Christmas came early this year. First there was the gift of the documentary "20 Feet from Stardom," now shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar. Then, there were the celebrations: the most recent on Thursday night at the Edison Hotel's Rum House featuring cast members, Judith Hill and Lisa Fischer, accompanied by pianist Robbie Kondor for Christmas carols. Director Morgan Neville introduced the evening, saying that he never expected the film to have this kind of success: if you haven't seen it, the documentary tells the story of backup singers with testimonies of Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Springsteen all singing the praises of the less famous women with the musical chops that make the front men sound so good. In the documentary, Neville unearths a story about race, gender, the consequences of Michael Jackson's death, making this film resonate in ways larger than the great music performed.
Best of all, he said, the singers have all gone to a next step in their careers, working on new albums of their own music and touring, Hill with Josh Groban and Fischer with Nine Inch Nails. A crowd including Glenn Close, Steve Buscemi, Gretchen Mol, Richard Kind, Celia Weston, Robert Wuhl, Paul Haggis and many others gathered around the piano for rousing renditions of the classics: "Winter Wonderland," "Jingle Bells," "Silent Night" with Fischer soloing on "Oh Holy Night." And then one guest, the awesome Peter Cincotti sat at the piano, bringing down the roof with a jazzed up "All I Want for Christmas is You" and "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer." Paul Schaffer and Darlene Love caught up with everyone having just pre-taped the Letterman show, with Darlene Love doing her annual holiday segment of "Christmas (Please Come Home)." And like kids finding the best toys ever under the tree, we all wanted Christmas to last forever.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.