CULTURE CLUB… ART IN THE HAMPTONS!

Laurie Hall’s “TO THE POINT” acrylic on canvass

Put away that “Elvis on Velvet” the Hamptons art scene has returned in a big way this summer. The good news: Exciting work is on view every weekend in pretty much every town. The less-good news: You’d be hard pressed to see everything and still have time for other East End endeavors, you know like sitting on 27. Lucky for you, I’ve found some highlights that are about as local as it gets out here. But don’t expect any dogs playing poker.

Group Show

Kirsten Benfield’s- ” ICE” – watercolor on paper

First, check out Ashawagh Hall in Springs this Friday, July 16 to see a group exhibition curated by my friend Mark Perry. This is Mark’s second curatorial outing, and he’s put together an excellent group of artists, including Roy Nicholson, Denise Gale, John Haubrich, Gus Yero, George Singer, Laurie Hall, Scott Bluedorn and Kirsten Benfield.

Mark explained that he used Ashawagh Hall’s “L” shape and separate small room to give each artist decent representation in the space. This is why he kept the number to eight, including himself, and chose people based solely on instinct that their stuff would show well together. “Many of the artists coincidentally are inspired by nature even the abstract work has a natural palette so they do work easily together,” he told me, also noting that all artists are mature to mid-career, with the exception of Scott Bluedorn, who happens to be one of the area’s most promising young artists with a lot of shows already under his belt. You might recognize his drawings from the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s beer bottles!

Scott Bluedorn – ‘SUNDAY ON SAND’ – watercolor on paper

The opening reception is Saturday from 5–8 p.m. and regular hours are from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. from Friday to Tuesday, June 20.

Guild Hall’s Clothesline Art Sale

Next Saturday, July 24, Guild Hall is holding their 75th annual Clothesline Art Sale. One of the most fun and hotly-anticipated art events of the Hamptons summer, this longstanding tradition offers collectors a chance to acquire some fantastic work by more than 300 artists of all levels—including some real heavy hitters—for rock-bottom prices, from $75–$5,000.

Throughout the event’s history, legendary artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Alfonso Ossorio and many others have placed work up for sale. And, best of all, 50% of proceeds go to support Guild Hall and their important work bringing arts and culture to the region (2021 is the institution’s 90th year!). Go early to get the best stuff. Believe me, there will be plenty of people in line well before the doors open at 9 a.m. (sale closes at 4 p.m.).

Visit guildhall.org/events/75th-clothesline-art-sale/ for all the details.

Well, now that you get the picture about art on the east end, It’s an incredibly thrilling time to be an art lover and/or collector on the South Fork! Here are a few more links you may find useful

The Parish Art Museum

Long House Reserve

Hamptons Art Hub

Ohhh La La… THE BEST FRENCH FRIES IN THE HAMPTONS!

Bon Fromage! It’s Bastille Day later this week—you know, the holiday that is kind of like the Fourth of July but they celebrate it in France, and most Americans don’t even know about it? So, what better way is there to celebrate the execution of Louis and Marie than delving into some of the best French cuisine in the Hamptons!

But I’m not talking about Croque Madames or even macaroons. I’m talking about FRENCH FRIES! And don’t you dare call them chips or, even worse, FREEDOM FRIES!

So here in no particular order are my favorite places to super-size that side on the East End! Bon appetit, y’all!

Crispy, Crunchy and Crazy good! Cove Hollow Tavern

1. Cove Hollow Tavern (East Hampton) – Cripsy, crinkle-cut with a hint of bbq seasoning, these fries put the bomb in bon jour! Served with a side of extra caloric aioli, there’s no way to eat just one. Best served with a cool glass of Sancerre, but what isn’t? At $10 for a side, these are a steal.

2. Almond (Bridgehampton) – Yes, they have more generic plain fries (for the purist), but how dare you when you can have Cheese Fries Americaine with smoked cheddar and chilis! If you’re not in the mood for fromage, you can always go with Bernaise Fries, Gravy Fries or Korean Fries with sesame seeds, kimchi and sriracha mayo. Prices start and $10 and go to $13. No, you may not order these as an entrée… or can you?

GOLDEN NUGGETS ! DOCKSIDE’S BEST SIDE!

3. Dockside (Sag Harbor) – Crunchy is the first word that comes to mind whenever I sink my teeth into these special spuds. Delicately batter dipped (I think, or twice fried) and topped with bay seasoning, these are a perfect side with more than just burgers! Personally, I find these are a perfect balance to the healthy nature of the Seared Tuna Wrap. $7 per side. 

4. Fresno (East Hampton) – Delicately fried, fresh-cut potatoes with a hint of salt and a big side of Heinz 57. We’re not talking about anything too complex or fancy—just golden, salty, traditional fries done right. At $8 for a side, it’s a must-share at any dinner.

BIT OF BRUSSELLS IN SAG HARBOR…. LULU KITCHEN’S FRIES! GO AHEAD YOU ANTWERP!

5. Lulu (Sag Harbor) – These are no dud spuds! Lulu’s crispy and delicate treats are a greater potater! They are authentic Belgian fries that are crisp without being crunchy and without feeling like mushy steak fries! $14 per order.

When I started this blog, I had no idea that today is National #frenchfriesday! In fact, The New York Post just wrote about Serendipity’s $300-a-serving fries. I don’t know how it happened, but for once the Hamptons isn’t the most expensive game in town.

BTW, DID I MISS SOME GOOD FRIES ? LEAVE ME A NOTE AND LET ME KNOW YOUR FAVORITES!

‘LIFE IS A HIGHWAY’ ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU’RE SITTING BUMPER TO BUMPER.

Ride Free, Ride Fun, Ride Nonstop in the Hamptons

Everyone knows TRAFFIC SUCKS IN THE HAMPTONS. But while sitting on 27 is great for getting through your audio book and podcast backlog, it’s not exactly fun when you’re due at an appointment or need to get to that precious reservation on time!

Anyway, with all the driving I do for showing and cavorting around the East End, I’ve been searching for ways to be a happy passenger instead of a cranky driver. Here are a few that I discovered that could help you avoid Hamptons road rage.

Hampton Hopper

Recognizable by their big, blue school buses, this inexpensive, app-based ride service runs daily loops in Montauk from 10 a.m.–10 p.m., with stops at all the hotspots, resorts and activity hubs, including Hither Hills Campground, Gosman’s Dock, Gurney’s, Kirk Park Beach, the LIRR station, Montauk Chamber of Commerce and more. They also offer private charters. Get all the details at hamptonhopper.com.

Rove

Coming back for summer 2021, Rove provides nonstop transportation between Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Hamptons—so you get on in one place and get off at your destination, with no stops in-between. Instead of a big bus, you’ll travel in a Mercedes Sprinter Van, which takes off from Rove’s partner hotels in SoHo or Williamsburg and drop off at some of the Hamptons’ most happening locations. You can also charter a private ride, and pets are permitted if they’re 25 lbs or less! Check them out at ridewithrove.com. They also have a Sag Harbor village shuttle service called Rove loop. You can check their website for details.

Circuit

Presented by founders and East Hampton natives Alex Esposito and James Mirras

as a greener ride option, Circuit (formerly Hamptons Free Ride) uses easy-to-spot all-electric vehicles to shuttle passengers to the beach in Southampton, East Hampton and Montauk—and it’s free! Visit ridecircuit.com to find out more.

Whether you’re making the journey from points west or tooling around town, these services are often fun, social gatherings on wheels. And they’re definitely a safe bet for anyone who should not get behind the wheel while enjoying a boozy summer day.

I’ll see you on the road!

HEALTHY ANIMALS MEAN HEALTHY PEOPLE!

Veterinarians International Dog Walk and Shopping

As we’ve established, I’m a smitten dog lover who can’t get enough of my Russell and Bella—not to mention supporting the many animal shelters and wildlife preservation orgs out here (remember the Walk for Awareness Dog-a-Thon?). With that in mind, I urge you to attend a very special event, Shop for Species Survival, a dog walk and shopping experience for animal and wildlife welfare at J. McLaughlin in Southampton this Saturday, June 26. I hope you and your pup(s) will join us at the corner Jobs Lane and Main Street at 10:30 a.m., when we’ll walk and then enjoy shopping from noon– 5 p.m. to benefit Veterinarians International, which helps provide veterinary aid and education to animals and communities around the world (visit vetsinternational.org to register).

DR. SCARLETT MAGDA… DOING THE WORK!

The founder of Veterinarians International, Dr. Scarlett Magda—a vaunted local resident, veterinarian and animal activist—will be on hand as we shop and sip at J. McLaughlin, which is donating 15% of the proceeds to her excellent organization. Dr. Magda will also share some compelling stories about animal welfare and conservation issues globally, including updates on plans for Sri Lanka’s first elephant hospital and much more.

I saw Dr. Magda speak at Bridgehampton Tennis & Surf Club benefit a few years agao and was thoroughly blown away by her message. Before hearing her speak, I was totally unaware of how closely human health, animal health and the health of our ecosystem are so tightly linked. It was a truly eye-opening experience. Check out Dr. Scarlett Magda online to get the full picture of her many accomplishments and important efforts to protect the world’s wildlife, ease animal suffering and stop the spread of zoonotic diseases, which is surely something close to all our hearts in these troubling times.