Cannes ‘08: Hottest party ticket? Paul Allen’s yacht party


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The most publicized Cannes Film Festival party is the annual black-tie ball held by Vanity Fair magazine.

But billionaire Paul Allen’s yearly yacht bash may have become an even hotter ticket.

Friday night’s gathering on Allen’s massive boat had more A-list names than even the swankest Hollywood premieres, and any number of incredibly rich men with incredibly young girlfriends.


Ferries shuttled guests to Allen’s 301-foot Tatoosh (only 100 feet shorter than his other mega-yacht, the Octopus) all through the night, and when revelers climbed aboard at 3 a.m., Allen, a dedicated guitar nut, was fronting his band. As Allen blasted out Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” U2’s Bono worked the orchid-decorated lower decks.

The guests included Sean Penn, head of the Cannes jury, and fellow juror Natalie Portman, who chatted with George Lucas.

By the boat’s lap pool (whose bottom was raised to make a reflecting pool filled with rose blossoms), Brad Pitt talked with Edward Norton and “Children of Men” director Alfonso Cuaron. Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson and supermodel Petra Nemcova (who briefly fell out of the top of her outfit) were also on hand.

The Microsoft co-founder’s party attracted a flotilla of industry moguls, including Barry Diller, Brad Grey and Stacey Snider.

Executives from Paramount, whose “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” premieres Sunday, were numerous: Rob Moore, John Lesher and Brad Weston.

Allen’s boat has a crew of 32, can sleep 32 and has its own small cinema. Doesn’t yours?

-- John Horn