The drinks went fast at the American Museum of Natural History after the Wednesday, May 23, New York premiere of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, director Yves Simoneau’s heartbreaking HBO adaptation of the 1971 Dee Brown book about the 19th-century massacres of Native Americans. Music that one might’ve expected in a Pocahontas-themed restaurant at Disney World was thumping away in the lunar glow of the Hayden Planetarium.
The film had left Law & Order star Richard Belzer, 62, wearing a dark suit and his trademark Matrix sunglasses, in a contemplative frame of mind. “Whether you’re conservative or liberal, I think we have to take care of our own,” he said, glass of red wine in hand. “I mean, it’s the Judeo-Christian ethic: charity and love your fellow man. I don’t think Jesus would be voting for Tom DeLay. Do you?” Mr. Belzer later said that he would support Dennis Kucinich in the upcoming Presidential election, although, he darkly prophesied, “we may not make it to 2008.”
Not far away, Anna Paquin, 24, the star of the movie, chatted with friends, clad in a billowy white Narciso Rodriguez dress. “A lesson we’ve never learned as a species is not to fear and discriminate against people that we don’t understand, and not try to get everyone to conform to our way of living,” mused Ms. Paquin, who will begin shooting Alan Ball’s new series, True Blood, a vampire drama, in June. “It’s such a sad thing that most humans feel they have to be that way, or are raised to be that way. It’s very sad.”
Steve Guttenberg, 48—surely you remember Police Academy? 3 Men and a Baby?—echoed Ms. Paquin’s lofty concerns. “I think we, as humans, have a real big problem with people being different. We’re a selfish, greedy species,” he said with a warm smile. “It took Kennedy to make a Civil Rights Act, and that was 40 years ago, and there’s still inequality!” he continued, as his girlfriend, Michelle Melson, nibbled on an hors d’oeuvre. “Women don’t get the same jobs as men and aren’t paid the same amount as men. We look at the Latinos now—look at who’s bussing all the tables,” Mr. Guttenberg said, glancing around the terrace.
Paying a visit to the men’s bathroom, The Transom happened to stand next to a nattily dressed Ron Delsener, the concert promoter, who was loudly hooting his cartoonish rendition of Native American vocables to nobody in particular. “Christ!” Mr. Delsener barked in conclusion, turning on the faucet to wash his hands. “I’m gonna have to go buy a drum tomorrow.”