Award-winning Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino was spellbound and left speechless by raunchy burlesque acts at a private party in Auckland’s red light district.
Tarantino and his high powered entourage, which included Kiwi Zoe Bell, visiting Hollywood directors and local celebrities, made a beeline for the Las Vegas Club on the city’s notorious K’ Rd strip following the New Zealand premiere of his latest film The Hateful Eight.
The provocative acts proved a hit with the celebrated director who dubbed the evening as “worthy of international acclaim.” Tarantino sat centrestage at the club lapping up steamy performances from the sultry burlesque acts and at times taking a very hands on approach.
Two of the dancers, Hannah Tasker-Poland and Duchess DeBerry, wrote about their seductive encounters with the Hollywood mogul on Facebook saying the night was “surreal”.
Tasker-Poland wrote: “When you perform for Quentin Tarantino at a private function, and he sits front n centre and wipes your painted-on stockings off, and then gives you two standing ovations after, then asks for you to meet you so you sit with him while he tells you your performances were the coolest thing he’s seen, like the sickest scene in a badass movie, and he gets your contact deets and you’re like ‘Omg omg Mr Spielberg, I LOVE your albums!’ And then Zoe Bell bows down at your feet and says she wants to be you. Um, whut. Yeah. Those nights.”
DeBerry’s description was more hardcore: “Some nights life is surreal as f***. Other nights you perform at a private function for Quentin Tarantino, who sits right at the front, peels one of your stockings off you and wears it around his neck for the rest of the night, then sits and chats with you after the show and gives you the best compliment you’ve ever had, ‘The thing I liked about it was it felt SO pornographic, even though NOTHING you did was pornographic. You weren’t being dirty, but it felt reaaaaally dirty.’ Honestly one of the coolest, most genuine guys I’ve ever met. It was a privilege to squeeze out the milk from my stocking into your mouth. I love my job.”
Event organiser Vinci Gin-Nen said the world-class director was gushing over the entertainment. “Mr Tarantino was speechless and had mentioned to guests that this calibre of performance and concept was nothing he had experienced and will be a lasting memory for a very, very long time,” he said.
“We let our performers know this would be an opportunity of a lifetime and Quentin Tarantino was overly impressed of the Las Vegas and the extraordinary performers.” As he left the club around 2.30am he told staff: “I had a f**** bloody good time” before singing a menu as a parting gift.
The guest list included a who’s who of New Zealand entertainment including Dave Dobbyn, Karl Urban, Oscar Kightley, Awen Guttenbiel, Shavaughn Ruakere, Teuila Blakely and a host of expat Hollywood directors, playwrights and actors.
No one twisted my arm
Speaking to the Herald on the red carpet, Tarantino revealed why he decided to come to New Zealand: “I have friends here, I have friends who have family here and I’ve been invited quite a few times, personally.
“So I decided that since I was already in Australia, now would be the time I roll over.” Tarantino attended the premiere with his long-time stunt woman Kiwi Zoe Bell, who he said did not twist his arm to attend. “No she didn’t, I brought it up to her. I’m having dinner with her family tomorrow night,” he said.
Hundreds of fans eager to get a glimpse of the director waited outside the movie theatre. Loud screams and cheers erupted as Tarantino arrived. One lucky fan received a hug from Tarantino after showing him a cup she had made for him. He signed the cup and gave her a hug resulting in cheers from the crowd.
Tarantino spent time signing autographs and talking to the fans. One woman dressed as Mia from Pulp Fiction said she was “so excited” after meeting and talking to Tarantino. “I’ve been his fan for decades,” she said. “So I’m super excited to see him in person.” He spotted her costume in the crowd.
“He said, ‘Oh Mia’.”
Tanya Law and her husband. Richard Law, also met the film-maker. Mrs Law said she was “really excited”. “I’ve liked him for a really long time, my husband’s a really big fan.”I don’t think there’s a movie of his I don’t like.” The director was “really nice”, she said.
“Everyone was really nervous because he had to go and do an interview and everyone was like awww [we didn’t get to meet him]. But he came back and apologised and he was just really lovely.
“My husband had his hand shook, don’t know if he’s going to wash it for a while.”
Fashion designer Karen Walker attended, as did actors Karl Urban, Lucy Lawless, Keisha Castle Hughes, Oscar Kightley and Teuila Blakely, as well as The Bachelor Art Green and girlfriend Matilda Rice and All Black Malakai Fekitoa.
Bell, in an strapless, shimmery champagne-coloured dress, told the Herald working with Tarantino was “amazing and exhilarating”. She planned to take Tarantino to her home territory of Waiheke Island. They would visit Stonyridge Vineyard, “where it all began”. “That was my first ever job.”
Bell said it was important for New Zealand that the premiere was held in Auckland because “New Zealand deserves a little love”. “I’m just really proud to introduce New Zealand to you guys and to introduce you guys to him. It’s all warm and fuzzy everywhere for me really.” Lawless said it was “amazing” that The Hateful Eight premiere was happening in Auckland.
“I think it’s such a testament to how much he loves and values his friendship and partnership with Zoe Bell, who’s one of the best women on the planet, New Zealand should be so proud of her.”
Lawless said she was expecting to “go on a wild, white-knuckle roller coaster of a filmic experience” with the acclaimed director’s eighth movie, “because no one will take you there quite like Tarantino”.