Among the many pleasures of the Grease-themed benefit for the Prostate Cancer Foundation this weekend in Wainscott, was seeing Michael Milken in a letter sweater like the reformed Danny Zuko at the end of that 1978 movie set in 1959. At East Hampton Studio, a vintage Chevy parked outside, women channeled either Sandy in bobby socks and saddle shoes or edgy Rizzo in tight black capris and off the shoulder tops with red neckerchiefs. Like many a felt flare skirt, Colin Cowie's table treatments featured cut out poodles. Formica and steel chairs and gym bleachers went far to keep the 'fifties fantasy going. Only the white bling of an Elvis impersonator seemed to come out of another era. Many talents went into the production of this special night including those of guest chef David Burke who created a cafeteria style buffet dinner for the occasion: chicken, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, onion rings, chocolate pudding--comfort food. But the entertainment, the band Hall & Oates, perfectly hit that nostalgia mood performing their signature tunes without feeling old: "She's Gone," "Man Eater," "You Make My Dreams Come True," "Your Kiss (is What I Miss)." In their words, "I Can Go For That."
The mid-century in Hollywood was lampooned at Guild Hall's Celebrity Autobiography with a mash-up of book versions of perhaps the greatest true-life legend: the story of two couples who were friends, Eddie Fisher-Debbie Reynolds and Mike Todd-Elizabeth Taylor. When Todd died in a plane crash in 1958, Fisher ended up with Taylor, who spurned him for Richard Burton. Friday night's players, Christie Brinkley, Dick Cavett, Alan Zweibel, Ralph Macchio, Jennifer Tilly, Brooke Shields, Dayle Reyfel, and Eugene Pack looked like they were having a good time spinning lore you simply could not make up.
And this week too, Bea Francko, the real life woman who inspired the character Terry in Jack Kerouac's 1957 published On the Road died. Memorable for me was Alec Baldwin's reading of "The Mexican Girl" at a celebration of The Paris Review just after co-founder and editor George Plimpton died. Now The Paris Review celebrates sixty years as a premier literary magazine. All the best to Baldwin and Hilaria on the birth of their new girl.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.