‘teeses’ the marketplace BODIES OF WORK
Sculptors Judith Economos and Bob Clyatt
voluptuaries A gallery of vintage beauties
ONE SWEET JOB Godiva’s Jeri Finard
Girly (and burly) burlesque
Voluptuaries 12 Indian art: Danger, curves ahead 16 Art unto itself 20 Babes, broads, bombshells and Hitchcock blondes 22 Marilyn c’est nous 24 Naked came the student 26 Titular heroines 28 Let’s hear it for the boys 32 get your butt in gear, now! 34 Go figure 35 Girls, girls, girls! 39 Strip, strip, hooray 49 creating with fire 52 The uniform of desire 56 The sweet spot
One of Judith Economos’ voluptuous works.
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We wonder: What qualities make a bosom buddy?
73 on the watch
Pinup imagery continues to inspire
We’re out and about
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With Martha Handler and Jennifer Pappas
8 Waggers 10 Editor’s letter Cover photograph by Ali Mahdavi.
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If you missed it on Broadway, now’s your chance! PUBLISHER/CREATIVE DIRECTOR Dee DelBello MANAGING EDITOR Bob Rozycki EDITOR Georgette Gouveia SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Caitlin Nurge Harrison CLASS & SASS COLUMNISTS Martha Handler • Jennifer Pappas
Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
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Grace Hammerstein PATRICIA ESPINOSA
is a junior at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, where she’s majoring in American Studies. Recently, she spent a semester in South Africa and wrote a blog about her many adventures there. Grace will graduate in the spring of 2014 when she will be enthusiastically entertaining offers of interesting employment.
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editor's letter Georgette Gouveia
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Welcome to boobs and butts. That’s what our sassy side calls this issue. Our classy side calls it Voluptuaries. But you get the idea. In this month of Eros and eros, we’re all about the body, particularly the voluptuous female body, which seems to be everywhere these days. We’ve got the subject covered – or rather uncovered – in all sorts of delicious ways, from the insouciant curves of cover girl Dita Von Teese to the ravishing undulations of Asian Indian art and Judith Economos’ contemporary works to the creamy dunes of Marilyn Monroe and the other stellar blond bombshells to the saucy poses of the pinup and the shimmering exertions of burlesque, male and female. Our doctors have weighed in on the role that nature and artifice play in the sexualized body. Our writers and columnists tell us how to shape and reshape it. Yet for all of humanity’s celebration of the body, male and female, we’re not very kind to it. There’s an ambivalence toward the body that is particularly prevalent in the media, WAG included. We’re all about accepting our bodies and yet, we promote plastic surgery and exercises that give you a long, lean look. We admire shapeliness, but we extol thinness as well and let’s face it: Those two things don’t often go together. So there’s kind of a contradiction here. It wasn’t always thus. Throughout art history, artists have portrayed humanity in all shapes, sizes and colors. Even some of the most ideal nudes – such as the Venus de Milo and the Apollo Belvedere –
are not overly voluptuous and muscular respectively. Nor are they the taut bodies beloved by dancers and runners. They are rather shapely specimens of the human form. It wasn’t until the so-called high arts became separate from popular culture, really with the rise of mass media in the early 20th century, that you began to see sylph-like women (and corresponding fashions) and increasingly muscular men. Today, of course, we’re all supposed to be thin, shapely and toned. But how realistic is this given disparate thin, muscular and curvy body types? The signs do not seem encouraging, except that there are pockets of hope in some of the oddest places. Strangely enough, both Marilyn and burlesque – once symbols of the objectification of women – have been reclaimed by women, eager to take back the female body, in all its wondrous variety, for themselves. And young people are on occasion letting it all hang out, as WAG newcomer Grace Hammerstein discovered. Grace has come to terms with her splendidly imperfect humanity – something I did, yet again, on my recent trip to Bali. My first response to all those rippling Hindu gods and goddesses, those glistening beachcombers and bathing beauties, was to head for my cover-ups and eyeliner. But by the second day, I had ditched much of my armor for a bathing suit and sarong and realized I have a pretty nice pear shape. Perhaps the secret is to embrace what we have and make the most of it.
Indian art: Danger, curves ahead By Georgette Gouveia
â€œDancing Celestial,â€? sandstone, early 12th century. Promised gift of Florence and Herbert Irving. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
or sheer voluptuousness, it’s hard to beat Indian art. Curvaceous goddesses and temple celebrants, sensuous queens, strapping gods, ripped bodhisattvas: They permeate the subcontinent and haunt the artistic imagination. And they did so right from the beginning, says John Guy, the Florence and Herbert Irving curator of the arts of South and Southeast Asia at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. “The earliest religion in India is Brahmanical. It goes back to the oral tradition of the Vedas (sacred texts).” From this tradition Hinduism emerged, as did the reform movements of Buddhism and Jainism. The latter two – which are to Hinduism what Lutheranism and Calvinism are to Roman Catholicism – emphasized the pure and the puritanical. But the sensuousness of the body would not be denied. The love of the voluptuous female and the commanding male is endemic to human nature, Guy says, and it is particularly endemic to Indian art. He points to the terra-cotta relief “Goddess and Attendants,” which dates from between the first century B.C. and A.D. first century. It’s a female nude who makes up for what she lacks in clothing with accoutrement. Her attendants carry an umbrella – symbol of her divinity – to shade and shield her. Garlands announce and celebrate her. The figure establishes the feminine archetype in Indian art, with one hip cocked to emphasis her hourglass shape. The earliest figures were female, possibly because they
“Yashoda with the infant Krishna,” early 12th-century copper alloy. Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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were created by men but more likely because they were fertility symbols. As we tour the Florence and Herbert Irving Galleries in the Arts of South and Southeast Asia wing, Guy stops before a red sandstone “Tree-Spirit Deity” (first century). Once part of a temple decoration, she still calls forth life, shaking a tree to yield fruit like the mango she holds. But it’s as if she were also part of the tree itself, her breasts as ripe as any mango. Guy notes how one hand is placed on her cocked hip, emphasizing its roundness. So pervasive was this sensuousness that it crept into more ascetic religious traditions like Buddhism. A bronze “Standing Buddha” from the classical period of Indian art (fifth through seventh centuries) illustrates the “wet” drapery effect, the undulating lines of the Buddha’s robe stretched taut, revealing more than it conceals. Clearly, America’s wet T-shirt contests have nothing on Indian art. Yet it is perhaps in the Hindu bronzes of the Chola dynasty (10th century) that voluptuousness reached perfection. We stand in awe before “Standing Parvati,” one of The Met’s masterpieces. Such works were often commissioned by royalty, Guy says, and so they were part portraiture, part image of the divine. Parvati, wife of the god Shiva, smiles at us, her weight shifted to one leg to show off her curvy yet graceful figure. Her voluptuousness, however, is as much a condition of the artist’s line as it is of her body. The articulation of each curl that caresses her neck, the incisiveness of her accessories, the sway of her clinging drapery give texture and life to this copper alloy. No wonder Auguste Rodin – no slouch when it came to erotic sculptures – would write in 1910 of the superiority of Chola bronzes. Perhaps he also drew inspiration for his frankly carnal works from pieces like “Loving Couple,” a 13th-century sculpture made of Ferruginous stone. As the woman throws one leg across the man’s groin, he tenderly supports her with a hand on her thigh and one behind her head. Their smiling lips meet, leaving little doubt to the denouement. (India is, after all, the country that put the sutra in “The Kama Sutra.”) “Loving Couple” also reminds us that sensuality wasn’t limited to the female figure. It does indeed take two to tango. Indian art boasts any number of heroic male figures. Among the most arresting is the “Torso of a Monumental Bodhisattva,” a Buddhist saint, from Pakistan’s Gandara region (circa fifth century B.C.). This magnificent, rippling torso suggests the region’s Greco-Roman influences as well. There are also chubby, mischievous nature spirits – the garden gnomes of ancient Indian art, Guy says – shriveled embodiments of evil and skeletal fasting Buddhas that reflect the challenges the flesh is heir to. But it is to the bodacious goddesses and their ripped paramours that the eye returns in the end. They are, Guy says, “really a celebration of the human form.” For more, call (212) 535-7710 or visit metmuseum. org. n
“Loving Couple (Mithuna),” Ferruginous stone, 13th century. Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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ArtJudithunto itself Economos lives in a nonstop world of creation By Georgette Gouveia Photographs by Bob Rozycki
Judith Economos astride a work in progress of an undulating female.
f you’re not familiar with Judith Economos’ sensuous work, that may be because she’s more interested in making art than selling it. “I tried it once,” she says with a shrug. “It’s humiliating peddling your art around. It’s a time-waster.” And, she adds, “Ultimately, you find yourself drawn toward whatever sells.” Besides, she says with a laugh and a nod, “He keeps me very well.” “He” being her husband, Andrew, who got in on the ground floor of computers and data analysis, heading up that effort for NBC before starting his own company, RCS (Radio Computing Services), which he sold to Clear Channel, which in turn was bought by Bain Capital. To say that the house Judith and Andrew built in Westchester is spectacular hardly does it justice. Before a comforting fire in their spacious kitchen at a long, handsome table Andrew created from one piece of wood, we chat over coffee about art and literature as well as philosophy – which Judith taught briefly at Princeton University. It’s like being on a mini-vacation. What makes their home – and you suspect, the couple – tick is its perfect blend of their complementary artistic talents. Andrew did the woodwork that envelopes the spaces and also sculpts. Judith carved the woodwork with voluptuous figural reliefs. Indeed, the house is filled with her curving, undulating, unapologetically fleshy bathers, lovers, odalisques and heroic male figures – drawings, prints and oil and acrylic paintings as well as sculptures in clay, bronze and wood taken from trees downed in storms like Hurricane Sandy. There isn’t a medium she hasn’t conquered, though her website (jeconomos.com) says she considers drawing her primary means of expression. She created paintcuts, a method of tablet drawing on a computer in which the line remains seamless and the effect is that of a block print. Judith’s style is as versatile and eclectic as the media she employs. Her figures in particular echo Pablo Picasso’s bewitching line and the solidity of Henry Moore and Henri Matisse along with Matisse and
In Judith Economos’ sculpture of bathers, flesh cascades along with water.
Judith playfully strums on a dining room chair she sculpted.
Edgar Degas’ love of the dance. Yet her style is entirely her own. One of her best works, “Dancing in the Rain,” celebrates the exquisite torque of a nude male dancer seen from the back. Or at least that’s what the work can suggest. It’s really just a few carefully calibrated strokes of white acrylic paint on a black background. That it speaks volumes is the mark of a true artist. There are animals, abstractions and arabesques as well in Judith’s art, including a banister shaped like a sleek horse that catches you by surprise and reaffirms her belief that sculpture is meant to be touched. But you’re drawn back to the human figure, just as she is. The artist reaffirms his own body as he creates one, she says. “You feel what you’re doing as you’re doing it. You can feel it, sense it. Our eyes are attuned to the human figure. …Make a mistake with the human body and everyone knows it, even if he doesn’t know anything about art.” There are no mistakes in Judith’s nymphs. Their flesh cascades, realistically and poetically, as they pour water on one another. They leap and prance like primitive Matisse bathers and dancers. They look provocatively over one shoulder, their bare backsides to us, like Moore odalisques in solitary landscapes. They stretch out pensively, comfortable in the swelling display of breasts and bottoms. The female dominates here, but then, Judith says, look at any magazine stand. There are women on the covers of men’s magazines and on the covers of women’s as well. The difference between popular culture and art history is the greater, more realistic fleshiness in the female nudes of the latter. “If you look at Rubens, he liked big women.” Judith’s work is less Rubens and more Rodin. Her bronze of two kneeling lovers – the man embracing the woman from behind as she reaches for him – suggests “The Kiss” while possessing its own eroticism. Yet perhaps her most moving pairing is the facing couple in a drawing worthy of Picasso – a few eloquent lines that Andrew says she made as a gift for him in the days when they had very little. Not that she neglects the male of the species. There are commanding male nudes as well, a reminder of those periods – ancient Greece and Rome, the Renaissance and neoclassical Paris – when the male may have been the primary sex symbol in art. “I like to do men,” Judith observes. She pauses for effect and smiles before impishly correcting herself: “I like to do paintings of men.” n
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Babes, broads, bombshells and Hitchcock blondes
owhere has the poignant complexity of blondness been more tantalizingly embodied than by the screen sirens of the 20th century. But the Hollywood blonde didn’t start out as a bombshell. Once upon a time, she was the waifish good girl crystallized by “Little Mary” Pickford, who was still sporting banana curls and playing plucky ingénues when she was 30 and married to Douglas Fairbanks Sr., with whom she helped found United Artists. Let the heavy-lidded Theda Bara and the knowing Clara Bow play the vamp and the sexually liberated flapper. The shrewd Pickford remained everyone’s daughter, at least on screen. When she cut off her banana curls for a fashionable bob, her husband wept. Women don’t stay little girls forever. Perhaps it took the tough times of the 1930s for that tough message to sink in, via two pretty tough broads – Mae West and Jean Harlow. With her hourglass figure, oft-imitated purr and superbly timed double entendres, West left little doubt as to what she wanted, and it wasn’t to save the family farm while preserving her virtue. “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me,” she propositions a shy, young Cary Grant as she gives him the once-over in “She Done Him Wrong.” West let Hollywood know “When I’m good, I’m very good. But when I’m bad, I’m better.” So was Jean “Baby” Harlow, who starred in “Platinum 20
By Georgette Gouveia
Blonde” and “Bombshell.” Both a man’s woman and a mama’s girl – she took her mother’s name as her stage name – Harlow slinked around in plunging, clinging gowns that defied wardrobe malfunction. Her manner was just as direct. “Do you know that the guy said that machinery is going to take the place of every profession,” her ballsy trophy wife informs Marie Dressler’s lofty actress in the spot-on “Dinner At Eight. Dressler stops short, eyeing her before responding, “Oh, my dear, that’s something you need never worry about.” It was a measure of Harlow’s transparence that Dressler’s retort is not meant unkindly. You couldn’t help but root for Harlow, whether she was sporting sparkle and satin or corralling Gable by standing up to him. And you can well imagine that when she died of kidney failure too young at 26 – betrayed by the body others had worshipped, a common bombshell fate – that the commissary at MGM went silent.
West and Harlow freed the blond bombshell to be whatever she wanted to be, even if it was a murderous adulteress, albeit in a fetching white turban and matching short, do-me shorts (Lana Turner in “The Postman Always Rings Twice”) or your more garden-variety unhappy wife in peekaboo bangs (Veronica Lake in “The
Blue Dahlia.”) That freedom reached its zenith at mid-century. The 1950s was a bouquet of blondes – spunky and virginal (Doris Day, though she played beautifully against type in “Love Me or Leave Me”), musical and virginal (Shirley Jones), elegant and regal (the soon-to-be Princess Grace Kelly). And then there was Marilyn. (See related story.) No one was blonder or more bombshell-like. But the person who gave her a run for her money in blond ambition was not a blonde. Indeed, he hardly had any hair. Over the years, Alfred Hitchcock would give us many blondes – Ingrid Bergman’s warm, honey-haired psychoanalyst in “Spellbound” and good bad girl in “Notorious;” Joan Fontaine’s mouse that roared in “Suspicion” and “Rebecca.” But his greatest contribution to blondness was the bombshell’s antithesis, the so-called “Hitchcock blonde” – cool, contained, patrician, always ladylike but certainly no lady when it came to deceiving men. “Suspense is like a woman,” Donald Spoto quotes Hitch as saying in his biography “The Dark Side of Genius.” “The more left to the imagination, the more the excitement. …The conventional big-bosomed blonde is not mysterious. …The perfect woman of mystery is one who is blonde, subtle and Nordic.” She was incarnated by Grace Kelly’s inquisitive manhunters in “Rear Window” and “To Catch A Thief,” Eva Marie Saint’s quiet double agent in “North By North-
west;” Janet Leigh’s thieving adulteress in “Psycho;” and less successfully, Tippi Hedren’s vulnerable damsels in “The Birds” and “Marnie.” But the quintessence of the Hitchcock blonde was revealed by a woman who had no interest in being one, Kim Novak in “Vertigo,” named the best film ever by Sight & Sound magazine’s recent poll of critics. Much has been made about the parallels between “Vertigo’s” haunting twist on the Pygmalion myth and Hitch’s obsession with actresses like Hedren and Vera Miles, whom he sought to control with long-term contracts. (See HBO’s “The Girl” and the excellent feature “Hitchcock.”) Like James Stewart’s dogged, damaged detective in “Vertigo,” who transforms a blowsy brunette into his memory of an unattainable blonde (Novak in a dual role) with tragic results, Hitchcock seemed to have been in thwarted love with an ideal that existed only in his mind. “This man changed and dressed up his woman, which seems like the reverse of stripping her naked,” he told Spoto. “But it amounts to the same thing.” As Spoto, a New Rochelle native who taught there at Iona College and at Fairfield University, observes: “Like Hitchcock’s motion pictures, the most carefully calculated feminine personae … tease the intelligence and the imagination before responding to emotion and desire. And with all of them, as with the prototypical Victorian, hair is an ultimate erotic fixation.”
Bye, bye blondie
The ’60s and the advent of feminism marked the beginning of the end for the blond bombshell. I mean, even Barbie became an astronaut and president of the United States.
Oh sure, there were still diluted Marilyns, Jayne Mansfield, whose 40D breasts got more attention than her reported 160 IQ, Diana Dors and Mamie Van Doren; Euro sex kitten Brigitte Bardot; and blond Bond girls Ursula Andress, who rose Venus-like from the sea in “Dr. No.” But the open-heartedness that made the bombshell so enchanting was lost beneath the slutty dumb blonde veneer that is anathema to feminism. Even the cool, ladylike Hitchcock blonde was replaced in pop cultural iconography by a cool, ladylike brunette – Jacqueline Kennedy. In the succeeding decades, there have been stabs at reviving the bombshell but with varying results. Dolly Parton, a talented singer-songwriter, has played it for laughs; Madonna, for cold, hard cash; Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, for tabloid farce; Anna Nicole Smith, for Marilyn-size tragedy. Those actresses who could bridge the bombshell and the Hitchcock blonde – Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron – are more interested in playing characters than portraying personas, although Theron has paid tribute to these two faces of blondness in her ads for Dior’s “J’Adore” fragrance, which have her, through the magic of technology, meeting up with Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe backstage before she hits the runway. With today’s emphasis on character acting, actresses keep changing hair colors. Is Emma Stone, who can be funny and siren-like, a blonde or a redhead? It depends on the role. Still, like James Stewart in “Vertigo,” we find the blonde irresistible. And like him, we’ll continue to pursue the dream of her, even if it brings us to the edge of the precipice. n
Gentlemen, it seems, aren’t the only ones who prefer blondes. Because they’re a minority in many cultures, blonds have possessed a certain mystique in history and the imagination. The A-list Greek gods – Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis, Athena – are fair-haired sibs. Both the archangel Michael (see the painter Raphael) and his arch nemesis Lucifer (see William Blake) have been depicted as blonds, as have their fleshly battleground, Adam and Eve (see Milton’s “Paradise Lost’). Homer’s Achilles is a blond. Alexander the Great, who took Achilles for his ancestor and role model, was a real one, reportedly sprinkling gold dust in his hair for effect. The first Caesars, who took their cue from him, happened to be blonds, too. Jesus has been depicted in film and art as a blond, though not without controversy. (See Salvador Dalí’s floating “Last Supper,” which regularly provokes double takes at Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art.) Despite any number of golden male icons – Alan Ladd, Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Peter O’Toole’s Lawrence of Arabia, whirling like a white dervish atop the train cars of memory – blond male movie stars are considered suspect and lightweight. Remember the brouhaha when Daniel Craig was announced as the new James Bond? He’s proved terrific, but we still like ’em tall, dark and handsome, perhaps the better to contrast with their fair-haired leading ladies.
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Marilyn c’est nous By Georgette Gouveia
Marilyn Monroe rowing in Central Park, New York City, 1957. Photograph by Sam Shaw (c) Sam Shaw Inc. Courtesy Shaw Family Archives Ltd.
What could there possibly be left to say about Marilyn Monroe? Perhaps no other movie star has been so idolized and dissected by popular culture. This past year alone – the 50th anniversary of her passing into legend – saw several Marilyn-inspired works, including the delightful feature “My Week With Marilyn,” NBC’s addictive “Smash,” and Lois Banner’s well-meaning but ultimately misguided bio “Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox,” which spends an awful lot of time speculating about her abusive childhood (instigated by a mentally unstable mother). Culture cannot contain her, which may be the secret of her enduring allure. She is different things to different people in different times. Feminists, for instance, were slow to embrace her. But once Gloria Steinem wrote about her sympathetically in 1972, the tide turned and womankind felt free to embrace and reclaim her, looking past the blond bombshell named Norma Jeane after another bombshell, Jean Harlow. The dumb blonde was an act, of course – a good act, one delivered without guile or malice, but an act nonetheless. It’s important to remember that true movie stars create personas that then play characters. “Shall I be her?” Marilyn (Michelle Williams) tells a gobsmacked Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) in “My Week With Marilyn,” based on Clark’s memoir of his time as third assistant director and Marilyn-minder on the set of the disastrous “The Prince and the Showgirl.” Marilyn then goes into her kewpiedoll shimmy to the delight of the staff of Windsor Castle, which she’s visiting on a day off. The truth of the moment cuts past desired flesh to the bone. Susan Strasberg – daughter of Marilyn’s Actors Studio mentors, Lee and Paula – has often told stories of how Norma Jeane could turn Marilyn on and off just by the way she carried herself on a Manhattan street. The real Marilyn read books, wrote poetry, cultivated intellectuals and honed her skills as a comedienne (“Some Like It Hot”), tragedienne (“The Misfits”) and a great still-camera actress as a memorable 2004 Brooklyn Museum show, “I Want To Be Loved By You,” attested. She was, as Maureen Dowd wrote in a New York Times’ column, something we rarely see anymore – an aspirational figure. That she recognized in the end the limitations of both playing and being Marilyn was, of course, her undoing. Hollywood biographer Donald Spoto, who has a knack for forensic research, holds that she
died accidentally just as she was on the verge of getting back together with Joe DiMaggio, her controlling, protective second husband. Conspiracy theorists like to point the finger at the Kennedys, although Arthur Schlesinger in “Robert Kennedy: His Life and Times” makes a persuasive case for Bobby being a confidant and consigliere in her contract negotiations with 20th Century Fox rather than a lover. Maybe it was an accidental barbiturate overdose. Who knows how many suicides regret the act too late? More than any other form of death, suicide – particularly the suicide of a young person, Marilyn was 36 – begs the question, “Why?” But Occam’s razor states that the truth lies with the argument that contains the least number of hypotheses. The “truth” of Marilyn, victimizer as well as victim, was that she had boxed herself into a life that had grown intolerable to her and so decided to end it. And yet, she lives. “It’s women that have kept Marilyn alive, not men,” Maureen Dowd quotes photographer Larry Schiller as saying. Women can learn a lot from Monroe, a woman ahead of her time: Lift small dumbbells to strengthen the muscles that support the breasts. Splash your face with cold water 32 times to tone the skin. Outline the outer edges of the lips to make them appear plumper. But perhaps the greatest lesson she has to offer is that sex symbols have a short expiration date. Best to have a backup plan and be wary of would-be lovers who fail to understand that playing a bombshell is different than being one. In a post-feminist age when women are continually assaulted by images and books in which women are portrayed as little more than their bodies, is it any wonder that we flock to her? She is, after all, one of us. n
Marilyn takes Manhattan
MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design Lightbox are bringing some of Sam Shaw’s iconic images of Marilyn Monroe to 42nd Street in “Marilyn in New York.” Eight photographs from a daylong photo shoot can be seen in the 42nd St.-Bryant Park BDFM7 subway station. A supersized version of the iconic subway grate photograph from “The Seven Year Itch” is on view at 42nd Street and Broadway, just outside of the entrance to the Times Square subway complex. For more, visit mta.info/art.
Dinosaurs. Oceans. Eggs. & the Bruce MuseuM Greenwich, Connecticut 203 869 0376 brucemuseum.org
Naked came the student A Yale party proves revealing in more ways than one By Grace Hammerstein
So I stood there stark naked, with nothing to protect me but the confidence I had to pretend I had and the general cloud of ridiculousness I imagined hovering over the situation. I was visiting my friend at Yale, where we attended one of the university’s parties. Like many college gatherings, there were loud conversations trying to top the high-decibel music, the distribution of red Solo Cups and the overall youth-ridden spirit of a bunch of weekend-thirsty students rewarding themselves for their weeklong efforts. The only difference was that once you walked through the door, you were expected to remove every article of clothing that was formerly shielding you from the cold night. It was a naked party. Using the Band-Aid ripping strategy, I fig-
ured the faster I got my clothes off, the sooner I got it over with. So I was the first of my new friends to be entirely naked. Suddenly, the people I had just met knew a lot more about me. What came as a surprise to me was not how public nudity felt but how comfortable I was being a participant in it. Maybe it helped that I’d most likely never see these people again, because I was just an innocent – well, a somewhat less innocent – visitor. More likely it was that being naked around other naked people creates a room so full of vulnerabilities and insecurities that all of these feelings seem to cancel each other out. If I was worried that someone was going to judge me, I had to remember that that person was probably worrying about
the same thing. Not to mention an environment like this forces you to make more eye contact than ever before. When I was meeting people for the first time, I had no choice but to look them directly in the eye and ignore everything from the neck down, because that would simply be a party foul. Peripheral vision is an option, of course, but come on: You’re trying to make a first impression. And first impressions are particularly important in a world where sex sells, where a man or woman is as beautiful as his or her gym workout, where, sadly, you can only love yourself as much as you feel others love you. First impressions in a 20-something world are strictly aesthetic until that person makes you laugh
or rubs you the right way. I am no exception to the imperfections, flaws and muffin tops of womanhood. What I had to offer at that party was in no way a perfected image, but it was real and it was all I had to give. Being able to walk through a sea of bodies, all representing different colors, shapes and sizes, was liberating. I felt like I was doing my part. Parties like this, where you shed the labels that make up your façade, made me realize that we’re all the same, and though we may be self-conscious of different nooks and crannies, we are all self-conscious to begin with. With everyone’s insecurities displayed within the same walls, we were in it together. It was this moment among many others in the past year that made me love my body.
Twenty-one years of striving for perfection and punishing myself when it couldn’t be found fell to the waist side (pun intended) when I realized that my petty imperfections could be found everywhere. This is not to say I appreciate my dimpled butt, applaud my arm-jiggle or praise my expanded belly after late-night pizza when I could have easily fallen asleep before the delivery actually arrived. Like all women, I second-guess my fourth Oreo or do an occasional leg lift during episodes of “Sex In The City,” but like I said earlier, we’re only human. This is where it gets tricky. The world we live in is for some reason not accepting of “only human,” especially when it comes to women. From elementary school, girls are looking up to women with big boobs and big hair, women
whose legs don’t touch and whose chins don’t double. These women in movies and magazines are the women who are successful. They are the women who have it all, so why wouldn’t we want the same? The expectation to look a certain way follows us through our youth and oftentimes stays with us through womanhood, the word “weight” taking on a bigger roll in our life than its relationship to good health. We all have days where we wish we didn’t have to unbutton our pants to sit comfortably or we feel our bras are too tight. But let’s not forget about the impossibly high standards we are up against. And the next time you are feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious about the way you look, just imagine you’re at a naked party, where everyone feels the same way. n
Titular heroines Strippers upended social mores with pasties, G-strings By Andrea Kennedy In the world of va-va-voom, there’s never been anything quite like the twirling tassels and titillating tease of burlesque. The entertainment has its origins in the satiric art of 16th- and 17th-century Italy and France, from the Italian “burla,” a joke. However, what we know as burlesque, which flourished in America from the mid-19th through mid-20th centuries, comes from a mildly risqué form of Victorian theater popularized here in 1868 by Lydia Thompson and her British Blondes. They were succeeded in the first half of the 20th century by Gypsy Rose Lee, Sally Rand, Lili St. Cyr, Blaze Starr and Hartford’s own Ann Corio, who became stars amid the sequin-clad fan dancers and seductresses fluttering with fringe and furs. “We look at burlesque and see the glamour and the furs, but it wasn’t considered classy to the general public,” says Elsa Sjunneson, researcher with the Burlesque Hall of Fame’s Burlesque Oral History project in Las Vegas. Bawdy chorus girls in elaborate ruffled underthings shook their stuff during full-production musical numbers and paraded among comedy teams in skits riddled with horseplay and sexual innuendo. Before appearing in movies, Abbott and Costello played Eltinge Burlesque Theatre a burlesque house on 42nd Street. Theaters like Minsky’s Burlesque off Times Square, famous for its catwalk into the crowd and infamous for its regular police raids, featured headliners known for perfecting the art of desire rather than gratification. More tease than strip, they capitalized on comedic subtext and exited the stage tantalizing spectators just enough to make them sweat and yell for more. Gypsy Rose Lee, who would write a book that spawned a deathless musical, was rumored to take 15 minutes to slip off one elegant glove and denied men the act of her disrobing with the girlish remark, “But I’ll catch cold.” And though she claims to have never given the full reveal, Ann Corio’s act was said to be a rite of passage for Harvard men and even drew Supreme Court justices. As these “teasers” gained fame and fortune, chorus girls bumped up the line to perform strip acts culminating in the characteristic G-strings and pasties. Each ecdysiast – thank you, H.L. Mencken – had a gimmick. Dixie Evans played Marilyn Monroe. Dusty Summers did magic. Satan’s Angel twirled flaming tassels attached to her pasties. Each in turn drew devotees by the thousands. In the 1940s, La Savona secured such ardent fans among U.S. sailors that they flew her panties from their respective flagpoles. But burlesque proved a bane to governing officials, Sjunneson says, its lechery associated with drugs and hooch, violence and mob relationships. By 1941, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia actually banned the words “burlesque” and “Minsky’s” from New York City. “He was so horrified by these women taking off their clothes, he wanted to shut it down completely,” Sjunneson says. “It’s actually why all the zoning laws are the way they are. He was trying to keep Times Square classy and classy did not include the Minsky’s theater.” But the cat was already out of the bag (so to speak), and burlesque descended into a world of naked girls dancing at X-rated strip clubs. In recent years, there’s been a nostalgia for, and revival of, the good ol’ days of sugar-coated sexual comedy.
“A lot of people don’t realize that they’ve seen burlesque in pop culture for years,” Sjunneson says. “We’re talking about something that’s been ingrained in our culture and it’s not going away anytime soon.” Productions from “Gypsy” and “The Night They Raided Minsky’s” to the 2010 Cher flick “Burlesque” are obvious, but consider also the resurgence of the burlesque bombshell image from our cover girl Dita Von Teese to Katy Perry and even the boom of boudoir photo shoots. For burlesque’s pervasiveness, though, look no further than The Muppets. “Waldorf and Statler performed ‘Take Ten Terrific Girls’ from ‘The Night They Raided Minsky’s,” Sjunneson says, “and there’s a naked Muppet in the background.” Sure enough, during the opening number of episode 409 of “The Muppet Show” those two balcony curmudgeons warble, “Take ten terrific girls, but only nine costumes…” with one blushing Muppet dodging and weaving between chorus girls in her slip. The legacy of the burly-q even continues onstage through the revival art of neo-burlesque, a modern twist on the classic form. The New York School of Burlesque has been imparting the art for more than 10 years, developing costuming and comedy, modern dance and drama, sexual satire and social parody. The revival has launched troupes like Seattle’s Atomic Bombshells
Sally Rand with her famous feather fans. Photograph courtesy of Burlesque Hall of Fame.
and Chicago’s Starlets. “I did a number to ‘Wipe out’ in polka dot bikini and poured ‘suntan lotion’ all over myself in gold glitter,” says Barb Hennelly, one of 11 Sizzling Sirens from Sacramento, Calif. “I fell out of my beach lounger and when I came up I had two life-size lobsters hanging from my pasties.” Barb, a mother and graphic designer by day who’s known onstage as Skarlet Feverish, also played a Starbucks barista – her reveal involved ripping pasty sugar packets to “shimmy the sugar” – and performed a satire with fellow Siren Indiana Bones on the homoeroticism of superheroes. The Sirens’ monthly shows see upwards of 300 folks – skewing female and ranging from their 20s to 40s. So much more than a strip stunt, Barb says, the shows celebrate positive self-image and examine sexual politics. “An integral part of the neo-burlesque movement is the inherently political act of taking your clothes off onstage, not for tips, but for yourself, to express yourself and celebrate your body, in a way that’s beyond just celebrating glamour and sensuality,” she says. “It’s a political act to be a 41-year-old woman shaking my 41-year-old ass under bright lights.” Sjunneson, a performer herself and daughter of neoburlesque performer and producer Paula the Swedish Housewife, grew up among feather boas and glitter galore. She takes the sexual politics even further, calling performers’ power of stage presence inherently feminist. “Women are using their power to get the audience’s attention, which I think is really important to recognize,” she says. “When you’re learning burlesque, part of what you’re learning is how to use your power.” Now there’s a reason to shake it. n
La Savona titillated sailors in the 1940s. Photograph courtesy 27 of Burlesque Hall of Fame.
Letâ€™s hear it for the boys Male burlesque pays homage with glamour and glitter By Andrea Kennedy
Godfather of boylesque, Tigger!, goes glam in full makeup. Photograph by Don Spiro. 28
hey take the stage in full costume and makeup to gyrate for a raucous audience. Tantalizingly, they take off one article of clothing after the other, departing their crowd with little left to the imagination. If this sounds a lot like the scene under the bright lights of the burly-q, it should. The talent, however, may surprise, considering these performers are guys. More precisely, they’re the stripteasing stallions of male burlesque, or boylesque, as it’s also termed. The talent goes by names like Hot Toddy and Mr. Gorgeous, and they’re growing in number – even launching the annual New York Boylesque Festival last year. One of the fresh faces on the New York circuit is performer-producer Matt Knife, who debuted the city’s first monthly male burlesque show at Greenwich Village’s historic Stonewall Inn last April. “Five years ago, we would’ve been a once-a-season show,” he says. “Now there’s so many people who want to perform, I might have to make the show twice a month.”
Stimulating the male burlesque world for more than 15 years is Tigger! – exclamation point and all. Fearless at 47, the gender bender is widely credited with pioneering boylesque, even coining the term and taking the crown in the first Mr. Exotic World competition in 2006. “When I started, there was no boylesque scene,” he says. “There was nowhere to go but up.” Though male burlesque did precede him – Paris saw artists as early as the 1920s and Vegas as early as the ’40s – Tigger! says it’s such a “hidden history” that even he had no knowledge of his predecessors before he brought his male spin to the scene. Equipped with circus and theater skills plus models like neo-burlesquer Dirty Martini, he shocked the striptease status quo with a revolutionary sexual agenda. “There is a whole different response to seeing a man do burlesque, to put himself on a theater stage in this sexually objectified role that men never take on,” Tigger! says. “But if one of the important missions of burlesque is to explode gender stereotypes, it just makes sense that you hear from all the genders.”
Good boy sailor Go-Go Harder is about to take striptease to the seven seas. Photograph by Mo Pitz.
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Male burlesque rips pages from both the classic and modern female art forms, with acts ranging from ’40s fan dances to satirical twists on social archetypes, from exhibitionist selfexpression to sexual parodies of pop culture characters. “We do not play by a different set of rules, we just have a different set of equipment,” Tigger! explains. “Beyond that, we rehearse every bit as much, dance every bit as gorgeously, work as hard on our costumes and acts and we get every bit as naked.” Just expect fewer shaking pasties and glove peels and more dressing in drag, though Tigger! reminds us that even drag is “for a limited time only.” Performers enter the stage in full costume, and by the end of the show strut in an adorned G-string or bedaz-
Go-Go Harder bares (almost) all at Matt Knife’s “Homo Erectus” showcase. Photograph by Dick Mitchell.
zled codpiece. (Yes, it’s just what you think it is.) “I do a rhinestone cowboy number where I ride a miniature pony around stage, and I’m working on a giant clamshell where I play a leather daddy mermaid,” says Go-Go Harder, a staple of the striptease circuit. “It’s not just police uniforms and firefighter outfits. It’s way more fun to take an archetype like a policeman and flip it on its head.” Since performers don’t stick to machismo and oiled-up scripts, their body types don’t either. Instead of the sculpted, straight-faced strippers of “Magic Mike,” imagine a sliding scale between the “Saturday Night Live” Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley Chippendale characters. “Not everyone wants to look at a sixpacked guy with huge pecs and biceps,” Matt says. “There are plenty of places in New York to go see that. I feel that all of us have bodies that are attainable, which makes us that much sexier.” As the niche gains performers – predominantly gay but also straight men – audiences follow. Tigger! says the best crowds are a mixed bag of genders and orientations that include women, whom he calls “the animals,” and straight men, who are shifting in their seats. And though straight guys aren’t the stereotypical spectators for Matt’s monthly show, “Homo Erectus,” he says by the end of the act, “they enjoy it for the humor and ballsiness of it.” Ballsiness is obvious, but humor? Matt says it’s critical. “Humor is the ultimate diffuser,” Matt says. “Men taking off their clothes and willingly objectifying themselves is still an uncomfortable subject for people, so I like to make someone who’s unsure about our shows laugh and challenge them to change their viewpoint.” Tigger! says that by the end of the show, those same men shifting in their seats are offering to buy him drinks. Though playful raunch abounds, the art of performance reigns supreme. To achieve the quality of costuming, technique and storytelling that discerning
“We do not play by a different set of rules, we just have a different set of equipment,” Tigger! explains. “Beyond that, we rehearse every bit as much, dance every bit as gorgeously, work as hard on our costumes and acts and we get every bit as naked.” audiences respect, amateurs can enlist in Boylesque 101, Go-Go’s six-week intensive for any self-identified male 18 or over. The school is similar to the ladies’ version at The New York School of Burlesque where students glean inspiration from the masters. Students call Go-Go their “burlesque daddy” and Tigger! “the godfather.” Classes are selling out. Students practice in a studio lined with mirrors, spending significant time pared down to their skivvies. The empowering experience for them may recall a nightmare game of strip poker for others, but Go-Go stresses that embracing their bodies as women have been encouraged to do for years is key to the performance process. Matt, one of the first grads, says the class propels students along an emotional and physical arc of self-confidence and awareness that “accomplishes more than years of therapy would have.” Rhinestone demos, towel-tease tutorials and lessons on linear narrative, choreography and costuming prepare pupils for their performance showcase – otherwise known as graduation. “It’s about finding a balance between keeping things sexy and edgy while keeping things funny,” Go-Go says. “You don’t want to come across too oversexed, but you have to remember it is a striptease. I think it’s important to honor that.” n
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nyone looking for an inspirational boost needs only to spend a bit of time with Heidi Michaels. The Katonah-based life and sportsperformance coach will have you fired up and tackling whatever needs done, whether it’s clearing out the clutter, starting a fitness program or even changing careers. In a playful twist on this issue’s “boobs and butts” theme, we checked back in with Michaels – who was part of the team WAG assembled for a makeover project in 2011 – for some tips on finally getting our butts in gear. Her company, after all, carries the tagline “Now’s the Time,” so who better to get us motivated? “I think everyone who comes to me is stalled,” Michaels says. “I think that people who need a kick in the butt, it’s finding the courage in taking that next step.” But don’t expect Michaels to be counting the number of push-ups or jumping jacks you do. “I don’t work them out,” she says of her clients, who are served through individual coaching and group workshops. “I get them energized and get (them) moving.” It all comes down to motivational words and heart-toheart conversations. Michaels’ keywords include direction, balance and focus. It sounds simple but as we all know, it’s not, which is why Michaels is a proponent of starting small. Don’t sit and stew over having 20 or 30 pounds to lose. Focus on eating healthy today. Otherwise, Michaels says, it’s easy to lose perspective. “We tend to do that,” she says. “It gets to be all or nothing.” Since change can be intimidating, she urges taking things in steps. Michaels suggests setting three small goals – one physical, one nutritional and one mental – each day. “Just change your snack,” she says. Opt for an apple instead of a candy bar. “You can do that.” The simplest step can start the process. “Change the little things and it will lead to big results,” Michaels says. In the way you might save quarters in a glass jar, soon you see tangible results of progress, she adds. Michaels herself is not one to stand still. Having been 32
certified as a life coach, she is continuing her own education with a yearlong leadership program. “They tell you after you go in it’s life changing, but holy cow,” she says of what has been motivating her. She has been involved in a number of projects, ones designed to make an impact on the community. “I really enjoy growing my edges,” she says, with work devoted to raising awareness of childhood sexual abuse and a project to bring comfort in the wake of the Newtown shootings. Michaels spreads the word many ways, from the motivational work with members of the John Jay High School wrestling team to the tactics she shares with the local resident overwhelmed by a home renovation “just so encompassing she can’t find the time to exercise.” Michaels knew just what to say: “There’s kind of ‘take a breath’” advice. But don’t expect Michaels to baby a client. She is encouraging but firm, making you see things for what they are. “Change the ‘I can’ts’ to ‘I don’t want to,’” she says. “You can do it. You’re choosing not to.” Be accountable for what you want to achieve. “It’s just a thought, an idea, until you take action,” she says. When it’s a secret, “No one knows about it. You’re safe.” Michaels has heard all the excuses – working late, family member being ill, too tired, etc. “Life is always happening and life offers a lot of distractions. I’m someone that doesn’t let it stop me.” And she won’t let a client get away with it, either. “I don’t care,” she says. “There are no excuses. …We buy into our own excuses. We buy those excuses from each other and ourselves.” That includes the excuses people make to deny their own needs and desires. Pausing for a cup of tea or to read a magazine, for example, is not being selfish. “We’ve got to let go of that guilt about that,” she says. “It really is important to regroup. …It is centering. I think it is really important that we take the time to center ourselves.” And though life these days is often lived at a breakneck pace, there are ways to cope. “Sometimes you have to slow down to get motivated,”
she says. “It’s taking a step back. Slow down long enough to take an assessment of where you are at.” And never forget the power of positive thinking, however clichéd that might sound. “When you tell yourself you can’t do something, guess what? You probably can’t,” she says. “Get the ‘can’t’ out of your vocabulary. It’s a showstopper.” It’s all about “knowing what your values are and living according to them,” she says. Michaels admits even she sometimes fails to stay on track, but she takes responsibility. “I’m guilty of these things, yeah,” she says. “I put it off until tomorrow, but I’m aware of those things. I’m making the choices.” And in the end, what matters is the choice to make a change, to keep yourself “challenged, awake and aware.” “When you do it, you’re like ‘Oh my gosh, it feels so good. Why didn’t I do it sooner?’” For more on Heidi Michaels and a schedule of her upcoming workshops, visit heidimichaels.com. n
Go figure Cindy Sites raises
the barre in staying fit By Patricia Espinosa Who wouldn’t want to have a ballerina’s body? Cindy Sites, the lithe beauty behind the Go Figure Barre Studios, says you can achieve a longer, leaner look with her challenging hour-long exercise classes that will have your legs shaking and glutes burning. The end result is a beautifully sculpted feminine body. For more than a decade, Sites and her team of instructors have been transforming women’s bodies with the Figure Method – a unique fitness technique she developed that combines principles of classical ballet, yoga, Pilates and orthopedic exercise. The method has produced such a throng of devotees that since opening its first studio in Greenwich, the strictly word-of-mouth business has grown to 12 locations, with the most recent being in Palm Beach. “We’re known for our very lifted seat. That’s kind of our signature,” says Sites with a smile at her Rye studio, where she just finished teaching two back-to-back classes. “It’s a very specific look and you can see it a mile away,” she says about her incredibly toned clients. There are two phases
Photograph by Barbara Clarke for Claudia Kronenberg 34 Studios.
to the Figure Method. One is strengthening muscles and the other is lengthening them. Muscle groups are shaped through slow, sustained movements, followed by intense stretching to avoid building bulk. The Figure Method is a complete workout and one you’ll likely be reminded of the next day when your body aches from top to bottom as mine did. My class began with basic warm-up stretches on the floor, which I breezed through, then on to light hand weights for toning arms. How hard can it be to lift 2-pound weights? Plenty hard as it turns out. Next, our instructor, Raquel, motioned us to the barre for a few more stretches before the deluge of pliés, relevés, leg lifts, squeezes and tucks. And just when I’d thought the burn part had ended, she had us down on the floor for more leg lifts but this time using a rubber band around our thighs for resistance. The one-hour class culminated with abdominal work and a final stretch. “Gyms don’t produce this type of physique, because they’re strengthening, they’re pumping, doing machines,” Sites says. “They’re missing that second phase (stretching) and that’s the most critical phase. That’s what creates the beautiful look. “We only offer one method of exercise. We consider ourselves specialists. We do one thing and I think we do it really well. “If you look at a dancer’s body, it never ages, at least not from the neck down,” says Sites, who at 52, is living proof that the age-defying Figure Method really works. From the neck up, she can credit her youthful looks to being blessed with good genes. But the Figure Method is not just about looking good. It’s about conditioning your body to be strong and healthy. “If you can do the exercises and stretches that we teach at Go Figure, your body will be ageless. This is exercise for life,” she says. If there’s one thing Sites would like to impart to her
clients is that they walk out of her studio with great posture. When a dancer walks into a room and heads turn, she says, it’s not because she’s pretty, it’s because of the way she carries herself. “Once you have that you never lose it.” From the time she was a little girl, Sites studied classical dance and dreamed of one day becoming a prima ballerina. But her parents urged her to forgo a professional career in dance to attend college instead. She heeded their wishes but remembers missing the physicality of the art form. Sites’ love of dance led her to American Ballet Theatre (ABT), where she was a member of the board of trustees for more than 20 years. Since 2004, she has been a trustee of the New York City Ballet-affiliated School of American Ballet in Manhattan. George W. Bush tapped her to be on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, which she says it was an honor to be a part of. She describes her experience working with Laura Bush on after-school programs for inner cities as a wonderful experience. In 1991, Sites moved from New York City to Greenwich with her husband and baby. (Today she has two grown children, a daughter who is married and a son attending Georgetown University.) Like many new moms, she felt her body had changed and wanted to get back in shape. After trying everything from aerobics to step classes, a friend introduced her to Lotte Berk, a German-born former dancer who, with the help of an osteopath, developed a method of exercise for injured dancers based on her background that concentrates on the idea of building core stability and on targeting specific areas for strength and flexibility. And that was it for her, she says. “I discovered a method of exercise that really resonated with me, because it utilized all this classical ballet technique. And that made a lot of sense. There were certain elements of it that didn’t make sense for me and I didn’t love. But nonetheless, I trained with them, started teaching for them on Greenwich Avenue.” So when the Greenwich Avenue studio closed after several changes of ownerships, she took what she says was a leap of
faith, at the urging of many clients, and opened what would become the first of many Go Figure Studios. But before setting up shop, Sites set out to refine the studio’s barre method – consulting with chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons and dancers and replacing many core maneuvers that often landed clients in the chiropractor’s office with exercises that were safe, therapeutic and more effective. The Figure Method was born. In the last several years, there has been a proliferation of barre-type exercise classes, but that hasn’t seemed to deter the fitness entrepreneur. “Everybody thinks they can go teach a barre class, because they’ve been to one or they’ve watched a DVD. What we’re doing is what I believe is the purest form of barre exercise.” And she’s not the only one who thinks so. ABT has invited Sites to bring her Figure Method into their 890 Broadway studios, where these classes are open to the public. “That may not sound like a big deal, but it’s a huge deal, because ABT is hallowed ground,” she says of the company that has featured stars like Mikhail Baryshnikov. “It’s never been open to the general public before.” To have the endorsement of ABT is for her one terrific accolade. “I guess you could say it’s the ultimate barre class.”
Girls, girls, girls! SoHo gallery a pinup paradise By Mary Shustack Photographs by Bob Rozycki
Louis Meisel, a veteran art dealer and Manhattan gallery owner, is an expert on â€“ and collector of â€“ vintage pinups.
ouis Meisel isn’t surprised that for many, the word pinup brings to mind the classic “Vargas girl.” After all, the art dealer and collector says the iconic works of Peruvian painter Alberto Vargas brought an idealized image of women to a wide audience through the pages of Esquire and later, Playboy, magazines. “Vargas is the biggest name, because Playboy had six million copies out every month,” Meisel says. But the Manhattan-based dealer – who’s not only a Photorealism authority but also pinup expert – is more than happy to share a glimpse into the world of pinups that goes far beyond those Var-
gas girls so popular that their images even graced World War II airplanes. At the Louis K. Meisel Gallery in SoHo, pinups not only from Vargas but also from Gil Elvgren, Zoë Mozert, Mel Ramos, Greg Hildebrandt and Hajime Sorayama were prominently featured in the recent (and extended) exhibition “Lots’a Naked Ladies … And One Guy.” No matter the featured show, though, the Meisel gallery has become the destination for savvy pinup collectors from around the world. And Meisel is a collector himself, with a staggering array of works he integrates into the exhibitions. They also have a prominent position in his wonderfully eclectic art-filled home above the gallery, where he not only showcases noted work from Charles Bell, Ramos and dozens of others, but also Clarice Cliff art pottery, vintage ice-cream scoopers, charming genie bottles and official Miss America photographs. The man, it must be said, is a collector – “It’s what my life has been about” – who knows his stuff. And he is happy to discuss the finer points of the pinup as he walks a visitor or two through the public and private segments of his collection. Meisel, who with his late business partner Charles G. Martignette, wrote the definitive “The Great American Pin-Up,” formally got into the work in the 1970s. But the Brooklyn native, who was also raised in Teaneck, N.J., was a fan from the start. “When I was growing up in the ’50s, the pinup was a big thing, the Playboys and the calendars,” he says. When he became a dealer, first opening up on Madison Avenue and settling into SoHo in 1973, a major purchase of pinups got the 40-year odyssey under way. As with any collection, the key is to “find something that people have not paid attention to,” and then, it was the pinup. It complemented, he says, a style he has long championed. “American pinup artists were also doing this great realism.” Meisel will share stories of Martignette (“He was like a detective”) unearthing collections in the unlikeliest of places, of finds they came across and deals they made.
“The golden age of the pinup is really the ’50s,” Meisel says. But it certainly dates from at least the 1920s, with artists such as Howard Chandler Christy and continues through today. Vargas, he says, exemplified the era of innocent appeal, with women often buy-
Classic pinups by Alberto Vargas are fan favorites, long featured at the Meisel Gallery.
ing his work, Meisel says. “You could buy it and send it to your boyfriend, husband … soldiers overseas.” From the 1940s into the ’60s, the featured models, whether in evening gown or modest swimsuit, shared a common theme. “She was sexy but chaste,” Meisel says. They were reflections of the girls the soldiers came home to marry. “It’s not really about nudes.” With the growth of feminism, the golden age of pinups was over. “It changed and it stopped.” Today, the focus is different. While artists such as Hildebrandt and Sorayama continue to create works, there is a different feel. “In those days, it was basically legs and breasts, there was no ass,” he says. “Now, it’s tits and ass.”
A walk through history
“The pinup room is in here,” he says, leading the way to a treasure trove filled with original art and related ephemera. There are calendars made for NAPA Auto Parts, with the original art just inches away. There are examples of Miss Sylvania and early ads for Coca-Cola, of themed campaigns and one-of-a-kind treasures. Through each example, he is able to illustrate a point, a trend, a style. “The documentation that I’ve got here is endless,” he says. All of the works are precious to him. “I’ve had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds,” he says. “I’ve kept the best. They are not for sale.” Today, he says, collectors will find high asking prices for original works, often starting at six figures. Mass-produced items, such as the calendars, might be scored for a few hundred. But no matter the price point, Meisel says the majority of pinup collectors are led by the aesthetic. “They buy it because they love it,” he says. “They’re not investing. It’s for nostalgia.” And with so many of the works not surviving because of the materials, from paper to pastels, it becomes tougher to find prime examples. “It’s a very limited supply,” he adds. But not at Meisel, where the owner himself likes to be sure all who enter enjoy their visit. “When people come to this gallery, they have fun.” The Louis K. Meisel Gallery is at 141 Prince St., Manhattan. For more details, visit meiselgallery.com or call (212) 677-1340. n
Look again. This isn’t a photograph, but then that is what Photorealism is all about. Louis Meisel, credited with coining the term Photorealism, specializes in the genre. Here, a painting by Bernardo Torrens.
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Shaping a wardrobe By Kendra Charisse Porter
Dressing for your shape is all about creating the illusion of proportion. Here are a few tricks to create balance for your body’s natural shape with this year’s spring trends: 1. Rose silhouette dress – Whether you have an hourglass figure or are blessed with more on the bottom, this fit and flair silhouette will drape sweetly over your natural curves. Talbots, $169. 38
2. Black & cream graphic shell – Ample bosom? Don’t be afraid of pattern. Wearing a more condensed print on top can create the illusion of being smaller. Banana Republic, $74.50. 3. Compass orange linen wide-leg pant – A straighter, wide-leg pant can help balance your proportions, creating a leaner line when you have more in the middle or want to accommodate thicker thighs. Banana Republic, $79.50. 4. Angie dress – Prints are a great way to camouflage everything from curvier
thighs to a little extra in the middle. While this pattern may resemble a Rorschach inkblot, it also creates an optical illusion, making you look like you’re the perfect hourglass. Elie Tahari, $398. 5. Silk diagonal stripe print scarf – A little shy? Add color and change a plunging neckline to create a more modest décolletage. C. Wonder, $68. 6. Snake eyes – Elongate your legs with a fun pair of pointy toe shoes, whether they be flats or heels. Snake-embossed pump, $148; snake-embossed pointed toe
flat, $128, both at C. Wonder. 7. Color block sheath dress – Create your own curves. It may seem counterintuitive for straighter frames, but the more fitted a garment, the greater the illusion. Add strategic color blocking to enhance curves. Ann Taylor, $128. Catch Kendra Charisse Porter discussing iconic African-American Women of style at Bloomingdale’s in White Plains in honor of Black History Month. For details, visit bloomingdales.com/ or call (914) 684-6407. n
Strip, strip, hooray
Not just the same old grind for Dita Von Teese By Andrea Kennedy
Photograph by Georges Antoni 39
40 Photograph by Juergen Teller
he’s played a provocative powder puff prancing inside a gilded compact case, a raunchy rhinestone cowgirl atop a pink velvet mechanical bull and – perhaps most famously – a sizzling swizzle stick swirling around a 5-foot martini glass. Dita Von Teese, popularly deemed the International Queen of Burlesque, performs in strategically placed rhinestones and spangled G-strings for her global fan base and elite clientele, including at events for Victoria’s Secret, Christian Louboutin and Louis Vuitton. Though predominantly known for her appeal sans apparel, the pristinely poised, porcelain-faced, perfectly coiffed pinup has also gained fame as an old-fashioned glamour icon. After releasing two books on striptease, she’s capitalized on her classic yet kinky image with a pocketful of product lines from apparel to beauty. “I’ve always wanted to create products that pertain to my self-created image,” Dita says. “I have a vast knowledge about vintage style, makeup, lingerie and perfume.” Before she mastered the art of striptease, she managed beauty counters at a Robinsons-May department store, starting at 15. Now a hottie at 40, she’s publicized her refusal to hire a stylist ever, deeming herself a stand-alone style guru for a timeless throwback look appealing to a less commercial feminine culture.
Photographs by Albert Sanchez 41
“Dita is an alternative to American society’s stereotypical blond, blue-eyed, tan ideal of beauty,” says manager Melissa Dishell. “…Women really respond to that, and we see it every time she does an in-store appearance or a live show.” Ladies who lined up for blocks to catch a glimpse of the marketable maven at product launches in London, Sydney and Los Angeles are poised to pounce on products telling them they, too, can share her seemingly unattainable airbrushed look. Since 2010, Dita has released two perfume scents; a 40-piece makeup line featuring everything from foundation to fake lashes, lip liner to nail lacquer; a sixitem fine clothing line and, naturally, lingerie. She’ll tie the lines together in a new beauty book set for release later this year. The assortment of style accoutrement seems to provide all the trappings of Von Teese’s airbrushed look – minus her ballerina’s grace, flawless face and 20-inch waist, of course. But the latter attributes are likely beside the point for Dita consumers, considering the brand she sells preaches power to women via the power of products. Says Dishell: “Even if (women) feel like they don’t measure up to society’s messages of beauty, they can make themselves feel glamorous and empowered with certain tools, like hair, makeup, clothing.” Tapping Dita fans and wannabes aching for seven degrees of Von Teese – some of whom even buy her used (yes, used) stockings – she ensures her personal mark on each item, saying, “I am very hands-on with the creation of each product.” First glance indicates an obvious brand strategy concentrating, like Dita herself, on packaging. Her eponymous perfume wows with a slim black bottle featuring an air-pump atomizer from the days of glamorous vanities – complete with playful tassel akin to those twirled on Dita’s performance pasties. (Makeup creator ARTDECO, however, misses the mark with a caricature logo of Dita’s profile that somehow cheapens the aura.) But though Dita’s image and brand is vastly cosmetic – in interviews, she’s said that makeup boosted her girlhood confidence, and her beauty mark is really a tattoo – she’s keenly aware that her product quality must go further than skin deep. Her fragrances, for example, feature innovative blends that imply craftsmanship and breed award-winners. Dita is said to entice with peonies, Bourbon pepper, Bulgarian rose and Tahitian tiare. She won a Duft Stars Award for the Best Female Lifestyle Fragrance from Germany’s Fragrance Foundation. Rouge is set to seduce with Lapsang-Souchong tea, magnolia and tonka bean, an aromatic legume gaining traction in haute cuisine.
While her fragrances show potential in brand image and integrity, Dita maximized her fashion-fused production prowess with her line of six couture clothing designs dripping in classic chic. The frocks and coats, she says, are “based on vintage pieces from my own collection” and chosen for their “timelessness and wearability.” Designs start at $350 for a mesh trench to $995 for a silk crepe de chine maxi dress. High-class, price-hiking details include fine fabrics, full lining and signature prints. “When I created the line, I had to make a choice regarding the quality and I really didn’t want to make dresses that are disposable,” Dita tells WAG. “If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that investing in well-made pieces is smarter than snapping up a pile of clothes that don’t have the same nice details as vintage.” Though a Dita-inspired dress collection may be the envy of many a consumer, ownership is plausible for few – and not just because the line is available stateside from just one boutique on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. When asked about the collection’s retail success, Dita simply replies that her designs can be seen on many of her “stylish friends” like Debi Mazar, Amanda de Cadenet, Liz Goldwyn and British shoe designer Charlotte Dellal of Charlotte Olympia. (Then again, at press time Aussie web retailer David Jones shows her Muse VIP Trench with a 60 percent markdown to a cool $299.) Where Dita hit the brand jackpot, though, is with her tantalizing vixen- and vintage-inspired lingerie line, Von Follies. Hovering around the $30 to $60 range, it features corsets, bustiers, balconette bras, fitted chemises, high-waisted briefs and garter belts laced with ruffles and ribbons, print and mesh to adorn women craving Dita’s vintage glamour. Plus, pieces accommodate women up to size 20 and E-cups that, as manager Dishell claims, “make women of all shapes and sizes feel feminine and confident.” Mistress Von Teese also teases a new, likely more affordable, clothing collection still in the “beginning stages” set to hit the market in 2013, perhaps with New York seeing a launch this turn. And if locals are already pining for her in the flesh, perhaps they clinched tickets to her sold-out show. Her risqué revue hits the Gramercy Theatre in Manhattan for a four-day run starting March 6. It’s called, appropriately enough, “Burlesque: Strip Strip Hooray!” n Photograph by Albert Sanchez
lines & curves
A study in
Presented by Houlihan Lawrence
risp lines and lush curves combine effortlessly at Skyview, a spectacular Modernist home set high on a hilltop in Chappaqua. Highly sculptural in its architecture, the house seems to float above its surrounding 60 acres, where the natural contours of the land provide a tranquil counterpoint to the chic and stylish residence. Inside, the home is a study in contrasts. The clean-lined aesthetic displayed throughout the residence offers a striking backdrop for sophisticated living and entertaining while a profusion of rounded walls adds a sensuous flair that is delightful to find in the modern design. Whether it’s hard angles or soft curves you prefer, there’s no doubt that this residence is all about glamour, and its combination of window-wrapped interiors and expansive terraces is designed to dazzle. Outside, the allure of Skyview continues with a pond, garden pools, fountains
and recreational amenities that rival those of a five-star resort. A gorgeous pool is partnered with a grand terrace and pool house that offer the space to entertain hundreds. There’s even a deck atop the pool house, the perfect spot to take in the sublime views that stretch out unobstructed over the rolling countryside. A tennis court, ballfield and meandering walking trails add to the estate’s many pleasures, which include a restored 18thcentury guest house that is original to the property, a staff apartment and multiple garages designed for the serious collector. A gated entry and full property fencing ensure the utmost in privacy and security of the setting, which also offers the potential for subdivision if the new owners prefer a smaller site. Regardless of the acreage, Skyview is a very special place, a truly breathtaking estate setting in which you can relax, breathe and feel at home.
SKYVIEW at a Glance
• Chappaqua • 16,000-square-foot residence • 60 subdividable acres • Bedrooms: 6. • Baths: 9 full, 2 half • Amenities: Pond, shoreline pool, pool house, AstroTurf tennis court, guest cottage, caretaker’s apartment, collector’s garages, storage barns, total privacy. • Price: $7.9 million Photographs by Tim Lee
For more information, contact Barbara Brown at Houlihan Lawrence, (914) 582-8485 or firstname.lastname@example.org. n
FROM ANDROGYNOUS TO CURVACEOUS The fashionable body through time
By Debbi O’Shea
find it fascinating that like fashion, ideal body shapes for women seem to change with each decade. (Which one leads, or is it a chicken-and-egg kind of thing?) In the Victorian era, women of means wore heavily boned corsets in an attempt to show off tiny waists that could be accentuated with extravagant clothes. Small waists were signs of social status. By the time the 1920s roared in, women were reveling in their quest for equal rights, along with the lithe, androgynous bodies and the drop-waist styles that accompanied them. The 1950s was the decade of the sweatered, cinch-waisted, pencilskirted bombshell. Voluptuous figures helped catapult Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida into the stratosphere of beauty icons, with the media playing a huge part, as they always have, in promoting the concept of the “ideal” body. In the ’60s, that ideal again shifted to long limbs and a boyish silhouette, based on the popularity of the English model Twiggy. Such mood swings are enough to make you wonder: Is there any rhyme or reason to what defines the ideal body at any given time? I think not. Just as one trend ends, another begins, reverting to – or, if you will, moving forward – to its polar opposite, mini to maxi skirts, heroin-chic waifs to supermodels. All of these images pervade our consciousness via fashion magazines and advertising campaigns. Of late, the ever-present images of celebrities, airbrushed to perfection, also command our attention through social media. In turn, women of all ages are under pressure to live up to increasingly unrealistic ideals of attractiveness. Think Victoria’s Secret models. What is the number one cosmetic procedure performed in the United States? Not surprisingly, breast augmentation. Between 1997 and 2011, plastic surgeons performed a staggering 5,083,717 breast augmentations in the U.S. alone. This trend has certainly not gone unnoticed by designers. It is no longer unusual to see cocktail dresses and gowns that are not what I call “bra friendly.” Clearly, the designer knows the only way the dress could be worn is by someone whose fullness and perkiness is man-made, particularly with open backs that plunge to there. Meanwhile, it’s de rigueur to feature derrières, too, unencumbered by lingerie. Was the quest for seamlessness behind the otherwise ladylike Anne Hathaway’s recently revealing red-carpet arrival? Dressed or undraped, shielded from or exposed to the paparazzi’s prying eyes, figures have become more womanly of late. (This means you, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga.) Are we on the precipice of a bombshell revival? Time will tell. As far as I’m concerned, a little va-va-va-voom isn’t a bad thing. How do I think we should best define this decade’s feminine ideal? With a healthy body weight and a good push-up bra.
The model wears a St. John’s gown. Photograph by Sergio Kurhajec.
Bob Clyatt carefully sculpts a female figure in his Rye studio.
Creating with fire Story and photographs by Bob Rozycki
Bob Clyatt touches up his latest work.
he cosmic elements of earth and fire are coaxed to life in the hands of Bob Clyatt. Born of clay, fire and smoke, his sculptures crackle with life and humanity. The naked bodies of his cold, white figures are enmeshed in craquelure, bringing to mind the cellular construction of mankind. Or perhaps they represent the cracking of an animal’s eggshell, with the true spirit trying to escape. His preference for the white male and female figures is perhaps influenced by the three years he spent in Japan in the late 1980s. It was there that he witnessed the near-indefinable butoh – men and women clad only in white body paint and loincloths dance or perform or hang suspended by their feet in the air. The purpose of the performance can be a political statement or a form of Zen. Clyatt says the performers “are moving to access their deep authentic core.” And perhaps that is what he is trying to achieve as he works in a steel-andglass-encased studio behind a home he
shares with his wife and son in Rye. To achieve the cracks in his sculpture, he follows the principles of the centuries-old method of raku-fired pottery in which clay is placed in a very large noborigama kiln where temperatures as high as 2,400 degrees are achieved. The process is labor intensive, as well as inherently dangerous. The kiln that Clyatt uses belongs to sculptor Tony Moore at his mountaintop home in Putnam County. “It’s five days of feeding the kiln with wood around the clock” with other artists. In addition to the stark white sculptures he creates, Clyatt also creates smaller pieces with other clay and achieves amazing colors without the addition of glaze. “The color is created by the atmosphere of the kiln” as well as where it is placed in the giant oven. Fusing man-made with the natural, Clyatt says the end result is “something that endures and brings energy into a room or home.” In achieving the look of his sculptures, Clyatt must carefully remove the piece from the kiln while it is red-hot. And that requires a bit of breath holding as
well as Kevlar gloves to fend off the extreme temperature of the piece. Clyatt places the piece in a vessel that he has already lined with pine needles, cones and grasses. Once he sets the piece in, the elements burst into flame. He places a lid over the vessel allowing the smoke to pickle the clay. “The carbon goes into the clay and makes interesting cracks.” Clyatt began sculpting 12 years ago after careers in computer programming, product development, founding a couple of Internet companies and a design firm that made websites for Sotheby’s, Dow Jones and Microsoft, and creating distance-learning software that he eventually sold. He started taking classes in 2001 and describes himself as a full-time sculptor for 10 years. The number of pieces he has created in that decade is prolific and inventive, now mixing different media with his sculptures. One unnamed piece shows a male figure made via the rakufired method with his head covered in a dark-blue towel made of linen and polymer. Clyatt’s eyes fill with concern as he
recalls the inspiration for the piece. It came about one day as Clyatt emerged from his shower, his head bowed underneath a towel thinking of the recent calamities – Fukushima nuclear disaster and the earthquake and tsunami – that had befallen Japan. New pieces that Clyatt has been working on are a vagino-phallic “tree of life” series from which faces of men and women crown like babies heads from the birth canal. The pieces stand 39 inches high. While his pieces range from 23 inches to life size, Clyatt says that with so many exhibition spaces being so huge, “there’s a need for big art.” His latest work is a just-larger-than-life sculpture of a male nude that is in his studio undergoing his discerning touchups. With clay having its limitations (it shrinks 15 percent from creation to being fired) Clyatt says “the trouble with clay is being to scale up,” to create those big pieces for the exhibition spaces. “It’s a challenge,” he says. One way he might overcome it is by heading off to China to learn from the masters of largescale clay art. n 49
Asset management 21st century shapeshifters that smooth and satisfy
By Andrea Kennedy
he can fit a figure from a single glance, tame a tummy from three racks away, and make a derriere defy gravity in a dash. She is… The Shape Whisperer. “She’ll see a tiny little bump under a dress and within minutes it’s gone. You’re completely comfortable and the look is fixed,” says Betsy Gould, merchandise manager for Neiman Marcus at The Westchester in White Plains. She’s Liza Dedvukaj, Neiman Marcus’ intimates manager and shapewear guru, smoothing silhouettes for years with a discerning eye and endearing attitude. “Women are beautiful just the way we are,” Dedvukaj says. “We just play with what they have.” Truly, women’s bodies are beautiful, sensual, strong and resilient. Yet, there may come a time in even the most confident woman’s life when she wished for a little tuck here or some extra oomph there. Enter shapewear, a subtle smoother and asset enhancer that gets the job done with nary a knife in sight. “It’s kind of like fitting a man’s suit. It’s an art form,” Gould says. The art form, meant to enhance a woman’s figure, has roots as far back as the ancient world, where wide waist-cinching belts, the ancestors to the girdle, indicated fertility and even mythical power. (Take that, shoulder pads.) The Victorian era introduced modern corsets that evolved into looser-fit girdles in the early 20th century, which dwindled during women’s liberation in the 1960s. Today, Dedvukaj says, a new generation of shapewear lovers has emerged. “Now everyone wears shapewear. It’s not just for someone who’s heavy or of a certain age. We have teenagers wearing shapewear.” If that strikes a chord, just remember this is not grandma’s garb from the good ol’ girdle days. Dedvukaj draws the eye to the Marilyn Full Slip by Result Wear, a veritable body-shaping miracle that’s also her sexiest design. No surprise she can barely keep it on shelves. “If you were 18 and gutsy and loved to party, you could take it out with a pair of stiletto heels,” she says. “It’s that sexy.” Think of a traditional slip, but make it form fitting with fetching seams and a peeka-boo back zipper. Dedvukaj says this shapewear not only targets problem areas like the tummy and tush, it’s also meant to be shown off. Just imagine strutting in your favorite frock knowing the fun underneath. Of course, no body-shaping conversation is complete without a mention of Spanx, a brand that today is practically interchangeable with the word “shapewear” itself.
Dedvukaj says Spanx Slimplicity (just one of the cheeky line names) gets the gold star from clients for everyday staples ranging from luxurious camisoles to gravity-defying shorts. “It uses a kind of mesh that has a great way of sucking it all in, yet it’s all very breathable and comfortable,” she says of the top sellers. Open-bust pieces like Spanx Haute Contour one-up the corset by tightening more than just the waist, leaving room for your own lacy bra and letting go of those million and one hooks that are all too conspicuous under that skin-hugging ensemble. “The price point is high,” she says of this $178 number, “but once the customer puts it on, she doesn’t even think about the price.” Dedvukaj emphasizes the importance of investing in quality shapewear for any wardrobe – especially ones including designer apparel – as even tailor-made or couture wear may leave a few problems, well, behind. “I’ve seen a woman wearing Prada pants, but it looks like she’s got four butt cheeks,” Dedvukaj laments. “What a tragedy. There’s such a simple solution.” To get to the, um, bottom of the matter, Dedvukaj suggests a few standouts. Try a different breed of the iPad and iPod – the iPant – a Wacoal design that claims shaping power as well as firming ingredients to fight fat and cellulite. To take a token from Dedvukaj’s own closet, test a look from Spanx’s Slim Cognito line. “They literally lift your butt,” she says. “I’m not 20 years old, but I can look like I am every once in a while.” And since a woman and her body-huggers should be a match made in heaven, take these potential suitors to the dressing room, where even the most independent shopper can benefit from expert Shape Whisperer advice and a quick measurement. “A lot of women that are shy pick out their own styles thinking they are in the right size bra, and for the most part it’s not,” Dedvukaj says. “Once you’re able to put them in the right garments, they really love you from the bottom of their hearts.” n Marilyn Full Slip by Result Wear. Courtesy of Neiman Marcus
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The uniform of desire Luxurious lingerie heats up Valentine’s Day By Andrea Kennedy Sweet nothings whispered take on a whole new meaning when spoken in the luscious language of lingerie. Feast your eyes – and his – on this flirtatious finery from New York and England. Risqué regalia reveal the inner vixen with corsets accentuating feminine curves and bras and panties in silk satin and luring lace. Hot hues ripe for Valentine’s Day accentuate a spicy and sultry style, and the statement lasts all year. Sumptuous details in fine fabrics elevate looks for a complete package of elegance and class, as if finished with a velvet bow, for yourself and whomever you pleasure. The apex of romance, these tools of temptation feel so fetching, you may not want to take them off. (But you will.)
1. Gossard’s racy retro-inspired scarlet corselette complements a lacy thong to bring out the inner bombshell. The ensemble, a perfect balance of sweet and sexy, lives up to its name, Ooh La La. 2. From Fleur of England, scarlet Italian tulle frames a lace balcony bra with waistcinching waspie for an ultra-feminine form. Pretty pink silk suspenders and straps finish the ensemble that flirts with fiery flair. 3. This classically romantic, belted, silk georgette kimono paired with a plunge bra in French eyelash lace is only more alluring in amorous rose. Also from Fleur of England.
4. Love, the classic corset by Playful Promises in daring red satin, seduces with hand stitching and steel boning with a naughty interlocking front and a lace-up back. The Love suspender belt with brief or G-string completes a look that reveals the temptress within.
where are they now?
Abboud onMenswear theclothier move takes REACH Prep aﬀords Black and La�no
mega-talent to mega-retailer
students access to rigorous independent schools.
By Andrea Kennedy
This year REACH Prep will admit its 20th cohort of Scholars from Faireld and Westchester Coun�es and the Bronx. Measures of Success 2011‐12
60 REACH Prep Scholars were enrolled in 92 Honors and AP Classes. 77%
REACH Prep connected of its Scholars to enriching internships or summer opportuni�es including the Center for Talented Youth, the Experiment in Interna�onal Living and Windsor Mountain Camp.
100% of REACH Prep Scholars were
admi�ed to and will enroll in a compe��ve college or university, and the majority are the rst in their family to a�end a four‐year college or university.
SAVE THE DATE: April 22, 2013 Annual Benet Luncheon Hya� Regency Greenwich 11:30am to 2:00pm
Joseph Abboud has had many a role and name during his more than 30 years in the men’s fashion industry – designer and retailer, innovator and tastemaker, chum and clothier of Tom Brokaw and winner of two consecutive Council of Fashion Designers of America menswear awards. (He’s also been called Gaston, by his daughter, and Yoda, by WAG, November 2011.) When WAG last featured Abboud, he was overseeing the American lines Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx as president and chief creative officer at HMX Group, positions he had held since 2010. Now the Bedford resident has a new title. After leaving HMX, Abboud wrapped 2012 with a swift move to chief creative officer for The Men’s Wearhouse Inc., the $2.38 billion mega-retailer operating 1,153 North America locations through Men’s Wearhouse, Moores Clothing for Men and K&G. Though a new role for the master of menswear – and a newly created position within the company – Men’s Wearhouse CEO Doug Ewert says he’ll put to task Abboud’s tried-and-true talents for tailoring, packaging and merchandising to improve offerings. Abboud has fine-tuned the know-how of retail with his roots at famed clothier LouisBoston 12 years deep, his role directing menswear lines at Ralph Lauren and, of course, his awardwinning label launched 25 years ago. With the news, Abboud told WWD (Women’s Wear Daily), “I feel like I’m a retailer trapped in a designer’s body. I love retail and being able to interact and get the message across to the end consumer.” His duties will include developing existing brands Pronto Uomo, Joseph &
Feiss and Wilke Rodriguez, which embrace everything from suits to sportswear and shoes, while also creating and recreating other brands, like his temporarily defunct 2007 line, Jaz, which Men’s Wearhouse has acquired. “We’ll be working with Joseph to develop the Jaz line to fill a niche in our stores with his signature personal style,” Ewert told WWD. Though operating from the corporation’s Manhattan offices, Abboud will also retain his Bedford village design studio, where, to the relief of Lord & Taylor lovers, he will continue to design the retailer’s Black Brown 1826 collection that debuted in 2008. Nationally, his move will likely give the company – known more for tuxedo rentals and low-maintenance dress apparel than designer offerings – an elevated perceived value at accessible prices. It may also foreshadow further international expansion for the brand, as Abboud’s self-named line launched in China in 2008. n
The sweet spot Jeri Finard’s job a chocolate lover’s dream By Mary Shustack Photograph by Bob Rozycki There’s a sweet sense of fate in Jeri Finard becoming president of Godiva North America. The Larchmont woman smiles as she shares a bit of personal history on a recent afternoon in her Manhattan office. And it’s a history that underscores the charming element of kismet underlying years of hard work that brought her, this past August, to a top executive post in the premium chocolate company known around the world. “Honestly, I feel like it was destiny for me,” she says. “Growing up, my father actually worked for a chocolate factory.” Finard, born on the South Side of Chicago and raised in Philadelphia, says she even had her first job at the now-defunct Pennsylvania chocolate company. “When I say I was practically weaned on chocolate, I was weaned on chocolate,” she says. It makes the post with Godiva Chocolatier Inc. especially rewarding for Finard, who candidly shares “I never go a day without chocolate.” And despite her slender figure, you tend to believe her as she adds that when good friends heard about the new job, “They said, ‘I hope they’re locking up their inventory.’”
Getting down to business
Joking aside, Finard is well aware that her “pretty cool job” is far from frivolous. “It is an immensely complex business,” she says. “The great thing is we have an amazing, iconic brand.” And that was what drew Finard to Godiva, founded in Belgium in 1926. Finard is no stranger to top management roles at major corporations. Follow-
ing graduation from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, she went on to earn an MBA. “I came to New York to go to Columbia Business School,” she says. With her first job at General Foods, she moved to Westchester and over the next 20 years worked in offices including White Plains, Rye Brook and Tarrytown during a time when the merger with Kraft Foods came about. When commuting to Chicago from Westchester for her last position – as chief marketing officer – became too much, she moved on to Avon Products Inc. Again based in New York, she served for more than three years as senior vice president and global brand president. The Godiva job, she says, incorporates varied elements from her career. “When they called me about Godiva, I said this is too perfect, because it was food and it was fashion,” she says. And it’s also, she acknowledges, kind of impressive. She says whenever someone hears about it, they say “I’d like to get to know you better.” And that makes her laugh: “Let’s just say I didn’t get the same reaction when I’d say Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.”
A premium product
As Finard walks through the open office, one can’t help but notice only an occasional chocolate box or stuffed Godiva plush toy. “As you see, we don’t have that much chocolate around,” she says. But she’s still determined to know her brand inside and out. “I’m still trying to eat my way through,” she says, but notes quality chocolate offers a far different experience from grabbing a candy bar at the deli. “It’s something you savor and experience with all five of your senses.”
satin with fabric rosettes are joined by more whimsical choices, such as those boxes and chocolates designed by Spanish artist Jaime Hayon. It’s all part of the innovations that have Godiva expanding beyond such classics as the open oyster chocolates with hazelnut praline to bolder choices like limited-edition Hayon heart pieces filled with strawberry lychee, passion fruit almond and honey apricot praline.
“We kind of introduced premium chocolate to America, but now there are a lot of competitors,” Finard says, though Godiva does have an edge. “It is recognized everywhere. It is really globally iconic. Everybody responds to it.” In fact, Godiva is sold in some 80 countries, with Finard talking about the twostory flagship boutique in Turkey, selling in Japan and China and the new British destination.
“In London we have a café in Harrods where we serve chocolate pastries and chocolate drinks.” And the business itself has many challenges, especially as it’s dealing with a perishable good. Finard is in charge of “the mechanics of how we run,” with duties ranging from monitoring the supply chain to overseeing inventory management. Finard says she is still settling into her new position, tapping into the “Godiva culture” that reflects loyalty, innovation and team effort. “I just have been so impressed,” she says of her new colleagues’ attitude. “It’s passionate. Everyone wants to be successful.” And that includes a commitment to corporate philanthropy, as well, exemplified by its Lady Godiva Program that celebrates inspirational women around the world who, the program description notes, “embody the attributes of Lady Godiva through selflessness, generosity, leadership and the spirit of giving back to the community.”
“It’s business, but it’s business that does good,” Finard says.
The busiest day of the year
Godiva chocolates are, of course, sold year-round. They make for memorable birthday gifts and thoughtful hostess gifts for Thanksgiving and holiday gifts throughout December. The new products for Easter are already in production. “Our consumer is really a foodie,” Finard says. “She really likes to explore and experiment.” On Valentine’s Day – the company’s “single biggest day,” Finard confirms – the customer is more often male. “You cannot beat Godiva. We’re the ones most associated with love.” But, she adds, that Valentine’s Day offers the opportunity for all kinds of giving. “A lot of gifting at Valentine’s Day is not romantic, it’s platonic,” she says. The company will again be running its Share the Love Sweepstakes that will include a photo booth made out of chocolate in Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, yet another sweet promotion. And what is Finard expecting this Valentine’s Day from her own husband, who works in the financial industry? She has a ready answer, holding up one of Godiva’s red-satin boxes as she says, “He needs to buy me the biggest one of these – and not use the employee discount.” n
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Finard is in charge of some 230 retail boutiques, along with her company’s presence in fine department stores, such as Bloomingdale’s in White Plains. It was there that she made a recent visit in her new role, touring the store and meeting with management. “I told my husband, ‘This is the first time I’m going to Bloomingdale’s to sell, not to buy.’” Finard is determined to get out to the company’s top stores and forge a bond with the staffers. “It’s really important for them to know who I am and know that I’m approachable,” she says. Those visits have already included the Godiva boutique in The Westchester in White Plains, where Finard learned how to make the company’s famed chocolatedipped strawberries. “I’m not sure mine were the prettiest, but I did my best.” Choices, of course, go far beyond the iconic fruits dipped in milk, dark or white chocolate. The company is famed for its truffles, shell-molded chocolate pieces, European-style biscuits, gourmet coffees and hot chocolates. The Godiva boutiques also feature chocolate cases from which customers can select a single truffle or create their own gift box. The new heart-shaped gift boxes in red
The X-rated factor Our uneasy relationship with movie (um, squirm) eroticism
or guys, it’s become a rite of passage – the very first film you saw with boobies. For me, that came in seventh grade as my dad hooked up a black box on our TV. This meant we got all the premium channels like HBO, as well as all the pay-per-view channels. PPV channels back then meant I got to see all of 1996’s biggest hits and lots and lots of, for lack of better word, titty movies. But the first was “Fugitive Rage,” starring acclaimed actress Wendy Schumacher, who as of this writing, has zero Oscar nominations. Her other films include “Animal Instincts III” and “Scorned 2.” She has not worked since 2002. “Rage” was directed by Fred Olen Ray, whose photo on IMDb, a website for all things movie, shows him holding a cigar. He has directed 128 films, including 19 films with the word “bikini” in the title. (He was my pick to helm “Lincoln,” but Spielberg did OK.) Anyway, someone kills Schumacher’s sister, or brother. He gets acquitted, and in court, Schumacher kills the guy. She’s sent to jail, where the female prison guard tells her to strip. Which she does. (Well, first she questions whether she has to strip all the way, and then is told by the female prison guard, “If I told you to do a dance, I’d expect you to do an Irish jig.” I have not seen this movie since 1997 and remember that line of dialogue clear as day.) And with the removal of her prison jumpsuit, my life – and perspective – suddenly changed forever. Movies involved more than action sequences or comedy. Titillation has been part of movies from the beginning, although the Hays Code that governed film censorship from 1930 to ’68, did its utmost to filter it out. (Look at a pre-code movie like the 1925 “BenHur,” and you’ll see plenty of male nudity in the famous galley scene.) But though movies lacked skin in the Hays heyday, it didn’t mean they weren’t erotic. In some ways, showing less made things even hotter. “You just didn’t see nudity in movies,” says longtime critic Marshall Fine, who reviews films at hollywoodandfine.com. “In movies like ‘The Postman Always Rings 58
By Sam Barron
Twice’ and ‘Double Indemnity,’ there’s not a lot of sex. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t an erotic charge between these two characters.” In the late ’50s and ’60s, the production code became irrelevant as Hollywood faced increasing competition from foreign films and television. Movies like “Blowup,” “The Pawnbroker” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” pushed the sexual envelope. Enforcement of the Hays Code became impossible, and on Nov. 1, 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America established its rating system, which is still in place today.
The ’60s and ’70s also saw the rise of skin flicks. These movies were shot on film, had plots and dialogue and featured simulated sex but no male nudity. The 1980s brought the ascent of cable, with channels like Cinemax and Showtime seemingly competing on a weekly basis for best soft-core porn flick. The explosion of the Internet in the 1990s made hard-core pornography easily accessible, further diluting the word “erotica.” “Everything has been devalued,” Fine says. “There’s so much pornography on the Internet. I don’t think mainstream movies even try to compete with that. There’s a different way to do it.”
Despite the availability of so much porn, there are still some stigmas attached to sex in Hollywood. Halle Berry made headlines when she bared her breasts in “Swordfish,” while Chloe Sevigny was fired from her agency for performing fellatio on Vincent Gallo in “The Brown Bunny.” Even today, an NC-17 rating can mean the kiss of death for a movie. “Sex is still the original sin,” Fine says. “It’s always fascinated us. It’s a primal force.” In 2010, “Blue Valentine” was slapped with an NC-17 for essentially having an uncomfortable sex scene. Despite the easy accessibility to any type of porn, Fine says this shows that a segment of the population will always be uncomfortable with sex. “There are always people for whom any flash of skin or stimulation of sexuality is too much,” Fine says. “These people are living in a fantasy world and trying to deny reality. No one is forcing them to see these movies, but they want to prohibit the rest of us from seeing it.” Across the pond, showing nudity in European films isn’t a shock but an expectation, with actresses like Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Marion Cotillard making men (and women) go “ooh la la.” In America, a boob at the Super Bowl caused national outrage. “We come from the Puritans,” Fine says. “Even though it was 400 years ago, that stuff dies hard. They didn’t have that in Europe. They have a much more sophisticated and much less uptight view of nudity in sex and films. It doesn’t scare them. We’ll always be lagging behind. It’s endemic in our nature.” Fine, who counts “The Last Seduction,” “The Hot Spot,” “Body Heat” and “Bound” as some of his favorite erotic films, says the accessibility of porn means that mainstream films simply cannot sell themselves as sex anymore. “Shame,” which received an NC-17 rating in 2011 for displaying Michael Fassbender’s considerable assets, wooed the art-house crowd. “I can’t think of the last blockbuster that was really sexy,” Fine says. “Sex sells, but it doesn’t sell to a mass audience like transforming robots, aliens from outer space and zombies.” n
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wagging Love, no matter how you define it By Sarah Hodgson My daughter is studying Greek culture in school and so, by extension, am I. I’m relearning the gods, the philosophers and the mythology. And while I’m loving every minute of it, I’m patiently waiting for my favorite of the Greeks’ lesson – the lesson of language and their definition of love. While I’m fairly sure the Greeks didn’t spend much time considering their relationship with their pets, they certainly contemplated life and pondered the various shades and complexities of words and definitions. In our modern world, we use one word “love” to describe an emotion as vast as the sea. We use the same word to describe our feelings for baby chicks, our kids and truly fabulous shoes, but are the feelings truly identical? Of course not. Leave it to the word-loving Greeks to provide a better solution, using four distinct categories to describe that
lovin’ feeling: Agape – This one describes a deep, longstanding love. In the Bible, agape is used in Corinthians 13 to describe the reverent love between partners and again to underscore a regard for God/ Christ. Personally, I use this one to describe the love I feel for my husband, my kids and my pets. Feeling Bamboozle, our lightweight puppy, curled up beneath the blanket by my toes, kissing my kids to bed each night, watching my three dogs wrestling in the backyard. Agape, agape, agape. Eros – While we’ve Americanized this one, culturally linking it to erotica, the Greeks had a slightly more evolved definition for the word. Philosophers Plato and Socrates defined eros as the mind’s attraction to visions of beauty. Many of us are driven to seek visions that transcend us – horses galloping freely in a field, sunsets or snow-covered mountain tops – and recall them
to lift our spirits. Similarly, eros can lift us to greater levels of consciousness. In that light (minus the erotica), I feel eros when I picture my kids racing through the foam on a sun-drenched beach or imagine the fresh, clean smell of my German Shepherd’s fur when he comes in after a run in the cold. And it’s eros that steps in when I think about my husband (maybe with a little tilt toward the erotic version). Philia – Here’s a word that categorizes the general everyday feelings of empowerment among friends, community and pets. Anyone who is truly committed to caring for and nurturing his or her pets feels a philia connection to them. Destroyed carpets, soiled rugs, even aggressive responses cannot break the bond. In my work, I often stand in awe of the philia that extends both ways and my clients’ respect for and desire to improve their pets’ circumstances. Storge – This is a private, abiding
love. It describes parents’ adoration for their children, pet owners’ devotion to their companions as well as a deep, unconditional tolerance for family members – two-legged or four – who may have grown more difficult. I feel storge for all my various responsibilities as well as a deeper storge for our aging Labrador Retriever, who is gradually losing all her bladder control. Wiping her dribbles, stationing her on a waterproof mattress by our bedside, cradling her middle when her legs are too weak to navigate the stairs: Storge runs deep in our home. Such a small word – love – just four little letters but so complex it needs four distinct definitions to capture its entirety. I watch as my daughter begins an academic pursuit to comprehend its meaning, but I know that she – growing up with four dogs, three cats, a bunny and a bearded lizard – already has a deeply rooted understanding of the many facets of love. n
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Welcome home The Bouissous spread amour of family and fine fare By Andrea Kennedy
hefs Bernard and Sarah Bouissou work from home. Well, practically. They work mere steps from their home of nearly 15 years, which sits on the same wooded property as their Ridgefield restaurants, Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar. Stacked one on top of the other, the duo offer French-inspired complements, with Sarah’s upstairs bar and bistro as the casual yin to the elegant yang of Bernard’s white-tableclothed downstairs dining room. For years – 13 for Bernard’s and five for Sarah’s – both have flourished with a winning formula of fine wines and exquisite dining fused with an ever-present family feel. “Our mission was always to have it feel like you are coming to our home,” Sarah says. “People all the time say to us, ‘When I come here, it feels like I come home.’ I always get so excited when they say that.” Their four girls – ranging in age from 3 to 8 when Bernard’s opened – grew up among the dining rooms and started hosting at the ripe age of 9. Now, striking black-and-white portraits of the ladies all grown up add to the intimate living room appeal of the cozy 1875 inn-turned-eatery. Trained in French traditions – Bernard near his home in the south of France and Sarah in Vichy – the couple, married 23 years, found amour during their tenure at Le Cirque. His illustrious career also includes Tavern on the Green, and hers, Rakel’s under chef Thomas Keller. But a Francophiles-only establishment this is not, nor one concerned with catering to modish trends. Rather, it’s the finest in contemporary French cuisine with menus packed with whatever’s seasonal, local or pleasing to the chefs. During chilly months, guests can look forward to Bernard’s gourmet spin on winter and root vegetables, including squash, chestnuts, game (venison, pheasant and wild boar) and citrus to die for. In February, expect a special Valentine’s Day menu, plus seasonal favorites like razor clams and luxuriant shad roe. “People get so excited about that, be62
Sarah and Bernard Bouissou
cause no one’s doing it anymore,” Sarah says of the delicacy. Sustaining bygone culinary craftsmanship, Bernard also purveys his own pâté, smokes his own fish and cures his own charcuterie. “We just got half a pig, about 200 pounds,” Bernard says, his French accent as rich as his cassoulet. “I’ve had another one drying for a year now.” Bernard keeps menus farm-to-table and local as possible, sourcing fowl and grass-fed meats from Vermont or around Ridgefield and vegetables from Bedford – and even the Bouissous’ own backyard. The sunny spot visible from Sarah’s patio holds 24 raised beds yielding salad, asparagus, sugar snap peas, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, potatoes and more. Bernard, who waters and picks vegetables every morning, says he harvested more than 200 pounds of tomatoes last year. (There’s
enough garden fresh goods for Bouissou family dinners, too.) Sarah – who seems to operate a mile a minute between the restaurants, her high-end catering business and family matters – keeps the wine bar especially revved with a multitude of communitycentric events that also expose her acute marketing sensibility. “I get bored easily,” she says with a laugh. Sarah hosts author luncheons and frequent wine dinners that feature business owners from artisans to landscape architects. An open forum invites questions for the experts (including Sarah) during the convivial evenings, with the next featuring the 109 Cheese & Wine shop Feb. 17. Cooking classes (next in session Feb. 26) put Bernard in the spotlight, with guests watching and learning game-changing tips from the
master himself as he prepares a fourcourse meal. Pupils enjoy the finished product in the dining room. The wine bar also hosts The Jazz Master’s Series that draws devotees on the last Sunday of every month (The Virginia Mayhew Quartet plays next), while regional musicians perform Wednesdays through Sundays. Every three months, Sarah also rotates paintings – for view and for sale – by local artists. Chinese-inspired works by couple Gayle Gleckler and Tony Woolner will run starting with an artist’s reception Feb. 10 to coincide with Chinese New Year. “We’re in this wonderful community,” Sarah says. “Let’s share our great people.” Esteemed Ridgefield gems in their own right, the Bouissous’ litany of recognitions include the Star Diamond Award, DiRona Distinguished Restaurants Award and four stars from The New York Times. They’ve consistently earned an “Extraordinary” rating from Zagat’s and Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence every year since 2001. On March 11, they’ll prepare dinner at The James Beard Foundation in Manhattan, where they fortuitously first found love some 25 years ago. Sitting beside her husband, Sarah says, “I remember when we talked about our dream place we wanted to have. This is it.” This is the inaugural installment of WAG’s regional restaurant-focused feature. n Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar (French), 20 West Lane, Ridgefield, (203) 438-8282, bernardsridgefield.com For other fine dining destinations in Ridgefield, visit: Stonehenge (Continental), 35 Stonehenge Road Toscana (Italian), 43 Danbury Road Thali (Indian), 296 Ethan Allen Highway Southwest Café (New Mexican), 109 Danbury Road
Bali, hi! My long, long (long, long) road to Bali
By Georgette Gouveia Photographs by Gina Gouveia 63
Lotus-bearers in the terraced gardens of the new Mulia Bali, evoking the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
n the final scene of “The Joy Luck Club,” a moment that never fails to move me, a young American woman goes to China to meet her two older sisters, whom their mother, now dead, was forced to abandon during World War II. I kept thinking about that scene as I headed to Indonesia with my sister Gina to visit our sister Jana, who has lived and worked there for two and a half years. I am a reluctant traveler. Even so, the trip would daunt Charles Lindbergh himself – some 10,000 miles for a total flight time of just under a day. Still, I decided to make the journey as a way to honor our mother, who died last year, and as a Christmas gift to my sisters, who graciously provided the transportation and lodging. For many, the Indonesian province of Bali – our ultimate holiday destination – is well worth the trek (in my case, from Newark through Tokyo, Singapore and the Indonesian capital of Jakarta). Situated in the Indian Ocean, the island is a sensuous place of fragrant frangipanis, beguiling birds, ripe fruits and riper bodies. At the Grand Hyatt Bali in Nusa Dua – a 45-acre complex where I stayed with my family – the island’s voluptuousness announces itself long before you make your way past red-roofed villas, lotus pools, carved footbridges and sinuous paths to the creamy sands and undulating blue waters. Curvaceous welcoming sculptures – their hips cocked to underscore their hourglass shapes – dot the landscape, suggesting a distinct Hindu influence. Although Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim country, Bali – which is comprised of several of its 17,508 islands – is more than 90 percent Hindu, with Muslims, Buddhists and Christians making up the remainder. “That makes it quite unusual,” said Per 64
Kredner, the Swedish-born hotel manager of the Grand Hyatt Bali, who first came to the island as a tourist. Bali, he reminds me, is the “island of the gods,” and all of them coexist happily there – no doubt, because they’re so busy frolicking in the surf, shops and eateries.
Birds of paradise
Bali can’t help but be a sensuous place. The landscape is luxuriant with hardy grasses (often manicured by hand), orchids and date palms. The hot air is pregnant with the perfume of stargazer lilies and frangipanis (white, five-petal blossoms that the Grand Hyatt cleverly uses in place of traditional mints on the pillow). The frothy waves are a surfer’s delight. No wonder Bali is home to some 300 species of birds (all of whom seemed to have taken up residence outside my balcony at 5 a.m.). But our feathered friends are not the only ones to flock to the island. Bali is a popular tourist destination for Australians, Japanese, Indians, Russians and Germans, along with, Per said, an increasing number of Americans. They come not only for the verdant beauty – matched by the grace and graciousness of the Indonesian people – but the spectacular resorts and spas; the shopping, both luxe and bargain; and the nightlife, which can be a walk on the sensual side. I got a taste of much of this when some of our party of seven ventured into Kuta, a classic beach town some 30 minutes from Nusa Dua. Actually, the trip takes much longer, because as in Jakarta, there is plenty of construction and driving is something of a free-for-all, with few stop signs or lights. (This, one observer would later tell me, is part of Indonesia’s live-forthe-moment culture.) I didn’t care about the congestion, be-
cause it gave me a chance to drink in the flamboyant sculptures that command the traffic circles, including the Patung Satria Gatotkaca statue, which depicts a scene from the “Mahabharata,” an ancient Indian epic. It’s a masterpiece of rippling musculature, both equine and human. Equally fascinating is the eclectic mix of architecture, everything from tinny storefronts to neoclassical buildings, reflecting Indonesia’s multicultural heritage, which includes Portuguese, Dutch and British influences. (See related story.)
In Kuta, our party searched for discount watches and Ray-Bans, with my sister Gina – who also served as photographer – proving to be an effective bargainer. I tagged along for the local color, dressed in a bathing suit, sarong and thong sandals, a frangipani behind one ear. It doesn’t take long to dress down in Bali. I met a handsome young Australian couple wearing far less, their bodies glistening. “Isn’t it hot back home in Perth?” I asked. “Not as hot as here,” he said with a big Aussie grin. There’s lots of emphasis on the body in Kuta. Businesses and advertisements everywhere offer spa treatments. Merchants think nothing of touching you, though such assertive salesmanship divides carefully along gender lines. Again, it’s part of a mind-set that says you’ve got to make your rupiah (9,670 to a dollar) today, never mind about tomorrow. In Kuta, the ways to make rupiah are apparently many. A friend of my sister Jana later teased me about not taking advantage of a phenomenon for women tourists – the sculpted male prostitutes. (These Bali beach boys are the subject
of the 2010 documentary “Cowboys in Paradise.”) If I had only known, I would’ve checked out the action – purely in the interest of research, of course.
Alas, I had no time for Balinese midnight cowboys. It was on to a different kind of attraction – the new Mulia Bali, which opened in time to ring in the new year with a performance by “American Idol’s” Adam Lambert. The soaring space – all marble and chandeliers – is overthe-top in every sense of the word. One restaurant alone features stations for Indonesian, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Italian and American cuisines. (The sushi bar has the best shrimp tempura I ever tasted.) But it’s worth visiting the Mulia for its terraced gardens alone, a series of pools and palms – watched over by a caryatid of lotus-bearers – that cascades down to the ocean. I wondered as I wandered there amid the sound and light show of an approaching thunderstorm if this is what Nebuchadnezzar II had in mind when he created the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The Mulia is just one example of the business boom on Bali. Another is a mall with a familiar name, the Galleria, and a big new terminal at Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport. The construction, the changing infrastructure and the slow tempo of life can make even paradise a challenge. Still, Bali is readying itself for its close-up on the world’s economic stage as it plays host to the APEC CEO Summit next October. All of which suggests that the island is like one of its famous sculpture-crowned traffic circles, offering a dizzying array of turns. “It will be interesting,” Per Kredner said, “to see what it will become.” n
Jakarta and Singapore – a tale of two cities Just as New York City is known as the Big Apple, the Indonesian capital of Jakarta is “the Big Durian,” after the spiky, pulpy, sweet/savory fruit that’s definitely an acquired taste. Perhaps that’s a good metaphor for the city, a challenging metropolis of fascinating contrasts, not the least of which are its traditionalism and modernism. Like New York City, which is about the same size, Jakarta has a DutchEnglish pedigree. And like New York, it’s a money town. Its billions rival the Middle East, one observer told me. Entrepreneurs like Noni S.A. Purnomo – who heads the Blue Bird Group, an excellent, pervasive taxi service – as well as society hostesses are trumpeted in the glossy, heavy-stock pages of the city’s publications, including the sleek, fat Indonesian Tattler. You can also see the city’s wealth and internationalism in five-star hotels like the Shangri-La (best pizza I ever had) and the Four Seasons, upscale malls like Pacific Place and Grand Indonesia and a host of superb
ethnic restaurants like Turkuaz, where I savored a spicy hummus, grilled shrimp and a light but creamy rice pudding. A mélange of architectural styles, Jakarta appears to be in the middle of a building boom. Among the exciting ongoing projects is the Regatta, a complex of 10 24-story towers set in north Jakarta’s Aqua Park. Inspired by the tall ships, the buildings are oriented toward the global ports for which they’re named. Future buildings include one honoring New York City. Yet with big-city “dreams” – a favorite Indonesian word – come big-city hurdles and tensions. Shanties vie with neoclassical buildings, Hollywood-style mansions, contemporary skyscrapers and softball fields for the eye’s attention. The free-for-all traffic combines with a lack of mass transit to impede movement about the city. Unlike New York, Jakarta is no walking town, with the few sidewalks reserved as passing lanes for buses. Then, too, Jakarta’s role as the capital of the world’s largest Muslim country puts the city in a delicate position. Its Westernization has raised alarm bells with Muslim authorities who have voiced concerns about whether modernism has brought moral laxity to the city and the nation as a whole. There are proposals to move to a more fundamentalist education in the primary schools,
to have women ride modestly sidesaddle instead of astride the ubiquitous motorcycles that circle the city, and to ban liquor. The last would certainly put a damper on “pressure hour” at Eastern Promise, a British-Indian pub where the local brew, Bintang, flows free of charge from 5 to 6 p.m. on Fridays – as long as no one leaves the bar in that time.
If Jakarta is a place where you can still let down your hair, Singapore is a place where you’ll want to put it up, preferably in one of those French twists favored by the attractive flight attendants in native dress on Singapore Airlines. Singapore is like Mary Poppins – practically perfect in every way. Manicured hedges and orchids stand at at-
tention as you glide from immaculate Changi International Airport to the swank Mandarin Oriental downtown. Construction projects are neatly organized so as not to impede traffic’s flow. In Singapore, God is in the details, so much so that the concierge at the Mandarin informs you politely that you have lipstick on your teeth so you, too, can be picture-perfect and camera-ready along with Singapore Harbor, with its distinctive but not overwhelming skyline and latest playground, the Marina Bay Sands, complete with a casino, the Sands Skypark and a mall to rival Dubai’s. At Daniel Boulud, one of several celebrity restaurants there, we had an excellent lunch of Alsatian flatbread, flank steak, mushroom pasta and mini madeleines. There’s more shopping to be had on Orchard Road, or you can skip it in favor of sightseeing at the Singapore Art Museum and the neighboring Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, whose gleaming arches and columns are pristine souvenirs of Singapore’s colonial past. As Harry, our chatty cabbie, noted as we exited the city, “Singapore isn’t Jakarta.” And how. — Georgette Gouveia
EXPERIENCE. SOMETHING. REAL. FEBRUARY
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well Life really is all about sex By Erika Schwartz, MD
was just at a women’s empowerment retreat in Malibu and much of the talk among the 50-plus high-profile women there was about sex – how we do it, how often we do it, who we do it with and why we don’t do it or at least don’t do it enough. I can’t get away from the subject. When women and men come to see me in the office, they often need to get their malfunctioning sex machines fixed. Whether it’s their heads, as in “I don’t like my relationship and my partner is no longer a turn-on,” or their bodies (men with erectile issues and women with dry vaginas feeling old and unloved), everyone, it seems, needs help. Sex is ubiquitous, like eating and sleeping, and yet, we understand so little about it. Scientists know that much of our sex drive and its implementation (in the younger, more passion; in the older, more cuddling and companionship) depends on the amount of sex hormones our bodies make. If we are young and full of energy, most likely our libido is going through the roof and we assume it’s all because we are full of
sex hormones, so all we want to do is find someone to have sex with. When the sex hormones – estrogen, progesterone and testosterone in both men and women – flag as we age or other toxic things diminish their production, our sex drive seems to plummet. It’s not exactly difficult to understand. Look at the steaming bodies on the large and small screen and the je ne sais quoi that makes chemical sparks fly when the eyes of sexual humans lock on screen or even in the street. We are surrounded by a never-ending push toward sex. Sexual prowess belongs definitely to the young and healthy who are making hormones galore but are also on an anthropological mission to perpetuate our species. Forget about relationships, forget about what happens later. When you are in your teens and 20s, life is all about sex. The law of attraction brings people together to procreate and also to have fun. Hormones help implement the master plan. And let us not forget pheromones. They are hormones our bodies exude that at a subliminal level attract the opposite sex
faster than a flower does a hummingbird. But that’s not all. Even with hormones in balance and aplenty, we still have to feel the attraction and the desire. How many young people come into my office, complaining of lack of desire, you ask? What do you think? Well, more than you would ever imagine. In our world replete with drugs and bad hormones (from food, the environment and what’s often prescribed), our hormonal balance often goes awry, leading to more problems than solutions. Young men who take anabolic steroids (to make muscles grow faster when working out), testosterone and growth hormone only find they decrease their sex drive, shrink the testicles and decrease sperm count. Hence the high use of Viagra in young men. Young women on birth control pills lose their sex drive as well. It’s a side effect of taking synthetic hormones that throw off our body’s natural cycle. In vitro fertilization, so popular these days, robs women of the last shred of desire and turns them into baby-making machines, leaving often permanent hormone damage behind.
So much interferes and so much contributes to our sexual penchant that scientists and therapists spend entire lifetimes trying to understand our sexuality and helping us sort our sex versus love conundrum. Sometimes they help, but often we have to figure it out on our own or just give up. Could it all be about hormones? If it were that simple, how do you explain the 60-year-old woman who has been in a sexless relationship for decades and becomes a sexual being again after meeting a new partner? Masters and Johnson studied what makes us sexual for decades and came up with only a small part of the answer. The truth about our sexuality lies somewhere between our ears; with the hormones made by ovaries and testicles under the rule of the master gland, the pituitary; and most of all, with the socio-cultural input of the world we live in. So for now, let’s enjoy sex if we have it and know we are not dead if we don’t. For more information, email Dr. Erika at Erika@drerika.com. n
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well real-life sculpting By Michael Rosenberg, MD
s a plastic surgeon with an active practice in body contouring, it is very clear to me that one size does not fit all. Many women seek consultation for removal of excess breast tissue, as do more and more men, and many women are desirous of breast augmentation. In the buttock area, my practice is divided between those who seek reduction of excess tissue and people who desire augmentation, typically with fat or implants. Breast reduction surgery in women has a significant functional component as well as being a cosmetic procedure. I will review this topic in greater depth in my next column. For the other topics, let’s begin. Breast reduction surgery in men, or excision of gynecomastia (Latin for “women-like breasts”), is one of the most common procedures that men undergo. For men with excess breast tissue, often the extra skin needs to be excised and while we try to hide the scars under the areolar area, this can lead to more visible scars on the chest after surgery. With the advance-
ment of techniques such as tumescent liposuction (a type of local anesthesia in which the medication and fluid are injected in the treated area) and combined laser and liposuction procedures such as SmartLipo, we can achieve equal or better results with less extensive scars. In particular, the capability of SmartLipo to help contract the skin after liposuction (an effect of the laser used to great advantage in resurfacing procedures), has been particularly helpful in the treatment of gynecomastia. The decrease in downtime following surgery is also important for many men. Breast augmentation in women is commonly performed using silicone gel implants, placed through an incision just under the breast, on the bottom of the areolar complex, through an underarm incision, and for saline implants, even through an umbilical incision. Breast implants consist of a soft silicone outer shell and are filled with silicone gel or saline. After extensive studies over 12 years, the Federal Drug Administration in 2006 approved two silicone gel-filled implants for use in cosmetic augmentation. The basis of the
FDA’s decision was a series of studies done over those years. Since then, many women have chosen silicone gel implants for their augmentation. Despite the widespread acceptance and use of these devices, the FDA continues to monitor their safety, and, in their post-approval study plan, to
enroll and follow more than 40,000 silicone gel-filled breast implant patients. Through the studies, most women reported high levels of satisfaction with their body image and the shape, feel and size of their implants. Answering the initial question that led to the moratorium a decade earlier, there is no apparent connection between connective tissue diseases and silicone gel-filled breast implants. Further, there is no evidence connecting implants with an increased risk of cancer, no effect on pregnancy or fertility and no problem with breast-feeding. Based on the totality of currently available evidence, the FDA believes that “silicone gel-filled breast implants have a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness when use as labeled,” and that an MRI continues to be the most effective method of detecting silent (asymptomatic) ruptures of silicone gel-filled breast implants. For Dr. Michael’s thoughts on buttocks reduction and augmentation, see the full article at wagmag.com. Please send any questions or comments to email@example.com. n
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when&where THROUGH SUNDAY FEBRUARY 10 ‘NEW WORKS’
An exhibit of Dina Podolsky’s textured paintings, Canfin Gallery, 39 Main St., Tarrytown; Tuesdays to Fridays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. (914) 332-4554, canfingallery. com.
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 8 CHART TOPPER
A performance by actor and singer David Cassidy, who rose to stardom on “The Partridge Family,” Tarrytown Music Hall, 13 Main St., Tarrytown; 8 p.m. $40 to $85. (877) 840-0457, tarrytownmusichall.org.
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 14 MICHAEL BOLTON
The Valentine’s Day gala event features a performance by Grammy Award-winning Best Pop Male Artist Michael Bolton. A complimentary buffet and raffle precedes the show, Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge St., Ridgefield; 6:30 p.m. $130 general admission; Gold Circle Meet & Greet $185. (203) 438-5795, ridgefieldplayhouse.org.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 16 SING ON
A performance by singer-songwriters Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplanski; Tarrytown Music Hall, 13 Main St., Tarrytown; 8 p.m. $35 to $55. (877) 840-0457, tarrytownmusichall.org.
‘DIANNE REEVES AND FRIENDS’
Food Bank honoree Thomas R. Lalla Jr., senior vice president and general counsel of Pernod Ricard USA
‘TAKE HEART AGAINST HUNGER’
The Food Bank for Westchester’s 17th annual Valentine’s Day Gourmet Wine Tasting Dinner features a five-course meal, Champagne raffle and live auction, Tappan Hill Mansion, 81 Highland Ave., Tarrytown; 6 to 9 p.m. $300. (914) 923-1100, foodbankforwestchester.org.
Marcy B. Freedman
THROUGH THURSDAY FEBRUARY 28 ‘PUSHING THE ENVELOPE – LITERALLY!’
Artist Marcy B. Freedman shares her enthusiasm for a couple of low-tech forms of communication, Black Cow, 4 Old Post Road South, Croton-onHudson; 1 to 3 p.m. (914) 271-5891, firstname.lastname@example.org.
THROUGH SATURDAY MARCH 9 ‘FROM SHORE TO SHORE’
An exhibition that explores the worlds of contemporary boat builders, ArtsWestchester, 31 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains; Tuesdays to Saturdays noon to 5 p.m. (914) 428-4220, ext. 306, gallery@ artswestchester.org.
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 7 LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL
Open Door Foundation’s Mardi Gras Bowling Night features authentic Cajun food and New Orleans jazz to benefit Open Door Family Medical Centers, Spins Bowl at Grand Prix, 333 N. Bedford Road, Mount Kisco; 7 to 11 p.m. $100. (914) 5021414, opendoormedical.org.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 9 RISE UP AND DANCE
A dance party to benefit Hope’s Door, The Purple Crayon, 52 Main St., Hasting-on-Hudson; 8 to 11 p.m. $75. (914) 747-0828, hudsonriverrising. eventbrite.com.
MONDAY FEBRUARY 11 ‘BASICALLY BAROQUE’
Chamber Players of the Greenwich Symphony perform with harpsichordist Paolo Bordignon, Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich; 8 p.m. $25. (203) 869-0376, brucemuseum.org.
TUESDAY FEBRUARY 12 RECITAL DEBUT
Harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout performs music by Bach, Froberger, Kerll, and Couperin, Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave., Manhattan; 7:30 p.m. $50 balcony seating. Call for orchestra seating. (212) 247-7800, carnegiehall.org.
Special guests George Duke and Esperanza Spalding join jazz artist and Grammy Award-winner Dianne Reeves in concert, Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave., Manhattan; 7:30 p.m. $15 to $75. (212) 2477800, carnegiehall. org.
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 28 ‘20TH ANNUAL TASTE OF STAMFORD’
Fine cuisine, wine and spirits, Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa, 243 Tresser Blvd., Stamford; 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. $60 at the door; $50 in advance. (203) 359-4761, stamfordchamber.com.
SATURDAY MARCH 2 THROUGH SUNDAY MAY 26 ‘AVANT-GARDE PERSUASION: THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF HAROLD HALIDAY COSTAIN’
A new exhibition featuring industrial, architectural and still-life black-and-white photographs, Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich; Tuesdays to Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (203) 869-0376, brucemuseum.org.
THURSDAY MARCH 7 ‘ART OF DESIGN’
An inaugural benefit luncheon and panel discussion exploring the intersection of art and design and the ways in which technological advancements impact design, Greenwich Country Club, 19 Doubling Road, Greenwich; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (203) 413-6761 for an invitation, brucemuseum. org.
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MEET JIM MUEHLHAUSEN, AUTHOR OF “THE 51 FATAL BUSINESS ERRORS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM,” AND TWO ENTREPRENEURS, ONE OF WHOM BROUGHT SOFT CONTACT LENSES TO MARKET, AT AN OPEN AND FRANK DISCUSSION OF THE BOOK, REAL-LIFE ERRORS MADE AND BUSINESS SUCCESS ACHIEVED.
80 W. RED OAK LANE WEST HARRISON 11:30 a.m. – Meet, greet, lunch Noon – Program
YOU’LL TAKE A COMPLIMENTARY COPY OF MUEHLHAUSEN’S BOOK BACK TO THE OFFICE AND TIPS ON WHAT TO DO AND NOT TO DO.
THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY BUSINESS JOURNAL, FAIRFIELD COUNTY BUSINESS JOURNAL, HV BIZ AND WAG MAGAZINE.
Register now. Space is limited. Email Alissa Frey at email@example.com or go to westfaironline.com
wit wonders: What qualities make a bosom buddy? “I believe loyalty, honesty and a great sense of humor are three of the most important qualities in a bosom buddy. Can’t have a friendship without them in my book.” — Heather Adessa Owner, Makeup by Heather A., Mamaroneck resident “A best friend should be loyal, honest, fun and most importantly, they should be someone that you can truly be yourself around. You should never feel like you need to impress a best friend, because a true friend loves you no matter your flaws. And you can absolutely have more than one.” — Madelyn Bader Public relations coordinator, The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, White Plains, New York City resident “A best friend can be counted on, without hesitation, to be there to support you, encourage you and also to set you straight when you are off course. She is always in your heart, always has your best interests in mind and allows you to be your truest self. No matter how much time has passed, you can pick up with the same intensity and intimacy – right where you left off – and how comforting it is to know that your shared history gives you the freedom not to have to explain… anything.” — Stacy Bass Stacy Bass Photography, Westport resident “A best friend is one who can give you an unbiased perspective when you need advice, whether for a personal or business matter or just knowing what to wear to that special event. No matter how long since you’ve last talked or had face time, the spirit between you never dies but, in fact, lifts you up – every time. When crises arise, they will be the first to hear from you. They know what to say in good times and in bad.” — Susan Dumont-Bengston Principal and owner, Marketing Edge, Ridgefield, Ridgefield resident
“A bosom buddy is the friend that you can tell all your most embarrassing stories to and know that they will use every opportunity they can to humiliate you with that knowledge. She laughs the loudest at your jokes then tells you how unfunny you are. She tells you you’re beautiful when you’re having a bad image day and makes you laugh when you’re feeling depressed. You fight passionately, hang up on each other and then apologize over ice cream and a chick flick. But above all else, a true bosom buddy knows exactly who you are and loves you anyway.” — EJ Flynn Patient coordinator, Gentle Touch Dentistry, Harrison, Mamaroneck resident “The qualities that make a true bosom buddy are simple: They are the one person you laugh hardest with, they are the one person you can cry with. When you are weak, they are strong and vice versa. They are the one person who is there for you without ever asking them.” — Alison Friedricks Owner and partner, Friedricks Interiors, Chappaqua resident “My bosom buddy is someone I have known for more than 30 years, who knows me inside and out. She is a fantastic listener, makes me laugh and understands me in good times and bad, even though we don’t see each other that often anymore. And, working at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for the past four years, I have seen bosom buddies of a different kind. Patients who share the experience of fighting cancer form deep bonds that can transcend that of a lifetime of friendship.” — Barbara Gallagher Senior campaign director, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - Westchester/Hudson Valley chapter, New Rochelle resident
“A bosom buddy is a friend who tells you when your jeans are giving you a muffin top and offers to be your workout partner. A bosom buddy is also someone who tells you when you have lipstick on your teeth or when the lipstick you are wearing is not the most flattering shade. I always recommend that my brides bring a good friend with them to their makeup trial, so they get honest feedback on how their makeup should look on their wedding day.” — Meredith Hayman Professional makeup artist, Yorktown, Yorktown resident “When you are down and out and nobody loves you; when you fall so low, when you’ve lost all your good friends and have nowhere to go; when nobody knows you; when you’re down and out in your pocket, not one penny; and as for friends, you don’t have any; your bosom buddy is still by your side.” — Frank Matheis Director of corporate marketing communications, Curtis Instruments Inc., Mount Kisco, Pawling resident “A true bosom buddy is thoughtfully honest, while any judgment comes with support. She is trustworthy and loyal, keeping your secrets secret. She is the person you know will be by your side, sitting in the rocking chair, on the side porch, with a glass of lemonade when you’re 80.” — Kendra Charisse Porter Founder and image consultant at Honor You, Hartsdale, Hartsdale resident
Compiled by Alissa Frey. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. 72
on the watch Pinup imagery continues to inspire
By Mary Shustack Photography by Bob Rozycki
Emily Sajban and Ashley Harris
It might be on a mug, or perhaps even a coaster. It could be the subject of a vintage-inspired calendar, the pattern of a sassy little coin purse or the focal point of a tattoo. No matter the object – or person – they adorn, pinups and imagery from the genre’s glory days continue to fascinate and inspire. There are clubs and bars that host themed evenings, vintage car shows and pinup photography and fashions and hairstyles that recreate the era. It’s a trend that jewelry designers Emily Sajban and Ashley Harris of Torch Song Metals in Nyack both see and help keep alive. As Sajban confirms, “It really is in vogue.” And it’s also in the charming shop they opened in 2008. The women met while studying jewelry design at SUNY New Paltz. After individual work in the industry, they teamed up to open the business, where their workbenches are just beyond the display cases and new designs are most-always under way. A segment of those designs have drawn inspiration from the classic pinup era and its iconic images. There are delicate swooping swallows and enameled roses, vibrant hearts, bold spades and diner-type roadside signs. For those who choose to dress in a vintage manner, the accessories of Torch Song Metals – such as a pair of earrings with a design that echoes the flames of a hot rod – might help complete the look. “Obviously, that’s not really authentic to that time period,” Sajban says, but rather inspired by the “greaser/hot rod culture.” “I think that has been translated,” she adds. Harris, for example, has been working on tattoo-inspired cameos of fused glass and copper. One in particular features a woman that evokes a retro feel, complete with large flower behind one ear. It simply all fits into its surroundings, where a touch of the past is a big part of the present. At Torch Song Metals, it’s not unusual to find Sajban herself sporting a bit of retro flair, ranging from a the jaunty tie on a neckline to T-strap shoes. Sometimes, she shares with a smile, she even takes it up a notch: “When I’m getting dressed up.” Torch Song Metals is at 167 Main St., Nyack. For more details, visit torchsongmetals.com or call (845) 348-7081. n 73
watch Powerful event
It was standing room only at The College of New Rochelle as Westfair Communications presented Powerful Women in Communications. Featured speakers Valerie Salembier, Suzyn Waldman and Paula Zahn gave their insights on todayâ€™s media as well as sharing a few laughs. 1. Judith Huntington, president of The College of New Rochelle. 2. Suzyn Waldman 3. Valerie Salembier and Paula Zahn 4. Elizabeth Bracken-Thompson 5. Babe Rizzuto 6. Dr. Michael Gioscia and Jackie Gioscia 7. Liz Pollack and Linda Hugo 8. Patty Palmieri 9. Gwen Camp and Maria Valente
Blowing away the competition
More than 80 guests attended the grand opening of PlushBLOW in Scarsdale. PlushBLOW is a onestop, blow-dry bar that offers clients a quick, stylist blowout and a sleek setting. Founders Kristy and Anthony Fidanza also have PlushBLOW locations in Greenwich and Rye as well as a full-service salon in White Plains. 12. Kristy and Anthony Fidanza, founders of PlushBLOW
A real (estate) salute
Recently, The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR) honored its 2012 presidents as well as those Realtors with more than 40 years of service. 12
10. Marilyn Stiefvater, Bill Vrooman and Matt Bevilacqua 11. Richard Haggerty, HGAR CEO of Manhattan; Nancy Kennedy, 2012 HGAR president; and Gary Leogrande, 2012 president of the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service
All photograph identifications are from left unless otherwise noted. 74
Spreading holiday cheer
The New York Pops teamed with Pink Martini for an evening of holiday cheer at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. Music director and conductor Steven Reineke led the orchestra in a seasonal celebration, which featured Pink Martini performing festive favorites from its “Joy to World” CD. Photography by Brian Schutza.
1. Bill Tennant and Ida Rae Cahana 2. Cesar Ricci, William Sullivan and Lindsey Warford 3. Esi Sogah and Jodi Carter 4. Amy Rayca, Jodi Carter, Steven Reineke, Robert Einhorn and Liz Gaerlan 5. Patty Ornst and Wesley Whatley 6. Bethan Lemley and Morgan Lemley
Benjamin Steak House Westchester and Westchester Blogger Stacy Geisinger (StacyKnows) hosted the #26 Acts of Kindness Dinner to commemorate the lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Benjamin Steakhouse donated 26 meals to the family members of the victims lost. All proceeds from the evening were donated to The Sandy Hook School Support Fund. 7. Newtown Legislator Robert Merola 8. Nina Chillemi, Jim D. Angelo, Kris Ruby and New York state Sen. Greg Ball 9. Stacy Geisinger and Erica Breining 10. Robin Feld and Dr. Patricia Brous 11. Nancy Bonet, Patty Palmieri and Chelsea Kirwan
watch Making dreams come true
We Sing For The World recently presented We Sing for Wishes, a benefit concert for the Make-A-Wish Foundation Hudson Valley. The event, which took place at the White Plains Performing Arts Center, featured different performers from Westchester County and the surrounding area. Photography by Debbie Marsh. 1. Founder Daniele Hager and Molly DeLuca 2. John Treacy Egan 3. Bianca Muñiz, a Make-A-Wish grant recipient 4. Ross and Ben DeMarco 2
Kat’s eye on fashion
Katherine Petitti Kornel, a Bedford Hills-based stylist, consultant and artist, recently offered midday shoppers at Neiman Marcus in White Plains a glimpse into how “Kat’s Eye” works. An informal show featuring two models gave Kat the chance to show off her latest selections, while pointing out trends and innovative ways to combine wardrobe pieces. Her insider picks showcased fashions and accessories from an array of designers, including Alexander McQueen, Charlotte Olympia, Prada, Chanel, Proenza Schouler and Ralph Lauren. Raffle winners received an in-home clothing and closet styling with Kat, while a portion of the proceeds from sales during the special event were donated to the American Red Cross to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy. Photographs by Bob Rozycki.
Setting the Pace
The Pace Women’s Justice Center (PWJC) honored Linda Markowitz and 17 volunteers at the Making a Difference benefit dinner and silent auction held at Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill Mansion in Tarrytown. More than 300 people gathered to applaud the honorees, who each donated more than 100 hours of service to the center.
1. Jane Aoyama-Martin, PWJC executive director; Alayne Katz and Linda Markowitz 2. Judge Judith Gische 3. Shari Gordon and MaryJane Shimsky, Westchester County legislator 4. Judge Linda Christopher, Judge Sondra Miller and Rita Gilbert 5. Sen. Andrea StewartCousins 6. Alayne Katz 7. Tamara Mitchel 8. New York state Assemblywoman Amy Paulin 9. New York state Mayor John Nonna 10. Joy Solomon, Kevin Plunkett, deputy county executive; and Janet DiFiore, Westchester County district attorney
Tuning in for Parkinson’s
Westchester County recently joined in the fight against Parkinson’s disease, raising $40,000 through the 10th annual Music for Parkinson’s concert, held at the Rye Country Day School. More than 150 guests helped raise funds to benefit the research programs of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF). Even better news: The donations are still coming in.
11. Robin Elliott, PDF executive director 12. Denny Jacobson, Dr. David Eger and Rhona Johnson 13. Jessica Habib, Linda Malamy and Dr. Jonathan Eger 14. Susan Zuckerman, Francine Camper and James Rembar 15. Dr. Jane Eger and Dr. Benny Barak
watch Showing their moves
Steffi Nossen Dance Foundation’s annual choreography showcase presented the works of emerging and established choreographers. The company is made up of local dancers from a number of Westchester communities, including Ardsley, Chappaqua, Briarcliff, Scarsdale, Edgemont and White Plains.
1. Hilary Lowitz, Maureen Steinhorn, Allison Dammann, Thea Aplin and Rebecca Ozer 2. Iquail Shaheed, Annmaria Mazzini, Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Gierre Godley and Jessica DiMauro 3. Jordan Matter, author of The New York Times best-seller “Dancers Among Us;” with dancer Annmaria Mazzini 2
Joining The Club
Future residents of The Club at Briarcliff Manor, a senior living community under development, recently celebrated the holidays together with a gourmet lunch at Hudson at Haymount House, also in Briarcliff Manor. 4. Barbara and Howard Schlactus with Inge Lowenstein 5. Robert and Jo Ann Himmelberg 4
Becker Chicaiza of Becker Salon in Greenwich was one of a select group of hairdressers from around the globe to attend L’Oréal Professionnel’s World Tour in Australia this past fall. The weeklong trip included special workshops at the new L’Oréal Academy in Melbourne and additional training in Victoria.
Kramer at UJA
Donald Kramer, ILS Capital Management chairman and CEO, recently addressed UJA-Federation of New York’s Westchester Business and Professional Division at Willow Ridge Country Club in Harrison. More than 100 attended to support the work of the UJA-Federation and hear from Kramer, who has formed and led several insurance and reinsurance companies over a 54year span and has a long history in the arts and the nonprofit sector. Photographs by Jessie Watford. 6. Judith Stern Rosen, Donald Kramer, Gregg Hamerschlag, Mitchel Ostrove, Ron Langus and Tony Lembeck
7. Becker Chicaiza of Becker Salon with model 8. Model
Want to be in Watch? Send event photos, captions (identifying subjects from left to right) and a paragraph describing the event to email@example.com. 78
class&sass I’ve been thinking a lot lately about implants. There are just so many options nowadays. There are chin implants and breast implants, calf, cheek and penal implants, hair implants, lip implants and even the bottom-pad-of-your-foot implants. But the one that confuses me the most is the butt implant. I mean, I get the idea of it and why someone would want one, but doesn’t it shift when sat upon? Let’s face it: There is quite a bit of action that goes on down there. I’d be afraid, that over time, one of those suckers would end up wrong ended. I’ve got plenty of curves (mostly M in the wrong places), so the idea of adding anything extra in the form of implants hasn’t crossed my mind. However, I’ve heard that they can sometimes work to one’s advantage. Did you hear about the Israeli model who was bitten by a snake on her surgically enhanced breast and it promptly died of silicone poisoning? Or the widow who had her husband’s ashes sewn into her breast implants so she could keep him close to her heart? Or how about the woman who was stabbed in the chest by a blue marlin but was saved by her implants? a trade-off, I guess. Personally, J It’s I’ve always wanted larger breasts. My mom is well-endowed, as are my sisters. I was the “lucky” one who got passed over by the “boob fairy.” I don’t look as bodacious in a bikini as I’d like to, but I do get to sport those slinky, low-cut dresses that you have to wear sans bra. You just can’t have it all. And the girls that look like that they do have it all, don’t. No one does. So true with everything in life. M Looks can be quite deceiving, but I’d take deception any day rather than go under the knife unnecessarily. The breasts I present to the world and those I see reflected in my mirror barely resemble one another, but thanks in part to my fashionista daughter, I’ve learned how to take my aging breasts and make them appear perky and voluptuous. As far as bras for correcting this issue go, I don’t think you can go wrong with Victoria Secret’s PushUp and Bombshell lines. And for those sexy, more revealing outfits I’ve learned to wear those plastic, silicone, strapless adhesive bras or those little chicken cutlet things. And lately I’ve discovered Bring It Up Breast Shapers. They aren’t very userfriendly, but you can get them to work if
By Martha Handler and Jennifer Pappas
you give yourself an extra half-hour to get ready. What I’d really like to see more of is dresses (at least in the higher-end clothing lines) with built-in bras and slips. Thank you, Missoni. They have become quite creative J with undergarments. The choices seem to be endless. I always chuckle when I remember bra shopping with one of my sisters, who is a size D. She must have taken a hundred of those torturous binding devices into that tiny dressing room. They were flooding into the hallway. We were in there for an hour – she breaking a sweat from working so hard, me laughing hysterically from watching her. She ended up, after all of that effort, buying just one. I, in comparison, usually buy my brassieres online. Like
I said, it’s a trade off. And as far as cosmetic surgery is concerned, if it makes you feel better about yourself, why not? It’s almost as if you are at a disadvantage nowadays if you don’t do something. I can just about guarantee you that most of your friends are getting tweaked in one way or another. They just might not be telling you. I do, however, believe that less is more when it comes to messing around with oneself. Some of the lips out there look like they’re ready to explode. really try not to judge the choices M Ianyone makes in this area and who knows how I’ll feel in the future, but for now I’m choosing to embrace rather than deny the natural aging process. I’ll be the poster girl for what an unenhanced 50plus woman looks like.
Wag Up surgeon, Dr. Gregory BruJ Plastic cato. The go-to guy for the most natural results to be had. And he has his own accredited and licensed, state-ofthe-art operating facility in-house. brucatoplasticsurgery.com Hanky Panky underwear – comfy, M sexy and now they come in really fun colors. Wag Down Too much filling, plumping, nipJ ping or tucking. You should look rested, not reworked. Telephone solicitations. So M much for that “Do Not Call” registry.
Email Class&Sass at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also follow Martha and Jen on Facebook at Wag Classandsass or access all of their conversations online at wagmag.com.
Spend Valentine’s Day with
Thurs, February 14 @ 6:30PM
A rose for every lady, hors d’oeuvres, chocolate fountain, great raffle prizes & champagne!
MUSIC Steve Tyrell
DAN AYKROYD, JUDY BELUSHI and Musical Director PAUL SHAFFER Present:
Thursday, February 7
The Official Blues Brothers™ Revue
109 Cheese & Wine Evening of Art, Wine and Jazz
Join us at 7:15pm or a complimentary wine & cheese tasting The Grammy Award Winning Vocalist who reinvented and CHEESE & WINE repopularized classic pop standards! JAZZ SERIES
Saturday, February 16
Recreating the live concert experience, with the humor and songs from the original Blues Brothers!
Classic Albums Live:
With Special Guest Paul Gabriel
Friday, March 1
The Who “Who’s Next”
Saturday, February 9
A great night of blues with a guitar legend! Known for hits Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Rollin’ and Tumblin’ and more! ROCK SERIES
The Who’s blistering, unhinged, massively successful album, recreated live on stage note for note – cut for cut!
THE RIDGEFIELD PLAYHOUSE HAS IT ALL! A night with singing legend
The Saw Doctors
Thursday, March 7
Sunday, March 24
One of Ireland's most successful Rock Bands! ROCK SERIES
With his classic hit songs “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” “Calendar Girl,” “Love Will Keep Us Together,” “Stairway to Heaven,” and more!
With hits “She Loves Me,” “About You Now,” and Ireland’s all-time best selling single “I Useta Lover.”
Arrival from Sweden The Music of ABBA
Friday, March 8
Saturday, March 30
Country Superstar! DOYLE COFFIN ARCHITECTURE SINGER SONGWRITER SERIES
Known for hit songs “Like The Rain,” “When I Said I Do,” “A Better Man” and so many more!
One Night of Queen
Performed by Gary Mullen & The Works
Thursday, March 21
DOYLE COFFIN ARCHITECTURE SINGER SONGWRITER SERIES
With her hits “Both Sides Now,” “Amazing Grace” and “Send in the Clowns” – Collins continues to thrill audiences with her interpretive folksongs!
Saturday, April 6
A stunning recreation and celebration of the music of Queen, complete with over-the-top staging, lighting and effects. With hits “Bohemian Rhapsody,”& “Killer Queen.”
The Hit Men: The Original Stars
Average White Band
Friday, March 22
109 Cheese & Wine Evening of Art, Wine and Jazz
Thursday, April 25
of Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons
Arrival is the only touring band sanctioned by ABBA! With hits “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” “Fernando” and more!
Re-live all your favorite hits - “Oh What a Night,” “Who Loves You,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man” and more!
Join us at 7:15pm or a complimentary wine & cheese tasting
CHEESE & WINE JAZZ SERIES
One of the bestselling soul & funk bands in the history of music with their #1 hit single “Pick Up The Pieces.”
Bullied, Bashed but not Broken
Comedy with a Message
Friday, February 8
Thursday, April 4
Thirty minutes of standup comedy followed by thirty minutes of impactful message on alcohol abuse!
Hyper, irreverent and downright fabulous! Don’t miss this night of comedy with a message!
Ladies of Laughter
Elaine Williams "Last Call"
CT’s own Jane Condon, Leighann Lord and Robin Fox
CLARK CONSTRUCTION COMEDY SERIES
Thursday, May 9
Friday, February 22
Williams tells her story about battling food, drugs and alcohol in an effort to “fit in.” She addresses the pressure of doing well in school while feeling the pressure to connect socially & be cool.
Stand-up comedy is a tough job, but these ladies are at the top of their game!
Irish Comedy Tour
Kathleen Madigan “Gone Madigan”
The Irish Comedy Tour takes the party atmosphere of a Dublin pub and combines it with a boisterous, belly-laugh band of hooligans!
For those who say there are no good female comedians any more, they have never seen Madigan perform in front of a live audience!
Saturday, May 18
Thursday, March 14
CLARK CONSTRUCTION COMEDY SERIES
CLARK CONSTRUCTION COMEDY SERIES
Saturday, April 13 CLARK CONSTRUCTION COMEDY SERIES
Comedian & Speaker
Lewis has taken his lifelong therapy fodder and carved it into a commanding, compelling art form. Comedy Central has recognized Lewis as one of the top 50 stand-up comedians of all time!
Friday, June 7
CLARK CONSTRUCTION COMEDY SERIES
With over 20 years of stand-up comedy experience, Jim remains one of today’s top entertainers and continues to win over audiences with his off-the-wall humor and lovable personality.
Lee Hirsch, Director “Bully”
Thursday, February 21 5pm Screening of film “Bully” • 6:30pm Reception 7:30pm behind the scenes discussion with Lee Hirsch ENTERTAINING CONVERSTATIONS SERIES
Join the director who made it his mission to bring Bullying and its effect to the forefront of the minds of the nation.
Jerry Springer Tuesday, April 23
ENTERTAINING CONVERSTATIONS SERIES
An Evening of Conversation with
Stephen Sondheim ENTERTAINING CONVERSTATIONS SERIES
Saturday, February 23
An on-stage interview by Morton Dean, with one of the most important artist to work in the American Musical Theater!
Emmy Award Winning Television Icon, political pundit, talk radio host – Springer tells stories from his life that you’ve never heard. Like how his family narrowly escaped Nazi Germany.
Jarrod Spector “Minor Fall, Major Lift” Friday, April 26
Frankie Valli from Broadway’s Jersey Boys singing everything from Broadway to the Jackson 5 to Zeppelin! BROADWAY & CABARET SERIES
RENT’s Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp
Lauren DiNardo Rock and Roll Couture Fashion Show
The Concert RENT fans have been waiting for!
Get ready for an unforgettable night of rock and roll fashion with designer Lauren DiNardo!
Wednesday, May 1
Saturday, March 9
BROADWAY & CABARET SERIES
Lisa Jones - Angel Reader Wednesday, March 27 An Evening of Love and Light!
Lisa Jones will open your heart and blow your mind with “Out of this World” healing messages and advice!
James Van Praagh
Wednesday, May 15 The Original Ghost Whisperer
Take a journey between life and the afterlife with one of the world’s most renowned and respected spiritual mediums working today!
THE RIDGEFIELD PLAYHOUSE /ridgefieldplayhouse
• (203)438-5795 www.ridgefieldplayhouse.org
80 East Ridge, Ridgefield, CT