Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Beast and the Beauty

A reptile photo shoot in Central Park. 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017.  Sunny, warm and humid yesterday in New York.

The conversation was inevitably about Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood Modern/Mogul Producer who literally got caught with his pants down. In a way, it’s almost a relief from what is going on elsewhere everywhere in this world of ours.

I was once introduced to Mr. Weinstein at a screening and he acknowledged me generously by “oh yeah, I know who you are ...” and with a warm smile. In other words, I was okay.

Photo: Patrick McMullan
That was generous of him in Hollywood-ese where many of these fellows (if you want to call them that) can, if he doesn’t like your looks, suddenly exhibit a crude vulgarity aside from oozing with charm in another part of the room. This kind of personality embellishment seems to often run in the veins of the boys in Show Business. Although it’s not exclusive to the industry. It goes with the territory and it has since it all began.  

Mr. Weinstein’s alleged behavior is not uncommon in that town (meaning the Business). That is not to say every man, most men, all men, behave thusly. No. For most it is a matter of human decency toward one another. That is how we subsist together. For those devoid of it, for them, their brains are basically below the belt, and their successes affirm it better than any pill could.

Power lends itself to extremes in behavior, and a town, a place, an industry that is selling sex, where your bread and butter depends on your body, your physical presence, Power, corrupted by itself, of course, often has its way.

Most women know all this, and the women in the business who progress know it very well. That is not to say that they go along, accede to it, because they are adept at dealing with it in other ways. Some will go along with it as long as it allows them to progress. But they know what it is. And they know how horrible it is, even while going along with it. That is a quality of survival that the female gender seems to possess more than the male.

Many of these men, and that includes the gay men who are living with that kind of “Power,” push the boundaries of behavior because in one way or another it is accepted in the community. The only thing that stops it from being accepted is when it is brought out to the public. Then it becomes Stupid Power.

And so there is Harvey Weinstein now, pilloried from Daily Mail to New York Post. He got fired from the company he created. His wife reportedly is leaving him. His own brother and partner apparently is not displeased about the matter, and so he’s been cast out into the cold, after all that basking in the Hollywood sun. Is he getting a punishment? Is there a harsher one? Is there a lesson here? The question is: What is the lesson for all of us?
That’s one side of our story, and now unto a side of human magnificence.  Three weeks ago in Paris, on September 21st, patrons of the American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet celebrated the Paris Opera Ballet’s season opening at a black-tie gala at the Palais Garnier. The event was sponsored by Rolex.

The spectacular evening was co-chaired by AFPOB Member Donna Corbat and AFPOB Trustee Kinga Lampert, as well as French patrons Karine Journo and Cyril Karaoglan. Hosted by Opéra National de Paris Director Stéphane Lissner, other notables in attendance included Director of the Paris Opera Ballet Aurélie Dupont; AFPOB Chairman Olivia Flatto; Broadway director and choreographer Rob Ashford; musician Lenny Kravitz; actress Marissa Berenson; Princess Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco; designer Giambattista Valli, and an array of business, cultural, social and government leaders.
The grand escalier of the Palais Garnier decorated in the evening's Frida Kahlo theme.
Director of the Paris Opera Ballet Aurélie Dupont surrounded by the étoiles of the Paris Opera Ballet on the grand escalier of the Palais Garnier.
Olivia Flatto, AFPOB Chairman; Rob Ashford, Film and Theater Director and Choreographer; and Kinga Lampert, Gala Co-Chair and AFPOB Trustee. Aurélie Dupont, Director of the Paris Opera Ballet, and Stéphane Lissner, Director of the Paris Opera.
Mike Corbat, Citi CEO, with Donna Corbat, Gala Co-Chair and AFPOB member.
Standing, left to right: Mike Corbat, Citi CEO; Amélie Oudéa, Mathie Gélis, Thomas Buberl, Frédéric Oudéa, and Melody Van Deventer. Seated, right to left: Gala Co-Chair and AFPOB member Donna Corbat surrounded by her guests, Patrick Pouyanné, John Van Deventer, and Jane Buberl.
Seated, left to right: Andrew Martin-Weber, Marie-Agnes Gillot (POB étoile), Fabrizio Mainiero, John Kososki, and Carol Kososki. Standing, left to right: Fiona Martin-Weber, Thong Nguyen, Hal J. Witt, Olivia Flatto, Maureen Footer, and Audrey Leclerc.
While on the subject of Paris, JH came across a lost album of photographs he took in Paris this past April, coincidentally for a three-day Patrons trip with the American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet (AFPOB). He had a free hour to roam one day, and took a walk through the Tuileries Garden, located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement. This is what he saw. Ah! Paris!

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