Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring-like cold day in New York

Looking north from high above 29th Street and Park Avenue South. 3:45 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011. Yesterday was a Spring-like cold day in New York with plenty of sunshine.

I lunched at Michael’s with Ronda Carman, a little girl from Texas who is now an international style blogger with her “All the Best; a Passport to Stylish Living.”

Ronda started her blog four years ago and in the time since she’s crossed the Atlantic more than 40 times on her quests. Last week she was in Los Angeles for the Oscars and Hutton Wilkinson, designer and curator/director of the Tony Duquette Collection gave her a little luncheon at Dawnridge, Duquette’s unique and fantastic property up in the hills of Beverly. Ronda was traveling also as a marketing representative of Sferra, the Italian high end linens purveyor.
DPC and Ronda Carman at Michael's.
She’s here in New York until next Tuesday for the Save Venice Ballo in Maschera at the Plaza, the only costume ball of the season (or any season, for that matter, in New York).

Ronda now makes her home in Scotland with her husband, who is a professor at the University there and their young son. They currently live in a century old apartment building, which she loves, in Glascow.

We talked about the business of blogging on the internet. I personally don’t like the word because it diminishes a lot of great journalism that not only competes with print but in many ways excels over it. Although the term has gone into the vernacular, and there it will stay until print is a dim memory – which could be 20 years from now.
Welcome to Dawnridge, the Beverly Hills aerie designed and built by designer Tony Duquette over the years, and now preserved and maintained by his design associate, Hutton Wilkinson.
Websites such as Ronda’s are part of the new entrepreneurialship based on the internet. There are famous examples such as the HuffPost and the Daily Beast but they are financed with millions in investment money with no business model other than finding bigger deeper pockets to sell to. HuffPost has already accomplished that, or so it appears; and the Beast is on a similar track. Whereas the future of the internet, in my opinion, lies with the individual, and his or her creative imagination and ability to either amuse and/or inform.

Ronda told me yesterday that she’s been reading the NYSD since its beginnings (the last quarter of 2000), and in fact, it inspired her to do something on her own.

She’s still a one woman operation, not to mention an international gallivanter. Blogs and web sites are highly labor intensive unless someone’s given you a pile of dough to pay an army of assistants. But even then, the creative requirement is not rarely enhanced or augmented by the input of assistants.
Clinton Smith, Kyle Knight, and Scot Meacham Wood. Tracy Porter and Hutton Wilkinson.
Lunch at Dawnridge.
Tobi Fairly and Barclay Butera. Barclay Butera and Suzanne Rheinstein.
Ronda Carman, Cassandra LaValle, and Fred Iberri.
Paulette Pearson. Stacy Kunstel and Jan Showers.
On another note, this is not breaking news to a lot of people but I couldn’t resist it for the obvious reasons. In London, Prince William and Kate Middleton have announced the names of their wedding party. The Daily Telegraph of London ran some photographs of the players: four bridesmaids and two page boys. They are ages 8 and 10, (the boys), and two of the girls are 7 or 8, and two are age 3 -- except for the Maid of Honor, who will be Ms. Middleton’s sister Philippa (known as Pippa), and Prince William’s brother, Prince Harry, who will be his best man.

None of this is of intense interest to me (although I know it is to millions of others), but the pictures of the wedding party made me smile and laugh. It also reminded me of Prince William’s late mother.

Being a Prince of the realm is no easy natural task, as briefly discussed here on these pages yesterday, but Prince William and his fiancée are definitely sending out a message of who they are and who they will be to their people which seems not only wise and clever, but kindly and thoughtful of the position they will assume one day.
Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton have chosen four bridesmaids and two page boys Bridesmaid Lady Louise Windsor, seven.
Picture: REX
Bridesmaid Eliza Lopes, three.
Bridesmaid Margarita Armstrong-Jones, eight.
Bridesmaid three-year-old Grace van Cutsem, who is Prince William's goddaughter.
Picture: REX
Kate's maid of honour will be her sister, Philippa Middleton.
Picture: REX
Page boy William Lowther-Pinkerton, 10.
Picture: REX
Page boy eight-year-old Tom Pettifer, who is the godson of Prince William.
Prince William has asked his brother, Prince Harry, to be his best man.
Picture: GETTY
My friend Graham Arader, the foremost dealer of antique prints and lithographs in New York (and a longtime supporter of NYSD) sent me the following about a special exhibition and sale taking place at his gallery on Saturday, March 12th:

There is no experience quite like seeing all 418 of John Gould's hand colored lithographs of Hummingbirds on display all at once. It is well worth the trip to see this amazing grouping together before they are distributed at the very low price of $960 each on March 12, 2011.
A distribution of a complete set of Gould's masterpiece is a wonderful opportunity to build or add to a collection at tremendously discounted prices. 83 shares consisting of 5 lithographs are available for $4800 or $960 each! 
The order of selection will be determined in three rounds by a random lottery. Numbers 1 through 83 will be drawn and beginning with "1" each owner will select one piece of whatever is available. The order of selection will be reversed in the second and third rounds with two images to be selected in each round giving each shareholder 5 images of his choosing. 

The process is fun and the owner of each share will be guaranteed to receive lithographs having a retail value of at least $15,000 but more likely it will be in the range of $21,000.  
Throughout his professional life John Gould had a strong interest in Hummingbirds. He accumulated a collection of 320 species, which he exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
His work on Hummingbirds is his most loved work because of the elegance of the birds themselves and the glowing metallic watercolors that were used to illuminate the throats of his studies. 
This is a very, very good deal. In more buoyant times, we had no difficulty selling these little jewels for as much as $7500 each. So, to be able to get 5 for $4800 is definitely turning back the clock to the prices of the early 1980s. If you are unhappy with your selection for any reason, you have up until the end of this year to get your money back in cash.
But even if you are not interested in acquiring these masterpieces, seeing them all at once will be something you will never forget!

Now on display at Arader Galleries, 1016 Madison Avenue at 78th Street; 212-628-7625.
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