Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting Colder

Abingdon Square Park. 9:00 PM. Photo: JH.
10/29. Yesterday was a rainy day in New York and when it wasn’t raining, it was getting colder. Down at Michael’s a group of women were celebrating Kathy Lacey Hoge’s 39th birthday at the round table in the bay.

At the table right next to them was the beautiful Jane Fonda looking like the glamorous movie star she always will be. You just wanna stare at Fonda – that face, that history, that legend. But of course we didn’t.

Jane Fonda
Years ago in Los Angeles I worked in an organization that Fonda started with her then husband Tom Hayden, called Californians for Economic Democracy (CED). A lot of its early funding came from her Workout Studio and tapes. She was intent on being the perfect partner for Mr. Hayden’s political agenda. She was a very big star at the time and in Hollywood very big stars are just about God, or treated thusly; the center of the world. Fonda was sort of the “people’s Star” in her CED role, although she really wasn’t. She’d also come off of her rebel reputation during the Viet Nam War and then married the certified rebel Hayden. All of this turned out to be a passing phase.

There was a tight circle within the circle around her at CED which I was not a part of so my insights came from observation and hearsay. I’d be willing to bet today that just about everyone, if not all of that circle, went the way of Tom Hayden in her life. That’s typical of movie stars (“I loved ya honey but the show closed” goes the old vaudeville line.) She made a great deal of money from the Workout fad, and word back then was money was what she really liked. It was a very powerful and charismatic personality to be around. Many of us felt she should run for office although she evidently had no desire to do so.

She was always very friendly in the sense of courteous but there was also a diffidence, a reluctance to trust about her; a subtle uneasiness in her space, which is present in her performances as an actress. Vulnerability is probably the best word for it.

Aside from that “work” association, I’ve always loved watching her on the screen. She’ll be 71 this coming December 21st and it’s hard to believe that just seeing her today. She’s more beautiful now than she was thirty or forty years ago.
Top: Katia Mead, Linda Janklow, Betsy Lack, Shirley Lord Rosenthal, Kienan Lacey. Seated: Sherrie Westin, Silda Wall Spitzer, Kathy Lacey Hoge, Dr. Sarah Simms Rosenthal.
Right next to them Liz Smith was lunching with Ellen Levine, the editorial director of Hearst. Readers know that the night before Liz and I were at the New York Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children gala where she was honored. Liz has another decade and a half on Fonda and that’s even harder to believe. And as far as her good works are concerned, she could give a damn about the dough (oh, I’m sure she’s glad she can pay her rent). Besides her ongoing role as the Grand Dame of Dish in the world, Liz Smith is one of the leading philanthropists in New York today, personally without wealth, she raises millions and millions and millions every year for causes benefiting mainly the children and the citizens in need of New York (and the world).

Click to order.
Meanwhile just a few blocks up the avenue yesterday afternoon at the Metropolitan Club, the Horticultural Society of New York was holding its annual luncheon. Norma Dana was given the HSNY Award of Excellence to celebrate her outstanding contributions to horticulture and conservation. Mrs. Dana is one of the founders of the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy which has had such an enormous impact on the restoration of the Park.

The luncheon’s guest speaker was Carolyne Roehm who has just published her eighth book, “A Passion for Blue & White.” You’re going to be hearing a lot about it in the next few weeks because Mrs. Roehm is a brilliant marketer of her products and her products are all about Beauty, natural beauty, and god knows we need as much of that as we can get for our spirits.

Last night Carolyne also had her first book signing for the new book at the ultra-chic, impossible-to-just pass-by arts and culture bookstore Archivia on Lexington between 71st and 72nd Street. And there’s more to come here in New York and no doubt elsewhere. Carolyne Roehm is a worker. (See NYSD HOUSE).

Also last night, per usual, lots going on around town. The Central Park Conservancy hosted its annual Halloween Party in the Park. This is always fun and NYSD was there to record it for you to see.
And downtown, Rago Arts and Auction Center previewed highlights from its Post-War and Contemporary Art auction at Lars Bolander NY in the Meat-packing District.
Lenore Danielson and Waaben Sigurd
The works of art, on view through November 1, at will be auctioned at the Lambertville, New Jersey-based auction house, on Saturday, November 15. Among the artists whose work will be on view are Mike Bidlo, Ross Bleckner, Norman Bluhm, Jane Hammond, Ed Keinholz, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Henry Moore, Takashi Murakami, Jules Olitski, Richard Pettibone, David Reed, Jim Shaw, Frank Stella, Antonio Tapies, and Andy Warhol.
Timothy Doyle, Meredith Hilferty, and Christopher Kalachnikoff Sara Gilbane and John de Neufville
Suzanne Perrault and David Rago Ron Wagner and Timothy Van Dam Sophia Takal and Larry Levine
Geoffrey Bradfield, Sue Chalom, and Roric Tobin Urban Karlsson, Miriam Tucker, and Juan Montoya
Marilyn White, Brook Mason, and Debbi Hatfield Joseph Bunge, Natalie Donghia, and Jessi Cimafonte
Also last night at Beekman Place, Lillian Vernon and her husband Paolo Martino along with the American Friends of The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra hosted the Young Forum reception from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The evening served as a kick-off for the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's annual Concert at Carnegie Hall (conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, the 27-year-old wunderkind Venezuelan conductor) and Gala Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria, all taking place on November 17th.

The evening is chaired by Lily Safra and co-chaired by Patricia and Gustavo Cisneros and Elaine and James Wolfensohn. Associates Gala Co-Chairmen are Jason Hirsch, Jeffrey Hirsch, Jared Kushner and Jillian Merns.

To order tickets online: Associates (21-40 yrs old only) & Patrons.
Lillian Vernon and Paolo Martino Ben Harris, Jennifer Mahl, Jason Hirsch, and Jillian Merns
Josie Sandler with Charles and Elaine Petschek Stephen Rutenberg and Jessica Kerner
Lisa Snyder and Irit Rub Jessica Fishman and Andy Levinson Jennifer Mahl and Jason Schwalbe
Lynn Syms and Lillian Vernon Suzanne Ponsot introducing Irit Rub
Harold Berlowe, Heidi Lerner, and Wendy Rockman Suzanne Ponsot and Mike Weinstein
Meanwhile down to the Waldorf they were celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Alzheimer’s Association Rita Hayworth Gala which was created a quarter century ago by Hayworth’s daughter Princess Yasmin Aga Khan after the film star died of Alzheimer’s.

Jane Fonda
Yasmin (Yazzie to her many friends) and her gala benefits have raised $50 million dollars for Alzheimer’s Research in that time. Last night’s spectacle was underwritten by Rolex Watch USA which has now had a long association with the organization.

Last night they honored Lily Safra who has been a major donor to the cause, and the Hearst Corporation which has also been involved with Rita Hayworth/Alzheimers since its inception. Anne Hearst, now Anne Hearst McInerney, has been a friend of Yasmin Khan and a supporter of the cause since the beginning also.

This is always a very glamorous affair. The women involved in organizing and selling the tickets take the role very seriously and perhaps in tribute to their friend Yazzie’s mother, they play the glamour role to the hilt.

The Gala Steering Committee was: Muffie Potter Aston, Donna Dixon Aykroyd, Cornelia Sharpe Bregman, Margo Catsimatidis, Chele Upton Chiavacci, Nancy Corzine, Hilary Dick, Somers Farkas, Phyllis George, Deborah Grubman, Nurit Kahane Haase, Michele Herbert, Susan Hess, Laura Hunt, Louise Kornfeld, Alexandra Lebenthal, Anne Hearst McInerney, Judith Ripka, Andrea Stark, Felicia Taylor.

Congratulations to all on a job well done!
Nancy Corzine, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, Mary Richardson Kennedy, Anne Hearst, and Nina Garcia
The Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf was decorated by interior designer Nancy Corzine using the theme of silver (anniversary). Women were encouraged to wear white, silver, or blue. As a result there was a lot of sparkle in the room. On huge screens above the stage and in the corners of the ballroom were black and white stills of Yasmin’s beautiful mother in her youth when she was one of the most beautiful movie stars in the world.

The cover of the program is of Rita Hayworth in a costume from her famous film “Gilda” in which she sings her (then) famous “Put the Blame on Mame.” Hayworth’s singing voice was actually dubbed by a well known vocalist of the day, Anita Ellis.

Anita Ellis, born Anita Kert, was also the sister of Larry Kert who played the original role of “Tony” in “West Side Story” (singing “Maria” and “Tonight.”)
The Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria.
I knew Anita Ellis late in her life because she was a neighbor of mine on East End Avenue. We first met when she’d walk on the Promenade where I took my dogs. One day she told me that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimers.

As months passed, she continued visit the Promenade, and eventually in the company of a care-giver.

For a long time she was quite aware of her situation and although she didn’t discuss it with me, she’d refer to it when we met. Until the day came when I saw her and she was unable to recognize and/or communicate with me.

And then finally when I saw her on her outings, she was completely gone, her self having departed. She was a lovely, sweet, gentle woman, like the woman whose voice she dubbed 50 years before in “Gilda.” Anita.
Richard and Renee Steinberg Nikki Haskell and Lisa Anastos Michele and Larry Herbert with Denise Rich
Hilary and Bryant Gumbel Ivana Trump, Oliva Velaire, and Denise Wohl Lily Safra, Allen Brill, and Princess Yasmin Aga Khan
Christina Kringstein, Michelle Swarzman, and Lisa Engel Chris Cox and Andrea Catsimatidis Wilbur and Hilary Ross with George Farias

Phtographs by DPC & JH; Ann Watt (CPC Halloween).
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