Friday, January 29, 2010

Individual moods

Looking east towards The Empire State Building from 42nd and 11th Avenue. 5:45 PM. Photo: JH.
January 29, 2010. Yesterday was another beautiful, sunny day in New York, and cold and getting colder at night.

It was an especially quiet day for this Diarist. I’d got to bed very late the night before after posting Thursday’s NYSD and had to get up early to make a dental appointment at 11. Two hours. For a couple of things including a cleaning. My dentist Carmen Schuller is brilliant. Never any pain, (even when you’re getting the Novocain) a very positive personality, very knowledgeable and a natural teacher. She’s also the only person who ever did a root canal from start – and I mean the drill -- to finish in two hours (maybe a wee bit longer) with you leaving her office with a new tooth. The first time I remember asking, after what seemed like an hour having passed, “how much longer?”

“You’re finished,” she answered. And I was. It wasn’t an hour, but more like two. I left her office and went to get some lunch.

I know teeth and dentists are not a hot subject but as I was sitting there in the chair yesterday at the top of the day, reclining, looking out the window over the rooftops of the townhouses on East 62nd Street (Dr. Schuller is on East 61st between Park and Lex), looking at the barren leafless tree tops and the unadorned and unblemished rooftops and backs of buildings, I was thinking how even under such dull circumstances as going to the dentist, Dr. Schuller makes it a pleasure. A pleasure doing something you’d rather not ever do, but know you need to.

Two hours at the dentist, no lunch commitment, late late night before, I went home and had a little lunch, read some and took a snooze. Last night I had a quiet dinner with two friends at Swifty’s, which was busy although the crowd, like the day was somewhat subdued.

Traveling around the city often by taxi as frequently as I do even daily, I have noticed that days have their own individual moods and behavior patterns, just like us. You can see it in traffic by the way the drivers are running, or poking along, or taking idiotic risks or appearing brain-dead. I’ve watched it so much that I’ve asked drivers if it’s a true observation. They agree.

There is a big difference in the mood of the city since the markets fell out of bed more than a year ago. There’s been a clear sobering effect, a dimming of the ballyhoo and folderol of glitz and bling. Lady GaGa’s hottest ticket sold out performance at Radio City was almost a reaction to that, an opportunity to Get Lost for pleasure, get stirred up with the Indominatable Youth and its certainties.

The city is still crowded a lot, the citizens continue living their daily lives – which are often far more hectic than in most places; restaurants – at least the most familiar ones – are packed, but it’s not the state of euphoria it sometimes seemed before 9/11 and a couple of years after 9/11.

We’re in that moment where transition and transformation meet when looked at in retrospect. We were talking a little bit about that at dinner last night. One of my dinner partners pointed out that New York is a city that people want to live in. They come from near and far just to see it (as witnessed by this past summer and autumn’s tourist crowds). This was certainly true for those at my table last night, and true, I know, for many of the other diners. It is those people, who want to come here who do the transforming. Because New York always appears to stay the same despite its constant change.

So this “mood” I’ve been referring to is most likely the edge, the beginning.

Meanwhile, apropos of all that, but something intriguing. Ivana Trump is always working, as you may or may not know. Her children get a lot of their ambition from their mother as well as their father. Since her divorce all those many years ago from Donald, she has had a very successful business career which, like her former husband’s, is related to her public persona. It is what today’s college students call Marketing. They get degrees in it. Ivana wrote the book. One of the more recent ones, anyway.
Her husband in the picture we have of them arriving at an event, is a good example – Rosano Rubicondi was once always in Ivana’s shadow, inevitably, is now a famous television personality in his native Italy with his own reality show. There’s no place he can go where the crowds don’t hail him.You can be sure he picked up more than a few tips from Ivana in developing this kind of career.

Ivanka was voted out of Celebrity Big Brother house last night
Well, now she’s ventured into television and what better than some kind of “reality”? She joined the roster of Celebrity Big Brother – a television game show in the UK and Ireland in which a group of contestants, called housemates, live in isolation from the outside world in a “house” that is custom built but includes a kitchen and garden.

It is also a television studio with mikes and cameras everywhere. There is a place called the Diary Room which is the only place the housemates can escape each other’s company. It is in the Diary Room where they are “encouraged” to voice their true feelings.

Well a couple of nights ago, they voted Ivana “outta the house” (off the show). This is part of the format. Why Ivana, I didn’t see the show so I don’t know what went on with Ivana when she went to the Diary Room. Although knowing Ivana, she said exactly what was on her mind, and she doesn’t miss much. What’s next on her agenda, I don’t know but she’s always got a lot on her list; we’ll see her again, and maybe for quite a while. She’s a New Yorker.

From our friend Sharon, the Lady Sondes,
who with her pal Geoffrey Thomas was in Los Angeles and happened to attend an art opening of our friend Sacha Newley at the LA Art House last week.

Dear DPC:

There was a monsoon in progress as Geoffrey and I drove to the prestigious LA Art House, superbly managed by its brilliant director, Kevin Conroy, for the opening night of Sacha's new show titled "Prism; the Many Faces of Sacha Newley."

We couldn't imagine how we would get inside without getting soaked until we recognized the Beverly Hills Hotel valet gang, the creme de la creme of the business. 
As we climbed the stairs we couldn't miss seeing Sacha, talented artist son of Joan Collins, and actor/lyricist Anthony Newley, whirling like a dervish through the terrific turnout of LA's finest who'd braved the deluge to come to the exhibition. With his mop of brown curls flying and impish grin, Sacha managed to be everywhere at once. You could tell he was thrilled to be in the art world of Los Angeles, a city where he lived much of the time while growing up.  
The first person I ran into was one of my very favorite producers in Hollywood, Donald Luciano. He is a feel good person with outstanding energy who knows everyone and everything. Donald's documentary "Reflections of America" has its theatrical release in June. He also has two  TV shows that he co-created and is producing. The first is a modeling competition show titled "True Model" with Supermodel Beverly Johnson, and the other is a reality show with Kristin Cavallari called "Real Estate Angels."
Sasha greets Stuart Sender ...
... Barbara Davis ... ... and Amanda Schofield.
While Donald and I wandered about the gallery, we also ran into and chatted with  Barbara Davis, Nikki Haskell, David Niven, and Loree Rodkin.

Everyone had their favorites and there were many sales. I loved the portrait of artist Ed Ruscha which I was told sold that night. Geoffrey liked "The Maskseller" and "Lemons." Old friend actress/producer Ann Turkel was leaning towards "Helmet and Flowers" and Donald thought "Buddha Hand" and "Pilgrim in a Landscape" were wonderful. All of the above sold quickly.
Ed Ruscha. Man Meditating.
Hot City. Figure at Cliff's Edge.
Pilgrim in a Landscape.
Others I saw  were Dani Janssen, Betsy Bloomingdale with Burt Boyer, Michael Govan, director of LACMA with his wife Katherine Ross, Carole Bayer Sager, Tina Sinatra, Oscar nominated documentary filmmaker Stuart Sender, author Jackie Collins, Sandy Gallin, Barry Krost, George and Jolene Schlatter, Barbara Lazaroff, Angela Newley, famed attorney Tom Mesereau, Sacha's stepfather Percy Gibson, Sandi Pittman, who is now living in Venice, (California), and the venerable George Christy.
Sacha has paintings hanging in The Victoria and Albert in London, The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, and at The Smithsonian. 
Michael Govan, Ann Philbin, Sacha Newley, Margaret Perenc, and CB Sager Richard Donner and Ann Moss
Angela Newley and Lloyd Klein AnnTurkel Cynthia and Bud Yorkin
CB Sager, Sandy Gallin, and Joan Collins Jason Binn and Lorree Rodkin
Betsy Bloomingdale Dani Janssen Tina Sinatra and Carole Bayer Sager
Nancy Moonves and Kevin Conroy Richard Donner, David Niven Jr, Jerry Moss, and Terry Semel
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