Bette Midler, Honorary Chairman For Garden Education Center of Greenwich’s Tabletop Showcase, “Festive Tables” Oct. 12-14

Hooray for Hollywood
Maureen FitzPatrick
Sound Gardening
October 6, 2006

Roll out the red carpet, light the lights – the Garden Education Center of Greenwich’s tabletop showcase, Festive Tables, stars as Hooray for Hollywood this year with a tinseltown theme.

The annual exhibit of holiday vignettes and tablescapes is scheduled for Oct. 12-14 at the Garden Education Center on Bible Street in Cos Cob, and boasts the Divine Miss M herself, Bette Midler, as honorary chairman. The singer and actress is an ardent conservationist whose efforts promoting preservation and restoration have focused on New York City’s forgotten parks.

On stage this year are 20 exhibitors who promise to steal the scene with plenty of movieland glitz and glamour. I’m betting on the bling of jewels and mirrors, the sophistication of art deco, a heavy emphasis on black and gold and armloads of calla lilies – but who knows? Space is restricted and live plant material is a requisite; beyond that, the sky’s the limit for Hooray for Hollywood’s producers who include members of local garden clubs, professional designers and party planners, local florists and retail establishments.

A preview:

* Michael and Kenleigh Larock (The Drawing Room) recall the black-and-white films of the 1920s and 1930sÊwith a monochromatic scheme with aÊpunch of green and an opulent decor.

* Jewelry designer Evelyn Lorentzen-Bell (XOEB) pictures a star’sÊvanity that screams lights, camera, action! when she piles on the bling, surrounds it with photos of movie stars, and adds a floral tribute of tobacco leaves and calla lilies.

* The infamous casting couch is the focus for Miriam Landsmen and Carol Memishian (Greenwich Women’s Exchange) where they tell all in flowers.

* Marty Easton of Marty Easton Interiors – herself a featured performer in the soon-to-be-released book, “Spectacular Homes of New England” – invites the ghosts of 1930s Hollywood: Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Joan Crawford and Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy to her art deco dinner party

* For Frank Daniele and Julio C. Sales of Frank & Julio Event Planning, the scene is al fresco at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, an “elegant black and red and gold fantasy.”

* Floral designer Loretta Stagen sees her production in black, white and lime with the emphasis on a square table with a five-foot, all-white centerpiece that includes regal callas and sprays of orchids. Stagen plans to frame her elegant tableau with a pair of antique containers holding aspidistra topiaries.

Opening night for Hooray for Hollywood is Oct. 12, 6-9 p.m. at the Garden Education Center with catering by Frank & Julio, jazz by Dinah Vero Ensemble, wine by AOC Fine wines and spirits by All the Best Spirits. Tickets: 869-9242, ext. 14

Hours for the exhibit are Oct. 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; and Oct. 14, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. A $10 donation is suggested. There’s a commissary, too: The Cafe, offering light lunches served by Frank & Julio Event Planning will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days. In addition, there will be a silent auction featuring more than 75 items. The GEC is a not-for-profit volunteer organization. Proceeds support the center’s horticultural education, nature and outreach activities. Call 869-9242, ext. 14.

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