The actress Blythe Danner can do anything, and in the one-woman play, My Brilliant Divorce by Geraldine Aron, she does: pirouetting, leaping, laughing, singing, sashaying across a bare stage fitted with one large stuffed chair in which she is engulfed like Eloise. Accompanied only by a stuffed dog in a wheeling cart, she recounts the tale of marital loss in a staged reading directed by the playwright and Jim Lawson. This being a comedy, she finds love. The evening of husbands and wives was sponsored by Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley who cheered Danner on along with Bob Balaban and Lynn Grossman, Danner's children Jake Paltrow with Taryn Simon, and daughter Gwyneth with husband Chris Martin of Coldplay. This was one of Guild Hall's stellar summer evenings.
The week prior, the shy Barbara Kruger greeted guests at her one-woman show (till October 11) featuring her trademark slogan photographs and collages. One of her satiric one-liners taking over an entire gallery ceiling reads: everyone laughs at a rich man's jokes. This humor is particularly relevant in the Hamptons. Still, its irony could not have been more acute as partiers gathered at Julie Taubman's beachfront estate for Guild Hall's annual summer gala sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels. Models strolled about wearing gowns and dime-sized gems, while Kruger, humbly attired --looking like, um, a working artist-- avoided photographers. The bejeweled women clustered around Alec Baldwin who seemed worried that he wasn't wearing a tie.
The infinitely affable 30 Rock actor/comedian could not be more appealing or available. Attending every event, he is a significant Hamptons presence. At the annual Authors Night at the East Hampton Library, crowds flocked for autographs of his memoir, A Promise to Ourselves, on divorce, alienation, and the joys of parenting, now out in paperback. Other popular authors at the fundraiser that raised $200,000 for the library included Dani Shapiro, Candace Bushnell, Bonnie Jacobson, and Robert Caro.
A board member of the Hamptons International Film Festival, Baldwin has served as M.C. and interviewer on a series of documentaries hosted by the festival at Guild Hall including The Art of the Steal, about the fate of the Barnes Collection, and The Most Dangerous Man in America, about the Pentagon Papers and Daniel Ellsberg. Preceding a final screening at Guild Hall on September 4 of Last Play at Shea with Billy Joel attending for a Q&A, Montblanc and the Wall Street Journal hosted a breakfast at the Maidstone Hotel last Saturday. In conversation with the HIFF's Karen Arakian and the Journal's Christopher Farley, Baldwin extolled the virtues of documentaries, citing the excitement of seeing The Cove and Food, Inc. among last year's most popular movies. And in truth, the HIFF has since its inception in 1993, championed the art of non-fiction films. I for one am looking forward to October.
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