If you want to ensure a successful awards dinner, have Marshall Brickman as your M.C. A creator of the musical Jersey Boys, he has a wealth of mob related anecdotes, and with the aplomb of a seasoned comic, he delivers. At Guild Hall’s annual gala, rooftop at the St. Regis on Monday night, he told a story about an inmate who wanted him to do a sequel called, “Has Anybody Seen Frankie?” Declining, he now fears for his life.
Given the decidedly downtown edge to the awardees, the speeches were rather formal. Lou Reed presented to Laurie Anderson for Performing Arts. A “woman who can do anything,” Anderson thanked two people, one who taught her how to say no, the other yes. When she asked the famously reclusive Thomas Pynchon for the rights to make an opera of his Gravity’s Rainbow, he wrote back, fine, with one restriction, it must be for one instrument, the banjo. The other was Buddhist Trungpa Rinpoche advising, “You need to learn the skill of feeling sad without being sad. We all have to find the way ourselves.”