Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Roundup

Driving through the Park Avenue Tunnel. 8:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Beautiful Spring days and nights in New York. We must take care to remember these because they are rare. And beautiful.

This is my friend Schulenberg. Bob Schulenberg although I always think of him by his last name. I’ve known him since a lot longer than many of you have been around. We were introduced by a mutual friend. I was pursuing an acting career at the time (the tender age of 22) and he was going to take some headshots of me for my book.

He showed up at the apartment about 4 in the afternoon. He was carrying a camera and a sketchbook.  The camera was for the assignment. The sketchbook was something he always carried with him. He used it as an exercise. It was intriguing immediately. It was like a diary as he recorded wherever he was – subway, diner, dinner party, wherever. He’d sit in a conversation anywhere and draw while we talked. (He talked too.)
Bob Schulenberg
About seven my wife (I was a newlywed) served dinner. About eleven we were still in the thrall of conversation of discovering mutual interests. About midnight we were talking about music (I played the piano and sang and he, it turned out, was a kind of child prodigy on the piano). He was telling me about the psychological aspects of different composers as revealed in their music. I wasn’t quite sure what he was talking about but he sat down at the piano and played Mendelssohn the way Gershwin would have played him, and then he played Chopin the way Mendelssohn would have played him. At four-thirty he was running through the Gershwin repertoire (no music in front of him) and the Sun was not from rising. Anyway, you had to be there, but if you were, you would have been transfixed by the creativity of this man’s thought.

Years later we’ve been friends forever and all these years later there are still pieces of information and bits of insights and pieces of wisdom that spill out of his head. He’s a man of  a multitude of interests which are best expressed in the hundreds of sketchbooks he’s created in his long but still very youthful life. He may be, in his way, the smartest man I’ve ever known. I state that cautiously because often people’s “smarts” are not as obvious as we might think.Howbeit, he has one of the most engaging minds of anyone I’ve ever known.

He first came to New York after graduating from UCLA in the eary 60s. I’m a little sketchy about his bio but by the mid-60s he had a  good career going as an illustrator.  We’re going to run a bunch of them, once a week on a Guest Diary. This week, the first is a sketch from his sketchbook dated “Sept. 3, 1961 to Jan. 20, 1962.”

Essentially Schulenberg created a visual diary of an era wherever he was which has been New York and Los Angeles.

Dee Dee Ricks
Last night in New York. The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center held their first “annual Spring Ball” at the Plaza in the Grand Ballroom.

The Plaza is off and running again as a venue for these snazzy events where the social world of New York  meets and greets and does its thing.

The Sloan-Kettering events are top drawer, top of the heap in New York. The support for the hospital is so great that it is one of the few in the country that runs in the black and provides extraordinary services for its patients. The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering is one of the most prestigious charities in New York, the closest thing to an exclusive club that a charity can be. That last sentence could scare some off but that might be just as well because what’s demanded of its members is SERVICE. This is a ladies’ lunch charity. This is hands on, get down.

What was most interesting last night to this observer was the transition that has noticeably begun to occur on the New York social scene. The thirty-somethings, early forty-somethings are taking their place, and occupying it with aplomb. This fact is a reflection of a very successful philanthropic organization, be it cultural of charity – the continuing recruiting of  new blood. This was a very successful evening on many levels. Muffie Potter Aston was the chair along with Libby Fitzgerald and Ashley McDermott. Mrs. Aston is one of the most dynamic women on the New York philanthropic scene. She’s a natural executive and a hands-in-the-dirt activist. She has the ability to infuse situations with enthusiasm. That’s her signature and it’s good as gold.
Christine and Steve Schwarzman
Hilary Gumbel
Muffy told the audience that they’d raised a record $2.25 million before the party started. This was more than  twice last year’s record. She recounted how during one meeting to prepare for the evening, she suggested they have a “$100,000” table. No one could believe it possible except suddenly a woman named Dee Dee Ricks stepped forward and said, “I’ll take it.”  Ms. Ricks, a Wall Street executive was a cancer survivor and a patient at Sloan-Kettering. This was, in a way, her way of giving thanks. But more than that, she wanted others to know how valuable their contributions would be.

During the dinner, Sotheby’s Jamie Niven held a live auction and raised another $600,000. Then we had Natasha Bedingfield. You don’t know about her? Ask your fifteen year old then, because he or she knows. Natasha and her brother now hold a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the first sister/brother with hit records at the same time.  Natasha is 28, was on “American Idol” a week or two ago. She came to the evening through advertising executive Richard Kirschenbaum. “Get her, she’s hot,” he advised. This was several months ago when she was already a big star in England. “She’s gonna be huge by May,” he advised.

They raised almost $3 million. But more on all that on Monday with more pictures.
Patrick and Dana Stubgen with Karen Luter
Tory Burch
The night before last we gathered more pictures than we could put together for the Diary yesterday, so we are running more.

I wanted to get a lot of the guests at The New York Public Library dinner for Stephen Schwarzman because it was a great mix of New York personalities, so many of whom are active in the city’s business, media and philanthropy – the elements that make up the 21st century New York society.
L. to r.: Ellen Schwarzman, Andrew Right, Zibby Schwarzman Right, Stephen and Christine Schwarzman, Megan Hearst, and Arline Schwarzman.
Dinner in the newly refurbished Edna Barnes Salomon Room.
The after-dinner table.
I took a picture of Lewis Cullman with Robert Silvers. Mr. Silvers is one of the founders of the New York Review of Books, one of the most successful periodicals of the last four decades in New York publishing. Mr. Cullman who is from a large family here in New York (who owned Philip Morris) is one of the most influential philanthropists in New York.

He wrote a memoir which was reviewed on these pages a few years ago. It was called “Can’t Take It With You – the Art of Making and Giving Money.” It’s a handbook for how to get to heaven no matter what your heaven might be. Mr. Cullman and his wife Dorothy have distributed more than $100 million to organizations of all kinds here in New York. Their goal was to double that before they left.
Lewis Cullman with Robert Silvers
Princess Firyal of Jordan
Chris and Kathleen Matthews
Hilary and WIlbur Ross with Grace and Chris Meigher
Billy Wright and Linda Janklow
Jeff and Liz Peek
Jeffrey and Marjorie Rosen
Joan Hardy Clark
Darren Walker and Sara Ayres
Mort Zuckerman and Tina Brown
Cardinal Egan and Jean Kennedy Smith
Linda and Mort Janklow with Gayfryd Steinberg
And then there was the SOFA opening at the Armory at 67th and Park. If you’re in town this weekend, take it in. It’s many things – a gallery, a museum, a cornucopia, a carnival of visuals. It’s really fun. Really fun.
Keiko Gallery, Boston, MA.
Loveed Fine Arts, New York, NY.
The David Collection, Pound Ridge, NY.
Galerie Besson, London, England.
Modus Art Gallery, Paris, France. Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, MA.
Tai Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
Moderne Gallery, Philadelphia, PA.
Chappell Gallery, New York, NY.
browngrotta arts, Wilton, CT.
browngrotta arts, Wilton, CT.
Ferrin Gallery, Pittsfield, MA.
Barry Friedman Ltd., New York, NY.
Donna Schneier Fine Arts, Palm Beach, FL.
Habatat Galleries, Chicago, IL.
María Elena Kravetz, Córdoba, Argentina.
SOFA NEW YORK, May 29 through Jun 1, 2008, at The Park Avenue Armory (66th and Park Avenue).

Photographs by JH & DPC/
CLICK here to subscribe to our mailing list.