The truth of the matter is, I’d rather not go event-hopping in the Hamptons. On a July weekend, if the weather is swell, I’d much prefer to sit in the Tommy Bahama chair I bought at Costco in Patchogue and read my Kindle on Wiborg Beach until the sun goes down. And then I can still read on the beach after the sun goes down because, well, Kindles are backlit.
I already have a list of books I want to read this summer, and a few I know you should check out. On my list: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead and Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout. What should be on yours: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, Doxology by Nell Zink and Normal People by Sally Rooney. If I do have to throw my Birkenstocks back on and make it to a gathering, I’d much prefer an intimate barbecue or a dinner party with old friends and new friends. (What can I say? I’m an extroverted introvert.) But there are some social events for which it’s certainly worth changing out of flip-flops. Herewith, a Memorial Day preview of my favorite summer fundraisers:
LONGHOUSE SUMMER BENEFIT (JULY 20) I first discovered this magical East Hampton sculpture garden at its summer benefit a few years ago. Since then, I’ve been there to watch Philippe Petit cross a high wire, Laurie Anderson play a concert for dogs, and one of my closest friends get married. LongHouse is only open to the public semiregularly, so any chance to walk its grounds is a worthy occasion, even if a gala evening means you might not be able to steal a meditative moment by a babbling brook.
Peggy Siegal and Robert Wilson at Time Bomb, the 25th annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction, presented by Van Cleef & Arpels
THE WATERMILL CENTER (JULY 27) If life is like a box of chocolates, so is this annual fundraiser for Robert Wilson’s performance art lab: You never know what you’re going to get. Maybe you’ll find a person covered in goo and buried underground reciting Britney Spears lyrics. Maybe it will be someone dressed as a Pokémon baking gingerbread cookies out of an Easy-Bake Oven. Sublime or ridiculous, you don’t find this kind of thing in Newport, Greenport or Kennebunkport. This year’s theme: Tabula Rasa.
Nancy Juvonen, Robert Downey Jr. and Jimmy Fallon attend Apollo, 2018
APOLLO IN THE HAMPTONS (AUG. 3) Knowing that you’ll see everything played out on social media makes it so much easier to decline an invitation. Don’t decline this one, an annual benefit concert for the historic Harlem music venue at Ron Perelman’s Wainscott home. Partly, the very VIP movers and shakers who attend this benefit aren’t so great at posting on Instagram. And you want to see these performers—who in the past have included Pharrell Williams, Pitbull and Chris Martin—live and in person.