Leave it to Rémy Martin to throw a party with the kind of magical style that only a brand with centuries of experience can pull off. The French cognac maker celebrated its mantra, “One Life / Live Them”, on Tuesday, October 20th, at Art Beam on West 21st Street, unveiling a new global campaign that celebrates the polymath potential in everyone. “The Avengers” and “American Hustle” star, Jeremy Renner, hosted the event with The House of Rémy Martin, and premiered a new ad spot that will debut in November that shows the actor seamlessly flowing into every aspect of a “Renaissance Man” lifestyle. Renner is a gifted actor who delivers the tense drama (“The Hurt Locker”) as well as the seedy comic menace (cat loving drug dealer on “Louie”), but the world at large may be very surprised to learn that he can also sing. And remodel houses. And produce films. But the singing is the real surprise, as the audience saw first hand when Renner took the stage backed by Norfolk, Virginia based band Brother Sal and the Devil May Care.
Renner’s performance of the folk-rock hit, “The House of the Rising Sun”, a song that was a number one hit in the 1960’s when it was recorded by the English rock group, “The Animals”, was raw, rugged and worthy to join the canon of all the singers who have covered it before. That would include artists as diverse as David Johansen in his Buster Poindexter persona, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan and more. Backed by Brother Sal, a group that defines its music as “Whorehouse Gospel”, who delivered a hard rock set of original tunes as well as a couple of Led Zeppelin songs, Renner had the house on its feet screaming for more. His appearance at the microphone was the surprise of a night that included an immersive sensory experience that took guests through a vineyard inspired space through a floor to ceiling cognac barrel.
Rémy Martin was founded in France in the Cognac region in 1724. Specialists in Fine Champagne Cognac, the eaux-de-vie selected for use in Rémy Martin products come from the two best growth areas of the Cognac region, the Grande Champagne and the Petite Champagne (the word “Champagne” defines a type of soil that is extremely chalky). Only 17% of the cognac shipped from the region is legally recognized as Fine Champagne Cognac and 80% of all Fine Champagne Cognac shipped from the region is produced by Rémy Martin. That gives the company very serious cred when it comes to cognac, and may be one of the reasons their party on Tuesday night had the sort of sophisticated and slightly roué flair of a scene from a Nabokov novel or a Graham Greene spy thriller. The air of old world permanence and refined taste was the subtle underlying theme of the night. Mixed with the type of rock and roll found in sweaty roadside juke joints of the American South, the Rémy Martin party came off as one of those unforgettable nights one will talk about for years to come.
The stars who turned up to party with Renner and Rémy Martin included a few of the actresses from the hit Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black”, such as Laverne Cox, Uzo Aduba, and Jacki Cruz; Lucy Liu, John Ventimiglia, “Power’s” Joseph Sikora and J.R. Ramirez, Zuleihka Robinson (“Homeland” & “The Following”), Kelly Bensimon, “Gossip Girl’s” Kelly Rutherford, Jesse Metcalfe, and Sanny Van Heteren, among a host of others. The celebrity guests were asked for their take on the Rémy Martin catch phrase, “One Life / Live Them, and each gave their own personal theory as to how they best embody the philosophy of creating a multi-level lifestyle. Emmy and SAG Award Winning actress, Aduba, gave some sound advice saying, “Live your best life, make every moment count, every day count and do everything in your power to be your strongest best self.” Rutherford said, “Today we are seeing all these boundaries that are being crossed in terms of what people are known for and all these other surprises and interests they have, and its all about being expressed and its nice to see Jeremy Renner doing this”. OITNB actress Cruz revealed that she just dropped her first single on the Billboard charts yesterday and was excited to unveil her musical talents, a side of her that fans have not yet discovered.
Phillippe Farnier, CEO of Rémy Cointreau USA, unveiled the new campaign video and welcomed Renner to the stage as the night’s musical performance began. The two elegantly dressed men toasted the audience with Rémy on the rocks, and afterwards Brother Sal took over to warm up the room for Renner’s performance. By that time, guests had all moved into the third room of the event space, perfectly turned out from the design mind of event planner, Nicky Balestrieri, and rock and roll took over from old world European elegance. The food was first rate, paired perfectly with cocktails made with Rémy Martin. Pinch Food Design worked with Balestrieri to create a story based on a vineyard experience; beef tartines and dried meats sourced from obscure artisan purveyors, fava beans with mint and creamy chocolate truffles, among other sweet and savory delights, all combined to create a completely immersive experience. It was One Night in a Life, and Rémy Martin demonstrated how to live all of them.