Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor"

Wanted: Portrait of a Lady

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mother portrait

John Limpert is searching for this portrait of his mother, which was last seen on Thistle Patch Lane in North Haven in the 1990s.

By Mara Certic

For the most part, ads in local newspapers offer business services, sales or other specials. But at the end of August, an ad appeared in the pages of The Sag Harbor Express that was looking for something a little more obscure.

The ad, placed by John Limpert,  was searching for a missing portrait of a lady, a portrait Mr. Limpert said he always loved. It was a painting of his mother, done by an artist whose name is long forgotten. According to Mr. Limpert, the portrait was painted toward the end of World War II, by a woman who lived next door to his family.

“We lived in Prospect Park South in Brooklyn, [the artist] wanted to do a portrait of my mother,” he said. After finishing the painting, “she brought it over and hung it in our living room and turned to me and said ‘What do you think, Jack?’” Mr. Limpert recalled.

“I said, ‘Well, that’s Mother,’” Mr. Limpert said. And he loved the picture from that moment on.

But when his father returned home from work that evening, he hated the portrait.

“My mother suffered from manic depression,” Mr. Limpert explained. “She had some severe episodes, some of them required hospitalization. But when she was up, she was fabulous,” he said. “We always urged her to have parties, because she was at her best when she was entertaining,” Mr. Limpert added.

The portrait shows a despondent woman, looking off into what seems to be nothingness. It was a part of her that her husband rarely saw; according to Mr. Limpert, his mother always made an effort to be her bubbly, vibrant self when her husband came home from work.

“The portrait is very wistful, that’s the expression she wore all day. He didn’t see the other side,” Mr. Limpert said. “But I loved it right from the beginning,” he added.

Much to his father’s dismay, the painting remained in the living room until his mother’s death in 1984. Mr. Limpert said he “dimly remembers” that his sister, Elaine Limpert Horak, brought the portrait to the funeral service.

After the funeral, the painting ended up going back with Ms. Limpert Horak to her home on North Haven’s Thistle Patch Lane. No one remembers the exact address of the house, merely that it had a fenced-in swimming pool and “it was only two or maybe three houses in on Thistle Patch Lane,” Mr. Limpert wrote in an e-mail.

Ms. Limpert Horak had worked at Time magazine as a researcher and was, according to her brother, the first American woman accepted to study and work in the Comédie Française when she lived in Paris.

“She was interested in theater,” Mr. Limpert said of his sister. She founded the Professional Theater Wing in New York City, and even “put on something at Lincoln Center,” her brother said. She was also a very accomplished pianist, he said.

“She had more brains than her three brothers combined,” Mr. Limpert added.

Ms. Limpert Horak lost her battle with leukemia in 1995 and with her death, the painting disappeared. Mr. Limpert said he didn’t know when the portrait of his mother was lost, but speculated “it probably disappeared at some point in the early 1990s.”

“I also dimly remember that at one point she said to me, ‘I have a friend who’s crazy about this portrait.’ She may have sold this portrait. I’m sure she felt the portrait is as much hers as anyone’s,” Mr. Limpert said.

For years, the Limpert family accepted they would never see the portrait of their matriarch again. “About two years ago my sister’s son called me up and said you’re not going to believe what I’m going to tell you,” Mr. Limpert recounted.

His nephew, Philip A. Amara, had found a Polaroid photograph taken of the portrait years before, when they had been conducting a full inventory of the house. “Only today’s computer technology enabled us to have a decent facsimile,” Mr. Limpert said, adding he was able to get the Polaroid enlarged.

And once he had made decent copies, he decided to put in an ad looking for the portrait of a missing lady. He knows it’s a very outside chance; Mr. Limpert remembers very little from his sister’s life here, other than the road she lived on and her house’s fence and pool. He doesn’t remember what she did here, how she spent her time, or whom she might have given that painting to, but Mr. Limpert’s trying nonetheless.

“Finding the portrait was always a long shot,” he said. “but it has been gratifying to make the effort.”

 

 

 

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork to Celebrate 30th Anniversary

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Unitarians

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork will celebrate its 30th anniversary on Sunday. Pictured are, seated from left to right, the Reverend Nancy Arnold, interim minister, Martha Potter, and Mark Potter; standing, Mark Ewald and John Andrews. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

This weekend, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a “Homecoming” service on Sunday at its meetinghouse on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton.

Longtime member, Mildred Granitz, 94, of East Hampton, remembers well the congregation’s humble beginnings on the East End.

“A second homeowner ran an ad in The East Hampton Star, in the late ’60s or early ’70s, stating an interest in Unitarian Universalism and asking if there were others who shared it,” she said this week.

The result was the formation of the East End Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, an effort that disbanded after a decade because of a lack of full-time residents who were members, she said.

But within a few short years, the fellowship was replaced by the South Fork Unitarian Universalist Society, whose members started to meet in the Water Mill home of Paul and Kathy Rogers, two founding members, in 1984.

“That’s about when I got involved,” said another long-time member, Jeanne Wisner, who moved east from Freeport, where she and her husband had been involved with the local congregation.

“I remember sitting in the grass—it was summer—and were always sitting outside with a topic to talk about. We always had conversations about concerns about ethics, social concerns, civil rights,” she said.

A commitment to progressive ideals remains today, Ms. Wisner said, pointing out that a number of congregants had attended a recent march to raise awareness about climate change.

The Reverend Nancy Arnold, the congregation’s interim minister, who has served since the Reverend Alison Cornish moved to Philadelphia, said the congregation has “sent personal invitations to some of those who were here in the past with the hope that they will come and celebrate with us.”

The regular Sunday service, which takes place at 10:30 a.m., will include a photo-video presentation set to music of the congregation’s history. It will be followed by lunch and a hospitality hour.  The night before, the congregation will present a concert by Valerie DiLorenzo at the meetinghouse at 7 p.m.

Within a year of its formation, the society had obtained its charter from the national Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations and moved into rental space at the Hampton Day School. From there, it moved to the Water Mill Community House, before building its own meetinghouse on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, which was dedicated in 2006, and making yet another name change—to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork.

“Owning property for our own meetinghouse is a quote miracle,” said Ms. Wisner. The congregation bought its 2.25-acre Bridgehampton property, which is next to the Long Pond Greenbelt, for only $100,000 in 1999, just before real estate prices skyrocketed.  The meetinghouse, which cost about $900,000 to build and furnish, was dedicated in 2006.

Since that time, the congregation has provided space for the non-profit prekindergarten and nursery school, The Rainbow School, as well as the Conservative Synagogue of the Hamptons, a Jewish congregation. In November, it will also be home to the zendo, which used to meet at the Sagaponack home of the writer Peter Matthiessen.

Being inclusive and tolerant are two of the traits about Unitarian Universalism that has drawn Ms. Wisner to the faith.

“One of the things that makes it really important for me is that everybody is expected to have different religious backgrounds and beliefs,” she said. “Everybody in our congregation—I’m absolutely certain of this—has different beliefs about God, spirituality, about no God. Those are personal thought and beliefs, and people’s personal beliefs are held sacred to each of them. Everyone is welcome here, with whatever their religious beliefs are.”

Paid Ambulance Job Nixed for Now

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By Stephen J. Kotz

One of the few large spending increases proposed in this year’s bare-to-the-bones budget for Sag Harbor Village, was a line item to allocate $63,500 to hire an administrator to oversee the operations of the all-volunteer Sag Harbor Ambulance Corps and provide the village with a paid first responder.

“These guys are doing a lot of runs, there is a lot going on and their calls are just increasing,” Mayor Brian Gilbride said last winter. “I would say there is a willingness on my part to make this happen. We have an older population now.”

But last month, the village board, noting the position had yet to be filled, agreed to remove the item from the budget. It did so officially on Tuesday night, decreasing the budget by $63,500, while separately adding $62,085 to help cover the cost of the new police contract, which was set by an arbitration panel last summer.

On Wednesday, Mr. Gilbride said a number of factors contributed to the decision to eliminate the ambulance position from this year’s budget.

For starters, an effort for fire departments and ambulance corps east of Southampton Village to work cooperatively and hire paid first responders has fallen by the wayside,” he said. Instead, Montauk, Amagansett and East Hampton have all hired part-time first responders.

The mayor added that while the village sought to hire an EMT first responder, the board of the ambulance corps wanted a more highly trained AEMT.

On top of that, the mayor added, the village learned last summer that if it added the paid responder position to the budget, it would have put some of the smaller outlying fire districts which contract with the village for fire and ambulance service, over the state’s 2-percent tax levy cap.

Trustee Ed Deyermond added that the village would have run afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act if it hired a paid responder while the rest of the ambulance corps toiled as volunteers. “It got very complex as to how this was going to work,” he said.

But he said something needs to be done. “The ambulance corps is overworked. There has to be some kind of solution,” he said on Wednesday. “We have to go back to the drawing board. Maybe part-time is the way to go.”

“It didn’t really get off the ground this time,” said Ed Downes, the ambulance corps president, who added that efforts would continue to provide some type of paid first responder.

Mr. Downes said the Sag Harbor Ambulance Corps to date this year has already responded to nearly 800 calls, which works out to nearly three calls per day.

Support for Bag Ban

The board, which has so far been silent on the growing call for a region-wide ban on plastic shopping bags, joined the discussion on Tuesday and asked Fred W. Thiele Jr., its attorney, to draft a notice of public hearing on the issue.

Mr. Gilbride said that Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst pressed for regional action, perhaps by Earth Day, next April, at a recent meeting of the East End Mayors and Supervisors Association. East Hampton Town is moving forward with a hearing on a ban and both East Hampton and Southampton villages have already banned the bags, ubiquitous at check-out counters across the country.

Mr. Gilbride said both East Hampton Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. and Southampton Mayor Mark Epley “spoke well of it,” but he added “Riverhead is dead against it.” The mayor noted that the types of bags that are typically used for fruits and vegetables would still be allowed under a ban.

“I support it, I support the concept,” said Trustee Ed Deyermond, who added “it’s going to affect 90 percent of the stores downtown” and that the village needs to reach out to the business community.

He also called on a greater effort to recycle plastics, and said that the dumpster used to collect recyclable plastics at the Southampton Town’s Sag Harbor transfer station are always full to the brim.

Mr. Thiele said that similar bans have brought legal challenges—not from local shopkeepers—but trade groups representing the plastics industry.

Mr. Thiele also told the board that a move by the New York State Legislature to allow New York City to reduce speed limits from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour as well as reduce speed limits to 20-mph where traffic calming measures are not feasible, gives new life to a long-stalled village effort to explore a 20-mph limit in much of the village’s historic district.

Trustee Sandra Schroeder said she would like the village to reduce the speed limit as Route 114 enters the village from East Hampton Town. Mr. Thiele noted that the county will be placing speed cameras in school zones and that Route 114, or Hampton Street, would be a good place for one. He added that fines generated from the cameras would stay in the village because it has its own justice court. He advised the board to send a “home rule” message to the state requesting permission for the reduced speed limits in January.

In other action, the board approved by a 4-1 vote, with Mr. Deyermond dissenting, a request from the new owners of the former Espresso Market on Division and Henry streets to erect a chain link fence around the property, blocking the street, through Thanksgiving while exterior demolition work is being done. Mr. Deyermond said he feared allowing the sidewalk to be blocked would become a precedent for similar construction project.

The board also heard from Lou Grignon, the owner of the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard, who was ordered in August to vacate a parcel he had leased from the village for 20 years for boat storage. Last month, Mr. Grignon told the Harbor Committee the eviction meant that many boat owners were being forced to scramble to find new places to store their vessels. The Harbor Committee, in turn, wrote the village board, all but urging the board to work with Mr. Grignon.

But when Mr. Grignon asked the board if it had read the committee’s letter, he was met with silence.

Boat owner Trevor Barry also spoke, saying he owned one of the last boats remaining on the village parcel Mr. Grignon used to lease, asked if the village would rent him space for the winter because he had nowhere else to store his boat. The board declined his request.

Rob Florio, a Water Mill resident, asked the board if the negotiations with Mr. Grignon were definitely over, to which Mr. Gilbride replied the last offer of a lease had been rejected by Mr. Grignon. When Mr. Florio asked the mayor if the village had found a new leasee, he was told it had not yet done so.

Partners in Print Teaches Sag Harbor Parents How to be Good Teachers

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A mother guides her son through a new book at last year's Partners in Print program. Courtesy Sag Harbor Elementary School.

A mother guides her son through a new book at last year’s Partners in Print program. Courtesy Sag Harbor Elementary School.

By Tessa Raebeck 

Whether your reading consists of scientific journals or one-word road signs, it’s hard to remember when letters were simply abstract shapes in strings of confusing sentences. Through its Partners in Print program, the Sag Harbor Elementary School aims to help parents remember by teaching them how to guide their children through the learning process and effectively supplement what teachers are doing in the classroom.

Aimed for non-reading students in kindergarten and first grade and their parents, the program began in the elementary school 15 years ago. Today, Partners in Print “is kind of like a rite of passage for our kindergarten and first grade parents and kids,” said Sag Harbor Elementary School Assistant Principal Donna Denon.

“The purpose of the program is to acquaint parents with reading behaviors and ways they can support what the teachers are doing in school and what they can do at home when they’re reading with their children,” she added.

At tonight’s introduction for parents only, which starts at 7 p.m., teachers will show parents what it’s like to be a beginning reader, what strategies can be used to figure out print, what kind of books to select for which age levels and what they can expect over the four sessions, which begin next Thursday, October 23, and will run from 6 to 7:15 pm. Each week.

Each night’s session will explore a different topic, with children and parents rotating through three 15-minute sessions, visiting different teachers who lead separate but connected activities. After the short lessons on reading strategies, the students practice what they learned with their parents.

“It’s a really special time for parents and children to be together doing this kind of learning in a place where their kids spend their whole day,” said Ms. Denon.

For more information, call the Sag Harbor Elementary School at (631) 725-5301.

Masters of the Telecaster Come to Bay Street Theater

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GE Smith

GE Smith

By Emily J. Weitz

Jim Weidner

Jim Weidner

To understand the jam that is set to unfold at Bay Street Theater this weekend, you must first understand the Telecaster guitar as an instrument. Introduced to popular culture in 1950 by Fender, this solid-body electric guitar broadcasted its sound in a way that no other instrument had. The Telecaster has been a choice instrument of Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, and George Harrison, and has contributed greatly to the sound and history of rock and roll.

Jim Weider, former member of The Band, will be one of the three Telecaster virtuosos playing on Saturday. He first heard the instrument in the 1950s.

“I saw it with guys like Jim Burton, who played with Elvis,” recalled Mr. Weider, “and Steve Cropper, who played with Otis Redding.”

He was drawn to the sound, which had a distinctive ring to it.

“It’s harder than a Gibson, though,” he said, “because it has a longer scale length. You have to work harder to get notes to ring out of it.”

He committed himself to the instrument, and has become one of only a select group of musicians to be endorsed by Fender. He explores the range of sounds a telecaster can produce.

“There’s the clean twang,” he said, “to the distorted feedback through classic Fender amps. What made these classic tunes is the sounds and tones of these instruments.”

Mr. Weider, who played with The Band for 15 years and has since played with a variety of groups including the Midnight Ramble Band with the late Levon Helm and Larry Campbell, first decided to put together a show devoted to the telecaster guitar just for fun.

“It was Roy Buchanan’s birthday,” he said, “and he really inspired me on the telecaster.”

Larry Campbell with wife and fellow musician Teresa Williams.

Larry Campbell with wife and fellow musician Teresa Williams.

Mr. Weider first heard Buchanan, who’s considered a pioneer on the instrument, doing psychedelic feed on the telecaster in 1971, and was blown away by it. So for Buchanan’s birthday one year, he thought he’d bring together a few great telecaster players.

“I called up GE Smith to see if he wanted to do it,” he said, “and being a total tele player and great musicologist, he jumped aboard, and it was fantastic. It started growing.”

GE Smith led the Saturday Night Live Band for ten years, and has also toured with Bob Dylan. Together, Jim Weider and GE Smith have done many shows together over the decades since that birthday party, and they’ve experimented with the third player. At Bay Street, they’ll bring in Mr. Campbell, a band mate of Weider’s from the Midnight Ramble Band and a master telecaster player himself.

Larry Campbell is a three-time Grammy Award winning producer who plays many instruments, including the Telecaster. He also toured with Bob Dylan and has played with other artists like Judy Collings, Levon Helm, Sheryl Crow, BB King, and Willie Nelson.

“GE is one of the best I’ve heard on the planet,” said Mr. Weider, “and Larry too. The Telecaster is great for country, blues, rock and roll, and R and B. so each of us pick four or five songs and we go from one to the next with some solos.”

The backup band, which was Levon Helm’s backup band, consists of drums, bass, and keyboards. Together, they play classic songs that really allow the telecaster to shine.

“It’s no pressure, not all on one guy,” said Mr. Weider. “There are enough players that we can really throw it around and jam. We always try something we haven’t tried.”

The Telecaster, Mr. Weider says, is an expressive instrument, and that’s what comes across in these shows.

“More than just playing the tunes and rocking it up,” he said, “it’s about getting the real tones. Telecasters cut through the sound. You can really hear them… You have to experience it.”

The Masters of the Telecaster will give Sag Harbor precisely that experience on Saturday night 8pm at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. Taylor Barton, a singer/songwriter who learned to play among the likes of Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia, will open for them. Tickets are $35 and are available online at baystreet.org or at the box office – 725-9500.

 

Two Artists Share Common Themes in Temple Adas Israel Show

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Catherine Silver. Toil and Trouble. Jewish Mystic 2012.

Catherine Silver. Toil and Trouble. Jewish Mystic 2012.

By Annette Hinkle

Catherine Silver. Erruptions in the night Encaustic on wood copy.

Catherine Silver. Erruptions in the night Encaustic on wood copy.

Religious art isn’t something that most galleries specialize in — but at Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor, religious themed art is not only encouraged… it’s required.

The temple’s gallery space consists of three walls in the large meeting room just inside the building’s main entrance. Ann Chwatsky, a member of the temple’s art committee, curates the space and she explains that in order to exhibit at the temple, an artist’s work must relate to Judaism in some apparent way.

“This is a gallery space, but it’s not one people come to visit off the street,” explains Ms. Chwatsky. “Rather people come in when they’re here for services.”

“My goal is to communicate in an artistic way some Jewishness to add to the experience,” she says. “So far, it’s been really interesting and there’s always something on view.”

The work of two temple members, Barbara Freedman and Catherine Silver, is currently on view “Two Artists — Common Themes” at the temple. The show officially opens with a wine and cheese artist reception on Sunday, October 26 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Both artists divide their time between New York City and the East End, and took part in art workshops focused on Jewish text at the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-El in New York where Leon Morris, Temple Adas Israel’s former rabbi, was once director. Though their artistic styles are strikingly different, Ms. Freedman and Ms. Silver both use Hebrew text in their work as well as imagery reflective of Jewish tradition, mysticism and history.

“Both of them are looking to explore their own relationship to their religion artistically,” says Ms. Chwatsky. “The art helps you to understand more about not just your past but your religion.”

Barbara Freedman. Horizontal Texts 8 x 11

Barbara Freedman. Horizontal Texts 8 x 11

That is certainly true of Ms. Freedman whose work is dominated by collages comprised of various historical, traditional and religious imagery.

“In many of these images, I take photographs and then I bring them together in Photoshop which is everyone’s favorite device,” explains Ms. Freedman. “I paint a background that I photograph then add and subtract images and color and anything that appeals to me — a flower, or piece of text — and collage them.”

To find historic text for her work, Ms. Freedman visited the library at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York where she was permitted to photograph Hebrew on papyrus sheets.

“They had been rolled up for years and never put in a book,” says Ms. Freedman who notes it wasn’t the meaning of the words that inspired her, but rather the visual nature of the texts themselves.

“They have a kind of curl to them. These were just art objects on beautiful paper,” she says. “They were found 100 years ago and very ancient and I was just fascinated.”

Other works by Ms. Freedman’s in this show reference a different kind of history — her own.

A box of old family photographs and mementos were the inspiration behind collages that share a very personal view of the past. One features a photograph of Ms. Freedman’s father along with his personal worship items — his prayer book, tallit, and his tefillin (leather straps inscribed with Torah verses worn by observant Jews during morning prayers).

“The teffilin is made of animal skin and through the years, it had all dried up,” explains Ms. Freedman. “I put the teffilin on the scanner and it picked up the edges of the leather bindings. It had shredded over time and I thought it was just so artistic.”

“I associated it with my dad because it must have been something he used when he was young and didn’t use later,” explains Ms. Freedman who was brought up in a decidedly less conservative religious tradition. “My parents loved the old traditions but they didn’t necessarily practice them in the way they had learned as children.”

Jewish identity is also an important aspect in the work of Catherine Silver. Like Ms. Freedman, Ms. Silver also works in collage, but her medium includes oils, pastels and an intriguing amount of encaustic — beeswax built up in layers. The result is extremely textural work that is chock-full of historical references and dense with imagery.

Ms. Silver notes some of her art was inspired by the text workshops at Temple Emanu-El, but she also draws inspiration from Israel, which she visits often.

“I also define myself as a feminist and some of the themes in my work are feminist,” she says. “It’s a different aspect of women’s identity, religiously speaking, and about finding one’s space.”

When asked about her own religious identity, Ms. Silver responds by saying, “I enjoy different kinds of Judaism. I enjoy Hassidim and go to their services from time to time, I also enjoy the orthodox and the reform service. They are all different in different ways.”

And while Hassidim practice separates the genders during services — hardly a model most modern feminists would embrace — Ms. Silver notes she finds the practice compelling in that is so deeply rooted in historical tradition.

And tradition is ultimately what it’s all about — whether that means preserving it or discovering it.

“My family was in Mexico during the war. My father was a French diplomat there in 1939 and when war broke out he decided to stay in Mexico,” explains Ms. Silver who grew up there and in France.

“My own Jewishness was only made clear and discovered when I was 12,” she adds. “So it has been a search for my roots and the art is part of my search.”

“Two Artists — Common Themes” opening reception is Sunday, October 26 from 4 to 6 p.m. Temple Adas Israel is at 30 Atlantic Avenue, Sag Harbor. Call (631) 725-0904 for details.

“Gabriel” a Local Highlight at the Hamptons International Film Festival

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Rory Culkin on the Shelter Island ferry in "Gabriel."

Rory Culkin on the Shelter Island ferry in “Gabriel.”

By Annette Hinkle

Director Lou Howe in Riverhead.

Director Lou Howe in Riverhead.

This weekend, the 22nd Annual Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) offers a full slate of documentary, narrative and short films at theaters in East Hampton, Southampton, Montauk, Westhampton Beach and right here in Sag Harbor.

The festival runs from Thursday to Monday and films featured in the HIFF represent perspectives by filmmakers from around the globe. But also in the mix are movies made closer to home and among the offerings in this year’s Views From Long Island section is “Gabriel,” an indie film from writer/director Lou Howe which will screen at the Sag Harbor Cinema this Friday evening.

The film is Mr. Howe’s first feature-length project. It garnered some favorable buzz at the Tribeca Film Festival when it premiered there in April — and much of the film was shot right here on the East End, including in Sag Harbor.

“Gabriel,” stars Rory Culkin as a young man suffering through a mental breakdown while his concerned mother and older brother struggle to cope with his delusions and get him the help he needs. When the film opens, Gabriel has just been released from a psychiatric facility, but rather than heading straight home to his family, he boards a bus to Connecticut with intentions to track down a high school girlfriend. Gabriel plans to propose to her — despite the fact the two have had no contact for five years.

This is just one the many delusional fantasies Gabriel (or Gabe as he insists on being called) explores after he goes off his meds. As he sinks deeper into a world of his own making, Gabe evades his family by chasing unrealistic dreams and vague childhood memories in New York City and on Long Island. At times, Gabriel’s frightening irrationality and poor judgment make him a threatening on-screen presence. Yet as an actor, Mr. Culkin never turns his character into stereotype and instead manages to keep Gabriel intense, but extremely sympathetic at the same time.

It’s a fine line to walk in a portrait of mental illness and given the astute handling of the material in the script, one might suspect that Mr. Howe has had first-hand experience with it in his own life.

“I have a close childhood friend who was diagnosed with a mental illness when he was a freshman in college,” explains Mr. Howe. “We grew up together and that experience affected me deeply. It felt like something that could be an effective story.”

“Once I started to write it, it became totally fictional,” he adds. “It sprung out of the experience with my friend and his family dealing with him.”

Mr. Howe also credits Mr. Culkin for having the skill to effectively pull-off the subtleties of Gabriel’s complicated on-screen persona.

“I think getting to the human side came naturally and was not at all a challenge for me or Rory – that was the original connection we made,” explains Mr. Howe. “It wasn’t about the illness or the way he doesn’t fit in the world. It was Gabe, a person, and on some level understanding him and his basic wants and needs.”

“The way Rory works is very similar to what I was hoping to do with the movie,” adds Mr. Howe. “We were able to open up to each other and talk through our childhoods and things that are inside to build Gabe’s internal life and figure out what’s going on in his head as specifically as possible. We had trust that creating an inner world that felt authentic would come out the way it should.”

Mr. Howe, a graduate of the American Film Institute’s (AFI) filmmaking program, lives in Los Angeles, but he’s a native New Yorker who has spent a good deal of time on the East End, which is why he decided to come here in the winter of 2013 to shoot much of the film. Sag Harbor doubles as Connecticut in one of the film’s first scenes, a farmhouse on the East End serves as Gabe’s mother’s upstate New York home and the script’s climactic action takes place on Shelter Island.

It’s all familiar territory for Mr. Howe.

“My aunt, uncle and cousins grew up in East Hampton year round and are still there,” says Mr. Howe. “I grew up going to East Hampton in summers and I got married there.”

“It’s a big part of my life. I have a lot of happy memories there and it’s a place that made sense for the ending,” he adds. “Once we thought about it, there were so many locations that would work for other parts of the script. It was so nice for me to be in a familiar place the whole time.”

Now that Mr. Howe, named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 2013 New Faces of Independent Film, has his first feature-length effort under his belt, he feels his vision as a filmmaker is set.

“AFI is really production heavy,” explains Mr. Howe. “I made six or seven shorts in two years. It was great practice in the actual process of making a movie. It took coming through that process to figure out what kind of movies I want to make.”

“This film is different than what I’ve made before — and is much more in tune with what I want to do in the future,” he adds.

“Gabriel” screens at Sag Harbor Cinema on Friday, October 10 at 6:30 p.m. Rory Culkin and Lou Howe are scheduled to attend. For a schedule of all HIFF screenings and events (including “A Conversation With…” discussions at Bay Street Theater with filmmakers and actors Patricia Clarkson, Joel Schumacher, Laura Dern, Hilary Swank and Mark Ruffalo) visit http://hamptonsfilmfest.org. 

North Haven Village Explores Future of 4-Poster Program to Fight Ticks

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By Gianna Volpe

A week into the open of deer season for bow hunters, the North Haven Village Board passed a resolution at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting adopting a local law that would require that those bow hunting in North Haven to acquire a special village-issued permit.

This permit would be in addition to the permit required by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The village law also requires bow hunters stay at least 150 feet from residences, as per state regulations, in addition to detailing specific geographic areas for hunters to use.

“The homeowners are aware of that as well,” Mayor Jeffrey Sander said of geographic restrictions. “We’re in contact with them so if there’s periods when they don’t want [hunters] to be present, they’ll notify us and we can contact that hunter and we’ll know no one will be there during that period.”

When resident Ken Sandbank asked the village board for criteria that will be used for issuing such permits, Mr. Sander said it would be based on village building inspector Al Daniels’ knowledge of the hunter’s known track record – effectiveness, activity, safety issues or problems with homeowners – over the years.

“Even though [Al Daniels] is leaving as building inspector in a couple of weeks, we’ve asked him to stay on to manage the deer hunting and he will continue to do that, on a part-time basis, obviously,” Mr. Sander said Tuesday when Mr. Sandbank asked if Mr. Daniels would continue to serve in this role in the future. “He will issue the permit and keep the list of approved hunters.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the village board also discussed the future of a 4-Poster tick abatement program in North Haven. The 4-Poster is a deer feeding station armed with a insecticide, permethrin, which is rubbed onto the deer that feed at the station, effectively killing the ticks on that animal. Locally, Shelter Island Town has deployed 4-Poster devices and for a year and a half North Haven Trustees have contemplated trying out the tick abatement program after residents called on the board to develop strategies to deal with the growing tick population.

On Tuesday, Mr. Sander said the village belatedly received a state grant to help fund the 4-Poster program. With the grant only approved in late summer,

Mr. Sander said “it was too late to deploy anything this year because we had to obviously go through the grant process and go through the permitting process with the state.”

However, Mr. Sander said he is “optimistic” the village will be able to participate in the 4-poster program by April of next year, adding time limitation issues imposed on when the village may spend the state grant money may raise additional complications.

“The state has informed us that we need to spend the money by the end of March, so we’re in a bit of a dilemma,” he said. “We can spend some of it – the corn feed for the stations we can buy in advance. We can purchase the tickicide – the permethrin – in advance. We can buy the units, which we plan to do from Shelter Island, in advance. We can do the permitting – set-up labor – before the end of March, but most of the labor is maintaining these devices throughout summer and that we can’t do in advance, so we’re trying to see if there’s a way with the state where we can at least get the funds under a contractual document as opposed to an actual expenditure, but we’re not sure we’ll be able to do that.”

Mr. Sander said the village may be able to find money in the village budget to supplement project costs, while using as much of the state money as they can.

About 10 suitable sites in North Haven have been identified on village-owned property with some private property owners also interesting in hosting the 4-Poster devices on their land, said Mr. Sander.

 

 

Springs Man Released on $25,000 Bail After Shooting Incident

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By Mara Certic and Stephen J. Kotz

Springs resident Valon Shoshi was arrested on four charges following a manhunt by East Hampton Town Police on Friday, October 3, and was released on $25,000 bail after appearing in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Saturday.

Mr. Shoshi, 28, was charged with felony reckless endangerment as well as illegal discharge of a weapon, assault and possession of a loaded gun in a motor vehicle, three misdemeanors.

On Friday morning, Mr. Shoshi reportedly fired a shotgun several times in his bedroom at 85 Gardiner Avenue in the Springs section of East Hampton. According to the police, his mother suffered minor injuries as a result and was sent to Southampton Hospital for treatment. Mr. Shoshi then allegedly fled the house with the gun in tow in a new Cadillac sedan.

According to Captain Chris Anderson of the East Hampton Town Police, a family member contacted the police following the incident.

The police initially had information that indicated Mr. Shoshi had fled the scene and gone to a secondary residence. After police determined he was not at that location, they managed to establish communication with Mr. Shoshi and he was stopped in his vehicle on Springs Fireplace Road near One Stop Market and put into custody without incident.

During the manhunt, nearby schools and some facilities in the immediate area were asked to go into lock-down as a precaution. Sag Harbor, Springs, East Hampton and Wainscott school districts all were in what the police call “locked-in status” on Friday morning.

Capt. Anderson said it was of “paramount importance” to the police department to protect the schools until they determined what the threat was.

“It’s a big sigh of relief,” said Sag Harbor Superintendent Katy Graves in describing how she felt when police called to say the lockdown could be lifted.

She said that school officials were still in the middle of implementing the lockdown when they were informed they could go back to normal business. Ms. Graces said the district immediately sent an automated telephone and text message to the school community informing it of what had occurred.

“I’m very proud of my staff,” she said. “They were all so child-centered and proactive.”

Capt. Anderson added “the school districts as a whole did a tremendous job.”

Mr. Shoshi, moved to East Hampton from Kosovo with his family in 1999. He attended East Hampton High School and is an accomplished boxer. He volunteered in the Springs Fire Department, was assistant chief of the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association, and also worked as an aide in the East Hampton School District.

According to Edward Burke Jr., Mr. Shoshi’s attorney, his client’s family and many other community members were at court on Saturday in his support.

“His entire family, including his mom, fully support Valon,” Mr. Burke said. “They are entirely behind him in this journey through the criminal justice system.”

Justice Lisa R. Rana, who heard Mr. Shoshi’s case on Saturday, released him on $25,000 bail under the condition that Mr. Shoshi undergoes an immediate psychological evaluation.

Mr. Burke said on Wednesday that his client is cooperating fully and has been in counseling. He and his client will report to the court today, October 9 to inform the court he has been seeking counseling, as ordered by Justice Rana.

Mr. Shoshi will appear before court on Thursday, October 30.

 

Technology Expands in Sag Harbor Classrooms

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An aerial photograph of Sag Harbor taken with the Pierson art department's drone. Courtesy of Peter Solow.

An aerial photograph of Sag Harbor taken with the Pierson art department’s drone. Courtesy of Peter Solow.

By Tessa Raebeck 

With iPads for eight-year-olds and a Chromebook for every middle school student, Sag Harbor teachers and administrators told the Board of Education Monday that technology is on target in the school district.

Director of Technology Scott Fisher and Sag Harbor Elementary School and Pierson Middle/High School teachers presented on “Technology to Support Student Learning,” updating the school board on what the budget buys.

“I prefer that the instruction drive the technology rather than the technology driving the instruction,” said Mr. Fisher, who admitted that although he loves his gadgets, he aims to present technology department budgets that are both cost-effective and in-line with instructional needs, not industry trends.

Technology is constantly changing and thus flexibility and regular reevaluation is required in determining which tools are used, how they are used, and in which classrooms they will work best, Mr. Fisher said.

While iPads “work very well” for young children in grades Kindergarten through second, Mr. Fisher said “as the students are getting older, we’re finding that the iPads may not be best suited for them…as we get into the older grades in the elementary school, we’ve started doing things like adding Chromebook computers to the mix.”

For the first time this school year, there is a Google Chromebook available for each Sag Harbor student in every fourth and fifth grade classroom. Chromebooks, a cheaper alternative to traditional laptops, are designed for use primarily in conjunction with the Internet.

“When we introduce new technology,” Mr. Fisher said, “we don’t simply discard the technology and toss it to the side.”

The Mac computers that were in the fourth and fifth grade classrooms are now being used by the second and third grades, and every third grade classroom now has its own full set of computers.

Seventy-five Chromebooks were also added to Pierson Middle/High School this year on three carts of 25 each that can be moved between classrooms. The library already has a set of 25.

Fourth grade teachers Jeff Reed and Liz Surozenski demonstrated how the new Chromebooks in their classrooms have helped students to collaborate with each other using Google apps and said students seem more excited and engaged with the content they’re learning.

Ms. Surozenski said in the past, her classes have only published one writing piece by this time of the school year. This year’s class is working on the third.

Mr. Reed shared a presentation on “women of war” shared on Google Drive by student Chiara Bedini. Although the fourth grader was only required to make one slide, she had instead made three: “women of the war,” “more women of the war” and “lots more women of the war.”

“You get an enthusiasm that leads to innovation where kids want to learn,” said Mr. Reed, adding that writing the content is not the end of the assignment. The end product “is the communication and collaboration of their discoveries.”

That collaboration extends far beyond the classroom. Using their new Chromebooks, Sag Harbor’s fourth graders are accessing worldwide databases such as the “World Water Monitoring Challenge,” a site that allows them to punch in data taken from Sag Harbor’s waters to be shared with scientists—and students—around the world.

Computer Lab teacher Jonathan Schwartz shared a sample lesson from Tynker, a computer programming course the district started this year. With different levels beginning in third grade, students can start by putting blocks together on a screen and grow to be typing code proficiently.

“It certainly challenges the students to create things on their own, rather than having everything told to them or handed to them,” said Mr. Schwartz. “Create something—show me what you did and tell me how you did it.”

Tynker, he said, aligns with the Common Core values of thinking, rather than reciting, and prepares students for modern jobs in growing fields.

“It’s absolutely their language and we know that that’s a huge career field,” Superintendent Katy Graves added.

Principal Matt Malone thanked the board, and especially Mr. Fisher and his team, for supporting the Sag Harbor Elementary School in implementing its new technology initiatives.

“I think we all have a sense of how lucky we are to get this technology in our hands and get to share that with the boys and girls, and it’s clear what it can do to enhance instruction and those 21st century skills,” he said.

Although some of the technological instruction are handed down to students by means of tools and software, other aspects come from directly their imaginations.

Pierson art teacher Peter Solow said although the “fundamental technology” used in the art department is still the pencil, the students and teachers are continually coming up with new ideas to integrate technology into creativity. Pierson students are using computers to convert sketches to picture books, taking aerial photographs with drones, and scanning, digitizing and archiving photographs and documents in collaboration with the Sag Harbor Historical Society and the John Jermain Memorial Library.

“The most important thing…is using technology as a tool that allows students to become self-directed in their own art making through guided, independent work,” said Mr. Solow.