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Black Tie International:
The Red Carpet or The Celebrity Perp Walk

 

 

  The Red Carpet

            Or

   
  The Celebrity Perp Walk

   Photos & Story by:  Gary Swanson
             www.garyswanson.org

 

 

Alec Baldwin, Matthew Broderick, Matthew Modine, Alexander Skarsgard, Christie Brinkley and other stars prove The Hamptons International Film Festival is not a start – up, new kid on the block fighting for recognition pan - flash, overshadowed by Sundance, Telluride or, the mother of all these events, The Caan Film Festival. It is now an institution those old festivals must acknowledge and maybe even worry about.

 

 Once a film festival has a bona fide Red Carpet, where the stars fly in from around the world “to be seen”, to mingle with the press and the people on Main Street, then the gauntlet, the leather glove of challenge by HIFF has been thrown to the ground, stating that East Hampton, New York is the home of a contender. The Red Carpet or The Celebrity Perp Walk (as this writer calls it), trampled by the stars, ogled by the flesh pressing media states clearly that this new institution will be formidable for a long, long time.

 


 

 

Disclaimer 1: I am an actor who has perp walked Red Carpets to promote films I have acted in.  I state this to validate that I have a primary memory and understanding of the police car like flashing lights aimed at your being, the cicadas’ chatter of a thousand shutter bugs that eventually transform into chattering monkeys who shout and scream your name begging, cajoling and finally demanding you to look in the direction of their flashing lights and the shrill commands of those seeking to make a living off your image. For some actors it can be hell. For others it is like a walk through Central Park.

 

Disclaimer 2: I am now a shutterbug - cicada press guy who never screamed out the name of a single star standing four feet away from me on the Red Carpet Perp Walk - except for… Christie Brinkley, and that was purely involuntary.

Having been on both sides of this anomalous experience, this event, like a science project, exposes the person’s true nature with nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. (I once went to a taping of The Tom Snyder Show back in the 70’s with Marlon Brando.  He was asked to meet with the studio audience.  Brando almost froze in place, tortured, unable to really 
 “act” his way out of his self – conscious, child like innocence just like the Red Carpet Perp Walk).


 
 

 

                            The Perp Walk

 

Examine my crude cell phone photographs of a few stars on the Red Carpet Perp Walk at The Hamptons International Film Festival.  Like detectives, look for clues to the suspects’ inner soul…

 

Matthew Modine may be one of the few open actors, devoid of a veneer or pretense, at home with himself and the world. Notice how guileless is his smile. Think about his films from the past. The Red Carpet reveals the man from the bottom up…



 

 

Alexander Skarsgard is actually as tall as he seems at 6’4”. Sensitivity is coin of the realm to an actors’ ability to transform the imaginary world into a performance. As a young actor Alexander has not quite learned to manage the scrutiny of that kind of event. But, not many actors ever do learn this trick that goes contrary to what they do as a living.
 

 


 

 

Guild Hall had a Special Screening of Matthew Broderick’s “Election (1999)”.  Broderick’s calling card is benign strength, confusion mixed with humor and an understanding that fear is a part of life and we must press on. He has mixed that cocktail of human traits in all his films and theater performances. The audience roots for him to win against all odds.
 



 

 

He’s a family man and becomes very comfortable when in the company of cohorts.


 


Mat Broderick does not pretend to know what’s happening to him in his films the way Tommy Lee Jones, George Clooney or, quintessentially -
Alec Baldwin seem to know that it is the world around them that has the problem.

 



 

Baldwin struggles with his own fearlessness, his extra ordinary intelligence and his saving grace – a savage sense of humor that could outwit most comedians anywhere in the world. I used the word  “struggles” because Baldwin, as much fun as he is to watch (even more to listen to his anecdotes and stories) has found himself in the wrong business.



 

 

He hates the Red Carpet and this bold contempt is why audiences want to watch him constantly and admire his unflinching, inability to lie for his job. He could have been a great Police Chief who runs for local office, then runs for President of The United States and wins…

Alec has just announced to us all in a loud voice “Enough of this Bull S***)


 

As I stood on the press side of the Guild Hall Red Carpet, the camera people would mutter, “There’s George” or “I heard Susan Sarandon is coming” and they would not appear. I saw a beautiful, tall, blond woman walk behind us and slip into Guild Hall while all the paparazzi fixated on the red carpet, waiting for stars.  But she made a fast right and then another fast right and suddenly the cicadas’ screamed, “Christie, over here”…

 

Christie Brinkley is not an actress. She was and is one of the most beautiful models the world has ever known and a great businesswoman. She, better than any actor who ever strode the Perp Walk, knows how to work a Red Carpet. The stunning woman who walked into Guild Hall had no smile, seconds later, the one who shocked us by striding out to surprise the exhilarated press, worked us like children in a park at a birthday party.


  

 No one is that happy all the time but she knows how to keep us jumping out of our lenses. What she revealed was why she has been so successful for so many decades. She knows how to make being “on” into an art form.


  

 

 

 
Joyce Brooks

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