Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Portrait of the Giant of Macao
The invitation was intriguing. It was for "the unveiling of the portrait of the Giant of Macao" at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral on East 2nd Street just off Second Avenue. And hors d'oevres and cocktails would be served. Art and alcohol -- how could we resist? In truth, Jean couldn't resist. (Valerie was at home, valiantly resisting, with the help of mighty antibiotics, her third bout with sinusitis this year. Sheesh.) After attending a fundraiser for her favorite charity, Social Tees Animal Rescue, at The Park across town on 10th Avenue, she and JR jumped into a taxi and rushed to the East Village before the 9 PM witching hour -- the time of the unveiling. And what a ceremony it was. At the appointed hour The Giant of Macao (whom we have dubbed TGOM, for short) took the stage in an oxblood colored satin suit, two-toned black and burgundy lace-ups with a jet-black beard and long hair. Think a dapper, elongated Frank Zappa, and you're in the visual ballpark. He launched into a monologue delivered entirely in Italian, while he dramatically brushed his long raven hair. At some point, a young woman appeared and delivered her speech in counter-point, also in Italian. While TGOM recited his lines from memory, the young woman read her lines from her iphone. The 21st century and 18th century collide!
Here is the portrait. The hairbrush on the chair helps explain his brushing of his long locks.
The performance concluded with a flourish! The Giant pulled a long red velvet panel to reveal the portrait below. Speaking of collisions, designer Austin Scarlett was on hand to congratulate the guest of honor on his extremely life-like painting. (You can see TGOM's suit and two-toned shoes in this shot. below) Although their styles are different, the two of them are dandies of the first order.
Jean was thrilled to run into Iman (in a Beverly Hills High School tee-shirt and faux fur stole, no less) and Antonia (in her signature pearls) and three of their friends -- Andrei and his girlfriend Bella, and Sidra.
Austin and Iman share a moment.
Portrait of the artist -- as a stylish dude! Fernando cuts quite a figure sartorially. Artistically, he let his masterful work speak for itself, and remained in the background while TGOM had his moment in the spotlight. Love his bow tie, don't you?
Check out Fernando's two-toned oxfords.
When asked to pose for photos, Jean and Austin staged their own fictitious portrait.
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral was the site of the posthumous unveiling of Fernando's portrait of Lynn Dell Cohen, the Countess of Glamour. Jean was a little awestruck by the alluring, old Hollywood scene in which Lynn was portrayed, swathed in fox fur, next to two cheetahs on a leopard print carpet How Sunset Boulevard! It was a bittersweet moment. For a real treat, click here for coverage of the unveiling of Lynn's portrait, a terrific photo of the painting itself and a technicolor shot by Ari Seth Cohen of Lynn in all her glory.