Friday, October 19, 2018

Hot tickets

Guests standing and applauding the brief speech by Henry P. Johnson, the evening's honoree at the Frick Collection Autumn Dinner. Photo: DPC.
Friday, October 19, 2018. It’s 44 degrees outside as I write this at five minutes to midnight. The weatherman says it’ll hit 40 but running up maybe to 60 on this day. It is what you might expect of autumn in New York. The leaves haven’t turned yet though.

This was a very busy week on the social circuit Monday through Thursday, with multiple events taking place all over town. I hit at least one each day, not counting the lunches, and sometimes two. But it’s late and I just got in from the Frick event an hour ago, so we’re going to run some photos I took to give you an idea of the atmosphere.

This past Tuesday night was the Indigo Ball at the Park Avenue Armory. This is a wondrous annual fund-raiser that keeps its audience in mind. Its audience has made the Park Avenue Armory’s exhibitions and events of what they call “extraordinary and unconventional works in the visual and performing arts,” a hot ticket these days. That’s also Show Business, and they’re not kidding. Even Flo Ziegfeld couldn’t have wished for more.
The honorees, Marina Kellen French and Marc Jacobs.
Dinner and speeches were held in the Wade Thompson Hall which is 55,000 square feet vast. That is where some of the most astounding, and curious, and thrilling, and mind bending performances occur. This particular evening is always another one of those visual performances, the bonus for those attending.

They honored Marina Kellen French and Marc Jacobs. Mrs. Kellen French is a major philanthropist here in New York for the performing arts. She is not highly publicized as many philanthropists are these days, but her contributions are major and often with young people in mind. Marc Jacobs, of course, needs no introduction. He has also been a big supporter of the development of the Park Avenue Armory and has held his collections there.
Leaving the foyer of the Park Avenue Armory looking toward the Wade Thompson Hall.
Musicians playing during the cocktail hour.
The bar. Behind the "indigo curtain is where the dining tables are located.
Lit up at cocktail hour.
Entering the Dining Area.
The table.
On the screen above the stage. I don't know what I'm looking although I recognize the images. I tend to feel I don't have to know; it's not important although it is interesting. During the evening, the colors would darken (to indigo) and later return to this.
Char Defrancesco, Rachel Feinstein, and Marc Jacobs. Jacobs was honored for his "uncompromising artistry and spectacular showmanship.”
Last night was the Autumn Dinner at the Frick. Black Tie and in the Main Gallery. Where no red wine is served lest it is accidentally spilled on the gallery carpet. Nevertheless it is beautiful and the entertainment if you could call it that is simply dining formally in Mr. Frick’s Gallery amongst the great treasures he collected to fill these rooms. The cocktail hour from 7 to 8 is held in the atrium court, and then dinner is in the Main Gallery.
Entering the atrium court. Mark Gilbertson is being photographed.
Entering the cocktail hour.
Chic with red phone. Heidi Rosenau and Eiko Assael.
You are there, but also at another moment in our history of New York and America, and the world. It is an important and major art museum, but it also carries with it the sense of being in Mr. Frick’s house, as indeed it was a century ago. By far no ordinary house, but his “sense” is as much a part of the place as the art, and you are there. Furthermore you are there under optimal circumstances – enjoying a wonderful dinner in this man’s house and in its magnificent galleries. In other words, it’s a special New York experience, as is the Frick Collection.
Henry P. Hudson, the evening's honoree.
They honored Henry P. Johnson, a man who has long been a major supporter of the Frick in a variety of ways. Mr. Johnson was introduced to the guests by both Margot Bogert, former Frick board chairman, and the Frick's Director Ian Wardropper, the present director. Separately, of course. To someone who had never heard of or seen Mr. Johnson, I learned of a fascinating individual: a banker, an art connoisseur, earnest, knowledgeable, and curious; another one of those diverse and rare New Yorkers who gets actively involved in community and cultural enhancement.

They spoke of a man with a brilliant mind who loves the challenge, but with an amusing irony; serious but in a wonderful way. He’s a Vassar grad, married to his college sweetheart Susan Johnson, father of three sons, and the kind of man you might wish would run for the highest office but never would because he’s got better things to do with his life and family. A wonderful evening it was.
Philip IV of Spain by Diego Velázquez, c. 1644. The King, it was pointed out to me, has what is known as the Habsburg jaw.
Whereas, last Friday night at The Rainbow Room, with the skyline of Manhattan serving as backdrop, MC and Oceana Board Member Ted Danson led Oceana's New York City Gala in honoring two actors who have been longtime advocates for the oceans, Morgan Freeman and Sam Waterston. The evening raised $1.5 million.

Waterston, honored with a tribute video and introduced by former President Bill Clinton, spoke about Oceana's effectiveness at winning policy victories for the oceans. "Organizations like Oceana are making wonderful and real changes, which are literally saving the future," he said in his remarks. "There is a lot of terrific stuff getting done, and the oceans' response to that kind of good treatment can be breathtaking: the ocean's natural state is abundance."
Bill Clinton. Morgan Freeman.
Morgan Freeman was also recognized for his lifelong commitment to the oceans. A blue water sailor and a long-time supporter of Oceana, Freeman thanked Oceana and the supporters in attendance for protecting the oceans, which he called his "second home."

Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless rallied attendees to take action in support of the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act. "We have to end the sale and trade of shark fins in the U.S.," he told the crowd. "Only then can we be an example to the rest of the world." Sharpless also previewed Oceana's campaign against plastic pollution, set to launch early next year. "Every time a company chooses to make a plastic package, they are producing persistent toxic waste," he said. "Ocean plastic is not a litter problem, it's a pollution problem."
Sam Waterston, Nile Rodgers, and Ted Danson.
"Plastic pollution is one of the greatest challenges we face as ocean conservationists," said Oceana Board Member Susan Rockefeller, who hosted the event along with her husband and fellow Oceana board member, David Rockefeller, Jr. "The campaign to address this urgent problem is vitally important. I thank everyone who attended our 2018 Gala and cannot wait to get them further involved as we fight to save the oceans."

The evening concluded with a live musical performance by Nile Rodgers and CHIC, whose hour-long set included hits like "Le Freak," "Everybody Dance" and "Get Lucky."
Andy Sharpless, Sam Waterston, Susan Rockefeller, Nile Rodgers, and Ted Danson.
And from the Put-On-Your-Calendar Department ...

On Wednesday, November 7th, the Royal Oak Foundation welcomes William Cavendish, Earl of Burlington, and heir to the dukedom of Devonshire, to New York City to speak about his family’s home in Ireland, Lismore Castle.

Lord Burlington will guide us through the Castle’s fascinating 800-year history; show the remarkable Pugin interiors; trace the Cavendish family’s American connections; and explain how the castle has evolved into a much-loved family home, as well as a center for international contemporary art and education.

Tickets and more information here:

New York Social Diary readers receive a discount on tickets. Use code: 18FNYSD
Lismore Castle: ‘Built by King John, plumbed by Adele Astaire.’
Starting last night, October 18th, and spanning over the next 10 days, the 2018 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, celebrating its eight year anniversary, will be screening over 100 feature and short wildlife documentaries, representing over 40 nations. There will be over 50 World and North America premieres, with filmmakers and scientist in attendance from across the globe. In addition, there will be panel discussions, receptions, field trips, networking, and more. Venues include the Cinema Village Theater and the Park Avenue Screening Room.

To purchase tickets for an individual series or an all access film festival pass visit:

The WCFF mission is to inform, engage and inspire wildlife conservation through the power of film. Consider becoming part of the WCFF family! NYSD has!

Photographs by Rob Rich (Oceana)

Contact DPC here.