Debbie’s Week at a Glance: The last of Summer, the last of Southampton

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Last summer sunset.

And so we are here, technically, at the end of summer. But for those lucky enough not to have desks, classes, empires beckoning, Autumn  in the country is the loveliest. The weather is crisply perfect, the crowds abate, and the locals celebrate ‘Tumbleweed Tuesday’ – the first day without us.

But before we left, we celebrated, as if in tribal ritual, the end of summer. The Parrish Art Museum and Kim Heirston led us gently into the Labor Day drumbeat, with a smart and savvy tour and lecture to celebrate that other cool chick, Helen Frankenthaler. 


Helen sits nicely in the Herzog de Meuron designed Parrish.

The celebrated exhibit, Abstract Climate, shows her work from her summers in Provincetown, which was of course, informed by her time out East with Hans Hofman and Jackson Pollack. The show runs till October 27th and is well worth seeing, according to less biased (I am a trustee) and better informed people, i.e. the Times.


L. to r.: Helen Frankenthaler’s Window — inspiration for this lunch and much more; Hostess, art consultant and Frankenthaler expert, Kim Heirston, shares.

Kim, no slouch in the art department (she is an accomplished advisor), led a tour with The Parrish’s Director, Terrie Sultan, that captivated ladies (gender specific, for some reason) including Debra Black, Nancy Silverman, Roberta Amon, Liz Thompson, Dayssi Kanavos, and Audrey Gruss.


Parrish Art Museum Director Terrie Sultan discusses Helen with collector Victoria Wyman, and artist Liz Thompson.
Helen and Nancy Silverman’s legendary gams.

Clever Kim carried the perfect and true colors of Helen’s ‘Window’ onto the table, through the flowers and even into a mini painting/cookie. It was an enlightening and special respite before the weekend slam.


Here are Helen’s colors — Blue …
… orange, and green.

Later that day, I took (no longer ‘dragged’ – he actually enjoys my life) my boy Will in from L.A. to The Southampton Arts Center’s 6th Annual SummerFest. We were greeted by the Executive Director Tom Dunne especially proud of the important Joel Sartore photo exhibit, compelling in the artistry of the animal shots, and more so, by the threat of extinction they all face.


The Southampton Arts Center — site of old Parrish.
SAC’s Executive Director, Tom Dunne, greeting guests at the 6th Annual SummerFest.
Snippet of Nat Geo’s Joel Sartore’s amazing photo show.

Fittingly the Champion of the Arts honoree was Diane Tuft, famous for her photography that also captures the urgency of climate change. Many local restaurants offered up a taste of their menus, and we carefully paced ourselves to leave room for our proper dinner. We dashed early, but know the SAC stalwarts were there: Simone and David Levinson, Peter Marino (whose own museum will open soon, next door), Jane Holzer, Nina Garcia and Annie Faulk.


Grazing from 20 local restaurants.
L. to r.: Caroline Hirsch, of Caroline’s Comedy Club, appropriately happy; Diane Tuft, recipient of the Champion of the Arts Award.

Off we whisked to an anonymous, but lovely cocktail. The Sea Star jeep is your clue, if you care. Half a rosé and a jaunt around the corner for a very summer, family lobster dinner.


The Sea Star jeep — a hint of who the hostess was.
Nope, still can’t tell. A suitably anonymous shot.

Friday, we prepped for 7 guests and a dinner for multiples of that. I went to a gentle, candlelit dinner in town and envied their hot and cold running help, and realized my guests (technically, my son’s) would have to be my staff.


The ultimate airbrush — candlelight.
Girls gab, while…
… the boys grill.
I force my children’s friends to dress in theme.
Here, the living room rules.

Saturday, I ground, mixed and blended until I had a flotilla of sauces –chimichurri, tzatziki, Thai, Green Goddess … to spruce up your basic grill. Said guests, did in fact help. Tablecloths were unfurled, Southsides mixed, many veg and meats sacrificed to the grill, and a glorious dinner party happened. Note: there were vats of sauces left over. My theory is it was too dark to see all those beckoning bowls. Yeah, must’ve been that.

Sunday, the last hurrah day began with a beautiful beach side lunch that included my daughter Serena and her pal, Yaya’s (hostess) granddaughter, which as you may be able to tell, are my happiest moments.


All the summer’s blues — sky, ocean, pool, and my mood.
Our resilient flag still waves.

And so the last, perhaps most festive, opulent of the summer is always Amelia and Bayo Ogunlesi’s. Constructed in the back of their beautiful Great Plains Road home, it is a transporting experience. Saundra Parks, event designer, creates an atmosphere so chic, it made some of the green whale pants look sexy. 

It was also a wonderful mix of Wall Street titans, friends and family from Ghana and Nigeria, Amelia and Bayo’s home, school connections, golf buddies, Southampton neighbors and my favorite, many pals of their sons Geoffrey and Carl.


L. to r.: Host, Bayo Ogunlesi and son, Carl; Geoffrey Ogunlesi, music maestro.

Both boys are in the music biz, and Bayo gave a proud shout out to Geoff, whose discovery and client, Young Thug, is #1 on the Billboard Hits list this week. You may not have his album, but everyone under 35 does. Music reigned, and folks who probably didn’t shake a leg much this summer, did lots of it, to the 15-piece band.


L. to r.: Christine Schwarzman and Carolla Jayne at the Ogunlesi bash; And switching sides, with Frances Lodge.
L. to r.: I said, ‘I like interrupting moguls’ (who are also pals) and so I did. Steve Schwarzman and James Gorman; I like my kid’s friends better than mine — Larken Bailey.
Jennifer and Seth Miller, our soon-to-be ex-neighbors.
L. to r.: Annie Watt — photog and wrinkle eraser extraordinaire; David Drummond chimes us in to dinner, with swagger.
Party design magic by Saundra Parks.
L. to r.: Kathryn Chenault and hostess, Amelia Ogunlesi; The creator, Saundra Parks, with a friend.
Kimberly Hatchett. Can you believe there are two of her? She has an identical twin sister. Lucky us.
L. to r.: Charlie and Kristen Krusen, Southampton mainstays; Michael Shaheen and Maryanne Horwath, partners in marriage and real estate.
Senator Chuck Schumer. Yes, there are Dems in Southampton. Lots.
Just a cozy little supper on Great Plains.
And the Ogunlesi’s toast to another wonderful summer and a bittersweet adieu.

This little berg has now quieted, but I suspect that village to the west, will offer up a bit, too.

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