Those involved are calling it nothing less than "an unprecedented event in the realm of the arts," specifically, "A Special Salute to Merce Cunningham" on March 1 at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. For the first time, Mikhail Baryshnikov is bringing his new company, the White Oak Dance Project, to New York and the gala, and Misha in the flesh will dance a solo choreographed by Merce himself. Misha is dedicating this premiere performance (he will also dance a solo choreographed by Twyla Tharp and designed by Isaac Mizrahi) to Merce and will donate the evening's proceeds to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. What a sweetie.
Oh, and it's Merce's 75th birthday this year too, so there will be a celebration on the Promenade of the New York State Theater after the performance hosted by honorary vice chairmen Misha, Robin Duke, Jasper Johns and Victoria Newhouse with a big assist from the benefit co-chairmen, Alvin Chereskin, Roz Jacobs and Harriette Levine. As part of the birthday celebration, more than a dozen of the country's greatest contemporary artists created special birthday cards for Merce that were silent-auctioned at a cocktail party at Cartier's Tuesday night. They were all there for Merce, and they'll all be there for him on April 13 when the Museum of Modern Art opens its three-day tribute to this legend of the dance world.
Anne Ford can now join the small and select club of New York women who, as the head of a single charity event, can raise a million dollars at a crack. Even in New York, a city of givers, that's a singular accomplishment. Actually, before the evening even began, Anne (and her committee) had already raised $800,000, and she didn't even have a gun in her pocket.