Thursday, October 29, 2009

Raining off and on

Augustus Saint-Gaudens' General William Tecumseh Sherman at the corner of 60th St. and Fifth Ave. 2:30 PM. Photo: JH.
October 29, 2009. Raining off and on all day yesterday.

Down at the Waldorf the Breast Cancer Research Foundation was holding its annual Symposium and Luncheon. BCRF holds two major fundraisers a year – this luncheon and the annual gala. Both are held in the same Grand Ballroom and both attract about 1000 guests and raise millions. This year they raised $1.9 million.

This is the affair where they also hand out the grants to medical research scientists. This year they awarded $29 million in grants to 171 scientists from medical research centers across the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

Evelyn Lauder
The Symposium began mid-morning. The topic was “Breast Cancer is a Global Problem, BCRF is Part of the Solution.” The panelists were six of the world’s leading breast cancer experts: Alan Ashworth, BSc, PhD, FRS, The Institute of Cancer Research, London; José Baselga, MD, Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Barcelona; Eduardo Cazap, MD, Latin American and Caribbean Society of Medical Oncology, Buenos Aires; Ephrat Levy-Lahad, MD, Medical Genetics Institute Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem; Larry Norton, MD of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Martine J. Piccart-Gebhart, MD, PhD, TransBIG and Jules Bordet Institute, Brussels; Dr. Clifford Hudis of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center was moderator.

Among their topics were genetic predisposition to breast cancer, the role of breast cancer “stem cells,” also known as tumor origination cells, and the development of new personalized, targeted therapies that are effective against the various forms of breast cancer.

The Jill Rose Award for outstanding research excellence honored Martine J. Piccart-Gebhart, MD, PhD, founder and chair of the Breast International Group/TransBIG, and Director of Medicine, Institut Jules Bordet, in recognition of her outstanding translational research initiatives which have been central to the development of effective new treatments for breast cancer.

The Humanitarian Award was presented to Elizabeth Hurley “for her singular role in raising global awareness of breast cancer and the importance of investing in scientific discovery as the key to prevention and cure.” The award was presented by Leonard Lauder.

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation was founded sixteen years ago by Evelyn Lauder. Eighty-five cents of every donated dollar to the Foundation cancer research and awareness programs. Mrs. Lauder is the heroine in this story. A daughter-in-law of Estee Lauder herself, as well as an executive in the family company as well as mother, wife and actively involved in community cultural affairs, she’s helped countless friends, friends of friends, even friends of friends of friends who either had breast cancer scares or who contracted the disease.

Her method of assistance is hands-on. On the business side, she has raised close to, if not more than, a quarter billion dollars for the cause. In that time, since the BCRF’s inception, there have also been enormous strides in prevention and recovery from the disease. Personally I know more than a dozen women who have been afflicted and survived and got on with their lives quite productively. Many of them received help and or assistance in one form or another through the auspices of Mrs. Lauder.

Evelyn Lauder did this: created this, enabled this, and inspired a lot of other people to do even more, This lunch was the annual tribute to all of those people also. It’s an Up.

Oh, and where the money raised goes is an another important issue addressed at all times. Their small staff saves a lot of pennies per dollar because of their hard work and devotion to their jobs/the cause. More heroines. Because of them, BCRF has the highest rating from Charity Navigator -- four stars -- for eight consecutive years, outperforming 99% of more than 5,400 evaluated charities in efficiently managing its finances. For more information, visit or call toll-free 1.866.FIND.A.CURE.

The entrance to the David Hockney exhibition at PaceWildenstein last night at 534 West 25th Street.
Last night, I missed several more fundraisers going on in New York and went down to the PaceWildenstein, Pace McGill Gallery at 524 West 25th Street (between 10th and 11th) for another opening of David Hockney’s new landscapes of his native Yorkshire.

Many of the guests were the painter’s friends, as well as collectors who collect his work, and art world people. Hockney himself is a very pleasant fellow on meeting and although he is now in his early seventies, there is still a quiet boyish quality to his persona. I always get the feeling that this is a happy man, and happy mainly, perhaps, because he can work all the time.

Someone told me last night that this past four years have been some of his most productive in his life. He’s also been turning out portraits, digital and otherwise, as well as his iPhone series which he paints on the iPhone very frequently in the morning and then emails them off to close friends to see. The iPhone Hockneys are becoming Collectors items although they are no larger than the iPhone screen and cannot be purchased, obviously. They can be, nevertheless, transferred to the computer screen and printed out. But the magic is the medium in this case; his painting hand is the camera.

I’ll leave the analysis of this new series to an expert. I’ve already expressed my impressions on this past Tuesday’s Diaries.

There were a lot of friends in from California including Peter Goulds who is the director of Mr. Hockney’s LA gallery, LA Louver in Venice. Also Dagny Corcoran, an LA native who is a major figure in the art world as a collector, dealer, connoisseur, maven, friend and supporter, and Joan Quinn, also, like Corcoran, a major figure in the art world and LA culture.

Art Gallery openings have their formulas, just like movie and theatre openings. There is a “crowd,” a “look,” a type you’re likely to see. This is always true. The difference with a party like this is the art, in this case Hockney, a major painter of his time and perhaps for all times. He commands huge fees for his work, into the seven figures. So his followers also include ladies and gentleman of various ages, the men of whom often look like bankers -- albeit a bit hipper in bearing – because they’re rich. Or so it is assumed. Museum curators, art historians, dealers, dealers and more dealers. And a lot of very pleasant people of good nature, at least at the party. Mr. Hockney attracts that, as do his paintings.
The dinner breaking up about 10:15 pm.
After eight o’clock, they set up about a dozen tables for ten in one of the gallery spaces, and the buffet in the other. Poached Salmon, perfectly grilled chicken, string beans, pasta, potatoes au gratin, salad, and light, thin slices of freshy baked bread. I went back for seconds. After that came the dessert: a small pumpkin pie with a scoop of ice cream and a dollop of raspberry sauce. A delicious dinner.

After that I had had too much to eat, and so it was time to leave.

Meanwhile there were other tributes of a different nature last night down
at the Plaza where District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau was honored with the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Distinguished Public Service Award.

It was presented him by another distinguished gentleman and scholar, William J. vanden Heuvel who is the Founder and now Chair Emeritus of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute as well as Chair of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park.
Mr. Morgenthau has been in public service most of his adult life. President John F. Kennedy appointed him US Attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1961.

In 74 he was elected District Attorney of New York County and has since served nine terms. This one is his last.
Mr. Morgenthau is one of the very few among us who personally knew Franklin Roosevelt.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park will be a landscaped park on four acres at the southern end of Roosevelt directly across the East River from the UN. Louis Kahn, the architect, designed the site as an enduring reminder of the Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear.

A tall order in these confounding times.
Jim Zirin, William Cahill, Robert Morgenthau, and Catherine Cahill David Dinkins and Dick French
Ed Koch and Tobie Roosevelt Julie and Mike Nadel with James Gill
Leroy Frazier and Patrick Dugan Dan Gwirtzman, William-vanden-Heuvel, and Milton Gwirtzman
Phyllis Gershon and Thomas Pulling Judy Lotas, Bert Askwith, Patti Kenner, and Sally Minard
Linda Fairstein and Cyrus R. Vance Jr. Caroline Niemczyk and Holly Oliphant
Susan and Bo Morgenthau Sarah and Jeff Gund Sarah Crotty-Dunleavy and Alexandra Crotty-Ross
Jeff Geller and Chris Thorpe Yaron Zilberman and Robin Brva
Jennifer Raab and Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner David Dinkins, Counselwoman Lessica Lappin, and Sally Minard
Paul Haden, Cleveland Adams, and Ann Bergeron Barbara Cohen and Melinda vanden Heuvel
And, on a much lighter note, I just want you to know about the New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble. A group of privilege New Yorkers learned about them recently when they were invited to see a performance of rhythm tap dancing at the Upper East Side home of Gloria and Herb Glatt.

Deborah Mitchell
is the impresario behind this route to boundless joy. Did Fred Astaire look like he was having a good time when he was tapping? Well, that’s because he was. He loved that rap-tap/rap-tap-tap-tap on wood (thank you Cole Porter). Ms. Mitchell is the founder and artistic director of the New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble. Barbara Hoffman, board chair of the organization introduced the Ensemble members to the guests, there was a performance and rhythm in the air. Another Up.

The NJTDE is an Outreach Program. It’s designed for young people but everyone too. The objective is to participate in a good time while developing a skill ... to tap dance.
The New Jersey Tap Ensemble -- First Company.
Guests in the Upper East Side home of Herb and Gloria Glatt.
Barbara Hoffman, Chair, Herbert and Gloria Glatt, and Deborah Mitchell, Founder and Artistic Director
of New Jersey Tap Ensemble.
Tap Dancer Karen Callaway Williams.
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Photographs by ANN WATT (Four Freedoms)
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