The Date: Sept. 5, 2007
The Venue: Rose Center for Earth and Space, American Museum of Natural History, New York
The Crowd: Five of the 12 astronauts who've gone where no man has gone before (including Buzz Aldrin); random celebs such as Stephen Colbert, Annabella Sciorra and Chevy Chase; various Discovery execs and major advertisers; and a strange absence of Ron Howard, who's credited with "presenting" the documentary. The Food: Assorted gourmet cheeses with bread and crackers for those who skipped a post-work meal to come see the film; mini cheesecakes and packages of freeze-dried Neapolitan ice cream (clever space tie-in) for those with a serious sweet tooth.
The Bar: Cosmos, natch, and another space-y concoction that involved rum, plus wine and beer for the more earthbound types.
The Swag: None, but seeing a documentary about landing on the moon with five of the actual astronauts present was cooler than any T-shirt or DVD.
Event No. 2: Tommy Hilfiger and George Lois present "Iconic America"
The Venue: Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Crowd: Loads of Fashion Week fashionistas; musical guest Deborah Harry; a fair number of drag queens; and apparently Tommy Hilfiger around there somewhere.
The Food: More dessert -- gourmet s'mores, extra-mini ice cream cones with tiny scoops of black-cherry ice cream, and tiramisu-esque squares of cream and cake.
The Bar: Crowded, first of all, since one of the event's three wasn't even stocked. But once you were served, you had a veritable pick of the litter -- wine, liquor, beer, the works.
The Swag: A copy of the forthcoming "Iconic America" book from Tommy Hilfiger and ad legend George Lois.
With Labor Day behind us, that can only mean one thing: Let the fall party season begin! Freeloader kicked things off with a bang Wednesday night with three different invites for the same evening, which is about the same number of parties we attended all summer. But when we realized that two of our events were to be held at New York museums, the American Museum of Natural History and MOMA, the prospect of turning museum-hopping into bar-hopping became quite attractive.
We began our night at Discovery's screening for "In the Shadow of the Moon," a man-on-the-moon documentary presented by Ron Howard and destined to put "Apollo 13" to shame (though we could've used at least one "Houston, we have a problem" reference).
In attendance at the screening were five of the 12 astronauts who traveled the great unknown back in the '60s, including Buzz Aldrin. Their presence gave the event a historic quality Freeloader hasn't experienced in months -- not since Paris Hilton checked herself into prison the same night we saw her at the MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles.
Though seeing the Fantastic Five, as we've dubbed them, take the stage was a delight, watching the film from behind a column was not. Whoever designed the museum's movie theater really should've thought twice before placing two seats directly behind the huge pole that supports the balcony. We created new neck muscles in our back-and-forth efforts to see the movie screen in its entirety.
After a standing ovation for our awe-inspiring astronaut buddies (and a complimentary cosmo, of course), it was time to get to our next party 30 blocks downtown. As Wednesday was the official kickoff of New York Fashion Week, the opportunity to hobnob with any designer and his cadre of models, friends and hangers-on was a top priority for Freeloader. The fact that we paid virtually no mind to any of those people upon arrival made the party that much more enjoyable.
Instead, we chatted with a pair of our favorite Brit friends as Deborah Harry took the stage for a surprise set. Freeloader was nervous we might have to endure selections from her embarrassing string of 1980s solo albums ("French Kissing in the USA," anyone?) but to our extreme delight, the set list basically could have been called "Blondie: Unplugged." Nearly all the big hits -- "The Tide is High," "Heart of Glass," even "Dreaming" -- got the acoustic treatment, which provided surprisingly pleasant background music for the chatty fashionistas and gregarious drag queens who added a splash of color to the proceedings.
We were too busy having rounds of white-wine spritzers to notice that the supply of the night's big swag item -- a free copy of the massive new Tommy Hilfiger/George Lois book "Iconic America" -- was becoming shorter by the minute. By the time we finally went to claim ours, we watched in sadness as the last two copies were being handed to one of the aforementioned bewigged party guests. Freeloading can be such a drag sometimes.