Swelter 51

Winding down the week with a Miami City Ballet luncheon for the forever splendid benefactress Frosene Sonderling at The Foundlings, celebrating the establishment of the Frosene Sonderling Artistic Director's Chair. An all-too-brief interlude with the girls -- Martha Mishcon, Peggy Armaly, Marlene Berg, et al. -- ending all too soon. Talking about downtown, an occasionally grotesque but not inelegant society, and its similarities to uptown: a small influential coterie ruling a self-made universe of style, fighting off marauders and symbiotically indulging the press. Social history as fixed and inviolate as the pecking order of beasts, blurring together in one long pageant A charity balls, club kids and downtown doyennes, seventeenth-century dukes who bankrupted their estates with an obscene mania for collecting dwarfs, the social reporters who were ushered into the court of Louis XIV to detail the newest mantua gowns for the masses, breathless modern-day gushing over corporate pirates. Everyone in society, of course, drawing the line of demarcation beneath their own heels, and as English social critic Christopher Sykes once observed, "Being of their very nature withdrawn and self-confident, the right crowd often supposes that their personal pleasures are supported by the considered approval of mankind.

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