The Church’s 1st Annual Summer Benefit



Saturday, June 25th 8-11 pm 



SAG HARBOR, NYAround Midsummer—when the veil between the spirit world and ours is at its thinnest, The Church will host its 1st annual summer benefit, The Droll Ball, in honor of Iris Smyles’ new book, Droll Tales (Turtle Point Press; July 5, 2022).

The Church will welcome Smyles, famed psychic medium Monte Farber, and Marcel Proust to the East End for an evening of high style and worldly wit amid the magic and mysteries of Midsummer night.

Tiered Tickets start at $333. Droll Tales-inspired works will be available for purchase with tickets to The Droll Ball, the proceeds benefiting The Church’s ongoing programs.

Artist and jewelry designer Laura Lobdell has created 12 limited edition Droll Tales-inspired rings. Under the aegis of Harper’s Gallery (five locations in New York and LA), artist and author Frederic Tuten has created a Droll Tales-inspired painting, “In Medusa’s Garden.” Composer Julie Ingram has recorded an overture for Droll Tales with a corresponding music video produced by latrou & Morgan. The Enchanted World’s Monte Farber and Amy Zerner have donated a handful of private psychic readings and their mystical talking board, The Psychic Circle. All guests will receive a signed copy of Droll Tales.


The Droll Ball:

On the evening after Midsummer night—the powers on Midsummer Night itself are too strong to tangle with without serious liability, and also we prefer to tangle on Saturdays—the Hamptons’ most dazzling habitués will assemble for a stylish and slightly sinister evening of droll enchantments. Guests of The Droll Ball will sip specialty cocktails made from the world’s most nefarious nectars, dine on forbidden finger foods, and lose themselves in hypnotic rapture, induced by the sultry sounds of the Hoodoo Loungers.

Beginning at 8pm, as the sun approaches the horizon and begins to smolder, “droll attired” guests will begin to nibble, swill, and sway, as their fortunes are told by roaming palmists or potentially lost to charming charlatans (The Church cannot vouch for the character of its valued and highly esteemed patrons).

At the stroke of 9pm, echoing Dante’s 9th circle, guests will be ushered up to the second floor, as the moon in Taurus shines through The Church’s windows, illuminating Eric Fischl’s portraits of The Church’s non-denominational artists/saints. Hallowed and hushed, the 130 Droll denizens will find their seats among the concentric summoning circles.

There, author Iris Smyles will lead the cultish congregants through a séance and, with the aid of psychic medium Monte Farber who will harness the psychic power of the 130 persons in “Droll Attire,” attempt to “pierce the veil.” When the crossover is complete, the immortal spirit of Marcel Proust will be invited to sit down with Ms. Smyles for a wide-ranging discussion of life, love, art, her new book Droll Tales, and the future of literary immortality.



Smyles is the author of Iris Has Free Time (Soft Skull Press 2013), which Forbes called, “an instant classic… a smart, funny, wise, and sometimes heartbreaking book about a slowly fizzling love affair with youth,” and Dating Tips for the Unemployed (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2016), a semi-finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Her essays and stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Vogue, BOMB, Paris Review Daily, The Baffler, and Best American Travel Writing, among other publications. Droll Tales (Turtle Point Press, June 28, 2022) is her third book.

Smyles: “All Happy Meals resemble one another. Each unhappy meal is unhappy in its own way.”



Since 1988, nearly three million copies of Monte’s forty best-selling astrology books, meditation kits, and oracle systems have been published in eighteen languages by Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Weiser Books, Schiffer and Quarto. His popular titles include: The Enchanted Tarot, Karma Cards, The Creativity Oracle, The Wild Goddess Oracle, Mindful Astrology, Astrology for Wellness and Enchanted Worlds: The Visionary Collages & Art Couture of Amy Zerner. The Intuition Oracle will be published in July by Sterling. 

Monte’s wise words and empathic guidance combine with his wife Amy Zerner’s art to create a unique and sacred synergy that heals, inspires and empowers. Their creations are designed to help their readers enhance their intuitive skills, find deeper meaning, and follow their own spiritual paths. 

Called by Dan’s Papers, “The Best Astrologer in The Hamptons,” his remarkable insights and down to-earth advice have been endorsed by leading visionary authors and company executives who use his unique skills as part of their important decision-making mix. Monte has counseled thousands of people over the years and loves to tune into what important messages, answers and gifts the spirits have for them. 


Farber: “Your higher self is trying to speak to you in the only language it knows: symbolic images, memories and flashes of intuition, aka insight. This is where psychic information from within you is laid at your feet, the way a pet who loves you delivers a gift.”


About MARCEL PROUST (July 10, 1871 – November 18, 1922) was a French novelist, critic, and essayist who wrote the monumental novel In Search of Lost Time (À La Recherche du Temps Perdu; with the previous English title translation of Remembrance of Things Past), originally published in French in seven volumes between 1913 and 1927. He is considered to be one of the most influential authors of the 20th century.

Proust: “Love is a striking example of how little reality means to us.”



Housed in a deconsecrated 19th century Methodist church, The Church is an artist residency, exhibition space, and creativity center. It is a place where local and national artists and creatives of all stripes work, meet and inspire each other. Artists Eric Fischl and April Gornik bought the building as a shell three years ago and have led its redesign with Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership. The modern interior complements its historic frame and is emblematic of the contemporary program of events that animate the structure. The Church will increase access to the arts for our diverse audiences, foster creativity on the East End, and honor Sag Harbor’s long tradition as a maker’s village.


Praise for Droll Tales

“Dark, surreal, and very funny, one of the best combinations a reader could ask for.” 
—Roz Chast


“Erudite, original, and surprisingly poignant. . . . An entertainingly eclectic . . . journey through the odder corners of existence.”
—Kirkus Reviews 


“I flashed on Milan Kundera and David Sedaris, before concluding that Iris Smyles is that rarest of birds, a gifted nut, an eccentric fabulist.”

—John Patrick Shanley 


“A Dr. Johnson of artistic conception…The pithy brilliance pours out like water from one of the sculptural fountains that are described… ‘Medusa’s Garden,’ the first piece in this collection, is a seamless masterpiece.”

—The East Hampton Star 


“This is the book God would read if God existed.”

—Patricia Marx 


“A book of wonders. Brilliant.”

—Frederic Tuten 


“It’s her intelligence and tone that make Smyles an enchanting writer — she’s ironic, funny, compassionate, critical (especially of intellectual and artistic pretense). She deliciously sends up self-serving lit crit and nervous pretention… Iris Smyles is an original, planting herself squarely between parody and homage, ridicule and empathy. She’s an artist of the subversive and surreal, who would have and hold on to what’s left in our fractured world of the humane and the artistic.”

—The Southampton Press 


“A brilliant and refreshing blend of cleverness and irony that made me laugh out loud, as it revealed the true strangeness of things we consider normal.”

—Simon Van Booy


“I was sitting here reading Droll Tales, trying to figure out why I was laughing. Contemporary books rarely make me laugh. It has happened four times, I think. Then it struck me. I’m laughing at her book because she’s a another tough customer who doesn’t laugh at most supposedly funny books either, which is why she must write them herself. And thank goodness!”

—Walter Kirn


Droll Tales Trailer:



For more information visit: www.thechurchsagharbor.org



AAQ / Resource: Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects