“The performance was spectacular,” Anne Bass said at the dinner following the Career Transitions for Dancers Benefit.
For a moment, it wasn’t clear whether Bass, the evening’s honoree along with Peter Martins, was talking about the dancing or about the firefighters who, only moments before, had nearly trampled her outside the Essex Hotel ballroom, as they raced with a gurney into the hotel kitchen.
It wasn’t the last of the night’s excitement. During the dinner auction, a bidding war developed over a pair of Vanity Fair Oscar party tickets, which Christie’s James Bruce-Gardyne ratcheted up to a staggering $9,500.
“Everybody wants to be near the stars,” Mercedes Ellington said.
The following night, Casita Maria threw its annual Fiesta at the Plaza, this time honoring Oscar de la Hoya, Agnes Gund and Carroll Petrie.
“I’m dying,” said a hoarse Daisy Soros. “Everybody decided to have a party this week.”
Across town, Joaquin Phoenix hosted a supper at Light following a screening of “Quills,” his new fim about the life of the Marquis de Sade, in which he stars opposite Kate Winslet.
“I’m speechless,” Sophie Dahl said afterward, twisting her hands and grimacing while her new beau, Griffin Dunne, greeted Phoenix with a bear hug. “It was so intense.”
Nearby, Phoenix’s good friend Casey Affleck nuzzled with Summer Phoenix, Joaquin’s sister, on a banquette.
“Survivor” cast members Gervase Peterson and Greg Buis also turned up for some action. “We just heard this lounge was a cool place,” said Peterson, who hasn’t quite adapted to New York party time. “We came long before the party ever got here.”