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Talk Around Town

Originally Posted: July 04, 2007

Jennifer Tuesday

How does that song go, "...and the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer". It never seemed more true then now as we're following the wheelings and dealings of some of our East End neighbors. Like Stephen Schwarzman who, with the initial public offering of The Blackstone Group that he and fellow Hamptonite Peter Peterson engineered, is ready to join the ranks of Forbes top 100 wealthiest billionaires.

Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons are all smiles at Art For Life 2006.
Photo by PatrickMcMullan.com

As of earlier this week his holdings in Blackstone were valued at some $7.6 billion. That's more then the total value of some countries! I'd like to hate him but he and wife Christine are just tooooo nice.

Ditto Mel Brooks who, now that he has set his cast for Young Frankenstein to come lumbering to Broadway with arms outstretched, is lumbering around with his arms outstretched to carry the buckets of bucks he's betting will be flung at the box office.

In a move that has stunned Broadway insiders, the best weekend seats are going for $450! That's at the box office not from a scalper. The $450 seats, a record high for Broadway, are being called "premier," and will be sold along with large blocks of so-called "premium" seats, priced at $375. Prices drop down to $350 and $275 on weekdays - such a bargain! There are about 250 per show and are $100 more than the most expensive ducats for Broadway's two biggest hits, Wicked and Jersey Boys.

Since these fellas are clearly in high cotton, I'm hoping that my friend Sarah Ehrlich has them on the guest list for her fundraiser for Help For Orphans International on July 14th. Sarah and some of her good gal pals who know a thing about raising big bucks for worthy causes - Helen Gifford, Sara Herbert-Galloway and Jill Zarin - along with good guy Victor Horcasitas are co-hosting cocktails at Sarah's Peconic Bayfront home in Southampton to help raise funds and awareness for several orphanages in Kenya.

Sarah, who serves as executive director of HFOI, was in Washington last month to share with Senator Hillary Clinton information about Help for Orphans work in Africa where there are literally millions of children orphaned as a result of tribal warfare and AIDS. While I don't know if Hillary will make it (she's doing her own fundraising God bless her) but I do hear that Kimora Lee Simmons, Rita Cosby, Lisa Gastineau, and Joan Rivers will be there to support HFOI's work in renovating existing orphanages, building new ones and most importantly providing real education opportunities to help these children break the cycle of poverty. Check out their work at www.helpfororphans.com.

Speaking about Miss Kimora, we hear that even though she and Russell Simmons are splitsville, they'll get together to host Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation's annual "Art for Life" gala on July 28th at the East Hampton estate they still co-own. Designers Rachel Roy, Lorraine Schwartz, and Giuseppe Zanotti have already donated items to the auction, which each year raise big $$$ to expose New York kids to the arts. Personally, I am thrilled. I just love that party! Got to find a yellow dress...

One party I definitely am pulling out my hottest little swirly Emmett McCarthy and some sexy sandals for is Mary and Frank Skillern's sunset cocktail party in the lush English gardens of their Down's Path, Southampton enclave. Mary and Frank who are major musical theater and arts supporters, are tossing the do to welcome NBC's Anna Carbonell to the East End and introduce her to some of the creative folks who make all the beautiful theater, poetry, art exhibitions and concerts happen in our villages.

Mary, years out of Texas but still with her sweet drawl, is the consummate hostess and regularly tosses lovely intimate bashes in the couple's New York City townhouse (they have a jewel box of a theater in their home). And now, since moving from Remsenburg, she's entertaining in the Southampton home that she designed with impeccable taste.

For her July 16th fete, she has award winning chef Robert Rizzuto of NYIT's Gold Coast Catering preparing lavish spread that sounds more like a feast for Henry VIII then a toss away cocktail do. Rizzuto will be coming to the Hamptons with ovens blazing to serve up such delights as BBQ duck confit on honey herb polenta, Potato latke chive sour cream and salmon caviar, Lobster beignet mango cilantro dipping sauce, and Prosciutto wrapped shrimp with fontina cheese with pomegranate molasses. And if that doesn't suffice, he'll be carving up racks of lamb!

Expected to be supping on Chef Rizzuto's gastronomic treats are such culture movers and shakers as Michelle Isabel-Starks, Nina and Gary Madison, Ruth Appelhof, Lora Fox Gamble and husband David Gamble, Tom Steele and Ellen Dooley, Trudy Kramer, Claire Bisceglia, Pat Snyder, Bonnie Grice, Tammy Nuzzo Morgan, Ann LaWall and more. I've already started fasting to make sure I can enjoy without guilt!

On the subject of food, my mind is racing with the news that Martha Stewart is putting her Richard Meier designed $35,000,00 worth of apartments on Charles Street in Greenwich Village up for sale never having lived in them. Seems the domestic diva wants a house not a flat and is scouring the Big Apple for a fabulous townhouse cum garden. Hope she realizes that while she can grow her own veggies in NYC livestock is forbidden.

Stewart's would be Greenwich Village neighbor, superstar chef Mario Batali, is taking a page out of his in-laws playbook (his wife's dad heads up Coach). The renowned chef and restaurateur has partnered with Swiss watch brand Ernst Benz to create a limited-edition timepiece series to benefit hunger awareness.

The Mario Batali Limited Edition Ernst Benz Great Circle Automatic is an enhanced version of the brand's original Great Circle design, updated with accents in Batali's signature color, orange. (Fans who tune in to the Italian chef's Molto Mario show know they're sure to spot the color on Batali's much-favored footwear, a pair of orange Crocs.)

More food notes...the new front-runner to take over The Plaza Hotel's famed Oak Room and Oak Bar is restaurateur Nello Balan who'll add it to his mini-empire of pricey pasta palaces in Southampton and Madison Avenue. Word is Nello is in final negotiations for the trophy property.
Hot tip of the weekend! Wild and crazy Kevin Berlin is back in Southampton with a new show, Made in China, a provocative solo exhibition debuting Saturday evening at RVS Fine Art on Jobs Lane in Southampton. The works were inspired by the less than authentic "Louis Vuitton" and "Gucci" style handbags and other fashion goods sold on the streets near his studio in Florence, Italy.

Kevin's bold, larger than life, oil on canvas paintings were mostly painted in a factory in China.. The Made in China works with their exploitation of ubiquitous status logos are likely to snare the attention that Andy Warhol achieved for the Campbell Soup Cans.

Seen Around Town

Charlie Chaplin's granddaughter Kiera Chaplin celebrated her birthday at Pink Elephant Southampton with sister Laura and pals.

Former First daughter Chelsea Clinton danced the night away at Tim Burke's 75 Main in Southampton.

More on famous offspring: actress Tessa Ferrer granddaughter of Rosemary Clooney and Mel Ferrer and daughter of Gabriel Ferrer and singer Debby Boone shopping for workout clothes in Sag Harbor.

Tommy Hilfiger was spotted shopping with his children at Blue & Cream in East Hampton. Tory Burch likes to take her kids to lunch at The Drivers Seat on Jobs Lane in Southampton.

Artist Kevin Berlin returned from his sojourn at his studio in Florence is now back at his regular haunt Sant Ambroeus in Southampton.

P. Diddy will host his big annual summer party at the White House in Hampton Bays. This was the first time the event, formerly known as the White Party, has been open to the public.

Congressman Tim Bishop and a large party took over the street side window table at 75 Main Street for dinner.

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