The New York Times - 6 May 2004

It's Never Worked for Us Either

By Joyce Wadler

But we made out once in 1987 during the 'Let's Dance' tour!" wailed a woman trying to go backstage at the DAVID BOWIE concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom to one of the security guards. She did not get in.

Why, we cannot imagine.

If you're wondering why you did not know of this Bowie concert, which was held on Monday night, it is much like the reason that poor girl could not go backstage: They never heard of you.

This Bowie performance, presented by Audi and a certain publishing monolith whose representatives tossed us out of one of their events the other night (YOUR NAME in this space if you're the first to say which), was one of those private, invitation-only things. To quote the invitation, which we always like to do after a heavy lunch, it was "a celebration of the innovation of four individuals who make their own rules."

The honorees were Mr. Bowie, who put in such a glorious, long set at evening's end that we perhaps should not mention this high up that coincidentally Audi is the sponsor of his 38-city tour; FREDDY ADU, the 14-year-old soccer phenomenon; the actor WILLIAM H. MACY and the author AZAR NAFISI.

In each corner of the ballroom, there was a red-curtained pod, decorated with memorabilia and footage of each honoree. Mr. Macy was not in his pod when we went to call.

Among the guests we spotted: MOBY and EDIE FALCO as well as TED ALLEN and KYAN DOUGLAS from "Queer Eye."

Since this event honored innovation and risk takers, we asked Ms. Falco, who was wearing a glossy leopard-print raincoat over black pants and a sweater, about the riskiest thing she had ever done.

"In my personal or my professional life?" Ms. Falco said.

Quelle question! She has clearly confused us with someone from Arts & Ideas! That won't last long.

"Personal," we said, eagerly.

She raised an eyebrow and gave us one of her "Ya really think I'm gonna go there?" looks.

Finally, we found Mr. Macy, who was wearing his usual hangdog "What am I doing here?" expression. He told us that he wasn't sure what the award was about, but that he seemed to be in good company, and that he had been making movies for the last two months in Spain and Marrakesh.

What was the film?

"A big, stupid movie," Mr. Macy laughed. "I mean, it's a great, stupid movie, but a big action adventure called 'Sahara.'"

Who stars?


The music was starting then, so we went near the stage to see Mr. Bowie. He looked fit in tight jeans, sneakers, a cutaway jacket and yellow scarf. His hair, impressively thick at 57, fell just right when he flipped his head. He opened with "Rebel Rebel" and closed with "Ziggy Stardust," and he was not phoning it in.

Beside us was NATASHA LYONNE, who our gossip hard-wiring compels us to tell you is in the indie film "American Brown," which has been showing at TriBeCa, even though we fear you could care less.

She had a wine glass in one hand, was bopping to the beat, and using a handsome man in a turban as support. Her blond hair was loose, she wore a black dress with a plunging neckline and very high heels. Mr. Bowie, she was saying, should be on a poster for aging. "There's so much about like the texture of the wrinkles," she said. "Do you remember how skinny he was? That's the kind of man you want to marry and, like, just watch him get better and better and more loyal."

She complained about the crowd, many of whom were young execs. "Most of them don't deserve to be here," she said. "I saw LOU REED here, too. Similar situation. All these people who thought they had liberal politics and you watch Lou Reed walk out there and start singing 'Heroin' and, like, dead silence."

This Is Going to Kill James Lipton

JOHN CORBETT, when asked at TriBeCa if his role as a pastor in "Raising Helen" was challenging:

"You know what? It wasn't so challenging. It's all just words on a page, you know. You memorize them and try to say them with some truth, and then you go home and you drink a beer and you do it again the next day.".