Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Charming Handwritten Note

My "wardrobe" of stationery
I almost forgot how much I love a handwritten note - not only receiving them, but writing them, too.  As you can see above, I have a lovely selection of Crane stationery at my disposal - some engraved, some thermographed printed.  Obviously, I love red/pinks and greens.  I remember when I bought my first Crane engraving die, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  It came in a divine velvet bag and I treasure it. 

I used to copiously write notes, at least two or three a week, but I am very sad to say, that habit has dropped by the wayside in the last few years.  Well, that drought is about to end.  I pulled out my note cards this morning to write a thank you to a friend for a gift she gave me the other day and remembered....I remembered how beautiful my stationery was, I remembered how much thought I put into choosing all my stationery to really reflect me, I remembered how much I like the feel of good stationery in my hand, I remembered how I love to select just the right ink color to complement each pattern and color, and most of all,I remembered how much I like to write notes! 

I am so much better at putting my thoughts into words through a pen on paper - much better than actually speaking them.  I always try to make my notes very personal and creative.  I even have several books on how to write an interesting note to inspire me!  In the past, I even tried to keep a supply of stamps to color-match each of my stationery.  Since I hadn't written many notes lately, I didn't have any special stamps for the note I sent today and had to use a leftover Christmas stamp, but it did have green on it to match my envelope!

One of the things I most enjoyed when I joined the Junior League over 20 years ago, was all the captivating handwritten notes I received.  It was a joy to open the mailbox!  It was then I started buying gorgeous stationery in earnest.  I had always had stationery and had always written thank you notes.  Thankfully, I had been taught that skill at a young age.  At that time, my stationery had been of the Hallmark variety, very simple, though filled with heartfelt messages, and I had thought I had to buy a specific card for every occasion.  Once I had my Crane stationery, it was like having St. John in my closet.  With St. John, I know I always have something to wear no matter the occasion and with my Crane stationery, I always have the perfect card - for thank yous, for condolences, for get wells, for congratulations, for anything!    

One of my goals for 2012 is to get back to writing many, many more notes.  I enjoy writing them and people enjoy receiving them.  When I was shopping over the weekend, I came across a little book that I had heard of awhile ago called, A Simple Act of Gratitude - How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life.  It chronicles a man's journey of writing a thank you note every day of the year for one year.  I bought it and quickly read it.  It reinforced my desire and goal to return to my note writing ways and inspired me to get out my boxes of stationery and sit them on my desk, ready for a quick daily note writing session.

I am now primed to be my grand note writing self once again, and I couldn't be happier.  Next time you go to your mailbox, you might just find a note from me!

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Second Chance at 2012 Goal-Setting

By now, almost Feb. of 2012, most New Year's resolutions are already by the wayside.  Even though I don't really make resolutions, I do make goals for the year and I try to make my list during the quiet week between Christmas and New Year's.  I made my goals this year, like every year, but somehow they didn't feel real to me this time around.  A couple of goals had been on my list yearly for about 15 years.  I don't know what made me think I was going to accomplish them this year, if I didn't the other 15 years.

All month long, my 2012 goals had nagged at me and didn't seem real.  Do you ever have those feelings?  To achieve any goal, you have to believe you can actually do it!  One of my goals had been to write a certain book.  I had wanted to write this particular book for many years.  I had the title, I had the chapter headlines, everything but the actual content.  A few days ago, I was going to write a blog post about one of the topics within the book and I realized I didn't have anything new or interesting to say about it!  Boy, was that an eye-opener!  If I couldn't even write a blog post about it, what made me think I could write an entire book about it? 

So what did I do?  I spent this weekend revisiting my 2012 goals and realizing why some of them didn't work for me and never would.  I was making goals of things I thought I should want, or maybe had wanted in the past, but not what I actually wanted right now.  I gave myself permission to tell myself I was never going to write that particular book that had been on my goal list for 15 years.  I now have another one, a better one for me, to take its place.  I am now fairly bursting with energy and excitement about the year!

I also have reframed my other goals to better fit my current lifestyle and values.  I know sometimes I have to percolate on things for awhile to see them clearly.  With all the hoopla around the holidays, it is really hard to do that.  I think I may have to change my goal-setting calendar to Feb. 1 instead of Jan. 1.  I need the quiet month of January to listen to my thoughts and my heart.  I now have some very big, audacious goals that I want to have accomplished by this time next year and I feel in my heart, finally, that I will.

How are you doing so far with your goals for 2012?  Let me know.    

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Ultimate Civilized Life - Happy 150th birthday to Edith Wharton

I would be remiss if I did not mention the 150th birthday of my idol, Edith Wharton, which was on Tuesday, the 24th.  She lived the ultimate civilized life. 

Have you ever been to her home, The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts?  I was there in 2009 and it is simply divine.  I had wanted to visit for many years and finally as a celebration of a professional accomplishment, I booked myself a trip to the charming village of Lenox.

The Mount
I spent a couple of different days at the estate.  First I was there to watch Xingu, a play based on a Wharton short story.  It was made even more fabulous because it was intimately performed by The Wharton Salon in The Mount's drawing room.  I was almost beside myself with joy!  You could easily place yourself in that era surrounded by gracious of that room.  Afterwards on the tour, I stood in her bedroom and tried to imagine what it must have been like.  As you probably know, that was her favorite place to write, sitting in bed and blithely tossing the completed pages on the floor for her maid to pick up.  I actually have my most creative thoughts in bed, too, though I like to write in the dark of night with only a flashlight to guide my thoughts.

Another day I was in her stables, which is where they hold lectures.  It was quite lovely to look out over the grounds and listen to scholars.

I haven't even mentioned her gardens.  Gardening was one of her great loves and the gardens at The Mount are stunning.  In fact, she once said, "I am a better landscape gardener than a novelist".  Very traditional, very ordered and symmetrical.  I adored the allee.  It was raining both days I visited, so I didn't have the supreme pleasure of walking through her gardens, but I clearly remember standing on the terrace, off to the side, calling my husband back in Florida and trying to describe the out-of-body feeling I was experiencing.  I just wanted to stand there forever and look out over the wooded shores of Laurel Lake.

I am inspired every day by the divine Mrs. Wharton - her life and her writing.  I have a photograph of her home as the wallpaper of my laptop, so I can gaze at it in moments of stress and turmoil and be taken back to a more gentler, civilized time - Wharton time.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Review - Eleanor Lambert: Still Here

Eleanor Lambert: Still Here by John A. Tiffany is a very large and heavy book.  In fact it is a bit of challenge to actually read because you really have to put it on a table to look through and certainly not cozy up on the bed, which is how I like to read.  Other than that little bug-a-boo, I loved this book!  I had wanted to read it ever since I first heard it was going to be published.  I was not disappointed.

The book cover
How grand it would have been to have lived her life!  Of course, as in most any book I love, there were many things about her that I identified with.  She was a Mid-westerner, growing up in Crawfordsville, Indiana, she had a "can do" spirit creating events and making things happen, and the thing I most identified with, oddly enough, - she had bacon, eggs, and toast every morning for breakfast, which I do, too, though she had her breakfast brought to her on a tray by her maid, while I make mine myself.  She also had fresh fruit and orange juice, too.  Most people are all pious and talk about how they just have cereal or oatmeal, so I was glad to see another bacon and egg gal because there aren't too many of us around, or at least who will admit to it.  That's what my mother served me for breakfast growing up and that is still what I have.  When I start my morning that way, I feel like all is right with the world.

For those of you unfamiliar with Miss Lambert, she was THE New York City publicist for decades - promoting fashion designers, stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf's and Bendel's, and artists and art galleries.  She created the Art Dealers of America and Park Bernet Galleries and played an important role in establishing the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.  She started what we now know as Fashion Week in 1943 at the Plaza Hotel, she started the American Fashion Critics Award, which became the prestigious Coty Awards, she created the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), and her coup de grace, creating the International Best-Dressed List!

One of the fun things I read about was her involvement with Truman Capote's Black and White Ball, the party from which all future parties are judged, in my opinion.  She was the one who convinced the tiny terror to make Katherine Graham the guest of honor, instead of himself.  She also guided him in making the infamous guest list, while dangling tantalizing stories to the press about who and who wasn't being considered.

The indomitable Miss Lambert, also known as Mrs. Seymour Berkson, also convinced Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor to give her wedding dress to the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute.  She had joined with colleagues to form the Costume Institute in 1937 so America could have its own collection of fashion history.  Her enthusiasm inspired the creation of the Institute's "Party of the Year" in 1948, which is now the biggest charity event in New York (and on my bucket list of things I want to attend before I die, along with attending a State Dinner at the White House!). 

The book is jam-packed of original press releases and the photos which accompanied the releases.  I think at one time or another, she represented every major American fashion designer including Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta, Pauline Trigere, Halston, Geoffrey Beene, Ralph Lauren, Anne Klein and the list goes on and on.  The same with artists.  She represented Jackson Pollack, Isamu Noguchi, Cecil Beaton, Thomas Hart Benton, Salvador Dali, and so many more.

She lived most of her New York life in a gorgeous apartment at 1060 Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park.  The book contains several photographs of different rooms.  I loved her bedroom!  She, like me, has all sorts of books and magazines stacked up around the room.  I do too, much to the chagrin of my husband, who pretty much complains about it all the time.  I also have a photograph of her dining room, which hosted many a luminary ranging from Greta Garbo, to Diana and Reed Vreeland, to Claudette Colbert and all of her many clients. Oh, how I long to have been on the guest list for those intriguing and enchanting dinners!

Starting most of her days at the famous Kenneth salon, THE hair salon for high society at the time, everyone on her staff would take turns meeting her there.  She was a queen at multi-tasking long before it was fashionable - simultaneously sitting under the dryer, getting a pedicure, and using the salon's telephone, way before the day of the cell phone.

Her seat at Kenneth's salon
The perfect picture of Miss Lambert working at her desk - love the divine fur hat!  I have a jacket that is almost identical to the one she is wearing and I wear my pearls with it, too!
She passed away in 2003 at the age of 100.  She had said many times that all she ever wanted to do was to get to the big city.  She is quoted as saying, "Taste is a sharpened eye for the beautiful, the interesting, and the unusual - coupled with the talent to apply all these to one's life....We understood work was part of getting ahead.  We were just lucky to have had the opportunity to meet a lot of people who were a part of history.  And when you meet prominent people, you live a better life.  It is not about society at all, it's about knowing things."  Amen to that, sister.

Her captivating bedroom

The enchanting dining room - oh, to be a fly on the wall!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sarasota 100's Night at L.Spa

Each month the Sarasota 100 executive women's group meets at a new place.  Sometimes it is at the business of one of our members, sometimes it's at a country club or the Field Club, and sometimes it's at a non-profit.  Last night it was at LeeAnne Swor's L.Spa and it was fabulous, at least for me!

Owner LeeAnne Swor (in green dress) checking people in.

We could sign up for all sorts of mini-treatments to introduce us to different things.  I had a massage and a manicure.  If you are a regular reader, you know that just last week I was asking if anyone knew a good massage therapist.  I received a couple of good suggestions, but I think I have found my man - Randy Gagne.  Even though it was only a mini-massage of 15 minutes, I could tell that he knew what he was doing and he listened to me.  At the end of my time, I was almost asleep!  It was quite lovely and I am definitely making an appointment for a full massage.

Randy Gagne, my massage man!

Then it was off to my nail polish change, with nail specialist, Shannon.  I have always had strong healthy nails, until a few years ago.  I thought I had a nail fungus that was making my nails peel and also, when I would give myself a manicure, which I do every Sunday night, the polish would go on fine, but within a couple of hours, they would look like I had gone to sleep on them when they were wet and I couldn't figure out why.  This was very distressing to me because my hands/nails had always been one of my best features.  Well, Miss Shannon told me she didn't think it was a fungus, but that it might be hormonal or that I might be allergic to one of the products I was using on my nails.  She completely redid my nails and as of right now, about five hours later, they still look perfect and I am encouraged that they will stay that way.  Shannon just moved to Sarasota three months after living in Tampa for a few years and is originally from Wisconsin.  I believe that Shannon has a new client! 

Miracle worker Shannon at her station

All in all, I felt it was a very successful night.  I was so glad to have the opportunity to just sample these treatments with new people at a new spa and I think all my friends were, too.  I am always a little skittish to try new people to do work on me and this was a very easy and painless way to do it.  I can heartily recommend the two people I experienced last night.  L. Spa is in the same building as L.Boutique and has tons of convenient parking in their lot on Pineapple, downtown.  If you are looking for a new personal team, I would start here.  Thanks for the evening, LeeAnne!

Robin Roach and Deborah Millman after their treatments.  Look how happy they are!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sarasota Orchestra's Wicked Divas Pops Concert

I love a Broadway tune more than almost anything, so I was in musical theater heaven Saturday night at the Sarasota Orchestra's Wicked Divas Pops Concert performed at the Van Wezel to a sold-out audience.  Andrew Lane was the conductor and Broadway stars Alli Mauzey and Nicole Parker were the Wicked Divas - both having appeared on Broadway in, what else - Wicked

I am normally such a traditionalist.  I just adore the classical story ballets and I love the dramatic operas, but my favorites from the Orchestra are the Pops concerts and the Journey to Genius concerts.  I think I just don't know enough about classical symphonies to truly enjoy the Masterworks concerts.  Even though I have attended them before, I often find myself daydreaming instead of really listening to the concert.  That's why I like the Journey to Genius concerts - you really learn the story behind each composer.  And the Pops concerts?  Well, they're just plain fun!

Both Ms. Mauzey and Ms. Parker were terrific!  Their voices were each big Broadway type voices well-suited to their song selections.  I thought all their costume changes were really fun and added to my enjoyment of the music.  When Ms. Mauzey sang the words, "When someone needs a makeover, I tend to takeover" from the song Popular from Wicked, I thought about the female musicians in the orchestra.  Though they have outstanding musical ability, I don't think even one of them was wearing any make-up whatsoever.  I wanted to do a makeover on each of them!  The soloists were both so pretty and polished and I thought the musicians deserved to look that way too.  They are just as much entertainers as the singers are.  Maybe the orchestra has rules about make-up, I don't know.  Maybe they want the musicians to blend into the background.  I guess I just really noticed it because, well, I notice those kinds of things, and because I like to sit up close to be fully engaged.  I was sitting in the second row, so especially while listening to the selections where only the orchestra was playing, I had plenty of time to observe.  I think it would be nice for a salon or Saks to take on the female musicians and do their make-up for one of their concerts.  Wouldn't that be fun and a lovely thing to do? 

Also, am I the only person who wonders why people think it's okay to show up to these types of events in jean shorts?  For goodness sakes, show a little respect for the performers.  I know all the arts groups encourage people to "come as they are" to show that cultural activities aren't only for the elite and that you don't have to wear a tux to attend, but really...jean shorts?  They could at least put on a pair of khaki trousers!  Frankly, I don't understand why casualness has started to rule the world.  It takes just as much time and effort to look decent as it does to look schulumpy and it just makes the world a more pleasant place for everyone.  (I know, I know, I'm judgmental.  It's my asethetic eye.  I want everything to look pretty and nice.  It's such a burden sometimes!)

Each song selection was so enjoyable.  I think I smiled all evening, but never more than when the orchestra played the songs of Diana Ross - Stop in the Name of Love, Touch Me in the Morning, and Ain't No Mountain High Enough.  Took me back to my high school memories.  Associate concertmaster, Chris Takeda did a gorgeous job with a violin solo on Over the Rainbow.  Then the final song was also from Wicked, the showstopper, For Good, really had me thinking about all the friends I love who are so important to me.  I love the words, "Because I knew you, I have been changed for the better."  That song always brings a few tears to my eyes when I think about how each of my friends have touched me and made such a difference in my life. 

A couple of funny odds and ends....Ms. Parker did a spot-on Ellen Degeneres imitation when Conductor Lane forgot the sheet music to one of her songs and he had to go off stage to retrieve it.  Also, right after the first song, the bass player sitting right in front of me left the stage never to return.  I wasn't the only one who noticed it.  I heard a couple of different people around me mention it to each other at intermission.  I hope he was okay.

The concert ended with the encore, I Will Never Leave You from Side Show.  A perfectly warm and fuzzy way to end a perfectly warm and fuzzy evening.  I was really glad I attended!

Monday, January 23, 2012

SMHF's Women & Medicine Luncheon

A brand new luncheon in town was held Friday at the Sarasota Yacht Club - both informative and interesting.  Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation's Women & Medicine Luncheon, chaired by Ann Charters and co-chaired by Sandy Schumacher, presented an esteemed panel of doctors explaining new research in Parkinson's Disease and Nerve Regeneration.  We were all riveted.

SMH Foundation President and CEO, Alex Quarles introduced the panel that consisted of Dr. James Schumacher from SMH, and Dr. Ole Isacson, and Dr. Penelope Hallett from Harvard Medical School's Neuroregeneration Institute.  They spoke on the cutting edge studies now being done using stem cell research.  The most impactful thing to me was the video of the patient who had had the regeneration and how amazingly different his movement was.  It was incredible.

In addition to those photographed below, others in attendance were Susan Buck, Ping Faulhaber, Diane Muir, Teri Hansen, Michael Saunders, Susan Brennan, Matthew Bower, Nora Johnson, Pauline Joerger, Kathryn Carr, Deb Knowles, Sharon Black Floyd, Lee En Chung, Betsy Kane Hartnett, Marjorie North, Kim Cornetet, Carol Phillips, Cornelia Matson, Molly Schechter, and just scads more.

Jennifer Saslaw, Margaret Wise, and Charlie Ann Syprett

Gwen MacKenzie and Alex Quarles

Dr. Christine Caulfield and BJ Creighton

Deborah Beacham, Bev Bartner, and Gina Clamage

Nikki Taylor and Nikki Sedacca

Pam Daniel and Scott Collins

Betsy Marshall and Leslie Loftus

Wendy Deming and Kirstin Faulkerson

Susan Jones and Aimee Cogan

Gayle Guynup and Marjorie Peter

Lisa Intagliata and Cliff Roles

Flora Major and Helen Sosso

Jane Thompson and Marjorie Broughton

Kaye Chase, Joy Weston, and Vivienne Smith

Friday, January 20, 2012

Keeping Up Appearances - A Little Girlfriend Talk

The struggle to be perfectly groomed at all times and looking in tip-top shape in Sarasota is never ending.  With all of the gorgeous perfection around, a girl has to try hard to keep up appearances!  I have a few of my favorite specialists that I wanted to share and find out some of yours, because I am looking for some beauty experts right now.  So let's have a little chat, girlfriend to girlfriend.  (By the way, none of these people even know I am going to talk about them and I am receiving no compensation from anyone.  This is from my heart.)

First of all, what I am looking for....I would love to find someone who does terrific facials.  I used to have a fabulous person at Body and Spirit several years ago named Karen Thomas.  Does anyone know her or know where she has gone?  I felt so completely relaxed during my treatment with her.  Not only did she do a wonderful facial, she also gave such relaxing shoulder and arm massages.  She was the best!  I had to stop going to her because I was a little perturbed by the old owner at the time.  I spent a ton of money there on a regular basis and I asked her for a raffle item for an event I was chairing and she wouldn't even respond to me one way or the other after numerous emails and phone calls, so that was it.  I wouldn't go back there, though I loved Karen.  I would love to know whom you go to and why you love them.  You can either comment here on my blog or where my blog appears on my Facebook page.  If you want to email me directly, you can do that, too, at debbibenedict@verizon.net.

I would also like to know who you like for pedicures?  What I always enjoyed best about getting a pedicure was the leg massage that went with it.  I also used to get those at the above mentioned salon and have had to do my own for several years now.  I have always done my own fingernails because it is just easier that going to a salon every week.  Let me know who you like to go to for a pedicure.

As you can see by the above comments, I love a massage.  My husband is actually the best masseuse I know.  I have trained him well over the years!  While he always gives me a massage whenever I ask for one, I would actually enjoy one that lasted more than 5-10 minutes.  I have only had a professional massage once in my life about 20 years ago and it was awful.  The person giving it repeatedly massaged an area where I asked her not too and it was very painful.  Three times I said, "please don't massage there" and she still did anyway, until I literally screamed at her to stop.  (I had open heart surgery as a child and my breastbone is still tender upon pressure and she just couldn't seem to get it through her head that I was in pain!)  Anyway, that has prevented me from having a massage all these years.  Please let me know whom makes you feel refreshed and relaxed. 

I have many people I love who take care of me in various ways, starting with David Strattard who does my hair at John Carl Salon.  I thought of this blog posting as I was driving home yesterday after my hair appointment and my hair looked quite spectacular!  David does many of the best heads in town.  He has been doing my hair for about five years now.  If you are looking for someone, I highly recommend my sweet, funny, and talented David.

I know you will never believe this, but I had a personal trainer for a time that I really liked and she helped me through a lot of issues.  Cindy Galik of The Fitness Conceirge was "given" to me as a gift by an anonymous person for 10 sessions for my 50th birthday. What I liked most about her was that she came to your home for your workout and you didn't have to go to some sweaty gym.  We became friends and I trusted her completely.  I don't really enjoy working out, so even though we continued our friendship, I didn't continue on past my 10 sessions.  I would also highly recommend her.

I also love my dentist and my periodontist - Drs. Jaworski and Russo, respectively.  I also love my hygentist at both places - Andrea and Christine.  Even though I take care of my teeth religiously and have them cleaned every three months, I just have difficult teeth.  Though they are very straight and always have been (no braces for me - yay!), they have very thin enamel, which causes all kinds of trouble.  All of my "teeth people" keep my gums healthy!   

My primary care doctor is Dr. Krista Toomre at Intercoastal.  I was looking for a new doctor several years ago and I actually saw her speak at a Speaking of Women's Health event and decided to go to her.  She has not disappointed me and has been of great help.

The one person I will never reveal, and whom I am always asked about, is the person who makes my ballgowns.  She has made my gowns for many years and forbids me to give out her name.  At the beginning, maybe 20 years ago, she did all sorts of sewing, but now she mainly creates and sews costumes for Olympic ice skaters and those up and coming skaters.  I am one of the few private clients she has kept on, thank goodness!  We work together to create couture-like gowns that fit me to a "T".  She is a miracle worker!

I used to use Flo Flessner at Saks as my sales person, but she retired last year, so now I believe I will go with Gloria Good.  I have known Gloria since she first started at Saks, when I started there as the St. John specialist shortly before her.  Though I left there left 12 years ago, Gloria has continued to excell in the Fifth Avenue Club.  Dawn at Chanel takes care of all my make-up needs.

Okay, girlfriend, there is my "team", such as it is.  Tell me whom do you like and who takes care of you?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

NCJW's Women in Power Luncheon

Four terrific women, four terrific stories, that's what you heard and saw at the 30th anniversary National Council of Jewish Women's 30th Anniversary Women in Power Luncheon yesterday. 

The co-chairs of the luncheon were Nina Japhe and Janet Stollman and the luncheon appeared to run really well.  At first I thought I had gotten there late even though it was only 11:50 AM and everyone was already sitting down and they were starting the welcome.  But after the welcome and invocation, there was mingle time before the entree was served, so I had plenty of time to chat and take photos.  By the way, I have been to so many Jewish events lately, I think I am learning the words to the prayer before the meal!  Really, I am!

I know all four ladies honored, some better than others, but it is interesting what you learn about each one at an event like this.  I'm sure you know at least a little about each one, too, so I'm just going to tell you a small interesting tidbit about each....Margaret Callihan worked on her college newspaper at Vanderbilt, called, The Hustler.  Okay, now it wasn't just Hustler, thank goodness, it was The Hustler.  Betsy Kane Hartnett said one of the quotes she lived by was by Golda Meir - "Don't be humble, you're not that great".  I love, love, love that quote!  Eva Slane told of how after her very long and full life, she is now living off the interest and dividends from all the deposits she has put into her life's bank account, by being able to do so much voluntarism.  And the person who surprised me most of all?  Anne Weintraub, someone who seems like such a superwoman, that it was quite amazing to me to hear about several quite serious failures she had when she was younger.  I thought that was a meaningful lesson for all of us to hear, but especially the younger gals.  Thanks for sharing, Anne!

One other fabulous thing...I forgot to get a photo of the scrumptious dessert because I dove right into it.  It is my absolute favorite dessert at MOE.  Whenever I chair something there, I try to always have it.  I even got Phil to give the recipe to me for the Junior League cookbook!  What is this delicious concoction?  Macadamia Nut Tart (Or something like that.  I couldn't put my finger on my JL cookbook and when I went to the MOE web-site to get the correct name, the under the dessert menu section, it said "coming soon", so this is the best I can do!)  I noticed most people at my table at the whole thing!

Others attending in addition to those photographed below were:  Jan Selwitz Segal, Mayor Suzanne Atwell, Ilene Fox, Vivienne Smith, Gloria Moss, Kay Kipling, Elizabeth Lindsay, Cookie Bloom, Greg Band, Kim Githler, Graci McGillicuddy, Judy Cuppy, Kyla Weiner, Alice Cotman, Gerri Aaron, Sally Yanowitz, Betty Schoenbaum, Andria Bilan, Rose Chapman, Jo Rutstein, Brian Lipton, Angel Hissom, Carolyn Johnson, Gayle Guynup and many, many more!

Betsy Kane-Hartnett and Margaret Callihan

Anne Weintraub and Eve Slane

Felice Schulaner and Teri Hansen

Linda DesMarais and Wendy Resnick

Phil King and Johnette Cappadona

Mack Reid and Tamara Chapman

Diane McFarlin and Flori Roberts

Estelle Crawford, Maram Schuster, and Jane Lautner

Judy Cahn and Jan Chester

Pauline Joerger and Marjorie North

Ellen Berman and Flora Major

Jane Smiley and Janice Zarro

Jocelyn Stevens and Denise Cotler

Audrey Coleman and Wendy Hopkins

Sandy Loevner

Caroline Zucker and Lee Byron

Marty Katz and Jessica Ventimiglia

Christine Jennings, Marian Moss, and Kay Mathers

Nancy Roucher and Lisa Rubinstein

Jewel Ash and Janet Hunter

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Hermitage Announces Greenfield Prize Winner

Last night at the gorgeous, art-filled home of Margaret Pennington, the Hermitage Artist Retreat (HAR) announced the 2012 Greenfield Prize winner - composer-pianist, Vijay Iyer.  The Greenfield Prize is a $30,000 commission to a mid-career artist to create new work.  The prize rotates between three arts areas - composing, playwrighting, and a wild card discipline.  In addition to the $30,000, the winner receives six weeks at the HAR to create the work and then after two years, in partnership with a local arts organization, the new work is premiered.  

Past winners are playwright Craig Lucas, composer Eve Beglarian, visual artist Sandford Biggers, and last year, playwright John Guare.  This year's reveal of Sandford Biggers work will be during the Greenfield Weekend on March 29th at the Ringling Museum.  In two years, Mr. Iyer's work will premiere with La Musica.  Last year, Eve Beglarian's work premiered with the Sarasota Orchestra.

Chosen by a national committee, the finalists are unaware they are even in the running until they are asked to submit a proposal of the work they would create if they win.  The committee chair is on the HAR national selection committee that chooses all artists who are in residence at HAR.  The chair then selects two other members from that year's field.  This year's committee chair was Linda Golding, former president of Boosey & Hawkes, an international classical music publishing firm and Director of Production Coordination for the NYC Opera.  She is currently the founder of The Reservoir. 

Other committee members were Jennifer Koh, a renowned violinist who has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Seattle, St. Louis, and Toronto symphonies and Limor Tomer, a former professional classical pianist, who is currently the General Manager of Concerts and Lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As Linda Golding said during her brief remarks, "For the artist, the Greenfield Prize is a tipping point in their career when this commission could make a difference in who they are and who they can be".
Vijay Iyer is one cool character.  Each year the prize is announced at a delightful cocktail party.  After the announcement to the guests, a phone call is made to the winner - on speakerphone.  All finalists are told to "stand by" their phone at approximately 6 PM to get "the call" live during the party.  That way everyone can join in the fun and excitement.  When he was notified that he was the winner, he replied in a slightly stunned voice that he was "so happy".  Why did I think he was a cool character?  He let the phone ring THREE times before he answered it very nonchalantly! 

Just who is Vijay Iyer?  A very brief bio - he is a Grammy-nominated composer and described as one of the most interesting and vital young pianist in jazz today.  He was voted the 2010 Musician of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association and named one of the 50 Most Influential Global Indians by GQ India.  He has released 15 albums.  He has won many, many more accolades than I can fit here, but just know this - he is most fabulous.  He is a "polymath" (Should I know what that is?  I don't, dear reader, but probably you do!), whose career has spanned the sciences, the humanities, and the arts.  He holds a BS in Mathematics and Physics from Yale University, plus a Masters in Physics, and a Ph.D. in Technology and the Arts from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Put April 1 at 6 PM at Michael's On East on your calendar right now.  You do not want to miss this dinner.  Tickets start at $150.  It has been touted as one of the best events in town by both SCENE Magazine and Sarasota Magazine.  It is truly that fabulous!  The keynote speaker is always a superstar within the discipline of the winner and this year it is Robert Spano, one of the brightest and most imaginative conductors of his generation.  He is music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and soon-to-be music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School.

You can see the Greenfield Prize dinner will be one of the most interesting of the season.  I'll be there.  Will you?

Greenfield Prize selection committee member Jennifer Koh with Greenfield Foundation President Bill Greenfield with wife, Joni Greenfield

Greenfield Foundation founders, Louise and Bob Greenfield

HAR Executive Director Bruce Rodgers with Caroline and Dyck Andrus

Dr. George Pappas, Tom Dignam, and Dr. Sarah Pappas

Greenfield Prize selection committee member, Limor Tomer and Lisa Rubinstein

Marv Albert, Vivian Kouvant, and Gerri Aaron

Bob Blattberg, Rebecca Donelson, and Bruce Rodgers

National committee chair, Linda Golding and reception hostess, Margaret Pennington

Piero Rivolta and Janet and John Hunter

Ina Schnell and Carol White Bold

Karen Solem, Brad Goddard, and Rebecca Donelson

La Musica's Derek Han and Sally Faron

Bill Buttaggi and Debra Jacobs, who is credited with bringing together HAR and the Greenfield Foundation

Joni Greenfield and Bev Koski

Annette and Tom Dignam

Flora Major and Rachele Rivolta

Greenfield Dinner Chair Joy Rogers and Ellen Berman

Flori Roberts and Kelly Lavin

Veronica Brady, HAR board president Larry Bold, and Karen Solem

A view of Margaret's stunning art-filled home

A very large piece of art and Janet Hunter

More captivating artwork