Monday, April 7, 2014

Washington Social Diary

Tulip magnolia and forsythia, framing the Washington Monument.
Andy Warhol, The “Holy Terror,” Revisited by Bob Colacello
by Carol Joynt

Clarity and detachment are two profound virtues of emotional and intellectual maturity (aka, aging), and they are at the root of Bob Colacello’s reissue of “Holy Terror.” The tome, published by Vintage, is his sharp, smart and irresistible retelling of his years working with Andy Warhol, and written after Warhol’s death, and so there’s that added element of candor.

The new edition of Holy Terror, published by Vintage. Click to order.
A first edition of Holy Terror, published in 1990.
The new, 692-page book, fittingly, begins with a new introduction that’s titled “So Much Has Happened: 1990-2014.” And while that’s true, what happened since Warhol’s death only underscores the bravado of the amazing time when Andy Warhol was alive. Not the least of which is the explosion in the prices of his art. Colacello puts it best: “I have been asked the same question at least a thousand times: Did you have any idea, when you were working for Andy in the 1970s, how important and expensive he would become? I sort of did, as did most of us who helped turn out his art, his films, his magazine, his books, his TV shows at his studio known as the Factory. But he definitely knew.” Colacello was editor of Warhol’s “Interview” magazine.

Everyone should live in New York for at least a little while – if not forever – and my turn there, working at Time magazine and then CBS News and living in the West Village, spanned the 1970s when Warhol was anywhere and everywhere. I didn’t know him, but we’d hit some of the same parties and spots – Max’s, the Continental Baths, Le Jardin, and Studio 54, or dinner at Ballato’s, or well after dinner at Serendipity III. He was just there. I wasn’t part of the Factory world but I had downtown friends who were. He mattered a lot. I recall the day Time arranged for a special in-house screening of whatever was his latest film. Most of us on the editorial staff left our desks midday to sit in a dark auditorium and watch this provocative film. Why? Easy. It was New York, and Time, in the '70s, and Warhol.

Warhol was an icon in his lifetime but also accessible, and curiously mysterious. There was a sense that he was in on it, but it was not analyzed by those of us who got a kick out of being in the same room, and occasionally receiving a “hello.” Colacello puts it best: “Beneath Andy’s bewigged feyness and maddening nonchalance lay an iron will and limitless ambition, which he revealed only to a select few.”

I bought Warhol’s books as first editions, and if there was a signing I lined up to get them signed. (Alas, most now sold through dealers). I bought a first edition of Colacello’s “Holy Terror” and devoured it. If I thought it was fun being a kid at the same party with Warhol, being with Warhol through Bob’s eyes was the romp of the second half of the 20th century, certainly the decade. He says in re-issuing the book, “I am able to look back on the thrilling, crazy, exhausting years ... with greater clarity and detachment."
Out With Andy; Inside the original Holy Terror.
Bob Colacello during his Warhol years.
Bob’s good friends in Washington are Buffy Cafritz, Robert Higdon and David Deckelbaum. Last week they had a swell party for him and all their friends at Central restaurant. In a real amateur move, I forgot to put the memory card in my camera and so all those great shots I shot are pffft. I was mortified. But Buffy, through photographer James Brantley, provided a couple of shots. I’m grateful. The thing to do, though, if you haven’t already, is get the book.
Robert Higdon, Buffy Cafritz, and David Deckelbaum.
Carolyn Peachy, Buffy Cafritz, and Bob Colacello.
Bob Colacello with DC friends.
Washington philanthropist Elise Lefkowitz lost her mother to Alzheimer’s disease in 2009 and in Estelle Gelman’s death her daughter found a cause. Elise and her husband, Marc Lefkowitz, found where to plant their philanthropic flag. “We decided we would do all we can to ensure that families do not have to endure the heartbreak of losing a loved one to this terrible disease,” says Elise. They joined up with Leonard Lauder and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation that he and his brother, Ronald Lauder, founded in 1998.

Four years ago Elise, Marc and Leonard created a DC spring fundraiser that combines education on scientific progress in discovering a cure for Alzheimer’s with a big city fashion show and a splashy ladies luncheon. The first Great Ladies Luncheon honored Estelle Gelman, followed by Nancy Reagan in 2012 and Sharon Percy Rockefeller in 2013. This year the luncheon, held in partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue, honored University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, who went public with her Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2011.
Marc and Elise Lefkowitz. Nelson Deckelbaum, celebrating a milestone birthday, with his wife, Luann Deckelbaum.
Leonard Lauder welcomes guests to the luncheon at the Ritz Carlton West End hotel.
Girls day out: Sandy Mittu, Tanvi Dey, Monika Samtani, and Geeta Tholan.
Paul Sherrill of Solis Betancourt & Sherrill Interior Design. Washington lawyer Beverly Hudnut.
The daytime event featured a seminar or “progress report” on curing Alzheimer’s, followed by the luncheon and catwalk presentation. In the evening, Elise and Marc hosted a small private dinner at their Kalorama townhouse for featured fashion designer, London-based Erdem Moralioglu.

Erdem was born in Montreal, he’s half Turkish, half British, was an intern to Vivienne Westwood, worked with Diane von Furstenberg, and showed his first collections, under the label Erdem, about five years ago. His designs have been described as “dreamy” and “extraordinary” by Vogue. The looks he showed at the Ritz Carlton West End hotel were from his Fall 2014 collection, meaning not really out of synch with the season, given the cooler than usual temperatures of Spring 2014.
The catwalk at the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation luncheon
An Erdem creation from his Fall 2014 collection. Erdem.
Coach Pat Summitt sits and listens as a former player, Michelle Marciniak, pays tribute to her.
The dinner party was good (and bountiful) fun. Erdem, in particular, seemed excited about his two days in Washington. Had he ever been before? “So long ago, I was a child,” he said. For this visit, aside from his professional obligations, he did what all fashionable visitors to Washington do – he went to Ben’s Chili Bowl to have a hot dog smothered in cheese and chili (“but only half,” he said), washed down with pink lemonade.

Erdem and his business partner, who made the pilgrimage together, sat at the same table in the back where Carl Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy sat when he was president of France and on an official visit to the capital. President Obama has his own table at Ben’s.
The Lefkowitz townhouse in DC's Kalorama neighborhood.
Sarah Tam and John Antonini, both of Saks Fifth Avenue. How did they do that: On the Lefkowitz' well-stocked bar, a curious item, Pineapple Liqueur with a pineapple inside.
Elise with her guests in the den.
Erdem regales with the story of his visit to Ben's Chili Bowl.
Arnaud and Alexandra de Borchgrave with Deb Gray.
Carrie Tracy and Mollie Wein, New Yorkers who work for the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation.
Elise and Marc’s home is reminiscent of Park Avenue or Knightsbridge. Sumptuous but cozy. Each square inch is put to decorative use and personal touches, particularly family photos in silver frames, are on every flat surface. And then there’s all the candy. On almost every table there is a crystal jar – or jars – filled with candy. All kinds. You name it. From Twizzlers to Jawbreakers. It’s a whimsical and colorful touch. (Their dentist must adore them, or be family).
Patricia Sagon, Cherrie Doggett, and Evelyn Brandt have a chat at Lefkowitz dinner. Elise Lefkowitz in Erdem.
Wouldn't be a party without the piano and piano player.
Elise’s passions are also food and flowers. She uses the caterer Design Cuisine, owned by Bill Homan, who was a guest at the dinner. Catering companies of Design Cuisine’s size are usually tasked with feeding hungry hundreds at big events with limited budgets. You know the events, where salmon has become the new rubber chicken. But Elise lets Bill just shoot for the moon. Thus we 20 or so guests were treated to a memorable array of delicious eats. The hors d’oeuvres included Foie Gras with raspberry gastrique on pecan raisin bread, Tuna Tartare with lemon on a wonton crisp, caviar with smoked salmon on blinis, petite jicama cups stuffed with avocado and pomegranate seeds.
Erdem checks out the phone with a friend. Bill Homan.
Headed down to dinner.
Then there was the buffet: Lobster gnocchi, Colorado grass fed lamb chops with mint pesto, Miso glazed Black Cod, Truffle cauliflower purée, steamed green and white asparagus, Quinoa and Wheatberry salad, crispy pomme soufflés, and a vegetable salad that was beautiful and thought through (cucumbers, heirloom Toybox tomatoes, Spanish olives, baby artichokes, golden beets, haricot vert, edamame, Champagne vinaigrette) it could only have been created by a strict vegetarian. Bill is a Vegan.

Dessert met the standards of a chocoholic such as our hostess: triple chocolate sponge cake, chocolate mousse and Valhrona Chocolate gelato with candied pecans.
The buffet dinner.
The buffet centerpiece.
Gorgeous vegetable salad.
More veggies:  green and white asparagus.
Pommes soufflées.
Lobster gnocchi.
Imagine a dinner where a Vegan is overseeing the veggies and a candyholic is scrutinizing dessert. The guests win. “I have known Elise and Marc for many years, they are great customers and good friends,” Bill said, noting that the chocolate sponge cake in the dessert was not baked and did not have any flour and was totally gluten free. “Elise can never get enough chocolate and always challenges us to come up with new and different ways to show off the chocolate she loves so.”

The endnote? Elise passed a platter of chocolates from a favorite chocolatier, Palm Beach Confections of Boca Raton, only 20 minutes from the Palm Beach home where she and Marc escape to – and often – during Washington’s cold months. “Choose the snails,” she said, pointing to them on the platter. “I love the snails – milk and white chocolate, marshmallow and caramel.”
The after-dessert course, sweets from Palm Beach Confections of Boca Raton, Florida (after the caramel-marshmello-chocolate snails got plucked.)
The busy season is beginning in Washington but we’re moving into it slowly. We made time Saturday for a walk among the cherry blossom trees at the Tidal Basin, followed by the pinkest soirée ever.
Some actual cherry blossoms (most aren't in bloom yet).
The cherry blossoms on Saturday -- still more buds than blooms.
While walking the Tidal Basin, in front of the Jefferson Memorial, we came upon a crowd dancing "Gangnam Style" to Psy on a boombox ...
... and a bride and groom getting ready to take their vows ...
... and another couple from Tampa also about to their their vows among the blossoms.
... and a cat on a leash that looked like it wanted to be anywhere else.
The pinkest soirée ever turned out to be a cheerful lunch at The Source designed by Andre Wells and hosted by General Motors’ Buick division. It was planned well before the Wednesday Congressional appearance of GM CEO Mary Barra, who was angrily grilled (seared, too) by Senators about the recall of 2.5 million cars due to possible faulty ignition switches linked to more than a dozen deaths.

Company representatives said they did not cancel events because it was decided to go ahead with business as planned. The lunch was called “Blossom with Buick,” and Wells did fill the table with colorful blossoms to complement the Cherry Blossom cocktail and spring menu.
As pink as it gets: the Buick luncheon at The Source, designed by Andre Wells. The Buick luncheon was so pink that the reflected light took five years off every face.
Cherry Blossom cocktails and Champagne.
Kim Carpenter of GM Commmunications welcomes her luncheon guests to the private dining room at The Source. Tahitian Sour Cream Cheesecake finished off the Buick luncheon of Thai Coconut Soup, Asparagus Soup, Stir Fried Chicken, Apple and Endive Salad, Miso Marinated Sea Bass, Slow Braised Wagyu Short Ribs, accompanied by Champagne, white and red wine.

Follow Carol on twitter @caroljoynt