Acclaimed actress cheers on BAM and Grupo Corpo

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Happily, autumn has arrived, and with it a flurry of gala invitations to fabulous parties - aka GO Girl column fodder. On Tuesday night, GO Girl gratefully stashed her invite to the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s "2005 Next Wave Gala" in her ruffled handbag, slipped on her impossibly high heels and staggered off to Fort Greene.

Under normal circumstances, GO Girl is loathe to substitute her signature gin martini for another cocktail, but in celebration of the imminent performance of Brazilian dance troupe Grupo Corpo, she cheerfully accepted a caipirinha, Brazil’s intoxicating national drink. (Of course it didn’t hurt that it was being proffered by a handsome representative of the Leblon spirit company who made the distillation of cachaca - made from pure natural cane - sound very sweet indeed.)

Those who sampled those caipirinhas soon found that it wasn’t just their limes getting muddled. They quickly forgot the pain from their fabulous shoes - and their hair dampened by the Nor’easter raging outside - and attempted to focus on the evening’s opening remarks.

Most memorable was Armani Chief Operating Officer Roberto Pesaro. His company attached the teeniest of gold keys to each of the evening’s giftbags, one of which may unlock a $10,000 fall-winter wardrobe at the Giorgio Armani boutique on Madison Avenue.

Grazie mille, Giorgio!

Inside the BAM opera house, the star-studded audience applauded raucously for Grupo Corpo’s U.S. premieres of "Lecuona," an incredibly sexy series of couples performing intricate, precise ballroom dance as if their hard bodies were made of warm taffy, and "Onqoto," an edge-of-your-seat riot of contemporary dance that positively galvanized the gala-goers.

Unlike the surely-shocked spectators in row A, GO Girl was - appropriately enough - seated in row G, so she didn’t have to worry about how to arrange her facial features upon the revelation of the full frontal nudity orchestrated by Grupo Corpo’s avant garde choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras. (Your last chance to catch a glimpse is Oct. 29!)

But GO Girl digresses. She knows you are asking, "What about the celebrities?"

Well, as if becoming familiar with the anatomy of exquisitely sculpted South American dancers wasn’t already pupil-popping enough, GO Girl risked more ocular strain when she spotted her first piece of eye candy in the audience. At intermission, Mikhail Baryshnikov - dancer, choreographer, and Carrie’s Russian heart throb on "Sex and the City" - tried, but couldn’t, say "nyet" to GO Girl’s eye-lash batting plea for a quote about the evening’s performance.

In his expert opinion, Baryshnikov deemed the show: "Wonderful! It’s wonderful!" Then he danced with GO Girl down the theater’s aisle. (Or perhaps that last part was a caipirinha-induced hallucination?)

Even tastier than scrambling to catch the pearls from Misha’s mouth was the post-show chow provided by Great Performances at Skylight in Manhattan. In a cavernous space made intimate by artfully lit hanging screens, actress Glenn Close shared a table with fellow thespian Isabelle Huppert.

Close said she took on the mantle of gala chair, in part, "Because Armani asked me to!" before shooting a heart-melting smile at her tablemate, Armani COO Pesaro.

"BAM is one of the most vital cultural centers in New York," she declared. "What’s so fantastic is they bring this fantastic range together -there’s this dance company from Brazil and a theater company from Sweden and a very good film program."

It’s possible that GO Girl readers will be seeing more of Close in the future.

"I’m on the board of the Sundance Institute, and we’re working together with BAM on a program about Sundance’s 25th anniversary," she explained.

Swathed in black velvet, just like GO Girl, Close waxed nostalgic about performing at BAM early in her career in a production of "The Crazy Locomotive," directed by Des McAnuff, who Close said was making his New York directing debut at the time. She pointed out that McAnuff, like her three-time Tony Award-winning self, has since seen much success on the Big White Way.

Making her U.S. theatrical debut in "4.48 Psychose" at the BAM Harvey this week, French screen siren Huppert wore a school marm-like white, ruffled blouse that was much improved by her ooh la la fur coat.

Huppert likened the shabby chic decor of the BAM Harvey to that of the Theatre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, where she originated her role in "4.48 Psychose," directed by Claude Regy.

"It’s so familiar to me," said the charmingly freckled actress. "I feel like we’re back to where we created the play three years ago." Huppert, who’s worked with seemingly everyone (Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Cimino, Claude Chabrol), said that her very demanding role prevented her from getting around Brooklyn much during the play’s run.

"I must keep my focus," said the acclaimed actress through her fabulous French accent.

More flashbulbs erupted like strobe lights when glamazon and Armani ambassador Eugenia Silva flashed her pearly whites. Not so available to the paparazzi were the now-you-see-them, now-you-don’t, are-they-back-together-we-don’t-know-because-they’ve-fled-couple, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson.

And a sure sign that you’re at a great party, actual royalty arrived at the soiree, this time in the form of a pouting Princess Alexandra of Greece. Alexandra must have said, "It’s all Greek to me," when she read "festive dress" on the invite because she arrived in her pea-coat, which would have been appropriate for a party on Red Hook’s docks rather than this gallery brimming with well-heeled arts patrons.

Too soon, it was time to leave. As GO Girl stumbled out into the chilly night - sated by a fantastic show, celebrity sightings and steak - she lugged her substantial Giorgio Armani giftbag, which now held her impossibly high-heeled shoes, and gleefully entered the date of the next "BAM Spring Gala" - March 23, 2006 - in her PDA.

Tickets to the "BAM Spring Gala" are $300 per couple for the cocktail reception and performance and $1,500 per couple to the reception, performance and dinner. For more information about the gala, call (718) 636-4182.

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