Our Glamorous Night Out

When our dear friend Marshall, who is a member of the New York City Film Critics Circle emailed us to say who had one the best actress award this year; Saoirise Ronin, and who was presenting the award for best picture; Samantha Bee, we wrote back, can we come?! The awards ceremony is held each year at the beginning of January kicking off the awards season and we were facing a silent house without our dog at the end of a lively holiday season rich with family and friends which had been keeping the worst of the emptiness at bay. Marshall and his wife, Kim said yes, come, stay with us. Each critic can bring a few guests so we jumped on the plane.

This was our 3rd time attending the NYFCC Awards ceremony, having attended at Marshall’s invitation in 1993 and 2002 as well. Each time we have had a very fun experience.

This year the excitement started at the breakfast table watching Marshall on the phone contacting everyone he knew hoping to find a replacement for Samantha Bee who was too ill to present. We were sad because we are big fans and wanted to get to see and hear her up close. One of the best parts of this awards event is that there are no TV cameras so presenters and award winners speak for as long as they like and say what they want. We had been imagining what Samantha Bee might have to say. By noon he had secured a volunteer, Jane Pauley.

By 5 we were glammed up and headed to Tao in downtown Manhattan. Paparazzi had gathered in front of the restaurant even with the thermometer beginning a dive that would be named the “bomb cyclone.” We are now used to being scanned for fame and being found lacking, the dozens of faces turn within a second to the next guest walking toward the entrance.(And, of course I do the exact same thing inside.)

We check our coats and walk down a long tunnel entry decorated in woven bamboo giving the feeling of an arbor. Turning the corner, we found ourselves at the top of a large, tiered restaurant decorated in mellow wood, black tables, golden lights, and a 2 story statue of the East Asian goddess, Quan Yin. All through the evening the goddess is bathed in an array of colors and objects like falling flowers petals which gather in her palms, birds and sleeve tattoos. A dramatic setting indeed.

During the social hour before dinner and the stars ran the red carpet gauntlet, gracious wait people offered us with fancy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. I took a nice photo of Saorise when she was standing in the bright lights talking to the BBC. Later when Marshall took a photo of Larry and me with Saorise at the tables in the low light it turned out too fuzzy to share. But it gave me a chance to tell her I was a big fan and loved Ireland. Larry had a conversation with Rex Reed. During dinner, Tiffany Haddish gave an 18 minute acceptance speech (imagine that at the Oscars) which was the best stand up I have seen in a long time. She spontaneously interacted with the audience and the goddess, had a natural flow about her which kept the audience rapt - no one wanted her to stop - and was edgy and hilarious. Tiffany is a force of nature.

Food was delicious too! NYC is always exciting to visit. Hanging with friends and family there is lovely. And our little brush with movie celebrities once a decade is just right.

We had a great night out.


Mab Nulty