Yesterday evening, The New York Observer wove around the horrific obstacle course that is trying to find a cab in Times Square in order to jet up 14 East 82nd St. The partially-remodeled space, owned by Russian real estate mogul and artist Janna Bullock had been turned into a three-floored gallery for Ms. Bullock’s premiere exhibition, “Allegories and Experiences.”
Over bites of fried sage and copious amounts of vodka, we mingled with some of New York’s artistic jet-setters, surrounding the two hosts of the evening, Ms. Bullock and Jay McInerney.
“I’ve been up at 7 a.m. every morning, preparing for my ice-skating routine,” Nicole Miller told us, never removing her iconic dark sunglasses. The stylist was performing for Ice Theater’s Celebrity Skate at the Chelsea Piers this morning; an event we unfortunately had to miss out on.
Common Good’s Patricia Duff’s extended an invitation for a small gathering with Mark Ruffalo, also this evening. Artist and director Robert Wilson had us save the date for the opening exhibition for his Waterfall Laboratory’s Summer Program on Long Island. Real estate agent Paola Bacchini, looking like the quintessential Italian beauty in a leopard print dress, extended an invite to El Museo’s annual gala this evening. We’ve never felt so popular!
Once the guests made their ways upstairs, publicist R. Couri Hay introduced the two hosts (both to the guests, and previously to each other), whose satirical exhibit adorned the walls behind the dinner table. Giant prints of news stories about Vladmir Putin’s tyranny were overlayed with a scrim featuring famous titles: “Shrek,” “The Hounds of Baskerville,” and “Alina in Wonderland” (a reference to Alina Kabaeva, the gymnast once rumored to marry President Putin). A small area toward the front of the room served as an impromptu dance floor, as Charles Askegard and Michelle Wiles of BalletNext performed a paux de deux from Swan Lake.
Among those clapping were jeweler Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Cristina Cuomo, Somers Farkas, former ballerina Angela Ho, CNN’s Felicia Taylor, style icons Tim Schifter and Helen Schifter, interior designer Milly de Cabrol, financier George Farias, yoga priestess Robin Coffer, and Ms. Bullock’s daughter Zoe Remmel. Helping to produce the evening was publicist Alison Mazzola.
“There’s a long history in Russia of using satirical fables to explain current issues,” Ms. Bullock, whose family had their assets stolen by Russian corporate raiders in 2010, told us. Mr. McInernery, who introduced himself to us by reiterating the baffling performance at McKittrick this weekend, the consummate dinner guest, was as comfortable discussing Russian politics as the recent John Edwards trial and the tweets of his friend Bret Easton Ellis.
“It was the 80s, I’m sure there were times when things almost happened with Rielle and Bret and me,” Mr. McInerney said, rolling his eyes. “But what does ‘almost’ mean? Anything can ‘almost’ happen.”
We asked Mr. McInerney, who just released his latest book on wine, The Juice: Vinous Veritas, and is working on a new novel about the Hamptons, based on themes on Great Gatsby. if we’d be seeing another story about Alison Poole, Ms. Hunter’s alter-ego in Mr. McInerney and Mr. Ellis’s fiction. (Penelope on the Pond, a 2004 short story by Mr. McInerney, revisited the heroine of his 1988 novel Story of My Life as she hid out in a lake house to avoid a scandal with a married Southern politician running for president.)
“Ha, possibly!” Mr. McInerney told us. “You know, I wrote that story before the National Enquirer got wind of the whole affair. She [Ms. Hunter] called me up the day after she first met John, and I just had this image of Alison Poole coming back as Penelope from the Odyssey, waiting for her husband to come home.”
“It’s probably a good thing the defense rested without calling her to the stand,” he mused about the Edwards trial.
As the night wore down, we found ourselves discussing one of our favorite subjects–cults– with former reporter Charles Krause, owner of the sociopolitical art gallery Reporting Fine Art in D.C. His current exhibition, “Lest We Forget,” also deals with Soviet art and President Putin’s controversial third term. Mr. Krause, then a Washington Post reporter, had been on the Port Kaitum tarmac with Congressman Leo Ryan when they were shot by members of Jonestown cult.
“I’m the person who brought ‘drinking the Kool-Aid,’ into America” he said, somewhat proudly. “I’m that guy.”
Follow Drew Grant via RSS. firstname.lastname@example.org