May 17, 2013
The Old Friends Luncheon at the Racquet hosted by Susan Wunderlich, now living in California, and Genny Plamonden was a tableau of The Right Stuff Lake Forest style. Here’s an on the spot photo; Susan is in the middle. Judy Bross, Vicki Jackson, Maureen Smith, Helen Applegate, Sugar Rautbord and Faye Peck were also there.
We made a quick trip to our alma mater the University of Wisconsin in Madison which New Yorkers used to attend en masse. The object was to consult a tome only available in the whole USA at the Memorial Library in Madison, our old refuge from football games. The little city on the lakes never changes too much; we saw it from Greeks to Revolutionaries to well whatever it is today with its shabby student look. We prefer the pleated skirts and matching sweater sets to the teeny shorts and tight tank tops of today’s “coeds”, or the unshaven rather slovenly young men who in our day wore Brooks Brother to class. The Rathskeller is now a Laptopia and there is silence where once there was debate and conversation.
We did manage to get to the Field Museum for The Lascaux Caves and the best part was the all room recreating the interior of the actual caves. Rather wonderful and thought provoking. It was a wet day and we had to park half mile away to avoid the $$$$$$$$$ parking lot and the museum mainly foreigners. We had a chance to look at Soldier Field from the front steps – Good Heavens – who approved that renovation?
Tom O’Gorman’s paintings get better with each exhibit at Kiki’s. The 18th century Dublin Georgian houses are rendered in vibrant impasto. Always un plaisir to see Cynthia Olson an aficionado of Julian Fellows and the only other person we know who’s read his uproarious masterpiece Past Perfect.
Friends gathered on Cinco de Mayo on Hutchinson for Joe Winjum’s birthday party, the start of a weekend of festivities. Jonathon Wells made a walloping sangria and Mexican pot roast, enjoyed by Kim Gleeson, Sharon LePere, Tom Cooney, Richard Dormer, Heather Jane Johnston and beaucoup d’autres.
We feel obliged to “weigh in” on Rachel Shteir’s NYTimes book review Chicago Manuals in the April 21st issue in which she says Chicago suffers from “bloviating boosterism.” Well let’s face it – it’s true. We have for decades hurled a barb or two at the persistent Our Town syndrome, Sherwood Andersony small town pride as in whenever persons with a reputation that exceeds the Greater SMSA appears in print they always are preceded by the inevitable Our Town’s Harrison Ford or Our Town’s Saul Bellow or Our Town’s Michelle Obama.
Shteir’s daring review of a boostering new book about Chicago, no party line here, The Third Coast by Thomas Dyja caused quite a bloviating stir. The NYT gave Our Town’s Scott Turow a chance to review the book too and he objected to the title which he thinks patronizing and then wrote yet another encomium to his hometown. (We immediately thought of The Mosquito Coast). Anyway the usual Fabulous Architecture and black Blues music are the ultimate cultural connections in the Dyja book which throws in Hugh Hefner and Burr Tillstroom. whom we had the grand pleasure of knowing a bit, Nelson Algren, the Daleys, and a full shopping list of all the usual suspects of 20th century Chicago nonpolitical history. We think this Booster Book makes Chicago look even more provincial which Our Town’s Scott Turow would obviously not agree with.
Besides who needs boosterism today when New York is the Third World of Tacky Stars. The New York of our youth when it was the sophisticated capitol of the universe is gone with the wind. The Met Gala is now the preserve of RAP stars, ball players and soap opera persons. Jane Wrightsman or Jackie O where art thou? Let’s face it a paradigm shift has occurred in the past ten years and it is now officially The 21st Century.
We did love it that the Number One golfer Tiger Woods got looped playing the role of the reluctant boyfriend forced to accompany his girl, the Number One skier Lindsay Vonn, to a BLACK TIE. Haven’t we all been there? Well Arpad Busson says no more galas. He has scrapped Ark’s annual multimillion moneymaker as being an inefficient way to raise money. Smaller fundraisers are usually more effective anyway.
The International Antiques Fair at the Mart was really staggeringly beautiful but alas the opening night party for Rehab Institute was poorly attended though we did see King Harris, Lisa Malkin, Jim Kinney and Brian White. When the elevators opened after the VIP reception the masses swooped in.
The Dutch monarchy called “publicly subsidized performance art” of mind boggling absurdity did replace one puppet with another last week when the Queen stepped down in favor if her son, but we don’t recommend it for the Brits. In the first place they more than pay their own way and make money for the republic….and the entertainment value priceless as in the Greenwich CT’s English Speaking Union bloviating over Prince Harry the least likeable of the royals. He takes the heat for his brother and like Pippa feeds the crazed press some Cheerios, poor sods.
Have you read Paul Theroux’s latest travel book The Last Train to Zona Verde? The lovably sourball 70 year old traveled alone on foot from Cape Town to Angola and the picture more excoriating than Dark Safari. A poor continent getting more miserable by the hour due partly to the mammoth increase in population. When Westerners go on safari it is not Africa they see but an animal theme park not reality. While you’re at it read V.S. Naipaul’s’ Mask of Africa another frightening book which makes us renew our vow to never go east of Vienna or south of Gibraltar.
We don’t want to pick on the President at this sensitive time but did you know he removed the bust of Churchill in the White House? Kennedy had it placed there when he granted the great warrior honorary American citizenship. That Churchill shared the prevailing opinions of his time regarding the East etc. seems to have eluded the administration which does not appear to know much about history.
The Art Business can make you quite ill. Another mass Black Tulip inflation of prices in the latest Christie’s sale. Thus a bland Barnett Newman sold at auction for 43 Million. Then again we were always wary of the so called ”conceptual art movement” of the 80s. Even Sol Le Witt …well never mind.
Howzabout the money laundering and gambling operation masquerading as the Helly Nahmad Gallery in the Carlyle? Huge bidders at Sotheby’s and Christie’s the family is now the FBI’s domain. One always had the suspicion that many art businesses were excuses for tax write offs or other illegal activities.
See portrait painter Eric Fishl has now focused his East Hampton ambition on writing..…as in a new memoir Bad Boy. The Unsinkable Mary Boone probably cooked up that idea to get even more name recognition.
Fair Warning! Just when you thought Hollywood couldn’t get any worse! Would some Structuralist please deconstruct the difference between the suave Redford Gatsby and the ghastly Luhrman Gatsby, the beautiful pastel version versus the dark electronic games version. DeCaprio’s squeaky voice and bartender ambiance always ruin a movie since you cannot suspend your disbelief. Kewpie Doll Carey Whatever looks like Daisy’s maid not a Long Island deb.