Summer’s beginning was marked with lots of festivals, charity galas and Spider-Man’s return to blockbuster season, as stars of all sorts soaked up the sun, from Napa to Hollywood to the Caribbean Sea and beyond. Keanu Reeves returned to his old rock-star status at BottleRock Napa, strapping on his bass with Dogstar after 20+ years (and Lizzo knocked everyone out at that posh music/food/wine/brew fest); meanwhile, Kaley Cuoco’s “Based on a True Story” brought its mysterious fun to L.A.’s Pacific Design Center and Chateau Marmont and Sir Richard Branson set sail on the Summit at Sea in the Bahamas.
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” Premiere
Regency Village Theatre, Westwood
The Spider-verse opened a portal into Westwood for the world premiere of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” the long-awaited sequel to the 2018 smash hit film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and the stars celebrated. The actors who were delighted to have returned to the next ultra-cool vision of Spidey from the minds of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Issa Rae, Jason Schwartzman, Daniel Kaluuya and recent Oscar nominee Brian Tyree Henry.
Hailee Steinfeld, who reprises her role as Spider Gwen in the animated movie, slayed the red carpet at the Regency Village Theatre by wearing a complete ensemble from Bally’s spring 2023 collection. We loved the bold statement of casual and elegant, pairing a denim blouse with a waist-high slitted black maxi skirt and black stilettos.
Also seen in the huge crowd was another superhero, although from DC Comics: Xolo Maridueña of “Cobra Kai” fame, who stars in his own Latino superhero film later this summer in Warner Bros.’ “Blue Beetle.” Maridueña dug “Spider-Verse” and gave the film two thumbs up when we saw him after the animated wonder unspooled. – Umberto Gonzalez
“Daliland” Special Screening
The Culver Theatre and The Culver Hotel, Culver City
There were surreal moments at the “Daliland” special screening premiere held at The Culver Theater, but the most interesting one happened in line to check in, as legendary actor Pierce Brosnan and his wife Keely Shaye Smith stood patiently in the queue just like regular folks. Brosnan, whose recent art exhibition in Los Angeles called “So Many Dreams” mounted over 50 paintings of the actor/artist’s works, was on hand to see just what Sir Ben Kingsley and director Mary Harron had to say onscreen about Salvador Dali, but first he was asked to pick a tarot card from the decks piled up at the check-in table.
“Wait, what is this one?” he asked us. “The two of Wands,” we replied, and with a quick Google discovered that his card means “planning and moving forward, and discovery – stepping out of your cocoon and discovering new experiences,” which aptly applied to his standing-in-line experience that evening, something we’ll bet he hasn’t done since “Remington Steele” days.
The Brosnans’ VIP seats were ready in the theater and after the film that follows Dali’s later years unspooled (to some laughter and a lot of applause), they and star Sir Ben Kingsley headed across the walkway to The Culver Hotel. That two-level bash was done up to match one of the crazy Surrealist parties portrayed in the biopic.
There were no orgies at this one (unlike the film, which is filled with them!), but a giant scrum of clothed bodies formed upstairs where Kingsley happily greeted buddies like “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” director Destin Daniel Cretton (the two are working together again on the coming Marvel series “Wonder Man”) and many other well-wishers. Pierce and Keely braved the scene for a little while, but the packed situation in that small room was too far out of their cocoon (and ours, too) and they made an early escape. We stayed long enough to eat some tasty truffle pizza and Ahi tuna tacos as the crowd started to thin out.
Magnolia Pictures’ “Daliland” opens in limited theaters and streaming sites on June 9.
“Flamin’ Hot” Premiere at the 2023 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival
TCL Chinese Theatre, Hollywood
“Flamin’ Hot,” directed by Eva Longoria, premiered at the 2023 Latino International Film Festival at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre before a full house in that historic place. This captivating film dives into the inspiring true story of Richard Montañez and his contribution to the invention of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Longoria, who wore a sleek black Monot gown to the celebration, is passionate about bringing this remarkable tale to life, telling us that, “It’s a long process making a movie, and this moment of opening the film at the Latino Film Festival is a dream I didn’t even know I had!” The movie’s premiere at the festival marked a significant milestone for Longoria, highlighting her dedication to promoting diverse narratives in Hollywood, especially those of the Latino community.
Longoria also shared some thought-provoking advice for her home state of Texas as the 2024 election looms closer, urging them to “do better.”
In the film, Richard Montañez’s journey unfolds (he is played by Jesse Garcia), and during the premiere he reflected on the words of love and encouragement he has received from those who know his story, exclaiming that, “If we were able to come this far, imagine how far others can go.” – Elijah Gil
“Based on a True Story” Premiere
Pacific Design Center and Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles
Kaley Cuoco joined her handsome co-stars Chris Messina and Tom Bateman at the Pacific Design Center for a big-screen unspooling of the first two episodes of their funny new Peacock series “Based on a True Story.” Cuoco plays a pregnant real-estate agent in the black comedy all about a serial killer and a podcast, and she was pregnant in real life during the shoot. Cuoco and showrunner/series creator Craig Rosenberg joked that he asked her to get pregnant for the role.
“I told Kaley that her character is pregnant in the story,” Rosenberg recalled with a laugh. “She said, ‘I just gotta make a quick call to Tom Pelphrey. I think we’re in for that!’” Pelphrey is the father to their new baby, and as Rosenberg added, “When we started shooting a few months later, she turned up pregnant!” Talk about a method actor!
At the after party held at Chateau Marmont, most of the rest of the cast turned up, including “Mad Men” favorite Aaron Staton, Liana Liberato, Priscilla Quintana; everyone snuggled into the famed hotel’s bar after checking out the garden space, for it was another of the chilly nights that May Gray and June Gloom 2023 have brought to the normally lovely party evenings in Hollywood.
“Adult Swim: The Eric Andre Show” Smash Bash Experience
SoHo, New York City
After a two-year hiatus, “The Eric Andre Show” is back and crazier than ever! Fans got to experience the chaos of the sixth season during Eric Andre’s “Smash Bash Experience” in SoHo, NYC. Comedian and host Eric Andre kicked off the festivities by smashing a 200-pound ice sculpture with a wiffle ball bat before attendees were invited to join him in the smashing of his re-imagined set.
During the event, Andre, known for his absurd humor and unconventional talk show format, caught up with TheWrap. He described the new season of his Adult Swim late-night show as “sassy, sophisticated and sexy.” He also revealed the craziest thing he’s ever done in an interview was “drink his own piping hot piss.” Adding with a laugh, “You don’t know the healing powers of urine”
Season six of “The Eric Andre Show” premiered on June 4 and features all-star roster of celebrity guests, including Lil Nas X, Blac Chyna, Jon Hamm, Raven-Symoné, Diplo, Daymond John, Megan Good, Rico Nasty, Waka Flocka, and many more. – Emily Vogel
The 30th Annual Race to Erase MS
The Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel, Century City
Philanthropist and socialite Nancy Davis brought her 30th Annual Race to Erase MS to the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel, back once again as an advocate for finding a cure for multiple sclerosis. Davis, who has lived with MS over those years, has dedicated herself to the cause, raising more than $58 million over the years to fund key research. “What started as an impossible dream is now a living dream of possibility,” Davis told the glittery assemblage, “with so many new drugs and therapies coming through our pipeline because of your giving.”
The gala is always chockablock with Hollywood stars and the 30th annual continued that tradition, with familiar faces first gathering in the multiple silent auction rooms to see and be seen. From Marg Helgenberger and Peter Facinelli to Alessandra Ambrosio, Jay Huguley, Elisabeth Rohm, Denise Richards and David Faustino, everyone looked elegant and seemed to be spending for the cause.
But silent auctions are not as fun as they once were, when people simply signed a sheet with their bids, so everyone could see who bid how much on what. These days, it is an electronic process on iPads, making it much less interesting! But there were lively conversations and an adorable puppy up for auction to cuddle, which made up for that modern change.
Once everyone got to the ballroom, the gala started off with a bang, as a Cinq á Sept fashion show blasted off. Then it was on to a Siedah Garrett performance and a mind-boggling live auction that included selling off an Aston-Martin DBX707 AMR23 edition vehicle for $240,000 and that cute puppy for $25,000.
It was youngster Faly Rakotohavana’s first Race to Erase – he’s the 20-year-old Madagascarian currently starring opposite Kerry Washington and Delroy Lindo in Hulu’s “Unprisoned” – and he was appropriately gobsmacked at the price for the puppy. “That’s more than I spent on my car!” he gasped. That’s right, Faly, the rich are different.
The night’s action culminated in a rousing performance by Flo Rida, with Nancy Davis joining him in the action – and proving that MS is an illness that doesn’t stop those coping with it from having fun. Overall, the night raised $2 million toward the cause of finding a cure for what Teri Garr, who has been fighting MS since 1999, once called “this scum-sucking disease.” Teri didn’t make the 30th, but the 78-year-old legendary actress is still with us, living proof that the Race to Erase MS is making a huge difference in many lives.
Friendly House 2nd Annual Funstival Friendstival Comedy Fundraiser
The Comedy Store, Hollywood
If you were looking for a way to decompress after a long L.A. Pride Weekend, then the Friendly House 2nd annual Comedy Funstival Friendstival at the Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip was the place to be. The line wrapped around the building more than an hour ahead of the charity show, as the crowd formed to see the star-studded lineup.
Led by Tiffany Haddish and a talented group of mostly female comics including Caroline Rhea, Gina Yashere, Ian Harvie, Craig Conant, Jackie Monahan, Felicia Folkes and surprise guest Bill Burr (who showed up to the Comedy Store on the wrong day) and stayed to support the cause anyway. Friendly House is the first nonprofit substance abuse recovery program created by women for women 72 years ago in Los Angeles.
Haddish brought the house down and gave the crowd a sneak peek of her new album by playing snippets of songs from her cell phone over the microphone and dancing with the mic. She then took a break from the jokes to talk to the crowd about kindness, joy and giving back.
The event raised nearly double its fundraising goal on Night One of the three-part series planned for this summer, with Nights Two on July 9 and Three on Aug. 13, with tickets on sale now. If you or someone you love needs help, please contact friendlyhousela.org.
BottleRock Napa 2023
BottleRock Napa kicked off its tenth year as the ultimate music-food-wine-brews festival of each spring-summer season, a posh endeavor that sells out every Memorial Day weekend and draws top musicians, chefs and celebs to California’s wine country. Held right in the heart of the city of Napa, BottleRock blasts off the summer season with a slightly exhausting day-into-night fest that keeps fans running from stage to stage to try to catch all their favorites.
With the first acts going on at noon and the headliners finishing at 10 p.m. each of the three days, you’ve gotta be in for the long haul at BottleRock. Or you can do like seasoned veterans and hit a fabulous winery each day early (the very definition of day drinking). This year, we hit Priest Ranch Winery in nearby Yountville to taste their world-class reds (the 2019 Peacemaker, the 2018 Coach Gun blends) paired with bacon one morning, and Ram’s Gate Winery over in Sonoma for an early Wine and Bites late breakfast experience.
Doing wine tastings didn’t slow anything down, as hitting BottleRock still gives plenty of time to do just about everything. There was time to not only catch Keanu Reeves on Saturday playing the bass with Dogstar after a 20+ year hiatus (he’s the only guy who can be a rock star whenever he wants to be, let’s face it), but then again later on the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage, joking with L.A. Chef Roy Choi that his favorite food is “Korean tacos, which we are making right now!”
Later, Sammy Hagar joined Chef José Andrés for a wild time at the Culinary Stage, as Sammy’s Santo Tequila flowed freely onstage and Andrés, the man who has made it his mission to feed the world’s needy in times of hurricanes, wars and other food crises, brought jamon iberico to the table and the two of them started throwing pieces at the crowd, who were practically barking with desire.
It was more civilized in the Marriott Bonvoy American Express VIP Viewing Suite, designed for card members to have the best views of the main Jam Cellars Stage, as well as plenty of other perks, including seats. BottleRock doesn’t allow any chairs on the vast lawns that make up the stage-viewing areas, only blankets, so avoiding getting trampled is a serious consideration when the biggest names hit the stages.
Lizzo had the big headliner spot on the Jam Stage on Saturday night and brought a show that had the lion’s share of attendees screaming her name and standing pretty much shoulder-to-shoulder, filling that main Jam Cellars Stage gigantic lawn to capacity (no one was sitting on the ground anywhere!). Other stages that night featured Duran Duran, but we’re not sure anyone was actually over there. Lizzo rules, if you didn’t already know that.
Sunday wasn’t quite as picture-perfect a day as Saturday, with a bit of drizzle and overcast, but the music was still satisfying. An eclectic combination of bands kept everyone happy, as the music ranged from Sheryl Crow and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (the fest closing act on the main stage) to Little Nas X, Los Lobos and Taj Mahal on the smaller stages.
As BottleRock concluded celebrating its tenth anniversary, some limited offering tickets went on sale for 2024, which will happen May 24-26. Main ticket sales begin in January 2024.
2023 Summit at Sea
Miami and Bimini, Bahamas
When the annual Summit at Sea took off from Miami recently aboard one of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages cruise ships heading out on a Thursday to Sunday trip for Bimini in the Bahamas, it marked another major event in what Summit’s global director and CEO Jody Levy describes as “a foundation to nurture and connect the ‘makers’ across the planet, the entrepreneurs, investors and people that are really committed to making our world the best it can be.”
Summit began small about 15 years ago, but nowadays is a truly global meeting of people that converge from all points on the globe to spend three days at “a multidisciplinary experience designed to foster deep connections within our community of amazing like-minded people.” Summit is also a year-round collective that aspires to impact individuals into thinking in a collective sense about the concrete ways of making the world into a better place for everyone.
Onboard the ship during the Summit at Sea, every day brought talks and seminars from thought leaders like Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin of the Center for Humane Technology, whose packed conversation on “The AI Dilemma” on Friday generated buzz for the rest of the cruise; as did the “Action Session with Oceans & Amazon Entrepreneurs” Gator Halpern of Coral Vita, Carolina Rosero of Conservation International and William Peterson of Ocean Bottle. Halpern, who along with Sam Teicher is growing resilient corals in the Bahamas in a project designed to help ocean reefs worldwide, reminded the audience that “coral reefs are incredibly important ecosystems, the cornerstone of all life on earth.”
With conversations swirling among well-known names like Scott Galloway, Stefan Sagmeister, Simon Sinek, Molly Bloom and Sir Branson himself, who joined the Summit in Bimini, connections were constantly being made; but there was time for lots of fun, too.
Comedians Ben Gleib and Ken Garr kept the gang laughing every night, yoga gurus got things moving early every morning and DJs including DJ Green Lantern, Rich Medina and others kept the dancing going into the wee hours. Musicians played in various spots from morning until night and singles meetups, game sessions, communal dining and poolside cocktails kept everyone in a mode of constantly meeting new friends.
For the 2000 attendees, Summit at Sea was a trip to make connections, enjoy life and look to the future of the plant and humanity. It was a big hit, and the Summit at Sea 2024 has already been announced for April 16-20, 2024.
Please send party/event invites to Jenny.Peters@thewrap.com.