11th Annual School's Out Benefit: Cocktails And Color At Historic Grey Gardens

by KATHERINE KAPNICK · June 17, 2010

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On Saturday, June 11th, the Heterick-Martin Institute hosted its eleventh annual School's Out benefit in East Hampton, raising over $180,000 for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in New York City. HMI is the host agency for Harvey Milk High School, the successful LGBTQ academy located in New York's East Village.

This year's sold-out event was held at the iconic Grey Gardens, former home of socialite Edie Beale and her namesake daughter.  The Beales, who retreated into almost total isolation during their 50-year stay at the Georgica Pond mansion, were the subject of a 1975 documentary and recent Emmy and Golden Globe winning HBO film - both entitled Grey Gardens - because of the appalling squalor in which they lived. In 1971 and '72, the Sufolk County Health Department conducted a series of inspections on the home, finding it in total decay, without running water and infested with fleas, stray animals, and garbage.  The department's reports were exposed in the National Enquirer and New York Magazine and caused much controversy for the women, Jackie O's eccentric aunt and niece. The former first-lady and her sister eventually funded the restoration of the gorgeous estate.

The HMI benefit drew a colorful, floral-pants-wearing crowd and featured preppy grosgrain entrance bands, donated by Ralph Lauren Rugby, who also provided the event's gift bags. The immaculately-groomed men of the afternoon were a refreshing contrast to some other people we've run into out east this year.

Notable guests included designers Dennis Basso, Brian Atwood, Timo Weiland, Andrew Fry and Celerie Kemble; socialites Kristian Laliberte, Brad Goldfarb, and Christian Leone; Bravo executive Andy Cohen as well as Guest of a Guest alum Carson Griffith, among others.