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Dispatch: A Marathon of Parties

Jeffrey Slonim wades through the week in parties, from Tribeca Film to Turnaround for Children.

April 23, 2012

FROM LEFT: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Leelee Sobieski, and Adam Kimmel; Robert De Niro and Grace Jones at Vanity Fair's Tribeca Film Festival opening night party

Monday, April 16. I woke up to 90-degree weather in Boston. My wife had gotten up early to run the Boston Marathon, making me feel slothful. At noon, I positioned myself a mile from the finish line and watched five or six runners pass on stretchers with oxygen masks. A marathon and 90-degree heat do not mix. Of the women, my wife finished 1,500, but vowed never to run Heartbreak Hill again.

Vanity Fair Tribeca Film Festival Party
Back in New York on Tuesday, Vanity Fair held its kick-off dinner for the Tribeca Film Festival, hosted by Graydon Carter with Ron Perelman, who wore a white baseball cap with a P on the front, and Robert De Niro.  

Thomas Keller, who founded The French Laundry in Napa and Per Se in New York, had on a long white apron that looked a lot like the Jil Sander number Leelee Sobieski was wearing.

“Do I look like a nurse tonight?” she asked. Yup.

“I have to go and have a cocktail,” said Katie Couric, breaking away from reporters.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus made fun of me when I asked her who she was wearing and repeated her answer (Alaïa) into my tape recorder. She aped me, talking into her hand. Funny. 

Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber, Donna Karan, Chris Cuomo, Goldie Hawn, Dr. Pamela Cantor, and Simone Levinson at Turnaround for Children

Turnaround for Children Benefit
On Wednesday, Dispatches was seated at social powerhouse Simone Levinson’s table at the Turnaround for Children benefit at The Plaza. This is a charity that partners with high-poverty, low-performing public schools in New York City. They help teachers gain the skills to reverse the negative effects of poverty on young schoolchildren.

I sat next to Celerie Kemble, one of my favorite interior designers, so that was fun. But one of the most dramatic moments was when Levinson herself lost a scarab the size of The Plaza from her bracelet. Chris Cuomo, at the podium, got the crowd to scan the floor and it was returned—phew. The night’s auction earnings will go toward funding for Turnaround programs at six new schools.

Zac Efron and Dave Zinczenko at a screening of The Lucky One

The Lucky One Screening
I was off to the Crosby Street Hotel for the Men’s Health screening of The Lucky One on Thursday. Zac Efron stars in the weepy Hollywood romance debuted by The Cinema Society. The film has tons of clichés, and it is fairly obvious where it is going, but thank God it was dark, because, by the end, I was choking back sobs.

And did Efron buff up? “He had to,” said director Scott Hicks. “He was clearly not a marine when I met him, and he was when I finished.”

Blythe Danner also had kind words for Efron. She plays the mother of Efron’s love interest in the film. “Having had dinner with him and his mother,” she said, "I find that he’s very good to his mother, and to me that wins my heart.”

When asked about having bulk up for the role, Efron said, “It was a pretty heavy training regimen. I had a trainer full-time throughout the entire process of filming, a Navy Seal. I also was eating a lot of calories per day. I used a company called Zen Foods out of LA. They sent me meals.”    

When the lenspeople finished shooting snaps of Zac, he rubbed his eyes like they hurt. Dispatches couldn’t help thinking how many dudes over the years (James Dean, Elvis) have gone before him.

He’s likely the next breakout hunk.

—Jeffrey Slonim


The Ultimate Cruise for Foodies

Set sail with the James Beard Foundation and Martin Yan this autumn.

April 23, 2012

If you've always wanted to learn more about Asian cuisine, there’s no better way to do it than on a 12-day James Beard Foundation-sponsored culinary cruise from Beijing to Tokyo.

In honor of the James Beard Foundation's 125th anniversary, the cruise (Sept. 23–Oct. 4) will feature lunches, dinners, classes, and more with the delightful chef Martin Yan. Destinations include the southern Japanese city of Kagoshima; the island destination of Jeju, South Korea; and Shanghai. In addition to exploring these cities, guests aboard the cruise will receive cooking classes with chef Yan, who is known for his Beijing restaurant and his television show and website Yan Can Cook.

Silversea Cruises was named the best cruise line for luxury small ships in 2011 by the Luxury Travel Advisor Awards. Reservations ($6,899 per person) are sure to book up soon!

Reservations can be made by calling 800-729-7472 x217, or emailing pauline@pisabrothers.cpm

—Jessica Ferri


Shop the Design on a Dime VIP Opening

Support Housing works and shop an interior wonderland assembled by the industry’s top talent.

April 23, 2012

Iman and Petra Nemcova at the opening night reception of the 2011 Design on a Dime showcase

Get a first look at the interior spectacles showcased at this year’s Design on a Dime show at an opening night reception and VIP preview on Thursday, April 26. Benefiting the Housing Works “Get a Room” initiative, which provides HIV positive New Yorkers in need with lifesaving services, the annual design show pools the world’s top design talent together to create eclectic room vignettes with Housing Works merchandise. The best part? Everything is for sale!

Opening night for the eighth annual event promises to be a philanthropically star-studded event: last year’s guest list included Iman, Nate Berkus, Petra Nemcova, June Ambrose, and Andy Cohen. This year, Design on a Dime founding chair James Huniford will be joined by co-chairs Evette Rios, Charlotte Moss, and Lara Spencer. For tickets ($150 to $5,000) to the opening night reception, visit housingworks.org. For more information, email l.acunzo@housingworks.or.

—Jessica Ferri
photograph by Jemal Countess/gettyimages.com


New Swim Shop: Zimmerman

The Australian swimwear line’s first East Coast store is chock-full of trendy summer suits.

April 22, 2012

Just in time for Hamptons season, upscale swimwear line Zimmerman recently opened its first East Coast store at 87 Mercer Street. Swimwear styles in Zimmerman’s summer collection include polka dot, leopard print, and geometric patterned bikinis—there’s even a bikini with a peplum-style bottom. Zimmerman also sells a ready-to-wear summer essentials, such as dainty dresses perfect for a beachside cocktail and long, glamorous maxi dresses for a warm night out on the town. 87 Mercer St., 212-226-6440

—Jessica Ferri


Dinner Plans: Italian Nibbles at Caffè Storico

The small bites at The New York Historical Society restaurant are as stylish as its artsy décor.

April 20, 2012

As part of its recent renovation, the New York Historical Society has gained a gorgeous restaurant, Caffè Storico, from restaurateur Stephen Starr of Buddakan and Morimoto. Chef Jim Burke serves traditional Italian fare (Storico is Italian for "historic") in the form of small plates, or cicchetti, and handmade pastas.

While one could easily make a meal out of bites like veal tartare, arancini, rabbit porchetta, fava bean and walnut crostini, and langostino fritto, it would be a shame to miss out on entrées like black truffle fonduta gnocchi or spicy tomato cioppino. The wine list is 100 percent Italian and boasts over 50 bottles, with 20 available by the glass, plus a full bar.

The atmosphere in Caffè Storico is not unlike the rest of the museum: most of the Society's porcelain collection is on display as part of the restaurant's décor. Stop by after a trip to the museum for lunch, dinner, or, on Saturday and Sunday, brunch. 170 Central Park West, 212-873-3400


Tribeca Film and Food Pairings

Dinner and movie duos to take your Tribeca Film Festival experience to the next level.

April 19, 2012

Ants on a log, or bone marrow with snails, garlic, and parsley, at David Burke Kitchen

1. Struck by Lightning and David Burke Kitchen

The Film: The story of a small-town high-school senior whose big-city dreams are interrupted by his untimely death. “I want to be the editor of The New Yorker and the youngest freelancer to be published in The New York Times,” says main character Carson Phillips (Glee’s Chris Colfer). Told through flashbacks, the film also stars Rebel Wilson, as the hilarious best friend, and Sarah Hyland, as a spot-on mean-girl cheerleader.

The Fare: Satisfy your inner high schooler with David Burke’s grown-up snacks and re-imagined junk food. Juicy sliders are a good place to start, followed by tuna tartare tacos with tobiko caviar, and ants on a log (bone marrow, snails, parsley, and garlic). For dessert, try the Boston cream doughnuts, fancy candybars, and boozy pull-apart monkey bread for four. 23 Grand St., 212-201-9119; davidburkekitchen.com

2. First Winter and Lani Kai

The Film: A group of Brooklyn hipsters living in a country farmhouse must put aside their usual pastimes of sex, drugs, and yoga in order to survive a snowpocalyptic blackout.

The Fare: Flaming tiki drinks and Spam-alicious small bites, because fire and non-perishable foods are essential during any snowpocalyptic blackout. Order the turntable pupu platter with four Hawaiian tapas of your choosing. We suggest the crispy okonomaki pancakes topped with house-made spam, cabbage, bonito, and special sauce, the cheesy crab wontons, and the yakitori with huli huli sauce. 525 Broome St., 646-596-8778; lanikainy.com

3. While We Were Here and Locanda Verde

The Film: In the hopes of rekindling her failing marriage and breaking through a bad case of writer’s block, a young author (Kate Bosworth) accompanies her musician husband on a work trip to Naples, where she inconveniently falls into an emotional affair with a handsome American expat.

The Fare: Sexy Italian comfort food at chef Andrew Carmellini and Robert De Niro’s Locanda Verde, where popular starters like sheep’s milk ricotta and lamb meatball sliders are popular for a reason: they’re delicious. Also try Carmellini’s grandmother’s ravioli, meaty pockets of joy that have the power to console all manner of broken hearts. End with gelati and a perfectly-pulled shot of espresso. 377 Greenwich St., 212-925-3797; locandaverdenyc.com

4. Mansome and Blaue Gans

The Film: A comedic documentary on male grooming (from back-waxing to pedicures) and the current “state of mandom,” starring Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Zach Galifianakis, Paul Rudd, Judd Apatow, and Morgan Spurlock.

The Fare: A feast of German beer, schnitzel, and sausage to prove that, even though you may indulge a pedicure every now and then, you’re no girly man. Try the sausage sampler of bratwurst, cheesy kaserkrainer, currywurst, and blanc weisswurst. Blood sausage, bread dumplings, and spaetzle are also musts. 139 Duane St., 212-571-8880; kg-ny.com/blaue-gans

  Niku-Uni at Takashi

5. Broke and Mr. Chow

The Film: A riches-to-rags documentary profiling pro-athletes, such as Jamal Mashburn, Bernie Kosar, and Andre Rison, who give new meaning to the phrase, “more money, more problems.”

The Fare: You’ll find plenty of baller-approved Champagne, Chinese delicacies, and delights at Mr. Chow. Though it’s true that better dim sum can be had elsewhere, Chow stands out for its über-luxe atmosphere, celebrity following, bowtie-clad waiters, and Julian Schnabel artwork. We recommend the shareable three-course Beijing duck dinner. And pour a glass of Dom out for the stars of Broke, will you? 121 Hudson St., 212-965-9500; mrchow.com

6. Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal and Takashi

The Film: Lars is an artist in search of inspiration. He takes a teaching position at an art school that leads to another job looking after a mute, Eddie. As Lars and Eddie become friends, Lars learns that Eddie is a sleepwalker—who snacks on humans. The dilemma? Witnessing Eddie’s cannibalism sends a surge of artistic inspiration through Lars that he’s compelled to encourage.

The Fare: Nasty bits served raw and grilled by you. Start with the silky chuck flap tartare or Niku-Uni—chuck flap and uni on a crisp shiso leaf—and then grill up a selection of everything from tongue to sweetbreads to beef belly to heart. It’s not quite cannibalism, but there’s considerably less clean up. 456 Hudson St., 212-414-2929; takashinyc.com

7. Deadfall and Tamarind

The Film: An “icy thriller” set during a blizzard and starring Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde on the run after knocking off a casino. Along the way, the pair gets mixed up with a family welcoming their son home from prison for the holidays. Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson play the proud parents and unpredictable twists ensue.

The Fare: If the film’s chilly setting has you craving heat, Tamarind is your target. Start with a ginger and pepper martini followed by lamb kebab spiked with 36 Indian spices; lobster soup with cognac and cayenne pepper; and jumbo prawns with spicy red chili, garlic, cumin, and black peppercorns. Order plenty of roti and garlic naan for mopping. 99 Hudson St., 212-775-9000; tamarinde22.com

8. Wavumba and Brushstroke

The Film: A documentary film about Masoud, an old Kenyan fisherman who teaches his grandson the family trade while in pursuit of what could be his last great catch. Punctuated by tales from Masoud’s glory days and scenery that drips with saturated color, the film is a feast for the soul and the eyes.

The Fare: Complexly crafted fruits of the sea on Brushstroke’s ten-course spring kaiseki artisanal menu. Start with a delicate chawanmushi with Florida pink shrimp, followed by a parade of Japanese whimsies ranging from the chef’s selection of sashimi to tilefish steamed in cherry blossom leaves to grilled black cod with uni, Dungeness crab, tomato-infused maple syrup, and broccoli rabe purée. 30 Hudson St., 212-791-3771; davidbouley.com

For theaters and showtimes, or more information on this year's Tribeca Film Festival, visit tribecaflim.com

—april walloga


Weekend Recommender: April 20-24

Shop new works by Damien Hirst, see a flamenco-fueled ballet, and dine with Tom Colicchio for a cause.

April 19, 2012

Tom Colicchio hosts the Bellevue Hospital Toast the Children Gala next Tuesday

Affordable Art Fair
Thursday through Sunday, April 19–22, hours vary
Damien Hirst is debuting a limited edition art series using a mod “spot technique” at the eleventh annual Affordable Art Fair. In addition to Hirst’s new works, the fair showcases a plethora of contemporary painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography, and more at prices ranging from $100 to $10,000. Of the 75 participating galleries, 23 are New York-based—so shop local! $12 admission.7 W. 34 th St.; affordableartfair.us    

The Barcelona Ballet
Friday, April 20, 8 PM
The company of the Barcelona Ballet will dance the world premiere of Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez’s flamenco-inspired Pálpito, Clark Tippet’s Bruch Violin Concerto, and Christopher Wheeldon’s For 4. $25 and up. New York City Center, 131 W. 55th St., 212-581-1212; citycenter.org

Barbara Cook at Feinstein’s
Saturday, April 21, 8 PM
Attend the closing night of Broadway legend Barbara Cook’s “Let’s Fall in Love” show at Feinstein’s. The recent Kennedy Center honoree, last seen on the stage of Roundabout Theater’s Sondheim on Sondheim, will perform a mix of pop, Broadway, and jazz classics. $72 and up. Feinstein's at the Lowes Regency Hotel, 540 Park Ave., 212-339-4095; ticketweb.com

Toast the Children Gala with Tom Colicchio
Tuesday, April 24, 7:30 PM
Top Chef
judge and chef Tom Colicchio will host the annual Bellevue Hospital Toast the Children gala at his scenic Riverpark restaurant. The evening promises tastings from more than 17 New York restaurants, such as Craft, Pearl Oyster Bar, Hearth, and more. $275. 450 East 29th St.; childrenofbellevue.org


Spring Tippling at Gotham Bar & Grill

Get an early start to the weekend with cocktails combining fresh fruit and small-batch liquor.

April 19, 2012

The Garden Party

With nearly 200 different liquors, you're sure to find a signature spring cocktail at Gotham Bar & Grill. In planning for the (hopefully) warm weather to come, the restaurant and bar has released a few new specialty spring cocktails to whet your appetite. The Garden Party cocktail ($16) is made of fresh carrot juice, Double Cross Vodka, Domaine De Canton, citrus, and mint. If you're in the mood for something lighter, try the Sheila Takes a Bow ($15), a concoction of Death's Door gin, Cocchi Americano aperitif, Bonal Gentian-Quina, also an aperitif, and fresh grapefruit juice. For day-drinkers, there's also a new two-course prix fix greenmarket lunch ($25). 12 East 12th St., 212-620-4020

—Jessica Ferri


An Insider's Guide to the Tribeca Film Festival

Advice from a festival veteran on how many films to see per day, how much time to budget for check-in, the best ticket packages, and more.

April 18, 2012

Nancy Schafer has served as the executive director of the Tribeca Film Festival since its inception, making this year's festival her eleventh. We spoke to Schafer about her insider tips for navigating the festival, from advice on timing to special events and packages.

Could you give us some background on the history of the festival?
NANCY SCHAFER: The festival started after 9/11. My bosses Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, and Craig Hatkoff wanted to bring people back downtown. So they decided to do a film festival, since film is what they know best. 

How many films is it possible for one person to see during the festival?
NS: Someone in the industry could see about four to five films a day. 

How much time should one budget for check-in and seating?
NS: In terms of a regular festivalgoer, they should be at any film festival screening 30 minutes early, because [our ticket sellers] need to see how many seats are filled so they can see how many tickets prior to the screening they still can sell. Also, about 30 minutes in advance allows you to get settled in before the screening.

Would you recommend purchasing tickets in advance?
NS: Absolutely. Most of the festival screenings do sell out. 

For those who want to see more than a few films, which of the four ticket packages would you recommend?
NS: The Programmers Pick pass, for $300, gets you an equivalent of twelve tickets and includes all specialty events and talks.

What theaters participate in the festival?
NS: The main theaters are in Chelsea and Tribeca. Most screenings happen at Chelsea Clearview Cinema, where we have six screens. The School of Visual Arts has two screens and, in the East Village, AMC Loews Village 7 has three screens. Downtown they use BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

Which films or directors are you most excited about this year?
NS: I'm excited for everything, but what makes me happy is getting the audience to see the films and see their reactions. These are films that are near and dear to my heart. I've worked with the programming team to choose them and different people have different reactions and responses to them and it’s really good to see what the audience thinks.  

—Jessica Ferri


3 Promising New Pizzerias

From old-school to artisan to deep-fried, the pizza options just keep getting better this spring.

April 18, 2012

La Montanara fried pizza

In addition to the exciting news that Serafina has opened a new location at 7 Ninth Avenue and Little West Street, (now you can enjoy their famous black truffle pizza in the Meatpacking district!) there are a few other new restaurants serving unique and delicious pies this spring. 

La Montanara (Lower East Side): Two words: fried pizza. Restaurateur Giulio Adriani has brought La Montanara to the Lower East Side. You may have heard of his fried pies before; La Montanara joins his first restaurant, Forcella, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In addition to fried pies, you'll find regular classics like a margherita pie and an $11 prix fixe menu. 168 Ludlow St.

Ribalta (University Place): Ribalta is more than a pizza joint, it's also a pizza school. In fact, it's New York's first "Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli," the official pizza school that's dominated the art of pizza in Italy since the 1980s. But don't worry, you don't have to be a student to eat here. Ribalta boasts three different kinds of ovens—brick, wood burning, and stainless steel convection—for every kind of pizza persuasion. 48 East 12th St.

Don Antonio (Hell's Kitchen): Don Antonio is the brainchild of Kesté's Roberto Caporuscio and his mentor Antonio Starita, who is the owner of one of the oldest pizzerias in Naples. Though there are fried pizzas on the menu, the red pies are the real specialty here. If you are into old-school, traditional pies, Don Antonio is your spot. 309 West 50th St.

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