In The Magazine

The Social Swim

Friday, May 22, 2015


David Koch talked about politicians, philanthropy and ballerinas at a Youth America Grand Prix dinner following the world premier of composer Karen LeFrak’s enchanting piece Windy Sands by choreographer Alexei Kremnev in his eponymous theater. Woody Allen asked Koch if he had a committee to help him decide where to give his money. David, who has given $100 million to Lincoln Center, another $100 million to MIT and millions more to the American Ballet theater (just to name a few of his donations), told Woody that he made the decisions by himself and gave where he could make a difference: his quest to cure prostate cancer, of which, he said, there were 20 kinds. Said Koch sagely, “Let’s cure one cancer at a time.” When Woody was asked if he would ever make a film about ballet, he quipped, “After The Red Shoes, there’s nothing left to say.” David said he enjoyed watching ABT prima ballerina Paloma Herrera do a tango with Juan Pablo Ledo, and everyone raved about eleven-year-old Antonio Casalinho, who all but stole the show. Then the conversation turned to politics. David said, “I’m supporting Scott Walker, and I would like to see Marco Rubio as his VP. I like how Scott took on the unions and reduced the debt in Wisconsin.” He went on to say that he hosted a fundraiser for the Republican Governors Association and had recently had 90 donors in his ballroom in Palm Beach to hear ten governors, including Walker, talk about America’s future. “I told Scott I thought Marco Rubio would make a great VP, and he told me he thought that sounded good to him too,” adding that “Rubio came to my office, and we spent an hour and a half talking and we agreed on many issues.” Talk turned to Avery Fisher Hall and its plan to raise $500 million to gut the interior in order to make a new home for the New York Philharmonic. “They got off to a good start with David Geffen’s $100 million gift,” said David, “but I don’t think it’s going to be easy to raise $500 million. I think they could do a lot to fix the acoustics by spending $200 million. I joined the Philharmonic committee to see what was going on across the plaza, but if they think they’re going to get a big chunk of that money from me they’re asking the wrong guy,” he chuckled. And just who says that gala dinners are dull? Not me.


Andrea Stark, Tony Ingrao and Randy Kemper created a crystalized tree, festooned with white orchids and a single, green, crystal apple, for the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House gala. The theme was the Garden of Eden, and dozens of designers, including Harry Heissmann, Campion Platt and Geoffrey Bradfield let their imaginations run wild to create the most dazzlingly creative party of the season.….Dior and I, the revealing documentary about designer Raf Simons, opened at the Tribeca Film Festival. Director Frédéric Tcheng told Charles James documentarian Angela Bernhard Thomas, “Raf gave me the greatest gift: he gave me his privacy.” Beauties on the scene included Hailey Baldwin, Lake Bell, Chanel Iman and Hannah Bronfman….Larry Wohl hosted a fun publishing party for Leesa Rowland’s new book, Discovering the It Factor Within You, at the Waverly Inn….Emily Mortimer, Nicole Miller and Carter Coleman hosted the African Rainforest Conservancy’s 24th Annual Artists for Africa Benefit at the Tribeca Rooftop. Among the pieces auctioned off to save the Tanzanian rainforest were works by Spencer Tunick, Hunt Slonem, Lola Schnabel and pop artist Whisbe, who’s the talk of the Brooklyn art scene. Nicole Miller took home his painting of a gummy bear in front of a police lineup. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ sister, Princess Lee Radziwill, as well as Carolina Herrera, Christine Ebersole, and Dianne Bernhard, were just a few of the smart set who toasted William Ivey Long as he received the National Arts Club’s Medal of Honor for Achievement in Fashion. William has won six Tonys and is president of the American Theater Wing, which will present the Tony Awards on June 7. Nominees include An American in Paris, Something Rotten and On the Twentieth Century, all of which provide and entertaining evening at the theater.


Patricia Hearst Shaw, the charismatic granddaughter of media mogul William Randolph Hearst, on whom the Orson Welles movie Citizen Kane was based, gave a lunch at her home in Putnam County. The occasion was the christening of her savvy daughter Gillian’s second child, Hadley Chandler, by her husband attorney, Christian Simonds. Twenty-eight family members and friends attended the ceremony, at St. Philip’s Church in the Highlands. Standing as godmother was Patricia’s other daughter, the actress Lydia Hearst, who this year will be in five movies and a TV series called South of Hell. “I play a drug-addicted ballerina,” smiled Lydia, who is currently in the arms of comedian Chris Hardwick. She confided to me, “I’ve never been happier in my life.” Lydia brought a ballerina dress dotted with stars from Paris by Jean Paul Gaultier for her sister’s other daughter, Harper, to wear to the party. It’s the only way really: after all she’s two! (Is there a tiny tot category for the best-dressed list? Well, why not?). Hadley wore a long white dress embroidered in sea pearls, while her mother, who will be among the junior cochairs of the New York Botanical Garden’s upcoming ball, was picture perfect in a floral Oscar de la Renta, while Patricia wore royal blue and pearls the size of jawbreakers. The stately home, awash in art, antiques and family memorabilia, was a virtual poem in pink blooms and pale green orchids. Among the guests were the ever-glamorous Kimberly Rockefeller, fine art consultant Tom Knapp and others too blue-blooded and private to mention.


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