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The Hamptons
9 Good Excuses To Make the Scene

BY DAVID COLMAN AND STEVE CASSELL

1 Jazz@Jennings
Feel you should get something more than a big tent and a piece of grilled salmon for your trouble? The next big benefit of summer, Jazz@Jennings, is just the ticket. Benefiting the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center, the gala, at the home of Peter Jennings and his wife, Kayce Freed, always features a spellbinding array of jazz greats. This year, piano legend Tommy Flanagan and tenor-sax master Joe Lovano take the stage. Dan Rather, Alan Alda, Michael Bloomberg, Dorothy Lichtenstein, and Ahmet Ertegun have all bought tables so far. (June 23; for tickets, call 631-537-5661.)

2 Bridgehampton Polo Club
For raw sex appeal (Donald Trump and Ted Field notwithstanding), no summer event tops Polo. Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz and attended by 1,200 of the boldest and/or most beautiful -- Prince Albert of Monaco, Peter Brant, Stephanie Seymour, Famke Janssen, and Kelly Klein, to name a few -- this year's kick-off is on July 14. Yes, it's true that no one really looks at the match (last year's Dolce & Gabbana half-time show generated way more excitement than those pesky horses), and yes, this may be the only sporting event in the world where the VIP tent is actually more crowded than the bleachers. (For tickets, call 212-421-1367.)

3 Parrish Art Museum
The belle of the balls, the annual benefit for Southampton's Parrish Art Museum features everything you could ask of a summer gala: a huge, air-conditioned tent, flowers by Robert Isabell, and, for dinner, the best that Glorious Food has to offer. As for the guest list, expect Chappy Morris, Anne Hearst, Vera Wang, and George Soros -- like that, as Suzy says. (July 14; for tickets, call 631-283-2118.)

4 The Empire State Pride Agenda
July 14 also boasts summer's biggest bash for gay men and lesbians (especially since CRIA isn't having one this year). The Empire State Pride Agenda benefit -- in East Hampton at the Two-Mile-Hollow oceanfront property of Ken Kuchin and Bruce Anderson -- drags in tan, buff boys and their admirers like a trawl net. David Geffen, Jonathan Canno, Calvin Klein, and Barry Diller (and his blushing bride, Diane Von Furstenberg) count among the usual suspects. (For tickets, call 212-627-0305.)

5 Super Saturday
For the philanthropist who can't help but wonder, What's in it for me?, the benefit to beat is Super Saturday on July 28 in Water Mill. It's a day-long shopping spree -- replete with racks of fab merch from the likes of Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Jill Stuart, Kate Spade, Cynthia Rowley, and other top designers. Proceeds benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. (For tickets, call OCRF at 212-268-1205.)

6 Rush Philanthropic
It may seem like an incongruous place to toast an arts program for inner-city kids, but the Rush Philanthropic bash in East Hampton (this year on July 28, at Russell Simmons's house) packs in the boldfaced crowd -- Naomi Campbell, Donald Trump, Puffy Combs, Martha Stewart, Jay-Z -- like no other. This year, artist Ross Bleckner, VH1 president John Sykes, and Studio Museum in Harlem head Lowery Stokes Sims will all be honored. (For tickets, call 212-344-8420.)

7 Southampton Hospital Summer Party Benefit
For people of a certain tax bracket living out their twilight years on the East End, Southampton Hospital is the only game in town (unless you want to be helicoptered to Stony Brook). So it's no surprise that this annual benefit (this year, proceeds go to the emergency-medicine department) is one of the biggest-grossing charities on the South Fork. It's all very Southampton: lots of blue blazers and white trousers under a tent. Co-chairs are Jessie Araskog, Jennifer Buhl, and Somers White; expect to see Carroll Petrie, Anne Hearst, the Roone Arledges, and Chappy Morris. (August 4; for information, call 631-726-8700.)

8 Robert Wilson Benefit for the Watermill Center
The art-world party of the summer? The August 4 Robert Wilson Benefit for the Watermill Center, sponsored by Louis Vuitton. Pulling in a blue-chip arts-and-fashion crowd -- Cindy Sherman, Maxwell Anderson, Nan Kempner, Marc Jacobs -- the shindig, set every year in a different section of the six-acre center, features installations by Wilson and a great silent auction -- and, with LV on board, what might be the summer's ultimate goody bag. (For tickets, call 212-253-7484.)

9 Artists Against Abuse Plate Auction
By late summer, the sight of yet another stack of white dinner plates at a buffet table starts to look a bit, well, drab. Perhaps that's why the Retreat in Bridgehampton gets artists to decorate the china for its annual Artists Against Abuse Plate Auction. Featuring highly collectible china chargers by renowned artists (Yoko Ono, Dale Chihuly, Eric Fischl) and other notables (Russell Simmons, Rosie O'Donnell, Nicole Miller), the auction and benefit, this year on August 11, has become a haven for art-world types looking for a lighthearted escape from the artless throngs. (For tickets, call 631-329-4398.)

10 Hampton Classic
Held from Sunday, August 26, through Sunday, September 2 (Labor Day Weekend), on a 70-acre show site in Bridgehampton, this event paralyzes the East End during its busiest week. All the action takes place in the VIP tent, where catered lunches are served at private tables while party crashers try to name-drop past the ropes. With 1,300 horses exhibiting and 40,000 spectators, it's the country's premier hunter-and-jumper horse show. The biggest day is September 2, when the $25,000 Calvin Klein Show Jumping Derby and $150,000 Prudential Financial Grand Prix, presented by David Yurman, take place. (For tickets, call 631- 537-3177.)

 
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