“ROSA PARKS sat so that Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so that Obama could run. Obama is running so that we can fly.” This is all over the Internet. When I stepped to the podium Wednesday night at the Landmarks Conservancy gala in Cipriani 42 Street, my first words–“Is everybody happy?”–were met with an explosion of screams and applause from the black-tie audience. I followed by congratulating all the “socialists” and “communists” in the room! Big laughs. It’s easy to get laughs right now, either with the old Ted Lewis chestnut “Is everybody happy?” or with mild wisecracks. I have seldom experienced such an atmosphere of levity and joy. People are literally burbling, foaming at the mouth with happiness, asking each other, “Where were you election night? Did you see the crowds in front of the White House, in Times Square, in Chicago, all over the world! It was the Super Bowl, the Millennium and New Year’s Eve all rolled into one!” Yes, yes, yes. And I feel happy too, as if America is recovering from a long illness. So, the distinguished persons selected as “Living Landmarks” for 2008 were one and all greeted with laughing enthusiasm — Phyllis Newman, Charlie Rose, Barbara Goldsmith, Rosamond Bernier, Judy Collins and, posthumously — Oz Elliott and John Russell. (We even got around to making some upbeat remarks about that as Inger Elliott and Rosamond Bernier accepted for their late husbands.) And the choice of the great singer, Ms. Collins, was important, for she gave us a closing (ital) a capella (ital) rendition of several songs, including “We Shall Overcome.” This was startling and wonderful, a regular benediction. Congressman Charles Rangel who received the Lewis Rudin Award was in tears.
THE FIRST photos from the filming for the movie musical “Nine” are so darkly glamorous and dazzling that it bodes well for the Weinstein Company. We see the women of “Nine” — Judi Dench, Marion Cotillard, Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Penelope Cruz, Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson. They are on a dimly lit Shepperton Studios soundstage in a foreboding pose. You can see these photos on websites such as comingsoon.net or Usmagazine.com or wowowow.com or filmofilia.com.
NEW YORKERS will be shaken and stirred in a good cause tonight when Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal and their Tribeca Film Institute show the only U.S. special screening of “Quantum of Solace.” Yes, they’ll have James Bond himself there in person — Daniel Craig. It happens at the Loew’s Lincoln Square, B’way and 68th St. Glitterati like Harvey Keitel, Debra Messing, Julia Stiles, Molly Sims, Josh Lucas, John McEnroe, Patty Smyth, Jane Krakowski will get a look. And they’ll party after at Tavern on the Green. I hear there are a few tickets 212 – 941-3891… FRANK LANGELLA is asking audiences at “A Man for All Seasons” to give it up for Equity fights AIDS. He says people are so exuberant about the election that they interfere with his plea, screaming, “Obama! Obama!”… MICHAEL FEINSTEIN, about to reopen Dec. 2-30 at his own night spot in the Regency Hotel, and his partner-manager Terrence Flannery were given a wedding dinner at Swifty’s last Sunday by the MGM star Arlene Dahl and hubby Marc Rosen. The couple were wed in L.A. before the recent California referendum. Michael’s new show celebrates Frank Sinatra … THE LATE Times art critic John Russell will be remembered Friday at the Century Assn., 7 West 43 St…. YOU WERE wondering maybe what happens to Philippe de Montebello as he retires from the Metropolitan Museum? He bowed Sunday with Paula Zahn as co-host of SundayArts on Channel Thirteen.