Monday, February 9, 2015

A lot left over

Looking towards Conservatory Water in Central Park. 10:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday, February 9, 2015. Weekend weather grim and grey. And cold. No snow; that’s good, although there’s a lot left over from the “blizzard” – roadside, piled up high by the plows, also grim and grey and black like coal. Little to report. Quiet days. Perfect weather for the movies, a play, an art exhibition or just getting out of town to warmer climes.

Although the beat goes on, this past Thursday at Restaurant Daniel (on 65th and Park) The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center held its annual Winter Lunch. Roger Vivier – Paris was the generous sponsor of the event and a clever reminder was the placement cards which were in the shape of a low-heeled woman’s shoe, as well as the napkins.
The dining room of Daniel during the SMSKCC Winter Lunch last Thursday.
The menu: Peekytoe Crab Salad. Celery-Apple Roll, Orleans Mustard Cream; followed by Wild Mushroom Risotto, Arugula-Sherry Emulsion; and dessert was Couleur Café; Opalys Coffee Mousse, Pecan Feuilletine; Meyer Lemon-Praline Sorbet.

The SMSKCC is one of the most prestigious charities in town because much is expected from their volunteers and much is delivered. They are dedicated to promoting  the well-being of patients, supporting cancer research, and providing public education on the early prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer.
The placement card cut to the design of a Roger Vivier shoe.
The monogram on the napkins (which we got to take home).
The Peekytoe Crab Salad wrapped in a Celery-Apple Roll with Orleans Mustard Cream.
The Winter Lunch is a fundraiser and this one was focusing on “Harnessing the Immune System To Target Sarcomas.” MSKCC’s pioneering research has resulted in significant improvements in the prognosis for children and sarcomas, the tumors of which remain a leading cancer killer of children and young adults. Dr. Paul Meyers, Vice Chair, Academic Affairs, Department of Pediatrics at MKSCC, spoke to the guests about the matter, the progress they’ve made, and why it's important to keep the donations following this process at this moment.

The funds raised from this lunch will accelerate the processes needed to launch and support the first clinical trial of a treatment with monoclonal antibody called 3R8 against osteosarcoma – one which promises to change the future for children and young adults afflicted with this difficult potential lethal disease.

Chairs of the Winter Lunch were Gretchen Gunlocke Fenton, Jamee Gregory, Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler, Gillian Hearst Simonds, Amanda Taylor and Caryn Zucker.
Hilary Geary Ross, Grace Meigher, and Barbara Bancroft.
Barbara Cirkva Schumacher, Shirin von Wulffen, and Jamee Gregory.
Valesca Guerrand Hermes, Frances Beatty Adler, Kitty McKnight, and Karen LeFrak.
Friday night I had dinner with a friend at Sette Mezzo the Italian restaurant on 969 Lexington Avenue between 70th and 71st Street. Sette is a neighborhood restaurant of course although it caters to one of the most sophisticated and high profile neighborhoods in New York. They do take-out, like all their neighbors, although the customer must provide the transportation. Limousine or walking shoes; no deliveries. They also don’t take credit cards.
Sette Mezzo at the dinner hour.
A lot of families gather there for their weekly get-togethers including Newhouses, Tisches, et al. It also draws major names from the entertainment industry. For example, the other night David Geffen was dining with Chris Rock; also in the room: Cindy Crawford; and The Boss Bruce Springsteen. Diane Sawyer was in that night also (her late husband Mike Nichols had two standing reservations there on the day he died. International gallerist Larry Gagosian is often present. Woody Allen and Soon-Yi often dine there too, as does Leon Black, Marie-Josee Kravis, Sarah and Mitch Rosenthal, Jeanne and Herb Siegel, Kathy Steinberg, Hilary and Joe Califano, Alex Hitz, Gillian and Sylvester Miniter, Gayfryd Steinberg and Michael Shnayerson, Kathy Sloane, Mr. and Mrs. Paul McCartney, Clive Davis (who once ordered “take-out” fifteen Tartuffo desserts for a dinner party he was giving at home), Hannah Pakula, Erica Jong and Ken Burrows.  What’s the draw: great variety of Italian dishes with new menu items daily, very efficient service and a waitstaff that serves and welcomes attentively and with good cheer.
Next door, a quick stop for some touches of Spring to dress up the grim and the grey.
I took these on Saturday after lunch at Swifty's at Lexington Gardens, Michael Walter. Another touch to remind us of the coming weather.
I was having dinner with Duane Hampton, who was very excited because she’d just read a review of her daughter Kate Hampton’s performance in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” Christopher Hampton’s (no relation) classic play at the Palm Beach Dramaworks. Duane has two daughters by her late husband, the internationally famous interior designer Mark Hampton. Daughter Alexa Hampton is running her father’s business (now hers) and daughter Kate is working the boards as they say. The review of Kate’s performance is a rave in the Palm Beach Daily News. Read it yourself, here.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses starring Maribeth Graham, Harriet Oser, and Kate Hampton. Photo: Alicia Donelan.
Saturday night  I went to a small dinner that Kenneth Jay Lane gave for John Epperson a/k/a Lypsinka at his fabulous apartment on Park Avenue South (See NYSD House). I’d heard of Lypsinka for years although I’d never seen a performance.

A boy from Hazlehurst, Mississippi, actor, drag artist, dancer, singer, pianist, who came to the big town in 1978 as a kid just out of college, to make his way, gives an entirely original cabaret performance, theatrical act, much of which – not all – is presented lip-synching.

John Epperson a/k/a Lypsinka.
He told me at dinner that lip-synching a song isn’t difficult, but lip-synching dialogue is particularly tricky if you’re looking for perfection. And perfection is the word to describe his act. Epperson off-stage is a quiet, enthusiastic but modest sort of man who clearly is religious about the accuracy and entertainment value of his performances, which are anything but quiet and/or modest. You can see some of them on YouTube, although the man/performer I met Saturday night at Kenny Lane’s bears no noticeable resemblance to the actor’s oeuvre.

In his review of Lypsinka’s last New York appearance this past November, Ben Brantley in the New York Times in giving the performance a rave described Lypsinka as “the greatest chanteuse who has never sung a note ...”

Meanwhile while all of this was going on at chez Lane – a quiet dinner of conversation between seven people, only a few blocks away south and to the west was a major event.

I didn’t get there because of my previous acceptance to Kenny Lane’s dinner, but I have been to Bronson van Wyck’s special parties before. Bronson (and his mother and his sister) run a very successful national event planning business out of New York and Little Rock. His own parties veer toward the costumed, the razzle dazzle, the mega-drama and bravado performance. Bal des Sauvages (The Beast Within) was all-costume (or black or white tie) and I’m sure that it was a wowsah.

It started at 9:30 and probably never really got rocking until midnight or after. Although I wasn’t there I’m sure that Bronson as master of ceremonies and/or master performer really rang a few bells for his scores (if not hundreds) of dazzle bedecked (or white or black tie) friends, and kept right on moving until dawn’s early light, or maybe even after. The only thing missing as far as I know was Lypsinka, who was over at Kenny Lane’s.
The invite for Bronson's Bal des Sauvages (The Beast Within).

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