Last month here in “Got Sand?”, I suggested the readers write to me and ask me any questions they may have about sand sculpting. One question came up over and over again, “what’s the best sand sculpting job you’ve ever had?” When I made that suggestion I really didn’t have any particular job that stood out. To us, most jobs are the same, we pile it, pound it, sculpt it. But it just so happens, a very good friend of mine, Matt Long, one of the stars of the Travel Channel’s TV show “Sand Masters”, asked me to help him with a sand sculpture for a party in East Hampton, Labor Day weekend, at the home of David Zaslav, CEO of the Discovery Network. We had to carve a large shark biting a ship in half. It would take us three days and we’d have to get it done before the party started at 6:00, no problem. Most of the time we are merely hired help. But Mr. Zaslav could not have been more pleasant and appreciative, stopping us each day to make sure he thanked us in person and tell us it was looking great!
Now this party was obviously going to be incredible. It was being held in his back yard, and then cascaded down the hill to the beach where he had a bonfire pit with seating, our sand sculpture and a caricature artist, and games for the kids. At the top of the hill, what used to be the pool, had been decked over to give more room for the guest. He also built a deck at the edge of the yard to extend it out another ten feet over the hill, just for the party! The workers, and they were everywhere, then sodded over the pool and the deck addition to make it look like one big yard. There was a stage at one end and a tequila bar at other end, and then bars and food tables surrounding the newly created grounds which were then covered with cute white cafe tables and chairs. No amenity was over looked, down to the other fire pit in one corner which had a table mounded with all the fixings for s’mores, and a cake that looked just like our sand sculpture, that was created by The Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro!
Party time came and Mr. Zaslav’s guests began walking over from surrounding homes, or drove up to be greeted by an army of valets. The Sand sculpture was a hit! Everyone had to get their picture taken standing in the mouth of the giant shark.
We were quite surprised when the host insisted we come up and have some food and drinks and join the party. Well we hadn’t eaten, and even though we were in our sandy clothes, we climbed the stairs on the hill to partake in the festivities. And when we got to the top the guests were in full party mode.
Ok, this is where this job got a little surreal, and became ‘my favorite sand sculpting job ever’!
Please forgive my name-dropping, but I’m just a small town artist, and when I stepped in to this crowd of people I was a star-struck kid again. Standing right in front of me is Katie Couric talking to Harvey Weinstein and Jon Bon Jovi! And as I pan across the newly created yard I see Angelica Houston, Matt Lauer, Governor Cuomo, Gayle King, Mort Zuckerman, Carl Icahn and Jack Nicholson. Jack Nicholson!!
The band on stage is Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, and who is sitting in on guitar? Eddie Van Zant!
While I’m standing on the sideline like a little wallflower, Matt is now shooting the breeze with Bon Jovi at the bar before he does a few songs with the band, and Matt hits the floor with a wealthy New York real estate sales woman. I can’t help but think this is all going on in someone’s back yard, over the top of his swimming pool! Mr. Zaslav told us we need to book this date for next year and the rest of our lives. So from now on, I have dubbed my friend Matt Long, The Sand Sculptor to the Stars, and my friends are sick of me telling the story. That’s what makes a good sand sculpting job!