At dinner, we were seated way up in the third tier, at Table 35 (out of 36), along with a producer from CNN, a Canadian gossip columnist, an American gossip columnist (ah, “media reporter”), a TimeWarner lawyer, and, in perhaps the most surprising turn of events of the evening, the director Whit Stillman. We pressed him for information about what had become of the actors from his 1990 film Metropolitan. The last he had heard of one, he told us sorrowfully, was that he had ended up giving guided tours of Toronto. As we ate the lobster tail appetizer, Mr. Stillman told us about his upcoming projects: a film set in early 1960s Jamaica, and an adaptation of the Christopher Buckley novel Little Green Men.
Mr. Stengel stood up to welcome the crowd, and said, “Is there a better place to be tonight? I don’t think so!” As Youssou N’Dour sang, a video of images of Africa played on the large screens set up around the room. (Africa: Still hot.) Mr. Stengel said that the magazine had many discussions about “who is going to write about who.” “Whom,” hissed Mr. Stillman. “Who is going to write about whom.”