Angelenos rang in the Lunar New Year in style Friday night as Michael Chow, the restaurateur, artist and collector, hosted an epic dinner and dancing party to celebrate Mr Chow’s 50th anniversary. The celebration, held at Chow’s art studio in downtown Los Angeles, drew a lengthy list of friends including Ricky Martin, Heidi Klum, Al Pacino, Stevie Wonder, Chris Rock, Quincy Jones, Adrien Brody and Olivia Wilde. “I feel like I’m living the Eighties all over again,” exclaimed Eric Buterbaugh, as Jerry Hall, Anjelica Huston, Tatum O’Neal, Kenny Scharf and Billy Idol made their way inside.
Surrounded by his children Asia, China and Maximilian, and his new partner Vanessa Rano, Chow, seated in the crook of a giant white sectional settee, played impresario in the 57,000-square-foot converted warehouse, whose back courtyard was transformed into an outsize dining room, lounge and discotheque, complete with a black-and-white checkerboard floor and Andy Warhol silver pillow balloon-lined ceiling.
“Dad, Quincy is ready to eat. Do you want to come over to his table and say hi?,” said China of the music mogul family friend. “No, no. I will sit here; let everyone come over to me,” he replied.
The Hollywood contingent included Mickey Sumner, Fuschia Kate Sumner, Mickey Rourke, Zoe Cassavetes, Miranda July, Mike Mills, Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Sophia Bush, Camilla Belle, Ben Robson, Julian Sands, Mia Maestro, Lorraine Nicholson, Mitch Glazer, Kelly Lynch, Irving and Jackie Blum, Liz Goldwyn, Kimberly Ovitz, Gus Van Sant, Kathy Hilton and Richard Hilton. Mark Ronson, Mia Moretti, Lyor Cohen, Rick Rubin and Lil Buck rounded out the music crowd, while Misha Nonoo, Greg Chait, Maryam Malakpour, Stephanie Danan, Justin Kern, Rebecca de Ravenel, Jasmin Shokrian, Laure Hériard Dubreuil, Johnson Hartig and Nicholas Kirkwood repped the designer quotient.
But the art world denizens were perhaps the biggest group present. Chow, whose father Zhou Xinfang, was a grandmaster of Beijing Opera, developed an early passion for the arts, which he integrated into his first Mr Chow restaurant, opened in 1968 in Knightsbridge, London. Passionately promoting the greatness of China, Chow orchestrated art, architecture, design and cuisine into a participatory theater in each of his eight restaurants.
In 2011, he returned to one of his first loves, painting, and in 2015, his solo show “Voice for My Father,” exhibited at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, followed by shows at the Power Station Museum in Shanghai and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
On Friday, Alex Israel, Paul McCarthy, Sterling Ruby, Niki Haas, Simon Haas, Aaron Young, Yi Zhou, Doug Aitken, Larry Bell, Rosson Crow, William Thomas Eggleston III, Piero Golia, Konstantin Kakanias, Bruce Wagner, Kulapat Yantrasast, Willo Perron and Sam Falls were among the fellow artists taking in the theatrics, which included an introduction by Jeffrey Deitch, a film starring Ken Jeong as a Mr. Chow impersonator, and a traditional Chinese dragon dance.
Chow sent everyone home with a copy of his commemorative book and a poster of one of his artworks. As for the life-size Urs Fischer wax candle in his likeness, which guests took turns posing with while wearing round black spectacles that were being passed out on trays, Chow said, “Oh, anyone can buy one of those. They’re for sale.”