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Hamptons-Based Museum Hosting Special Grey Gardens Screening And Panel Discussion

Nicolette Finder

"Big" Edie and "Little" Edie Beale. (Courtesy Photo: Janus Films)

The Parrish Art Museum, in conjunction with the Maysles Documentary Center and Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF), will present a screening and discussion that will highlight Grey Gardens, a documentary about the Beales. The exclusive event will take place on Thursday, August 11th, beginning at 6 p.m.

The film was produced by Albert and David Maysles and Susan Froemke, and directed by the Maysles, Ellen Hovde, and Muffie Meyer. The film depicts the lives of a mother and daughter, "Big" Edie and "Little" Edie, who were related to Jacqueline Bouvier. They lived in Grey Gardens, a 28-room East Hampton estate that overlooked Georgica Pond, which was slowly falling apart and rotting away. Edith Ewing Bouvier - otherwise referred to as "Big" Edie - was a wealthy socialite before moving to Grey Gardens in the 1930's. In 1952, her daughter, "Little" Edie joined her.

"Grey Gardens is a masterful documentary that captures the idiosyncrasies of an isolated family of renown living in the heart of the Hamptons but happily stuck in the past," said Andrea Grover, the Century Arts Foundation Curator of Special Projects at the Parrish. "The evening will be enriched by a panel of specialists and fans who respond to some of the most memorable moments in the film."

The film captures the mother-daughter duo singing, laughing, and enjoying life, despite the decrepit conditions of their residence. In 1971, their relative, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, provided funds for the house to be fixed up. It was in 1973 that the Maysles discovered the Beales, after their visit to the house with the sister of Onassis, Lee Radziwill. Upon completion, the documentary was presented at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. Its success inspired a Tony-award and 2009 Emmy Award winning musical.

"Maysles Documentary Center is so excited to celebrate such an iconic film in such a creative way with HIFF and the Parrish," explained Executive Director Erika Dilday.

Audience members are encouraged to participate in the "Edie Parade" by attending the screening in costume, dressed as "Big" Edie or "Little" Edie Beale. Fashion icon Iris Apfel, as well as Grey Gardens subject Jerry "the Marble Faun" Torre, will be judging the costume contest. Gifts will be awarded to winners and all contestants will be granted free admission to the screening.

"Dressing up as 'the Edies,' bringing a little of our native Harlem to the Hamptons, it's what I like to call 'all good!'" added Dilday. The contest will kick-off the night, and be followed by the screening and panel discussion.

The community is also invited to submit photos of their pets in Grey Gardens costumes, which will be displayed on the parade path. Photos should be submitted to programs@parrishart.org.

Participating panelists will include Harlem historian Michael Henry Adams, Grey Gardens subject Jerry "the Marble Faun" Torre, editor and producer Muffie Meyer, fashion icon Iris Apfel, and co-author Sara Maysles.

Tickets are $10 for non-members and admission is free for members. The Parade and reception will begin at 5 p.m., with the screenings beginning at 6 p.m.

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, visit parrishart.org.

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