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Evenings Under the Stars

Originally Posted: July 18, 2007

Nicole B. Brewer

You couldn't ask for a better way to start the weekend then the annual Hamptons Greek Festival on the grounds of Kimisis Tis Theotokou Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons. No event is as welcoming, congenial and festive then this, by all estimates one of the largest privately sponsored family fun events in the Hamptons. The success is a testament to the "Festival pioneers" and to the continued dedication of the Church's Parish Council which worked months to treat over 5,000 guests to a hefty dose of Hellenic culture.

Dimitrios and Maria Hatgistavrou at the Hamptons Greek Festival. Photo by John

Warmly greeted by Father Alexander Karloutsos, aka Father Alex, and Parish Council president Jim Hatgistavrou, co-owner of the Wainscott Village Inn, we experienced first hand the Greek's famed "philomena," that is hospitality. Stepping into the main tent, we were immediately seduced by the sweet aroma of roasting lamb. From our arrival and throughout the evening we felt like we were at a big family celebration - with 1,500 new relatives! The crowd, ranging in age from 9 weeks old to 90, were all in a festive mood and the dance floor was packed with napkin twirling dancers swaying to the great music of The Trojans, an authentic Greek band. Throughout the evening, there were performances from several troupes of the Hamptons Hellenic Dancers, a marvelously talented group of young people from the parish.

Sprinkled around the lawns were several tents including a taverna where the good folks from Trata restaurant were serving up calamari and grilled octopus, Retsina a traditional wine and all kinds of savory treats all to benefit the church. In Yia Yia's Attic a yard sale of treasures was underway all weekend with Athena Kondoleon, mother of the late playwright Harry Kondoleon was offering great deals on everything from tea towels to rare glass.

Among the hundreds of volunteers and guests who contributed to making this such a fun event were Jim Soulopulos, Perry Bakas, Peter Nikiteas, Holly and John Rist, Steve and Maria Hatgistavrou, Jim and Bea Parash, Helene Rallis, Toni Poulos, Michelle Papajohn, Rev. Peter and Nancy Larsen and scores more. Mark it down for next year, this is a not to be missed party!

Heidi Wald and Donny Deutsch at the CMEE Under the Stars Gala. Photo by John

Channing Daughters Winery was the delightful setting for the 8th Annual Under the Stars benefit for the Children's Museum of the East End (CMEE), always an eagerly anticipated event.
Benefit co-chairs Jacqueline Lowey, Lucy Muhlfeld, Adeline Neubert and Cynthia Sulzberger filled the tent with the generous supporters of the respected museum for cocktails, silent auction, dancing and a live auction by special host Donny Deutsch of MSNC/The Big Idea fame.

With an audience of heavy hitters like Morris and Jaci Reid, the bidding - mostly by women - was fierce on a number of lots. A one week stay for ten people at Betsey Johnson's vacation villa hideaway in Zihuatenejo, Mexico with two swimming pools and five palapa-roofed bungalows was hotly contested with one lucky woman snagging the ultimate vacation package for a cool $25,000! A pair of VIP passes to the Ross School concert featuring Prince, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Billy Joel, James Taylor and Dave Matthews was a bargain at $23,000.

Deutsch himself picked up a Children's Dream Package that included a private tour of Wainscott Studios led by owner Mitchell Kriegman, the fabulous creator of such shows as Clarissa Explains it All and It's a Big, Big World with a private tour of The Bronx Zoo to boot for $15,000. Despite Deutsch being a little heavy handed and off-color, the auction raised near $100,000 for the CMEE programs.

Artist Russell Young and Stephan Keszler as Elvis looks on at the Keszler Gallery.
Photo by PatrickMcMullan.com

Saturday night the buzz was at the Stephan Kessler Gallery on Main Street in Southampton. Russell Young debuted his larger then life silk screen "Pig Portraits" that were reminiscent of the late Andy Warhol. While V2 vodka, champagne, and strawberries were being passed around guest viewed Young's 'mug shots' of many late celebrities circa 1960 including Jim Morrison, Patty Hearst, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, and Malcolm X. Young, who spent many years as a celebrity photographer, said, "These would be my heroes that are missing from Art History." Kessler explained the exhibit will be in Southampton for another three weeks but to get a look now as eight pieces were sold Friday afternoon.

Kelly Ripa and her husband Mark Consuelos sauntered in a little later then the rest of the crowd checking out the works of art and bubbling over about the Prince concert. Hardly anyone recognized the mug shots of a young Al Pacino and Frank Sinatra who looked too handsome to be seen as criminals. One of our favorite pieces was a large black and white of Mick Jagger toting a bottle of Jack Daniels in true rock star fashion. Though it wasn't a mug shot the possibility of Jagger later being photographed for one seemed highly possible. PR diva Liz Derringer was having a fabulous time chatting it up with all guests both celebrity and local passersby coming into the gallery off the street wanting to know what all the buzz was about.

Brad Goldfarb with event co-chair Alfredo Paredes at the Hampton Tea Dance.

The dancing got off to an early start with the Empire State Pride Agenda's 15th Annual Hamptons Tea Dance with downtown doyenne Lady Bunny spinning the summer's hottest dance tracks for a casually clad crowd of over 1000 supporters who swarmed the Diamond Ranch in Water Mill.

The most anticipated lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights event of the crowded summer calendar, the Hamptons Tea Dance draws an impressive cross section of leaders from the worlds of business, finance, law, philanthropy, politics, fashion, art, and design.

Co-chairs for this year's event were Kimberly Kackerbeck, Joel Isaacs, Mitch Karsch, Mark Paviluk, Alfredo Paredes, and Will Trinkle. The Tea Dance is a cornerstone event for the organization whose programs and victories have made it a nationwide leader in the LGBT civil rights movement.

The party was already in full swing when we arrived at the Reach for the Stars Gala on the great lawn in Westhampton Beach. Several hundred guests partied for a wonderful cause under an immense white tent while the Ric Mango Band got everyone onto the dance floor. Many of the attendees had already bid on items in the silent auction that included artwork, theater tickets, and many other goodies that were donated by local Hamptons merchants.

Debbie Vickus, Joana Royland, John Czygier, Julie Olieverio, and Rose Czygier at
the Reach for the Stars Gala. Photo by Clare E. Bendall

We noticed that most of the guest, especially the ladies really dressed for the event, looking like they were ready for their Hamptons.com close up. Gala chairs Kaye and Jack Kringstein arranged a beautiful evening to honor Maggie Gilliam who received the Family of Man Humanitarian Award. Guest could not stop raving over the cocktails and dinner that was catered by Starr Boggs, a Westhampton Beach favorite.

The evening seemed to have touched everyone who attended and many of the guests became emotional upon hearing testimonials of how Family Counseling Service had helped local people in the community, drastically improving the lives of their families. The evening capped off with desert as many of the guest moved out from under the tent to gaze at the star filled sky. With so many charity events on the East End of Long Island this gala seemed to be attended by people who sincerely and actively participate in Family Planning Services which gave a genuine feeling to the event.

Gracean DeCrosta, Sarah Ehrlich, Jill Zarin, Amelia Doggwiler, and Sarah Herbert-
Galloway at the cocktail party for Help for Orphans International. Photo by Rob Rich

Sarah and David Ehrlich opened their lovely Peconic Bay home (one of several of their properties in Southampton) to host the inaugural fundraiser for the organization Sarah helped found, Help for Orphans International (HFOI). HFIO supports orphanages in Kenya, Uganda and India with everything from basic construction to education for the children left parentless by AIDS and tribal warfare.

Sarah had no problem in enlisting help from social dynamos Sara Herbert-Galloway, Jill Zarin, Peggy Powers, and Victor Horcasitas. The quintet pulled in several hundred of the Hamptons' movers and shakers for this elegant sunset cocktail party and kept them sated with fabulous hors d'oeuvres from Glorious Foods, Trump Vodka martinis, and a special treat, TY Ku cocktails, a sake infused vodka liqueur that makes some pretty zingy drinks.

Basking under the beautiful rose-purple skies were Elliot and Lauren Vernon, Chris Norwood, Amy Kaplan, Richard Rubin with Sarah Powers, Amanda Feinberg, Lauren Day, with new fiancé Bob Roberts, hot young actor Emanuel, the fabulous Cognac Wellerlane, Tony Vargas, Bobby Zarin, Anna Wilding, Colette, Mary Sue Connolly, Tsering Hayes, Randi Alexander, Craig Gorden, Abbi Rosen, Elizabeth Smith, Wanda Innes, artist Kevin Berlin, and scores more.

Michael Lenihan and writer Tom Wolfe at the Parrish Midsummer Party. Photo by
John Wegorzewski

The Midsummer Party, the Parrish Art Museum's most important fundraiser of the year and a highlight of the summer season, honored Trudy C. Kramer, who has served as the museum's director for 26 years and will retire at the end of this year. The very celebratory gala paid glowing tribute to her leadership of the museum and her vision for the institution's future. There were over 500 guests for the dinner and another 500 guests poured in for dancing and dessert. The gala raised almost a million dollars for the museum's programs.

The event honorary co-chairs were Deborah Bancroft, Beth Rudin DeWoody, and Katharina Otto-Bernstein. Corporate Co-Chair was Claudio Del Vecchio, Chairman and CEO, Brooks Brothers. The dynamic Associates Committee Co-Chairs Jennifer Blumin, Fernanda Niven, Deborah Schoeneman, Arden Wohl, and Alexandra Wolfe helped pack the tents especially for the After 10 dance party, always a rollicking affair.

Among the crowd resplendent in summer finery were Gayle Perkins Atkins and Charles Atkins, designer Geoffrey Bradfield, Melissa and Chappy Morris, Tatiana and Campion Platt, Tom and Sheila Wolfe, Patty Raynes, Jodie Berro, Carlo Bronzini Vender, Andrea and Marc Glimcher, William Hillman, Robert Kissane, Marcia and Richard Mishaan, Robert Zimmerman, Jeanne Pierre and Rachel Lehmann, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Nazee and Joe Moinian, R. Couri Hay and Barclay Butera. An entire bunch, fresh from Sara Ehrlich's bayside cocktail party, joined the crowd that packed the dance floor as the whole tent rocked.

As always at any Parrish party many of the East End's most respected artists were on hand including Ross Bleckner, Chuck Close, Joe Fig, Eric Fischl, and Jane Freilicher.
Corporate Sponsor Brooks Brothers gave two lovely gifts, a striped ribbon band bracelet, and men's hunter green belt. Antony Todd did the flowers and decor, which included Brooks Brothers' pink and blue oxford table cloths and, painted white bamboo chairs with seersucker slip covers. Very country club casual!

On Sunday evening, animal advocate and BeKind founder Frances Hayward hosted an elegant dinner party at the flower filled Grey Gardens to welcome Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle to the East End. Frances, who was accompanied by her rescued shepherd Amigo, was joined by over 100 animal lovers including Russell Simmons, Jackie Rogers, Joanna Mastroianni, Andrew Borrok and Diane Lieberman, Frank Cilione, Arden Wohl, Elaine Sargent, Sharon Sondes, Liliana Cavendish, Sharon, Ashley and Lauren Bush, and David Lauren. Eva and Bouvier Beale were on-hand to share stories of the famed estate once the home of their famed relatives Edith Bouvier Beale and Edie Beale.

Wayne Pacelle spoke of compassion and mercy towards animals and explained the hard work that the Humane Society does to provide a national voice against animal cruelty, with over 10 million supporters backing them. Hayward and Pacelle are working together on a number of initiatives including the nation-wide ban of Conibear traps, which they launched a Public Service Announcement on and an increase in animal cancer awareness, which has affected Frances' dog Amigo who lost a limb from the disease.

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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