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Art Emerges and Theater Honors

Originally Posted: April 26, 2007

Nicole B. Brewer

Janis Cecil, Will Ryman, and Betsy Sussler at the BOMB magazine dinner. Photo by

The non-profit magazine BOMB celebrated its 26th Anniversary with a dinner studded with stars of the "art community" and a silent art auction set amid blossoming wisteria trees at The Park restaurant in Chelsea.

Editor-in-Chief Betsy Sussler thanked Board chair Tim Nye and Gala Co-Chairs Michèle Gerber Klein, Erika Klauer, Virginia Cowles Schroth, and Brent Sikkema and Young Collectors Chair Bree Jeppson.

Legendary painter Alex Katz, at the event with his wife and muse Ada, introduced Honoree Irving Sandler (art historian) while Gary Tinterow, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the MET, toasted Honoree artist Kara Walker. Both Walker and Sandler were presented with "Pink Bomb" awards created by sculptor Tom Otterness.

Leading the applause were Steve Martin with Anne Stringfield. (The movie star won three out of the four BOMB cover paintings by Ellen Berkenblit in the silent auction.) As well as art patrons Jo Carol Lauder, Agnes Gund, Gabriella de Ferrari, Melva Bucksbaum, Ray Learsy and George Negroponte; artists Ellen Phelan, James Rosenquist, Eric Fischl, April Gornik, David Salle, Vik Muniz, Joel Shapiro, Wangechi Mutu, Philip Taaffe, Pat Steir, Paul Pfeiffer, Joyce Kozloff; writers Patrick McGrath, Mike Wallace, Lynn Tillman, Francine Prose, Frederic Tuten, Max Kozloff, Estrellita and Daniel Brodsky; and top gallery directors Michael Jenkins; Marian Goodman, Alice and Paul Judelson (I-20), Janis Cecil (Marlborough) and Anton Kern.

Other bidders and diners included RoseLee Goldberg and Dakota Jackson, Jane Gullong, Dorothy Lichtenstein, James R. Hedges IV, Marla Prather and Jonathan Schiller, Mimi Thompson, Isabel Stainow Wilcox, Steven Learner, David Nolan, Carolyn Newhouse, Michelle Marie and Jon Heinemann, Will Ryman, Tina Barney, Natvar and Janet Bhavsar, Roberto Juarez and Charlie Scheips.

The silent auction offered works by over fifty famous artists including Jasper Johns, Philip Taaffe, Tony Oursler, Amy Sillman, Barbara Kruger and Pat Steir.

The evening, which began with cocktails featuring Lychee Martinis, Santa Marina Pinot Grigio and Ozwell Australian Vintners Shiraz, raised over $350,000 for BOMB to continue its mission of publishing interviews and essays in which emerging and established artists can speak openly about their work.

Louis Zorich, Wynn Handman, and Olympia Dukakis at the reception honoring Wynn.
Photo by John Wegorzewski

The legendary teacher/director Wynn Handman, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of The American Place Theatre was toasted by a gathering of theater and film luminaries at a reception in his honor hosted by David Kener, Executive Director The American Place Theatre and John Martello, Executive Director, The Players at their historic home on Gramercy Park. Martello officially welcomed Handman as an Honorary Member to the renowned club founded by actor Edwin Booth, and which counts among its past members such illustrious figures as Mark Twain, John Drew, John Barrymore, Helen Hayes, Ernest Hemingway and Lauren Bacall.

The glittering crowd included a number of actors, writers and directors who had either studied with Wynn or appeared in one of The American Place Theatre's acclaimed productions over the last four and a half decades. Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis recounted hilarious tales from the early days including the time she locked herself in a bathroom and refused to work with a director, forcing Wynn to come back to town and talk her into coming out. Veteran musical comedy star currently in rehearsals for the Broadway musical Xanadu, Tony Roberts confessed to being a "Wynn drop out who sold out to Broadway".

Writer and humorist Calvin Trillin and David Kener also sang the praises of the legendary teacher to a crowd that included Wynn's wife Barbara Handman, The Theatre's Chairman of the Board Peter Klestadt and wife Trish, Managing Director Jennifer Barnette, producer Barbara Ligeti, Bruce Michael, Susan Hill, Kathryn and Gary Andreassen, Bruce Sloane, Linda Amiel Burns, the Drama Desk's Randie Levine Miller, actors Louis Zorich, Tessa Ferrer(granddaughter of Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney), Rob Wilson, Bobby Abid, Frank Shattuck, Marilyn Dodds and Allan Dodds Frank.

Wynn Handman has been instrumental in bringing to the stage the early work of many of America's finest playwrights including Ed Bullins, Maria Irene Fornes, Jonathan Reynolds, Robert Ribman, Sam Shepard and Steve Tesich. He has introduced plays by writers such as Robert Lowell, Joyce Carol Oates and Sylvia Plath and presented writer/performers early in their careers including Bill Irwin, Eric Bogosian and John Leguizamo. One of the country's most revered acting teachers for over 50 years he has trained thousands of actors including James Caan, Kathleen Chalfant, Sandy Duncan, Joel Grey, Raul Julia, Susan Lucci, Burt Reynolds, Tony Roberts, Anna Deavere Smith, Mira Sorvino, Christopher Walken, Denzel Washington and Joanne Woodward.

The induction of Wynn Handman into The Players was also the official kickoff to the upcoming gala Wynn, Place & Show, a monumental double header celebration of Handman's 85th Birthday and the 45th Anniversary of The American Place Theatre on May 21 at The Hudson Theatre.

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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