Game of Thrones Can Wait After a Week of Billionaire-Studded Galas
(Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett may have attacked Steve Schwarzman’s industry over the weekend, but the Blackstone chief looked happy Sunday evening at Lincoln Center for a birthday party -- not his own, but one for the performing arts center.
Gwen Stefani sang for Schwarzman’s 70th two years ago, and Rod Stewart crooned for his 60th. At Lincoln Center’s 60th Sunday night, he got Larisa Martinez of Cuba singing opera, Chelsea Clinton recalling posture lessons from School of American Ballet students, and Neil Patrick Harris cracking about philanthropists who’ve named things: after enjoying Revson Fountain, NPH joked that he’d learned it was named for a generous man named Charles Fountain.
Sunday evening isn’t a typical gala night, of course -- Bennett Goodman said he usually spends it at home with family -- but guests looked on the bright side.
KKR’s Joe Bae, sitting with Aerin Lauder, said he’d simply catch “Game of Thrones” when he got home later. Bae’s wife, Janice Lee, said her kids declared her dressed for an episode, mocking her black fur stole.
“It’s more interesting” on a Sunday “because it’s more selective,” said Charles Rockefeller. “It only attracts those who want to be here.” His family was honored along with those of Daisy Soros (sister-in-law of George), Audrey and Martin Gruss and Laurie Tisch.
A more typical gala night is Monday. On April 29, Henry Kravis and Steve Harvey pitched in to raise $7 million to benefit Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, with Blackstone’s Verdun Perry and Citadel’s Ken Griffin honored. On April 22, WNET (channel Thirteen) made the Plaza’s ballroom hip again with a classical version of “House of the Rising Sun” and honoree Josh Sapan, CEO of AMC Networks, teasing a new web series, “State of the Union” -- 10-minute episodes of married couples in therapy.
This Monday, Schwarzman is planning to attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute ball, maybe wearing his wife’s flamingo broach (to adhere to the “camp” theme) while she wears a Moschino dress with “lots of doodads.” Harry Styles and Lady Gaga will be there, too.
Of course, there’s nothing typical about the Met gala.
How about Tuesdays at Cipriani 42nd Street?
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, in a video, and the bank’s consumer-lending chief, Marianne Lake, in person, gave glowing remarks about their colleague Marc Granetz for City Harvest. Eric Ripert brought in $500,000 by offering to cook dinner at a bidder’s home with Yo-Yo Ma, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen attending, and the rapper Nas brought in some more agreeing to join a karaoke party at Undercote. But the $4.1 million raised for City Harvest wasn’t the biggest haul of the night.
Across town, the New York City Police Foundation brought in $5.5 million honoring Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, who’d tapped Susie Huang, co-head of investment banking, and Andy Saperstein, co-head of wealth management, as gala chairs.
“One of our core values is to give back, so this is part of that, to support the people that are here to protect us,” Gorman said at the New York Hilton during cocktail hour.
Last Wednesday, back at Cipriani 42nd Street, hedge fund managers Paul Singer, John Paulson and Dan Loeb sat together to see Betsy DeVos honored by the Manhattan Institute, while downtown at the Museum of Jewish Heritage Leonard Stern, Ira Rennert and Ron Lauder previewed a new exhibit of artifacts from Auschwitz, a few weeks after Goldman Sachs’s Elisha Wiesel helped Blue Card raise money to give Holocaust survivors in need cash assistance. And back at Lincoln Center, Boaz Weinstein and Chris Kojima took in a gala for the Juilliard School, where $1.8 million was raised with students performing.
On Thursday, up in the Conservatory Garden of Central Park, Peter May was honored for 17 years as chairman of Mount Sinai Health System, a tenure that started with a financial turnaround and ended with “a whole new generation” ready to serve, he said. The new co-chairmen are Goldman’s Richard Friedman and James Tisch of Loews Corp.
Which brings us back to Sunday at Lincoln Center’s 60th.
Schwarzman was seated with May, who just started as co-chair of the New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center Chair Katherine Farley and new President Henry Timms, and Juilliard Chairman Bruce Kovner.
“When they’re fun and good, they’re worth it,” Kovner said of attending so many galas in so little time.
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