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Laurie Anderson, Rufus Wainwright And G.E. Smith Among Performers At LongHouse's Virtual "Love Song To Jack" This Valentine's Day

Lee Fryd

Beloved LongHouse Reserve founder Jack Lenor Larson. (Photo: Courtesy of Shonna Valeska)

Laurie Anderson, Rufus Wainwright, G.E. Smith and Taylor Barton, Nico Muhly and Royal Khaoz will give unique Valentine performances in memory of beloved LongHouse Reserve founder Jack Lenor Larson, at LongHouse' virtual winter benefit, "Love Song to Jack," on Sunday, February 14 (6:00 PM). Among those sharing reminiscences of Larson, will be Loving Couple Honorary Chairs Bill T. Jones and Bjorn Amelan, Eric Fischl and April Gornik, Rufus Wainwright and Jörn Weisbrodt.

Larson passed on December 22, at the age of 93. A famed fabric designer, author and collector, his was a full existence filled with meaning and beauty. "LongHouse fosters living a creative life in all its details," President of the Board Dianne Benson — a trend setter for her Dianne B stores, uptown and Soho "in the old days" — told us. "The base you use for your bread was as important as the significant sculpture in the garden to Jack. LongHouse is about how one thing leads to another." Thus, there is a strong teaching component to their programs. "If we can grow it in our garden, you can," Benson continued. "The way things are conceived and how the light works inside and out are all considerations for anyone with foresight, training and ideas."

She expects the program to be "jam-packed and filled with wonderful sentiment and songs."

"Jack was always, to me, the most exciting person in the room," she told us. "He had the most unique presence, not only because of his fabulous handmade clothes and scarves and hats. He radiated a kind of intelligence. He had the perspective of somebody who had seen the world and not forgotten any great detail. He could draw ideas, people, things objects, colors into one elegant pastiche. There was a kind of reserved inner passion always exuding from him. He's been gone over a month now. He left us so much to work with: a good team in place at LongHouse to live up to Jack's standards and make his legacy ongoing and forever. But he is missed."

"Valentine's Day was his favorite holiday and when we normally had our winter benefit in Manhattan." So there will be different levels of Love Boxes sent to ticket purchasers prior to the event, in New York or the Hamptons, beginning with a $50 Essence Love Box which includes a Yoko Ono keepsake created for LongHouse, and links to Shirin Neshat's film and incrementally ascending to the $1,200 level. The boxes have different varieties of "chocolates, cookies, cheeses and cocktails. One is saki oriented. The most expensive is a champagne box, which comes with a warm and cozy alpaca shawl."

Rufus Wainwright and Laurie Anderson are among performers. (Photos: Randy Shropshire and Luca Bruno)

"At the same time we are honoring LongHouse awardees Shirin Neshat and Paul Goldberger, who we had planned to honor last summer, which of course couldn't happen. Paul Goldberger will give us his erudite architectural take on the inside of Longhouse via a walk around the 13,000 square foot, four level house. Shirin will bring us into her world in New York and elucidate a little about her art and her new show simultaneously at the Gladstone gallery on 24th St."

The evening's talent is bound to impress. "For our musical segments, we have Laurie Anderson (!!!) composing what she calls a 'love poem.' So, from Laurie it will probably be unique and never heard before. Nico Muhly is a fantastic composer who will play an original piece on the piano. He's young. He's gorgeous. He's had two operas already at the Met, the youngest composer they've staged," she noted.

"Hamptons favorite guitarist GE Smith is performing a fabulous rendition of my 'Funny Valentine' with his wife, Taylor Barton," Benson added. "This insider's evening kicks off with a heartfelt rendition of 'It Had To Be You,' one of Jack's favorites, from JoyJanJones, a gorgeous soprano, at the Long House piano."

"Rufus Wainwright will record in his Los Angeles living room. And we have a fabulous reggae band called Royal Kahaoz."

During our quarantine, as life slowed down and many embraced bucolic pleasures, LongHouse, with its 16 landscaped acres dotted with up to 60 pieces of art by the likes of Buckminster Fuller, Yoko Ono, Eric Fischl, and Willem de Kooning, was embraced. "When we finally thought it was safe to open on a timed basis in June," Benson said, "we welcomed more people than we ever had before, many first timers. We had less problems with parking. Everyone felt privileged to be there. And the word that echoed more than any other was spirituality. It gave them a place to breathe, anchor and transcend."

To receive your Love Box prior to the event, orders must be placed before Monday, February 8, via www.longhouse.org.

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