Tribeca: The Party Report

Night of April 30
Lonely Hearts Party
PMWilliam H. Macy arrived in a pair of decidedly non-designer jeans and ratty New Balance sneakers and jokingly flipped the script on the photographers by jumping in their faces. Inside, James Gandolfini, sporting a giant goatee and a white button-down with suspenders under a black suit, was ensconced in a booth with his sisters. “He’s surrounded by all these chicks!” cooed a member of the hovering crowd. Trying to get a word with Gandolfini but ultimately settling for a wave was one of the movie’s assistant directors. He said shooting Lonely Hearts was a “scheduling nightmare”: Gandolfini was only on the set for three days so they had to work twelve hours at a time. Add to that the fact that the flick, which is set in 1940’s upstate New York, was filmed in Jacksonville, Florida, so the crew had to take great pains to keep palm trees out of their shots. Hollywood’s beloved vagabond and set crasher Radio Man wasn’t allowed in and stood across the street, sulkily loading cassettes into the boom box that hung over his neck.

Night of April 29
The Groomsmen Party
Soho Grand PenthouseBy now the Soho Grand penthouse was starting to feel like home: After some garlicky ribs, we wondered if they had a spare toothbrush for us. We spoke with Heather Burns, who told us she had just flown in from L.A. where she had shot a pilot for Another Twenty Years, an odd-couple sitcom from the creators of Third Rock from The Sun, starring John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor. At her side was fiance Ajay Naidu, who wowed everyone by spinning one of the deck pillows on his finger, and Groomsmen cast members Matthew Lillard and Donal Logue. When Mark Zupan, the quadriplegic rugby star wheeled in, we told him we loved him in “Murderball.” “Everybody always says that and I don’t know what to say. It’s really the director’s movie.” As the party winded down, we spoke to director Ed Burns, who was casually dressed in jeans and New Balance sneaks (we overheard a DKNY rep offering to dress him for the next premiere). When we asked him why the film’s budget was so much larger than that of his first feature, famously shot for $25,000 and the most profitable film of 1995, he said, “To shoot a 35-mm, ensemble-cast movie in New York City without getting your legs broken by the Teamsters, you have to go through the union.” The only way around that, he said, was to file the movie as a documentary and shoot in your friends’ apartments. Burns is still doing low-budge work: He pulled a mini-DV from his pocket and told us he had just used it to shoot a video for the Blue Jackets, the band that appears on the movie’s soundtrack.

Brother’s Shadow Party
PublicLast night, the doorwoman at PM huffed and puffed before letting us into the packed “Journey to the End of the Night” party with our guest (“but you don’t have a +1,” she scolded— ironic given the Vonage reps walking around in T-shirts saying “Wanna Be My +1?”). It was refreshing, then, that tonight at Public no listkeepers guarded the door as Judd Hirsch and a few hundred others drank from the trough of top-shelf liquor and sampled pork belly hors d’oeuvres. Even the backpack-wearing friends of teenage actor Elliot Korte were getting hooked up with freebies. At the end of the night a receipt was printed out that seemed to be almost as long as the bar: A little birdie told us it came to somewhere around $10,000.

Night of April 28
TV Set Party
Soho Grand Penthouse

“Which Tribeca event? There are so many of them,” a hostess snapped when we arrived at the Soho Grand. Ours, it turned out, wasn’t in the lounge, where Adrian Grenier had held court the previous night amidst a packed crowd that ended up smelling, to the nose of one attendee, a little “gamey”; rather it was in the penthouse, an airy, elegantly appointed suite complete with bedroom, bathtub, and a deck with a stunning skyline view. Not that anyone was taking it in: They were crowding around the table piled with teriyaki and sushi. In the middle of the room, Sigourney Weaver and David Duchovny wore discordant outfits: His consisting of a pinstriped button-down, tie, and jacket; hers a mod trench. Also seen were Michael Moore, Jeff Garlin, Justine and Cher, who according to one partier “looked like a little schoolgirl” in jeans and Axl Rose-style sunglasses. One celeb-spotter copped to a few embarrassing moments from the previous night. “I was complaining to my friend that the guy in front of us was wearing too much cologne, and then later at the party I found out he was Damon Dash, the producer.” After that party she returned to look for her cell phone and walked in on the assistant director and his wife canoodling in bathrobes.

Yo Soy Boricua Pa’ Que Tu Lo Sepas Pre-Party
Armani Casa
(Special report by Liza Monroy) It was easy to spot Rosie Perez in the jam-packed crowd at Armani Casa for IFC and Interview magazine’s pre-screening fete for the actress’s directorial debut at Tribeca: Spotlights followed wherever she walked in the maze-like storefront on Greene Street. Mos Def, Chris Rock, Maxwell and Jeffrey Wright in the house, or should we say casa. Puerto Rican tunes and pink pineapple rum cocktails topped off the Latin beach-club vibe, though the highlight of the two-hour affair was by far the middle-school-dance style circle. Swinging West Winger and Boricua voiceover artist Jimmy Smits got down with Rosie, Nia Long, Angie Martinez and friends as 360 degrees of onlookers cheered them on. After sweating up a monsoon the revelers collected their cool to cruise down to the evening’s main course. “I’m on my way to see the movie right now,” Nia Long gushed excitedly as she pushed through the crowd with her entourage. “I love Rosie, I love her vibe and her realness, and that’s what I felt at this party tonight.”

Night of April 27Full Grown Men after party

Ask and you shall receive: On Wednesday our companion Jason Wishnow shared a theory that film party hosts routinely dispatch Alan Cumming lookalikes to placate the stargazing masses. At the Full Grown Men party at Meatpacking playground AER, however, the man in the mohawk and horn-rims looked remarkably like the real deal. (He was the lead of the film after all.) Cumming, who’s now starring in “Three Penny Opera,” wasn’t among the many who took to the dance floor when the DJ, after being shushed by the film’s producer all night, finally pumped up the volume during “Sweet Home Alabama.” As androgynous hipster model Omahyra did a half-hearted shuffle, more than a few senior citizens took the film’s Peter Pan theme to heart and really cut a rug. Director David Munro’s dad, wearing a silk vest and a white beard, did so many mad hot spins with his wife that we were surprised he was still standing at the end of the night. Another couple actually did fall down, but we suspect that had more to do with the four-hour open bar.

Night of April 26Big Bad Swim pre-premiere party
Mandarin Oriental’s 35th floor

My company for the evening was director Jason Wishnow who stood out among the suits packed into the small party space on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Hotel. He was wearing a T-shirt that bragged of his (putting it politely) romantic liaisons with a certain Scientologist movie star. The shirt was made for a film festival in L.A. some years ago (the artist’s first one slandered Chloe Sevigny) but judging by the reactions it got, it struck a chord at this one too.

Earlier we had spotted Robin Williams exiting the hotel in a black pinstriped suit, but there was no sign of such star power in this room. “Maybe the real party is upstairs,” Wishnow hypothesized, “and they just send an Alan Cumming type to make the rounds down here every hour or so.”

Too Tough to Die

We expected a whole different crew at CBGB’s (after all, the movie is a documentary about a Ramones tribute concert). Alicia Keys had been expected at the Mandarin. Rob Zombie was expected here. But, while the band’s music played all night long, Marky Ramone was one of the few who showed from the old guard. Meanwhile filmmaker Mandy Stein, who told us she saw her first Ramones concert at CBGB’s when she was three years old (her mom Linda was the band’s manager and her dad Seymour was the founder of Sire Records), saw fit to wear a Marc Jacobs suit and Prada handbag over her CB’s tank top— a little incongruous given the stench coming from the club’s plumbing.

Fifty Pills After-Party

The movie is about a man who has to unload a supply of ecstacy, and some of the women in the audience seemed to have indulged themselves as they gyrated to the DJ’s mix of old-school rock and hip hop. When we saw a man holding court atop a bench, wearing sunglasses, we decided it was time to roll.

Civic Duty

Outside, we spotted the notorious crasher Shaggy chatting up a slender, dark-haired woman. The last time we saw the Shagster at BED, it was at Max Azria’s Fashion Week party, but it seems he had less success gaining access to this one, because we didn’t see him inside among the bizarre Grubman-catered mix of hip hoppers and Viagra poppers.

Tribeca: The Party Report