What Has More Parties Than the Italian Parliament? the U.s. in a Cold Wave

updated 02/01/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/01/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

It just seemed as if everything in the nation was called off because of snow or the arctic freeze. Actually from New York to L.A., hard-core high livers were still making their appointed rounds. Halston opened his Fifth Avenue offices to host a tribute to dear friend Liza Minnelli. NBC brought back the cast of dozens who had graced the Today show (J. Fred Muggs excepted) to toast the program's 30th anniversary at New York's Tavern on the Green. L.A. critics feted Meryl Streep as the year's best actress. Many of the evenings provided high drama as well as frivolity. Without informing Paramount, which had prematurely shown an early version of his One From the Heart, Francis Ford Coppola booked Radio City Music Hall for its premiere and threw a wingding afterward. The reviews: fine party, so-so film. Meanwhile Seagram Chairman Edgar Bronfman and his wife, Georgiana, rented the Queen Elizabeth 2 at a Hudson River pier (for more than $100,000) and raised money for Virginia's Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and New York's Upward Fund. The most touching event of all took place in the capital's Kennedy Center, where Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra got together to publicize the $1.7 million film Genocide, which depicts WW II Nazi horrors. Said Liz, who narrated the film with Orson Welles for free, "I did it out of dedication."

With Bendix behind her, Mary Cunningham boarded the QE2 with ex-boss William Agee and a diamond ring; Gloria Steinem flashed a jeweled headband.

"What you saw tonight is real," Liz told the D.C. audience at the premiere of Genocide, a documentary she narrated on the heroes and victims of the Holocaust. Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal expressed his admiration.

At the L.A. Film Critics dinner, Roy Scheider presented the Best Actress Award to a jubilant Meryl Streep for her portrayal of The French Lieutenant's Woman.

In a confrontation of pinstripes, Tom Brokaw put an avuncular paw on his Today successor, Bryant Gumbel, and talked shop.

Halston's mirrored Manhattan office was as glitzy as a Cabaret for old chum Liza Minnelli (left, with Christopher and "George" Walken and Liza's sculptor husband, Mark Gero). After guests nibbled gingered chicken, Gregory Peck presented Liza with one of Martha Graham's old bracelets—a stage prop the dancer bestowed in token of her annual award for accomplishment in the arts. The artsy Paloma Picasso (below) chatted up husband Rafael López Sanchez, the Argentine playwright, and some of the most glamorous ladies in Gotham turned out in tribute—(below, left) Cheryl Tiegs, Cher and Karen Black.

Francis Coppola throws a flashy bash for his new film

"I hope the public likes One From the Heart," says Robert De Niro (left, with one of the $26 million movie's stars, Harry Dean Stanton).

"It was a nice little piece," historian turned movie critic Arthur Schlesinger Jr. allowed as he and wife Alexandra left the Radio City screening.

Celebs like singer Todd Rundgren and date Karen Darvin gathered at Coppola's party and buzzed about the technical sophistication of the film, a stylized Las Vegas love fantasy.

"I do the Texas two-step the best," boasted Robert Duvall (with Ellen Barkin, who plays his daughter in the upcoming film Texas Mercies).

Little Tuxes Jenny and Jilian Gersten and Sofia Coppola (Francis' daughter) cavorted happily. "We feel pretty tonight," Jenny beamed.

Carly Simon told Coppola (left) and lyricist Jacob Brackman, "The characters in the film break in and out of reality just like my life."

Tom Waits' bluesy tunes in Heart may have mellowed him out but good, but wife Kathleen surveyed the scene chin-up.

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