Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Jazzy New York Monday

Tulips still going strong along Fifth Avenue.
Right Day, Wrong Foot. It was a beautiful day in New York; really beautiful. Bright and sunny and green and breezy. But it was also one of those days where everything seemed to be off, time-wise, as if I’d got off on the wrong foot.  There was a memorial for the late Pat Buckley at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and I had every intention of going. I live just a five minute ride from the museum and arrived at what I thought was the appointed time – 11:30 – only to see people coming out of the museum (which is closed on Mondays). It had started an hour before. My mistake somehow (I’d written the incorrect time in my datebook for starters).

Nevertheless, because it was such a beautiful day, and I now had more than an hour to kill before my luncheon appointment with an old friend, I decided to walk a bit through the park, entering at 79th Street, heading south. Lots of sunbathers getting an early start on the hill just inside the park; lots of mothers and nannies with children parked across the way in the shade. I took pictures hoping to capture a glimpse of the fresh beauty – spring now full bloom. The traffic along the avenue seemed light comparatively. I caught a bus and got off in front of Brooks Brothers at 53rd and Fifth. With more than 45 minutes to kill I decided to go in and see what they had. A sale on shirts. I picked out three I’d like. Out of my size in all. Not that I need another shirt anyway. Strolled over to Michael’s to meet my friend at one, still early.
Pug Hill in Central Park
Michael’s was busy. At the table in the bay Linda Fairstein, Lesley Stahl, Faye Wattleton, Lynn Sher, Ellen Futter, Esther Newberg et al were having their monthly ladies’ lunch. Across the way Pat and Gerry Shoenfeld (of the Shubert Theatre empire) were lunching with a friend. Across from them Joan Collins and Percy Gibson were with a third. I’d just read in the paper that Joan and Linda Evans hadn’t been getting on so well in their touring production of "Legends" and that Joan even sustained some light injuries thanks to her co-star. I didn’t bring it up. Although Joan looked just fine, she told me she was relieved that the 30 weeks of touring across America was over. She and Percy were off to Europe for the summer. Across from them Judy Miller was lunching with Alice Mayhew, the mega-editor from Simon & Schuster. Next to them Barry Diller was at his table with a guest, and across the way William Lauder was with a guest. Two tables down Nick Simunek was lunching with his producing partner Michael Mailer and Taki; while just over from them Sir Evelyn de Rothschild was lunching with his daughter. And on the table just next to me were Herb Schlosser and Universal’s Ron Meyer, while on the other side mega-agent (Mort Janklow partner) Lynn Nesbit was lunching with a publisher. It was a veritable cross-section of the Michael’s client profile – the entertainment business, authors, agents, publishers, broadcasting, bankers and tycoons.

Meanwhile one o’clock came and went and no show for my lunchdate. One-thirty, the same. Quarter to two, she showed up. Another late start.

Early in the evening I put on my black tie and headed down to the Metropolitan Club for the Author’s Guild dinner. Arriving just in time for dinner, I discovered empty clubhouse with no authors in sight. The man at the door didn’t know what I was talking about as his arm indicated that the place was empty. Back at my apartment I discovered I was a week too early but that there was the annual Spring Gala of Jazz @ Lincoln Center (which I was slated to attend) going on in the Time Warner complex at right that moment. So it was back in a cab, across the park, down Central Park West to the Rose Hall at Jazz.
The dinner scene at the Spring Gala of Jazz @ Lincoln Center. Click on image for a clip of Derek Trucks performing.
Half an hour late for the concert which began with Kevin Spacey and the Wynton Marsalis Septet, I was exasperated by this day of false starts, misplaced time schedules and general confusion, all of which I attributed to my lack of attention to detail.

However, once inside Rose Hall at Jazz @ Lincoln Center, Derek Trucks was performing with the Septet and within seconds after taking my seat, it was easy to put the exasperation and personal impatience aside.

The concert featured (after my missing Mr. Spacey’s performance): Mr. Trucks, followed fby the amazing Barbara Cook who will turn 80 this coming October, the most girlish 80-year-old in town, and in fine and fabulous voice (she sang a jazz version of “Surrey With the Fringe On Top” followed by songs by Jule Styne, Comden and Green, Sammy Cahn and Duke Ellington; all accompanied by the Septet). Chevy Chase was hosting and after Ms. Cook, he introduced Jimmy Buffet and then Lenny Kravitz.

Wynton Marsalis and Mica Ertegun
After the concert there was a dinner in the big room just outside of Rose Hall. This year was the first time the Spring Gala was held away from the Apollo in Harlem – mainly because Jazz @’s own Rose Hall theater is now available.

The evening was sponsored by Time-Warner and Cadillac and was the baby of my friend Ashley Schiff, a young woman, poloist (one of the few women in the sport) who travels to Argentina every year to play with the best of them; also public relations executive (for PMK) and jazz enthusiast. This year they raised $1.45 million with  a wide array of donors from Allen & Company to Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, the Ford Foundation, Faye Wattleton to Mica and Ahmet Ertegun, and that’s just for starters.

At 11 pm, I skipped dessert and was back out on Columbus Circle certain of where I was going for the first time in the past twenty-four hours. Home, and  relieved.
Carol Sutton Lewis, Darren Walker, and Karenna Gore
Amber and Scott Dospin
Malcolm Turner and and Ashley Schiff
Dana and Scott Schiff
Stephanie Seymour and Peter Brant with Glenn Close
Ben Widdicombe, Katy Weil, and Gayle King

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