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.


chickory said...

which tune? come and listen to a story bout a man named Jed...

What a great night!! Its hard to get a good lobster in a banquet setting. having all those dishes consistent at the same time. weve seen it a million times on top chef !

Your sister is terrific for bringing you all in for an evening, and what an excellent view for cocktails. I love a post with lots of detail shots (thank you!) the lights in the limo -the dessert! but the best was the weather. the light was gorgeous. glad you had a good time!

curious about the Mrs. though.

Intuitive Eggplant said...

Sounds like a fine evening indeed, Buzz! Thanks for sharing.

Wanted to thank you for coming by and commenting on my crawfish boil post. Sadly, your comment and some others got eaten in the Great Blogger Outage last week, but I got to see them on email. P.S. I remember you were curious about the Top Chef Tour. I got to go to the stop here last weekend and I plan to post about it later this week. Take care, eggy

moi said...

Fun post! But, wow, I didn't recognize Ms. Duke. She looks so fragile.

Banquet food almost always sucks, but they usually do a halfway decent job with the deserts. And the coffee.

I have "a" tune now stuck in my head, but for some reason, it's the theme to the Partridge Family. Thanks.

Boxer said...

Hey! What a great post; it includes food, limos and THAT SONG:

"still they're cousins, identical cousins and you'll find they laugh alike, they walk alike, at times they even talk alike.
You can lose your mind ... when cousins are two of a kind!"

I sing this to Mr. Boxer because his cousin is one of his best friends and sometimes they really do seem like twins. Usually when doing stupid things.

What did YOU wear Buzz? And Patty Duke doesn't look like Patty Duke anymore.

Pam said...

They walk alike they talk alike what a crazy pair, but they're cousins, identical cousins...... OMG now I'm going to be singing it forever! What a fantastic event and fantastic that Sister pulled in the family for support. No wonder her son (Patty, not your sister) was able to play a Hobbit. She's so tiny! I loved that show and knew the #1 pic instantly as Patty Duke show material. But Patty's only seen the sights a girl can see from ????? Heights, what a crazy pair. They're cousins, identical cousins ....

Next song/60's show you should meet and blog about ... Gidget! :) Can sis meet you to Sally Field?

Dani said...

Glad y'all had a great time!

Karl said...

Good morning Buzz Kill,

If you have to drive into Manhattan nothing beats a limo. You took some pretty good pictures. Battery park is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon and watch the world go by.

You know I used to watch the Patty Duke show, yet for some reason this post has got the theme to the Dick Van Dyke show stuck in my head.

Buzz Kill said...

My photo taking skills are horrible. It was really a nice night - weather wise and event wise. The Mrs doesn't like my family much - her loss.

The Blogger Outage of 2011 is what it will forever be known as. I had this post about 3/4 done and thought I had lost it. And I'm anxious to see what you have on the Top Chef Tour.

The lobster was the only bad thing on the plate. The salad (i forgot to get a picture of it) was very good. The dessert was advertised as a "New York Cheese Cake Tower" but really, it was like a chocolate shell with canoli filling. Good but not the dense New York cheese cake I like.

Patty Duke is like 65. The pictures don't do her justice.

I wore a blue suit. If I get the family picture, maybe I'll post it for you.

Brooklyn Heights! My sister is involved in other charity work as well but they don't have the Sally Field drawing power. ILC has this dinner anually and she's been to 5 of them, but this was the best because of the 25th anniversary. The others weren't near as nice and celebrity-less.

How could we not? We were in a friggin limo. The last time that happened I married the Mrs. I didn't get that drunk this time.

You can kind of see in the one picture that there are 2 police cars. Well, there were really like 15 police cars and a mobile command center parked along that street. I'm not sure why but they didn't seem to be frantially doing anything. I was going to lean over and take a picture but I wasn't sure where the snipers were and didn't want to get my head blown off.

It's amazing how sitcom theme songs can get stuck in your head. And you all had different ones that were not he Patty Duke Show. I find that - weird. Thanks for all the nice comments. This was a rare and memorable time for me.

LaDivaCucina said...

Buzz, I hope you didn't take the Van Wyck, no one's ever beaten the Van Wyck! haha!

Seems like it's a good week for charity. Funny thing about a lot of Hollywood actors, they are small (and short) when you see them in person.

Your sister sounds like an angel and good for you for supporting her on her big night! The view was spectacular and except for the lobster, the food sounded great!

Yes, the theme song stuck in my head this morning is a bit more obscure, Wheels on Fire from Absolutely Fabulous...I have no idea where that came from!

Buzz Kill said...

We took the good old NJ Turnpike. I don't know how we got from there to the hotel and I don't care - I was in the back of a friggin limo.

I know TV makes you look bigger and fatter, but Patty was almost dwarfishly small. But I'm really tall, so my view is a little skewed. The food was really good. There were probably 300 people being served, so from that perspective, it was outstanding.

When you talk themes songs there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to what pops into people's heads. I'm sure Freud had a theory on it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.