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Scene Last Night: Schwarzman as Sardine, Jon Stewart

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Dancers, musicians and special effects placed guests in the clouds at the Park Avenue Armory's annual gala last night. The experience, dubbed "Into the Void" was event designer David Monn’s first piece of performance art. The event raised money for arts education at the Armory, including tickets to performances and paid internships for New York City public school students. (Source: Bloomberg)

“I wasn’t worried” about a default on U.S. debt, Blackstone Group (BX) Chief Executive Officer Steve Schwarzman said at the Asia Society’s gala.

“I was a little worried,” said Bill Ackman, Pershing Square Capital Management CEO, at Park Avenue Armory’s gala.

“I don’t believe the market felt that the debt ceiling would lead to a default,” BlueMountain Capital managing partner Jes Staley said at the NYU Cancer Institute gala. “If it had, we wouldn’t be here tonight.”

With the shutdown ended and Standard & Poors 500 (SPX) reaching a record high, last night the mood on the social circuit was fizzy.

This was especially true at the Park Avenue Armory, where special effects put guests in the clouds.

The experience, dubbed “Into the Void,” was event designer David Monn’s first piece of performance art. Some of its features: One continuous S-shaped table under strings of white paper leaves; waiters in black burglar-like attire (complete with sunglasses), and 140 dancers who laughed in guests’ faces -- all of which managed to upstage honoree Robert Wilson’s four-minute monologue.

The “clouds,” the harpist, and the violinist disappeared when waiters on CitiBikes drove out with dessert. Guests hopped on and rode around.

Meanwhile, Schwarzman was packed like a sardine in the Pierre Hotel ballroom for a more traditional gala.

On the default, he said he was “worried that they’d get the timing wrong of playing the hand out until the end. I never thought it would last longer than a day or two. Fortunately for the United States and the world, that didn’t happen.”

Schwarzman spent dinner seated next to honoree David Bonderman, chairman of TPG Advisors V Inc., and across from Stephen Bird, CEO of Citigroup Inc. (C)’s Asian Pacific unit.

“China’s going to be a winner,” Schwarzman said.

Gluten-Free

Comedian Jon Stewart, at a gala for the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, said his kids have celiac.

“When they’re out of the house, my wife and I have a gluten fest,’ Stewart said. Not last night: the meal at the Mandarin Oriental was gluten-free, including the breadsticks and the dinner rolls.

Valor Medal

Czeslawa Zak’s Polish family hid 14 Jews during the Nazi invasion.

“I was being normal,” Zak said, through an interpreter, at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s New York gala on Oct. 16, where she received a Medal of Valor. “I’m not a hero. I’m human. I’m just a regular person.”

At the Waldorf Astoria were Trian Fund Management LP’s Nelson Peltz and Lazard Ltd. (LAZ)’s Ken Jacobs. The event raised $1.6 million to promote global Jewish human rights.

Zak, 86, who lives in Warsaw, had never flown in an airplane until a few months ago, when she made her first trip to Israel. Last night, “Pippin” became her first Broadway show.

Muse highlights include the New York and London weekend guides, Scott Reyburn on the art market, Lewis Lapham on history, Jeremy Gerard on U.S. theater and Amanda Gordon’s Scene Last Night.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group LP.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group LP. Close

Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group LP.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Bill Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square GP LLC, and Mihaela Crosby, a scientist. Close

Bill Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square GP LLC, and Mihaela Crosby, a scientist.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Debora Stalely and Jes Staley, a managing partner at BlueMountain Capital Management LLC. Close

Debora Stalely and Jes Staley, a managing partner at BlueMountain Capital Management LLC.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Entering the Drill Hall, where guests were seated at one, continuous S-shaped table. Close

Entering the Drill Hall, where guests were seated at one, continuous S-shaped table.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

David Saltzman, executive director of the Robin Hood Foundation, and Oliva Flatto, director of the Pershing Square Cancer Research Program. Close

David Saltzman, executive director of the Robin Hood Foundation, and Oliva Flatto, director of the Pershing Square... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Audrey Gruss, Robert Wilson and Katharina Otto-Bernstein. Close

Audrey Gruss, Robert Wilson and Katharina Otto-Bernstein.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Matthew Rushing choreographed dancers from Alvin Ailey's company and school to perform at the Park Avenue Armory gala. Close

Matthew Rushing choreographed dancers from Alvin Ailey's company and school to perform at the Park Avenue Armory gala.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Kate Delan works at Columbia University Medical Center; Vlad Gorbaty is a fixed-income trader at Banco Itau BBA SA. Close

Kate Delan works at Columbia University Medical Center; Vlad Gorbaty is a fixed-income trader at Banco Itau BBA SA.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Adam Flatto, president of Georgetown Co., David Monn, event designer, Rebecca Robertson, president of the Park Avenue Armory and Elihu Rose, a partner of Rose Associates. Flatto and Rose are co-chairmen of the Park Avenue Armory board of trustees. Close

Adam Flatto, president of Georgetown Co., David Monn, event designer, Rebecca Robertson, president of the Park Avenue... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Kate Odell and Chris Mack. Close

Kate Odell and Chris Mack.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

David Bonderman, chairman of TPG Advisors V Inc., and Stephen Bird, CEO of Citigroup Inc.'s Asia Pacific unit. Close

David Bonderman, chairman of TPG Advisors V Inc., and Stephen Bird, CEO of Citigroup Inc.'s Asia Pacific unit.

Photographer: Jerry Speier via Bloomberg

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Czeslawa Zak, whose family hid 14 Jews during the Nazi invasion, and Katarzyna Klinska, senior specialist in education at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Close

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Czeslawa Zak, whose family hid 14 Jews during the... Read More

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