The Macallan And Albert Watson Present Masters Of Photography: A Journey, Milk Studioes, New York
January 20. 2011
How do I even start? Last night was such a roller coaster ride through art snobs, art freaks, turtleneck aficionados, free-drink fans, celebrities, blast-from-the-past reality-show favorites, and brushes with greatness (I'm looking at you, Tina Fey's assistant), wild risky haircuts, leopard-print pants, sky-high stilettos, and weird food, my fingers are getting tangled trying to lay it all out for you. It was all part of the clever and eye-feeding campaign for The Macallan, a single-malt Scotch whisky, where master photographer Albert Watson captured the real-life journey of The Macallan cask.
I could have stared at the photos all night. Beautiful captures of craggy faces with springy grey hairs sprouting from chins and earholes. Strips of light shooting through forests like furry gold sheets. I'm not sure it made me want to drink whisky, or have instant loyalty for one bottler over another, but what it did make me want to do is throw my technological trappings out the door and chase casks around Spain with nothing but my camera, clean underwear and maybe some cold pizza.
Any time a brand uses fine art as part of their campaign, the crowd around a party celebrating such a campaign goes to 11. I met quite a few young men who might need to get their sperm count tested as a result of such tiny pantalones!
I met a quirky group of friends I named The Turtleneck Posse after I spotted them in various shades of neck-cozying tops across the gallery. "We do this on purpose!" they all laughed, with their-sheer-topped, Pat Benatar-like, shiny-legginged female companion, and were more than happy to pose for pictures. Around the corner from them I found another crew, a futuristic moptop set of guys.
I spotted the master photog himself, Albert Watson, ushering a couple past his work, pointing out a few to agreeable nods and tilted, considering heads. His appearance is that of a longshoreman, with his scruffy yet kempt white beard and navy wool beanie.
While I was lurking behind the huge projection sheet that flicked between shots by and of the photographer, a hand grabbed me. It was a slender, raven-haired fellow gesturing wildly and grabbing another young fellow next to him. "Take a picture of him -- he's from 'Blue Bloods'!" he ordered. See, now this always makes me uncomfortable, and I would think the actor, too.
We both just stood there, staring at each other. The actor was Will Estes and the character he plays on "Blue Bloods" is Jamie Reagan. As an aside, he is also adorable and polite. "Blue Bloods" is a show on CBS about a family of New York cops, featuring Tom Selleck, Donnie Walberg (when he's not Hangin' Tough with NKOTB), and the aforementioned Estes.
I left Will Estes and investigated one of the many food platters being trundled around the room. The one I chose was a tiny pastry cup with something soft and mysterious in the cup itself, topped with blueberries. It was definitely not as awesome as a pulled pork slider, but I was happy enough to see food at an art event.
I also met Odi, a graphic artist at Rawcitizen. He was hanging out with Marc Gunn from agency The Meta Project, whose website is like a creepy old-school art-house film, and I mean that in a good way. It's really cool. One of their projects can be found at six-scents.com. I love the theatre-style advertising that brands like Stella Artois have also embraced. The experience is special; it definitely plants the seed that the brand you're experiencing is maybe deeper, richer, more artful than its competitors.
Oh, and if you're into celebrity (or at least buzz-garnering types) spotting, Olivia Munn was at the event. I know she's been chilling out in her underwear in a bunch of glossies, but I had to Google her to discover she's an "Actress and TV Personality." Also skulking about was was Vincent Piazza, who plays the gonorrhea-plagued, mother-lovin', Lucky Luciano on Showtime's "Boardwalk Empire." He entered the elevator as I was leaving the party. I hardly noticed him because I was reaching into the wayback machine to place the woman I had ridden down in the elevator with. And then I placed her.
Ally Hilfiger! This may mean nothing to you, but back in the day I watched every episode of the reality show she did with pal Jaime Gleicher, "Rich Girls." According to Wikipedia, that was seven years ago. Man I'm old. She was very gracious, super-sweet, and just a normal gal, leaving an art gallery with her bearded dude.
Photos from last night are larger on Flickr (with dozens more coming!)