Monday, July 30, 2012

Hamptons Diary

The shopping frenzy at Super Saturday.
by Debbie Bancroft

Weekend in Southampton. The idea of the largest sample sale on earth, might not whet your whistle, but it would profoundly sharpen to perfect pitch most females' whistles. Super Saturday was founded by Donna Karan and Liz Tilberis to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, which fights the disease that eventually took Liz's life.

Over 200 vendors sell their wares with 100% of the proceeds going to the Fund. Tickets are precious — $650 for the early starting gate, and are often given as birthday gifts to lucky grand and plain old, daughters.

This is the Olympics of shopping-speed, where accuracy, and strategy reward the fittest with the fattest shopping bags. This isn’t a time for chit- chat. While I spied pals, Cheryl Krongard, Caroline Dean and Ellen Niven, we kept moving, sharing that tacit agreement to focus on the task at hand. Kelly Ripa and Donna Karan where there too, but whatever, I was buying Ports 1961 dresses for $40.
My two daughters, Serena and Alina.
L. to r.: Caroline Dean and Ellen Niven; Cheryl krongard, in homemade trash bag-wrapped rain bonnet.
Kids, massages, manicures, and more at Super Saturday ...
There are rides and games for kids, massages, manicures (free), and a groaning board of lunch by none other than Sant Ambroeus. The dreaded rain actually cooled things down and tamped down the dust in the parking lot.

The Fund raised a whopping $3.6 million dollars, with both contributors and shoppers feeling pretty darned satisfied. My daughter and I stepped over the horse poop, and around the obelisks (it’s held on a horse farm/sculpture studio), and wondered what, in our bags, we’d wear that night.
The horses left the price we pay for having Super Saturday.
Anything would work, because I was attending Robert Wilson’s 19th Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit, this year entitled, ‘Big Bang’.

Every year, Bob brings together artists of all persuasions, medium and origins, to work, cook, live and create together at his Center. The party presents and celebrates their work.

The invite for 'Big Bang’'
The dreaded rains fulfilled their threat and crashed down on all, though it somehow added to the artistic drama already unfolding. The painted topless ladies in the ‘Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black’, dripped color down their torsos, adding to the awe. The woman mud wrestling herself in the middle of the courtyard, did some laps, too.

Sadly, the neon star, ping pong ball headed chap, and the other wood nymphs were rained out, though they remained in their spots and roles, through the torrents. And of course there was the magnet covered woman being pelted with nails, by young men Bob Wilson extorted to "knock her down!”

I should explain at this point that I don’t always get it, and I think I may have more company than most will admit to, but I always salute Bob’s courage, conviction and creativity. Katharina Otto-Bernstein made a wonderful documentary about Bob called ‘Absolute Wilson’, which helped tremendously. She was in Antigua this night, and I missed her.
No, not me in a mirror. Welcome lady at Watermill ...
People who look like they understand all, like Christophe de Menil, Beth DeWoody, Maja Hoffman, Hannah Bronfman, Renaud Dutreil, Richard Meier, Cindy Sherman and Tom Sachs, moved in to the tent, spectacularly glowing with a giant jellyfish like orb. Later, Jay McInerney would introduce Bob, who would then spend a contemplative moment in said orb, before bursting forth with characteristic drama, and announcing “We have to do what no one else is doing!” That included the Mike Kelley exhibition about which, ‘The board said we couldn’t afford to do. We couldn’t afford NOT to do it!”

The pace picked up, as the 60 or so artists in residence marched to the jellyfish, surrounding it and chanting ‘TIME BOMB’, in shirts that reflected that message.
Watermill jellyfish, soon to contain Robert Wilson.
Robert Wilson emerges.
Anne Hearst McInerney, beautiful even wet, and George Farias.
Clockwise from top left: Kevin and Barbara McLaughlin with raindrops; Nicole Miller, momentarily without shades; Jay McInerney and BFF Jim Signorelli; Antoine, my doting server from Oliver Cheng Caterer.
Divine Dimitri and just me.
Kim Taipale with centerpiece-Watermill.
Prince Dimitri, the divine, who looks like he could’ve carried that Olympic torch the entire way from Greece to London, without breaking a sweat, leaned over and said, “Where are the soccer hooligans when we need them?”

“And what do I do with the pink duct tape on the table?” I asked him. Other, more expressive tableswere beginning to festoon themselves in it.

“Leave it on the table,” he sagely advised.
Simon de Pury  jumped into the program and led a rousing auction, selling, among many other things, a hand painted mask from Bob’s “Life and Death of Marina Abramovic.”

Simon, an audibly passionate man, carried on the healthy commerce, while dinner mates Anne Hearst McInerney, George Farias, and Barbara and Jay McLaughlin and I went back to the gloriously silent auction tent. Even ‘Big Bangs’ must fade in to the night.