Tag Archive | "Arts"

The Neo-Political Cowgirls Present “VOYEUR” at Parsons Blacksmith Shop in Springs

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


The sneak peak of "VOYEUR" at Guild Hall in March. Photo by Tom Kochie.

The sneak peak of “VOYEUR” at Guild Hall in March. Photo by Tom Kochie.

By Tessa Raebeck

While many 8-year-old girls spend their evenings playing with toys or watching TV, Kate Mueth preferred to wander her neighborhood in northern Illinois and peer into her neighbors’ windows.

She was not looking to see anything depraved or risqué, she was merely people watching, observing a mother helping her son with homework or a family enjoying a meal at the dinner table.

“I loved watching people wash dishes or read a book, the most seemingly mundane things,” Ms. Mueth said on Tuesday, July 22. “I was trying to make sense of my world, I was trying to make sense of my home life, how people behave…am I behaving properly? Am I normal? Am I whacked out? … and I think some people would think I am sort of whacked out, but that’s why I make art.”

Ms. Mueth, founder and director of the East Hampton-based theatre troupe The Neo-Political Cowgirls, has transferred this childhood fascination into the company’s latest production, “VOYEUR,” which opens, Thursday, July 31, at the Parsons Blacksmith Shop in Springs.

Written and directed by Ms. Mueth, “VOYEUR” is a personal reflection on time, friendship and the transient notion of normalcy.

Photo by Tom Kochie.

Photo by Tom Kochie.

Ms. Mueth believes the reason many artists, such as herself, are continually driven to create something new is because they are trying to “figure it all out.”

“It’s a very, very personal piece, surprisingly,” the director said, adding she didn’t expect it to turn out so. “I think probably, ultimately, every artist creates something very personal without even necessarily knowing it.”

In “VOYEUR,” a young girl guides the audience in small groups around the blacksmith shop’s exterior. Through a series of short vignettes, they peer from outside through the shop’s windows, watching the story of the life of another girl, the guide’s best childhood friend, unfold.

A “theater art installation,” as Ms. Mueth calls it, “VOYEUR” lasts about 20 minutes per group and explores what theater can entail.

While the actor on the exterior remains a young girl, the girl on the inside progresses through her life, growing from a child to a teenager and eventually an adult, mother and elderly woman.

“It’s essentially about two little girls who are in love as friends are in love, as little girls can be in love. It’s not a sexual thing; it’s a total friendship, sensual thing,” Ms. Mueth said. “And one of them goes away and it could be that she goes away psychologically, she goes away emotionally or literally physically moves away.”

Ms. Mueth, careful to leave the piece open to personal interpretation, said from her perspective, the little girl on the outside still yearns for the friendship she shared with the one within. While the girl inside seems to move on, however, “her life is ultimately not fully realized in terms of joy, in terms of fulfillment.”

“It’s very nostalgic for me,” the director added, “from a friendship I had growing up at a very young age, from birth, into a friendship that was really intense, really beautiful, really connected. And it broke. And it broke through betrayal and it broke through misunderstanding and it broke right around sixth grade, which is a very tricky time anyways.”

The abandonment felt by that loss of her first friendship compelled Ms. Mueth to examine time and the effects when a love that comes from such an innocent yet intense beginning is broken.

Her theater work, she said, is “always an examination of life, of emotions, of happenings, of humanity. And how we deal with it, how it feels to be human, how it feels to survive certain things in our lives.”

Ms. Mueth relates to both the young girls, the one who moves on within the blacksmith shop and the one watching from without.

“I think that’s kind of what childhood friendship is,” she said. “When you’re in one of these closely bonded friendships, where you begin and where your friend ends is kind of impossible to see.”

For girls, Ms. Mueth said, a best friend, “that person that you can be with 12 hours and still want to spend more time with,” is practice for our relationships later in life, for lovers and marriage, “of how we relate and how we love and what we get from each other in terms of nurturing.”

“VOYEUR” examines the passage of time and the impact of growing up—and often apart—on that most intimate relationship with your first best friend, “somebody who you feel that bond with and you can just go and play and be in this imagination land; you literally are creating your world together. And that’s your world—you can’t do that with just anybody.”

“VOYEUR” is July 31, August 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, at 7 p.m. until 8:20 p.m. at the Parsons Blacksmith Shop at Springs Fireplace Road and Parson Place in Springs, East Hampton.  Tickets are $15 and can be ordered ahead of time at brownpapertickets.com/event/756705.

East End Weekend: Highlights of July 18 to 20

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


"Calabrone" by Ramiro. Courtesy Grenning Gallery.

“Calabrone” by Ramiro. Courtesy Grenning Gallery.

By Tessa Raebeck

Summer is in full swing and there’s plenty to choose from to do on the East End this weekend. Here are some highlights:

 

The Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor is hosting an opening reception for Ramiro’s Solo Show on Saturday, July 19, from 6 to 8 p.m.

“Ramiro solo show this year steps forward into a more mystical and hopeful realm,” owner Laura Grenning wrote in a press release.

“Anchoring the exhibit is a suite of four substantial figurative works, with each painting representing a season of the soul.  Although well known for his expert likenesses in portraiture and grand figurative work, Ramiro’s distinguishing characteristic is, ironically, his ability to let go of the discreet reality of the eyes when necessary.  With this, he infuses his narrative compositions with mystery that allows the paintings to endure the critical test of time,” added Ms. Grenning.

The Grenning Gallery is located at 17 Washington Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-8469.

 

Water Mill’s  Parrish Art Museum is hosting its second edition of Gesture Jam, an adult figure drawing class in which artists sketch live models in a high-energy environment, Friday, July 18 at 6 p.m.

Facilitated by local artist and educator Andrea Cote, this year’s Gesture Jam will be held outdoors on the museum’s terrace and include live musicians Nicolas Letman-Burtanovic on bass and Sean Sonderegger on saxaphone. Local dancers Adam and Gail Baranello are the models.

“Imagine going home with drawings that look like you’ve been to some sort of psychedelic cabaret, and feeling that way too. Andrea Cote’s Gesture Jam classes have just that effect,” Parrish Curator of Special Projects Andrea Grover said in a press release.

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call (631) 283-2118.

 

Celebrities are coming to Bridgehampton for CMEE’s 6th Annual Family Fair on Saturday, July 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Children’s Museum of the East End‘s largest fundraiser, this year the fair will have a magical theme.

George Stephanopoulos, Dan Abrams, Jane Krakowski, Joy Behar, Julie Bowen, Molly Sims and Tiffani Thiessen (of Saved by the Bell fame) are some of the CMEE supporters expected to be in attendance.

Children and their families can enjoy magical arts and crafts, water slides, games and entertainment, music, food, and CMEE’s brand new nine-hole miniature golf course.

CMEE is located at 376 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike on the Bridgehampton side. For more information, call (631) 537-8250.

 

A painting by Georges Desarmes. Courtesy Christ Episcopal Church.

A painting by Georges Desarmes. Courtesy Christ Episcopal Church.

Christ Episcopal Church in Sag Harbor is hosting its fourth Haitian Art & Handcraft Sale all weekend, July 18 to 20, to benefit the village of Chermaître in partnership with the Vassar Haiti Project.

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and the sale will continue in the Upper Parish Hall on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Two hundred original paintings and a large assortment of unique and affordable gifts, including silk scarves, jewely and iron sculpture, will be on sale.

Many women in the village, Chermaître in northwestern Haiti, are struggling to start small businesses to support their families by selling the crafts they create and the coffee they grow. Proceeds from the church sale will go toward building a community center in the village to support those women.

For more information on the charity, call (970) 946-7614 or visit haitiproject.org. The Christ Episcopal Church is located at the corner of East Union and Hampton Street (Route 114) in Sag Harbor. For more information, call the church at (631) 725-0128.

 

The gallery at Sag Harbor’s Canio Books is hosting artists Ron Focarino and Jeanelle Myers, with her latest assemblage series, Plains Reverie, with an opening reception Friday, July 18 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“Myers work reflects the influence of her Nebraska roots, echoing the work of Wright Morris and Joseph Cornell,” the gallery said in a press release. “Myers incorporates a diverse array of found objects including old letters, metals, writing implements, fabric and many other materials into her compelling assemblages.”

"Golden Scarab" enamel sculpture by Ron Focarino. Courtesy Canio's Books.

“Golden Scarab” enamel sculpture by Ron Focarino. Courtesy Canio’s Books.

Artist Ron Focarino will also be exhibiting, showing his “creature creations, delightful enamel sculptures of insects, including a dragonfly, crane fly, scarab and others,” according to Canio’s.

The exhibit runs July 11 through August 5 at Canio’s Books, 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-4926.

The Romany Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor presents the artwork of Anna De Mauro and Thomas Condon, with an opening reception Saturday, July 19 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Sculptor and painter Anna De Mauro is a figurative artist working from the live model.

“Her work process includes observation from life to record instinctual responses to the subject, passage of time and impressions of the metaphysical and the human condition,” the gallery said in a press release.

Thomas Condon lives part-time in East Hampton and focuses on the local landscape here on the East End, as well as the urban scenes of New York City.

The show runs July 17 through August 7 at the Romany Kramoris Gallery, 41 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-2499.

Diana Vreeland Ruled the Fashion World by Changing It

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Diana Vreeland in the New York City she shared with her husband Thomas. Mrs. Vreeland had Billy Baldwin decorate the apartment exclusively in red. She said, "I want this place to look like a garden, but a garden in hell." Photo courtesy Guild Hall.

Diana Vreeland in the New York City she shared with her husband Thomas. Mrs. Vreeland had Billy Baldwin decorate the apartment exclusively in red. She said, “I want this place to look like a garden, but a garden in hell.” Photo by Horst P. Horst.

By Tessa Raebeck

For half a century, Diana Vreeland, the longtime editor of Vogue magazine, was at the helm of the fashion world. She played a major role in transforming the industry from commonplace, conforming trends that rotated by the decade into iconic statements that helped celebrities blossom, recognized international contributions and enabled women to wear—and show—their personality.

“The fashion world changes all the time. You can even see the approaching revolution in clothes; you can see and feel everything in clothes,” Mrs. Vreeland, who died in 1989, once said.

In “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel,” a 2011 documentary being screened at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Monday, July 21, Mrs. Vreeland’s life and career is celebrated through a fitting selection of celebrity interviews, groundbreaking images and her trademark outlandish statements.

“She was about ideas and about the magic of fashion,” art critic John Richardson says in the film.

Diana Vreeland's office at Vogue. Photograph by James Karales.

Diana Vreeland’s office at Vogue. Photograph by James Karales.

The documentary was directed and produced by Mrs. Vreeland’s granddaughter-in-law Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt and Frédéric Tcheng. It was honored as an official selection at both the Venice International Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival.

“I wanted to understand Mrs. Vreeland’s relevance,” first-time director Ms. Immordino Vreeland wrote in an email July 12. “As someone who worked in fashion for many years, I always knew about her, but only knew about her extroverted personality. What I discovered was a woman that had such depth and used fashion to communicate a philosophical message.”

Often called the “Empress of Fashion,” Mrs. Vreeland ruled the fashion world during some of its most transformative decades—which were transformative in large part due to her contributions. Her work coincided with the civil rights and women’s rights movements; she launched Twiggy, advised Jackie Onassis on her signature style and featured in Vogue the first portrait ever taken of Mick Jagger.

“Mrs. Vreeland really brought us into a modern period and knew that fashion and the world were on their way to something much more global,” fashion designer Anna Sui says in the film.

“Diana was just so far ahead,” writer Bob Colacello adds. “I mean, it wasn’t just about fashion; it was about art, it was about music and it was about society—it was all woven together.”

“She would say, you’re not supposed to give people what they want; you’re supposed to give them what they don’t know they want yet,” he added.

After moving to New York City in 1936 to follow her husband Thomas’s banking career, Mrs. Vreeland began working as a columnist for Harper’s Bazaar, a job she was asked to take on after the editor Carmel Snow noticed her style.

She stayed at the magazine until 1962, and then went on to join Vogue, where she was editor-in-chief until 1971. Following her stint leading the world’s premiere fashion magazine, Mrs. Vreeland was a consultant to the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She died in New York City in 1989 of a heart attack.

“There is no one in fashion who is like Mrs. Vreeland or anyone historically who can come close to her,” Ms. Immordino Vreeland said. “Her success in the world of fashion was the ability to give a message to people to seek for an inner meaning in life, not to accept the status quo and to push themselves to dream about the impossible. She encouraged curiosity and wanted people to be driven to passion. There are many very famous and iconic names in fashion, but none who continue to inspire people like Mrs. Vreeland.”

The film uses transcription from tapes George Plimpton recorded of his conversations with Mrs. Vreeland when they were preparing her autobiography as narration.

Mrs. Vreeland had a skill in finding the special and unique qualities in people and, rather than hiding them in the name of societal obedience, celebrating and emphasizing those distinctions.

“She saw things in people before they saw it themselves,” fashion designer Diana Von Furstenberg says in the film.

“She celebrated Barbara Streisand’s nose. She would push their faults, make it the most beautiful thing about them,” added Joel Schumacher, a director, screenwriter and producer known for films like “The Phantom of the Opera” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.”

Mrs. Vreeland spent time at the Factory and Studio 54, rubbing elbows with Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Cher.

“All these people invented themselves,” Mrs. Vreeland says in the film. “Naturally, as the editor, I was there to help them along.”

“Vreeland inspired them, she had a very strong impact on them,” Calvin Klein says in the documentary.

Angelica Huston adds of her friend, “She made it okay for women to be outlandish and extraordinary.”

“Mrs. Vreeland, in a very unique manner, used fashion to dictate a way of life,” wrote Mrs. Immordino Vreeland. “For her, what was paramount in life was the freedom to ‘dare’ and she wanted everyone to do that. For her, the “outlandish and extraordinary” was an expression of the ability to be free and brave enough to do what you dream about doing.”

“Mrs. Vreeland believed in the celebration of life and in taking on everything,” the director added. “She felt that the impossible was possible to conquer if you had the belief in yourself and you had the possibility to dream; that was her motivation…She used fashion to tell a story of being unique, of standing out and of believing in oneself.”

In Mrs. Vreeland’s own words: “There’s only one really good life and that’s the life that you know you want and you make it yourself.”

The film will be screened at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street in East Hampton, on Monday, July 21, at 7 p.m. A panel discussion with filmmaker Lisa Immordino Vreeland and China Machado will follow. For more information or tickets ($15; $13 for members), call (631) 324-4050 or visit guildhall.org.

 

Perlman Music Program Performs Annual Family Concert

Tags: , ,


PMP Summer Music School Students perform chamber music selections at the Annual Family Concert

 

PMP Summer Music School Students perform chamber music selections at the Annual Family Concert, photo courtesy of the Perlman Music Program.

The Perlman Music Program, which is currently celebrating its 20th year on the East End, will be hosting the annual Family Concert and Instrument “Petting Zoo” on Sunday, July 13, at 11:30 a.m.

The concert, which will be held at the Perlman Music Program’s Shelter Island Campus on Shore Road, is free and open to families with children of all ages. Merry Peckham, along with students, faculty, and fellows of the program, will introduce classical music and string instruments with musical skits and performance.

Following the concert, there will be an “Instrument Petting Zoo” for the younger audience members, where children can try out youth-sized instruments with the help of Perlman Music Program students. Children of all ages will also be given coloring books and juice boxes.

The Perlman Music Program also hosts “Works in Progress” Concerts throughout July and August. Performed by the students of the Summer Music Program, these classical concerts are free.

For more information, call 212-877-3230 or visit www.perlmanmusicprogram.org.

Galleries from Sag Harbor to South Korea Converge in Water Mill for 7th Annual ArtHamptons

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


"Unnamed IV," 2012-13 by Bob Dylan. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

“Unnamed IV,” 2012-13 by Bob Dylan. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

Touching art is generally frowned upon, but Bob Dylan encourages it. In his sculpture, “Untitled IV, 2012-2013,” welded iron objects, many of them vintage, are configured into a giant sculpture on the wall, complete with wrenches, wheels and a lever viewers are welcome to crank.

The singer-songwriter’s artwork was on display Thursday at the launch celebration of ArtHamptons, which opened with “Bob Dylan: The Drawn Blank Series” at Mark Borghi Fine Art in Bridgehampton.

The show was reflective of the weekend it previewed. It questioned what art is, with the musician’s paintings of naked women and city apartments next to crumpled up sculptures by John Chamberlain. It celebrated lesser known artists and multi-faceted, non-conforming talent, featuring a man well known for his music but relatively unknown for his artwork. And it brought in a crowd of local gallery owners, noted personalities and regulars on the East End’s art scene.

“Dylan’s work is a visual extension of his lyrical genius,” said Mike Pintauro, curatorial assistant at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill. “Esoteric and personal, energetic and slightly deranged.”

ArtHamptons, which takes place at NOVA’s Ark on Millstone Road in Bridgehampton, has been one of the East End’s largest fine art fairs for the past six summers and the seventh edition promises to be the most diverse yet, with art of varied mediums, styles and prices from across the world.

“It’s the largest selection ever,” founder and president Rick Friedman said on Monday, July 7.

Organized by Hamptons Expo Group, ArtHamptons will present more than 80 global art galleries, featuring 2,000 works from some 500 artists.

Although there is considerable international involvement, the fair remains dedicated first and foremost to the local creative talent abundant on the East End. The theme this year is “Escape,” reflective of the idyllic calm that can still be found in some corners of the East End—even in the summertime.

“There’s a lot of local galleries from the Hamptons showing a lot of local artists,” Mr. Friedman said. “We always have a touch of our relationship with the Hamptons art movement of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s.”

“ArtHamptons is a celebration of the arts in the Hamptons,” said Mr. Friedman. “We’re celebrating that we have such an extraordinarily creative community.”

Local galleries such as RJD Gallery, Bridgehampton Fine Art, Tulla Booth Gallery, Monika Olko Gallery and Chase Edwards Gallery will have booths at the fair.

American representational painter Jane Freilicher, who has a home in Water Mill, and avant-garde theater artist Robert Wilson, founder of the Watermill Center, will be honored.

"IGNAATZ," 1961 painted cut metal by John Chamberlain. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

“IGNAATZ,” 1961 painted cut metal by John Chamberlain. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Galleries are coming to Water Mill this weekend from as close as Sag Harbor and as far away as Hiroshima; with 12 countries represented, the show is more international this year than ever in the past.

The Villa del Arte Gallery of Catalonia, which has spaces in Barcelona and Amsterdam, is bringing the work of Fernando Adam, Karenina Fabrizzi and Claudia Meyer, among others. In “Hybrid ML2” by Christiaan Lieverse, mixed media, cowhide and resin are combined on canvas to create a streaked gray woman’s face with sharp eyes that are hard to turn away from.

The French Art Gallery is bringing the work of esteemed French artists such as Nanan and Pierre-Francois Grimaldo from its gallery in Kensington, London, to the East End.  Dedicated to exposing the vibrant street art scene in France, the gallery is also bringing innovative artists like Speedy Graphito, a pioneer of the French Street Art movement since the early 1980s.

Envie d’Art Galleries, located in Paris and London, will be on hand with a broad and diverse collection that aims to promote artists on an international scale, with exhibitions in cities like Brussels, Chicago, Milan and, Singapore and now Water Mill.

The 418 Art Gallery from Bucharest, Romania, 308 Arte Contemporaneo of La Habana, Cuba and Art Company MISOOLSIDAE from Seoul, South Korea, will also have booths at the fair.

Several galleries from Korea will be present, which “encourages viewers to experience a not so familiar world in a contemporary setting—opening up the culture to new interpretations while further contextualizing the artists’ ideas,” Mr. Friedman said in a press release.

ArtHamptons is Thursday, July 10, through Sunday, July 13, at the Sculpture Fields of NOVA’s Ark in Bridgehampton, located at 30 Millstone Road in Water Mill. For more information and a complete schedule of events, call (631) 283-5505 or visit arthamptons.com.

Tom Stoppard’s “Travesties” Brings Belly Laughs to Bay Street

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Richard Kind in "Travesties" at Bay Street. Photo by Jerry Lamonica.

Richard Kind in “Travesties” at Bay Street. Photo by Jerry Lamonica.

By Tessa Raebeck

Strip teases, pie fights and Lenin. The three don’t normally go hand in hand, but playwright Tom Stoppard brings them together in “Travesties.”

The Tony award-winning comedy is running through July 20 as the second production in Bay Street Theater’s main stage season, called a “season of revolution.”

The play is told through the memory of Henry Carr, an elderly man who was a British consul in Zurich in 1917 during World War I. Mr. Carr reflects on his participation at the time in an amateur production of Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest, in which (in Mr. Stoppard’s take on it) he worked alongside some of the early 20th century’s most influential figures: James Joyce, Vladimir Lenin and Tristan Tzara.

“What it really gets at,” Bay Street’s artistic director Scott Schwartz said of the play when the season was first introduced this winter, “is the sort of passion and fire and revolutionary spirit of these guys as they’re trying to meet girls and trying to have a great time in Zürich at this time.”

When you think of Lenin in 1917, in the heat of the empire’s collapse and subsequent community revolution in Russia, you don’t necessarily imagine him spending his time trying to meet girls, but Mr. Stoppard expertly humanizes even his most notable characters with humor.

“It’s one of the most bracing theatrical challenges to be a part of—full of brilliance and fun—overflowing with ideas and using all the elements; knockabout humor, song and dance, the ‘theatre’ of theatre, to create a whirligig of intriguing ideas,” Gregory Boyd, the artistic director for the Alley Theatre in Houston, who is directing Bay Street’s production, said in an email interview.

Photo by Jerry Lamonica.

Photo by Jerry Lamonica.

“There isn’t another play like it—unless it’s another Stoppard play. He is unique,” added the director.

A Czech-born British playwright, Mr. Stoppard was 2 years old when he moved with his family to England to escape the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. He was knighted in 1997 and the next year won an Academy Award for “Best Original Screenplay” for “Shakespeare in Love,” which he wrote with Marc Norman. He has also won four Tony Awards.

Written in 1974, “Travesties” has been performed in productions across the world. The play won the United Kingdom’s Evening Standard Award for “Best Comedy of the Year” in 1974 and in 1976 both a Tony Award and a New York Critics Award for “Best Play.”

“Stoppard,” Mr. Boyd said, “is writing about art and artists, revolution and revolutionaries and how they collide. James Joyce, Lenin and Dadaist artist Tristan Tzara were indeed in Zürich during World War I, but it is the playwright’s genius that brings them all together through the eyes and erratic memory of a minor civil servant, as he (Henry Carr) looks back over his life.”

“It’s dealing with the whole question of how art and change interact in our lives,” said Mr. Schwartz, adding that “Travesties” is the “centerpiece” of Bay Street’s summer season.

Having directed or produced over 100 new productions from writers as varied—and renowned—as Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee, Mr. Boyd is no stranger to the stage. There’s already one “Travesties” production under his belt; he directed the comedy several years ago at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.

“He’s a brilliant director,” Mr. Schwartz said. “I’m so excited to bring his vision to the theater.”

As Bay Street’s artistic director, he added, he would like to “bring great directors in from around the country and perhaps eventually around the world.”

Richard Kind, noted for his roles on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Spin City,” returns to Bay Street, where he serves on the Board of Trustees, for his role as Henry Carr, who, like the legendary figures he hangs out with, was a real person in Zürich at the time.

Actors Michael Benz, Carson Elrod, Aloysius Gigl, Isabel Keating, Julia Motyka, Emily Trask and Andrew Weems are also in the cast.

“The cast we have is a wonderful group—and working with them on this marvelous script is the most enjoyable part of it,” said Mr. Boyd. “Stoppard asks that the actors be comedians, but capable too of giving full voice to the brilliant language.”

Photo by Jerry Lamonica.

Photo by Jerry Lamonica.

Credited for shaping stream of consciousness and other techniques of the modernist avant-garde movement, Joyce is in the middle of writing Ulysses during the time of the play. Tzara, a French avant-garde poet, essayist and performance artist, is busy creating art and poetry that gain him notoriety as a leader of Dadaism and Lenin is planning to overthrow one of the world’s largest empires, which has been in power for nearly 200 years.

But then Mr. Stoppard comes in, and—although the figures are still their distinguished selves—they are flanked by the wild theatricality of his writing, with an almost burlesque style of humor.

“I love the Bay Street Theater space—and ‘Travesties’ uses it in an interesting way, I think. From toy trains to pie fights, there are a lot of moments that come together in a fresh way,” said Mr. Boyd.

“It’s a wonderful conceit of a ‘small’ man hoping to achieve some meaning in his life through his association with these three giants,” the director added. “The play is full of comedy, gorgeous language, exhilarating ideas—and some real heart, too. That combination is very hard to resist.”

“Travesties” opened Tuesday, June 24, and runs through July 20 at Bay Street Theater, located on the corner of Main and Bay streets in Sag Harbor. General admission tickets range in price from $60.75 to $75. The “Student Sunday” matinee allows high school and college students to attend the 2 p.m. matinee on Sundays for free. A $30 ticket is available for those under age 30. For tickets and more information, visit baystreet.org or call the box office at (631) 725-9500.

Female Friendship, Literature and Obsession in “Shirley”

Tags: , , , , , ,


By Tessa Raebeck

Author Susan Scarf Merrell will read from "Shirley" June 21 at BookHampton in Southampton.

Author Susan Scarf Merrell will read from “Shirley” June 21 at BookHampton in Southampton.

While writing “Shirley,” Susan Scarf Merrell worried for her protagonist, Rose. Rose is caught between the world in her own head and the real one outside of it in the novel, which examines themes of obsession, creativity and womanhood in the 1960s.

Shirley,” which Ms. Merrell will read from at BookHampton in Southampton Saturday, centers on the relationships that evolve when pregnant Rose and her husband Fred move in with celebrated writer Shirley Jackson and her husband, the literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman. With dark twists and multilayered characters, the historical fiction novel celebrates literature while delving into its underbelly.

“Reading both Shirley and Stanley’s letters, journal entries, essays and books, I began to hear the voice of Rose developing in my mind,” Ms. Scarf Merrell said in a press release. “The shift from researching a non-fiction work to beginning a novel was quite abrupt.”

“One sudden moment of realization (I was out in the woods walking my dog, and started taking notes using the voice recorder on my cell phone), and the project took on an entirely different form. But I think one of Shirley Jackson’s many gifts was an ability to massage real life events into fiction; in some ways, this was an inevitable turn of events for me,” she added.

“Jackson has always been one of the more intriguing and misunderstood writers of her generation, a woman writer at the cusp of feminism’s second wave who nevertheless was erroneously dismissed for writing mere ‘domestic fiction,’” Booklist said in a review of “Shirley.” “Merrell brings this complicated and compelling woman to life through the kind of taut and intimate thriller Jackson herself would have been proud to call her own.”

Susan Scarf Merrell will read from “Shirley” Saturday, June 21, at 5 p.m. at BookHampton, located at 16 Hampton Road in Southampton. For more information, call (631) 283-0270.

East End Weekend June 14 – 15

Tags: , , , , , ,


"Evening Bells" by Christopher Engel.

“Evening Bells” by Christopher Engel is on view at the Romany Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

Will it rain or shine this weekend? Doesn’t really matter if you’re in an art gallery.

Here are my top picks for great things to do around the East End this weekend:

 

Christopher Engel at Sag Harbor’s Romany Kramoris Gallery

"Evening Bells" by Christopher Engel.

“Evening Bells” by Christopher Engel.

East End artist and Ross School teacher Christopher Engel has returned to the Romany Kramoris Gallery with “Open Paths,” a selection of his abstract work. An opening reception will be held Saturday, June 14.

“These are simple lines that bend into triangles of red, yellow, green, gold and burnt orange, rushing together in a dazzling display of colors and forms reminiscent of hieroglyphics and simultaneously related to the fabric of life itself. It is as if the viewer is peering through a microscope and capturing a dance of molecules, vibrating and evolving. The lines flow into the light as well as the dark, illuminating paths open to both the literal and the symbolic. The viewer is encouraged to ponder and then allow the journey to unfurl,” the gallery said in a press release.

The exhibit opened Thursday, June 5, and runs through Thursday, June 26. An opening reception is Saturday, June 14 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Romany Kramoris Gallery, 41 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 725-2499.

 

CMEE 2nd Annual Music Fair

Always a fun place to stop on the weekend, CMEE promises extra excitement Saturday at its 2nd Annual Music Fair.

“Play it, Hear it, Try it,” is the theme of the day, during which the museum will transform into an “aural experience” with well-known performers, hands-on interactive stations and lots of activities, organizers said.

Kids can participate in improvisational mural painting with artist Bob Crimi and musician Jim Turner, sing along with local crooner Inda Eaton, watch a show by Catherine Shay and jam with Ina of Music Together By The Dunes.

At craft tables, children can create their own instruments, tin drums and rain sticks, get their faces painted and explore instruments across the grounds of the museum—not to mention enjoy the museum itself!

CMEE, the Children’s Museum of the East End, hosts its 2nd annual music fair for families Saturday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the museum, 376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton.

 

Writer, Poet and Activist Alexis De Veaux at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor

Award-winning author Alexis De Veaux has two critical concerns: making the racial and sexual experiences of black female characters central and disrupting boundaries between forms.

In her latest fiction work, “Yabo,” Ms. De Veaux explores those concerns in a collection of prose and poetry. The activist author will be on hand at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 14, at Canio’s Books, located at 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor, to read excerpts, sign books and celebrate her new publication.

“O yes, there are other heres. Simultaneous to this one,” reads the prelude. “Echoes. Or did you think the story you were told, the story you grew up believing, repeating, about the past, present, and the future—and the commas you see here separating those stories—was all there is?”

As a writer for Essence Magazine in 1990, Ms. De Veaux was the first North American to interview Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison. She has traveled extensively as an artist and lecturer and has received multiple literary awards for her biographies of Billie Holiday and Audre Lorde.

Ms. DeVeaux’s cultural partner and best friend Kathy Engel, a professor at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts, along with her daughter, Ella Engel-Snow, will also read with Ms. DeVeaux.

"Spring Spirit" by Cynthia Sobel will be on view at Ashawagh Hall in Springs.

“Spring Spirit” by Cynthia Sobel will be on view at Ashawagh Hall in Springs.


“Mostly Abstract II” at Ashawagh Hall in Springs

Curated by local artist Cynthia Sobel, “Mostly Abstract II,” the second annual exhibit of a varied group of “mostly abstract” artists, will be on view at Ashawagh Hall, 780 Springs Fireplace Road, June 14 and 15.

The drawings, paintings, photography and sculpture of 11 artists, including Ms. Sobel, Mark Zimmerman and Bo Parsons, will be on display. From landscapes to mixed media creations to sheet metal sculptures, there’s something for everybody – except perhaps people who hate abstracts.

An opening reception with wine and good ol’ hors d’oeuvres is Saturday, June 14 from 5 to 8 p.m. The gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

 

Women Who Rock at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center

If you like music and you like women (which I hope you do), check out Women Who Rock at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center Saturday, June 14 and again Sunday, June 15 at 8 p.m.

The summer series kicks off sultry Americana artist Delta Rae on Saturday to pop songstress Vanessa Carlton on Sunday, there’s much to see and hear this weekend.

Westhampton Beach may seem like a hike, but remember, Ms. Carlton would walk a thousand miles for you.

For more information, visit whbpac.org.

Review: “Conviction” at Bay Street Theater

Tags: , , ,


Brian Hutchison, Elizabeth Reaser, Sarah Paulson and Garret Dillahunt in "Conviction" at Bay Street Theater.

Brian Hutchison, Elizabeth Reaser, Sarah Paulson and Garret Dillahunt in “Conviction” at Bay Street Theater.

By Annette Hinkle

Belief is perhaps one of the most powerful motivators in the arsenal of human emotion. Whether it is held in the absence of tangible proof or in the presence of damning evidence, often little can be done to assuage a deeply held position once it is ingrained in the psyche.

It’s true of politics, it’s true of religion …and it is especially true of relationships.

The notion of belief and trust are at the core of “Conviction,” Carey Crim’s powerful drama which opens Bay Street Theater’s 2014 summer mainstage season. Directed by Scott Schwartz, Bay Street’s new artistic director, “Conviction” enjoys its world premiere at the theater now through June 15.

But be prepared. Despite its fairly simple and straightforward approach, the subject matter is complex and this is one of those plays that will keep you thinking (and talking) long after the final curtain falls.

“Conviction” tells the story of Tom Hodges (Garret Dillahunt) a popular high school teacher whose enthusiasm for Shakespeare is infectious. When bright and engaged students come to him eager to learn more about the Bard, in his mission as an educator, he can’t help but share his enthusiasm.

As the play opens, Tom and his wife Leigh (Sarah Paulson) are arriving home with their best friends, Bruce (Brian Hutchison), also a teacher at the school, and Jayne (played by Elizabeth Reaser) following the school’s production of “Romeo and Juliet,” which Tom has directed.

As they joke about the length of the play and the talent of the lead teenage actress, Tom and Leigh’s energetic 13-year-old son, Nicholas (Daniel Burns) makes a brief appearance to raid the fridge before heading off to a friend’s house for a sleep over. Then the phone rings — it’s the school’s principal calling for Tom and from that point on, life will never be the same.

The bulk of the play takes place three years after that phone call. Tom is coming home from prison after being convicted for inappropriate sexual relations with the teenage actress who starred as Juliet in his play, and in those years, much has changed. Leigh adamantly believes her husband’s professed innocence and makes his homecoming special by inviting Bruce and Jayne to be there when he arrives. But it soon becomes clear this will not be an easy reunion and picking up where they left off nearly impossible.

Bruce puts on a brave face and acts like little has changed, but tension, anger and fear soon surfaces in Jayne, who literally takes on the role of “doubting Thomas,” giving voice to the unspoken suspicions about her old friend. She thinks he is guilty and her own conviction wreaks havoc on the couples’ long-standing friendship. Bruce and Jayne’s two daughters, who have been friends with Nicholas since they were babies, are no longer permitted to spend time at the Hodge’s home, which now shelters a convicted sex offender.

For his part, Nicholas is a young man struggling to come of age in a community that believes his father is a sexual predator. He has undergone a particularly dark transformation during Tom’s incarceration and is a withdrawn and friendless 16-year-old who dabbles in drugs and disappears for long stretches at a time.

Leigh smiles and does her best to keep her family intact, but the stress of the situation is evident. Tom’s purported indiscretion has been front page news. They rarely share a bed and suspicious glances, harassing anonymous phone calls and financial hardship has taken its toll. Leigh works at the hospital, but has been unable to keep up on the mortgage payments and the family is in danger of losing the house. Tom has lost his job, his direction and the respect of the community.

The best plays are those which provide no easy answers, and in fact, leave audiences with more questions than when they came in. “Conviction” does exactly that. Schwartz’s direction of the material is impressive and he has assembled a stellar cast for this production. The material is not easy, yet the actors bring the issues to a crescendo with great skill and sensitivity — particularly Paulson who is quite impressive as the long-suffering and stoic Leigh. Anna Louizos’ well-designed set exudes the comforts of suburban living. But she wisely offsets the American dream with a painted backdrop of neighboring houses which lurk menacingly close, pressing in on a private family drama which is being played out in public.

While the community’s awareness of the situation is key to the characters’ motivations, the power of “Conviction” comes from the fact the play looks intently at the collateral damage of sexual misconduct. Yes, the act is abhorrent, and while society’s revulsion of such crimes is well placed, lost in the debate are the families left to pick up the pieces. Not just the victim’s family, but the perpetrator’s as well — people who are subjected to harassment, judgmental stares and whispered gossip simply because they happen to be related.

So how does a family survive when someone has been convicted of a sexual offense? Can they survive? What if the accusations are false? These are just some of the many sticky questions which “Convictions” sets out to explore.

During a talk with Tom after a night out, Bruce tries to reconnect by pointing out that many teenage girls invite attention from men by dressing and acting far older than they are. Though he’s trying to sympathize with his friend, Bruce’s sentiment is disturbing in its familiarity — how many times have we all heard similar statements made in conversations with our own friends?

It’s a slippery slope indeed. When does a child become an adult? Actually, it depends on where — and when — you live. Shakespeare’s Juliet was just 13. Today, most people would agree a 15-year-old student sleeping with a 36-year-old teacher is a clear case of abuse. But what if the student is 17 and the teacher 23? Is Tom’s accuser a victim or a temptress? Is she a naïve child or a jilted lover? In our effort to protect children from abuse, have we gone too far by not allowing teachers to comfort distraught students with an embrace or offer counsel behind closed doors without witnesses?

While “Convictions” doesn’t set out to answer these questions, it does go to great lengths to explore them. That’s what makes this such an intriguing offering. Whether or not Tom “did it” is beside the point. This is a play about how we go on afterwards and one that considers the many victims beyond the obvious one

There are no easy answers — and in the end it does, indeed, come down to the power of convictions.

“Conviction” runs Tuesdays through Sundays with evening and some matinee performances through June 15 at Bay Street Theater, Long Wharf, Sag Harbor. The play is produced by Bay Street in association with Dead Posh Productions, Rubicon Theatre Company, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Off-Broadway Across America. Tickets are $60.75 to $75. To reserve, call (631) 725-9500.

Pierson and the Ross School Win Big at the 12th Annual Teeny Awards

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Pierson High School students rehearse the final dance number of "A Chorus Line" in the high school auditorium January 26. Photo by Michael Heller.

Pierson High School students rehearse the final dance number of “A Chorus Line” in the high school auditorium January 26. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Tessa Raebeck

Up against 15 other competing high schools, Pierson High School and the Ross School took home 10 awards between them at the 12th Annual Teeny Awards ceremony at Longwood High School Sunday, June 8.

Hosted by East End Arts, the Teeny Awards recognize exceptional acting, directing and technical work in the theatre productions at local high schools. The 2013-2014 awards saw the entry of over 30 dramas, comedies and musicals, with more than 1,000 students involved in the casts, crews, pit and production teams.

“Whatever position you hold in a theatrical production–it is of the utmost importance,”  Teeny Awards Coordinator Anita Boyer said in a press release Sunday. “Each member of the troupe relies on the others in order to pull off a show and being a part of it is such a unique and incredible experience.”

 

Pierson High School

Before a crowd of past Teeny Award winners, theatre owners, local politicians and other distinguished guests, Pierson students performed the number “What I Did for Love” from “A Chorus Line,” warming up for what would be a long night of shaking hands and grabbing trophies.

Pierson took home one of the biggest awards of the night, winning “Best Ensemble” for its production of “A Chorus Line.”

The technical end of “A Chorus Line” was also featured in a heavy showing during the awards. Shelley Matthers was recognized for her role as stage manager and Shane Hennessy took home a technical design recognition award for his role in lighting design for ”A Chorus Line,” as well as Pierson’s other productions “A Murderer Among Us” and “The Fantasticks.”

Emily Selyukova was also recognized for technical design for her work as set designer and student director for “The Fantasticks.”

Emily and the entire cast of “The Fantasticks” took a Judges’ Choice Award home to Sag Harbor for their work as a student run and directed production.

The Lead Actress in a Drama award went to Rebecca Dwoskin of Pierson for her performance as Olga Buckley Lodge in “A Murderer Among Us.”

 

The Ross School

The Ross School also had a strong showing. Joannis “Yanni” Giannakopoulos was named best supporting actor in a drama for his performance as Scotty in “Median.”

Ross also earned best supporting actress in a drama, with Amili Targownik winning the award for her solo showing in “The One-and-a-Half-Year Silent Girl.”

The supporting actress in a comedy award resulted in a surprising tie, but the twist simply gave Ross School two awards instead of one; For their performances in “The Grand Scheme,” Daniela Herman, who played Bethel, and Naomi Tankel, who played Clarice, were honored.

Inga Cordts-Gorcoff was awarded a prize for her role as stage manager for “One Acts” at Ross.