Liv Tyler, Robot, Mariah Carey, Russell Simmons, Hamptons

'Robot & Frank'
James Marsden, Liv Tyler and Frank Langella, stars of 'Robot & Frank.' Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Liv Tyler, actress and daughter of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, doesn’t like flat television screens.

“Everyone looks short and wide,” Tyler said Friday in the pebbled courtyard of Jerry Della Femina’s oceanfront home in East Hampton, New York. “I’m sad I got rid of my box TV with the knobs and dials. That one I could have taught my kid how to use. It had an on/off button. I guess I’m old-fashioned.”

Wearing a black Givenchy cocktail dress with ribbons and zippers, Tyler joined Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon and James Marsden for a party and screening of their film “Robot & Frank,” in theaters in August.

The party was organized by the Cinema Society and sponsored by Rent the Runway Inc., founded by Harvard Business School classmates Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss. Waiters served an Italian supper and spread out blankets on the grass for guests watching the movie. The actors sat on sofas around the pool.

The film is set in the near future. TV screens are very thin, libraries are bookless, and robots are health-care aides who cook, clean, garden -- and pick locks.

Big Bang

Another robot turned up Saturday night at The Big Bang, a benefit for the Watermill Center, Robert Wilson’s artists compound in Watermill, New York.

This one steals from a grocery store and gets a lap dance, in a video shown on a big, boxy television set.

“‘Avatar’ is a critique of technology,” said the video’s maker, artist Tucker Marder. “The awkward, almost handicapping effect of the puppet mirrors many of the negative effects of things like Facebook and video chatting.”

At Watermill Center, the artworks included a man with a soccer-ball head moving back and forth between nets, a woman rolling around in the dirt, and breast and penis sculptures.

The Rush Philanthropic Art Foundation’s Art for Life benefit was just as colorful in a more mass-appeal way. Mariah Carey was honored, and Anita Baker, Salt-N-Pepa and Diggy Simmons, son of Reverend Run, performed. Balloon octopuses and starfish hung from the ceiling.

In these settings, there was optimism about the future.

“Hopefully it will be bright,” said Russell Simmons, impresario of the Art for Life benefit, which took place at his East Hampton home. “The economy is going to go up and we’ll find new ways to feed the hungry.”

“Robots and repair,” said Kyle DeWoody, co-founder of the retailer Grey Area.

For now, though, there are big, flashy benefits to revel in, as well as books -- Zosia Mamet of HBO’s “Girls” said she is reading “Moby-Dick” -- and sunsets.

Sarandon and Langella watched a beautiful one while they sat on a bale of hay on the beach.

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

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