On the afternoon of Tuesday, April 27, Annette Bening got into the lunch buffet line at the home of Christine Schwarzman, wife of the Blackstone Group’s Steve Schwarzman. “I have to say, I have been to some nice places, but I don’t think I have ever seen anything like this,” said Ms. Bening, dressed in a navy pant suit, a red ascot and patent-leather oxfords with white shoelaces. The triplex at 740 Park Avenue, which has a reported 37 rooms and 43 closets, used to belong to Saul Steinberg, and John D. Rockefeller before him; it was being used by Ms. Schwarzman to host an all-ladies luncheon to celebrate the release of a film called Mother and Child, in which Ms. Bening plays the biological mother of a girl (Naomi Watts) she gave up for adoption when she was just 14.
Somewhere behind Ms. Bening was Caryn Zucker, wife of NBC president Jeff; somewhere in front was hedge fund wife Lisa Falcone. “I don’t think I have ever been to an event like this,” Ms. Bening said. “I don’t even live in New York, I live in LA. It’s amazing. I am sort of … my jaw.” She paused. “In the bathroom, there was a little box of things, and I thought, ‘Is that soap or is that sugar candy?’”
Later, she joined Tina Brown, Ms. Zucker and Jane Fonda (in shades).
“I just want to take a moment to acknowledge my two beautiful co-chairs today–Jane Fonda and Tina Brown sitting in my living room!” announced Ms. Schwarzman, who herself has an adopted daughter (with first husband Austin Chilton Hearst). “I won’t editorialize because I hate people who do that, but it’s a film that is important, about a fundamental issue to every one of us in the room who is female.” She introduced the director, Rodrigo Garcia (son of Gabriel García Márquez), who took questions. Art adviser Kim Heirston asked whether the film’s title has any religious significance-it didn’t-and socialite Judy Taubman asked, “Why did you make the younger girl so repulsive? The way she said things-it was just so unpleasant.” Some people laughed and rolled their eyes. Some shouted: “It was a defense mechanism!”