|Palm Beach comes alive around Thanksgiving time, and it sure feels like "Showtime" every day with the glameroo nonstop lunches, dinners, drinks parties and benefits loading up the calendar.
You know the season has begun when the hurricane shutters come off the houses and the fancy cars roll out onto the street. Nowhere in the US will you find so many fabulous automobiles all over the place. On Worth Avenue, in one block alone I spotted three Aston Martins, two Ferraris, two Rolls and four Bentleys.
Also on Worth Avenue are two spanking new beautiful designer clothing stores, Tory Burch and Michael Kors. The Kors store was the setting for a drinks party honoring the Preservation Ball committee for the March 6th dance. All Palm Beach showed up to take a peek at the great looking clothes and shiny new all-white chic shop with classic Slim Aarons photographs hanging on the walls.
|Among the group were Ali and Lee Hanley, Michele and Howard Kessler, John and Liz Schuler, Talbott and Jack Maxey, John Mashek, Bruce and Maria Bockman, Percy Steinhart, Tom Quick, Wilbur Ross, Ava Roosevelt and more.
Speaking of the Preservation group, at their annual luncheon last Friday Julia and David Koch received the coveted Ballinger Award for the superb restoration of their guest house next door. Julia accepted the award with a charming speech graciously thanking everyone involved including their talented architect Tom Kirchhoff and Worth builders.
That same night a big group turned up at the block party at Salamander market benefiting Foundcare. As we walked in I spotted a group of children violinists greeting us with their wonderful music. And who was among them? Talbot and Jack Maxey’s enchanting daughter Alice playing away! Later on in the tent I spotted Lesly Smith and Jim Walsh, Jeannie Pearman, Pamela Fiori, Eileen and Brian Burns, Terry Allen Kramer, Mario Buatta, Tom Shaffer, Steven Stolman, Ann Downey with her daughter Mona de Sayve and more….
|Next night, Don Burns and Greg Connors opened the doors to their spectacular oceanfront abode "Dab-A-Dunes" for a cocktail buffet dinner. It was their annual "Toys for Tots" event and guests were asked to bring unwrapped toys for "the Marine Corps Reserves.” And did they ever! Have never seen so many wonderful toys piled under their beautiful Christmas tree. Among the Santas there were Jean Tailer, Karen Luters, Debbie Haggerty, Geoffrey Thomas and Sharon Sondes, Carter and Afsy Pottash, Ashton and Margo de Peyster, Shannon Donnelly and more.
There is no bigger treat than a cozy little dinner like the soiree for six that Nancy Corzine and Mark Locks gave at their polished and pristine brand new house in PB, decorated by Nancy, mais oui! The house is airy and light with Nancy’s signature pieces perfectly placed and brilliantly edited. The living room overlooks a luminescent pool with soothing fountain behind it. The decor is punctuated by carefully chosen contemporary works of art. Must say the dinner was a work of art too, catered by Cafe Boulud, artfully presented on their flawless bone china and outrageously delicious.
|So what was the buzz? The conversation ran from discussing politics, decorating, art, the horrible economy and of course the Bernard Madoff scandal, as so many Palm Beachers had invested with him. There was some happy romantic news too ... Part time Palm Beacher, Sunny Marlborough (Duke of) married Lilly Mahtani at Blenheim Palace in England last week. Cheers!
— Hilary Geary
|Meanwhile in Palm Beach, our intrepid correspondent writes: Just down the road a bit from the Palm Beach Country Club, which sat in eerie silence in light of the Madoff Securities scandal, a whole lot of good was going on in a great big party tent pitched behind media mogul Sheila Johnson’s Market Salamander.
Billed as “A Votre Sante! — A Block Party Deluxe” to benefit FoundCare, Palm Beach County’s new non-profit community health center for uninsured children and adults, nearly 400 people gathered to contribute to the financial health of this much-needed facility, as over a quarter million Palm Beach County residents have no health insurance. FoundCare’s newly completed health center will serve as the family pediatrician, physician, dentist and pharmacist to at least 10,000 individuals annually.
Modeled after New York’s legendary “Fete de Swifty,” there were cocktail bars everywhere, fabulous food stations and an army of waiters passing trays piled high with the kind of stuff people love: pigs in blankets, mini-burgers, crab cakes and tea sandwiches.
|Music was uniquely interactive, courtesy of a TouchTunes digital jukebox where guests swiped their credit cards and selected from more than 250,000 songs with every dollar going to FoundCare.
There was a terrific Digital Photo Booth that would snap your picture and then project it on super screens suspended from the tent ceiling that ran throughout the evening, Brazilian carnivale dancers wearing little more than feathers and sequins despite the chilly weather and, in the middle of it all, a new Mini Cooper Clubman donated by grand benefactor Mark Brentlinger for a grand drawing.
At the market’s entrance, students from Palm Beach Atlantic University’s young strings program, funded by the Youth Music Fund, welcomed guests, especially honorary co-chairman Sheila Johnson, a concert violinist and former public school music teacher herself, who surprised everyone by playing along with the kids and autographing the lesson book that she had written years ago.
|Within the tent, a mad crush of the nicest, most generous folks, creating the kind of party you just didn’t want to leave. Former Broadway singer Mia Matthews took the stage to perform a Nancy Lamott song “Help is on the way!” and FoundCare’s director of development Steven Stolman conducted the grand drawing for a Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet, a London weekend at the Connaught Hotel with tickets to “Dirty Dancing,” and then the car. Honorary co-chairman Pamela Fiori dug deep into the revolving drum and pulled out a winning ticket that had the room cheering with the announcement of co-chairman Tommy Quick, who immediately donated the car back to FoundCare and conducted a live auction like a pro — eventually selling to a delighted duo of Terry Allen Kramer and Jimmy Nederlander for $24,000. You just had to be there.
Glamorous Margo Nederlander served as event co-chairman, Liz Sans and Mona de Sayve were associates chairmen and corporate sponsors included CIRCA, the Connaught Hotel, Frank Crystal & Company, MAG Midwestern Auto Group MINI, Market Salamander, the Nederlander Organization, Padenia Wines, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sotheby’s and Town & Country.
|Among the crowd: Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Lesly Smith and Jim Walsh, Lucy Musso, Tricia Quick, Eileen and Brian Burns, Maribeth and Ellen Welsh, Arnold Scaasi and Parker Ladd, Terry Allen Kramer, Kay Gilman and Herb Schmertz, Mario Buatta, Earl Crittenden, Susan and James Collins, Sandy Thompson, Scot Karp and Jeff Arciniaco, M.A. and Chip Quinn, Greg Mermigas and Stephen Harsnett, Alicia and Daniel Bythewood, Brett Price, FoundCare CEO Yolette Bonnet, Laura Evans, Tom Samet, Jack Young, Mia Morrison, Neiman Marcus’s Beth Pine, Tricia Callahan Burt, Lee Bierly and Chris Drake and Nancy and Michael Peacock.
To support FoundCare’s mission, visit www.foundcare.org and click on CARE MORE, DO MORE.
|More from Palm Beach ... On the night before the Madoff Massacre, one of the Palm Beach elite’s favorite watering holes, Club Colette, was packed to the rafters to honor the legacy of John Volk, the prolific architect who shaped much of Palm Beach as real Palm Beachers know it, not the over-the-top “McMansions” being pointed to these days as one of the symbols of excess and greed.
The Historical Society of Palm Beach County has been mounting this “small dinner dance” and exhibit for seven years now- and they just get better and better. This year, chairmen were Ross Meltzer and Mark Stevens joined by well-known designers Lee Bierly and Chris Drake as co-chairmen of the Residence Committee. Volk’s widow Jane, the divinely staunch, statuesque keeper of his flame, served as Honorary Chairman.
There: John Volk Jr. and his wife Lori, Kathy Bleznak, Ewa and Scott Diament, Historical Society president Harvey Oyer, Mary and Mark Freitas, Tricia Quick, Pat and Richard Johnson (for whom the Palm Beach County History Museum is named,) Kenn Karakul, Brantley and Peter Knowles, Tiffany’s John Loring and more than a hundred more fans of the kind of houses anyone would be delighted to live in.
|Photographs by Lucien Capehart|