Giuliani’s Escape Route, McInerney’s Decoy, and the Secret of the Glass Skull

rudy and judith guiliani gettyreg Giuliani’s Escape Route, McInerney’s  Decoy, and the Secret of the Glass Skull

In peril of privacy invasion, Hamptonites hide behind hedges higher than a giraffe’s grazing level. But on Monday evening at the Sag Harbor screening of Angela Ismailos’ documentary Great Directors, the Transom took advantage of a rare moment of estate abandonment to extract the post-holiday secrets from typically hedge-protected Hamptons habitués.

Cohosts and former Interview editors Sandy Brant and partner Ingrid Sischy arrived minutes before the screening’s 7:30 start. The couple’s secret solution to Sag Harbor’s paucity of streetside parking? Don’t even try! They stowed their Mercedes sedan in a parking lot on the side of the road leading into the village.

Sag Harbor stalwart Donna Karan talked with Ms. Sischy at the popcorn counter. The designer mixed a palette of muted tones with artfully slouched harem pants and a pale gray knit scarf, looped and secured in a leather belt at her hips. A photographer approached the pair and asked to photograph Ms. Karan.

“No, no photos tonight, please,” she said.

To avoid a similar confrontation, Gulf Coast crusader Jimmy Buffett, hot off an Anderson Cooper interview, arrived late and snuck out the back door of the theater as soon as the credits rolled.

In the back row sat Rudy Giuliani and wife Judith, having slipped in unseen after the lights dimmed. After the screening, the couple greeted cohost Jay McInerney. The novelist, in white pants and a black linen shirt, proffered a double-cheek kiss to Mrs. Giuliani while reserving a handshake for the former mayor.

After some prodding by the Transom, Mr. Giuliani turned confessional. “I have to give it away?” he lamented when asked his secret for dealing with an acquaintance whose name he has forgotten.

“O.K., I’ll tell you. It’s real simple; I say, ‘How are you?'” he smiled.

And if a third person arrives?

His brow furrowed. “I let them introduce themselves. O.K., so, say Judith comes over and I don’t remember your name,” indicating the Transom with a head nod. “I’ll say, ‘You’ve met, right? Have you met Judith before?’ And then they have to introduce themselves.”

Mr. McInerney has a similar tactic. “I try to get somebody nearby me who I can introduce to them. I act as if they’re so well known that I say, ‘Do you know Campion Platt?'” He gestured hypothetically to the architect, who looked up from across the table. “Often you can get the name that way. It’s basically a beard. You use a decoy.”

The secret weapon in Mr. Giuliani’s arsenal? He never forgets a face. “I’m very good with faces but not with names, which is why this happens to me. If I’ve met someone, I usually remember them and I often remember where I met them but not their name, so I can get away with that, too. I’ll say, ‘How are you? Gosh, last time I saw you was at …'”

Asked for a solution to avoiding Hamptons traffic, Mr. and Mrs. Giuliani answered in unison, “Back roads!” Mrs. Giuliani explained, “I’ve been out here 20-some-odd years, so I know all the back roads; I can stay off any main road!”

“We’re never in any traffic,” the former mayor confirmed.

“We are never in traffic,” Mrs. Giuliani repeated with emphasis.

Artist Eric Fischl was unprepared to have his secrets demanded of him by the Transom. “I have none,” he offered after a laugh. “Sorry, I really don’t. My life’s an open book, and it’s really boring on top of that.”

“So, if I tell you, it’s not going to be a secret anymore?” art collector Beth Rudin DeWoody wavered when asked her secret hostess gift. Her dinner partners, publicist Debbie Bancroft and art consultant Joe Sheftel, helped jog her memory.

“That lemon cake you always send!” offered Mr. Sheftel.

“No, that’s just for Christmas. There’s a vodka that comes in a glass skull that I like to give,” said Ms. DeWoody.

“You know, she never stays with anybody because she’s got houses everywhere,” Ms. Bancroft volunteered.

Ms. DeWoody’s secret summer recipe? “Well, if there are kids around and you want to make something quick, I like the bagel pizza. You buy some bagels and sprinkle cheese and tomato sauce on top. But for me, I like to make Huevos Rancheros.”