Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Tributes

Daffodils in Central Park. 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, April 17, 2015. A beautiful Thursday in New York with lots of sunshine. In the next few days the pears will be blooming.

We Get Email. A lot of our email are commercial announcements or pre-event announcements. It’s not spam although it sometimes feels like it when the numbers mount up and I have to go through everything to be sure I’m not missing a personal message of interest to me personally.

However, there are often bits of information that may not even be relevant to what I’m working on but nevertheless are interesting. That’s New York.
On May 21st, Christie's will offer Two Puritans by Edward Hopper. Painted in 1945 at the height of Hopper's career, Two Puritans, one of only three canvases by the artist of that year and the only one in private hands, is estimated to bring in excess of $20 million when it appears at auction for the first time this spring. The painting has been included in nearly every major exhibition and publication on the artist and, most recently was on view in Paris at the Grand Palais, where the Hopper exhibition broke attendance records, proving that the artist has arrived on an international stage.

Estimate: $20,000,000 – 30,000,000
On Wednesday at Doyle New York, a group of love letters written by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo sold for $137,000 at their auction of Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs. The 25 letters were written by Frida Kahlo to Jose Bartoli, a Spanish émigré artist whom she met in New York. These unpublished letters, dating from 1946 through 1949 and comprising more than 100 pages in Spanish, were cherished by Bartoli along with other keepsakes until his death in 1995. They remained in the possession of Bartoli's family, who made the decision to offer the letters at auction, 20 years after his death.
For example: this aerial shot of Four Freedoms Park, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial on Roosevelt Island is awesome. I’d covered the Park’s development and completion a couple of years ago. However, this view of it in the context of the city is especially magnificent.

The reason for this particular email was to announce a “Circumnavigation Boat Tour” taking place tomorrow, Saturday, April 18th  departing from Chelsea Pier 62. Tickets $58 adults/$42 students. $15 discount for Four Freedoms Park Conservancy Members. The weatherman’s saying it’s going to be in the low 70s and sunny all day Saturday. Sounds good to me.
And while we’re on the subject of “sounds good,” my friend Diana Feldman has called me several times to remind me that the American Cancer Society’s May 4th benefit is at the Hudson Theatre at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York City this year.  

The event, A Spring Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch  will be featuring the music of “Sweet Smell of Success,” and will be honoring Lily Safra for her ongoing global charitable endeavors, notably in science and in medicine.  The theme will be “A Night at El Morocco” with cocktails, dinner and music from “Sweet Smell of Success,” Marvin Hamlisch (music), Craig Carnelia (lyrics), and John Guare (book) by some of today’s top Broadway performers  including Jeremy Jordan, Adam Jacobs, Lindsay Mendez, Marissa McGowan, Steven Brinberg, Bernard Dotson, Peter Dugan, Charles Yang, Marc Kudisch, J. Ernest Green, Peter Lawrence, Bob Rendon and Tyce Diorio.
Our friend Jim Mitchell who was the last P.R. man for El Morocco -- some say the greatest chicest, hottest New York nightclub of the great days of café society -- is working with the American Cancer Society on this fabulous evening. 

Michael’s was in full swing:

• Jesse Kornbluth with Paige Peterson
• Alice Mayhew
• Norman Pearlstine
• Beth Dozoretz
• Tom Goodman
• David Stern with Michael J. Wolf
• Dan Abrams
• Joe Armstrong with David Zinczenko
• Jason Binn
• Alexandre Chemia
• Diane Coffey with Peter J. Solomon
• Gordon Davis
• Emilia Saint Amand
• Jim Friedlich
• Michael Kassan
• Henry Schleiff with Ed Bleier
• Gil Schwartz
• Sara Beth Shrager
• John Sykes with Ron Insana
• Peter Thoren with Gov. Dannel Malloy of Ct.
• Alejandra Cicognani
• Martin Bandier
• Adam Miller with Ron Meyer
• Steve Mosko
• Peter Price with Lauren Zalesnik
• Judy Price with Nikki Haskell
• Beverly Camhe
• Nancy Peretsman
Backing up to the day before yesterday, Wednesday was a busy one for this New Yorker.  We hit Michael’s for an early lunch with a friend and then on to a matinee of Dame Helen Mirren in “The Audience.”

Joe Armstrong was back at his “mayor’s” table after a six or eight week sojourn to Israel where he works with the Paul Newman special camps for kids. He was with his pal Dave Zinczenko, writer, editor, publisher, television commentator, restaurateur and circus acrobat, so they had endless stories to swap. Norman Pearlstine was occupying Table One in the bay with – I was told – colleagues he’s worked with a Time Inc. The Governor of Connecticut, Dannel Malloy was lunching in the Garden Room, as was Diane Coffey with two gents. Hollywood mogul Ron Meyer was right next to the Pearlstine and Armstrong tables. Two tables away was Dave Z’s restaurant partner Dan Abrams, also a media man of many talents and interests. Right next to my table was DuJour publisher Jason Binn. Jesse Kornbluth was lunching with our friend Paige Peterson who leaves today for a month in Saudi-Arabia for medical conferences under the auspices of the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Having taken a less leisurely (talky) lunch, we left the restaurant at 1:30 and since it was a nice sunny day, we hoofed it the 12 blocks (south and west) to the Schoenfeld Theater for the Wednesday matinee performance of “The Audience.”

I met Helen Mirren once during a Michael’s Wednesday lunch. This was a couple of years ago. When I say I met her, we were passing each other on our way to our tables and I interrupted her very briefly to introduce myself. I had nothing to say to her, being just another fan of hers, so I told her that we shared the same birthday (July 26). Which is true. I can’t remember if that thrilled her or not; I only remember that she was very gracious and kind (and patient; I was quick to move on). Naturally I came away very impressed to meet such a distinguished talented woman, and to learn (not surprisingly, actually) that she was also a very nice lady.

If you don’t know about the play, “The Audience” just Google it.  It is a huge hit here in New York and evidently was in London also. I hadn’t seen Dame Helen in her other roles as Queen Elizabeth II.  It’s beautifully produced, covers a lot of territory, consistently amuses and informs, and fascinates, and all in a seemingly graceful and leisurely time. It has a cast of 18 including Judith Ivey as Margaret Thatcher. You will remember Ms. Ivey’s portrayal, and being a dialogue between two women of political power, you will remember it thoroughly.

“The Audience” as it is referred to officially is the weekly private meeting the British Prime Minister has with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth II has been having these “audiences” for the past six decades with the 12 Prime Ministers who have served during that time.

I was especially interested because I had read Sally Bedell Smith’s excellent biography of the Queen – “Elizabeth the Queen; The Life of a Modern Monarch” (Random House 2012). I came away with a sense of having read about a woman who is perhaps the most “powerful” woman in the world in the universal political sense. She is a truly remarkable woman occupying this now ancient seat in modern civilization.

Sally Smith’s portrait of her is one of a real person, an extraordinary executive in the modern model, but a wise woman, upholder of the bonds of tradition and self-respect, seemingly especially equipped for the role at which she is possibly the most successful monarch in all history. That sounds like a lot, I know, but Dame Helen’s portrayal of this character underscores the “wisdom” and the “modern” in a manner that is both heart-warming and reassuring as an example of humanity that lifts us rather than drops us.

The theater was packed for this performance, and of course Dame Helen is onstage for nearly every moment of the production except to change costume and transform age (which is done seamlessly). The cast is equally brilliant. Heart-warming and reassuring sound like sentimental terms in this world of ours. They are golden when you experience them, however; and you can experience them in this production of “The Audience” with Dame Helen Mirren.

This past Wednesday night at Cipriani 42nd Street, the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House hosted its annual Spring Gala, this year themed: “Garden of Eden” and honoring Juan A. Sabater for his outstanding leadership and support to benefit LHNH. It is always a very successful dinner dance. They raised a little more than a million as well as more than $100,000 contributed by the guests in an “auction.”
Hunt Slonem and admirer. Randy Kemper, Andrea Stark, and Couri Hay.
Ann and John Pyne with friends.
Ware Porter (from Birmingham, Ala.), Diana Quasha, and Mario Buatta, the Prince of Chintz. Mark Gilbertson, Elisabeth Saint-Amand, and Jeff Sharp.
This is always a great party and the world of decorative arts and interior design contribute substantially to tables décor. So today we’re going to run my photos of the tables which are an entertainment in themselves as you can see. Diana Quasha, who used to be President of the organization and is still a board member, told me that when the theme “Garden of Eden” was suggested, there were some doubts as to how that would be interpreted. Here’s how it was interpreted ...
Catching up. Last Friday night, April 10th, Save Venice reached a new milestone in its 44-year history raising more $1 million for restorations of art and  architecture in Venice, Italy with its annual Un Ballo in Maschera at the Pierre. Dolce & Gabbana, Dolce & Gabbana Beauty, and Buccellati sponsored the evening and the pleasure of love theme  (Il Piacere dell'Amore) could be seen and felt in luscious décor designed by Dolce & Gabbana and accented with Buccellati silver. There’s lots to see of this party, like the Lenox Hill gala, so firstly, today, we’re running some photos of guests wearing  designs from the evening’s sponsors, D&G. It’s a welcome relief from the boring, unflattering, insipid step & repeat, a downgrading and sizing of the traditional red carpet, as you can see.
Lauren Santo Domingo. Anh Duong.
Tabitha Simmons and Coco Brandolini D'Adda. Jessica Hart.
Sofia Sanchez de Betak. Harry and Peter Brant.
Bee Shaffer. Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis and Derek Blasberg.
On Thursday, March 30th, The New York Historical Society was bustling with many of the country's top artists and benefactors last night as Thomas J. Schwarz, President of Purchase College, State University of New York, presented four honorees with the prestigious Nelson A. Rockefeller Award for Creativity. Purchase College is among the nation's preeminent public arts and liberal arts institutions educating the creative thinkers of tomorrow. The award and its presentation ceremony were established by President Schwarz in 2007 to pay tribute to the vital role of art in positively shaping society and culture.
Lawrence Benenson, Fred Wilson, Thomas Schwarz, and Jacques D'Amboise.
Film, stage and voice actor Jay O. Sanders '76, Purchase alumnus, served as Master of Ceremonies Four medals were presented to:

Audra McDonald, actress and singer who has won six Tony awards and two Grammy awards. Ms. McDonald is currently on tour; her acceptance remarks were delivered via video.

Fred Wilson, a ground-breaking and award-winning conceptual artist and curator whose practice includes painting, sculpture, photography and mixed-media installations. His new large-scale installation—a part of the show The Order of Things opens in Philadelphia's Barnes Museum on May 16.
Lawrence Benenson, Louise Hirschfeld-Cullman, and Lewis Cullman.
Jacques d'Amboise, one of the finest classical dancers and choreographers of our time, former principal of the New York City Ballet, he founded the world-renowned National Dance Institute in 1976; in the years since, he has invited millions of young people — regardless of economic status or physical ability — to "come dance with me" … thus introducing them to the magical beauty, discipline and wonder of dance.

Lawrence B. Benenson, a partner and member of the executive leadership team at one of the nation's premier owners 
of net-leased properties. His selection as an honoree recognizes his passion and lifelong commitment to charitable giving, civic responsibility and fostering creativity.
David Dinkins and Jacques D'Amboise.
Twenty medals have now been presented since the Rockefeller Award for Creativity was established in 2007. The award is named for Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, 41st Vice President of the United States, 49th Governor of New York State, businessman, philanthropist, ardent champion of the environment, visionary patron of the arts, and founder of Purchase College. 

Joanna Gleason, Chris Sarandon, and Jay O. Sanders.
Meanwhile, way out West in the land of shining cars, fancy bars and Hollywood stars, Nathan Turner — who has a shop in West Hollywood on Melrose in the land of 90210 (#8546 Melrose Avenue between Westmount and West Knoll) — had a cocktail reception and dinner for his friend India Hicks. India is a dear friend of Nathan and has hosted him countless times times at Harbour Island. So when she came to Los Angeles, he wanted to make her feel right at home. He served a signature rum punch and filled the shop with palm fronds and tropical flowers. There were thirty-five for dinner at the home of Zoe and Olivier de Givenchy in Trousdale. The buffet dinner came with recipes from Olivier’s uncle Hubert.
Desiree Gruber, Kyle MacLachlan, India Hicks, Kate Walsh, and Nathan Turner.
Konstatin Kakanias and Suzanne Rheinstein.
Monique Lhuillier and Olivier de Givenchy.
Eric Buterbaugh and Nona Summers. Sally Perrin.
Blair Kohan, Eric Hughes, and David Kohan.
Minnie Mortimer. Mary McDonald and Julie Jaffe.
Claiborne Swanson Frank.
Ione Skye and Ben Lee. Barbara Tfank and Zoe De Givenchy.
Freddie Windsor and Justine Bloomingdale.

Contact DPC here.