Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Free from care

Marin Hopper, Jeffrey Thomas, DPC, Brooke Hayward, Alex Hitz after the laughter at Michael's. Photo: Steve Millington.
Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018. Yesterday was sunny and cold in New York.

“Will you be my Valentine?” Remember that one? It started in the first grade for this kid. We had a box in the classroom, decorated with red hearts. We got Valentine's Day cards and sent them to the girls that we “liked.” I don’t think we sent them to the boys. I mean the boys to the boys; but we were only six and seven, still free from care.

My first Valentine's girlfriend — Ann Colton.
My favorite was a girl named Ann Colton. We went through grade school and (ballroom) dancing school together, and she was my main heart. That remained right up into our teenage years. I always thought my Heart for her was a lot bigger than hers was for me. I never told her that at the time, but many years later after we’d grown up, married, moved away and started our adult lives, we happened to re-connect. She saw my byline in Quest magazine. This was in the early 1990s.

She found my name in the phone book and called to ask if I were the same man in the byline. I wasn’t home at the time. The machine got the message, and it really touched me to hear from her. We met for lunch. Thirty years had passed. I reminded her of those first days and the personal Valentine cards we used to send each other. I even told her I thought my Heart for her was bigger than hers for me, etc. (alas poor David). She denied it very gently but I never believed her.

Ann had married twice, had children by her first marriage and grandchildren by them. She had a very happy second marriage to a man who shared her love of literature and travel. She died several years ago of lung cancer. I never knew about her illness until close to the end. She’d worn her suffering bravely, grateful for the life and loves that she had. I still keep her high school graduation photo among my souvenirs. There was laughter right behind that smile; that was her ultimate charm.

I went down to Michael’s yesterday to lunch with Brooke Hayward and Alex Hitz. The three of us do this every few weeks when Brooke, who lives in Connecticut, comes to town. Yesterday we were joined by her daughter Marin Hopper and Jeffrey Thomas. Conversation led to Marin’s Hayward show at Bergdorf’s. I wrote about the opening night party last Friday. Jeffrey helped his sister organize and produce it.
The gang gathering themselves for a photo for the Diary after our lunch.
Because so much of Marin’s prosperous business is rooted in her Hayward and (Dennis) Hopper heritage, family stories erupted, along with life in California. The family beginnings are in Brooke’s memoir “Haywire.” The history is marked by the suicide of her mother, the actress Margaret Sullavan and Brooke’s sister Bridget, both of whom had died in 1960; and Brooke’s younger brother Bill Hayward who killed himself by gunshot to the heart at age 66 in March 2008.

Life. I never knew Bill Hayward but Jeffrey Thomas and Marin Hopper both knew him well as their uncle, and loved him. He was named William Leland Hayward III after his grandfather and father, the agent/producer Leland Hayward. He was brilliant, adventurous and as his eldest sister said in exclaimed explanation, “he was insane from the time he was two.” It was a matter of fact known to all.

Brooke with younger brother Bill in 1978.
That was not a clinical explanation but the kind you hear in families when one individual is so much an independent thinking and spiritual individual that there is no sensible or logical explanation for their behavior. He was an adventurer by nature, that’s for sure. And fearless. Among other professions, including law, he was a photographer and a film producer.

Jeffrey Thomas explained that there were three motorcycle groups (gangs) in Los Angeles – the Hell’s Angels, a competitive one whose name I forget, and a “group of movie guys” who called themselves “The Uglies.”

Bill Hayward was a member of the Uglies. When Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda came up with the idea for “Easy Rider,” Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider backed the film, Peter Fonda produced, and Bill Hayward worked as the line producer. When it came time to shoot, Hayward came up with these very sophisticated motorcycles that the Uglies used. Far too sophisticated for either Fonda or Hopper both of whom had NO experience with them. Hayward liked them because they were the coolest.

Jeffrey, in recounting the situation yesterday at lunch, said that Fonda and Hopper were so out of their element on them, that they couldn’t go faster than 5 mph without losing control. So they shot the motorcycle journey closeups with Fonda and Hopper riding on a flatbed truck. But they were the real McCoy for the characters in the script, thanks to Bill. Everyone at table got a laugh out of that.

Brenda Vaccaro and Mickey Ateyeh were one table over having a good laugh themselves.
The laughter continued with more memories of Uncle Bill who was recalled with great affection by his niece and nephew. He was clearly a very eccentric individual, given to daring feats, intensely creative adventures, intellectual pursuits, a very generous and restless spirit. And apparently very unreliable in matters most practical. You got the feeling that the man’s decision to leave was his way of sensibly solving the difficulties he’d accumulated and been confronted by at a late age. The laughter at the highly amusing recollections of his personality and his presence subsumed the sadness. It was actually a wonderful lunch to experience with a family – a highly creative, intelligent and unusual family.

Michael’s was bustling. Among those I spotted were Peter Brown with Shirley Lord; Richard Cohen of the Washington Post; Nikki Haskell with Ricky Kleiman, Mickey Ateyeh with Brenda Vaccaro; Leonard Lauder; Esther Newberg, Faye Wattleton, Linda Fairstein; Mitch Rosenthal; Jaqui Wenzel; Drew Schiff; Judy Price; Alexandra Lebenthal.

And before we wrap,
there are two galleries of Dennis Hopper's photographs in the Mens and Ladies Rooms at Michael's. I've never seen those in the Ladies but here are four from the Men's. The girl in the crown from the costume supplier is none other than the mother of the two at the table, Brooke herself, taken when she was married to Marin's father.
Brooke Hayward, 1962.
Andy Warhol, Henry Geldzahler, David Hockney, and Jeff Goodman, 1963.
Bruce Conner (in tub), Toni Basil, Teri Garr and Ann Marshall, 1965.
Billy Al Bengston, 1964.
Catching up around town. Last week, The Creative Play School at Fifth Avenue Synagogue held its annual benefit. Parents joined together to raise funds for this unique preschool that celebrates childhood in a warm and nurturing environment.

An abundance of luxury items were auctioned off to raise funds, and a wish list, in the form of a donation tree, was a fun way for parents to directly enrich the special programming of the preschool.
Paulette Stein Meyer (center) and Rochelle Hirsch (2nd from right) with benefit committee members Jenna Weinberg, Cara Raleigh, and Lisa Cohen
The founder and chairman of the Creative Playschool Rochelle Hirsch and the director Paulette Stein Meyer pride themselves on cultivating a community where children, parents and teachers become family. Lisa Cohen, Beth Cayre, Noelle Jemal, Cara Raleigh, and Jenna Weinberg were the positive energy and group effort that made this evening happen. The school’s founder Mrs. Hirsch, was a very good mother herself as evidenced by the conduct and the character of my business partner and NYSD co-founder Jeff Hirsch. Awww.
Tammy Winn and Deborah Edell
Laura Levin and Jessie Tisch Levine with Paulette Stein Meyer
Nina and Eliav Assouline
Beth Cayre and Carolyn Selden
Evelyn and Avi Spodek Maya and Mike Mindlin
Paulette Stein Meyer with Carolyn and Mark Selden
Lisa Cohen and Jennifer Silverstein
Amanda and Jason Doneger with Loren and Casey Klein
Alexandra Rishty and Stephanie Biselman
Paulette and Rochelle with benefit committee members Jenna Weinberg, Cara Raleigh, and Lisa Cohen
Also, for art lovers and collectors: HG Contemporary Gallery presented its first exhibition of painter Florian Crespol. Entitled “Field of Thought”, the exhibition brings together different paintings on wood and PVC by Crespol, who actively explores societal obsession and professional sports. The exhibition will be on view through February 25th, 2018 at 527 West 23rd Street.

Florian Crespol is an American-Italian painter and sculptor from North of Italy and educated in Milan, Florence and Palo Alto, California. In 2015, Crespol’s work, Symbol of Earth was chosen by My Earth Trust Project Commission for the artwork’s ability to share the main elements of the planet.
Florian Crespol
“Florian Crespol’s work is bold, raw and exciting," said Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim, HG Contemporary Gallery’s founder and owner. "The sport fields that are represented prominently in Crespol's series Field of Thought are a metaphor for the varied impact – good and bad –  that excessive competition has on our very existence. This existential question is universal and something that I am excited to exhibit at HG Contemporary.”  

HG Contemporary (HG) is a leading contemporary art gallery specializing in bold, process-oriented work by emerging and established artists from the 21st century. For more information about HG, visit:
Drew Foster, Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim, Beverly J. Camhe, Fabrizio Cerina, and Melise Karatas
Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim, Diane Stafrace, and Fabrizio Cerina
Philip Tsiaras Diane Stafrace (center) with friends
Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim and Sonia Trzewikowska Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim and Bernhard Schwartz
David Florentin, Emilia Björk, and Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim
Rob Ronen, Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim, and Michael Herman Anastasia Vitkina and Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim

Contact DPC here.