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Bettina's Take: The American Museum of Natural History's Fall Gala


Photo: Getty Images
Tina Fey.

Giant clams, whales, Tina Fey, Mario Batali, Graff, and Maroon 5: what could all these things possibly have in common? They were all featured, in one way or another, at The American Museum of Natural History's Fall Gala, a fun and upbeat tribute to one of the city's most beloved institutions. Walking into the museum's entrance felt like being part of a Saturday Night Live cast party. Clustered in one of the corners, I spotted Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, Nasim Pedrad, Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, and Fred Armisen. No big surprise, since the evening was co-chaired by Alice and Lorne Michaels, Jodie and John Eastman, and Tom Freston. Also on hand were Olivia Wilde, Jack McBrayer, Jimmy Fallon, Jeremy Renner, Julia and David Koch, Laurie Waters, Ann McInerney, and Marcia and Richard Mishaan.

Dinner was in the always impressive Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, under the majestic whale. "This whale makes me feel better about my arms," said one of my table mates, while mentally comparing herself to Gisele (a losing battle for anyone). Tina Fey gave a hilarious introductory speech, inviting all 600 guests to an after party at Fred Armisen's house, "a walk-up with no doorman". Remarks by museum chairman Lewis Bernard and president Ellen Futter followed. Mario Batali created the menu especially for the event. The service was impeccable. "This evening is always beautifully organized, it runs like clockwork," said my lovely hostess, Judy Cox.

The live and very successful auction followed, led by the incomparable Jamie Niven, with packages including A Night At The Museum Sleepover, tickets to Saturday Night Live, including the cast party ("kind of like tonight', I thought) and Naming a Dinosaur.

Next, Maroon 5 took the stage, much to the delight and excitement of everyone in the room - Adam Levine up close! One of his tattoos says "Mom", what a sweet guy! He's hot! Jason Sudeikis made him laugh! Jimmy Fallon brought him water! Levine performed four great songs, including Moves Like Jagger, with Jagger himself in attendance. I wonder how Mick feels when Adam Levine performs Moves Like Jagger. But I digress...

The evening, presented by Graff, raised over $3 million dollars for this unique institution that has been delighting children and adults for over a hundred years.

That's a lot of giant clams.