Friday, May 30, 2008

Talk Around Town
By Jennifer Tuesday

Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of bronzed faces around town this weekend. A host of East Enders caught a few rays in between the parties and premieres in sunny Cannes at the film fest this week. Steven Spielberg with his whole gang – George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, and Shia LaBoeuf - were the toast of the Rivera with the launch of “Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. While critics were divided on the film and it might not be the best movie of all time - it is an enjoyable roller coaster romp that should please even the most devout fans of the franchise.

Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart at the NYC premiere of “Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”.

Spielberg and Lucas have taken pieces of their most popular ideas and woven them together. There are major riffs on “American Graffiti”, “Star Wars”, and “E.T.” Just dissecting all the references is half the fun. Thrills are jam packed into the two hour flick. And Harrison may be 65 but OMG he is still one hunky movie star that makes you shiver with delight (lucky Calista Flockhart). His Indiana Jones performance is the perfect primer for wannabe action stars. Added bonus is Shia as a young Indiana in training.

Denise Rich had her posh yacht ‘Lady Joy’ docked in front of the Hotel Majestic, the command central for the film festival making it easy for celebs like Woody Allen, Penelope Cruz, and Scarlett Johansson to hop on board for a breather from the notorious French paparazzi. Not so lucky was Paul Simon who was swarmed with photogs as he arrived for Wyclef Jean’s Together for Haiti benefit.

Also on the scene: David Sarner and the Pink Elephant gang were out in full force hosting exclusive parties on yachts and art elegant villas in the surrounding hills. The Hamptons International Film Festival team – new executive director Karen Arikian and programming director David Nugent who replaced cutie pie Raj Roy held court at the Plage des Palmes Café where they announced that this year’s toastee at the HIFF will be one of the most prolific personalities on the international film scene, Founder and Co-Chairman of Fortissimo Films Wouter Barendrecht. Barendrecht has, at Fortissimo, guided titles such as “Chungking Express”, “In the Mood for Love”, “Heavy”, “Super Size Me”, “Shortbus”, and Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Stones homage “Shine A Light” to international success.

Circle on your calendar! John Brancati at East End Books will host a champagne toast to photog Lora Drasner to celebrate the release of her gorgeous new book “Sunsets”, Saturday, May 31.

Vered has a new show for superstar photographer Steven Klein who has shot everyone including the Material Girl – Vered’s not releasing the guest list but there will definitely be some serious eye-candy at the popular East Hampton gallery. Kim Kardashian brings her booty and her posse to the White House in Hampton Bays. In Southampton, Stefan Keszler will show the works of Britain’s answer to Keith Haring, Banksy at his chic Chelsea-esque gallery. In Southampton, Nicole Richie's man and father of her daughter, Joel Madden of Good Charlotte, is scheduled to be a special guest DJ at La Playa, brought to you by Pink Elephant’s David Sarner.

Out of breath yet?

Now I’ll give you some serious dish so you’ll have something to chat about with Chace Crawford of “Gossip Girl” should your paths cross…

The big art world news was Sotheby’s record breaking sale this week. Hardly in dire straits but looking to simply by a new mill, polo playing newsprint magnate and collector Peter Brant was a big seller at Sotheby’s auction. One of Richard Prince’s early supporters, he parted with “Millionaire Nurse” from 2002, one of the artist’s paintings inspired by the covers of erotic pulp fiction from the 1940s. While it had been estimated to sell for $3.5 million, five bidders went for the work which ended up selling for $4.7 million. Even more subtle canvases had their appeal. “Achrome,” a sensual, layered white canvas by Piero Manzoni, also brought a record price. Franck Giraud beat out five bidders to buy the painting for $10.1 million, well above its $6.5 million estimate.

But the really big deal of the night blew everyone away. A 1976 triptych by Francis Bacon brought $86.3 million becoming the most expensive work of contemporary art ever sold at auction and a slap at the doomsayers who had predicted that the art market would falter seriously this season because of the economy. Clearly, the art world hasn’t heard of the recession. The sale went well beyond even the auction house’s expectations, bringing in $362 million. 18 artist records were set for names ranging from Yves Klein and Piero Manzoni to Tom Wesselmann to Takashi Murakami.