Photos: Madonna et Pénélope Cruz portent un toast à Pedro Almodovar.
Madonna, Beth Ditto, and More Toast Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz
Paper Mag Fêtes the Director and His Muse, Penelope Cruz
— Darrell Hartman
"I love your work! I love your beard!" is the greeting an unshaven Pedro Almodóvar got from Paper editor in chief Kim Hastreiter at Casa Lever Saturday night, where the magazine hosted a dinner party for the Spanish director and Penélope Cruz, the star of his latest film, Broken Embraces.
Hastreiter—who was touting Almodóvar in print long before 1999's Oscar-winning All About My Mother—gave him a whirlwind tour of the room's younger talent: Beth Ditto, Jeremy Scott, the Threeasfour crew. Madonna, with whom the director has been friendly ever since she invited him onto the set of Dick Tracy, required no introduction.
Her Madgesty sat between Almodóvar and Cruz, the latter of whom was glad to dine on the early side. "In Madrid, it would be 10:30. But it's OK, because I'm very jet-lagged," she said. Up-and-coming opera singer Anthony Roth Costanzo gave a short performance as dessert was served, saving some of his highest notes for a rendition of "Happy Birthday" for Paper's own Mickey Boardman.
Glowing from the abundance of wine and praise, Almodóvar explained why he loved New York. "Everything can happen here, or at least you have that feeling. The only thing I don't like is the noise, because I don't hear in my right ear." Safe to assume that for a night like this one, he was happy to use his left.
Penelope Cruz, Madonna, and Pedro Almodóvar