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OPINION COLUMN: TED KRUCKEL

Introducing the Hamptons Agoniste Awards, Part One

Super Saturday in Watermill, New York

Photo: Robert Delacruz

It is so tempting to just sit back and say, “The Hamptons are over, nothing exciting ever happens here anymore.” And it’s partially true. It’s been years since Martha Stewart or Lizzie Grubman used their cars for revenge, or Christie Brinkley’s husband, Peter Cook, left money for his teen hooker/girlfriend/aspiring singer under a rock at the end of their driveway.
 
And last year’s craziest scene, the ecstasy-fueled Day & Night bash at the Capri Hotel, didn’t dawn again. The hotel itself, the former home of the Pink Elephant, went belly up, along with its sister inns, the Atlantic and the Bentley. Now, when driving by, instead of ducking for fear of a champagne glass being thrown onto Route 27. I solemnly long for the Ferraris driven by men with murses (that’s a male purse) and the stilettoed girls in bikinis that followed them.

But don’t despair, for I have taken up the gauntlet and run the maze of a thousand thankless soirees to provide you with at least a glimmer of hope that the Hamptons’ silliest and most senseless actors haven’t gone away. And to thank these entertainers and entertainments, I’m giving them awards.

Worst Parking Scene of All Time
This is a fiercely sought-after award; so many event organizers are absolutely ingenious in coming up with ways to confound summer drivers. But there is a clear winner, and it is surely Super Saturday, the multimillion-dollar schmatta sale held annually in Watermill. This year, one hour into the event, it took only three cars coming in three directions to completely befuddle what seemed like a volunteer team of young and friendly baton wavers. Dennis Basso got frustrated and drove around me going the wrong way, while I obediently followed the young man who implored me to park closely to the car on my right. No sooner had I reached a complete stop than the lady (and I use the term loosely) in said car opened her door and hit the side of my car. Following that proven rule of politics, “Never apologize, never explain,” she proceeded to blame me and say I had parked too close. When I gestured to the parking attendant, who watched the whole thing, he simply shrugged. Then while I hoofed the dusty half-mile, a frantic shopper careened by us, honking, desperate to get her discount designer goods, and almost hit my 14-week-old puppy. Without stopping, she explained out the window, “I beeped so I wouldn’t hit you.”

The “Sticking With What Works” Award
Once again the Parrish Art Museum tapped Glorious Food to serve cocktails and dinner and DJ Tom Finn to get everyone dancing. You really need little else for a great event.

Most Creative Use of a Desperate Housewife
What did event organizers do before the advent of the Real Housewives of New York City? Again, this is a hotly contested award, so low a bar do the Housewives set for making an appearance. Kelly Bensimon visited the deodorant-themed Axe Lounge and was undeterred by two brawling women at the front door. She stopped to blithely pose alongside fellow desperate reality star Tinsley Mortimer as one of the chicks hit the pavement. Ramona Singer showed up at a fashion show that featured plastic surgery patients as models—it’s not clear whether this resulted in promoting or deterring its use—and used the appearance to promote the rental of her house this season (six bedrooms, $295,000 for Memorial Day to Labor Day). And, of course, new mom Bethenny Frankel chose to embrace irony, showing up to push her Skinnygirl cocktails in Montauk. No word on whether she breastfed during the liquor promo. But my favorite was the appearance of both Alex McCord and Jill Zarin as guest “authors” at Authors Night. Alongside legitimate literary types Jay McInerney, Tad Friend, Candace Bushnell, Gail Sheehy, Florence Fabricant, and Brad Gooch, the housewives signed books sold to benefit East Hampton Library. I asked Jill Zarin if there was any truth to the story in The Daily Beast that she had asked her interviewer, Doree Shafrir, to post a positive review on Amazon, and then also got caught by Shafrir posting positive reviews of herself. She had a bunch of different answers. My faves: “Everybody does it,” “I haven’t yet commented on that,” and finally “The reviews came from my account. That’s all I’m saying.”

Best Prolonged Arrival
Gayle King wanted the world to see her new lemon yellow Maybach. At least that’s what it looked like after she entered the Reginald F. Lewis estate grounds in East Hampton, then parked her glamorous ride in the driveway while receiving guests from the driver’s seat. The longer she sat, the more people approached, including me. No one beeped, no one drove around her, and no one from the event dared approach Queen Oprah’s No. 1 handmaiden. Would you?

Best Use of Free Booze
This must go to the security firm at the Bridgehampton Polo Club, who, while trying to get Lance Bass to leave the V.I.P. tent an hour after bars had closed, “accidentally” poured a drink on the former boy bander. Lance, of course, tweeted about it like the idiot he seems to be. I say, hire these guys!

Hardest Working Hampton Partier
Remember when Spy magazine followed Anthony Haden-Guest and Morgan Entrekin around to see who was the mightiest partier of them all? Remember Spy magazine? Sigh. Anyway, one need not possess a P.I. license to detect that Alec Baldwin is on some sort of mad dash to be named King of the Hamptons, though Kelly Ripa and Christie Brinkley deserve runners-up mention. There he is not only starring in Equus at Guild Hall but showing up for cocktails with donors before opening night. He then raised his hand to buy the private Rufus Wainwright concert prize at Watermill, splitting the $35,000 fee with Jay McInerney. And he shows no sign of slowing. On August 14, Baldwin butched it up for the Artists vs. Writers Charity Softball Game and, despite hustling for the losing side, dusted himself off to serve as the founding chairman and benefactor of the East Hampton Library’s Authors Night. God only knows what he has planned for this weekend.


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