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A blog about doing good and doing well.
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Lyn Devon to Collaborate with Ballet Hispanico for Junior Society Benefit

Fashion designer Lyn Devon, who has dressed the quirky actress Greta Gerwig as well as the polished Whitney Museum chair Brooke Neidich, has found a new group of muses for her modern, romantic clothes. On October 21 at the midtown nightclub Covet, Ms. Devon will outfit the sexy, athletic dancers of Ballet Hispanico for a short performance choreographed by Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro.

The event, “Dance into Fashion,” is a benefit for the company’s education programs, hosted by the company’s Junior Society. Zac Posen and Brian Reyes have pitched in at previous events.

Paul Arnhold and his mom, Jody Arnhold.

Paul Arnhold, whose mom has been taking him to see Ballet Hispanico since he was a baby, founded the Junior Society group right out of college. “Tina Ramirez [Ballet Hispanico’s founder] is like a grandmother to me,” Mr. Arnhold, a 25-year-old senior account associate at Digitas, said. Among those he has recruited to help with the event are college classmate Grace Gummer, daughter of Meryl Streep and Don Gummer. Her new Teen Nick fictional dramedy “Gigantic,” about growing up in Hollywood, has just debuted. Arnhold himself has a claim to fame: he was voted one of this summer's 50 hottest bachelors by Hamptons magazine. Tickets, from $100 to $500, are available at 212-362-6710.

By Amanda Gordon  |  Sun, 17 Oct 2010 at 9:09 PM  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)

MoMA Opening: "The Original Copy: The Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today"

Studying how photography has been used to document and make art of bodies, monuments, and various things that constitute sculpture is the premise of MoMA's new show on the 6th floor. At the opening tonight it was kind of like a walk along a long stretch of beach, past sandcastles, lifeguard stands, views of the dunes... and all those people...

A montage of photographs, outside the show on MoMA's 6th floor.

Sur Rodney Sur and Lorraine O'Grady, who is in the show.

The curator of the show, Roxana Marcoci, far right.

The scene.

Photos: Amanda Gordon

By Amanda Gordon  |  Wed, 28 Jul 2010 at 12:03 AM  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)

Peter Stein bows out of Met Opera's New Production of Boris Godunov

The Metropolitan Opera announced today that Stephen Wadsworth, the head of dramatic studies for the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program., will replace German extreme-theater practitioner Peter Stein as director of the fall season's new production of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. The Met Opera attributed the withdrawal to "personal reasons."

For those enchanted by their first experience of Stein earlier this month, when he brought his 12-hour production of Dostoevsky's "The Demons" to Lincoln Center Festival, the news comes as a blow. But the production, which will premiere on Monday, October 11, will continue to have Valery Gergiev as conductor, and René Pape is scheduled to sing the title role for the first time at the Met, after doing so to acclaim last year in his hometown of Dresden. Other roles he has performed for the first time at the Met, where he has appeared in every season since 1995, include Méphistophélès in Faust, Gurnemanz in Parsifal, Escamillo in Carmen, and the Old Hebrew in Samson et Dalila.

By Amanda Gordon  |  Wed, 21 Jul 2010 at 5:32 PM  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)

Handing the Torch of Liberty to a Newspaperman

A room full of editors, writers, public figures and donors gathered in midtown last night for the presentation of the 2010 Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award. Attorney Kenneth Bialkin, chairman emeritus of the American Jewish Historical Society, presented the society's highest honor to Seth Lipsky, the Wall Street Journal stalwart and the founder and editor of the New York Sun and the English edition of the Forward newspaper.

Peter Kann, who first met Lipsky in Vietnam, and later worked with him at theWall Street Journal, served as master of ceremonies, introducing six speakers who gave an affectionate mixture of toasts and roasts. They were Roger Hertog, Michael Steinhardt, and Tom Tisch, who were among the owners ofThe New York Sun;Philip Gourevitch, a writer for the New Yorker; Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal;and Amity Shlaes, a columnist for Bloomberg and Mr. Lipsky's wife.

Elie Wiesel and Jane Eisner.
Amity Shlaes and Flora Lipsky. Bernard Nussbaum and Nancy Kuhn.
The many accomplishments of the author of “The Citizen’s Constitution: An Annotated Guide” and a forthcoming biography of Abraham Cahan were evident as speakers regaled the audience.

Philip Gourevitch, the former editor of the Paris Review, told amusing anecdotes as a young reporter at the Forward. He came to the Forward offices having written a couple of book reviews. Mr. Lipsky told him, “My New York bureau chief just quit. Have you ever done any reporting?’ Mr. Gourevitch recalled his response: "I said "no'‘ and Lipsky said, 'Good! No bad habits.'”

Ira and Ingeborg Rennert with Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy.
Lipsky-nurtured talent: writers Jonathan Mahler, Philip Gourevitch, and Jonathan Rosen.
Mr. Gourevitch said that Mr. Lipsky made others feel that working at a newspaper was fun and that he was a great mentor. "It's pretty hard to pick up a newspaper or magazine without reading work by people who got their start from him," he said.

Then he told of Lipsky's preference of attire for his reporters. “He believed that a newspaperman should wear a hat. And he had a relationship with a hat company over on Herald Square, and he sent me over there early on to buy a hat so that I could look like a proper newspaperman.

“So I went over there and bought this fabulous Borsalino, which to me spoke of great Italian style, and I came back to the office, and he said, ‘What is that thing on your head?’ and I said, ‘It’s the hat you bought for me.' He said, ‘No, no, no,’ and he went over to his office closet door and out tumbled a stack of hats. And he said, ‘Now, look,' and he brought out a ruler and measured the brim of my hat and he measured his hat, and he pointed out that the brim of his hat was at least half an inch smaller than my hat. And he said, ‘Now, you take that back and return that, because when you walk into a room with a guy and you say you’re from the Forward, we want him to know that you’re there to interview him and not to shoot him.”

Karen and Masha Leon.
Minky Worden and Peter Huvos of Human Rights Watch. Seth Lipsky and Thomas Meaney.
Mr. Gigot said that Mr. Lipsky’s ideal presidential candidate would be a Zionist, neoconservative who believes in the gold standard and the flat tax. In other words, “he’s a Jew who believes in the Messiah.”

He said to work for Mr. Lipsky is to believe you have the best job in the world, because Mr. Lipsky believes that being a newspaper reporter is the best job in the world. "Seth was my foreign editor when I was a correspondent in Asia for the Wall Street Journal and my first job for Seth was to go write a profile ofImelda Marcos. When I arrived at the hotel in the Philipines there was a telex waiting for me with three words: ‘Anecdotes, anecdotes, anecdotes.’

Nancy, Martin, and John Polevoy.
Peter Kann and American Jewish Historical Society President Donald Kaplan.
In pursuit of these gems, Mr. Gigot racked up some very large bills. "I had never spent money like this and I became concerned," Mr. Gigot explained. "So I called Seth and said, 'How should I handle it?' 'Well, Gigot,'" Lipsky replied, "'think of it as your money — but think of it as if you made $150,000,000 a year."

“Another lesson I learned from Seth was about sources. Seth was famous for knowing heads of state, finance ministers, opposition leaders, but I never really understood fully the breadth of Seth’s contacts until I was pursuing a story for him in southeast Asia on whether the Soviet Union had used biological weapons in the Vietnam War. “And as I was reporting, Seth said, ‘You really ought to talk to the former king of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk. And I said, ‘Seth, that would be good, but Sihanouk is in exile in North Korea.’ And Seth said, ‘Well, that’s right. I have his number. It’s 7.’ I said, 'What number?’ and he said, “Yeah, it’s 7.” He got it from a great journalist Nayan Chanda. So sure enough, I called the operator and said, 'I’d like to talk to Pyongyang, number 7.’ I got Sihanouk."

Remy Holzer and Adam Kirsch. Paul Gigot.
Robert Emmett Tyrrell, Sheldon Solow, and Michael Steinhardt.
While editorialists are known for shooting the wounded, Miss Shlaes said her husband has always taken a different approach. "Seth comes on to the bloody battlefield but he doesn't shoot the wounded. He brings them soup... He defends the most unpopular and least loved person at his most unpopular and least loved moment."

On the event committee were Henry Kissinger; Sir Harold Evans; Tina Brown; Schools Chancellor Joel Klein; Ira Stoll, editor and founder of; and newspaper publishers Donald Graham of theWashington Post, Rupert Murdoch of News Corp., Arthur Sulzberger Jr. of the New York Times,and Mortimer Zuckerman of the New York Daily News.

Tom Tisch, Michael Stoler, and Billie Tisch.
Ira Stoll and Joseph Steinberg. Michael Mukasey.
Guests included Mayor Koch, Lally Weymouth, Elie Wiesel, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, United Nations correspondent Benny Avni, Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter, Neal and Maud Kozodoy, as well asMasha Leon, who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the gossip column she writes (and her daughter, Karen Leon photographs) for the Forward.

Mr. Lipsky said that while he loves newspapers, what he loves most is pursuing a story. He entertained the crowd with a little-known tale of Zionist leader Theodore Herzl. "The truth is that his dream was to start a Jewish newspaper," Mr. Lipsky said. But after considering the proposition, he decided "to do something simpler, something easier. He thought, 'I'm going to start a Jewish state.'"

Seth Lipsky accepts congratulations from Paul Singer, chairman of the Manhattan Institute.

Reprinted from New York Social Diary

By Amanda Gordon and Gary Shapiro  |  Sat, 5 Jun 2010 at 5:45 PM  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)

MoMA and Givenchy to Fete Marina Abramovic Tonight

We've looked at Marina a lot these last few months -- and we haven't seen her eat a thing. So at the closing party for her retrospective tonight, let's hope she digs into her meal, which the caterer, Canard, tell us will be filet of beef, purple cauliflower, and carrots, served with candied bacon jam. The sweet and savory jam is prepared from sautéed bacon, honey, brown sugar, and stock, by reduction in the oven: sounds like performance art bacon to me.

By Amanda Gordon  |  Tue, 1 Jun 2010 at 10:44 AM  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)

Broadway Meets Broadway (with Detours to D.C. and Haiti)

The Broadway League's Executive Director, Charlotte St. Martin, right, and its communications director, Elisa Shevitz, at a Broadway Association luncheon at Sardi's on May 25.

There's only one Broadway, but there are many groups that support it. The Broadway Association, founded in 1911, brings together businesspeople not directly involved in Broadway to look after Broadway's interests. These are folks in hotels, public relations, restaurants, real estate, and politics (Mayor David Dinkins, for instance; Bill Rudin; Tim Zagat, whose father was a founder). Among their activities is a monthly luncheon; May's meeting was upstairs at Sardi's, and featured guests from another group, the Broadway League, Broadway's trade association, founded in 1930. The speakers at the event were from another, less formalized group, the Broadway press. Theater critics from the Daily News, Time Out, Entertainment Weekly, and Variety gave their assessments of the past season. But the most remarkable talking point came from Jujamcyn Theaters' Paul Libin, who described his donation to support culture in Haiti. While he started out wanting to build a theater there, he said he soon realized that what was needed was to support all the things that lead to a theater. Closer to home, Broadway Association's chairman, Cristyne Nicholas, noted that the group has joined in a petition to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, for the continued funding of security in Times Square. The Broadway Association also lobbied last year to route the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade through Broadway and Times Square instead of Sixth Avenue. "Sixth Avenue is generic, it could be any city. Broadway shows off New York ," Ms. Nicholas said in an interview after the luncheon.

Entertainment Weekly theater reviewer Melissa Rose Bernardo, the Broadway Association's chairman, Cristyne Nicholas, and board member Tim Zagat.

By Amanda Gordon  |  Fri, 28 May 2010 at 11:26 PM  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)

For the Kitchen

Mary-Kate Olsen ... Lex Sidon, Matt Kliegman of the Smile, and Evan Koga of Chief ... Mia Jung and Kitchen board member Scott Lawin

The kitchens New Yorkers cook in will forever be small, but the Kitchen, the experimental arts space in Chelsea, keeps on growing. Its annual gala on Wednesday at Capitale had all the fabulous marks of a well-supported cultural institution in New York: two media sponsors (Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg), some famous people (Josh Hartnett, Mary-Kate Olsen, Cindy Sherman and David Byrne), heaps of cannolis, well-credentialed indie bands on the bill via Brooklyn (The Dirty Projectors) and Santa Monica (Chief)... and happy bartenders serving strong drinks with admirable efficiency. Itineraries included a little dancing, lots of schmoozing.

Richard Chai and artist Mika Tajima ... Andrea Glimcher and Nicola Vassell of Pace ... Evan Schayegh and Emily Leonardo ... David Byrne

The crowd was dotted with big donors as well as artists who have presented at the Kitchen. Katie Hand and Richard Chai ate cupcakes, David Byrne graciously signed copies of his "Bicycle Diaries," and Mary-Kate Olsen swayed to the mellow folk-rock, harmonizing music of Chief before having a power, and security-guarded moment with CBS chief Les Moonves and Julie Chen. All in a night for the Kitchen.

Irene Huotman, Judith Sanchez Ruiz, David Neumann ... Chris Ahearn of Thomson Reuters, board member Tracey Ryans, Kyle DeWoody ... Victoria Rowan and Euan Rellie ... an intern from the Kitchen

See more photos here.

By Amanda Gordon  |  Fri, 28 May 2010 at 8:51 PM  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)

Achi's Heroes: Pediatric Cardiology Patients Toast Dr. Ludomirsky, Raise $3 million for children's health services at NYU Langone Medical Center

At the KiDS of NYU gala, Tuesday, May 25 at the Plaza Hotel: Judy and Jamie Dimon; Alice Tisch and Trudy Gottesman; Matthew Geslin, Ben Gottesman, and Meg Geslin; Sarah Roger, Shelly Kaplan, and Sarah Gottesman; Samantha Wechsler and Patty Newburger; a guest and Alan Rappaport, Dr. Eugenie Doyle and guest; Dr. Achi Ludomirsky and Jillian Goldstone

By Amanda Gordon  |  Fri, 28 May 2010 at 5:47 PM  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)

Creative Time Crashes Chinatown: Peking Duck, Karaoke Fete Andrea and Marc Glimcher

It took repeated bangs on the gong -- not a fancy-pants hand-held xylophone, but a big brass clunker -- to get people to their seats at the Creative Time benefit last night. Then Anne Pasternak, Creative Time's President, gave an official welcome to a several-course Chinese banquet at Jing Fong in Chinatown.

Liz Swig toasted the honorees, Marc and Andrea Glimcher of Pace Gallery, with a tale from her and Marc's childhood: something about being left on his parent's boat together, exploding soda cans by putting knives in them, cleaning up with towels and then throwing the towels overboard, hoping they would sink fast enough, so as not to be discovered by the parents. Mr. Glimcher said he was glad she had told the story with his mother in the room, while her parents weren't present.

A present-day token of affection came from artists Tara Donovan and Robbie Crawford, who presented the Glimchers with a Lego replica of Beijing Pace. The Lego people out front are Glimcher look-alikes.

After peking duck but before the fortune cookie and ice cream bar opened, the Glimchers took the stage to perform. Mrs. Glimcher said it was her first time singing karaoke. The tunes: Captain & Tennille's "Love will keep us together" and "Do it to me one more time." Mr. Glimcher played the keyboard. (Honoree performances are a nascent Creative Time tradition: last year, Ray Learsy and Melva Bucksbaum performed a number from "Guys and Dolls," and the year prior, honoree Beth Rudin DeWoody was serenaded with the help of male strippers.) The event drew 400 people and raised about $1 million for the organization.

By Amanda Gordon  |  Thu, 20 May 2010 at 12:31 AM  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)

Jon Tisch's Civil Society

There was the 7-year-old who recently planted trees with classmates at the Town School, and the 20-something who works Excel spreadsheet magic on behalf of nonprofits. There was a member of Vanity Fair's best-dressed list, who delivers meals with City Meals on Wheels, as well as Bill Clinton, who said that he'd just been talking to nine new employees of his foundation about the fight against AIDS in Africa. Mayor Bloomberg boasted that under his leadership, New York City has the nation's first municipal Chief Service Officer, Diahann Billings-Burford. Her job is to promote and facilitate volunteerism. Ms. Billings-Burford, for her part, said that Friday morning at 7 she would be in the Bronx, helping launch a walking school bus -- that is, a group of parents who have trained to walk children to school, in this case P.S. 6 in East Tremont.

And that's just a sampling of the civil society that gathered at the Museum of Modern Art Thursday night to celebrate Jon Tisch's new book, "Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World" (Crown).

A good citizen recognizes opportunities to support those they believe in, and so Mr. Clinton at the podium praised Mr. Bloomberg for going to Washington D.C. on Wednesday to lobby for tougher gun control. "Before my wife made me a New Yorker," he said, "I was your standard American red neck. And I would shoot a 22 when I was 10, 11 years old. And it bothers me that Congress is so scared of the NRA they they won't do things that 85% to 90% of Americans are plainly for. There are people who think all constitutional rights should be stripped for people who are even vaguely suspected of being terrorists, but they still ought to be able to buy a 50-caliber weapon that would take out one of the walls here at the museum. So I want to thank the mayor for sticking up for common sense."

Mr. Tisch said his parents, Joan and Preston Robert Tisch, and his aunt and uncle, Billie and Lawrence Tisch, had inspired him. "They started this. They didn't have much when they were growing up but through their hard work, through their discipline, through their dedication, and through their educating us about understanding your responsibilities — we are so fortunate to be part of a family that cares about each other, and then cares about each other," he said.

Mr. Bloomberg also said he had learned from Preston Robert Tisch and Lawrence Tisch. "It was Jon's father and Jon's uncle who taught me about philanthropy back in the late 1960s, when I got a chance to meet these two august men, whom I never thought I would be. Both of them took me aside and explained to me we all have a responsibility, and I watched both of them. They were role models for me then and they are role models for me now."

The mayor then summed up the main idea of the book: "Good people doing good work inspire more good people to do more good work," he said.

Guests left the party with a copy of the book, signed by Mr. Tisch in a spring-colored green, and a $25 gift certificate to redeem at, which allows individuals to buy supplies for classroom projects that school teachers register on the site. Mr. Clinton and Mr. Bloomberg left after their remarks, to attend an American Ireland Fund gala honoring Bono.

By Amanda Gordon  |  Fri, 7 May 2010 at 12:25 AM  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)

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