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Kerry in the Hamptons

Originally Posted: August 27, 2004

Debbie Tuma

When a presidential candidate takes a whirlwind tour of the Hamptons, many people turn out to at least get a look at him, and often to donate money. That's what happened last weekend, as all the buzz was about the first fund-raising sweep of John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. Despite the rainy weather, this trip was successful, raising a total of $2.5 million for the Democratic Party.

The Kerrys left Pittsburgh last Saturday, August 21, and flew to Suffolk County Airport in Westhampton Beach, where they landed in a torrential downpour. Between that and the heavy traffic, they arrived two hours late to their first fund-raiser, at the East Hampton estate of Alan Patricof. A crowd of about 800 people, paying $1,000 apiece, had been weathering the rain, ducked under a big tent, dining on Southwestern cuisine while listening to Jimmy Buffett and drinking margueritas.

Peggy Kerry (John Kerry's sister) and
her daughter, Iris Kerry-Kaler

Many of the female guests were taking off their heels, trekking through the mud, and washing off their feet in puddles which filled the lawn and roadside. Among the star-studded crowd were Kathleen Turner, James Lipton, Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook, Robin Duke, of the DNC Finance Committee, and her brother-in-law Tony Duke, founder of Boys and Girls Harbor, Russell Simmons, Cathy Jones, who resembles Star Jones, and appears in Danny DeVito's latest movie, "Original Gangster Bitch," Faith Popcorn, Congressman Tim Bishop, East Hampton Mayor Paul Rickenback, North Haven Deputy Mayor Fred Stelle, and Beverly Camhe, a film producer on the host committee. Peggy Kerry, John Kerry's sister, and her husband George Kaler, of East Hampton, were also present.

Christie Brinkley

Donning a neon orange slicker, Christie Brinkley quipped, "This mud is a metaphor for all the mud-slinging in the Republican party." She and Cook left this party early due to the bad weather, and made a dash for the next party at the home of "Sex in the City" producer Darren Star, who hosted a $25,000 a plate dinner for Kerry later, further up the ocean.

Robin Duke called this "the most important election in my 82 years, since everything is on the line." Mayor Rickenback said it was "an honor to have John Kerry in our community, since he could have chosen any number of small towns to visit." Cathy Jones said she is a "big DNC supporter, who recently held a rock concert in Harlem to support Hillary Clinton." Tony Duke said he intends to help get the "7,000 young people at my camp to at least go out and vote, since so much in this election hinges on the young voters."

Both John and Teresa Kerry gave speeches, and then they scurried over to the home of Darren Star to greet a different crowd. Star's estate was surrounded by police and tight security control. He entertained a select group of about 40 dinner guests late into the rainy night, including Senator Chuck Schumer, actor Peter Boyle, Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook, DNC Committeeman Robert Zimmerman of Southampton, John Syckes of VH-1 television, Andrew Tobias, a DNC Financial expert, and Hassan Nemazze, Kerry's confidante.

Afterward, John and Teresa Kerry were expected to join Kerry's two daughters, Vanessa and Alexandra, Teresa Kerry's son, Chris Heinz, and John Edwards's child, Cate, at Jean Luc Restaurant in East Hampton, but the Kerrys opted to spend the night in Montauk instead, at an undisclosed location. The private party at Jean Luc's was packed with about 100 people in the back room, where Chris Heinz made a speech. regular guests continued to pack the rest of this popular restaurant until the wee hours.

Candice Bergen and Bianca Jagger

On Sunday morning, John and Teresa Kerry attended the St. Teresa of Lisieux catholic Church, followed by a stop at the Steven Spielberg residence in East Hampton, where Teresa Kerry left to greet guests at a special brunch at the home of fashion maven Donna Karan, overlooking Gardiner's Bay, in the Northwest Woods. A host of local celebs joined Karan and Kerry at this exclusive, $10,000 a plate brunch, including Bianca Jagger, Candice Bergen, Jayne Chase (Chevy's wife), Brenda Siemers (Roy Scheider's wife), and Eve Ensler, creator of the "Vagina Monologues." Teresa made an hour-long speech about subjects including education, healthcare, the environment, and women's pro-choice rights. During her speech, a sailboat filled with people landed on shore and applauded.

Speaking of applauding, we caught the backers audition of a new show trying to make its way to Broadway in Manhattan, called, "Brave New World," which loosely follows this Aldous Huxley sci-fi classic. Public relations mavens Ed Callagan and John Wergosheski, of Southampton and Manhattan, are working to promote this show, directed by Jonnie Rockwell. It may be the next Broadway sensation, with a great cast of talented actors.

NY Jets Star Freeman McNeil and Anthony Parrizzi
of North Fork Bank

North Fork Bank, which has 40 locations from the Hamptons to the city, held a fun after-work party at their midtown office last week, attended by New York Jets Star Freeman McNeil, and North Fork's own marketing director, Carolyn Drexel, who lives in Hampton Bays. About 200 people attended this lovely catered wine and cheese event.

Several famous musicians are lending their names and talents to the 5th annual Harbor Music Day Camp, teaching kids their favorite instruments, at Baron's Cove Inn in Sag Harbor. This week, Garland Jeffries, G.E. Smith, Lucas Foss, Caroline Doctorow, Terry Winchell and Haim Mizrahi are donating their time to teach students in this area's only music camp for kids. Camp director Andrew Baker said, "These kids really appreciate learning from the many well-known musicians in our area." Jimmy Buffett, and in past years, Billy Joel, have also contributed to this program.

This weekend, G.E. Smith, of Amagansett, and Edie Brickell, of Montauk, will take the stage at Guild Hall Saturday night, Aug. 28, and over Labor Day Weekend, some big names will be at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, including Richie Havens.

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