Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Art for Life

The dinner scene at the 10th Anniversary of Art for Life in East Hampton.
London Calling ...

Last Tuesday night in London at Guy Hilton’s trendy gallery there was a book launch for Farah Damji and her memoir Try Me about her crazy days and nights in New York. Ms. Damji is an author, editor, publisher, the daughter of a very rich property tycoon named Amir Damji who lives in South Africa and London. She has often published in ethnic and mainstream media such as The Observer (London) and The New Statesman as well as in the Birmingham Post where she had a column. Many New Yorkers were familiar with her art galleries in Manhattan and East Hampton (between 1992 and 1995). After returning to the UK from the US she published a lifestyle magazine called Another Generation for South Asians in the UK. Oh, she also became an addict.

Farah Damji and Charlotte Parker
Ms. Damji is no stranger to controversy, to make an understatement, as well as conflict and media attention. In October 2005 she was sentenced to prison (serving three and a half years) after pleading guilty to various counts of theft and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

The following year, 2006 she was released from prison to attend a meeting with her Open University professor. She did not return to prison the same day, as is required. Five days later she surrendered to the police and returned. So you see, from the little I’ve told you, this is a woman who has had a curious if confounding life. Oh, she has two children also.

Try Me is about all of that and then some. At the book party Tuesday night she read from a chapter about her experience with addiction called “Inside Me.” To wit:

"I was brought up to believe I can. I'll take what I can and what I want. I don't answer to your ownership. I will never belong to your world." Okay ...

“A stark look into the mind of an addict in the throes of her addiction,”
to put it in the words of Anna Cohen, Managing Director of the book’s publisher, The Ark Press. Farah's book is available on-line and at most bookstores. For a free downloadable sample chapter from her crazy New York days (and nights), go here.
Darcus Howe
Mark McGowan and Vicky Gould
Big turnout for the reading: Writers Farrukh Dhondy, Anthony Haden-Guest, Nirpal Dhariwal and hacks Emine Saner of G2, and Michael Moran, editor of Times on-line mingled with Goldsmiths grads, art dealers such as Simon Hilton (the gallerist's father), West London socialites and the art stars the gallery is known to support. Performance artists Mark McGowan failed to break the world record for the most snails on his face but made a stomach churningly valiant attempt.

Add to the mix human rights solicitor Imran Khan, Tory spin advisor, Nic Careem  and The Ark Press' latest signed author, Nabil, who was acquitted of any involvement in the terrorist bomb plot to blow up London with fertilizer in 2007.
Anthony Haden-Guest outside the gallery
Anthony Haden-Guest and Farah Damji
Farah Damji and Farrukh Dhondy
The crowd at The Guy Hilton Gallery.
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and his brother Danny Simmons celebrated the 10th Anniversary of their Art for Life benefit gala this past Saturday in East Hampton.

They honored Vanessa Williams, BET cofounder Sheila C. Johnson, and Target. The gala, Rush Philanthropic's primary annual fundraising endeavor, helps support thousands of underserved New York children.
Adrienne Bailon
Arabella Oz, Dr Mehmet Oz, Lisa Oz, and Zoe Oz
DJ Kiss
Alaina and Danny Simmons
Allyson Shapiro Zarin and Jill Zarin
NY Governor David Paterson and Tangie Murray
Christina Rice
Angela Simmons and Daniel "Diggy" Simmons
Barbara Kaye and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps
Eric Edwards and Danny Simmons
Donna Karan, Russell Simmons, and Gail King
Danny Simmons, Jillian Canal, and Reggie Canal
Erica Jones and Kevin Lyles
Ming Lee Simmons and Tyler Lee Vinion
Renee Cox and Nicolas Chareton
Jamie Jo Harris
Jason Binn, Desiree Gruber, and Kyle Machlachlan
Star Jones
Francis Hayward
Javier Evens and Teresa Savory
Kelly Browning
Marc and Jennifer Miller
Governor David A. Paterson, Michelle Paterson, and Alex Paterson
Kevin Lyles and Erica Jones
Geri Kyhill and Charles Koppelman
Soledad O'Brien and Vanessa Williams
Heidi Albertsen and Sarah Herbert Galloway
Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Simone de Pury
Nia Gandy and Rory Williams
Randi and Gina Glickman
Joel Fitzpatrick and Lisa Anastos
Dr. Simmons O'Brien, Cameron O' Brien, and Soledad O'Brien
Ming Lee Simmons, Russell Simmons, and Aoki Lee Simmons
Tila Tequila
Kyle MacLachlan
Andre Harrell
Photographs by ©PatrickMcMullan.com
Euan Rellie is a Socttish-born banker/ businessman, husband of Lucy Sykes the baby clothes designer/purveyor, and an extremely gregarious fellow who loves the company he keeps. Extremely may be just the word for it because these Brits who transfer themselves to this country are very often entrepreneurial in the good old American sense. Euan’s one of those and he makes it fun to be around.

He sent out an invitation:

For one day only
Euan Rellie invites you to forget all the Hamptons nonsense
Throw on a t-shirt and swimming trunks and join us for brunch
With 35 of my closest friends and Chef Sam Talbot
Sunday 19th July 2009
12:30-2pm Brunch
2-4 pm Tea and Cocktails
The Surf Lodge
183 Edgemere St, Montauk NY
Kids menu and kids tables available

Euan Rellie with Heathcliff
I was amused by the “thirty-five closest” friends because he’s probably got 335. Surf Lodge is now being called the hot, hipster spot at the East end of Long Island. Surfers, DJs, reggae bands and late night nefarious activity prevail, according to Euan. The space was designed and decorated by Tracy Feith. The proprietor is Sam Talbot who was a suitably cool Sicilian American chef who was semi-finalist Bravo’s top chef.  Ahh the smell of the fresh paint of publicity ... Remember we’re in the Hamptons and Montauk is as far as it gets. After that you’re living with the fishies.
Also according to Euan, “Jayma Cardoso is the gorgeous co-owner who has put together a beach bar hotel which is simultaneously laid back and elegant, and really fun.” The really fun caught my thought because I can hear Euan saying something like that. And what’s good about it when he says it, he really means it. I know a lot of other people know that about him. Surf Lodge: It’s the new Sunset Beach: a go-to joint where everyone is wearing swimming trunks. Go Euan!
I wasn’t there. I don’t even think I was invited. But Euan reported, “We drank a hundred and fifty Bloody Marys (celery and olives) and a few cases of Mexican beer.” Gee, they were thirsty. It was that gorgeous sunshine and surf. “We ate lobster rolls, egg white frittatas and chicken tenders -- supposed to be for the kids but Bronson V(an) W(yck) could not resist.”  
It was a laid-back family day out. There were fashion people, a couple of journos, and some social types, but mainly Lucy and Euan’s friends.
Euan’s friend of 28 years, from Eton days, Hugh Warrender showed up. Blair and Alastair Clarke brought their kids, as did Celerie and Boykin, with Bronson van Wyck and Andrew Fry as baby sitters. People were quizzing Celerie and Boykin about the rumor that they had secured a multi year rental of Grey Gardens, the Ben Bradlee/Sally Quinn fabled Bouvier Beale house in East Hampton.
According to Euan: "We drank a hundred and fifty Bloody Marys (celery and olives) and a few cases of Mexican beer.”
The talk was of the recession proof nature of the East End, the Calvin Klein / Steven Klein / Acria party the night before,  and also of Democrats who are beginning to turn Republican because of the prospect of loony taxes.
Belles of the ball were Dutch model Gin Boswick, Tatum Fichthorn, the “yummiest mummy in Greenwich CT,” and Phoebe Eaton, who turned heads when she arrived by herself. Fabrizio Volterra of David Chu Bespoke brought some Continental charm.  

Most attendees decided to postpone their return to the city at least until Monday morning. A couple decided to take the week off. 
This was another big week for Surf Lodge following a string of parties thrown by La Perla, Ben Watts, and Peter Davis for Minnie Mortimer, all in recent weeks. As long as the cops don’t follow through with their threats to close down the Surf Lodge for being too popular, it will remain the big destination in Montauk this year and next.  
That’s what Euan Rellie says about the place. Here’s what it’s owners think about the subject:

“It’s the non-Hamptons of the Hamptons. It’s laid back, chill, fun, leave your high heels behind kind of place,” is how Jayma Cardoso, described the area. "We are not trying to take any of the integrity of the town away. We love this village. That’s why we came here."

Sam Talbot agreed.

“I like the feel of Montauk ... it's kind of bohemianism, do you know what I mean?" he asked us. "It’s great to have that lifestyle. Like in the city, ‘Go go go go!’ And the flash and the glitz and the glamor, and then you come out to Montauk and it just is what it is."
Heather Beler, Jamie Natalo, Ms. Melendez, and Eric Lavanthal
Sam Talbot
Zinnia Curry and Boykin Curry
Alexandra McAuliffe and EJ McAuliffe
Alistar Clarke and friend
Alan Rish
Sian Gordon
Gin Boswick
Scott Campbell
Storm and Stormy Boswick
Amy Zimmerman and Ruby Zimmerman
Bronson van Wyck and Rascal Curry
The Sankey Family
Perry Sankey and Heathcliff Rellie
Gucci Westman, David Neville, and Dashel Neville
Olivia Chantecaille, Ren Grady, and Alex Chantecaille
Euan Rellie and Lucy Sykes Rellie
Nicholas Monteith, Nataliya Langhorne, and Chumb Langhorne
Francesco Civetta
Georgina Clarke
Tatum Fichthorn
Kaitlin Hegarty and John Anselmo
Andrew Fry and Bronson van Wyck
Tertius Vune and Feebee Eaton
Mr. Weinburg and Janet Weinburg
Jayma Cardoso
Jeff Slonim, Declan Slonim, Fiona Moore, and Finbar Slonim
Caitlin Hegarty, Robert Petrausch, Kristin Scheve, and Lance Broumand
Alex Kelloff
Cathy Masiello and Toni Annsonte
Photographs by ©PatrickMcMullan.com

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