A cool Spring day in New York
In the Temple of Dendur for last night's dinner hosted by Dr. Fawaz H. Zu’bi, Chairman of Rubicon for Rubicon’s debuting animation film “Ben & Izzy,” with the guest of honor, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan. 9:00 PM. Photo: DPC.

First stop Bergdorf’s seventh floor where Chanel was hosting a luncheon and fashion show for Chanel RTW, which was followed by a trunk show.

On Thursday at Bergdorf's, there will be a booksigning by Carleton Varney, once her protégé, now her biographer (In the Pink/Dorothy Draper) as well as president of Dorothy Draper and Company, the oldest established interior design firm in the United States. Bergdorf’s has featured the book and Draper’s designs in their windows this week. There is an exhibition about Miss Draper and her work now installed at the Museum of the City of New York through September 10. Dorothy Draper was a pioneer, dominating the field. She was a household word in America, possibly even more popularly known than Elsie de Wolfe, Lady Mendl. She was famous from 1925 to 1960 when she was named the most influential tastemaker in America.

This Thursday BG is hosting a booksigning by Carleton Varney on Dorothy Draper (pictured above).

Miss Draper’s success can be partly attributed to the fact that she came naturally to the art of drawing attention to herself, now known as self-promotion. Her influence reached far beyond private houses. She made her mark (and in turn spread her design influence and inspiration) on big-city hotels, resorts, offices, department stores, and apartment buildings. She even styled automobile and airplane interiors. 

She approached design as entertainment inspiring women and men across America to follow her ideas — a themed experience that ranged from a room's architecture to its furnishings, and in the case of restaurants — menus, and matchbooks.

After getting a good look at the luncheon crowd at Bergdorf’s with the Digital, I went over to Michael’s to meet Emilia Saint-Amand for lunch and to watch the Passing Parade at the restaurant.

Yesterday was one of those Only In New York days. The place was jammed. Dominick Dunne was lunching with Henry Schleiff who for the past eight years up until yesterday was the President and CEO of Court-TV. I was told after lunch that Mr. Schleiff resigned yesterday. Katie Couric was there with Amy Rosenblum, her producer at the Today Show and PR exec Deborah Fine; Vernon Jordan was lunching with George Stevens Jr. (who has a wonderfully compelling new book out called Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood’s Golden Age at the American Film Institute). At the big table in the bay, a bunch of Linda Fairstein’s pals were toasting her latest birthday (which was Sunday, May 6) including Ellen Futter of the American Museum of Natural History, Leslie Stahl, Faye Wattleton, and Judge Kimba Wood. While at a nearby table Gerry and Pat Schoenfeld were entertaining Pat’s aunt on her birthday – her 95th; Judy Price lunching with Karen LeFrak; Stanley Jaffe, Mike Medavoy; Mr. and Mrs. Rudy Guiliani. Also: Kathy (Mrs. Billy) Joel, George Malkemus with Candy Pratts Price; Gerry Byrne, Jerry Inzerillo (lunching with Brittney Spears’ brother), Harry Benson, Chris Meigher with David Sherrill, entertainment lawyer Allan Grubman, and at another table, his wife, real estate broker Debbie Grubman, David Lauren, Ahmet Ertegun, Warren Hoge, Tony Hoyt; TV star Brad Garrett; Silda (Mrs. Elliot Spitzer) Wall with Kathy Lacey and Sarah Rosenthal. And those are just the ones I remember seeing.

Heather Leeds
Celerie Kemble
Amy Hoadley
Dana Hammond and Joanne de Guardiola
Jamee Gregory and Debbie Bancroft
Somers Farkas and Amy Fine Collins
Alex Lind Rose
Helen Lee Schifter
Gretchen Gunlocke Fenton (right)
Tatiana Papanicolaou, Natalie Leeds Leventhal, and Elizabeth Hui
Jackie Williams and Ellen Niven
Jennifer Powers and Bettina Zilkha
Nicole Miller and Allison Rockefeller
Evelyn Tompkins and Tracy Snyder
Nathalie Gerschel Kaplan and Mary Van Pelt
Clo Cohen and Mark Gilbertson
Gigi Mortimer
Helena Lehane from the back
Rachel Hovnanian and Valesca Guerrand Hermes
Tara Rockefeller and Helena Lehane
Mary Snow and Blair Husain

Crossing cultures for a world we can all live in peacefully: Then last night I went with ABC-TV Nightline’s Cynthia McFadden to a cocktail reception and dinner hosted by Dr. Fawaz H. Zu’bi, Chairman of Rubicon for Rubicon’s debuting animation film “Ben & Izzy,” with the guest of honor, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan.

“Ben and Izzy” is a state of the art children’s animation series that follows the adventures of two pre-teens, one from Jordan and one of the United States. A kind of 21st century Huck Finn. Their journey takes them back in time where they meet historical figures and must overcome incredible difficulties while learning to work together. The series also includes a companion live-action documentary that provides fun facts and meaningful information about the places and people introduced in the series.

The film has been produced for worldwide television and Video/DVD markets. The focus is on the two boys, Ben and Izzy and exemplifies their budding friendship as a metaphor for acceptance and tolerance: they grow to appreciate each other and their respective cultures. The life lesson in each episode is: “ultimately we don’t have to be alike to get along.” A hard lesson to learn in many quarters. Life in New York provides it to any and all who live here, proving of course that the most impossible of tasks is not only possible but even ordinary. It may also explain why New York is the most dynamic city in the world culturally and arguably, economically.

The Queen speaking amongst guests in the Temple of Dendur

So it was a perfect venue to introduce the new animation series. Barbara Walters looking very elegant in pale pink silk taffeta gown with a fitted black lace top, was mistress of ceremonies. She talked about interviewing the beautiful Queen of Jordan.

Dr. Fawaz, who opened the evening dinner in the museum’s sensational Temple of Dendur, is CEO of Accelerator Technology Holdings and Chairman of Rubicon. Born and bred in Jordan, Dr. Fawaz’s father was Jordanian and his mother Dutch. Therefore he is fair like a Dutchman, and speaks Arabic like an Arab, except when he adds that his mother was Dutch (then there is a noticeably hit of the Dutch in his inflection) and he speaks English like an American.

Barbara Walters introduced Queen Rania who is very beautiful and elegant with a wisp of a figure. The Queen also speaks English with an American accent. Daughter of a Jordanian pediatrician, she was partly educated in this country also. The Queen, despite her youthfulness is a seasoned public speaker revealing a strong resolve behind that most delicate appearing royal presence. She is dedicated to the task of Rubicon’s Ben & Izzy – cultural acceptance and peace.

There is probably no other place in Manhattan more appropriate for last night’s event. The Temple of Dendur lit in hues of reds and blues took all of us, even if for the briefest moment, into the nether world of the ancient affirmed by the modern. There were several hundred in attendance at the black tie affair.

The cast of characters from Rubicon’s Ben & Izzy


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May 9, 2006, Volume VI, Number 80
Photographs by DPC/NYSD.com


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