It’s not that anyone would expect a David Lynch party to be, well, conventional. After all, this is the man who put a severed ear on the big screen in Blue Velvet and brought a prophetic log to TV in last season’s Twin Peaks. Still, the Los Angeles premiere of the director’s latest project, the controversial Cannes Film Festival winner, Wild at Heart, was deeply strange even by Lynchian standards.
Besides Lynch and Wild stars Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern, the soiree at Hollywood’s cavernous nightspot Arena boasted an exotic dancer boogying with a boa constrictor, a smoke machine belching smoglike clouds, and a fire-eater. The mix was interesting at both the screening and the party after: Jayne Meadows and Justine Bateman, Steve Allen and Rob Lowe, Bruce Davison and Dweezil Zappa, Howie Mandel and his mom.
Of course, the celebs didn’t mingle for long—which no doubt had more to do with the cash bar and low-budget hors d’oeuvres than with the company. But almost everyone had something (relatively) nice to say about the long-awaited film. “It’s a celebration of ugliness, but very artistically accomplished,” said Allen. “Intriguing,” said L.A. Law’s Harry Hamlin. “I think it’s the feel-good movie of the summer,” said Mandel. “I came out [with] a warm feeling in my body. I don’t know if it’s from my heart or in my spleen, but there’s a lot of warmth in that general area.”