Last night was the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave gala in... Manhattan. Yeah, no. we know. But I guess there aren't any spaces in Brooklyn that are nice. So instead, it was at 7 World Trade Center on some really high floor. Below, Ground Zero looked like a little deserted Erector Set. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Saarsgard were supposed to be there. But they had some other benefit to attend. John Turturro was supposed to be there too but wasn't. You know who was? Lou Reed. And you want to know something else? Turns out he's not a nice guy! Nikola Tamindzic was our witness.
Although legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham was very awesome. He is in a wheelchair now but sharp. He reminisced about Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, used by Tero Saarinen in his piece Borrowed Light, which most of the gala attendees had seen earlier in the evening. But Cunningham remembered it from 1944, from the Martha Graham piece for which Copland originally composed it—for $500. Merce danced with Martha from 1945 to 1952.
I was psyched to sit next to Trisha Brown, probably my second favorite modern choreographer after Deborah Hay. We were both at Table 67. Her table card thing was there. Instead some guy named Richard sat next to us. He's from Richmond and friends with Tim Ingrassia, the millionaire chairman of the BAM endowment. Earlier Tim sat in a wicker chair and broke it. This is ironic because he is, after all, a chairman. [Ed Note: Really, Josh?]
On the other side of us was Danny Simmons, Russell's brother. He's on the board of BAM. He was really awesome too. We had cod. He kept on saying, "Dude, cod! Eat the Cod!" There were sprigs of rosemary and lavender on the tables. "This is some Simon and Garfunkle shit!" he said.
Then there was Lou Reed. Lou works out at the Printing House and one time we alternated sets. He does tai chi downstairs and wears tie-dye shirts. So I thought we had a connection. But little monkey man refused to talk to us at the party. He also has had, said a source, a different personal assistant every year so "you know it's got to be a nightmare to work with him." I mean, it wasn't as if we thought Lou Reed would be nice and chatty but he was cold and scary and he hurt our feelings. How could Laurie Anderson put up with that?
The gift bags had a block of Altria-branded Post It notes and a t-shirt. But nothing could salve the wounds that the hero of our youth, our Venus in furs, had inflicted.