Tag Archive | "Hamptons"

Sag Harbor’s Wharf Shop Gears Up for the Holiday Season

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Wharf Shop proprietors Nada Barry and Gwen Waddington with some of their unique Christmas items. Michael Heller photo

Wharf Shop proprietors Nada Barry and Gwen Waddington with some of their unique Christmas items. Michael Heller photo

By Emily Weitz

Nada Barry and Gwen Waddington, the mother and daughter team behind The Wharf Shop in Sag Harbor, have a holiday tradition of their own: manning their toy store until the last gift of Christmas is purchased on Christmas Eve. But these ladies start gearing up for the holiday months in advance. While people are still strolling through the store in flip-flops and cover-ups, the staff of The Wharf Shop is at the trade show in New York City, picking out their selection of gift ideas for the holiday season. And while it’s always a bit of a gamble what’s going to be the next “it” gift, The Wharf Shop rests on a foundation of the tried-and-true toys that have brightened children’s eyes for generations.

They were confident that the Frozen storm that swept the world would still be going strong into the holidays, so The Wharf Shop is stocked with specialty items inspired by the Disney movie. But they also thought the new Paddington movie, which was slotted for a November release, would be a big influence on holiday shoppers. When the release was postponed until January, The Wharf Shop found their shelves a little more crowded with Paddington items than they might have otherwise.

But whatever the trends, Ms. Barry and Ms. Waddington, as well as the store’s longtime staff members, want to ensure they provide shoppers with exactly what they want while at the same time, inspiring parents and shoppers by offering toys that have an educational or creative value.

“We curate our inventory,” said Ms. Waddington. “We try to have inventory that is positively educational, that has value for play.”

Some of the most reliable, inspiring toys are some of the simplest. Christmas crackers, which are foil wrapped cylinders with a toy inside, were a tradition when Ms. Barry was growing up in England.

“I don’t think there’s been a Christmas in my life that I didn’t have Christmas crackers,” she said, “and I bring that tradition with me and pass it down.”

They put together a gift basket that includes only toys that have been inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame. It includes old favorites like the Slinky, the Yo-Yo, and the Frisbee, among other things. Along with the items is a document, written up by Ms. Waddington, that tells the history of each toy.

“The Frisbee,” she explained, “was originally a pie tin from the Frisbee baking company, and college students started throwing them around. That’s how they became a toy, in 1908.”

Tying all of these toys together is a stick, which was inducted into the Hall of Fame as perhaps the most basic and beloved toy of all time.

“The other day,” said Ms. Waddington, “after we put our baskets together, we had kids come in with sticks they had picked up off the street.”

But they are not solely about nostalgia. For all the arguments against plastic and technology in toys, there are also great educational strides that have been taken in the toy industry.

“There are lots of new, innovative toys that have come out,” said Ms. Barry. “A perfect example is this game.”

She brings out “Robot Turtles”, a game that teaches young people how to code. Computer coding is now being taught in school, and this game makes it accessible to even very young children.

The ladies of the Wharf Shop love the holiday season, and not only because it brings a boost to business at the darkest time of year.

“Main Street is so gorgeous and inviting with all the lights and decorations,” said Ms. Waddington with a smile. “And customers are genuinely in a good mood.”

Each year, they pay attention to who the last customer is on Christmas Eve.

“Mom and I close the shop each Christmas Eve around 6 p.m.,” said Ms. Waddington, “and every year we notice who comes in.”

Christmas Eve day feels like a party: they have a buffet for the staff in the back, and even staff members who aren’t working will often stop in to celebrate.

“It’s such a celebration,” said Ms. Barry, “and the atmosphere in the shop is so special.”

What they love about running a small shop in a small village is that they become part of people’s Christmas traditions, and they get to know their customers.

“Every year one customer needs to buy a Christmas mouse,” said Ms. Waddington, “and another always needs a German Christmas ornament. Another woman always picks out ornaments for all her nieces and nephews, and we inscribe them with the names and date. We never want to be an Internet business, because we enjoy interacting with our customers.”

The Wharf Shop is located at 69 Main Street in Sag Harbor and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (631) 725-0420 or visit wharfshop.com.

 

 

Snail of Approval Awarded to North Fork Table & Inn

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The North Fork Table & Inn.

The North Fork Table & Inn.

Slow Food East End announced last week it has awarded its first Snail of Approval to the North Fork Table & Inn in Southold. Since it was founded a decade ago, the North Fork Table & Inn has offered diners a progressive American menu of seasonally inspired, locally sourced biodynamic and organic produce, fresh seafood and artisanal cheeses led by chefs Gerry Hayden and Claudia Fleming.

The Snail of Approval was created by Slow Food East End to support business establishments that contribute to the quality, sustainability, and authenticity of food and beverages on the East End. The nomination process is now open to qualifying restaurants. Other food purveyors and wineries will be considered in the coming year. In acknowledgement of a restaurant’s adherence to the Slow Food principals of “good, fair and clean” food, Slow Food East End will publicize the business in its web page, newsletter and social media. Approved restaurants will also receive window decals bearing Slow Food’s snail logo to promote their business to the public. Any Slow Food East End member may nominate an establishment. For detailed Information on how to apply, send an email to snailofapproval@slowfoodeastend.org.

The East End Chapter of Slow Food is one of about 200 chapters in Slow Food USA, a non-profit, member-supported organization that advocates for healthy food produced with minimal damage to the environment using honest and fair production practices. Slow Food USA is part of Slow Food International with 100,000 members in over 102 countries. For more information, visit slowfoodeastend.org

Billy Martin on Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood: Not Just a Jam Band

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Billy Martin, John Medeski, John Scofield and Chris Wood.

Billy Martin, John Medeski, John Scofield and Chris Wood.

By Gianna Volpe

Truly groovy tunes are coming to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center this Saturday as Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood take the stage at 8 p.m. to rock the socks off their audience with songs from their new album, “Juice,” released just two months ago.

Billy Martin – drummer of the genre-morphing quartet – took time out of his Thanksgiving weekend to talk with The Sag Harbor Express before the performance:

It seems that every album off “Juice” is ripe for salsa and other styles of dancing. Do people often take to the floor during your shows?

You can always expect that, even if it’s a sitting show, some people will get up and try to dance.

You’re often credited as being the most multi-genre minded one in the band. Where did you learn to appreciate such varying musical styles?

My father was a concert violinist, so he played a lot of classical music and orchestras and New York City ballet and opera. My mom was a Rockette and a dance teacher who taught tap ballet and jazz, so she had me tap dancing when I was very young, and then my older brothers were listening to The Rolling Stones, James Brown, the Allman Brothers, Stevie Wonder and all that music. I was growing up in the 60s and 70s and that music was all seeping in at the time, which was great…When we moved to Closter, New Jersey from New York City, the drums kind of appeared and I just set them up in the basement and started playing them along with our records. In ’74, my dad found me a drum teacher named Allen Herman, who turned out to be sort of a Broadway rock drummer, and he got me started.

How would you define your drumming style?

It’s like speaking a lot of different languages. There’s categories people use – jazz and rock and Brazilian and African and pop and stuff like that – but what I call myself is an experimental musician.

Is that what attracts you to the ‘Jam Band’ style?

‘Jam band’ to me, is just another word for a movement and so I like to use the word ‘experimental.’ Some jam bands aspire to get to that level of improvising and writing and composing and being able to jump around in different genres – and that’s something that we’ve always done in a very serious way.

When we play, we’re very focused and when it comes to playing the “Juice” music, its more tune-based and might even fall more into the ‘Jam band’ thing because I think a lot of jam bands actually have some sort of form; some sort of simple tune progression. I’m not sure because I don’t know what a jam band is, to be honest.

You wrote my favorite track on the album, “Louis the Shoplifter.” How did you do that as a drummer?

I just had this melody in my head – a very simple melody – and I figured I would just sort of sing it to the guys. Modeski had me play a little bit of the piano rhythm and we all just sussed it. A lot of it has to do with how the band grooves together and we have a certain chemistry with Scofield.

What was it like when you first began to play with John Scofield in 1997?

It was great. At first, we weren’t really sure what it was that Scofield wanted to do with us. He had been hearing a lot of our music and became kind of a fan of us and of course we were a fan of his – growing up in the 80s he played with Miles Davis and had really cool jazz rock records – so it was a really cool opportunity for us. He asked us to collaborate and write tunes with him and we said, “You know what – you write the tunes and we’ll interpret them and play them our way” and that was “A Go Go.”

You collaborated again in 2006, but how did you four ultimately become a band?

You know, you start playing live and start to feel a connection and you just know when it feels like a band because everybody gels together. It’s so effortless that you can just anticipate how everything’s going to go – it’s really quite natural. Our relationship and respect for each other – personally and on stage – just works.

Are you working on a new album at the moment?

In February Modeski, Martin and Wood is going to record something live in Boulder, Colorado with a chamber group called Alarm Will Sound. It’s a collaborative, very special sort of project.

Speaking of special projects – as someone who is not only a drummer but an artist who has created album art for the band and the music video for “Juicy Lucy” on the new album – are you working on any special projects right now?

I actually just finished a book called “Wandering” that’s on pre-order exclusively through my website billymartin.net. “Wandering” is a compilation of essays – 22 chapters – on the creative process. It has 30 improvised drawings and it comes with a record. I wanted to share my experiences with others as a drummer with the experiences I’ve had.

 

 

Mockingbird Brings Literature Alive at Bay Street Theatre

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Thomas Schiavoni, Jemma Kosanke, Carolyn Popp and HudsonTroy in "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Thomas Schiavoni, Jemma Kosanke, Carolyn Popp and HudsonTroy in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

By Annette Hinkle

Chloe Dirksen narrates as the older Scout in Bay Street Theater's "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Chloe Dirksen narrates as the older Scout in Bay Street Theater’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Getting kids to connect with great literature isn’t as easy as it once was. These days the simple book vies for attention in an increasingly competitive world against the likes of video games, online streaming and social media.

Fortunately, Bay Street Theater has designed a sure fire way to get kids excited about the classics. Each fall, the Literature Live! program takes a classic novel that is typically part of middle or high school curriculums and brings it to life on the stage.

Now in its 6th year, this year’s Literature Live! offering is Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The play runs November 7 to 29 with weekday performances for school groups and weekend shows for the general public.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is the story of Atticus Finch, a small town lawyer and the father of two young children, Scout and Jem, who becomes embroiled in controversy when he takes on the case of Tom Robinson, a local black man accused of raping a white woman. Passions and prejudice run deep in Depression-era Maycomb, Alabama, where the story is set. Atticus, a widower who is raising his children with the help of his housekeeper, Calpurnia, not only speaks frankly with them about the sensitive nature of the case he has taken on, but also tackles the issue of prejudice via the open hostility directed toward them all as a result, all while carefully avoiding the fostering of hatred and intolerance in his own children.

It’s a powerful piece of literature and director Joe Minutillo is in a unique position to turn it into a theatrical offering that is both educational and entertaining. For close to 35 years, he worked as a teacher in the Eastport/South Manor school district where he taught the classics, including “To Kill a Mockingbird,” to his students.

“If you took a poll of English teachers — and teachers in general — they would probably say this is one of the best novels to teach,” says Mr. Minutillo. “The narration throughout the story is so colorful, as is the way Harper Lee describes things. It’s almost impossible not to get the flavor of that time period in the south.”

“The thing about this play, it’s such a great opportunity to teach not just the literature part of it, but that time period of our history which is kind of ugly,” concedes Mr. Minutillo.

And it’s not entirely behind us.

Though the novel is more than 50 years old, Mr. Minutillo notes it remains as relevant as ever given the racial tensions that have boiled over in recent months in places like Ferguson, Missouri where an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was killed by a white police officer in August.

“This is still happening,” says Mr. Minutillo. “I think teachers see that and realize the importance of it today. It’s not over. There is still so much work to be done on acceptance — whether it’s about race, religion or sexual preference.”

Because it is geared toward school-age audiences Mr. Minutillo has just 90 minutes to tell the whole story of the novel. For that reason, he has decided to rely on the narrator to fill in the gaps where characters and scenes can’t be included. In this production, that narrator is the adult Scout (played by Chloë Dirksen) who reflects back on the seminal events of her childhood and puts them into perspective.

It’s a bit of a departure from the script in which the Finch’s neighbor, Miss Maudie, is the narrator. But Mr. Minutillo felt strongly that because the book is written as a recollection of the grown up Scout, it made sense from an educational perspective to use her as the narrator’s voice.

“Everything I say is straight from the book – it’s the most gorgeous prose and so exciting to speak Harper Lee’s words,” says Ms. Dirksen, a resident of Sag Harbor who remembers reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” when she was 13. Though she hadn’t read the book since, the voice of Scout has stayed with her.

“There’s something special about the way this character is reflecting on her loss of innocence at a time when her world went from being quaint and small to the bubble bursting,” says Ms. Dirksen. “She comes to understand not just the darkness, but her father and what a hero he was.”

Atticus Finch is, indeed, one of the most iconic characters in American literature. Which means Scott Eck, the New York City-based actor who is playing Atticus, has some big shoes to fill.

“It puts a lot of pressure on the actor,” admits Mr. Eck. “It’s a lot to live up to from the literary, theatrical and historical standpoint. Atticus is a man who’s aware enough of the conditions of segregation to know what he’s up against.”

Yet he’s a character who is willing to stand up for what he believes in, even if it means putting his own children at risk.

“One of the great things Bay Street does is choose plays for their literary series to get the conversation started,” says Mr. Eck. “Theater is one of the best educators we have. If one student has his or her thinking changed by coming to this play, then it’s worth the whole run.”

“To Kill a Mockingbird” runs November 7 to 29 at the Bay Street Theater. The cast includes Chloë Dirksen, Cooki Winborn, Jemma Kosanke, Carolyn Popp, Rob DiSario, William Sturek, Jessica Mortellaro, Joe Pallister, Hudson Troy, Thomas Schiavoni, Scott Eck, Chauncy Thomas and Al Bundonis. In addition to weekday shows for school groups, public performances are offered at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. There will also be Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. on November 15, 22 and 29. Students are admitted free with a valid ID and adults are $25. Call (631) 725-9500 or visit baystreet.org for tickets.

Radcliffe, Temple, and Hill Toot Their “Horns”

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hornsposter

By Danny Peary

Horns, Alexandre Aja’s genre-bending adaptation of Joe Hill’s cult novel, opens theatrically Friday in New York City and elsewhere.  You can also see it on VOD. Just as Ben Affleck’s character is wrongly accused of murdering his cold-hearted wife in Gone Girl, a young man, Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe gives still another excellent post-Harry Potter performance), is blamed for the rape and murder of his virtuous long-time girlfriend, Merrin (an appealing Juno Temple).  Unlike Affleck’s ineffectual character, Ig grows a pair of horns that have the power of making everyone he comes into contact with reveal their most despicable thoughts and desires.  Ig sets out to find the real killer, and as he gets closer, he increasingly transforms into the Devil.  He is even accompanied by snakes during his pursuit.  He may be the Devil and is capable of brutality, but he isn’t such a bad guy.  That’s one of the many quirks in this daring, well-cast and acted, zany hybrid that is at once a love story, a parable, a murder mystery, a satire, and a horror film with images that are not for the squeamish.  It’s a wild ride that I hope you take to the end.  On Tuesday, I was part of this lively roundtable with Radliffe, Temple, and Hill (Stephen King’s son) at the Trump Soho in Manhattan.  I note my questions.

Joe Hill, Juno Temple and Daniel Radcliffe.

Joe Hill, Juno Temple and Daniel Radcliffe.

Q: Joe, before this project got off the ground, what did you perceive would be the biggest challenge a filmmaker would face when adapting your book to the screen?

Joe Hill: I never thought it would be a film. I thought it was such a weird, unlikely story to be adapted.  My leaping off point was Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.  You have Gregor Samsa, a man with a meaningless job, waking up one day as a giant insect.  He was an insect even before he turned into an insect and even his family didn’t respect or care about him.  When he becomes a bug, the internal truth becomes external.  Horns is pretty much the same way.  In my other stories, even fantasies, there’s usually an explanation of a conventional sort.  But this is more surreal, magical realism, and very Kafkaesque.  It has a black sense of humor and a tragic love story and a lot elements and I thought that was so strange that I couldn’t imagine anyone really making it into a film.

Q: Daniel, what was your first impression of Joe’s book, which is quite different from his father Stephen King’s books.

Daniel Radcliffe: I wasn’t looking at Joe’s work through the frame of his father’s work.  I just viewed it as an incredibly original, daring, witty, and emotional piece of writing.  I was pleased how that transferred into a script. Obviously things change when a novel is adapted into a screenplay but the one thing you don’t want people to be upset about is the absence of the book’s tone.  What makes Joe’s book unique is that it rampages through different styles, and we have remained very faithful to that and hopefully fans of the book will respond to that in the film.

Q: How did you feel about a movie that mixes so many genres–romance, satire, crime, horror, mystery…everything?

DR: Joe has said how he likes old movies that did many different things, and one of my favorite films is A Matter of Life and Death [1946], which has some amazing flights of fantasy, including a court case in heaven.  It is very funny and imaginative, and also has real drama and dramatic tension throughout. It does everything successfully.  That’s what excited me about the script for Horns.  We live in a world of people who obsessively categorize everything and I like that this film is very hard to pin down.  If you can describe a movie in one sentence and do it justice, it’s probably not a very good movie.  I think Horns will take many sentences to define.

JH: I wouldn’t call Horns a horror movie exactly.  In bad horror you get the jock and the cheerleader and the geek and the virgin and other one-note characters, and the character who has the most dimensions turns out to be the serial killer.  I find that morally odious because I don’t want to root for the bad guy, I want to root for the good guy.  I don’t think horror should be about disgusting people, about shock, or about sadism, but about characters you can really love so that when you see them suffer you will root for them to pull through.  It should about empathy rather than nastiness, and a sense of humor and a sense of romance brings more to the story.  What we see more and more, especially in the last decade, are horror movies that do only one thing.  They’re only scary, or sadistic, or funny, or romantic.  Because that’s so much easier to market.  They know how to sell a movie like Ouija because all it does is try to be scary for an hour and a half.  But that’s not necessarily better storytelling.  I love ambitious storytelling.

DR: Also, if you were to look at your life as a film, you’d be very hard pressed to pin it down to being only one genre.  A script like this without a sense of humor wouldn’t be something I’d be interested in doing. Because even the darkest times in life often result in the use of humor even as a coping mechanism or something else.  It’s a lot more complicated and real this way.

Q: The movie is many things, but, Joe, what do you think of the original religious aspect in the book being toned down in the film?

JH: I don’t know if I agree that the movie toned down the religious aspect, I just think it has a lighter touch.  It doesn’t hammer you over the head with religious subtext and it’s good that it’s not a theology lecture because I doubt if people would buy a ticket to that. Ig is a giving, loving person who thinks about others.  And Merrin is also a giving, loving person who thinks about others. In that way, it has a kind of quiet, Christian idealism, I guess.  But it’s not a religious film like a Mel Gibson movie. [Laughter]

DR: It’s interesting that you can watch this film as a very religious person and enjoy it.  There’s a lot of Old Testament-style justice. And you can see Ig as sort of a Job figure.  But I think we’re using religious symbolism and imagery to tell the story of humans, rather than the other way around.

Danny Peary: What I find most interesting is that when you expect Divine Intervention and God to save the day and goodness to prevail as in many good vs. evil films, Ig must go back to being the Devil to get the job done.  At one point it’s stated that “God turns a blind eye,” so is God present at all in this story and is the Devil an antihero rather than a villain?

JH: There is one viewpoint that God and the Devil aren’t adversaries, they’re actually on the same side.  In some ways that makes sense if you think that God hates sinners and the Devil punishes them.  The first time we ever see him, he frees two people from a jungle prison where they are being held by a megalomaniac and awakens them to their sexuality at the same time–which is kind of awesome and progressive.

Juno Temple: Weirdly when you look at Ig when he become a devilish, demonic creature, you see that he’s in that guise for good to solve a horrible crime.  So it’s the idea of playing with good and bad and how good can be bad and bad can be good.

JH: I’ve always thought that the Devil is kind of a superhero and he’d fit right in with The Avengers.  He has superpowers and has a really cool look with the horns and red costume.

hornsdevilmakeup

Q: Daniel, how much of your look was makeup and how much was done on computer?

DR: It was all really there.  from I wore the horns and extensions and everything else. If there was some touching up in special effects, it was minimal. And there is only one snake in the film that is visual effects–it was actually a real snake but it looked like it was made out of rubber. [Laughter]

Q: Daniel, I saw you this year in the play The Cripple of Inishmaan and you were amazing.  You were the cripple in the play and now in this movie, you wear horns almost the entire time.  Can you talk about altering your body to play Billy and using props with Ig?

JH: I really enjoy being physical and being challenged with different roles.  With The Cripple of Inishmaan, I had to do something myself to change my body.  On Horns, the acting and attitude was obviously in my jurisdiction but the transformation itself was the work of other people and I was the beneficiary of it.  Any time you can look in the mirror, and you’ve gained distance between what’s looking back at you and the person you normally see in the mirror that’s a good thing.

DP: Joe, did you name Merrin after the priest who tries to rid of the girl of the demon in The Exorcist?

JH: I did.

DP: Juno, your character is portrayed as totally good, even angelic, keeping demons out of Ig while she’s alive.  Yet despite her being established like that she has premarital sex, which is progressive in that it breaks movie rules.

JT: First and foremost, Merrin is good, but she’s human good.  Being human is being naughty and nice, you’re going to be a bit of both.  I think that enjoying lovemaking can be seen as a sin, especially within her character.  But it’s complicated because she’s also truly in love with somebody and I think sex is a big part of being in love.   She is obviously this presence.  I truly feel you need people like Merrin in the world who just have this light around them.  You feel so happy and lucky to know them.  Do I feel she’s really good in a religious, angelic sense? No.  I think she’s human but, my God, I think she’s a good human.

JH: The Devil is okay with sex before marriage! That’s another reason he’s so awesome!

DP: Ig is a nice, caring, decent young man.  But if Merrin hadn’t existed, would he have gone down the wrong road with all of the other kids he grew up with?

DR: It’s really hard to say but it’s undeniable that if someone like Merrin walks into your life and adapts to who you are you and your lives become intertwined, then the relationship is going to be special.   It is special because Ig and Merrin meet each other in their formative years and they become for each other what the other one lacks. Seeing Ig as an adult and knowing about his past relationship with Merrin, I find it hard to even imagine what life would have been like for him if they had never met.  Probably it wouldn’t end like it does or as early as it does!   You know, better to have loved and lost.

JT: Yeah.

DP: Talk about that and the film’s tag line, “Love Hurts Like Hell,” which makes it clear we’re watching a love story.

JT: I think it’s a good tag line because ultimately when you look at this relationship it hurts like hell because his love has been taken away.  Not only has the love of his life been ripped away but also he’s suspected of murdering this young woman.  He did love her and everybody around her loved her. This is an honest love story in which Merrin and Ig are both wholeheartedly in love and I think have an incredible balance.

DR: Going back to what Juno said, Ig and Merrin are such a loving, committed relationship.  My mom and dad have been married for over thirty years and the institution of marriage is not something I have any personal problems with. But getting married doesn’t prove that you love someone.

JH: My favorite scene in the movie is when Merrin and Ig break up.  You have these two people who love each other so deeply and they say such agonizing and painful things to each other.  They obviously care for each other but stick their knives into each other over and over again.  It’s easy in films and novels to make it seem like bad things happen because of evil but actually a lot of bad things happen because of people trying to do the right thing. You almost always suffer because of love, not only because of hate.  People are much more likely to kill because of love than hate.

Q: Daniel, after shooting such emotional scene, when the director said “Cut,” did you go right back to being yourself?

DR: No. Particularly if you’re not done yet it’s not helpful to snap back to yourself.  By the time Juno and I filmed that diner breakup scene, we were getting along, but when you do intense scenes like that it kind of solidifies your relationship with the other actor. We shot it for two days and it was very emotional.  We were there for each other but because of the nature of the scene we needed to be in our own spaces as well.  It wasn’t possible to flip back and forth in and out of character.

Q: That was my favorite scene, too.  I was interested in whether they are looking at love in a child-like way, talking about their love lasting forever, or an adult way, realizing they might not know each other after all.

JT: I’m a hopeless romantic.  I believe in true love and that at any age you can fall madly in love with someone and it can last forever.   That also applies to friendships because I think love shows itself in many different ways.  I think it’s interesting that we can never totally know each other because that’s a joy of being human.  I think every human should have a bit of mystery because if you fully know someone you might not be in love with them entirely.  It’s the idea of having things that are only yours.

JH: That’s actually one of the things the story is about.  What does it do to you when you know everything about someone else, including their worst thoughts?  Would seeing their darkest places destroy your feelings for them?  I know that before I wrote the book my idea was to take this decent, sort of perfect young man and destroy him and turn him into Satan.  While writing the book, I discovered that destroying someone who is decent is harder than I expected.  Even when they are faced with the worst in the people they love, they can still find the power to forgive them and still care about them.  And for a pretty dark story, that’s kind of hopeful.

DP: Juno, at the film’s premiere, you spoke about Merrin being “a memory” because she’s dead when the picture begins.

JT: That’s something that drew me to the character.  Because memories are so precious.  Even as an actress, you draw on so many memories–memories of being sad or happy, or maybe being bored while taking a train from one city to another.  You wrack your brain for some of your favorite memories.  You can sit by yourself and laugh at your memories or be taken into another universe.  Memories are the most brilliant thing the human mind is capable of storing, I think.  Getting to play a memory was such an honor, especially to play the memory of someone who truly loves her.

JH: There’s also the Rashomon thing where we keep seeing her through other people’s eyes.

SPOILER ALERT

JH (cont’d): For instance, it’s great going into Lee’s head and seeing that he doesn’t get it.  He’s reading things in Merrin that simply aren’t there.

Q: The Devil’s not the villain in this movie.  It’s Lee, Ig’s long-time friend and lawyer.

JH: You have this character of tremendous malice in Lee Tourneau. He obviously yearns for Merrin, but what he really yearns for is to be complete. Ig is complete because he and Merrin together finish each other.  Lee has never had that and can’t imagine what that feels like. Max Minghella poured so much emotion into that role and it’s wonderful.  I really think that he’s one of the film’s secret weapons.  If there is one thing in the film that I think is so much better than what’s in the book it’s the depiction of Lee Tourneau.  In the book, he’s kind of the boogeyman.  He seems perfect but we know he’s an empty box, a hollow sociopath.  But in the movie he comes across as basically sort of a good guy with some nasty impulses.  You see a man, one of the bros, one of the friends, who could be guilty of sexual assault.  I’ve talked to people who feel that’s so real.  Usually the men who commit sexual assault and murder are not Ted Bundy figures.  It’s usually a friend, someone you trusted who took advantage.

END SPOILER ALERT

Q: Daniel, did you ever have a betrayal from a friend that you could draw on for the friendship between Ig and the real killer?

DR: No, no! I’ve never had a friend like that to draw on, which I’m very grateful for. [Laughter]  I’m sure I’ve had something but nothing that is comparable.  Obviously you draw from whatever you have experienced and with some friends we reached a point where we couldn’t be friends anymore but that’s not really the same thing.

Q: Joe, in regard to the issue of violence against women, I’m curious what it was like for you to write the scene where Merrin is raped and killed.

JH: I’m not sure how I can respond to that. [Note: Hill donates to the Pixel Project.] Indie rockers will sometimes say, “I don’t know how you can dance to that song because I was in such pain when I wrote it.”  And you kind of want to swat them because they seem so full of themselves and pretentious.  But Horns was a really unhappy and paranoid book that was written by an unhappy and paranoid man.  The whole thing is just kind of this muddle of being depressed and not feeling like I could write a novel.  The end came out really well and I’m proud of it, and for me it’s a lot easier to connect with and enjoy the movie because I have a little distance from it and I could just sit back and enjoy it while all these other people [like the director Alexandre Aja and screenwriter Keith Bunin] did the heavy lifting.  I don’t know how the actors had the courage to do what they did in the film. I want to know how you, Juno, could do that?

JT: Shooting something like a rape and murder scene is never going to be easy and shouldn’t ever be easy. When you sign on to play a character who is going to go through that, you have to be ready to do it. We shot in the middle of the night in the forest in freezing cold Canada.  It was important to respect Merrin and not wear a warm coat and not drink a hot chocolate, because if I was really her in that situation I would be so frightened.  As you said, Joe, someone you have grown up with and trust can turn on you just like that–it’s such a chilling thought.  Alexander Aja created such an intense environment that night.  It took a long time, it was cold, it was miserable in the right way.  I was so lost in it.  It was a horrible scene but I wasn’t going to be a starlet and say, “Oh, sorry I’m not going to shoot that.”  You have to go for it and let go and allow yourself to be frightened.  And to be honest, it does take time to shake it off.  You should respect a scene like that and for any woman who has gone through something like that I didn’t want to be fucking pampered when doing it.

DR: And you weren’t.  That was like your first or second day of shooting. I got there a week later and Juno had set such a high bar.  The crew was saying, “That girl stayed under those rain machines four hours without complaining.”  That was not representative of how most actors would be.

SPOILER ALERT

JT: Max is actually a very good friend of mine.  I see him on a regular basis because we’re neighbors in Los Angeles.  I know him so well but when Lee does that sudden shift in personality, it really was frightening.

END SPOILER ALERT

JT (cont’d): What was amazing about working with all these young actors was that we all just went for it.  All we could do was react to each other, so it was so great that we could trust each other.  That’s all thanks to Alex creating this universe.  You do it, and the next day you want to have cocktails together.  Everybody around you respected the position you’re in.  That was something I was blown away by when making this film.  Not only was that rape and murder scene brutal, there were a lot of brutal scenes.  Every single actor was challenged.  Even the kids who played us when we were young had challenges, physical challenges, real fear, hard situations.  I can say everybody respected that.

Q: Daniel, what was the most poignant thing for you in the film? Was it listening to Ig’s parents say awful things to him and reveal how they truly feel about him?

DR: That was horrible but the thing that brought me up short every time, whether reading it or doing it, was the scene in the treehouse in which Ig reads Merrin’s letter and finds out what was really going on with her.  That is what makes this story stay with me.  That love story Juno talked about is so key to the film.  We created this perfect, universal dream relationship between young lovers–which Joe then destroyed! [Laughter]  There is something so blissful and golden about it and I think everyone has had some version of that relationship, so what befalls them is hard to see.  But I believe the end of that storyline, with Ig reading the letter, makes the movie really special.

 

Seasonal Food Shines at Long Island Restaurant Week

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The Living Room Chef Mathias Brogie. Eric Striffler photo.

The Living Room Chef Mathias Brogie. Eric Striffler photo.

By Gianna Volpe

November is upon us, meaning time again to taste three courses of some of the South Fork’s finest for less than $30.

Long Island Restaurant Week now comes but twice a year—the pre-fixe promotion designed as a culinary stimulus for those who stay in the edible business off-season—saw it’s dates double in 2011 due to popular demand. The week is now featured in April, in addition to November. It was founded, and continues to be run by executives at the East Hampton-based Wordhampton Public Relations.

Nine South Fork restaurants are listed as participating in Long Island Restaurant Week between November 2 through November 9, including The Cuddy and Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor, Almond and The Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, Cowfish and Rhumba in Hampton Bays, The Living Room at c/o Maidstone The 1770 House in East Hampton, and The Patio in Westhampton Beach.

Reservations are encouraged for restaurants that allow such as the dates tend to fill up quickly.

“Just last night I had a little anxiety dream of like, ‘Oh my god, Restaurant Week’s tomorrow, we have 150 on the books and I don’t have staff,” joked Jason Weiner, the executive chef/owner of the participating Almond Restaurant in Bridgehampton, “It’s all good though—we get to see a lot of new faces, make some new friends and see some old friends, so it’s great.”

Regular menu items are often available as part of the price-fixe plated dinners and though many participating restaurants create dedicated menus for all of Long Island Restaurant Week, Chef Weiner said he likes to change things up at Almond.

“We’ll basically do a different miniaturized version of the regular menu every night,” he said. “A lot of places do low cost items that they can produce en masse, which is a fine way to do things as long as it tastes good, but the thing about Restaurant Week is you often get folks who don’t often come to your restaurant for the rest of the year…so I figure the best way to get them to understand who we are is to give them a taste of what our regular menu is about; that’s our approach to the week.”

Chef Weiner said he focuses on using local ingredients for his menu – “slightly whimsical” spins on classic dishes—counting Pike’s Farm and Marilee Foster in Sagaponack; Tom Falkowski’s Bridgehampton potato farm and Amber Waves in Amagansett among those local purveyors to provide him with produce.

“It’s all about ingredients,” said Mr. Weiner. “I’m lucky enough to be on the East End of Long Island, where even now my cauliflower, my celery, my cabbage, my Brussels sprouts; the greens and potatoes, are all coming locally.”

Almond’s restaurant week menus will feature such dishes as its Lamb braciole with bitter greens and polenta raviolini and a variety of steaks, including marinated hangar steak, a grass-fed flat iron steak and a 13-ounce New York strip, which may be chosen for a slight upcharge.

“We’ll also do one of our two soups, one of which is a smoked oyster and cauliflower soup,” he said. “We get our oysters from our friends over at Montauk Shellfish Company and our cauliflower comes from Pike’s Farm.”

Almond isn’t the only restaurant that will rely heavily on its regular menu to outline its restaurant week offerings. East Hampton’s The Living Room, restaurant of luxury hotel c/o The Maidstone, will derive its menu entirely from its regular fare.

“We want to give a representation of what we do year-round, not just something done specifically for that week,” said The Living Room’s restaurant manager Adam Lancashire. “We want people to have a three-course meal that will be available to them both the week after and the week before…We will be telling everyone that comes, ‘These dishes haven’t been watered down and we haven’t gotten a cheaper product to put it together; we stuck with our philosophy.”

The Living Room’s entrees will include its popular new poached cod and a beef Bourguignon Mr. Lancashire suggested enjoying with a glass of pinot noir.

“We’re very excited to be part of restaurant week,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to show people what you offer year-round.”

If you’re searching for short ribs, try the participating Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor as director of operations Eric Peele counted the dish among its planned restaurant week menu.

“We may rotate in and out a hangar steak, but we’ll always have fish on the menu,” Mr. Peele added. “Our standard far is what popular, like our rigatoni Bolognese and salmon.”

Long Island Restaurant Week begins November 2 and runs through November 9. For more information, visit longislandrestaurantweek.com. 

“The World Goes ‘Round” Brings Kander & Ebb to Southampton Cultural Center

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The cast of “The World Goes ‘Round, the Songs of Kander and Ebb.” Photo by Tom Kochie.

The cast of “The World Goes ‘Round, the Songs of Kander and Ebb.” Photo by Tom Kochie.

By Annette Hinkle

The legendary songwriting duo of Kander and Ebb have been responsible for some of the biggest hits on Broadway in the past half century. Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb first began their collaboration back in 1962, and in the years that followed, the pair wrote a prolific number of songs and scores including “Cabaret,” which is currently enjoying a revival on Broadway in the old Studio 54 space, “Funny Lady,” and, perhaps their most memorable (and biggest) hit, “Chicago.”

And because he has been denied the rights to produce “Chicago” time and time again (it’s been 17 consecutive years, but who’s counting) this fall, Michael Disher, director of Center Stage at Southampton Cultural Center, decided to approach the challenge from a totally unique angle by bringing the music of Kander and Ebb to the stage in an entirely different form.

“The World Goes ‘Round, The Songs of Kander & Ebb” kicks off Center Stage’s new season and the production is playing at the Southampton Cultural Center now through November 9. The show takes its title from a tune the songwriting team wrote for Liza Minnelli in the 1977 film “New York, New York.” That film’s title song, also included in the show, was, of course, a standard by Frank Sinatra.

Those expecting a night of musical theater filled with plot structure, intriguing narratives and a boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl again kind of experience may be disappointed. In fact, this production is not a structured play, but rather, a musical revue. Which means that audience members who can’t get enough of wall to wall song and dance numbers will get their fill and then some.

In this show, there are no sets, precious few props and the costumes consist of a simple selection of basic black wardrobe pieces. The songs of Kander and Ebb are the stars here, and to pull it off, Mr. Disher has assembled a varied cast of 10 singers and dancers, some of whom are admittedly more comfortable in the song and dance role than others. They include Richard Adler, Isabel Alvarez, Holly Marie Dunn, Sharon Mulvaney, Jaclyn Randazzo, Mary Sabo, Jack Seabury, Kyle Sherlock, Josephine Wallace and Edna Winston.

And though you won’t get the whole play, the music of “Chicago” is well-represented in this production with “All That Jazz,” “Class,” “Mr. Cellophane” and “Me and My Baby” all in the line up. Also expect songs from “Funny Lady,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and yes, Sinatra’s signature song, “New York, New York.”

Also expect to hear some long forgotten numbers that only true Kander and Ebb fans are likely to know, including a lovely rendition of “Colored Lights” offered by Ms. Dunn from “The Rink,” one of their less successful Broadway plays, and “My Coloring Book,” a song that comes not from a musical, but rather Barbra Streisand’s second album recorded in 1963. In this production, the number is performed sweetly by Ms. Randazzo.

Despite the fact that Kander and Ebb wrote their material in the last half of the 20th century, some of their numbers feel oddly dated today in an “aw, shucks” kind of way. Younger audience members may not always appreciate the sappy nature of some of the duo’s more sentimental pieces, but in some cases, that dated quality works well here. Particularly impressive in the first act is “There Goes the Ball Game” from “New York, New York.” Performed in this production by a trio consisting of Ms. Randazzo, Ms. Dunn and Ms. Alvarez, the singers’ Andrew’s Sisters-esque treatment of the song, with harmonies that are stellar, is evocative of another era in the best of ways.

But ultimately this revue show is at its best (and most dynamic) with numbers like “All That Jazz” when the whole cast gets into the act with more compelling staging and dance moves (thanks to choreography by Mr. Disher and Bethany Dellapolla).

Act Two begins on a particular high note with the versatile Ms. Sabo offering a very fun rendition of “Ring Them Bells” (from “Liza with a Z”). This narrative song tells the story of a young woman from Riverside Drive who travels the world in search of Mr. Right, only to meet the boy next door, literally, on a beach in Dubrovnik. The whole cast gets in on the act on this one as well, and the addition of ankle and wrist bells, along with the cleverly written lyrics and expressive singing by Ms. Sabo, add great charm to the piece.

There are fine moments too where multiple songs are offered at once to great effect. This technique is particularly effective when Mr. Seabury, Ms. Dunn and Ms. Sabo perform as a trio by offering up “We Can Make It” (from “The Rink”), “Maybe This Time” (from “Cabaret”) and “Isn’t This Better” (from Funny Lady”) simultaneously.

Mr. Seabury continues to shine in the final numbers of the revue, which ends on a high note with music from “Cabaret” in which he assumes the role of the Master of Ceremonies, first with “Money Money,” followed by the show’s title song. Finally there comes, “New York, New York” itself with a Sinatra-inspired imitation that is spot on.

What else could you possibly imagine ending the evening with? And when it comes to revisiting the music of Kander and Ebb, what more could you possibly want?

Center Stage at SCC presents The World Goes ‘Round, the Songs of Kander and Ebb through Sunday November 9, at SCC’s Levitas Center for the Arts. Karen Hochstedler is musical director. Other Kander and Ebb shows represented in the revue include “Woman of the Year,” “The Happy Time,” “Flora, The Red Menace,” “The Act” and “70, Girls, 70.” Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on the stage of The Levitas Center for the Arts, 25 Pond Lane, across from Agawam Park in Southampton Village. General admission is $25 (students $12). Group rates are available and reservations are encouraged by calling (631) 287-4377 or visiting scc-arts.org.

Mary Ellen Bartley Leans Above the Page at Guild Hall

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UNTITLED_1

By Annette Hinkle

 

On its surface, a book looks like a fairly simple object. But crack one open and you just might find a tool with transformative powers. Between the covers of a good book it’s possible to discover the essence of emotion, beauty, compassion or suspense. A book can be wholly meditative or a call to action.

For artist Mary Ellen Bartley, books are nothing short of pure inspiration. But for Bartley, it’s not what lies between the pages that is most important, rather it’s the form of the external package itself.

Ms. Bartley took top honors in Guild Hall’s 74th Artist Members Exhibition in 2012 and as a result, has been given a solo exhibition, “Leaning Above the Page,” which will be on view at Guild Hall through January 4. Included in the show are 19 images from five of Ms. Bartley’s ongoing photographic series — Standing Open, Paperbacks, Sea Change, Blue Books and Push 2 Stops. This Saturday, Ms. Bartley will host a gallery talk about her work at Guild Hall at 2 p.m.

All the photographs in the show were taken between 2004 and 2014 and while books are the overarching theme of Ms. Bartley’s imagery, she does not reveal titles or context in her work. Instead, she prefers to offer views of books stacked atop one another, lined up side by side, or viewed up close with pages slightly fanned. In these instances the imagery references the sculptural form books assume when viewed externally from various perspectives.

“Leaning Above the Page,” the show’s title, is inspired by the Wallace Stevens poem “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm.” The poem evokes the notion of understanding that can be had by slowing down, disconnecting from life’s external noise and simply allowing a good book to do its job through silent bonding.

“It’s the idea that within a situation of quiet and calm, there is the space and the time to try and find connection and meaning,” explains Ms. Bartley. “In this case, Stevens talks about a book, but it can also be art. It’s about receptivity, wanting to have the connection, that perfection of thought on a summer night, a unity with the art or the book.”

“To me, it’s so important,” says Ms. Bartley. “Looking at something slowly and carefully, reading something in a quiet house, finding meaning by going to see art or reading a book.”

“The form of the poem and its use of repetition induce a calm state,” she adds. “I try to do that in my photos.”

Ms. Bartley’s photographs capture the quiet complexity that all books potentially hold — be it through the varied hues of white found in the pages of a stack of paperbacks or the blue and green hardcovers which appear nearly painterly in her artistic treatment of them.

“I think an interesting thing about these images is they’re very much about suppressing the content and muting it,” she says.

When asked how she came upon the idea of using books as subjects, Ms. Bartley explains:

“I was looking for a still life subject I could photograph for an extended period of time and look at in different ways again and again,” she says. “That was in my mind, because I had gone to the Giorgio Morandi show at the Met in 2008. It was the first time that many of his paintings were seen together. I said, ‘I have to go and find my still life subject.’”

But after experimenting with a variety of objects in her photography, Ms. Bartley was less than thrilled with the results. Then, while visiting a friend, she came across a seemingly mundane tableau which she felt had a world of possibility.

It was a stack of paperback books.

“My friend’s daughter went to Horace Mann and had piles of her books from school stacked up, a few had the black remainder lines on the pages left from booksellers. It looked like a painting or sculpture.”

One of the main reasons Ms. Bartley was so attracted to books as subjects is the endless number of ways she envisioned being able to expand on the theme.

“When you have a routine, time, space, and the momentum of ideas, you start to create series and one leads to another,” she explains. “There’s a portal to that next idea and it comes from doing the work every day.”

In addition to the Paperback series of white pages against white backgrounds, there has been the Blue Books series and the Standing Open Series — which details the striking pages of art books by Agnes Martin and Hiroshi Sugimoto. Ms. Bartley has also expanded into the realm of her own previous work through Sea Change and Push 2 Stops, an intriguing series that references Bartley’s former life as a commercial photographer.

The white and gray translucent squares in the images in Push 2 Stops are actually acetate sleeves which were once used to store the transparencies from Ms. Bartley’s commercial work. Photographed through a light box, the empty sleeves became the subject of the series after Ms. Bartley came across them while sorting through 20 years worth of old film she had kept in a local storage facility.

“They raised the rent and I thought, ‘I should not be keeping this,’” explains Ms. Bartley who tossed the transparencies but kept the sleeves. “People who did photography years ago recognize what they are right away.”

And by working in series, Ms. Bartley is in the process of transitioning to yet another form in her work — book production. As part of “Leaning Above the Page,” Ms. Bartley has produced a catalog featuring the exhibit’s imagery along with the Wallace Stevens poem and an interview with Ms. Bartley conducted by fellow artist Ross Bleckner.

“I feel like it’s a natural next step,” she says of book production. “It’s more collaborative and not just me in my studio. I want to create the physical books, to hold them.”

“There’s a whole community of people who make books, read books and collect books,” she adds. “It’s like being a foodie —people are so invested in it.”

Mary Ellen Bartley: Leaning Above the Page runs through Sunday, January 4 at the Museum at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. This Saturday, November 1 at 2 p.m. Mary Ellen Bartley offers a Gallery Talk about her work at the museum. Call (631) 324-0806 or visit GuildHall.org for more information.?

 

 

 

“Painting the Population” Looks for Funding

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Aubrey Roemer with "Leviathan: The Montauk Portrait Project."

Aubrey Roemer with “Leviathan: The Montauk Portrait Project.”

Aubrey Roemer, the Brooklyn artist behind the “Leviathan: The Montauk Portrait Project” has launched a kickstarter campaign to further the project, and her art, as she aims to publish a book of her work, and expand the project into Nicaragua and Indonesia.

“Leviathan: The Montauk Project” was started as Ms. Roemer began painting hundreds of portraits of Montauk residents on linens forged from the town, exhibiting them in four consecutive installations.

Now, Ms. Roemer hopes to travel to Chichigalpa, the lowlands of Nicaragua, through the La Isla Foundation, and document the chronic kidney disease and chronic renal failure epidemic facing sugarcane workers in the region.

“There is a near media blackout of the issue,” said Ms. Rowmer. “And we are looking to gain global attention through the archaic yet poignant platform of art making.”

After Nicaragua, Ms. Roemer also plans to travel to Indonesia to create an anthropological portrait study of the Buginese, an ancient group of seafaring folk scattered throughout Indonesia.

Lastly, the campaign will help pay for Ms. Roemer to join an artist residency at the Vermont Studio Center prior to her travels. During that residency, she plans to finish “Leviathan: The Montauk Portrait Project,” and prep it for publication.

Ms. Roemer is hoping to raise $3,000 by November 15, and already has $2,102 in donations through kickstarter by 38 individual backers. On every funding level, Ms. Roemer offers her supporters works of art to show her appreciation.

For more information, visit kickstarter.com/projects/1227894691/leviathan-montauk-to-lombok-painting-the-populatio

Do the Time Warp at The Suffolk Theater

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RockyHorror

Do a bit of a mind flip, and enter a time slip, with The Suffolk Theater’s presentation of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” followed by a Halloween After-Party, on Friday, October 31 at 8 p.m. The Suffolk Theatre is located at 118 East Main Street in Riverhead. There is a $20 bar/restaurant minimum to join in the madcap mayhem. For reservations or more information, call (631) 727-4343 or SuffolkTheater.com.