about Bolton-and what makes him a super good guy in my book-- is that he's a local hero where he lives in Connecticut for all the work he does against domestic violence (if I'd have been thinking, I would have asked him what he thought of Chris Brown). He has raised millions of dollars for women and children at risk through his own Michael Bolton Charities. One of the first things he said to me was how excited he was to have Joe Biden as VP since Biden, as senator, co-authored the Violence Against Women Act, a bill that Bolton was very actively involved in getting passed. He's recording a new album for Universal Records of his own material, but here's the interesting part: His co-writers include Lady Gaga and Ne-Yo. We thought Josh Groban and Rick Rubin were a strange pairing, but Bolton and Lady Gaga top that. There's nothing left to do but Just Dance!


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