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Oscars and PONY’s

Originally Posted: June 09, 2005

Chrysalis Gallery owner Agnes Ehrenreich with Elizabeth and Fred Schriever

A very summery reception filled the small Chrysalis Gallery in Southampton Saturday night, spilling out into the front patio on Main Street while the people admired the artwork and mingled with the artists, discussing the work. The gallery made good use of the small space to showcase the maximum amount of art without overwhelming the eye, grouping popular collections of east end beach themes together, but mixed with old style portraits and landscapes. We enthralled in a discussion by artist Charles Robertson on his method of using heat to work with the paint on his canvas, a method dating back thousands of years. Delicious local wines and hors d'oeuvres were served.

The Teeny Awards, a "mini-Oscars" event sponsored by the East End Arts Council celebrating local teenage thespians, was held at the Westhampton beach Performing Arts Center also Saturday night. Only the high school crowd could successfully pair tuxedos with sneakers and evening gowns. Seems like some prom dresses got to play double duty this year with beach flip-flops. The crowd was high energy as they cheered on the nominees and winners, regardless of school affiliation. The winners were gracious, thanking their directors, cast mates and families, while some opted for a touch of humor, showing off the bright red hats from their "goodie bags," snapping digital self-portraits before leaving the podium, and shouts of "I love you, man!" to a fellow nominee. True to Oscar form, they were running slightly behind schedule and had yet to get to the best actor/actress category before we were off to the next event of the jam-packed night at 9pm.

The PONY (Pride Of New York) award, celebrated on June 4, 2005 at Wolffer Estate, is a yearly benefit to support the Maryhaven Center of Hope, an agency serving over 2,000 children and adults and senior citizens with disabilities on Long Island for over 70 years, regardless of race, religion or creed. Underwritten this year by Gary and Pauline Bencivenga, with David Rosengarten serving as the event chairman. Also on hand was last years honoree, Lidia Bastianich, described as "The First Lady of Italian Cooking."

This year's honoree, Jacques Pepin, is the author of over 20 cookbooks, including "Fast Food my way" and host of a show of the same name. Julia Child, who he had the chance to work with on many occasions, described him as "The Best Chef in America."

The PONY awards, has been described by David Rosengarten as "The Hamptons most exclusive food and wine lover party". The dinner was set up as an intimate affair, seating guests at a handful of long tables on the outside patio at Wolffer Estates. Each course was described with its appropriately paired wine by chefs in attendance. Before dessert, the PONY award and gifts were presented to Jacques Pepin. He spoke briefly on his training and work in France and the US, and his daughter Claudine. He now serves as the Dean of Special Programs at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. After the presentation, he opened the floor to any questions, and when asked about his work with Julia Child, relayed a charming quote - she told her doctors not long before she passed - "I don't want to leave yet, my cats would be lonely".

While the crowds toasted Jacques Pepin, the social set was running rampant about town. Nicky Hilton debuted her "Chick" clothing and accessories line, that can be found at Norha's on Job Lane in Southampton, at Tavern in Southampton at midnight to a packed house. Maybe she missed big sister Paris (who was busy getting engaged to Paris) or maybe her martini wasn't cold enough but we hear she ran from the party in tears. She turned up later that night at the Star Room in Wainscott with her scrumptious boyfriend Kevin Connolly of HBO's Entourage fame. We can only wonder what all the fuss was about.

Over at Cain, at the Capri Hotel in Southampton, Andrew Saffir, Shoshana Lowenstein, Mickey Boardman (of Paper Magazine), Patrick McMullan, Cynthia Rowley, Fred Schneider (of the B 52s), and Bettina Zilkha joined celebrity chef Rocco Dispirito to celebrate Jeffrey Slonim's column Ebb and Flow Saturday night. Also on hand was Star Jones Reynolds who showed up fashionably late - she's such a party hopper that it looks like we'll be seeing a lot of Star this summer.

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