Friday, July 6, 2007

Hollywood in the Hamptons

The East Hampton scene of Holly Peterson's book party for The Manny.
This is Holly Peterson’s moment. Actually it’s been her moment for some time now. Years actually. Since she first got an idea for a novel and first sat down to write it. You’ve probably heard about it now because it’s Out There. “The Manny.” The life and times of a healthy, bright, enthusiastic, good looking, hunky young guy working for wealthy family looking after their kids. Kids of all ages, as it often happens when you’re “looking after” wealth.

Holly Peterson knows the territory from several vantage points. The wealth part – her father is Pete Peterson, the chairman of the Blackstone Group that just went public (Mr. Peterson’s wealth on paper increased by almost two billion that day – and decreased from that point a few days later, but what’s a few mill here and there.) Furthermore she got a two book deal and a million bucks out of it.

Holly Peterson, Richard Johnson, and Sessa von Richthofen
Dan and Cynthia Lufkin
The Petersons, however, are not fancy people, however. And they’re a big nice family; and nice to each other. And supportive in all those ways a lot of us just wish for in a family. Ma and Pa Peterson divorced a number of years ago when the children were almost (but not quite) grown. That’s a story in itself, and a good one, but also maybe a leveling one because the children suddenly had stepparents and all quite different from the original. That stuff adds to the mix in the making of Real.

Holly Peterson is a worker. She lives well in a big Park Avenue apartment and a big house in the Hamptons with her investment banker husband, and their little ones; but she also works. These days she’s writing for Newsweek. And if there’s any one characteristic I can think of that pegs her, aside from her capacity to work and produce, it’s ideas. She’s a fount of ideas. Every magazine should hire her just to spout them, because she quite literally does. It’s just a very creative imagination and a businesswoman’s sense of the practical.

“The Manny” I believe is simply the result of that. She’s been around these people (there were not a few who showed up at her book party in New York and now this one in East Hampton). She’s seen what wealth and power does, especially to the oblivious. And there are A LOT of those out there, kiddo; a LOT. And so you have “The Manny,” a story of poor rich people (or is it rich poor people?) making their own brand of inflation.

The book party in East Hampton was hosted by Vogue and Ralph Lauren (the business) and Michael Peterson and Alan and Susan Patricof.  All the right names to make a party ample, cozy, well-attended and down-home, Hamptons-style. Are the characters in the book based on real people? In somebody’s wildest dreams maybe. Are the characters based on reality? Out there in Hamptonia? And on upper Park and Fifth Avenues? Most definitely, word for word.

Expected among the likely suspects that night: were: Mort Zuckerman, Celerie Kemble and Boykin Curry, Kelly Bensimon, Whitney Fairchild, Fiona and Eric Rudin, David Greenbuam, Luke and Julie Janklow, Cynthia and DanLufkin, Bernard Gerson. All at the scrumptious Ralph Lauren store, where all those characters of Peterson’s shop.
James and Whitney Fairchild
Cindi Cook and John Margaritis
Michael Peterson
Joel Schumacher and Jane Rosenthal
Alexandra "Ali" Wentworth, Richard Kimball, Andrea Wong, Neil Shapiro, and Juju Chang
Neil Shapiro, Juju Chang, and Richard Kimball
Dr. Douglas Steinbrech, Nerge Steinbrech, and Edward Steinbrech
Tatiana and Campion Platt with Jeffrey Sharp
Alistair and Blair Clarke
Laura Lachman, Maggie Han, and Margo van den Bosch
Boykin Curry, Ravenel Curry V, and Celerie Kemble
The same night, last Saturday, as Holly Peterson’s book party in East Hampton, over in South, W Hotels and Belvedere Vodka hosted a birthday party for Kiera Chaplin at Hampton’s Hideaway.

That party went a little later. Or maybe even a lot, depending on what you call “late.” Miss Chaplin turned 25 the next day, July 1st. The world knows the young lady mainly for her roles in films was also once voted one of the 20 most eligible women in the world by FHM magazine. The London Times also named her to their Rich List last year, estimating her wealth at $60 million. Which you can be sure didn’t all come from films (that is, if the Times got it right).

Charlie Chaplin with wife Oona O'Neill at their first public appearance at the Mocambo, 1943. Image courtesy
Miss Chaplin is also the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, the legendary comedian who created the not classic character of “The Tramp,” and one of the most famous men in the 20th century. One of his most famous films was called “Limelight” which is also the name of Kiera’s film production company. Mr Chaplin was also one of the richest men in the film industry — but really rich — and with the two other biggest stars of his day, Mary Pickford (the first movie star) and Douglas Fairbanks Sr., he started a film studio called United Artists.

Charlie Chaplin had several wives, and his last wife, who was Kiera’s grandmother, he married when she was 16 and he was more than three times sixteen, which did not set well with her father. Her name was Oona O’Neill, and her father, also Kiera’s great-grandfather, was Eugene O’Neill, one of the greatest American playwrights of the 20th century who wrote many many successful plays that are still being produced almost a century after their writing. He even won a Nobel Prize for his achievements, in 1936.

Eugene O’Neill’s father (Kiera’s great-great-grandfather) was James O’Neill, who was a famous actor on the late 19th century/early 20th century American stage. So you see, it runs in the family on both sides. 

Eugene O'Neill
James O’Neill made quite a fortune at it too – remember there were no movies then, or television, so everybody went to the theatre. He played one character thousands of times -- over and over again: the count in “The Count of Monte Cristo.”  Something like that can eventually drive a person crazy. As well as the people around them. And, as it turned out family life in that particular O’Neill household was haunted by the mother’s drug addiction (which was never spoken of openly but dominated the family life). That and the father’s anger and disappointment in himself as an actor (despite his great financial success) made not a beautiful life.

Eugene, (again, Kiera’s great-grandfather) later wrote a play about that life in that house. He spilled the family guts in that play and because of it he would never allow to be performed in his lifetime. That play is called “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” There is a peach of a role for a woman in it (the mother – in real life Kiera’s great-great-grandmother). Kiera’s too young to play it now but many great actresses have played that role including Katharine Hepburn in the film, and Kiera’s time may come one day.

So you see, there she was at this jazzy little party, a cool party, at the Hamptons Hideaway last Saturday night, and a big crowd all around the birthday girl: just a simple little do for someone turning 25 with her whole glorious life ahead of her.  And meanwhile there is the past, the family past; and whatta past, no? Of course as far as books go, it’s already been several massive biographies and memoirs, and plays, and movies and television shows, and now with Kiera….a producer like her grandpa….who knows?
Oksana Kudina, Laura Chaplin, and Kiera Chaplin
Aric Anthony, Frankie Johne, and David Sarner
Angele B and Sheri Pasqual
Lionel von Richthofen and Catia Macedo
Robert Montwaid and Susan Kim
Trevor Freeland and Kendra Henry
Frankie Johne
L. to r.: David Cabo and Kiera Chaplin; Chris LaMont and Fillipa Hamilton; Joanna Cisowska.
Amir Venesh and Crystal Parzik
Kiera Chaplin, Robert Montwaid, and Susan Kim
Laura Gibbs and Andrew Borrock
More book parties. You never know, you may be next. Epic Miami Hotel and Residences hosted a Sunset Cocktail reception celebrating the Miami launch of Assouline’s A Privileged Life Celebrating WASP Style.  Epic welcomed author Susanna Salk and foreword writer Steven Stolman to the Miami River area, which is home to EPIC Miami Residences and Hotel. Epic Miami Hotel and Residences has become a new epicenter of urban energy in Miami.  Guests sipped on Pink Preppies and Oronoco mojitos while overlooking the scenic Miami River as they waited to have their copies signed. 

Click to order
As one of the founding members of Elle Décor, playwright and author Susanna Salk is currently Special Projects Editor at House & Garden magazine.

Guests arrived in their very own timeless, effortless WASP attire, embodying all that A Privileged Life personifies. A Privileged Life: Celebrating WASP Style glorifies America’s fascination with its leisure class with brilliant photos and sparkling (bubbling?) passages. With lively text and over one hundred images from world-renowned photographers, A Privileged Life sheds light on the glamorous lifestyles of style makers who embody the WASP spirit, including Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy, and C.Z. Guest, the first two of whom were not technically WASPs, the first being of Irish-Catholic origins and the second being of French-Catholic (and Irish) backgrounds. Nevertheless, a style is a style. Is a style, as you shall see if you buy the book.

Guests attending included Daisy Olivera, Bernard Garsen, Nicole Lozano, Nancy and John Batchelor, Sonia Gibson, Norma and Luis Quintero, Tina and Dan Carlo, Katharine Rubino, and Stephen Brunelle.

Compliments of J.Crew, the WASPy theme was carried on through the event staff and waiters clothed in classic J. Crew preppy fashions.  Each guest received a gift bag courtesy of Epic and J. Crew as they retired for the night, all,in the end, WASPs of one form or another, what with that gift bag. And the Salk and Stolman book.
Daisy Olivera and Bernard Garsen
Scott Kent, Steven Stolman, and Jack Young
Waiters in J. Crew
Nancy Cole, Nancy Batchelor, and Nicole Lozano
Lesley Abravanel, Katharyn Wexler, and Courtney Recht
The Lozanos
Carol Bell, Allison O'Keefe, and Natalie Pons
Steven Stolman, Esai Morales, and Susanna Salk
Susanna Salk and Steven Stolman
Gina Arcic, Allison Brede, and Jessica Taylor-Smith
Nancy and John Batchelor
Theresa and Tommy Turchin
Norma and Luis Quintero
Susanna Salk and Carol Bell
Tina Carlo, Kathryn Rubino, and Carol Bell
America’s Promise Alliance has awarded The Vito Marcantonio School (PS/IS 50) in East Harlem, the $100,000 Colin and Alma Powell Legacy Award in recognition of the school’s commitment to and practice of its “whole student” philosophy of learning and living. 
PS/IS 50’s Principal Rebekah Marler-Mitchell, who has been instrumental in her school’s transformation, accepted the Legacy Award at the Alliance’s 10th anniversary celebration in New York from America’s Promise Founding Chair General Colin Powell and current Chair Alma Powell

The Legacy Award will be presented annually to honor the Powells’ commitment to and advocacy on behalf of America’s children, particularly the country’s most disadvantaged young people.
Bill Clinton, Rebekah Marler-Mitchell, George H.W. Bush, and Alma and Colin Powell
“The Vito Marcantonio School’s full-service and holistic approach to learning surrounds students and their families with the necessary support systems that make school and life successes possible,” said Alma Powell. “There is no better way for the Alliance to celebrate its 10th anniversary than to recognize a school and principal that work tirelessly to ensure that children experience the critical resources we call the Five Promises: caring adults, a safe place, an effective education, a healthy start and opportunities to help others. PS/IS 50 exemplifies the Five Promises experience.”
Since arriving at PS/IS 50 in July 2004, Principal Marler-Mitchell took a school that was failing and spearheaded multiple efforts to improve the quality of the school, developing key programs and partnerships within the community. Marler-Mitchell worked closely with PS/IS 50 partners City Year and Children's Aid Society to support the goal of implementing effective literacy instruction.
Additionally, Marler-Mitchell worked to establish a partnership with the New York Center for Autism charter school that has created unprecedented opportunities for both organizations through the creation of a state-of-the-art life skills center for collaborative learning and a program that engages PS/IS 50’s middle school students in service learning as peer mentors for students with autism. She has also helped secure a partnership with Stickball Arts, an arts in education nonprofit that provides marketable job skills training to middle and high school students.
PS/IS 50, which has an on-site health care center that assists with the physical and mental health well-being of its 530 K-7th grade students and their families, also aims to increase parental involvement through its school-based “PTA/Family Room,” where parents, students and staff together learn about topics ranging from green-cleaning to healthy cooking, as well as standard adult education courses. Marler-Mitchell said she hopes to expand the offerings of the PTA/Family Room as a result of the Legacy Award.
Vernon Jordan, Dr. Robert Butler, Barbara Walters, and Donald Marron
Alma Powell also pointed out that PS/IS 50 exemplifies the goal of the Alliance’s new 15 in 5 campaign, which is to ensure that over the next five years, 15 million at-risk young people experience at least one more of the Five Promises.  The 15 in 5 campaign will be driven by three National Action Strategies in communities across the country:
All Kids Covered: Work together to enroll all eligible children in health insurance. There are 6.5 million children who are eligible for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program or Medicaid, but currently not enrolled.

Ready for The Real World: Work together to engage middle-schoolers in service learning and career exploration to deepen their motivation for achievement in their world – including school, community and the workplace.

Where the Kids Are: Beginning with schools as hubs, work together to deliver more of the Five Promises where kids already congregate. Reaching youth where they gather makes it more likely that they will receive the support they need from people who already know them by name.
Gen. Colin Powell, Theodore Forstmann, and Donald Marron
Jay Kernis and Liz Smith
Catie and Donald Marron with Mort Zuckerman
Donald Marron and Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Donald Marron and Dr. Henry Kissinger
Marguerite W. Kondracke and Thomas G. Cigarran
Tim Russert and Donald Marron
Jim Vella, Megan Slattery, and Colin Powell
Tim Russert, Henry Kissinger, and Luke Russert
William Milliken, Dr. Angela Diaz, and Bob Rogers

Photographs by ©
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