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Plenty to Preview

Originally Posted: May 23, 2007

Nicole B. Brewer

Harvey Feinstein and Bettina Benson at the Horticultural Alliance of the Hamptons
plant sale. Photo by Katrina Lovett

The Horticultural Alliance of the Hamptons brought a new fashion trend to Bridgehampton Friday night - galoshes and wine glasses, as they presented their Preview Party and Plant Sale. The rain let up enough to make the weather pleasantly cool on the lawn of the Historical Society, but guests including Bern Haase, Elaine Bodtmann, Harvey Feinstein, and Bettina Benson wisely left the heels at home as they browsed the plants being offered.

Tasty down home hors d'oeuvres including pulled pork and macaroni in pastry shells, as well as sushi and paninis, made for easy snacking while picking the best plants to round out the landscaping on that cozy summer cottage. Raffle items including gift certificates and baskets from Mecox Gardens helped cover all the horticultural needs, books and tours of the Madoo Conservancy gave ample opportunity for inspiration, and a certificate for a Swedish Massage at LaCarezza Salon and Day Spa to help unwind after all the hard work.

On the North Fork, at Cecily's Love Lane Gallery in Mattituck, the Spring Quartet Art Show opened on Saturday evening, filling the charming gallery with works by Isabelle Haran-Leonardi, Steve Alpert, Steve Berger, and Rob White. We spotted several of the artists and their supporters at the artists reception. It was a fun chance to exchange tips of the trade with photographer Ken Rubino. Also spotted in the crowd were Jim Scully, gallery namesake Cecily Jaffe, and Hamptons.com's own R.B. Stuart.

Artists Alice Heran, Isabelle Heran-Leonardi, Bill Leonardi, and Paul Heran at Cecily's
Love Lane Gallery. Photo by Katrina Lovett

The artwork of the evening predominantly covered landscapes and local scenery. Many especially liked the large beach scenes from Rob White, the colors warming the viewers almost as if they were on the beach as well.

Up in The Springs, the newly renovated Ashawagh Hall - thanks to artist Vito Sisti and friends - was the setting for a massive show by the members of Photographers East. The show entitled "Photographers Choice" gave some 30 artists the opportunity to display their favorite recent works in the historic building just a stone's throw from Jackson Pollack's former studio. Artist Michael Knigin, one of the driving forces behind the association of photographers, was unofficial host of the afternoon reception. Several hundred art lovers turned out to view the latest creations of such popular East End artists as Tom Steele, Alex Vignoli, Jonathan Morse, Bill Lydon, Michael Cardacino, Tulla Booth, Chris Foster, Anthony Lombardo, Fred VanderWerven, Bruce Milne, Jana Hayden, Ellen Dooley, and Bob Wilson.

It's not just art and theater that are flourishing on the Hamptons scene, there has been a huge spurt in truly interesting poetry readings thanks to the efforts of such groups as The North Sea Poetry Scene and our wonderful independent book stores like Bookhampton, East End Books, and the enduring Canio's. Attendance has skyrocketed with more and more folks seeking out opportunities to hear thought provoking and great language.

Suzee and Chris Foster with Tulla Booth at Photographers East Show. Photo by
Edward Callaghan

On Sunday, there was a brilliant marathon of readings from the recently released "Long Island Sounds 2007 From Maspeth to Montauk and Way Beyond", edited by Tammy Nuzzo Morgan and Lynn Cohen. The event was held at the quaint North Sea Community House just as the sun was going down, a perfect setting for the diverse poetry that was read by the poets themselves. The poets, an extraordinarily lot from teens to octogenarians, novices to internationally published writers, covered an amazing range of personal observations on everything from memories of watermelon pushcarts in Brooklyn to the loss of a loved ones. Loss was an emotion that popped up in several works on the changes wrought on the East End landscape.

Highlights of the serene evening included Rosalind Brenner's poignant The Milliner, Edgar Carlson's Butterfly Trails; Lynn Cohen's A Lovely Lunch; Adam Fisher's delicious riff on the imagined owner of a pair of black high heels left in a parking lot; Jackie Moss and a spin on Jim Morrison; Haim Mizrahi's poems on the pain and pleasure of a painter's life; Tammy Nuzzo Morgan's heartbreaking memories of a child lost; and Allen Planz with his wonderful wit on such works as, It's a Short Life and a Long Island!

In New York, the annual Drama Desk Awards, one of the theater season's most eagerly anticipated events, saluted the outstanding talents of the 2006-2007 season. One thing you can count with this group of theater pros is plenty of partying. Before and after the awards are handed out. Makes for a really relaxed, no-edge evening for all.

Former US Poet Lauret George Wallace at the North Sea Poerty Scene reading.

This year the festivities began at 5pm at that legendary home of theater dealmakers, the newly refurbished Russian Tea Room. Thoroughly restored to its original glory, and then some, the glitzy red and gold rooms were the perfect showcase for the high glam event.

The incandescent Christine Ebersole co-hosted the VIP reception with longtime Drama Desk show producer Robert Blume. After the reception, guests piled onto luxury buses for the short trip over to the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Center for the 52nd Annual Awards. The delightfully bubbly Drama Desk winner Kristen Chenoweth, of "Wicked" fame, hosted the ceremonies with Broadway and film biggest talents in attendance.

The glittering crowd included: Kevin Spacey, Audra McDonald, Ashley Brown and the kids from "Mary Poppins", Martin Short, Jim Dale, Tommy Tune, Phylicia Rashad, Marsha Mason, Lea Salonga, Raul Esparza, Lea Michele, and nominees including Vanessa Redgrave, Frank Langella, Liev Schreiber, Brian F. O'Byrne, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eve Best, Gianni Russo, Donna Moore, Annie Parisse, Jonathan Groff, Donna Murphy, Michael Cerveris, Jan Maxwell, Martha Plimpton, Gavin Lee, Billy Crudup, Boyd Gaines, Debra Monk, Karen Ziemba, Barbara Walsh, Orfeh, Jack O'Brien, Hal Prince, Michael Mayer, John Doyle, Patricia Birch, Jerry Mitchell, Matthew Bourne, John Kander, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Julian Fellowes, Rupert Holmes, Alfred Uhry, Jonathan Tunick, William Ivey Long, Santo Loquasto, Capathia Jenkins, and Austin Pendleton.

Chrisine Ebersole and Matt Cavanagh at the Drama Desk Aards. Photo by John
Wegorzewski

Before the show began there were more cocktails with still more theater folks thanks to the good people at Grey Goose Vodka and Lubov Wines. Then into the theater for the much awaited magic moments. When the first tallies were taken "The Coast of Utopia", Tom Stoppard's epic trilogy of intellectual life in pre-revolutionary Russia, swept the drama category winning seven awards including Outstanding Play. "Spring Awakening", the rock musical based on the 1891 German play about sexually anguished teens coming of age picked up four awards including Best Musical. The show's composer rocker Duncan Sheik won the Outstanding Music award for his pulsating, high energy score.

Frank Langella scored Outstanding Actor in a play for "Frost/Nixon"; Eve Best, Outstanding Actress in a Play for "A Moon for the Misbegotten"; Raul Esparza for Outstanding Actor in a Musical for "Company" which also won Outstanding Revival and a two way tie with a pair of dynamic talents Audra McDonald for "110 in the Shade" and Donna Murphy for "LoveMusik" for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.

A midnight supper followed at the China Grill and in a wonderful show of fellowship many non-winners came to congratulate their peers. Special thanks to our pals at the Drama Desk including William Wolf, Robert Blume, Les Schecter and Southampton good friend Randie Levine Miller for a splendid evening indeed!


Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com HamptonsOnline NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer




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