Penn Badgley, Zoe Kravitz, Alexa Chung and More Host "Occupy" at Bowery Hotel

Alex Chapman

Last night, a mishmash of impassioned celebs including Alexa Chung, Zoe Kravitz, Olivia Wilde, Parker Posey, Darren Aronofsky and Michael Stipe came together at the Bowery Hotel to hear poets, authors, bands, protesters and Mos Def (who read from a lengthy manuscript and kept stopping to apologize to the audience) wax on about Occupy Wall Street. Though there was a good-sized turnout, the crowd had difficulty focusing at times, talking over many of the speakers to annoyed shushing. Daphne Guinness didn't help matters much when she slunk in late in a head-turning Tron-esque outfit, prompting about a dozen people in the crowd to stop listening and rush over to the socialite fashion plate.

Although Kravitz kindly told us we were unlikely to get an interview from any of her fellow celebrity hosts, who included Chung, Daniel Kruglikov and Tennessee Thomas among others, we were able to get a hold of her boyfriend Penn Badgley (who co-MCd the evening with Kravitz and recently starred in the the well-received Margin Call, about the early days of the financial crisis). He happily spoke to us about his feelings on OWS, the soiree itself, and where we all fit in.

What would you say the point of tonight is?

I think what all of us wanted to do was encourage what we believe is already a growing awareness among people who would normally feel a little intimidated by something like Occupy, because we are, as many people have said, closer to the 1% than any of the 99%. But we want to have a forum for the kind of honest, productive conversation -- if it's to be had at all -- to see what we can do.

A lot of people here aren't even listening to the speakers -- I've seen a lot of 'shushing' going on.

People often roll their eyes at the notion that you can do anything great or affect change at any capacity, and that's true in a lot of ways. But if that's ever going to happen, everyone has to start talking about it. To speak to the Occupy movement, if the 99% is going to get what they want from the 1%, they all have to represent themselves. They can't be represented by 40,000 people marching every month, they can't be represented simply by people occupying their foreclosed homes, they can't be represented by people agreeing with things that people say -- they have to say and do things themselves.

Were you concerned that tonight might come off as being a little preachy?

We don't want to indoctrinate anyone -- we want people to figure it what they're doing here for themselves. And I know a lot of people are like "Shut the fuck up, you're on Gossip Girl!" But...

Are you in the 1%?

I'm not. I could go into the details of how I'm not a 1%, but the truth is I'm not. And it doesn't matter either way. The financial crisis is a symptom of the larger human crisis, and eventually we're not just 99%, we're 100%.

So it's a universal issue.

This is a species-wide human crisis that we're facing; it's not just simply economic. I believe that most people who are here have been here before -- it's a beautiful space. But how often have we engaged in this kind of conversation for this long, while maintaining at least a modicum of interest? And if that's all we accomplish, like, shit, that's a beginning.

But you guys aren't saying you're all-knowing.

We don't pretend to have any answers, we don't pretend to have any better ideas --  we probably have less of them then anyone in Zucotti, but we want to use whatever attention we have to push it their way -- to push it in any direction. Again, I know it sounds idealistic and naïve, but we are eventually gonna have to ask ourselves what role we play in any of our communities. And if you don't have an answer to that, then you're not participating, and I believe we've gotten to this point where you can't exist independently from your community. As a survival instinct, we're eventually gonna have to overcome our own self-interests and work together.

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