08/01/2011 04:08 pm ET Updated Oct 01, 2011

Hamptons Journal: Robert Wilson's Very Merry Un-Birthday

The parties are planned for the fall, at least 4 of them in Milan, Berlin, New York, and Paris, for the internationally famous artist Robert Wilson's 70th birthday. But on Saturday night, he presided over the 18th annual summer benefit for the Byrd Hoffman Watermill Center.

Celebrating collaboration in the arts, the extravaganza featured an array of wildly clad actors in outlandish poses and postures, in haute melodrama befitting the theme: Voluptuous Panic; taken together throughout the center's ample 8 acres, 20 site-specific installations and performances created by young international artists, the center became a carnival of splendor and silver body paint. You never knew what might come peeking through the trees, or underfoot, as in two heads poking up through the straw ground cover. For all his avant-garde vision, Wilson stays close to the classics: One upcoming premiere, a production of The Odyssey for October, 2012, in Athens.

At Steven Klein's West Kill Farm, a benefit for the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Southampton Hospital honored Kim Cattrall, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, I chatted with Hoda's beau Jay Blumenkopf. That's head of flowers in German, he was quick to tell me. But fans of The Today Show know there's been a running mystery about the man Hoda is dating. As he said, from the time his daughters decided she was "the one" 9 months ago, urging their lawyer dad to show up at a Barnes & Nobles where she was signing books, it was never a one-night stand.

Today in the Hamptons, she was signing copies of the paperback for Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee (Simon & Schuster). She's a remarkable woman, he said. But what about him? Blumenkopf has been active in humanitarian organizations helping women in Tibet for several years. He was most recently scouting in Congo, to help women there. Yes, there were many flowers, but also lots of heart.

Flowers abound at the gardens featured in this year's Guild Hall Garden as Art tour scheduled for August 27 in East Hampton, at the homes of Priscilla Rattazzi and Chris Whittle, Barbara Goldsmith, Annachiara Danieli, and Edwina von Gal. You can actually ask, how does your garden grow? Lots of work. How do you keep the deer away from your vegetables? Build a double fence, I learned at the von Gal home in Springs. How do you raise chickens in the Hamptons, and why?

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