Friday, June 8, 2018

Keeping it Beautiful

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at New York Botanical Garden's annual Conservatory Ball. 9:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, June 8, 2018. Sunny and fair, yesterday in New York with the temps barely touching 70 and settling after nightfall in the low 60s. Perfect weather for comfort.

A reader sent us this photo titled: “Jake and Louie true love” after reading our Diary about the dogs in my life.
Jake and Louis.
Father’s Day Special. I had dinner this past week with documentary filmmaker Alice Shure who is an old friend-of-a-friend. Alice and I have known each other in passing for decades now, sharing a mutual friend.

Alice Shure. Photo: Nicole Rosenthal
Alice started making video portraits ( in the 1970s when video itself was a brand new technology. Her first – made with equipment rented from a television studio – was a birthday tribute to one of her two brothers, actor/producer and movie mogul Bob Evans. This was back when before VCRs were even available for home use.

She told me it took her six months to make it, but it launched her on a career that now covers more than three decades. Her films have aired on public television and been screened at film festivals across the world. Her most recent film, called “MAKING SPACE/5 Women Changing the Face of Architecture,” is currently in foreign distribution at PBS.

Since that initial film on her brother Bob, Alice has produced videos and documentaries about people in the arts as well as personal friends and acquaintances such as Charles Gwathmey, Ross Bleckner, Edgar Bronfman, Grace Hartigan.

Last year she was asked by an acquaintance to make a “legacy” video. The man, a prominent New Yorker of a certain age was thinking of future generations of his family.  Instead of writing a memoir, he wanted a visual one that could be passed on, so that his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and even beyond, would not only know who he was, but what he looked like, sounded like; what his gestures were, and what he did and thought about.

Alice's first video was a birthday tribute to actor/producer and movie mogul Bob Evans back when before VCRs were even available for home use.
The concept of family legacy is suddenly upon us because of technology. Many people do want to pass their stories on. When Alice told me about this assignment, I immediately thought of the generations who came before my parents. All of them were gone by the time I came into the world. Yet I’ve often wondered about them, and how I represent that heritage. Of course I never will know because we are actually the first generation ever with the tools to create our own visual biographies.

“Wouldn't we all like to be able to press a button,” Alice said, “and actually see and hear our grandparents whom never knew telling stories about their lives and times that came before us?”

This first film, which is forty minutes in length, has been completed and delivered. It inspired Alice to take her work in that direction also. She calls it “The Gift of a Lifetime.” It occurred to me that with Father’s Day coming up, and it would be a great gift to the old man and the generations that follow him – a legacy video! To learn more, you can call Alice at 212-755-1288.

Last night I was a guest of Geoffrey Bradfield at Doubles where every Thursday night they put on a special dinner (with a theme) and members take tables and invite their friends. There were 180 attending (dancing too).

Seafood was the “special” last night. Wendy Carduner the club’s directrice has a stupendous menu. By stupendous, everything looks so good that no matter what you’re thinking diet-wise, goes out the window. There was a variety of seafare starting with the lobster that you see in the photo, and all the other marine goodies.
The lobster boat at Doubles.
Even lobster (shaped) cookies ...
There was also a table of salads alluringly fresh and varied – a section of a dozen or more, as well as the desserts – the kind you think you should avoid but don’t/can’t/won’t. I tried four beginning with the carrot cake (photo) and ending with the mousse. Geoffrey is the consummate host and this night guests were Debbie Bancroft, Henry and Leila Heller, Margo Langenburg, David Sprouls, Stephanie Krieger and this writer.
And the can't-get-enough carrot cake.
Meanwhile, at the same time, JH and Danielle were up at the New York Botanical Garden for its annual Conservatory Ball which this year celebrated Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai’i with a fantastic luau themed event.

The Garden has created a monumental immersive experience that includes a historic film, an exhibit of O’Keeffe’s journey and visit to Hawaii, against the backdrop of the most lush and colorful display of exotic Hawaiian flora in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory honoring the landmark collection of works by Georgia O'Keeffe which were last hung together in New York at their debut in 1940. Also included was an exhibition of contemporary Hawaiian artists, works of NYBG botanists in the Pacific islands, and a poetry tour, as well as the carefully curated collection of this great artist’s work. 
The receiving line.
Gregory Long with co-chairs  Deborah Goodrich Royce, Alexandra Lebenthal, Gillian Miniter, Catherine Marlette Waddell, and Gillian Steel.
The Conservatory Ball Gala Chairmen devising this divine destination were Alexandra Lebenthal, Gillian Miniter, Deborah Goodrich Royce, Gillian Steel, and Catherine Marlette Waddell.

The ball also celebrated Gregory Long’s 29 years of service as NYBG’s Chief Executive Officer and The William C. Steere Sr. President. Upon receiving a Mayoral proclamation declaring June 7, 2018 as Gregory Long Day, Gregory dispensed this nugget of wisdom to us all: Keep it Distinguised, keep it Beautiful, Keep it Great; Onward and upward." Indeed!
Cocktails in the garden.
Hula girls welcoming guests to dinner.
Entering the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.
A quick look at the exhibition in the Conservatory exploring the beauty and variety of Hawaiian flora.
Exiting the Conservatory.
Entering the tent for dinner.
The table flora.
Catherine Marlette Waddell, Gillian Steel, Gregory Long, Deborah Goodrich Royce, Gillian Miniter, Alexandra Lebenthal, Sigourney Weaver, and Maureen Chilton wearing their Leis.
One last dance for Sigourney Weaver and Gregory Long.

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