The Apollo Theater’s 80th birthday party gala last night had so many fantastic music moments. But first, let’s talk hockey.
The Rangers, down three games to none in the Stanley Cup finals, “have a chance, but they’ll have to play a different game than they played,” said Richard Parsons, who was honored as the expert turnaround man at Time Warner, Citigroup, the Apollo (as board chairman), and most recently as the interim chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I love the Rangers, but I love the Kings also,” said Ron Meyer, vice-chairman of NBCUniversal.
The Kings “were three down when they turned it around” against the San Jose Sharks in the first round, said Frederick Terrell, vice chairman of investment banking at Credit Suisse. He said the Rangers could do the same.
“Seems doubtful,” said John Demsey, group president of Estee Lauder Cos.
“The great thing about the World Cup is that these countries that really are not on the world stage, especially a lot of the African countries, you get to hear them and see them bring out their very best,” said Patricia Miller Zollar, managing director at NB Alternatives Advisers LLC.
“Brazil -- no, U.S., first the U.S. then Brazil, I’ve got to be politically correct,” said Parsons. “I’ve always loved Brazil because they play the beautiful game, but I’ve obviously got to be a hometowner. Assuming they don’t make it to the finals, then Brazil.”
“If Brazil wins, it will influence the Brazilian elections in October,” said Curtis Arledge, CEO of investment at BNY Mellon.
“That’s too intellectual an answer,” said Katie Prentice, a former scientist with NASA.
“I’d pick the U.S.A.,” Arledge replied.
Valentino Carlotti of Goldman Sachs, who’s lived in Brazil and has Italian roots, declined to state a preference. He did give a tip on what to eat in Sao Paulo: the pappardelle at Gero.
Now for the music: On stage at the Apollo, Natalie Cole paid tribute to Dinah Washington and her dad, Nat King Cole. Gladys Knight honored Ella Fitzgerald. Joss Stone (that “blonde kid from across the water,” as emcee Wayne Brady put it) performed “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” which James Brown recorded in 1966.
Brown appeared at the Harlem venue more than 200 times.
“We’re so proud of our history,” said Jonelle Procope, CEO of the Apollo. “Here’s a factoid I particularly like: For one week in the late 1950s, Maya Angelou played the Apollo as a dancer and singer.”
Here are some facts about Procope, who has run the organization since 2003: with Parsons, she rounded up $50 million to help renovate the theater, and is now raising $20 million to invigorate the artistic programming. The gala brought in $2.3 million with BNY Mellon as sponsor and Corporate Award recipient, and pledges are still being counted, Procope said.
The band Jones was looking forward to most, the Isley Brothers, sang “It’s Your Thing” and a few other hits. He and his wife, Sonia, seemed equally enthused by Doug E. Fresh’s beatboxing, joined by tap dancer Savion Glover.
Human Nature, a Motown tribute group with a show in Las Vegas, performed “Ooo Baby Baby” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and got the crowd (which included Leonard Lauder, Glenn Fuhrman and George Lucas) singing along to The Temptations’ “My Girl.”
“I bet you never thought you’d be watching four white Aussies doing Motown at the Apollo,” said group member Andrew Tierney.
The Apollo’s Amateur Night series showed off one of its latest stars, pianist Matthew Whitaker, who performed “Georgia on My Mind” with Brady and accompanied the PS22 Chorus and gospel singer Edwin Hawkins on the closing number.
After the concert, guests poured into an after-party in a tent decorated with chandeliers, palm trees and mirrored bars by Bronson van Wyck, an Apollo board member. Fellow board member Ron Perelman, chairman and owner of MacAndrews & Forbes, underwrote the decor, which didn’t quite equal that of his home in East Hampton, where the financier has hosted a benefit for the Apollo for four years.
On the other hand, Perelman’s barn could sure use a giant disco ball like the one that glittered over the dance floor last night.
Romance was not too far from guests’ minds. Jones said one of his favorite romantic tunes is “For the Love of You” by the Isley Brothers. William Lewis of Lazard Ltd. mentioned their “Footsteps in the Dark.”
Parsons said his favorite is “The Nearness of You,” which Hoagy Carmichael wrote in 1938 with lyrics by Ned Washington.
At the Fashion Institute of Technology benefit Monday evening, George Hornig, chief operating officer at PineBridge Investments, recalled his personal style when he first met his wife on a trip to the Catskills with friends from Harvard.
“I was the one in the clean-cut corduroys (they were tan), very clean shirt, a button-down,” Hornig said. “Everything about me was neat, orderly and put together, and everybody else was disheveled.”
Coat or Hotpants
“She was not wearing anything that I remember particularly,” he added of his future wife, a Vassar student who subsequently transferred to Harvard and married him while they were still in college. “It was the winter, we went sleighing and skating. She was probably in her coat.”
“My style then was sexy! It was the era of hotpants,” said Joan Hornig, who confirmed her husband of 39 years remains a neatnik.
The jewelry designer said she built her business as a second career through trial and error, and envies the education FIT students receive in look books and retail math. She had wanted to call her line Philanthropy is Beautiful, since she donates 100 percent of the profits to charities. Bergdorf Goodman buyers “insisted I use Joan Hornig,” she said, “because they told me I was a designer.”
As a board member of the college in the State University of New York system, Hornig said she focuses on ensuring that everyone who wants a FIT education can afford it.
She also likes promoting the institute’s talent. Last night she wore a gown designed by FIT graduate Cristina Ottaviano and hung out with her daughters, Julia, who works with her, and Jessie, who recently started at Edelman, the public-relations firm.
Mom’s fashion advice: “Wear great underwear and remember to smile before you leave to go out,” Joan Hornig said.
“Wear what you look good in,” said the ever-sensible FIT chairman, Liz Peek.
“It’s more like I get advice from her,” Avis Richards, founder of Birds Nest Foundation and wife of hedge-fund manager Bruce Richards, said of their daughter Chloe, who works at William Morris Endeavor.
Honoree Linda Fargo, senior vice president of the fashion office and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman, wore an emerald crepe gown with one over-the-shoulder ruffle and giant paisley necklace by Lanvin, whose designer, Alber Elbaz, introduced her.
“I picked it out,” said Fargo, who also wore matching gloves as she walked into Cipriani 42nd Street a bit fashionably late (23 minutes after cocktail hour had started). “I had selected this as the top look of the season, so I had to put my money where my mouth is.”
Designers present included Elbaz, Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenberg, Tamara Mellon (showing her midriff in a cropped top and skirt) and Wes Gordon. The event raised $2.5 million, boosted as George Hornig surprised his wife with a $100,000 scholarship in her name, while honoree Jay Baker, former president of Kohl’s Corp., and his wife Patty gave $1 million for scholarships.
FIT’s benefit, resort collection shows, the CFDA Awards: this month, fashion executives have done plenty of mingling with their own. On June 3 they did so surrounded by about a thousand others in finance and law (just as chic, if not more so) gathered at a benefit for Sanctuary for Families, which helps women extricate themselves from gender violence including domestic abuse, sex trafficking and genital mutilation.
Toward the center of Pier 60’s dining room were Burt Tansky, former chairman and CEO of Neiman Marcus, Barry Schwartz, co-founder of Calvin Klein Inc., Theory CEO Andrew Rosen and his fiancee (whom he’s marrying at the end of July), Ronald Frasch, former president of Saks Inc., Joshua Schulman, president of Bergdorf Goodman, Ken Downing, fashion director and senior vice president at Neiman Marcus, and Linda Fargo.
Sanctuary for Families assists 10,000 women with direct services annually in New York City. With a budget of $15.3 million and 160 staff members, the non-profit runs shelters, provides legal assistance at Family Justice Centers where 75 percent of the clients are immigrants, and offers an economic empowerment program.
Seventy percent of clients who complete the program have found employment, said Kaitlin M. Juleus, Sanctuary’s manager of communications and new media.
Board members include Heather Miner, a managing director at Goldman Sachs, Anita Sands of UBS Wealth Management Americas and Pamela Shifman of the NoVo Foundation. After the dinner, a dance party with DJ brought out more guests, including two women who’d just graduated from Harvard: Christina Russell, who’s headed for Bain & Co., and Florence Kuhl.
To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at email@example.com