35 Years of YoungArts + Max Mara + Art + DJ Cassidy = Best Gala Ever

DJ Cassidy and I at the Gala

I have a fantasy….and it is DJ Cassidy. Ugh, his style, his love for music, his aura, that 1970’s porn mixed with Tomas Maier style…..OK. Stop. Why? Because I have the best boyfriend in the world.

The reason I am still living in a fantasy, is because of Saturday evening’s YoungArts Gala that we flew in for (where DJ Cassidy was spinning at the glorious after party, hence my reference above).

As per the usual, YoungArts does it right, and as you probably got the memo, is the only organization that I currently sit on the board of and actively participate in. You ask me why….here is a small history. About five years ago, my friend Sarah Arison invited me as her guest to the gala. After witnessing the talents and seeing how the Arts org influenced and changed young peoples lives, I knew, being an art lover, I needed to get hands on. Since then, I have witnessed Placido Domingo mentor young opera students. I have sat in seminars with Fab 5 Freddy…I have hosted social functions, and Gala after parties, but at the end of the day, the bottom line is: I have seen what YoungArts is through their programming, and I encourage you to learn more as well (#becauseofYoungArts). Fast forward to 2016, I am an active member of the Influencer Circle Committee.

So, Saturday arrived and after a minor hair-makeup crisis cancellation by my friend Shannel, who often glams me up, I had to jet to Aventura Mall, where my genius friend Alex Palacios at NARS made me look movie star glam, especially post hair with Michael Yitach.

Palacios, for a makeup appointment, contact Alex 1-347-884-4180
Yitach, book an appointment at 1-954-678-8694

I love to channel the ol’ glam girl. It was important that I looked perf, because I was one of just 7 muses of Max Mara (the others included Maria Guilia Maramotti, Tracey Berkowitz, Lydia Pinnell, Stacey Galbut, Angela Birdman and Diane Lieberman). The Italian luxury brand, based in the Design District also sponsored the gala, and I was really taken aback as to how their beautiful and classic yet relatable collection worked with my personal style. The only real problem was that I’m like a size 2 now, and most of my options were too big, but that to me = j’adore. Just had to put it out there….

Erin Newberg2
The look: Max Mara blouse, skirt. Bag by VBH and pumps by Manolo (both, stolen from mothers closet). Earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels. Ask for Javier in the Bal Harbour Shops.

The cocktail portion of the evening started at 6:30, but because of the wild traffic, we showed up at 7:30, just as everyone had been seated. The gala was hosted inside of a massive tent on 21st street and Biscayne and was impeccable, truly. Table 3 was my home base, sitting next to Erika Davila, Clayton Gentry, Dana Hagendorf, Elysze Held and the Traberts, but before relaxing I had to handle some media interviews on the red carpet with journalist Ginger Harris and take some photos before being seated . We sat, supped on STARR catered food and Bacardi cocktails, as we experienced performances by the hundreds of students who were flown in for YoungArts Week, a week long training and performance activation which led up to Saturdays gala, whichsubsequently was the organizations 35th year, honoring actress Rosie Perez and director Robert Wilson with Arison Awards, and performer, Tony Award-nominee, YoungArts Master Teacher and 1997 YoungArts Winner in Theater Tony Yazbeck with the Arison Alumni Award. Oh, FYI, the week raised more than $1.6M to directly support the organization’s contributions to the artistic development of the most promising young artists around the nation.

Guests at the Backyard Ball applauded all of the 2016 YoungArts Winners—approximately 170 of which were invited to YoungArts Week in Miami out of over 12,000 applications, the largest number to date. 700 attendees, including prominent artists and alumni, community leaders, philanthropists and celebrities: Max Mara US Director of Retail Maria Giulia Maramotti, L.A. Music Center’s newly appointed president Rachel Moore (1982 Winner in Dance), Pritzker Prize winning architect Zaha Hadid, Alex Blavatnik, Monica Kalpakian, Metal Skins designer Alicia Halegua and Michael Margulies, Daniel Novela, Ximena and Tony Cho, Sylvia Cubina, Adriana Cisneros and Nick Griffin, Susanne Birbragher, George Lindemann, Franklin Sirmans, Kristy Edmunds, Robert Lynch, Michael Kaiser and more.

Throughout the night, performance vignettes directed by Yazbeck featured YoungArts alumni, and the beautiful gala portion of the evening concluded with the 2016 YoungArts Finalists singing “I Celebrate” with the full cast present. It was a true SnapChat heaven. #chills.

In addition to presenting the Backyard Ball for the second consecutive year, Max Mara inaugurated the Max Mara Young Visionary Award—an accolade reserved for an exceptional YoungArts Week finalist at the highest financial reward level of $10,000. Can you imagine? Oh, and Max Mara will be presenting one award, for the next three years, aiming to further encourage young artists to pursue their dreams. The inaugural recipient will be announced at a later date.

So, the gala ends, and the 700 guests exit the tent, followed by many party goers entering for the Cassidy after hours portion of the evening, hosted under the famed Bacardi stained glass building. Stars lit up the sky, creating the perfect ambiance for a major dance party. Hundreds of really pretty people, including my best friends Sarah Mirmelli, Martin Rozenblum, Richard Awdeh, Mari Daza, Carolyn Travis, Ashley Turchin, Lauren Gnazzo and more of us…..well, we partied to….the best music ever.

I can not wait for next year, and as I sign off….let me make it clear: I wish I could sleep for like 1 week but I have a handbag delivery coming for tomorrow’s Splendor in the Garden lunch at Fairchild…so, arevoir, till the next post.

J’adore you.

MsErinsita, le global society queen

Susanne Birbragher & Erin Newberg1
Pictured here with my girlfriend Susan Birbragher

(Photo album images courtesy of WorldRed Eye, Cover Photo by Henry Perez)

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