The La Pizza guys honored HE’s reservation, but they somehow got the idea that 40 guests were expected. “That was a mistake, possibly on my part,” I explained, half expecting to get my knuckles rapped. “I’d like to predict but people do what they want…I mean, the guests could be as few as 20 or 25.”

The waiters were counting on a much bigger bill and tip, you see, so they were a teeny bit miffed. I must have said “I’m sorry” three or four times, but the La Pizza guys were giving me side-eyes left and right.

I explained that Toronto Star critic Peter Howell was on deadline, a plane carrying Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson was late, N.Y. Times “Carpetbagger” Kyle Buchanan was downstairs and not into the upstairs crowd and Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman had opted to join his colleagues (including editor Claudia Elller) three or four tables down from ours. And Variety‘s Steven Gaydos was inexplicably MIA. And no sign of Deadline‘s Pete Hammond.

Plus there’s a kind of Hatfields-vs.-McCoys separatism between wokester critics and the not-so-woke, I told the waiters. It’s not the one-for-all, all-for-one crowd it used to be. A lot of prickly pears out there.

But things eventually worked out. Our banquet-sized table filled up, everyone ate and drank and the mood turned joyful and even boisterous. Raucous applause broke out when Thompson arrived; more cheers when Indiewire‘s David Ehrlich dropped by.

The bill ended up at 359 euros. Film at Lincoln Center exec director Lesli Klainberg generously picked up half the tab…that’s the American spirit!

Top group photo (l. to r.): Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman, Claudia Eller, Asian bureau chief Patrick Frater, Brent Lang. Fourth pic from the top (l. to r.): World of Reel‘s Jordan Ruimy, Film at Lincoln Center’s Lesli Klainberg, Miami Film Festival’s Carl Spence, Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn, Apple guy Matt Dentler, John Von Thaden from Magnolia Pictures and director (Show Me What You Got) & dp Svetlana Cvetko.