Tag Archive | "East End"

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

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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.

Sag Harbor Artists Featured at Plein Air Peconic: “Bridgehampton Past and Present”

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"Hendrickson Farm" by Kathryn Szoka. Image courtesy Bridgehampton Museum.

“Hendrickson Farm” by Kathryn Szoka. Image courtesy Bridgehampton Museum.

By Tessa Raebeck

Driving through the backroads of Bridgehampton, it’s hard to keep your eyes on the road, rather than glued to the beautiful farmland, ponds and wildflowers of Sagaponack, Hayground and Mecox. The natural vistas of the hamlet are featured in Plein Air Peconic: “Bridgehampton Past and Present” at the Bridgehampton Museum May 22 through September 18.

The exhibition and sale, featuring photographs and paintings of landscapes, will have an opening reception Saturday, June 15 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Three of the artists, Casey Anderson, Kathryn Szoka and Anita Kusick, live in Sag Harbor.

“The show includes beautiful landscapes, many conserved with the help of the Peconic Land Trust, and will provide an opportunity to gain perspective on how our precious landscape has changed over time,” said Plein Air Peconic in a press release.

A percentage of all sales benefit the Peconic Land Trust and the Bridgehampton Museum. The exhibition is at the Bridgehampton Museum Archive Building, located at 2539-A Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton. For information, hours and directions, call (631) 537-1088.

Lyme Disease Bill Advances

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced this week that the New York State Assembly has passed a bill he co-sponsored which would protect licensed physicians who prescribe long-term antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease from disciplinary action by the New York State Board of Professional Medical Conduct.

Throughout New York and East End of Long Island, there has been a dramatic increase in Lyme disease cases, which are often difficult to test for and even harder to treat. The bill would protect health care professionals with the authority to prescribe medication from disciplinary action against solely for prescribing, administering or dispensing long-term antibiotic therapy to a patient clinically diagnosed with Lyme disease.

“The extent and severity of the Lyme disease cases on the East End has escalated to the point of a public health crisis,” said Mr. Thiele in a press release. “Physicians should not be afraid to offer proper treatment. Early treatment can save lives.”

A senate version remains under review in that chamber’s Health Committee.

Cookbook Revolutionaries: East Hampton Chefs Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey

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“The grandest picnic of all time” on Gardiner’s Island with (left to right) Pierre Franey, Jacques Pépin, Roger Fessaguet, Jean Vergnes, and René Verdon, 1965. Photo courtesy East Hampton Historical Society.

“The grandest picnic of all time” on Gardiner’s Island with (left to right) Pierre Franey, Jacques Pépin, Roger Fessaguet, Jean Vergnes, and René Verdon, 1965. Photo courtesy East Hampton Historical Society.

By Tessa Raebeck

In the early ’90s, Pierre Franey hit a deer while driving in Springs. Always dedicated to using the freshest ingredients in his cooking, the famous chef tossed the carcass in his trunk and brought it home to make venison. When he opened the trunk when he arrived home on Gerard Drive, however, the deer that was supposed to be dinner jumped out and ran away.

Although it didn’t work out that evening, Mr. Franey and best friend and collaborator Craig Claiborne are widely credited as being the fathers of the fresh food movement.

The duo, who wrote weekly food articles, restaurant reviews, countless recipes and co-authored 10 books over a 20-year collaboration, will be honored by the East Hampton Historical Society at a new exhibition, “Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey: Cookbook Revolutionaries in East Hampton,” which will have an opening reception next Friday, May 30.

Although they came from vastly different backgrounds, Mr. Franey having grown up in Burgundy, France, and Mr. Claiborne in Sunflower, Mississippi, the friends found common ground in their love for cooking, fresh ingredients and the East End. Mr. Claiborne and Mr. Franey both lived in Springs, surrounded by famous friends and creative spirits.

Mr. Claiborne, raised on southern cuisine in the kitchen of his mother’s boarding house, used his G.I. Bill benefits from serving in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War to attend school in Switzerland. In 1957, he started a long-time career as food editor and restaurant critic for The New York Times. In addition to vastly broadening the scope of the paper’s dining coverage, his columns and cookbooks introduced ethnic cuisines, such as Asian, Cajun and Mexican food, to a generation of Americans known for their love of frozen TV dinners. His “New York Times Cookbook” became “one of the most bought and sought cookbooks of its generation,” according to society director Richard Barons.

“People are still using the recipes,” he added. “It’s not like some cookbooks that just sort of disappear. The “New York Times Cookbook” is still a viable force in the kitchen.”

Best known for his popular TV cooking shows like “Cuisine Rapide” and his “60 Minute Gourmet” column, also in The New York Times, Mr. Franey first came to the U.S. to cook in the French Pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. He stayed stateside, working for various companies, and was hired by the Times in 1975 to be a core figure in its brand new Living section (now the Dining section). His column was a huge success, ultimately appearing in over 360 newspapers worldwide. Mr. Franey authored or co-authored (most often with Mr. Claiborne) 15 cookbooks and a memoir during his lifetime and had several television shows, including “Cooking in France,” which won the James Beard Foundation Award for best cooking show in 1995, shortly before his death.

The pair, who became fast friends, met in the 1950s when Mr. Franey was working at Le Pavillon, “one of the great restaurants in the history of New York” according to Mr. Barons.

“They began to talk and it just sort of developed into this wonderful relationship where they would share ideas, share restaurants, share recipes,” Mr. Barons said.

Together, Mr. Franey and Mr. Claiborne championed fresh ingredients, diverse dishes and, in essence, good, nutritious food.

“The 1940s and ’50s was not an era of particularly creative cooking,” said Mr. Barons. “It didn’t stress fresh things, it was an era that was still captivated by canned goods and, particularly by the 1950s, the whole wonder of frozen vegetables and frozen food… it really was a Wonder Bread world.”

“They were very free form in thinking in their food. They weren’t stodgy in any sense of the word; they kept very up to date, which is probably the reason they did so many cookbooks,” Mr. Barons said, adding that there are some 50 cookbooks between the two of them, including salt-free and low calorie recipe books and those that contain recipes that take less than an hour to prepare.

Pierre Franey and Craig Claiborne cooking in Mr. Claiborne's kitchen in the Clearwater neighborhood of Springs in the late 1970s. Photo courtesy East Hampton Historical Society.

Pierre Franey and Craig Claiborne cooking in Mr. Claiborne’s kitchen in the Clearwater neighborhood of Springs in the late 1970s. Photo courtesy East Hampton Historical Society.

“We just assume that these things have always been done, but we begin to realize that so much of it was codified during that period,” he added.

They brainstormed recipes at Mr. Claiborne’s house—a gigantic kitchen with bathroom and bedroom attached as an afterthought—and hosted meals in Mr. Franey’s backyard overlooking Gardiner’s Bay.

One of the most famous gatherings prepared by the pair was a picnic on Gardiner’s Island hosted by Mr. Claiborne on August 1, 1965. Often called “the grandest picnic of all time,” the event was held for Robert David Lyon Gardiner and attended by a smattering of celebrity chefs and famous friends.

“These were extraordinary events,” Mr. Barons said, adding that Jean Vergnes, Lauren Bacall and Danny Kaye were some of the guests.

Photos from the picnic, weddings and other events, as well as cookbooks, newsletters, the French copper weathervane that hung in Mr. Franey’s kitchen, the French china Mr. Claiborne served meals on and an early American wooden bowl that Mr. Claiborne gave his friend as a housewarming gift when he moved to East Hampton will be on display at the exhibition, as well as many other artifacts.

“Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey: Cookbook Revolutionaries in East Hampton” will be on exhibit from May 31 through July 13 at Clinton Academy, 151 Main Street in East Hampton. An opening reception will be held Friday, May 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information, visit easthamptonhistory.org or call 324-6850.

Sag Harbor’s April Gornik to Show Recent Landscapes in New York City

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"Radiant Light" by April Gornik, oil on linen, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

“Radiant Light” by April Gornik, oil on linen, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

By Tessa Raebeck

In a solo exhibition at the Danese/Corey Gallery in New York City, Sag Harbor’s April Gornik will show her large paintings and drawings, many of them featuring East End landscapes.

"Light After the Storm" by April Gornik, oil on linen, 2012.

“Light After the Storm” by April Gornik, oil on linen, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

Ms. Gornik, a North Haven resident, who has work in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, to name a few, recreates landscapes ranging from rolling sand hills to stormy oceans.

"Storm, Rain, Light" by April Gornik, oil on linen, 2013.

“Storm, Rain, Light” by April Gornik, oil on linen, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

In this selection of her recent paintings and drawings, Ms. Gornik explores landscapes in dozens of natural colors ranging from gray skies to light pink sea foam, finding the speckles of light shining through a dense forest and the hazy reflections of clouds on a tree-lined river.

In addition to the large paintings and drawings, a catalogue of the show produced by the gallery will be available.

The opening is tonight, April 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Danese/Corey Gallery, 511 West 22nd Street in New York City. Please call 212-223-2227 or visit danesecorey.com for more information.

Fish Eye View Highlights Long Island’s Life Underwater

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A photo of a seahorse by Chris Paparo.

A photo of a seahorse by Chris Paparo.

By Stephen J. Kotz

From the surface, the teeming ecosystem of an East End bay reveals itself in glimpses: a bluefish breaking the surface; a school of silversides darting through the shallows; or a spider crab moving slowly along the edge of the eelgrass.

But for Chris Paparo, who has been taking underwater photographs for more than 25 years and is better known as the Fish Guy, the view is decidedly more detailed.

This Saturday, Mr. Paparo will present a free slide show and lecture, featuring his underwater photography, “An Underwater Journey of Long Island Through the Eyes of a Fishing Biologist,” at the office of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

CCOM executive director Jeremy Samuelson said he first learned about Mr. Paparo from his Facebook page, Fish Guy Photos, and was eventually intrigued enough to invite him to speak as part of CCOM’s environmental education outreach efforts.

“We all suffer a bit from this National Geographic thing in that we think the only beautiful things worth saving are halfway round the world,” said Mr. Samuelson, “but his photographs show you find them right here in our backyard.”

By day, Mr. Paparo, who received a degree in marine biology from Southampton College, manages the marine sciences center at the Stony Brook Southampton campus. “It’s exciting to have gone to school here as an undergrad and be back here for the next phase of the college’s life,” he said. Besides overseeing the facility’s operations, Mr. Paparo leads tours and field trips for visitors to the marine science center from local schools, museums and other community groups.

Before joining the university’s staff, he worked for four years at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation and another 13 years at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead as its educational coordinator and one of its rescue techs.

“The reason I went into marine science is my dad took me fishing when I was six, and I’ve been hooked ever since,” he said.

Besides giving lectures on his underwater photography, Mr. Paparo finds time to write a naturalist column for On the Water magazine and contribute to Fisherman magazine.

Mr. Paparo, who said he was certified as a scuba diver in 1993, first took up underwater photography as hobby. In recent years, “it’s snowballed a bit” with the advent of first the internet and later Facebook. Today, he said, every chance he gets he grabs his scuba gear and his Canon underwater camera rig, to explore beneath the surface of local bays.

Those who attend his lecture will see photographs of fluke, striped bass, porgies, puffers, winter flounder, sea bass and many other fish species. “Now you are going to see it from their point of view,” he said.

“I start with all the important game catch and then show the by catch, the crabs, snails, clams and end with the exotics, the tropical fish that come up in the summer time,” he continued.

Over the years, Mr. Paparo has photographed everything from tiny seahorses, which frequent the bays—“you have to know where to look for them,” he said—to sharks out in the ocean, although the latter he photographs from the safety of a boat.

“I haven’t seen any sharks diving, but I haven’t ventured out in the ocean to do any ocean diving,” he said. But he goes out with a friend and they tag and release sharks. “One of the makos we tagged off Shinnecock in 2012 was found 2,200 miles across the Atlantic,” he said. “It’s neat when you get a recapture like that.”

But Mr. Paparo said he has seen his share of sharks close to shore. “They are very abundant around here,” he said. “I’ve seen makos in the inlet. It’s just a matter of being out there and if you are out there the amount of time I am your chances of seeing them go up.”

Last year, Mr. Paparo said he was thrilled to see a string ray he estimated at 3-feet in diameter swimming around Ponquogue Bridge in Hamptons Bays. Although he was unable to photograph the fish, he caught it on video.

“I still get excited when I find an octopus,” said Mr. Paparo, who added that he has never seen one while diving, because they are very elusive creatures. “We collected two last fall, little guys,” he said. One was in a net, another came up with the anchor. “The first one was about the size of a gum ball, and the other one was even smaller, about the size of my pinky nail. If you didn’t know what you were looking for you would have missed them.”

Mr. Paparo said many amateur photographers fail to recognize how much work goes into capturing images of wildlife. “If you only go once, you won’t necessarily get the chance,” he said. “You never know what you are going to come across. And just because you saw it doesn’t mean you are going to get the picture.”

Mr. Paparo’s talk takes place at CCOM’s office at 6 S. Elmwood Avenue in Montauk. Admission is free and reservations are not required. For more information, call CCOM at (631) 238-5720.

 

From Farm to Bottle, “Hops and Brews” to Explore Long Island Alcohol

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Hops growing at Condzella Farms. Photo courtesy of John Condzella.

Hops growing at Condzella Farms. Photo courtesy of John Condzella.

By Tessa Raebeck

Long Islanders have been enjoying homegrown potatoes for generations, but rarely has the local harvest been in their vodka.

At “Hops and Brews” this Sunday, a farmer, a brewer and a spirit maker will discuss the various manifestations of the rapidly growing alcohol industry on Long Island. Panelists John Condzella of Condzella Farms in Wading River, Duffy Griffiths of Crooked Ladder Brewing Company in Riverhead and Rich Stabile of Long Island Spirits in Baiting Hollow will reflect on the collaboration between local producers and the strength of Long Island’s wide variety of goods.

Duffy Griffiths, head brewer at the Crooked Ladder Brewing Company. Photo courtesy of Crooked Ladder.

Duffy Griffiths, head brewer at the Crooked Ladder Brewing Company. Photo courtesy of Crooked Ladder.

The second installment of the “Conversations With…” lecture series presented by the Peconic Land Trust, “Long Island Grown: Food and Beverage Artisans at Work” will be moderated by Laura Donnelly, a resident of East Hampton, pastry chef, author and the food editor for The East Hampton Star.

“Some Long Island farmers are making really unique or non-traditional products as they strive to meet a growing demand for locally grown and produced items,” said Kathy Kennedy of the Peconic Land Trust, “We’re excited to be able to showcase some of them.”

“I am very excited to have a chance to moderate this panel,” said Ms. Donnelly. “I am a huge fan of craft brewers and love trying local beers and ales.”

With the recent—and fast—growth of craft beer on Long Island, small hops farming has become economically feasible, creating a symbiotic relationship between farmers and brewers. The hops farmer needs the craft breweries to survive and the craft breweries need the supply from their local farms.

Brewers working with wet hops must do so within 24 hours of the harvest, so finding a local source is crucial to a successful wet hop brew. John Condzella, a fourth generation farmer at Condzella Farms, recognized this demand, adding Condzella Hops to his family farm six years ago.

Rich Stabile of Long Island Spirits. Photo courtesy of Rich Stabile.

Rich Stabile of Long Island Spirits. Photo courtesy of Rich Stabile.

“I wanted to grow a unique crop, something that no other farm was doing,” explained Mr. Condzella. “During college I developed a love for craft beer; I know that was an important catalyst for my hops growing endeavors.”

Initially, Mr. Condzella was picking his hops by hand, enlisting the help of family, friends and local volunteers, until a Kickstarter campaign last spring enabled him to purchase a Wolf WHE 170 Hopfen Pflückmaschine, a German machine that picks them for him. In 2013 alone, Mr. Condzella harvested 800 pounds of hops.

“I think demand on Long Island is growing, the industry is very young. Most local brewers aren’t accustomed to using local whole cone hops. Mainstream hops pellets from around the world are their hops of choice,” Mr. Condzella said.

Hops grower John Condzella of Condzella Farms. Photo courtesy of John Condzella.

Hops grower John Condzella of Condzella Farms. Photo courtesy of John Condzella.

The demand is indeed growing: Some of that farm-to-growler beer will be available next year at the Crooked Ladder Brewing Company, which opened in July 2013.

Head Brewer Duffy Griffiths said the brewery will start using local hops in September, “when the fresh hops round comes out.” Condzella’s Hops is an option, although Crooked Ladder hasn’t yet chosen its supplier.

“It’s a matter of just using whole hops and supporting your local industry, rather than buying them from the Pacific Northwest or having them imported, so we try to keep everything local,” Mr. Griffiths said. “It helps out the area.”

Keeping everything local is at the core of Long Island Spirits. Founded in 2007, it is Long Island’s first craft distillery since the 1800s. The flagship product, LiV Vodka is made from Long Island potatoes, many of which are grown on the 5,000 acres of farmland surrounding the North Fork distillery.

Supplied by a variety of local farmers, the marcy russet potatoes arrive at Long Island Spirits in one-ton sacks. Three days a week, the distillery goes through roughly eight tons of potatoes. Every 25 pounds of potatoes makes about one liter of LiV Vodka.

The distillery also makes Rough Riders and Pine Barrens whisky and a collection of Sorbettas, liqueurs infused with fresh fruit.

“We’ll use local raspberries or local strawberries,” explained spirits maker Rich Stabile. “We’re using real fruit infused with the vodka that we grow on Long Island, made from Long Island potatoes.”

“We all know Long Island potatoes are the best,” said Ms. Donnelly. “Rich believes it is the sweet, buttery flavor of the potato that makes his LiV vodka so good. I have tried this vodka and it is excellent.”

“Long Island farmland is some of the best agricultural land in the world,” said Mr. Condzella, whose family farm started with dairy in the 1800s and evolved to a potato operation in the 1920s. “Our maritime climate, fertile soils and abundant sunshine are great for growing most crops, and hops are no exception.”

“Hops and Brews” is Sunday, April 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Bridge Gardens, 26 Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton. To reserve a seat, call Robin Harris at 283-3195, ext. 19, or email events@peconiclandtrust.org.

The Tonic Artspace Returns with “Phenomena” at the Kathryn Markel Gallery

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A print by Grant Haffner. Courtesy of the artist.

A print by Grant Haffner. Courtesy of the artist.

By Tessa Raebeck

A contemporary art collective in constant movement, both in theory and action, the Tonic Artspace returns with “Phenomena” at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in Brigehampton.

Springs-raised Grant Haffner founded the Tonic Artspace as a way to showcase the East End’s emerging artists and challenge the limits of the traditional art show. Through his collective, Haffner brings unique group shows to different venues, using the experience both as inspiration for his own work and as a way to spread the talent of his friends, family and neighbors.

"Portrait of Phil Haffner" by Lori Weiss, 1974. Courtesy of Grant Haffner.

“Portrait of Phil Haffner” by Lori Weiss, 1974. Courtesy of Grant Haffner.

An “undefined, forever evolving pop-up art promoting machine that understands no boundaries,” the Tonic Artspace returns this year with “Phenomena,” which will showcase the work of six emerging East End artists. A 1974 portrait of Philip Clark Haffner by artist Lori Weiss will also be on view in memoriam of Mr. Haffner’s father, who passed away February 6.

Color print by Arrex. Courtesy of Grant Haffner.

Color print by Arrex. Courtesy of Grant Haffner.

The Tonic Artspace is an extension of Bonac Tonic, a collective of local up-and-coming artists founded in 2005 by Mr. Haffner and his twin sister Carly, who is also a painter and will exhibit her latest works in the show.

Inspired by the “phenomena” of death and severe illness in his family, the artist Arrex will show a series of screen-printed and hand cut skulls that “serve as a small reminder of our mortality and the fragility in life.”

The show also includes the work of painter and sculptor Maeve D’Arcy of Queens and Christine Lidrbauch, who uses various media and recycled objects “to communicate a melding of male and female cultures.”

The imaginative creatures and installations of Scott Gibbons, a core artist of the collective and “a creator of worlds unbeknown to conventional art circles,” will also be on display.

The “Phenomena” opening reception will be held February 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Kathryn Markel Fine Arts gallery, 2418 Main Street in Bridgehampton. For more information, visit here.

New York Legislators Call For Two-Year Delay on DEC Plan to Eradicate State’s Mute Swan Population

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Virginia Briggs photo.

A mute swan swims in East Hampton. Virginia Briggs photo.

Editorial note: an updated version of this post can be found here.

By Tessa Raebeck

New York officials have introduced legislation that would impose a two-year delay on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) plan to eradicate the state’s mute swan population by 2025.

Co-sponsored by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. of Sag Harbor and state senators Tony Avella of Queens and Steve Cymbrowitz of Brooklyn, the bill would halt the DEC plan, which was completed and introduced in December 2013. The legislation would require the DEC to illustrate the “actual damage” the mute swan population causes to the environment or other species before exterminating the species.

“Wildlife experts, rehabilitators and environmentalists do not unanimously agree that exterminating the mute swan population is justified,” Mr. Thiele said in a statement. “In addition, there is debate amongst such experts about whether the planned eradication of the mute swan population is even minimally beneficial to the eco-system or to our environment. Therefore, it is incumbent on the Department of Environmental Conservation to illustrate the necessity of eradicating this non-native species by demonstrating the actual damage to the environment or other species caused by mute swans.”

Mute swans are an invasive species of swan named “mute” because they are less vocal than other swans. Native to Europe and Asia, they were brought to North America in the late 1870s due largely to their aesthetic appeal. Initially introduced in New York as ornaments on the estates of the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island, mute swans were present in the wild by the turn of the 20th century.

According to the DEC, the mute swan population had increased to about 2,000 statewide by 1993, peaked around 2,800 in 2002 and is now estimated at about 2,200. The swans, says the DEC, are still most heavily concentrated on Long Island and in the lower Hudson Valley, although they are also present in the Lake Ontario region.

“On the East End of Long Island, the mute swan is often visible in local ponds and waterways,” stated Mr. Thiele. “My office has not received one report in all my years in office that the mute swan is a nuisance or an environmental problem. This legislation will require all concerned to take a step back and take a hard look before any irrevocable action is taken by the DEC.”

A mute swan on the East End. Zachary Persico photo.

A mute swan on the East End. Zachary Persico photo.

The DEC says the non-native species causes a variety of environmental problems, “including aggressive behavior towards people, destruction of submerged aquatic vegetation, displacement of native wildlife species, degradation of water quality, and potential hazards to aviation.”

To express your comments to the DEC on its draft mute swan plan, email fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us with “Swan Plan” in the subject line or send letters to NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Swan Management Plan, 625 Broadway in Albany, NY 12233-4754. The deadline for submitted comments is February 21.

To express your comments to Mr. Thiele, call his district office in Bridgehampton at 537.2583.

There’s Romance and Passion in Water Mill

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By Tessa Raebeck 

Red legs entwine on a stained surface, locked together in a sensual embrace. There are no faces or genitalia or obvious genders; those details are irrelevant, the figures blend together defined only by a clear purpose: love.

"Ex. 2 The Importance of Flesh" red industrial enamel paint on stained plywood by Melissa Mapes.

“Ex. 2 The Importance of Flesh” red industrial enamel paint on stained plywood by Melissa Mapes.

At the ninth annual “Love and Passion: Walk on the Wild Side” group show, opening this Saturday, February 15, in Water Mill, artist Melissa Mapes will feature her red legs paintings alongside the works of over 60 other artists in an adventurous celebration of music, art, love and the emotions that bind them together.

Originally organized by Karyn Mannix of karyn mannix contemporary and the late Vito Sisti, the show, traditionally held at Ashawagh Hall in Springs, is an open call “to get the community out,” Ms. Mannix said. This year, the show travels to Water Mill, where visitors will “walk on the wild side” between two galleries, Hampton Hang and the Sara Nightingale Gallery.

During the opening reception, host Sara Nightingale’s “Blind Date” Music Lab series will bring live music to a space between the two galleries. In the series, two musicians who have never met are brought together to perform, “though anyone who shows up with an instrument is welcome to play,” said Ms. Nightingale.

Held around Valentine’s Day each year, the show’s over arching theme has always been “Love and Passion.” Artists are  encouraged to use their own, subjective interpretations to create art that in turn elicits viewers’ own, subjective interpretations.

“Love and art have a lot in common,” explained Ms. Nightingale. “Both are elusive concepts designed by humans. We crave and need them both, yet neither is necessary for actual survival. Some art is very expressive and emotional, while other art is more intellectual, dry or subtle. Love has these disparate manifestations as well.”

“Additionally,” she added, “what one viewer experiences while looking at a work of art may differ completely [from] another viewer, who brings his own history and prejudices to his viewpoint. Fortunately, this is also true in love. For every lover scorned, there is somewhere another potential mate.”

Each year, a secondary theme further inspires the artists. This year’s “Walk on the Wild Side” is a double entendre honoring the late Lou Reed—who died last summer at his Springs home—and symbolizing the walk between the galleries, Ms. Mannix said.

“We are all in agreement on the tone being adventurous,” added Ms. Nightingale. “We want viewers to experience the thrill/trepidation they might feel on their way to a first date with someone they have been flirting with online.”

In “Grape Eater,” a nude female figure feeds herself grapes. As the viewer’s eyes move down the canvas, emotions can change with each color block: first a vibrant orange, then a royal blue and finally, a deep, rich red.

“I find art a constructive tool for most anything,” said the artist, Abby Abrams, a Springs resident who has two paintings of “fantasy nudes” in the show.

The show’s broad topic and open call format allows artists to submit works in various mediums and with diverse subject matter; the common theme serves to show the unity of the pieces—and the unifying power of love—while also representing the diversity of individual experience and interpretation. One artist in the show expresses a passion for surfing, while others use warm color palettes of red, pink and orange to show the evocative powers of love.

“Love and Passion is a beautiful theme because it resonates within us all,” said Ms. Mapes, whose paintings “Ex. 1: The Importance of Flesh” and “Ex. 2: The Importance of Flesh” are featured in the show.

An East Hampton native, Ms. Mapes began working on the series of “abstracted sensual flesh-morphing legs and buttocks forms” when her fiancé joined the military.

"Grape Eater" acrylic on canvas by Abby Abrams.

“Grape Eater” acrylic on canvas by Abby Abrams.

“We spent much time apart passionately longing for each other’s company,” she said. “It taught me how significant love and passion really is. We fought, and we still fight for our love, and we work for it all with a deep passion. It’s not easy, but it is worth every minute, as we both patiently pass the days waiting to feel that flesh-to-flesh contact once again.”

“Everybody can relate,” the artist continued. “Flesh is a primal necessity. To consume flesh, to feel flesh and to create flesh are crucial animalistic traits that are driven by a powerful energy force that feeds the will to survive for all animals.”

The figures in her paintings are cut off at the waist, allowing the intertwined legs and buttocks to “create a language of primitive symbols that express this dire necessity for flesh-to-flesh contact,” she said.

“I want the viewer to sense the emotion in the form and the line,” said Ms. Mapes. “I do not want a four-page essay neatly typed and placed next to the painting to ‘explain’ it. Art speaks for itself.”

“Love and Passion: Walk on the Wild Side” will be on view February 15 through February 22. The opening reception is Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Sara Nightingale Gallery and Hampton Hang Gallery, 688 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call 329.2811 or contact karynmannix@optonline.net.