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Casual Merriment

Originally Posted: January 25, 2007

Nicole B. Brewer

Kate Spade wiht her daughter Bea at the Guggenheim. Photo by Lotte Hansen

Sponsored by Payard, Ciao Bella Gelato, and Veuve Clicquot and chaired by Mary Sharp Cronson, Caroline Cronson, Denise Saul, and Jennifer Saul Yaffa the much-anticipated third annual The Nutcracker Sweet, A Family Holiday Benefit celebrated the magic of the holidays with a very special family event to benefit the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

The event took place in the Peter B. Lewis Theater of the Guggenheim Museum. Produced by Tom Gold, renowned dancers from the New York City Ballet performed excerpts from George Balanchine's much beloved The Nutcracker set to Tchaikovsky's classic score. The performance was followed a light supper and festive holiday treats in the museum's Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rotunda featuring sugary centerpieces adorned with Chef Francois Payard's delicious macaroons and inspired by contemporary artist Will Cotton. Proceeds from the event went towards the Guggenheim Museum's operating funds.

Alison Becker Hurt continues to draw the most interesting and provocative guests to her Authors Roundtable Dinner Series at her eponymously named Alison Restaurant in Bridgehampton. This weekend the series offered an opportunity to chat with Amanda Vaill author of the widely praised, and justly so, biography of the legendary Jerome Robbins who dazzled both ballet and Broadway audiences with his brilliant choreography and direction.

Alison Becker Hurt and Amanda Vaill at Alison Restaurant. Photo by John Wegorzewski

His groundbreaking work with the New York City Ballet in the heyday of the fabled Mr. B as in George Balanchine won him international acclaim and a high place in dance history annals but it was his work on Broadway that made him a household name. Ms. Vaill chronicles all of this and more in her best-selling "Somewhere, The Life of Jerome Robbins". The hefty tome is filled with vintage photos and chock-a-block with great anecdotes about his work on such classics as West Side Story, On the Town, Gypsy, The King and I and Fiddler on the Roof, with the world's most celebrated artists including many East End neighbors such as Arthur Laurents, Sheldon Harnick and Adolph Green.

Among the attendees dining on the exquisite fare were Robbins' longtime friends Aidan Mooney and Bill Earle to whom he bequeathed his beloved Bridgehampton home, author Adam Lewis, former Martha Stewart publishing honcho Suzanne Sobel, Valerie Smith and East End Books' John Brancati.

The same evening powerhouse attorney Susan Burnside hosted a seated dinner at her warm and inviting historic Bridgehampton home to welcome artist Jennifer Miller back to the Hamptons. Folks gathered to congratulate the artist on her wildly successful show in Paris. Jennifer who divides her time between Mendocino, Ibiza, Paris and New York was thrilled to see so many old friends. Among those at the lively dinner were Michelle Murphy and husband Robert Strata, Scott Partelow, Grace Grimaldi, Ruth Terry, Valerie Hasley, Judy and Michael McDowell, and LuAnn de Lesseps. After dinner, a group headed over to the de Lesseps' home for nitecaps in front of the enormous roaring fireplace in LuAnn's lodge-like great room.

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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