Summer turned to late winter

Taking in the Hudson River. 3:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, March 16, 2012. Summer turned to late winter yesterday. It was grey and cold enough to remind you that it ain’t over til it’s over.

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t know how that’s going to work because we are used to having St. Paddy’s Day during the week. It’s kind of a day off, for a lot of people. Whereas Saturday is Saturday. That’s the day you know you can spend recovering from St. Paddy’s Day. Or, St. Patrick’s to you.
Willem Baron van Dedem, president of the board of The European Art Fair (Tefaf) and Michel Cox Witmer, Tefaf Ambassador to the United States stand beside Untitled, a sculpture by Anish Kapoor. The was art sold within the Fair's first hour for 1.1 million dollars. This year, TEFAF celebrates its Silver Jubilee. Kapoor has been commissioned to create a sculpture for the 2012 Olympic London Games. It will be the largest outdoor sculpture in England. Photo: Guy Van Grinsven.
Earlier in the week my friend Jesse Kornbluth “dared” us to run his review of E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. I hadn’t heard about it until then, but it’s the talk of the town. At least the Upper East Side part of the town. Probably the Upper West and downtown too. It’s all the same animal these days.

Fifty Shades of Grey, from what I understand from reading Jesse’s review, is about a younger woman (21, and an “older” man, 27) “engaged” in an S&M relationship. That same night I heard about the book, coincidentally, I went over to Carnegie Hall for the The Rolling Stones Music concert. Glen Hansard sang “Under My Thumb” which I’ve loved since it was first released in the mid-Sixties ...

Under My Thumb
The squirmin’ dog who’s just had her day;
Under my Thumb,
A girl who has just changed her ways.

It’s down to me, yes it is
The way she does just what she’s told.
Down to me, the change has come,
She’s under my thumb.


The Stones recorded it at just about this time (March 6 – 9) 46 years ago. Listening to Hansard the other night, I had a thought that I wouldn’t have had back then, namely, how a majority of the women in the audience – almost all 30-something and above, even way above – knew about those lyrics in one way or another, and how a lot of the men (even fat and balding) knew about them too, or thought they’d like to know them. It’s so common, it’s even ordinary.

Andrew Crispo.
S&M relationships are not interesting to me personally. I don’t get the pain part. Is it just that they are so schizoidal that they can’t “feel” the pain? I don’t know since I’ve never been there. I know several people who are “into” it. Bad word but right idea. I mean, I  have been told by reliable sources that they are “into” it. Personally I’ve never discussed it with any of them, so I can’t say.

I probably know quite a few people who are into it, but naturally it’s not discussed. And since it’s never discussed, I don’t even know if it is discussed among the aficionados. I would guess it is.

A number of years ago, there was a major scandal in New York having to do with S&M and an art gallery owner named Andrew Crispo. There was more than one story that went around in certain social circles about a death that came about, the result of certain people having their way with another, i.e., S&M. In both cases, the “M” (for murder) was a male.

The principals in this den of aficionados were both American and European. Some of them were very rich and more than a little powerful; and more of them were either famous or very well known in that part of the community known as Society.

Mr. Crispo went to jail, although I don’t recall the reason. I don’t think it was murder. Probably tax evasion, that catch-all for legal obfuscation. He may even be out now.

Several participants who were “engaged” in the fatal activity are still around and about. Now most are so old that toting that whip or lifting that swing requires more than they can muster.

It’s not a new story. A number of years ago, a friend of mine was working on a story about dominatrixes here in Manhattan. He found one woman had who a lot of famous clients and was willing to talk about it. Mainly private equity and hedge fund guys were on her list, often guys who also entertained the notion when plied by the publicity, of being “Masters of the Universe.”

Also back in the early '90s, on one of the tonier tree-lined lanes in one of the tonier Hamptons, there was a young tycoon who hired a lady to fight with his wife. Beat each other up. While he watched (and did coke and drank), and etcetera. This was a fairly frequent at-home entertainment and sex play was part of it.

Meanwhile, last night at Archivia: Ralph Rucci with a copy of Autobiography of a Fashion Designer: Ralph Rucci. Buy immediately at Archivia.
Then one day one of the “girls” was beaten so badly she had to have medical treatment. That weekend cost the host more than twenty-five grand. So it can be expensive in more ways then one. But then that’s an old story when it comes to sex.

Now that the Boomers and their issue have their hands on the subject, it’s becoming “Mistresses of the Universe.” Jesse Kornbluth writes about this thoroughly and authoritatively all the while with tongue (his) firmly entrenched in cheek. His also, of course. So have a look, here.

Meanwhile Cynthia over Archivia told me yesterday she’d ordered a slew of the book because a lot of women on the Upper East Side were buying their husbands silver ties (like Mr. Grey, get it?) as if to “engage” them. Cynthia said the second printing was for 250,000 copies.

Speaking of Archivia. Last night they hosted a booksigning for American couturier Ralph Rucci and his “autobiography” published smartly and with the Rucci style by Bauer and Dean (a new publishing house).

The book is massive and beautifully packaged with spectacular photography by Baldomero Fernandez, who was also there last night along with the publisher Beth Daugherty.
The Archivia window for Ralph Rucci's autobiography.
The master inscribes his book.
And puts it back in its case.
The team: photographer Baldomero Fernandez, Archivia's Cynthia Conigliaro, and publisher Beth Daugherty with author/artist/designer Ralph Rucci.
On Wednesday night, Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance hosted a benefit evening honoring Marvin and Lee Traub, with a performance of Diana Vishneva dancing a Martha Graham piece, followed by dinner at the Russian Tea Room.
Martha Graham dancers with Artistic Director Janet Eilber.
Princess Kristina Kovalenko. Marvin and Lee Traub.
Judith G. Schlosser and Blakeley White-McGuire. Katherine Crockett.
Madeline Warren and Janet Eilber. Andy and Meryl Stone.
Catch-up, Last Thursday, Jacques Azoulay, CEO of Gabriella Wines Importers hosted a Bordeaux wine-tasting at the French Consulate on Fifth Avenue to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the French wine organization Le Circle Rive Droite Grandes Vins de Bordeaux, representing 140 of the most famous Estates from Bordeaux, Saint Emilion, Pomerol and Fronsac.

Following the tasting, there was a late night wine dinner at Alain Ducasse’s Benoit Bistro on West 55th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Among the guests were Jacques’ girlfriend, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, one of those New York “Housewives.” Joining them were Aviva and Reed Drescher, designer Randy Rahm, Michael Musto, Bonnie Fuller, Jay McInerney, Heather Thomson , Ann Dexter Jones, Simon du Pury, Rosanna Scotto, Kelly Bensimon and Dr. Alain Raynaud, who is the President of the Circle Rive Droite.
Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, Jacques Azoulay, and Simon Du Pury with a friend.
Ann Dexter-Jones Aviva and Reed Drescher.
Bonnie Fuller, Jay McInerney, and Kelly Bensimon.
Michael Musto and LuAnn de Lesseps.

Photographs by DPC; Gregory Partanio (Martha Graham).

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