Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hooray For Love

Our first hint of snow this past Sunday. 6:10 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016. Very cold in New York. Last night in the low 20s. The big talk weather-wise is the forecasters’ prediction that we’re going to get a big snowstorm (8-12 inches) this Friday and Saturday. I’m not a meteorologist so I don’t know how they can come up with a sensational prediction a week ahead, so we shall see. Ironically there is nothing unusual about such a storm at this time of the year. What is unusual is the weather we’ve been having which has been mild and even warm. Perhaps that’s over.

The city remains quiet. The cold is enough reason to stay indoors. I went to lunch at Michael’s with Nina Griscom. Traffic in midtown was considerably lighter than usual on a Tuesday. Today we are running Part II of Nina’s recent trip to Paris and Marrakesh.
Brrrr, it's cold outside. This is how JH's cats (Ewok and Sophie) have been spending their days.
Last call. Two night before Swifty’s closed their doors for good, the members of the board of the Soane Foundation took over the backroom for a fete to celebrate Chas Miller’s 10 years (ongoing) as the foundation’s Executive Director ... “an evening of Food Drink and Merriment” the invitation read.

It was great evening, well attended. Chas (pronounced Chaz) received a little commemorative plaque and Chippy Irvine, past president of the foundation, sang a tune written by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Leo Robin called “Hooray For Love.”

The lyrics go something like this:

Love, love, hooray for love.
Who was ever too blasé for love?
Make this a night for love,
If we have to fight, let’s fight for love!
Judy Garland sang it in her famous Carnegie Hall concert in 1961. Harold Arlen was in the audience. He also wrote many other famous songs including the one most associated with Garland’s career “Over the Rainbow.” 

I mention this detail because Ms. Irvine’s choice was obviously a personal expression toward Chas who does a fine job with the foundation to which he is almost religiously devoted, figuratively speaking of course. And because there is nothing “museum-y” about the choice. The Soane Museum holds an esteemed place in the profession of architecture and the decorative arts. It is a shrine of a kind for its aficionados, supporters, scholars and the eternally curious.
Chippy Irvine singing “Hooray For Love.”
I know very little about it except that it celebrates the eye and sensibility of one man (it was originally his house), Sir John Soane, a 19th century British architect. It is located in London at 13 Lincoln Fields. It remains untouched, as he left it 180 years ago, filled with his collections of artworks, sculptures, furniture and artifacts. Sir John left the house to posterity, although it was officially made a Museum by a Private Act of Parliament in 1833, four years before his death.

Back to Chippy Irvine’s melodic tribute to Mr. Miller. The Soane is someone’s house. Also laboratory, workplace, center. Evidently Sir John was constantly altering, enlarging it, tearing it down, rebuilding it, and filling it with his personal collections. It is the ultimate existence for an architect of such flair and obsession with home. It is intimate. It is the absolute of love. Just like the song; just like the party.
Chas Miller receiving a plaque from SJSMF Pres Tom Kligerman.
All this was at Swifty’s two nights before they suddenly, shockingly closed their doors. Something Sir John Soane would never do.

There were many members of the Board of the Soane Foundation present as well as close friends of Chas including his partner Birch Coffey; Tom and Kristin Kligerman (he is President of the Soane Foundation and was toastmaster); Chippy Irvine , of course (past president and chanteuse); Peter Pennoyer; Wendy Moonan, distinguished journalist of art and antiques and very occasional contributor to the NYSD; Becky Birdwell; Jonathan Burden (antiques dealer); Walter and Mary Chatham; Maggie Carey; Lucy and Nat Day; John Flower; Richard Sammons; Barbara Pine; Michael Imber (in from San Antonio); Suzanne Stephens; Robert and Julia Van Nutt; Kathy Springhorn; Jonathan Hogg; Karen Sendler; Suzanne Santry; David Cobb Craig. Many of these names are not familiar to me personally. However, I do know that they comprise an enthusiastic interest in the works and collections of Sir John Soane, and many are distinguished in their professions.
David Craig and Wendy Moonan.
Tom Kligerman and Suzanne Santry.
Becky Birdwell and Chas Miller.
Catching up. Over the Christmas holiday, R. Couri Hay, public relations maestro, hosted a FEED Supper to celebrate the holidays and usher in the New Year at his town house on the Upper West Side. Lauren Bush Lauren founded the Feed Foundation in 2007 to provide meals to hungry children and families around the world. 

Sending tidings of comfort and joy were Sharon Bush, Cornelia Guest, William Ivey Long and Kimberly Guilfoyle. Guests were greeted by falling snow in the entrance thanks to the wizardry of little elves sprinkling “Hollywood flakes" from the top floor down onto the arriving revelers and the steps wrapped in garlands dripping in pine cones and red ribbons.
The evening was a seated dinner for eighty at which the host announced that he had given 5,000 meals to the organization in lieu of personal gifts. Many guests, including Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, Sharon Handler Loeb, Felicia Taylor, Maggie Norris, Janna Bullock and her daughters, Eugenia and Zoe, and her children Nicola Remmel and Julian Remmel, Patrick McMullan, Margaret Butler, Cassandra Seidenfeld, Michael Musto and Randi Shatz gathered around the Steinway to sing carols with composer Paul Katz accompanying.

Guests -- who had been asked to wear something sparkly -- sipped Dom Ruinart champagne and a sparkling rosé by Altaneve around the Christmas tree, while enjoying the caviar and Kobe Beef Frank Lollipops. After singing for their supper, everyone descended downstairs where two fire-lit dinning rooms were set up with tables covered in red, green and gold plaid taffeta tablecloths festooned with miniature trees, and surrounded by a collection of antique snow globes to shake. Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs prepared twin buffets of roasted basil crusted sides of salmon, Parmesan-crusted chicken breasts and a carving stations of grilled filet mignon and turkeys along with Grecian Orzo Salad, tri-color Quinoa Salad and balsamic infused grilled vegetables.
Cassandra Seidenfeld, Joe Alexander, Randi Schatz, R.Couri Hay, Consuelo Vanderbilt Coustin, Rafael Feldman, and Chiu-Ti Jansen.
After dinner, the guests, including Todd Romano, Chiu-Ti Jansen, Louisa Benton, Erik Sherr, Bennett Marcus, Paula Bacchini, Louis Coraggio, Cheri Kaufman, Bill Sclight, Jill Sand, Dr. Barry Weintraub, Mimi Richman, Heath Buzin, Bill Tew, Sarah Gartner and Marisa Herbert retreated to another floor for chocolate truffles, Death by Chocolate Boxes and Cheesecake Lollipops, after which, eventually everyone went home with a pouch of chocolate chip cookies and a Christmas Song Book as a memento of the occasion of Couri’s holiday FEED dinner.
Euginea Bullock, Nicola Remmel, Julian Remmel, and Janna Bullock.
Andrew LePera and Maggie Norris. Erik Sherr and Louisa Benton.
Felicia Taylor.
Sasha Lloyd and James Francis Ginty.
Zoe Bullock and Elliot Leven. Sharon Handler Loeb.
Margie Beck and Mati Weiderpass.
Todd Romano. Paola Rosenshein.
Thomas Knapp.
Joe Alexander and R. Couri Hay. Lourdes Morales and Elizabeth Cohen.
Mimi Richman and Matthew Dillon.
Bill Sclight and Cheri Kaufman. Jill Sand and Dr. Barry Weintraub.
Jean Shaffiroff and Michael Musto.

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