Friday, March 4, 2011

The Museum of the Moving Image’s tribute to Alec Baldwin was the kind of night that is par for the course in Hollywood but which leaves New Yorkers tingling. The star wattage could have powered Times Square: Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Kristin Wiig, Ben Stiller and his wife Christine TaylorEdie Falco, Carrie Lowell and Richard Gere, Amy Ryan, Mariska Hargitay, Brian Williams, Jeff Zucker, Ron Meyer, Alexandra Wentworth, Michael Keaton, Bobby Jindal (30 Rock’s inimitable Kenneth the Page), Seth Meyers, Lorne Michaels, Marci Klein, Patricia Clarkson, Bob Balaban and Mercedes Ruehl were among the many from the big and small screens who paid tribute to Baldwin.

SNL’s Lorne Michaels joked that the star was the only Baldwin about which no one says “which Baldwin brother is he?” while follicularly-challenged  Beetlejuice co-star Michael Keaton lamented how much amazing hair he has. Jimmy Fallon charmed the audience by telling a story about his first season on SNL when Baldwin hosted, and asked “the new kid” his name. Fallon told him and Baldwin said “And he said, “All right Jimmy Fallon, I’m going to say your name more than anyone’s ever said it on television. Call your parents, call your relatives, make sure they’re watching, because I’m gonna say it a bunch of times.”  And then all through the opening monologue sketch, that I happened to be in, he kept saying “come here, Jimmy Fallon. What are we gonna do now, Jimmy Fallon?'”

Tina Fey brought down the house with her tribute, saying she and her writing staff have asked Baldwin’s 30 Rock character Jack Donaghy “to do everything from imitate every member of Tracy Jordan’s family, to play his own Mexican doppelgänger, to, you know, act out a heartfelt good-bye scene with a live peacock trying to sodomize a Dick Cheney look-alike. And he has done each of those things with a grace and precision that is prophetic.”

Baldwin’s philanthropy and work as a political activist and founder of the Creative Coalition was much saluted, particularly his early support of campaign finance reform. Among the who’s who of New Yorkers in attendance were Coralie and Dennis Paul, a museum board member along with Showtime chairman Matt Blank with his wife SusanDayssi de Kanavos; a super-svelte Dylan Lauren; and Kathy and Andrew Thomas.

The newly opened museum is now located in Astoria and has exceeded visitor expectations, and has provided education to over 65,000 students this year.



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