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Peace Flag Bags by Jussara Lee

Lee designs a bag that promotes world peace and utilizes recycled canvas from former Bryant Park Fashion Week tents.

October 14, 2011

Recycled canvas Peace Flag Bags by Jussara Lee

During Fashion’s Night Out last month Jussara Lee’s storefront was covered with hundreds of white canvas flags hanging from clotheslines like clean laundry. The designer encouraged customers to scrawl on them ideas for non-violent conflict solutions. That night, under the bright lights of the Meatpacking District, she noticed two flags side by side, one written in Hebrew, the other in Arabic, conveying the same desire for world peace. “While you might think there is little these two cultures could possibly agree on, their flags often convey the same message,” says Lee, a Brazilian of Korean heritage. One of her favorite flags said, “The beauty is that we are all different. Tolerance is key to achieve peace.”

Lee took those peace flags and turned them into tote bags ($65), which are now available in her store at 11 Little West 12th St. Ten percent of proceeds will go to the Peace Corps, which Lee supports because it “gets people out of their comfort zones to experience a radically different way of life while helping others in need.”

Being a stickler for sustainability, Lee wanted to make sure the flags were made from repurposed material. It was a match made in fashion heaven when she inherited the canvas tents from the Spring 2007 runway shows in Bryant Park. Lee lined the bags with the same fabric used for her signature tailored button-down cotton shirts. “We’re always thinking of new ways to utilize the material ubiquitous in our everyday lives,” she says. For her own Peace Flag Bag, Lee picked one at random, which reads “Vive la paix. Quoi d’autre?” English translation: “Hooray for peace! Anything else?”

—Perry Santanachote


Scenes From a Window

A Grand Central exhibit spotlights nature photos by Ahae On.

October 13, 2011

Korean artist Ahae On spent two years taking pictures out of one window. In his studio in South Korea, he amassed over one million photographs of nature scenes, averaging 3,000 stills per day. The purpose of the project was to “call attention to the extent in which nature can thrive when left alone to flourish and heal itself.” Ahae is also an environmentalist, inventor and organic farmer and often addresses issues in conservation and sustainability in his artwork. Check out “Through My Window” at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal today through October 22.

—Perry Santanachote


Flower Power

An art installation at the Brooklyn Museum asks visitors to pay it forward.

October 12, 2011

It is nearly impossible to feel down when presented with beautiful, blossoming flowers. Taiwanese American artist Lee Mingwei intends to pollinate that joyous state with his new installation showing in the lobby of the Brooklyn Museum. “The Moving Garden” consists of a 45-foot slab of granite with a crack down the middle that is filled with fresh flowers daily. Visitors are encouraged to take a flower under the condition that they make a detour on the way to their next destination and give it to a stranger. As the day wears on, the flowers disappear one by one—a symbol of all the New York lives touched by random acts of kindness. The cycle begins all over again the next day and every day until January 22. 200 Eastern Pkwy., 718-638-5000

—perry santanachote


A Beauty Brunch for the Cure

World Yacht hosts a spa cruise to benefit breast cancer awareness.

October 12, 2011

World Yacht is transforming one of its vessels into a spa haven for its annual Beauty Brunch for the Cure on October 16 (11:30 AM–2 PM). Bliss 57, Vincent Longo, Mario Badescu, Hibba NYC, John Barrett Salon and Jillian Wright will all be on hand to provide services as passengers sip pink Champagne and enjoy the brunch buffet on a cruise around the city. One hundred percent of proceeds from the services will be donated to the Greater New York City Chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Tickets, $59; services, suggested donation

—perry santanachote


Tempting Travelers

The stars—including Stephen Colbert, overcome with hometown pride—came out for the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.

October 11, 2011


Stephen Colbert

On Monday Condé Nast Traveler magazine hosted its sophisticated annual Readers’ Choice Awards dinner at the Edison Ballroom. The king salmon with lemon butter sauce and molten chocolate cake with crème anglaise—followed by a shot of coffee-infused Patron XO—was well worth the schlep across Times Square. The celebrity company was also top drawer. 

Not only are the 30,000, well-traveled readers who vote on the awards legit (one reader books 100 nights a year in Caribbean hotels), the celebs who hand out the awards are seriously peripatetic.

Iron chef Masaharu Morimoto, who gave Kyoto top honors as the Best City in Asia, was just back from Mexico City. He told Dispatches he plans to open a restaurant there in 10 days. “But Mexico City is at a high altitude, so I couldn’t even cook rice there correctly," he said in a self-deprecating manner. “I had to bring a special rice cooker from Japan on the plane.” Meanwhile, Dispatches can’t even get a bottle of Bufferin through security.

Beloved star sushi chef Nobu Matsuhisa, who gave top honors to Crystal Cruises, mentioned that he owns 29 restaurants on five continents. “I travel every three or four days,” he noted nonchalantly. Chris Noth, who honored Maui (where his mom lives) as Best Island in the United States (the tropical paradise has won 14 out of 15 years), was just back from Belgrade. He admitted that even there Sex and the City just so happens to be the hot show. “I expected to have the pleasure of anonymity,” he said. “But everyone wanted a picture.”

Bad girl Christine Baranski, who co-hosted the event with Noth, her co-star on The Good Wife, recalled traveling to Europe with only $1,000 when she was studying at Juilliard. Scandalously she met a man and ended up in a suite at the Ritz in Paris. Angela Bassett said that she survived a coup in Nigeria. And the puritanical side of Kuwait shocked Vincent Piazza, who plays “Lucky” Luciano on Boardwalk Empire. “It’s a dry country,” he said. “I get off the plane after a 16-hour flight and just need a drink. I see this bottle on ice and think, amazing. But I’m unscrewing it and it turns out it’s sparkling grape juice.” 

Mary Louise Parker had just taken an RV across the country with her real-life and onscreen sons. The most impressive site for the kids? “A manmade waterslide in New Mexico,” she said. Tom Brokaw said he was camping in the backyard of some clay huts in northwestern Nepal when he noticed a handwritten sign at the hotel across the street claiming that Jimi Hendrix had stayed there. He asked the proprietor if it was true. “Nah, just a bargaining tool,” he answered.

Finally, Stephen Colbert, who gave the Best City in the United States award to his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, thumbed his nose at the competition—in particular San Francisco saying, “Suck it, you Rice-A-Roni eating bastards!”

—jeffrey slonim
photographs by gettyimages.com


A Toast to Rock and Roll

A whisky launch and a wine-soaked rock show get October off to a solid start.

October 11, 2011

Of A Revolution's Marc Roberge

A little bit of Napa Valley came to Bryant Park last week during the Live In the Vineyard bash. Held at the Southwest Airlines Porch, guests enjoyed delicious wines while rockers Of A Revolution (O.A.R.) played an acoustic set.
O.A.R., comprised of Marc Roberge, Chris Culos, Richard On, Benj Gershman and Jerry DePizzo, had the crowd moving with tracks off their recently released seventh studio album, King. Bassist Gershman told us the best part about a gig this intimate was that it was outdoors. Live in the Vineyard was the second performance of the day for the guys; the first was the Today show.  
“I had a blast but I’m glad it’s over with,” Gershman said, adding “It’s a very nerve racking experience to be on live television, especially with such a broad audience like the Today show.” As for how the new album is faring, Gershman said, “So far so good. I think, on the broader scale, it’s translating to radio. This week we were on VH1’s Top 20, which is a definitive sign that something’s going right.”
Since bottles of vino were being uncorked all around, we asked Gershman how knowledgeable he is about wine. “I’m somewhere between novice and a sommelier, but closer to novice.” Is there any particular wine that you’d suggest pairing with your album? “I’d say any O.A.R. album—really any rock album—should be enjoyed with Jack Daniels on the rocks,” he said smiling.
O.A.R. listeners might also sip Johnnie Walker Double Black whisky, which made its stateside debut the night before at Sons of Essex bar on the Lower East Side. Those in attendance were lucky enough to be among the first to swill the amber liquor and some were treated to a tasting led by Stephen Wilson, master of whisky for Johnnie Walker.
“We like to say Double Black is Black Label amplified. Since it’s a blend, we brought in Islay whiskies, which are known for their smoke and also some hand-selected whiskies aged in heavily charred casks,” explained Wilson. The result is a bolder flavor, which ends up being rather creamy and well rounded when a little water is introduced into the glass.
While Wilson prefers his Double Black neat with a few drops of water, he’s quick to note, “There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy your scotch,” and that he would recommend Double Black for a novice whisky drinker. “Tonight, I had two folks who were brand new to whisky and it blew them away. By the end of our tasting, they were asking about the rest of the Johnnie Walker portfolio,” Wilson shared.
Downtown, The Cinema Society hosted a screening of The Weinstein Company's Dirty Girl, which brought stars Juno Temple, Tim McGraw and Jeremy Dozier to Jimmy at the James Hotel. Also spotted at the fete were Harvey Weinstein, Gina Gershon, Christopher Meloni, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and John Varvatos.

—Sean Evans


Moccasins by Manolo for Adam

Manolo Blahnik designs suede moccasin heels exclusively for Adam.

October 11, 2011

If you were wondering what to wear with you new Adam dégradé feather shift dress or raccoon coat, check out the new footwear in the flagship store. In line with his Navajo-inspired fall collection, Adam Lippes collaborated with Manolo Blahnik for these moccasin-esque suede heels. Leave it up to Blahnik to make the moc sexy. 678 Hudson St., 212-229-2838

—perry santanachote


Interior Inspiration: Burnt Wood

Bleu Nature’s new collection with Thomas Bastide is set to the flame.

October 11, 2011

Pieces from the Hekla collection by Bleu Nature
Once a year furniture designer Frank Lefebvre and his team at Bleu Nature comb the forests and beaches near Lille, France, for driftwood. The pieces of naturally preserved wood become central to the next collection. This year’s bounty served up fat logs and twisted branches that were then charred for the new Hekla collection, in collaboration with Baccarat’s Thomas Bastide. The burnt wood is elegantly paired with sleek chrome and acrylic glass. We love the harmonious juxtaposition created by the mix of nature and man-made materials—it seems to freeze the intensity of the fire in time. Jerry Pair Showroom, 979 Third Ave., Suite 502, 212-546-9001

—perry santanachote


A Michelle Williams Moment

Jeffrey Slonim wins a starlet's attention at the premiere of My Week with Marilyn.

October 10, 2011

Michelle Williams

It took not one but two red carpets for Gotham to catch a moment with Michelle Williams at the New York Film Festival premiere of My Week with Marilyn on Sunday.  At the pitch-dark Dior fête held in the garden at the Hudson Hotel before the screening, Williams did a few photos and then skipped all the reporters on her way inside. 

In the film Eddie Redmayne, a handsome but relatively unknown British actor, plays Colin Clark, a 23-year-old gofer on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl in 1956. In My Week with Marilyn, which is based on entries in Clark's diaries detailing a dalliance with the beauty, Redmayne relives that week with Williams as Monroe. “She worked really hard to devour all the materials available on Monroe and to take in what was useful,” said director Simon Curtis. “Marilyn was a creation herself, and Williams recreated the iconic voices and gestures.”

Monroe favors Clark above everyone else on the set in the film. I now know the feeling: On the red carpet, a Dior-clad Williams came right up to me and skipped scores of others. Had she watched hours of footage on Monroe to get it just so? “Everything,” she told us as reporters tried to stick their mics into our conversation. “Every documentary. I’ve seen them all.”

Did she begin to feel the Monroe character bubbling up in her real life? “That’s what you hope for, yeah,” she said. “She still kicks around, and I feel her sometimes.” And was it exciting to dance on the same sound stage where Monroe once danced? “There were so many little parallels,” she explained. “I had the same dressing room she used. Parkside House was the real Parkside House in the story.”

Williams channels Monroe during the picture, nailing the breathy voice, the big eyes and the manic fits of laughter. Though she says she simply ate on set to make it through the long days of filming, she also had the curvy figure—even when naked during a skinny-dipping scene with Redmayne. “It’s heartbreaking…funny,” said Elizabeth McGovern, who is married to Curtis and also wore Dior. “There is not a bad note in the cast.” “A real gem of a job,” echoed Redmayne.

There are so many similarities between Williams and Monroe. Both have a type of high-strung skittishness, but in much the same way that Williams wins over the audience in the film, she won me over in real life. I believed her as Marilyn. She and her publicist appear to trust me, the way Monroe trusted Clark in the story, and like Clark I found myself falling for that same vulnerability. Delightful.

—jeffrey slonim
photographs by gettyimages.com


A New York Story

Amy Miller Gross reports on New York City’s literary scene—this time, on authors with New York stories to tell.

October 10, 2011

For my maiden post, I thought it appropriate to open with a New York story. I read Jennifer Gardner Trulson’s heart-wrenching and vastly inspiring memoir Where You Left Me to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. Learning of her personal story of loss in such detail was cathartic. I’ve often tried to imagine what it was really like for people who were directly affected by the attacks, and Gardner Trulson’s poignant account of losing her beloved husband, Doug Gardner, and creating a new life for her and her two children gave me a fresh perspective on 9/11. I’ve lived two blocks from the World Trade Center for seven years and in many ways I’ve tried to block out the true horror of that day, the reality too painful for me to accept.

On September 14 I attended “Ten Years Later: A Conversation with Jennifer Gardner Trulson and Howard Lutnick” at the JCC in Manhattan. To see Gardner Trulson and Lutnick speak in person about their experiences was truly meaningful. Lutnick—CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald—was Gardner’s best friend and helped him get his job at the company. I was moved by the friendship between the Lutnicks and the Gardners, both before and after the attacks, and I believe that books can change lives. I am different from having learned about Lutnick’s selflessness and Gardner Trulson’s courage to live life and find love again.

I see the Freedom Tower every day. I pass by the construction workers tasked with rebuilding Ground Zero every time I leave my door, as they frequent the neighborhood joints on my street. I no longer take all this at face value. I refuse to allow myself to see only the superficial happenings of Ground Zero simply because it is easier than focusing on the reality. Instead, I think about Doug Gardner and all the Doug Gardners who died there that day—real people with lives filled with parents, spouses, siblings and children who loved them and who will miss them forever.

Here are my recommendations for upcoming literary events featuring authors who wrote New York stories:

  • Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House: A conversation with Elissa Schappell, author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls, and Helen Schulman, who wrote This Beautiful Life. (November 18; 5 PM) 58 W. 10th St.; cwp.fas.nyu.edu  
  • The Literary Salon at Gild Hall: John Burnham Schwartz, author of Northwest Corner, and Helen Schulman, author of This Beautiful Life. ($20 suggested donation) (December 13; 7–9 PM) 15 Gold St.; penparentis.org
  • Symphony Space: Amor Towles discusses his irresistible, gorgeously written first novel The Rules of Civility, which follows three characters starting out in New York City in the late 1930s. It is as much a love letter to the city as it is a page-turning love story. (March 7; 7:30 PM2537 Broadway, symphonyspace.org

Read more from Amy Miller Gross at Amymillergross.com.

—amy miller gross

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