School Daze

Missives from the Jet Set

You Should’ve Seen the ABC After-School Special


I might have brought home better report cards if they’d served cocktails and canapés during homeroom, as they did when the Citi Performing Arts Center celebrated the Walter Suskind Memorial Fund’s educational programs with a back-to-school- themed gala.

The Wang Theatre’s decor incorporated rulers, apples, pencils, notebooks, crayons and other school paraphernalia. “Homeroom” was followed by “morning announcements,” “student council” and a “pep rally,” while the “cafeteria” served up such lip-smacking delicacies as lobster mac ’n’ cheese and Black Angus sliders.

After taking attendance, “principal” Joe Spaulding rubbed elbows with the likes of actor/playwright and honoree Trieu Tran, uber-philanthropists Bob and Esta Epstein, veterinarian to the stars Dr. John de Jong and the lovely Carole Lee, the stunning Priscilla Douglas, sax legend Stan Strickland, hair care moguls Louise and Irvine Rusk, glam pixie Anne Lower and the delightful Alicia Gordon, lovable shutterbug Roger Farrington and equally studious others, who sipped, supped and socialized enough to earn a lifetime of detention.

The award for Mean Girl remark goes to the woman who said, “I love your jacket; it’s like attention deficit disorder plaid.”

Philistines at the Gates


After its flawless concert at Jordan Hall, the Discovery Ensemble hosted a reception at Lucca Back Bay to celebrate the chamber orchestra’s success and toast maestro Courtney Lewis on being named an assistant conductor at the New York Philharmonic. 

Present and accounted for were Polish stunner Anna Maria Anders, North Shore nabob John Rando, preppy hipster William Grote, preppy prepster Holt Massey, New England Conservatory rainmaker Janet “P.J.” Goff, the soignee Chynna Pope, music patron Deb Hanley, Argentinean beauty Sibila Korb, statuesque redhead Kate Merritt, banking fashion plate Debbie Smith and cello soloist Nicolas Altstaedt, to name a few.

Overheard at the bar: “We had the ballet last night and this concert today. I need to go home and watch some bad TV.”

You Can Pick Your Friends


The geniuses at MIT don’t do anything by half measures, so when the Council for the Arts bestowed the prestigious Eugene McDermott Award upon Berlin-based artist Olafur Eliasson, it was an evening of unparalleled elegance.

Held at the Media Lab, the event attracted the likes of co-chairs Susan and Bill Poduska and Terry and Rick Stone, New York arts patron Agnes Gund, Texas roses Mary and Margaret McDermott, Gardner Museum head honcha Anne Hawley, composer/conductor Tod Machover, the dashing duo Peter Wender and Carl Karandjeff, architectural superstars Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, the naturally carbonated Betty Ann Blum and others of an equally elevated ilk.

The food and wine were superb, and the speeches blessedly brief. And lest the evening sound too high-brow, know that the following observation was overheard: “There’s an art to nose-picking in public.”

In Memoriam

Boston lost a rare bird with the death of Marilyn Riseman, the kabuki socialite and fashion icon with a damn-the-torpedoes attitude and a signature look that, once glimpsed, you could never forget. Pint-sized and profane, she casually dropped the f-bomb in even the stuffiest of social settings and never begged anyone’s pardon. The daughter of another great Boston character, the legendary “Doc” Sagansky, she tossed tradition out the window early on by going into the fashion business, and her boutiques reflected her unerring instinct for the chic and stylish. She settled on her own mien—black bobbed wig, Cleopatra-kohled eyes, ghostly white makeup and a slash of red across her pouty lips—and stuck with it, changing only the theatrical outfits she paired with it. It was a persona, of course, a mischievous middle finger to conformism, but there was nothing phony about Marilyn. She called ’em like she saw ’em and never pulled any punches. It will be strange not having her wave her cobra-topped cane in my face, then pull me down to whisper lovingly in my ear the many ways in which I was a “f—ing a–hole.” Boston will miss you, Marilyn. It’s as if somebody stole the Siberian tiger from the zoo.

Related Articles

Comments are closed.