A very cold weekend in New York
Looking across the Hudson River from Pier 40 along the Hudson River Promenade. 15 degrees F. 5:45 PM. Photo: JH.
I had dinner Friday night with an old friend at Bottino’s, a restaurant popular with the art-crowd on 10th Avenue and 25th Street. Very relaxed and cajz atmosphere. We were sitting next to a young couple who were all over each other. By the time we’d finished our main course, they hadn’t even got theirs. Busy having drinks first and far more into each other, they couldn’t have cared less.

Finally I asked (because I couldn’t resist): “you know each other long?” The guy answered: “this is our second date.” “How’d you meet?” I asked. “Match.com,” he answered. “You ever do that before?” I asked. “I have,” he said. “No,” she answered. “So it worked,” I said. “Definitely,” she answered.

“I have a web site, although not for dating, just for looking” I added, for no other reason than bald-faced self-promotion. “Oh?” he was curious. “It’s called New York Social Diary,” I informed. “Oh,” he said, “are you ... that guy? Are you DPC?”

I told him I was. “Gee, I thought you were much younger,” he said. Okay; I had to ask.

Emailing a friend yesterday to make a dinner date, I was informed next Sunday is out because it’s the Academy Awards. I’m so caught up in my NSYD over-sked that I’d forgot. My friend said he has never missed it. He and his girlfriend once were having a fight and he stopped in the middle of it so that he could watch the Oscars. She couldn’t believe it. But he did. After the show was over, they forgot what they had been fighting about.

Matt Damon and Jude Law

Last year, we went out to L.A. to cover the scene during the Oscars, as some readers may recall.  I tried to arrange for us to cover the Vanity Fair party (as in who wouldln’t) but they had so many rules as to when you could show up and where you had to wait (I think they stagger their guests – at least the unimportant ones), that we decided to forget it. So instead we went to a party that was a fundraiser where Elton John was performing. I think it was/is known as the Elton John Oscar party. That was fun, as in interesting. In a big tent. Elizabeth Taylor came – in a wheelchair – but at least she showed up. And Paris Hilton was there with her ma and pa and sister Nicky. Yeah, yeah, yeah, say what you will about Paris Hilton; she’s as famous as Elizabeth Taylor these days. And Gillian Hearst was there too, and even some people we’d met the year before in Versailles. But as far as watching the show was concerned that night, although there were big screens all over the place – it’s impossible in a big crowd to watch.

Besides I haven’t seen any of the movies nominated this year. I rarely get to the movies whatwith my NYSD schedule. In fact, I recently joined Netflix thinking that way maybe I’d get to see a movie every now and then. I ordered the first ten. Last week I got “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” That’s how far behind I am. I watched it over the weekend. It was good but it gave me the creeps. There were moments when watching Matt Damon about to get caught in one of his big fake/lies that I was so uncomfortable I had to get up and walk around my apartment. I’m very squeamish when in the midst of witnessing ultimate vulnerabilities. I did finally see the film out to the end. My neighbor Charlie Scheips (who has his Art Set on today’s NYSD) thought the casting should have been switched around – that Jude Law should have played the liar and Matt Damon the rich boy from the old WASP family. I can see that. Although Matt Damon reminded me of someone I used to know who was very good at posing and even played a mediocre piano seriously. Whatever, it certainly remains a good analogy (or is it a metaphor?) for the world we are now living in where one big lie leads to another and another and death by murder is the final outcome. The only problem with that story is that in the end, you don’t feel sorry (or care) for anyone except Gwyneth Paltrow who was being fooled all around by all the men in her life. Hmmm.

Two weeks ago, the Gotham Chamber Opera held a gala premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring. Conducted by the Gotham’s Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Goren and directed by David Schweizer, this was the first professional production of the Britten only chamber comic opera (first presented at Glyndebourne in 1947) to be presented in the US in more than 30 years.

Neal Goren and David Schweizer

The term “chamber opera” is best defined as opera intended for a small setting, whose intimacy is mirrored in the economy of means employed, both musically and theatrically. In New York where the Met and the City Opera can seat thousands in their houses, the Gotham Chamber Opera fills a niche by providing small-scale opera. Most of the Gotham’s performances teake place in the Harry de Jur Playhouse, a lovely 350-seat theater in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where the distance between the back row and the stage is approximately equivalent to the distance in the huge Lincoln Center venues between the stage and the third row. The result is that the opera is not a remote spectacle but is immediate, involving, and powerful theatre.

Opera fans are intensely loyal and although it is often difficult for non-opera people to understand, they do know something, have grasped something that we don’t and haven’t. The Gotham Chamber, which was founded by a merry band of enthusiasts in 2000, is an excellent example of that intense affection and appreciation and its individual board members and supporters work hard to keep it going. They’ve already presented six American premieres of 18th and 20th century operas by Mozart, Martinu, Sutermeister and Respighi, as well as a double bill of Purcell and Milhaud.

Opening night of Albert Herring brought out Kitty Carlisle Hart, Coco and Arie Kopelman, Micky Wolfson, Ambassador and Mrs. Alan Blinken, Peter and Brooke Hayward Duchin (big big supporters of the company), Asher and Michelle Edelman, Donald Gellert, Karen Lerner, Victoria and Si Newhouse, Lou Miano, Johnny Moore, Mark Newhouse, Susan and Donald Newhouse, Ted Porter, Annaliese Soros, Domna Stanton, Sir Philip Thomas and Peter Vaughn.

For you opera fans out there, in October of this year, the Gotham Chamber Opera will present Ariadne Unhinged, a fully-staged evening of works by Monteverdi, Haydn and Schoenberg, and conceived by Artistic Director Neal Goren. Director/ choreographer Karole Armitage will stage the work which will feature mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton, six musicians and dancers.

Brian Romer and Sir Philip Thomas
David Bennett, Karen Lerner, Neal Goren, and Lewis Jacobsen
Tim Kuhn, Michael Zegarski, Elizabeth Grohowski, and John Easterlin
Neal Goren and Micky Wolfson
Donald and Susan Newhouse
Neal Goren with Coco and Arie Kopelman
Sharon Handler and Amb. John Loeb
Susan Baker and Arie Kopelman
Peter Duchin

A little more than a year ago, a group of fashion enthusiasts with the Musuem at the Fashion Institute of Technology formed The Couture Council – a circle of informed and enthusiastic friends with a shared love for fashion. Their charter is to support the preservation and interpretation of the museum’s world class collections. Member of the Council receive exclusive invitations to at least five very special events a year, including behind-the-scenes tours of the museum’s collections, private exhibition viewings, and visits to the ateliers of fashion designers.

A couple of weeks ago, the Couture Council held a special luncheon honoring Parisian milliner Philippe Model. As you can see, a good time was had by all.

To learn more about the Couture Council, click here.

Valerie Steele, Philippe Model, and Sarah Wolfe
Joy Samuels, Maria Kalnay, and Joan Ades
Sheila Stephenson
Margaret Carmwath
Topsy Taylor, Philippe Model, and Jamee Gregory
Mariana Kaufman, Yaz Hernadez, and Sarah Wolfe
Joan Ades, Joy Samuels, and Gail Maidman
Sarah Wolfe, Valerie Steele, Philippe Model, and Ingrid Yonke
L. to r.: Sarah Wolfe; Hats by Philippe Model; Ann Sitrick.
Tanuja Tharani and Liz Peek
Valerie Steele, Philippe Model, Sarah Wolfe, and Felix Farrington



February 27, 2006, Volume VI, Number 35

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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/NewYorkSocialDiary.com