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There are certain ornamentations one expects to find in the yard of a well-appointed Hamptons estate — blue hydrangea bushes, sparkling black-bottom pools, the occasional garden statue. Bucking bronco machines — not quite. But on Saturday night, Rita Schrager set one up on the lawn of her expansive Southampton manse for a “Denim and Diamonds”-themed bash celebrating Lara Shriftman and Elizabeth Harrison’s book “Party Confidential: New Etiquette for Fabulous Entertaining.”

“I didn’t really give it my best, but I still won’t be able to walk in the morning,” said a winded Sophia Schrager, who’s all of 14, as she climbed off the bull.

Kelly Killoren Bensimon also had a go on the bucking beast, while CNN’s Alina Cho and others sipped draft beer and nibbled on barbequed chicken and corn bread.

A few partygoers had headed to Schrager’s from Sagaponack, N.Y., where the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression held a “Celebration of the Arts” affair. There, a handful of stage and screen actors performed a series of readings on madness, depression and mental illness by writers like Edgar Allen Poe and Sylvia Plath. Between material, Deborah Lippman warbled a jazzy version of Gnarls Barkley’s hit “Crazy” without a hint of irony.

On Sunday, on the opposite coast, W magazine hosted a screening of Stuart Townsend’s directorial debut “Battle in Seattle” at Malibu Cinemas. The director explained that his girlfriend, Charlize Theron, nabbed her role in it the old-fashioned way. “She had to sleep with me,” Townsend joked.

“You’re still making me sleep with you,” Theron shot back.

But the writer-director insisted that on set, it was all business. “She was very respectful actually. Normally she’s not. Like when I said, ‘Hey, can you do this,’ she’d just do it,” Townsend said with a laugh. “I gotta do this [directing] more often.”

Townsend added that he’d like to see his girlfriend behind the lens, too. “I’d like to see her direct one day. Really, she’d be amazing,” he said.

But the Balenciaga-clad actress, who has expanded into producing, nixed that idea, “No, no…I really love working with great directors,” said Theron. Including, presumably, “Hancock” director Peter Berg, who showed up on the low-key black carpet, as did “Hancock” star Jason Bateman, who’s hitting his fair share of premieres for the flick. “It lets me try out this new red carpet toupee I’m wearing,” he joked. “It’s on straight, right? Awesome.”

This story first appeared in the July 1, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.


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