Saturday, June 22, 2024

It Was All Things Tribeca and Robert De Niro at This Fashion Dinner

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Each June, as the Tribeca Film Festival draws a slice of Hollywood to downtown Manhattan, Chanel hosts its swanky artists dinner to mark the occasion. For the last decade or so, it’s been held at Balthazar, the cavernous celeb-fave joint a neighborhood or two north in Soho. But in what amounted to a big old realignment for an extremely small Venn diagram of the film, fashion, and art establishments, this year’s dinner returned Monday night to its former home at the Odeon, the bistro that for four decades has occupied a prime perch of West Broadway. This is key, as the Tribeca Festival dinner was once again actually in Tribeca, the neighborhood that Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal were seeking to revitalize post 9/11 when they founded the festival in 2002.

Glenn Ligon and Thelma GoldenBy Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com.

De Niro’s ties to the Triangle Below Canal run deep. He first visited the neighborhood in the late 1940s, venturing down from the Bleecker Street apartment where his artist parents, friends with Jack Kerouac and Jackson Pollock, had a loft. The Lower West Side was all industrial then, and the Odeon was the Towers Cafeteria, serving lunch to factory workers. The original terrazzo floor from the Towers Cafeteria remains as an unforgettable Odeon feature, and those iconic bulb lights? Those are from the Towers too.

Image may contain Colman Domingo Adult Person Lamp Blade Knife Weapon Accessories Jewelry Necklace and Chair

Colman Domingo and Raul DomingoMatteo Prandoni/BFA.com

Image may contain Adult Person Accessories Jewelry Ring Glasses Clothing Dress Footwear Sandal Bracelet and Bag

Natasha Lyonne and Chloe FinemanBy Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com.

Basically from its 1980 opening, the Odeon was an epicenter of art and movie stardom. This was in large part the doing of original owners Brian McNally, his brother, Keith McNally (who went on to open Balthazar and is best known these days for his spicy Instagram captions), and Keith’s former wife, Lynn Wagenknecht, who owns the Odeon to this day. The cast of Saturday Night Live came down from Rock Center after shows. De Niro was a fixture too, especially in his Raging Bull era, even if he had to stick to salads to shed the weight he famously put on to play Jake LaMotta.

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Mark Ronson, Louisa Jacobson and Grace Gummer.By Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com.

On Monday night, the Tribeca Fest cofounder had to leave early after an hour sitting at a table with David O. Russell, Darren Aronofsky, and Jude Law. “Bob has a 5:45 call time tomorrow, because he’s still working for some reason,” Rosenthal told the crowd. Indeed, De Niro’s got a gig playing an ex-president in the upcoming Netflix conspiracy thriller Zero Days. “But he wanted to thank Chanel for the 17 years of this dinner,” Rosenthal continued.

There were a few other Tribeca locals also in attendance. At Rosenthal’s table was the artist Laurie Simmons, who lived in a former textile mill on Desbrosses Street. Ditto actor sisters Grace Gummer and Louisa Jacobson—their parents, the artist Don Gummer and actor Meryl Streep, lived for years in a former masonry warehouse on Laight Street. And there was plenty of slightly less hyperlocal star power too: Katie Holmes, Blake Lively, Dianna Agron, Hannah Einbender, and Natasha Lyonne were all there. This being an artists dinner, there were those as well: Jose Parla, Glenn Ligon, Jenny Holzer, and Debroah Kass. Curator Racquel Chevremont had selected each of them to make work paired with films in this year’s festival. “I tried to choose the artists who I feel like best befit the moment,” Chevremont said as servers plopped down steak frites.

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