Sacha Baron Cohen and Chris Rock had the good sense to arrive early at the Jean-Michel Basquiat Made on Market Street exhibition at the  Larry Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills.

They surveyed the 30 or so Basquiat art works in relative peace ,before the throng arrived.

Cohen tells me he came straight from writing something “for TV” that might shoot in Los Angeles or in London, he wasn’t sure. Interesting.

There may also be a film. But before anything else he’ll be seen along with Cate Blanchett, Kevin Kline, Lesley Manville and Louis Partridge in Disclaimer, the TV drama thriller Alfonso Cuarón has written and directed for Apple TV+.

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Rock and Cohen had skedaddled with pal Guy Oseary to see Madonna by the time Oscar nominee Jeffrey Wright presented himself at the gallery. It was wholly appropriate that the American Fiction star be there. Some 28 years ago, Wright portrayed the artist in Julian Schnabel’s biopic Basquiat. The actor fist-bumped me but wasn’t overly keen on dragging up memories of playing the renowned painter who died in 1988.

Jeffrey Wright at the Basquiat exhibition.

I was taken by guests who brought their pooches to the show.

Sylvia Ades over from New York cradled Daisy her maltipoo as she studied Basquiat’s works.

Ades revealed that Basquiat’s Luna Park, 1983, an acrylic and oil stick on canvas, is from her private collection and that she agreed to loan it to the exhibition co-curated by Gagosian and Fred Hoffman, who had been a close friend and collaborator of Basquiat’s.

“I’m getting it back,” Ades joked.

I trooped off to the upper gallery space to study Luna Park and was stunned by it’s coherent ambition and its size. “It’s big, isn’t it ?” Ades agreed.

Another dog lover was Alex Brookhart who was there with Kenny and described as an “LA mutt.”

I was impressed at how well behaved the canines were and felt guilty that my two boys back in the UK don’t get taken to art galleries, but then they have paintings, books and films to enjoy plus they do get walked to exhibitions in green spaces close to our home in east London.

Melanie Griffith and Jane Fonda wandered in and out. Filmmaker Bennett Miller drifted by. He had his own show at the Gagosian in January and has other artworks planned. He tells me that he’s just signed with a writer to collaborate on a movie project that he’ll direct. “It’s early days,” he cautioned.

Rustin executive producer David Permut was in attendance with his fashion executive niece Becca Mines. She’s COO of Rentrayge and was wearing a jacket created by the label.

Luna Park, 1983.
Photo Bamigboye/Deadline.

Permut says he was elated by President Biden’s State of the Union speech. ”It’s what we needed to hear.”

Last week he was at the White House with director George C. Wolfe to screen their film for the First Lady.

My old actor friend Jimmy Jean-Louis was moved by Basquiat’s work. “It gives you a boost to see such magnificence,” he says.

Jean-Louis is headed for a tour of India with the composer A.R. Rahman and a film they both worked on with writer and director Blessy called The Goat Life.

Later some of us scooted over to Steak 48 for dinner. I confess to being addicted to their freshly prepared beignets, which are presented dangling from silver branches. I wanted to resist them but failed, badly.

D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai On ‘Killers of the Flower Moon‘

Reservation Dogs star D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai was telling me at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards the other night the importance of having Lily Gladstone speak “our native language on stage, on television.”

The Canadian-born Oji-Cree spoke passionately about how “our traditional dances, our ceremonies, our religious rites, our women, our regalia and our language were taken away from us,” as he showered the Killers of the Flower Moon Best Actress Oscar nominee with praise.

Indigenous children were put into residential homes in the 19th century “and those homes were kept going for over a hundred years,” where children “were beaten” until they forgot their language, he says.

Ever since Killers of the Flower Moon premiered at Cannes, I’ve read tomes on how North America’s indigenous people had their culture ripped from them so they could be forced to assimilate.

Woon-A-Tai tugged at his hair and explained that kids at those homes had their hair chopped off. ”That’s the reason why native men grow out their hair and keep it long… we believe our hair is our strength and guidance from our ancestors.”

He says Martin Scorsese’s film has been so vital for native Americans because it encourages “the young to learn their language and be fluent in it. Learn your traditional language and heritage,” he implores.

Killers of the Flower Moon has been this huge moment because native language was spoken not just by Lily Gladstone but by Robert De Niro, that’s huge. The impact the film has had is enormous.”

The actor, who was at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards with his girlfriend Quannah Chasinghorse, the model and actress who served as a co-chair of the event.

He longs for the day when more native writers and directors “will allow me to speak my language” in future projects.

Woon-A-Tai also observed that the performance of the Osage Nation song Wahzhazhe (A Song For My People) at the Oscar ceremony on Sunday is also a significant moment. The song will be performed by members of the Osage tribe.

“It’s going to be a big moment,” says the actor who mingled with other guests at the sustainable 1 Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. They included Zendaya, Annie Lennox, Helen Hunt, Amber Valletta, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, Trudie Styler and marvellous Livia Firth who founded the GCFA.