Monday, August 15, 2011

Women of valor

Isherwood Gallery
Lauren Muzinich, Linda Correia, Danielle Merollo, Rebecca Hollander, Pamela Baxter, and Kimberly Affronte
This past Friday at the home of Simone Levinson in Southampton, DIOR hosted a luncheon to benefit Southampton Center for the Arts.
Christine Mack, Nina Rennert Davidson, Heather Mnuchin, and Jennifer Creel
Andrea Glimcher, Jackie Siegal, and Natalie Kaplan
Cristina Cuomo and Fernanda Niven
Cricket Burns
Jennifer Creel and Christine Mack
Avis Richards, Pamela Baxter, and Debra Black
Diana DiMenna, Sharon Cardel, and Rory Tahari
Erica Karsch
Louise Camuto and Rory Tahari
Lauren Muzinich
Whitney Fairchild
Dorian May, Marjorie Harris, and Lauren Geller
Arden Wohl and Lisa Anastos
Hannah McFarland, Alexia Hamm Ryan, and Tiffany Moler
Josephine Meckseper, Kim Heirston, Lisa Anastos, and Simone Levinson
Lea Brokaw and Jennifer Creel
Kristi Avram, Mara Manus, Diana Di Menna, and Robin Avram
Linda Correia, Rebecca Hollander, and Danielle Merollo
Lisa Konsker and Brenda Axelrod
Pamela Baxter, Stephen Hamilton, and Karen Watkins
Louise Camuto and Rory Tahari
Dayssi Orlarte de Kanavos and Angela Barco
Lisa O'Kelly and Erica Karsch
Steve Funsch, Jennifer Mesiano, and Tom Knight
Mayor Mark Epley, Jean Shafiroff, Pamela Baxter, and Siamak Samii
Alexia Hamm Ryan and Tania Higgins
Karen LeFrak
Judith Giuliani and Melanie Wambold
Thea Wedepohl and Kate Phillips
Mary Katherine Navab, Catherine Dunn, and Anne Nordeman
Yung Hee Kim and Lorry Newhouse
Gloria Steinem “In Her Own Words”
The New Documentary from HBO

Jill Lynne for NYSD:
I first met Gloria Steinem during the heyday of the women’s movement. I was an early-divorced single “mum” raising my wee daughter in NYC. I was also the daughter of a feminist New York mother (with two master's degrees from Columbia and NYU, who ran one of Manhattan’s first birth control clinics), so the “battle-cry” was in my blood.

After several “Consciousness-Raising” sessions, I became an organizer – first with NOW (The National Organization For Women) and then New York Radical Feminists, doing abuse-counseling at a women’s center, running a women’s food coop and becoming a spokesperson for the women’s art movement.

So, although younger and of a different generation, during the women’s movement, our paths crossed on many an occasion ...
(c) Annie Leibovitz, 2010, Chez Gloria.
My brownstone is located next to the former residence of the late beloved Bella Abzug – a marvelous character, Congresswoman, social activist and leader in the women’s movement. In 1977, President Gerald Ford and President Jimmy Carter appointed her as Chairwoman of the National Women’s Conference - part of the United Nation’s sponsored, International Year of The Woman. I joined her in organizing this momentous project.

Gloria was our “Star” – in 1972, creating “Ms Magazine” – the first publication to solely (soul-ly) focus on women’s issues – The “Ms" representing Women’s refusal to be categorized by their marital status – as in “Mrs.” or “Miss." She aptly noted, men were just “Mr.” with our any specific designation of marital status. There was – and persists – a gender-bias against “women of a certain age”…

Arlene (c) Jason Laure 1969, Press Conference. and Marc Rosen
(c) Irene Kubota Neves 1984.
As the movie chronicles, in 1934, Toledo, Ohio, Gloria was born a beauty – a fact against which she always struggled – for women of her era were primarily judged by their looks, almost never by brains and other important qualities. Raised in the Midwest, she attended Smith College, and then emigrated to NYC to become a journalist.

She modeled her streaked blonde hair, lithe figure and liberty-loving style after Holly Golightly in Truman Capote’s novel-turned-film, fabulous “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”. Holly responds to a possible marital proposal with the resounding statement, “People do not belong to other People! I’ll never let anyone put me in a cage!”

Gloria notes that the humiliation and distress of an early “secret” abortion, and her subsequent discovery of the plight of women having “illegal” desperate abortions in distressing in disease-riddled and death defying conditions, led to her activism for women.

In 1862, ESQUIRE Magazine Features Editor Clay Felker gave Steinem a break – her first serious assignment regarding “Conception." Then in 1963, Huntington Hartford assigned her to an expose on Playboy Bunnies for his SHOW Magazine. Gloria went underground, masquerading as a Bunny – proceeding through a month of training and “hard work." This not only led to the controversial editorial, but the acclaimed 1985 film, “A Bunny’s Tale." When in 1968, Felker founded NEW YORK Magazine, he added Gloria to the roster – and she finally had that real journalistic position.

Steinem took to public speaking when editorial refused to publish her statements, greatly expanding her audience, and leading to her iconic feisty image, as the “face” of the Movement.

For four decades Gloria Steinem has championed the rights of women, diligently working for social justice. A leader of the 1976 nationwide Women’s Strike For Equality – held on the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of women’s suffrage. Steinem actively campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment.

She has founded and co-founded many strategic socio-political groups including the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Women’s Action Alliance, the National Women’s Political Caucus, Choice USA, and with cohort Jane Fonda, the Women’s Media Center – the co-sponsor with HBO of the film screening.
(c) Jenny Warburg, "Equality Now."
The words of memorable “Address to the Women of America," delivered at the NWPB still echo today…

This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labor on which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.

HBO Poster Announcing "Gloria In Her Own Words", the Documentary premiering on Monday eve August 15th
The HBO film,” Gloria In Her Own Words”, produced by the vital Sheila Nevins of HBO, and Peter Kunhardt, revolves around archival interviews of Steinem by such notables as Barbara Walters, Helen Gurley Brown, Phil Donahue and Larry King. It also spotlights other Women’s Movement luminaries – Civil Rights advocate Flo Kennedy, NOW co-founder and author (“The Feminine Mystique”) Betty Friedan and Bella Abzug.

In many ways, the women’s movement succeeded!

Although there is still progress to be made – eg. Unequal pay (as in the recent Walmart case) and “Glass Ceilings” prohibiting women from rising to the top of that corporate ladder…women now have far greater choices and opportunities.

In Joy Behar’s recent Interview with Gloria Steinem, she aptly noted, that for many of our generation(s), we as Daughters lived out our lives – fulfilling the un-actualized dreams of our mothers – dreams that for cultural and socio-political reasons they sadly could not live out. Today our daughters (mine and more…Gloria decided to not have children) are freer to create their own unencumbered journeys and realize their very own dreams.

Although sometimes, as I regard young (and sometimes more senior) women tottering about in unhealthy stilettos or high wedgies (all too-reminiscent of ancient Chinese foot binding), or witness women still sweltering beneath burkas in sun-drenched heat, I am reminded that regression can happen and full feminine acceptance still needs to be won.
Feminist, activist & founder of Ms. Magazine, Gloria Steinem - looking good at 77
Gloria at the HBO Podium, during a Q & A, following the screening
At 77 years old, Gloria Steinem remains assertively involved. At this screening she had just returned from working with “Quilt," the organization developed by the women of South Korea to negotiate relations with the north.

As for tomorrow, Gloria warns against the danger of “cocooning." Although she acknowledges the critical nature of the Internet for giving more “voice” to women, she is concerned about speaking only to “the converted." In addition she emphasizes the real instrument in community building (vs. wired, virtual community) is to physically gather – viscerally, with “all five senses"!
Celebrated artist Barbara Nessim turns to focus on speaker (Gloria in background)
President of the Women's Media Center, Julie Burton (forerly Executive Director, Voters For Choice)
Jasmine Burnett (Sister Song NYC)
Author and speaker Gloria Feldt (9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power) and Vickie Costa
The New York based Women’s Media Center ( monitors gender-bias in the media, advocates for equal positioning, and actively promotes women’s leadership, including critical Programs – Progressive Women’s Voices, Progressive Girl’s Voices, and SheSource. Following a few of WMC discerning statistics:

• Only 3% of decision-making positions in the media are held by women.
• Fewer than 25% of Op-ed pieces are written by women.
• Only 24% of people interviewed, heard, seen, or read about in mainstream broadcasting and print news are female.

“Gloria, In Her Own Words” premieres on HBO tonight, Monday August 15th, 2011, 9pm EST.
Gloria, still mentoring
The Ninth Annual “Women of Valor” Awards Tea was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Over 800 supporters attended this fundraiser which honored nine outstanding women from the Real Estate and Construction Industry to benefit St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters. Veronica Kelly, Director of Special Projects at The Bowery Mission was the Honorary Chair and Keynote Speaker. Ms. Kelly was also presented a special award by Ernie Anastos from Fox 5 News. St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters help feed over 9,000 poor families and serve over 1.5 million meals per year.
Mt. Carmel Holy Rosary Violin
Mt. Carmel Holy Rosary Violin
Mt Carmel Holy Rosary Violinists
Luis Valcarcel, Monica Larsen Wetherell, Michael Fahy, Nicole Lucarelli, Jacqueline Barr, Ted Moudis, Rosalie Mignano, Christopher Savoglou, and Lucy Carter
Greg Tunic, David and David Mc Williams, Bob Rydstrom, and Susan Clamage
Carol Malinchak, Sara Morgan, Lena Olhovsky, Richard Otom, and Norine Heyer
Carmine Maratta, Fr. Tom Franks, Lydia Ruth, Fr. Francis and , Fr. Paul
The Gap aka Grandparents Advocacy Project
Joe Sano, Father Francis J. Gasparik, Ellen Blair, and Lorretta Walsh
Pamela Caruso and friends
Valerie Salembier, Margo and John Catsimatidis, and Joe Sano
David Land, Brian Land, Bob Masucci, and Michael Chionchio
Robin Fisher, Managing Director, Newmark Knight Frank, was the Guest of Honor. Humanitarian Award recipients included Liani Marie Rey, Senior Vice President, Jones Lang LaSalle, and Pia Silvestri, Director, Tishman Speyer.

Clarissa Award Recipients included Jody Brown, Corporate Real Estate Executive; Pamela J. Caruso, Senior Vice President, Real Estate Counsel, Vornado Realty Trust; Barbara E. Champoux, Esq- Partner, Crowell and Moring, LLP; Lisa Dimoulas, Senior Vice President, Corporate Real Estate, Neuberger Berman .
Tyler DeBussey, Dr Stanley Brown, Honoree Jody Brown, Edie Brown, and Kyle DeBussey
Peter Kahn and Gina Rizzo
Suzanne Kaszynski, Helen Lowe, and Susan George
Barbara Champoux, Jennifer Carrey, Pamela Caruso, and Robin Fisher
Jody Brown and Lucy Carter
Joseph Sano, Veronica Kelly, Father Francis J. Gasparik, and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly
Pam Silvestri
Veronica Kelly
Ernie Anastos
Tony Troiano and Lisa Dimoulas
Les and Madeline Siegal
Desmond Burke and Art Thomson
Maggie Goldstein and Lia Gartner
Mary Anne Fusco, Father Francis J. Gasparik, and other honorees
Wendy Banks, Michele Gonzales, and Tiffany Alameda
Michele Fiechter and Nora Fay
Faith Hope Consolo and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly
Jeff Mann and Joe Sano
Peachy Deegan and Judy Sahagian
Sarah Spool, Stephanie Rudman, and Debra Lanski
Ellen Blair, Fran Weissler, and Veronica Kelly
Doug Militzer, Mark Boccuzi, and Robert Vogliano
Gary Dawes and Hugh O’Connell
Jane and Paul Dietrich
Michaela and Florence D’Urso, and Leila Larijani
Mary Anne Fusco, Roxanne Romano, and Janice Gehret
Honorees Barbara Champoux, Laini Marie Rey, and Jody Brown
Ernie Anastos, and Veronica Kelly
Margo and John Catsimatidis, and Tomaczek Bednarek
Stephanie Tannenbaum, Kiana Groomes, Dina Byron, and Alicia Lopez
Ted Finnerty, Bernie Diamond, and Jerry Rey
Joanne Foulk and Phillip Leshinsky
Theresa Fleming, Michele Medaglia, and Linda Alexander
Lenny Koven, Jim Doran, and Larry Oxman
Laini Rey, and Daniel Skip Hurley
Steven Segure, and Les Hiscoe
Julia Pandolfo, Jeff Mann, and Gerald Gisondi
Laurie Malfa, and Ashley Predhomme
Debra Razzano
Greg Kelly and Ernie Anastos
Andrew Hellerman, Patricia Taylor, and Ramon Gilsanz
Constantino Sagobas and Eelodie Gora
Ted Moudis and Ray Quartararo
David Meberg and David White
Father Francis J. Gasparik, Peter Troiano, and Honoree Lisa Dimoulas
Gina Rizzo, Leslie Whatley, and Lucy Carter
Donna Durso, Brother Eric Wandrey, and Father Micheal Brisson
Father Joseph Granata, and Father Francis J. Gasparik
Debra Cole and John Bennardo
Joan and Len Glazier

Photographs by Adriel Reboh/Patrick (Dior); Howard Wechsler and (Women of Valor).
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