Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Very Warm For May

Truckin'. 4:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Very Warm For May was the title of a Broadway musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II.  And for no apparent reason, it always comes to mind on very warm days in May.  Yesterday it was with the temp reaching up to 88.  Although the weatherman forecasts temps for New Yorkers in the mid-60s today.

Before I wrote the above paragraph, I had planned to give a little background to the Kern-Hammerstein show but had a feeling I’d done that before. So I did a search of our archives and found that indeed I had – just last year on this date.

The show which opened in November 1939, was a flop, running for only two months. But there was one love song that many believe is one of Oscar Hammerstein’s most beautiful lyrics. It has been recorded scores of times in the last seventy-five years by many great artists from Sinatra on down. Here are the first and third stanzas of the refrain:    

You are the promised kiss of Springtime
That makes the lonely winter seem long ...
You are the breathless hush of evening
That trembles on the brink of a lovely song

You are the angel glow that lights the star
The dearest things I know, are what you are.
Someday my happy arms will hold you,
And someday I’ll know that moment divine
When all the things you are, are mine.

Three quarters of a century later, that lyric with Kern’s gorgeous melody must sound quaint or even irrelevant to those who are growing up or have grown up on popular music of the past three decades. And in the day of meet-up apps and bim-bam-thank-you-ma’am encounters often referred to as “relationships,” it must be incomprehensible to many. Change.

Meanwhile there’s the current social calendar for the various charities and philanthropies, with so much going on, we spend a good deal of our editorial time just catching up. However, here’s a fact that’s hot off the press. Last night, the Robin Hood Foundation held their annual dinner and raised the all time record of more than $101,000,000! In one night.
I couldn’t resist putting in the zeros just to emphasize the enormity of one (very special) fund-raising evening in New York. That’s a change too from back in the day of Kern and Hammerstein and New York a half century ago. Americans have long been major donors to philanthropies but lately the numbers are beginning to make the past look like chickenfeed.

Of course there’s the current art market too where the night before one Picasso, circa 1950 sold for a total of almost $180,000,000. (including auction fees). Christie’s art auctions this season totaled (with fees) almost three quarters of a billion dollars ($705 million) in the past two and a half weeks of business.
Pablo Picasso, Les femmes d'Alger (Version 'O'), 1955
Price Realized: $179,365,000
Keep on keepin’ on. The Boys Club of New York held its annual Awards dinner last week. It was, in the words of one guests, “a quiet charity dinner populated by long time benefactors.” They honored two gentlemen Julian Robertson and Silas Anthony who have between them collectively supported and actually volunteers for the organization for more than 100 years.

Mr. Robertson received the Harriman Award for his extraordinary civil leadership towards helping young people succeed. He’s well known for his decades of Tiger Management (launching the famous ‘Tiger Cubs’-the next generation of successful hedge fund managers), but also as a philanthropist in environmental conservation, medical innovation and educational reform.
Artwork by members of BCNY.
Julian became involved with the BCNY first as a volunteer, and later as a Trustee, alongside his beloved late wife, Josie. Stephen Tosh, Executive Director of the BCNY said, “The founding of the Josie Robertson School of Music and Art in 2007 was one of the proudest moments in BCNY’s long history, and the enduring generosity of the Robertson family has brought BCNY to new levels of accomplishment”.

To bring that home, an angel of a young man, 11-year-old Ethan Laird, performed Bruno Mars’ ‘I’ll Be There’, as he will be doing at The Museo del Barrio this coming May 26th. Laird also plays the ukulele and piano, and yes, he learned it at BCNY.
Co-Chairs Amy Griffin and Gabrielle Bacon with Julian Robertson, Harriman Award Recipient.
Amy Griffin, president of the Women’s Board: “Tonight we honor the Robertson family, especially Julian, who apart from being someone I love and care so deeply about, is changing the world through his philanthropic efforts.

His son Alex and wife Alexandra, Co-Chairs, brought ‘the newest BCNY supporters, in-utero’, as Julian told the crowd.                                                                                 

Si Anthony was honored with the Northrop Award for exemplary service and commitment to volunteerism. He was accompanied by his son and daughter, who are also carrying on the BCNY mantle.

Si began as a group leader 50 years ago, with a group of boys he dubbed ‘the amazings.” He included them in his wedding, as well as countless sports events and visits to his home. He recalled touring the clubhouse, when one young man asked ‘Do you know who that is?’ to which another responded, ‘I think it’s the President of the United States.’
Co-Chairs Elaine and Ken Langone. Eleanora and Michael Kennedy.
Si told the guests: ‘At that moment, I was probably more important.’

He has also served as a Trustee, President of the Board, then Board Chairman. Nonetheless, Si gave all credit to Julian, (which Julian gave back to Si).

Also chairing the dinner were Gabrielle and Lewis Bacon, Amy and John Griffin and Elaine and Ken Langone. Other loving supporters included Jackie Williams, Eaddo Kiernan, Betsy and Rob Pitts, Kitty and Stephen Sherrill, Alexia Ryan, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Hilary and Wilber Ross, Kathy and Andrew Thomas, Zack Bacon and Amanda Ross, Charles Atkins, Nancy and Joe Missett, Elizabeth and Lee Ainslie and Ritchey and David Howe.
Jamee and Peter Gregory. Alexia Hamm Ryan and Betsy Pitts.
Julian Williamson, Wyndham Robertson, Beth Williamson, and Chuck Whittingham.
Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Chilton, Jr. Muffy Miller and Ritchey Howe.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph V. Missett III. Elizabeth Ainslie.
Aaron and Betty Lee Stern. Mel and Terry Karmazin.
Alex Robertson with Harriman Award Recepient Julian Robertson, Northrop Award Recipient Si Anthony, and Silas Anthony III.
Stephen Tosh, BCNY Executive Director & CEO, and Friederike K. Biggs. Stephen and Kitty Sherrill.
Stephanie Coleman, Jonathan Schulhof, and Nathalie Kaplan.
Then this past Monday night at the Four Seasons restaurant, the Lighthouse Guild hosted their annual “A POSH Affair.” Somers Farkas, a very tall, very tan and very fashionable and talented lady created the “POSH Affair” six years ago. It precedes the Lighthouse’s legendary POSH sale (which opens to the public tomorrow (Thursday) through next Sunday. Run, don’t walk is the wisest advice for bargain hunters and consumers of luxury items (including lots of Chanel, Missoni, etc.).

Somers' idea has evolved into one of the best nights of the season and broke all records this year. Her co-founders Amy Fine Collins, Hamish Bowles (who co-chaired the evening with Alex Hitz), and Lorry Newhouse are still with it, and in the words of someone who knows these things, they “ensure all is chic.”
Muffie Potter Aston, Jonathan Farkas, and Somers Farkas.
Sigourney Weaver emceed. The honorees were: Award winning costume designer William Ivey Long.  William told a marvelous story about the proper New York girls, who many years ago on their European tour, met a group of blind students at the opera, and were so impressed and touched, they went home and had daddy start The Lighthouse Guild.

Harry Benson accepted his Artistic Visionary award and said ‘I can’t imagine what it would be like to not see stupid things, good things…anything.’ Indeed. Margo MacNabb Nederlander received her richly deserved Humanitarian Visionary award, surrounded by her adoring family (even her beautiful kids, early in the eve). Her wedding was held at The Four Seasons seven years ago. Henri Barguirdjian, President of Graff USA, accepted the Charitable Visionary award on behalf of Graff Diamonds, whose dazzling gems were present and accounted for in the vitrines in the Grill Room.
William Ivey Long, Margo MacNabb Nederlander, James Dubin, Sigourney Weaver, Dr. Alan Morse, and James Nederlander Jr.
Jamie Figg, Karen LeFrak, and Hamish Bowles. Jamee Gregory and Debbie Bancroft.
A special shout goes out to Alex Hitz, New York’s very own ‘Beverly Hills Chef’ who oversaw the menu and offered us lamb chops and Dover Sole.

There were 225 at this sold out evening  including: Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Bettina Zilkha, Rudy and Judith Guiliani, Katherina Otto-Bernstein, Jane Holzer, Tory Burch, Catherine Adler, Jaime Jimenez, Geoffrey Bradfield, Debbie Bancroft, Karen LeFrak, Jamie Figg, Margo Langenberg, Sharon and John Loeb, Mark Gilbertson, Jimmy Jr. and Jimmy Sr. and Charlene Nederlander, Cornelia Guest, Jonathan Farkas, Serena Boardman and Johnny Theodoracopolous, Marc Rosen, Mark Gilbertson, Audrey Gruss, Victoria Wyman, Nicole Sexton and Jamee and Peter Gregory, Lighthouse Board Chair James Dubin; Dr. Alan Morse, Mark Ackermann; and that fabulous, lengendary, Honorary New York and Palm Beach POSH Chair, Arlene Dahl.
William Ivey Long and Yaz Hernandez. Harry and Gigi Benson.
More catching up. Also last Thursday night at Gotham Hall, they held the 2015 Gala for Child Protection; Together Igniting Global Change to benefit the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children. We were unable to make the event but a perspicacious and ubiquitous reporter friend covered the evening for us. Here is her report:

We were welcomed to the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children’s inaugural Gala for Child Protection, by their elegant Chair of the Board, Franz Humer, who somewhat surprisingly, sported a black sequined bow tie.

“After being asked for coffee, or if I was part of the orchestra, I decided I set myself apart,” he told us.

We needed a bit of levity however, for this is a dark, and unfathomable menace: Missing and Exploited Children, Child Pornography, Kidnapping ... murder. Based in Virginia, ICMEC works globally to protect children.
Franz Humer, Justine Koons, Jeff Koons, and Maura Harty.
CBS’s Norah O’Donnell masterfully mc’ed, and presented the first of the awards, the Global Impact for Child Protection Award to Microsoft.

For more than 10 years, Microsoft has worked with ICMEC to equipe law enforcement officials with technology tools to combat children’s exploitation. Recently, they worked with Dartmouth College to create technology to finding and removing the worst of online child pornography.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s General Counsel, told us when he saw an example of child pornography, involving a 6 year old girl, he swore he would try to make sure no one ever saw anything so horrific again.

Jeff and Justine Koons received ICMEC’s Champion for Children Award. In the wake of the abduction of Jeff’s son, he and Justine created The Koon’s Family Institute on International Law and Policy.
Norah O'Donnell.
Jeff finally saw his son, a few weeks ago, after over 20 years. He got to meet his 6 half siblings. Jeff will donate the proceeds from the sale of The Balloon Monkey Wall Relief (Blue), which will be auctioned today, May 13th at Christie's Contemporary Sale.

We were also treated to a performance by 14-year-old wonder opera singer, Sara Stevens, followed by Christie’s Lydia Fenet (who said, “I’m also 14”) who whipped the crowd in to a bidding frenzy for items like a tour of Koon’s studio and a print, and a backstage visit to The Voice.

Ashton Kutcher, co-founder of Thorn Digital Defenders of Children, brought it home again, and gave a tender tribute to Ernie Allen, retired President and CEO for The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Ashton Kutcher.
Ashton also told us: ‘I have a seven month-old at home, and I didn’t want to leave her. I saw a Dateline program about a 6-year-old that had been raped for a porno video, and I knew I had to be part of fighting it. I had to disrupt it! It ignited a fight in me that has been re-fortified!”

This first event raised $1.2 million. Among those joining: Vito Schnabel and Heidi Klum, Susan and John Hess, Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley, Bob Colacello, Amy Fine-Collins, Kelly Rutherford (for whom this was painfully personal), Harry Macklowe, Wendy Deng Murdoch, Lise Evans, Pat Mitchell. Bonnie Engelbardt Lautenberg, Debbie Bancroft, Amy Fine-Collins, Mark Gilbertson, Peter Pennoyer, George Bickerstaff and Adam and Amalia Lindemann.

Since its inception in 1998, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) has built a Global Missing Children’s Network of 23 nations; trained law enforcement, prosecutors and specialists from over 122 countries; and worked with parliaments in over 100 countries to refine or implement laws on child pornography and child protection. For more information about ICMEC visit:
John Hess, Lise Evans, Susan Hess, and Bob Colacello.