Serengeti Sunset

“If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?” True movie fans will recognize these words as the opening phrases of Out of Africa starring Meryl Streep. The movie tells the story of Karen Denisen, the Dutch writer during her years in Africa and it’s one of the most beautiful films of all time…

Out of Africa fans will be thrilled to learn about the Bruce Museum’s upcoming Renaissance Ball whose theme is “Serengeti Sunset” on June 2 at the Century Club in Purchase, N.Y. This will be the 25th Annual Ball of its kind and the Bruce Museum’s major fundraising event, responsible for raising nearly 20% of their annual operating budget. Gala Co-Chairs Gretchen Bylow and Judith Wertheimer along with Advisory Chair Irene Zelinsky and Décor Committee Chair Linda Ruderman are designing an evening of color and exotic patterns which will put everyone in the mood for a Safari. For more information or to receive an invitation to the event, please contact Jen Bernstein at [email protected] or 203-413-6761. For more information log onto Brucemuseum.org.

Born in 1885 in Denmark, Karen Denisen grew up on her family’s spacious estate and led a somewhat typical aristocratic life. Her father, Wilhelm Dinesen, fought in the Prussian-Danish war in 1864, and later lived in the United States for two years amongst Native American tribes. In 1895 when Karen was ten years old, Wilhelm hung himself leaving his wife to raise five children alone. Although Karen knew little of her father, she often claimed to identify most with his family and his sense of exploration. Much of her early life consisted of what she described as an unhappy childhood amidst strict Victorian sensibilities. Schooled at home with a private tutor, Isak did not fit well with her family’s expectations.

Because of this unfulfilled childhood, she quickly turned to storytelling as a source of comfort. She began writing at the age of eight with the frequent stories she told to her sisters. In 1914, Karen Dinesen married her Swedish cousin Baron Blixen and moved to Kenya with him to start a coffee farm in the Ngong Hills. There she was inspired to write “Out of Africa” one of the most beautiful stories of the era

I hope the upcoming Bruce Museum Renaissance ball will delight attendees with whispers of the Serengeti Sunset and echoes of Colonial Africa…aristocratic, untamed and mysterious… As Ms. Denisen herself said in Out of Africa “You know you are truly alive when living amongst lions!”

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