Friday, May 12, 2017

Spirit of Achievement

Manhattan moon. 10:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, May 12, 2017. A fair, and partly cloudy day yesterday in New York, with temperature hovering around an almost chilly 61 degrees.

The new Quest for May is out. It’s the 30th Anniversary issue and it is amazing. Of course there’s prejudice in that judgment but here I’m reflecting what people are saying about it.

Liz Smith told a friend that “it’s the history of the last 50 years in New York.” Wednesday night when I was at the ADDF dinner at Sotheby’s, people came up to comment on what an extraordinary issue it is. Naturally I was flattered but also, it’s true.

First of all, like any good magazine, it’s goodlooking. From start to finish. But this has something else: it takes you back to see that in only three decades, the world, our world has changed dramatically. The 30th Anniversary Quest serves to remind you of What It Was, and it’s a pleasure to recall. That’s the “history” part.

Coincidentally I’ve been involved, contributing to the magazine for 22 of those 30 years, the sole individual who was involved with the old Quest under its founder Heather Cohane’s aegis. This current version is witness to the remarkable growth and transformation under its owner/publisher, Chris Meigher

It’s a perfect treasure, recording the times, those times, and next week we’re going to run one of the pieces on the Diary, written by yours truly in the November 1994 issue: “On Never Having Met Mrs. Onassis.”
Yesterday, I started out at the Rockefeller University’s Women & Science’s 20th annual Spring Lecture and Luncheon. Rockefeller University was started in 1901 by John D. Rockefeller I. In the 116 years since, it has built up an extraordinary reputation in the field of medical science research. The Women & Science Initiative was established 19 years ago in 1998 by The Rockefeller University.  It does many great things for the University as well as for training and supporting women in leading roles. It has raised millions to support these programs. Its founding chairs were Lydia Forbes, Isabel Furlaud, Nancy Kissinger and Sydney Shuman.
As you enter The Rockefeller University's main gate, you're welcomed by a plethora of azaleas all the way up the drive and the walk to the geodesic dome auditoriam where the Women in Science lecture is delivered.
Every year about this time, they host a lecture and luncheon on the campus in the geodesic dome of a speaking hall. I’ve been to many of them. They draw a large crowd of several hundred, mainly women of all ages, all serious.

The lecturers are members of the faculty and administration and their subject matter is related to their research medicine projects. Yesterday’s was very powerful in alerting the audience of what we are currently facing that Rockefeller University is working hard to deal with. It was one of those scientists who gave the lecture ... and everybody was rapt with attention.

The subject: Global Health is Local Health: Eradicating Threats from A to Zika. The lecturer, Leslie B. Vosshall, Ph.D. Dr. Vosshall is working on the project personally. As a public speaker she has both aplomb and a personality. Her subject – Mosquitoes – led right to the crux of the matter: Zika, which has spread around the world and including here in the United States.
Dr. Vosshall begins her address about the mosquito and the Zika virus.
She explains what they are learning in their research that we NEED to know.
Standing by images of the most vulnerable creatures to the virus, the human animal and especially women and most especially pregnant women being the most vulnerable. Sharks are the least vulnerable.
An illustration (from CBS) of the areas (in red) which have the most cases in Florida.
The name of the game.
This excellent lecture will be on YouTube in the next ten days, and I suggest everyone who can, have a look and listen. Dr. Vosshall speaks with the common touch. In other words, you don’t have to be a research scientist to get the message. And it’s a crucial message. Especially crucial to pregnant women, but very crucial to all of the rest of us, too. Wherever they may be a mosquito. Everywhere.

I took some photos of the illustrations Dr. Vosshall used during her lecture. They are a broad outline of what you will learn when you watch the YouTube lecture. It’s a Don’t Miss. And we have the Women of Science committee of Rockefeller University to thank for this.
Also this past week, Brian and Joanna Fisher hosted a cocktail and a brilliant dinner at their Park Avenue apartment and provided their guests with a fascinating “lecture” from Ari Shapiro of NPR and All Things Considered. Mr. Shapiro, as many many people already know is an engaging speaker and quite entertaining as well as informative when speaking before a group of twenty or so in the Fisher dining room including Caroline Cronson, Michele Oka Doner and Fred Doner, Ryan McGinness, Alan Patricof, Patty Raynes (celebrating her birthday), Stuart Coleman and Toni Ross, and Tom Gold.
All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro educating the crowd about NPR's programming and the important role it plays in today's media landscape.
Brian and Joanna Fisher with Ari Shapiro.
Next Tuesday at the Rainbow room, Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Women’s Division will host their 63rd (!) annual Spirit of Achievement Award luncheon. The Award was created by the Women’s Division in 1954. Always hosted by a group of active supporters and held at the Pierre, this was the very first “Benefit Luncheon” in Manhattan, and is the longest running annual luncheon dedicated to raising funds in support of medical research and education. They initially drew attention to their cause by honoring outstanding individuals in fields such as philanthropy, the arts, business, government and journalism.

The first Spirit of Achievement Awards began as a mother-daughter
luncheon, and the mother-daughter they honored were Marlene Dietrich and her daughter Maria Riva.
The inagural Spirit of Achievement mother-daughter luncheon honorees Marlene Dietrich and Maria Riva.
Today women in all fields from acting to journalism to medicine have been honored, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Meryl Streep, Barbara Walters, Sharon Stone, Christine Baranski, Anne Bancroft, Jane Pauley, Gloria Steinem, Twyla Tharp, Candice Bergen, Barbara Cocoran, Hoda Kotb, Cynthia Nixon, Whoopi Goldberg, Cindy Crawford, Katie Couric, Vera Wang, Iris Apfel, Shirley MacLaine, Elsa Peretti, Joyce Carol Oats, Diane Von Furstenberg, Patricia Field, Susan Lucci, Glenn Close, Diane Sawyer, Nora Ephron, Evelyn Lauder, Jill Martin, Donna Karan to name only a few.
Eleanor Roosevelt attends the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's Women's Division's Annual Spirit of Achievement Luncheon in 1960.
Billy Jean King at the Spirit of Achievement Luncheon in 1973.
Gene Shalit and Katie Couric at the luncheon in 1994.
Honorees next Tuesday are Sandra Lee, Luz Towns-Miranda, Ph.D. and Alyson Moadel-Robblee, Ph.D. Dr. Miranda, not so incidentally, has a son who created and starred in a hit Broadway show called Hamilton. The luncheon chairs are Terri Goldberg and Trudy Schlachter, Co-Presidents of the Women’s Division, and Carol Roaman and Andrea Stark. Mistress of Ceremonies is Jill Martin.
Honoree Luz Towns-Miranda, Ph.D. with baby son Lin-Manuel Miranda!
Since its inception, the Women’s Division has raised more than $100 million (!) and has established: a wing for Prenatal Studies and Research in Birth Defects, a Clinical Research Institute for Child Development; and has funded major research in immunodiagnosis and immunotherapy in cancer.

This year’s luncheon raised funds for comprehensive health care for women through cutting-edge research, discovery and teaching, as well as providing specialty care for all women.  The dedicated members of the Women’s Division of Albert Einstein College of Medicine are a driving force in aiding medical research and education for the development of innovative treatments and cures for life-threatening conditions. 

For more information and to purchase tickets (it's a perfect Mother's Day gift!), click here.
Weekend plans. This Saturday (tomorrow) and Sunday, from noon until 6 p.m., Chris Astley and Richard Dupont will be having a two person exhibition down at The 360 Space, a premium pop-up, event and gallery space located at 104 Charlton.

JH and Danielle met Chris and his wife Amy at the NYC Ballet Spring gala last Thursday. The couples hit it off and in doing so learned about Chris's painting chops. He took up painting a few years ago after establishing himself as an accomplished sculptor. Amy, as you might know, is the editor of AD. Clearly, the Astleys like to take on personal and professional challenges. Their daughters might not know it yet, but they'll be very equipped for this world thanks to their ma and pa.
Two of Astley's paintings at "Tracy Williams Roving: Richard Dupont/Christopher Astley" at The 360 Space at 104 Charlton.
According to Tracy Williams, who represents Chris, "Astley employs a muted palette and his painting process involves oil on gessoed panels throughout. The landscapes found within each work embodies its own ontological tensions between human civilization and natural landscapes. Astley's work hovers between abstraction and construction, space and time, creating an intriguing phenomenological synergy between two and three dimensions."

Intrigued? Then head downtown and make a day of it ...
Christopher Astley, Six Years Below, 2017, oil on gessoed panel, 20 x 16 in.

Contact DPC here.