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Talk Around Town

Originally Posted: March 14, 2007

Jennifer Tuesday

I admit it ..I'm a business junkie who loves to read about the art of the deal. These days the biz pages are as sexy as the gossip columns with real inside dish. Even on Saturdays – if I'm up early enough which is truthfully not often – I try to get a biz fix and catch uber hotelier, savvy real estate mogul and author Jonathan Tisch on the tube as he casually chats with the East End's most famous power brokers. It helps a girl to know what's going on when she goes to a dinner in Georgica!

Jonathan Tisch and Tiki BarberPhoto by PatrickMcMullan.com

Now I can take a crash course in business building with Jonathan's latest book, "Chocolates on the Pillow Aren't Enough: Reinventing the Customer Experience". The tome reveals not only his secrets for keeping the family owned Loew's Hotels in the lead on the luxury lodgings lists, but how such big corps as Procter & Gamble, Marriott and even the venerable Kimberley Clark of Kleenex and Huggies fame stay at the top of the game.

Jonathan was toasted this week by a crowd of Hamptons and New York friends, a heady mix of business, media, fashion and sports heavies at the ultimate power brokers dining spot The Four Seasons. On hand were Barry Diller, Connie Chung with hubbie Maury Povich, Debbie Bancroft, Denise Rich, Nicole Miller, Tiki Barber, Tina Brown, Helen Schifter and scores more. There was lots of not so idle chatter that Jon, who also chairs NYC & CO which has helped restore tourism to New York since 9/11, may be looking to fill Mike Bloomberg's shoes when he finishes his term

I personally agree with Jon Tisch that companies better realize that if we are going to part with our hard earned cash we expect to be well treated. Perhaps that is what luxe realtors The Corcoran Group are attempting to sell with the M at Beekman property on New York's posh East Side. "Curated Living" reads the ad that offers luxury services selected to enhance the lives of discerning New Yorker by Kelly Killoren Bensimon. Huh? Curated? While I admire Kelly's style sense and love her glorious photo books like "American Style" and "The Bikini Book" (even though it made me green with envy) I'm not so sure I want to be curated!

Jay Z doesn't have to worry much about record sales these days. The business savvy rapper and Beyonce boyfriend just sold the license to his Rocawear Clothing line to sportswear big Iconix for a cool $204 million. Insiders say that he'll be spending much of it on high end real estate. Are you listening Eats End brokers? Don't forget Jay Z has lots of pals in our hood.

Spending big is Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein who is 'thisclose' to picking up the stunning Old Trees estate on Lake Agawam in Southampton from financier Donald Burns for a reputed $48 million which has got to be some kind of record even if the property is 10+ acres of super prime land, 13 bedrooms, tennis court, pool, superb ocean views and seven swans a swimming!

The Cranes were all over Broadway this week and we don't mean the winged version but the hilarious trio that made up the Crane Family on the long-running TV series "Frasier" which of course featured our Bridgehampton neighbor Kelsey Grammer who played the pompous but kind hearted radio shrink Frasier Crane. Kelsey thrilled audiences this weekend with his turn as Professor Henry Higgins in the semi-staged production of "My Fair Lady" with the New York Philharmonic. Meanwhile Frasier's brother Niles aka David Hyde Pierce, fresh from his critically acclaimed appearance in Monty Python's "Spamalot", is currently in previews at the Al Hirschfeld Theater in John Kander and Fred Ebb's new murder mystery musical "Curtains".

Camille and Kelsey Grammer
Photo by PatrickMcMullan.com

Not to be left out is Frasier's dad the cantankerous but loveable Martin Crane aka John Mahoney who opens this week as The Old Man in Craig Lucas' "Prelude to a Kiss" (you might remember the film with Meg Ryan and Long Island leading man Alec Baldwin) at the American Airlines Theater.

And if that's not enough for you Frasier-holics, you can catch Bebe Neuwirth, who played Frasier's ice queen ex-wife Lilith, as Roxie Hart in the long-running musical "Chicago". No stranger to the Great White Way – she was a big Broadway star long before Frasier was dispensing advice on "Cheers". Bebe actually created the other leading role in "Chicago" of Velma Kelly 11 tears ago.

Just heard from the charming actor/director Eddie Marrero, whom I met last summer at Evidence Dance Company's lovely On Our Toes in the Hamptons sunset gala. Eddie was then helming the 21 year old dance company and working on the side – don't all actors – to create his own distinctive theater company. Now his Three Lions Stages is a reality with the assist of such powerhouse board members as Bridgehampton's Joyce Mullins-Jackson and her husband Judge Bernard Jackson and East Hampton's Reggie Van Lee who in addition to his major gig as partner at Booz, Allen, Hamilton manages to get behind the most intriguing and innovative arts organizations.

Eddie and his illustrious board will launch the company March 26-28 with the Roaring Reading Series, showcasing several of America's beat emerging minority playwrights and top New York actors. Over three evenings at the Repertorio Espanol Theater, the Three Lions Stage will present provocative new works including Rene Solivan's "Gods and Thieves", Nancy Nervarez' "Wild Out Sunday", and Larry Hamilton's "Skylar's Story".

No one will applaud this new company more then legendary director and teacher Wynn Handman who 45 years ago spurred the movement to create a new form of theater wildly different from commercial Broadway fare that would recognize and nurture new voices in the theater especially among minorities and women. The famed Women's Project began at Handman's American Place Theatre and it served as the launching ground for numerous minority writers and the rise of the African-American theater movement. To this day, Handman continues this path with the Literature to Life Program which takes significant books and adapts them verbatim for the stage.

Just recently Handman produced a stage version of Khaled Hosseini's "The Kite Runner",
a story of the improbable friendship of two boys from opposite ends of the spectrum in Afghanistan. The work received so much attention that it is now being produced for film by Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks.

You know that I always save the best for last so now I must simply telling you to put March 22 on your notepad in BIG letters. That is the day that Madonna's first fashion collection hits the shelves and the racks at trendsetting retailer H & M at their store all around the world – including 10 in the New York area.

Believe it or not Madge actually spent days with H & M's design director Margareta van den Bosch wading through her apartment sized closets selecting the most iconic designs from her wardrobe to serve as the inspiration for the 30 piece collection. My BFF, an in the know stylist, showed me some pictures and are they amazing from casual streetwear to cocktail glam that scream international star status - at college student budget prices.

Check this - pencil thin skirts at $49, satin shirts $24, super vampy sling backs for only $99 (move over Jimmy Choo), slinky dresses for less then dinner at a hip Meatpacking District restaurant, movie star turbans for those bad hair days for $15. There is also the ultimate go-everywhere on a private jet leather trench coat with oversize Jackie O shades for a total of $ 235 – you don't even need to wear a dress under it if you're feeling a little dangerous.

Rest assured although doors open at 10 AM that morning the luxe craving crowd on a budget will start camping out the night before as they do for Rolling Stones tix so plan on getting there early even if you have to pay a pal while you take a potty break. If the crowds are anything like the mobs that turned for H & M's previous designer partnerships with Karl Lagerfeld, Viktor & Rolf, and Stella McCartney, be prepared for a mad frenzy and just move in and grab one of every 30 pieces. Don't wait for two days later when the shelves are stripped and that Mata Hari–ish trench coat shows up on e-Bay for $1000.

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