Monday, April 9, 2007

Moving along the New York road of life

Riding along the Hudson River Promenade bike path. 4:10 PM. Photo: JH.
Cool early Spring days in New York. These come as sort of a surprise to those of us who are growing used to “warmer” seasons. Nevertheless. The buds are beginning to bud. The forsythia is about to bloom. The daffodils and the crocuses are presaging the tulips that soon will be blooming up and down East End Avenue.

Although for some it’s the end of the season; at least according to the talkers talking divorce about Marjorie Gubelmann and Reza Raein. The couple were married in a rockin’ society wedding in Palm Beach four years ago next month. They have a three year old son.

The Raeins are only one of many couples in the young social set whose marriages are rumored to be kaputs-ville. In almost every case there are young children, almost all of whom will bear some burden for the parents’ unsuitability. Society divorces are more interesting because of the factors of money and glamour. But the circumstances are now commonplace, so much so that there are fewer and fewer who remember when it was unusual. I grew up on a small tree-lined street in a small New England town. There were thirty  or forty families within the long town block and only one divorce. I have no idea who lives along that row of houses today but I’ll bet there are lots of divorces amongst them.

Joe Conason holding a copy of “It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush.” Click image to order.
Last night I started out on the Upper East Side where Gail Furman was giving a book party for her friend and ours Joe Conason who has just published “It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush.” Lots of literary types gathered by the time I arrived. I wanted to get a picture of the author and his wife Elizabeth who is expecting their first child in mid-June. Joe writes a column for Salon and for the New York Observer. The book’s title was inspired by Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 book “It Can’t Happen Here,” a satirical novel about the rise of fascism in the United States.

Joe read the Lewis book at his editor’s urging. He saw “many striking parallels with what Sinclair Lewis had imagined as the kind of authoritarianism that could come to America and some of the things that we had been seeing in the past several years here.” That book was inspired by the rise of Hitler in Germany where Lewis’ partner Dorothy Thompson was expelled by Germany for what she was writing about the Fuhrer.

We were standing in a warm yet spacious apartment surrounded by lots of books and pictures, and lots of early evening light still pouring in. Ironically unthreatening, politically and economically. It was a very American sort of scene. It reminded me almost of another time in New York when Norman Rockwell’s paintings were on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. It was that kind of crowd, professorial in style and appearance; mld-mannered, well-educated Americans. What is definitely threatening is that beautiful world outside those windows, what we call the planet and messing with Mother Nature.
James and Toni Goodale with Jesse Kornbluth and daughter Helen making her first public appearance
Joe Conason and Elizabeth
From the Conason book party I went around the corner to 79th and Fifth where Beth DeWoody picked me up and we drove downtown together to a reception at Soho House for the artist Martin Saar.

The promoting of the artist as a young man. Mr. Saar is a young man from Estonia who has been in this country for about five years.  Last night’s reception was hosted by Kipton Cronkite and Saar’s dealer, Leila Heller of LTMH Galleries on 72nd Street and Madison Avenue.  Soho House is a very popular venue for a lot of parties in New York. It’s downtown, it’s young, it’s hip, it’s spacious yet feels intimate, and for almost anyone who visits, it’s a trip that satisfies. Uptown loves downtown, although rarely vice-versa.
Martin Saar, National Spy (2007)
Last night’s party was convivial and crowded. What seemed like a completely social affair was in fact part of the star-making machinery that moves so many projects in New York. Mr. Saar, who as you can see looks like a young downtown New Yorker, was sponsored by Bob Colacello, the man who started out his professional life as  a protégé journalist with Andy Warhol and the then ground-breaking Interview Magazine.

Bob is a social cartographer. He knows the lay of the land. He learned as a kid, from the best of them in Glitterati-land. He cut his literary teeth on the living-it legend of Studio 54 and he’s never looked back. He’s also a boy from Brooklyn, back when it used to be “over the Bridge.” He knows.
Enter Kipton Cronkite somewhere early in this story. Cronkite is a young banking executive who sponsors young emerging artists on the side. And he hold receptions for them in very hip venues around town. Exposure, multiple. Through Cronkite, or maybe vice-versa, Martin Saar met Leila Heller, and Upper East Side art dealer who handles private sales of the Impressionists, Picasso et al, and also handles emerging artists. One pays the bills, the other makes for the thrill of it all.

And so there they were last night at Soho House in the 5th floor library with its wall mural of shelves of books. Martin Saar’s pictures look like silk-screening to these eyes. The subject of this series is “1980s Estonia.” But they’re paintings. “Our First Car,” for example. The kitsching of the Soviet. Warhol lives. Around and around we go.
Beth DeWoody and Leila Heller
Martin Saar and Leila Heller
Beth and Bob Colacello
At The Beach (2007)
Friends Of My Father (2007)
Kipton Cronkite and Leila Heller
Henry and Leila Heller
Matt Saracella and Melissa Berkelhammer
Clockwise from left: Paul Beirne and Adam Lippes; Martin Saar talking to Mona Wyatt and Susan Shin; Kim Bates, Dr. Geoffrey Carroll, and Meg Hayes; Our Neighbourhood Gang (2007).

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Photographs by DPC/NYSD