Tag Archive | "Westhampton Beach"

Lewis Black Brings His Pissed Off Optimism to Westhampton Beach

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Lewis Black

Lewis Black

By Dawn Watson

Acerbic, opinionated and frequently profane, Lewis Black might not be for fence sitters or the faint of heart. But for the people who love to laugh at the absurdities of life, he’s the comedic king of blistering social and political commentary.

Addressing hot topics such as mental health care, the NRA, activism, social media and fiscal entitlement, the two-time Grammy Award-winner and creator of the “Back in Black” commentary segment on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” will not shy away from what he sees as the problems facing the world today during his “The Rant is Due Part Deux” stand-up routine at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Friday, March 27. There, he’ll share his opinions, and hear those of East Enders, via a new, live interactive portion of the performance at the end of the night.

“It’ll be upbeat, happy, optimistic, joyous, almost Christian-like,” he joked during a telephone interview last week.

Since his tour schedule includes approximately 200 gigs a year, the comedian’s set list is fairly fluid, he said. It also promises to be peppered with tales of his experiences on the road, he reported during a brief stay between shows at his Manhattan home. And of course, since the performance will be here in the Hamptons, he’ll be sure to share his opinions about the 1 percent.

“They know what the score is,” the prolific and successful comic, actor, playwright and best-selling author said of high earners. “I know what the score is. I know that we have an advantage. It’s as simple as that.”

When it comes to philanthropy, the Yale Drama School graduate puts his money where his mouth is. A staunch believer in giving back, he supports a slate of charitable organizations, including the 52nd Street Project, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Autism Speaks, Wounded Warriors, the USO and The Brady Center. He is also heavily involved in the Ron Black Memorial Scholarship Fund, created for his late brother, the Rusty Magee Clinic for Families and Health and a slew of other education and arts programs. Additionally, he’s lending his name and the weight of his support to Flushing-based Vassilaros & Sons coffee company, which he says is “a miracle in a cup.”

The comedian is helping his friend John Vassilaros to put out a signature coffee line, the proceeds of which will benefit veterans, Black reported. After the point was made that it might seem ironic that he of the exaggeratedly tightly wound persona is the voice for a coffee company, he laughed.

“Works for me,” he said.

Paradoxically, the passionately outraged performer, who calls himself more “pissed-off optimist than mean-spirited curmudgeon” is also quite popular in animated television shows and films. He’s voiced characters on the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated” and “The Penguins of Madagascar,” among others. His latest role is that of the emotion Anger in the upcoming Pixar film “Inside Out,” which also stars the voice talents of Diane Lane, Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling. Working with Pixar, he said, “was one of the greatest experiences of my life.” Black’s next voice role is in Pixar’s animated “Rock Dog” with Luke Wilson, J.K. Simmons and Eddie Izzard.

Splitting his downtime between homes in Manhattan and North Carolina—where he earned his undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina—the comic relishes his days off the road, he said. Traveling half the year via tour bus for work is one thing, he added, but making the nearly 100-mile schlep out to the Hamptons regularly is an entirely different undertaking.

“It’s just too far. How do people do it?,” he griped.

Trekking out to the Hamptons every weekend is definitely not for Black. Instead of participating in the hours-long traffic nightmare, he’s come up with his own solution that makes a lot more sense for New Yorkers who miss the ocean.

“They should just take sand and spread it around on Park Avenue and the Upper East Side and the let people sit out on their beach chairs so they don’t have to drive around for 2 hours,” he said, adding that he sympathizes with year-round East Enders, who should put up blockades to keep the seasonal crowds out. “I really don’t know how you guys allow it,” he said of the massive summer influx.

And though he did admit to enjoying a visit to Sag Harbor every once in a while, the comedian said he plans to stay put in New York City. If not for his peace of mind, then for his career.

“Sag Harbor is beautiful and serene,” he said. “I couldn’t live there though. I wouldn’t get anything done.”

Lewis Black will bring “The Rant is Due Part Deux” to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Friday, March 27 at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $95, $125 and $150 and are available online at www.whbpac.org. 

Scars on 45 Returns to WHBPAC

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So45 - Press Photo 2

As a part of the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC) Breakout Artist Series, and in partnership with WEHM 96.9, British indie rock quartet, Scars on 45, will return to the center this Friday at 8 p.m.

Scars on 45 brings an alt-rock, melodic pop sound, combining the big guitar rock of Oasis with the melodic, country-influenced sound of Fleetwood Mac. Formed in Bradford, Yorkshire around 2007, Scars on 45 began as a duo after former football-mates, singer/songwriter Danny Bemrose and bassist Stuart Nichols, started writing songs together. Eventually the band expanded to include keyboardist David Nowakowski, vocalist Aimee Driver, and drummer Chris Durling. While the group developed a local following, it wasn’t until their song “Beauty’s Running Wild” was used in a 2009 episode of the CBS television drama “CSI: New York” that Scars on 45 caught the attention of the wider music industry. In 2011, buoyed by that success and a record deal with the Chop Shop label, Scars on 45 released two EPs, including “Give Me Something” and “Heart on Fire,” the latter’s title cut appeared on the “Grey’s Anatomy, Vol. 4 soundtrack”. A year later, the band released their self-titled debut album featuring the single “Heart on Fire.” In 2014, Scars on 45 returned with their sophomore full-length album, “Safety in Numbers,” featuring the single, “Crazy for You.”

Scars on 45 will perform at the WHBPAC, 76 Main Street in Westhampton Beach, on Friday, February 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and available at whbpac.org.

 

Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz

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Judiann-Carmack-Fayazz

By Mara Certic

Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz is the chair of Slow Food East End, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. She discusses some of the group’s successes over the years, future projects and an upcoming fundraiser in Westhampton Beach.

Slow Food East End just celebrated its 10th anniversary. How has the organization evolved and expanded over the past 10 years?

Our quest for universal access is manifested in our novel programming, which is centered around education and the concept of Farm to Table. Master Farmers Program, Chefs to Schools, school garden mini-grants, educational outreach and curriculum development are our most important initiatives of the past few years.  We have had the good fortune to develop powerful partnerships with some incredible like-minded groups such as Edible School Gardens, Josh Levine Memorial Foundation, Cornell Cooperative, Peconic Land Trust, Project Most and Sylvester Manor.  That expression “Many hands make light work,” comes to mind. We have become much more effective by sharing resources and goals.

What do you consider some of the greatest accomplishments?

Our greatest accomplishment in my mind is the formation of a very dedicated group of Slow Food leaders and community supporters that is very focused on changing the way people eat and the way food is produced. Through team effort and hard work, we have accomplished some pretty incredible things. The school garden movement—and soon the school cooking movement—on the East End of Long Island would not be the same without the amazing financial and programmatic support of Slow Food East End. We owe all of this to the network of chefs, farmers, fisherman, educators, producers, concerned citizens, journalists, nutritionists and foodies that have donated so much of their time, energy and resources to our common goals. It takes a community!

Slow Food East End has been advertising the need for a master farmer. What does that position entail?

When educators, parents and community members wanted to teach children about food: where it came from, how to grow it and how to eat it, school gardens seemed the best place to accomplish that task. Today, the Edible School Garden Group counts about 25 school districts with school garden programs on the East End. It became apparent that many of us did not have the technical growing or gardening skills to run successful programs. Farming requires special knowledge! Monthly meetings did not translate into help on the ground, where questions from “Where should I put my garden?” to “How do you harvest sweet potatoes?” perplexed many.  The Master Farmer program was born. Master farmers bring different levels of gardening/farming experience to the table.  Our four master farmers have truly been inspirational as well incredibly helpful in getting programs off the ground and into sustainability.

On Sunday, September 28, the American Culinary Federation Eastern Long Island Chefs Chapter is co-hosting the first annual S.E.E.D. fundraiser with Slow Food East End. What will the fundraiser benefit?

The chefs of the Eastern Long Island chapter of the American Culinary Federation very much want to give back to the community and make an impact on changing the way people eat too.  S.E.E.D. aims to celebrate the chefs, wineries, breweries, farmers and fishermen who produce the delicious bounty that we enjoy so much out here. Proceeds from S.E.E.D. will help fund Slow Food East End’s Chefs to Schools Program, which aims to bring chefs into schools.  Chefs will receive a small stipend covering time and supplies to visit schools with the aim of teaching children of all ages how to prepare, cook and enjoy food. The program is still in development and will be officially launched sometime very soon. This new initiative completes the circle of farm to table.

For more information about Slow Food East End or Sunday’s fundraiser, visit slowfoodeastend.org.

East End Weekend: Labor Day Highlights

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Danielle Leef, "Flying Point Sunrise." Courtesy Southampton Artists Association.

Danielle Leef, “Flying Point Sunrise.” Courtesy Southampton Artists Association.

By Tessa Raebeck

With the East End at full capacity this Labor Day, what better way to unwind from a crazy summer than with a little party hopping? Here’s our highlights of what to check out this weekend:

 

With an opening reception on Sunday, the Southampton Artists Association Labor Day Show will show paintings, photography and sculptures by local artists.

The free reception is from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Levitas Center for the Arts in the Southampton Cultural Center, located at 25 Pond Lane in Southampton. The show runs through September 7.

 

The king of nerd humor and that stand-up comedian who doodles on television, Demetri Martin is coming to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Sunday, August 31.

He earned an Emmy nomination as a writer on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” has been a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and starred in the Ang Lee film “Taking Woodstock.” He also created and starred in the series “Important Things with Demetri Martin” on Comedy Central and wrote “This is a Book by Demetri Martin,” a New York Times bestseller.

Jeanelle Myers, "Untitled," for "Curious" at Ashawagh Hall.

Jeanelle Myers, “Untitled,” for “Curious” at Ashawagh Hall.

Mr. Martin’s performance at the will begin at 8 p.m. The PAC is located at 76 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. Tickets are $60, $75, and $90. For tickets and more information, call (631) 288-1500 or visit WHBPAC.org.

 

On Saturday at Ashawagh Hall in Springs, “Curious” exhibits a selection of contemporary artists exploring the concept of “Curious and Curiosity.”

Works include painting, sculpture, photography and mixed media. Out of 50 participating artists, five are from Sag Harbor: Ted Asnis, Barbara Freedman, Jonathan Morse, Jeanelle Myers and Pamela Topham.

The group show is curated by Ellen Dooley, a painter and mixed media artist focused on social and political commentary.

An opening reception for “Curious” will be held on Saturday, August 30, from 5 to 8 p.m. The gallery is open all weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ashawagh Hall, located at 780 Springs Fireplace Road at Old Stone Highway in East Hampton. For more information, call (631) 987-7005.

 

At the Romany Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor, Sheryl Budnik will show her work in “Turbulence II,” open from August 28 to September 18. An opening reception for the artist will be held on Saturday, August 30, from 5 to 7 p.m.

“The term ‘Lumen Naturae–the Light Within the Darkness of Nature’ refers to the Middle Age idea (Paracelsus c. 1493-1541) that knowledge springs from the Light of Nature,” Ms. Budnik said in a press release issued by the gallery.

“This light in Nature illuminates the consciousness and allows inspiration and intuition to rise from human subconscious,” the artist continued. “This is the core of my study; this is what I want to capture with my paint. Not paintings defined as ‘seascape’ or ‘landscape,’ but paintings so powerfully about nature that an open spirit responds with human emotion and an intuitive understanding of the immensity and power of Nature itself.”

The Romany Kramoris Gallery is located at 41 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-2499.

Sheryl Budnik, "Light at the End of the Day" will be on view at the Romany Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor.

Sheryl Budnik, “Light at the End of the Day” will be on view at the Romany Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor.

 

Stand-Up Comedian and Professional Doodler Demetri Martin Coming to Westhampton Beach

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By Tessa Raebeck DemetriMartin

Demetri Martin, the king of nerd humor and that standup comedian who doodles on television, is coming to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Sunday, August 31.

Known for his monotone style, one-liners and insights, Mr. Martin performs with a notepad, in which he has entertaining drawings, charts and graphs. After graduating from Yale, Mr. Martin received a full scholarship to study law at New York University.

“I found it interesting for the first three weeks,” he said of his experience at law school, “but by the fourth week, I found it tedious. I got bored and grew restless.”

Influence by Steven Wright, Steve Martin and Mitch Hedberg, Mr. Martin moved on to a very different, less tedious, career path, appearing on Comedy Central’s stand-up showcase “Premium Blend” in 2001.

He earned an Emmy nomination as a writer on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” has been a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and starred in the Ang Lee film “Taking Woodstock.” He also created and starred in the series “Important Things with Demetri Martin” on Comedy Central and wrote “This is a Book by Demetri Martin,” a New York Times bestseller.

Mr. Martin’s performance at the will begin at 8 p.m. The PAC is located at 76 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. Tickets are $60, $75, and $90. For tickets and more information, call (631) 288-1500 or visit WHBPAC.org.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band Brings “The Planet’s Happiest Music” to Westhampton Beach

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The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

By Tessa Raebeck

The sound of New Orleans is coming to Westhampton Beach this Friday, as the famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band brings their celebrated jazz music to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center.

Sharing what they call “the planet’s happiest music,” the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was formed in 1961 to bring traditional New Orleans jazz music to a wider audience. A multi-generational ensemble of musicians joins together to share the heritage of jazz in a performance that will leave both novice listeners and die-hard jazz fans smiling, dancing and full of energy.

Coming off the recent release of their latest album, “That’s It,” directed by Ben Jaffe, the group is bringing a new spark to its timeless sound. The East End is ready for a taste of the Big Easy, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band promises to deliver it with their signature funky style.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will be at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center Friday, May 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $75 to $95 and are available online at whbpac.org.

South Fork Mayors Talk Housing, Change & Cooperation

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By Kathryn G. Menu

The four South Fork village mayors gathered at Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton on Monday night for a conversation organized by the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons. Though the dialogue was focused on issues like affordable housing and wastewater treatment, on several occasions it circled back to the potential changing face of the Sag Harbor Village business district.

Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, who attended the forum along with East Hampton Village Mayor Paul Rickenbach, Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley and Westhampton Beach Village Mayor Conrad Teller, opened by addressing just that — a changing village with a number of development projects in the pipeline trying to maintain its sense of self.

“Sag Harbor, the last few years, has had a lot of activity,” he said.

At the forefront is Cape Advisors development of the former Bulova Watchcase Factory on Division Street. Currently a year into what is expected to be a two-year construction process, the project will transform the long abandoned property into The Watchcase, a group of luxury condominiums.

The John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML) is also in the middle of a two-year expansion and restoration of its historic building, added Gilbride.

While Gilbride said both of those projects were positive changes in Sag Harbor, trading a smirk with Epley, he noted that the village came close to loosing a treasure in the Bay Street Theatre, which would have been a devastating blow.

One of Southampton Village’s primary focuses is trying to find appropriate uses for the vacant Parish Art Museum space on Jobs Lane after the museum officially opens its doors. Epley has created the not-for-profit Southampton Center for the Arts and attempted to woo Bay Street Theatre into that space. However, Bay Street’s landlord Patrick Malloy III ultimately offered the theater a 10 year lease for their current space in an effort to keep them in Sag Harbor while they look for a long term home.

Epley said he was proud how the South Fork mayors are able to work together, noting the Village of Sag Harbor has recently allowed Southampton Village and Suffolk County to beta test a septic system his board is considering. Southampton Village, noted Epley, unlike Sag Harbor, has a downtown that uses septic systems for wastewater treatment instead of a facility, largely preventing it from growing and posing a threat to the environment.

“Sag Harbor has a waste treatment plant and it is one of the reasons it can have a lot of restaurants and a lot of density,” said Epley.

He added that as his village explores its options for wastewater treatment, being able to partner with Sag Harbor is enabling Southampton to move towards a more economically and environmentally friendly way of dealing with its downtown septic waste.

Sag Harbor resident Nada Barry noted that in Sag Harbor Village, the 2009 zoning code revision called for preserving second floor apartments in the village business district instead of allowing offices to take those spaces. She wondered what municipalities were doing to promote affordable housing.

Rickenbach said that in East Hampton Village it was difficult, primarily because of the high cost of land, to provide real affordable housing. Teller said about four years ago, Westhampton Beach began tracking towards its own affordable housing project, but that it stalled as the economy faltered. Teller noted it is a program that should be revived.

In Southampton, Epley said the village has taken three properties from Suffolk County for the development of affordable housing and is in the process of contracting with the not-for-profit Southampton Housing Authority to manage those properties.

“We don’t view them as affordable housing, but as second generation housing,” said Epley, noting the East End must care to ensure its volunteers and children are able to actually live here.

Gilbride later added that the village has tried to increase natural affordable housing stock through legalization of accessory apartments, but only one has officially been approved and only two others have applied.

“I would dare to say there are far more than the one legal one,” he said.

In terms of other affordable housing initiatives, once the condo units at The Watchcase are sold, the village will have approximately $2.5 million paid into its Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust, a not for profit created by former Mayor Greg Ferraris to help finance affordable housing.

As part of their approval process, Cape Advisors was required by the village to make the payment in lieu of providing on-site affordable housing.

Robert Riskin, a resident of Sag Harbor for 41 years, said he was concerned that the “sleepy, working man’s town” with local stores would change even more than it already has once the condominiums have been finished.

“I remember when you knew every family because they owned the building,” said Gilbride, a lifelong Sag Harbor resident. “It was Barry’s hardware store, Marty’s barbershop, Schiavoni’s market, Mel Jackson’s photo. I think why Sag Harbor has survived is because a lot of families have owned those buildings.”

Despite the evolution of the village, and Gilbride agreed there have been a lot of changes, he said he did not believe the Bulova project would alter Sag Harbor in a significant way.

“I hope you are right,” said Riskin.