“Entourage” Premieres (And Ends) With A Glamorous Bang

"Entourage" impersario Mark Wahlberg

And more from our Liz on HBO’s sizzling hot party in New York City

“A MUCH lower unemployment rate. And lower gas prices. Those would he perfect gifts for my birthday!”

So says President Obama about becoming 50 years old and what he wants for his natal day on August 4th. He said this to AARP magazine, with a sexy Harrison Ford on the cover.

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HBO PULLED out all the stops the other evening in Manhattan, screening several episodes of the eighth and final season of “Entourage.” It happened at the exquisite Beacon Theater on Broadway and 74th Street. Once a great movie palace, the theater became a grimy shadow of itself back in the 1970’s. But in recent decades it has been transformed into a live concert spot, wonderfully restored to its original gleaming, glory.

It is rare for a film of any sort to be shown at the Beacon. And yet here we were in this space that still carries the ghosts of the Golden Age movie stars. Once upon a time, stars were beautifully spoken, wonderfully coiffed: no nudity, no reality. So it was fascinatingly odd, watching scenes from a TV series that is the epitome of Hollywood today, with its coarse wheeling and dealing, cursing, and ordinary looking stars. (Not that all sorts of coarse carrying on didn’t happen back in the day, but … somehow it played better.)

The theater was packed. Half the men in the place were dressed (despite the oppressive heat) like Jeremy Piven’s character, the agent Ari Gold, in suits and ties. The other half looked like the four other “Entourage” guys usually do — sloppy but trendy. Most of the women dressed for the heat, wearing as little as the law allows. The entire cast —Piven, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrara and Perrey Reeves (Mrs. Ari Gold) took the stage before the screening, along with various others. (Piven, true to his egocentric character, was onstage bowing and waving before his name was even called.)

But the man of the night was co-creator (with Doug Ellin) and executive producer Mark Wahlberg. “Entourage” was his baby, and loosely based on his own early days in Hollywood, when he was a restless young man, prowling L.A. with his posse. Now he is a highly respected movie star and producer — and a damn fine actor. His ovation was tremendous and affectionate.

And Mark was the big man at the super after-party, which happened at the Museum of Natural History. Despite the presence of  Ben Kingsley Johnny GaleckiArianna HuffingtonLance BassDavid SchwimmerRob Morrow … vixenish AP reporter/TV broadcaster Alicia Quarles and her beautiful hubby, Michael Ross Linda YellenPharrell  WilliamsChris BauerPaul Haggis Brian WilliamsAndrew Dice Clay and the U.S. Women’s Soccer players Hope Solo and Alex Morgan. But it was Mark’s table that drew every camera flash; the whole room seemed to converge on him. He was sweetly accessible, posing, hugging, hand-shaking and full of high spirits. He wore a beautiful gray suit that was designed to suggest perhaps it couldn’t quite contain his rippling physique. (Mark might be a serious player now, but he’s still hot.) And, but of course, Roger Friedman, the best entertainment reporter in the biz was there too. But he was less high on “Entourage” than what he had attended instead of the screening — a recording session with Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett. Roger says Aretha sounds fantastic, better than in years!

The party was held in a huge room — The Milstein Hall of Ocean Life — dominated by a giant blue whale suspended above the throng. Impressive!  There were dramatic staircases that afforded the glam types the opportunity to pose and strut with élan. And if you didn’t want to get into the crush on the main floor, the second tier was less mobbed; one could observe the mortals mingling — on high, like Zeus. Delectable food was scarfed up and potent drinks flowed. The massive white and black chocolate dessert tray, which spelled out “Entourage,” was especially tempting. (Although it was only for “display,” despite constant efforts to maul it. Later in the night, I think they gave in and allowed it to be ravaged.)

All the HBO-ers were in fine, friendly fettle. Why not? Once again, the network garnered the lions’ share of the recent Emmy nominations.

Oh, a suggestion. I don’t know if it has ever happened, but Milstein Hall would be a super spot for an Oscar party.

After all, movies are part of natural history, too.


3 Responses so far.

  1. avatar rick gould says:

    Never “got” Entourage. Just like I never “got” Sex and the City.
    I knew what they were aiming for, and wanted to like both shows…
    But found them both highly overrated, with one-note caricature performances and unattractive leads. I know some people really dig these shows… great.

    I just never saw any real wit, depth or charisma…to me, anyway.

    Hopefully, there won’t be any overblown “Entourage” feature films…

    • avatar Richard Bassett says:

                          “Sex and The City “was a bit more interactive in season one… Between scenes funny little tidbits of experiences and andototyes were played to the audience. Well, that soon ended as is confused the mood of the show. It was a younger, single, metropolitan, (both male and female) style to the show and it had a very Gilligan’s Island theme (though they could leave Manhattan anytime) felt throughout the show. Yes, I agree. You only saw a one deminsitional aspect of the character in almost every episode… Do people really have dialogs like this all day, and all night? But there is needed some impetus for an audience to keep returning (or to achieve higher ratings). The characters were pigeonholed into these little boxes and couldn’t escape them once the show became very successful. I worked in an ER for years, and it we got the chance hear about to medical conditions of the patients…that was all. No romances that lead to such drama. No open hatred, resentment or anger.  It was all (and only) professional.  All of those private conversations took place in universal pubs throughout the city. There was no “one hang out (bar or club) for the entire staff.  You tried to get away from your co- workers. No in depth discussions about people lives or loves… Hmmm, that may make for a show…but it would be more of a reality show than a nighttime soap opera. But it is shown for the entertainment value that the show brings. If pepople spent so much time engaging in their personal life  at work…there would be no time to attend to the patients (which is why they are all there to begin with). In our society, we get our mental health concerns attended to.
                                 So is “Sex and The City”. We are to that these almost 40’s financially successful, attractive and trendy NYC ladies have been live this kind of life for 20+ years…and the show is about ‘relationships’!! They rave about the city. What are they suppose to do when a relationship when a relationship fails? I guess that they sit with their lunch hour friends, babble a bit and are to discover a new taste in Jimmy Choose and anything Dolce and Cabana ?  What happened to crying? And going home and putting your pillow over your head. We see this in Carrie, from time to time, but the others are cardboard cut outs.
                       In these days, as we need a little bit of entertainment aimed to try to get us out of our 5pm – 6am routine (exactly when these shows begin). So while working all day, you get a recap of what you’ve missed!  , would rather see a well put together documentary than how to feed a pig, than watching the  Kardashians  paint each other’s toe nails.  I am afraid that most of our television programming is becoming on watching people that we are watching see every day on the street. Hopefully, rating will drop once the next inane period drops. I remember one Sunday afternoon when I was TY surfing. I saw two exercise/ work out infomercials followed by two gourmet cooking shoes. Rick, do you would what eventually sold: “Sex and The City”?   They showed naked people. Anyone one could have played the roles of the ladies. (Their perspective motives were showing male nudity, as well)

  2. avatar sevillomatic says:

    roger friedman is an overly self-involved, self important old queen.
    I get so tired of reading his whining, axe-carrying, and pathetic rants.

    I get it, WE GET IT, he hates Madonna, Gaga, and ANYONE who was born after his glory days.

    If you are not Paul McCartney, Tony Bennet, Leon Russel, Aretha Franklin, or his newest crush (James Franco), you will get no love from him.

    He thinks he is Hedda Hopper, but he is more like Hello magazine.