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Busy day on the social, charity-circuit side of things

Houston Street. 3:40 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Change in the weather. Fair and sunny, cool and cloudy, a spritz of rainfall late in the afternoon, and a not quite chilly day -- yesterday in New York. The kind of weather that throws people off; back to the jacket.

It was a busy day on the social, charity-circuit side of things. There was a luncheon at Doubles for Doctors of the World. There was a luncheon at the Museum of the City of New York. Bronson van Wyck, the event planner/designer, was speaking. I wasn’t there so I don’t know what it was but Bronson has an artist’s way of looking at the world and a businessman’s way of conducting his business.
Happenings high above Manhattan.
Last night’s calendar was jammed like November. Dr. Gerry Imber and Ms. Cathryn Collins gave a cocktail in the garden (on Beekman Place) for Amanda Ross, the new Fashion Director of  Departures. The French Heritage Society’s New York Chapter hosted a curiosity-satisfying lecture by David Garrard Lowe,  “Americans on Paris's Left Bank” at the New York School of Interior Design. Down at the Cassa Hotel on 70 West 45th Street “Milly” was having its Annual Milly Summer Soiree featuring her current collection at 50% off retail with 100% of the proceeds to benefit the March of Dimes New York Division. 100%!

Over at Lincoln Center at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater the School of American Ballet held its Workshop Performance Benefit. Everything about the SAB is good for all of us, and especially good for the children who have the opportunity to be educated there. More on that when we show you the pictures. Way downtown, the Battery Conservancy held its 17th annual Battery Gala, in the Park where they honored AT&T and Melvyn Kaufman posthumously.

At 583 Park Avenue the “I Have a Dream” Foundation held its gala and honored Bob and Suzanne Wright. It’s a wonderful cause: Eugene Lang started it 31 years ago when he spontaneously told an 8th grade graduation class in Harlem that if they went to college, he would pay for it for all of them. The Foundation’s work now includes mentoring, There are more than 11,000 alumni with 3,000 students currently in programs all across the country.  Mr. Lang at 93 is still actively involved!
Carlos Watson, Eugene Lang, and Sue Herera.
Iris Chen, President and CEO of the I Have A Dream Foundation.
Daniel and Sue Herera, Suzanne and Bob Wright, and Carlos Watson.
Teshana D. Henderson and Ellis Henderson.
Over at the Pierre, Calvary Hospital was having its annual Awards Gala. At the Paley Center for the Media they were screening National Geographic’s “The Unlikely Leopard,” a new film by Dereck and Beverly Joubert. At the Princeton Club the New York Society Writers Hall of Fame gala was held to mark the induction of E. L. Doctorow, Pete Hamill, Toni Morrison, and Joyce Carol Oates! Cocktails and dinner.

And that was just the stuff managed to reach these eyes. Much more elsewhere about the town, of that I have no doubt. What is remarkable, is that was just one Tuesday night in early June in town.

I was down at MoMA where the Gordon Parks Foundation was hosting the Gordon Parks Centennial Gala, “Gordon Parks One Hundred Years.”
I met Gordon Parks in the late 90s when Gloria Vanderbilt invited me to a dinner they were giving for him at ... I think ... MoMA. I know I wrote about it afterwards because I was starry-eyed. Parks and Vanderbilt were two very glamorous people in terms of public image and they had stature in presence too. But they were just powerful (but real) individuals.

Much is made of Parks’ photographs, and deservedly. But New York is a place where the Ego Has Landed and remained intact. Fame and celebrity that graces (wrong word, right idea) the talent the city attracts often takes a piece of the heart and the humanity in exchange. Not true with Mr. Parks. He was his work. Vanderbilt is like that too. She and Parks were close friends. Night and Day you are the one.

The Gordon Parks Foundation was founded by Gordon Parks and Philip Kunhardt Jr. Its Executive Director is Peter Kunhardt Jr. They honored three people whose work “has changed the landscape of film, photography and music. Each has excelled in a field Gordon cared deeply about; each shares his commitment to making the world a better place.”
The cocktail hour of the Gordon Parks Centennial Gala in the gallery just outside the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at MoMA last night.
A view from above.
They were: Richard Plepler, co-President of HBO, Annie Leibovitz, the photographer, and Alicia Keys. We were entertained by dancers – Rosie’s Theater Kids, a singer – Nia Drummond, a 17-year-old senior at Brooklyn High School of the Arts who has been a awarded a Centennial Scholarship by the Foundation, and Grammy Award winner Professor Irvin Mayfield performed on the trumpet.

Anderson Cooper was emcee. Karl Lagerfeld came from Paris. Anna Wintour came from Vogue. Music Mogul Clive Davis accepted the Award for Alicia Keys (who recorded a video acceptance). Hugh Hildesley came from Sotheby’s and and effortless conducted, in his basso profundo voice — preceded by a long, loud shhhhh — conducted an auction and raised thousands for the cause.
The tables and the waitstaff armed with wine red and white, just before the crowd moved up to the second level for dinner.
The table set with the first course: Black Grape Grana Salad; Arugula, Mint, Basil, Barlett Pears (sliced paper-thin), Grana Padano and White Balsamic.
I don’t go to a lot of “dinners” at MoMA. I’m not sure they have very many. But when they do, everyone is glad to be there in this enormous, spacious edifice. The mood was Party, and Art was the credential. Peter Beard was there (as a guest) and taking pictures occasionally from his place at the table. The tables were full of conversation but everyone paid attention to all the speakers and all performances as well as Hugh Hildesley’s shhhh. It was a wonderful evening and the heart and the soul of Gordon Parks was all around us and we were lucky.
Waiting for the guests, looking out toward the Sculpture Garden.
The guests begin to ascend the steps to dinner.
David, Katie, and Stephanie Eisenberg. The Eisenbergs are old friends and neighbors of the Kunhardts. Katie, who just finished up at NYU majoring in theatre arts, is moving to Los Angeles. Nikki Haskell and her BFF, Clive Davis the legendary Music Mogul. During his acceptance for Alicia Keys, he told us about first hearing her and being so impressed he wanted the world to hear her right away. He thought of Oprah and what she did for books and proposed to her she try doing with talent. When Oprah heard Alicia, that was it.
At table. The blonde in white is Linda Wells, editor-in-chief of Allure, with her hand on the shoulder of Karl Lagerfeld. The blonde in black with the glasses is the honoree Annie Leibovitz, and the man with the plaid shirt and grey tie is the great German language publisher, international publisher of photobooks, Gerhard Steidl. Steidl is publishing the Collected Works of Gordon Parks (5 books in a slipcase), available in September 2012. 100 percent of the sales revenue will go to the Gordon Parks Foundation.
Guests taking their seats for dinner.
Nejma (Mrs. Peter) Beard.
Emily Ford. Emily is married to former Congressman Harold Ford who was sitting on the other side of the table.
Peter Beard with his sister-in-law (and Emily Ford's mother) Deborah Beard.
Linda Wells at table chatting with Peggy Siegal, who was over-jetlagged having just returned from the Cannes Film Festival and London the day before the Jubilee began. Peggy was telling Wells she went to a ball every night in Cannes where everyone dressed. She went prepared with 8 gowns from Marchesa, designer Georgina Chapman's label.
Audrey Bernard of Audrey's New York Beacon News and Audrey Society Whirl talking to Velvyn Wright, writer publisher of Vevlyn's Pen, an online magazine. I don't know what they were talking about, but they were both very intensely engaged in the subject.
The left pinky of designer Jason Leong (Origami -- Russell Simmons' label), wearing a ring of his own creation.
The emcee who told us he'd known Gordon Parks since he was a kid, and Gordon used to visit driving up to the house "the coolest" car. Cooper said he wanted to be Gordon Parks. Peter Kunhardt, Executive Director of the Foundation, telling us about organizing the collected works of Gordon Parks that Steidl is publishing as a five-volume set that will be for sale in September. Kunhardt went into detail since he was addressing many collectors and photographers in the room.
Hugh Hildesley calling the sale of one of the Gordon Parks Photographs that sold in the thousands, raising funds for the foundation's work.
A video interview with Gerhard Steidl about his business which he started in 1972. He was a printer/publisher of posters, literature, selected art and photography books. In 1996 because of his passion for photography, he started his own internationally-oriented photo book program. Herr Steidl is still in charge of production of every book. Printing and binding and all other work is done in a four-story house in Gottingen. He produces about 300 titles a year.
Gordon Parks was one of ten children, born and brought up in Kansas. His family was so poor he was told no education would be good enough to get him the kind of job he needed to move up in life. So. undaunted by nature, he made a job for himself, with a camera taking pictures for a local department store, and soon learned that he had something to say and show the world. And the world saw and listened.
Patrician Comtesse Alain de la Falaise in Schiaparelli, Paris, France, 1949; Gelatin Silver Print 11 x 14.sold at the auction by Hugh Hildesley for $8000.
Chanel Fashion collection. Another auction item was a trip to Paris to see the opening of the Collection.
Honoree Richard Plepler. The honoree was introduced by Senator Chis Dodd of Connecticut who told us that he first met Richard Plepler when he came to work one week out of college in the Senator's office in Washington.
Honoree, Annie Leibovitz
John Legend introduces Alicia Keys and was followed by Clive Davis accepting on her behalf, although she also accepted and thanked the foundation via video.
The lady herself, who aside from her professional life, has raised millions for charities providing medications to young Africans with HIV and AIDS related diseases.
Clive Davis telling the audience about first meeting and seeing Keys.
Grammy and Billboard Award winning artist Irvin Mayfield, who at only 34, has a distinguished career as a musician, founding artistic director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, professor at the University of New Orleans. A passionate advocate for New Orleans and the arts, he is chair of the New Orleans Public Library Foundation. He also serves on the boards of Citizens United for Economic Equity, Louisiana State University's Department of Psychiatry and Health Science, the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, Tulane University's School of Architecture, Unity of New Orleans and the Youth Rescue Initiative. Last night his performance demonstrated why the man has won those awards for his playing.
The guests applauding Irvin Mayfield.
Emily Ford, her mother Deborah Beard, and Nejma Beard.
Karl Lagerfeld departing.
The party's over upstairs and soon the lower level will fill up for the after party dance.

Photographs by DPC (MoMA); Annie Watt (I Have a Dream).

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