Friday, August 10, 2007

Summer of Love

Walt Whitman, reincarnated, watches the passing parade. Photo: JH.
The following is my Editor’s Letter for this month’s Quest magazine. The August issue marks the 20th anniversary of the magazine which was started in New York in 1987. Coincidentally, it was one month after it was launched that the stock markets took a fall that sent shudders up and down the spines of many across the world, including many of the Quest denizens. In retrospect those days now seem far from dark. This Anniversary Issue instead is a document of amazing activity, productivity, growth and celebration over the following 20 years in New York. The Ed’s Letter:

Wow. Twenty years later. I first saw Quest in those early days when I was living in Los Angeles. Larry Ashmead, then the executive editor of Harper & Row (later HarperCollins)  used to send me the copies, knowing that its content would interest me. I can still recall reading one particular social historical piece about a New York family and thinking out loud: “I could do that.”
DPC's first feature for Quest on Gloria Etting for the March 1993 issue.
That self-confidence, however, came at the time with a streak of futility and disappointment, two potent ingredients in the struggling writer’s cocktail. I could do that, yes; but I wasn’t doing that, and therein lay the rub.

However, a few years later, still wearing the mantle of struggling writer, I came to New York to write a book for Bobby Short. The book deal didn’t work out but serendipitously I met a little British lady named Heather Cohane who was then the publisher (and founder) of Quest. Heather is one of those people in life who seems to be open to almost anyone if they’re polite and possibly charming or interesting. I immediately told her that I was a “fan” of the magazine and that we had a mutual friend – one Gloria Etting who lived in Philadelphia.  Gloria, who was a society lady of the first rank also aspired to be a photojournalist, and had done some work for Quest.  So, on hearing of the mutual acquaintance, Heather asked if I’d like to write a piece on Gloria for Quest. Well, what do you think?

DPC's first diary in October 1994
What an easy way for a writer to get a job! Looking back, I can see the hardest part was staying the course until I got “the job.”  “The job” for  Quest on Gloria Etting ran in the March 1993 issue. Over the following three years I wrote about 40 or more pieces for the magazine. At just about this time, in the summer of 1994, Heather asked if I’d like to write a column. Naturally I jumped at the idea.

The first Social Diary came out in the October issue of 1994, and there is an excerpt (for memory’s sake) in this month’s anniversary issue. I have been writing that column consistently (and now daily on the web) since that autumn thirteen years ago. For three years at the end of this past century, I was away from Quest at the helm of another magazine. I returned with the new century and now also retain the title at the top of the editorial page.

Chris Meigher acquired the magazine in 1996. Many things have changed in our world since those days including the society we cover. Quest has been in sync with that movement. In those same ten years Chris has grown a plucky and intrepid Englishwoman’s creation into the ample and substantial high-end luxury lifestyle magazine that it is today. Although its beginnings were in a New York-centric editorial slot, today Quest is read all over the world. Its influence still retains a bright spot in a world culture whose traditions and history are under siege in the natural course of things. Quest still remembers. Happy Anniversary, and thanks for reading.
Brendan Gill in '93 and Brooke Astor in '88.
Dominick Dunne remembers Glenn Bernbaum
This month’s Collector’s Edition is chock-a-block with memories. There are faces you know, faces you knew, faces unfamiliar to you. Whatever your connection to the images, they have now moved on from contemporary to archival and have arrived at a new perspective: our memory. There are look-backs at party picture pages, look backs at the social fabric. Dominick Dunne has written a Memory of Glenn Birnbaum, the irascible owner of Mortimer’s, the restaurant of the smart set and part of the inspiration of Tom Wolfe’s now classic “Bonfire at the Vanities.” There’s a look at my “New 400” list which debuted in 1994, and a biographical piece of mine on John Hay “Jock” Whitney. There’s photographic portfolio of some of the most prominent characters of each of those past 20 years, and Lists. Lists of the legends who have come and passed away, those still with us, men, women; headline makers of those years, the icons, be it people or places. In short, it’s one of those rich confections of glossy memories of a style and way of life in the most exciting community in the world.

Quest can be found at all Hudson News outlets, including airports and terminals and at selected newsstands across the city. For the special issue, ($5 plus postage) call Kathy Sheridan at 646-840-3402.
Social Diary/November '93
Social Diary/April '94
The younger generation of yesteryear
Social Diary/November '03
Carolyn Bessette and John F. Kennedy
Nan Kempner
Summer of Love. That was the theme of one of the events on today’s pics. It was also the unspoken theme of the other two events – the Billy Joel Concert at the Ross School out in the Hamptons, Unframed 2007, the annual benefit pre-sale held by Acria to fight AIDS, and the Summer of Love Party 2 to benefit The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center at Eisenhower House (the President’s former Summer White House) in Newport, Rhode Island.

Billy Joel played a concert at the Ross School last Saturday night in East Hampton. It was one of a five part series, known as Social @ Ross that the school has every summer, opening with Prince and closing with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It’s also not just any rock concert because the Ross School is a force in the community with strong social connections especially to the entertainment industry crowd. The evening was sponsored by Cierge. Courtney Ross, who founded the school, is the widow of the late Steven J. Ross, the CEO of Time Warner.
Billy Joel on stage
East Hampton this past Saturday night was a mecca for the celebrity/social crowd that now dominate the public profile of the Hamptons. Besides the Ross/Billy Joel concert, Ron Perelman was hosting a fund-raiser for Senator Hillary Clinton over at his estate “The Creeks.” Mrs. Clinton was accompanied by her husband, the former President and possible first First Gentleman of the United States. The Clintons are not strangers to this crowd and have lots of friends and supporters among them.

I don’t know because I wasn’t there, but there might have been one notable Clinton supporter missing, and that would be Patricia Duff, the former wife of Mr. Perelman and a very early supporter of President Clinton when she was still married to her previous husband, producer Mike Medavoy. Patricia has long had a prominent presence in Democratic campaigns and her sultry-blonde allure belies her devoted and longtime support. Her marriage to the billionaire tycoon did not end harmoniously, as these things go, and as the world already knows.
Katie Lee Joel
David Lauren, Lauren Bush, Dylan Lauren, and Paul Arrouet
April Greaves, Alexander Lis, and Lea Lis
Howard Stern and Beth Ostrosky
Tommy Mottola and Thalia
Daniel Benedict, Vanessa Eastman, and Andrew Saffir
Cristina Greeven Cuomo, Calvin Klein, and friend
Debbie and John Eastman
Jamison Ernest and Edgar Bronfman Jr.
Jennifer Raines, Liz Cohen Hausman, and Charlotte Freund
Sheena Tesora and Michael Satsky
Mike Sokoloff, Danielle DeMarne, Candice Levy, David Blaine, and Shelley Ross
Renee Zellweger
Jon and Dorothea Bon Jovi
Alexa Ray Joel and Rob Wiesenthal
DJ D-Nice
Christie Brinkley and Alexa Ray Joel
Courtney Ross and Dorothy Lichtenstein
Erin McKinley and Adrianna Rosa
Jonathan Cheban
Jessica and Joe Meli
Jessica Fisher
Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos
Rich Thomas and Tamie Peters Thomas
This year’s Newport love fest was co-chaired by Dollie Briggs, Kimberly Skeen-Jones, and Annette Tonti, the party’s goal of this years' event was to fully fund the Teen Center's After School Filmmaking Project for the MLK Center, as it is called in Newport. The Center also  offers superb after-school programs as well as the “Feed A Friend” program that serves all of Newport County. The Center has been called “Newport’s best kept secret” but with parties like S. o. L. 2, it won’t be much longer.

Two-hundred and fifty MLK Center friends and supporters gathered at the House overlooking Narragansett Bay in Fort Adams State Park. The tent was decked out superbly in swathes of blues, purples, and touches of yellow by Richard Carbotti and his design team at Perfect Surroundings, Inc. The menu (sautéed Bay Scallops) was provided by Bluerocks Catering, the beverages by Aquidneck Island’s own Greenvale Vineyards and Newport Storm Brewery. And let’s not forget The Eturnity Band, imported from New York, who made it sound as if Beyonce and Jay-Z were actually performing live.

This years' sponsors included Moet & Chandon, Conde Nast Publications, Louis Vuitton, W Class Yachts and Dyer Boats. A live auction hosted by the inimitable and hilarious Emlen Drayton,  took the “Summer of Love” theme and ran with it complete with tie-dye and a psychedelic suit.

Specials guests included the MLK Center’s Executive Director Amanda Frye Leinhos,  the Mayor of Providence, David Cicilinne, and Honorary Co-Chair, Mrs. Sandra Whitehouse, and best of all, the event raised $150,000 for the Teen Film Program.
Bill Vareika and Amanda Frye Leinhos
Annette Tonti, Kimberly Skeen-Jones, and Charles Willis
Mother/daughter Duo Dollie and Daisy Briggs
Liz Drayton, Sandra Whitehouse, and Woody Woodworth
Hadley Johntone and friend
Clockwise from top left: Chuck Ellis and Stan Sandber; Summer of Love Special Edition Dyer Dinghy; Nick Benson, Alix Flood, and Bonnie Weber.
Roger Kass
Lawrence Slocum, Annie Johnson, and Lacy Kiernan
Kim and Michelle Kirby
Gay Ben Tre
MC Emlen Drayton
Peter Kiernan, Emo, and Fritz Drayton
Unframed 2007, the annual benefit pre-sale held by Acria to fight AIDS was held last night here in New York. It was a big cocktail party hosted by some of the New York art world’s more high profile individuals: Ross Bleckner, Alexis Bryan, Francisco Costa, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Amanda Hearst, Gillian Hearst-Shaw, Deborah Hughes, Adam Lippes, Martha Nelson, Andrew Saffir and Simon Doonan. There were “mind blowingly inexpensive original signed works by Polly Apfelbaum, Gary Bandy, Michael Bevilacqua, Edward Burtynsky, Mitch Epstein, Tony Feher, Chris Jordan, Eva Lundsager, Ed Mineo, David Moreno, Vik Muniz, Jonathan Seliger, Barbara Takenaga, Janaina Tschape, Tobias Wong, William Wood. There was also a silent auction with some pieces from James Rosenquist, William Wegman and others.  The Unframed event has developed a reputation for also being on the cutting edge in their choices of contemporary art, so there are those who really do believe you can pick up a “bargain” there.

The evening benefited the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA) which is a collaborative and independent not-for-profit organization that studies new treatments for HIV/AIDS and related diseases, and conducts a comprehensive health literacy program.
Abe Gurko and Woodstock
Ben Bash and Dan Tietz
Daniel Benedict and Andrew Saffir
Deborah Hughes and Michael Vollbracht
Francisco Costa and Ann Odgen
Patti Cohen and Deborah Hughes
Simon Doonan and Delphine McNeal
Robert Burke and Adam Lippes
Kris and Robert Ackerman
Jonathan Adler, Simon Doonan, and Tobias Wong
Dan Tietz, Martha Nelson, and Simon Doonan

Photographs by ©
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