The Date: Jan. 16
The Venue: Time Warner Center
The Drinks: White wine and sparkling water to start, then an open bar with dinner. Red wine was scarce, as apparently it stains.
The Swag: A performance by Tony Bennett. Oh, and one lucky attendee walked home with a 61-inch flat-panel TV but Freeloader left early so we're not sure who walked away with it.
All the old-media glitterati -- Cindy Adams, Lloyd Grove, Ken Auletta -- came out to be introduced to the home of the future. What's the home of the future? It's an Edwin Schlossberg-designed exhibit that, according to press materials, contains more than a mile of cable.
In the end, it's a big pitch for Time Warner Cable and includes things like fancy-schmancy remotes that do everything but tell you what socks go with your brown herringbone trousers and phones that let you watch live TV and program your DVR remotely. There was a refrigerator that tells you when your food's gone bad, but we're pretty sure that's not available from your local cable operator. High-speed internet and voice-over-internet-protocol were also pushed. (From the invite: "You'll have access to computers that will enable you to navigate through an assortment of online properties, including websites, blogs and online videos.") We'd make fun of how "cutting edge" high-speed internet is, except Freeloader's still stuck in the DSL age at home.
Food included passed hors d'oeuvres and an open bar (although no red wine in home to the future areas -- it does stain, after all). And Thomas Keller did a dessert station.
Guests arrived through what appeared to be a giant heated igloo and were ushered into the first floor at the Time Warner Center, free to sip white wine and peruse the high-tech "kitchen" and "living room." We asked to see a demo of the live cellphone programming, offered through Sprint as part of a cable-Sprint joint venture, and the guide tuned to Fox News. Oops.
Later, Jeff Bewkes, Glen Britt and a dapper, tuxedoed Dick Parsons all welcomed the guests with a short speech. It was a bit hard to see them over the crowd, leaving one woman standing behind Freeloader to comment that if we were really in a connected home, the speakers would be simulcast on the eight or so big-screen TVs scattered throughout the space.
Unfortunately, our early departure also means we missed dinner and the Tony Bennett show. But a fellow Freeloader -- who happened to be seated at a table with Moby -- tells us it was great, though some rude New Yorkers kept chattering over Mr. Bennett's croons. (Guess that kind of behavior is the danger of a concert no one paid to attend.) We're not sure what Mr. Bennett has to do with the home of the future, but his celebrity was enough to draw guests like David Dinkins, Gerry Laybourne, John Huey and Carol Alt.
Because Freeloader had to leave ahead of the free show, we didn't get a really thorough look at the home to the future. The good news is we've been promised a tour sometime soon (the exhibit is open to the public for the next three weeks). Wine and Tony Bennett not included, of course.