Artful Affairs

Missives From the Jet Set.

Where’s W.C. Fields When You Need Him?


It’s America’s oldest continuously performing arts organization, so it’s not surprising that the Handel and Haydn Society has it down pat when it comes to throwing a shindig of epic proportions.

The Society Ball (which The Improper proudly sponsored) was held at the Mandarin Oriental
and attracted a strictly A-list crowd that included co-chairs Cecily Tyler and Jane Manilych, honorees Sandra Nicolucci and Thomas Kelly, newlywed hotties Michael and Adam Oliveri, the ever-fabulous Alli Achtmeyer and her adoring husband, Bill, party pair Debbie and Bob First, mustachioed muchacho Sherif Nada and the swanlike Mary, culture vulture Jared Bowen and his handsome other half, Brandon Patrick-Sigh, smoke show Matthew Pidge, blond beauty Britten Hartnett Tyler and her doting husband, Wat, and so on and so forth.

Not surprisingly, cocktails and dinner were accompanied by beautiful music, and after dessert there was dancing cheek-to-cheek.

Overheard by the bar: “I rationalize drinking gin martinis by concentrating on the nutritional value of the olives.”

Everyone’s a Connoisseur


If goggling at paintings, fine furniture, jewelry and objets d’art is your idea of a good time, you ought to have been at the Gala Preview for AD20/21, a showcase of art and design from this century and the last, held at the Cyclorama.

A benefit for the Boston Architectural College, the evening attracted the likes of the ridiculously gorgeous Melissa Popovic and the absurdly handsome Rand Lemley, design avatar Cheryl Katz, arts patrons Erik and Jody Saarmaa, dashing Colombian architect Juan Guillermo Uribe Rubio, the irresistible Ren Blake, banking babe Dyan Goodwin and her debonair husband, Rob Serio, fishmonger extraordinaire Roger Berkowitz, design buff Eric Portnoy, banking bigwig Carlos Lopez, human teddy bear Mike Morris, discerning dealer Andrew Spindler and South Ender Russ Schleipman, who arguably had the show’s coolest item: a $75,000 art nouveau telescope/sundial that looks like it belongs in a Maxfield Parrish painting.

With such rarefied taste in the room, it’s no wonder there were some amusing conversations. There was the dealer who explained a painting by saying, “It’s Venetian plaster, on aluminum, with a very expensive German pigment to get that vibrant color. He actually loses money on them.” To which the philistine she was talking to replied, “Then why does he do them?”

Another guest remarked upon a piece of mid-century furniture: “$50,000… and yet it’s so IKEA.”

However, the bitchiest comment went to the person who said, “I know exactly where that painting’s going to end up. A decorator with no imagination is going to put it over the mantel of a house on either Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard.”



Boston Ballet recently gave Cecil Beaton’s sets for My Fair Lady a run for their money, transforming the Park Plaza Castle into a black-and-white fantasyland, with a reflective black runway-turned-dance floor that bisected the room.

Guests at the Ballet Ball, which marked the company’s 50th anniversary, continuously murmured, “Wow!” as they arrived, although a bumpy carpet did snag a few heels. The uber-swanky crowd included such dazzlers as petite beauty Nina Fialkow and her VC hubby, David, Beacon Hillions Audrey and Steve Reny, soignee Brits Ruth and John Littlechild, the bewitching Sarah Mars squired by Newtonian yogi Adam Lewis, Hungarian knockout Ildiko Varhelyi, the babe-alicious Rosemary McCready and her affable other half, Rick, board chair Jack Meyer and the lovely Beth, co-chairs Stephanie Brown and Jessica Schmitz (in an Oscar-worthy gown), gubernatorial hopeful Jeff McCormick with his brunette babe, Christine, statuesque beauty Diana Rockefeller, the always delightful Steve Weiner and Donald Cornuet, and a man who had been paddle-boarding with Laird Hamilton in Hawaii the day before.

Dinner was accompanied by a fashion show featuring 50 years of costumes modeled by the dancers, while dessert was paired with an edgier show choreographed by company member Rachel Cossar.

Then all hell broke loose when everyone took to the dance floor (or the bar).

As one man summed it up: “This is one of the few black-tie things where I don’t mind getting all sweaty.”


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