Bruce Springsteen, the E Street Band and Matt Damon made it Sunday Morning Live yesterday. The gang partied at Man Ray on West 15th Street until 4 a.m. Sunday after kicking off the hottest Saturday Night Live in years.
They were joined by Edward Norton, Parker Posey, directors Paul Thomas Anderson and Steve Brill (who each directed SNL player Adam Sandler in features this year), as well as rocker Tom Petty and Law & Order star Richard Belzer.
Of course, SNL players Tracy Morgan, Maya Rudolph, Jimmy Fallon, Rachel Dratch, Horatio Sanz, Seth Meyers, Chris Parnell, Chris Kattan, newcomer Fred Armisen and producer Lorne Michaels were all there too.
Damon, who brought along his whole family including his parents, their own partners, his fiancée Odessa Whitmire and a bunch of actual friends, told me it was a relief to be in the same close space with Springsteen.
"No one wants to talk to me," he said. "Not when Bruce is around." Nevertheless, plenty of people wanted to congratulate Damon on a successful premiere.
Springsteen held court in the Man Ray dining room downstairs, sharing the banquet with wife Patti Scialfa. At various times they chatted with Norton and with Michaels, who made sure to get face time with the Boss before the hordes came in.
Bruce was self-effacing and low key as usual. He told me that the huge tour for The Rising is set to continue for some time.
"We have 100 dates," he said. "But I like getting the new music out there for the fans."
Bruce and Patti almost missed Tom Petty completely, but the rockers met up for a few seconds before going their separate ways.
Petty stayed upstairs at Man Ray, where most of the E Street Band, including Steve Van Zandt, Max Weinberg and Danny Federici, were hanging out. If you're hoping as I was that Van Zandt's Sopranos character Silvio will be getting as much airtime in future episodes as he did last week, it's not happening.
"I'm back to one line here or there starting next week," Van Zandt said. But really, he should be up for an Emmy from episode 3, so that's enough in the long run.
SNL has almost never let the press in to one of its after parties before Saturday night, so maybe this is the beginning of a new détente on all sides.
With the show riding a crest of popularity again, and the cast an especially warm group for the first time in years, it made sense all the way around.
Willem Dafoe was in town Friday night for the New York Film Festival premiere of Paul Schrader's Auto Focus.
He's been in North Carolina the last two weeks shooting The Clearing with Robert Redford.
This film is a first for Redford: a $10 million indie project for Fox Searchlight with a first-time director. The blue-eyed matinee idol plays an executive who's kidnapped by a disgruntled employee (Dafoe). The wonderful Helen Mirren is his wife.
"We're shooting out in a cabin in the woods," Dafoe told me at the after party. "It's just me and Bob. And he's amazing. He knows this is a big change for him."
Dafoe, of course, plays the creepy and dangerous John Carpenter in Auto Focus, friend and partner of late Hogan's Heroes star Bob Crane. Crane, as you will start hearing in the next couple of weeks, was a sex addict who was on the cutting edge of making home porno tapes in the early '70s.
It's hypothesized that Carpenter killed him, although he was exonerated in a trial.
Greg Kinnear and Dafoe are almost certainly headed for Oscar nominations, as well may be Schrader, who's done a remarkable job. The pair has a terrific camaraderie on screen.
Schrader told me, facetiously, "We're starting to use this as the marketing line: 'Felix and Oscar Do Porno!'"
Kinnear spent most of the post-screening reception giving tips from his wife Helen Labdon's recent Africa safari to co-star Rita Wilson who brought along her friends Nancy (Mrs. Martin) Short and Ali Epsley (Mrs. Dennis Miller) for the premiere from Los Angeles. He quizzed the latter two ladies, both Canadians, about shooting his next film north of Toronto.
"Have you heard of the Snow Belt?" Nancy Short asked.
Kinnear's eyes crossed. "Once I rented a car and just drove for a while around there," he said, "and there was nothing."
"That better not be how you decide to take this project," Short warned him. Kinnear is rethinking his next move carefully.
I was very chagrined to read in the Los Angeles Times about the troubles of actor Don Duong.
Duong, the uncle of gifted filmmakers Tony and Timothy Bui, is being punished by the Vietnamese government for his work in the Buis' Green Dragon and the Mel Gibson movie We Were Soldiers. He's even being called a "national traitor."
According to Anita Busch and Mai Tran, Duong -- who lives in Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon -- may have his passport yanked, his career cancelled and livelihood snuffed out for acting in these films without the permission of the government. Of course, these were American-made films, but that point seems to have escaped our new pals in Southeast Asia.
Duong's co-stars Gibson, Patrick Swayze and Forest Whitaker are already speaking out on this subject. But I'd like to know where Amnesty International is, and why there hasn't been more of an outrage in the press so far?
Duong is an exceptional actor who brings a great deal to each of his roles. It would be a terrible shame if the Vietnamese government is allowed to ruin him.
This was funny enough that I thought I'd include it.
Vanity Fair, which rarely if ever refers to the non-white world, is hosting a rap concert Oct. 22 in New York. Called, ebonically, "Where My Girls At?," the show will feature Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot, Tweet and Eve among others.
Eve is supposedly one of the artists featured on the cover of VF's annual music issue, which is the one shot blacks always have of getting on the mag's cover.
There's a rumor going around that Graydon Carter will duet with Nelly on "Hot in Herre." With two R's. He's hoping for some free bling-bling in the gift bag, yo.
But don't fret. VF returns to form Nov. 5 in Los Angeles with the more comforting Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams and John Doe (of the legendary punk group X). Then order will be restored to the universe.