This weekend launched the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) and Dan’s Papers was the sponsor of the remarkable documentary about the beloved, legendary Louis Armstrong.
The stars shone brightly in the night sky, too, making the perfect setting for a perfect weekend!
The talented Ron Howard produced the documentary film with the help of the team at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens.
Four years ago, Ron approached the leadership there and asked permission to have access to the thousands of items in the museum’s archives, from the fabulous Louis tapes to his notes and letters to his beloved wife Lucille, to photos from his missions around the world.
The sold-out auditorium at the Southampton Arts Center on Jobs Lane had the added treat of seeing the film “Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues,” for 104 riveting minutes.
They also got to hear from Jay Hershenson, chair of the board of the Louis Armstrong House Museum, who shared his memory of Ron Howard meeting with Ricky Riccardi, who is the world-recognized expert on Louis Armstrong. The crowd appreciated Jay’s insights.
For me, the compelling music of the master trumpet player alone was a bonus to the telling of his life’s story. Sadly, documentaries don’t get seen widely, but I highly recommend you watch it! You, too, will love every minute!
I had the fun of going with my friends Dr. Lyle Leipziger, Dr. Karen Kostroff and their spouses to the after-party at the home of Randy Mastro, former deputy mayor, attorney and chairman of the board of the HIFF.
The tent set up in his backyard was wall-to-wall with people, but everyone wanted to speak to Alec Baldwin, who was standing at The Macallan whiskey bar (considered the Rolls-Royce of whiskey).
I met him again the next evening at a party hosted at the home of Stuart Suna, former CEO of Silvercup Studios in Long Island City. Alec was there as a proud supporter of the film festival.
But that support is only a tiny part of his generosity to his community. He has donated millions of dollars to different causes, particularly the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, groups working with homelessness, peace groups, disaster relief, adoption, fostering and orphans.
In Easthampton, his support created the finest state-of-the-art community library.
Growing up on Long Island, he has shared his wealth and success with the people and communities he loves.
A bonus was to meet his wife Hilaria, who had their newborn baby bundled under her arms. Alec, a father of 8, won my heart when I saw him hugging and kissing his daughter and speaking about her sweetly with pride.
What a special person he is and I felt so happy to meet him!
To finish the sunny, brilliant weekend there was a Peruvian Festival at The Baker House, a 13-room boutique hotel in Easthampton with a beautiful garden that its owner Antonella Bertello turned into a celebration of her beloved homeland, Peru.
There were magnificently dressed dancers in their native costumes, singers, food vendors and boutiques.
I was delighted to find fabulous pink hats, one embroidered on felt and the other from wool from animals native to Peru. What fun!
It was a remarkable weekend of “star” experiences I will cherish forever.
Taking time with my redheads at Jonah’s football game where he ran the football across the field for a touchdown. But later in the game, he broke his wrist! Oh my…