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Gala Evenings for the Arts

Originally Posted: March 22, 2006

Edward and Pamela Pantzer with Mickey Straus at Guild Hall's
Academy of the Arts Gala. Photo by Rossa Cole courtesy of
Alchimia Marketing and Public Relations

Guild Hall of East Hampton, the premier cultural institution of its kind on Long Island's East End, kicked off its 75th Anniversary, Celebrating Creativity, with it's annual Academy of the Arts Awards Gala, a glittering fete for the leading lights of performing, visual and literary arts that was more a family affair than your traditional awards gala.

Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO, Chairman and co-founder of The Blackstone Group and Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts received the Academy's Special Lifetime Achievement Award for his business leadership and philanthropic endeavors. Roy Furman, President of the Academy of Arts made the presentation.

Veteran Broadway producer Furman commenting on the rich artistic heritage of the community noted "For the past two decades the Academy has recognized world-class talent in the performing, visual and literary arts and all of this talent hails from our own backyard - our friends and neighbors."

In recognition of Guild Hall's 75th Anniversary, the Academy's illustrious membership decided to not only honor Mr. Schwarzman but to also pay tribute to the over 70 past award recipients from the last twenty years for sustained excellence in the performing, visual and literary arts a veritable who's who in Arts and Letters, many of whom attended including Louis Begley, Dina Merrill, Kurt Vonnegut, Lukas Foss, Tony Walton, Paul Davis, E. L. Doctorow, and Budd Schulberg.

Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley at Guild Hall's Academy of the Arts
Gala. Photo by Rossa Cole courtesy of Alchimia Marketing and
Public Relations

From the outset, it was clear that the guests were in a celebratory mood as they streamed into the art deco splendor of The Rainbow Room. The gentle fog enveloping the skyline created a magical almost Oz like effect during the reception.

Lining the main corridor were portraits of all of the past honorees, a unique collective of world-class artists and the great patrons that support their efforts.

Following dinner, Melville "Mickey" Straus, Chairman of the famed cultural institution shared his excitement about the 75th Anniversary festivities which will feature a revival of Robert Wilson's Persephone, which had its world premiere at the John Drew Theater over a dozen years ago; two major exhibitions, Guild Hall Collects and The Barrymores: Hollywood's First Family and the 3rd Annual Cabaret Convention featuring stars of stage and screen.

Ruth Appelhof, Guild Hall's dynamic Executive Director shared additional plans for the Anniversary year, Celebrating Creativity, including the opening of the Hall's new education center and the Summer Gala Weekend culminating on August 13 with an outdoor fun-filled community day.

Ninah and Michael Lynne at Guild Hall's Academy of the Arts
Gala. Photo by Rossa Cole courtesy of Alchimia Marketing and
Public Relations

Keeping the evening festive and bright was East Hampton funny lady Angela LaGreca of ABC TV's The View and one of Guild Hall's favorite ladies. The witty comic cracked up the audience with her Hamptons' insider jokes and quips, at one point dubbing the East End "Cashalot".

A highlight of the evening was the stunning performance by Chita Rivera who, with musical conductor Mark Hummel, wowed the elegant crowd with several showstoppers. The two-time Tony Award winner and Kennedy Center honoree paid a loving tribute to the late Cy Coleman with a heart wrenching rendition of "Where Am I Going" from Sweet Charity which she had performed at the Johnny Mercer Foundation tribute to Cy in the very same room just days before he passed away last year.

The crowd - filled with Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Pulitzer Prize winners at almost every table - also remembered the passing of former Academy members Wendy Wasserstein, Betty Friedan, and Peter Jennings, who co-founded the Academy twenty one years ago.

Ruth Appelhof, E.L. Doctorow, Bob Caro, and Helen Doctorow at
Guild Hall's Academy of the Arts Gala. Photo by Rossa Cole
courtesy of Alchimia Marketing and Public Relations

Celebrating Creativity in the Art Deco splendor of the Rainbow Room were Chase Mishkin, Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman, Frieda and Roy Furman, Anka and Louis Begley, Robert and Ina Caro, Leslie and Chuck Close, Helen and E. L. Doctorow, Luly Duke, Lukas and Cornelia Foss, Jane Freilicher, Jack Lenor Larsen, Ninah and Michael Lynne, Ellen and Jim Marcus, Cheryl and Michael Minikes, Jill Krementz and Kurt Vonnegut, Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley, Larry Gagosian, Pam and Edward Pantzer, Susan and Alan Patricof, Jane Wilson and John Gruen, Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox, Richard Meier, Henry and Peggy Schleiff, Mercedes Ruehl and David Geiser, Judith Steir and Donald Saddler, Barbara and Alan Slifka, Betsy and Budd Schulberg, Paola and Michael Schulof, Melville Straus, Gen LeRoy and Tony Walton, and Kate and Josh Gladstone, Artistic Director of The John Drew Theater.

For more information about Guild Hall's 75th Anniversary Celebrating Creativity please visit www.guildhall.org.

Frank Castagna, of Americana Manhassett, and Howard
Weitzman, Nassau County Controller, at Distinctly Modern.
Photo by John Wegorzewski courtesy of Alchimia Marketing and
Public Relations

Design Within Reach, the home furnishing retailer that features the best of mid-century masters and contemporary designers, hosted a unique exhibition, "Distinctly Modern", at its Americana Manhasset location as part of the famed luxury shopping center's 50th Anniversary celebration. The exhibition, which features a brilliant array of iconic vintage mid-century products from motorcycles to living room chairs to rare books, will be on display through April 30.

Design Within Reach (DWR), which recently opened a studio in East Hampton at 30 Park Place, carries the greatest selection of work by such design legends as Eames, Eero Saarinen, Le Corbusier, Andree Putman, Thonet and Phillipe Starck.

Americana Manhasset, Vanity Fair Magazine, and internationally renowned architect Peter Marino co-hosted the 50's themed opening reception at DWR on March 15th. Waiters clad in fifties attire passed hors d'oeuvres and cocktails reminiscent of the era - Dagwood sandwiches, bite sized duck meat loafs and shrimp cocktail to go with plenty of martinis and champagne. A combo complete with girl singer brought back the heyday of the great old dance palaces.

LL Cool J with wife Simone at Distinctly Modern. Photo by John
Wegorzewski courtesy of Alchimia Marketing and Public Relations

"Distinctly Modern" features an assortment of products by Herman Miller for the Home, highlighting the Eames® Collection whose iconic Lounge and Ottoman is also celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. These tables, credenzas and such, display antique and collectible books provided by John McWhinnie of Glenn Horowitz Booksellers. In addition, McWhinnie outfitted the 1200 square foot space with vintage books, artwork and posters, from the mid-century to illustrate American culture of yesteryear.

At the tented entranceway, guests were dazzled by a pristine 1948 Bentley Mark VI, on loan from Long Island Bentley. The car won Best in Class at both the prestigious Pebble Beach Concourse D'Elegance as well as the Rolls Royce Owners Club Royce Memorial, and was voted the 1990 RROC Best in Show. Two Triumph Motorcycles, the Scrambler and Bonneville, are also on exhibit. The modern Scrambler 900 is a fresh take on the iconic bikes from Triumph's past, including the original Bonneville of the 1950's.

The crowd, which came from all parts East and West was welcomed by Americana's owner, Frank Castagna and his top creative team including Andrea Sanders and Deirdre Costa Major. The glittering guest list included Nassau County Controller Howard Weitzman, Hank and Constance Schwartz, Executive Director Nassau County Museum of Art, Angela Anton, Anton Publishing, Rap Star LL Cool J and his wife Simone Smith, Michael and Jill Todd, owners of LI Bentley, wine importer Michael Goldstein and wife Elaine, Dr. Virginia Maurer, Barbara Border, Harriet J. Werner, Sharon and Rubin Pikus, Dr. Leslie Goldberg, Mary Jo Munnely, Dabia Fenton, Tony and Jane Wasley.

Nicole B. Brewer, John Fondrisi, Mary Jo Munnely, and John
Wegorzewski at Distinctly Modern. Photo courtesy of Alchimia
Marketing and Public Relations

Howard Krimko, with Bentley's Antique and Collectable Car Division, pointed out the little luxuries that made the 1948 Bentley Mark VI a bargain at $250,000.00. Jeremy Sanders and John McWhinnie of Glenn Horowitz Bookseller explained the back-stories of the rare books on display. Tiffany's Nora Ariffin and Jo Jo Lowe flashed dazzling jewels by Jean Schlumberger.

Armani gents Orlando Pimentel, Richard Galano, and Kenneth De La Torre were the height of sartorial elegance. Sandra and Jamie Hansel, Jordan Benjamin, Carly Blumberg, Chris Brooks, and John Fondrisi pointed out highlights from Design Within Reach's extraordinary collection of furniture.

Following the reception guests moved on to a tent in front of famed dining spot Cipollini for an intimate dinner featuring the Italian specialties that have endeared the restaurant to both locals and out-of-towners.

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