Radical Wolfe cuts a path to Palm Beach

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Dinner at Pizza al Fresco followed a special screening of Radical Wolfe at the Norton Museum of Art, hosted by Palmer magazine.

Friday, March 29, 2024. Rainy day yesterday in New York, and Spring cold. Good Friday on the Calendar which of course has an entirely religious history referring to crucifixion of Christ. For anyone growing up in a non-Christian religious family it meant only a day off from school and a long “Easter weekend.”

But then, by the mid-20th century in America, religion had begun to fall aside in overall attendance. Nevertheless, no one minds any holiday, religious or otherwise.

History moves right along. Meanwhile last week, down in Palm Beach, under a Full Moon, on Monday night there was a screening. And not just any screening, but a Peggy Siegal super-screening of Radical Wolfe, a documentary on the life of the late great writer, journalist and novelist Tom Wolfe. The film was truly a labor of love for producer and director Rich Dewey, who has long been a student of the Tom Wolfe legacy.

Firstly, up here in ole Manahatta, I haven’t seen it yet although I love Wolfe’s work, and I personally possess an autographed copy of his best selling book The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987).  I never knew the man but his autograph gave me a distinct sense of him and what was clearly his insight and wit, shared. I get it off the shelf and look at it occasionally because it makes me laugh; as if he’s still in the room sharing it.

The front and back of my autographed copy of The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987).

I couldn’t make the screening, but Peggy and Michael Berman, the CEO of the new and popular Palm Beach “coffee table magazine” called PALMER (the legendary Stefano Tonchi is its Editorial Director), hosted the evening. Both Peggy and Michael emphasized that it was also an opportunity to bring together a lot of longtime Palm Beachers with the new members of the community who are contributing to the growth of the local population and paying the now seven-, eight- and nine-figure prices for the little that’s available.

The screening was held at the Norton Museum. 150 were invited and it was, as Peggy put it, “a Wolfe White fashion extravaganza … and everyone looked great.” Except fashion icons Tom Ford, George Hamilton, Bruce Weber and Nan Bush, Kelly Klein and Baby Jane Holzer wore black (they looked great, too).

CEO of PALMER Michael Berman opened the evening by welcoming 150 guests “to the much anticipated Peggy Siegal episode of PALM ROYALE!” He closed by saying, “Tonight, we remember the remarkable career of Tom Wolfe. And in doing so we celebrate the power of great journalism … and the majesty of the written word.”
The screening Room at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach.

L. to r.: Emilia and Pepe Fanjul; Abby and Howard Milstein.
L. to r.: Hilary and Wilbur Ross; West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James and wife Lorna James.
PALMER CEO Michael Berman, Peggy Siegal, and New York Public Library President Tony Marx.
L. to r.: Gayfryd Steinberg; Dixon Boardman and Karl Wellner.
L. to r.: Paul Wilmot and Blaine Trump; Alina De Almeida and John Paulson.
Whitney Schott and Tyler Tananbaum.

After the screening there was a dinner at Pizza al Fresco on Worth Avenue, which, as Peggy said, was “wolfed down. No pun intended.” It was also beautifully done: white tablecloths, royal blue dishes, glasses and bowls of blue hydrangeas to match the hydrangeas in the Museum’s garden, with the entire place lit with votives glowing.

Most importantly, from a producer’s point of view, the guest list was amazing with every cool cinema-file art collector and billionaire there, with no mention of politics (although there were some political considerations arranging the seating). But it was realized that the absence of cacophonous local and global news was the joy of the evening.

The entire evening was a huge success. The Norton Museum of Art has a gorgeous theater and everyone loved Radical Wolfe. The subject, the most cutting edge voice of peccadilloes of all strata of society, was picture perfect for the audience. 

Before the screening Tony Marx, president of the New York Public Library, spoke about the importance of the NYPL, especially research libraries, and how Tom Wolfe’s papers had been acquired at auction and donated to the NYPL Collections archive by philanthropist Kathy Rayner.

Following the film, writer Michael Shnayerson recalled his early memories of Tom Wolfe, who worked with his father Robert, former editor-in-chief of Harper’s magazine.

Nan Bush, Bruce Weber, Peggy Siegal, George Hamilton, and Katherine Bryan.
L. to r.: Danielle and David Ganek; Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker.
Judy Taubman and Tom Quick.
L. to r.: Carol and Earle Mack; Amy and Brett Baier.
PALMER CEO Michael Berman with wife Victoria Hagan and their son, Alex Berman.
Tony Shafrazzi.
West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James with wife Lorna James and Maribel Alvarez.
Hilary Geary Ross with Blaine Trump and Mei Sze Greene.
Chris Schlank with Andreea Fodor and Alison Newton.
Wilbur Ross and Jeff Greene.
Jane Holzer, Tom Ford, and Kelly Klein.
Kathy Rayner’s table.
Harry Benson, Darrah Ford, George Ledes, and Somers Farkas.
Mimi McMakin, Richard Johnson, Bill Ford, Gigi Benson, and Jonathan Farkas.
The kids table (clockwise from bottom left): Tennant Maxey, Bonnie Masters, Robert Riva, Larry Milstein, Tyler Tananbaum, Whitney Schott, Alex Hamer, Spencer Schlager, Emma Holzer, and Alex Berman.

Among the guests: Victoria Hagan and Michael Berman, Alex Berman, Lillian Fanjul Fernandez, Carol and Earle Mack, Pauline Pitt, Olga and George Votis, Tom Quick and Michael Donnell, Annette Tapert and Joe Allen, Judy Taubman, Chris Schlank, Daisy Soros, Electra Toub and Peter Soros, Gayfryd Steinberg and Michael Shnayerson, Danielle and David Ganek, Caroline Dean, Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox, Charlotte Beers, Amy and Brett Baier, Dixon Boardman, Katherine Bryan, Emilia and Pepe Fanjul, Alina de Almeida and John Paulson, Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Blaine Trump, Karl Wellner.

Also: Esty and Dan Brodsky, Priscilla Rattazzi, Tony Shafrazi, Christine Schott and George Ledes, Mai Hallingby, Bonnie Lautenberg and Steve Leber, Judith Miller, Kit Pannill and Talbott Maxey, Cathy Graham, Celerie Kemble, Mimi McMakin, Mish Tworkowsky and Joseph Singer, Gigi and Harry Benson, Kim Heirston, Christine and Gene Pressman, Meg and Doug Braff, Maribel Alvarez, Somers and Jonathan Farkas, George Gurley, Richard Johnson, Eleanora Kennedy, Mary Hilliard, David and Danielle Ganek, and many more who’ve escaped my eyes on this list.

Capehart Photography

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