Tag Archive | "East Hampton"

Before Lincoln Center Run, Big Apple Circus Premieres at Guild Hall in East Hampton

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unnamed-13By Sam Mason-Jones

Catch the preview of the new show from the unruly Big Apple Circus, which will descend on East Hampton’s Guild Hall for a one-off show of laughter, stunts and dancing dogs. The group will perform “Metamorphosis” at the East End venue on Sunday, August 24, at 5:30 p.m., before settling into an extended run at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

For one night only, the John Drew Theater’s stage will be transformed into a big top, directed by ringmaster John Kennedy Kane. Mr. Kane will be joined by a series of friends, including Francesco, the clown from France, the foot-juggling Anastasini family and Jenny Vidbel with her performing dogs. The night of transformations, acrobatics and laughter will be accompanied by live music from the Big Apple Circus Band, led by Rob Slowik.

Tickets for the show start at $48 for balcony seats and $70 for orchestra seats, while tickets for a pre-show VIP reception start at $120. Tickets are available from the box office at (631) 324-4050 or from guildhall.org. Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton.

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do August 15 to 17

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"Pont de Tournelle" by Stephen Wilkes is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

“Pont de Tournelle” by Stephen Wilkes is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

Art, films, and alternative energy; there’s plenty to do on the East End this weekend:

 

“Water 2014″ opens at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor on Saturday, August 16, with an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

The annual exhibition features contemporary and classic photography “depicting life in and around the most powerful force of nature,” said the gallery. Dan Jones, Karine Laval, Herb Friedman, John Magarites, Blair Seagram, Tulla Booth, Anne Gabriele and Jay Hoops will show their work at the gallery, which is located at 66 Main Street in Sag Harbor.

 

Furthering on your water weekend, visit the Parrish Art Museum for the Maritime Film Festival, a 70-minute screening of short film selections, on Friday, August 15, at 7 p.m.

The program includes a brief talk by artist Duke Riley, a live musical performance and a special sampling of Sag Harbor Rum.

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

 

Hosted by Alec Baldwin, the Hamptons International Film Festival presents “Last Days in Vietnam,” on Saturday, August 16, at 7:30 p.m.

The documentary, produced and directed by Rory Kennedy,  follows United States soldiers during the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, when the North Vietnamese Army was closing in on Saigon as the South Vietnamese resistance crumbled.

A question and answer session will follow the screening, which will be held at Guild Hall, located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call the box office at (631) 324-4050.

 

The East End Climate Action Network will host its first annual Sustainability and Renewable Energy Fair on Saturday, August 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the grounds of Miss Amelia’s Cottage in Amagansett Village.

The event features exhibitions from leading companies in the sustainability and renewable energy fields, as well as informal lectures from energy and environment experts, local food and fun games and other activities for kids. Local artists will perform at the end of the day.

Tony award-winning John Glover will read "The Tempest" at two outdoor performances for the new Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative.

Tony award-winning John Glover will read “The Tempest” at two outdoor performances for the new Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative.

There will also be opportunities to get involved in local sustainability and climate change efforts, including solar energy consultations, beach clean-ups and membership sign-ups for local environmental groups. For more information, visit Renewable Energy Long Island.

 

Celebrating the launch of The Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative, Bay Street Theater will present two outdoor staged readings of The Tempest starring Tony award-winner John Glover as Prospero, on August 16 and 17.

On Saturday, the first performance is a VIP benefit held on a private waterfront estate on Shelter Island. The evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails followed by a 7 p.m. reading, includes a reception with the cast.

Sunday’s reading, which is open to the community free of charge, also starts at 7 p.m. at a thus far undisclosed location. There will be bleacher seating, although guests are encouraged to bring chairs, picnics and blankets. The reading will take place as the sun sets, with the stars coming out as Mr. Glover reads Shakespeare’s most beloved plays.

For more information, call the Bay Street box office at (631) 725-9500.

Homeless in the Hamptons: An Invisible Community Struggles to Survive

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Bill watches as two women kayak by at Lazy Point in Amagansett on Tuesday, August 12. He recently lost his six-figure job, wife and home due largely to his struggle with bipolar disorder, and now lives and works where he can across the East End. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Bill, 56, watches as two women kayak by at Lazy Point in Amagansett on Tuesday, August 12. He recently lost his six-figure job, wife and home due largely to his struggle with bipolar disorder, and now lives and works where he can across the East End. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

To Bill, the two most important things are his feet and his socks, followed closely by matches and plastic bags. The matches keep him warm, the plastic bags keep his things dry, and the feet and socks keep him going.

Bill, 56, has a college degree in economics and a minor in business administration from SUNY Oswego. He is kind, articulate and witty. Like thousands of people across the East End, he is also homeless.

Ten years ago, the Suffolk County Department of Social Services counted 435 homeless families and 222 homeless singles countywide. Those figures—which increased drastically in the economic downturn since—only account for those who meet the official criteria and choose to apply for help. In reality, the numbers are much higher.

It is no secret to locals that the image much of the world conjures up of “The Hamptons” is far from the realities of daily life on the East End, but for the countless homeless residents of these hamlets, that image is a blatant farce.

“How can you miss us?” Bill asked, staring out at the sailboats docked at Lazy Point in Amagansett as two women in a kayak paddled by. Scores of homeless people live here, but, in part due to their own security concerns, they remain largely invisible.

If you look closely, however, you can see the faint paths used by homeless people off wooded trails, under bridges and sometimes right in town. A man who lives behind a popular business in Montauk leaves before dawn each morning, but his footprints have worn down a path to his campsite. Born and raised in Sag Harbor, Andy, a friend of Bill’s, lives hidden in the center of the village. An expert on Southampton history, a man called Mahoney holds fort at a park in the village, regularly entertaining tourists who have no idea he lives where they stand.

At a clearing off Route 27 in Wainscott, local homeowners leave food for the homeless people who camp in the woods nearby. If neighbors buy a sandwich and only end up eating half of it, they’ll leave the rest on one of the lids of two garbage cans stationed at the clearing in an unspoken act of charity.

According to a 2013 report compiled by the federal government, New York State, with 13 percent of the nation’s documented homeless population, is one of only three states in which homeless people account for more than 6 percent of the population (the others being Florida and California). With over 77,000 reported cases in 2013, the number of documented instances of homelessness in New York jumped by nearly 8,000 people between 2012 and 2013. New York’s homeless population has increased by 24 percent since 2007, the largest increase by far in the country—and the numbers are far from the actual figures.

On a single night in January 2013, an estimated 610,042 people were homeless in the United States. Over one-third of those people, about 215,000 of them, live in unsheltered locations, such as under bridges, in cars or in abandoned buildings.

To Bill, living in a car does not make you homeless; there’s a roof over your head and a place you can count on.

Born in Jamaica, Queens, and a graduate of Hauppauge High School, Bill has suffered from bi-polar disorder his whole life, but was not diagnosed till he “was old.” He came to the East End when he was 17 because he was drawn to the service industry.

“I like the whole premise of restaurant business: Helping people, service, making people happy, learning to deal with difficult people,” he said. “I thought—and I still think—I’m good at it.”

The “extracurricular” affairs of the restaurant industry—namely, drugs and drinking—became too much for Bill, who, like many who suffer from bipolar disorder, also struggled with addiction. After years of drinking to excess, Bill is now a recovering alcoholic who said he hasn’t had a drink since the early 90’s when his son was three.

“I think in extremes, everything…you’re either super happy or ready to commit suicide,” he explained.

Struggling with his condition and unable to find balance between complete bliss and extreme grief, Bill lost his six-figure job and his wife left him. He briefly lived up-island with family, but returned to East Hampton, where he has spent the past year searching for shelter, food and friendly faces.

He takes “top half of body” showers in public restrooms and jumps in the ocean to stay clean, a feat that, like most conditions of homelessness, becomes much harder in the cold winter months.

Although Bill doesn’t like to ask for help, when he’s especially down on his luck he goes to Maureen’s Haven in Riverhead.

Funded solely through donations, grants and funding from all the eastern townships, Maureen’s Haven offers shelter, support and “compassionate services” to homeless adults on the East End. There is a crisis hotline and a day center that provides opportunities like AA meetings, ESL and GED classes to help people find work and permanent housing.

From November 1 to April 1, the center transports homeless people from the North and South Forks and takes them to one of 18 host houses of worship between Greenport and Montauk. They are given a hot dinner and a bed to sleep in and are taken back to where they were picked up, be it a bus stop or a side-of-the-road clearing, at 7 a.m.

Since its 2002 inception, Maureen’s Haven has sheltered over 2,500 individuals. In the 2013-14 winter season, the program served 337 adults and was able to secure employment for 40 percent and place 52 percent in permanent housing.

Although a lot of homelessness “has to do with disability, incarceration, drug use, alcohol abuse and job loss,” Program Development Director Tara Murphy said, there are “a number of different issues and each case is different.”

One woman, Mary, arrived at Maureen’s Haven “terrified and desperate,” the center said, after fleeing an abusive relationship. She began the healing process at the center and is now living independently with support from a local domestic violence agency.

A 77-year-old man suffering from dementia with no family nor support system, James had been living disoriented on the streets. The center secured supportive housing for him in a program specializing in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s not about homelessness, it’s not about tough times, it’s not about addictions,” Bill said of the stigmatization of the homeless. “We all wear the same clothes…what I’m saying is, if we have two different socks on, who cares?”

To volunteer at Maureen’s Haven, call (631) 727-6836, email info@maureenshaven.org or visit their website.

Toxic Tide Shows Up Early in Sag Harbor

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High levels of Cochlodinium detected in Sag Harbor cove last week could put shellfish and finfish at risk. 

By Mara Certic

Just weeks after blue-green algal blooms were detected in Georgica Pond, extremely high levels of the toxic rust alga Cochlodinium have emerged in Sag Harbor and East Hampton waters.

Cochlodinium first appeared on Long Island in 2004 and has been detected in local waters every summer since. According to Professor Christopher Gobler, who conducts water quality testing and is a professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, densities above 500 cells per milliliter can be lethal to both finfish and shellfish. The Gobler Laboratory recorded Cochlodinium at densities exceeding 30,000 cells per milliliter in Sag Harbor Cove, and over 1,000 in Accabonac and Three Mile Harbors.

The eastern location and timing of this year’s bloom surprised scientists, because for the past 11 years, the water quality experts have tracked west-to-east algal migration. “With blooms typically emerging in the tributaries of the far-western Peconic Estuary in mid-to-late August,” Professor Gobler said.

“Our Long Island Water Quality Index program samples all of Long Island from Queens to Montauk on a weekly basis and has found the western Peconics to be clear of rust tide.  Late last week, we saw rust tide at moderate levels in East Hampton and thought it might be a blip,” he said.

“However, this week, the rust tide spread to at least three distinct harbors and reached a level in Sag Harbor we have not seen anywhere on Long Island in several years.”

According to a laboratory technician who helps conduct the water quality testing for the Trustees, Cochlodinium was detected in small amounts in Accabonac Harbor two weeks ago. The algae were not visible at that time, he said, but made it more difficult to see the sea floor.

The following week, the rust tide was detected in similar levels in Three Mile Harbor and at levels so high in Sag Harbor Cove that the algae bloom was noticeable on the surface of the water in some areas.

Professor Gobler might have an explanation as to why these blooms appeared in Eastern waters this year. “We have found that nitrogen loading makes these blooms more intense and more toxic. As nitrogen loading has increased into our bays, these events have intensified,” he said in the release.

Professor Gobler addressed the Southampton Town Board during a work session on Thursday, August 7, during which he proposed two projects, which would provide the scientific data local lawmakers need to mitigate nitrogen loading.

The first of these proposals would be a series of questions online which would allow residents to figure out their nitrogen contribution to the watershed. “This can certainly be tailored, improved upon and altered,” Professor Gobler said, adding that it could even be on the new Southampton Town website.

Professor Gobler said that outdated septic systems are responsible for the majority of the nitrogen loading on the East End. Southampton Town has been looking towards developing water quality technology and improving septic systems.

“What level of nitrogen reduction, on a bigger picture, does that require? And that’s a question that no one can answer these days,” Supervisor Throne-Holst said at the work session. The second proposal would attempt to determine by how much nitrogen levels would need to be reduced.

“We’re all dedicated to trying to figure out any way possible not to kill the health of the bay,” Sag Harbor Village Trustee Robby Stein said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “We’re trying to do what we can,” he said, adding that the Village is trying to encourage better policy around nitrogen loading, and has recently created a septic rebate system, which would provide rebates for the replacement of septic systems installed before 1981.

Professor Gobler’s lab has also begun to understand why these algae blooms have occurred every year since they were first detected. “We have discovered the organism makes cysts or seeds, which wait at the bottom of the bay and emerge each summer to start a new bloom,” he said. “At the end of the bloom, they turn back into cysts and settle back to the bay bottom.  This allows for the blooms to return every year.”

During the rust tides of the past few years, scallop populations decreased dramatically in the Peconic Estuary. This year’s high Cochlodinium densities in Sag Harbor have not been seen for a few years, Professor Gobler said.

“While this is somewhat uncharted territory, we anticipate the rust tide will spread and emerge in the western Peconics and Shinnecock Bay in the coming weeks,” he said.

Professor Gobler said that blooms typically continue until water temperatures drop below 60 degrees.

Larger finfish typically can outswim the algal blooms, and are not always affected by the toxic tides. Fish stuck in pound traps, however, can be killed in a matter of hours when the tides roll in.

And although scallops are better swimmers than other bivalves, it is unlikely that they would be able to swim away from a lethal tide. “They’re at the mercy of the environment,” said John “Barley” Dunne, director of the East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery. “They can’t escape an algae bloom,” he said.

 

Plastic Bag Ban Being Considered for East End

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By Mara Certic

A regional ban on single-use plastic bags could be in the cards for the East End of Long Island.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst met last week to discuss a ban on thin plastic bags within the East End towns. Ms. Throne-Holst had previously met with supervisors from Southold, Riverhead, Shelter Island and Brookhaven about the possibility of a regional ban.

At an East Hampton Town Board work session on Tuesday, August 12, Mr. Cantwell discussed the potential ban with the public, and his fellow board members for the first time. “Today was kind of the kick-off,” said Alex Walter, the East Hampton Town Supervisor’s executive assistant.

According to Mr. Walter, other members of the board agreed they want to look into the ban and try to move in that direction. East Hampton and Southampton Villages both banned single-use plastic bags in 2011, which “has worked out pretty well,” according to Mr. Walter.

Supervisor Cantwell asked the East Hampton Town Litter Committee, Sustainability Committee and Business Alliance to join forces to explore the possibility of this ban and “see what it means for everyone,” Mr. Walter said.

Frank Dalene, chair of the East Hampton Energy Sustainability Advisory Committee, was at Tuesday’s meeting to support the ban. “[Mr. Cantwell] suggested we get together with the Litter Committee, which I have already done,” Mr. Dalene said on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Cantwell asked the Litter and Sustainability committees to hold public outreach and education programs about this issue, Mr. Dalene said. “As far as the Energy Sustainability Committee, we’re in support of it,” he said.

Jennifer Garvey, Ms. Throne-Holst’s Deputy Chief of Staff, said on Tuesday that the Southampton Sustainability Committee have been working on outreach programs and conducting similar research. “There’s an effort to try to coordinate the towns for a regional ban,” she said.

Ms. Throne-Holst has said that a town-wide ban would not have a sufficient effect, and called for a region-wide ban at an East End Supervisors and Mayors Association meeting in April of this year.

According to Dieter von Lehsten, the co-chair of the Southampton Town Sustainability Committee, the Town of Southampton hands out 23 million bags a year. Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera began an educational “bring-your-own-bag” campaign in 2012, which asked residents to pledge to recycle their plastic bags, and distributed reusable bags.

Even still, only 11 percent of plastic bags handed out in Southampton are recycled, according to Mr. von Lehsten.

“We have a gigantic problem,” he said during an interview last month.

“The issue is that the litter goes into the ocean and kills the sea mammals, kills the birds, kills the fish and the sharks.,” he said. “A plastic bag looks like a jellyfish, and so sea turtles eat them.”

Equally concerning are the giant plastic islands that have formed in the centers of turning tides. The 5 Gyres Institute is an organization dedicated to “witness plastic pollution decline in the environment until it is no longer found in the world’s oceans,” according to their website. The 5 Gyres Institute went on a three-week research voyage from Bermuda and Iceland earlier this year to study the plastic pollution in the North Atlantic Gyre.  According to the organization’s website, every surface sample collected during the 21-day trip contained plastic.

 

 

Mermaids Discovered in Montauk

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Montauk bartender, Sag Harbor Gym trainer and women's roller derby star Samantha Duane, as photographed by photographer and Montauk local James Katsipis for his "Mermaids of Montauk" series.

Montauk bartender, Sag Harbor Gym trainer and women’s roller derby star Samantha Duane, as photographed by photographer and Montauk local James Katsipis for his “Mermaids of Montauk” series.

By Gianna Volpe

Before in-water surf photographer James Katsipis had even arrived at the Montauk Beach house for last Friday’s opening of “Mermaids of Montauk,” one of the show’s 18 photographs had already been sold.

“Mermaids” is the babely black-and-white portrait series already barreling through East End’s social media waves this summer, even though its photographer—lifetime local Mr. Katsipis of Montauk—hasn’t yet finished shooting it.

“I made a Facebook artist page, an Instagram and a Twitter and as soon as I put up, ‘For booking and info, please contact montaukmermaids@gmail.com,’ my phone would not stop buzzing,” said Mr. Katsipis. “I can’t even go through all the messages because it would take too long, it’s crazy… Everywhere I go people are telling me they love the series. In fact, after Mike Williams—a huge fashion photographer—saw it, he personally called me and put it on his site, Imagista, so now you can go there to check out the updated ‘Mermaids’ works.”

The shots are dramatic – many a model immersed in murky waters—but that’s exactly how Mr. Katsipis likes it.

“These aren’t the Tahitian blue underwater shots you see of girls swimming,” he said. “This is real deal Montauk—cold, dark and moody.”

And though these gorgeous “Mermaids”—most of whom are nude or near so—may be splayed across Montauk’s rocks or appear at rest as they look coyly into the camera, they are by no means beach bunnies.

Mr. Katsipis, 31, said the series is an homage to the surfers he grew up surfing alongside, so when it comes to his subjects, these are generally women who know how to lean in.

“Growing up in Montauk all the guys would surf, but the girls were out there, too,” he said. “They were right there with us when the waves got big—taking off charging, getting their ass handed to them and going back for more. They’re not sitting on the beach going, ‘Oh my God the waves are too big.’ They’re watermen just like us—true mermaids—like Ariel Engstrom. She’s gorgeous and she surfs pipeline in Hawaii…. A lot of these girls are great swimmers, so it is really easy to shoot with them.”

Mr. Katsipis said he’s been shooting “Mermaids” nearly every afternoon this summer after his neighbor, hair and make-up artist Chris McCracken of Montauk’s C.M. Hair Studio, works his water-proofed magic on the models.

“We do the dry stuff first so their hair doesn’t get messed up, and then toward the end we’ll put them in some really sexy outfits that’s really just sheer cloth and we’ll get them wet so it’s pretty much see-through,” said Mr. Katsipis. “I like to make sure the girls are comfortable…. I’ll be talking to them because I want to know about my subject and I’m always asking them questions to get their mind off of the camera. Some girls are a little apprehensive at first, but once we start swimming, everyone loosens up.”

He said the awkward nature of aqueous photography makes breaking the ice all the easier.

“We’ll make a joke of it because water is going up our noses,” he said. “It’s not as glamorous as the photos might make it look sometimes. You can ask the girls—it is a lot of work and the water is unseasonably cold, so some of the girls are shivering, blue—you know—hypothermic… We had to start bringing robes to the shoot so we could get them in the robes, stick them in the car with the heat on and start again after they warm up.”

You can check out the series by searching @montaukmermaids on Twitter, or by searching “Mermaids of Montauk” on Facebook or Instagram.

More photos from “Mermaids of Montauk” by James Katsipis:

"Mermaids of Montauk" series by James Katsipis.

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Amanda Beckwith of East Hampton, as photographed for the "Mermaids of Montauk" series by James Katsipis.

Amanda Beckwith of East Hampton, as photographed for the “Mermaids of Montauk” series by James Katsipis.

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do August 8 to 10

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"Stable Disfunction" by Holton Rower is on view at the Eric Firestone Gallery this weekend.

“Stable Disfunction” by Holton Rower is on view at the Eric Firestone Gallery this weekend.

By Tessa Raebeck

Here’s our list of things to do on the East End this weekend, because no one’s going to honk at you at an art gallery:

Two New York galleries, the Eric Firestone Gallery and The Hole, are collaborating on “Storage Wars” in East Hampton.

“‘Storage Wars,’” the galleries said in a press release, “examines the fundamental reality that much contemporary art resides in a crate or wrapped in plastic. Aside from the relatively brief period of its presentation in a white gallery, the lifespan of the artwork is dominated by languishing in storage between exhibitions. Galleries, and increasingly collectors, have extensive storage spaces packed with artworks. In an effort to reveal the previously unseen or briefly seen artworks in our inventories, Eric Firestone Gallery and The Hole will present a selection of this cache ‘as is.’ The gallery will be stacked with crates opened to reveal their previously secreted away contents.”

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, August 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Eric Firestone Gallery, located at 4 Newtown Lane in East Hampton.

A self-portrait of Salvio Mizzi from the artist's Facebook page.

A self-portrait of Savio Mizzi from the artist’s Facebook page.

 

At Salon Xavier in Sag Harbor, East Hampton artist Savio Mizzi will be featured, with an opening reception on Saturday, August 9 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Mr. Mizzi will show the paintings he creates at his East Hampton studio at the salon, which is located at 1A Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-6400.

 

From 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 10, The Watermill Center hosts Discover Watermill Day, an afternoon of art installations, performances, workshops and tours for the sole wanderer or the whole family.

The Center’s eight landscaped acres will be entirely open for the public to move at their own speed around the installations, performances, sculptures and artifacts. Artists from over 30 countries, who are participating in The Watermill Center’s International Summer Arts Program, will be on hand. Tours of the center and collection will take place throughout the day, and the current exhibition, “Portraits of Lady Gaga,” by founder and artistic director Robert Wilson, will also be on view.

The Watermill Center is located at 39 Watermill Towd Road in Water Mill. For more information, call (631) 726-4628.

 

Famed interior designer Elizabeth Hagins and celebrated art collector and advisor Richard Mortimer are offering a salon-style exhibit of artists Christopher Milne and William Pagano, both New York City-based, at their recently opened design gallery in Southampton, Hagins & Mortimer Design. The 1960′s-inspired paintings feature women in mod fashion and amidst 20th century furniture and lighting.

“A common thread between the two artists is their fascination with the complex decade of the 1960′s,” the design studio said in a press release. “They individually approach this time period with very different subject matter and style. Both artists cite their childhood memories and early experiences as important influences. Pagano’s work considers the power and importance of architecture in [post-World War II] America. Milne’s work is informed by the colorful, madcap prosperity of the era. But amid the overt joy and perfection, the paintings convey subliminal themes of disquietude, isolation and vapidness.”

The exhibition runs through August 18, with an opening reception on Saturday, August 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. The work can be seen Thursday through Monday, from noon to 6 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Hagins & Mortimer Design is located at 9 Windmill Lane in Southampton. For more information, call (631) 488-4310.

Hagins & Mortimer Design in Southampton, featuring artwork by Christopher Milne and William Pagano.

Hagins & Mortimer Design in Southampton, featuring artwork by Christopher Milne and William Pagano.

Food Trucks: A Family Affair on the East End

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Laurie Trujillo-Mamay’s Hamptons Foodie truck at Sagg Main Beach on Monday. Photos by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

As August begins and the masses descend in full force upon the East End, it seems to take longer to do everything. Longer lines mean that the simple process of buying a picnic lunch to take to the beach can eat up a full hour of valuable Vitamin-D time. But entrepreneurial gastronomes are providing an option with affordable food trucks just steps from the dunes.

Laurie Trujillo-Mamay grew up in Southern California, where food trucks are a dime a dozen. She has never had any formal training but has fond memories of being young and vigilantly watching her mother’s every move in the kitchen. “I just love to cook,” she said. “I cook for my family and people always said that I should open something up.”

With rental prices through the roof, opening up an actual restaurant was not an option for Ms. Trujillo-Mamay. One day, a little over 10 years ago, Ms. Trujillo-Mamay saw a food truck for sale in Montauk and decided to look into the feasibility of opening up her own.

Now, her truck ,“The Hamptons Foodie,” is in its 10th year, and has been feeding beachgoers at Sagg Main Beach for the past six summers. Her menu changes and she is always coming up with new recipes, she said. She predominately makes what she describes as “food for foodies.”

Kale and vegetable dumplings are new to the menu this year, and her sesame noodles and fish tacos are also particularly popular. But then again, so are her burgers and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. “There’s gotta be some things that you cater to everyone,” she said, adding that people often compliment her on her wide range of choices.

“It’s all about good food, friends and family,” she said, and she was not kidding. Not only have Ms. Trujillo-Mamay’s daughter, mother, niece and nephew all helped out in the truck at times, but this summer she has also employed two other groups of mothers and daughters to work in the truck on the busy weekends.

Family involvement is pretty common in the food truck business, it seems, if Montauk-mainstays The Beach Dog and The Ditch Witch provide any indication. The Ditch Witch, located near East Deck motel in Montauk, is the original alternative food truck and is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary this season.

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The Ditch Witch at Ditch Plains

Lili Adams has run the Ditch Witch since 1994, and her children both help her with the day-to-day operations, as do other local kids, year after year. A ceramic tip jar sculpted by local artist Maura Donahue has the words “college fund” taped onto it.

The Ditch Witch serves a range of sandwiches, wraps, and salads as well as a large selection of iced teas, coffees and other drinks. An extensive special menu changes over the season. Last week it included exotic options such as a bahn mi sandwich and Thai chicken wraps.

Pickier eaters can find a selection of hot dogs, grilled cheeses and nachos around the corner at the first parking lot at Ditch Plains. Sisters Jenna and Jaime Bogetti have worked in their grandfather’s food truck, “The Beach Dog,” for years. Jenna, now 24, recalls helping her grandfather, John Bogetti, out from the age of around 12. Mr. Bogetti was in a car crash in May, and so this year his granddaughters have been running the truck on their own.

“The Beach Dog” has been around for 25 years, according to Ms. Bogetti, but this year the girls are running the business out of their cousin’s truck, a grilled cheese truck aptly named “Beacheesy.” But the name shouldn’t fool anyone. Their menu is the same that it always has been and hot dogs are available with all the fixings every day it doesn’t rain.

One of the newest food trucks to the East End is the Purple Truck, owned and run out of Indian Wells Beach by best friends Kerri Wright and Kristen Walles. “Well, we’re family,” Ms. Walles said. The women met at basketball camp when they were 15 and “have been best friends ever since.” Ms. Walles had the idea of opening up a truck serving acai bowls after traveling to Hawaii with her boyfriend, Leif Engstrom, a professional surfer from Montauk.

“We talked about it a lot when we were Australia and we said we should definitely do it. And then we got back here and we said, no really let’s do it.” Ms. Wright said. As restaurants in the Hamptons began to focus more on healthy eating, Ms. Wright and Ms. Walles decided it was the right time to bring the anti-oxidant-filled Brazilian berries to the East End. Their very purple Purple Truck sells dairy-free smoothies and smoothie bowls topped with granola and fresh fruit every day. “We just thought people would love it,” Ms. Wright said.

Kerri Wright, left, and Kristen Walles, right, in the Purple Truck at Indian Wells Beach

Kerri Wright, left, and Kristen Walles, right, in the Purple Truck at Indian Wells Beach

“We don’t add anything else to it, we don’t add sugar,” she said, but added that their younger customers are fans of the Reeses bites and chocolate chips that they keep on hand in the truck.

Occasionally, Ms. Walles’s brother and father help them out, but usually the two girls run the show alone. “It’s easier for us because we understand each other without talking,” Ms. Wright said. “We just balance each other out and it’s good teamwork.”

All four of the trucks are at their spots every day (except during downpours,) during the summer season. On Friday, August 9, East Enders will get a chance to sample food from over a dozen food trucks from as far away as Manhattan that will congregate at Hayground School for the third annual Great Food Truck Derby. The general admission price is $65, and guests can taste samples from each truck. Ms. Trujillo-Mamay and the Hamptons Foodie will be there.

One Hundred Writers Under One Tent for East Hampton Library’s 10th Annual Authors Night

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Philip Keith talks to an attendee at East Hampton Library's 9th Annual Authors Night in 2013. Photo courtesy of East Hampton Library.

Philip Keith talks to an attendee at East Hampton Library’s 9th Annual Authors Night in 2013. Photo courtesy of East Hampton Library.

By Tessa Raebeck

With bookstores closing their doors nationwide, one event continues to honor the feeling of a hardcover in your hand and the smell of fresh pages, rather than the glare of yet another screen. The 10th Annual Authors Night at East Hampton Library gathers a collection of over 100 celebrated authors in all genres — and thousands of their books — under one tent.

The library’s largest fundraising event, Authors Night started in 2005 with a few local authors, and has quickly grown to include some of the top writers from around the world. In previous years, the number of participants swelled to several hundred, but the library has scaled back to around 100 to “keep the focus on quality rather than quantity,” PR representative Keri Lamparter said.

On Saturday, August 9 at 5 p.m. at Gardiner Farm in East Hampton, newcomers and longtime participants, writers of cookbooks and suspense thrillers, and winners of Pulitzer Prizes and National Book Awards will sign books and talk shop with an expected 2,500 attendees.

“It’s the hugest book singing you’ve ever seen,” Ms. Lamparter said.

James McBride will sign copies of “The Good Lord Bird,” a comedic novel about the life of notorious abolitionist John Brown that won the 2013 National Book Award.

“I wanted to do an event that was book related and not just a dinner party or not just a gala, to celebrate the library,” said Sheila Rogers, who started Authors Night 10 years ago and remains on board as an event co-chair (and is currently unable to put down “The Good Lord Bird.”) “and [also] really engage the authors that are in our community. Then we expanded to authors from all over the world.”

Most of the writers share a personal connection to the East Hampton Library and many of the books being shared Saturday were written in the library’s study carrels.

Landscape historian and Sag Harbor resident Mac Griswold did the research for her biography about the Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island, “The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island,” at the library.

Broadcast journalist and author Lynn Sherr, who has written several books on prominent female American figures like Susan B. Anthony, lives in East Hampton. She will bring her latest book, “Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space,” published this year, to Authors Night.

“With every book, she makes sure that the East Hampton Library gets a copy of her book—and we’re so happy to have her,” Ms. Rogers said.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and part-time East Hampton resident Bob Caro, “the most wonderful author,” according to Ms. Rogers, is returning this year with a selection of his work. Best known for his biographies, the journalist and author will sign copies of “The Power Broker,” his 1974 biography of Robert Moses, who planned much of New York City, and “The Years of Lyndon Johnson,” a five-volume (four of which are written thus far) biography of the former president.

“They’re big books,” said Ms. Rogers, “they’re not a weekend read at the beach. You really learn something from these books and you learn something by going to a dinner party when he speaks, because he is probably the most knowledgeable person about Lyndon Johnson that exists on the planet.”

For an additional price, ticket holders can attend private dinner parties with a selection of authors at homes across the East End. With dinners at 32 private homes, it is “the largest simultaneous dinner party in East Hampton happening all at one time,” Ms. Lamparter said.

With every single book donated by its publishing company, the proceeds from Authors Night account for over 10-percent of the library’s operating budget.

“It’s really great because all of the proceeds go to the library and, obviously, the library is a non-profit and a really great cause,” Ms. Lamparter said. “And it also speaks to the literary tradition out here, the artists/writers literary tradition.”

“The most exciting thing,” added Ms. Rogers, “is really seeing how the writers feel about the event, how they love it, how important it is for them to get this exposure—to be part of it and to support the library. For me, it’s all about supporting the East Hampton Library.”

The book signing and cocktail reception will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Gardiner Farm, located at 36 James Lane in East Hampton. Tickets are $100. Dinner parties begin at 8 p.m. across the East End. Tickets include entry to the earlier book signing reception and range in price from $250 to $2,500. To purchase tickets and find more information, visit authorsnight.org/info.html.

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do August 1 to 3

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"Reclining Blue" by Christine Matthäi is on view at the Monika Olko Gallery In Sag Harbor.

“Reclining Blue” by Christine Matthäi is on view at the Monika Olko Gallery In Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

The roads are clogged, the beaches are packed and somehow August has arrived. You know what that means? There’s even more to do this weekend! Have some highlights on us:

 

The Neo-Political Cowgirls latest performance “VOYEUR” opened Thursday, July 31, and will run performances August 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9. An inside/out theatre installation on-site at Parsons Blacksmith Shop in Springs, “VOYEUR” examines friendship, womanhood and the boundaries of theatre. Click here for the full story and here for more information and tickets.

"SPLASH" by Kia Andrea Pedersen.

“SPLASH” by Kia Andrea Pedersen.

 

Saturday at the Monika Olko Gallery in Sag Harbor, friends, Shelter Island residents and fellow artists Christine Matthäi and Kia Andrea Pederson will showcase their latest work. Originally from Germany, Ms. Matthäi specializes in abstract photography. Ms. Pederson uses more earthy mediums. In the exhibition, “The Call of the Sea,” their work is joined together by its shared celebration of the ocean.

An opening reception will be held at the gallery, located at 95 Main Street in Sag Harbor, on Saturday, August 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit will be on view through August 22.

 

East Hampton welcomes David Sedaris, widely considered to be one of his generation’s best writers,
who will be hosting an evening at Guild Hall on Sunday, August 3. The humorist authored such bestsellers as “Naked,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim,” and “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.”

For more information, click here.

The evening starts at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a book signing. Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. Click here for tickets.

 

The Peconic Land Trust’s major event, Through Farms and Fields, is Sunday, August 3. The benefit features a country supper at hte property of Peconic Land Trust board member Richard Hogan and Carron Sherry, on historic Ward’s Point on Shelter Island. It will honor the conservation philanthropy of Barbara J. Slifka. There is an online auction, as well as a silent auction that will be held the night of the event.