(Bloomberg) -- With a chick chick here and an oink oink there, the Ella Fitzgerald-inspired, scat-filled performance of “Old MacDonald” at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s gala Wednesday night got New Yorkers out of their bubble.
Bill Ackman’s most recent run-in with livestock was on a sheep farm in Argentina, part of a fly-fishing trip in January. “I did not catch the biggest, but I got the most,” he said of his haul of sea-run brown trout. Closer to home, he has a new not-exactly-country dog: a Labradoodle named Babar.
Former hedge-fund manager Arthur Samberg said he spends time on a goat farm and in orchards when he summers in Northport, Michigan. “It’s another world -- we’re in God’s country,” Samberg said.
The guest who seemed to know the most about agricultural ways was, not surprisingly, not a New Yorker. It was David Steward, founder of St. Louis-based World Wide Technology.
“I grew up on a farm in Clinton, Missouri, milking cows and slopping hogs,” Steward said. “For the first 7 or 8 years of my life, we didn’t have indoor plumbing.”
Steward said he owes some of his success to the farmer’s entrepreneurial spirit, which has taken a creative turn in his kids (perhaps guided by his wife, Thelma, a board member of the Saint Louis Art Museum and supporter of young opera singers): daughter Kimberly produced “Manchester by the Sea,” and son David founded Lion Forge Comics, which publishes comics for electronic readers.
“What farms do is they innovate, they find a way to produce,” Steward said. “They say you reap what you sow, right?”
Steward has nothing against New Yorkers. Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center have a partnership with Jazz St. Louis “that’s meant a lot to us,” Steward said. Jazz at Lincoln Center is “the example of what we want to be.”
Dick Cashin of One Equity Partners was impressed with Steward who, with his wife Thelma, received the Ed Bradley Award for Leadership in Jazz.
“Look at this guy, starts with nothing, ends up with a lot, he owns St. Louis. Wow, what a country.”
J. Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group Holding as well as a former college rower, like Ackman and Cashin, won a different form of admiration Tuesday night at City Harvest’s Evening of Practical Magic.
It was magic, all right, when Chrissy Teigen, a Sports Illustrated cover girl, cookbook author and host of the television series “Lip Sync Battle” planted one on Evans -- and left red lipstick on his cheek.
The kiss happened near the bar at Cipriani 42nd Street. Earlier, Teigen had presented the couple with the Harry & Misook Doolittle Heart of the City Award. Michael is on the board of City Harvest and Lise volunteers at markets that distribute food to the needy. Restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian was also honored for helping the food rescue organization, receiving the Mnuchin Family Award for Excellence -- the same family that U.S. Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin belongs to.
One night earlier at the same venue, Rebekah Mercer, a key supporter of President Donald Trump’s campaign, was hard to miss in her fur coat, jewels and bright orange dress that perfectly matched the color scheme of the benefit she was attending for Success Academy Network.
The guests of honor were Saba Capital’s Boaz Weinstein and his wife, Tali Farhadian Weinstein, a lawyer and Success Academy board member. They were lauded with kisses and tributes, including one from a Success Academy Bensonhurst student from Senegal whose participation in the debate team helped him discover a passion for science. This summer he’s headed to an MIT program for minority students interested in engineering.
Success Academy founder Eva Moskowitz spoke of some of the creative ways the Weinsteins have supported the charter network, from sending staff to a performance of “Hamilton” to paying for Success scholars to study at the Diller-Quaile School of Music on the Upper East Side.
Accepting the award, Farhadian Weinstein acknowledged that admission to Success schools are determined by lottery, forcing the network to turn many away. “What I love the most about the network is that it recognizes that lottery day is a tragedy,” she said. “Success fundamentally rejects randomness as a basis for determining a child’s future in life.”
Dan Loeb, chairman of Success Academy’s board, said the event raised $10.1 million, but that wasn’t the happiest news: there was an ice cream sundae bar for dessert, as well as art on view by Success scholars.
Among the guests attending: Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall, Cliff Asness, Bruce and Suzie Kovner and Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl.