Friday, October 23, 2009

Sunny and mild

Horse and carriage in Central Park at East 72nd Street. 2:45 PM. Photo: JH.
October 23, 2009. Yesterday was a nice day in New York. Sunny and mild like L.A. on a perfect autumn day. On the route down to Michael’s, the traffic seemed heavier. Getting out at Fifth Avenue and 57th I was amazed by the volume of the crowds. A lot of people looked like tourist. By which I mean they weren’t dressed like New Yorkers in that part of town during the week.

When I see “tourists” I often put myself by in that position and try to look at New York through those eyes. Because it is all a wonder. On so many levels. And there is so much to look at including the people.

You can often tell a lot about a person by watching his or her gait. And then by the manner and style of dress. On Fifth Avenue, for example, you’re most likely to see business people, suburban women shopping and tourists looking. The business people, men or women, no matter the costume – high fashion or lowdown hip – are going somewhere. Right then and there. And they don’t want to be late. Because others are waiting.

So what does this observer see when he sees me. walking as quickly as possible, and talking to myself about the fact that I’m late. I’m always late. You could say it’s a habit. You could also say it’s from overload, like the boy who’s eyes are bigger than his stomach.

David Easton.
At Michael’s I was meeting Sarah Simms Rosenthal, Julianne Marie, Annette Tapert and Joan Jakobson. My lunch dates, I realize, were all in the process of publishing a book. Except for Julianne, the now retired Broadway actress and musical star, who now lives happily in a village down where the Carolina moon keeps calling…. (it’s an old song, never mind).

Annette Tapert just finished her book on David Easton, the interior designer (see NYSD HOUSE). Sarah Rosenthal is about to publish her first book, a memoir-driven book about the father-daughter relationship. It is called “The Unavailable Father.” Oh, you know one? Sarah’s even thought about it, and as a psycotherapist, she’s well-versed in the subject.

And Joan Jakobson who is Park Avenue’s answer to Erma Bombeck is about to publish another book on her experiences and what’s learned from it. I’m not quite sure what her topic is on this one but it has something to do with life, love, wine, women and song, as well as men singing or tone deaf. And children, maybe even grandchildren.

By the time I arrived, some had already finished their first course. The table was talking about President Obama and his popularity and unpopularity. Ditto Mr. Bloomberg. And then Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq and Viet Nam. Really.

Babs and hubby.
Michael’s, just two blocks from Broadway. Then the talk was about Streisand. How that came up I don’t know. Although different people at the table either had personal experiences with her or had close friends who did. A portrait was formed, although it should be acknowledged, none of us knows her personally. The final analysis:

Humorless, rude, selfish, rude, inconsiderate, egomaniacal, rude, insensitive, and an all around lotta fun. And rude. And lazy as a performer. That was my two cents (since I remember her on the stage in “Funny Girl” when she was actually electrifying). The women at the table, all like James Brolin’s looks though, and none could imagine how he could stand being married to her. (Maybe he likes her.)

Then, just in time to rescue Bah-Bra from the trash heap of history, Liz Smith came by the table with Jordan Roth, the new head of the Jujamcyn Theaters, which is a theatrical real estate/production organization similar to the Shuberts. Theater owners are businessmen with (they hope) a special nose for a hit show. Rather like the show business version of a perfumier. Mr. Roth, who already has some serious stage production under his belt, and is the son of producer Daryl Roth, is just this side of being too old to be called a wunderkind, but looks-wise could almost be a teen-ager (He’s 33).

Last night, early evening, I went down to the PaceWildenstein
at 32 East 57th Street where they were holding a private preview reception for David Hockney and his first exhibition of new paintings in New York since the late 1990s.

This show, which opens today (October 23rd) is a two venue exhibition – also down at 534 West 25th Street. It features recent landscapes of Mr. Hockney’s native Yorkshire which he has resumed as his main residence after many years of living principally in Los Angeles.
Charlie Scheips and his friend and former boss, David Hockney. David Hockney meeting and greeting.
As another former Los Angeleno-transplant I was conscious of the light that Mr. Hockney has infused in his visions of the landscapes of his native land. The effects of the brightness and vibrant colors of Southern California remain fixed in the painter’s psyche.

On the second floor of the gallery were a series of Hockney portraits which Charlie Scheips told me were entirely digitally painted. In other words, the painter worked with a special computer pad and a stylus, and created these portraits on his computer screen. They were then printed out and scanned to make the print(s). All I could think was how great it would be to own a Hockney portrait.
Fran Lebowitz making the rounds ...
At the bar: The portrait on the right is of Hockney's brother on his iPhone.
Kim McCarty (followed by Michael) entering the exhibition space. Michael and Kim McCarty with Pace's famous director and filmmaker Arne Glimcher.
Jean-Pierre de Goncalves de Lima. Maurice Payne and friend.
Hockney portrait of Jean-Pierre de Goncalves de Lima. Maurice Payne next to his Hockney portrait.
The crowd at PaceWildenstein for David Hockney.
I’m not well versed in art and its techniques so any impression I have is uninformed and entirely personal. But these Hockney landscapes evoked some of van Gogh’s landscapes for me, except (among other things) they are clearer and brighter. As if the creative spirit has found a loving home for itself in the man and his world. There is wonder in all Hockney’s creation. Curiosity yes, but also, wonder. You get the feeling that the artist is in the thrall of his work, that he is having a good time seeing with his special eye. And so too, will you.

Last night’s preview was for a lot of Mr. Hockney’s friends, after which they adjourned to Michael’s restaurant for a rousing dinner.
Riding home in the taxi from Michael's I was looking for some evidence of autumn in the Park. It's getting there ...
More New York nights. This past Tuesday Audrey and Martin Gruss had a book party for the distinguished British journalist, historian and biographer Robert Lacey. Mr. Lacey has written books on Henry VIII, the Elizabeth II, Henry Ford, Meyer Lansky, the Earl of Essex and, among other things, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia which was called “The Kingdom.”

Mr. Lacey, who has been living in Saudi Arabia for several years has now published an “insider’s look at the country’s recent history,” called “Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia.”

The Grusses brought together a good group to meet the author at “21” including Nina and Mark Magowan, Bill McKnight, Donald Miller, Maggie Norris, Roberto and Joanne de Guardiola, Felicia Taylor, Somers Farkas, Gail Hilson, Robert Nederlander, Peggy Siegal, Katharina Ott-Bernstein, Mary Ann Tighe and David Hidalgo, Sharon Hoge, Frannie Scaife, Jennifer Stockman, Gigi and Harry Benson.
Amanda Haynes-Dale, Sharon Handler, and Joanne de Guardiola Gail Hilson and Frances Scaife
Felicia Taylor and Richard Ziegelasch John Meeks, Jim Aman, and Maggie Norris
Audrey Gruss and Katherine Bryan Audrey Gruss and Robert Lacey Liz Kabler and Sharon Bush
Joe Feinberg and Jennifer Stockman Bartle Bull and Ana Cristina Alvarado
Roberto de Guardiola, Lucy Lampheare, and Jacques Nordemann Robert Lacey with Gigi and Harry Benson
Rod and Jackie Drake Robert Lacey and Martin Gruss Mark and Nina Magowan
Margo Langenberg and Joy Wolf Lis Waterman, Dr. David Hidalgo, and Mary Ann Thige
And out in Southern California, in Costa Mesa, just south of Los Angeles, South Coast last Wednesday, a week, Plaza and Christian Dior celebrated the launch of the West-Coast edition of Carnegie Hall’s Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: A Festival Celebrating Chinese Culture presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Crowd inside the South Coast Plaza.
The evening began in Jewel Court at South Coast Plaza with a preview of a new exhibition of monumental work by celebrated Beijing-based fashion photographer Quentin Shih, followed by a presentation with Henry Segerstrom, South Coast Plaza Managing Director; Dean Corey; Philharmonic Society of Orange County Artistic Director; Pamela Baxter, President of Christian Dior, and Zhang Yun, Consul General for the People's Republic of China in Los Angeles.
Cirque du Soleil KA cast members Leonardo Santos and Cheri Haight with Elizabeth Segerstrom and KA cast member Jennifer Haight backstage.
Guests were led to the second part of the evening by lion dancers and drummers for dinner, dancing and performances by Cirque du Soleil’s KÀ, “Live” Terra Cotta Soldiers and Mask Changers.
Pamela Baxter, President of Christian Dior, Suzan Paek, Karen Watkins, Executive Vice President for Christian Dior, and Debra Gunn Downing Charles Fabius and Basia Plewinska
Chen Huaizhi, Consul, Consulate General People's Republic of China and Zhang Yun, Consul General, People's Republic of China in Los Angeles Nancie Clare, Editor in Chief of Los Angeles Times Magazine, Andrea Grant, and Elizabeth and Henry Segerstrom
Artist Quentin Shih, Anne Shih, Vice Chair of the Board of Governors at the Bowers Museum, and Danny Shih Dean Corey, Philharmonic Society of Orange County Artistic Director, Kaly Corey, and Dr. Ping Wu
And this past Tuesday late afternoon and early evening, The American Museum of Natural History held its 16th annual Family Party.

The AMNH is perhaps the first museum New York learn about first. Those who do often develop a lifelong interest in its subjects as well as an appreciation for a museum and its collections.

The Family Party brought out more than 1500 children and parents in “an evening of adventure” throughout the Museum. Guests interacted with live anials, dug for dinosaur fossils, conducted fascinating experiments, experienced simulated space travel, met with scientists. Braver souls made close encounters with leeches, spiders, tortoises and poison dart frogs. There was a magician “Magic Al” and performances by Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could. This was all good and there were many witnesses to attest.
Elizabeth and Charlie Eginton
Children at the Science Center
Science Center
Roberto and Chairman Allison Mignone with children Chairmen Diana DiMenna and Allison Mignone
Visitors examine shells with scientist at the Science Center
George Sidamon-Eristoff
Co-chairman Melissa and Carney Hawks with children
Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could performs
A Touch of Nature with Jerry Zelenka
Family Party Committee (Back row, l. to r.): Carla Gervasio, Laila Worrell, Kelly Mallon, Lois Goodner, Joan Rex, Amy Griffin, Laura Whitman, Diana DiMenna, Angela Smith Domzal, Allison Mignone, Jessica Marinaccio, Kim Lippman, Michelle Marie Heinemann, Melissa Hawks, Simone Levinson, and Valerie Colas-Ohrstrom

Front row, l. to r.: Nancy Lynn, Jean K. Scheible, Erika Matt, Kimberly Oliva, Andrea Lans, Museum President Ellen V. Futter, Laura Murawczyk, Zibby Right, Vivian Kuan Queen, and Nandita Glazer
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Photos: © D. Finnin/R. Mickens/AMNH; Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging (Ancient Paths, Modern Voices).
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