On the eve of the Ellen Hermanson Foundation’s 20th anniversary summer gala next weekend, event chair Jean Shafiroff details why the cause is so close to her heart.
Like many people, I spend a large portion of the year on the East End. Well known for its beaches and its beauty, it also has the misfortune of having one of the highest breast cancer diagnosis and mortality rates in the state.
My mother was a regular visitor to Southampton, and both she and my grandmother suffered from breast cancer. When I discovered the great work that Julie Ratner and Emily Levinhave achieved in the past 20 years with The Ellen Hermanson Foundation in the Hamptons, I knew I had to help. On June 20, I will chair the Foundation’s 20th Anniversary Summer Gala, which will honor Andy Sabin, a longtime resident of the East End, at Steven Klein’s beautiful West Kill Farm in Bridgehampton. This event will be followed soon after by the 20th annual Ellen’s Run on August 16, when families will join in a 5K race against breast cancer.
Established in 1997, the Foundation continues the important work to which Hermanson, a young wife and mother, devoted so much of her time and energy. An activist and an advocate, Hermanson fought the disease for six years, and during this time she channeled her journalistic talents to become a voice for breast cancer patients and their families. She educated her readers and fellow patients about the importance of early detection, the challenges of living with breast cancer, the very real (but little-discussed or understood) issue of pain management, and the debilitating effects of breast cancer on the entire family.
In 2008, the Foundation pledged $500,000 to fund The Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Southampton Hospital, whose Summer Party I’ve chaired three times. The center opened in 2009 and transformed the medical landscape. Recently, Robert Chaloner, the president and CEO of Southampton Hospital, called it “the jewel and crown of Southampton Hospital.”
The foundation is unique in its commitment to helping breast cancer patients and their families cope with the changing nature of the physical and emotional aspects of breast cancer. A focus is placed on educational outreach, psychosocial support, and financial support. Sometimes, more than anything, assistance with the cost of the treatment is what patients need most, so the foundation started Ellen’s Well, a program providing free psychosocial support and strategic grants to patients most in need. The grants have even helped sufferers and their families pay bills—heating, electric, car repair, and medical. Whatever is needed, Julie and Emily, with the memory of their sister Ellen ever present, have been there to assist.
The fundraising efforts of this foundation have made possible the grants that Ellen’s Well has provided since May 2000 and also have made The Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Southampton Hospital what it is today. I am proud and honored to be part of this nonprofit, which helps so many suffering from breast cancer.
Celebrating its 26th year this October, the Hamptons International Film Festival (hamptonsfilmfest.org) will once again showcase the best contemporary cinema from around the world. Last year's festival presented award-winning films like Call Me By Your Name; I, Tonya; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; and The Shape of Water. This year's event promises equally buzzy stunners. Here are our picks.
Having premiered at Sundance with rave reviews of its star, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and writer-director Sara Colangelo, this retelling of Nadav Lapid’s 2014 Israeli drama, The Kindergarten Teacher, places the lens on a Staten Island teacher, Lisa Spinelli, who discovers her 5-year-old student’s prodigious aptitude for poetry. Gyllenhaal’s performance is fearless, and her character’s journey into obsession leaves viewers contemplating the line between encouraging a gifted child and satisfying one’s own selfish fixation.
Screening in the World Cinema Narratives section, Dead Pigs is based on true events and is a whimsical study of contemporary Shanghai, China’s continuing clash between tradition and modernization. The biting satire is set among urban development, gentrification and thousands of discarded pigs bizarrely floating down the Yangtze River. There, the lives of a trust fund princess, brassy salon owner, lonely busboy, expat architect and bumbling farmer unexpectedly converge. Writer-director Cathy Yan makes her directorial debut weaving together these five individual narratives. The film has already won awards at Sundance, the Dallas International Film Festival and Seattle International Film Festival, and stars Zazie Beetz, Mason Lee and Meng Li.
Written and directed by Ísold Uggadóttir, And Breathe Normally will screen in the Conflict & Resolution section. A keenly observed and unsentimental examination of the migration crisis, the award-winning feature is the story of an asylum-seeking Guinea-Bissauan woman and struggling Icelandic single mother’s disparate courses interweaving. The duo gradually form an unlikely bond outside the preordained paths expected from their ideological realties and in spite of the political and cultural discord that initially divides them.
With a new album and a Broadway musical set to open, singer-song writer Duncan Sheik brings his pop-rock music—and ’80s techno sounds—to the East End for a night to remember.
Tony and Grammy Award-winning singer Duncan Sheik may have grown up in the resort town of Hilton Head, South Carolina, but the Hamptons has remained a special place for him. “I spent a fair amount of time here,” he says. “I went to boarding school at Phillips Academy [in Andover, Massachusetts] and to Brown [University], and my friends and I went to the Hamptons during the summer. We got into a lot of fun shenanigans, and one of my first girlfriends lived in Quogue. I still have friends here, and I visit every summer.”
Sheik first appeared on the pop scene in the mid-1990s, when grunge, Mariah Carey, and the Macarena dominated the airwaves, but his thought-provoking breakthrough single, “Barely Breathing,” stood apart from the mainstream pop songs, and it remained on Billboard’s Hot 100 for a record-setting 55 consecutive weeks. The 45-year-old singer-songwriter, who successfully crossed over to musical theater by composing the music for the Tonywinning coming-of-age musical Spring Awakening in 2006, is returning to the East End to perform at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on June 19. Sheik brings his contemplative music to the venue to promote Legerdemain, his seventh studio record, which is set to be released in September.
“I’ll be playing music from my new record, which is more modernist than people are used to hearing,” says Sheik. “I’m using a lot of technology.” He will also be singing songs from American Psycho and hits from Spring Awakening as well as old favorites.
Nearly 20 years since his debut single was released, he’s pleased it has withstood the test of time. “It was on Girls last season and Glee, so it’s definitely had a life,” he says. “When I hear it, it’s exciting. I’m proud of the song.”
Having a sense of pride wasn’t always the case. The song was “a little bit of a cross to bear” because it pigeonholed him as a pop artist. “It was nice to be well known, but it put me in a Top 40 context. I didn’t feel a lot of kinship with those artists,” he explains. “I was more interested in Björk and Radiohead. It caused a lot of cognitive dissonance. I was frustrated with my career. Once I had other hits, it got easier to let go of the baggage I was carrying with that song. Working in theater changed everything.”
In 2006, a decade after his time in the Hot 100, he finished composing music with lyricist Steven Sater for Spring Awakening, which won eight Tonys, including Best Musical. “It boosted my confidence and inspired me to keep writing for theater,” says Sheik, who continues to be a prolific stage writer. He’s fine-tuning his musical adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel American Psycho, which hits Broadway next February. The musical, about a banker who has a secret life as a serial killer, debuted in London last December to a sold-out, five-week run. He admits writing the music is a joy, despite the subject matter, adding, “It sounds ridiculous, but it’s really fun to write it.”
Sheik composed American Psycho’s entire score using electronic music with the help of synthesizers to evoke the ’80s. The techno sounds also inspired his Legerdemain album. He is set to perform his favorite song on his new album, “I Am No Bicycle Thief,” when he performs in the Hamptons this summer. Duncan Sheik, Friday, June 19 at 8 pm, Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main St., Westhampton Beach, 288-1500
At the U.S. Open, news anchor and Sag Harbor resident Bill Hemmer plays up his other passion.
“It’s a great counterpoint to my daily life filled with news and politics,” says Bill Hemmer, the co-anchor of Fox News channel’s America’s Newsroom and one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive, about the game of golf. Coincidentally, Hemmer credits Shinnecock Golf Course, where he will be reporting for Fox during the U.S. Open, for his impressive 12.7 index. “It was a Wednesday morning— after a humiliating round at Shinnecock—that I decided to find a coach, figure out the proper swing and regain my dignity,“ Hemmer jokes. As any good golfer would tell you, Shinny’s 11th hole can do that to a player. An avid sailor and outdoor enthusiast, the TV man is so thrilled with his upcoming gig at one of the most memorable golf courses in the country that he’d consider a more permanent arrangement. “If Joe Buck wants the weekend off,” he says, “I am available.” June 11-17, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, usopen.com
On Thursday, August 30, 2018, Rebecca Taylor and Goop, along with Rachel Blumenthal of Rockets of Awesome and Daphne Oz, hosted a Back to School celebration for moms and kids at Goop Sag Harbor. Children customized Rockets of Awesome backpacks, while moms enjoyed mini facials from Caudalie's Vinopure line and shopped a special assortment of Rebecca Taylor, including dresses and jeans. Guests received LA VIE Rebecca Taylor denim from the Fall collecdtion. Peter Callahan provided food and drinks, with light bites including Daphne Oz's "Kitchen Sink Chicken Salad Sandwiches."
Playing on the social media sensation, Anh Duong is one of the many East End artists who will exhibit at Guild Hall’s “Selfies and Portraits of the East End.”
In the summer of 1998, Anh Duong, a striking young model from Paris moved into Andy Warhol’s former Montauk estate with her boyfriend at the time, artist Julian Schnabel. Until then, Duong was known more as muse than artist though she’d been painting her whole life, having learned from her mother while growing up in Bordeaux, France. But it wasn’t until she moved to Montauk that she painted her first self-portrait—the form that would be the focus of the rest of her artistic career.
The East End has been the setting for many firsts for Duong. Her first landscape painting, titled Lazy Point after her favorite road in East Hampton, will be on display at Guild Hall’s exhibit “Selfies and Portraits of the East End,” from June 20 to July 26, alongside self-portraits by other East End legends like Jack Ceglic, Cindy Sherman, Chuck Close, and her aforementioned ex, Julian Schnabel.
“When I first moved to the Hamptons, I didn’t really understand the beauty of it,” says Duong, who spent childhood summers in Spain, Italy, and the South of France with her Spanish mother and Vietnamese father. “But over the years, I’ve grown to love it completely. People always talk about the light, and it’s true.”
After her move to New York, Duong became a popular presence on the art and fashion scenes. In 2006 she married architect Barton Hubbard Quillen and moved into an old fisherman’s house in East Hampton. Although the couple went their separate ways, Duong kept the home and converted the barn into a painting studio.
Similar to her other self-portraits, Duong employed a nonreversing mirror to create Lazy Point, which involved bringing her bike into her studio to accurately paint her figure. “I’m not interested in representing myself in these portraits, but instead using myself as an object to portray something that the viewer can relate to,” says the artist, who doesn’t believe in waiting for inspiration to strike, but rather, provoking it. “What I find most interesting in the creative process is not knowing where I’m going and trusting that I will eventually arrive somewhere.” “Selfies and Portraits of the East End” runs from June 20 to July 26 at Guild Hall. 158 Main St., East Hampton, 324-0806
On Thursday September 30, real Estate developers and philanthropists Don and Katrina Peebles, and their daughter Chloe, a competitive junior equestrian on the First Blue Show Circuit, saddled up with Rolls-Royce, Goldman Sachs and Georgina Bloomberg raising nearly $50,000 to benefit Give Back for Special Equestrians at the Peebles' private Bridgehampton estate. CEO and founder Sissy DeMaria-Koehne, alongside co-founders Dr. Heather Kuhl and Isabel Ernst, started the all-volunteer organization Give Back for Special Equestrians on a mission to raise funds to provide therapeutic horseback riding and equine-assisted scholarships for children and veterans with Autism, Spina Bifida, Paralysis and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among other disabilities. A lively mix of celebrities, elite equestrians, local Hampton residents, and business executives celebrated the power of horsemanship and the unique ability horses have in healing the mind, body and spirit.
Join us from 10am EST as we stream live from the Tory Burch Spring/Summer 2019 Fashion Show.
Hampton Water co-founder Jesse Bongiovi breaks down his personal style and why he's constantly thinking pink.
With the Hamptons rosé? drinking culture continuing to explode as the trending drink of choice, Jesse Bongiovi has put a twist on it with his very own line, Hampton Water. He launched it last year with his father, music legend Jon Bon Jovi, quickly growing it from a local brand to one that is recognized nationally.
When we sit down for this story, Bongiovi, who calls himself the “Pink Bottle Boy,” has just returned to the Hamptons from an intense tour of five cities in one week, all to promote his line.
“The summer after my junior year of college is when it all began. My dad and I were enjoying some rosé? on the back porch out East. It was getting late, and he offered me one last glass of ‘pink juice’ before calling it a night. I told him, ‘No one calls it “pink juice” anymore; you’re out in the Hamptons, it’s Hampton Water.’ He looked at me and said that would be a great name for a bottle. Right then and there Hampton Water was born. I’ve been working on it ever since,” Bongiovi says.
The 24-year-old, who is truly one of the sweetest guys you’ll meet, is making major waves, while doing so in style. Bongiovi likes to get wardrobe advice from his mom, Dorothea Hurley. She’s taught him to stay true to himself on the style front, keeping his laid-back aesthetic.
“I’m most comfortable wearing T-shirts, and I pretty much exclusively wear black jeans. I hate the idea of having to go to work wearing a suit, and thankfully this job doesn’t require that very often. I can get away with the occasional blazer [Rowing Blazers are his go-to, having collaborated with Hampton Water], but that’s as crazy
as I get.”
Bongiovi also borrows things from his dad. “I take things from his closet all the time. We both wear a lot of black! I personally like to envision the ’80s dad with the crazy hair,” he admits. He recently visited his New Jersey home where he grew up and found his father’s old concert and music festival merch. He’s excited to wear these vintage tees this summer in the Hamptons. (For the record, the winemaker has mentioned to me an upcoming collaboration with men’s brand Todd Snyder. Details are hush-hush for now.)
As for how he feels about pink? He’s always liked the color, but his business has made it a central focus. “I’m wearing pink socks right now! I wear so much pink these days! I’ve been told it’s very in right now and I’d like to think I had a leading force in that decision.”
Native New Yorker Rebecca Knox has garnered attention for her role as Litchfield’s newest inmate, badass Tina Swope, on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. But Rebecca’s talents extend beyond the camera, with Knox playing a big role in her family’s business, a Mezcal company called Doña Sarita. Here, we chat with the actress about what to expect from OITNB, how she manages her different roles, and her favorite local hot spots.
You’ve joined the cast of recently-launched sixth season of Orange is the New Black. How does it feel to join such a well-established series and cast of characters?
REBECCA KNOX: I am grateful beyond words. I couldn’t have imagined I would be so lucky to join a cast and series I had watched so diligently for many years.
Tell us about your character, Tina Swope, and how she fits into the dynamic at Litchfield?
RK: Tina Swope is feisty as hell! She follows the pack but she's kinda freaky so people don’t mess with her.
What can fans of the show expect from Season 6 and beyond?
RK: For those who have watched season 6, the new environment for the Litchfield inmates takes them all for a spin. You will notice some new inmates, Tina included. For Season 7—well, you will just have to wait and see!
Aside from acting, you are also a businesswoman, and help manage your family’s Mezcal company, Doña Sarita. What made you want to get involved in the family business?
RK: Yes I do! My parents started the company a few years ago and I noticed they were struggling with finding ways to make the brand more youthful. Being that I know the NYC party scene well, I teamed up with some friends to revamp the brand. It was a lot of fun to get involved, especially when it is a family endeavor. I have taken a backseat lately due to my filming schedule. But you will be hearing more about DS Mezcal soon!
How do you take your learnings and experience from one trade and apply it to the other?
RK: The biggest things I have learned are professionalism and communication. They span from acting to mezcal in many ways. As long as I keep my word, communicate and stay calm when things are difficult, I can get anything done and I earn the trust of the person I am working with! It is important for sure.
What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects that you are excited for?
RK: I am currently in the editing phases of my first screenplay Cavity. I am very excited to share it with the world once it is finished! I am also filming Season 7 of OITNB. I am a happy woman right now.
You are an East Hampton native. What do you love most about the Hamptons?
RK: I love the off-season most. It is beautiful and fun in the summer when everything is an endless party, but the most beautiful time out there, for me, is when I can truly relax and no one is around. The natural habitat gets a bit trampled on during the summer months, so it's important for the beaches to get a rest from the constant influx of people, as well as the locals!
What are your go-to spots out East?
RK: I love the Beacon in Sag Harbor—my favorite restaurant out there for sure. I also love Hampton Chutney for a good dosa.
Season 6 of Orange is The New Black is currently streaming on Netflix.