“Edie Parade” Kicks Off ‘Grey Gardens’ Retrospective at Parrish Art Museum

Al Maysles (right) filming Grey Gardens with brother David and "Big Edie"
Al Maysles (right) filming Grey Gardens with brother David and "Big Edie," Photo: Courtesy Criterion Collection

The Parrish Art Museum, Maysles Documentary Center, and Hamptons International Film Festival are presenting a conversation and excerpts from the 1975 documentary, Grey Gardens, on Thursday, August 11, at 6 p.m. In addition, following a long-standing tradition at Grey Gardens screenings, audience members are invited to dress in costume as “Big Edie” or “Little Edie” Beale. The “Edie Parade” begins the event, followed by the screened excerpts and discussion panel. Panelists include Harlem historian Michael Henry Adams, Jerry “the Marble Faun” Torre, Grey Gardens editor/producer Muffie Meyer, and Sara Maysles (daughter of Albert Maysles and co-author of the book Grey Gardens).

Grey Gardens is a masterful documentary that captures the idiosyncrasies of an isolated family of renown living in the heart of the Hamptons but happily stuck in the past,” said Andrea Grover, the Century Arts Foundation Curator of Special Projects at the Parrish. “The evening will be enriched by a panel of specialists and fans who respond to some of the most memorable moments in the film.”

The film shows the day to day existence of “the Edies” in conversation, singing, and dancing in their decaying mansion overrun with cats and occasionally raccoons. In 1971, after the Suffolk County Health Department inspectors cited myriad building violations in the house, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis provided funds to have it cleaned and the violations rectified. The Maysles discovered the Beales in 1973, when they visited the house with Onassis’s sister, Lee Radziwill, who wanted the filmmakers to create a documentary about her own storied youth in East Hampton. The Maysles decided instead to focus on the Beales. The film was screened at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, and inspired a Tony-award winning musical and a 2009 Emmy Award–winning film by the same name.

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill. For tickets and more information, visit parrishart.org.

See some costume ideas in the below video from IFC’s Documentary Now!

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