Tag Archive | "Hamptons"

Homeless in the Hamptons: An Invisible Community Struggles to Survive

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

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

By Tessa Raebeck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wright To Head Hospital Board

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Ken Wright Board Chair 071614

Southampton Hospital’s board of directors on July 12 elected Kenneth B. Wright its chairman.  He succeeds Peter Larsen who was a member of the board for 15 years and served 10 years as chairman.

A hospital board member since 2004, Mr. Wright was previously co-vice chairman along with attorney Richard J. Hiegel. He serves on the board’s executive, facilities and properties, finance and budget, and public affairs committees.

Born at Southampton Hospital, Mr. Wright is the son of the late Dr. Kenneth B. Wright, who at one time served as the hospital’s chief of surgery.

Mr. Wright is a resident of Southampton and is the founder of Wright & Company Construction Inc. in Bridgehampton.

Ina Garten

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Ina Garten

Photo by Ben Fink.

 Ina Garten, sometimes known as the Barefoot Contessa, has been on the East End for over 35 years. She discusses her current work and her involvement in an upcoming fundraiser for the EAC Network Suffolk County Child Advocacy Center at the Pat & Mary Bagnato Place for kids (CAC).

By Mara Certic

Between cooking shows, what have you been working on recently?

I have a book coming out in October, it’s called “Make it Ahead,” it’s all about not just things that are okay to make in advance but also things that are better made in advance. And right now I’m working on my 10th book. I’m making rum raisin ice cream and chocolate hazelnut gelato in my test kitchen today.

Where do you get your inspiration for new recipes?

I always think you can’t come up with new ideas sitting at home all alone. So I go to markets in France and I talk to friends, I go to restaurants and read books. You just never know where the ideas are going to come from. I’ll read a newspaper article about ice cream and then I’m like “Hmm, I’d really like to make gelato,” and then I think about what my favorite kind would be. The difference between ice cream and gelato is that gelato is more milk than cream, whereas ice cream is more cream than milk. So I just play around with the difference. It’s a fun science experiment, but with dessert. I used to be in science, so that’s my interest. I used to work on nuclear energy policy in the White House—it’s a long distance to travel from that to what I’m doing now, but it’s basically the same interest in science.

How did you get involved in CAC?

It started at the store. Katie Beers worked for me at the store; she came to East Hampton when she was 10 and she started working for me at the store as soon as she was old enough to. And I just adored her, I still do. And so I know she’s very involved in this and she asked if I would do a benefit and I said absolutely yes.

What does the CAC do?

First, it’s a safe place for kids to go if they’d have issues, problems with violence and abduction—like Katie, which was just such a horrific, terrible case. But I also see how with such a loving, supportive environment and very quickly, it’s just astonishing to see how’s Katie grown up to be such a strong person. And it really had to do with the people around her and the organization, the support she had from the state and the therapists. It was just extraordinary to me how someone could survive that—not just that they could survive it, but survive it and thrive. And the CAC really provides a place for kids like that, which is so critical. I mean, when we’re children we think that that’s how the world is, we need an adult to say “No, the world’s not bad, and I’m going to help you heal.” And that’s really Katie’s story, it’s an extraordinary story of overcoming the most horrific odds and becoming a strong person who’s an advocate for other children. I think they really give children everything that they need to come out of this hole. They have therapists, they have a legal department, they have police departments, they have child services, they have medical staff—they have all those things that kids need to reorient to their thinking to realize that they can actually move on from this and not be crippled by it.

What is the event that you’re hosting for the CAC?

Well, it’s a cocktail party on Friday, July 25, from 4 to 6 p.m., people will come to my house in East Hampton. They can wander around the gardens and see the kitchen where we write cookbooks and we’ll have cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and it’ll be fun.

Apart from your relationship with Ms. Beers, why do you think that this is an important organization to support?

The organization is made up of grown-ups who care about children, and I hope everyone would support an organization like this. I think there are many, many of our children who have been victims of abuse. So I think it’s really important that we as a society get together to support our children.

A Different Kind of Home on Show in Sag Harbor

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houseofthewhaleweb bluedorn.

“House of The Whale,” by Scott Bluedorn.

By Mara Certic

A house is a walled structure with a roof and a floor and a number of other features. A home, however, is typically defined in a more abstract manner: where the heart is, where one starts from or, according to Emily Dickinson, where thou art. This ambiguity and flexibility is mirrored in “A Different Kind of Home/ Show” on view at Dodds & Eder in Sag Harbor.

Curator Kathy Zeiger, who is also the founder and director of ArtWalk Hamptons, was inspired to put on the exhibition after seeing “House of the Whale,” an ink drawing by local artist Scott Bluedorn.

“I just thought that’s so interesting,” she said of the drawing. “There are a lot of home shows that go on in the Hamptons. I’m going to do a different kind of home show.” And so the project was born.

“I have always been inspired by nautical things,” Mr. Bluedorn said in an interview on Monday. “The initial inspiration for the entire series was photographs that I took on a trip to Nova Scotia last year, and a lot of the old fishing houses, which are similar to the ones we have,” said the artist, who grew up in East Hampton.

His intricate drawings show a hybridization of nature and architecture. “I’ve always been very involved with detail in my drawings; I’ve always used texture,” he said. “That’s why shingles are such a big part of the series.”

Ms. Zeiger was determined to make this “not just your typical kind of home show,” but still wanted a homey and cozy element, which is why she chose to include textiles artist Casey Dalene. Ms. Dalene, a native of North Carolina who has lived full-time in East Hampton for the past decade, has decorated “the front nook” of the Dodds & Eder showroom for the exhibition. “I thought she would be great as ‘home sweet home,’” Ms. Zeiger said.

“I want this space to feel really warm and inviting and that’s why I chose to use drapery frames,” said Ms. Dalene who also has decorated the area with hand-painted pillows and six acrylic paintings on paper. Ms. Dalene “loves showing the artist’s hand in the work,” she said, explaining her use of obvious paintbrush strokes.

Through working with John Cino, a sculptor and the president of the Patchogue Arts Council , Ms. Zeiger met Paul Farinacci, an artist and sculptor based on the North Shore of Nassau County.

Assisted Living(composite exterior and interior views)

Exterior and interior views of Paul Farinacci’s multi-media sculpture, “Assisted Living”

“He’s fantastic,” she said. “I was floored.”

For the past few years, Mr. Farinacci has been creating multi-media architectural pieces that are “kind of a response to how our private and public lives are getting blended together,” he said.

At first glance, Mr. Farinacci’s structures look like miniature papier-mâché buildings. “If they’re not in a room that’s totally dark [viewrs] don’t know to look inside,” the artist said of his sculptures.  But when spectators peek inside the handcrafted buildings, they catch a glimpse of the “dirty little secrets hidden within.” Mr. Farinacci at first used nightlights to illuminate interiors, but has since started wiring his own lights to brighten up the interiors.

Much of his artwork touches on controversial issues ranging from body image to big business. One structure, a small house within a cage, reveals on closer examination a slightly bewildered elderly woman inside, sitting alone with a cat.  Described by the artist as a commentary on the elderly, that piece is called “Assisted Living.”

Mr. Farinacci builds his sculptures entirely from recyclable paper and other materials related to the subject at hand. “I save everything you can think of,” he said.

“I get excited about artwork, I get excited about artists and I get excited about the process,” Ms. Zeiger said.

“Alexis Duque is a wonderful artist,” she said of the Colombian-born painter who now calls New York City home.

Mr. Duque creates highly detailed, whimsical acrylic paintings of cityscapes on canvas for his series “Metropolis,” which will be on view as part of the show. “I like the possibility of imagining and recreating my experience in the big city,” he wrote.

Ms. Zeiger noted similarities between the intricacies of the works of Mr. Duque and Mr. Bluedorn.

“How am I going to do something that breaks up the eye?” Ms. Zeiger asked herself. The curator always tries to include paintings, sculptures and photography, she said. Esperanza Leon recommended the mixed media artworks of Long Island artist Darlene Charneco, which “explore ways of seeing our human settlements, communication networks and communities as part of a larger organism’s growth stage,” the artist wrote.

Pondview Estates by Darlene Charneco angle1500

“Pondview Estates” by Darlene Charneco

“Pondview Estates” is made from resin and mixed media on wood; it is a commentary on “suburban developments encroaching,” Ms. Charneco said. “Humanity only partially aware of the land it is a part of.”

Ms. Charneco’s “dreamscapes and storage memories” got Ms. Zeiger thinking about “how we contain our own memories, and how we, as individuals, are our own personal homes,” she said.

The idea of each of us as our own home, she said, inspired her to exhibit portraits by Brooklyn-based Israeli photographer Rafael Fuchs. Mr. Fuchs moved to New York from Tel Aviv in the 1980s. He is a well-known commercial and entertainment photographer, and has done portraits of a diverse group including Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Regis Philban and David Blaine.

“Art doesn’t necessarily have to be new to be found,” Ms. Zeiger said: A portrait of Michael McKean of “Spinal Tap” fame taken in the late ’90s is included in the show at Dodds & Eder.

Rafael Fuchs is “like the mayor of Bushwick,” Ms. Zeiger said. Several years ago he did a series of portraits of artists from his neighborhood that included Mr. Bluedorn, who was living there at the time.

“There’s a connection all the time between artists,” said Ms. Zeiger. “It’s just like what happened with Pollack and deKooning, and it’s happening again. There’s a whole new generation of artists who are coming through. It’s simmering, it’s getting ready to go pop!”

 An opening reception for “A Different Kind of Home/ Show will be held at Dodds & Eder, 11 Bridge Street, Sag Harbor from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 12.

East End Weekend: Highlights of June 27 – 29 Events

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Marc Dalessio, "Tina Under the Olive Tree" 43 x 35 inches, Oil 2014.

Marc Dalessio, “Tina Under the Olive Tree” 43 x 35 inches, Oil 2014.

By Tessa Raebeck

Marc Dalessio, "Laundry in the Wind" 36 x 28 inches, Oil, 2014.

Marc Dalessio, “Laundry in the Wind” 36 x 28 inches, Oil, 2014.

There’s a lot going on on the East End this weekend. Here are some highlights:

The Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor is hosting an opening reception Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a new solo show of Marc Dalessio, a regular artist at the gallery who spent the last year traveling the world looking for beauty. “Ironically, the most beautiful subject was found right at home,” gallery owner Laura Grenning said in a press release, speaking of “Tina Under the Olive Tree,” a plein air painting of his newly wed wife at his longtime farmhouse in Tuscany.

According to Ms. Grenning, Mr. Dalessio’s “humility, a rare commodity in the art world today, is sincere–just look at the paintings. These ideas, although not articulated at the time, explain my personal choice to leave the world of international finance and move to [the] East End almost 20 years ago.”

“The Grenning Gallery,” she added, “was created to provide a stable exhibition space and steady source of capital for these artists to continue their efforts to seek out and record nature’s beauty for the rest of us.”

Ocean the seal in rehabilitation in Riverhead.

Ocean the seal in rehabilitation in Riverhead.

 

A seal named Ocean will be released by the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Ocean the seal will return to his home and namesake following two months of rehabilitation at the foundation after he was found in Montauk suffering from a broken jaw and respiratory condition.

After Oceans of Hope, the foundation’s annual fundraising event Friday, Ocean the seal will be released from under the Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays.

 

 

Design Night Sag Harbor opens high-end stores for charity Saturday in an evening of shopping, wine, and fundraising for at-risk youth. Participating stores are donating 10 percent of sales to Community of Unity, a non-profit that empowers young people at risk to make good choices for their futures.

Ten Sag Harbor boutiques are participating: Urban Zen, Bloom, JanGeorge, Sylvester & Co., La Lampade, Ruby Beets, La Maisonette, Black Swan Antiques, JED and MAX ID NY. Design Night runs from 5 to 8 p.m.

 

Rounding out the weekend Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. Sylvester & Co. At Home is hosting an opening reception for EJ Camp’s show “Faces of the Sea.” The Amagansett branch of the store, which also has a shop in Sag Harbor, will show the photographer’s photos of the East End sea, from fog over Orient Bay to the tide crashing into the jetty on Georgica Beach in East Hampton.

E.J. Camp, "Trumans Beach Sunset."

E.J. Camp, “Trumans Beach Sunset.”

 

Fuel Fee Hiked

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After presentations, public hearings and pleas, the East Hampton Town Board voted on Thursday, June 19, to double the fuel fee at the East Hampton Airport, effective July 1.

The fee has was at 15 cents per gallon in 1992 and has not been changed since. Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, who sponsored the resolution, has said that research has shown that upping the fee to 30 cents is not unreasonable, and that many comparable airports have similar such fees.

Cindy Herbst of Sound Aircraft Services asked the board to reconsider. “If you pass the resolution put before you tonight that would impose a 100 percent increase in our fuel flow fee. Do so knowing that you are taking a giant and deliberate step toward debilitating and ultimately squeezing out a 24-year-old local business,” she said.

Ms. Herbst then proceeded to “put some faces and names to Sound Aircraft,” and introduced members of her staff to the board and the public.

“These are the people whose jobs are affected by the decision you’re making tonight,” she said.

Before seconding the resolution, Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc spoke up to say  “This is really all about revenue, and trying to make the airport safe and continue the maintenance.”

Supervisor Larry Cantwell was the only “nay” vote on the board, saying that he believed that the increase to 30 cents was appropriate but, “I don’t think it should be done all at once,” he said. “I do think that’s somewhat unfair.”

Mary Anne Miller

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Mary Anne Miller will be stepping down from the Sag Harbor School Board this year after serving two terms. She discusses that decision and reflects on her time as a board member.

You served on the school board for two full terms. Many say you would have been a shoe-in for this year’s election. What was it that made you decide not to run?

It was an extremely difficult decision for me to make I will say that. I very, very, very much enjoyed my time on the board. I enjoyed the challenge of advocating and supporting and finding good solutions for public education. And I especially enjoyed all of the achievements and challenges that the district faced while I was on the school board, I would say at first, I thought I was going to run again and then I spent at least three or four months really, really thinking about it and I just came to the conclusion that it was probably best to move on. Again it was a very difficult decision, but I just felt like my time was up and that I should move aside. I don’t intend to disappear. I very much enjoy work-shopping challenges and pushing ourselves to find some new ways to deal with old challenges, and, as a parent and a very active community member, I’m going to stay involved and try to make a positive contribution to the district in a different way.

How are you going to stay involved?

Well, almost by default because I am a parent of an incoming 10th-grader. I can see myself becoming more active in some of the organizations that support our school district like the PTSA and Sag Harbor Booster Foundation. I will definitely continue to stay very focused and involved in the actual school board agendas and meetings. I also manage a Facebook parents’ group (Sag Harbor School District Parents Connect).

What do you consider the biggest achievements that you had on the school board?

Well I’ve been thinking a lot about that, I’m kind of a nostalgic kind of a person. When I got on the board, [it] was involved in an extremely difficult, contentious labor negotiation with our teachers union. We had a brand new superintendent, and the community was very unhappy with the way that the superintendent had been chosen. So he came in under a cloud of negativity and really bad feelings from a large part of the community. Southampton Town had just done a reassessment after many years of not having done one, so people’s taxes had changed and increased sort of overnight. We had a very vocal group of homeowners who were very upset and nervous about how they were going to be able to afford to stay in Sag Harbor. I had just wanted to support educational initiatives. All of sudden, I realized that there were all of these things in a sort of tornado that made it kind of hard to talk about curriculum. And then we received a serious letter from the state telling us that the district was experiencing real fiscal distress. So when I think of all of that, and where our district has come in six years, the incredible amount of programs that we have added and maintained, our enrollment has increased; just incredible, good positive things coming out of the district. I feel happy, and I’m glad to have been a part of all of that.

What, in your opinion, are the biggest challenges that the school board will face over the next few years?

We have the looming issue with the tax cap. That’s there, and I think the district has set itself up, at least in the past six years, that we are in very good shape financially, but I do think that the hard days and years are coming. We’ve worked hard to get our reserves to where they should be and try to rein in costs, but I do think that the financial challenges of continuing to maintain what we’re used to maintaining—those days are very close. The balance for this upcoming board and their new super, that’s going to be the biggest challenge. They’ve just got to keep pushing the limits, we have to keep changing.

 

SummerDocs Series Returns to Guild Hall

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“Life Itself”, a documentary about film critic Roger Ebert (left), kicks off the Hamptons Internation Film Festival’s SummerDocs season this weekend. Photo courtesy Magnolia Pictures. Photo credit Kevin Horan.

By Mara Certic

Since its inception in 2009, the Hamptons Film Festival’s SummerDocs series has screened dozens of documentaries—four of which have gone on to win Academy Awards.

Curated by artistic director David Nugent and board member Alec Baldwin, the series screens four new documentaries over the summer, each one followed by a Q&A hosted by Mr. Baldwin with either the director or a subject of the film.

“He and David Nugent watched them all and made the determination,” said Anne Chaisson, executive director of the HIFF. “It’s really about finding the best that’s out there.”

The series kicks off at Guild Hall on Saturday, June 21, with “Life Itself,” based on the memoir of the same name written by highly regarded film critic Roger Ebert. The film has a slew of executive producers, including Martin Scorcese, and was directed by Steve James, who rose to fame in the early ‘90s when his film “Hoop Dreams” was named “best movie of 1994” and given “two thumbs up” by none other than Siskel and Ebert.

The film chronicles the life of the writer and critic: From his accidental entry into journalism to revolutionizing the business of film criticism and winning a Pulitzer Prize, “Life Itself” also shows a glimpse into Mr. Ebert’s battle with cancer.

In 2002, Mr. Ebert was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, which resulted in the removal of his lower jaw and his inability to speak for the last seven years of his life.

“He’s a soldier of cinema who cannot even speak anymore, and he plows on and that touches my heart very deeply,” filmmaker Werner Herzog says of Mr. Ebert in the film.

“Life Itself” received rave reviews after its world and European premieres at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals. “Very moved by Steve James’s “Life Itself“ Roger Ebert doc at Sundance” tweeted Kenneth Turan, Film critic for the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio.

This Saturday’s screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Mr. Ebert’s widow, trial attorney Chaz Ebert. The film will be released on July 4 in the United States and distributed by Magnolia Pictures.

The second film in the series will be shown on Friday, July 25. “Keep on Keepin’ on” is the directorial debut of Australian Al Hicks; it documents the unlikely and meaningful relationship between Justin Kaulflin, a 23-year-old blind piano prodigy, and his mentor, jazz-legend and trumpeting great Clark Terry, “CT,” whose past pupils have included Miles Davis and Quincy Jones.

The combination of Mr. Terry’s failing health and Mr. Kaulflin’s debilitating nerves invoke a nostalgic poignancy throughout the film, critics have said. During one scene, Mr. Terry lies in bed using an oxygen tube on as he critiques Mr. Kaulflin, who plays next to him. Mr. Terry laughs as Mr. Kaulflin masters a fast-paced ditty, and adds “Thank God for you,” as he looks at his mentee.

The emotional tale premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April and won several awards, including the Best New Documentary Director award for Mr. Hicks. The Australian director will be at Guild Hall for a Q&A after his film’s July 25 screening.

“We’re so happy that we have this program and we have this traction,” Ms. Chaisson said in a phone interview last week. “And the festival is well known in the industry. It’s pretty great.” Two other documentaries that have yet to be announced will complete the SummerDocs series in the month of August.

Aspiring directors will get another chance to create their first masterpieces this summer in the HIFF’s Student Filmmaking classes, which will run both from Guild Hall and the Southampton Arts Center.

The board of the HIFF will keep cinephiles entertained all summer with weekly outdoor screenings of retrospective blockbusters at the Southampton Arts Center from June 27 until the weekend before Labor Day. The weekend of August 22 to 24 will see HIFF’s first Family Film Festival, which will screen approximately seven films, Ms. Chaisson said.

The tickets for the SummerDocs series cost $21 for members, $23 general admission. The films begin at 8 p.m. and each is followed by a Q&A hosted by Alec Baldwin. Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information visit guildhall.org or call 324-0806.

 

 

Dance Troupe Spends Summer Teaching and Performing in East Hampton

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A performance by BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance. Photo courtesy of Teresa Fellion. Photography by Andy Phillips

By Mara Certic

Teresa Fellion was a hyperactive toddler. When she was about two-and-a half, her mother decided it was time to get her involved in an energy-expending hobby. And that’s how she started dancing.

Ms. Fellion’s New York City-based dance company, “Body Stories: Teresa Fellion Dance,” returns to the East End this summer to teach, perform and inspire.

In the past, the contemporary dance troupe has held a few performances on the East End during the busy summer season. This year, however, a partnership with the Ross School’s summer camp program will have the modern dancers posted in East Hampton until mid-August.

Ms. Fellion was traditionally trained in a regional ballet company, but her dancing is anything but traditional. Since she graduated from college, Ms. Fellion has had quite an eclectic dancing career. In a phone interview on Sunday she told the story of how she danced with Phish at their would-be farewell concert.

“My brother is a huge Phish fan, and in 2004 they were breaking up and it was a big thing. I had just graduated from conservatory and I knew I wanted to choreograph—I wanted to make dances,” she said. “And I thought to myself, ‘I bet they need dancers!’”

According to Ms. Fellion, Trey Anastasio and the other members of the band were receptive to a press kit that she put together after her epiphany and “they invited us to perform five or six times with them at the Coventry Festival in Vermont on several different stages.” Plans fell through to do a warehouse performance for a recent album, but Ms. Fellion added that “I’m in touch with [Phish]; someday we’ll do something with them again.”

Ms. Fellion, three teachers from her company and an intern will run the dance curriculum during the seven weeks of the camp. Summer Camp at Ross offers 27 one- or two-week long “majors” that allow participants to explore a certain area in depth, be it dodge ball, surfing, photography or dance.

Those who choose the dance major will learn about technique, improvisation and composition—and even learn some parts of the company’s current repertory.

Like Ms. Fellion, many of the dancers in her company are classically trained and will teach that technical precision during the summer program at Ross. Ms. Fellion also looks for something else: “diverse backgrounds, that’s something that I covet,” she said.

Ms. Fellion spent a year dancing in Cameroon and performed at the country’s national soccer cup finals. “I had never been to a soccer game before. I went to the national soccer cup finals, the stadium was on fire and then you’re on the field, dancing in the halftime show,” she said. “It was a real out of body experience.”

“I want dancers with that versatility,” she said.

But the classes will also be geared toward the students’ needs, she said. A large portion of them will be dedicated to improvisation and composition exercises. “We very much want the students to have self-generated movement,” the dancer said.

In addition to the classes at the camp, the company will also put on a series of drop-in workshops (pre-registration requested!) for adults on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Again, she will cater to her students’ needs and mentioned that she is yoga-certified, and that she could happily teach a yoga class but “if people want to incorporate dance into yoga that’s a class I do too.”

One class would be what she described as a “dance/fitness/fun class.” “This will meet everyone’s needs. It’s lively, there’s some conditioning but also dancing for expression,” she said, adding that all of her classes are open level.

 

For those who would rather observe, on top of a few informal performances for campers, the company will dance for the public on Thursday, July 31, and Saturday, August 2.

 

“The show will be a mix of four of our five active repertory pieces,” she said.

 

“No One Gets Out of Here Alive,” is a humorous tongue-in-cheek piece about junior high school. Whereas “Fault Line” is an all-female piece that starts out balletic “and then gets more and more intense.” “The Mantises Are Flipping (P.S. I’ll Have Whatever They’re Having)” has amusing moments but also “interesting partnering” she said. “They are all so different.”

East End Weekend June 14 – 15

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"Evening Bells" by Christopher Engel.

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

By Tessa Raebeck

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

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

 

Christopher Engel at Sag Harbor’s Romany Kramoris Gallery

"Evening Bells" by Christopher Engel.

“Evening Bells” by Christopher Engel.

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

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

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

 

CMEE 2nd Annual Music Fair

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


“Mostly Abstract II” at Ashawagh Hall in Springs

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

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

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

 

Women Who Rock at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center

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

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

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

For more information, visit whbpac.org.