A NIGHT IN TINSELTOWN DELIVERS BIGTIME
I am on a mission. A ballsy mission, if I say so myself. I've written a funny script with roles for three members of Jerry Stiller's acting family, and I plan to accost him about it.
I'm limping to 42nd Street for the gala honoring movie star, director, writer, producer Ben Stiller. My toes're scraped raw by my evening pumps.
I enter a former bank( appropriate party venue during our economic tsores) amazed that tickets to this Museum of the Moving Image self-benefit/party/dinner cost $500 and $2500.
In the lobby, a blond girl in a red Marie Antoinette ball gown parades back and
forth dragging her train in front of photographers imprisoned by a velvet rope.
"Tinsel, Tinsel, over here," they scream. Standing behind the object of their desire, the continuous pop, pop, pop of camera flashes rattles my brain.
I recognize the name of a new flower blooming in the Manhattan night, a young girl with family background. As she walks by, I see sparkle dust on her bright blushing makeup.
"Please Tinsley, say hello to the New York Observer?" asks a pr woman.
Tinsley wrinkles her nose--no way..
I smile broadly as I spot Jerry Stiller, the shouting star of Seinfeld and the King of Queens. He makes me giggle ( bless him, it's good for my health) and now I love seeing him outside my large tv screen.
He looks uncomfortable.
His wife Anne Meara walks by me. "I gotta sit down."
I approach Jerry Stiller."I've got a screenplay," I shrug apologetically. He sighs accepting my apology. By his side, a young woman says, and rightly so, "He's kind of overwhelmed right now."
"Can I send it to you?"
He sighs, nods.
Bingo. Mission accomplished. And I yearn to flee--and scrunch my mangled toes under my silk comforter.
But curiosity is my vice. I love to look at faces--even though tonight's purple light isn't flattering. Champagne flows into people seated in the $2500 seats. A gigantic
screen framed by gold tinsel (a theme?) flashes pictures of Ben Stiller.
I perversely extend my hand to lovely Katrina Vandenheuval,editor of the Nation, a magazine that gave my last book (revealing unpleasant research about the weathermen, violent left-wing radicals) a rare and totally sloppy, even inaccurate review.
Katrina Vandenheuval is heiress to a Hollywood talent agency. Nearby I spot Linda Janklow, heiress to the Warner Brothers fortune. I like Linda, but am exhausted from nodding and smiling at Katrina.
Many of the other $2500 women look alike. It's not the makeup, blond hair or even the similar gowns -it's the fine hand of plastic surgeon Dr.Dan Baker,who makes women prettier, the first time around, anyway.
I sit with publicist Gary Springer and his children and to my surprise, someone who'd once worked for me at Warner Brothers. Roger Friedman now writes a good out-and-about gossip column for Fox internet.
He's great company--we like the same writers. But I worry--he's at events like this every night. "I never go home," he says happily.
I'm cranky by the time Ben Stiller finally thanks the Museum of the Moving Image.
He's tired too, but he perks me up--by saying something people don't say.
Stiller says boldly, "I never saw an unmoving image as good as a moving image."
My mind races. That's why kids aren't pushing into the Metropolitan museum.
I'm tired of long-winded Times articles bemoaning the death of words. But
is anybody but Ben's saying that static images are also so yesterday?