Saturday evening seemed more like an Oscar blowout than a dignified anniversary party for the venerable L.A. art museum MOCA, even if it was to see Lady Gaga and Francesco Vezzoli in a ballet performance-art piece. The crush at the door certainly resembled the former, evoking memories of Spago in its heyday, with many of the same faces—and, it would seem, many of the same outfits. Hollywood’s brightest were swiftly ushered in by smiling PR girls while the rest were made to wait unceremoniously (this included more than a few notable gallerists from around town, whose dour expressions spoke volumes). We made the mistake of arriving shortly after Brangelina, who sent the building into lockdown. Despite their easy-going, baby-loving façade, they demand some tight security, which apparently includes no one invading their art space. Go figure.
Like all galas, the space brought back memories of senior prom, except that it was packed to the rafters with celebrities: Eva Mendes, James Franco, Kate Bosworth, Marisa Tomei, Neil Patrick Harris, Pierce Brosnan, a stern looking Guy Ritchie, Gwen Stefani and hubbie Gavin Rossdale, who seems to get better-looking all the time. On the East Coast, the crowd would have been outfitted head-to-toe in black asymmetry, but this is L.A., and instead there were a lot of draggy, Gaga-esque styling choices, intentional and otherwise.
After a look at the art, we decided to be true to ourselves and head to the tents for the nearest bar. The lavish production apparently consumed most of the budget, leaving little for practical accommodations. We may have sipped on top-shelf sparkly, but it’s impossible to feel glamorous while climbing into a Port-a-Potty, harder still in a floor-length gown.
Of course, this didn’t detract from the evening’s centerpiece: the much-anticipated collaboration between performance artist Francesco Vezzoli and Lady Gaga, which also involved the Bolshoi Ballet and a pink Damient Hirst-customized grand piano encrusted with blue butterflies. To the untrained eye, it may have also resembled a 70’s bathtub, but the kitsch factor didn’t dissuade a donor from snapping it up post-show for a whopping $450,000 (Gaga not included).
The performance itself was entertaining, if a bit mannered. The most eyebrow-raising aspect was the Lady’s somewhat demure choice in costuming: Prada. Now that’s shocking! By the way, kudos to Jeremy Scott for his leather-harness tuxedo number. Discuss!