Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor"

Color, Melody and Clock Elves to Grace the Stage in Hampton Ballet Theatre School’s “Cinderella”

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Dancers perfect their style in a dress rehearsal at the Hampton Ballet Theatre School last week. Photo by Adam Baronella.

Dancers perfect their style in a dress rehearsal at the Hampton Ballet Theatre School last week. Photo by Adam Baranello.

By Tessa Raebeck

Since its completion in 1945, Sergei Prokofiev’s “Cinderella” suite has been performed hundreds of times across the globe, but rarely has it involved such cute grasshoppers.

This weekend, the Hampton Ballet Theatre School (HBTS) will revitalize the classic ballet, one of the famed Russian composer’s most celebrated compositions, in four performances at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater. About 70 dancers, from bright-eyed four-year-olds to seasoned adult professionals, will grace the stage in the lively and melodious spring ballet.

In its eighth year of bringing dance to the East End, HBTS is returning to “Cinderella,” last presented by the company in 2011, with a few new twists.

Ninth grader Rose Kelly will play the lead role of Cinderella this weekend. Photo by Adam Baronello.

Ninth grader Rose Kelly will play the lead role of Cinderella this weekend. Photo by Adam Baranello.

The original dancers have grown up and the choreography has evolved with them; this weekend will mark the first time many of the company’s ballerinas perform en pointe throughout the entire ballet. When en pointe, a female ballet dancer supports all of her body weight with the tips of her fully extended vertical feet. The dancer must train and practice for years to develop the strength and technique required to do so.

“My goal for this ballet,” said Sara Jo Strickland, executive director and choreographer of HBTS, “was to really develop the older dancers at the core of the ballet and they’ve really done their job. I’m really proud of them.”

Known for its jubilant music and lush scenery, “Cinderella” is one of the most celebrated compositions of Mr. Prokofiev, a Russian composer, pianist and conductor and one of the major composers of the 20th century. Written upon his return home after a long absence following the Russian Revolution, the ballet was first staged in 1940, set aside during the height of World War II, and completed in 1945, premiering at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

“The older dancers all had very important roles and they all worked so hard,” Ms. Strickland said Sunday during a short lull in rehearsal time. “They really pulled the level of the dancing from our Nutcracker up by two or three steps.”

A student of Ms. Strickland’s since she was just two, 15-year-old Rose Kelly will dance the lead role of Cinderella.

“It’s one of my first dancers to do something so big, so I’m very excited,” Ms. Strickland said.

Rose will perform two distinct characterizations of Cinderella: the ragged, abused servant girl worrying her way across the stage and the beautiful vision of grace yearned for by the prince.

Partnering for the first time—a major accomplishment for a ballet dancer of any age—Rose is dancing with guest artist Nick Peregrino, a professional dancer with Ballet Fleming in Philadelphia.

“This is a huge challenge for her,” said Ms. Strickland. “It’s a big step for her at this age in her career…She far exceeded my expectations, she just worked so hard to learn all these new things.”

Other veteran HBTS dancers performing en pointe include Abigail Hubbell, who will play the iconic Fairy Godmother, and her twin sister Caitlin, the Spring Fairy. The seasons are a pivotal part of Prokofiev’s adaptation and their corresponding fairies are all accomplished roles.

Winter fairies include Falon Attias, Grace Dreher and Vincenzo James Harty. Vincenzo, a young man who has been dancing with Ms. Strickland, Rose, Caitlin and Abigail for years, will also play the comical role of Jester along with the Hubbell sisters.

Falon, Jade Diskin, Grace, Rachel Grindle, Jillian Hear and Samantha Prince will dance as Summer Fairies and Kelsey Casey, Devon Friedman, Hudson Galardi-Troy, Katie Nordlinger and Emma Silvera are Fall Fairies.

A few of the Clock Elves get into character at a Hampton Ballet Theatre School dress rehearsal last week. Photo by Adam Baranello.

A few of the Clock Elves get into character at a Hampton Ballet Theatre School dress rehearsal last week. Photo by Adam Baranello.

The antics of Prunella and Esmerelda, the evil stepsisters played by Beatrice de Groot and Maggie Ryan, provide some comical—albeit evil—relief.

HBTS’ production features roles Prokofiev added to the traditional fairy tale, such as the grasshoppers and dragonflies, or the “little creatures of the forest,” as Ms. Strickland calls the group of four and five-year-olds who scurry across the stage.

Guest artists Adam and Gail Baranello, teachers at HBTS who also own A&G Dance Company, will play Cinderella’s father and evil stepmother.

During the second act, the royal ball where Cinderella first catches the prince’s eye, the ballet evolves from the comic first act into a romantic presentation, said Ms. Strickland.

“I think people will be very excited and surprised because if you have followed us for a long time and watched the girls grow up, you’re really going to see the difference in this production,” Ms. Strickland said.

The Hampton Ballet Theatre School’s production of “Cinderella” is Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 1 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street in East Hampton. Advanced tickets are $20 for children under 12 and $25 for adults. Tickets on the performance days are $25 for children under 12 and $30 for adults. To reserve tickets, call 888-933-4287 or visit hamptonballettheatreschool.com. For more information, call 237-4810 or email hbtstickets@gmail.com.

Four Painters, a Sculptor and a Photographer at Sag Harbor’s Grenning Gallery

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A photograph from Sebastiano Vitale's "Raw Horse" collection, which will be shown at the Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor.

A photograph from photojournalist Sebastiano Vitale’s “Raw Horse” collection, parts of which will be shown at the Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor. Photo courtesy of the Grenning Gallery.

By Tessa Raebeck

Sag Harbor’s Grenning Gallery will open its season Saturday with a new show featuring an eclectic mix of artists across several mediums.

The young artist Kristy Gordon, discovered by the gallery last year, will show her surreal paintings of people and water. In “Collective Consciousness,” a man in scrubs, a woman in jeans and other ordinary New Yorkers tread through green water as if it is an urban street.

“Collective Consciousness” by Kristy Gordon.

“Collective Consciousness” by Kristy Gordon.

Maryann Lucas of Sag Harbor will show “Lilies by the Window” and other floral and still life paintings in her second show at her hometown gallery,

Having just completed his first major public commission, a giant bronze statue in Philadelphia of former Flyers coach Fred Shero, Chad Fisher will show his half and full life size “Deadly Sins” bronzes, statues of seven classical figures engrossed in each of the deadly sins.

One of California’s premiere plein air painters, Karl Dempwolf will exhibit colorful paintings of “Crystal Lake” and other Western landscapes. His friend and fellow Californian Ben Fenske will show his paintings of Catalina Island.

Italian photojournalist Sebastiano Vitale is presenting his “Raw Horse” collection, photographs of horses in different capacities across the world, from Spanish clubs to farms in Argentina. Using the categories of wildness, elegance, ritual, game and work, Mr. Vitale has captured horses in the polo clubs of Santo Domingo, the horseback fighting festivals of Indonesia and the nomadic culture of Mongolia, to name a few.

The opening reception is Saturday, April 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Grenning Gallery, 17 Washington Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 725-8469 or visit grenninggallery.com.

"7 Sins Group" by Chad Fisher. Photo courtesy of the Grenning Gallery.

“7 Sins Group” by Chad Fisher. Photo courtesy of the Grenning Gallery.

Dog Walks and Cocktails: Second Annual Steinbeck Festival at the Bay Street Theatre

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Artists recreate the "Grapes of Wrath" cover on their way to the Steinbeck Festival in Salinas, California last year. Image courtesy of the National Steinbeck Center.

Artists recreate the “Grapes of Wrath” cover on their way to the Steinbeck Festival in Salinas, California last year. Photo courtesy of the National Steinbeck Center.

By Tessa Raebeck

In 1960, John Steinbeck and his French poodle Charley left their home in Sag Harbor to drive across America, meeting with strangers and staying at campgrounds in an effort to reconnect with the country the 58-year-old Steinbeck had been writing about for decades.

As part of the 2nd Annual Steinbeck Festival at Bay Street Theatre May 1 to 4, the “Travels with Charley” Dog Walk will honor Mr. Steinbeck’s account of the journey, “Travels with Charley: In Search of America,” which became a bestseller.

Author John Steinbeck.

Author John Steinbeck.

In conjunction with the annual festival hosted by the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California, the author’s birthplace, Bay Street is hosting eight film screenings and other celebratory events across four days. The festival begins Thursday, May 1 with a screening of “Tortilla Flat,” the 1942 film adaptation of Mr. Steinbeck’s 1935 novel and first commercial success. The 1992 version of “Of Mice and Men” with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise and “Grapes of Wrath” starring Henry Fonda will screen on Saturday, May 3.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, “Grapes of Wrath” will be further honored at a cocktail reception at a private waterfront estate sponsored in part by Wölffer Estate Vineyard Saturday evening. While sipping on the namesake vintage of Wölffer winemaker Roman Roth, “The Grapes of Roth,” guests can view Mr. Steinbeck’s home and writing studio by boat from Upper Sag Harbor Cove.

At the “Travels with Charley” Dog Walk Sunday morning, dogs and their owners will walk a loop from Bay Street to Haven’s Beach and back, finishing the festival with a “Bones and Bagels” reception at the theatre.

For $150, the VIP Pass for the festival includes the cocktail reception, film festival and dog walk. The dog walk alone is $35, film festival passes are $30 and individual film tickets are $10 each. For tickets and information, call 725-9500 or visit baystreet.org.

Sara Nightingale Gallery Presents Fourth Edition of #Blinddates/MusicLab

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Ryan Messina on trumpet, Will Jhun on tenor sax and Nick Lyons on alto sax will perform improvisational music together at the Sara Nightingale Gallery Thursday. Photo courtesy Sara Nightingale Gallery.

By Tessa Raebeck

Inspired only by each other and the energy around them, tonight three friends will present an evening of improvisational music at the Sara Nightingale Gallery.

"Drumming Circle" by Gus Yero, acrylic on canvas. Photo courtesy Sara Nightingale Gallery.

“Drumming Circle” by Gus Yero, acrylic on canvas. Photo courtesy Sara Nightingale Gallery.

The show, MusicLab edition #4, is part of the #Blinddates series that pairs two musicians—and strangers—together for a concert. Tonight’s performance gives the evening a new take; the artists are all friends, having met in Brooklyn through a shared connection, pianist Connie Crothers.

Playing his trumpet, Ryan Messina will be joined by saxophonists Will Jhun on tenor sax and Nick Lyons on alto sax. The trio will feed off each other, developing the performance as it goes along.

While listening to the show, guests can view the gallery’s exhibition, including works by Malin Abrahamsson, Bill Armstrong, Eric Dever, Cara Enteles, Glenn Fischer, Brian O’Leary, William Pagano, Ross Watts and Gus Yero.

Refreshments will be served at the event, Thursday, April 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sara Nightingale Gallery, 688 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call 793-2256 or visit saranightingale.com.

Bridgehampton National Bank Donates $25,000 to Local Food Pantries

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The Bridgehampton National Bank (bridgenb.com) Annual Apple Campaign, which was started in 2011 to provide contributions to local food pantries, culminated Monday with the distribution of $1,000 checks to each of 23 food pantries from Montauk to Greenport to Deer Park and Melville. At a presentation and reception at the BNB Bridgehampton office, pantry representatives Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Southampton, Springs and Sag Harbor were on-hand to accept the funds.   Maureen’s Haven, which helps the homeless on the East End, also received a check for $2,000. This is only part of the $25,000 donated by bank customers, employees and the company itself.

“This is one of the community programs we are most proud,” said Kevin M. O’Connor, president and CEO of Bridgehampton National Bank.  “It is a true collaboration between the bank, its customers and employees, working together to help those most in need in our communities. It is the essence of what it means to be a community bank.”

The Apple program began nearly five years ago with a conversation initiated by the East Hampton Food Pantry. They suggested the “apple” as a means of recognizing donations. With 26 branches across Suffolk and Nassau Counties, BNB took its Apples bank wide. The program is an annual holiday tradition which runs through the end of January.  In lieu of a holiday gift, BNB donates in the name of its employees, customers enthusiastically participate and BNB matches donations and fills in any gaps to reach the goal and fund one pantry in each of its markets. In addition to the financial gift, branch staff collected non- perishable foods during the months of November, December and January, which are also distributed to local pantries.

BLOW Hamptons Debuts in Bridgehampton

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Lila Beudert, a South Fork native, is pleased to announce the launch of a new concept to Bridgehampton’s Main Street. BLOW Hampton is a specialized salon designed exclusively for “blowouts” only. The shop will feature state of the art facility, custom servicing any women who wants to have great looking hair.

“I want women to feel they can be in and out within a half hour, or that they can hang and chat all day,” said Ms. Beudert in a press release issued this week. “I want to create the coffee shop of hair salons.”

An FIT graduate, Ms. Beudert studied Advertising and Marketing, which led to her work in the hospitality industry. She was also the manager at “The Coffee Shop” in Manhattan’s Union Square, and restaurants such as The Boathouse in East Hampton, and Sag Harbor’s Madison & Main.

BLOW is located at 2462 Main St, Bridgehampton. Offering blowouts at $40, the company also offers a “No Babysitter” service for those who want their hair done in the comfort of their own home.

For more information, visit blowhampton.com or call 537-8000.

Quilts Reflect Warmth in Many Ways

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Joanne Carter and Georgette Grier-Key, the director of the Eastville Community Historical Society, with one of the society's quilts.

Joanne Carter and Georgette Grier-Key, the director of the Eastville Community Historical Society, with one of the society’s quilts. Photo by Steve Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

The bare walls of the Eastville Community Historical Society’s Heritage House were being covered in splashes of bright colors and cozy comfort on Friday afternoon as a small group gathered to select and hang the 15 quilts chosen for the society’s annual exhibit, “Warmth,” which opens this Saturday.

The opening reception will be from 2 to 5 p.m. and the show will be on display through July.

As was the case in 2009, when the society also sponsored an exhibit on quilts, this year’s show is being curated by Dr. Patricia Turner, a Sag Harbor native, who is the dean and vice provost for undergraduate education at UCLA, an expert on African-American folklore, and the author, with Kyra E. Hicks, of “Crafted Lives: Stories and Studies of African American Quilters.”

“Everyday life has always interested me,” said Dr. Turner. “Folklore is the perfect field for someone who wants to document things from ordinary life that can be extraordinary.”

“The diversity of African-American people can be shown in the type of quilts they make,” she continued, noting that the show hopes to showcase works by everyone from “the poor little woman from the south” to highly regarded textile artists.

Dr. Turner said her interest in the art was kindled when she interned at the Smithsonian Institution when she was a graduate student. “There was a group of quilters who were making a quilt there and I realized how much they were willing to talk about their families as they did their work,” she said. “It revealed bigger stories.”

On Friday, Dr. Turner was facing something of a dilemma as she sorted through an assortment of extraordinary quilts, some from her own collection, others that she had borrowed from their makers, as she tried to make the final selections for the show.

“One of the challenges of the Eastville house is it is small, and the quilts are big,” she said. She, Georgette Grier-Keye, the society’s executive director, and Michael Butler, a member of its board of directors, had spent much of the morning trying to figure out where to put which quilt in the small house-turned gallery.

The quilts chosen all reflect the theme of the exhibit, but in different ways. Some are “more functional,” said Dr. Turner. “Those were created solely for warmth. They were made for drafty houses.”

Others are representational and express the feelings of warmth and affection family members have for one another.

“About five of these quilts were made by members of the same family,” said Dr. Turner. “They were made in response to a quilting exhibit challenge to make quilts that were inspired by your personal legacy.”

An example among them is one made by members of the Presley family of Oakland, California, to honor their grandmother and great grandmother, “Grandma’s Apron.” Various squares on the quilt depict attributes of their grandmother that family members remembered fondly, from her sewing clothing for the girls in the family, to her love of gardening, her skill as a cook, to her monthly gambling junkets via bus to Reno. Each of the squares includes a small cutout apron.

Another quilt, “Jimmie,” with squares showing various tropical fish and images of a charter boat captain and his customers, honors another family member who once ran a sportfishing boat out of Berkley, California.

Yet another batch of quilts were made by Riché Richardson, an associate professor in the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University and are decorative in nature. A native of Alabama, Dr. Richardson uses folk art techniques to depict the heroes she feels warmly about, according to Dr. Turner. For this exhibit, she has submitted quilts of President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Condoleeza Rice, Frederick Douglass, and Phyllis Wheatley, the first published African-American poet. Yet another, “Ties that Bind,” is a reproduction of a photo collage of portraits once commonplace in African-American homes, of President John F. Kennedy, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, in front of an American flag.

“Waiting for the Freedom Train,” by Marion Coleman, shows an African-American family in a log cabin. It was created to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and Ms. Grier-Keye said she thought it might be the star of the show because of the expertise Ms. Coleman showed in using layers of material to give the piece a sense of depth.

The exhibit is being sponsored by the Huntington Arts Council, which gave the historical society a $4,000 grant for the show. As part of the exhibit, the society plans to work with the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center during its summer camp. Children will create their own square for a group quilt that will then be put on display, Ms. Grier-Keyes said.

Dr. Turner, who grew up in Sag Harbor Hills and attended Pierson High School before, embarking on her career as a college professor and administrator, still owns a home in Bridgehampton and will return for a lecture and book signing in July.

She added that quilting is gaining new popularity as a “reclaimed enterprise” in the lives of many Americans. Asked if she quilts herself, she replied with a smile, “very poorly.”

“Warmth,” an exhibit of quilts, will open this Saturday, with a reception from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Eastville Community Historical Society’s Heritage House on Route 114 at Liberty Street. Hours are Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday by appointment. Regular Saturday hours will be offered during the summer months. Admission is $3. For more information, call 725-4711.

Jackson Dodds & Company Inc. Tree & Plant Health Care Gets Homeowners Ready for Spring

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Jackson Dodds of Jackson Dodds & Company Inc.

Jackson Dodds of Jackson Dodds & Company Inc. Photo by Steven Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

If you want to catch Jackson Dodds, the owner of the landscaping company of the same name, sitting still, you’ll have to move quickly.

After a long and tough winter, Mr. Dodds said he is anticipating a very short window this spring to prune storm-damaged trees, clean up and prepare gardens for the season, repair damage to driveways and curbs caused by snowplows, and get irrigation systems up and running, all jobs his full-service company handles.

“Everybody is going to be really busy,” he said of the trade in general during an interview in his Southampton office. “So if you want to get on the schedule, don’t wait a month because we’re going to have a really condensed season.”

Every spring seems to bring a different challenge, said Mr. Dodds. Last year, it was damage from Hurricane Sandy. This year, ‘it’s been a brutal winter, and the deer damage is obscene,” he said. “A lot of deer-resistant plant material has been completely defoliated.”

Mr. Dodds, who grew up on what today is the Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, said he always wanted to “work outside” and the East End was one of the few places that offered the opportunity “where you could be a landscaper and still make a living.”

“I started dragging brush right of high school,” after landing a job with Ray Smith and Associates 19 years ago, where he was soon made a partner, Mr. Dodds said, adding that he was proud that he was the youngest certified arborist in New York State at age 18 and today is the vice president of the Long Island Arboricultural Association.

Mr. Dodds attended both Alfred State College and the State University of New York at Delhi before later completing his education at Farmingdale State College, where he received degrees in landscape design and turf management with a minor in business. “Farmingdale is a great school on Long Island for horticulture,” Mr. Dodds said.

Three years ago, he made the break to form his own company. Today, Jackson Dodds and Company has 14 employees, spread over four divisions, landscape design and installation, tree pruning and removal, irrigation and lawn care and planting.

During his career, Mr. Dodd said he has seen everything, including a trend that started in the mid-1990s before pausing for a few years when the economy tanked in 2007: the removal of full-size specimen trees from one property to be planted on another property, where the homeowner wants an instantly mature landscape.

“They say, ‘the first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps and the third year it leaps,’” Mr. Dodd said about tree transplants, although he quickly added that mature trees sometimes take a couple of more years to recover. “The after-care is everything,” he said. “That is where we carve out a niche, watching the plant’s health and care, prepping the soil and feeding.”

And how big are these trees? Last year, Mr. Dodds said his crew used a 110-ton crane to move a tree that had a 108-inch root ball. “Some of my clients move trees like they move furniture,” he said. “Nothing is too big.”

Fruit orchards are another specialty. “Fruit trees require a very specific timing on when you apply fungicide to the leaves,” he said. “You have to do everything to keep the leaf healthy to keep the fruit healthy. If you miss the timing, your fruit turns into a shriveled up prune.”

Mr. Dodd smiles when asked about organic plant care. It doesn’t work on orchards, he said, and the problem with it is “it typically doesn’t give the kind of results people expect out here.”

That’s not to say he is an advocate of wholesale applications of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Mr. Dodd said he used integrated pest management system and coordinates the applications with the temperature at which they will do the most good and the least harm. “We all have to drink the same water here,” he said, “so we’re by the book when it comes to that.”

For more information on Jackson Dodds & Company Inc., visit jacksondoddsinc.com or call 604-5693. 

It’s More Than “Just a Sigh” for Bonnell and Devos

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Jérôme Bonnell and Emmanuelle Devos in the “Just a Sigh” film poster. Photo by Nobu Hosoki.

By Danny Peary

Just a Sigh fits my category Movies That Should Play in Sag Harbor.  For now Jérôme Bonnell’s (Le Chignon d’Olga, Les yeux clairs) critically-acclaimed quirky French romance is playing at arthouses in Manhattan.  Emmanuelle Devos is magnifique as usual as Alix, a stage actress who takes time off from doing Ibsen in Calais to audition in Paris for a tiny, silly part in a movie.  Unable to withdraw money from the bank or to reach her boyfriend back home by phone, the aggravated and somewhat irrational actress finds solace with the handsome married professor (Gabriel Byrne) she meets on a train and tracks down at his friend’s memorial. They are attracted to each other, but will they risk getting closer and even committing to each other before she must return to Calais later that night?  I respectfully didn’t ask Bonnell and Devos about the ending when we did the following interview.

Danny Peary,: Jérôme, have you seen Brief Encounter, the 1945 British drama with Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard? It’s also about a chance meeting by a man and woman in a railway station, and their passionate romantic interlude. Their relationship goes on for a longer time than Alix and the professor’s one-day affair, but was David Lean’s film an influence on you?

Jérôme Bonnell: I am familiar with Brief Encounter, of course, but I’ve seen it only a couple of times and don’t know it by heart.  Of course there are similarities with the train station and all that, but that movie is a lot more hinged on ideas of morality, lies, guilt, and culpability.  I didn’t want to explore those issues in my movie.

DP: What does your title mean to you?

JB: It comes from Casablanca–lyrics in “As Time Goes By.” It’s very far from the French title, Le temps de l’aventure, which means Adventure Time but is impossible to translate. In English it doesn’t mean the same thing at all. There are several meanings in French to the words time and adventure.  Adventure is about love and time is about…
Emmanuelle Divos: …the right time to do something.  Like the right time to live and the right time to love.  It can be the right era or the right age.
DP: So are you saying it’s the right time in their lives for Alix and the stranger—the professor played by Gabriel Byrne–to meet?
JB: Yes, that can be one of several interpretations.
DP: I think they both need to meet each other at that exact time in their lives.  I think that’s key to the movie.

JB: Oh, yes.
ED: I love coincidences because I don’t believe in coincidences.
DP: Do you think it is coincidence, fate, destiny or happenstance that they meet?
ED: I feel that the people we’re supposed to meet we do meet; and we meet the people we need to meet at the right time.  We meet them when we need to make a change in our lives, maybe in the way we think.  As actors we meet the directors we deserve or the directors that help us push what we can do in our art.
DP: They first meet on the train to Paris when he asks her directions to a church.  It seems like he is trying to pick her up. But in fact, he really does need directions to the church to go to a memorial, and a couple of scenes later, she goes there to find him. She makes sure they connect.  That’s not destiny, that’s Alix actually forcing the issue.
JB: Just because a character makes a decision doesn’t mean there’s no destiny. People make decisions all the time and there’s no premeditation there, things just happen.
DP: Alix at times seems totally irrational and her behavior is completely surprising and even shocking.  When she pursues him, it seems like the most irrational thing she could possibly do.  But with hindsight, after seeing the entire movie, I would say her decision to go after him is the one rational, good decision she makes.
JB: I do like that interpretation a lot–the act that seems the craziest ends up being the most rational and the one that makes the most sense. I haven’t thought of that before but I do like that.
DP: Emmanuelle, do you think it is a positive choice on her part to pursue him?
ED: Yes, this is a decision that she’ll be able to rely on for the rest of her life.  Even though she comes off as a little bit irrational and all over the place, this decision is like a building block for her. It’s like hard cement, a strong base for all the events that will happen to her in the future.
DP: What do you think the professor sees in her? Why does he respond so much?
JB: It’s hard to put into words what love at first sight, le coup de foudre, is.  I think it’s really impossible to define because the mere definition of it would make it smaller.   Maybe it’s something on the order of a revelation, when at the same time something is revealed to us, we reveal something inside us.

DP: Emmanuelle, I think Alix is very complex. When reading the script for the first time, did you understand her right away, maybe because you’re playing an actress?  Or did you not understand her until the end when something important about her is revealed?
ED: Before I shoot a movie, I think about it and work on it beforehand.  But then when I’m actually on the set, there are new things popping up every day about who I’m playing.  It’s like when you have a relationship with someone and they surprise you with new things about them, day after day. Until you are on the set, and there’s fire on the set, you don’t know what can come out of your character. I think we’re there to capture an instant, a moment, without having been able to see it before.  It would be really sad if we could have foreseen it.
DP: There’s a line where the professor says, “I’m not very good with pain,” and she says, “Me, neither.” But she’s an actress, and I think her whole life is full of pain and embarrassment.  And, Jérôme, you don’t make it any easier on her.  You set up all these obstacles to her having a pain-and embarrassment-free day.  She has no money, she has no phone, and when she tries to call her boyfriend from pay phones, she gets his voicemail or a band walks by and the drumbeat is deafening. She also has a difficult audition conducted by a numbskull who gives her ridiculous instructions.  Then there’s a visit with her sister and they get into it, literally. And when she wants to be intimate with the professor, his friend keeps turning up. At such times, I thought you might be making a comedy and I’m thinking, is this the life of a French woman, or just an actress, or a woman who’s having a terrible day? What were you trying to do?
JB: I sprinkled all over the film all these obstacles.  They were meant to be a humoristic device but they also were meant to say something about the times we live in. At the same time, they became the tools that allow her to find her freedom. When I was writing the script, and I came up with the idea of making her an actor, everything suddenly started to make sense. There was a new logic that revealed itself to me. I can’t even describe it more specifically. But I can say that it is actually possible to talk in depth about this film without talking about what it is to make a movie and to film somebody. Here I had two actors who revealed themselves to each other and at the same time, things about themselves were revealed through the other. When I filmed Emmanuelle I revealed things about her, and she helped me reveal things about myself.
DP: Alix’s audition is a great scene. What I found interesting, Emmanuelle, is that you’re playing an actress who is taking the emotions that have built during her aggravating day to help her play a woman who is having just as awful a day. Getting locked out of an apartment when naked is something that might very well have happened to Alix during her day!
ED: Alix goes through a lot of obstacles, and she too is kicked out and her clothes are stripped from her on many levels.

DP: In most current American films, there is a build up to the couple having sex, but we rarely see them having sex. So, Jérôme, talk about your decision to show them when they’re actually in bed.
JB: I didn’t really ask myself what I was going to show in the sex scene, I focused on what I was going to hide.  I showed some things but there were many others that I didn’t show. We show them in bed but never see them actually having sex. I tried to film that scene as if I was not watching them.  That’s ambiguous because I’m filming, so I’m obviously watching.
DP: You begin the film in Calais, so did you decide to set the rest of the film in Paris strictly because of its romantic nature?
JB: It’s in Paris because the noise, bubbly nature, and liveliness of the city serve as a counterpoint to the intimacy between the two characters. I like that a love story like this takes place in such a big city, and Alix, who is from Paris, feels like a stranger in her own hometown. I’m from Paris and I liked the idea of filming in my hometown as if I were watching it with a foreigner’s eye. I am a Parisian yet this is the first film I’ve filmed in Paris.

DP: Finally, Emmanuelle, how fulfilling was it to play Alix at this point in your career?
ED: It was very fulfilling.  There are a thousand reasons, but maybe the most important is that I was filmed with such attention, care and love.  And as Jérôme said earlier, by doing this film we revealed parts of each other to each other.  There was such intimacy and, at the same time, modesty and elegance.  That is so rare.

Last Party for Merry Maker Vivian Walsh

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Vivian Walsh.

Vivian Walsh of Vivian and the Merry Makers Steel Drum Band died last Thursday.

By Kathryn G. Menu

After 40 years of bringing island music to East End audiences, Vivian Walsh, the frontman and founder of Vivian and The Merry Makers Steel Drum Band, died last Thursday morning at Southampton Hospital. The 76 year-old Sag Harbor resident had been battling pancreatic cancer.

As news of Mr. Walsh’s death spread through the community, a Facebook page dedicated to the band and created by Mr. Walsh’s friend Willow Keller became a virtual memorial to the singer and steel drum player. Scores of people, from the East End and beyond, logged on to share memories, and offer their condolences to a man known for his music, his straw hat, Hawaiian shirt, and stage presence.

“We will miss this gentle soul with a big heart, who made this world a happier place,” wrote Sag Harbor resident and friend Chris Tice last Thursday, after announcing the news of Mr. Walsh’s death.

“I will always love and miss you Vivian Walsh,” wrote longtime friend Mariah Kelly. “You’ve been a big part of my life for 47 years. I will miss our Sunday chats. Rest in Paradise, you sweet, kind soul.”

“You will surely be missed, your booming voice, boisterous laugh and twinkling eyes,” wrote Sag Harbor resident Melissa Ann Mitchell.

Mr. Walsh was born on December 3, 1937, on the Caribbean island of Dominica. According to his goddaughter, Debra George, already an accomplished steel drum player, Mr. Walsh moved to the East End in the mid-1960s, and quickly began booking gigs for his steel drum band. Over the next 40 years, Vivian and the Merry Makers became synonymous with outdoor summer traditions, whether it be Montauk’s Blessing of the Fleet, or outdoor concerts at Southampton’s Agwam Park and Sag Harbor’s Marine Park.

Merry Maker drummer Jerome Liggon has played with the band for 21 years. He met Mr. Walsh when his band played the Westhampton Beach Village Green. Mr. Liggon, a drummer with the band Déjà Vu at the time, reached out to Mr. Walsh and the next week the gregarious bandleader called him and asked him to join the Merry Makers.

“What impressed me so much about Vivian is how everyone gravitated toward him,” said Mr. Liggon. “I learned stage presence from him. You don’t realize the impact someone has had sometimes until that person is gone when it is someone that great.”

Ms. George said the family had originally planned for a small gathering of friends and family at Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in Sag Harbor last Sunday, but after posting an announcement on Facebook, over 100 people turned out for the event, which morphed into an impromptu concert.

“I could not believe the turnout,” said Ms. George. “We had more than 100 people come and the band rocked it out. It was exactly what he would have wanted.”

Mr. Walsh is survived by twin daughters, Valencia and Valantine Walsh, as well as four grandchildren. In planning a final farewell for Mr. Walsh, Ms. George said the family will likely hold an event this May or June, ideally in Sag Harbor. Mr. Walsh’s cremated remains, she said, would be floated out to sea at the memorial, which she hopes will feature several bands.

And that will include he Merry Makers, according to Mr. Liggon.

“The last time I was with Vivian when he was coherent he communicated to me that he wanted the Merry Makers to continue on,” he said. “We have to find a new steel drummer, but I think we can come up with something. I believe we already have someone who can sing. Scott Hopson is a second generation Merry Maker and is up for it.”

“I know I wouldn’t want to be the steel drummer who has to follow Vivian’s act,” Mr. Liggon laughed. “No, no, no, thank you.”

“To me, the perfect way to celebrate Vivian would be to do something in Sag Harbor,” he added. “Sag Harbor was his home and he loved that village.”