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‘Lackwanna’ lifts off

Celebs sing 'Blues' at preem

Helmer George C. Wolfe and his “Lackawanna Blues” crew winged their way from west to east this past week in order to revel in the HBO pic’s preem not once but twice.

“Lackawanna” unspooled Feb. 3 in L.A. at the DGA, followed by a bash at the House of Blues; and on Monday in Gotham with an after-party downtown at Cipriani.

While in L.A., Broadway hyphenate Wolfe described “Lackawanna,” which bows Saturday on HBO, as “having a large heart; smart, elegant and raw.” Then he smiled and added, “This is also something I’ve tried to perfect in myself.”

According to HBO’s Colin Callender, it was Wolfe’s theater helming credits — “Jelly’s Last Jam” and “Angels in America” — that drew the cabler’s interest in the first place. “The fact that George would make this as his first film is what sold it to us,” Callender said.

A strong perf at the L.A. after-party by blues singer Earl Thomas led one guest to comment, “I think this is the first time I’ve heard blues at the House of Blues.”

Meanwhile, in Gotham, the vintage Jackson 5 grooves that lured guests onto the dance floor were an odd match for writer Ruben Santiago-Hudson‘s tale of growing up in 1950s upstate New York, but Cipriani’s elegant columns and mirrored deco bars fit as smooth as silk with the movie’s depiction of swinging period nightlife.

(David Rooney in Gotham contributed to this report.)

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