Thursday, July 24, 2008

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Rufus Albemarle. Photo: JH.
Good morning Vancouver. Good morning Santa Barbara. It was another very warm summer day here in New York yesterday, with lots of vaguely storm clouds, so less Sun (and only slightly less heat), but no rain. Until last night as I was riding downtown to Bungalow 8 at 10:30 for a party for Rufus Albemarle (See The List and NYSD House). Then the lightning flashed, the thunder clapped and the clouds opened up with a deluge so heavy you could barely see the roadway.

There was a brief let-up, however, as we pulled up in front of Bungalow 8 on West 27th, so I made it to the door before the next downpour.

Rufus Albemarle, Vanessa von Bismarck, and friend
Yesterday was Rufus’ 43rd birthday – hence the party – it was also a farewell party for Rufus who has been living here for the past several years and is returning to England and his wife Sally and his five-year-old son Augustus.

Vanessa von Bismarck and Nadine Johnson hosted the party for their friend who in the UK is also known as the 10th Earl of Albemarle. He was a very popular fellow here and he will be greatly missed by the many friends he made during his residency here.

In the crowd last night I saw Ann Jones (mom of Samantha Ronson), Prosper Assouline, Bob Morris, Gigi and Avy Mortimer, Jennifer Creel, Daniel Benedict and Andrew Saffir, Eva Lorenzotti, Carlos Mota, Paul Kasmin, Frederic Fekkai, Euan Rellie (Lucy was home with the little ones and watching “Mad Men”), Doug Hannant and Fred Anderson, Anthony Haden-Guest who spends most of his time in London now; Jeff Podolsky, Marc Biron, Antony Todd, Danniella Federici, Dana Taylor, Robert Burke, Daisy and Poppy De Villeneuve, Patrick McMullan, Christopher Mason, Jackie Astier, Max Weiner (Vanessa von B’s husband), Allyn Magrino, Bungalow 8’s creator and hostess, Amy Sacco, and lots lots more.

Downtown parties called for 9, don’t even get started until well after ten. Bungalow 8 is one of those clubs that can handle a private party at the mid-evening hours because it doesn’t get started with its regular crowd until about midnight.

About 11:30 they brought out the cake, everyone sang Happy Birthday dear Rufus, he blew out the candles, and the private party was coming to an end (and the beginning of the next phase). When I departed at midnight, people were still arriving for Rufus’ party as well as the club’s regular crowd.
Inside Bungalow 8.
For all its international popularity, it’s a remarkably small club – one big, tall, but small long room with a bar occupying the opposite end. There are some potted palms, and the room’s walls on either side painted with murals of the Beverly Hills Hotel poolside and the flora and fauna that surround, plus lots of couches and chairs to relax on. The camera’s flash of course turns everything into bright light, but without it, the room is quite dark except for the occasional dim yellow lights and the bar’s backlights. So it’s intimate with just enough light to make out the faces and figures of the patrons but not enough (like the flash) to destroy the illusion or the mystery.

In the past several years in New York, it’s been a major draw for the rich, the chic, the shameless, the hipsters and the Hollywood stars as well as the peripheral characters who can always be found lounging, sometimes even lurking nearby. It’s classic New York at night.
The birthday cake
Dana Taylor, Antony Todd, and Daniella Federici
Bill Smith, Gigi Mortimer and Patrick McMullan
Allyn Magrino and Jessica Aufiero
Euan Rellie and Vanessa von Bismarck
Frederick Anderson
Eva Lorenzotti
Bob Morris, Jeff Podolsky, and Christopher Mason
Anthony Haden-Guest, Andrew Saffir, and Max Weiner
Leahua Chong, Dana Caplowe, Billy Farrell, and Sung Sim
Andrew Saffir, Jackie Astier, and Daniel Benedict

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