Tag Archive | "Hamptons"

Mental Health Awareness Day Aims at Education

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The 11th annual East End Mental Health Awareness Day, sponsored by the Town of Southampton, will be held on Saturday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Southampton High School on Narrow Lane in Southampton.

The event is free, though advanced registration is requested through southamptontownny.gov/mentalhealthday.

Morning and afternoon workshops will cover subjects including mental health in children, mental health in seniors, substance abuse, medications, access to mental health services, post-partum depression, suicide prevention, and taking care of your whole self.

Following the morning registration and coffee, the Southampton Town Youth Bureau’s Act TWO will present theatrical interpretations of mental health issues. A panel of people living with mental illness will discuss their concerns and successes followed by a question and answer period.

In conjunction with the conference, a directory of mental health care professionals and services will be available. Registered, licensed, and/or certified mental health professional have been encouraged to submit their credentials and be listed in the directory. Call 702-2445 for information.

 

East End Women’s Network Celebrates Women’s History Month

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March Panel 4
The East End Women’s Network celebrated women’s history month last Wednesday, hosting a panel discussion with local women leaders. The event entitled “Women Making Policy: A Women & Politics Panel Discussion” featured Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne Holst, Southold Town Board Member Jill Doherty and Former Suffolk County Legislator and Deputy Presiding Officer Vivian Viloria Fisher as panelists. Award winning journalist and Islip town Councilwoman Trish Bergin-Weichbrodt served as moderator for the discussion.
Discussion focused around the challanges women face in pursuing leadership positions. Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne Holst pointed to the headway Southampton Town has made with women in Leadership positions in the Town government. However all the panelist acknowledge the challenges women still face in politics and government. The panelists agreed that more women are needed in the political pipeline. Vivian Viloria Fisher stated that “women need to be asked to run” and encouraged the audience to ask more women to run for office.
The East End Women’s Network was founded in 1981. The purpose of this organization is to bring together women of diverse accomplishment and experience, directing women into policy-making positions through the dissemination and sharing of career opportunities; to educate members and the public on issues affecting women on the East End; and to promote the interests, conditions and positions of women in science, business, industry, labor, government, the arts, education and public service.

Thiele Proposes Larger Penalties for Code Violations

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. is co-sponsoring legislation with State Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski of Rockland County that would increase the penalties for building code violations when the condition is deemed an imminent threat to the safety and welfare of the building’s occupants by the local government.

The bill provides for graduated penalties for repeat offenders. A first-time violation would carry a fine of no less than $1,000 and no more than $5,000. A second violation would carry a fine of no less than $5,000 and no more than $10,000. A third violation would result in a fine not less than $10,000 per day of violation or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both.

“The current law allows for a wide range of discretion in handing down penalties for failure to correct building code violations,” said Assemblyman Thiele, a former Southampton Town supervisor and town attorney. “The penalty structure is often viewed by violators as nothing more than a cost of doing business. However, some violations create an immediate threat to the safety of the occupants and emergency responders. These violations must be taken more seriously in order to deter this conduct and protect the public safety. This bill will implement minimum fines for violations that put lives in danger and will make property owners more accountable.”

In addition to the new legislation increasing penalties, Mr. Thiele also has sponsored a bill that would give local justice courts the power to issue injunctions to stop serious building and zoning violations. Currently, local governments must go to state Supreme Court to obtain such relief.

Aquaponic Farm Approved at Page Restaurant

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The Sag Harbor Planning Board approved improvements at 63 Main Street Tuesday night that will allow the building’s owner, Gerard Wawryk, to construct an aquaponic farm facility on the second floor that will grow fresh vegetables for the first floor restaurant, Page @ 63 Main.

Aquaponic farming combines hydroponics and aquaculture. Plants are cultivated in water rather than traditional soil and the water is fed with nutrients produced created by fish housed on-site. Mr. Wawryk applied to the planning board for approval to construct a second story atop an existing one-story portion of the 3,860-square-foot building. That addition will serve as a seeding, growing and aquaponics area. Mr. Wawryk also earned approval Tuesday night for a rooftop garden where vegetables will also be grown for the restaurant.

The fish raised on-site, according to Mr. Wawryk, will not be used for food in the restaurant.

The decision was approved by board members Nat Brown, Larry Perrine and Jack Tagliasacchi. Planning board chairman Neil Slevin was not present at Tuesday’s meeting and acting chairman Greg Ferraris abstained from voting due to a financial relationship with Mr. Wawryk’s partner at 63 Main Street, Joe Trainer.

In other news, at its April 22 meeting, the planning board will likely approve a change in the John Jermain Memorial Library’s plans for the restoration and expansion of its Main Street building. According to Mr. Ferraris, the library needs to move an electrical transformer, originally mounted on a pole, to the ground.

“I don’t have any issue with this,” he said, to the agreement of the rest of the board.

The April 22 meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Personnel Salaries Capped in 2014-15 Sag Harbor Village Budget

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By Kathryn G. Menu

The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees unveiled a tentative budget on March 19, highlighted by $91,040 in cuts made from a previous draft of the 2014-15 spending plan, primarily through the reduction of full-time salary increases across several departments.

What was originally an $8.59 million budget was cut between March 5 and March 19. Personnel cuts were made in the justice court’s budget, which was reduced by $7,610; the village treasurer’s budget was cut by $1,680; the clerk’s full-time personnel costs were cut by $1,050; central garage personnel was cut by $2,747; custodial personnel was cut by $5,305; and highway department personnel was cut by $14,181.

A line item for a proposed administrator for the Sag Harbor Ambulance Corps, originally budgeted to cost $80,942 next year, was reduced by $17,442 to $63,500, which, according to Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, accounts for salary and benefit expenses associated with the position.

During last Wednesday’s meeting, Trustee Ed Deyermond asked about dock repairs in the village. That line item under Harbors & Docks was cut by $10,000 to $50,000 for the next fiscal year. Mr. Deyermond said that repairs would be necessary, not just for Long Wharf, but for all of the village’s docks including those at Marine Park. The village board is currently awaiting an engineering report on what repairs are necessary on Long Wharf. It has debated whether or not to tackle those repairs piecemeal or to bond for what will likely be a project that costs several thousand dollars.

Trustee Deyermond also raised concerns about the fire department’s truck reserve not being adequately funded. The fire department’s $401,406 budget does not include any money for the reserve account, which the department uses to purchase vehicles.

“We always put something in that account,” said Trustee Deyermond, adding the reserve has about $174,000 remaining, but the department is on schedule to purchase a new pumper in 2017. Without adding to the reserve annually, it will not have the funding to pay for that new vehicle.

“We have been down this road for many, many years and I think we have to plan for the future,” Mr. Deyermond said.

Mayor Gilbride said he would like to see a full assessment of the fire department’s vehicles made by an outside agency.

Trustee Deyermond replied that he had no issue with a needs assessment, but did want to make sure the truck reserve had adequate funding.

“I don’t see, especially with the tax cap we are all trying to stay under, us coming up with a big chunk of money two or three years down the road,” he said.

Kelly Dodds, president of the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce, also approached the board, asking it to reinstate some of the chamber’s $4,000 in funding, cut completely out of the 2014-15 spending plan.

That funding, she noted, helps the chamber pay the $11,000 annually it spends to staff the windmill at Long Wharf, which had 9,000 visitors this year all looking for information on Sag Harbor and the East End.

Mayor Gilbride questioned the money the chamber raises in arts and crafts festivals and HarborFest, noting it charges people who have booths at both events.

The Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit entity, noted Ms. Dodds.

“Our events are meant to break even,” she said. “The money we make from those events goes into publicizing those events, paying for insurance. We have the lowest membership rates on the East End.”

Ms. Dodds asked the board to reconsider.

On Tuesday, Mayor Gilbride said he expected little would change before the budget is considered for adoption, on Wednesday, April 2, at 4 p.m.

Serve Sag Harbor Traffic Study Fundraiser This Week

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Serve Sag Harbor, a non-profit founded last year to help raise funds for projects and initiatives that improve the quality of life in the village, will host a fundraiser this Sunday, March 30, at 5 p.m. at Page restaurant on Main Street in Sag Harbor, celebrating the new book by local authors Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, “The Heart of Everything That Is.”

The proceeds of Sunday night’s event are earmarked to support Serve Sag Harbor’s Traffic Calming Fund, which is being used to support a study currently underway looking at traffic solutions for 19 intersections throughout the village. The results of the study will be presented to the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees for consideration.

The cost to attend the event will be $75, which includes a complimentary raffle ticket with prizes including a seven-day stay at a home in San Miguel de Allende, as well as books signed by Mr. Clavin.

Reservations can be made by sending an email to servesagharbor@gmail.com.

Hamptons GLBT Center Hires Program Manager

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The Long Island GLBT Network has expanded its presence on the East End by hiring two new staff members at its Hamptons GLBT Center at the Old Whalers’ Church on Union Street in Sag Harbor. Manny Velásquez-Paredes and Lilianne Ogeka have recently been named the center’s program manager and program assistant, respectively, and have been charged with increasing services and programs for the East End’s GLBT community.

With the new staff in place, the Hampton’s GLBT Center can remain open on a full-time basis, expand its youth and senior services, and continue its outreach and visibility within the local community.

“The network is extremely pleased to welcome Manny and Lili to its organization. In their new roles, Manny and Lili will help lead the strategic direction of our Hamptons center and expand the network’s many programs and services in health, advocacy, education and more, and strengthen even further our ties with the community and encourage overall growth on the East End,” said Dr. David Kilmnick, chief executive officer of the network.

As program director, Mr. Velásquez-Paredes, a Riverhead resident, will manage the center and create engaging programs for the East End’s GLBT community and its allies. With more than 18 years of management experience in customer relations, events planning and non-profits, Mr. Velásquez-Paredes is a marketing and communications professional focusing in multicultural/diversity marketing/branding of the Hispanic and GLBT communities.

As the program assistant, Ms. Ogeka, a Quogue resident, facilitates programs and events that serve the GLBT community, as well as coordinate activities for the Hamptons Youth Group. Ms. Ogeka is a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she received her bachelor of science degree in physical education, health education and adapted physical education, as well as a minor in psychology.

For more information, visit liglbtnetwork.org.

Oddone Sentenced to Time Served

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Anthony Oddone, 32, was sentenced on March 19 to time served, or just over five years in prison, as well as five years probation, after pleading guilty to a manslaughter charge tied to the 2008 death of a Suffolk County corrections officer, Andrew Reister, a Southampton resident who was killed after an altercation with Mr. Oddone at the Southampton Publick House.

The sentence was a part of a plea deal worked out between the defense and prosecution at the request of Mr. Reister’s widow, Stacey.

Mr. Oddone was initially convicted of first-degree manslaughter in 2009 after he put Mr. Reister, 40, in a headlock in August 2008 during an altercation at the Publick House where Mr. Reister worked a second job as a bouncer. Mr. Reister was left unconscious and ultimately declared brain dead two days later.

That conviction was overturned by the state Court of Appeals in December after the court found Justice C. Randall Hinrichs had erred when he did not allow the defense to cross examine a witness about statements made regarding the length of time Mr. Reister was held in a headlock by Mr. Oddone. Mr. Oddone was released on $500,000 bail pending a new trail.

While the prosecution maintained that it believed it could gain another conviction against Mr. Oddone, it chose not to proceed and seek the plea deal at the request of the Reister family.

Raymond de Felitta Shows How to “Rob the Mob”

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By Danny Peary

Rob the Mob fits my category Movies That Should Play in Sag Harbor.  This Friday it opens in New York at the Angelika, an indication that it’s not the predictable mob comedy one might expect from the title.  The true tall tale told by director Raymond de Felitta and screenwriter Jonathan Fernandez includes humor of the absurdist variety, but as in de Felitta’s smartly-cast, superbly-acted mass-audience-would-love-them-if-they-bothered-to-see-them little films Two Family House and City Island (which won the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival), it blends the wit with off-kilter romance/love, quirky plot twists, tricky family relationships, and serious themes. And at the center is a big heart.

rob-the-mob-600x337 A quickie synopsis: “Rob the Mob is the true-life story of a crazy-in-love Queens couple who robbed a series of mafia social clubs [in the early 1990s] and got away with it…for a while…until they stumble upon a score bigger than they ever planned and become targets of both the mob and the FBI.” Michael Pitt (Funny Games, TV’s Boardwalk Empire) and Nina Arianda (Midnight in Paris; Tony-winner for Venus in Fur) are sensational as the doomed Tommy Uva and his clever girlfriend Rosie, heading a terrific cast that includes Andy Garcia (City Island), as soulful mob don Big Al, a serious Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) as a reporter on the mob beat, Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull), and Michael Rispoli (star of Two-Family House).  I spoke last week to De Felitta about his stars and new movie.

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Danny Peary: When I saw the title Rob the Mob, I assumed it was going to be a full-fledged comedy, which it isn’t. Did you keep the humorous title because you wanted the film to maintain a light-hearted tone even when things become darker?

Raymond de Felitta (left): Some people said it wasn’t serious enough a title for the movie, but I always loved it because it’s cheeky and I feel the movie in general is cheeky. When I watch it with audiences I see there are good laughs through the first half and absolutely none in the second half, when it turns into a different movie. To me, that’s cheeky. If I did my job right, you don’t really see what’s coming and that’s part of the movie’s fun. I got a little pressure here and there to change it, but ultimately it’s Rob the Mob. It is what it is.

DP: In New York, it’s going to open at the Angelika, a site for art films. Is that surprising to you?

RDF: I guess the bigger question is: what are “art films?”  I don’t know any more. I think Rob the Mob is an art film under the guise of a genre film, which reflects my own preference in movies.  If you don’t care about film and you just want entertainment, you’ll like the title and love the idea of the movie, that somebody with an Uzi robs mob social clubs. And if you are a serious filmgoer, you might hear that it is not just a mob movie but has little more going for it.

DP: You’ve called it an “anti-mob movie.”

RDF: Yeah, because “mob movies” are over with, in a sense. Rob the Mob was not going to be The Godfather or Goodfellas or Casino.  There’s no more room, it’s done. So you’re either going to make a really bad mob movie, or find a new wrinkle.  This movie is not really about the mob.  The more we developed the script and the closer we got to doing it, I began to feel that this movie will live or die with the romance of these two people Tommy and Rosie. If you understand that it’s about their love for each other, I think the movie will have heart and be special and won’t slide off into a genre and be this kind of movie or that kind of movie. It had to have a center and their romance is the center.  I love when things are disguised as other things, and that’s why I wanted to do this movie. It’s a mob movie, but it’s really not, it’s about these two people in love. I guess you could fit it into a genre with Gun Crazy, They Live By Night, and Thieves Like Us.  There is some of those films in mine, but mine is more kinetic. It was a bit of a magic trick. I don’t know if I pulled it off, but I liked doing it.  Whatever people think this movie is, it’s not quite that; it a different animal.

DP: So where does the mob fit in?

RDF: While it’s not primarily about the mob, I love that the mobsters are the victims in the movie. They’re kind of the worn out, tattered remains of their former selves. I thought that was a fun, interesting angle, because to me it humanizes them rather than makes them larger than life.  It brings them way down to the actual size they are. They’re the guys at this stupid club on the corner. That’s where they hang out, and they don’t do much there other than sitting around. It’s not at all glamorous.  They can’t even figure out how to deal with Tommy and Rosie, the amateurs who are robbing them.  That’s the truth, they did not know how to deal with this couple who was making fools of them and threatening the organization.  Those are the things that I liked in the script.  I felt it turned our view of the mob upside down.

DP: In the production notes, you say that Rob the Mob’s coming from a true story made it more interesting for you. If it were a fictional story, would you have been interested in doing it?

RDF: You know, it’s hard to say.   Because it weren’t true, if it was made up, it might be too silly to believe.  This story is so unbelievable and so strange and has so many odd things about it, that it being true is what makes it interesting; as fiction it would be far-fetched. Somebody really did pull off those robberies on the mob!  Tommy and Rosie were really rubbed out.  The facts of the case make it interesting. I compare this story in terms of its truth to Dog Day Afternoon. Similarly, if I write a movie about a married man with a secret gay lover and he needs money for a sex change, and he has a Vietnam vet friend who robs a bank, you’d be like, “Where’s this coming from? Did you hear this story somewhere or did you make it up?” In fact that story happened, too.  Also similar about the two stories is that neither had any real notoriety. The Dog Day Afternoon story also came and went in just a few weeks and never was a big, nation-wide story.  I think dramatizing these stories is a little more poignant because you’ve discovered such a large theme and such a big and bold story in something relatively obscure. I’d never heard of Tommy and Rosie Uva.

DP: I vaguely remember something about a list of Mafia names that proved there was an organized crime organization.

RDF: That’s why I focused so much on the list. I wanted to show that there was something bigger that happened than what Tommy and Rosie ever knew about, that they even understood. We couldn’t fit it into the movie, but the different mob families all started arguing about who actually made the hit on Tommy and Rosie.  One of them was caught on tape taking credit for it and he wound up being sent to prison for the rest of his life. I couldn’t dramatize any of that because it happened after they were dead, and the movie has to end when Tommy and Rosie are shot. I didn’t really want there to be a long coda. But yeah, there were things about them that were a bigger story.  Jonathan Fernandez, the writer, and I talked about the size of a movie that’s just a caper film. And Jon pointed out that what The King’s Speech was really telling us is that if this guy didn’t fix his speech impediment, England would have lost the war. It’s not that cynical, but the gist of our story is that a little act led to something heroic. We started looking at Tommy and Rosie as two little people who actually took down a big chunk of the mob. They didn’t mean to, they didn’t know they were having that effect, but Tommy’s crusade against the guys who beat up his dad when he was as a little boy actually leads to big things. He got somewhere in his life, he did finally accomplish something, and I find that very moving. If you can twist the story that way, then I think you’ve got a great character arc.

DP: There seems to be a parallel story.  Big Al tells the FBI that he doesn’t want to be humiliated in front of his grandson and as a boy Tommy experienced his own father being beaten up and humiliated in front of him.

RDF: I don’t know if other people get it but the fact is that Tommy and Big Al had so much in common.

DP: I think Big Al would have liked Tommy, actually. He would have understood Tommy’s anger toward the mob from what happened to his father.

RDF: I think you’re right. They’re both haunted by deaths in their pasts, they’re both haunted by things they can’t change or avenge.  And ultimately Tommy’s actions have a huge impact on Big Al, although they’ve never met.  When we were editing a scene with Big Al in post-production, we’d cut to Tommy and Rosie just to reiterate that their stories are impacting on each other. I think it’s so interesting in life to look back and realize the people who’ve impacted you whom you’ve never met. You’ve somehow had this parallel existence, and one person’s actions have paid off positively or negatively in someone else’s life.

DP: Tommy has charm according to Rosie, but Big Al’s the person who really has the charm in the film.  And he’s probably the one really smart person in the movie. Do you think a reason Tommy and Rosie are so vulnerable is because they’re not smart enough?

RDF: I think they’re idiot savants.  They don’t really know what they’ve gotten themselves into. They think they’ve got a handle on it, but no. She’s reasonably more polished than he’s ever going to be, but yeah, they’re not smart enough.  Andy Garcia plays Big Al as a guy who was actually too smart to be a mob boss. He really shouldn’t have wound up where he is. He should have been a businessman.

DP: He loves to cook so he could have run a legit Italian restaurant.

RDF: That part Andy and I developed together. We were looking to create a Don that hadn’t been done. He’s not Powerman; he’s tired, he’s a grandfather, he doesn’t really understand how he got where he is.  I felt the way he’s portrayed by Andy is a big part of our turning the whole mob concept on its head.  What if it’s not about a powerful Don and about “respect” and all that crap, which we’ve seen so many times? What if it’s about a guy who wants to play chess with his grandson?  Big Al’s fatal flaw is ultimately his humanity–he doesn’t order a hit on Tommy and Rosie at the very beginning before things escalate.  That’s what you’re supposed to do as a mafia don.

DP: The Uvas were really married, but in the movie they’re not married.

RDF: Yeah, we took that liberty because I wanted us to see Tommy ask Rosie to marry him.  I just felt it was such a beautiful place for them to finally get to. The fact is they really were murdered on Christmas Eve, so I wanted them to have that moment before it happens.  That’s the sentimental Italian in me.

SPOILER ALERT

DP: There’s a Bonnie and Clyde reference in regard to their being shot in their car, but you are very protective of them and we don’t see them get torn up by the hail of bullets.  What happens to them could be shown with as much brutality as what happens to Bonnie and Clyde in Arthur Penn’s movie, but you don’t, won’t, let that happen.

RDF: Well, you’re not going to beat Arthur Penn’s ending.  But I also don’t need to see their death.  I only need to know that they get gunned down and what the ending is going to be.  I was inspired in some ways by the ending of The Wrestler, where he goes leaping off the ropes into the ring, after he’s told he can’t wrestle anymore.  You don’t need to see anything after that.

DP: I love that it’s elegiac, even sweet and super romantic, oddly enough.

RDF: I thought the same thing. To me, that was very important – how do we feel about Tommy and Rosie at the end?  Do we end with a huge downer and see blood everywhere ? That was something we developed as we were doing it, we figured out a way to give them some dignity and let their romance live on.

END SPOILER ALERT

DP: In the production notes Nina Arianda says that the romance between Tommy and Rosie is kind of a combination of Romeo and Juliet, Bonnie and Clyde, and Sid and Nancy. Actresses usually don’t bring up Sid and Nancy in conversation, but there’s a madness in the romance that really appealed to her in that film and in Rob the Mob.

RDF: Michael Pitt and I talked about how great love, passionate love, is actually a destructive force. It doesn’t have any boundaries, it does whatever it needs to do, it has its own fierce energy.  That’s how we saw the romance of Tommy and Rosie.  It’s a force that can’t be stopped. They create their own catastrophe. The way I always read the real story of Tommy and Rosie is that she was trying to show the world what she saw in him. She wanted the rest of the world to see it. It was so much bigger than what anyone else had ever thought of this guy who seems pretty much like a druggy ex-con. He had this side to him that she believed in, and that was his humanity and poignancy. The whole act of what they do–coming up with his bizarre scheme and pulling it off–is his work of art and his gift to the world. She was so proud of him for it. That’s what I loved about their real story.  It was about two people who in their sociopathic way thought they were doing something light and beautiful for each other.

DP: In Gun Crazy and Bonnie and Clyde the robberies themselves are sexual acts to communicate the love the two lead characters feel for each other.  Are you trying to show the same thing when they kiss in the car before he commits the crimes and when they celebrate in their apartment afterward, throwing the money into the air?

RDF: I do think what we show after the robbery is like an orgasmic release for them. But they also have a practical consideration. They are trying to put together enough money so they can settle down and finally be normal.  There’s the whole concept–One of these days I’m going to be like everyone else– that a lot of us carry around, mistakenly. If only I could organize the world to fit my needs, then I’ll finally be part of the normal world.

DP: Do Tommy and Rosie have a death wish and is their being ill-fated part of the romance?

RDF:  I guess so, but I look at it as Rosie being so in love with Tommy that she’ll do whatever he needs to complete his journey. She’s not necessarily the doomed one. She’s just so profoundly in love with Tommy and so believes in his misunderstood genius that’s lost in the world, that she’ll do whatever.  That of course leads to their doom.

DP: And she sacrifices her career at the collection agency for him.  Granted, it’s a weird career, but you see what talent she has to do it. And he has no talent to do it. She could take over the agency some day.

RDF: She absolutely could be working in a hair salon or be a teller in a bank. Rosie is every one of those great girls from Queens who maybe had some drug issues in high school, but got over it and now have jobs. Tommy isn’t capable of working a real job. He is a dark, sad, sociopathic young man.

DP: Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda are perfectly cast. I think you might look at the film now and say, nobody else in the whole world but these two actors could play these parts. I’m sure you recognized they have the potential to be superstars down the road, but at this particular time, you could still afford them. You were very lucky. Is that how you see it?

RDF: Absolutely. It’s funny how these things come about, the weird journey of filmmaking. The very first actor we sent the script to was Michael Pitt. The script was not exactly the script we ended up shooting, but it was a pass at it and you could understand what the basics were. And Michael “got it.”  I thought, “If this guy gets it, he’ll become a collaborator through the whole process.” I wanted to have a relationship with the actor playing Tommy.  I wanted it to be like Scorsese and De Niro, and we’d do this film together, and create Tommy. I thought that if we got that character right, the movie would have heart and soul. If we didn’t, we’d have simply a guy playing a young thug.  So Michael and I became very close while working on the development of the story and his character.

DP: With dark hair, Michael Pitt looks a little like Elvis in your movie, a good-acting Elvis.

RDF: A very young Elvis, yeah.  It took us a long time to get the financing because everyone was trying to get us to get a bigger name than Michael to play Tommy.  They also wanted a big name actress to play Rosie.  But none of them wanted to do it– Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson. You make a list of name actresses, you send it out, you don’t really know if they ever read it. After quite some time, my producer said, “Look, if we make the movie for less money, we can probably get this done and not have to try to rope in a name actress as if we were searching for Scarlett O’Hara.  It’s ridiculous.” So on Michael’s recommendation we went after Nina. She had this tremendous Broadway life that happened to her very quickly, so when they brought her name up, I asked, “Is she going to want to do it, or is she waiting for a starring role in a bigger movie?”  She read the script and really loved it, and met with me and Michael.  Like you say, I can’t imagine anyone else playing those parts now.  A wonderful thing about filmmaking is that once it’s done, it’s real.  Those two amazing actors are in my movie.  But it’s funny that along the way there are always so many bizarre iterations.

 

Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund Revenues Up 54-Percent in February

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Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced this week that revenues for the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund produced $7.60 million in revenue for the five East End towns for February 2014, compared with $4.92 million in 2013, a 54.5-percent increase. In 2014, a total of $14.61 million has been raised so far, which is a 9-percent decrease from last year.

Since its inception in 1999, the Peconic Bay Regional CPF has generated $899.34 million through a 2-percent real estate transfer tax. The 2-percent transfer tax under the CPF expires in 2030.