The round-the block line waiting in front of the Guggenheim Museum on Saturday night was more like the crush outside a fashion show or a rock concert than what it actually was: the kick-off to Perform07, a performance art biennial.
Security guards tried frantically to hold the impatient crowds back while a lucky few, including Uma Thurman, were allowed to slip in early.
The big draw? A free performance of Luigi Pirandello’s “Right You Are (If You Think You Are),” starring Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Peter Saarsgard, Ellen Burstyn, David Strathairn, Abigail Breslin, Dianne Wiest and Elaine Stritch, all masterminded by Italian bad-boy artist (and celebrity catnip) Francesco Vezzoli.
The staging of the play, intended as a commentary on fame, was certainly that: a few VIPs were given seats on the main-floor of the museum, including unlikely art aficionados Mary-Kate Olsen, Brooke Shields and Lucy Liu, along with Vezzoli fan Miuccia Prada, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Cindy Sherman (who had attended a Performa benefit at Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn’s home earlier in the evening ). The rest of the crowd filed up the spiral ramp of the museum—where Sherman’s boyfriend David Byrne broke ranks from play-watching to take a look at the Richard Prince exhibition.
Downtown, at Allison Sarofim’s Halloween party, the host was decked out in an outrageous peacock number (custom made by a former Las Vegas showgirl), Kelly Klein and Aerin Lauder clipped tiny, glittering white doves to their shimmering frocks, and Cynthia Rowley took a cake, topped it with burning candles and attached it to her head, as if it were the world’s largest hat.
In the tent out back, two little people recreated Magritte’s “The Lovers” on a stage above the bar, while shirtless waiters in ties and bowler hats passed pomegranate margaritas and cigarettes. At midnight, staff descended Sarofim’s stairs carrying bottles of Champagne corked with sparklers. Rufus Albemarle, however, was sticking to the hard stuff. “How much vodka do I have left in my drink? he asked as he held his glass to the light shining from one costumed girl’s bare chest. “She really does have enlightened bosoms.”
By midnight, Calvin Klein, Dori Cooperman, Ron Perelman and Donna Karan had all gone home, but nightcrawlers Mary-Kate Olsen, Lance Armstrong (ex Tory Burch had come and gone) and skateboard pro Tony Hawk partied on until the early morning. As for Rowley, she woke up with singed ends and frosting in her hair.