Monday, May 16, 2011
The Kill Family Night on the Town
"But they're cousins,
Identical cousins all the way.
One pair of matching bookends,
Different as night and day."
That is the tune that was playing in my head all night long when the Kill family recently went to the Big Apple to attend a charity dinner that featured none other than - Patty Duke. But first, some of the back story (sit right back and you'll hear a tail...wait, wrong show - but this gets a little long). My sister, L is a member of the board of directors for a New York based charity known as ICL:
The Mission of the Institute for Community Living Inc. (ICL) is to assist individuals and families affected by or at risk for mental and developmental disabilities with services and support designed to improve their quality of life and participation in community living.
ICL celebrated it's 25th anniversary and tapped my sister to be the board member "Gala Chair". She said her company bought a table for the event and she invited me and the Mrs, my 2 brothers and their wives, my other sister and her husband and a friend to go with her. Truth is she was nervous about it, wanted some moral support from the family and I know she paid for the table out of her own pocket, which was a lot of money I'm sure. The Mrs chose not to go for reasons known only to her, but I will tell you she missed a great time.
The evening started in a Greyhound parking lot (yeah I know but it was convenient) where we were met by a white stretch limo that my sister hired to take us to and from NYC. My brother-in-law G brought the beer and wine. There were 9 of us and the car held 10, so it was a little crowded but comfortable.
The whole ride up my sister briefed us on what not to do or say in the presence of Ms. Duke. We were not to ask her about her identical twin - Kathy Lane (some show trivia for you). And we were not to ask her about metal illness - specifically hers.
Now driving to NYC is a crap shoot. You never know what the traffic will be like within 20 miles of the city. On a good day you can make it in under 2 hours; a bad day will take you 4 hours. We needed to be there at 5:30, so we left at 3:00. Our driver Frank got us there in an hour and 45 minutes. We drove past the World Trade Center construction site to get to our destination - the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
We sat at the bar for about a half hour, enjoying the beautiful hotel. I was tempted to take a picture of the men's room (for Heff) because it is the nicest one I've ever been in, but I thought that would be - gauche. My sister L picked up the bar tab too.
We then went up to the 14th floor bar and outdoor terrace. The view is spectacular and the weather was perfect (mid-70s). You could see the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and just about everything else NYC has to offer. Some of the Hors D'oeuvres they served were stuffed artichokes (good), crusted braised beef (very good) and tuna tar-tar on tortilla (kind of bland).
The view from the 14th Floor balcony.
After about a half hour, the sea of people parted and there she was - Patty Duke. The first thing I notice is that she is tiny. IMDB has her height listed as 5'-0" but I will tell you she's got to be like 4'-10", maybe 85 pounds. The girls think her dress is size 0. She came over to our group and met with sister L first (because she's a big deal board member) and then introduced herself to each of us individually. She was extremely gracious and chatted about her visit that day to one of ICL's facilities. And I heard almost nothing she said, just that friggin Patty Duke Show tune in my head.
And here she is. The blond in the pictures is my sister L. She looked very nice in her black evening dress. I don't get to see her all dolled up that often.
These are all of the board members and VIPs.
Afterwards, we went down to where the banquet room was set up. Outside they had a silent auction of paintings, jewelry and sports memorabilia - none of which I could afford. One guy at our table won a Joe DiMaggio autographed ball - for $500.
Here's the swanky banquet room and table setting.
The dinner was very good. Here's the menu and some of the plates. The only thing that I didn't like was the lobster tail. Mine was extremely overcooked (to the point of mush).
My sister L went up on stage 2 different times. Here was my view of the stage. Not the best seat but hey, it was free.
She only messed up at the very end when she said "Frank you very much". No doubt thinking of the limo driver (who incidentally reminded me of Dennis Farina for some reason).
Patty Duke spoke for about 15 minutes discussing her bouts with manic depression and how she saw some of the residents at the ICL facility re-enact a scene from the miracle worker. And all of the actors were blind (kind of funny but actually touching). After the program was over, she stuck around and talked with people and even signed some autographs. She seemed to be a genuinely nice person.
The front of the Ritz-Carlton as we left.
Our ride home.
The cool lights in the limo. So there you have it. We left about 9:30PM and Frank had us back to the Greyhound terminal before 11:00PM. A good time had by all. There was a professional photographer at the event who did a group shot of Patty and the whole Kill family, so if I get that picture, I'll post it.
Can't get that tune out of your head, can you? Me neither - don't bother to thank me.