Thursday, April 7, 2011

Names, names, names

Columbus Circle. 7:30 PM. Photo: JH.
April 7, 2011. April shower bring May flowers.

Names names names. Down at Michael’s, the Wednesday crowd turned into a mob scene. At table one in the window, a luncheon hosted by Diane Clehane for Sinbad and family. Named one of the Top 100 Comedians of All Time by Comedy Central, Sinbad’s got a new show which debuts next Tuesday (4/12) on WE-tv, Sinbad; It’s Just Family.

Next to him: John Sykes and Brian Bedol. Right next door, the beautiful Melania Trump with Rachel Roy; next to them Barry Diller, and next to him Stan Shuman, and next to them David Zinczenko and Noah Kotch of the Today Show. Across the way: the Michael’s Gang of Five: Dr. Gerry Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Andy Bergman, Michael Kramer, and Jeff Greenfield. Moving right along: Gayle Atkins, Joanne De Guardiola and Amy Fine Collins; Harry Benson with John Loring; Geraldine Laybourne, Steve Ratner, Amanda Haynes Dale; Desiree Gruber with Nina Garcia; David Sanford of the WSj; up from DC for the day, Jonathan Capehart; Missy Godfrey; Pamela Keogh with Joe Montebello; Joan Gelman with Lynn Goldberg, Kimberly Guilfoyle; Tom Goodman and Arthur Sando, Jack Myers, Richard Wurman
At the table next to ours at Michael's, the LXNY gang (WNBC, everyday live at 5): Siafa Lewis, Amy Rosenblum (exec producer), Ann Mercogliano, Jane Hanson, and Sara Gore. They cover everything from Broadway to Hollywood premieres, with viewers interacting with Jane and Sara on live chat.
I had a double lunch, first with Ruth Shuman, the founder of Publicolor, who was heading out a few hours later to Milan for the International Design Show and then to Venice; and then I was joined at table with Alexandra Lebenthal, author of The Recessionistas. I introduced her to Diane Clehane who covers the Wednesday lunch for and coincidentally Diane had just finished the book on the train that morning, so she brought it over for Alex to sign. Also: Sherri Rollins; Amanda Brooks; Alexis Glick; Mitchell Berg, Pax Quigley with Allen Baron; Jonathan Wald, Pier Morgan’s producer with Katie Rosman of the WSJ; Laurie Dhue with Lawrence Stuart; Cindi Berger, Steven Cohen.

Jennet Conant and her new book, A Covert Affair; Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS. Click to order.
Early evening: A book signing for Jennet Conant and her new non-fiction piece, A Covert Affair; Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS (Simon & Schuster Publishers).  Hosted by Sara Ayres, Tory Burch, Ariadne Calvo-Platero, Cristina Cuomo, Jill Fairchild, Jeanne Greenberg, Gigi Mortimer, Perri Pletz, Renee Rockefeller, Peggy Siegal and Kitty Sherrill at Perri and Eric Ruttenberg’s on Beekman Place.

More names names names.
John Alexander, Annette Tapert, Ken Auletta and Binky Urban, Clara Bingham, Toni and Jamie Goodale, Janie Buffet, Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, James and Lucy Danziger, Steve Kroft (Mr. Jenny Conant), Jeff F ager, Jeffrey Leeds, Amanda Foreman, Peter and Maily Smith, Mary and Ian Snow, Richard David Storey, Alexandra Styron, Jamie Tisch, Sasha Clifton, Vicky Ward, Charlie Thompson, Louise Grunwald, John Huey, Jonathan Karp, Debbie and John Loeffler (owner of the new restaurant Desmond), Terry McDonell, Caryn Zucker, Christy Ferer, Vicki Gordon, Brooke Neidich, Nancy Novogrod, Liz Smith, Iris Love, Gigi Mortimer, Rosanna Scotto, Robert Silvers, Calvin Trillin, Jay McInerney and Ann Hearst.

This is Jenny’s fourth book. The first three (all bestsellers) — Tuxedo Park, The Irregulars, 109 East Palace all center around or arise out of the Second World War. Jenny’s paternal grandfather, James B. Conant was the distinguished President of Harvard in the 1940s and 50s but was also in on the inception and planning stages of the Atom Bomb which led to her first book, Tuxedo Park (where the initial meetings were held).

The success of that book led to what is now a quartet about that time, that war and the personalities engaged in its activities and the political repercussions thereafter.

The famous Julia, at the time was single and thirty, a 6’2” golf-playing California girl, who joined the staff of “Wild Bill” Donovan, head of the OSS (which later became the CIA).
The books, soon to be gone.
The author signing away.
On her first posting, which was at the headquarters of Lord Mountbatten, she met the much older and more sophisticated Paul Child who charmed her and educated both her mind and palate --- all while sharing the incredible (and often dangerous) experience and adventure where they witnessed the chaotic end of the war in china and the beginnings of the Communist revolution in that part of the world.

From the Conant book party, I grabbed a cab and headed down the FDR, around the tip of Manhattan and up to 7 World Trade Center where the New Museum was holding its “Spring Gala” benefit on the 45 floor of the building. Honorary Host was Susan Sarandon (although I didn’t see her – which doesn’t mean she wasn’t there).
The view from the 45th floor looking east at 7 World Trade Center last night.
The evening honored the British artists Gilbert & George and major American collectors of contemporary art, Gael Neeson and Stefan Edlis. The Edlises, originally from Chicago, are famous in the contemporary art world for having assembled one of the greatest collections of contemporary art in the world, much of which is in Aspen. One of the conversations at table was about how many major collectors have homes in Aspen and keep a lot of their art there.

The evening’s chairs were Shelley Fox Aarons, Mitzi Eisenberg and Charlotte (Mrs. Bill) Ford. There was a long cocktail hour (giving people a chance to get downtown) from 6:30 to 8:30 when people took their places (it was seated) and were welcomed by Lisa Phillips, director of the New Museum and Saul Dennison, president of the board of trustees.
Illuminations by Swarovski Crystal Palace.
Artist Josh Smith's New Museum multiple, three of 33 unique works.
The cocktail hour.
Massimiliano Gioni, the Associate Director and Director of Exhibitions, introduced Gilbert and George with a very amusing story of how he had admired their work from the time he was a kid, and how he tried contacting and communicating with them in those early years only to be (easily) ignored.

The kid grew up, now at the New Museum and Gilbert and George are friends and can be admired up close.
The tables set for dinner with first course: Sunburste Mandala (Carpaccio of Ruby and Golden Beets, Watermelon Radish, Yellow Carrot and Golden Beet Brulee with Caramelized Goat Cheese, Balsamic Lentils, Mint, Black Pepper). Delicious.
Gilbert and George accepting their award.
Tobias Meyer, Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art and Principal Auctioneer at Sotheby’s conducted an auction for a photographic portrait commission donated by Chuck Close for a family of five. The winning bid was $230,000.

The evening was the most successful gala held by the museum so far. After dinner, DJ Alexandra Richards provided the music, and after 10 the after-party began with a performance by DJs Harley and Cassie, Hess is More.
Gilbert and George with Massimiliano Gioni of the New Museum. New York Magazine publisher Larry Burstein.
Gold on gold. Sue Hostetler wearing Balenciaga. Yvonne Force Villareal of Art Production Fund.
Fairfax Dorn and Virginia Lebermann of Ballroom Marfa. Richard Edwards and Christy Ferer.
Designer Lisa Perry and New Museum Director Lisa Phillips.
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