Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunny then cloudy then sunny

Looking southwest towards the lower Manhattan skyline from Queens. 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.
November 25. Yesterday was sunny then cloudy then sunny in New York, getting chillier as the Sun descended to nightfall, giving us a beautiful evening, brisk and fresh, and lotsa traffic.

At 6:30 I put on my black tie and went over to Lincoln Center
to the newly named, newly refurbished (thanks to) David H. Koch Theater (formerly the New York State Theater) for the opening night of the season for the New York City Ballet. The theater which was built in the late 50s, early 60s cost somewhere in the area of $20 million to build. The refurbishment cost something like $107 million. Mr. Koch pledged $100 million.
Looking across the plaza toward the Avery Fisher Hall where the concert was letting out.
The plaza fountain looking toward Avery Fisher Hall.
The Metropolitan Opera ("Hansel and Gretel") letting out about 10:30 last night.
On entering for the first time it looked the same although the orchestra was at audience level playing The Sleeping Beauty Waltz, music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, with Faycal Karoui conducting. After the final applause and the conductor and the orchestra bowing, the entire platform descended to the pit. That’s new. Then: the seats are new. I knew because they felt different. They’re not as deep but they seem more erect, as if you’re automatically sitting up straight. They are very comfortable especially for watching a performance. The floor is not carpeted even in the aisles. This, I was told, was to enhance the sound, especially for the opera. My hearing is not the best but the sound last night was crystal clear.

The opening nights of the New York City Ballet are quintessential New York glamour affairs. It draws a lot of the leading philanthropists as well as the balletomanes and those major supporters of the arts and expecially Dance. It’s a diverse group all in all. There are probably a lot of ballet aficionados like me who developed their interest at first out of commitment (accepting an invitation, pleasing a partner, or covering an event as it was in my case). I still wouldn’t call myself a balletomane, I don’t know the words for the different steps, positions and movement, nor could I describe them accurately. I’m completely illiterate about those things. But. The dancing, the dancers are everything. And I could see and I could feel their brilliance.
Peter Martins (in spotlight) addressing the guests and the New York City Ballet Company at the dinner on the Promenade after last night's performance.
After the overture, Peter Martins took the stage to introduce the “new” David H. Koch Theater to the audience. Then David himself came onstage and read a short speech about the process of revamping the theater.

David Koch has been supporting the ballet, among other organizations in New York for quite some time. This latest contribution, however, redefined him as a philanthropist. I have a feeling he knows that. It’s good for everybody and the proof was in last night’s celebration.

I don’t know if my eye is developing from experience of seeing ballet more frequently, but some of the dancing last night was not only great, but fantastic. In the first piece, “Concerto DSCH” (music by Shostakovich, choreography by Alexei Ratmansky) Jaoquin De Luz, Gonzalo Garcia and Benjamin Millepied were spectacular with their leaps and turns. I was thinking of Nijinsky, who died long before I could have seen him, and Nureyev whom I only saw on film and Baryshnikov, whom I only saw in very tiny pieces (and who was in attendance at last night’s gala); and I was wondering which of those dancers on the stage will take their place in the annals of those greats. Perhaps all, was my guess.
The table settings ...
“Concerto DSCH” was followed by “Rubies pas de deux (from Jewels), music by Stravinsky, choreography by Balanchine, costumes by Christian Lacroix. A piano solo, danced to by Aurelie Dupont and Mathias Heymann, guest artists appearing courtesy of the Paris Opera Ballet in honor of the 25th anniversary of the American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet. This performance was made possible by the American Friends through the Annenberg Foundation and the Florence Gould Trust.

After the Intermission, we saw “Naïve and Sentimental Music” (world premiere) by John Adams with choreography by Peter Martins. This was in three parts with: Jenifer Ringer, Yvonne Borree, Jennie Somogyi, Philip Neal, Tyler Angle, Nilas Martins, Janie Taylor, Abi Stafford, Ashley Bouder, Megan Fairchild, Joaquin De Luz, Daniel Ulbricht, Andrew Veyette, Jared Angle, Sara Mearns, Dareci Kistler, Maria Kowroski, Charles Askegard, Stephane Hanna, Jonathan Stafford, Stelering Hyltin, Teresa Reichlen, Tiler Peck, Robert Fairchild, Amar Ramasar and Gonzalo Garcia with the Entire Cast.
The dresses ...
The shoes ...
Dancing to the music of DJ David Chang ...
After the final curtain many went up onto the Promenade for dinner and dancing, and joined by the cast and many of their contemporaries.

Last night’s chairs were Jane Carroll, Barbara and Brad Evans, and Marlene Hess and Jim Zirin. Benefactors were Gillian Attfield, David W. Heleniak and John and Barbara Vogelstein.

Last night’s Patrons were Franci and Joe Rice, Emily Blavagtnik, Jonathan and Whitney Clay, Barry S. Friedberg and Charlotte Moss, Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Kinney, The Honorable and Mrs. Earle Mack, Theodore and Elizabeth Rogers, Louise Stude Sarofim, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Solomon, Katie and Christoph von Strasser and Dr. Sue Ann Weinberg. A great evening of the best of New York!
Mishna Wolff and Michele Oka Doner
Katherine Bryan and Scott Rothkopf
Robert Couturier and Amy Fine Collins
Dr. Judith Ginsburg and Paul LeClerc
Anne Bass, Hamish Bowles, and Nina Griscom
Alexis Clark and Gillian Miniter
Dr. Susan Krysiewicz
Pat Shiah and Fe Fendi
Mario Platero, Alejandra Cicognani, Leonel Piraino and Nina Griscom
Patsy Tarr, Alexandra Lebenthal, and Gillian Miniter
Lisa Fine
John Schumacher and Barbara Cirkva
Debbie Bancroft and Sara Tabak
/Conversations at table (that's Jeff Peek in the center)
David Koch being interviewed
Bob Fribourg
Catherine Malandrino and Veronique Gabai
Principal dancers Joaquin De Luz and Tiler Peck. Mr. De Luz was a sensation last night.
Charlie Ayres and Charlotte Moss
Nancy Missett and Liz Peek
/Guy and Sarah Peyrelongue
Pam Joyner and Darren Walker
Julia Koch
Olivia Flatto and Fe Fendi
Olivia Flatto and Mary Cronson
Bonnie Pfeifer Evans
Fernanda Kellogg
Patsy Tarr and Charlie Ayres
Lisa Fine, Charles Atkins, Alexis Clark, and Carol Mack
Michele Herbert
Back to business, yesterday in New York, Alberto and Stefania Sabbadini launched their "pink bee" brooch at a luncheon they hosted yesterday in honor of Evelyn Lauder.
A percentage of the sale of each bee will be donated to Evelyn’s Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  
Fiona Rudin Evelyn Lauder, Challa Safra, and Vera Blinken
Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos and Simone Levinson Alexandra Lebenthal and Myra Biblowit
Also last night, welcome to Noo Yawk, kids: at Tenjune, the club at 26 Little West 12th Street (between 9th and Washington), recording artists The Vanguard, Gabrielle Senn and Stella Osee performed live with a room packed with models, photographers and celebrities joining forces to support Secrets of the Modeling World Foundation which aspires to aid people living in extreme poverty around the world.

Besides the entertainment there were free drinks and food as well as free hair styling consultations by Tela design studio’s Philip Pelusi.
Erick Rusten and Lucas Bscher
Safiya Jones and S. Tia Brown
Model Gabrielle Senn sings ...
Gabrielle Senn and Shirley Grant
and sings ...
Janel Iglesias and Sidney Wilson IV (model trainer for Wilhemina
Manager Bob, Brandon Wolff, and Teddy Sanchez (boyfriend of model/aspiring singer Gabrielle Senn, who sang at the event)
Barrett Wagle and Shirley Grant
Monika Malkowski and Brian Carlton Byrd
Bailey Horn and Theodora, the Hairstylist
Francesca Maxime, Russell, and friend
Peter Choi and Alex Shufunafadu
Ken Han, Andy So, and Elisha Fu
Toni Paleka and Sky Vargas
Latesha Cepeda and Ashlie Luckett
Mark Costanza and Alexander Monfred
Bored texters in the VIP zone
Retrospectively, last Friday at Cipriani 42nd Street was one of the most important charitable luncheons of the season. “A veritable Who’s Who,” so writeth the flacks, and I repeat, “from the worlds of business, media, entertainment, government, publishing and the arts,” alla congregating for the Citymeals-on-Wheels 23rd annual “Power Lunch for Women.” 

Paula Zahn emceed. Joan H. Tisch, Vice Chair, Citymeals-on-Wheels and Joan Weill, President Emeritus were honored for their long-standing commitment to Citymeals and the elderly population. Kate Baldwin, star of the Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow performed.

Kate Baldwin performs
And on that Who’s Who list of distinguished and go-gettem Guests were Donatella Arpaia, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Jessica Bibliowicz, Samantha Boardman, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Bobbi Brown, Grace Mirabella Cahan, Joyce Chang, Carol Higgins Clark, Mary Higgins Clark, Anne E. Cohen, Zoe Cruz, Cristina Greeven Cuomo, Tyne Daly, Julie Daum, Laura Day, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Susan Dey, Wendy Dietze, Abigail Disney, Michele Oka Doner, Patricia Duffm Helena Durst, Dasha Epstein, Linda Fairstein, Tovah Feldshuh, Ruth Finley, Nina Garcia, Kathie Lee Gifford, Yusi Gonzalez-Gurrera, April Gornik Betsy Gotbaum, Gael Greene, Jamee Gregory, Dorothy Cann Hamilton, Donna Hanover, Joan Helpern, Caroline Hirsch, Jenny Holzer, Dana Ivey, Judith Jamison, Erica Jong, Donna Karan, Suri Kasirer, Jane Krakowski, Adrienne Landau, Evelyn Lauder, Barbara Lazaroff, Alexandra Lebenthal, Jill Lohrfink, Zarela Martinez, Margo Nederlander, Jessye Norman, Ruth Reichl, Jacqueline Reses, Denise Rich, Judith Ripka-Berk, Deborah Roberts, Janet Rodgers Betty Rollin, Kelly Rutherford, Diane Sawyer, Silda Wall Spitzer, Linda Stasi, Christina Steinbrenner, Gloria Steinem, Marcy Syms, Elinor Tatum, Laurie Tisch, Lizzie Tisch, Barbara Tober, Kathleen Turner, Lillian Vernon, Fran Weissler, and Patricia Wexler. Among others, mind you.
Also for a ticket price of $10,000, men got the privilege of lunching with these powerful and famous women.  This year’s $10K men included John Cochran, Joseph M. Cohen, Donny Deutsch, Bill Fischer, Michael Lynne, Mike Myers, Craig Pfeiffer, Dennis Riese, John Shapiro, William Speck, Alan Stillman, Jon Tisch, Donald Tober, Sandy Weill and Fred Wilpon.
Gael Greene started this whole thing with James Beard ages ago. I’ve written about their hatching the idea many times and the story is known far and wide. Nevertheless, it remains a stellar example of what people can do to help each other, to help their neighbors. Greene and Beard found a way to spread the wealth of humanity. Listen up everyone, this is what optimism really is. Not a belief or a statement; it’s an action.

This year’s luncheon was expected to yield 150,000 meals for New York’s frail aged. One hundred percent of the money raised from ticket sales at Power Lunch, and all Citymeals’ events, goes to the preparation and delivery of nutritious meals to homebound elderly in the five boroughs of New York City.
The Grand Host of this year’s Power Lunch was Cipriani 42nd Street.  The Associate Sponsors are The Tisch Family Foundation and Travelers. The Very Grand Patron is Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.  The Grand Patrons are Bernardaud, Bloomingdale’s, Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, and La Prairie. Official sponsors of Citymeals-on-Wheels are American Airlines, FIJI Water, and Nespresso.
Phyllis Newman and Kate Baldwin
Kathie Lee Gifford and Patricia Wexler
Joan Helpern
The Tisch family
Nakisha Amos, Phyllis Bierman, Sheila Clay, and Jeanine Reynolds
Jessye Norman
Citymeals-on-Wheels executive Director Marcia Stein
Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark
Bobbi Brown
Lillian Vernon
Bill Cunningham
Tom Gates and Carmen Dell'Orefice
Fran Weissler and Tyne Daly
Charlotte St. Martin
Donald Tober and Kathleen M Doyle
Jane Krakowski and Marcia Stein
Beth Shapiro and Michael Bolton
Valerie Anisko, a $10,000 man, and Kathleen Turner
Silda Wall Spitzer
Donna Hanover and Fred Wilpon
Judith Jamison and Deborah Roberts
Suri Kasirer
Emily Sussman and Carolyn Tisch Sussman
Donatella Arpaia
Enid Nemy and Laura Day
Jane Krakowski and Christina Steinbrenner
Susan Zises Green and Janet Rogers
Joan Weill, John Pomerantz, and Ruth Finley
Citymeals co-founder Gael Greene with Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch
Michael Lynne
Paula Zahn and John Pomerantz
Deborah Roberts and Laura Day
Michele Oka Doner
Roni Jenkins and Cheryl Benton
Star Black
Samantha Shanken Baker and Sarah Kovner
Lilliam Barrios-Paoli and Larian Angelo
Carmen Dell'Orefice and Jamee Gregory
Barbara Tober, Carmen Dell'Orefice, and Laura Maioglio
John Cockran, Kelly Rutherford, and Michael Bolton
Diane Sawyer and Paula Zahn
Linda Gibbs and Lilliam Barrios-Paoli
Christina Steinbrenner and Evelyn Lauder
Gloria Steinem and Bettina Cirone
Kate Baldwin
Beth Shapiro and friend
Gloria Steinem and Marcia Stein
Marcia Stein and Florence Fabricant
Barbara Lazaroff
Amy Fine Collins and Lizzie Tisch
Nan Lyons
Pamela Baxter
Suri Kasire and John Pomerantz
Kathie Lee Gifford
Joan Weill
Rena Bartos
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Photograhs by Ann Watt (Citymeals); Evan Mulvihill (tenjune).
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