Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Turning the corner

Turning the corner. 2:50 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012. Rains let up; Sun came out a bit and made yesterday a very pleasant Spring day in New York with mega-traffic midday midtown.

I went down to Michael’s to lunch with a friend. They were busy. In the bay behind our table were several Very Busy Ladies Who Lunch together about once a month; pals: literary agent Esther Newberg, Linda Fairstein, Faye Wattleton Lynn Scher, Kimba Wood, Jurate Kazickas, Lesley Stahl, Ellen Futter (I’m not sure she was present yesterday). I have no idea what they talk about but it would be interesting considering that these are some of the most dynamic/can-do/get-things done women in New York. Every one of these women has a major career as well as full lives of extra- activity both social and cultural, and philanthropic.
At the table next to them was Bryant Gumbel with the Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, and next to those guys: Donny Deutsch and producer Jonathan Wald. Nearby, Harry Benson was lunching with David Friend of VF; Charles Grodin with Gil Schwartz. Around the room: Michael Kassan with Aryeh Bourkoff; major book editor Alice Mayhew; Simone Levinson; Chris Meigher of Quest; Cosmo’s Kate White; literary agent Freddie Friedman who is also the mother of the FT’s Fashion columnist Vanessa Friedman; Gordon Davis; Gerry Byrne; Richard Bressler; Liz Robbins; Jane Eisner; Howard Rubenstein with Dick Wald (father of the aforementioned Jonathan); Cindi Berger; Sarabeth Shrager; Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; Vin Cipolla of the Municipal Arts Society; Nancy Kuppersmith; Lisa Linden with Suri Cruz. And many more. The latter were just the ones I recognized.

Last night at the St. Regis Roof, the American Cancer Society – New York held its annual Spring Gala, this year titled “The Birthday Bash” anticipating the upcoming 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society next year.

My friend Diana Feldman is the Volunteer Event organizer who keeps me abreast of their activities, so I always think of this evening as her baby -- although she is only one of many who work hard for the cause.  The emphasis on their work for ACS-NY  has been raising funds for the local Hope Lodge which houses partners and family members of people from out of town who are here getting treatment. Hope Lodge  at 132 West 32nd Street is a great achievement for this group of volunteers and worker.
Diana Feldman. Charlotte Ford and Gigi Benson.
Last night they honored interior designers Nate Berkus and Geoffrey Bradfield. I’ll assume Messrs Berkus and Bradfield have crossed paths because they are both very prominent in the field (Berkus is well known nationwide beginning with his association with Oprah), although they are very different in style. Geoffrey, who hails originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, has a large following all over the world as well as in this country. His friend Barbara Taylor Bradford told the audience last night, that he is currently doing a 200,000 square foot house for a client (a sultan? an oligarch?). Will the new owner’s guests be supplied with their own handheld GPS system to get around the place?

Nate Berkus has written books, had his own talk show and was executive producer of the film, “The Help.” He founded his design firm in Chicago in 1995 and also has his own line of products which he sells on HSN. Journalist Lisa Kogan presented him with the ACS Humanitarian award.
Barbara Taylor Bradford presenting Geoffrey Bradfield with the Man of Achievement Award.
Lisa Kogan telling the guests about her friend Nate Berkus before presenting him with the Humanitarian Award. Berkus thanking the American Cancer Society for its work.
Last year, Mr. Berkus, who has personally experienced loss of a loved one from cancer, volunteered his design services for a makeover of the entire great room and terrace spaces of the ACS’s Hope Lodge. He did a great job in providing a welcoming space for Hope Lodge’s guests to return to after a day at hospital.

Barbara Taylor Bradford presented her longtime friend Geoffrey Bradfield with the Man of Achievement Award. Like his fellow-awardee, Geoffrey is a worker and has been active in publishing and television also. Geoffrey is the consummate host in New York, often holding receptions at his East Side townhouse, and dinners at some of the chic-er restaurants in the city.

Based in New York, he is in constant motion traveling internationally with satellite companies in Palm Beach, the Emirates and Qatar.
Donna and Richard Soloway. Helena Lehane and Sam Bolton.
Elke Gazzara Stewart Lane and Bonnie Comley.
Eva and Stanley Mohr. Roric Tobin and Barbara de Portago.
Debbie Bancroft, Elizabeth Stribling, and Barbara Tober. Chiu-Ti Jansen
Rick Friedberg and Heather Cohane. Geoffrey Bradfield and Debbie Bancroft.
The  two men brought out a big crowd of friends and supporters. Sarah Friedlander, Associate Vice President of Christie’s conducted an auction. Benefit co-chairs were Gigi and Harry Benson CBE, Diana and Richard Feldman, Suzanne Mados, Margaret Russell, Jean and Martin Shafiroff, Barbara and Donald Tober. Vice Chairs were Craig Dix, Kazie and John Harvey, Helena Lehane, Linda and Steven Levy.

Among the crowd: Jackie Weld and Rod Drake, Charlotte Ford, Lucia Hwong-Gordon and Peter Gordon, Paola and Arnie Rosenshein, Chiu-Ti Jansen, Eric Javits abd Edmundo Huerta, Francine LeFrak and Richard Friedberg, Heather Cohane (in from Monte Carlo), Natalie Pray, Mika Sterling, Eva and Stanley Mohr, Donna and Richard Soloway, Monique Van Vooren, Jo Hallingby, Larry Kaiser, Elizabeth Stribling and Guy Robinson, Roric Tobin, Chappy and Melissa Morris, Cricket and Richard Burns, Arlene Dahl and Marc Rosen, Bonnie Comley and Stewart Lane, Patricia and Thomas ,Shiah, Carol Mehler, Alex Doner and Kate Edmonds, Barbara de Portago, and hundreds more friends of Nate Berkus, Geoffrey Bradfield, and the associates of the American Cancer Society.

The centerpieces on the tables were cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery. Why do I think Diana Feldman had something to do with that?
On the way home from the St. Regis: Theirs and His at the Ferrari showroom on Park and 55th Street.
NYSD Associate Editor Jill Krementz reports: A memorial concert celebrating the life, career, and enduring legacy of Donald Francis Smith (1932-2012) was held at Town Hall last evening. Mr. Smith was the founder and executive director of The Mabel Mercer Foundation and was one of the greatest cheerleaders ever for cabaret and its performers, many of whom he discovered.

On hand to celebrate this beloved man were most of the great cabaret stars as you can see in the program shown below.
Front and back of program.
Inside of program.
KT Sullivan emceed the evening and performed. A longtime friend of Donald Smith, Ms. Sullivan is the Artistic Director of The Mabel Mercer Foundation.
Andrea Marcovicci weeps as she talks about her friend and mentor, Donald Smith. Cabaret singer and recording artist Jeff Harnar.
T. Oliver Reid, who had to perform and then run off to the Broadway theater where he is currently appearing in Sister Act. Rick Meadows, the Director of The Mabel Mercer Foundation, and Mr. Smith's longtime assistant.
Ruth Leon, a longtime friend of Donald's who lives in England. She is the author of The Sound of Musicals, described as "a whirlwind tour through musical theatre history."

Leon writes about the composers, the lyricists, the directors, and the pioneers of the stage musical on both sides of the Atlantic while trying to reveal the truth behind the eternal question — what are musicals and why do we love them?
Barbara Carroll, jazz pianist, composer, and vocalist. She's 87 and still performing at the top of her game.
The stage at Town Hall with flowers and an Al Hirschfeld caricature of Donald Smith.
Catching up. Last Wednesday night The Child Mind Institute ( held its 10th Annual Adam Jeffrey Katz Memorial Lecture, a two-part program designed to raise awareness and educate the public about ADHD and dyslexia. All of this coincidentally is related to  the matters of literacy from another angle.

Brian Grazer, the Academy Award-winning producer, took part in a discussion with Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz,  President of the Child Mind Institute, about living dyslexia. More than 600 attended the event that took place at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.

In the conversation, Mr. Grazer described how his grandmother's belief in him set up conditions for his success in everything from reading to swimming to moviemaking, sounding much like a child treated at the Child Mind Institute might. “As much as all of the forces of reality, meaning empirical evidence, were showing that I wasn’t, she was able to overpower me and make me believe that I was special,” he said. “So any time I could have a success that was a unique success, I felt like Superman.”
Harold S. Koplewicz, MD and Brian Grazer.
The Lecture began with an informative and engaging talk, “ADHD: Causes, Policy, Stigma and Medication,” delivered by Stephen P. Hinshaw, PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and a leading ADHD expert. Dr. Hinshaw covered current controversies surrounding ADHD, what we know about its causes, its changing patterns over a lifespan, sex differences in symptoms and outcomes, and how medications and behavioral treatments can be combined for optimal results. Recent debates about the long-term effectiveness of medication and its viability as a sustained treatment were also addressed.

This is the world of the Child Mind Institute which was founded by Dr. Koplewicz and Brooke Garber Neidich. The Institute is committed to finding more effective treatments for childhood psychiatric and learning disorders, building the science of healthy brain development, and empowering children and their families with help, hope, and solutions. The Child Mind Institute also does not accept funding from the pharmaceutical industry. To learn more about their work visit:
President Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, Brian Grazer, Child Mind Institute Scientific Research Council Co-Chair Stephen P. Hinshaw, PhD, Chair Brooke Garber Neidich, and Board member Howard Katz.
Brian Grazer, President Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, Board member Preethi Krishna, and Diane Debrovner.
Child Mind Institute Scientific Research Council member Rachel Klein and Board member Margaret Grieve.

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