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The 2nd Annual Turtle Ball, benefiting the Turtle Conservancy, at the Bowery Hotel brought out a significant crowd for a Sunday night. Guests who enjoyed both a silent and live auction, a specially brought in aquarium with four different species of exotic river turtles, and a performance of a Chinese lion dance troupe performing to hip-hop music (like A$AP Rocky’s “F—in Problems”) included Harvey Keitel, Scout Willis, David Blaine, artist Peter Beard, Padma Lakshmi, artist Julian Schnabel, One Management owner Scott Lipps, actor Julian Sands, designer Johan Lindeberg, writer Griffin Dunne, literary agent Luke Janklow and girlfriend Stella Schnabel, newscaster Alina Cho and Estee Lauder’s John Demsey, and writer Glenn O’Brien, who introduced auctioneer C.K. Swett. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Turtle Conservancy has run a breeding program in Ojai, Calif., for turtles and tortoises since 2005 and protects turtles in their natural habitats, including the critically endangered Plowshare Tortoise in Madagascar, of which less than 750 are estimated to exist in the wild. A PSA for the organization that included actors Christopher Walker, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Sands and more was filmed in 2013.
Turtle conservationist Eric Goode — co-owner of the Bowery Hotel, president-founder of the Turtle Conservancy and creator of the Turtle Ball — and Fisher Stevens, the actor, producer, director (including of the upcoming adaptation of Philip Roth‘s American Pastoral) and honoree of the evening, chatted with THR about shooting hoops together, a David Blaine portrait, why turtles are more important to Walken than acting.
How did you two meet?
Fisher Stevens: We met a long time ago, but my earliest memories of really hanging out is playing basketball.
Eric Goode: I remember playing basketball with you in Miami with Liev [Schreiber] and all these guys. You had a posse. Fisher really keeps friends. I’m sort of aloof. Fisher sort of has a constituency, because he’s cool and people really like him. We did play basketball with Tobey Maguire; there’s different crews.
Stevens: I remember playing basketball on Hudson and 13th Street.
Goode: Basketball is the common denominator, OK? (Laughs.)
This is the 2nd annual Turtle Ball; was it better than last year’s?
Goode: We’re learning each time. The guy who just left, Julian Sands, he truly is incredible. He’s a true tortoise lover and tortoise keeper, and he’s an actor.
Stevens: He’s a master of ceremonies.
Goode: I’m so privileged to know Fisher, and to have people around me who want to help me. Fisher has really connected me to people I never would have had access to; Christopher Walken is one of them. The interesting thing is when I started shooting Christopher Walken — we shot many different people for this PSA, Liev Schreiber and all these people — Christopher Walken really took it seriously. I don’t know if I should … Maybe that’s not something, you tell me….
Stevens: No, he’s an animal lover.
Goode: Because he actually said to me, “I don’t do this every day and this is actually more important than what I actually do, more important than what I normally do, more important than my acting,” he actually said that. Because he lives in a place that has turtles, so it’s interesting that people you would never think of, Harvey Keitel, they all have an appreciation. David Blaine was telling me today how he loves alligators. They all have an appreciation in an urban setting in New York.
There was both the live and silent auction tonight. Who do you think took home the best piece or got the best deal?
Goode: I don’t even know who bought what! Two people bought the Julian Schnabel. They were all quite good, Tom Sachs, Julian Schnabel and Kenny Scharf, and all the other artists.
Stevens: You know what I liked the best, and it’s not even worth a lot? This drawing of David Blaine.
Good: (Gasps.) Dude, that’s incredible. That’s a genius drawing. I was supposed to give that to David Blaine!
Stevens: I know, we bid on it, but i don’t think we won it!
Goode: That drawing from Jean-Philippe Delhomme, it’s probably the cutest, smallest, hands-down. You’re absolutely right, I was so dizzy with everything and I wanted the drawing. Everyone who saw that drawing on the invitation, it just put a smile on their face. Size doesn’t matter, it’s this big. [Indicates a small size with his two hands.]
Stevens: I’m sure I didn’t get it.
Goode: It’s interesting you say that picture, because you are SO right. He’s one of my favorite illustrators. All the drawings, but that particular one.
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