This image was lost some time after publication.

Hollywood's annual late summer slowdown and the party-dampening post-hurricane atmosphere have taken a predictable toll on the movie premiere circuit. (To wit: VPage is covering the Williams sisters.) Still, studios with product to release must soldier on and shuffle through their red carpet song and dance, aware this is probably not the best time for crab cakes and chocolate fountains. An operative submits this report from last night's Thumbsucker premiere at the Egyptian, complete with a self-conscious admission by a rep that partying under such circumstances is "uncomfortable." You think?

I am a survivor of the recent PRETTY PERSUASION premiere at the ArcLight, the debacle with James Woods begging for seats, fist fights breaking out at the concession stand, and the long walk through the dark streets of Hollywood to the after party by girls in high heels. Just reliving it in writing brings on the sweats. So you can understand my initial reluctance in attending another premiere. However, I did manage to get back on the horse.

Last night the Egyptian theatre held a premiere for THUMBSUCKER with an after-party in the courtyard sponsored by Venice magazine, the magazine that all P. R. flacks have wet dreams about.

Things started with a cringe=worthy intro by the Sony Picture Classics rep where we were told that “it was uncomfortable to have this event with all that is going on in the Gulf Coast but there could be no better film at this time to show us the strength of humanity.” Memo to Sony execs…scrap those witty trailers and call CNN for flood footage. THUMBSUCKING saves the day!

Director Mike Mills brought up the cast and crew members in attendance. Of the cast, only Lou Pucci, Kelli Garner, Keanu Reeves, and Benjamin Bratt (Julia left me for a cameraman?) were in attendance. Keanu was in full Zen Lord of the Universe form. He had a slight beard growth and dark clothing and that distant look which communicates that he is pondering the universe - or wondering where he parked his motorcycle.

Mike Mills filled the front of the theatre with the crew and some members of Polyphonic Spree choir, but not all. They were a Polyphonic Spree Lite, if you will. It was priceless watching all these people stand there while Polyphonic Spree did an acoustic version of one the film's songs. Keanu seemed to be pondering the flute player no doubt absorbing her mastery of the wind instrument and what it means to the alchemy of the universe - or he was wondering where he parked his motorcycle.

To the film's credit it allows Keanu to use this Zen Master pose and play it up. his scenes with Lou in the dental chair are highlights. He seems to have fun poking holes in his persona - or else he was wondering where he parked his motorcycle.

Where was Tilda Swinton last night? Where was Vince Vaughn? One can only surmise that Tilda was reading Shakespeare in the country and Vince was locked up in the love lair with Jennifer Aniston.

[Photo: Getty Images]