The beat of Haitian drums penetrated the air in Sag Harbor last Friday night, during the first street fair held downtown to benefit a foreign country. The students at East Hampton High School got the idea to organize a benefit called, "Why Haiti?" in an effort to bring some relief to the suffering to these people, from poverty, flooding, mudslides, polluted water and health crosses.
Actor and noted activist Danny Glover
came out from his home in Northern California to take part in some readings at this event. "I've been to Haiti to see this sad situation, and I'm here to help spread the word that these people need our help," he said. "I admire the resources and strength of these people, who are plagued with many serious problems. They are also celebrating their bicentennial year, and they were the first country to successfully have a slave revolt which led to their freedom and independence," he said.
Glover joined Haitian singer Jean Jean-Pierre
, and Haitian novelist Edwidge Danticat
, in some entertainment. About 250 people gathered at this street fair outside radiofreehamptons, which also included Caribbean food, henna tattoos, hair braiding, and crafts. Sponsors of this event included the Eastern LI Chapter of the NAACP, Eastville Community Church and Radiofreehamptons, a Sag Harbor Internet café and store.
These groups raised about $7,000 to send to MADRE, an organization of women who will distribute the money in Haiti. They plan to raise additional funds by showing a movie, "The Agronomist," at the Bridgehampton National Bank in August, with a date to be announced. This movie is the story of Radio Free Haiti, a station whose owner was assassinated for trying to get out the truth about political unrest and injustices in this country.
Over in East Hampton, following this event, Mojitos were flowing at the "VH-I-- Save the Music" benefit at the home of Jaci Wilson
and Morris Reid
. Overlooking scenic Gardiner's Bay, this was the perfect spot for an afternoon garden party, which raised funds to purchase musical instruments for schools nation-wide. Lots of celebs showed up, including Ashanti
, basketball star Jalen Rose, Russell Simmons, John Sykes
, head of VH1, Christina Norman
, President of VH1, and singer Angel
, who performed at this event.
One interesting item auctioned off at this party was the personal guitar of Sting, which went for an amazing $20,000! He apparently used this guitar on his latest tour, and the winner was thrilled to have it. Also at this event, Target Stores donated red flip-flops to all the female guests, who wanted to avoid tripping on the grassy hillside in their high heels.
Another, different sort of event took place further down in Montauk, with great comedians performing at Gurney's Inn Resort & Spa
. Unfortunately, there are not many opportunities to catch good comics performing live in the Hamptons, which lack the well-attended comedy clubs of New York City. Gurney's has also started offering an Italian, pasta buffet before this show every Friday night, which makes for a fun and entertaining evening. It continues through the summer.
All the stars were out and about at the annual benefit bash for Bay Street Theatre last Saturday night, but this year instead of its usual location on Sag Harbor's Long Wharf, it was held in the farm fields of Nova's Ark art complex in Bridgehampton.
, daughter of Julie Andrews
and famous set designer Tony Walton
, who runs the theatre with her husband Steve Hamilton
, explained that her bash had to be changed due to village permit problems in Sag Harbor. But even that and the windy weather had no effect on the hoards of supporters packing the giant tent, including such notables as Alec Baldwin
, who starred in a play about a year ago at this theater, Christie Brinkley
and Peter Cook
, who frequent the shows, Mercedes Ruehl, Roy Scheider
and his wife Brenda Siemer, B.Smith
, a neighbor of the Bay Street Theatre with her well-known restaurant, her husband Dan Gasby, James Lipton, and Allan Alda. Congressman Tim Bishop
and his wife Kathy
also perused the crowd, and well-known artist Nova
, of Romania, who owns the Nova's Ark complex and education center, also greeted guests along with his partners, Tundra Wolf
. Guests feasted on a wonderful menu catered by the prominent Robbins-Wolfe of Manhattan.
"This is our main fund-raiser of the year, so it's always bigger and better each year!" said Emma Walton, who held the hand of her son Sam. She said her mother, Julie Andrews, could not attend, but has always been very supportive of Bay Street Theatre.
Down the road, Dawn Zimmerman
was raising more money for another great cause, her Child Development Center of the Hamptons, which she runs in Amagansett. This is a school for mentally and developmentally challenged children. Zimmerman got the idea to start this school about ten years ago, when her own autistic son had to travel all the way up the island to go to a special school. and she decided there needed to be a closer school on the East End. She has been successful in obtaining sponsors and grants, and evidence showed on Saturday night, that about 500 people came to support this local school. Included in the crowd were many corporate heads and Wall Street executives.
This weekend, there is no end to the amount of fabulous benefits and parties coming up. On Saturday afternoon, don't miss the amazing bargains to be found at the annual Designer Shopping Day, a benefit for Ovarian Cancer Research which has been held for the past several years in the farm fields of Nova's Ark in Bridgehampton. There are tables of fashions for all ages, by about a hundred top designers, and wonderful food and music, as well as rides and entertainment. As the day goes on, the prices go down, and it's a great chance to shop till you drop, all for a good cause.
This Saturday night, you can make your way to two of the summer's best art-related events—a benefit for the Water Mill Center, created by famous artist Robert Wilson
, and the Retreat
, which is having their "Artists Against Abuse
" auction of plates designed by well known artists and even some celebs. Also, don't miss the Blue Moon Ball, a benefit for Eco Farm in East Hampton, hosted by Christie Brinkley, her husband Peter Cook, and other environmentally-geared celebrities. Enjoy!