Dispatch: A Week of Premieres

July 26, 2012 | by —JEFFREY SLONIM
photography by patrickmcmullan.com
| Homepage


FROM LEFT: Kim Alexis, Beverly Johnson, Alva Chin and Nancy Donahue at the premiere of About Face: Supermodels Then and Now

As Manhattan becomes a great big broiler oven, the number of social events has dwindled. There was a mountainous premiere on Monday, July 16, but it was for a film title that this writer will likely never mention again—in a theater or not. To Dispatches, the moniker of the deeply violent blockbuster will forevermore recall that sad and dark incident on July 20, in Aurora, Colorado. And if it is true that the self-proclaimed “Joker” bought 6,000 rounds of ammunition online, then we are in for far more trouble as extremists and loons learn how easy it is to act out their violent fantasies.   

I found the previous picture in the series enormously difficult to view. In person, Heath Ledger had a unique charm, and I found it morbid to witness the madness of his final role so soon after his death. As was clear in Colorado and at Times Square theaters near my office, very young children are brought to these theaters. There should be a law against parents dragging toddlers to monstrously violent screenings. Enough said.        

On a lighter note, on Tuesday, July 17, next door to 21 Club, Dispatches caught the debut of the HBO documentary film About Face: Supermodels Then and Now at The Paley Center for Media. Director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders mentioned a connection between his previous documentary about porn stars and this portrayal of well-known models. “The women are in control,” he said. “There are very few industries where it is all about the women. And this is one of them.”   

The parade of famous faces (Beverly Johnson, Pat Cleveland) was impressive. Designer Calvin Klein walked in on the arm of his longtime pal Kim Alexis. On the life of a model, Klein noted, “They go to wonderful locations. They work with very creative people. It’s an exciting life.” 

“It’s a privilege,” added Alexis.   


FROM LEFT: Hamish Bowles and Lauren Greenfield; Kathy Hilton and Jackie Siegel at the premiere of The Queen of Versailles

And speaking of privilege, that same night, I zipped over to MoMA for a screening of The Queen of Versailles. It is the cautionary tale of a billionaire time-share mogul and his voluptuous blonde trophy wife, who build a tasteless 90,000-square-mile manse, the very largest in America, on the eve of the financial collapse. They end up with just a few servants, eight kids, and loads of dogs and unscooped poop on their acres of carpet. Former Mrs. Florida beauty pageant winner Jack Siegel, the documentary film’s lead subject, attended the screening but refused to talk to the press. But when she met Austin Hearst, a grandson of William Randolph Hearst, she was overheard admitting that she’d never heard of San Simeon (Hearst Castle). Afterward, at the Royalton, Siegel and Kathy Hilton powwowed in a booth for some time.       

And what did director Lauren Greenfield think of the building project? "It’s so massive, it felt like the scale of the L.A. Convention Center. The thing that's fun for me about Jackie is the way she can travel between Versace and Walmart seamlessly."

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