Thursday, July 20, 2017

A sensible escape

Thinking cool thoughts on Sixth Avenue and 55th Street. 3:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Thursday, July 20, 2017. This just in: Kenneth Jay Lane died last night at home. He died peacefully, in his chair watching a movie. He was a wonderful friend to many, including this writer. Very warm day, yesterday in New York, with the humidity reaching up to 100 with temps in the 90s. Oddly it wasn’t sweltering. I wasn’t out in it long enough to judge.

I went down to Michael’s to have lunch with Brooke Hayward and Alex Hitz. I was the first one there and so I sat with Mickey Ateyeh who was waiting for Brenda Vaccaro. Brenda has a starring role on the Netflix’ series “Gypsy.” Not about Gypsy Rose Lee of the musical. Frank Langella was next door at the corner table, lunching with Jack Feldman.
The heat emanating from Central Park.
Mickey is one of those New Yorkers who is famous to the famous. I won’t say everybody knows Mickey because people say that about me and it’s not true; it’s an illusion. I’m sure Mickey does too. Her great charm is making you feel charming. It’s not a bad one, I can assure.

So we sat there chatting, and watching the room begin to fill up. Jim Zirin was joined by Ray Kelly. Dan Lufkin took his regular table. Diane Clehane was interviewing Linda Fairstein whose new Alex Cooper novel “Deadfall” officially debuts next Tuesday. But you can get it now I’ll bet, in time for your August beach read. A sensible escape.
The upcoming birthday boy with Brooke Hayward and Alex Hitz.
Editor Alice Mayhew was lunching with Doris Kearns Goodwin; Boaty Boatwright was lunching with Leslee Dart. Around the room (sort of) PR Guru Christine Taylor; Nick Verbitsky of United Stations; Andrew Blauner of Blaunder Literary; Drew Schiff; Gerry Byrne with Rick Calera; Suzanne Dawson celebrating a birthday; Barry Frey, CEO of Digital Place-Based Advertising Associates; Maurice Goldfarb of GIIi Apparel Group; Robert Kramer of Adirondack Capital; the other Liz Smith, she of the financial world; Andrew Stein; Mark Doctoroff; Bob Friedman; Kip Forbes with Becca Thrash; Cindi Berger of PMK; John Loeffler with Chris Johnson; Charles Finch (son of the late Peter) of Finch & Partners in London, agent and producer. And that’s just the half of it; the Garden Room was full too. A lot of financial and corporate people prefer the “quiet” (sort of).

My lunch partners arrived before Mickey and I got a look at the whole room. It was a busy Wednesday. Michael was in from L.A. where he said they had some very humid days recently – which used to be unusual for L.A. My lunch was planned by Brooke to celebrate my birthday which actually is one week from yesterday, the 26th.

At the end of our lunch I was surprised with a dessert plate by Steve Millington who took the photo of us. I ate everything. The dark chocolate-y looking scoop was a mango/blueberry concoction. Delicious. Brooke gave me a dog bowl and some doggie treats, all of which will be well used to everyone’s pleasure, and Alex picked up the check. Very nice.
The plate. There is a little coconut covered cake with a candle in it.
The city is definitely quieter right now. A bit of a slower pace, and it’s rather nice. You can tell by the number of empty parking spaces on the main avenues east and west. Less people, more room. Summer vacation is leaving us in little bit of peace.

I got a call from Gigi Benson who is just back from London with Harry, where they visited with their daughter Wendy and her husband Michael Landes. The Landeses live in Los Angeles but have been in London where Michael has been shooting a series “Hooten and The Lady” which premiered last week on Channel 11.

Gigi told me the show and Michael got great reviews when it premiered on SKY TV: The London Sunday Express: “Romancing the stone, channeling Indiana, Hooten could become a Thursday night favorite.” Aside from Mr. Landes’ obvious talent and appeal, would that every actor and actress had a mother-in-law like Gigi Benson, no?
Michael Landes starring in "Hooten and The Lady."
And here they are, holding on for dear life.
Which, speaking of talent, our friend and sometime contributor to NYSD Susan Silver called to tell me she’s been on a book tour for her memoir “Hot Pants in Hollywood.” Susan was one of the very first women to gain a solid foothold (and an onscreen credit) as a writer for television. Before she decided to retire from the game, she was very prolific and wrote for the best of them — including Newhart, Mary Tyler Moore and many Movies of the Week.
This photo of Susan is from a talk she gave at the Explorer Bookstore in Aspen where her book was on the top 10 Bestsellling Books.
She’s a natural comedy writer and you can get that just from the title. But there’s a very serious message to Susan’s work. Even more importantly, she’s a very serious professional and her success was the result of her natural talent and her ability to work like a dog.

Now the result is she has a very comfortable Fifth Avenue apartment and gets around New York, sees the world; does commentary for NPR, wrote a brief series for us – “The Search for Mr. Adequate.” Right now she’s out there publicizing her book. Like a pro; that’s the real story.

Meanwhile, out in L.A. Charlie Scheips sent me this photograph yesterday of his friend David Hockney, who is celebrating his 80th birthday out there. (His actual birthday was July 9th).
Charlie wrote: The photo is by Amanda Quinn Olivar. It was taken at the party Benedict Taschen gave at his John Lautner Chemosphere house in the Hollywood Hills – for David. We attended the “Happy Birthday Mr. Hockney” event on Monday night at the Getty which is featuring two exhibitions of David’s work: Self-Portraits and Photographs.

Charlie is going to do an Art Set piece for NYSD about this trip for our Friday, July 28th posting. He’s calling it “Art from Coast to Coast” and you’ll get the picture.
The following video was sent to us by Schulenberg, the artist whose sketchbook-memoir appears on the NYSD every Thursday (including today). There is a powerful message here that is so simple it’s almost invisible.

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