In The Magazine


by Debbie Bancroft Photographed by Clint Spaulding/ PMC
Monday, May 2, 2016

Spring break—whether or not, you are springing or breaking—leaves New York in a slightly calmer vacuum between seasons. What a perfect time to luxuriate in the things we do so well: theater, film and art.

The Atlantic Theater Company, which has brought us Spring Awakening and The Beauty Queen of Leenane, among 150 other notable plays, celebrated appropriately: the Actor’s Choice Gala—actors featuring their favorite music. Mary Steenburgen, a member of their ensemble, introduced her friends Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte, who sang “Falling Slowly” from the Tony Award– and Grammy Award–winning musical Once. “They have that down!” we commented to Jason’s fiancée, the undeniably beautiful and talented Olivia Wilde. “They should,” she said. “They do it everywhere and any time they can—karaoke, parties . . .” Jason bonded with our hostess, board member Betsy Pitts, over their shared Kansas childhood. Hmmm . . . they are definitely not in Kansas anymore. David Richenthal and his foundation were honored for their longtime support for ATC. The audience included Claudia and Gunnar Overstrom, Blair Husain, Emily Mortimer, Larry and Dana Creel, Serena and William Lese, and Nancy Sambuco.

Doyenne of documentaries Sheila Nevins knew that Katharina Otto-Bernstein, who created Absolute Wilson, the acclaimed film about Robert Wilson, was the right producer to capture the controversial and talented Robert Mapplethorpe. Katharina actually discovered similarities between Wilson and Mapplethorpe—conservative, disapproving fathers, and their dramatic, artistic rebellions against them. What a long way Mapplethorpe, who died  of AIDS in 1989, has come—from Jesse Helms’ forcing the Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C. to cancel his exhibit during the year of his death, to two current, parallel retrospectives at LACMA and the Getty Museum, not to mention the definitive portrait in Katharina’s doc, Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures. The film had an L.A. premiere, followed by an intimate celebration at Kathy and Rick Hilton’s. In New York, HBO gathered 30 of the 50 subjects interviewed in the film, including Mapplethorpe’s first beau, David Croland, and Parker Posey, as well as Jack Walls, Rufus Wainwright, Peter Marino, Mary Boone, Klaus Biesenbach and directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato.

Just when I thought, I can’t watch Ex Machina or Bridge of Spies for the seventh time, a new flock of fabulous films rolled into New York and offered fun premieres by the Cinema Society. The best of the latest was Demolition, which literally busted into our consciousness at the new theater, the Metrograph, followed by the still supreme Top of the Standard. The cast is recommendation enough, and they were all there: Naomi Watts, Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, and an amazing young fellow of whom we will see much more, Judah Lewis. It was a maternal evening. Naomi came with her chic mom, who lives in the south of France. Jake came with his talented mom. (Have you noticed this is a thing? Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper take their moms, too, because they aren’t maddeningly perfect enough already.) And I brought my son, but who cares? The equally glamorous crowd included Jon Bon Jovi, Clive Davis, Roger Waters, Fisher Stevens and Julian Sands


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