Tuesday, November 08, 2016

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ®

Closing Out Election "Drama" at the Dramatists Guild Fund Gala

All photos Laurel Marcus
Click images for full size views

Like just about everyone else during these last days of electionageddon (electiongate?) I've been glued to the computer/phone/cathode ray tube screen; a situation that's not good for children and other living things (how many remember that slogan emblazoned everywhere-- a flashback from the kinder, gentler Vietnam War era?).  Upon receiving a better offer for the eve of the "end of days" in the form of an invitation to attend the Dramatists Guild Fund's "Great Writers Thank Their Lucky Stars: The Presidential Election," I figured it would be a good distraction-- or in Trumpspeak "what the hell did I have to lose?"

Andrew Lippa, Keren Craig, Georgina Chapman, Harvey Weinstein
& Rachel Routh

Honorees for the annual gala which was held at Gotham Hall, included Marchesa Co-Founders and Designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, Patron of the Arts/SVP and Chief Marketing Officer of Perfumania Holdings, Inc. Linda G. Levy, and Producer/Author/Lawyer John Breglio. The evening included a silent auction, live auction and performances by some of Broadway's most talented featuring songs from hit shows such as Mandy Gonzalez singing "Satisfied" from Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton" and Kate Baldwin singing "Hard Candy Christmas" from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Some of the offerings being auctioned

In addition to the auctioned items such as a gown from Marchesa, a cocktail party for 25 at Jason Wu's showroom with the designer, and a five-day luxury trip to Hawaii (host Jonathan Tolins was not kidding when he said that after this election everyone would need a vacay), there was a pledge drive for donations which raised over $100,000.

Kate Baldwin

In his intro, Tolins noted that the room was quite gay and quite Democratic (the hashtag for the event was #I'mWith DGF) but said he would make his quips "non partisan" (the MSM should take note), as he didn't want to insult Republicans AKA "the rich people" who he said might want to support the arts by sponsoring a writer or producing a play. He began with acknowledging that many attendees would be "refreshing Nate Silver under the table" (cute) and spoke of Donald Trump's early foray into producing a flop called "Paris is Out" ("Don't tell Mike Pence or he won't be able to buy a cake in Indiana" he joked). As for Hillary, he made reference to both her campaign's fundraising efforts as well as her prevailing scandal: "You know those missing emails? I got the 33,000 on Friday."

Caricatures of Keren Craig & Georgina Chapman

Mindi Dickstein introduced Hannah Elless who sang "Astonishing" from "Little Women," as Jo March, a role that Sutton Foster (check her out on TV's "Younger") played in 2005.  Dickstein remarked that she had read her mother's vintage copy of the classic at the age of 12, the same age that her mother had read it. Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig appeared in person at the cocktail hour and on the video screen during dinner. The absolutely gorgeous Chapman recounted how she met Craig at the Chelsea College of Art and Design where they majored in Costume Design and spoke on tape of how art as well as design are true expressions of the self.

Gretchen Cryor & Lynne Greene

Other political jests: Robert Schenkkan who wrote "All The Way" said "I'm in Armani tonight but tomorrow I'll be rocking my white pantsuit." Tolins while introducing the Best Little Whorehouse number: "No matter what happens tomorrow, America is still an underappreciated whorehouse." There was also a reference to "hanging chads" (too soon?).

Kate Baldwin singing

I listened as a few Millennials expressed concern over what further surprises this election could possibly hold -- it seems they are preparing for the outcome armed with booze and Xanax. What do they fear? Perhaps a contested election? In this clear case of Momentum versus the Machine, isn't the deck stacked in their favor? All I can say is that I'm "triggered" (to use a popular Millennial word) by one candidate's voice and will heretofore need to avoid the nightly news should this person assume the title.

We watched a short film in which the DGF helped a struggling writer financially in his hour of need with nowhere else to turn. The DGF is the public charity arm of the Dramatists Guild of America which aids and nurtures writers for the theater, funds nonprofit theaters producing contemporary American works, and heightens awareness, appreciation and support of theater across the country.

Dramatists Guild Fund President Andrew Lippa announced that the three stages of life are: youth, middle age, and "you look good," adding that all of the playwrights, composers and lyricists looked good at this event.

When Lin-Manuel Miranda appeared on the video screen from London rather than in person, I decided it was time to beat the rush and head home to the television. I still think self proclaimed libertarian Greg Gutfeld said it best on Fox's "The Five" the other night. "This election is like an old bra. It's down to the wire and it's getting under our skin."

See you at the polls.




- Laurel Marcus

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