Home Page / Insights

Dispatch: Cinema Society Screening of Salmon Fishing in The Yemen

Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt discuss the new film at the Opium-fueled afterparty.

March 09, 2012

Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor

Could there be any possible connection between the new fly-fishing flick Salmon Fishing in The Yemen (CBS Films) and Yves Saint Laurent’s exotic Opium eau? Yes, in fact, there could. Saint Laurent spent much time at his fabulous palace in Morocco and the film was shot in that North African country, albeit a rocky desert region resembling Yemen.

Dispatches had never actually smelled Opium until the Yves Saint Laurent-sponsored screening of the film at the Crosby Street Hotel on Thursday. Though Opium is a woman’s scent, it is deliciously sweet and masculine, not unlike the film’s story of a sheik from Yemen who decides he wants to dam up a river so that he and his people can fly-fish for salmon in Yemen—a quixotic task with a price tag ended by many, many zeros.

According to Simon Beaufoy, the author of the script, based on a beloved British book, “The Yemen” is how the country was known on old maps. It is now simply “Yemen.” Learn something new every day.       

Meanwhile, the charming and talented Emily Blunt had to learn Mandarin for the film, “which is a pretty big skill,” she told Dispatches at the Cinema Society screening. "I don’t know how to talk about anything else in Mandarin but salmon,” indicated Blunt. “But I do know how to do that.” Apparently, Blunt’s Mandarin teacher rattled off her lines with such speed that Blunt told her, “God, we’re just going to have to go at an idiot's pace."   

  >>See more photos from the screening and afterparty

To play the “fishery specialist” who’s tasked with transferring 10,000 Scottish salmon to the Yemen desert, Ewan McGregor had some research of his own to do. Of learning to cast a fly rod, McGregor commented, “It can be quite difficult.” The Scottish actor added that in his home country, where the film was partly shot, gamekeepers, hunters, and fishers are referred to as “gillies.” “Our fly-fisherman teacher up there was Billy—Billy the Gillie,” said McGregor.      

If you don’t completely buy the love story, which turns on a dime, you will fall in love with the Scottish countryside and Yemen (really the Moroccan outback), which was somewhat less hospitable than Scotland, to the salmon at least.   

The fly-fishing sheik invites McGregor and Blunt to stay at his monumental country estate, which, after a bit of research, turns out to be, at least for the stately exterior shots, Ardverikie Estate on Loch Laggan in Scotland, where one can actually rent a house or, if the timing is right, get married.       

“It’s a rather famous stately home up there next to a beautiful loch,” McGregor told Dispatches. If anyone plans a wedding there, please invite moi.         

Also spotted: Helena Christensen, Patricia Clarkson, who sat on a couch gabbing with Blunt for ages, Greta Gerwig, Carlos Leon, Debbie Harry, and Vanessa von Bismarck, preggers with her second child, as well as an equally pregnant Julia Restoin Roitfeld.  

And at the Grey Goose Cherry Noir-fueled cocktail afterparty, the Cinema Society not only passed out Opium, they also served—wait for it—smoked SALMON blini with caviar, as well as dates wrapped in bacon with blue cheese.

—Jeffrey Slonim


Retro Sunglasses for Men

Four chic shades inspired by iconic men of the '50s and '60s—from Marlon Brando to Hunter S. Thompson.

March 09, 2012

The finishing touch to a sharp spring look is, unquestionably, a sleek pair of sunglasses. For that, the best sartorial inspiration comes via the 1950s and '60s. And before there was Don Draper there was Brando, McQueen, Mastroianni, and Thompson. We're mad for all four of these men, and their shades.


Stone Rose Lounge Debuts Lunch

The chic nightclub begins lunch service with comfort food and seasonal cocktails.

March 09, 2012

Lobster roll and chips at Stone Rose Lounge

Chef Marc Murphy of Benchmarc Restaurants introduces a new lunch menu to the Stone Rose Lounge in Columbus Circle, including a selection of classic comfort food: roasted tomato soup, lobster rolls, and chicken chili nachos. Lunch will be served Saturday and Sunday from 1 PM to 5 PM, beginning this Saturday, March 10. Specialty spring cocktails like the grapefruit basil martini will also be debuted at the new lunch service. Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, 4th Floor.

—Jessica Ferri


Tasting the World at the New York Wine Expo

Find out which wines drew the largest crowds and pick up a bottle tonight.

March 08, 2012

It may have been called the New York Wine Expo, but the grand tasting at the Jacob Javits Center was home to the world. Wines from the nearby Finger Lakes were represented alongside sips from Greece and Tuscany, as well as small bites like Dutch cheese and Belgian chocolate.

With the breadth of wines represented, the ability to identify a wine region that didn’t have a booth at the expo would be a serious testament to one’s geographical prowess. France had a number of tables, including Côtes de Rhône, Champagne, and French Wine for the Modern World, which included Renée-Hugues Gay Wines. The wines of Portugal booth showed the crowd that Portugal had more to offer than  just port wine, and the New Zealanders sampled their distinctive sauvignon blancs. 

Of the more surprising finds was the South African wines booth, where Jam Jar’s sweet Shiraz caused a stir among thirsty oenophiles. People also continuously flocked to the Argentinean booth for a taste of Zorzal Wines. From the infamous La Strada del Vino (SR 222) road in Tuscany’s Terre di Arezzo region, superb Chiantis and photographs of chateaus and cooking classes under the Tuscan sun drew crowds in. 

The United States was not forgotten. Finger Lakes had a large presence that showcased its award-winning Rieslings, as well as its almond and butter-laden Finger Lakes Harvest Wine Cake. Producers from all over California were on hand with samples of everything from Napa cabernet sauvignons to lesser-known finds, such as the Kenneth Volk Malvasia Bianca from Monterey.

Attracting nearly every female expo-goer was Happy Bitch Wines. In addition to sampling an easy-to-drink rosé, the two New York vintners (who use only local grapes) were also giving out thongs. And they weren’t the only female winemakers at the expo: Middle Sister brought its Sweet & Sassy moscato.

Spectators were also greeted with some unusual options, such as Tre Olive Adopt an Olive Tree, where you can buy your very own olive tree and reap the extra virgin olive oil rewards season after season. New England Stoppers offered some attractive ways to keep wine fresh, while Dutch cheese, Guylian Belgium Chocolate, and Wine Lover’s Chocolate kept everyone’s hunger at bay.

In all, the fifth annual expo was a huge success, with a significant increase in participants (approximately 4,000) over last year’s event. Drink up, New York.


The Paris Review Spring Revel

The magazine celebrates spring and its 200th issue at Cipriani 42nd Street.

March 07, 2012

Iconic New York literary magazine The Paris Review will have much to celebrate at its annual ball, the Spring Revel. The spring 2012 issue marks its 200th! At this year's Revel, comedian David Cross will announce the Terry Southern Prize for Humor and novelist Mona Simpson will announce the George Plimpton Prize for Fiction. The event will take place Tuesday, April 3 at Cipriani 42nd Street. Tickets start at $500 with tables available and considered a gift to The Paris Review.

—Jessica Ferri


Sisterhood and Single Malt

Celebrate International Women's Day at Lani Kai's women and whisky night.

March 06, 2012

In honor of International Women's Day, Lani Kai will toast female empowerment with delicious cocktails at Whisky & Women Unite on Thursday (6 PM to 8 PM). Two dollars from the sale of each drink ($8, each) will go straight to Bottomless Closet, an organization that works to help women find fulfilling careers. 525 Broome St., 917-224-1415; RSVP to debbie@thecollective-pr.com or jneugeboren@gmail.com

—Jessica Ferri


Tech Toy: An iPhone Camera Clip-On

Transform your iPhone into a fully functioning camera with the Gizmon iCA Rangefinder.

March 06, 2012

The clip-on Gizmon iCA Rangefinder for iPhone 4/4S ($65–$95) supplies your phone’s camera with a shutter button, viewfinder, tripod mount, and apertures. Magnetic lenses are also available for zoom, macro, and fisheye effects. In addition to all of its features, this accessory also functions as a cover to protect your iPhone. photojojo.com


A Solid Gold Hermès Kelly Bag

Leave it to Hermès to design a handbag that necessitates a bodyguard, or two.

March 05, 2012

Hermès has unveiled a set of four new handbags, inspired by the brand's most iconic shapes, each made of solid gold and encrusted with variety of precious stones. This crocodile and gold Kelly bag sells for 1.5 million Euros, or 1.98 million dollars, and is encrusted with 1,160 diamonds. The designer, Pierre Hardy, when asked by the Financial Times who would carry the handbag, replied that he didn't know, but "maybe they will have two bodyguards!"

—Jessica Ferri


The School of American Ballet Winter Ball

A glimpse at this year’s ball, inspired by classical Russian ballet and a dazzling new collection by Van Cleef & Arpels.

March 05, 2012

Today, The School of American Ballet (SAB) celebrates its Winter Ball, the school’s highest profile annual event. Held at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, the glamorous, black-tie dinner-dance is attended by 500 patrons, including SAB board members and alumni and leaders of New York’s corporate and social communities. The evening's theme is inspired by Russia and sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels' Bals de Légende collection. New York City Ballet and SAB alumna Melinda Roy has choreographed a special, one-time-only performance by the advanced students of SAB to serve as the night’s entertainment. We spoke to SAB executive director Marjorie Van Dercook about the ball, the collection, and how to score a seat at the coveted event.

How long has the Winter Ball been an annual tradition for the SAB?
MARJORIE VAN DERCOOK: This year marks SAB’s Eighth Winter Ball. SAB board members and special events co-chairs at the time [of the inaugural Winter Ball], Coco Kopelman and Liz Peek, conceived of the idea of a festive, glamorous dinner-dance with a pièce d’occasionperformed by the SAB students.

  A brooch from the Van Cleef & Arpels Bal de Légende collection

How does this year’s theme, and the Van Cleef & ArpelsBals de Légende collection, connect to the school’s history?
This year’s Winter Ball celebrates ballet’s, and SAB’s, Russian heritage. SAB founder George Balanchine was born in St. Petersburg [Russia] and the classical ballet training he received as a boy at the Imperial School greatly influenced him. When he started SAB, he made sure that classical Russian training was the foundation of the curriculum, and it is still the way the young children at SAB are trained.

The Russian theme was a perfect fit for Van Cleef & Arpels’ new Bals de Légende collection. One of the famous balls depicted in the collection is Le Bal du Palais d'Hiver, which was held in St. Petersburg in 1903. Winter Ball Co-Chairs Diana DiMenna, Julia Koch, and Betsy Pitts worked with Ron Wendt Design to transform the David H. Koch Theater into a magical Russian palace.

Tell us about the performance choreographed by Melinda Roy. 
MVD: The pièce d’occasion performed by SAB’s advanced students is one of the highlights of the evening. [Melinda Roy] has created a charming and fun dance to an original piece of music by Yegor Aleksandrovich Romanov of the New Orleans’ Russian Mafia Band.

Are tickets still available? How does attending the Winter Ball help support SAB?
Yes! Tickets are $1,500, $2,500, and $5,000 and can be purchased by calling 212-769-6610. Proceeds from the Winter Ball support the School of American Ballet’s extensive outreach and scholarship program, renowned faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and an array of student services outside the ballet studio.

—Jessica Ferri


The Biggest Whitney Biennial Ever

The museum dedicates nearly an entire floor to American art for the 67th Biennial.

March 05, 2012

The Whitney Biennial celebrates the state of contemporary American art, featuring work from artists all over the United States, both established and up-and-coming. This year marks the 67th Biennial since the museum opened in 1932. A full calendar of music, dance, and theater events is planned in coordination with the exhibit, and the museum has, for the first time, dedicated nearly all of the square-footage of its fourth-flour to the festivities, making this Whitney Biennial the largest ever. The exhibit runs through May 27, with portions continuing on through June 10. 945 Madison Ave.

—Jessica Ferri

Around The Web
Aspen Peak Magazine Austin Way Magazine Boston Common Magazine Capitol File Magazine Gotham Magazine Hamptons Magazine Los Angeles Confidential Michigan Avenue Magazine Ocean Drive Magazine Philadelphia Style Magazine Vegas Magazine