Tag Archive | "East Hampton"

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.

Writer David Sedaris to Perform in East Hampton

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David Sedaris, author of “Me Talk Pretty One Day”, will be at Guild Hall on Sunday, August 3. Photo credit Hugh Hamrick

Critically acclaimed writer and humorist David Sedaris, often lauded as one of the best writers of his generation, is coming to the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Sunday, August 3.

Mr. Sedaris caught his first big break on NPR in 1992 when he was invited to read an essay on “Morning Edition.” “The SantaLand Diaries” is the author’s firsthand account of his experience working as a Christmas elf at Macy’s, complete with tales of crazy parents, howling children, Santas stuck in character and a healthy serving of self-deprecation. The story begins as he applies for the job and talks about the high hopes he had when he first moved to New York, imagining himself as the writer of his favorite soap opera: “But instead, I’m applying for a job as an elf. Instead, someone will say, ‘What’s that shoe size again?’ and hand me a pair of seven and a half slippers, the toes of which curl to a point. Even worse is the very real possibility that I will not be hired, that I couldn’t even find work as an elf. That’s when you know you’re a failure.”

The broadcast of “The SantaLand Diaries” in December has now become an annual fixture on NPR’s schedule.

Mr. Sedaris is also the author of “Me Talk Pretty One Day”—a collection of lively and comical essays about the difficulties and amusing, often embarrassing, anecdotes of living in a foreign country. The audio version of his latest book, “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls,” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album in 2014.

An Evening with David Sedaris is at 8 p.m. on Sunday, August 3. Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. A book signing will follow. Tickets range in price from $48 to $150. For more information, visit guildhall.org or davidsedarisbooks.com.

Southampton Seeking Sites for Solar

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By Stephen J. Kotz

While East Hampton Town has created a great deal of buzz with its ambitious plan to provide all the community’s energy needs through sustainable methods by the year 2020, Southampton Town is taking a much quieter approach.

According to Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone, within the new few weeks, the town is preparing to issue a request for proposals to vendors asking them to analyze town-owned facilities and property to see if it will be feasible to use them for sustainable energy projects, like solar farms.

Unlike East Hampton Town, “Southampton does not have expanses of land like the airport that are relatively free of limitations,” said Mr. Zappone, citing restrictions imposed on Community Preservation Fund purchases and other factors.

While the capped North Sea landfill off Majors Path has also been named as a potential site for something like a solar array, Mr. Zappone said such a project would have be vetted first by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which would determine whether development would pose a risk to the landfill cap, among other things.

Christine Fetten, the town’s director of municipal works, is the point person for the town’s efforts to find suitable sites for sustainable energy projects. She did not reply to a request for an interview.

Dieter von Lehsten, co-chairman of the town’s sustainability committee, said this week that Southampton officials are wary of promising too much and delivering too little.

East Hampton, on the other hand, is shooting for the stars with its own ambitious plans, with the result that it might very well fall short of its goal, he said. Not that Mr. von Lehsten thinks that is a bad thing:  “They are taking the Greenpeace approach, which is to ask for 150 percent and be happy with 25 percent,” he said.

Mr. von Lehsten said that the sustainability committee is excited that the town is preparing the RFP.

“We are all behind this, of course,” he said. “We are helping push things along. It is on the regular agenda.”

The Tempest Storms Through East Hampton’s Summer Season

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By Mara Certic

As August approaches at Mulford Farm, so do spirits, shipwrecks and storms. The Hamptons International Theater Festival will bring 12 outdoor performances of “The Tempest” to the East Hampton Village site.

“It’s a Herculean task to do this,” said artistic director Josh Perl. “But we’re all really passionate about Shakespeare.”

Mr. Perl chose “The Tempest” for several different reasons. Mainly, he said, because of its accessibility to children. Traditionally deemed a tragicomedy, “The Tempest” distinguishes itself from Shakespearean tragedies in distinct ways, the most obvious of which is that nobody dies.

The entire play takes place on a fictional island. It begins with a storm, which the audience later finds out had been started by a spirit, Ariel, at the behest of Prospero—the former duke of Milan whose brother had left him and his daughter Miranda for dead on a raft at sea many years before.

The great tempest strikes a ship carrying his brother, Antonio and his family, as Prospero hopes to make things right and enact his revenge. As with Shakespearean comedies, confusion and misunderstandings ensue throughout the play.

The only challenge of staging the play outdoors, according to Mr. Perl, is the opening thunderstorm during the daytime. But he decided to remedy that problem and another at the same time.

“In choosing ‘The Tempest’ I thought how can we make this show more accessible to kids?” Mr. Perl said during a phone interview on Friday. “How come everything seems so serious?” he asked himself about other stagings of the play.

Mr. Perl decided to interest his younger audience was to include children in his cast. “So we’re partnering up with CMEE,” he said of the Children’s Museum of the East End. The children will open the show; each will get a piece of a costume (a pirate patch or tattoo, perhaps) and will speak a few lines before the spirits help them create the opening storm.

“We have a really professional show,” Mr. Perl said, adding that having the children’s participation is “just perfect.”

“We’re getting kids to do what they’re good at and that is the spirit of Shakespeare,” he said.

In order to lighten the mood of the play and continue to entertain children, Mr. Perl also decided to use songs, playfulness and puckishness, he said. “I had thought that I wanted to have the spirits be very flamboyant, almost like drag queens,” he said. “They’re singing, they’re on stage a lot reacting to what’s happening,” he said, adding that at one point the spirits sing “On the island, the magic island, the spirits awake tonight” to the tune of the 1961 Tokens hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

Mr. Perl then decided that gender-reversal might have other positive effects, and so he decided to explore that. “There’s really only one female role in “The Tempest,” which is just unfair,” he said.

“I really wanted a female Prospero. We live in an age where there are women CEOs and women in charge of all sorts of things,” he added, noting that with the exception of Queen Elizabeth I, this was hardly the case in Shakespearean England.

So Prospero became Prospera, Antonio turned into Antonia, and faithful counselor Gonzalo had a sex change too. “I just noticed how the play’s gender politics center has shifted from being about this noble, magician authority figure into being more about a woman who may have deserved to be driven out of the dukedom because of her focus on magic,” he said.

“Apart from having to change the occasional pronoun though, there’s nothing that’s textually different,” said Mr. Perl.

“It’s a really nice dimension and it’s working really well,” said Molly McKenna, who grew up in Sag Harbor and still has a base here. Ms. McKenna, who has worked with Mr. Perl for years, had not thought that there would be a part for her. “I was just going to be cheering him on,” she said.

“And then he suggested that I play the role of Gonzalo, usually played by a man.”

“It makes complete sense,” said Ms. McKenna. “She is a very caring and sincere person who is a counselor to the King of Naples. It makes sense that she’s a woman. She aided and abetted Prospero’s escape.”

The non-profit theater company is paying all 18 members of the cast, Mr. Perl said. And the set designers, stagehands, lighting designers, assistants, directors, and so on.

“Everyone gets paid, but no one gets paid enough,” said Mr. Perl, who has had to fundraise in order to put on this show. “We had to house four actors out here for eight weeks. We were lucky that friends were nice to us.”

Some money has been raised, but more is required. For more information or to donate, visit hitfest.org/the-tempest. Mulford Farm is located at 10 James Lane in East Hampton.

“The Tempest” will run Wednesdays through Sundays from August 6 through August 24. Showtime is 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and free to children under 10. Tickets are $17.50 for seniors at the door only.