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Required Reading: ‘Pretty Things – The Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens’ – Now in Paperback

Mon cher amie Liz Goldwyn will be reading from and signing the NEW PAPERBACK EDITION of her book “Pretty Things: The Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens”. The paper back version is the perfect gift for anyone of any age, any sex, and any walk of life. It is a history book, a novelty item…

NYC: Hamptons book Event w Dinner at Roger Water’s House: Candace Bushnell, Alec Baldwin, Jay McInerney

Candace Bushnell

It’s a smorgasbord of over 100 writers at the East Hampton library who patiently sign copies of their newest novels at the 5th Annual Authors Night.  The event founded by actor/novelist Alec Baldwin (A Promise to Ourselves) features Pulitzer Prize winners Robert A. Caro and poet Philip Schultz, and best-selling authors like Candace Bushnell (Sex and the City, Lipstick Jungle, One Fifth Avenue), Jay McInerney (Bright Lights Big City, Brightness Falls, The Good Life), Melissa Bank (The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing, The Wonder Spot), Danielle Ganek (The Summer We Read Gatsby), Ken Auletta (Googled: The End of the World as We Know It, Greed and Glory on Wall Street: The Fall of the House of Lehman), and Florence Fabricant (Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations).

Having studied creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College I’m pretty jazzed up and immediately look for Candace Bushnell.  A frail, petite blond with large eyes, and a slightly lost look, I long to give her a fan for the heat, a mint julep and a big hug.  I say hi and tell her I’m a writer a la Carrie Bradshaw who writes about the city not sex.  She smiles slightly and there is an awkward pause so I offer to buy her latest book The Carrie Diaries: Meet Carrie Before Sex and the City which she signs with much flourish.  She has misspelled my name.

At the event, I weave from author table to author table chatting and buying books.  I am dressed to the 9’s in a long black evening gown and am completely out of place in the sea of seersucker suits and Lily dresses.  I precariously teeter on 4 inches heels as I balance a stack of books, a quilted Chanel clutch, a glass of white wine and not so daintily attempt to keep my dress from dragging on the ground.  Later that night I will be attending finance philanthropist George Soros’ 80th birthday party and there is no time to change… after this I have the Author’s Dinner with Hilary Thayer Hamann (Anthropology of An American Girl). Fyi, my girlfriend Elizabeth Cohen stopped by after the dinner Roger Waters of Pink Floyd hosted for Candace Bushnell and Jay McInerney.  She says the mix of music Roger played was really good and everybody had fun playing pool…

The Author’s Dinner I am attending for Hilary is hosted at the home of Julie Ratner and Sam Eskenazi in East Hampton.  It turns out that Julie is the founder of the Ellen’s Run Charity for breast cancer from which her sister Ellen Hermanson passed 22 years ago.  This Saturday there will be another benefit for Ellen’s Run (http://www.ellensrun.org/) at Steven Klein’s estate in Southampton which is where I attended the Vanity Fair Acria party a few weeks ago.  Julie and Sam are gracious hosts.  They love the Hamptons as does our guest of honor, Hilary Thayer Hamann who grew up there.  As a result, one of the main topics of our dinner conversation is a round table discussion of what first brought us to the Hamptons or our most poignant memory of the Hamptons.

Hilary’s novel is a poetic, multi-layered piece that takes place in her youth in East Hampton and beyond in New York City in the 1970’s and early 80’s.  An Oprah recommended book selection you can find it on Amazon.com or in your local bookstore.

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NYC: Equus in East Hampton – Alec Baldwin, Sam Underwood

Steve Hamilton, Sam Underwood as "Alan Strang", Georgia Warner

Typically summer theater consists of light comedies not a heavy psychological mystery about why a 17 year old English boy would senselessly blind 6 horses in a fit of passion.  However, this is no ordinary play – it”s the 1970’s play “Equus” – a modern classic – and actor Alec Baldwin seeking to constantly challenge himself as an actor immediately said “Equus” when asked what play he most wanted to perform.  Playwright Sir Peter Shaffer made minor revisions specifically for this performance.

Baldwin stars as one of the two leads, psychologist Dr. Martin Dysart and Sam Underwood serves as his foil, the troubled Alan Strang whose sympathy we gain and whose strange passion we attempt to understand.  Indeed, passion is the crux of the play.   Baldwin’s Dr. Dysart is a fascinating character for he is a tormented man with romantic longings.  Every night he reads books of far away civilizations and dreams of escape.  He lives vicariously through his patients who he bitterly realizes it’s his civic duty to anesthetize of passion when it goes awry and wonders if they are any better off for now they are just like him.

22 year old Underwood is yet another enormously talented young British import Hollywood should keep its eyes out for.  He was impressive to say the least. Newcomer Georgia Warner skillfully plays Alan’s love interest who attempts to seduce him the night he goes mad.  Baldwin is sympathetic as Dysart, and I enjoyed his performance.

An after party took place in the garden behind the theater and an unofficial after party across the street at the Maidstone hotel.  Director Sidney Lumet (Network, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico) was in attendance and playwright Peter Shaffer.

“Equus” runs at the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall in East Hampton until July 3rd.

Sam Underwood, Alec Baldwin