As a presenter at the Paris Review gala last night, Fran Lebowitz recalled a plane ride with Robert Redford in the 1970s when he was surrounded by stewardesses who ignored every other passenger.
“I’m very sorry to bother you,” the humorist said to the actor, “Would you please order me a club soda?”
When it was his turn to present an award, Redford responded.
“I’m sorry I don’t remember you,” he said, looking just as sexy as his ‘70s self. “I remember the stewardesses.”
At the Cipriani 42nd Street event, Lebowitz awarded the Terry Southern Prize for Humor to Elif Batuman. Ann Beattie, in one amazing pair of strappy sandals, gave the egg-shaped Plimpton Prize for Fiction to April Ayers Lawson. Redford presented the Hadada Award to James Salter, a writer of fiction and screenplays, including several Redford films.
Guests included Julia Stiles, Michael Imperioli, Joshua Steiner, senior adviser at Quadrangle Group LLC, and Yves-Andre Istel, benefit chairman with his wife, Kathleen Begala.
In high school, Whitney Tilson took six advanced-placement courses: calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, Spanish and English.
Now he’s managing director and co-founder of hedge-fund firm T2 Partners LLC and four years into helping inner-city high-school students take AP classes through Reach. The program offers Saturday study sessions and cash rewards for passing ($300 for a score of 3, $400 for a score of 4, and $500 for a score of 5).
“One of the reasons I helped found this program is that nobody thinks the AP test has been dumbed down,” Tilson said last night at the Harvard Club. “These tests are almost unique in their credibility.”
Tilson was on the scene to raise money for the program, along with former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Reach board members Jacques Garibaldi, managing partner at London Park Investments LLC, and Ji-Mei Ma, managing director of Nebula Capital Management.
“A lot of programs focus on keeping kids out of trouble,” Anderson Livingston, a director in the global credit group at American Express Co. and Reach board member, said. “This one will help kids come to the Harvard Club as alumni.”
Designer Tory Burch, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. president Gary Cohn and Sanford Weill, Carnegie Hall’s board chairman, were among the few hundred guests who gathered in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art after a concert at the hall celebrating its 120th anniversary and featuring James Taylor, Steve Martin, Bette Midler, Barbara Cook, Sting and others.
Michael Douglas sat beside Clarissa Bronfman, co-chairman of the gala along with her husband, Edgar Bronfman Jr., chairman and chief executive of Warner Music Group Corp. She wore a sleek gown, with smoky eyes and her hair pulled back, and she was bouncing in her chair.
“I’ve been asking the board for the last six years, can’t we do a rock or pop show?” said Clarissa Bronfman. “The point is to show the world that Carnegie Hall is not only classical, which I love, but about other types of music.”
Referring to Sting’s rendition during the concert of “Penny Lane,” Bronfman said, “Many people have no idea that the Beatles played there, and that Albert Einstein lectured there.”
As for the lounge-style seating, the family-style Indian meal and the party soundtrack featuring Madonna, George Michael, and Michael Jackson, Bronfman said, “I wanted to break all the rules.”
The event, also attended by John Paulson, president of Paulson & Co., and hedge-fund manager David Ganek, raised $2.8 million.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)