In Real Life (and Reel, too)

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Snow-capped school buses. Photo: JH.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021. Yesterday in New York was cold, overcast, around 30 degrees. The pavement and roadways are still wet from the melting of the packed and crushed leftover snow. The plowed-in small mountains of it on corners are now streaked with grey and blackened, crusty, icy detritus — all plowed up and bordering sidewalks and roadsides.

For as quiet as the city is people-wise, the motor, bicycle and scooter traffic during the business day is heavy and the lanes are jammed narrower thanks to the weather and the construction and the double and triple parking (because of the leftover snow). It gets to the point where four lanes have only one usable. If it all sounds like a complaint, it is. And there’s nothing I can do about it so shuttup and keep your eye on the traffic.

It’s early February after some snow and expecting more in Manhattan. I hear it’s absolutely beautiful down there in Miami, Palm Beach and over on the West Coast in Sarasota, Naples. There are lots of would-be New Yorkers taking up at least temporary residence in any one of those communities.

Here’s a good reason as per JH.

From this vantage point (brrr), down there is where it’s happening. Last week The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) held its first-ever Virtual Palm Beach Hot Pink Luncheon & Symposium live last Thursday. Thanks to their loyal supporters, they raised $1.25 million to help ensure BCRF’s legion of leading scientists continue their vital work during this critical time.

BCRF annual fundraisers — luncheons, and dinners have raised hundreds of millions over the last 28 years for the cause. They are sell-outs because the events themselves are motivation. And they’re friendly and optimistic in terms of forward thinking.

It’s about a story that’s can do. Their work is making substantial progress in the quest to find a cure. Almost every penny of it goes to the research grants, and the progress they’ve been making has been hugely successful. The program in Palm Beach, hosted by Heidi Klum, featured a world-renowned panel of BCRF-funded researchers who shared the latest advances in breast cancer research and the future of breast cancer care.

Luncheon hostess Heidi Klum.

Klum’s participation, a second-generation of supporters, is another positive note. Having observed the development and growth of BCRF and its founder the late Evelyn Lauder, that optimism has produced enormous results in fund-raising to underwrite the hundreds of research scientists and doctors participating in the quest. The optimism is indeed brighter today than ever in those terms.

Michael Kors & Lance Le Pere were presented with the 2021 Evelyn H. Lauder Humanitarian Award by Aerin Lauder and Leonard A. Lauder. Michael and Lance have been dedicated friends of BCRF and steadfast breast cancer advocates for more than 15 years.

Aerin Lauder, Michael Kors and Lance Le Pere

Additional highlights included congratulatory remarks from Nina Garcia, Kate Hudson, William Lauder, Audra McDonald, and Anna Wintour. There were also the touching tribute performances by Deborah Cox and Billy Porter.  Breast cancer has not stopped during the pandemic. Neither will BCRF.

Deborah Cox and Sounds of Zamar.
Billy Porter.

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 11 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, is the opening of the annual Palm Beach Show featuring Jewelry, Art, Antiques and Design. It’s a big show and featuring the kind of treasures that you align with Palm Beach living and collections. It runs through February 16th. We’ve covered this show in past years and although we’re not going to make it, a friend of mine,  artist Peter Heywood is exhibiting.

Here in New York, as we reported late last week on Liz Smith’a birthday, Literacy Partners is holding an auction-fundraiser that will support the Liz Smith Center for Adult & Family Literacy at Literacy Partners. 

New York City’s leading adult literacy program is addressing both COVID-19 recovery and racial justice. Focusing at this time on African-American and recent emigrating families, Literacy Partners offers free classes, workshops and education media help low income parents build the functional literacy skills they need to achieve success for themselves and to promote their children’s early learning.

It’s a people-auction: one of the items is “Meet Whoopi Goldberg During a 15-Minute Zoom.  (the current bid is $1,650). There’s one where you can Pitch Your Book Over a Zoom Call with Jordan Pavlin who is Senior Vice-President and Editorial Director at Alfred A. Knopf.  Current bid on Zooming with Ms. Pavlin (current bid, $1,500). Then there is a special moment with Bette Midler who will personally inscribe and sign a copy of her forthcoming Children’s Book The Tale of The Mandarin Duck (current bid, $625). Lesley Stahl will take you on a Behind-the-Scenes Tour of 60 Minutes  Offices in New York. Latest bid on Lesley is $1,001. Emmy Award Winning journalist Alina Cho is offering a 1-hour conversation. And you can be a character in Barbara Taylor Bradford’s upcoming book (current bid: $525) — and who knows that character may become a star in the film based on the book. 

To learn more about the “items” for bidding visit, click here.

As I was putting together this Diary last night, I received the following photograph from Christopher Walling who also happens to be a new advertiser on the NYSD. But this isn’t about advertising. This is about show business history and all the plain old curiosity that famous movie stars provoke in us, the audience.

The man on the left is obviously Richard Burton with the blazing blue eyes, and his wife Sally Hay Burton who’s being “attacked” by his previous wife, one Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky. 

Sally Burton happens to be wearing a necklace and earrings designed by Walling that Liz is “attacking” her for. FYI, according to Walling: “Both necklace and earrings had large cabochons in four different pastel colors each in what are called ‘Roman setting’ as in ancient Rome, and pearls.”  

In real (not reel) life, it was said that Burton liked buying jewelry for his wives. Taylor faking “rage” toward her ex-husband’s new wife was referring to the necklace and earrings which she liked too. It’s perfect Hollywood irony set for the camera and Elizabeth was an empress when it came to the lens (Lillian Burns Sidney, the legendary acting coach at MGM once said that Elizabeth had the perfect face for the camera: she had no bad angles.) Perfect also for Christopher Walling’s business too, as well as Richard Burton’s generous and excellent eye.

Walling knew both Taylor and Burton as clients but also socially. This moment occurred after a performance on Broadway of Noel Coward’s classic drawing room comedy, outside their dressing rooms in 1983. In the summing up, they were both old pros, given to working, whatever the medium, to stay in the race and live, love, laugh and be happy. Just like in the movies. Back then.

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