“There’s not high art and low art, there’s good art and bad art,” said Philip Glass, grinning like a Cheshire cat. The influential composer celebrated his 80th birthday, which actually fell on Jan. 31, with a Carnegie Hall concert Thursday benefiting the Tibet House.
Performers at the sold-out show included the man of hour, of course, as well as Ben Harper, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith and Alabama Shakes, among others. After the concert, the arty crowd filtered down to Gotham Hall for an elegant and eclectic after party and buffet-style dinner, which, given the late hour, was more aptly a midnight snack.
“I worked in Hollywood in the Eighties and Nineties and I did maybe thirty scores,” said the minimalist composer who kept cozy in a casual cashmere zip-up sweater. “People say it’s commercial, yes, but it can sell — so what? I met Woody Allen, Marty Scorsese and worked with those people. These are important, talented people and they make big contributions to our country.”
Inside the soiree, Tibetan monks in traditional robes dined alongside dolled-up ladies in ball gowns as a thumping baseline of modern world music filled the towering ballroom. Gulping down the contents of nearly an entire glass of beer, an older woman exclaimed to her friend, “I needed that after the concert — it was just too emotional.”
Honorary chairs Uma Thurman, Peter Sarsgaard, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Chuck Close joined the hodgepodge crowd for the mellow affair, which lasted into the wee hours of Friday morning.