When Jean-Luc Godard’s name crossed the lips of Mike Myers last night, the comedian and actor known for “Wayne’s World” and “Austin Powers” earned his place presenting a film at the Museum of Modern Art.
Myers, 51, was talking about the directors he studied at York University in Toronto when he was a “young pseudo-intellectual punk rocker.”
“I worshipped John Cassavetes. Orson Welles was a god. ‘F for Fake,’ that film rocked my world,” Myers said of the story of an art forger. “I was obsessed with ‘Medium Cool,’” he added of Haskell Wexler’s film set in the summer of 1968, which combined fiction and non-fiction.
Now Myers has made his own documentary: “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” which had its New York premiere last night.
“I can’t believe how incredibly hard it is,” Myers said.
The film is about a talent manager whose first encounter with talent was breaking up some lovemaking between Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.
Gordon had the idea to wrap a pair of panties around an Alice Cooper record (School’s Out), put chef Emeril Lagasse’s name on a line of spices, and make Canadian folk singer Anne Murray cool by arranging for her to be photographed with John Lennon and pals.
Along the way he made a family of the people he worked with and other celebrities, from Groucho Marx to Cary Grant, who liked his cat, to Sylvester Stallone.
Born in Jackson Heights, Queens, Gordon arrived in Los Angeles after graduating college in 1968. Of his work as a manager, he said, “I don’t know if I can explain it. I just do it. I had no rules. There was no handbook for a manager, I just sort of live my life, my work was my life.”
He said he strives “to be compassionate, not leave any blood, make sure everybody wins. It just takes more time, but it’s possible. You have to get rid of a little bit of your greed.” The only thing he doesn’t have that he’d like: an airplane.
“He never gets star-struck,” Michael Douglas says in the film. “He does get lady-struck.”
One of the women Gordon dated is Sharon Stone, whom he credits with introducing him to the Dalai Lama. While there are plenty of references to Gordon’s wild days in the documentary, his wholesome qualities are also emphasized, like his desire (still) to have a child. Sometimes the film feels like the best JDate profile ever.
Latkes & Risotto
At the party after the screening, held at The Wayfarer, Gordon, 68, said his hobbies are golf (which he plays with Alice Cooper), reading (his current book is “My Promised Land” by Ari Shavit) and cooking.
“I like doing ethnic food, I love making matzoh ball soup, potato latkes, brisket and kasha varnishkes, and Italian, a great risotto,” Gordon said. And the secret to a great matzoh ball? “It has to be light like a cloud. You can do it out of a package, but add a little tiny drop of carbonated water.”
Drinks included Casa Dragones tequila cocktails and wine with the Supermensch label -- a version of the psychedelic poster for the film. The wine was created by City Winery, whose founder, Michael Dorf, was present along with Meryl Poster, president of television at the Weinstein Co., and Donnie Kehr, who originated the role of loan shark Norm Waxman in the musical “Jersey Boys” and plays him in the Clint Eastwood-directed movie version coming out next month.
“Supermensch” begins its theatrical run on June 6.
The Weinstein Co.’s boutique label Radius-TWC, which is releasing the film, hosted the evening, attended by Elvis Costello, Michael Stipe, Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde. Director Paul Haggis had an app-focused greeting for actor Kyle MacLachlan: “Hey Instagram pal.”
Instagram is the newest addition to the phone of Martha Loring, great-great-granddaughter of Henry Clay Frick.
“My son downloaded it for me,” Loring said Wednesday night in the garden of the home Frick built on Fifth Avenue to showcase his art collection, now a museum.
Loring and a few hundred others attended the Frick Collection’s Spring Garden Party, featuring a viewing of Parmigianino’s portrait Schiava Turca.
Michael Novogratz, principal and director at Fortress Investment Group LLC, stood up and pledged $100,000 last night at a benefit for the Joyful Heart Foundation.
The organization serves survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse and child abuse by focusing on three program areas: healing, education and advocacy.
Novogratz’s wife, Sukey, is a board member and served as a chairman of the event, with others including Heather Mnuchin, wife of Steven Mnuchin. Other guests included Debra Messing, who said she’s interviewed cops to prepare for her upcoming role of detective on NBC’s “The Mysteries of Laura,” and Philippe Dauman, chief executive officer of Viacom, who was honored and said the most popular click on Nickelodeon apps is the “Do Not Touch” button.
The gala celebrated the tenth anniversary of the nonprofit Mariska Hargitay founded after being moved by letters she received when she rose to prominence playing Detective Olivia Benson on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
The decor was composed of maps and route signs and red “pins” as table numbers, all very Google-like and made by David Stark Design and Production. Map annotations highlighted milestones and goals.
“This is a celebration of a dream come true -- the fact that these kind of New Yorkers show up to talk about sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, that is a landmark,” said Hargitay, who wore a dress and heart-shaped necklace by Lanvin.
In the same catering hall of Cipriani 42nd Street one night earlier, comedian and actress Ali Wentworth had a close encounter with the Count (the Muppet one, that is) at the 45th-anniversary gala for Sesame Workshop, home of “Sesame Street.”
“I just felt like, I’ve done the whole Muppet picture thing, and he’s a vampire, and my daughter’s getting into the whole ‘Twilight’ thing, so I was not going to miss an opportunity to have the Count bite my neck,” Wentworth said.
The gala raised $3 million, with underwriting from Blackstone Group LP co-founder Peter G. Peterson. His wife, Joan Ganz Cooney, was honored for founding Sesame Workshop.
“Children all over the country were singing beer commercials, so they were certainly learning something from television,” Cooney said in a video played at the event. “It wasn’t a question of could it teach; it was a question of could it teach something of potential use to children.”
Gala chairmen included Peter Solomon, Greg Coules and Ralph Schlosstein.
Victor Cruz, swapping his New York Giants uniform for a Lanvin suit, had some fashion advice for the high school seniors he mingled with on Wednesday at a benefit for the CollegeBound Initiative:
“You want to stand out, you want to be the guy who looks the part, dresses the part, whether you’re on an interview or on your first day of classes,” Cruz said.
The students at the event earned the wide receiver’s fashion approval with bright red polos tucked into khaki pants. Senior Harold Ogando said the best parts of the program were visiting college campuses, learning about financial aid and becoming friends with fellow CBI student Ryan Santos. “We’ve been inseparable since freshman year,” Santos said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org