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Contemporary Culture


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Contents July/August_CT-NY Edition

It's All or Nothing > pg. 54

River Dancing on the Rhône > pg. 43

People + Ideas

17 Dances With Horses, The Equus Project Rides Into Town

32 Parties, exhibitions and activities to attend in and around the region


26 Exhibition - Art of Exploration 28 Exhibition - Moby Destroyed 30 Local Talent - Bryan Nash Gill


40 Golf - Tee it up in the Sun: Aruba 43 Travel - River Dancing on the Rhône

Art of Exploration > pg. 26

Events + Gatherings


46 Reflections of Provence on Greenwich Harbor… at l’escale


48 Cover Story - Fields in Flowers, Floral Design with Brenda LaManna


54 Decor - It's All or Nothing 58 Fashion - Have-To-Have's



July/August_CT-NY Edition $5.99



Cover The centuries old practice of floral arranging is defined by Wikipedia as “The art of using plant materials and flowers to create a pleasing and balanced composition.” There is evidence that creating with plants and flowers for visual and aesthetic pleasure dates as far back as the culture of Ancient Egypt.

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Contents July/August_CT-NY Edition

Boating - Riva > pg. 64

David Ray on Stage > pg. 68


60 Motoring - Lotus Cars, Not Flowers 64 Boating - Riva, 170 Years of Style That Never Seems to Fade

Decorative Arts

71 On The Block


72 City Canvas - Off The Walls: Occupy The Imagination


68 Interview - David Ray on Stage

76 World's Collide - Elite Art Meets Street Art in Miami's Wynwood district

Fox on FIlm

79 Tom Waits - Bad as Me


82 Warner Theater’s John Bonanni

World's Collide > pg. 76

Subscribe to Venü Venü Magazine Subscriptions 840 Reef Road, 2nd Floor Fairfield, Connecticut 06824 Telephone +1 203 333 7300 Fax +1 203 333 7301 Email or subscribe online Tom Waits - Bad As Me > pg. 79



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Showcasing local Arts, Culture, and Style without any contrived formality. VENÜ is published six times a year as a fresh yet discerning guide to art, culture and style throughout Connecticut and beyond. Not too artsy or too fussy, we’re thoughtfully written for the curious, the acquisitive, and those devoted to the one-of-a-kind and hard-to-find.


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July/August_CT-NY Edition

President, Creative Director: J. Michael Woodside Vice President, Executive Director: Tracey Thomas Copy Editors: Cindy Clarke, Brian Solomon Senior Arts Editor: Philip Eliasoph Film & Entertainment Editor: Peter J. Fox Decorative Arts Editor: Matthew Sturtevant Publisher: Venü Media Company Art, Design & Production: Venü Media Company Contributing Writers: Cindy Clarke, Patrick Ehlen, Laura Einstein, Nona Footz, Jennifer Frost, Bobby Harris, Nancy Helle, Lorenz Josef, Lawrence LaManna, Ryan Odinak, Bari Alyse Rudin, Lisa Seidenberg, Brian Solomon, William Squier Business Development: Reed McMillan Legal Counsel: Alan Neigher, Sheryle Levine (Byelas & Neigher, Westport, CT) Distribution: Thomas Cossuto, Man In Motion, LLC Office: 840 Reef Road, 2nd Floor, Fairfield, CT 06824 +1.203.333.7300 Tel +1.203.333.7301 Fax Advertising Sales: Editorial Contribution: Subscriptions: Call 203.333.7300

The small print: No responsibility can be taken for the quality and accuracy of the reproductions, as this is dependent upon the artwork and material supplied. No responsibility can be taken for typographical errors. The publishers reserve the right to refuse and edit material as presented. All prices and specifications to advertise are subject to change without notice. The opinions in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. Copyright VENÜ MAGAZINE. All rights reserved. The name VENÜ MAGAZINE is copyright protected. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without written consent from the publisher. VENÜ MAGAZINE does not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. This is a bimonthly publication and we encourage the public, galleries, artists, designers, photographers, writers (calling all creatives) to submit photos, features, drawings, etc., but we assume no responsibility for failure to publish submissions. 14


Peter Bialobrzeski, “Paradise Now #28,” (detail). 2008. Courtesy of the Andrew and Christine Hall Collection.


Scene / Re-seen From the Andrew and Christine Hall Collection Curated by Helen Klisser During

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“Horses express themselves in a different, wonderful manner, according to their mood and personality. They may follow the choreographed program or they may take it upon themselves to steal the spotlight. Our job as riders and dancers is to interpret what the horse wants, and make it all work together, seamlessly.”

by Cindy Clarke

Photo: Nancy Moon

Dances With Horses The Equus Project Rides Into Town For three decades, in clinics all over the country, Buck “God had him in mind when he made a cowboy” Brannaman has taught that riding a horse is like dancing, a combination of wooing, leading and mutual respect. For the last 15 years, JoAnna Mendl Shaw, a pint-size powerhouse athlete and noted dance choreographer for several elite universities, has taught dancers that two or more beings can move as one in harmony and grace… even if your partner is a horse. The opportunity to see their vision come together with effortless synchronicity on a wind-swept Fairfield, Connecticut beach alive

with dancers, horses, skilled equestrians and, by rare chance, filmmaker Cindy Meehl, producer of the award-winning documentary of horse whisperer fame, Buck, was serendipitous to say the least. The cast of performers that day impressed at every turn. They included handsome Giddeon, a noble, jet black Friesian whose scenestealing spirited personality and movie star good looks stole my heart at first glance… finely boned, elegantly honed Prince Calaf, a royal Andalusian who pranced, proudly, and danced, exquisitely, with a high stepping regal trot… Redding resident, equestrian extraordinaire

Emmanuelle Schneider, petite, pretty mom to these two amazing horses (and teenage twins), an accomplished trainer, rider, and an Equine Assisted Psychotherapist… dancers Brittany Beyer and Tal Adler Arieli, boasting a resume of company dance performances on stages around the world as well as in horse-friendly settings… and certified dressage instructor and actress, Patricia Norcia, of film, radio and Broadway fame, capable of commanding the respect of a single 1,200 lb. horse or an audience of hundreds by quietly but expressively stating her desires. Athletes all, they were there to dance under the indefatigable direction of JoAnna Mendl Shaw, artistic director, choreographer and founder of the Equus Project. The Equus Project is a contemporary modern dance company based in New York City that integrates the artistry of dance with horsemanship, pairing professional dancers with equine partners. The performances are site-specific, choreographed for a natural live stage, rather than a manmade, in-house set design. Think a horse barn, dirt arena, pastoral farm, or our Connecticut beach – places where large, four-footed dancers have enough room to move about, perhaps deliver a perfectly executed piaffe or passage, and gracefully kick up their… hooves. As in traditional programs, the human performers are skilled in the technical aspects of the dance, rehearsing steps and movements that may be called into play during the performance. But if you have ever worked with or seen animal acts, you know that on-the-spot invention as a result of unpredictable behavior is key to their suc-





Photo: Nancy Halsey

cess. The Equus Projects dancers are trained to incorporate a blend of orchestrated steps and improvised interludes into their performance pieces. Each is a combination of choreographed sequences and think-on-your-toes sections that require “physical” listening and “real-time,” rather than “memory time,” footwork. As JoAnna explains, “Creating choreography with horses requires a lot of mental agility. Dancers are trained to commit choreography to memory. With horses, the dance must be spontaneous. Moment-to-moment decisions, made in real time, in horse time, by the dancers are part of the choreography; some decisions are made to keep their equine partner engaged, some are made to keep the dancer safe. Real time, when dancing with horses, is about necessity.” The Equus Projects dancers have all trained in Parelli Natural Horsemanship clinics to learn to communicate with the horse based on its natural behaviors. (Founded in 1981 by horse trainer, rodeo rider, cowboy and teacher Pat Parelli and his wife Linda, the Parelli Program focuses on teaching the human rather than training the horse). Only when they are



knowledgeable and comfortable around the horse are they ready to begin the dance. The Equus Project often partners with equestrians and their horses who are trained in classical riding and dressage. If you’ve ever seen dressage competitions, you’ll agree just how elegantly in sync horse and rider seem as they perform, flawlessly, for the judges and the crowds. Riders like Tony Astmann, Equus board member and championship equestrian, make it look easy as he takes his specialized skills from the show ring and puts them all together in the dance performance. But, he admits, “there have been times that I have asked my horse to do one thing in the ring, and she decides to do another. It’s my job to go along with it as if we planned it” – which makes him the ideal dance partner for an Equus performance. “Horses express themselves in a different, wonderful manner, according to their mood and personality. They may follow the choreographed program or they may take it upon themselves to steal the spotlight. Our job as riders and dancers is to interpret what the horse wants, and make it all work

together, seamlessly.” What touches him most during Equus performances, unfailingly described by audiences as “incredibly poignant and uplifting,” are the expressions of joy he sees on faces awed and humbled by the beauty and honesty of the dance. Watching Patricia and Emmanuelle put Prince and Giddeon through their paces, it is readily apparent that these horses were born to dance. Surefooted and graceful, they move from walk to trot to canter effortlessly, hooves down in a rhythmic, eminently stylish, gait as they become one with the rider. Says Emmanuelle “Being herd animals, horses love to be in sync and relax beautifully in the harmony and shaping that rider and dancer offer” – and it shows. Later JoAnna dances with a horse “at liberty.” She glides into the ring with unbridled enthusiasm. The horses, free from rider and saddle, are equally attentive, engaging with the choreographer as if at play. My eyes are transfixed on the genuine interaction between them as they work from opposite ends of a 12-foot lead line. JoAnna draws the horse in, shaping the space, both responding in tandem to each other’s physical

Fantasy in F, Oil on Canvas, 26" x 34"




ON HUDSON Highlights from the Albany Institute of History & Art at the FLORENCE GRISWOLD MUSEUM June 15 – September 23 Sponsored by The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company.

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Photo: Janet Biggs

From top left clockwise: Equestrian, Bettina Drummond on her Lusitano, Mimi. On the beach with Cindy Meehl, JoAnna Mendl Shaw, Giddeon, Emmanuelle Schneider, Nancy Moon and Tony Astmann. Equestrian, Karen Rolf with Dancers, Blake Pearson & Gina Paolillo. On location at the Bates Dance Festival.

Photo: Coco

Photo: Nancy Halsey

cues and suggestions. She leads, the horse follows. Then follower becomes the leader and the dance, fluid and harmonious, begins. Nothing is ever forced during Equus performances. The bond between horse, rider and dancer is based on mutual trust and respect. There’s an innate connection and understanding between them that transcends the ordinary, a goal that honors and celebrates the eloquent art form imaginatively brought to life by JoAnna Mendl Shaw. “Everything is planned beforehand with our performances,” says JoAnna, explaining that she carefully maps out the moves with model Breyer horses and rehearses steps with her dancers in her studio. “Our dances require a ton of coordination before we actually work with the horses.” JoAnna explains that while the dancers and the riders rehearse “a lot,” the horses don’t. “You can never rehearse a piece in order with a horse because if the horse doesn’t want to do it, he won’t.” Her dancers need to sense what the horse is going to do and be prepared to do a different choreographed movement at the

drop of a hat… or hoof as it were. “Our dancers need to think and be intuitive in equal measures, and need to be able to adjust their moves in a nano second.” The horses do learn the choreography, a necessity for the dance, but they are not fond of over rehearsing. That said, it is exactly this kind of free spirit that keeps the dances fresh and exciting. A true teacher – JoAnna is on the faculty of The Julliard School and in the Ailey/Fordham BFA program in New York City – she says that she and her equestrian collaborators make learning fun for the horses. “We want them to view the dance as playing, not drilling” so that together they can transform the performance into an unequalled, animated art form. Since her first equine performance debut at Mount Holyoke College in 1998 with a cast of dressage riders and over 40 dancers, JoAnna has crafted and performed over 25 on-site works for dancers and horses around the country. She has learned how herd animals negotiate space and what it means to perform in an environment that demands that one be truly present. She has witnessed her dancers perform with depth, phys-

icality and immediacy as they intuitively learned to absorb the horses’ energy and listen with their bodies. And she has cultivated the kind of horsehuman relationships espoused by the Parellis who taught her that “It’s more than just about the horse. It really dips into the personal development side of things. You learn about yourself, you learn about communication, about leadership, about truthfulness, about consequence and responsibility. You learn about love and imagination.” And, if you’re lucky enough to become a part of the Equus Projects, you really learn how to feel the dance. “Our work is about human expression and vulnerability and our ability to adjust to beautiful, unpredictable states of being. There is a visceral connection between the dancer and the horse as we interact in real time and perform in the present moment. The horses teach the dancers life lessons that showcase their capacity for physical listening, patience and compassion.” “By itself,” she says, “contemporary dance is full of energy and ideas, responsive to the world we live in. When you dance with horses, the possibilities and revelations are limitless.”

Learn more about The Equus Projects, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization at CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE



ART SOUTHAMPTON - the premiere International Contemporary & Modern Art Fair and marketplace for acquiring the finest works of art available in the Hamptons, will make its long - and eagerly - awaited Hamptons’ debut at the height of the social and cultural season this summer. ART SOUTHAMPTON will commence on Thursday evening, July 26th with a highly-anticipated Opening Night VIP Private Preview benefiting Southampton Hospital. Fair Highlights include the premiere of ‘HEAARTBEAT’ a documentary on renowned artist John Chamberlain with two intimate screenings to benefit: The Ross School’s Chamberlain-Fairweather Scholarship Fund for the Arts

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SPOTLIGHT: Exhibition Joel Sternfeld, Grafton, West Virginia, February 1983, Digital C-Print, 42" x 52 -1/2". Image: Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.

Art of Exploration A rewarding journey at the Westport Arts Center by Nancy Helle “Art is not just pictures on the wall”, says Helen During, Director of Visual Arts of the Westport Arts Center. “It’s about how about how you look at them, how you think about them,” attests Peter Van Heerden, the Center’s Executive Director. “The purpose of art is to make you think; Good art should do this.” A native of South Africa, Peter was previously involved in education and the performing arts as a teacher of film, TV and multi-media at a Capetown college specializing in theater, film and performance. His introduction to the Westport Arts Center (WAC) was a visit to the Friday morning Arts Café, a popular weekly event launched by During. A native of New Zealand, Helen has been working as an international art advisor and curator for over 20 years. She was Gallery Director of the Silvermine Guild Arts Center prior to coming to Westport Arts Center in 2010, a year ahead of Peter. Bringing new perspectives, both have traveled extensively, have wide interests and are The Westport Arts Center's Helen During, Director of Visual Arts, and Peter Van Heerden, Executive Director, at the Westport Art Center's gala event, the Warhol Ball.



passionate about the arts, happy to share their enthusiasm and creativity in thinking outside the box. Planning provocative exhibitions and events to engage the community is their modus operandi. Thanks to this dynamic duo – often called “The Dream Team”, it’s a small wonder that WAC has become the “IT” destination for people of all ages and walks of life who want to

keep up with the pulse of what’s happening – not just in Westport, but globally. The current exhibition, Landscape Scene/ Re-seen is a good example of visually presenting themes involving current issues which engage the public. During says, “We were very fortunate in having access to one of the world’s pre-eminent art collections from Andrew and Christine Hall of Southport. The Landscape exhibition features works by 20 major contemporary artists whose works are in the collections of MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney, Tate Modern and even the Pompidou in Paris. Each artist explores the way we look at landscapes today as they are impacted by man’s footprint. As collector Andy Hall says, “Man’s impact on his surroundings today is so vast that it would be absurd to ignore… But beauty resides in unlikely places. Even the utilitarian structures we have created in order to make possible our modern world pose their own grandeur and sculptural qualities that merit documentation.” “Integrated programming is part of every exhibition,” says During. “We are using the landscape as a springboard to get people thinking about the place of art and environment in their lives, what is precious and the danger of man’s imprint. The Westport Arts Center collaborates with many local organizations such as Save the Children, Westport Library, Westport Country Playhouse and Americares. For Landscapes they will partner with the Nature Conservancy in an integrated program, “Nurturing Nature” on July 19. The Nature Conservancy CT Chapter is concerned with both local issues such as dam busting and watershed with the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound, as welI as global conservation, especially in Brazil, says chairman John Levison.” Other WAC programs include Summer Farmer’s Market, Wednesday Talks on July 11 and 25, August 8 and 29 where participants discuss the environment and art while enjoying lunch with local food purveyors on the Center’s riverside deck, and on August 3, a talk with Stacy Bass, author of In the Garden and Moffly Media publisher, Gabriella Mays. “We’re poised to have a meaningful effect on how people engage with art and community here,” says Van Heerden. “It’s a critical time for the arts center to be concerned with what’s happening in the world. And it feels like the right calendar time to be doing things – it’s summer, people are going outside and becoming more aware. The landscape is shifting a lot – from global to local.” A second provocative exhibition, “Foodies” will open with a reception on September 14 and run through November 4. It is one of two annual juried shows for member artists. Jurors will be prominent people in the food industry including Pat Callaghan, president of Pepperidge Farm, Stew Leonard Jr., and chefs Bill Taibe of Le Farm and The Whelk, and Michel Nischan

Joel Sternfeld, Grafton, Looking West on 30th Street on a September Evening, 2000, 2000, Digital C-Print, 39-7/16" x 49-7/8". Image: Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.

children is another priority. Through close ties with the Westport director of education, During says, “We either bring children here or we go to them. Either way, the arts center has a very vital presence.” “We’re not stuffy; people like to come because it’s fun,” she proclaims. “We’re having fun doing what we’re doing and have a chance to be creative – not just frivolous, but thought provoking.” Van Heerden adds, “Our mission is to connect the community through the arts. Westport Arts Center plays a vital role in engaging members of the local community and keeping them informed and active in the arts.” (Both Peter and Helen agree that coming to a gallery is really an exploration. During likes to quote T.S. Eliot who said:

Thanks to this dynamic duo – often called “The Dream Team”, it’s a small wonder that WAC has become the “IT” destination for people of all ages and walks of life who want to keep up with the pulse of what’s happening – not just in Westport, but globally.

spark conversation, such as Helen’s recent documentation of the Artfair at the New York Amory. This is also true of the popular monthly Happy Hours from 6 to 7 p.m. on the riverside deck. Discussions evoke many perspectives at both events as participants include art lovers, artists, collectors, nannies and people of all ages who just want to catch the scene in congenial surroundings. The website: also has an Arts Café blog where interested parties can weigh in on different topics. Reaching

We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring  Will be to arrive where we started  And know the place for the first time.  T.S. Eliot -- “Little Gidding” Waste Land (the last of his Four Quartets)

Peter Bialobrzeski, Paradise Now #28, 2008, C-Print, 51"x 63". Image: Coutesy of Laurence Miller Gallery.

of The Dressing Room. The concept is much broader than just going green – it’s about sustainability. Van Heerden notes that both the Landscape and the Foodies shows generate the same kind of thinking – you need the landscape to get food – you can’t have one without the other; they’re both precious commodities. During describes “Foodies” as a celebration of our members and people who live and breathe what they do. WAC is partnering with the Green Village Initiative. GVI is a grass roots non-profit created in 2008 to create environment and systemic community change through local action to spread community awareness. There will be several special events at the center with all food sourced from local farmers. In addition to events integrated with exhibitions, the Center hosts many ongoing programs to engage the public. The Friday morning Art Café, replete with Helen’s homemade muffins, explores current topics in the art world both locally, regionally and around the world. There is always a presenter and frequently a video to



SPOTLIGHT: Exhibition


Moby returns to Fairfield County for a photography exhibit by Patrick Ehlen Before Moby rose to the status of International Pop Star, he lived in Fairfield County, where he cut his teeth as a young DJ at venues like The Beat in Port Chester and “The Café,” a youth group dance night sponsored by Christ Church in Greenwich. In those days he had not yet settled on the career choice of International Pop Star, and aspired to become a photographer, spending long hours holed up in a makeshift darkroom in the abandoned Yale Lock factory in Stamford with an old Nikon and some equipment donated to the young wannabe by his uncle, a photojournalist for National Geographic and The New York Times. Inspired by the uncle and also by Man Ray, André Kertész, Edward Steichen, and Diane Arbus, Moby eagerly enrolled in photography courses at SUNY Purchase and buckled down to master the craft. He also acquired some synthesizer keyboards, but that is another story. A couple decades and platinum albums later, Moby has revisited his old stomping ground and almost-career with a photographic exhibition at Samuel Owen Gallery in Greenwich. The exhibition, Destroyed, features photographs from Moby’s book of the same title. The coffee-table photo book comes packaged with a CD of his latest album, and, as a photographic arrangement, draws a compelling chain between two poles of observation: the vitality of human assemblage, and the austere serenity of its absence. The photos in Destroyed shift from images of swarms of ecstatic fans sweating under stadium floodlights to secluded hotel rooms and airport waiting areas, or otherworldly landscapes captured from miles above the Earth. These photographs, along with the songs of Destroyed, fixate on a thematic contrast that has long pervaded Moby’s music: at one moment a connected energy pregnant with possibility and excitement, and at the next moment a still and barren peace, perhaps lonely, bittersweet or lovelorn, but exposing a tender beauty in the spaces between our more active occupations. The prints on display in the gallery—looming at around three feet by five feet in vibrant color—justify their subject matter in a way that isn’t as evident in the book. The view from an arena stage of 50,000 heaving concertgoers doesn’t make the same impression from the coffee table that it does from the wall in large form. Even more compelling are the large prints that depict scenes devoid of action—arid landscapes and empty hallways that feel ominous and ambivalent on the wall. Key among them is the cornerstone photo of the exhibition that provided Destroyed with its title: A sterile white hallway with a black LED sign that displays the



If anyone has a unique perspective that most of us don’t get to see, it’s a rock star like Moby. The photos in Destroyed convey “the vacuum-like aesthetic of touring.” word “destroyed” in yellowish dots. While one could easily surmise that the photo was staged on a forgotten set from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, in fact it was snapped in a random instant in an empty hallway at La Guardia airport where a sign repeatedly scrolled the words, “Unattended luggage will be destroyed,” which Moby caught as the last word appeared. Such serendipitous captures are made possible by the photographer who never left Moby, and keeps a camera ready at all times, whether performing onstage or wearily journeying from one hotel room to another. The young photographer in Stamford who drew on Kertész’s aesthetic intuition for accidental beauty still shoots with an eye for immediate but studied composition. “I guess I still shoot as if I have only a few frames left to use on a roll of film,” he says. Of course, times have changed, and now anyone with a smartphone can pose as an amateur photographer, thrusting photostreams into the world without ever knowing the solitude of a darkroom or the stench of developer chemicals. While Moby maintains a fondness for the bygone days of analog cameras and film, he doesn’t think today’s proliferation of amateur photography has cheapened or diminished the art form. “Actually,

I think it’s a great thing that more people are able to do something that you used to need a lot of expensive equipment for. I see photography as a means to see the world from a different perspective, and that’s what posting photos to social networks lets you do: See the world from someone else’s perspective, which you would not have been able to see otherwise.” If anyone has a unique perspective that most of us don’t get to see, it’s a rock star like Moby. The photos in Destroyed convey “the vacuumlike aesthetic of touring,” as Moby puts it, which is at once nomadic, isolating, and artificial, yet connecting with seas of people and touching lives in ways that most of us don’t ever experience. Moby describes touring as, “all contrasts and strangeness, and that’s what I’ve tried to convey through these pictures.” The Samuel Owen Gallery makes an appropriate home for Destroyed, not only because of its location in Greenwich but because owner Lee Milazzo is an old friend of Moby’s who has accompanied him on tour and experienced the life of touring first-hand. Moby and Milazzo have known each other since the late 1980s, when they met at The Café at Christ Church in Greenwich where Moby deejayed. They later lived as roommates on 14th Street in New York City during Moby’s break into the techno scene in the early 1990s. If that sounds glamorous, Moby insists it wasn’t. “Actually, we were pretty nerdy back then,” Moby confesses. “We used to sit in our tiny apartment and play each other videotapes of our achievements for the day playing Super Mario Brothers, while we talked about the girls we liked…. That was about the extent of it.” Samuel Owen Gallery, 378 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, CT. The gallery can be reached at 203-325-1924, or at






SPOTLIGHT: Local Talent

Impressive Nature Expressing a passion for nature through sculpture and printmaking by Laura Einstein Artist Bryan Nash Gill has been extremely busy with a new book titled Woodcut, that is being published by Princeton Architectural Press, to be released this spring, 2012. In addition, he had a solo exhibition, Bryan Nash Gill: Beyond the Landscape, at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; and another exhibition for Esopus Space in New York City entitled What Was Will Be Again. The exhibition coincided with Esopus 18, a magazine published by the non-profit Esopus Foundation Ltd., which will include an artist project by Gill. Through sculpture and printmaking, Gill expresses his love for the natural surroundings in which he was raised; “I have always felt at home in the hills of Litchfield County. When I was just ten years old my family moved to a farm, we were immersed in growing vegetables, raising animals, and building barnyard things. Little did I know then that these experiences would inspire me throughout my life and nourish my imagination.” 



Gill’s home and studio have an interesting history. The home began as a barn in the 1850s.  In the 1960s, the barn was reconfigured into a home by its then owners. In 1998, Gill extended this complex to include a studio that he built with trees harvested from the family farm. The studio is directly attached to his house, providing a home and work space in an extended footprint.

Gill’s studio hosts a magnificent display of art that he has created and art that he is working on. You can see a variety of pieces from small bronzed walnuts to immense tree trunks that he is in the process of preparing for printing. Gill is masterful at bringing out the textures in wood by burning, sanding, and inking the surface. He then rubs the surface of the trunk to bring out the growth rings -- the pattern of which is transferred onto Japanese rice paper. The results show all of the historical data on the life of the tree. With incredible detail, we can see the occasional spike that was driven into the tree, and insect damage alongside other imperfections that have affected the tree’s growth. Gill is also interested in conveying qualities of individual species whether ash, cedar, locust, maple, oak, pine, spruce, or willow that he currently has available.    Maria Mingalone, Director of Interpretation at Berkshire Museum, admires Gill’s connection to the natural world and believes that his work is perfectly suited to the Berkshire Museum, as it stands as the first public museum in Berkshire County devoted to art and natural history.  Mingalone states, “Berkshire Museum Look for the recent release of Woodcut, available at and fine bookstores everywhere. This hardcover book is not to be missed. Woodcut will appeal to anyone who appreciates the grandeur of trees, as well as those that work with wood and marvel at the history embedded in its growth.

continues to be dedicated to showing work by contemporary artists who have been inspired by nature. Bryan Nash Gill’s obvious love for the trees and forests of his native Connecticut is apparent in his compelling prints and sculptures. Artwork that resonates with respect and appreciation for nature and the environment shares the message that observing and interacting with the natural world is not only important, but aesthetically rewarding.”    Megan Carey, editor at Princeton Architectural Press, visited Gill at his studio and shared her enthusiasm with colleagues when she pitched her ideas for Woodcut, the first book on the work of Bryan Nash Gill. Carey stated, “I discovered Bryan on an obscure (and now defunct) architecture blog. It was rather serendipitous. As I was scrolling through entries, the blog updated, and a post on Bryan appeared at the top. I was immediately drawn to the work—the simplicity of printing the tree crosscuts and the magnificent results. I contacted Bryan through his website, and just a couple of weeks later I was getting a grand tour of his Connecticut studio. Bryan and I pulled together several of his woodcuts to present to my colleagues. Everyone shared my enthusiasm and now a year later, we have a beautiful book.”   For an exhibition at Fairfield Arts Center in 2007 titled, From The Woods, Assemblages, Woodcuts and Paintings, Gill created the impression of a stack of wood on the back of the

With incredible detail, we can see the occasional spike that was driven into the tree, and insect damage alongside other imperfections that have affected the tree’s growth. wall of the gallery that he created by individually impressing each log onto the sheet of paper. At Esopus Space, Gill will exhibit in woodcut, what the floor of the gallery looks like by spreading impressions of the gallery floor across the walls of the gallery. His intention is to memorialize the physical space through its wood flooring made of Oriented Strand Board (OSB). The unique texture of OSB presents a collage of different wood chips that is interesting in itself for its patterning. He is as interested in recreat-

ing space as he is with the printed textures of his materials. Gill earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Tulane University in 1984 and his Masters of Fine Arts from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland four years later.  He has received two Connecticut Individual Artist Grants, is a California Arts Council Fellow, and in 2005 he received the Artist Resource Trust grant, from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.   Gill has shown his sculpture, drawings and installations at many exhibitions and galleries across the United States, including two solo shows at the New Britain Museum of American Art, and at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts. He is still receiving accolades for his installation at the American Pavilion for the World’s Fair in Aichi, Japan, in 2005. He is represented in many corporate and private collections worldwide. Gill is currently preparing for his first solo exhibition at Tina Goodwin Fine Art in Denver, Colorado.



events + gatherings


Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County


iguring out what creative placemaking is and what it means for CT has been “the buzz” for members of the Fairfield County arts and cultural sector for the past several months. In a series of statewide forums Kip Bergstrom, Deputy Commissioner of the CT Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) rolled out what he is calling CT’s “New Direction” for arts funding. In those sessions Bergstrom repeated the mantra, “Great art makes great places. Great places attract great talent. Great talent creates great jobs.”

A white paper titled Creative Placemaking, written by Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa for the Mayor’s Institute on City Design, a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, defines creative placemaking in this way: In creative placemaking, partners from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired. The DECD’s CT Office of the Arts is encouraging creative placemaking by supporting projects that stimulate partnerships between the arts and culture sectors and other public and private community sectors to strategically shape the physical and social character of Connecticut’s urban centers, towns, and villages. One of the first pilot creative placemaking grants went to Bridgeport in order to help facilitate the growth of a nascent arts community that is playing

an important role in the development of downtown Bridgeport. The Bridgeport project was initiated by the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County and spearheaded by other members of a Bridgeport Creative Placemaking Consortium, including the City of Bridgeport, Downtown Special Services District (DSSD), the Bridgeport Arts + Cultural Council (BACC), Read’s Artspace—an artist live/work building, and City Lights Gallery. It is meant to both expand existing programs like the Bridgeport Arts Fest and the Bridgeport Art Trail and create new programs including a year-round monthly community arts event managed by the BACC that will help increase foot traffic and use the arts to bring the community together. An incentive program to develop empty storefronts will be built in partnership with DSSD and the City of Bridgeport. In addition, creative enhancements to Read’s Artspace, which houses artists in Downtown will be part of the project. The hope is that the Bridgeport project will help turn the once thriving city, where a creative community already resides, into a place that fosters entrepreneurs and cultural industries that generate jobs, creates new products and services, and attracts and retains unrelated businesses and skilled workers. The idea is to position Downtown Bridgeport as a local and regional center for culture, entertainment and residential activity. With the opening of the Bijou Theatre and a new array of lively restaurants, the city has a good start. Creative placemaking is a great way to rethink and deepen the way that arts and culture can work with other community sectors to make our cities great. Bridgeport has another chance to remake itself in a way that will surprise everyone. Watch up-close, by visiting Downtown Bridgeport.

Looking to add a little culture in your life? is the place to go for news on theater, exhibits, music, history and more. Visit to enrich your life and benefit from all Fairfield County has to offer. Created by the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County. For more information contact the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County by emailing, calling 203-256-2329 or visiting the Web site at 34 32


Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary Spring 2012 Gala Honoring Dr. Bruce and Beth McDonald, Thursday, May 10, 2012 Birchwood Country Club, Westport, Connecticut


he Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary kicks off its newest project to renovate SurgEase, the Ambulatory Surgery Center at Bridgeport Hospital. The renovations will include an interactive children's area, a sensory sensitive area for children with special needs, a quiet work area and a separate area for adults. Over 325 people attended this soldout event, which honored longtime volunteer and community leader Beth McDonald and Dr. Bruce McDonald, the hospital's Chief Medical Officer. The event was chaired by Ulla Atweh and Marlene Fischer.



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ACGT Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary and New Frontiers


he Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT) celebrated its tenyear anniversary and “New Frontiers” in the field of cancer gene therapy research with a gala benefit on April 19, 2012, at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich. More than 450 supporters of ACGT and 30+ of the nation’s top cancer research scientists gathered to celebrate progress that has been made in the field. The event raised more than $1.4 million, of which 100 percent will go directly toward funding new grants and clinical trials using cancer gene therapy. Marking this decade of scientific advancement, ACGT also honored the life of ACGT’s visionary co-founder, Edward Netter (19322011), by presenting the first ever ACGT “Partnership” award to Barbara Netter, Ed’s wife who co-founded ACGT with her husband, and who is continuing on today with the organization’s quest to find a better treatment for cancer. “Ed epitomized the innovative thinker and problem solver; and he felt it important to examine the status quo,” noted Barbara Netter. “He had the perseverance to pursue a better way. Our progress, our recent breakthrough, is proving to be a fitting tribute and legacy to Ed who worked tirelessly and passionately to this end. Ed Netter was a key figure in accelerating research and bringing us to this point.” Prior to the evening’s festivities, ACGT’s Scientific Advisory Council members and ACGT Research Fellows, headed by Dr. Savio Woo, chairman of ACGT’s scientific council, and professor and founding chair of the department of Gene and Cell Medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, along with many of the nation’s leading cancer researchers

representing such institutions as Harvard Medical School, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Duke University, The Salk Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of California San Diego, University of Pittsburgh, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Baylor Cancer Center, and the University of Chicago, held a scientific symposium where they discussed ACGT’s progress as a leader in the field, how to bridge the gap between the lab and bringing the science to the patients, and how to collaborate on future ideas. This was a rare opportunity to have the best and brightest minds in cancer research together to share their keen knowledge in treating this devastating disease. Robert Bazell, the Emmy award-winning chief science and health correspondent for NBC News, was the keynote speaker. Dr. Dennis Clegg, professor, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, was the featured scientist at the dinner. Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT) is the nation’s only nonprofit dedicated exclusively to cell and gene cancer therapy research. ACGT is unusual in that 100 percent of all contributions go directly to research, and fund grants with leading scientists in the U.S. ACGT would like to thank all of its sponsors and supporters for participating in this incredible event, with special thanks to media partner VENÜ magazine. To learn more about ACGT, visit:

Barbara Netter, ACGT co-founder, with some of the members of ACGT’s Scientific Advisory Council: A. Dusty Miller, Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, University of Washington; Michael Lotze, MD, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute; and Carl June, MD, Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania.

Barbara Netter, co-founder of ACGT, along with Sharon Phillips, an ACGT board member and co-chair of the ACGT 10th Anniversary Gala celebration

Barbara Netter, co-founder of ACGT, receives the firs ever ACGT Partnership Award from Savio Woo, chairman of ACGT’s scientific council, and professor and founding chair of the department of Gene and Cell Medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

Alease Tallman, Dennis and Karen Keegan Bea Crumbine and Marianne Wyman

Margaret Cianci, executive director of ACGT, with Barbara Netter

Susan Bevan, Maxine Armstrong, and Larry Simon


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Joanne Deliecade, Julie Jason, Kaitlyn Shake, and Kathleen Toedt

Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Museum of Art presents:

EVERETT RAYMOND KINSTLER: PULPS TO PORTRAITS There are many ways to succeed as an artist. For Everett Raymond Kinstler (b. 1926), one of the leading illustrators of his generation, accepting portraiture commissions from politicians, musicians, and movie stars provided an apt vehicle for navigating the rapidly evolving field of illustration. This was a common challenge for contemporary artists in the 1950s, when the popularity of television, graphic design, and photography challenged the role of illustration in modern culture. Shifting his focus to portraiture, Kinstler went on to become one of America’s foremost portrait artists, creating a veritable Who’s Who gallery of some of the most recognizable faces of American history and culture through the last seven decades. A new exhibition at the Bellarmine Museum of Art, which was organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, examines Kinstler’s career in both the art of illustration and fine portraiture, and his ability to capture realistic likenesses infused with a passion for storytelling—Everett Raymond Kinstler: Pulps to Portraits is on view at the museum through September 28, 2012. Learn more about the artist at his website:

A CELEBRATION OF SPRING! The Darien Nature Center celebrated Earth Day 2012 with the opening of EarthWorks, a collaborative exhibit by area artists Heidi Lewis Coleman, Lucy Krupenye and Nancy Woodward and curated by Ann Hart. The festive reception was held on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22nd in theNatureCenter’s Wetherstone Gallery. In this stunning exhibit inspired by nature, each artist pays homage to the beauty of the current, the remnants of the past and the wonder of the unknown future. The assembled works are a celebration of nature’s simplicities and complexities. Krupenye’s found and abandoned objects are given new life in her meditative sculptures. Coleman’s intricate language assemblages quickly move the viewer from trying to interpret her words to an overall assimilation of the messages in her abstract “writing”. Woodward’s exquisite images are a result her going further into the woods, where the sun and clouds illuminate the trees that she so brilliantly photographs.

Nancy Woodward, Lynn Hamlen (Executive Director – Darien Nature Center), Tom Berntsen (Exhibition Coordinator), Lucy Krupenye, Heidi Lewis Coleman, Ann Hart (Curator)

Artist Information:

Dariend Nature Center: 120 Brookside Road Darien Ct 06820 203-655-7459

American Harvest - One Nation. One Spirit.™ Sidney Frank Importing Company, Inc., known for redefining the vodka category, introduced the next revolution in spirits; American Harvest at HEIRLOOM at The Study Hotel on March 28th. The staff of VENÜ Magazine was invited to the event and we were all in agreement that this is an amazing vodka. Approximately 200+ guests attended including some top Brescome & Barton representatives and retailers from all over the state. Guests enjoyed a delicious sparkling welcome punch and cocktails created by Sidney Frank’s top mixologist Todd Richman and the bartenders from Heirloom while listening to fantastic music from the band Jamie Livesey. Beautiful floral decor and custom chalk artwork was a great representation of the American Harvest brand. The food had a unique farm/organic flare and was presented beautifully. Steve Bellini, Executive Vice President, Sales for Sidney Frank Importing Company made a wonderful speech and welcomed our Farm Aid representative who also said a few words. CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE


events + gatherings

Music in the Air in Westchester By ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam

chino or a slice, sit by the fountains and rock to the band, The Ledge, on July 5, swing to the retro sounds of the Sinatra-inspired Rat Pack on July 19, and sway to the soulful sounds of Blues Buddha on August 23, just to name a few. And when the fountains light up at night the music keeps playing in the Plaza on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer from 7-9pm, dubbed “Dancing Under the Stars.” Like to shop ’til you drop? Head for the Cross County Shopping Center free Summer Concert series and listen to a different

four free Thursday evening concerts in August, including the Allan Harris Band on August 23. And Wednesday lunch hours in July and August from noon to 1pm offer free Brazilian Jazz sessions at the Chase building in White Plains. All the above are presented by Jazz Forum Arts (JFA). And doesn’t summer make you yearn for the drive-thru movie experience? The Katonah Museum of Arts’s free admission series “Movies & Mai Tais” in the Museum’s lovely outdoor Sculpture Garden sets the stage for screenings of artful Chinese

Top: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts’ Venetian Theater Right: Katonah Museum of Arts’ sculpture garden,

tribute groups every Tuesday evening from 7-9pm. Bring a beach blanket and chairs and enjoy the B Street Band’s renditions of Bruce Springsteen’s best songs on July 10, the island melodies of Jimmy Buffet as performed by the band Parrot Beach on July 17, another Billy Joel tribute band on July 24, and a group of U2 impersonators—aptly called “2U”—on July 31. The 13th Annual Dobbs Ferry Summer Music Series features free Wednesday evening concerts at Waterfront Park on the Hudson River, 6:30-8pm, concluding on August 22. The 3rd Annual Sunset Jazz series at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown features

photo: Margaret Fox


here’s “Music in the Air” in Westchester. More than 250 free and affordable outdoor concerts will take place out-of-doors in parks, plazas and shopping malls. Bring a blanket and a basket of eats and enjoy top performers all summer long under the stars and in gentle breezes in beautiful Westchester County. Go to and start tapping yours toes at some special venues. Take for example, Caramoor. It’s more than just a music locale. Its gorgeous grounds, Mediterranean-style villa and Italianate architecture are the perfect backdrop for the 67th Caramoor International Music Festival and its lineup of Grammy Award winning stars. These include jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater on July 28, and renowned guitarist Pat Metheny on July 29. Earlier in the month, Latin great Paquito D’Rivera will headline an all-Cuban musical celebration on Friday, July 6, at 8pm, with tickets ranging from just $15 to $35, concluding with a post-concert Mojito reception. On August 5th, the world’s most revered banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck will join forces with the Marcus Roberts jazz trio for a night of multiple musical personalities sure to blow you away. The best news is that ticket start as low as $15. The “Dancing at Dusk” series with Flamenco, Bhangra and Brazilian performances, offers another affordable ($10 adults; $5 kids) family friendly escape, at 5pm on Wednesdays – July 11 and 25, and August 8. Westchester’s largest city Yonkers is home to Historic Untermyer Park, the former estate garden of lawyer Samuel Untermyer .The park’s Beaux-Arts-style amenities include a Grecian garden and amphitheater and a classical pavilion and statuary. Here, the all volunteer Untermyer Performing Arts Council provides free summer concerts every summer. This summer, if you’re strolling through the City of White Plains—arguably Westchester’s most bustling metropolis— you’ll encounter an oasis of live entertainment right in the heart of the city. Free concerts take place in the Renaissance Plaza (corner of Main Street and Mamaroneck Ave) from noon to 2pm every Thursday throughout July and August,. You can grab a frappu-

films on two Thursday’s in July, to tie into their current exhibition Rising Dragon: Contemporary Chinese Photography. Visit for a complete list of free and affordable outdoor summer concerts this season.

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Heartsong Heartsong 20th 20th Anniversary Anniversary Gala Gala

n Friday, April 20, 2012, Heartsong, Inc. was thrilled celebrate its 20th Anniversary by n Friday,toApril 20, 2012, Heartsong, Inc. was hosting to a fundraising atAnniversary the Ritz Carlton, thrilled celebrate itsgala 20th by Westchester. Academy and Golden hostingLegendary a fundraising gala atAward the Ritz Carlton, Globe-winningLegendary actress Celeste Holm, opera singer Frank Westchester. Academy Award and Golden Basile and Parisactress Themmen, known for opera his performance Globe-winning Celeste Holm, singer Frank as “Mike in the cultknown classicfor film Wonka Basile andTeeVee” Paris Themmen, his“Willy performance and the Chocolate thefilm Honorary Chairs. as “Mike TeeVee” inFactory” the cultwere classic “Willy Wonka “Art and music have a way of educating the heart. It is and the Chocolate Factory” were the Honorary Chairs. imperative to live.” said Ms. Holm. Mr. Basile added “Art and music have a way of educating the heart. It is “Everyone value. Everybody contribute. And, imperative has to live.” said Ms. Holm.can Mr. Basile added we must nurture that if we want to ensure our future.” “Everyone has value. Everybody can contribute. And, Heartsong Advisory Member Elizabeth we must nurture thatBoard if we want to ensure our Barnhard future.” was honored for her Board work on behalf Elizabeth of Heartsong. This Heartsong Advisory Member Barnhard year’s Benefit for Chairs were on Ms.behalf Barnhard; Board Member was honored her work of Heartsong. This David Benefit P. Katz; Chairs Heartsong Therapy Supervisor year’s wereMusic Ms. Barnhard; Board Member AllegraP.Themmen-Pigott; and Advisory Member David Katz; Heartsong Music TherapyBoard Supervisor James J.Themmen-Pigott; Veneruso. The event raised more than $100,000 Allegra and Advisory Board Member and commemorated 20 years music and than art therapy James J. Veneruso. The event of raised more $100,000 for special needs children throughout New York and commemorated 20 years of musiclower and art therapy andspecial Connecticut. for needs children throughout lower New York and Connecticut.

Celeste Holm (waving) surrounded by (left to right) E. Barnhard, D. Katz, K. Brennan, M. Kowarick, J. McNatt, A. Themmen-Pigott, E. Levine, M. Anderson, P. Themmen, J. Veneruso Celeste Holm (waving) surrounded by (left to right) E. Barnhard, D. Katz, K. Brennan, M. Kowarick, J. McNatt, A. Themmen-Pigott, E. Levine, M. Anderson, P. Themmen, J. Veneruso

Joseph Godfrey III, Lillian and James Veneruso

C. Levine, P. Ullmann, J. Jacobs, J. Banks, M. Anderson

Joseph Godfrey III, Lillian and James Veneruso

C. Levine, P. Ullmann, J. Jacobs, J. Banks, M. Anderson

Elizabeth Hery, Ann O’Connor and James Veneruso Elizabeth Hery, Ann O’Connor and James Veneruso

Mary Kowarick, Celeste Holm, Frank Basile Mary Kowarick, Celeste Holm, Frank Basile

E. Levine, P. Levine, K. Suss and G. Suss (Master of Ceremonies) E. Levine, P. Levine, K. Suss and G. Suss (Master of Ceremonies)

Paris Themmen and his fiancee, Nikki Gtillos Paris Themmen and his fiancee, Nikki Gtillos

Gay and Rich Rogers Gay and Rich Rogers

The Bronxville Contingent! The Bronxville Contingent! Laura and Philip Raffianni

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Laura and Philip Raffianni

Allegra Themmen-Pigott performing for the happy crowd! Allegra Themmen-Pigott performing for the happy crowd!

Elizabeth Levine, Michael Safko, Ava Thaw Elizabeth Levine, Michael Safko, Ava Thaw



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ArtsWestchester Honored Arts Awards Recipients at Annual Ceremony At its April 4 Arts Award 2012 ceremony, ArtsWestchester honored organizations and individuals who significantly contribute to the arts in Westchester.

Westport Arts Center’s First Annual Art Affair, The Warhol Ball, a Smashing Success Top: Artist Martha Bloom creating a live collage at The Warhol Ball (Westport)


rtsWestchester was in the presence of greatness on April 4 during its Arts Award ceremony at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains. With the help of title sponsor, First Niagara Bank–along with co-hosts Fox 5 News anchor Ernie Anastos and News 12 Westchester anchor Matt Sampson–ArtsWestchester honored 7 organizations and individuals who significantly contribute to the arts in Westchester. An enthusiastic 300 guests, including local and state government officials and business leaders, came to honor this year’s well-deserved recipients: Dennis Bell, Jerry Pinkney, Steffi Nossen School of Dance, Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra, Castle Gallery at the College of New Rochelle, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center and Westchester Community Foundation.

Arts Award 2012 Winners ArtsWestchester board member Jacqueline Walker, Matthew G. McCrosson (Westchester Community Foundation), Catherine Marsh (Westchester Community Foundation), artist Jerry Pinkney, Tricia Hiller (Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center), artist Dennis Bell, Dan Montez (Taconic Opera), ArtsWestchester board member Deborah Simon, Katrina Rhein (Castle Gallery at the College of New Rochelle), Annette Volino (Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra), Marcia Klein (Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra), Judy Ross (Steffi Nossen School of Dance), Jeannie Aplin (Steffi Nossen School of Dance).

Left: WAC Board President Nancy Gault (Westport), WAC Board Member and Warhol Ball Honoree Gary Cosgrave (Westport), and WAC Board Member Chrissey Hunt. photos: Helen Kilsser During


ver 400 guests attended Westport Arts Center’s (WAC) first annual Art Affair, “The Warhol Ball – A Night at The Factory,” on Saturday, April 28, at 8 p.m., at the Steel Shed, South Norwalk. The sold-out fundraising event recreated the avant-garde, pop art atmosphere of Andy Warhol’s legendary Manhattan studio, The Factory, with intervals of film, art, new media, music and dance. The evening’s honoree was Westport resident Gary Cosgrave, who, as a two-time WAC past president and current board member, has championed the arts in the local community and contributed significantly to WAC’s growth and direction. “My co-chair Deirdre Price and I, and our Superstar Committee were fortunate to have selected such a colorful artist to draw upon in planning the first annual Art Affair. Using Warhol’s Factory as a springboard allowed us to showcase all the wonderful and unique aspects of the Westport Arts Center and the talented people associated with it. From WAC’s gallery to its education, film and music programs, the Ball represented and celebrated all in one fabulous party, at an awesome venue,” said Deanna Foster, WAC board member and co-chair of the Art Affair. Marni Smith Katz, WAC development director, said “the Art Affair was a great success and we were delighted to exceed our financial goal. Proceeds from the fundraiser will support WAC’s diverse, high-quality visual and performing arts programs. Thanks to generous community support, WAC programs reach more than 11,000 people annually, including 4,000 school-aged children.” The not-for-profit Westport Arts Center is a visual and performing arts organization dedicated to creating arts experiences that enrich the lives of area residents and the entire community. The WAC gallery is open free of charge, seven days a week, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., at 51 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT Bridge Academy Senior and Westport Youth Film Festival Youth Board Member, Karianna Montalvo, participates in a silkscreening project at The Warhol Ball (Bridgeport)

NYS Assemblyman Robert Castelli, ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam, Fox 5 News Anchor Ernie Anastos, White Plains Mayor Tom Roach 38


photo: Kathleen O'rourke

90th Anniversary Benefit and Gala of the Silvermine Arts Center a Huge Success



ilvermine Arts Center, located in New Canaan, held their 90th Anniversary Benefit and Gala, Paint it Black, on Saturday May 5th, 2012. Patti Hansen and Keith Richards were the honorary chairs, strong supporters of Silvermine’s outreach and scholarship programs. The guests arrived in creative black tie, entering through the Sculpture Gardens to enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Galleries featuring the artwork of the Silvermine Guild of Artists. Guests were then led into the dining tent where they enjoyed a sit down Caribbean meal provided by Festivities, dancing to a reggae band and music provided by DJ Alexandra Richards, and a live auction with celebrity auctioneer Carolyn Kepcher, a judge from the first season of the Apprentice. Auction items included the

Honorary Co-Chairs Patti Hansen and Keith Richards (Weston) with Gala Guests Woodson and Tina Duncan, residents of New Canaan

Richards beach front home in Turks and Caicos, and 2013 tickets to the Kentucky Derby and the Masters Golf Tournament. The original drawing for the program cover, by Keith Richards, sold for $23,000. The benefit was a great success netting over $200,000 with the proceeds going directly to the arts center’s outreach and scholarship programs. Our signature outreach program, Art Partners, is nearing its 20th year of operation, bringing the joy and benefit of the arts to thousands of students who would never otherwise experience the enjoyment of the arts. “90 years as an artist founded and led organization is truly worth celebrating” says Executive Director, Leslee Asch. “We are very grateful to our honorary chairs, Patti Hansen and Keith Richards, the gala committee and our sponsors for making this event one to be remembered.” The Gala Committee for this anniversary celebration led by Gala Chair, Carol Perry from Weston, included Theodora Bergschneider (Easton), Stephanie Ercegovic (Westport), Heather Gaudio (Fairfield), Meredith Hutchison (Westport), Michele Marsh, Roger Mudre and Leslie Giuliani all from Weston, and Leslee Asch (Old Greenwich). Corporate sponsors of the 90th anniversary benefit included Robert Graham Designs, Hearst Connecticut Media Group, and Fairway Markets. Art Partners is an arts education program that places professional teaching artists in the classrooms of area urban schools in Norwalk and Stamford to offer hands-on curriculum based workshops. The over-arching goal of Art Partners is to increase young people’s opportunity to grow into independent, well grounded adults. With public school budgets under severe constraints, Art Partners is one of the few independent visual art programs currently available in the Norwalk and Stamford schools. Whether in school or on-site at Silvermine, Art Partners reaches minority and under-resourced students and teachers. Art Partners, and our similar outreach programs, will greatly benefit from the donations received from our generous supporters and donors. For more information about the many events, exhibits and course offerings, call 203-966-9700 or visit our website: Will Morrison with Executive Director Leslee Asch, Guild Artist and Board member Don Axleroad and Erica Weingast.

Silvermine Guild Artist member David Dunlop with Robert Stock & Nancy McTague-Stock (Guild Artist member) with Board chair Roger Mudre at the 90th anniversary gala and benefit of the Silvermine Arts Center.

Rebecca Hoeffer and her husband Guild Artist David Dunlop

Silent Auction items at the 90th Anniversary Gala & Benefit of the Silvermine Arts Center featuring original drawing by Keith Richards which was used for the cover of the program book. His painting sold for $23,000

A Caribbean dinner for the almost 300 guests at the sold-out fundraising event were served in the tent by local caterers, Festivities CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE



Tee It Up In The Sun: Aruba Written by Bobby


The Links at Divi

With beautiful, tropical marine climate, cacti-strewn landscape, and rolling hills, Aruba contains the perfect atmosphere to fall in love…or find yourself. Aruba is a 19 mile-long island located in the southern Caribbean Sea, 15 miles from the coast of Venezuela. Aruba has the highest rate of return in the Caribbean, perhaps because the destination is the most temperate of all the islands. The horizontally-inclined divi-divi trees, romantic, white-sand beaches, and natural coral bridges make the Aruban coast a popular haven for tourists. This picturesque scenery also makes a stunning backdrop for a round of golf. Whether you’re teeing-off or putting, the gusty trade winds coming from the Atlantic Ocean is sure to make your game of golf a memorable challenge. The warm, powder-white sand beaches are one of most popular attractions to Aruba. Eagle Beach has been named the number one Caribbean beach in a USA Today survey, while Condé Nast Traveler named Palm Beach the best family-friendly beach in the world. Head over to the Renaissance Island, where you will find two beautiful beaches laden with exotic animals: Iguana Beach, where iguanas will eat chickpeas and lettuce from your hand, and Flamingo Beach, where you will find dozens of lounging orange flamingos. If you’re into snorkeling, both Baby Beach and Arashi Beach are great places to catch bright tropical fish swimming through the clear blue water. Reefs and sunken shipwrecks make Malmok Beach a destination for divers, while wind and kite-surfers take advantage



of the wind and choppy waters at the site of the annual Hi-Winds Pro Am Windsurfing Competition: Hadicurari Beach. As well as being known for their paradise-inducing beaches, Aruba is also an island rich in cultural events and activities. Home to 80 nationalities, the island’s diverse population reflects the nation’s settlement, acquisition, and immigration. A mixture of African, Spanish, Arawak, and European ancestry gives rise to popular annual festivities. Carnival is a 2-month long event that happens every January through February. Daily events captivate and capture you with electrifying music of calypso steel bands, King & Queen elections, and torch light parades. The lengthy celebration culminates with the all-day Grand Parade. On the eve of June 24th, small fires are set throughout the island and smoke fills the air in celebration of the Festival of San Juan Dera Gai. Other cultural events include Dande, the African-inspired New Year’s celebration, St. Nicolas Day Parade, and the weekly Bon Bini Festival, which puts together folkloric dancers and local music. There are many adventure and water-sport activities to enjoy while vacationing in Aruba. Try out the island’s deep sea fishing, kayaking, and mountain biking opportunities. Aruba is also a great place to visit if you’re an animal lover. Spot stingray, lobsters, seahorses, and an array of tropical marine animals through the numerous scuba diving opportunities located on the island. If you prefer to stay dry, the submarine tours allow you to

Divi Trees

Natural Bridge



Leisure: Golf

Tierra De Sol Golf Course explore the coral reefs and marine life located at depths of over130 feet. For the bird-watchers and animal-enthusiasts, the Bubali Bird Sanctuary hosts 100-plus species of land and sea birds that pass through the wetland as they migrate between North and South America. You can witness dozens of native and visiting birds, watch pelicans diving into the ocean to catch fish, and view small lizards and geckoes scampering about. The Aruba Ostrich Farm offers another opportunity for a close animal encounter. Here, you can feed ostriches and emus, and afterwards, experience the low fat/high-protein ostrich meat in a steak or burger at the adjacent restaurant. If these two destinations don’t satisfy your animal experiences, check out Aruba’s butterfly farm and donkey sanctuary. As well as being an apt destination for relaxing beaches, water sports, and animal lovers, Aruba is transforming itself into a top Caribbean golf destination. With natural attributes of a colorful and majestic coast line, these two golf links guarantee an enjoyable golf experience. Tierra De Sol    The Tierra De Sol resort contains luxurious villas, two choices of fine dining, a spa, fitness center, and of course, the Robert Trent Jones, Jr.–designed golf course. This Caribbean jewel is the only 18-hole championship course in Aruba, and offers sweeping views of the ocean against a desert landscape. The immaculately groomed course consists of rows of cacti, palms, and is breathtakingly dotted with mounds of coral rock. The hazards include the many soft-white sand bunkers, groups of cacti stands, with the biggest factor determining your play being the fierce wind that sweeps off the northwestern shore. The wind affects almost every aspect of your game, from the putting on Bermuda greens to the landing of your ball on the fairway. If nothing else, the experience golfing against the wind in Aruba will be a memorable one. Thankfully, most holes offer generous landing zones to compensate 42


for the strong gusts. Tierra De Sol includes a full length practice range around 250 yards in length, putting greens, chipping areas, and a clubhouse with a golf shop. Never golfed before? No worries, as the course features a golf clinic for novice and first time golfers, and offers lessons from PGA professional trainers. The Links at Divi Aruba Named after the strange, but beautiful divi-divi tree, the Links at Divi Aruba is a 9-hole course surrounding the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort. Designed by leading architects, Litten/Viola J.V. of Boynton Beach, Florida, the Divi Course offers play on ecologically-friendly Paspalum grass over water and along lagoons. Nestled between a backdrop of the stunning resort and ocean, the Links at Divi Aruba contains elevated greens, wind-facing shots, with flawlessly groomed hazards to make your golf game a challenge. The hazards include cacti bushes, white-sand bunkers, and wetlands located on most holes. Hole #5 is a par 3, with the only hazard being a huge irrigation pond between the tee and putting green, while Hole #6 is a long par 5 over water. The golf facilities located at the Links at Divi Aruba include the Donald Ross FeelGolf school, a golf pro shop, and an elegant clubhouse. There are two fine dining options within the clubhouse, including, breakfast and lunch dining at Mulligans Bar & Restaurant, and lunch and dinner options at Windows on Aruba, a glass-wrapped contemporary restaurant with full views of the ocean and golf course. With stunning displays of the ocean and desert landscape, The Links at Divi Aruba offer golfers a memorable experience both on and off the green. With beautiful, tropical marine climate, cacti-strewn landscape, and rolling hills, Aruba contains the perfect atmosphere to fall in love… or find yourself. For more infromation on golfing in Aruba visit


Lovers know France best. So when this romantically inspired traveler had the chance to visit France in the springtime when love is blooming in the garden villages of Provence, and where its rivers – like its wines – flow with irresistible invitations to drink in the intoxicating beauty of landscapes and lifestyles that reward body and soul... I was there.





Imagine waking up, café au lait in hand, on the Côte D’Azur on a sun-kissed Good – make that Great – Friday morn, in a tiny, tucked away garden room in an ochre-dressed hideaway billed as the “most romantic hotel in Nice.” La Pérouse is funky and charming, a maze of little lifts and meandering room-lined levels that climb up to a rooftop patio that reigns over the deep blue Mediterranean Sea and the yacht harbor in perfect harmony with the cliff into which it is built. The views will take your breath away and make you restless for more intimate exploration of the medieval city streets and the Promenade des Anglaise below. Stroll through the flower markets of the Cours Saleya, then wander deeper into the poetic heart of its café culture to revel in the local color and culinary treats you’ll discover hidden in labyrinthine lanes off the beaten path. I did, heart in hand with an amour who made the experience sweeter still. Hearts race in nearby Monte-Carlo, not just because of the storied romance between the prince and his American movie star, Grace Kelly, but also because of the rich cultural diversions at play in streets paved with privilege. A tennis tournament was in full court while I was there, as were preparations for the Grand Prix Historique, boasting a parade of classic Formula One motorcars that have competed in the world’s most glamorous an44


nual road rally. As I mingled among the jetsetters and visitors, I met a woman from England who was being wooed by a wealthy Monaco banker. He had just flown her, sons in tow, to Nice, whisking them to Monte-Carlo by private helicopter for a weekend of Ferrari racing. Don’t wake me. Real-life tales in a place renowned for fairytale dreams-come-true are now happily ensconced in my imagination. Down the winding coastal road just across the border in Italy sits a speck of a winemaking village aptly named Dolceacqua, (sweet water) immortalized by a Monet painting, an ill-fated love story and an impossibly delicate pastry. Like Monaco, it sits in the shadow of a castle, but unlike its prosperous neighbor to the north, the castle languishes in ruins. Legend has it that the land baron who ruled the kingdom from this castle perch took pleasure from virgin brides on the eve of their weddings to their betrothed, only to be defied by one fearless lass who was wedded and bedded before he could have his way with her. She perished in the castle dungeon before her grieving husband avenged her courageous

death, an occasion symbolically marked today with Michetta, a celebratory, sensuously suggestive confection that honors women’s rights. I savored it with a glass of locally produced Rossese wine, cultivated by hand on the steep slopes of Dolceacqua and “as much a matter of love as a business venture” and enjoyed an earthly taste of the passion that permeates the Riviera. Off to Arles where my riverboat waits, I channel van Gogh in flower-filled squares and lemon colored cafés immortalized by his artwork, before lunching with cowboys on their ranch in la Camargue who greet me on gallant white horses. I am enraptured by the owners’ love-at-first-sight story, one that began in Arles’ Roman amphitheater when the handsome Camargue rancher demonstrated his superb equestrian skills in a pageant attended by a beautiful young model. Their courtship lasted eight weeks, their marriage is now going on eight years. They treat me to a flavorful homecooked Provençal lunch that showcased, deliciously, the bounty of their land, followed by a fleet-footed game of dare and dodge with the (Continued on page 81)




How to marry a millionaire… or at least dine like one!

Reflections of Provence on Greenwich Harbor… at l’escale Having just returned from the south of France, I was anxious to see if l’escale’s new culinary team, headed up by gifted Chef Frederic Kieffer, would send my taste buds back to one of my favorite places in the world. Dining al fresco in the exclusive waterfront setting, yacht-side on Greenwich Harbor at the Delamar, meaning “by the sea,” was the first plus of the night. The champagne toast of Veuve Clicquot was the next. I was lost in thoughts of Côte d’Azur glamour, when the restaurant’s Director of Operations, David Fletcher, formerly of the elite Café Boulid, handed me one of the signature cocktails of the house, How to Marry A Millionaire. Was he reading my mind? The drink, a dance of fresh berries subtly infused with lime juice, Grey Goose vodka and a hint of St. Germain crowned by a lychee fruit, evoked the joie de vivre I indulged in when I was wining and dining my way from the Riviera to



Provence and Paris, and I could feel myself happily slipping back to my springtime reverie. The cuisine of Provence is light, distinctive in flavor and seasoned with a freshness that is rooted in sun-drenched country landscapes and a brilliant blue sea. Think colorful harvests that bombard the senses... tree-picked fruits, vine-ripened vegetables – and wines – farm raised, free range poultry, beef and lamb, graced with bouquets of aromatic herbs… cheese, rich with secrets, and seafood newly caught. Add

oven-warm baguettes and desserts that defy the sweetest descriptions, and you’ll get an idea of the high expectations I had for this reinvented Greenwich restaurant. Menus in hand our party of three chose our dinners, careful to sample something different with each selection. Everything sounded trés appetizing. For starters, we ordered the tuna tartar, bathed in lime and finished with roe and avocado, the flame-broiled giant prawns glazed in garlic and olive paste – a huge hit – and the

by Cindy Clarke

Fromage de Chevre & Artichaut Crus – garlic marinated goat cheese served in a mini mason jar, accompanied by a wonderfully dressed frisée, raw and fried artichokes and olive bread toasts – a deliciously innovative twist on a classic goat cheese salad. Magnifique! Special culinary delights are an integral part of the French table, with the chefs serving up an amuse bouche, without fanfare, to their guests. Our hosts surprised us with a bowl of their delicate Soupe de Moule, a saffron mussel soup seasoned with a medley of leeks, carrots, and onions and served with parmesan twists, along with a refreshing glass of Rosé that whispered the time-honored secrets of France’s award-winning vintners. Our entrées celebrated traditional French dishes, simply and perfectly prepared by a skilled chef who clearly knew his way around his Provençal kitchen. The Cote d’Agneau Grilles, succulent lamb chops paired with warmed, herbed tomatoes and smashed fingerling potatoes, a breast of duck, soaring with a seasoned sauce that enhanced each flavorful bite, and a melt-in-your-mouth halibut, sautéed in white wine and saffron and served with arti-

Our entrées celebrated traditional French dishes, simply and perfectly prepared by a skilled chef who clearly knew his way around his Provençal kitchen. choke notes, were equally delectable. Generous glasses of velvety smooth Châteauneuf-de-Pape and Pinot Noir complemented our dinner – and paid well-deserved compliments to l’escale’s outstanding wine cellar. Joining Chef Kieffer in the kitchen, Chef de Cuisine Henri Donneaux, former chef/owner of Café Lola in Fairfield, and veteran Pastry

Chef Wendy Young Laurent, named Connecticut’s Best Pastry Chef in 2010 by Connecticut Magazine, bring years of culinary excellence to the table, talents not lost on our trio of tasters when we dined on their innovative cuisine at l’escale. They tantalized us with a buffet of desserts, including a light-as-air Black & White Chocolate Soufflé with a pistachio sauce, a decadent Vanilla Crème Brulée, trimmed with butter crunch heaven, Banana Beignets, France meets New Orleans in a half-healthy, totally delicious fruit that begged to be dipped in the chef’s house made chocolate sauce, the Dame Blanche, a long legged brownie and ice cream sundae that taunted our spoons, and cookies, sugar cloud puffs baked on premises. Sufficiently sated, we sipped golden Sauterne and looked around at our fellow patrons, well-heeled, impeccably dressed ladies and gents who all, admittedly, looked like a million dollars. We agreed that this was definitely a must-see and be-seen, summer-hot, dining venue. We raised our glasses with a heartfelt “vive la France” to Greenwich’s haut-est port of call, l’escale, and called it a night.



FEATURE: Cover Story



“Fields in Flowers” by Brenda LaManna as told to Jennifer Matthews Frost



FEATURE: Cover Story



The centuries old practice of floral arranging is defined by Wikipedia as “The art of using plant materials and flowers to create a pleasing and balanced composition.” There is evidence that creating with plants and flowers for visual and aesthetic pleasure dates as far back as the culture of Ancient Egypt. It is an art form that crosses EVERY culture, every religion. It possesses no limitations. The act of incorporating flowers into our everyday lives is universal – from enhancing a ceremony or ritual to enhancing our own personal pleasure. Flowers deserve to be validated as a true artistic medium like paint or charcoal to the artist and clay to the sculptor. Personally, this medium of flowers has taken Brenda LaManna literally around the world. Whether she is producing a wedding in Indonesia, a gala in Florida, an international conference in London, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Manhattan or working with a team on parade floats at the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, each design element has to count. As President and Founder of Damselfly Designs, Brenda believes that beauty and elegance should be infused into every detail. Looking back at that early time with the benefit of hindsight, she says “I realized that a formal education for this industry really did not exist 20 years ago. Internships did not exist so I had to gain my experience literally “on the job.” I was always so concerned about doing the best job possible for my clients. I struggled to find classes and eventually adopted a “trial and error” philosophy. I learned from my mistakes to avoid that particular situation the next time. I literally had two jobs – my work of event design and my work as a mother and wife. Organization saved me.” “I started with the basics – educating myself through BOCES initially with the hair styling classes and then afterwards, with floral design classes. It was a very self-educating, learn-as-I-go – I think that attitude actually helped me – I knew what I wanted to do, but did not get sidetracked or discouraged with the process. I never focused on what I did NOT know.” Currently, floral design, event design, event planning, coordination, and design-scape are all industries that are beginning to receive recognition. There are classes at all major colleges and art schools. What is wonderful is that “Fields in Flowers” has evolved. There is less “trial and error” – it has basically been eliminated. There are classes, curriculums and advanced degrees to educate the new generation of designers and encourage them to be creative. When one looks at all the business opportunities using flowers as a medium, it is immediately obvious that this one design element, florals, is present at every style and type of event. Knowing how to create a design concept with flowers opens endless doors and job options. Most people believe that a floral arranger is the same career as a florist. Becoming a florist is a beginning step and one

of the first places one can handle flowers and become familiar with them. Many successful careers have been created by just taking this step, to become a traditional florist – but there are more options, more “fields” if one would like. When one “Googles” the question “What are the Top 5 Career Fields?” First is technology and computers, second is Healthcare and, third is “Trades”. This emerging top field of “Trades” includes anything and everything that involves building, creating, repairing with your hands. Once one uses flowers as a medium, as something to design with – thoughts and ideas are unlocked and career doors are opened. The process has a unique and specific order that is repeated daily all over the world. Beginning with a floral shipment arriving at an international airport, hundreds of people will be involved with the process of getting those flowers to their final destination. Customs agents must clear each individual order. They must be educated on what is allowed into the United States and what is not. Regulations are strict to prevent insects, bugs and disease from entering the country. Flower brokers have already negotiated the best prices for all varietals – from the most exotic and rare, to the common Asterales Asteraceae (or sunflower). A negotiant will know growers all over the world and may be employed to fulfill a specific order for a large quantity of a certain flower. Relationships are the key to success in this aspect of the industry. Weddings, Corporate Events, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Outdoor Celebrations, Multi-City Events – all of these situations call for flower arrangements to enhance the décor and overall success of the event’s mission. A person or team of people may be employed by a corporation that has global offices. At events worldwide, a certain “look” can be designed and achieved to effectively “brand” the company. Whether the look is lush tropical blooms or crisp and monochromatic, the effect and ensuing association will be different and unique to it’s brand or company. If done successfully, the design and choices that the flower



FEATURE: Cover Story



“One arranges flowers as the spirit moves you; to obey some inner prompting to put this colour with that, to have brilliance here, line there, a sense of opulence in this place or sparseness in that; to suit your surroundings, your mood, the weather, the occasion. In a word, to do as you please, just as, if you could, you might paint a picture.” – Constance Spry arranger makes will guide their employer or client to an incredibly effective marketing tool. The film industry employs millions of set designers. Constant education is needed to make sure the time periods depicted throughout a movie are accurate and authentic. Suppliers and designers are needed to create the local weekly arrangements supplied to hotel chains, commercial buildings and lobbies, supermarkets and membership wholesale clubs. The rose garland that encircles the neck of the Triple Crown winner is a tradition that first appeared in 1896. Worldwide, the vision of a champion thoroughbred taking a victory lap wearing a blanket of roses is instantly recognizable. Because the design is communicated visually, language is never a barrier. The Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, California is an annual event of the most magnificent examples of floral design and arrangements. Floats that are city blocks long are created by a team of hundreds of volunteers led by Brenda and four other “Top Dressers”. Literally tons of flowers are used for each float designed solely for the viewing pleasure of the crowds along the parade route, the millions watching on television and the prestige of being named one of the trophy winners! Every inch of surface is covered with natural elements – not one leaf or stem is wasted. Millions of flowers need to be handled. The creations must be practical as well - the best of floral design and the best mechanical engineering because each “creation” or float must be mobile. It has to be piloted along the parade route. The logistics of supplying, crafting and then transporting finished floral arrangements is equally as important as the design itself. The artistic process and final result must be practical. It must be sturdy and carefully made in order to travel safely to its final venue or destination. For a destination wedding of a royal couple in an Indonesian country, it might be necessary to create a floral workshop where there previously existed only dense jungle. The solution? Trailers from flat beds trucks were used to create makeshift coolers and a section of mountainside was hollowed out to serve as an instant workshop – not for the faint of heart. But, for the truly creative person, challenges are welcome. It serves to fuel the imagination. No two situations are ever the same. Few careers can make such a statement. But LIKE many other career paths, true success – both financial and spiritual – happens when the craft or basic skill is taken to the next level. The professional and personal paths that one can take by having florals as your base or core element are endless. Floral arranging appeals and enriches all five senses. One can literally “taste” hyacinths and lilies after working with them. It enhances creativity and our very souls. Flower arranging connects us to the outside world and to nature. It becomes impossible to walk down a street and not notice all that is alive and moving. It becomes hard to resist the temptation to

“hold it, arrange it and put it in a place to be to be admired and enhanced.” Look around you and be mindful of what is growing and how it smells. Then put it in a vase and enjoy – it is that simple. Like all other artists, flower arrangers literally “see” with their hands. The medium of choice is flowers. Just as an artist may specialize in charcoal, oils or clay sculpture – Flower arrangers use living flowers and all things found in nature as the medium to create. Travel, education and awareness, an openness and welcoming attitude to new ideas and scenarios are all necessary elements to “Fields in Flowers.” Founded more than twenty years ago, Damselfly Designs is a full service event décor firm. The name of her company originates from the good luck “damselflies” that circled Brenda and her husband, Lawrence, as they finalized the purchase of their property “Damselfly Acre” in South Salem, New York. The adjacent barn served as the workshop and studio for her creations – a space she quickly outgrew. “I was styling hair at all these beautiful weddings and, being a visual person, would notice that the flowers were “off” somehow – out of proportion to the room, the décor, the color scheme – it is just the way my head works. My instinct was to “help” in some way and make the flowers look better. A global business that encompasses design for every social and corporate celebration and occasion was created. Damselfly Designs has returned to lower Westchester to better serve their growing clientele. Housed in a converted historic bank building that boasts 25-foot ceilings, 14-foot columns and antique crown moldings, the workshop serves as an incredible backdrop for her extensive collection of design elements. The large central worktable is covered at any given time with masses of the freshest seasonal blooms. Her philosophy and true passion though, do not elevate her innate talent to a lofty level. She is the first to admit – “I love making things with my hands.” It is the process, the evolution of the vision, the trial and error – the need for practicality in her artwork that presents and maintains the challenge. After all, it is one thing to create a 6-foot tall floral centerpiece for a wedding. It is another to break it down, load it into a truck, and transport it to a church, synagogue or venue and re-assemble it – all within hours and in every kind of weather. This is where the craftsmen (and women) are separated from the hobbyists. It is in the installation of the pieces that the true creators are recognized. As Brenda and her team believe “We are the last people to leave a finished room, ballroom, courtyard – wherever our design installation occurs, before the doors are opened. The gasp of joy and feelings of awe as the doors are opened set the tone for the event. That has to happen every time.”






It's All or Nothing Meet Monica Suleski, a visionary thinker, a successful real estate entrepreneur and one of the hottest go-to designers for the celebrity crowd. Venü Magazine is about the “it” factor. Our mission is to deliver the inside scoop about must-see places and people in the towns where our readers live, work and play. So we are thrilled to introduce you to our newest columnist, Monica Suleski, who’s got us covered in the South Florida scene.

Written by Cindy Clarke

Architectural Photographs by Blue Ocean

Portrait by Dania Graibe



STYLE: Decor

“A house is like a woman,” says Monica, a proponent of the sexy clean look, “and like a woman, a house needs to be dressed appropriately for maximum allure. Every day that passes that it isn’t styled, it isn’t fully enjoyed.”



he multi-talented owner of Eclectic Elements, a furniture, art and design firm synonymous with ultrastylish Miami glamour, Monica is a visionary thinker, a successful real estate entrepreneur and one of the hottest go-to designers for the celebrity crowd. She’ll be taking us behind the doors of multi-million dollar estates to give us a privileged peek at how the rich and famous live with priceless tips for dressing homes that wow with luxury and style. And she’ll give us the keys to opening doors that can transform everyday lives with a healthy lifestyle and outlook. Take a look at the photos of her own seaside home showcased here and you’ll get a sense of the eye-candy interiors, modern and chic, and the tranquil ambiance she creates for her clients. Clearly stunning, they are a reflection of her “all or nothing” mantra which resonates throughout her career and personal life. She is a CEO on the move, successfully founding and running two uniquely integrated empires that marry a comprehensive design resource – her showroom offers her clients everything they need to furnish their home – with a prestigious inventory of luxury waterfront estates, both rental and sales properties, to make the good life come alive for her clients. “A house is like a woman,” says Monica, a proponent of the sexy clean look, “and like a woman, a house needs to be dressed appropriately for maximum allure. Every day that passes that it isn’t styled, it isn’t fully enjoyed.” Considering her roster of personal clients, Lebron James, Little Wayne, Carlos Boozer, Sean Kingston, Rafael Furcal and Michael Mann to name just a few, along with some of the biggest names in film production and Fortune 500 companies, Monica is stylishly ahead of the game and clearly sharing, successfully, the enjoyable South Beach lifestyle. Her zest for life transcends everything she does, from her daily workout regimen – “work with what you have and make it look beautiful – to her

spiritual beliefs ­– “peace and love” are at the heart of her both her designs and her life. A doctor’s wife, she’s a self-professed “machine’ when it comes to staying fit and healthy, adhering to a naturally organic diet, strenuous exercise program and winning “never say no” attitude that gives her the non-stop energy she needs to run her businesses. Monica and her husband, Dr. Edmundo Tamayo, well recognized in the field of Internal Medicine and founder of the weight loss centers, Fit4lifenow, share the same views on maintaining a positive work-life balance. They believe that “health is equivalent to a lifestyle, not just a diet or how much exercise you do. It’s a combination of stress management, happiness, a good home environment, good sleeping habits and a well balanced diet and exercise program.” Creating an enjoyable home environment, visually luxurious and ultimately nurturing, is Monica’s specialty and one that doesn’t need to come with a high price tag. She likens it to women who can wear a $100 outfit and make it look as though it cost thousands, saying it’s all how you put it together that makes the difference. “When you look great, you feel great,” she adds, applying that same wise adage to people’s homes. “It is important to have a peaceful, beautiful presentation in your home too,” she says. It’s part of a total lifestyle prescription that fosters self-confidence and pride, invites relaxation and comfort, and reflects happy “I want to be there” emotions. For Monica, it’s all about positive thinking, backing up your idea with mindful, purposeful action and running with it. And run she does. In addition to focusing on the design aesthetics of her clients’ homes, she oversees the entire construction process too when necessary, ditching high heels for a hard hat to make sure the job is done right and to her highest standards. Her transformative turnkey approach to life is turning heads as she turns her clients’ dreams into reality. Her first column moves in to Venü Magazine this September. Check out all she brings to the table at and get ready to live the love.



STYLE: Fashion

by George Brescia

Have-To-Have’s from georgeBstyle

Turn on the heat this summer with some of my favorite things!


TOTALLY TOTES by Cuddly Monkey Check out the cool linings!

DRESS IT UP Maje on Bleeker in the West Village Short or long, you are all set for any occasion this summer; parties, beach or lunch by the water! ‘Liam’emerald turquoise short silk dress $340 by Maje. ‘Nikita’ black heeled sandals $460. ‘Najette’ camel clutch $320. Long dress by Sandra Darren $80 58


GOOD JEANS by Maje These floral jeans will get attention at all your summer parties! And this straw hat, on or off the beach, is perfection. ‘Lunchy’ white sleeveless top $200, ‘Limani’ yellow floral pants $280, ‘Noise’ straw hat $220.

SUIT UP - CUSTOM by Cody Hammond The absolutely perfect custom suit or shirt, exactly the way you want, Cody and his team are at your service! Choose a khaki suit and some beautiful colored shirts for all those summer parties!

ONE STOP SHOPPING TEICH This little unique jewel has it all: jewelry, hats, small leather goods and even colorful socks! TEICH, “The mom and pop shop.”

ELIXER OF YOUTH Olíe Biologique All in one skin care, 100% organic oil that is so potent and luxurious you won’t believe the results. Perfect for face, body, nails and hair!!



INDULGE: Motoring



Lotus Cars, Not Flowers by Lorenz Josef

“Adding power makes you faster on the straights. Subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.” – Colin Chapman-founder of Lotus



INDULGE: Motoring


hat philosophy is what Colin Chapman, Lotus Automobile founder, based his botanically named company on 60 years ago and it has guided the engineering of this sports car manufacturer for decades. From a humble beginning, Lotus rose to excellence on the road as well as on the most famous race tracks of the world. For car nuts worldwide, Lotus became a household name. However, somewhere along the way they almost vanished from the scene, until now! Recently I turned on the TV and caught the last few minutes of the post-race interview of the three top finishers in the Formula 1 race in Bahrain. Much to my surprise, the second and third place finishers were from the Lotus Formula 1 team. “Where did those guys come from? “, I said to myself. As far as I knew, Lotus stopped competing in Formula 1 in 1994 and didn’t return until about two seasons ago. Nevertheless, it brought back a flood of memories about the once invincible race team and auto manufacturer. When I was a kid, there was no TV coverage of automobile racing except perhaps the Indy 500. Results from the Formula 1 races in Europe were featured in Road & Track magazine, usually about a month after they took place. I always perused these results to see where my favorite drivers placed. Lotus was always one of the teams to watch. In fact, Lotus became the Formula 1 constructor champion an incredible 7 times between 1963 and 1978. In addition, Lotus drivers won the driver championship 6 times during that same period. Lotus even came across the pond and won the Indy 500 in 1965. They were definitely the team to beat in that era. In addition to racing, their road cars were ultra-cool. I used to love watching the British TV series, “The Avengers” which featured Diana Rigg as Emma Peel driving her Lotus Elan and her replacement, Linda Thorson as Tara King behind the wheel of her Lotus Europa. In the movies, even James Bond departed from his usual Aston Martin ride to drive a Lotus Turbo Esprit in, “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “For Your Eyes Only”. Plus, the Richard Gere and Julia Roberts movie, “Pretty Woman” also featured a Lotus Esprit. So, for a car company few of us have heard of, Lotus has certainly been around in the background. In fact, they’ve been around for a very long time. Lotus was founded 60 years ago by the late Colin Chapman as an engineering company devoted to automobile racing. Chapman, a veteran of the Royal Air Force was working for the British Aluminum Company. He was exposed to the lightweight 62


construction techniques of the aerospace industry and employed these concepts in the design of his road and race cars. Like Enzo Ferrari, Chapman was very much into racing and building road cars as a way to fund his racing efforts. Chapman was a very hands on manager who was also a talented engineer. However, there were also key differences. Ferrari built their cars tough so that they would stay together over the long distance, tortuous road races like Italy’s thousand miles of the Mille Miglia and Sicily’s mountainous Targa Florio. Conversely, a Lotus was a very light and sometimes even fragile car. Fortunately, its steel space frame and aluminum chassis handled superbly and more importantly, stayed in one piece, on the closed circuit, smooth race tracks which were getting wider acceptance by spectators in the 1950s and 1960s. Generally, Lotus road cars were built in very small numbers and were a product of continuous improvement. One of Chapman’s earliest models was the Mark 7, an ultra-light weight, bare bones, cycle fender sports car which debuted in 1957. As with their other models, Lotus upgraded the 7, which was sold in kit form, for the next 15 years. Incredibly the Lotus 7 in various configurations is still being produced to this day by the Caterham Company in England!

shaped like the Esprit and Elite series of the 1970s and 1980s. I instantly saw a strong family resemblance to the Lotus Elans which I fell in love with many years ago at the New York International Auto Show which held court in the old New York Coliseum at Columbus Circle. The fit and finish of the exterior is excellent. Joseph told me that the engine is behind the seats in order to provide an ideal weight distribution which results in its superior handling. When I asked if there was any luggage room, I was informed that every Evora has a trunk at the very rear of the car which is as wide as the body. In fact, when it was opened I could see it could accommodate a set of golf clubs. Another source of storage space can be obtained if the buyer opts for an Evora without the rear seats. In fact, of the two cars shown to me, the Arctic Silver version had the rear seat delete and the additional space was considerable. The chassis is made of aluminum consistent with the lightweight design objective which Lotus has embraced since its founding. In keeping with that goal, the body is made of lightweight composite material which in some instances is bonded to the aluminum chassis for added rigidity. The result is a very svelte 3,000 pounds as compared to other sports cars which easily tip the scales at 3,500 plus pounds. This chassis, coupled with a 3.5 liter, V-6 engine with 276 horsepower is capable of delivering true supercar like results. Acceleration to 60 mph is only 4.8 seconds while top speed is over 160 miles per hour! All this and the Evora can still deliver 27 mpg on the highway. A 6 speed manual gearbox is standard, but in response to some markets, Lotus recently introduced its IPS (Intelligent Precision Shift) automatic gear box as an extra cost option. Inside the Evora is surprisingly roomy. Even my 6 foot frame left a lot of headroom for much taller occupants. The doors opened wide and it was easy to get in and out of the car. More importantly, the standard issue leather Recaro sport seats looked like they came out of a Ferrari and were very comfortable. The dashboard was well laid out but not overly complicated and was consistent with traditional Lotus functionality. When I asked my hosts how it drives, Mr. Dumont quickly responded that it has the handling of a true supercar but its compliant ride quality is far better than any (we won’t mention names) of the supercars he sells. Further research of this topic led me to an

The chassis is made of aluminum consistent with the lightweight design objective which Lotus has embraced since its founding. In keeping with that goal, the body is made of lightweight composite material which in some instances is bonded to the aluminum chassis for added rigidity. Unfortunately, Chapman died prematurely in 1982. During this time, there was a cloud hanging over Lotus due to their involvement with the DeLorean company which built the stainless steel, gullwing door car better known to movie fans as the star of the “Back to the Future” series. Around 1986, General Motors bought Lotus and eventually sold it to another owner. After a few more years, the company was purchased by the present parent company, Proton. Unfortunately, during all this change of ownership, Lotus dropped out of racing in the Formula 1 series after 1994. With his history as a backdrop, one can understand my surprise when I recently saw that Lotus was not only back in Formula 1, but also outperforming the perennial favorites of Ferrari and McLaren. I did a bit of homework about the brand and determined that Lotus also has some new road cars in production which I wanted to get to know. An Internet search told me that our nearest dealer was Manhattan Motorcars in New York City. A call to Paul Dumont, our old friend at that dealership, resulted in an invite to come into the city to check out Lotus. At the dealership, Paul and his associate, Joseph Arvatz, showed me the latest Lotus Evora in two different color schemes, Arctic Silver and Laser Blue. As I walked up to the Evora's, I noticed that they were considerably larger than the Lotus cars I remembered from years ago. The Evora is very well contoured, swoopy and definitely not wedge

YouTube video road test of the Evora by Top Gear Magazine’s Jeremy Clarkson. In the video he compares the Lotus to a Ferrari and says, “It’s the only car which I’ve ever driven which is both a killer attack dog and an old sofa.” Not bad for a car which at its base price of $64,000 does not even approach the six figures pricing of its rivals! For those Lotus fans who want even more performance, there is also an “S” model which has a supercharged 345 horsepower engine and is able to accelerate to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and achieve a top speed of almost 180 mph. That is truly in the supercar stratosphere and at a base price of $76,000 it is still not anywhere near the current $200,000+ cost of entry into that club! Yes, Lotus is definitely back! Based on the success of the Evora, Lotus plans to debut several new models over the next few years. Some of the new cars will be V-8 powered with 5.0 liter displacements and over 600 horsepower. In keeping with Lotus naming convention of the past, the new cars will be called Elise, Elan, Elite and Esprit. However two new names are also in the works. First, the Eterne 2+2 which will compete with 4 door luxury performance cars such as Porsche’s Panamera and Aston Martin’s Rapide. On the other end of the spectrum, Lotus will also introduce a plug in hybrid city car which will likely be named the Ethos. In the meantime, on the track, Lotus is literally racing ahead with formidable efforts in both Indy Car racing as well as Formula 1. Its only time before Lotus is once again a household name.



INDULGE: Boating


ince 1842, Riva’s growth has never stopped. It is part of the mythical history of this boatyard that keeps contributing to its modern development, a source of great pride for all those involved. It may seem strange for a boatyard with 170 years of history to continue growing year after year. And yet this is the case. It is the search for perfection that has characterized Riva’s crafts since the very beginning and their innovative tendencies that constantly push this boatyard to create new models in order to satisfy the requirements of today’s boat owners and those of tomorrow. This long, established presence has helped to define Riva’s motoryachts as a point of reference, a steady and unchanging presence in the vast Italian setting of excellence. Riva yachts have always been a synonym of elegance, and simple luxury. The truly exceptional features of Riva yachts are the quality of materials used and timeless design. Craftsmanship, unmatchable quality, innovative but always functional design, has always been Riva’s hallmark and those are the same principles that remain firmly in place today 170 years later. From the Aquariva Super 33 to the Venere 75 Super 64


to the Domino 86 through the Duchessa 92 quality and timeless elegance trumps all trends. Expression of Italian artisan skill can be experienced throughout all of Riva’s models. Thanks designers Mauro Micheli and Sergio Berrta and some of the most sought-after furnishings currently available on the market, Riva yachts are refined floating dwellings. Artisan care, reliability, but also innovation makes Riva yachts unique products. Anyone choosing Riva does not simply purchase a yacht, but a piece of the history of world boating, surfing the wave of the legend. These are also elements which make Riva a luxury brand, simple, but immediately recognizable. Since the 50s a true gallery of famous people have enjoyed, and indeed continue to enjoy, a Riva yacht from Brigitte Bardot with her Florida to King Hussein of Jordan, who moored his Super Aquarama


1972 1962




INDULGE: Boating

Today Riva is one of the world’s best-known, most exclusive producers of luxury fiberglass yachts ranging from 27 to 92 feet in length, both flybridge and open. in Santa Margherita Ligure, from Anita Ekberg who purchased a Tritone where she could indulge in her own personal dolce vita, to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who used a Junior as a tender for their yacht, and the Shah of Persia who fell in love with the Riva 2000. Lastly, Sofia Loren, and also Sean Connery who purchased a Rudy three years after giving up filming the famous 007 series. During its growth and evolution, Riva has been confirmed as an icon of luxury. A brand where the eccentricity of passing fashion does not have the upper



hand, but rather long-lasting quality, painstaking care over detail, that touch of glamour which underlines the correct balance between tradition and modernity. With meticulous attention to structural detail, every boat in the Riva Line, from 27 feet to 115feet is given a precise personality linked to its name. Riva is, more than ever, a refined, elegant and timeless beauty on water with state of the art design and performance capabilities. All of Riva’s unique characteristics are due to a strong bond between design and tradition. None of its recent accomplishments would have been possible without the knowledge and experience of those individuals who have passed their talents in building boats from generation to generation. Today Riva is one of the world’s best-known, most exclusive producers of luxury fiberglass yachts ranging from 27 to 92 feet in length, both flybridge and open. Riva offers a range of yachts, entirely renewed over the past few years, which vary both in size and type. The company currently markets different models: Iseo, Aquariva Super, Aquariva by Marc Newson and Aquariva Gucci, Rivarama, Rivale, SportRiva 56’, 63’ Vertigo, 63’ Virtus, 68’ Ego Super, 75’ Venere, 86’ Domino and 92’ Duchessa. Riva fully expresses what Italian creativity and industriousness are capable of producing for the joy, pleasure and wonder of all those who love the sea and luxury. Result of the working relationship between Officina Italiana Design, exclusive designers of the entire Riva range, AYT – Advanced Yacht Technology – the Ferretti Group’s naval research and design center, and the team of architects and designers at Centro Stile Ferrettigroup, the study of new models features unique design and top quality in all aspects.

Meet the Designers: A meeting between boating and design leads to creation of a unique style, the Riva style. Officina Italiana Design is the design studio to which the unmistakable style of Riva yachts has been exclusively entrusted, for both the interiors and exteriors, marking new stages in the history of international nautical design. The studio was founded by Mauro Micheli in 1994, who studied at the Artistic Lyceum in Bergamo and subsequently at the Fine Arts Academy in Milan, and Sergio Beretta, who has a degree in economy and commerce and an avowed passion for design and contemporary art. For Mauro Micheli, who had been working at Riva since 1984 after having won a place as assistant designer in the shipyard’s technical office at the age of 25, establishment of Officina Italiana Design marked the continuation of a working relationship which has lasted almost continuously for over twenty years. “Working for a shipyard like Riva”, says Micheli today, “is a huge daily challenge. It means working to the very highest standards of quality, in terms of both manpower and the materials used, and dealing with the extremely high expectations of a continuously evolving industry and a traditionally exacting clientele”. With the Ferretti Group’s purchase of Riva in May 2000, not only did a new stage of expansion begin for Officina Italiana Design, but also a season packed with prospects for the studio, which represents a considerable part of the shipyard’s historical memory and its recent tradition. In Micheli’s words: “We are not keen on ‘showy’ yachts’ with mere virtuosity of form. Neither do we indulge in gratuitous connotations with an obvious impact. We love a classical, essential, clean design style, where the keyword is ‘remove’ not ‘add’. Our aim is to achieve the essence of a unique, unmistakable style, where innovation meets and develops in harmony with a tradition which has become legendary.” Today, clean and essential lines, sophistication and originality, exclusive design and unique style define Riva. This balanced synthesis between elegance and innovation mark new steps in the history of international boating design as Riva continues its path in building boats nobody else possibly could.



MUSIC: Interview

David Ray On Stage Glossy color pages torn out of magazines adorned the walls of my bedroom throughout my adolescent years in the late 1970’s. A collage of The Bee Gees, Andy Gibb, The Bay City Rollers, Shaun Cassidy and Bobby Sherman all stared at me with their perpetual dazzling smiles while I did homework, talked on the phone and listened to records. Interview: Nona Footz Photos: Amy Kerwin and Chris Schmauch

I idolized many musicians and knew if only I had a chance to meet one of them we’d fall in love and live happily ever after—even if I was only 13. I thought those days were over until one evening at The Georgetown Saloon. It was Open Mic Night and my husband and I looked forward to a casual weeknight dinner date and some local live music. The performances that evening were just okay and I’d be lying if I didn’t say we had high hopes of a rare showing by neighborhood favorites Keith Richards or Jose Feliciano. Musicians of all shapes and sizes sauntered onto the stage throughout the evening launching into the pre-performance routine—the tuning of the guitar and accompanying “testing, testing; one-two-one-two”—before introducing themselves to the crowd. Once we admitted we weren’t going to discover the next American Idol I suddenly noticed a guy sitting at the table next to ours donning a black fedora, nursing what looked like OJ, and generally minding his own business. The guitar propped up next to him gave him away, but his eyes were downcast and he remained almost still. It was obvious he was different— but I wasn’t sure just how. Then his name was called, up on the stage he went, and I became 13 years old all over again. The sound of his voice, the lyrics, and the confidence he exuded as he strummed and picked that guitar was a surprise. A folk, jazz, and acoustic mix all wrapped up into one impressive performance. And the crowd knew he was something different too—they were just as mesmerized as I was. I was lucky to hear David Ray perform again in New Milford, Connecticut, and then discovered a dirty little secret about him. He was a corporate executive by day and a musician and songwriter by night— a-HA! I was intrigued, so I decided to invite him to lunch in Midtown Manhattan to learn more about the musician next slated for my teenage bedroom wall. I had to do a literal and quite comical double take when I discovered the man standing at the restaurant was



actually him – the gray flannel suit, glasses and polished shoes were the perfect disguise. David, you mentioned that your father was a performer and you grew up surrounded by acting and music—when did you know you would seriously pursue writing music and performing? “Well it was probably in my teenage years, though it was the theatre bug that got me first. Oddly, during school at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, I started doing more performing in music clubs. Later, as I was working nights driving a Checker Cab, I met a woman who told me something about a songor me writing writer’s room at BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.). She gave me outside the box means the name Bobby Weinstein to talk to. I said OK and called circumventing the him up. He answered, said he obvious not reciting didn’t know about any writer’s room. I couldn’t rememprecisely what s ber the name of the woman whom I had met in the cab occurred but rather and this was followed by the painting the outline most awkward moment of silence. I thought he’d hang up so that a listener on me, but instead he said, “You know the circumstances follows the author s of this call are much too biintended path zarre… for me not to see you right away. Do you have a tape?” I declared, “Yes!” and we set an appointment to meet. It turns out Bobby Weinstein is a very famous and successful songwriter who wrote three evergreens, “Goin’ Out of My Head,” “Hurts So Bad,” and “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle.” He ended up liking my tape and signed me to BMI [a performing rights organization that collects royalties on behalf of songwriters and publishers] —and I have to admit, at the time I didn’t even know what BMI was. He gave me a cash advance against






Photo: Amy Kerwin, Dragonfly Photography



MUSIC: Interview

future royalties and I was “hooked” (pardon the pun) on song writing.” Not to reveal your age to our readers but you grew up during a musically and culturally free era and you managed to hitchhike across the U.S. several times— how did that time of adventure inspire your music? “The guitar was usually with me on all of those trips— it probably helped identify me as a “friendly sort” to those who drove by me, some picking me up, some not. I’m not sure there’s a direct or conscious correlation, but landscape is often a part of the song lyric, and having examined every pebble from coast to coast, it provided a large geographic and human palette from which to draw.” You have a high level corporate career in technology in a complex industry and you perform as a musician multiple times a week and often weekends. How do you balance your “Clark Kent” day job with your musical passion and creativity? “Sleep is a precious commodity, trains are a songwriter’s best friend, and being a Gemini may come into play.” Where is your favorite place to perform? “Anywhere that people come for the music first… though I do have a fondness for small theatres.” You seem rather humble so I doubt you play at the company holiday party or summer picnic but don’t you want everyone in that big limestone building on Madison Avenue to hear your music? “There are many examples of artists who have held demanding corporate positions while creating high quality art; Wallace Stevens comes to mind, and I doubt recitals were a part of his 9 to 5 day. As for everyone hearing the music, it’s such an individual preference, so hearing may not be the same as enjoying. Having the two worlds collide might be interesting for a short time, but then we’d all have to get back to work.” I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about the first commercially successful song you wrote—“The Big Kiss”— what can you tell us about it? “The “Big Kiss” is a classic case of a good song gone wrong. I’d written it in response to one of my pop songwriter friends to prove I could write more than “art” songs. To my surprise, it was quickly covered by a number of artists, and also drew interest from several music publishers. I was also performing the song at local clubs in New York, where Joe Mardin, son of the late Arif Mardin, brought it to the attention of his father. First, let me say, it’s the privilege of a lifetime to have had one the world’s best music producers in Arif Mardin select the song as the single and title of the record. I was a young, struggling writer/artist in need of professional recognition. There’s nothing like having a single on an Arif Mardin-produced album to cure that. I was living in a 13x6 boarding room on the Upper West Side, and having Warner Brothers Music Publishing call me up and invite me to lunch to discuss contracts wasn’t something I was used to. The song was destined for a pop artist in England named Thereza Bazar, who’d had success with a Trevor Horn-produced group called Dollar. She was being managed in the U.S. by Champion who had



Photo: Chris Schmauch

Foreigner and other famous bands on their artist roster. I’d heard a rough mix of the record at Atlantic studios and it sounded great, big and crunchy, chock full of rock guitar. No question it was headed for the Top 40 on the billboard charts. A few weeks later I was sent a copy of the video, which was being released in England, along with the single. All the guitar was gone, replaced by bubblegum pop-synth, and the video was directed as a campy teen horror flick. Think Austin Powers without the humor. Now I’d been prescient enough to take a cash advance from Warner on the publishing, but any notion of the song becoming a hit died with that video and the mix. How it changed from New York to London, I’m not sure I’ll ever know. You described songwriting as not revealing everything to the listener—what do you mean? What’s writing outside of the box? For me, writing outside the box means circumventing the obvious, not reciting precisely what’s occurred, but rather painting the outline so that a listener follows the author’s intended path. Think of a classic song like “Ode to Billie Joe.” Nowhere in the lyric does the listener hear precisely what’s happened, but everyone knows what’s been tossed into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge. Bobbie Gentry brilliantly defines the picture for us via family dinner dialog, seemingly innocent details, and metaphor, all counterposed against the one thing that’s not said. That’s great songwriting. The theory applies to many different formats, written and otherwise, but is especially crucial in a song where the story is limited to a few verses. Each phrase, each word carries weight. What’s on your iPod—what do you listen to on your daily commute? Who currently influences your music? “Hmmm, let’s see, current iPod rotation includes Jeff Finlin, Amy Correa, Buddy & Julie Miller, Vince Guaraldi, Robert Plant’s “Band of Joy” (produced by Buddy Miller, love his guitar tone), a jazz standards re-issue that includes Miles, Mingus, Coltrane, Monk, et al, and Tom Waits’ “Bad As Me.” As for influences, you are what you eat, so all of the above. Throw in Little Feat (Lowell George era), some John Hiatt, Steely Dan, and that’s some kinda elevator music.”

David Ray’s songs have been sung by artists such as Grammy winner Shawn Colvin, Dove Award winner Kathy Troccoli, and recorded by producers from Rick Wake to Arif Mardin. David’s earliest Fast Folk recordings are now a part of the permanent collection at The Smithsonian Center for Folklife Heritage. His latest solo acoustic album, “Time Wounds All Heels,” is available for purchase on iTunes. Additional videos and music samples, along with a performance schedule, can be found at

Decorative Arts

by Matthew Sturtevant

It has been a truly exciting spring for the auction world with both Christie’s and Sotheby’s offering a wide selection of post-war and contemporary art that in most cases has set records for artists and just plain records. Mentioned in my last column was the potential sale of one of the only existing examples of “The Scream” by Edvard Munch. This iconic pastel on board fetched a mind bending $120,000,000 at Sotheby’s on May 2nd in New York, which is the highest price paid for a work of art ever. It surpassed the expert’s expectations by as much as $40,000,000 and was knocked down to an anonymous buyer.

Fine Chinese White Jade Table Screen, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1796) with fitted wood stand – 10" H 7" W x .75" D Provenance: A Private Virginia Collection Price Reazlied: $412,000. Potomack Company

Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Yves Klein (1928-1962), "FC1 (Fire Color 1)" 55½" x 117¾" x 1" Executed in 1962, Price Reazlied: $36,482,500. Christie's.

Image courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd., 2012

Across the street, Christie’s sold a Mark Rothko Orange, Red Yellow for $86.9 million a record for a post-war artists as well as a rare Yves Klein “FC1 (Fire Color 1)” for $36.5 million a record for the artist. The sale totaled a whopping $388 million. At the rate s ales are going at the world’s top two auction houses, they are going to collectively sell well over a billion dollars in art this year. In anticipation of ringing in our nation’s birthday, Heritage Auctions offered an 1823 copy of the Declaration of Independence on April 11th. With a price worthy of its historic stature, a recently discovered 1823 printing of the Declaration of Independence, painstakingly engraved and printed by William Stone to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the founding of the United States, sold for $597,500, more than doubling its pre-auction estimate, at auction in New York on April 11, 2012. It was purchased by an anonymous East Coast buyer and was considered the centerpiece of the Heritage Auctions’ Historical Manuscripts Signature Auction. Also of note is The Potomack Company, a promising auction house located in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. Founded by Elizabeth Wainstein and in its sixth year, the house is gaining a reputation for its prices for Asian pieces. During their sale last month a Chinese lacquer panel from a private home whose owner had no idea of its value, hammered down for $142,000. In the previous auction season, a collection of white jade was offered with one of the pieces bringing in a record $412,000. The Potomack Company has continued to keep the standards of quality high and has been consistently rewarded for their efforts.

Image courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd., 2012


Mark Rothko (1903-1970), "Orange, Red, Yellow” Signed and Dated 'MARK ROTHKO 1961' (on the reverse), Oil on Canvas, 93" x 81¼", Painted in 1961. Price Reazlied: $86,882,500. Christie's William Stone copperplate printing of the "Declaration of Independence, 1823" Price Reazlied: $597,500. Heritage Auctions

Chinese hardstone inlaid cinnabar panel, Qing Dynasty, 26"H x 38"W Price Reazlied: $142,000. Potomack Company



ART: City Canvas

Off The Walls: Occupy The Imagination Mixing the eternal power of art with our state’s new tourism logo – “Connecticut: Still Revolutionary”– seven new public art projects are appearing this summer in downtown areas. Unsightly parking garage walls are blooming with delicately rendered sea shells, a gritty bus terminal is transformed into a dazzling whirl of chromographic wonders, and a decaying downtown derelict factory becomes a magically illuminated surface of dancing images and lights. I can almost hear General Israel Putnam calling to his troops: “To arms! Artists-CreatorsInventive Minds- Pick up your paint brushes and pigments-Let’s attack urban blight and raise our Spirits – Don’t Fire until you see the Whites of these Walls!” “City Canvases” is a $1 million pilot program, funded through the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), was sparked by Governor Daniel P. Malloy. It offers the promise of creating a series of dynamic, uplifting, high visual impact murals around some of the state’s least attractive urban settings. The project is the brainchild of DECD deputy commissioner Christopher “Kip” Berg-



strom who has focused his vision on the human values of “Placemaking” through the visual arts. “Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates buildings and streetscapes, improves local business and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire and be inspired.” In deed and word, “City Canvases” is not just “talking the talk” but admirably “walking the walk” of tapping into our greatest resources: creative placemaking. As an art historian, I cannot cite another moment in America’s political and cultural history like the transformative activities of FDR’s New Deal. Sitting at a White House meeting in 1933 with her

husband’s “Brain Trust”, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt [who was knitting at the meeting!], openly wondered how it was “unbelievable that a great nation could fail to utilize its creative talents to the fullest.” With determination and vision, the meeting resulted in the launching of the W.P.A. – and the Federal Art Projects. By 1943, 5,300 fine artists in all 48 states how created 225,000 artworks. Take a look at the artistic gems painted on the walls of US Post offices in Greenwich, South Norwalk, Torrington, Norwich and especially New London – where Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ is documented in Thomas LaFarge’s incredibly executed six-panel mural documenting

by Philip Eliasoph, Senior Arts Editor

From the left, clockwise, a projection by light artist Dustin DeMilio, and photographer Kelly Bigelow Becerra’s projection piece “Horses and Cowboys” for New Haven’s LAMP festival. Both artists will be providing videos for the Bridgeport City Canvas projections. In New London, Caruso Music Wall Mural: Songs For Our City, by the artist team Qimin Liu and Mark McKee.

whaling methods. Truly this is Connecticut’s own “Sistine Chapel” for its ambitiously designed pictorialism. Just as “City Canvases” is leveraging tax revenues, the ultimate return on investment is an incalculable reward. Inherently, the real dividends of this initiative come out of the intrinsic values of art. While all kinds of financial and entrepreneurial schemes are attempting to resolve crushing deficits throughout the nation, the state, and in local municipalities, the ineffable calculus of creativity seems to defy the laws of gravity. We’ve all seen how bombed-out urban slums like neighborhoods in Tribeca, Chelsea, Brooklyn’s ‘Dumbo’, or Hoboken have experienced



ART: City Canvas

remarkable rejuvenations once artist studios and creative types began to populate these formerly undesired spaces. Bergstrom wants to lure in “young entrepreneurs and innovators to fuel our economic engines.” I caught the peripatetically energized Bergstrom for a short interview about “City Canvases” at his Hartford office. He speaks with a degree of conviction about this initiative, knowing that an investment in the arts is a small down-payment on a brighter future for our state’s most un-loved urban walls. VENÜ congratulates the Connecticut Office of the Arts for taking a small wager on the 74


value of artistic inspiration which ignites revivals and renaissances past and present. “Mr. Bergstrom: you have advocated for the role of public art here in Connecticut to energize a sense of “Place Making,” can you play that out for us?” “Place Making” is the absolute point of the economic development spear these days and public art is the thrust. When I watch institutions like The Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight

Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Rasmuson Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, The Robina Foundation and Bank of America, Citi Bank, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife and Morgan Stanley making these very same investments in place making, it gives me quiet confidence that this strategy will be successful in Connecticut.” “Looking around the nation - we have numerous examples of how the intangible power of art stimulated economic engines, especially in urban areas like Brooklyn,

Hoboken, South Beach Miami, and parts of Los Angeles. Can you envision how City Canvases might spark forward progress around the State?” “Creative place making animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates buildings and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired. One dramatic way it’s enabled is by the use of widespread public art installations to invigorate our surroundings. It makes the old new and the mundane magical. Connecticut has always been a talent magnate and a place of innovation, from our very earliest manufacturing centers through corporations like Sikorsky, GE, Pratt Whitney, Covidien, ESPN, Jackson Lab and others.

City Canvases amplifies the uniqueness and authenticity of our communities, therefore making them more attractive not only to our residents who live here, but also to the young entrepreneurs and creatives who will fuel the creation of our new economic engines.” “Under Gov Malloy’s leadership, you seem to have put the City Canvases initiative on a lightning speed fast-track.  Why was the accelerated schedule a necessity?” “I feel that it’s important to demonstrate in the warp speed age that we all live in that state and city governments and arts organizations can move at warp speed, as opposed to the old, “Ah, well, I’ll just catch the next bus and read a spell” speed of the past. There is no time to lose when it comes to completing work on our shared prosperity!”

Clockwise from the upper left, In Waterbury, Mosaic Trout Mural at 90 South main Street by the Connecticut arts team of Joanne and Bruce Hunter; Native son Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #1105 in New Britain; The Cabinet of Shells on the Water Street Garage in New London by noted Connecticut graphics designers Jan Cummings and Peter Good; in New London on the Hygienic Art Park Wall, One Place Many Cultures, lead by nationally recognized artist Russ Kramer enlisting the talents local artists as the New London Mural Alliance; in New London on the Carriage House Wall, Hard Hat Painters, artist ‘Team McZaushny’ (Mike McNabney and Troy Zaushny).

To stay connected to Arts grants programs, the Art in Public Spaces projects, the CT Artist Collection and the many other activities, go to this link



ART: Worlds Collide

Worlds Collide in Wynwood Elite Art Meets Street Art in Miami’s Wynwood District We in Miami are not interested in shedding our image as a breezy seaside city with inordinately attractive inhabitants and a knack for throwing sexy parties. But thanks to a few dedicated and diligent visionaries, another, more substantive cultural element has been gestating here over the last ten years. It’s time that the world knew about Wynwood, Miami’s still inchoate yet flourishing arts district, where street art and elite art collide. For Miami residents, the word “Wynwood” has recently become synonymous with creative culture and innovative art events. This is a far cry from its connotation ten years ago, which was more along the lines of crack culture and unpredictable criminal activity. It was once



a neighborhood full of industrial warehouses that produced clothing and other commodities that were shipped out from the adjacent train station. Like so many other American towns (yes, Miami is actually part of America), Wynwood’s economy was derailed when the trains were. Among the factors that contributed to Wynwood’s recent revitalization is its location. Sandwiched between the Design District to the north and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (an arts megaplex that opened in 2006 and hosts world-class opera, concerts, musicals, dance and national and local theater) in Downtown to the south, artists and galleries that couldn’t afford skyrocketing

rents in either pole logically began to trickle into middle-man Wynwood. But art moguls Gary Nader and Tony Goldman, two giants on the art scene with vastly different but highly complementary visions for Miami’s artistic future, have brought up immense spaces in the district to cement its fate as Miami’s most exciting art scene of the decade.

The Gary Nader Art Center: Three Decades in the Making

A gently sophisticated man whose dark, serious eyes contradict his easy laugh, Nader has been active in the South Florida arts scene since the early 1986, when he gave up his post as a gallery director in the Dominican Republic.

by Camille Lamb

Mikhail Baryshnikov, Untitled # 20 (2008) Merce Cunningham Dance Company in "eyeSpace" by Merce Cunningham, Archival Pigment Print, Edition 1/3 Gary Nader Gallery


1. Wifredo Lam, Sans Titre, (1937) Oil on Canvas, 13-5/8" x 31-1/8" Gary Nader Gallery 2. Mikhail Baryshnikov, Untitled # 4 (2011) Rebecca Hytting and Bobbi Smith of Batsheva Dance Company, Archival Pigment Print, Edition 1/3 Gary Nader Gallery 3. Carlos Quintana, Untitled, (1996) Oil on Canvas, 78-3/4" x 63" Gary Nader Gallery



His family is Lebanese but he spent his childhood in the DR and Spanish is his first language. At 55,000 square feet, The Gary Nader Arts Center the currently the world’s largest private gallery space, and houses the largest private collection of paintings from Latin masters like Fernando Botero, Roberto Matta, Guillermo Munoz Vera, Pablo Picasso, Agustin Cardenas, and Wifredo Lam. Nader also counts Marc Chagall, Henry Matisse, Claude Monet, Robert Rauschenberg and Frank Stella among the artists in his collection. Visitors to the gallery begin to experience its offerings before they even step out of their cars; the parking lot outside the warehouseturned-gallery is strewn with metal sculptures, including a muscular torso whose extremities have been lopped off; a disembodied head with a corpulent cheeks, surprised eyes, and a smallish, downturned pout; and a round-bodied woman whose curvaceous buttocks and hips protrude unabashedly into the atmosphere.

All of these are Boteros, but Stella, John Henry, and several other artists are represented in the urban sculpture park as well. Walking into the gallery in the middle of a typical weekday can give the visitor a mischievous feeling. There’s something almost too good and too easy about standing face-to-face with a million-dollar Botero, or a swirling, otherworldly Matta, with nothing but silent white spaciousness fanning out in every direction. One of Nader’s assistants may even have to turn the lights on for you as you venture up to the second floor for a delicious, ultra-private viewing of fabric-infused pieces by Brazilian artist Walter Goldfarb, statues by soulful and intelligent Cuban-Spanish-American artist Enrique Martinez Celaya, and a large room dedicated to the photographs of dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov, which remain on display until October. Nader opened his first American art gallery in Miami’s Coconut Grove, then relocated to Coral Gables a few miles to the north. He announced his decision to move into Wynwood in 2005, and the response from his friends and colleagues was less than supportive. “People said to me, ‘You must be out of your mind!’ Wynwood was just crack houses and homeless people,” Nader said. “Luckily, I was the first gallery to open here, and since I did, more than 20 other galleries have opened here and more than 10 million square feet of new buildings has come up. And more and more, things are coming along,” he said. Art Basel, the all-consuming Miami Beach-based art expo that took hold in South Florida more than a decade ago, has helped build the art scene all over Miami, Nader said. During the rest of the year, his stellar collection still experiences some slow days, but the collector isn’t fazed. “People have to understand, this is a new city. We’re not 400 years old like New York. But now a lot of people are coming to live in Miami, because we have operas, great hotels, nightlife, the beach, and Art Basel. Every winter, we have the most important people in the art world visiting us. So it’s changing for the best,” Nader said. “But we have such great weather here and the outside, it’s so gorgeous. In other cities, you see young people in the museums because they have nothing else to do. But we have a lot of competition. It’s an extraordinary place for the beach and the nightlife, so young people are, you know, it’s a little harder to get [them] into CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE


ART: Worlds Collide

1 1. How & Nosm, Wynwood Walls, Miami 2011 Image courtesy of the artists and Wynwood Walls



2. Os Gemeos Mural, Wynwood Walls Photo: Allen Benedikt 3. Kenny Scharf Expanded Mural, Wynwood Walls Image courtesy of the artist and Wynwood Walls Photo: Martha Cooper

the galleries. But they’re getting involved.” Undeniably Miami’s fine art king, Nader was also quick to credit his neighbor, “street art king” Tony Goldman, for his revolutionary contribution to the rise of Wynwood. “What Tony Goldman did there is such a fantastic example of the uniqueness of Miami,” Nader said. “This is a visionary – he created SoHo, he created Miami Beach, now he’s trying to make a difference in Wynwood.”

Wynwood Walls

A half mile west of the Gary Nader Art Center is the true heart of Wynwood, the industrial area that still sits along the railroad tracks. Traces of the former apparel district are still alive; there’s a hosiery wholesaler that’s still in business directly across from the entrance to the Wynwood Walls proper. The entire neighborhood is slathered with colorful graffiti of varying quality and fascinating style, but the courtyard that constitutes the Walls is in a league of its own. “The general perception of graffiti or street art or mural art is that it’s renegade work and that it does not have great artistic value,” Goldman said. “That’s more uneducated and unexposed than it is enlightened. What I wanted to do was to take into one place the best of the best. And that is local, national, and international artists.” After a 3 a.m. epiphany that struck him one night in 2008, Goldman resolved to convert his own property into an art space and a town square in one. “It’s this group of properties which was six buildings. And this empty parking lot and load78


ing zones. Just warehouses with virtually nothing, just white walls on buildings. So I looked in my mind and said, ‘Why don’t I take something like this and make one single town square?’” It’s often been called the “museum of the streets,” but the murals curated by Tony Goldman and Jeffrey Deitch in 2009 are a few steps off the street, accessible through an open gate where any passersby is welcome to stroll in and peruse. Just as in the Nader Art Center, visitors can expect a lot of space and privacy on a typical weekday. And then there you are, face to face with a breathtaking wheat-pasted Shepard Fairey, a part of the artist’s “Obey Giant” campaign. To your left, there’s a masterful, vibrant mural consisting of oscillating color blocks by infamous New York City street artist Futura 2000, spanning at least 300 square feet of wall space. Deeper in the courtyard, there’s a dimension-rich depiction of indigenous peoples by Brazilian artist Nunca. Further still, in a yard decked with fat rubber tires that serve as benches (in keeping with the “street” ethos), Greek artist Stelios Faitakis’ detailed work stops

the viewer mid-stroll. His detailed work blends contemporary figures with elements of ancient Egyptian art and classical frescoes. “What I wanted to be able to do was to eliminate the barriers, eliminate all boundaries, and I mean that geographically,” Goldman said. “I wanted to eliminate the gender pre-determinations. Whether it’s a female or a male artist, whether the artist is from Miami or the Ukraine. My passion about street art is that it is the pure telegraph system of the streets and of the culture that it comes from. So if I could place in one place, the pure vision of the artists from every corner, and let you walk through it, what you will find is a diversity of image but a uniformity of heart and of spirit that is produced by lots of different people, from lots of different places.” Wynwood, it would seem, is an evolving art neighborhood that caters to lovers of pure, gritty creation, as well as those who prefer the time-tested works of master painters and sculptors. Regardless of which school you belong to – or whether you flirt with both – you can count on plenty of air and elbow room to accompany you on your Wynwood tour.


Fox on Film... and Entertainment

Peter Fox


America’s musical landscape is rapidly changing. This is not always a good thing. The internet is an electronic intravenous, providing a constant flow of sounds and images, whether moving images, still photos, and words or prose, on a page that floats and moves, literally glowing in the dark. It’s influence on music is immeasurable. The evolution of technologies, once born and then developed in the cyberage, have touched (or maybe, engulfed?) every major act in rock and roll, hip hop, country, and virtually every genre of popular music. Imagery generated by music artists, borne during the early days of MTV, evolved concurrently with the explosion of cyber space.

As the process evolves, music that begins as organic, and remains that way throughout the production, have become increasingly scarce. This is not what the billion plus advocates of the cyber driven art-musicfilm-culture would have one believe. The argument runs that technology makes “all forms” of art “more accessible." Yet, it’s evolution embraces, and thereby promotes, a world that is virtual,

not literal. Imagery that is morphed, altered and filtered as opposed to flat, grainy and otherwise untouched. Sounds which are micro-managed, generated by increasingly complex, and ever evolving computer technologies. In contrast to organic sound and vision, artists increasingly find themselves dependent upon, and, ultimately, enslaved by, the unbridled expansion of the artificial. To not adapt is to

die; certain death by an apparatus that now largely dictates art, instead of the other way around. It is at the apex of this dilemma that the genius of Tom Waits can be found. The delivery of his latest work, Bad as Me, reaches us at this moment of fury. Waits has always possessed the gift of being able to get right to the heart of things-when hasn’t he?- on Bad as Me. On the opening tune, Chicago, the lyrics: “The seeds are planted here, but they won’t grow. We won’t have to say goodbye, if we all go”, travel atop the drum beat of his son Casey, working with his Dad on the album, and obviously influenced by the Charlie Watts-Steve Jordan minimal school of rhythm. Also appearing on the album are the formidable blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, and Rolling Stone/ Expensive Wino/onscreen and offscreen Pirate Keith Richards. This dream combination have produced a convergence of sounds that employ organic instruments, (a tuba, pump organ, accordion and tablas, added to the vox guitars and harmonicas that are a staple on any Waits album) to produce organic sounds, which deliver organic messages and tell stories that are equally primal, guttural, yet poignant. But in every example, the result is that the songs are equally exhilarating in message, tone and delivery. Waits addresses the current state of things in a way that is more straightforward and unapologetic than any of his previous works. He jumps right into a commentary on the state of the returning soldier on Hell Broke Luce: “I had a good home but I left. I had a good home but I left, right, left. That big fucking bomb made me deaf, deaf…listen to the general every goddam word, how many ways can you polish



Fox on Film... and Entertainment

up a turd.” Keith Richards rips power chords to the sound of, once again, organically recorded sounds of marching feet and drums on this one. The effect is a hard rocking anthem a la Street Fighting Man, but much more chilling. Waits has always had the ability to effectively switch gears with the skill of a trucker guiding an over packed rig down a steep hill without grinding them. You can almost see him as he does this, cigarette in his mouth and a confident smile and nod as he slows the pace and rhythm of the collection as he eases into Last Leaf, a lament on maturity: “They flutter to the ground cause they can’t hang on… there’s nothing in this world that I ain’t seen, I greet all the new ones that are coming in green… the autumn took the rest but they won’t take me.” Delivered in classic Waits style with pump organ and no percussion; delicate thoughtfulness delivered by a gentle, caring hand.

His career, which is now closing in on fifty years, shows no signs of slowing up. Bad As Me will be counted among his best, most important work. On Satisfied, Waits tips his hat reverently to his boys, Mick and Keith: “Now Mr. Jagger, Mr. Richards, I will scratch where I’ve been itching, before I’m gone. I said I will have satisfaction, let the bullet go back into the barrel.” Keith Richards is, of course, present again on this one and one can see him smiling away on this unmistakable Chicago blues number. It would be a powerful experience to see this unit out on the road, but no such plans for a full tour exist. Currently, Tom Waits is working with Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, and writer/director Martin McDonough on a film entitled

*Excerpt from Tom Waits on Tom Waits, Paul Maher, Chicago Review Press, 2011



Seven Psychopaths. The movie going public’s appetite for Tom Waits on the big screen has never abated. His credits through the years include over one hundred credits, which include acting and soundtrack credits. His career, which is now closing in on fifty years, shows no signs of slowing up. Bad As Me will be counted among his best, most important work. Not compromising any of the qualities that are present on his previous works is what makes him Tom Waits. He was once asked: Do you have a favorite sound? “Bacon. In a frying pan. If you record the sound of bacon in a frying pan and play it back it sounds

like the pops and cracks on an old 33 1/3 recording. Almost exactly like that.” On his favorite instrument? “I have a Stroh violin. Stroh is the guy who created the violin with the horn attached to the bridge. This was around when orchestras played primarily in pits. In old theaters, the string players would complain that they couldn’t be heard in the balcony. So this guy created the Stroh violin, which was a way of amplifying the sound before electricity. It sounds like the violin is coming out of the horn of a 78 record player. He made Stroh basses, Stroh cellos. He even has a one-string Stroh violin. Those are interesting. I used one on a record called Alice.”* On the landscape of overproduced music with artificial sounds and artificial themes, it is always great to know that you can go home to Tom Waits. As with every album he has ever created, Bad As Me never lets you down. It will be counted among his best works.

(Continued from page 44)

scrappy black bulls they raise. I float back to the riverboat to begin my river dance in earnest, my appetite peaked for more stories, as we chart a course on the Rhône for Avignon to discover the secrets of the terroir. A Provençal winemaker wrote, in the 1600s, of wines that give courage and song and love and joy. He was speaking of Châteauneufdu-Pape, 13 different varieties of wine, 8 red, 5 white, produced since the 1300s and the birth of the papal vineyard. Vineyards here thrive in the low hills and Mediterranean climate, with more than 200 days of sunshine and cold, biting rain-bearing mistral winds that enable the soil to store water for the long hot days of summer. Magnificent châteaux are emblematic of the importance of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the world of wine and my wine tasting visit to one of the region’s most acclaimed estates opened my eyes and palate with a new reverence for this exalted appellation. I couldn’t leave without a bottle of my new favorite wine, described by the vineyard’s owner as “Jesus in velvet trousers.” Picturesque villages line the banks of the Rhône between Arles and Lyon, making for delightful forays into a past steeped in intrigue and a future planted with promise – and flowers. Days spent in ancient towns like Viviers, Vienne, Chalon-sur-Saône, and Lyon, embossed with Roman monuments and walled ramparts, found me wandering down narrow

cobblestoned lanes, medieval warrens all, gazing at doors painted in a rainbow of indescribable Provençal colors – robin’s egg blue, aquamarine, sea foam green, mustard yellow, periwinkle, lavender, ochre – past charcuteries, chocolateries and pâtisseries, tempting with crusty baguettes and buttery croissants, hand-rolled and baked by culinary artisans who take special pride in assuring melt-inyour-mouth perfection. You must look, I learned, for a pointed end on French baguettes to ensure that they were made by man, not machine, and croissants should have no less than 16 delicate layers of dough that are deftly fashioned into crescent shapes that puff and flake with flavor. Chocolatiers in France have turned candymaking into an art, tables of dark chocolate hens, eggs and bunnies, exquisitely sculpted and trés cher, mingle with truffles and cocoa-

gilded almonds to reflect the singular talents of their very passionate, very often awardwinning, creators. Resisting these temptations proves futile. Further up the Rhône in the Burgundy region, I step off the boat into a land of wine and honey. The wines of France are created in historic locations with extraordinary heritages by exceptional people who truly know what it takes to enjoy the good life. I was invited to a private 900-year-old castle, hillsides draped with prized vines, that was passed down generation to generation to its current family members, a young couple and their two small children. A personal tour takes me inside heirloom rooms graced by family portraits and antique furnishings hand carved and dressed in elegant patinas – all speaking volumes about days past – until I reach the dated but operational kitchen. Glasses have been set up on the wooden plank table, expectantly waiting for a sampling of the premier cru reds and whites cultivated on this estate. Wines poured, a plate of warm from the oven cheese puffed gougeres is passed – and soon devoured – as the perfect accompaniment to the drink. I descend into silent reverie as more new favorite wines and stories beg to come home with me.

River cruising in France is one of life’s unexpected pleasures, made even more satisfying by cruising aboard a boat custom crafted for the ultimate in pampering. Check out Tauck’s French Escapade, Monte-Carlo to Paris, at and live le rěve. In the meantime, send your taste buds on a trip to France at Isabelle & Vincent’s pastry and chocolate shop in Fairfield, seek out the wine experts at Grapes in Norwalk, or indulge in a dinner of Provençal fare at L’Escale in Greenwich… and tell them Venü Magazine sent you.




Calling The Artistic Shots Warner Theater's John Bonanni


By William Squier

n the classic Broadway musical Brigadoon a jaded New Yorker discovers an enchanted Scottish village where his life is changed for the better when its inhabitants welcome him into their community. If the town of Torrington, Connecticut, doesn’t exactly materialize out of the Highland mists every hundred years, visiting it had much the same effect on the Warner Theatre’s Executive Director, John Bonanni, when he did so for first time. “I didn’t know that Torrington existed until about a year ago,” admits Bonanni, despite the fact that he lives only about an hour west in Ridgefield, Connecticut. But, he grew curious about the town when he saw that the Warner was looking for someone to take over leadership of the theater in 2011. So, Bonanni drove over to check it out. What he discovered was a spectacularly restored 1,772-seat art deco movie palace, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 82


that had been retrofitted to serve as a multipurpose performing arts complex. Adjacent to the Warner’s mainstage was a 300-seat black box studio theater, a school for arts education and a restaurant/microbrewery. And the facility was situated in the heart of downtown on a charming street that could pass for a 1940’s Hollywood backlot. Intrigued, Bonanni decided to apply for the position. “The interview process took a good four months, which afforded me an opportunity to get my arms around what the possibilities were here,” he reports. Given his vast experience working on Broadway and as a production executive at Radio City Music Hall, it’s easy to see why the Warner’s search committee was sold on hiring John Bonanni. What convinced him to accept their eventual offer was an evening spent in the company of the Warner’s resident community theater. “I took my wife to see the Warner Stage Company’s production of Jesus Christ

Superstar,” he explains. “The first thing that we noticed was that everybody talked to us. Then, at intermission, they continued to talk about the people they knew onstage. And I thought, ‘This is very good. I like this.’ That’s really what captured me. The Warner’s core strength is that the theater is so connected to the community.” The Warner Theatre has been a center of activity in Torrington ever since it was built as a part of the Warner’s Brothers Studios chain of movie houses in 1931. In 1960, the studio sold it to a private owner who continued to show films there for the next ten years. The Northwest

Connecticut Association for the Arts stepped in to save the building when it was slated for demolition in the early 1980’s and then devoted several decades to raising close to $17 million to restore the theater and earn it landmark status from the National Park Service in 2002. Next, a former department store next door was purchased, dubbed the Carole and Ray Neag Performing Arts Center and converted into a space that could house the rest of the Warner’s artistic pursuits. Meanwhile, John Bonanni was earning his theatrical stripes, beginning about 60 miles southeast of Torrington with a stint at the Goodspeed Opera House. He credits the legendary “Abominable Showman” with his start. “David Merrick produced a show from Goodspeed called Very Good, Eddie,” Bonanni recalls. “And he gave me my Equity Card as the assistant stage manager. That was my first Broadway show.” Bonanni continued in stage management at Goodspeed from 1977 to 1983 working on some 20 musicals, including three more transfers to New York, Whoopie, Take Me Along and The Five O’Clock Girl. Finally, Bonanni made a permanent move to Broadway where he spent the next two decades backstage at a string of hits that ran the gamut from Singin’ in the Rain (’85-’86) to Grease (’07-’09). “I was very lucky,” he demurs. “They were all long runs. I had a ten year career out of three shows!” (Me and My Girl, City of Angels and Crazy for You). And while he’d occasionally travel out of town to tour with the likes of solo artist Barbara Cook or the arena-sized spectacle He-Man and She-Ra: Masters of the Universe, Bonanni was happiest working within a few blocks of Times Square. So happy, in fact, that he almost passed up the opportunity that would lead to the next significant milestone in his career. “I had a nice little office at the Gershwin Theater during Crazy for You,” Bonanni explains. “ And the understudy for the leading lady Jodi Benson would hang out with me there because she had nothing to do. Jodi was never out! She was looking at the trade papers and saw an ad for a production stage manager at Radio City Music Hall. And I said, ‘Why do I want to go to Radio City? It’s the other side of Sixth Avenue?! Emotionally, that was the ends of the earth.” Nevertheless, he sent in his resume and landed the job where he oversaw the production details for everything from the Tony Awards to appearances by Elton John, B.B. King and the Dali Lama to, of course, the famous Christmas Spectacular for the next dozen years. “The Christmas Spectacular was the only self-produced show,” he says. “There’s nothing quite like it. There were 80-foot drops, 72 elevator moves and two separate sets of casts that did four, five and then six shows a day, seven days a week for two months. It was a great way to learn about stamina, concentration, organization and scheduling. But, after I’d

done just under 3,000 performances, I decided to try something else -- something on my own.” So Bonanni formed a production company, Big Fish Big Pond Ltd., and began to develop projects for the New York Musical Theatre Festival (Under Fire), regional stages (Slow Dance with a Hot Pick Up) and Hollywood (Lawdy, the life story of rock-and-roller Lloyd Price). And he had every intention of continuing on as an independent producer when he was seduced the Warner. Fortunately, Bonanni has discovered that serving as Executive Director draws on just The Warner Stage Company performs Jesus Christ Superstar, Dan O'Brien (center) as Jesus . Photo: Contributed.

“First and foremost, we are a community theater,” he emphasizes. “I want the Warner Stage Company to be a community theater of national prominence. That’s my mantra.” about everything in his past. “I can do things here that I’ve never done before,” he feels.” I can take all the stuff I’ve learned, apply it and learn something more. The Warner affords me the opportunity to call the artistic shots. And I can back it up with production experience.” “First and foremost, we are a community theater,” he emphasizes. “I want the Warner Stage Company to be a community theater of national prominence. That’s my mantra.” To that end, Bonanni plans to mount an ambitious schedule of musicals in the next season that includes local stagings of Damn Yankees, Curtains, City of Angels, Sunset Boulevard and

Warner Theatre, 68 Main Street, Torrington, CT 06790, (860) 489-7180,

Next to Normal. He’s also tapped his connections in New York to import the original shows Liberty: The Monumental Musical, The Gefilte Fish Chronicles and Steeplechase for productions that star the area’s actors (Liberty will run on the mainstage from June 30th to July 14th). Bonanni will also launch the Warner International Playwrights Festival, a three-day celebration of new one-act plays. Along with all of that in-house production, Bonanni says that the Warner will continue to host a broad spectrum of touring entertainment. Scotland’s Black Watch, The Russian National Ballet Theatre and the Vienna Boys Choir are among the acts that will be traveling to Torrington in the season ahead. The Litchfield Hills Film Festival has also decided to make the theater their new home. Perhaps the greatest concentration of performances will take place during the holidays, under the heading “30 Days of Christmas,” with Melissa Manchester, the Nutmeg Ballet’s Nutcracker and a dramatic retelling of the Christmas Truce of 1914, All is Calm, already scheduled. Bonanni says that, after 12 years of doing the Christmas Spectacular, he starts to automatically think about December programming every summer. “That happened when I got the job here last August,” he says with a laugh. “My first thought was, ‘What are we doing for Christmas?’ CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE


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VENU Magazine #14 July/August 2012  

VENÜ Contemporary Culture Magazine highlights the regions finest professional and emerging creative talent with stunning visuals and intrigu...

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