Looking ahead at the summer and next winter: big Kravis and Four Arts news!!

So, the Palm Beach season is officially over for us in regard to Silvin Books’ business. Last week we finished our final event with René being a table host at the Mandel Public Library in West Palm Beach for the annual charity event “Food for thought.” After cocktails and some speeches by the West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, and state representative Lois Frankel, we moved on to our dining tables, where René hosted 8 guests and spoke about his experiences with the Duchess of Windsor. Many thanks to Rebecca Weiss and Natalie Alvarez for including us in this event.

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ene with Carole Gigliotti and as table host at the Mandel Library

Now looking forward we have some exciting plans in the pipeline. This summer we have 6 presentations lined up, including two in the Berkshires and one in Nantucket, as well as one done by me (Robert) about my dissertation topic: LGBT elder discrimination in health care. We will also return to the Paramount Theater at the Crown & Anchor, which is Provincetown’s largest performance venue. Rick Murray the talented proprietor invited us back to present our Mar-a-Lago lecture. Here is a preview of the proposed promotional poster.


In between these presentations, we are also considering creating a brand-new lecture (we are sifting through a myriad of lecture topics), as well as René writing a new book. Additionally, we are considering revamping the Duchess of Windsor lecture. The plans for all these ideas are slowly coming together, and we will keep you informed about the progress.

Season 2018/2019 is gearing up to be pretty spectacular! We will start with a return to Thomasville, Georgia, where we are hosted by the lovely Theresa Brown to revisit the Duchess of Windsor lecture.

Some of the highlights of next season include a presentation of the updated Duchess lecture at the Dixon Education Building of the Society of the Four Arts right here in Palm Beach, courtesy of Molly Charland.

567882F7-DD85-4B4D-B792-13A052DC1488 René at the Polo Club 

We will also return to the Boca Raton Polo Club. We had about 350 attendees this past season there for the Duchess lecture, so this time we are invited for an evening engagement with the Normandie lecture, for which they expect up to 700 people! We look forward to working with the fabulous team, led by Kathy Kelly.

René at Kravis’ Cohen Pavilion

Finally, we are also very honored to have been asked to return to the Kravis Center. We will present the Mar-a-Lago lecture there on March 22, 2019 BUT not in the Cohen Pavilion. After this last season’s success, René will now be performing in the Rinker Playhouse! A big thank you to Keena Gumbinner and Lee Bell.

Lastly, as many of you know, we have been very involved in pending deportation case of the wonderful Javier Gonzalez. After René helped Javier present himself to the Palm Beach Town Council, his case got a lot of attention in the paper, and the online petition went from about 38,000 signatures to now nearing 100,000. Because of these efforts, Javier has now received a stay of deportation, giving him the chance to a hearing with a specially appointed agent. We continue to aim for a positive outcome, but continued support is very much needed and welcome. Sign the petition here.

Find the article from the Shiny Sheet here

We can’t wait to see you all in the new season and showcase our new presentations and books. Enjoy the summer!!!

Written by Robert Versteeg, partner at Silvin Books & Productions.

Palm Beach winding down with Kravis, Mar-a-Lago lectures, and Town Council elections

The Palm Beach season is just beginning to slowly wind down and we have successfully completed a total of nineteen presentations this season.

On March 1 we returned to the Kravis Center’s Cohen Pavilion for a sold-out Duchess of Windsor presentation. Over 300 people attended, and some people even had to be turned away. Keena Gumbinner was our gracious hostess once again, and because of the program’s success, we will return for the 5th time to Kravis’ ArtSmart series next season with the Mar-a-Lago lecture. A big thank you also goes to Lee Bell.

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The following week we repeated the same presentation at the South County Civic Center for the Boca Raton chapter of the Brandeis National Committee. We truly enjoyed Sheila Gettelson’s hospitality.

B0EB2E64-DBFD-4A70-9BB5-60BAC84AB0BD At the South County Civic Center

What followed was a full day experience with the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s Collectors’ Forum. Under the leadership of Tammy Morgenstern, some 35 people came in a bus from Boca Raton for a Palm Beach experience. After they saw a house in Manalapan, we toured them through a Palm Beach mansion named Del Sueno – Portuguese for Sweet Dreams. It is an ocean front home created by architect John Volk. We then moved over to Pizza Al Fresco in Via Mizner, where the group had lunch, and René presented his Life and Work of Addison Mizner lecture. The audience received an impromptu invitation to tour Villa Mizner as the owners unexpectedly dropped by to hear the presentation! The group then finished their day with a tour through the Mizner designed mansion Villa dei Fiori, owned by Dale Coudert. We had a great time with the group and met some fascinating people.

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René at Pizza Al Fresco

Our last lecture of the season was our third appearance for this year at the Boca Raton Resort and Club (our 5th lecture there in total). Once again, we presented the Mar-a-Lago from Post to Trump lecture to a sold-out room. We are working with Barbara Chase, our always gracious hostess, to return with a brand-new lecture next season. Additionally, in attendance was Leia Moses-Levine of the Bellaggio Club House, with whom we are also in negotiations about returning there next season.

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René presenting at the Boca Raton Resort & Club

The only event left this season here in Palm Beach is our involvement with the West Palm Beach Library Foundation’s Food for Thought event. This annual charity gala will be held at the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach, 411 Clematis Street, on April 14 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. It is an elegant dinner party, featuring notable authors and personalities, each of whom will lead a lively discussion at their table with 8 guests. You can still sign up. Follow this link for more information.

F400161D-0C29-41A1-9333-890EA0225766 Food For Thought PR

Between all of this, we were very involved in the election for a new Town Council member here in Palm Beach. It was a race between two candidates for the open seat, and in the end Lew Crampton, whom we supported from the beginning, prevailed. We wish him good luck in this new position. Lew filled Richard Kleid’s seat, who retired as the Council President. Tragically, his lovely wife, Rhoda, passed away the night of Dick’s retirement party. Palm Beach has lost a marvelous lady and we will mourn and miss her for a very long time.

Richard Kleid and PB Mayor Gail Coniglio

Happily, the remarkable Dani Moore has replaced Dick Kleid as Town Council President and another friend, Maggie Zeidman, was elected Council President Pro Tem.

B4756B31-515A-4ABC-8570-004A5D4F7CB9 Lew Crampton being sworn in

The preparation for our trip to Provincetown on Cape Cod, will soon go into full gear. Our summer will be punctuated with several trips: two lectures in the Birkshires, and one in Nantucket (something I have been working towards for 4 years!) as well as René’s monthly trips back to Palm Beach for his Landmarks Preservation Commission meetings; a position he holds very dear.

Don’t forget to write a review about the new and improved Noblesse Oblige, the Duchess of Windsor as I knew her on Amazon. Here is the link to the page. Thank you.

Have a great spring!!

Written by Robert Versteeg, partner at Silvin Books & Productions.