Party Forecast: Hot And Heavy

July 17, 1997

The forecast for this weekend? Expect crowds, really big crowds, and a fair share of man-made thunder as party season on the South Fork reaches the boiling point this weekend. Hot-ticket affairs dot the map all the way from Montauk's Deep Hollow Ranch to the Parrish Art Museum in South ampton and at half a dozen spots in between.

So many parties, so little time.

Preparations for these high-end events, some of the biggest and best-attended bashes of the season, began months ago.

Anniversary Bash

Reader's Digest, which expects upward of 1,000 guests to attend its invitation-only 75th anniversary celebrations at Deep Hollow Ranch and in Napeague at the publisher Gregory Coleman's house, has booked 250 hotel rooms on the South Fork and reserved buses to help transport guests to Mr. Coleman's house on Cranberry Hole Road.

On Monday, Jack Emptage and his crew were running ragged setting up tents for three other events that together will draw a couple of thousand more partygoers. Mr. Emptage owns Hampton Party Tents, a rental business based in Amagansett.

The Music Festival of the Hamptons gets a whole tent complex in the no-fly zone at the East Hampton Airport and another set of tents on Snake Hollow Road in Bridgehampton. Guild Hall's Taste of Summer needs a 6,000-square-foot tent on the opposite side of the airport, and a fund-raiser for the James Beard Foundation at Kay LeRoy's estate in Amagansett will fill yet another 6,000- square-foot big top.

Just The Beginning

The East Hampton Town police will stretch their force of traffic control officers almost to the limit over the next few days. Though this weekend may be the busiest yet this summer in terms of special events, Police Chief Thomas Scott said it was only the beginning of a long chain of taxing summer weekends.

Private security is provided at some of the large parties, but town officers will be needed for the events at the airport and especially for George Plimpton's annual fireworks display for the Harbor for Girls and Boys on Saturday.

In addition to the spectators who gather at Luly and Tony Duke's house off Springy Banks Road in East Hampton for the official party to benefit the Harbor for Girls and Boys, the waters of Three Mile Harbor will be filled with boaters and spectators will line the shores.

Picnic Pyrotechnics

Those who want to go for the full effect can purchase tickets to the benefit evening at the Dukes' house for between $50 (16 to 30-year-olds only) and $1,000. Children's tickets are $25. Proceeds will support the year-round camp for inner city children in East Hampton.

A buffet picnic dinner will be served from 7 to 9 p.m.; the fireworks by the Grucci family begin at 9:15. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Harbor for Girls and Boys' fireworks office in East Hampton.

Each year the pyrotechnics are choreographed to music and narrated by Mr. Plimpton. This year, he invited four artists - Donald Sultan, David Salle, John Alexander, and Dennis Oppenheim - to use the sky as their canvas for a minute each.

Evanescent Art

The artists' designs were taken to Grucci for interpretation, and they have chosen music to accompany their fleeting works.

Fleeting creative works of the edible variety will be featured in abundance at Guild Hall's Taste of Summer benefit, a culinary extravaganza sponsored again this year by Gourmet magazine. Taste of Summer will hold court in a tent by the East Hampton Aire hangar at the airport on Saturday night.

The annual benefit, popular with a younger crowd, will showcase food from a number of restaurants around the East End and Manhattan and wine from local vineyards and around the world.

Food Purveyors

Among the local food purveyors offering samples at the benefit will be the Art of Eating, Boom Bistro, the Bridgehampton Cafe and Bulls Head Bar and Grill, the Downtown Grille and Wine Bar, Dreesen's Market, the Laundry, Loaves and Fishes, Plain and Fancy, the Maidstone Arms, Tierra Mar, the Southampton Publick House, and the Farmhouse.

The Chris Bishop Band with the Uptown Horns will shake things up with Motown, reggae, rock, soul, and swing music. The party starts at 8 p.m. Tickets go for $125 in advance at the Guild Hall box office and $150 at the door. Funds will go toward the many programs offered at the longtime East Hampton cultural center.

The tent has been filled to capacity for the past two years, so Guild Hall is strongly recommending that those who plan to attend purchase their tickets ahead of time.

Parrish Gala

Also competing for space on the engagement calendar Saturday night is the Parrish Art Museum's annual Midsummer Gala, an evening of music, dancing, and fine cuisine in the arboretum of the Southampton museum.

The event planner and decorator Robert Isabell has given the tent a 19th-century ambiance, with tapestries, street lamps, potted palms, hanging ferns, hurricane lamps, and candlelight, all inspired by the museum's current exhibit on the artists of the Tenth Street Studio Building.

Classic Roaring Twenties speak easy numbers, elegant 1930s tunes by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and lively toe-tappers from the swing era will be provided by Doc Scantlin and his Imperial Palms Orchestra.

Younger Crowd

A cocktail hour will begin at 7:30 p.m. Dinner at 8:30 p.m. will include shrimp in tarragon sauce, herbed loin of lamb, ratatouille, and warm chocolate souffle cake. Dancing and dessert will begin at 10 p.m.

Patron tickets for the full event are $600. A sponsor ticket goes for $350, and associate tickets (for those under 35) will be $250 apiece.

Like the Guild Hall fund-raiser, this benefit tends draws a younger crowd than most, more so after 10 p.m. when those under 35 can buy special tickets for dancing and dessert for a $75 donation. Tickets can be purchased through the Parrish's special events department.

Top Chefs

Some of Manhattan's finest chefs will spend Saturday on the East End at Chefs and Champagne, a fund-raiser for the James Beard Foundation.

Of the 25 renowned chefs who will strut their stuff, just one, Michael A. Castino, has a local base. Mr. Castino is the executive chef at the newly opened Pacific East in Amagansett.

Mr. Castino will join a gathering of some of the true heavy hitters of the Manhattan restaurant scene. Among them are Florian Bellanger and Eric Ripert of Le Bernadin, Erik Blauberg of '21' Club, Ephraim Kadish and Bob Trainor of the China Grill, Waldy Malouf of the Rainbow Room, Eberhard Muller of Lutece, and Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit. Tattinger champagne will flow throughout the benefit.

Honoring Pepin

The world-famous chef Jacques Pepin will be honored at the party for his outstanding achievements in the culinary world, and the artist Larry Rivers and his band The Climax will provide musical accompaniment for what promises to be a knockout of a meal. The LeRoy estate is on Old Stone Highway in Amagansett.

Tickets for members of the James Beard Foundation are $100; nonmembers can enjoy the party for a $150 donation to the foundation. Proceeds will support the various programs and activities sponsored by the foundation throughout the year.

Reservations are a must and can be made by calling the James Beard Foundation offices on West 12th Street in Manhattan. The party runs from 5 to 8 p.m.

Boys Choir

Tomorrow night in a festival tent at the airport, the Music Festival of the Hamptons will kick off a week of performances with a large family concert by the Boys Choir of Harlem. The show will begin at 8 p.m. and is $20 for adults and free for kids.

The festival has tents at two main venues this year - the airport and a field off Snake Hollow Road in Bridgehampton. An opening party for the festival with music by the pianist Lukas Foss will take place at the latter venue on Saturday night.

The fete will begin with cocktails at 6:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 7:30 and dinner at 9.

Tea Dance

Tickets for the concert only are $50 or $75 for reserved seating. A $175 ticket entitles the holder to V.I.P. reserved seating at the concert and dinner. Details of this and other Music Festival programs appear separately.

An afternoon tea dance for the Empire State Pride Agenda in Sagaponack Saturday is likely to draw big crowds as well. In past years, hundreds of people have come to the annual East End benefit for this lesbian and gay political lobbying group. This year the tea dance will be at 439 Parsonage Lane from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Food and cocktails will be served and St. Peter, a D.J., will keep the music pumping throughout.

General admission tickets, at $70 each, will be available at the door. They are $55 in advance through CircuitTix, a ticket broker, at Mecox Gardens on County Road 39A, or at Drendel Hall on Newtown Lane in East Hampton. Supporter and sponsor tickets begin at $250.

Polo Season

Divet stomping between the chuckers? That's right, it's polo season as well as party season. Some might even say they're one and the same.

The third annual polo tournament begins Saturday at Two Trees Farm in Bridgehampton, and as usual a well-heeled crowd will gather in the V.I.P. tent there to mingle and nosh during breaks in the game.

Cynthia Rowley, a clothing designer with shops in East Hampton and New York, will stage an informal fashion show throughout the reception. General admission tickets are available for $5, but entrance to the V.I.P. tent is strictly by invitation.

Swanky Invitations

One of the hottest tickets this weekend is also an invitation-only affair. Around 1,000 people are expected at celebrations for Reader's Digest's 75th anniversary. The invitations, which were practically gilded, went out in large collaged boxes wrapped in handmade rice paper. Swanky!

The two-part bash includes a huge party Saturday night at Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk. There the comedian Jay Leno, who hosts "The Tonight Show," will entertain the crowd. Paula Poundstone, a comedienne, David Blaine, a magician, and Ronn Lucas, a ventriloquist, will also keep the throng busy.

For part two, celebrants will be bussed to Mr. Coleman's house on Cranberry Hole Road for an intimate barbecue for 800 on the beach on Sunday afternoon.

All told, it will be a weekend to reckon with. Party-goer or not, finding the hot spots should be easy, but avoiding them . . . that's another story altogether.