Dispatch: Damsels in Distress and Girls
From Damsels to Girls to Streep onstage, last week belonged to the ladies.
April 09, 2012
Adam Brody, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Greta Gerwig, Whit Stillman, Carrie MacLemore, Analeigh Tipiton, and Billy Magnussen
Damsels in Distress
Busy week last week. Nineties-era indie filmmaker Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, Barcelona), one of Dispatches' favorite directors, returned from a decade-long hiatus on Monday with the debut of Damsels in Distress, a wacky tale that takes place at Seven Oaks, a nondescript East Coast college in the process of going co-ed.
Town and Country magazine sponsored the premiere. And Stillman mentioned that the film lampoons Harvard. The alarmingly casual use of behemoth SAT words by Greta Gerwig’s character, Violet, is the giveaway. "I suffered under the grim pre-Damsels period," Stillman informed Dispatches, speaking of his all-guy Harvard days.
"Harvard had a Damsels period after my time. I went back, and everyone was really amused with these girls who wore strong French perfume and changed the social life.”
The air conditioning in the screening room was out and the squirm factor was high in what felt like an unedited John Waters feature written in Stillman-speak. Still, Gerwig was enthusiastic. "It was my favorite character that I've played to date," she told Dispatches. "[Violet’s] so crazy and big-hearted and wild and contradictory."
Damsels introduces a new generation to Stillman. Adam Brody, who plays Charlie Walker, a player, said Barcelona is his favorite Stillman flick. "Whit writes highly literate dialog," he said.
If you're a Whit-lover, Damsels is a must, but throw back a few cocktails first.
Sting, Sir Elton John, Trudie Styler, and Tom Hanks at Rock the Rainforest
The Revlon Concert for the Rainforest Fund
Tuesday's Revlon-sponsored Rainforest Fund biennial concert at Carnegie Hall was followed by an elegant dinner at The Pierre. Fund founder Trudie Styler wore a white dress by Pucci, and James Taylor indicated that Styler is the queen bee. "Trudie rules things with an iron fist," he said. "It's her baby."
At Carnegie Hall, Bruno Mars, Sir Elton John, Rita Wilson, Jennifer Hudson, and even Meryl Streep sang. Tom Hanks, who showed up at the dinner with Wilson, told Dispatches he’d never been to Carnegie Hall. "It was fabulous," he said. "I can’t stop smiling," added Wilson. "Jennifer Hudson is so insanely, once-in-a-lifetime talented."
"Bruno Mars is a real, lasting talent," said John. "And I didn't know Channing Tatum [also onstage] could dance.”
Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham, and Allison Williams
Finally, on Wednesday, HBO premiered its new series Girls, written and directed by Lena Dunham. Judd Apatow, who produces Girls, had never heard of Dunham until he saw her Brooklyn-shot feature Tiny Furniture at Sundance. "I didn't know the actress in the movie wrote it and directed it. And I looked at the credits and said, 'Oh! She did everything, and it cost $45,000!'"
Girls is a Sex and the City for the job-free generation: less fashion, more ho-hum sex. The female stars are, for the most part, the daughters of well-known fathers. "My father has yet to see it," said Zosia Mamet, daughter of playwright and filmmaker David Mamet. "But he will be tuning in on Sunday." (Most will recognize Zosia from Mad Men. She currently plays Joyce Ramsay, Life magazine photo editor and gal pal of Peggy Olson.)
"I was a little bit nervous about the more intimate scenes," mentioned Allison Williams, daughter of NBC newsman Brian Williams, who gets horizontal on camera. "But he handled it like a pro,” she said. “He’s really happy for me."
photographs by Dimitrios Kambouris (Damsels, Girls); Kevin Mazur (Rock the Rainforest)