Debbie’s Week at a Glance: Movie Stars, Birthday Girls, Presidential Candidates, and a Little Razzle Dazzle

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Bevy of b-day beauties at Anne Hearst McInerney’s birthday lunch.

Five days, one screening, one benefit, one political forum, four dinners, three lunches, twelve hand made place cards, two cocktails — a few of them — hosted by yours truly, culminating in a move out of my apartment. If this is not my crispest column, forgive me. Look at the pictures.

In town, Andrew Saffir’s Cinema Society lured us to Tribeca for a screening of the critically acclaimed film, ‘Skin’. I found it interesting that an International team — Israeli Director Guy Nattiv, British Trudie Styler (Sting’s better half), British born producer Celine Rattray, Australian actress Danielle Macdonald (we fell in love with her in “Patty Cake$” and is currently, on fire), and British actor Jamie Bell (“Billy Elliot,” “Rocketman” and much more) brought us this piercing, timely American story about white supremacists, and a disciple’s hard fought salvation. Oh yeah, and two years of identifying, tattoo removal surgery.


L. to r.: Guy Nattiv — Looks like a leading man, but the director of Skin; Meriam Al-Rashid, producer extraordinaire.
Daryle Lamont Jenkins, inspiration for the film, and his stars, Danielle Macdonald and Jamie Bell.

Meriam Al-Rashid (OK, American but with an international background) spearheaded the effort to get this film made after being turned down by countless producers. In a starry cast including an unsettling Vera Farmiga and equally haunting Bill Camp, Jamie Bell stands out and I suspect will be in the running for the little golden guy. I reminded him I had met him at the Hamptons International Film Festival, and he said he remembered me and noticed me earlier.


Danielle Macdonald and Jamie Bell in a scene from Skin.

I want to believe this. And off he went, home to his new baby girl and wife, Kate Mara. Richard E. Grant — who was a strong contender for best supporting actor last year for “Will You Ever Forgive Me?” — told me he is filming in Philadelphia. I told him of W.C. Fields’ quote on his tombstone: “Better here than Philadelphia.” 

He said, “That’s why I’m here. That, and Trudie.”


Richard E. Grant, fleeing Philly for Trudie (& Jamie Ray Newman). Inset: Skin star, Jamie Bell, a nobody, and the divine actor, Richard.
Daniel Benedict and Kane Manera, chilling in Gitano Jungle Terrace. Inset: Kane and wine, both from Perth Australia. They sure make good product.

Tried to scoot out east Friday a.m. to arrive in time for Margo Nederlander’s lunch for her pal, Michael Reidel, theater critic for the New York Post. I didn’t. 4 hours later, flushed and flustered, I arrived (of course, at the featured speaker’s table), late for the lobster but in time for his funny and perceptive chat about his wonderful book about Broadway, “Razzle Dazzle.”

Among the stories — how the Nederlanders and the Shuberts resuscitated Broadway at a time when New York’s crime and malaise made theaters’ land more valuable as parking lots.  “Annie” and “Chorus Line” turned the tide, and while “Hamilton” wasn’t Michael’s favorite production, he admitted it certainly solidified the power of greasepaint. Linda Lambert, Catherine Adler and Jimmy Nederlander, Jr. nodded in knowing agreement.


L. to r.: Michael Riedel, razzle dazzling the gals at the club; Nederlander sandwich, Jimmy and Margo, with a critic (Micael Riedel) inside.

Home for a quick change, and off to Jennifer Powers’ lovely new Southampton jewelry store, Merrichase (named, Mom Eileen Powers told me, because her late husband Jack would answer his daughter’s requests with “Off you go, on a merry chase.”)

This night, she saluted Kate Kuhner and Steven Stolman’s book, Betty Kuhner: The American Family Portrait. Betty was the first photographer to capture her society subjects in casual, natural settings rather than the traditional, rod straight, living room shots. Her lovely daughter Kate has carried on her work and style and actually photographed my family, in and on a tree, 20 years ago. It’s still my favorite picture.


Clockwise from top left: Jennifer Powers, glittering in her fab designs at Merrichase; Turning the camera on Kate Kuhner and Steven Stolman; Greg D’Elia, dog sitting; Kuhner’s captures.

Pant, pant. Up Meadow Lane I tore (not really, officer) to Nancy Silverman’s beautiful, beachfront, art-laden abode, filled with fun friends like Robert Zimmerman, Richard Zieglasch, Saundra Whitney, Caroline Hirsch and Judy Taubman. Nancy sipped from an aqua goblet that matched her eyes and Pucci pants, and also didn’t get mixed up with rest of our glasses. She was allowed. Back down Meadow Lane, where it changed to Gin, for a casual cookout next to the sparkling sea. This is why we are here.


L. to r.: Welcome to Nancy’s; Nancy greeting her first guest. I am annoyingly punctual.
Why she doesn’t leave home.
L. to r.: Goblet, jewelry, eyes … all aqua; Flowers from her garden.
L. to r.: Ann Barish and Caroline Hirsch, catching up; Robert Zimmerman gets socked with political questions and has answers.

Saturday a.m… drew place cards for Anne Hearst McInerney’s birthday lunch that I was co-hosting with Laurie Durning. I decided to do pictures of Anne’s menagerie — enough different animals for twelve unique pictures. Hope the goat girl isn’t offended.


I’m at it again. Place cards inspired by b-day girls menagerie.
Hostess, Laurie Durning and b-day girl, Anne Hearst McInerney.
B-day girl and Hilary Geary Ross, who made a generous detour to be with her friend, on her way to South America.
With producer Sara Colleton.
Clearly, Anne doesn’t eat creme brulee, but we had to put the candle somewhere.

Charged up to Nicole Miller’s North Haven, waterside home, where we toasted Candace Bushnell’s new book, Is There Still Sex in the City? She answered the question in her welcome … “Yes, but less.”


L. to r.: Hostess and author, Nicole Miller and Candace Bushnell; There is definitely sex in her city.

But there is always food, Celebrity chef Kerry Heffernan served up porgies and scallops he plucked from the sea that morning; and of course Nicole Miller’s own rosé flowed. Amanda Ross floated in in her own feminine design, Kelly Bensimon lit up the porch, figuratively, and Katherine LeFrak reminded us of how lovely it is to be a new mom. We went home with Nicole Miller sunglasses, said rosé, and of course, the book. I will use all three at once.


L. to r.: Chef Kerry Heffernan at Nicole Miller’s with the tomatoes and porgies he slayed; Nicole’s table before we descended.
Porgy pie.
L. to r.: Amanda Ross, pretty in her own pink design; Kelly Bensimon connecting.
L. to r.: Alexandra Kimball and Banjo/Boris dog mom, Ivana Lowell; Ivan’s dog Banjo, aka Boris Johnson. Random but irresistible.

I pulled Patricia Duff out with me, as were hosting a meet and greet with Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts at my house a half hour from then. Patricia is the founder of the non-partisan political organization, The Common Good, and asked if I’d do it.


Patricia Duff (making my pop living room, like Davos) with Congressman Seth Moulton.

I have been a fan of the Congressman and am even more so after meeting him. Young, bright, via Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and their Business School, four tours of duty as a Marine in Iraq, winner of the Bronze Star. And didn’t tell anyone. His family read about it in the paper. Policies based on common sense, reason and experience. And he’s movie star handsome, has a divine, accomplished wife Liz, and perfect, nine-month-old Emmy. 

Does he have a shot? The Times ran a pictorial, front page story, the day after our event, about his earnest, though not well known enough, candidacy. If not now, someday, for sure. Mark my words.


L. to r.: Lucky me with someday President, Congressman Seth Moulton; Congressman Moulton’s wife Liz and daughter, Emmy — so proud of daddy.
I’d vote for him based on his family alone.

There is probably not a more polar opposite event to the Congressman’s, than the Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center’s annual benefit. Greeted by feathered (human) gargoyles perched on the roof of barn, we stepped gingerly around naked, cellophane wrapped people (the mother in me wondered how they were breathing), passed the beetle boy clawing the soil, and around the glass enclosures with (more) naked folks, collapsing and rising again in puffs of dust (mother-in-me again worried- but saw they wore masks).


NO — the welcome (not) to Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center’s Benefit.

The forest propelled us into the “gallery” where what seemed like hundreds of works were up for auction, to be followed later by a live auction conducted by Simon du Pury. 

This year they honored Kathy Rayner and Carrie Mae Weems, and while I have always stayed for the dinner and Robert’s compelling welcome, this year I bookended Watermill with a quiet, Moulton-esque family dinner in a gentle place that is not mentioned.


Dusty dressing room. No clothes.
Deli wrapped, for freshness, bodies.
Beetle boy.
Dicey gal.

What day is it? Sunday. And we are celebrating Anne Hearst McInerney’s birthday at Le Bilboquet in Sag Harbor. A small group of devoted friends found their bestiary place cards (were you paying attention?), toasted our pal and wished her a great year, starting with her daughter Amanda’s wedding next week at her great-grandfather’s own castle, San Simeon. Stand by.


Photographs by Debbie Bancroft & Paul Bruinooge/PMC (Skin)

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