On The Avenue

Beat the Heat: Check Out Woody Allen’s Cafe Society

by Kelly Laffey Photographed by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
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“Life is a comedy, written by a sadistic comedy writer”

So says Bobby Dorfman, portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg in Woody Allen’s newest flick, Café Society. Now in wide release, Café Society is showing inside an air-conditioned theater near you, offering the perfect opportunity to escape New York’s latest heat wave.

On Wednesday, July 13, Amazon and the Cinema Society hosted the New York premiere of Café Society at the iconic Paris Theatre.

Opened in 1948, The Paris Theatre is New York City’s sole surviving single-screen cinema, and the site of many a New York premiere. It started to drizzle just as our car pulled up, but Café Society’s stars, notably director Woody Allen, Kristen Stewart, Blake Likely—looking fabulous in a Carolina Herrera dress—and Parker Posey, were not deterred by the weather, walking from the enclosed red carpet press area into the theater.

After a brief intro about the film, which made its debut this May at Cannes, the lights dimmed and we were treated to the 96-minute shoe.

Café Society tells the story of Dorfman, a 20something Jewish man who leaves his home in New York City in search of a new life in California. Bobby gets a job running errands for his uncle Phil (Steve Carrell), a big shot Hollywood exec, falling for Phil’s secretary Vonnie (Kristen Stewart) in the process. An intriguing love triangle grows, and the movie unfolds in classic Woody Allen fashion, with punchy one liners and plot twists. Allen, of course, provides the voice-over narration.

When the film, which was met with avid applause, was over, it was time to head to the after party at The Carlyle on East 76th Street. Allen, dressed in khakis and a light brown shirt, attended the festivities. Actress Debi Mazar, who is currently filming the third season of her hit TV Land show Younger (produced by none other than Sex and the City’s Darren Star) attended with her daughter. She told me that she and a writer for the show met for the first time that night—but she recognized him before he recognized her. Heidi Klum, her hair perfectly coiffed in a pony tail, held court at a table near the entrance. Lively had a reserved table, but she let friends enjoy the ambience, as she likely headed home to Westchester to relax with husband Ryan Reynolds and daughter James.

The mood inside The Carlyle was festive, as guests mingled, lined up at the open bar, and nibbled on appetizers which included tomato and mozzarella and mini cheeseburgers. The vibe perfectly fit the one that Allen creates in Café Society, with dim ambient lighting and classy banquets lining the room. The party continued well into the night, preserving the magic of the premiere long after Stewart and Eisenberg gazed longingly into the air on screen.

Other attendees at the star-studded premiere included Anna Wintour, Patti Smith, Barbara Walters, Martha Stewart, Heidi Klum, Regis & Joy Philbin, F. Murray Abraham (Homeland), Dakota Fanning, Nicholas Hoult, Debi Mazar, Fran Lebowitz, Swoosie Kurtz, Debra Messing, Bill O’Reilly, Dean Winters, Michael Imperioli, Amber Tamblyn, Carol Kane, Richard Kind, Kevin Corrigan, David Harbour, Mozhan Marno (The Blacklist/House of Cards), Sami Gayle (Blue Bloods), Danny Strong, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Ben Shenkman, Craig Roberts (Red Oaks), Janel Maloney, Lena Hall, Laura Michelle Kelly (Finding Neverland), Terry George, Mike Doyle, Geoffrey Fletcher, Christiane Seidel, Bobby Flay, Olivia Palermo & Johannes Huebl, Casey LaBow, Prabal Gurung, Cynthia Rowley, Reed Krakoff, Chris Benz, Stefano Tonchi, Sandra Brant, Alina Cho, Fern Mallis, Stella Schnabel, Chris Botti, Caroline Hirsch, Amy Sacco, Marina Rust Connor, Debbie Bancroft, Alexandra Agoston, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Daniel Benedict, Kiera Chaplin, Amy Fine Collins, Mark Seliger, Alexi Lubomirski, Nina Griscom, Lorraine Schwartz, Karen “Duff” Duffy Lambros, Will Kopelman, Sophie Sumner, and Cinema Society Founder Andrew Saffir.

Photos by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC


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