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Expedition News A review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures
Gordon’s Good Reads The place to find a good read
Events + Gatherings FCBUZZ in Fairfield pg. 24 Artist Project NY review pg. 26 Climate change discussion pg. 28 The flowering of punk rock pg. 29
Travel 7 Days in Queenstown, New Zealand
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“A Poem For All People” was inspired by and dedicated to my granddaughter. She has written beautiful poems about her life that she lets no one read . . . no one except me . . . perhaps by now others have been “let in.” But for a time, I was the only reader. The blocked keys of the typewriter symbolize for me the secret nature of the words she writes. The keys are covered with jewelry charms to represent the beauty of her words. My granddaughter is in a phase of deep exploration about her life . . . there are many changes. I just sit back and quietly watch as her life choices unfold . . . I am honored as a grandparent to have the front-row seat she has given me.” – Nina Bentley
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by Blumenfeld & Associates
author wants all of us to pursue adventures
by Pat Turner Kavanaugh
Jeff Blumenfeld has made a career of writing about and promoting adventures, many of them on snow and on mountains. Links: expeditionnews.com expeditionnews.blogspot.com studentsonice.com
Jeff Blumenfeld has skied since the days of leather boots and screw-on edges, when a family trip to Bromley in Vermont warranted mention in the local paper near the Long Island, N.Y., home where he grew up, “like you were going on a great adventure.” Perhaps that is what pointed Blumenfeld toward his passions. Blumenfeld, almost 60, continues to ski, kayak, hike with the Appalachian Mountain Club, sail and go fly-fishing. He does not climb mountains. He has also parlayed his outdoor enthusiasm into a public relations firm which specializes in that field, as well as a book, a newsletter Expedition News, a Web site, and a blog. Subscriptions to Expedition News cost $36 a year, for which Blumenfeld e-mails monthly compendiums of news about adventures, many of them snow and mountain related. His book, You Want to Go Where? How to get someone to pay for the trip of your dreams, (Skyhorse Publishing, $24.95, hard cover) offers stories of how explorers from Christopher Columbus to the present day raised the funds to pursue their wild schemes. It also provides practical advice on finding the money to implement your ideas. “You don’t have to climb Mt. Everest to get a sponsor,” Blumenfeld said in an interview. “But the trip has to be bigger than you are. Some require great feats of strength, others do not. “There are lots of opportunities to get sponsorships, but it’s tough. It was tough for Shackelton and Perry.” (Ernest Shackleton was an Anglo-Irish figure during what is known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration; American Robert Perry claimed to be the first person to reach the geographic North Pole.) Blumenfeld continued, “Many of the projects I talk about take place in very cold places.” Blumenfeld served as a chaperone for a “Students On Ice” trip to Antarctica last year. Of the icy continent he said, “You can’t beat that. But I won’t go back. There are too many other places to see.” He has been to Iceland 15 times – the Icelandic tourist office is a client. He’d like to see New Zealand. “I might have to pay for that,” he said. He is a member of the Explorers Club, the American Alpine Club and the Royal Geographical Society. Excerpts from Expedition News are printed in the Explorers Club Journal. Blumenfeld’s writing reaches an audience of about 10,000. The newsletter is described as “a monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures,” and covers “projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.”
blind hiker prepares for thru-hike of the CDT
What makes blind hiker Trevor Thomas, 41, of Charlotte, N.C. think he can thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail? Here's one good reason: in 2008 he thru-hiked the 2,181-mile 18
Appalachian Trail, solo. He was reportedly the first person to do so blind and unassisted. Then just last year, he completed the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail mostly unassisted, except in deep snow and through poorly marked portions. "The AT was an incredibly liberating experience," he told us. "The route is a well used trail. I listened to my surroundings and could feel the trail with my feet. I only got lost once." Thomas, whose trail name is Zero/Zero, lost his sight to a rare disease in 2005. We ran into him at the Outdoor Retailer show during an appearance for his sponsor, Ahnu boots; he recently announced that LEKI, the trekking pole manufacturer had also signed on. Since much of the
3,100-mile CDT is not as well marked as the AT, Thomas will attempt to take on the Continental Divide, from Canada south to Mexico, with a three-person sighted team starting in June. "My teammates' job is not to help me hike the trail. I intend to hike it, as would any sighted hiker. I do know, however, that there are some sections that I will need my partners' assistance to get through. I am planning to hike solo for much of the trail as I did on the PCT," he tells EN. His main goal? "Increase societal awareness of blindness. It's not a disability to keep you down." The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail form the Triple Crown of long distance hiking in the U.S. (More info: teamfarsight.org)
tuckerman ravine’s greatest friend
Al Risch doesn't wear a hat when he skis. It could be 20 degrees F. outside, as it was recently at Sugarbush Resort in Vermont, and there's Al. No hat, no helmet, ears bright red. "Hats make my head itch," he tells us as we set off on one of the resort's signature intermediate trails. When Risch worked at Cranmore Mountain Resort in New Hampshire, they say you could tell it was a really cold day, way too cold to ski, if you saw Risch in a hat, although truth be told, it was usually just a hood. "My ears just freeze up and peel, they don't care." When Al tells us he's climbed to Tuckerman Ravine, the southeastern flank of 6,288ft. Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, over 630 times, somehow we're not surprised. As executive director of Friends of Tuckerman Ravine, he knows that steep, 50+ degree glacial cirque - a backcountry ski destination since the early 20th century - perhaps better than anyone else alive. Risch, who tells us that at the age of 78 he's "half-way to middle age because
I'm going to live to be 156," learned to ski on a rope tow at age five. He first climbed Tuckerman in 1959 and has had a few close calls since. Like the time he decided to glissade down the east snowfields on his boots, without skis, then hit boilerplate ice and had to grab at rocks, twigs, anything to arrest a death slide. He said that before he could slow his descent, "I could visualize a plaque on the mountain, 'Here Lies Al Risch.'" He continues, "There were people in the bowl, but no one saw me. Next time I'll look before I leap." Then there was the time he lost most of his index finger to a lawn mower accident. Kids love it when he pretends to pick his nose, seemingly right up to his base knuckle. Today Risch is perhaps Tuckerman Ravine's greatest friend, head of an organization of 1,000 outdoor enthusiasts passionate about protecting this fragile environment for future generations of people, plants and animals. Says Eric Friedman, advisory council member of Friends of Tuckerman Ravine and marketing director of Mad River Glen in Vermont, "Al Risch is without question the biggest advocate for arguably the most important piece of backcountry ski real estate in New England. We and our progeny owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for his commitment and perseverance for Tuckerman Ravine." The Tuckerman mystique is threatened by overuse and shrinking federal support for the Forest Service which has managed and protected the ravine since the early 1930's. Friends of Tuckerman Ravine has built a foot bridge to an overflow parking lot, purchased new emergency radios, replenished first aid caches, and plans to install new avalanche warning boards. "Tuckerman Ravine has a mythic quality," Risch says. "You have to hike up, there's
whaling shipwreck discovered linked to moby-dick Marine archeologists off Hawaii have found the sunken remains of a 19th-century whaling vessel skippered by a captain whose ordeal from an earlier shipwreck inspired the Herman Melville classic Moby-Dick. Iron and ceramic scraps from the Nantucket whaling ship Two Brothers were located in shallow waters nearly 600 miles from Honolulu in the remote chain of islands and atolls that make up the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Photo Courtesy of: NOAA
The ship, which struck a reef and foundered in 1823, was skippered by Captain George Pollard Jr. Two years earlier, Pollard commanded another ship that was rammed by a whale and sank in the South Pacific in a saga immortalized in Melville’s 1851 novel. (More info: noaanews.noaa.gov)
no mechanization. It's a mecca for backcountry skiers who can make a pilgrimage back to the source." A tip of the hat from Expedition News for keeping the legend of Tuckerman alive. (More info: friendsoftuckerman.org)
Anthony Smith, 84, an adventurer and author of 30 books who resides in London, departed Jan. 30 on his An-Tiki Project, an Atlantic crossing on a raft made of polyethylene pipes (see EN, August 2005). Smith and his three-man crew of "mature and intrepid gentlemen," ages 56 to 84 years, are using only the ocean currents and a sail to complete the 2,800-mile voyage from the Canary Islands to the Bahamas. At press time, according to their Yellowbrick global tracking system, they were well over halfway to the Caribbean. The former BBC Tomorrow's World presenter and science correspondent found his crew by placing an advertisement in The Daily Telegraph. It read: "Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires 3 crew. Must be OAP (ed. note: Old Age Pensioner). Serious adventurers only." Why pipes? Smith tells EN, "The gas and water industries use them everywhere, and know they must be strong because a pipe layer has no idea what will happen to them in the future, whether 40-ton trucks will roll over them, or the sub-soil will be washed away. And of course, sealed pipes containing air give far better buoyancy than any kind of wood." The project hopes to raise £50,000 (US$81,365) for WaterAid, the U.K.-based non-profit whose mission is to improve access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in the world's poorest communities. Sponsors include - no surprise here - a pipe company called GPS PE Pipe Systems. (More info: gasballoon.com)
GORDON’S GOOD READS The place to find a good read
by Gordon Hastings
I am an avid reader and lover of books with a library filled with volumes. A personal rule is that no book gets on my library shelf unless I have read it! Finding a good read has often come from a recommendation from a friend. In many cases my personal love of history has led me to great authors and to become a follower of their work. This column is simply to share the wide panorama of titles I have enjoyed. The recommendations will include not a critical review, but rather an overview of the book and why I found the title engaging. I hope to spark an interest for your reading list. The titles will include current best sellers, but also go back over the years to great titles you may have missed and also include many of the classics which I have read again or picked up for the first time. I will also attempt from time to time to relate books I have read to current events. My blog (gordonsgoodreads.wordpress.com) also encourages your comments about my recommendations and invites your new suggestions. Thanks for your participation.
for david brooks, a debt of gratitude
The writing in the dust cover of David Brook’s The Social Animal concludes with these words, “The Social Animal is a moving and nuanced intellectual adventure, a story of achievement and a defense of progress. Impossible to put down, it is an essential book for our time.” That brief summary, though accurate, misses thousands of emotion packed paragraphs and words that help the reader understand the human condition and the conscious, but more importantly the unconscious actions and perceptions of the human mind. You will ask yourself time and again, “Is that me?” You may keep turning back to the cover just to check if David Brooks wrote this book! That is not criticism but rather a joyful revelation into the depth of a writer whom I have always admired but on a more superficial level. The
Social Animal, among all he has written, is in my view the most profound of his literary accomplishments. It is sheer brilliance that Brook’s enlightens the reader on the evolution of human emotion, combines theory with impeccable research and tells the story in the narrative of the lives of two very different people, Erica and Harold. Just when the facts and scientific detail becomes almost overwhelming, Erica and Harold reappear and alas reality, at the breakfast table, the office, in bed. I see now! I get it! Here is my The Social Animal index but do not look for page numbers. You will make the discoveries yourself. Love, Sex, Marriage, Children, Pride, Fear, Career, Egos, Bosses, Corporations, Politics, Glass Ceilings, Retirement, Aging, God. During your The Social Animal journey you may quip to yourself, “Am I reading Dr. Spock or Alvin Toffler? Did David McCulloch ghost write a paragraph or two? Is this book auto-biographical?” I have sent a fatherly note to all of my children titled “Command Performance” which is usually a reference to appearances at holiday dinners. This command is to read The Social Animal! I was moved to leave you with a few lines from the last page of The Social Animal. Erica and Harold are in the autumn of their years and Harold is near death. Brooks writes, “In his last moments there were neither boundaries nor features. He was unable to wield the power of self-consciousness but was also freed from its shackles. He made some gestures and twitches, which the doctors would call involuntary, but which in this case were more deeply felt than any other gesture could be. And one of them was a long squeeze of the hand, which Erica
took to mean goodbye. What had been there at the start was there at the end, the tangle of sensations, perceptions, drives, and needs that we call, antiseptically, the unconscious.”
julie orringer, the invisible bridge
Had I read Julie Orringer’s collection of short stories How to Breathe Under Water published in 2005, the beauty of her first novel The Invisible Bridge released in 2010 would have been no surprise. “Don’t even ask, just read it,” proclaimed my bookseller as she handed me a copy. My anticipated question, who is Julie Orringer, will never cross my lips! The Invisible Bridge is an adventure, an unlikely love story, an incredible insight into a family which in fact is partly her own. Set in Paris and Budapest as the Second World War
unfolds, the book is alive with memorable characters that evolve and continually exceed all expectations. The panorama of place and time is vividly portrayed. I had the opportunity to meet Julie Orringer after reading The Invisible Bridge and learned that the novel was in fact partly about her grandparents and great uncles. The family was among the Hungarian Jews living in Budapest deceived by Hitler and their own government. I am getting ahead of your read! From Budapest to Paris and back to Budapest, the knowledge and fear of the impending reality of war sears through the dialogue as the chapters unfold. Orringer guides the reader through this incredible story of highs and lows. Through it all, The Invisible Bridge never looses its romance, sense of family and the evolution of personal character through the best and worst of circumstances. Orringer spent seven years writing and researching the book including two years in Budapest and the effort paid off. The Invisible Bridge is a riveting love story crafted with historical accuracy that creates realism for the reader. I have a shelf in my library of books I think worthy of a Pulitzer. The Invisible Bridge is there!
the bolter/chief seductress idina sackville
The Bolter by Frances Osborne seemed an unlikely recommendation from my bookseller, but I am a trusting customer! I needed to remind myself chapter by chapter that I was not reading a novel. The Bolter, the true story of British socialite Idina Sackville, who trashed all the trappings of incredible wealth, her husband and two young children to lead her followers to nothing less than a scandalous and wild life as “The Happy Valley Set” in Kenya. Osborne’s recounting the saga of Idina
Sackville is representative of a group of women in the 1920s and 1930s who “bolted” from their marriages and ordered lives to live free from the yoke of society’s rules. The book leaves no doubt that Idina was the most famous and sensational of all “The Bolters!” A free spirit, enlightening, shocking, with an underlying sadness, emptiness and loneliness that came with abandoning all tradition. Friends come and go as passions rise and fall. Enjoy The Bolter. There is a lesson.
empire of liberty–more timely than ever
Empire of Liberty-more timely than ever with the revolution for freedom and democracy sweeping the Middle East, I can think of no better backdrop to recommend Empire of Liberty by Pulitzer Prize Historian Gordon S. Wood. The work is part of the Oxford Series on American History and covers the period 1787 through the War of 1812. This scholarly book traces the evolution of the American Republic from the end of the Revolutionary War into the great debates over the writing and ratification of the United States Constitution, including the paradox of slavery, states rights, foreign influence and the very nature of the presidency. What quickly becomes evident is the enormity of the issues surrounding establishing a society and government free from the old ways of European monarchies. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton play leading roles in establishing a workable, permanent and cohesive national government replacing the looseness of the Articles of Confederation. Wood carefully brings alive individual contributions and the give-and-take, often antagonistic, to reach compromise. Jefferson and Madison are Wood’s central figures with the contributions of John Adams, in my view somewhat marginalized. Adams has his day in the sunshine in David McCulloch’s biography, John Adams.
The more background the reader has in American history the easier the immersion into Empire of Liberty but that should not dissuade anyone with a love of our country’s history from tackling this landmark work. Despite the depth of the subject, Wood has made his book an enjoyable journey and there is a clear and logical roadmap for the reader. Yes, Empire of Liberty is a good read!
if you’re a latecomer to hemingway read hadley first
For many of us, getting to the classics was a long journey, first developing the zeal and then at last the time! I discovered the works of Ernest Hemingway later in life, long after the corporate mountains were climbed and descended and children raised and sent off to college. Looking back, I am glad that my sojourn arrived then because I think my mind was much more receptive, and appreciative. Life experience elevates the enjoyment of so many great writers, broadening perspective and understanding. Now at the right time and place I was ready to consume For Whom the Bell Tolls, Death in the Afternoon, A Moveable Feast, The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea, and A Farewell to Arms. Now, what does Hadley by Gioia Diliberto have to do with this? I wish I had read it first! Hadley is a marvelous biography of Hemingwey’s first wife Hadley Richardson. For those who are reading Hemingway for the first time, Hadley is an excellent introduction and a must read. It is Diliberto’s gift to the Hemingway reader offering deep insight into his mind, personality, relationships and lifestyle. In the pages of Hadley, you will see The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast evolving in Hadley and Hemingway’s love story and their life together and apart. If you have not already begun your Hemingway journey take my suggestion and read Hadley first, then move quickly on to the main course!
in-store @ :
ina Dragone has star power. It’s not just the designer clothing that attracts her celebrity clientele from all over Fairfield and Westchester counties. It’s the entire head-to-toe, personalized shopping experience that has drawn area women to shop in her “closets” since 1983. Step into her Post Road store today and step into Bloch ballet flats, pull on a pair of jeans by Cambio or Joes, top it off with a soft-assilk sweater by Autumn Cashmere for casual daytime wear. When evening breaks, slip into a dazzling dress by Nicole Miller, Rebecca Taylor or Trina Turk and finish it with a glamorous accessory and bling by Chan Luu, Margot Morrison, Kooba or Rebecca Minkoff. A specialty retailer with a knack for making all of her clients feel special – and especially well dressed –Tina Dragone really knows how to be a girl’s best friend. A true Destination shopping experience... Tina Dragone, 1687 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut Tel: 203.259.1184. To submit your boutique to the in-store @: special advertising section contact firstname.lastname@example.org
3 1) Beautiful color block tunic, can also be worn as a dress from Trina Turk. 2) Multi colored striped polo in a cotton cashmere blend from White + Warren. 3) Cotton long sleeve crewneck rugby featured in blue bird, also available in most colors from Minnie Rose. 4) Oversized cotton crochet open hoodie cardigan by White + Warren. 5) Strapless dress by Trina Turk, can be worn day into evening, great for take-away! 6) Oversized cotton crochet tunic featured here in oatmeal, from White + Warren. 7) Cotton hoodie open cardigan available in most colors from Minnie Rose. 8) Ruffle wrap in cashmere, also available in cotton and in most colors from Minnie Rose.
events + gatherings
FCBuzz In ”Good Time” Fairfield by RYAN ODINAK
Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County
Clockwise from top left: Fairfield Theatre Company, Tom Tom Club; Sculpture Walk at Sacred Heart University; Fairfield Arts Center Opening-(r) Artist Kedon Beckford views work by Thomas Mezzanote; Author, TV and radio commentator David Brooks opened the season’s Open Vision Forum lecture series at Fairfield University; ARTPLACE Cecilia Moy Fradet at her recent show Dream of Gold Mountain (ArtPlace Gallery).
t’s hard to believe that a town the size of Fairfield, with just over 57,000 people, can be such a powerhouse when it comes to arts and culture. In just over a decade, the town transformed itself into a regional destination for a good time almost any night of the week. The Fairfield Theatre Company and the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University draw the largest crowds, providing entertainment from top-notch musicians, dancers and actors. Add to the mix the artist hub in the Fairfield Arts Center’s downtown gallery, and the diverse programs and exhibits that the Fairfield Museum and History Center presents, and you have what it takes for a downtown renaissance that would make anyone glad to live in the area. Not in the town center, but still a draw for arts audiences, the Gallery of Contemporary Art and the Edgerton Performing Arts Center at Sacred Heart University draw artists and performers to their venues and create programs that
appeal to families, children, educators and those looking for thoughtful art exhibits. Its outdoor sculpture collection organized in a self-guided walk is not to be missed. The Fairfield Theatre—housed in the colorful red and black building at 70 Sanford Street—opened in 2001 as a theatre, but quickly expanded to concerts, film screenings, workshops for children and adults, stand-up comedy, lectures, readings and more. The Klein Auditorium in Bridgeport is a 1400-seat hall that brings in national names. The Quick Center also has an ambitious calendar that includes national and international names in dance, classical, and popular music and theatre HD technology allows for the presentation of live and recorded broadcasts from opera and theatre around the world. The university is also home to the Walsh Gallery, and recently opened the Bellarmine Museum, featuring works on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, as well as other revolving exhibits.
The Fairfield Museum and History Center has a way of connecting history to topics that cut across community borders, and engages people in dialogues that bring them closer together. Their “Our Nation’s Generations” exhibit, which featured the work of national artist treasure Faith Ringgold, opened dialogue about family ties and engaged new audiences. The Fairfield Arts Center, formerly the Fairfield Arts Council, celebrates artists by connecting them with a great place to exhibit, and with each other as they gather for regular artist talks. Their Banner Project provides a celebration each summer, featuring colorful artwork on the downtown lamppost banners. Relatively new to the scene, ArtPlace gallery—an artist co-op—is right next to the Community Movie Theater in the center of town. With the move to Fairfield, they transformed their gallery and mission with a commitment to reach broader audiences. Just on the other side of the street is the Town of Fairfield Library, housing the Bruce Kushner Gallery, which presents single and group art exhibits that showcase talents from the region. When the weather warms up, plenty of art can be found at indoor and outdoor festivals which bring hundreds of artists face-to-face with eager strollers. The Dogwood Festival on Greenfield Hill is perhaps the best known, but festivals at the Burr Homestead, on the town green and at Pequot Library all add to the lively atmosphere that has developed in Fairfield!
To find out what’s happening in Fairfield and the other cities and towns of Fairfield County visit www.FCBuzz.org presented by the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County. This arts and culture resource offers ticket and event information for music, theatre, visual arts, history, lectures, literature, kids and families, classes, workshops, social events and much more. For more information contact the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County by emailing info@CulturalAllianceFC.org, or calling 203-256-2329 or visiting our Web site at www.CulturalAllianceFC.org.
All-Artists Networking Event 2011
n Friday night, March 4th, The Ridgefield Arts Council hosted its fourth annual All-Artists Networking Event at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield. Combining forces with the Aldrich Museum’s First Fridays, a crowd of nearly 300 people filled the space. Representing virtually every aspect of the creative arts, guests shared their evening mingling over drinks and dinner in the atrium and gallery filled with the extraordinary exhibition of portraits by Timothy White. This crosspollination of the arts brings about unique partnerships placing Ridgefield firmly in today’s art world. Guests were treated to a keynote lecture, State of State, State of Mind: Sculpture in the Public Square, by Richard Friswell, Art Consultant and Editor-in-Chief of ARTES Magazine, an online Fine Art magazine celebrating Fine Art, Architecture and Design. Friswell’s presentation focused on the issues surrounding art acquisition and installation when tax dollars, shifting community taste and a multi-layered selection process is involved. The process is more complex than it may seem, Friswell noted. “You have to account for the changing cultural mix of our cities and
Left: The All-Artists Networking Event, held annually at The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. Right: Richard Friswell and Carolina Fernandez.
towns, political and social correctness, impact of the environment on long-term appearance of a work of art, vandalism and ease-of-care. There must also be the perception that funds are being wisely spent on projects that add grace and beauty to the experience of moving through an institutional setting, but are often marginalized or eliminated when money gets tight. Connecticut has done an admirable job of addressing those issues over the last three decades, although the future of public art programs seems uncertain in the face of the current fiscal crisis. Today, with more than 20 projects on the table for 2011, the 1% law is at risk
of repeal. So,” he says, “we may be facing cutbacks in areas where quality-of-life takes a back seat to essential services. For this reason, the role of private institutions, like museums, colleges, corporate and high-profile residential settings become important outlets for putting the ‘public art’ word out. ” The Ridgefield Arts Council receives support from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Contact event chairperson, Carolina Fernandez at carolina@carolinafernandez. com for additional information.
EVENTS + GATHERINGS
The Artist Project New York WOWS at Debut Show
New York City's Pier 92 Complex, March 17-20, 2011
NEXT YEAR - SAVE THE DATE:
The Artist Project New York March 22-25, 2012 Pier 92, 12th Avenue at 55th Street New York, NY
The Lightbodies, by Kilu
Out of Darkness, Rachel Kearns
Golden Gate, Purple, by Ben Joyce Queen of the Jungle, by Serge Strosberg 26
ENÜ Magazine was proud to be on the Host Committee for the Artist Project New York which debuted at New York City’s Pier 92 on March 17-20, with great success. The four-day art fair featured more than 130 juried artists, who showcased unique bodies of work ranging from Paintings, Photography, Mixed Media and Sculpture. Buzz on the show floor was high as more than 19,000 collectors, curators, dealers, interior designers, members of the media and consumers attended the show. “We are incredibly pleased with the first edition of The Artist Project New York and the diverse and talented group of artists who participated,” said Reed McMillan, show director, The Artist Project New York. “Artists reported robust sales and lucrative connections with collectors, dealers, curators, and design professionals. We are excited to build on this solid foundation as we plan for the second edition of the show in 2012.” The Artist Project New York kicked off with a festive Opening Night Reception on Thursday, March 17, that attracted more than 2,500 art enthusiasts, members of the art and design communities and members of the media. Guests had the chance to mingle and meet with artists, while enjoying cocktails and hor d’oeuvres provided by U’Luvka Vodka, Francis Ford Coppola Winery and Butterfield Catering. During the show, attendees were encouraged to take a break in the official Show Lounge, which featured Cassina’s Prive furniture collection and an engaging art installation by Kilu, a participating show artist. The installation, “The Lightbodies”, featured full-sized sculptures of men and women with illuminated faces and encouraged attendees to experience the mysterious, yet relaxing presence of these light beings. The Artist Project New York, produced by MMPI and co-located with The Architectural Digest Home Design Show, offered show attendees a rare opportunity to view and purchase contemporary fine art directly from a juried selection of emerging and established talent. Unlike art fairs that only allow art galleries to exhibit, The Artist Project New York provided artists with the opportunity to reach the contemporary art world directly. For more information about MMPI or The Artist Project New York, please visit theartistprojectny.com or call 800.677.6278 (MART). To participate in next year’s event, contact Reed McMillan, Show Director at email@example.com or 646.778.3237.
SOLO EXHIBITION MAY 14 - JULY 1 Nylen Gallery & Picture This - 606 Post Road East, Westport, CT
Sholeh Janati ORIGINAL WORKS
“RED,”48” X 36” ACRYLIC ON CANVAS
events + gatherings
Tom Brokaw Moderates Climate Change Discussion at Yale by David DeFusco
aking the economy more energy efficient and weaning it off fossil fuels will make it more competitive, according to a panel of experts at a January town-hall event on climate change moderated by former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Photo by Mike Marsland
Photo by Matt Garrett
Top: Tom Brokaw addresses the audience before the taping of a discussion on climate change at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Above: The snow-covered grounds of Kroon Hall, an all-electric building, are lit up for the taping.
Linda Fisher, a panelist and Dupont’s chief sustainability officer, said that her company has decreased its energy use by 19 percent since 1990 as it has grown by 40 percent, saving $3 billion to $4 billion in the process. Dupont, she said, views climate change as an opportunity to invest in new ideas and technologies. “We’re either going to create the technologies and the jobs in America, or the technologies and the jobs will be created elsewhere,” she said. Fisher was one of four panelists who discussed climate change’s impact on economic opportunity and competitiveness, human health, youth, and moral and religious values at the NBC News town hall event called “The Changing Planet: The Impact on Lives and Values,” which took place in the all-electric Kroon Hall. “Today’s youth is interested and engaged in trying to understand climate change and its impact on our world,” Brokaw said. “It is important that we involve them in finding solutions through events like this.” When one Yale senior asked the panel how to promote sustainability in the face of the current economic recession, the panelists pointed out the costs that will be incurred if America doesn’t take action against climate change, noting that the country currently spends $5 billion every week importing oil and that the revenue generated from putting a price on carbon, for instance, could help fund research into more sustainable forms of energy. The other panelists were Rajendra Pachauri, director of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute and Nobel Prize laureate; Billy Parish, founder and coordinator of the youth-oriented Energy Action Coalition; and Dr. Katherine Heyhoe, professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas Tech University and an expert on the intersection between Christian fundamentalism and climate change. In one NBC News segment that was aired during the event, the
audience saw the effects of climate change on other parts of the world and how a warmer, wetter world is already leading to more infectious disease outbreaks. Dengue fever, for instance, is now turning up surprisingly in parts of the world, like Australia and even Florida, which hadn’t reported any cases of the mosquito-borne disease for more than 50 years. While Pachauri stressed that the poorest people in the world are being hardest hit by the effects of climate change—dealing with increased flooding, drought, heat waves and vanishing agricultural lands—Parish emphasized that climate change is going to have a major effect on Americans as well. “Almost every aspect of our economy is going to have to be redesigned, rethought and rebuilt,” he said. The audience was composed of Yale undergraduates and high school students from the New Haven public schools. Tony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and a team of researchers surveyed the audience before and after the event to gauge young people’s attitudes toward climate change. Kroon Hall was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum certification—the highest rating—by the U.S. Green Building Council in February 2010. The 58, 467-square-foot building was designed to use 81 percent less water and 58 percent less energy than a comparable building. It generates 25 percent of its electricity from a 100-kilowatt solar array and is heated and cooled by a geothermal system. The taped program, which was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Discover magazine and Yale, ran in April on the Weather Channel.
of Punk Rock On exhibit through Friday, May 27, at the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery, Fairfield University
a gotta love someone who unapologetically declaims, “Rock and Roll is here to stay” (on his Facebook page). Photographer of a huge collection of 70s Punk Rock images and Cheshire native Tom Hearn is that person and his spectacular photographic exhibition, “The Flowering of Punk Rock” The exhibition features black and white photographs documenting the punk rock scene in Connecticut and New York City from 1976-1979. Regularly featured in Punk magazine with images seen in Rolling Stone and Shindig, Hearn’s photographs truly capture a scene at the very peak of its power and energy. According to Hearn, “I photographed the Ramones only three times, twice in New
Haven: First on July 22, 1976 at the Arcadia Ballroom on Whalley Avenue, and then at their first Toad’s Place show on January 5, 1978; also at the legendary Shaboo Inn in Willimantic, Conn. on April 29, 1978. I know all the exact dates because guitarist Johnny Ramone kept meticulous records of all of their 2,263 performances between 1974-1996. When the B-52s had their first New Haven show at the Oxford Ale House in 1978, I was there too and I took pictures of Blondie at Toads Place in October ’78 and at CBGBs in New York in ’77.” Hearn’s candid shots of Deborah Harry capture the star in her glory days unadorned and relaxing in her Jaguar. In the 70s, Hearn traveled all over Connecticut and New York to hear the music he loved. Luckily he brought a camera. The Walsh Gallery show is a chronicle of some of the great bands and artists Hearn saw, shot and got to know. In addition to Blondie, the Ramones and the B-52s, “The Flowering of Punk Rock” includes, among others, shots of Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, John Cale and David Johansen, as well as circa 1978 local Connecticut bands such as The Survivors, Saucers and Scout House.
Come party with a real guitar hero. Join us May 14th at 5:30 pm for a pre-concert gala celebration of great food, fine wine and inspired silent auction items – all while meeting and greeting guest artist Jorge Caballero. At 8PM, walk the red carpet into our concert hall with notables like Mar Jennings, Mayor Richard Moccia and others for a “Rhythmic Musical Celebration” performed by Jorge, Maria Conti and our world class orchestra musicians. This evening of glamour is hosted by the NSO Board of Governors as we complete our 71st season. Don’t miss Fairfield County’s premier spring event, reserve your place today at 203-956-6771 or visit norwalksymphony.org for online details.
Advanced combo ticket holders will receive a signed copy of Mar Jenning’s best selling book, Life on Mar’s.
Jorge Caballero, the only guitarist to win the prestigious Naumburg International Competition, will perform the “Double Concerto” by Astor Piazzolla for guitar and violin at the opening gala of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra.
7 Days in Queenstown, New Zealand When flying into Queenstown, you expect to see elves, dragons and wizards, and maybe even a castle hidden behind the scraggly and jagged mountain ridges. From the plane, the sparkling and polished city seems to be straight from the pages of a fairy tale picture book, or the beloved Lord of the Rings films from Peter Jackson, (which were, in fact, filmed nearby). Tucked deep into the crags and bordering the sprawling emerald Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is one of the most enchantingly beautiful towns in New Zealand. With its proximity to the countryâ€™s storied gorgeous landscapes, and its plethora of outdoor sports, the city acts as a home base for adrenaline-hungry international backpackers and calmer, older couples alike. While the town itself is devoid of mythical creatures and stone fortresses, it is chock-full of tour operators offering eccentric sports such as bungee jumping, skydiving and jet-boating. It is not rare to spot a trio of paragliding travelers soaring over the city, having freshly descended from the adjacent mountaintop. Funky little cafes and upscale restaurants border the streets. Bars blare with live music on a nightly basis. It is a dynamic place, lively and bustling amidst an extraordinary setting. The mountains surrounding the city are large enough to prick the low hanging clouds, which cling to the serrated and stony edges. Their glorious presence seems out of place with the urbanized city below, with its banks, grocery stores and Internet cafes; like eating foie gras at a baseball game, or playing Playstation while skiing. The vigorous city and the scenery should not have been mixed. But when staying in Queenstown during the summer, (which is our winter here in New England), there are innumerable activities available to optimize your time in both the town and the wild.
Photo: Julian Apse (www.julianapse.co.nz)
Queenstown sunset: No two sunsets are the same, so you’ll want to catch them all while you’re staying in Queenstown. Catch the gondola up Bob’s Peak and settle yourself on the viewing deck to watch the sky’s colour and light show.
Written by Jenna Blumenfeld If the thought of throwing yourself off a stationary object hundreds of feet from the ground is appealing, look no further than AJ Hackett Bungy. Credited with founding the world’s first commercial bungy company in 1988, the folks at AJ Hackett offer three different locations to jump. The highest is called Nevis Bungy, which allows customers to plummet, swan dive-style, 440 feet towards the twisting and rugged Nevis River. Although yours truly had no desire to bungy, one jumper described it as “the most terrifying eight seconds of my life.” He had the pictures and video to prove he made the leap--which, consequently, solidified my wish not to. But if you pine to experience height without a free-fall, do not despair. Queenstown and the surrounding areas have fantastic hikes that present phenomenal views. Literally a two-minute walk from the city center is the starting point for the Ben Lomond Trail, an eight-hour hike that takes you up and away from the city, over a ridge, above the tree line and past bleating wild goats to a summit that overlooks the lake and miles of mountain ranges. Without a doubt it is a grueling and strenuous hike with harsh winds and freezing temperatures at the summit, even during the summer. But the sight from the top provides 360-degree views, which makes the extensive tramp all the more gratifying. Longer, multi-day hikes are located a brief car ride away from Queenstown. There are nine official Great Walks in New Zealand as recognized by the Department of Conservation, and they snake through what is said to be the best scenery the country has to offer. The Routeburn Track is a popular excursion with Queenstown visitors. A three-day, 20-mile loop that traverses two national parks, the Routeburn Track ranges in difficulty
Photo: Rob Suisted (www.naturespic.com)
Milford Sound in summer: Carved by glaciers over thousands of years, Fiordland is a world of deep waters, tall peaks and waterfalls. Milford Sound can be explored by cruise boat or sea kayak. There’s also a network of walking tracks in the area, including the world famous Milford Track. Most visitors use the lake town of Te Anau as a base for explorations.
from meadow-like strolls to steep, thigh-burning scrambles. The trails are impeccably maintained and contain little huts to sleep in along the route. While cushy services are available to guide groups up the track, cooking tasty meals along the way, most travelers opt to rough it alone. Without a doubt, hiking is a simple, albeit challenging, wonderfully cheap way to fully absorb the beauty and power of New Zealand. When you return to Queenstown after your trek, refuel at Fergburger, perhaps the most famous burger joint in all of New Zealand. What is a Fergburger, you ask? It’s essentially a really large hamburger. But this institution of a restaurant goes beyond the fast-food stereotype by serving up gigantic, monstrous hulks of sandwiches with names like Sweet Bambi, a wild deer patty with a Thai plum chutney, lettuce, tomato and aioli, and The Big Al, a half-pound of New Zealand beef with bacon, cheese, eggs and relish. You can always spot someone who has attempted to finish the Big Al by their inability to stir; potbelly pointed to the heavens, and sprawled out on a couch with a glazed look in their eyes. Indeed, gluttony at it’s finest. Find the place by heading towards the long line spilling out onto the sidewalk. Marvel at your burger, (served to go), and scoot away, pathetically Gollum-like, to find a place to sit down, unwrap your precious and plunge in. After fifteen minutes, I had made a small dent halfway in, and I simply could not eat any more. As the slogan reads, “In Ferg We Trust.” After you recover from your Fergburger-induced coma, heavily consider taking a trip to Milford Sound, a hallmark of Queenstown outings. Dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World by Rudyard Kipling, Milford Sound runs nine miles inland from the Tasman Sea, with barren and vertical rocky cliffs rising a spectacular 3,900 feet above the channel. The best way to experience the place is to travel with a tour operator that transports you the four hours to the sound, cruises you for two hours through the barren cliffs, and buses you back up to Queenstown. Choose a company with a smaller, faster boat, like the operator Mitre Peak Cruises, which can steer close to the rainbow-producing waterfalls. I think that the adjective ‘awesome’ is a tired and often overused word in travel writing, but quite purely, I was in awe at this green, glorious place with its seals and bottle-nosed dolphins, spindly trees that clung like leeches to the sheer precipices, and the shiny mountains topped with glaciers blinking in the distance. Milford Sound is the true darling of the South Island and a delightfully gorgeous day excursion from Queenstown. There was a familiar vibe in Queenstown. A slight whiff of an atmosphere that I had experienced and seen before but it took me a little time to realize what it actually was. It was not the excitement that comes with the privileged sense of vacationing. Nor was it my personal novelty of being in a new environment. It was contentment. People were happy. Not because they were traveling or because they had the option of jumping out of an airplane whenever they wished–but a quiet, unwavering, stable kind of satisfaction that comes when life is steadily beautiful. Despite its reputation as a haven for thrill-starved backpackers, a strange calm came over me. I kayaked, I played frisbee golf, I drank wine. I hiked the slanted and steep mountains everyday, feeling my legs becoming hideously sore and then grow stronger. I ambled along the lake and attempted to skip the flat, smooth stones that line the shore across its glassy clear surface. I felt neither pull nor anxiety to go anywhere. I had planned on staying in Queenstown for only three days, enough to obtain a feel for the city. But again and again I found myself standing at the reception desk in my lakeside hostel, asking if I could stay another night. Every traveler I met had a similar experience. There was Nico from France, a welcoming young man who had his own idiosyncratic, undecipherable handwriting tattooed on his arms. He had come to briefly visit a friend but had obtained a job in town and was seeking an apartment. There was Nicola, a woman from New Jersey who had applied for her working holiday visa, and was planning on staying for a year. And there was Peter, the boy from Holland who insisted that he was going to travel further on but simply could not tear himself away from the city. No person I met felt the desire to leave. Even I was halfway convinced that I would request a visa and live here with the mountains and the lake and the cafes and the mash-up of international travelers, to live freely. It would be the only thing I needed. But as always, the call of home is present, and grows strong. I did not want to leave, and saying goodbye to my Queenstown was difficult–and I admit, heartbreaking. But I take comfort in the truism that Queenstown will not alter, that it will remain a small but electrifying and strangely pulsating city even in the eye of the lingering permanence and eternalness of the surrounding landscape. Will I return? Absolutely. I cannot imagine that I have the willpower to stay away. And perhaps next time I will have the courage to bungy jump from the Nevis Bridge, and maybe…just maybe, manage to finish a Fergburger all by myself.
Routeburn Falls, just off the Routeburn Track: The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand’s classic hikes. It climbs from the Routeburn Valley through dramatic alpine scenery to a high mountain pass. The beautiful Routeburn Falls are just a minute’s walk from the Routeburn Falls Hut - mountain parrots (kea) are often seen here. Riflemen, bellbirds, robins, yellow crowned parakeets, yellowheads and fantails are other birds to look for. Photo: Gareth Eyres (www.exposure.co.nz)
Photo: AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand (www.ajhackett.co.nz)
The Nevis Highwire Bungy: For many, this would have to be the ultimate challenge. Make no mistake, the Nevis Highwire Bungy is not for the nervous - with a wild 134 metres (440 feet) drop, the river seems to rush towards you faster than you’re rushing towards it!
Photo: The Spire Hotel (www.thespirehotels.com)
Quality cuisine: New Zealand chefs have created a unique style of cuisine known as Pacific Rim. It draws on cultures from all corners of the Pacific and makes the most of high quality, fresh local ingredients. New Zealand is a destination where food is a feature, not a compromise.
Written by Alex Defelice
Photo: Sara J. Washburn
ROD WASHBURN Since the state of FM radio, or terrestrial radio as it’s now known (due to the rise of satellite and internet services), has become so fragmented and is not something that any artist can reliably count on anymore for airplay or that “elusive break,” many musicians are forced to rely on other modes of promotion and income. Of course, the old honored standby of relentless touring coupled with the modern day likes of digital downloading and streaming have helped offset the rare chance of radio airplay. One of the oldest and most honest areas in the rock and roll pantheon and one that has benefited significantly from good old style touring mixed with blogging and digital downloading is that of the singer/songwriter, particularly in the Americana/Roots/Blues genres. Local favorite Rod Washburn is one of those singer songwriters and he does a damn good job of it. Washburn hails from Bellows Falls, Vermont, and spent time in New Hampshire before making his way to Connecticut. His rich blend of Americana, country, roots and rock and roll, coupled with a full throaty and emotionally resonant voice, make for a rewarding combination of well-crafted songs that are a joy to listen to. A few years ago Washburn released Songs For A Sunday Morning, which he produced
along with Eric Lichter and is available through Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby and at his shows. The tracks include “Over You,” “Like a Wheel” and “Might Turn Around.” He also has had his music included in a movie on the SyFy channel. The songs are not only cohesive and well written, but are wonderfully produced with great slide guitar, harmonies and piano work. Before Washburn went solo, he honed his chops playing guitar with many a band throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. He performed all over the United States, and had the opportunity to open for such noted acts as Dickey Betts, the Derek Trucks Band, John Mayall, Steve Forbert, Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, NRBQ and even Johnny Winters. He is now performing all over the state at places like the Griswold Inn in Essex, La Vita Gustosa in East Hampton and the favorite and famous Irish pub in New Haven, Anna Liffey’s. At some shows he performs solo, and at others he is accompanied as a duo or trio. Expect a healthy and lengthy show when Washburn plays, as he mixes up his own tunes with covers from the likes of Neil Young, Ray LaMontagne, Bob Dylan, David Gray and many others. He is also getting ready to release a new album which will follow in the same singer-songwriter tradition.
Keep an eye out for Rod Washburn when he plays in your area. For more info on tour dates and purchasing his music, go to www.rodwashburn.com or www.reverbnation.com/rodwashburn.
Photo: Sara J. Washburn
Photo: Carl Vernlund
In Issue #3 of Ven端 Magazine, we covered the wonderful life of the singer/songwriter and beehive queen Christine Ohlman. Her new CD The Deep End has now been out in stores and available online for quite a few months. As an update, it is worth mentioning that Ohlman and her band Rebel Montez recently filmed a sold-out live appearance at the Daniel St. club in Milford. This has resulted in a special live DVD release of the show which will also feature extra bonus material. The DVD will be available later this year, and if you have not had the chance to see the Beehive Queen live in concert, this will be your opportunity to enjoy it in the pleasure of your living room. Ven端 magazine will keep you updated on the release as it nears.
Photo: Paul Lin
A New Year a New Note the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra Lives To Perform another Day Written by Shelly M. Harvey An ethereal afternoon light shines
through the glass palladium windows at the Norwalk Concert Hall, illuminating vast paneled walls, massive mission style chandeliers and red velvet chairs in this 850-seat concert venue. This is the home of the 71-year-old Norwalk Symphony Orchestra. And, if newly elected Symphony board members Kathryn Hebert and Emil Albanese have their way, it will be the Symphonyâ€™s home for a very long time.
In its six-decade heyday, the Norwalk Symphony has played to a packed house several times a month, its rich history boast-
ing guest performances by legendary musical geniuses Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Pearlman and Emanuel Ax. Performances were attended by music loving luminaries and locals alike. The symphony soon branched out and started a youth orchestra in 1956, which gave talented young area musicians an opportunity to share their music in an acoustically perfect environment. But today, as with many cultural organizations, difficult economic times have fallen upon the Norwalk Symphony. It had been operating in the red for quite some time, mostly due to a drop in contributions, fundraising and management inefficien-
cies. Performances were scaled back, and the threat of closure loomed. Following a period of introspection, the board decided to redouble its efforts, starting with adding new blood on the board of directors who would lead a management and operational reorganization. Westport resident Allen Raymond, then interim president, handed the reins over to Emil Albanese, an energetic local mover and shaker who is active on the boards of several other non-profit organizations. An October 30 benefit concert and fundraiser was scheduled and coordinated. And to the delight of all, the event was a
Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy; it is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks, and invents. – Ludwig Van Beethoven.
smashing success. It at least raised enough short term capital to stay in business and “it also proved that people still love the NSO”, says Albanese. The Symphony’s board is restructuring its business model to one that will fit more closely with the practices of a for-profit business. Its fundraising strategies are in overhaul, with the intention of reaching not only current supporters, but music lovers of
know about the Symphony. “The Chamber of Commerce will absolutely support our goals” says Ms. Hebert, a four-term ambassador for the Chamber and the appointed liaison to the Norwalk Arts Commission.
The Norwalk Symphony was originally founded as a volunteer community orchestra in May 1939, under the musical directorship of Edward Kreiner. The following year, Photo: Rick Peckham
music lovers in the region. With Wittrey at the programming helm, an exciting new 2011-2012 season is in the planning stages. It will be kicked off with a fundraising gala and performances on May 14. Musical entertainment at the gala will include Jorge Caballero, a celebrated young Peruvian guitarist whose adaptations of complex musical pieces has earned him a reputation as a guitar virtuoso.
Photo: Paul Lin
Photo: Paul Lin
all ages. This will be achieved with a number of new and varied musical offerings. According to Albanese, who is President of aE&T in New York and Chairman of the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, transparency is also critical to the symphony’s future viability. To that end, subscribers will soon be able to access details of how and where money is being spent, and upcoming programming will be clearly articulated, all on the Symphony website. There will be greater accountability within the organization itself, and programming will better reflect the musical tastes of a more diverse audience.
The Symphony’s future depends upon
consistent visibility in Norwalk and surrounding towns to attract fresh new supporters. And a concerted effort is being made to reach and garner support from the business community, including a large untapped roster of new businesses in Norwalk, Westport and surrounding towns that may not even
Photo: Paul Lin
Maestro Diane Wittrey, Music Director of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra conducting a complex concerto.
Kreiner passed the baton to Quinto Maganini, a professional flutist and award winning composer with far reaching influence in the music world. Under Maganini’s leadership, the symphony developed and achieved enormous popularity among classical music lovers in the region. Maganini retired after 27 years and the Symphony continued on under a succession of musical directors, until current director Diane Wittrey, took charge in 2002. Wittrey, who has received numerous awards and honors as an international director and conductor, is also the conductor of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Author of soon to be published book Beyond the Baton, Wittrey has helped expand the size and scope of musical performances for the orchestra, and in the process has gained a loyal following among
This clear vision and fresh thinking, together with management reorganization and streamlined fundraising practices will undoubtedly mark a bright new future, and return the Symphony to its former days as a musical cornerstone of Norwalk’s diverse cultural universe. The fundraising performance and Gala is set for May 14 at 8 p.m. A meet and greet with performers will follow, for all concertgoers. There will be black tie optional VIP Cocktail Party preceding the concert under a tent on the field next to City Hall. The red carpet cocktail party event is themed “Glamour Returns to Norwalk”. Ticket prices will be tiered for those attending the concert only, or those also attending the VIP Cocktail Party. Please visit the Symphony website at www.norwalksymphony.org to view details and purchase tickets or call the Symphony box office at 203.956.6771.
Feels Like Home: The “Write Yourself Free” Songwriters Showcase teen-year old Rachel Shapiro started things off on a soulful note, combining her grandmother Eartha Kitt’s polish, the statuesque cool of Sade, and the streetwise yearning of Tracy Chapman in “Stranger Things Have Happened,” a love song with a twist. Mia Shapiro (no relation) brought us to another world entirely, the world of the Broadway revue. A big fan of the new cabaret classic, “Taylor the Latte Boy,” written by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich, this afternoon she gave us her own clever set piece, “Do I Have to Spell It Out,” which was dedicated to her cell phone.
On Saturday February 19, in the old transplanted Little Red Schoolhouse at Colonial Green in Westport, a bunch of talented songwriters channeled their inner Glee, in the culminating performance of Andy Gundell’s Songwriting Workshop. Taking place in the friendly confines of the Write Yourself Free Writer’s Room, a combination neighborhood coffee house/bookstore and mini-MacDowell Colony, today the words created in this space were set to music by a cast of seven young and younger musicians who bonded during the course of six weeks over the simple yet magnificent task of writing, as the late Jonathan Larsen, author of Rent, put it: “One great song.” Today there were eight great songs, including the rousing closer, “What Goes Around Comes Around,” written by the Workshop’s leader, Emmywinning songwriter and music supervisor, Andy (A.J.) Gundell, and performed by the entire class. “As much as I wanted to tell them about the process of songwriting, and give them examples of songs that demonstrate different aspects of what we were learning, I also thought it would be interesting if I wrote something myself in the same week-to-week way that I was directing the class to write,” he said. “First week, come up with an idea. The next week, take the idea into a lyric. The following week, turn the lyric into music.” Among the many welcome surprises the workshop afforded him was the way the Glee vibe took over. “Somewhere between week two and week three, we started to vamp on the whole idea that we were
our own little Glee group,” Andy said. “Everybody felt the class was giving them an opportunity to do something along those lines. They were feeling good about what they created, which led into the feeling of, ‘Let’s sing something together.’ What was incredibly inspiring for me was the way the group supported each other. An example of how much they were learning is that they were able to comment on what other people were doing. They had such great stuff to say. Our sessions always ran way over, because I couldn’t get people to stop talking. It was so impressive on a group dynamic level to have seven people, all with a serious dream of writing, and everyone felt that connection to everyone else.”
Not only was this evident in the quality of the songs presented at the showcase--and by the fact that most of the class immediately signed up for another session--but you could see it in the offstage demeanor of the performers waiting to go on, or just having finished, who lined the walls of the packed house, or sat on the steps leading up to the conference rooms on the second floor, mouthing the words to the song being performed by one of their peers, each of them owning a part of each other’s process. The set list displayed in front of friends and family at this oldfashioned songwriter’s swap meet represented a pretty good cross section of what’s going on in music today. Six-
Channeling his inner Napoleon Dynamite, next up was Ross Cagenello, in an elaborate Nordic cap, who showed no fear in offering an acappella rendition of the half rap, half lullaby, half haiku “Sticks and Stones”-definitely a song and a half. Following him, high school senior Alyssa Stein mentioned the Friends character Pheobe Buffay (as played by Lisa Kudrow) before launching into one of the most affecting songs of the program, called “The World out There.” The furthest thing from Pheobe’s awful ode “Smelly Cat,” this stirring folk/
by Bruce Pollock
rocker dealt with the pangs and pains of facing change, especially those brought about by leaving home for college. Barely 14, Langley Crisp had other concerns on her mind in “Hey Tom,” an indie-flavored ode to a crush that managed to be wise and winsome at the same time; Avril Lavigne passing as Taylor Swift. Appearing between those two talented teens, Ruth Ahlers was anything but intimidated. An accomplished saxophone player who joined the workshop to expand her palette into songwriting, she delivered an emotional tone poem of social protest called “How Do You Do It,” complete with a funky sax solo. Dee Dee Bridgewater would have been proud. The seventh member of the workshop, Chris Friden, brought a lot more than songs to the table. He brought his rig, and a working knowledge of MacBook demo programs like Garage Band. With “We Must,” his duet with Rachel Shapiro, he also provided a retro new wave feel that could have come straight out of the Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore movie Music and Lyrics. Closing the set, the Professor took the stage, backed by his students, for a heartfelt sing-along ode to being the teacher called “What Goes Around Comes Around.” Far superior to anything Kara Dio Guardi produced for American Idol, the song featured a line that defined the afternoon as well as the setting in which it took place: “When we come together it feels like home.” It is exactly the feeling Tish Fried and Patrick McCord, the co-founders of the all-purpose
Songwriting Saturdays. Once a month, a Storytelling Workshop takes place. Downstairs, writers are able to plug in their laptops and connect with their muse, rewrite their college essay, or update their resume, far from the reach of telemarketers, daily chores, and other mundane interruptions.
writing emporium, “Write Yourself Free,” had in mind when they fell in love with the Little Red Schoolhouse at Colonial Green and decided to make it their base of operations in 2009. The best thing to happen on the Post Road since the Westport Arts Center leased Greens Farms Elementary School over a decade ago, the downstairs at “Write Yourself Free” is a comfortable, homey version of the
ultimate writer’s workspace, filled with books, magazines, coffee and the company of other writers. But the place offers more than camaraderie. If you check the website, you can find creative workshops conducted upstairs on a regular basis entitled The Big Project, The Art of Revision & Editing, Writing for the Screen, and Social Networking, along with Andy Gundel’s
But the camaraderie is nothing to be sneezed at, either. “I had high hopes for this group,” said Andy, “and they were exceeded. Watching how the creative process happens in the group setting is really great--to see how the passion translates into doing it on their own, with the help and support of the group.” And in an era when the record business is falling apart, and the issue of piracy in high and low places is picking the pockets of songwriters known and unknown, it’s encouraging to see the need for music has remained untouched on an emotional level. “The digital age has revolutionized the means of production and distribution and put it all into the hands of the artist,” Andy said. “The good news is that everybody can do it now. And the bad news is that everybody can do it now. In the old days you needed a record deal to put out an album. Now all you need is a MacBook and Garage Band.” But in some ways, the issue is the same as it ever was, summed up by Andy Gundel. “How do you rise above the fray and how do you get paid for it?” To get a leg up on that process is the mission of Andy’s Songwriting Saturdays.
Written by: Sheryle Levine and Alan Neigher Byelas & Neigher, Westport, CT
The Internet: Free Speech vs. Anonymity Thanks to the Internet, ordinary people feel at liberty to express their opinions, air their complaints, and simply vent. After all, the first amendment of the Constitution grants us freedom of speech. But does the perceived anonymity of the Internet give us even more freedom to express ourselves? Be careful! This seemingly unchartered territory of the law of defamation is evolving in unexpected ways. Generally, defamation is the act of making an untrue statement to a third party that damages the subject’s reputation. In almost all cases, to qualify as defamation, a statement must fall within one of these categories: accusation of a crime, accusation of unethical or immoral behavior, a claim that a person is incompetent in one’s business or profession, or a claim that a person has a loathsome disease. Libel is defamation in a printed form; slander is defamation through the spoken word. Both types of defamation can be found on the Internet, depending on whether the statement is in written form, or in spoken form (i.e., through a videos or podcast). A court will ultimately determine whether a publication is defamatory. In making this determination, the court must consider the statement in the sense in which common and reasonable minds would understand it. The statement must be taken in the context in which it was said and would be understood by the average listener. A court will also ascertain whether a statement is one of verifiable fact, i.e., one capable of being proven true or false (as opposed to opinion, e.g., “Joe is a jerk.”). Truth is an absolute defense to defamation: No matter how damaging, a truthful statement can never be defamatory. Bloggers and posters on social networking and other Internet sites are subject to the same legal defamation rules as newspapers and other publications, as are those who use sites like YouTube to post videos. By providing an infinite forum, the Internet gives voice to millions of people who might not be heard through traditional media. Yet there is no editorial check or review system in this context that would exist with more conventional means of publication. The issue of anonymity spans across both sides of Internet discourse. An Internet posting may be anonymously made while targeting an anonymous subject. If a person has a valid claim for defamation but the subject’s name was changed, would that relieve the person who has made the statement of liability? Not necessarily. It is sufficient if reasonable people can conclude that the person making the claim is the one against whom the publication is aimed. As one court put it, “It is not who is meant but who is hit.” In
other words, the test is not whom the statement intends to name but whom even a part of the audience may reasonably think is named. The first amendment grants us general freedom of expression, which includes the right to speak anonymously. However, when anonymous speech is defamatory or otherwise damaging, a wrongdoer may be subject to liability. Courts are still struggling to establish standards by which a plaintiff who has been wronged may use available discovery procedures to uncover one’s identity. The normal reaction of one hit by a negative statement is: “Who said that?” Applying defamation law to Internet communications “helps to make meaningful discourse possible. Defamation law has a civilizing influence on public discourse: it gives society a means for announcing that certain speech has crossed the bounds of propriety.... Defamation law has the potential to curb the excesses of Internet discourse and to make Internet discourse not just more civil, but more rational as well... The widespread use of pseudonyms online is responsible for many of the abuses perpetrated by Internet speakers. But revelation of identity has negative consequences as well—it may subject the user to ostracism for expressing unpopular ideas, invite retaliation...or have other negative consequences.”1 As one court has observed (regarding subpoenas to America Online), persons impacted by negative statements have spent enormous amounts of time and effort trying to find out: “Who said that?” Protection of the right to communicate anonymously must be balanced against the need to assure that those persons who choose to abuse the opportunities presented by this medium can be made to answer for such transgressions.” Thus, the essential tension, played out everyday—those claiming the right to say what they want v. those who claim that freedom of speech does not permit defamation of them. In our next article, we will discuss the differences in defamation protection afforded to Internet providers, on the one hand, and to “traditional” media, on the other.
1. Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky, Silencing John Doe: Defamation and Discourse in Cyberspace, 49 Duke L. J. 855 (2000).
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Viña Real Laguardia, Álava
Hotel Marqués de Riscal Elciego, Álava
Off the Vine
When I think of Spain, images of tradition and history come to mind: Flamenco dancers, bullfights, and architecture dating back to the Roman times. But nestled deep among the rolling vineyards and medieval villages of La Rioja, something vastly modern is taking place. Spain’s wineries are being re-imagined and designed by some of the world’s most inspired and distinguished architects. Renowned architects like Iñaki Aspiazu and Philippe Mazières are joining the ranks of Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, and Zaha Hadid to shape the modern wine world. Winemaking has been an art form, central to Spanish culture, for centuries. La Rioja was the first region to receive the DOCa (Denominacion de Origen Calificada) status – the most prestigious nomination for a wine region. Spain may be Old World, but in the last couple decades La Rioja is on the forefront of producing New World wine. Below are five of my favorite examples of this recent surge in modern architecture, each very unique and advanced in its own right. R López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Haró, Rioja R López de Heredia in Rioja Alta is one of the oldest family-run wineries in the region. Over the 131 years of its existence, the winery and its cellars grew to almost 13,000 square meters, housing over 13,000 oak barrels. The most recent addition to the, otherwise traditional winery, was the very modern tasting room by renowned architect Zaha Hadid. Zaha’s pavilion was designed as a bridge
R López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Haró, Rioja
between traditional and modern architecture. Inside the pavilion is the original tasting stand designed in 1910 by the winery owner’s great grandfather. “Like a series of Russian dolls the new pavilion itself was to be eventually housed within the new extension at the bodegas. The new pavilion would be just one layer in a larger composition.” [Zaha Hadid Architects] The pavilion appropriately resembles a decanter, which was an unexpected realization that symbolizes a new structure for an aged piece – the original wooden tasting stand. www.lopezdeheredia.com Bodegas Ysios Laguadria, Álava Bodegas Ysios is a pioneer of modern winemaking in Rioja Alavesa. The winery, designed and built by Santiago Calatrava, is a symbol of its contemporary and avantgarde approach to winemaking. The winery falls seamlessly into the backdrop of the Sierra de Cantabria range. From an aerial view, the estate takes the shape of a wine glass and the curvature of the roof resembles the silhouette of a row of barrels. Bodegas Ysios is a flagship in the rising modern Rioja, both in architecture and in winemaking. It is featured in the current exhibit at the SFMOMA: How Wine Became Modern. www.bodegasysios.com
All of these wineries are open to the public and offer reserved tours. Bodega Baigorri Samaniego, Álava Bodegas Baigorri is located in Rioja Alavesa. Its innovative approach to architecture is also reflected in the wine making process. The winery, designed and built by Iñaki Aspiazu, relies heavily on gravity to aid the wine making process, therefore eliminating the use of pumps, funnels, and most machinery. The wine falls through each level, ultimately reaching its resting place roughly 20 meters below. The only aboveground piece is the glass cube-shaped reception area. The rest of the winery is built in to the natural topography of the land, allowing it to blend with its surroundings. www.bodegasbaigorri.com Viña Real Laguardia, Álava From afar, Viña Real’s winery looks like a giant vat sunk deep in to the ground below. What may seem as a quite obvious design by French architect Philippe Mazières actually proves to be far more about the efficiency of production rather than any sort of symbolism. Inside the barrel a giant mechanical arm disperses the grapes in to a series of fermentation tanks along the circumference of the building. Although the winemaking process at Viña Real takes an incredibly modern and advanced approach, the wines are very Old World in style, mainly in part to the dedicated ageing time in oak barriques in the enormous hillside caverns. www.cvne.com Hotel Marqués de Riscal Elciego, Álava The most monumental building, and my personal favorite in La Rioja, is the hotel attached to one of Rioja’s oldest wineries, Marqués de Riscal. Designed by the esteemed Frank Gehry, the Riscal hotel is utterly breathtaking. Gehry called the final piece, his only hotel to date, a “marvelous creature, with hair flying everywhere.” If you find yourself in the region, I suggest staying at this 23-acre “City of Wine.” The free flowing, avant-garde design is the perfect complement to the historical region. www.marquesderiscal.com Bodegas Ysios Laguadria, Álava
Bodega Baigorri Samaniego, Álava
For Joy, wine is just another form of art. She is always out to discover its newest form of expression. She views her wine shop as a gallery, and herself as its curator. Please visit any time. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Lorenz Josef
I recently heard about a new limited edition Ferrari called the GTO. I immediately called Ferrari North America in New Jersey to ask about this new model and they told me that this was a unique car limited to 599 examples worldwide. Further they said that as deliveries had already commenced to dealers and clients they did not have one in stock, but the best way to see one was at the upcoming Cavallino Classic Ferrari show in Palm Beach.
Even though I was already scheduled to attend this event, I got very excited about seeing my first new GTO. As I buckled up for my flight to West Palm Beach Airport, the GTO name brought back memories of my teenage years. I recalled when Ronnie and the Daytonas sang their song, “Little GTO” into Billboard’s chart position number 4 in 1964. I remembered that within a few short weeks, every teenage girl and guy knew about the new Pontiac called the GTO. In short order, they were lip-synching to the hit record’s famous lyrics, “Three deuces and a four speed and a 389” and “C’mon and turn it on, wind it up, blow it out GTO”. In addition, the kids were bombarded with Pontiac’s print ads and TV commercials touting the new GTO as being all the rage on the street and strip. But did they really know the GTO? No, but I did! Even back then I knew that before the Pontiac version, there was a Ferrari GTO! Let’s get right to the point, Ferrari, not Pontiac invented that name for their new 250 GTO race car in 1962. The GTO stands for Gran Turismo Omologato, which translates to Grand Touring Homologated (approved). Ferrari had dominated the Grand Tourismo (GT) Class of international road racing for many years during the 1950s and early 1960s, but competition was becoming more difficult. Ferrari set about building a new world class version GT car which may have stretched the rules a bit by incorporating technology from their Formula 1 and Prototype Sports racers. However, they very much wanted this new car to be homologated or approved by racing authorities as a GT, not a prototype racer. According to one legend, it is not clear exactly what happened next (nor if it was accidental or purposely done to promote the idea that this was an “approved” car), but somehow the word Omologato wound up on the application to the racing authorities. From then on, Ferrari officially incorporated the letter “O” for “Omologato” in the model name. 46
The new 250 GTO was powered by a 3 liter V-12 engine from the previous 250 GT model but was upgraded to include 6-two barrel Weber carburetors, producing 300 horsepower. The chassis was reinforced over the previous model but also lightened and featured a modified rear suspension. Keep in mind that although prepped for racing, the GT class rules required that the car also had to be street able and even had to carry a spare tire during the race. The most spectacular feature of the new 250 GTO was its aluminum bodywork. In the 15 years since its founding, Ferrari had always been known for making beautiful cars, but during that period in the early 60’s, the engineers also began paying particular attention to aerodynamics. Some race drivers of the previous GT cars had complained about a dangerous tendency for the nose of the car to lift at very high speeds. Ferrari was concerned that the new GTO was capable of considerably more top end speed than the old model and therefore the engineers wanted to make sure that all four
wheels were always touching the ground. Eventually 39 GTOs were built (far short of the GT rules requirement) and they were winners right away. In fact, in one of its earliest outings, a 250 GTO won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans race in the GT class in the summer of 1962. Today the Ferrari 250 GTO represents the most sought after and highest priced automobile collectible. In fact, during the last few years, a few Ferrari 250 GTOs have changed hands for $20+ million. Over the past 49 years, Ferrari has been very careful not to abuse their iconic GTO model name and the new 599 GTO introduced here is only the third time they have used it. In 1984, Ferrari applied the GTO designation for its very fast 288 model which broke new ground for road cars and featured a very small turbocharged 2.8 Liter, 400 horsepower engine. In addition, new, high-tech composite materials like Kevlar and Carbon Fiber were used for the body. Ferrari’s second GTO single handedly began the now often used term “Supercar” by
once again bringing race car performance to the street. Only 272 of these GTOs were built and they are worth multiples of their original $ 90,000 price tag. For 2011, Ferrari has decided to continue this dynasty with the ultimate street legal performance of their new 599 GTO which is based on the 599 GTB (in production since 2007). As soon as I arrived at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach for the Cavallino Classic Ferrari event, I spied the GTO sporting the traditional “Rosso Corsa” or Racing Red paint. However, the roof was unlike anything I had previously seen. It was painted in a dull grey finish which made it look like it was made of carbon fiber. That grey paint also matched the outside mirrors and the extremely wide wheel rims. I later found out that this was the paint scheme which Ferrari employed when they first showed the GTO to the Press and that the purchasers could order any paint scheme they desired. Beyond the paint scheme, I immediately saw that the body was different than the normal 599; as if it had gone to the gym. The fenders seemed fatter and the car sat lower to the ground. It featured a wider and shapelier front bumper with a race car like grille and it was surrounded at the lower edge with a carbon fiber spoiler. A boldly slotted hood to relieve under hood temperature gave quick evidence that this was more of a race car. Black carbon fiber also surrounded the eyes of this car. The rocker panel below the door sharply jutted out in an aggressive fashion and I was told that it was designed to add to vehicle stability and to scoop more air into the rear brakes. At
the back of the car I noticed a very pronounced spoiler built in to the trunk lid to provide even more down force on the high speed runs. To motivate the aerodynamic bodywork, the GTO carries a highly modified version of the 6 liter V-12 engine derived from the 599 GTB (incidentally, this engine was in turn borrowed from Ferrari’s supercar, the Enzo). Thanks to newer engine technology, the GTO’s horsepower is an incredible 670 which is 50 more than the standard 599 and even eclipses the 660 ponies of its Supercar cousin, the Enzo! That engine endows the new GTO with spectacular performance. This Ferrari can accelerate from a standing start to 60 miles per hour in under 3.3 seconds while being able to reach a top speed of almost 210 miles per hour. However, in addition to straight line performance, the GTO can take a turn with the surefootedness of a downhill racer and is able to traverse Ferrari’s 1.9 mile long Fiorano test track in 1 minute 24 seconds….one second faster than the Enzo! To put this into better perspective, the 599 GTO is 12 seconds faster around this track than the previous GTO. We asked Ferrari, how is this performance possible in a street car. They told us that in addition to the engine improvements, the car was put on a severe diet. Although it looks somewhat similar to the 599 GTB, the new GTO has is constructed differently. All the aluminum body panels are made of a thinner gauge metal and Ferrari had the window glass made thinner as well. Additional weight savings were
achieved on the brakes (smaller diameter, but more effective), transmission and exhaust system. Finally, the GTO’s massive wheel rims are 9 pounds lighter than the standard 599 wheels thereby reducing the all-important unsprung weight which significantly improves handling. The interior of the GTO was also designed with weight savings in mind. The seats are made of cloth, not leather and feature some areas finished in Alcantara (ultra-suede). The steering wheel, dashboard, console and door panels are made of carbon fiber and look sinister with their unique dull finish. The floors look very industrial as they are covered in diamond plate metal….that’s right, no carpeting! Ferrari told me that their blueprint for this extreme road car was a track only vehicle called the 599 XX which was developed with superior performance and handling. Ferrari decided that the standard 599 series could achieve a much higher level of performance by including the changes mentioned above as well as the 599 XX’s state-of-the-art electronics. Therefore, the 599 GTO has the latest generation “F-1 Trac” traction control, “VDC”-vehicle dynamic control and a new generation of their magnetorheological suspension control system. The results speak for themselves. Almost 50 years after the first GTO, Ferrari has once again incorporated what they have learned on the track into the ultimate street legal automobile. I only wish that I was one of the 599 lucky people selected to own one! ARTS/CULTURE/STYLE//MAGAZINE
The Intermarine 55 Luxury Yacht Sets Sail this Summer
BMW Group DesignworksUSA has collaborated with Intermarine, Brazil’s leading shipyard for luxury yachts, to create the elegant, powerful and refined Intermarine 55. Setting sail in this July, the Intermarine 55 is the first in a new era of yachts for Intermarine, and the latest among DesignworksUSA’s growing portfolio of clients to hail from Brazil, an emerging capital of design and industry. While Intermarine resides at the upper segment of the luxury yacht market, DesignworksUSA also creates for Germany’s Bavaria Yachts, a manufacturer of entry-level yachts. Further, together with its client HF Interiors, DesignworksUSA creates bespoke, one-of-a-kind environments for ultra exclusive mega-yachts. “BMW Group DesignworksUSA deeply understood our clients’ needs and created a really innovative and distinctive design for the new Intermarine 55. The yacht is not only modern and beautiful, but its solutions will definitely raise the bar in the category,” said Allysson Yamamoto, Intermarine marketing manager. “Intermarine is a famous connoisseur brand with a rich history, and to evolve its design forward with the Intermarine 55 is an honor,” says Laurenz Schaffer, President of BMW Group DesignworksUSA. “We’re eager to share the Intermarine 55 with the world when examples begin setting sail later this summer, and likewise to continuing the evolution of this design story with the unveling of upcoming yachts for Intermarine,” continued Schaffer.
Measuring 57 feet in total length, the Intermarine 55 is a very luxurious boat, not only because of the exclusivity of the design, but also because of the balance of spaces. It was conceptualized to provide harmony for day and night use with emphasis on open space. It features three cabins, two bathrooms and a large salon. Each cabin boasts large windows letting in warm sunshine and showcasing beautiful views of the outside. The state of the art interior is carefully designed to provide comfort for the occupants while the more than generous deck is perfect for relaxing and tanning. The team at DesignworksUSA created an innovative design for the exterior of the boat, translated in powerful, elegant and refined lines. The large windows have a unique and dynamic shape while offering an open view to the sea. Another remarkable innovation is the shape of all the hull side windows. There is no circular or oval porthole as traditionally used in boats. The portholes of the Intermarine 55 are integrated into the large trapezoid shaped windows, which enable more luminosity and visibility in the interiors, besides bringing outstanding beauty and character to the new model. The feature lines in the hull that define
the unique personality of the boat are forms known in the automotive industry that now reach the nautical world. Similarly inspired by automotive are details like the the impressive air intakes in stainless steel. The bow characterized by a well defined angle, brings a strong presence to the boat, uniquly identifying Intermarine. The internal areas of the Intermarine 55 were conceived from the theme “open horizons”, providing maximum openness and space. It comfortably seats six people and one sailor. Inspired by modern architecture, the spaces are full of natural light and light reflexions, creating a warm and comfortable environment. The big windows in the salon, cabins and even in the bathrooms allow an open view to the sea. The salon door offers perfect integration with the stern area thanks to its wide opening via three door panels. The kitchen is surrounded by windows and is placed in the main salon, near a dining table, with a fridge, stove and microwave that come standard. What should also be emphasized is that new yacht includes two head compartments along with a master suite having queen sized bed and an enclosed shower. Yacht`s form of trapezoid offers a greater amount of light and excellent ocean views. Its U-shaped sofa lets you lounge next to the cooler, cabinets and dining area (with sink, barbecue and counter space). Furthermore, the shaped top deck features a large solarium in front of the upper helm station. Nearby there are a couch and a dining table, a small sofa and storage with an extra sink, barbecue and refrigerator. The size and strength of this yacht deserve the name powerful, not only its interior. The Intermarine 55 is 57-foot long and will be available in two engine options that include 2×670hp endurance and a 2×800hp power option and the range of 300 nautical miles range with a top speed of 35 knots. The duo is almost near completion announcing the yacht will set sail in Italy in July 2011. Pricing starts at $2.2.
About Intermarine Intermarine is the most prestigious shipyard in Brazil, and leads the domestic market in luxury yachts. It has built and sold thousands of units, since 1973, when it was established. In an area of over 500,000 square feet, the world-class yachts are built with passion and craftsmanship. At every launching, Intermarine sets new standards in aesthetics, engineering and technology. And its unprecedented innovations in the nautical market are now about to conquer the seas all around the globe. The unmistakable design, exceptional performance, sophistication, top-notch construction, effective after-sales service and the best re-sale value make Intermarine incomparable.
ART + HOME
Connecticut in the Desert
INTERVIEW by Nona Footz
In the midst of all the feasting, festivities and fun while visiting family in Arizona, my husband and I needed a break. We took a “day off” and drove our rental car around The Valley of the Sun for some sightseeing. After we made a compulsory pit-stop to get our first real cup of coffee in days (sorry mom!) we visited The Lisa Sette Gallery in Scottsdale. The gallery, opened in 1986 by Connecticut native Lisa Sette, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this spring. With its 2,500 square feet of serenity, sophistication and rich wooden floors, the gallery has been described by ArtNEWS as “the linchpin of the Scottsdale gallery scene.” I had a chance to speak with Lisa about the exhibits, and the year ahead. Venü: “Before we talk about the art itself, let’s learn about you. When did you decide to leave Connecticut and become a gallery owner?” Lisa Sette: “I was born in New Haven and grew up in Hamden. I was working part time at the Yale Co-op bookstore during high school before deciding to study Art History at the University of Hartford. In 1978 I heard that a prominent British photo historian, Bill Jay, was going to teach at Arizona State University (Negative/Positive: A Philosophy of Photography), and I wanted to continue my art studies. I had been a photographer 50
for my school newspaper and had a deep interest in the visual impact of images. While at ASU I lived with six roommates in a big house with no furniture or really, any personal belongings. One of my roommates was a dance instructor who taught classes in our cavernous living room, and I started shooting pictures of the students in action soon realizing that this passion for images was going to become my profession. I started a small print publishing studio in Tempe in the mid-80s before someone said “Why on earth are you in Tempe? Get over to where the action is in Scottsdale!” We’ve been on Marshall
Way ever since. It’s a charming area of Old Town Scottsdale that has many galleries, shops, restaurants. It has seen its share of ups and downs given the economy but is indeed the best place to be in the area.” “The New York Times published a story in 2008 in the Sunday Styles Section about your unusual nuptials – that’s quite a story about renovation and love.” “I read the Times faithfully, and every now and then I would come across a “Vows” story on Sundays that would have me in quiet, somewhat embarrassed, tears. I think my husband Peter must have
“caught” me on more than one occasion and decided to write something about how we came to meet and marry. Several weeks later a Times writer contacted us, to our surprise and delight! It’s a story with an assorted cast of characters, but the short of it is that independently my best friend and Peter’s best friend – who at that time barely knew one another – told us within a 12 hour time span about a unique home that was coming on the market. We had been dating for a couple of years, and probably thinking to ourselves we might eventually live together, but it was really the house – our home now - that proved to be the catalyst. Our “House of Earth + Light” (as it’s now called), had thick walls and tall windows on the north and south sides, capturing the true essence of Arizona: light and sky. It had a fabric roof, no air-conditioning and no closets. We saw it and instantly knew this was for us. We moved into a converted metal shop out back (along with our big dog, big bird, and occasional visiting grown children) and started the renovations. Our goal was to transform the home without compromising its original design intention. The home, which also made the cover of Dwell magazine’s premier issue, is in a neighborhood that welcomes unique, eclectic and experimental architecture–
we’re surrounded by homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Tod Williams, Billie Tsien and Wil Bruder. Oh…and then we finally did assemble 200 of our friends and family to celebrate our wedding at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.” “What do you miss most about Connecticut?” “I do miss the snow! Of course not the messy aftermath of a storm, but the stillness of the cold generates a very romantic memory in my mind. And I admit I miss the seasons, too. Edgerton Park on Whitney Avenue in Hamden is a place that I have very fond springtime memories of. My father’s buried in a cemetery on Whitney Avenue so when we come back to visit my mother and the gravesite, we always stop for a lobster roll in town - it’s our ritual of paying homage to our roots”. ”What has been your favorite exhibit since opening?” “I have so many favorites.... some are memorable for their scope of effort and impact. We once had an installation titled “The Natural Bardo” by artist Gene Cooper, who has a non life-threatening heart condition. He covered the floor of the gallery with river rocks, installed a
sprinkler system above the ceiling tiles, and built a wooden bridge for us to get from the front gallery to the back offices; a sort of ecosystem that would allow the electrical impulses from his heart to trigger activity in this environment. For his performance he sat very still, with a pulse monitor, and he was able to speed up his heart rate and move a large wooden clock behind him rather quickly, or meditate and slow it down, the wheel cranking to a very slow pace. This installation took a great amount of effort and I especially gravitated to the blend of art and science.” How do artists get their work shown in your gallery? “I travel a great deal and I see a lot of art. I try to do most of that “looking” during the summer season because that is typically a slower time of year here due to the desert heat. I sometimes ask artists who we represent to tell me about young up and coming artists they think have potential. We also look at new work via submission every two years – quite honestly, we receive approximately 500 submissions every 24 months so there is no shortage of work to review. We look for artists who are caring, giving people – artists who are of course passionate
ART + HOME
about their work and produce compelling work - but who also want to develop a long-term relationship with us.” “Let’s discuss the striking Fiona Pardington exhibit– Ahua: A Beautiful Hesitation & The Language of Skulls. How did it come to your gallery?” “In May 2010 I travelled to Sydney Australia for the 17th Biennale of Sydney. Three of our artists were included, so I had to go! While there, visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art, I had the pleasure of seeing Fiona’s work and I have to admit I reacted very strongly to it, not really knowing the story behind these amazing portraits. When I returned to Arizona I couldn’t quite get them out of my mind – at first I thought it might be jet lag because I couldn’t sleep for three weeks from the excitement that I felt. These overscale portraits were extraordinary and the power inherent in the images was inspiring. My mind was firing on all cylinders so I decided to begin the task of bringing her work to the United States for the first time”. “You mentioned the exhibit was in New York City at the Park Avenue Armory in March. What would our Venü readers have expected to see?” “What they would have seen may have sur52
This actual collection of the phrenological models of Gall’s and the life masks of the Maori now reside in the Musee de l’Homme in Paris, but Pardington was able to capture these men in “larger than life” photographs that exquisitely detail their closed eyes, minutely creased lids, hollowed cheeks and grooved tattoos. prised them. These mural-sized portraits glow like maps of a past world and possess a haunting presence due to Pardington’s sensuous optical attention. She did an incredible job capturing the living spirit of these subjects. Pardington is a New Zealand photographer of Scottish and Maori decent who discovered these life masks through her tribe historian. Cast approximately 175 years ago by French explorer Dumont d’Urville and phrenologist Pierre-Marie Dumoutier (Antarctica’s first cranioscopist), the three-dimensional life-masks are of the Maori warriors, Tangatahara and Piuraki. Leaders of the highest caliber, they were fully tattooed (moko), hard and strong men. One was a fighting chief and the other, a multi-lingual who lived in France for many years and considered a great lawyer for his people. Ahua: A Beautiful Hesitation showcases Pardington’s over-sized portraits of these cast heads of Maori and other indigenous people. The Language of Skulls exhibit is also based on life-masks. Franz Joseph
Gall, the father of phrenology during the Enlightenment-era produced castings but of a medical nature. Phrenology was a pseudo-science where mapping out the cranial surface according to 27 corresponding “mind organs” (religion, poetry, vanity, arrogance, etc.) could determine the true psyche of man according to corresponding bulges or indentations of the skull. This actual collection of the phrenological models of Gall’s and the life masks of the Maori now reside in the Musee de l’Homme in Paris, but Pardington was able to capture these men in “larger than life” photographs that exquisitely detail their closed eyes, minutely creased lids, hollowed cheeks and grooved tattoos - giving us a spiritual understanding of their culture and sweeping us across time and oceans. It’s magical. “Thank you very much for spending time with us Lisa and we look forward to welcoming a fellow Nutmegger back to Connecticut!”
a tt Barre Peter Cohen r Arthu Colacicco i Mich wson a Joel D Diebold e g r Geo lison l E Lori ox F r e Pet mer Froo t t Bre amilton Lisa H aradi K Kika en Kucka le h t rt Ka ambe L e s s Je ule n Ma lyn i v r e K a n e Sag Adin a Sweete iversal h n s U a Nat -Suarez s a a g lesk Var na Va berg Shon Vieira ohen e H l e n Cib e vo toph Chris n Wilkes e Steph om
67 8 20 nk.com 5 8 203 nuartli st info@ d Ea a o R 0 Post 0688 19-b ort, CT tp Wes
“Art Case” by Matthew Sturtevant
The piano is probably one of the most widely used musical instruments of all. Most households have one–whether they are actually used for playing can be debated, but in most cases the intention of owning one is to make music. There are other circumstances, however, in which the piano becomes more than just an instrument and crosses over in to the arena of artwork. A musician would argue that they are already a technical piece of art but that can only be shown by the prowess of the musician. Decorating a musical instrument, however, takes on different meanings. Many piano companies have designed pianos not just for playing, but also to fit the client’s household. Well-established firms such as Steinway, Pleyel, Erard Freres and Bosendorfer to name a few, not only designed an amazing instrument, but sought top designers to reflect the most fashionable “artcases” for the times in which they were created. Herter Brothers designed a case for Weber that was displayed in the Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia. The Rococo revival Steinway shown (above left) is made of fine Brazilian rosewood circa 1855 and reflects the décor that was fashionable at that time. It is also very likely among the earlier examples of Steinways works in America. Their first piano produced in America is believed to have been made in 1853. A later piano lavishly inlaid and mounted with finely chased gilt bronze mounts was made by Erard Freres. Their design, shown 54
(above right) which was most likely commissioned and is designed as a pastiche incorporating inlays after the design of Jean-Henri Riesener who designed Louis the XV’s personal desk, is now housed in the Louvre. Other designers such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Jacque Emile Ruhlman, Donald Desky and the Stickley brothers would collaborate with piano manufacturers to outfit the interiors of the houses that they designed. Another reason for art cases is the musician’s request for something to set them apart from the masses. Two performers come immediately to mind: Liberace–who had 39 different pianos–and Elton John. Sometimes, the owner wishes that what shows on the outside reflects the possibility of greatness or inspiration to the player. The fact remains that the interior is only as good as the musician and technician, and the exterior is only as good as its designer.
AQUARIUS 871 Post Road, Darien, CT 06820 203.655.7303
Leonard Nemoy, well known actor and artist will be showing five photographs including this one pictured at right, “Helmut Newton 1”, from his Full Bodies Series. Nemoy is famous for his work in feature films, television and theater spanning several decades. He is best known for his role in the Star Trek TV series; his character Mr. Spock became an icon, and his portrayal of the Vulcan Spock earned him three Emmy nominations. He has also directed two Star Trek movies as well as the blockbuster hit, “Three Men and a Baby.” His first photographic showing was in l973, and since 2003 he has been focusing primarily on his photography career.
Gender theme generates big conversation in small town, in new exhibition
at Ridgefield Guild of Artists Gender has never been a more timely topic. In today’s fast paced mass-media world, all of us–men, women, boys and girls–are constantly bombarded with so many issues and images that are concerned with gender, from our American society’s uneasy quest to define marriage and our military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” to our personal acceptance or non-acceptance of various celebrities who have “come out,” and the very intimate struggle of individuals, young and old, who are questioning their own place on the gender spectrum. And now, it is not just children, adolescents, and young adults who are more open about gender; it is also the parents who are “coming out,” according to Ridgefield artist Nancy Moore, mother of a transgender son (who was born female). In trying to find her own voice as the parent of a transgender child, Moore conceived the theme of an art show over a year ago and approached the Ridgefield Guild of Artists, which embraced it enthusiastically. As a result, Moore is chairing and curating the multi-media exhibition “Continuum: Gender Identities,” from April 30through June 3 at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists. The public opening reception is April 30th, from 6 to 9 PM. “Each of us exists somewhere on the continuum between male and female,” says Moore. “For some of us, that space is clearly defined; for others, it is more fluid. Some of us move freely about the world in our given skin; others shed that skin and create a new one.” “Continuum” is a powerful exploration of how artists choose to depict gender in their work, from traditional images of masculine and feminine to works that bend or question gender roles. “I’ve invited 56
a range of artists, from those whose lives and art have nothing to do with gender orientation to those whose lives and art are a celebration of that theme,” says Moore. “These artists will be expressing the subject of gender in its many manifestations: in nature, in the human family, in a political context, as an abstract concept, or as a personal statement. The result is a fascinating look at a range of expression meant for a wide audience.” Artists have been asked to write personal statements about their work and/or their lives as they relate to gender, which will appear as text next to the art, creating a more intimate dialogue between artist and viewer, and provoking discussion among viewers. These statements will also appear in a full-color catalogue created especially for this show. There will also be a “gender bookshelf,” filled with books to borrow, buy, or just peruse. Moore believes that these components help elevate “Continuum” from an art show to a teachable moment, an educational tool, and a public service. “And, of course,” Moore hastens to add, “I’m hoping that people have a lot of fun walking through the exhibit, simply to enjoy themselves.” Over fifty artists will be represented in the three spacious galleries of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists at 34 Halpin Lane. And a small gallery on the second floor will present adolescent art and writing on this topic. Participants include students from the writing department at the Educational Center for the Arts (ECA) in New Haven, an arts magnet high school that draws students from all over the state. Their handwritten work will be pinned to the walls from floor to ceiling, and chairs will be available for the purpose of lingering and becoming immersed in the work. “In addition to working with the very talented and seasoned artists who will be in this show, it has been
“Helmut Newton 1”, Image courtesy of R. Michelson Galleries www.RMichelson.com Photograph by Leonard Nemoy
“Nature Calls/All Dressed Up”, 30" x 40", C-print Photograph by Helen Klisser During
“Gender has its own language, often expressed through color. I was thinking about how we use color to label our babies (their clothing, the walls of their bedrooms) so that people won’t think they’re the “wrong” gender. This first of three “blanket statements” turns those labels inside out, opening the space up for question marks. It plays with the idea that gender can’t be fit neatly into a square; it can’t or shouldn’t be checked off in a box as on so many of the forms we are presented with as adults. I’ve chosen a soft medium to talk about a hard subject, an innocent canvas on which to project assumptions that so many of us are guilty of making. I want to spread out lots of blankets and have lots of conversations on them.” – Nancy Moore
tremendously rewarding to provide young voices and more marginalized artists with an opportunity to display their work,” Moore noted. “Since the show’s inception, it has blossomed in many unexpected and welcome directions,” says Moore. “The show was originally conceived as national in scope, but it has rapidly gone international as the buzz has spread through social networks. As a result, we will be displaying C-prints from Korea, the work of an award-winning documentary filmmaker from New Zealand, two “outsider” artists from Holland, a graphic artist from Ecuador, and two printmakers from Cape Dorset, Canada. Another wonderful development is that actor Leonard Nimoy’s work will be in the show. Nimoy is an accomplished photographer, having recently exhibited at MassMoCA. A very wide range of media is being presented, including glass, comic art, painting, fiber art, photography, sculpture, video, encaustic, woodcut, jewelry, digital art, and ceramics.” Moore is also working with the Ridgefield Guild to provide an array of programming throughout the run of the show. S. Bear Bergman, a Ridgefield native and transgender male who is a performance 58
artist, storyteller, lecturer, mentor, and author–his books include Gender Outlaws (with co-author Kate Bornstein), Butch Is a Noun, and The Nearest Exist May Be Behind You–will perform on Sunday, May 1. Artist walk-and-talks are scheduled on four Saturdays from 3 to 4 p.m., on May 7, 14, 21, and 28. Three to four artists will discuss their work at each event. In addition, many groups will be meeting in the space, including a writers’ group, a book group, an artists’ salon, and various LGBTQ groups. “My goal for this show is to create a big conversation in a small town,” says Moore, “and to create an exchange between artists and audience that can take place in an environment that’s not charged with the usual awkwardness surrounding this subject. The idea that art can create a safe space to explore timely and significant topics is a critical component of the Guild’s mission, and I could not be prouder of living in a town that contains this gem of an art association.” The Ridgefield Guild of Artists will be open Tuesdays through Sundays, 12- 4 p.m. from May 1st through June 3rd. For further information, call 203.438.8863 or visit the website: www.ROGA.org.
“Though the purse is a female possession, the steel of which these are made is masculine, evoking strength and endurance. This androgyny is an aspect ever present in my work, as my sculpting is my savior from lopsided life. After many unhappy years of being the dutiful wife, a precedent set and encouraged by my mother and expected by my husband, I somehow understood that I needed to change. So I set about strengthening the undeveloped aspects of myself and subduing the feminine to find a balance. The only avenue of self-discovery that was open to me in my isolated world, living out in the country, was running. After much training, I ran many marathons, very nearly qualifying for the Olympics. In this experience lay the understanding that I had the discipline, strength, endurance, and focus to do what I really wanted to do with my life. I left my marriage and became a sculptor. For me, the purse’s interior represents the private self; and the exterior, the public self. The outer form is painstakingly modeled to perfection with a meticulous decorative texture on the surface. My effort seemed related to women’s preoccupation with their body shape and how best to present this outer self to the world. Though the unadorned interior is equally beautiful, it seems inadequate and so the need to embellish. Selfpresentation is one of the oldest and most basic ways available to women for creative expression.” – Diana Moore
“A POEM FOR ALL PEOPLE” was inspired by and dedicated to my granddaughter. She has written beautiful poems about her life that she lets no one read . . . no one except me . . . perhaps by now others have been “let in.” But for a time, I was the only reader. The blocked keys of the typewriter symbolize for me the secret nature of the words she writes. The keys are covered with jewelry charms to represent the beauty of her words. My granddaughter is in a phase of deep exploration about her life . . . there are many changes. I just sit back and quietly watch as her life choices unfold . . . I am honored as a grandparent to have the front-row seat she has given me.” – Nina Bentley
“Clothing often acts as a layer of protection or a means of escape for women” – Regina Moss
by Philip Eliasoph
Civic Space + Visual Library + Academic Freedom = Neuberger Museum at Purchase College interview:
Tracy Fitzpatrick, Curator, Neuberger Museum of Art, Associate Professor of Art History, Purchase College
Juggling “practice and theory” in her profession, Tracy Fitzpatrick has achieved a kind of cosmic nirvana. Feeling “really lucky” with her career trajectory, she calibrates energy, skill-set and intellect into her own Cuisinart blend of creativity. Between ‘hands-on’ curating and college classroom teaching, Fitzpatrick is hitting a full-gallop stride. It’s a really rewarding–but exhausting–balancing act, and the students and visitors to the Neuberger Museum have ample evidence of her accomplishments. There’s little doubt in my mind that she is just the kind of teaching arts ambassador that the museum’s namesake, Bridgeport native and Wall Street financier Roy R. Neuberger, would have hired to promote his personal vision. The net result is Fitzpatrick’s pleasure in “spending time with my students, [which] makes me a better curator, and… spend60
ing time with art objects, [which] makes me a better teacher.” Arriving at this moment in her career, she took an uncharacteristic pause in her daily routine for an updated spin around the galleries. With a growing resume listing numerous coveted fellowships from national foundations, faculty grants, and a diversified range of publications and catalogs on topics ranging from ‘Women Artists and the WPA Era’ to ‘Underground Art: Images of the New York City Subway’, she offers a richness of knowledge without becoming bogged-down or hyper-focused in academic myopia. It’s been too long since this art critic had last visited the Neuberger Museum. A robust calendar of innovative exhibits and events were routinely on my ‘must-do’ list for reviews many years ago on my peripatetic itinerary around the regional arts scene. Founded in 1967 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Purchase College is yet another jewel in the crown of his great-
Neuberger Museum of Art At SUNY Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY Telephone: 914. 251. 6100, Email: www. neuberger. org
est achievement: The creation of a state university system with 72 campuses serving the educational aspirations of a quarter of a million students annually. As one of the nation’s modern Medici, ‘Rocky’ will forever be honored for funding one of the world’s leading public education systems. In some miniscule way, I too am deeply indebted to this powerful arts patron and educational champion, as an appreciative alumnus.
With the romantic instincts of a utopian socialist vision–like the un-built fantasies of Antonio Sant’ Elia’s “Citta Nuova” of 1914–the Purchase campus can now both be appreciated and critiqued as a vestigial specimen of what works well and what might have been lost in translation. The huge hulking buildings, many windowless with massively blank surfaces, form a Mondrian grid of monolithic anonymity.
Nestled in the wooded 500 acres of the historic Strathglass Farm estate, once owned by Revolutionary War patriot Thomas Thomas, Purchase College is a ‘flash-frozen’ monument of mega-scaled late modernist architecture. Long before hitting the tarmac at Westchester Airport, I had grown accustomed to flying over the ensemble of buildings since my last campus visit over 20 years ago. But a recent ‘legs on the ground’ viewing of the Purchase complex sparked a re-thinking of the strengths and weaknesses of the sprawling environs.
One might imagine Lincoln Center torn from an urban location and replaced with stately oak and pine trees serving as sentinels to a De Chirico-esque landscape. People are reduced to mere model figurines moving across these broad planes, campus pathways, and endless perspectival vistas. The master builders’ egos enjoyed the purity of their blueprint designs at a price. It’s just so hard to imagine college kids or campus visitors arriving for a wonderful evening of dance, jazz, or classical music warming up to their megalomaniacal spaces. Homo-sapien two-legged creatures wandering across a series of X+Y+Z intersecting surfaces, voids and volumes are reduced to accessories–not primary inhabitants.
Transforming open fields into a master plan, Edward Larrabee Barnes and a team of architects were thrown into service as Rockefeller used his checkbook, New York State’s tax subsidies, and his mighty artistic whip as a pharonic overseer building his great educational temple city at Purchase. With contributions from a who’s who of architectural titans including John Burgee, Paul Rudolph, Charles Gwathmey and Robert Venturi, the campus grew into a massive intersection of architectural planning and rigidly applied late modern aesthetics. I think of it as the final gasp of the Bauhaus, on steroids–an experiment, though brilliantly conceived, but with consequences not entirely thought through.
More chilling in its alienating mood and less sensorial by embracing human proportions, the space for public education, arts and enlightenment arouses questions about the course of such orthodox planning. These types of uber-modernist designs remind me of Ada Louise Huxtable’s comment about modern architects like Gropius, Wright and Mies who designed uncomfortable residences. They “never insisted that their occupants re-shape themselves to conform to an abstract architectural ideal.”
Edward Hopper, Barber Shop, 1931, Oil on canvas, 60 x 78 inches Collection Neuberger Museum of Art Purchase College, State University of New York Gift of Roy R. Neuberger, Photo: Jim Frank
Fortunately, Philip Johnson’s generous 79,000 square-foot design for the Neuberger Museum gives ample latitude for Fitzpatrick to design and install exhibitions with innumerable possibilities. Opened in 1974, Mr. Neuberger has been quoted as saying that the “true spirit of his personal collection could be found on the second floor.” Up there you will experience a steady stream of American masters of the 20th century. He bought a bundle of works by Milton Avery, sensing his unrecognized talent. Recently seen on the walls at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Edward Hopper’s “Barbershop” is a crème-de-lacrème signature work of America’s leading curmudgeon. “We’ve been in that place,” we muse–not fully comprehending its disquieting silences. Iconic Abstract Expressionist works by Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell and Willem de Kooning are like pulsating Buddhist incantations, their mantras beckoning us into moments of reverie, dread and ecstasy. If I was ever left alone upstairs, it would be reminiscent of Mark Rothko’s chapel at St. Thomas University in Houston. “OHMMM…” A street-smart stockbroker who founded one of Wall Street’s most respected investment firms, Neuberger died at age 107 in December, 2010 at his home in the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan. He was unquestionably one of the most celebrated art collectors of his generation. “I like adventuresome work that I didn’t understand,” he noted. “For art to be good it has to be over your head.” 62
In the most heartfelt manner, let me kneel in lasting admiration: “Thanks so very much Mr. Neuberger–you’ve given generations so much to think about, reflect on, and just enjoy!” * * * * VENÜ: Tracy, – knowing how much multi-tasking you do in a position wearing at least two hats, let’s jump right in. Can you offer us an insight into your own sense of the interactive roles you play simultaneously as art curator and college professor? What’s the yin-yang of curating and teaching effectively? Tracy: At Purchase, I get to do the two things I love: teach art history and curate art exhibitions. It’s that combination of practice and theory that’s the great thing about my job and, really, really, what exemplifies Purchase. This is a place designed specifically for that purpose. It’s where students can, amazingly, learn about the history of modern art in one building and then go next door to the Neuberger Museum and spend time with a Jackson Pollock or a Mark Rothko. Are there any specific duties, obligations, or perhaps even burdens – you feel that a university art museum requires in contrast to larger national flagship institutions [MoMA, Guggenheim] or smaller privately organized museums [Frick, Corcoran, etc.]? What sets you apart? That’s a really important question . . . You know, for most college museums, the campus is more than just home or the place where the building sits. For us, Purchase College not
Jack Levine, The Banquet, 1941, Oil on canvas, 25 1/4 x 30 inches Collection Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York Gift of Roy R. Neuberger
only enables, but also necessitates that the Neuberger take advantage of academic freedom in the way we approach our program. And that means taking some risks in what we do. It’s complicated, though. The Neuberger, like a handful of our peers in the US, is unique in that we’re both a college museum and a civic institution, operated, in part, by the State of New York. That makes us, to use Robert Storr’s words, a kind of public library of visual culture. From that starting point, it’s is more about how a museum negotiates its role as a civic space that works within the protections of academic freedom. I think the answer, at least for me, isn’t only about the material you offer, but also about the questions you ask—of the material and of your viewer. If approached thoughtfully and rigorously, the museum can meet the challenge. It can even be a model for teaching, since the classroom prompts similar kinds of questions. Recognizing that quite admirably, the Neuberger has never shied away from exhibitions which are ‘cutting edge,’ ‘out there,’ or even ‘controversial’ – how does the support of the taxpayers of the State of New York impact the curatorial or decision-making process? Is absolute ‘freedom of expression’ versus consideration of context ever compromised? For an art museum to be located on a college campus, it seems to me to be the best of all possible worlds. It allows us to pose important questions and educate the broadest possible audience in and through the visual arts.
You have such a wide range of interests – from the development of early abstraction, feminist art, and the visual culture of the New York City subway system. Tell us a bit about your background with details of your educational and professional experiences, and most valuable lessons you have learned along the journey. I was really lucky because I found art history early, in my first semester of college. The big thing was, OK, now that I’ve found it, what do it do with it. I did lots of internships at different kinds of art spaces. And, then, while interning at a major museum in Boston, I was leaving the building one night, after hours, by way of the neo-classical sculpture galleries. The lights were out and there were no guards around. I stopped in front of this sculpture of a child sleeping on a cushion, and I remember thinking to myself: How can marble look so soft but be so hard? It was right then that I decided to work directly with art objects. Now, years later, I find I’m more experienced in my field but, essentially, I’m in exactly the same place—still fascinated by art objects, their tactility, their beauty, and their meanings both past and present. I found teaching much later, really quite unexpectedly, while finishing my Ph.D. I was giving my first college course and kind of surprised myself at how much I loved being in the classroom. In many ways, a classroom is more fluid than a museum. It’s a space where ideas can be exchanged more quickly and where I’m always learning from my students. The most important lesson I’ve learned professionally is that spending time with my students makes me a better curator and that spending time with art objects makes me a better teacher. ARTS/CULTURE/STYLE//MAGAZINE
Cleve Gray, Threnody (detail), 1972-73. Acrylic on canvas, 28 panels, 6 panels: 240 x 110 inches each, 22 panels: 240 x 103 inches each Collection Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York Gift of the artist with support from the Friends of the Neuberger Msueum of Art
Richard Diebenkorn, Girl on a Terrace, 1956, Oil on canvas, 70 1/2 x 65 3/8 inches Collection Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York Gift of Roy R. Neuberger
When Mr. Neuberger was honored at the White House in 2007, at a spry 104 years of age, the citation for the National Arts Medal noted both his “keen eye and generous spirit.” In your capacity as the ‘hands on’ steward of this remarkable collection –can you point to key examples of how prescient he was in the almost mystical realm known as the ‘art of collecting?’ I really think that Roy’s prescience certainly went to his collecting; he bought artists in the formative stages of their careers—artists like Romare Bearden, Willem de Kooning, Edward Hopper, Lee Krasner, Hedde Sterne, Jacob Lawrence, and Jackson Pollock. But he was also a pioneer in other areas. From 1940s through 1960s, he loaned portions of his collection to small and rural museums in the US and to foreign embassies in “goodwill” exhibitions. For example, he loaned work to the American National Exhibition, which was held in Sokolniki Park, Moscow in 1959. That show was one of the first results of the cultural agreement signed between the US and the Soviet Union in 1958. He sent parts of his collection to other countries during that time as well–to Japan, England, Italy, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Israel. Often, these exhibitions gave diverse audiences with their first at works by artists like Pollock. I think he also helped begin another important trend—he bought art to hang in the offices of his firm, Neuberger Berman. That was a choice that helped forge the idea of the corporate art collection. One of favorite pearls of wisdom was a precious quip from the legendary art dealer, Lord Joseph Duveen. As he inspired America’s greatest art patrons – Frick, Kress, Huntington, Mellon – to reach for their checkbooks, he would whisper: “Art is priceless – and when you pay for the infinite with the finite – you’re getting a bargain!” My question is: how do you react when visitors to the Neuberger are often more curious that your wonderful Pollock has a cur-
in terms of acquiring artists early in their careers versus those purchases he made of already acknowledged American masters? I don’t really think of it as intuition. I think of it as a commitment, a commitment to a guiding principle—to support living artists. For him, that meant buying work from an artist, often at a time in their lives when they needed it most. Take the Pollock just as one for example. Roy bought that work in 1949. He walked in the Betty Parsons Gallery to see Pollock’s show there that November. The show was a few months after that big Life magazine article on Pollock, you know, the one that asked if he was the greatest living painter in the United States. Pollock was getting attention, certainly, but he hadn’t gotten a lot of traction in sales yet. Parsons called Roy later that day and said something to the effect of, “I saw you earlier, looking closely at that one painting. You know, Jackson really needs money. Would you buy it?” And Roy said yes. He bought a lot of his work that way. Practically wet and often from artists at formative moments in their careers. If you can’t tell me what it’s worth, can you at least tell me what he paid for it? $800.
Willem de Kooning, Marilyn Monroe, 1954, Oil on canvas, 50 x 30 inches Collection Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York Gift of Roy R. Neuberger, Photo: Jim Frank
rent market value which could easily endow dozens of full professorships for the university. How do you keep their eye on Duveen’s sense of the “infinite?” You’re right. People do want to know what the Pollock is worth. I don’t tell them and I can’t tell you. But I can say that when I’m asked the question, I explain how Roy thought about his art. He didn’t buy art as an investment. In fact, he never sold a painting. He just gave them away—to big and small museums. And he didn’t like to talk about art history either. He just bought what he liked, what he enjoyed looking at. He loved living with his art, talking about it. He would visit the museum and even into his 100s, he could remember where he bought a work and why he chose the one he chose. He was passionate about it. So, I try to convey that passion to the people who come visit with us. Our readers are always fascinated to better understand the subtle relationships between the economics of the art market, the hierarchies of the museum world, and the dynamics of artists who achieve enormous critical success. In your mind, how do you evaluate Mr. Neuberger’s intuition
Finally, let’s play an old ‘what if?’ that many art historians, curators, or even collectors with deep affection for specific collections often engage in as an intellectual and emotional game. Tracy, if ‘Heavens forbid!’ the fire alarm was suddenly going off and you dash out of your office to see the Neuberger’s collection endangered by rising flames – which painting or object would grab and head for the front door knowing you could only rescue one? A really tough question, but I’d grab the one I think meant the most the Roy—Marsden Hartley’s Fisherman’s Last Supper (1940-41), an extraordinary painting that is probably the best known work he purchased. He bought that painting in 1943 from the well known art dealer Paul Rosenberg. In 2003, at the age of 100, he wrote about that work in his autobiography, The Passionate Collector. He said that when he brought it home, he felt like he had finally had an American masterpiece. And he did. It’s been included in major exhibitions on Hartley and on American modernism. Fortunately, (considering the question!), for now it’s still hanging in his apartment, probably missing him as much as he loved it.
Photo by Erin Gleeson Studio, NYC
Philip Eliasoph is Professor of Art History at Fairfield University. He moderates and directs the university’s popular Open Visions Forum series, featuring leading authors, political figures, and artistic notables in a series of public conversations in a town hall setting. He serves as a Commissioner for Culture and Tourism for the State of Connecticut. In September, his new book on the life and art of the nearly forgotten painter Colleen Browning, NA [1918-2003] will be published in conjunction with an international retrospective of her works.
Six Fairfield University Art History Seniors Survey Connecticut’s Art Treasures Imagine six Art History majors in their last semester of college wondering “What is my favorite piece of artwork in Connecticut?” It is an exciting, personal, subjective, yet challenging undertaking. It is challenging because, “How could you just pick one?” We traveled to the four corners of Connecticut in search of our favorite work. We spent time scanning the streets for provocative public art, marveling at Connecticut’s architectural masterpieces, and simply looking. Yet, some of us still wondered “What inspires us? What confuses us? What captivates us?” And so we continued searching. On our journey, we encountered Manet’s Victorine, walked into van Gogh’s Night Café, and inserted our name in James Esber’s exhibition. As the stories of the artists, the meanings of the works, and the emo-
Hallie Thomas - Westport, Connecticut. My favorite piece of art in Connecticut is Monet’s classic, “Grainstacks in Bright Sunlight.” Words can hardly describe this work. It is simply fascinating to see this work up close and in person, because Monet had such talent when it came to painting style and technique. On the canvas, the viewer is able to see how Monet was able to create such brilliant and vibrant colors. He was able to perfectly portray the shadows of the grainstacks as the sunlight is beaming down. Some of my favorite works of art have been created by French artists, such as Monet and Degas. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that masterpieces by these artists are located right here in Connecticut.
Anne Carter - Exeter, New Hampshire. “Fishing Boats at Sea” by Monet caught my attention because it creates a sense of serenity through the use of color. The bold choice of green depicts an ocean that is awakening with the sunrise. The lighting Monet uses captures the early morning light; only the horizon is luminous as the sun begins to rise. The cool colored fishing boats are silhouetted against the warm pigments of the sky. This dramatic color scheme really drew me into the work, and truly captured a moment in time. There is an intense triangulation between the three boats, which creates a circular force within the work. This brought me further into the moment, and allowed me to experience the energy and serenity of the painting.
Megan Kimmins - Staten Island, New York. “Everything I know and everything I believe disappears as I approach “Untitled” by Mark Rothko at Yale University’s Art Gallery. The glowing intensity of the colors draws me in closer and closer until suddenly, all that I can feel are the warm colors rushing over me. A room that, a minute ago, was occupied by people, is now occupied by just my thoughts and reflections. I am able to quiet the world around me and step out of reality. The colorful nuances created by Rothko allow me to travel along the curves of my feelings and navigate the depths of my thoughts. The colors beg me to continue to question and explore, even after I step away from the painting.”
Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926) Grainstacks in Bright Sunlight, 1890 Oil on canvas, 23 x 38 inches Alfred Atmore Pope Collection Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, CT
Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926) Fishing Boats at Sea, 1868 Oil on canvas, 37 ½ x 50 ¾ inches Alfred Atmore Pope Collection Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, CT
Mark Rothko (American, born Russia, 1903–1970), Untitled, 1954 Oil on unprimed canvas, 93 x 56 3/16 in. (236.2 x 142.7 cm) The Katharine Ordway Collection, 1980.12.24
©1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
tions of painting’s subjects were unveiled before us, we encountered brief moments of clarity. For instance, staring through the open door of Hopper’s Rooms by the Sea provided us with a short time of self-reflection. It reminded us that the future is not a dark shadow looming in the distance; it is a bright light right in front of us. Throughout our time at Fairfield University, it was easy to become swept up in the zeitgeist of the time and the meanings of so many works. Our focus was so intense that we began to question whether or not the image in front of us was actually art. We asked ourselves, “What is art?” We know art cannot be defined without limiting its potential. Art also calls upon a feeling from the viewer that reveals a significant part of the viewer’s self. Therefore, it was important to embark on this journey throughout Connecticut in search of our favorite artworks. We needed to find a work of art that captured our hearts, changed our moods, stimulated our imaginations, and ultimately inspired us. All of our experiences in the last four years, particularly this one, will help us navigate through the world outside of Fairfield University’s gates. – Megan Kimmins
Caitlin Parker, Randolph, New Jersey. Instead of playing dress-up, painting my nails all hues of pink, and digging through my mother’s makeup, as a young girl I often found myself with grass stains and bruises from playing sports with my older brother and his friends. Yet, while visiting the Hillstead Museum, I turned the corner into one of the many rooms of the early 20th century mansion and discovered a classic Edgar Degas. “Dancers in Pink” hung effortlessly in the abundant light of the drawing room. Instantly, I felt my tomboy childhood instincts melt away. The rich pink of the dancers’ dresses, the flowers in their hair, and the exposed and slightly seductive back of the central figure made me want to throw my hair up and indulge in my own feminine instincts. Dress-up, anyone?
Carolyn Greene, Bristol, Connecticut. For me, the best work of art in Connecticut is Mary Cassatt’s,“A Caress”, located at the New Britain Museum of American Art. Looking at this work I feel like I’m entering my own childhood memories. The impressionistic brush strokes help transport me back to an age when the warm embrace of a mother could make all life’s problems disappear. Standing in front of this painting envelops me with the comfort, love, and protection that can only come from human touch. This work of art brings the strength of human relationships to life and shows me that this human bond is all we need to feel connected with one another.
Anna Matos, Bronx, New York. My favorite art in Connecticut would have to be KAWS’ “Companion (Passing Through)” sculpture currently on view at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. The giant, sixteen-foot tall sculpture sitting in the museum’s sculpture garden is a fantastical sight to see. A child of the graffiti movement, Brooklyn-based artist KAWS has risen to worldwide fame. His “Companion” is the latest installment in an incredibly unique career. The subject originated in 1999 as a limited edition small action figure. KAWS’ signature skull and crossbones head situated upon the body of Mickey Mouse allows for a hybrid form recognizable around the world with a twist. It is relatable to all and appreciated by many. When wandering through the sculpture garden, it is a delightful treat to find a larger than life “companion” to enjoy the garden with. But hurry—this amazing installation is only up until June 5 before leaving Connecticut
Edgar Hillaire Degas (French, 1834-1917) Dancers in Pink, c. 1876 Oil on canvas, 23 ¼ x 29 ¼ inches Alfred Atmore Pope Collection Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington CT
Mary Cassatt (1845-1926) A Caress, 1891 Pastel on paper, 29 ¼ x 23 ¾ inches New Britain Museum of American Art Harriet Russell Stanley Fund
KAWS Companion (Passing Through), 2010 Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Chad Kleitsch Copyright information: KAWS, Companion (Passing Through) (installation view at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum), 2010. KAWS is represented by Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles; Gering & López Gallery, New York; and Galería Javier López, Madrid.
PHOTO CONCEPTUAL ARTIST STEVEN VAUGHAN COMBINES HIS BACKGROUND IN MASS MEDIA, POP CULTURE AND FASHION INTO PAINTED STATEMENTS ON SOCIETY
By Jenifer Howard
Photo conceptual artist Steven Vaughan with his latest painting, Paradise City, a mix of The Bible and a Guns N’ Roses song title. Vaughan thinks it is both holy and hip, like the painting.
think of my work as both photorealism and conceptual art. Two very challenging movements combined for the first time, and these photo-conceptual paintings require a great deal of thought before the first brush stroke is ever made,” stated Steven Vaughan, an emerging artist on the Fairfield County art scene whose photo conceptual paintings are on display and available for private showings at the Delamar Southport Hotel, and who has prints for sale at the Samuel Owen Gallery in Stamford. Vaughan’s surreal painting of a 1955 one-of-a-kind Mercedes Benz race car amid a field of pale yellow roses, with its muted grey, yellow and white colors entitled Benz and Roses, (48” x 72” acrylic on canvas), evokes different emotions in both men and women, with women loving the sensual beauty of the painting, and men reveling in the gorgeous car. Yet Vaughan’s reasoning behind why he painted it describes a much deeper meaning.
his commercial work is available at StevenVaughan.net. His awards include: “Best of Year” TV campaign from Advertising Age, “Best Art Direction” at New York Art Directors Club, “Best TV Spot” Chicago Film Festival, and the Effie “for a 20% increase in sales” from his Publix supermarket TV campaign. Vaughan also extended his passion for design to create his own brand of eyewear. His private label was sold in more than 100 stores and represented 40% of sunglass sales at Henri Bendel’s in New York City. Halle Berry wore them on the Red Carpet at the 2003 Oscars, and Lisa Marie Presley, Harrison Ford, Denzel Washington, and Elton John, are among the large list of celebrities who wear them. In addition to also designing his own line of menswear and freelancing for Juicy Couture and Liz Claiborne, he has created and designed logos and graphics for many clients including movie studios, private schools, radio and TV stations and restaurants. The common thread among all of these diverse projects from
“I was thinking about how men and women covet very different things and how those things really are at opposite ends of the spectrum,” said Vaughan. “Could I take two obvious things that men and women love that have little in common and create a harmonious image? A visual equivalent of marriage? I failed to do this in life, but perhaps I could do it in art.” Vaughan’s love of art and his passion for paintings that reflect pop culture of the past two decades comes from his previous life spent as a successful award-winning director in the advertising in-
dustry, where he directed more than 300 national and international television commercials for Fortune 500 companies including BMW, Ford, Chrysler, L’Oreal, Chanel, The Wall Street Journal, AT&T, DeBeers Diamonds, Taco Bell, US Air, Nissan Motors, Miller Beer, Red Dog Beer, Coca-Cola International/Fanta and Sports Illustrated. Known as a visualstylist, he has directed under contract to George Lucas and Dream Quest Images. Celebrities he has worked with include: Cindy Crawford, Dwight Yoakam, Little Richard and Tyra Banks among others. Some of
“Summer Of Love” 36 x 48 inches Acrylic on Canvas “I always loved that brief moment when MOD fashion and Hippies were taking over pop culture. This painting brings back my fondest childhood memories. The word ‘yes’ in the magnifying glass is from a gallery show John Lennon went to. He climbed a ladder to the ceiling of the plain white room and looked through the magnifying glass attached to see the small word ‘yes.’ It blew him away, the most positive message Lennon had seen. He asked to meet the artist, it was Yoko Ono.” Steven Vaughan © 2010
“Benz And Roses” 48 x 72 inches Acrylic on Canvas “I was thinking about how men and women covet very different things and how those things really are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Could I take two obvious things that men and women love that have little in common and create a harmonious image? A visual equivalent of marriage. I failed to do this in life, perhaps I could do it in art.” Steven Vaughan © 2010
Vaughan’s commercial work to his paintings is art – it doesn’t matter if it’s a TV commercial, a product or a logo. Vaughan is inspired by the Renaissance artists who would use their visual style, engineering or art to design anything patrons needed. Those artists were not limited and neither, says Vaughan, is he. However, Vaughan noted that photorealism is the most unforgiving style of painting to execute technically. In elaboration, Vaughn stated, “Conceptual art is the strongest form of art as far as ideas are concerned. I have always felt that a lot of photorealism was weak on ideas, and a
great deal of conceptual art was weak in execution. So, I wanted to conquer the void in those two areas. I intentionally wanted to make extreme art - work that was technically difficult and intellectually challenging.” Vaughan worked as Ben Shoenziet’s assistant in the early 1980’s, and at the same time studied with conceptual artist Joanne Seltzer in New York’s SoHo district. A ‘photo-conceptual’ perspective was a natural evolution for Vaughan as an artist. Shoenziet was one of the original ten photorealist painters from the 1960’s, and Vaughan learned many of the techniques
he still uses today directly from Ben. Vaughan’s paintings are highly realistic and look like photographs, but on closer inspection, they have brush strokes and the lines are fluid and flowing, a trait Vaughan has admired in the paintings of John Singer Sergeant. For Vaughan’s work today, he paints mostly with acrylics – because they dry faster and have cleaner, sharper edges. “I like to paint in the area of 4’ x 6’ give or take a foot or two,” notes Vaughan. “My techniques are limitless. I use antiquated tools as well as the most modern. I never use any printing process
in any painting - it is all done by my hand.” Vaughan also will hand embellish any purchased print, making it a one-of-a-kind piece of art for its owners. One of Vaughan’s personal favorites in his collection of paintings is one with an iconic Bentley, which was purchased by a prominent east coast collector of contemporary art (who wishes to remain anonymous). The amazing payment for the painting featuring the car was in the form of the artist being given an actual Bentley, in exchange for the painting. On sunny days, Vaughan, who paints in the Indiana countryside, brings the Bentley out for a drive, and revels in its beauty, being inspired for his next painting. To learn more about Steven Vaughan and his work, visit StevenVaughanFineArt.com. His original paintings are available for viewing by appointment at the Delamar Southport Hotel and his prints are available at the Samuel Owen Gallery. For an appointment to see Vaughan’s work, call 203-325-1924.
spirit figures Susan Reinhart’s shamanistic spirit sculptures measure on average four to six feet high with bodies that are approximately six inches deep and seven to nine inches wide. Their essential form and dimensions have remained consistent since Reinhart began to create them over thirty years ago. Over time, she has produced more than eighty figures and currently lives with around sixty of them in her own home.
written by Laura G. Einstein
I had been told by the photographer Thomas Mezzanotte that I must visit Susan Reinhart and see her collection. What a treat it is. Susan’s home is extraordinary from her own artwork, to her collection, to the fantastic energy that she exudes when a visitor enters. Keep in mind too that three dogs greet you as you enter the door with gifts of a tennis ball from Charlotte, the largest of the dogs, and unfettered attention from two smaller dogs. I am amazed that these animals never bump into the collection of sculptures placed throughout the house. When asked why she creates her sculptures Susan Reinhart says, “I just have to do it!” This comment led me to think that her sculptures are visceral in nature, coming out of an instinctive and non-reasoning intuitiveness. That is not the case. Susan Reinhart is very deliberate in making these sculptures having developed her process over a number of years. Mezzanotte, who met Susan when she taught sculptural welding at University of Bridgeport in the early 1970s, states, “For Susan, it is never about what the artwork will do for her. It is about the act of making art and doing it. She epitomizes for me what it means to be an artist. Art has defined Susan Reinhart’s life and she continues to be a valued mentor for me.” Documentary filmmaker Lori Petchers, who is currently working on a film of Susan Reinhart, states, “Every time I go to Susan’s studio to film her artistic process, I feel like I am witnessing the divine act of creation. As her hands methodically mold the clay, she seems to breathe life into her sculptures. It’s absolutely thrilling to watch her work.” Susan Reinhart’s shamanistic spirit sculptures measure on average four to six feet high with bodies that are approximately six inches deep and seven to nine inches wide. Their essential form and dimensions have remained consistent since Reinhart began to create them over thirty years ago. Over time, she has produced more than eighty figures and currently lives with around sixty of them in her own home. Connections can be made between Reinhart’s spirit figures and the terra cotta army of China’s first emperor Qin Shihuang in Xian, dated to around the second century B.C. Reinhart’s spirit figures are also reminiscent of the Japanese Haniwa ceramic figures of the mid-second century A.D. with their cylindrical hollow ceramic forms. Inuit masks, Kwakiutl totem poles of the Pacific Northwest Coast, and Pre-Columbian sculpture are just a few of the other influences for Susan. Her extensive travels throughout Tibet, China, Japan, India, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco where she collects works of art can be found throughout her home. Reinhart states: “In the 80s I started to do a series of prayer sticks – sapling-sized sticks about five to six feet tall – some carved on the top with heads or figures, some topped by clay or wax heads, some with abstract forms made up of leather, paint, paper, wire, feathers, or rocks. These pieces represented a turning point in my art. Their verticality and joyfulness contrasted strongly with earlier work, which often was about tension, tightness, being bound or restricted. These later pieces seemed to flow very naturally and develop with an ease and openness. The next group of work that I did was a series of tall logs, five to seven feet in height, on wheeled clay or metal carts, each topped by a clay head, spirit house or animal. These led me into the next series, a group of clay poles with heads, animals, or houses on top. Each was festooned with beads, feathers, small carved animals, leather or fur. They are shamanistic in feeling
and are part of a continuing attempt on my part to depict the mystery and power of the natural and spirit worlds. For the last eighteen years I have been working on spirit figures, often masked, wearing leather belts, feathers, beads, sometimes hats, armor, birds or other animals. Each has a distinct personality and presence but at the same time a remoteness and enigmatic self.” Susan’s process in making these sculptures is by now well established. The summer months are spent creating the forms that will be fired in the fall. In the early years, Reinhart mixed her own clay, and earlier sculptures evidence the grainy grog that was mixed in with the clay. Reinhart no longer makes her own clay. She does, however, have her own formula for the mix, and while varying atmospheric conditions alter the resulting ceramics, she is confident that firing will enhance the finished form in generally predictable ways. Reinhart prefers clay that is uniform in texture, allowing her to create a smooth surface with hand or knife. The figures are never glazed. Reinhart states that the clay is very flexible but that it has a memory. For instance, as she forms her figures, she may change a leg position while the ceramic figure is still wet. Later, she finds that the leg, habituated to weeks or months in the original stance, will revert to that stance within the kiln. Her ceramic pieces are fired at approximate cone five, reaching temperatures of just over two thousand degrees. She regularly checks the kiln for readings of barometric pressure informing her of color and oxidation. Reinhart has a fixed sequence for producing her figures. The clay is rolled out in her studio to a thickness of one-half inch. The figures are made in two parts and fired together in the same kiln. If masks are to be included after the piece is fired, she makes holes for them prior to firing. Later, connecting brass pins or metal hinges will usually be covered with brown leather. Wooden dowels are placed within the hollow legs to provide stability and will remain as they stand on their bases. Reinhart uses strong epoxy to hold the two forms together,
creating the five to eight foot standing figure. Genitalia are prevalent in her sculptures and Susan has had to replace penises when a trickster has removed them from sculpture on display. She has also been told by a gallery that she has “too many penises!” Sculpting the clay into form, Susan’s strong hands and ringed fingers work the clay into such subtle elements as cheekbones, eyelids and soft musculature. She tells her students that they must know the human skeletal structure and complicated interweaving of musculature in order to create their sculptures. These spirit figures are not titled, as Reinhart believes that titles limit the pieces. They come to life for her at certain points in their creation as Buddhist sculpture comes to life when the eyes are set in. Feathers and head masks adorn many of these figures, creating an effect of looking at anthropological studies. One of her sculptures even sports a burqa with incised words on the body stating, “If I leave my husband, I must also leave my children.” Reinhart had a traditional Manhattan/New England upbringing. Her father was a lawyer dealing in estates. The family moved to New Canaan, Connecticut, when Susan was a child and subsequently moved to Fairfield. Her father had been a collector of coins since he was five. Perhaps this collection, amassed over a lifetime, was an early inspiration for Susan. Reinhart’s high school years were spent at Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and from there her father insisted that she enroll at Vassar where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in drama. Once entering graduate school at Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia, Susan Reinhart felt that she was in heaven. She thrived on the give and take of ideas and the late hours kept working on art. Reinhart earned her Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture at Temple in 1966 and from that time on she has exhibited at numerous galleries and institutions throughout the East Coast. Susan now teaches sculpture at Gateway Community College, in New Haven, having been part of the University of Bridgeport’s heyday when the art department was large and active and the Gallery regularly exhibited the work of acclaimed artists known nationwide and internationally, including Louise Nevelson, Josef Albers, Red Grooms, Deborah Butterfield and Frank Stella to name a few. She taught sculpture there for twenty years and regularly used the large kilns on campus to create her ceramic totems. In September of 1990, when the University of Bridgeport refused to negotiate a contract with its faculty, they were forced into a strike that is considered to be the longest running faculty strike in United States higher education. Susan looks back on her position as Director of the Sculpture Program and her lecturing position wistfully as the end of an era. She states, “The Art Department at U of B was huge, and we had such wonderful talent in the Gallery and regularly visiting the campus.” Mezzanotte states, “Susan Reinhart was a beloved professor at University of Bridgeport. We’ve been friends for almost forty years. We became close friends when I was Director of the Carlson Gallery. Prior to that, I was just in awe of her. Since that time, Susan has become one of my closest and most trusted critics.” Once she left University of Bridgeport, she began making smaller 6-8” sculptures in wood that complement, on a small scale, her later sculptures. She has also taught sculpture courses in welding, plexi-
glass, wood and plaster and would regularly find graduate programs with foundries so that she could work on her bronzes. Outside the door of the second floor storage room in Susan’s home that houses approximately thirty-five of her ceramic spirit figures is a sign that says, “ASYLUM FOR THE INSANE EVALUATION CENTER.” Susan’s sense of humor emerges as she laughs, pointing to the sign. Any visitor would feel awe and delight at the array of fantastic anthropological case studies covering each inch of floor space. Some have masks, some have headdresses, and one has a child seated on his shoulders. These images create a metaphorical kind of modern-day day care for Susan Reinhart. Her walls include works of art by Thomas Mezzanotte and other former students, and there are also Japanese woodcuts by the masters Hiroshige and Hokusai and three Pre-Columbian terra cotta sculptures among her vast collection. Her home is a treasure trove of Susan’s life. Tom states, “Susan is one of the most creative and amazing artists that I know. She has phenomenal taste in art and knows intuitively what makes a great piece of art. It is sometimes hard for me because I know that the piece that I love the most is the one that Susan is going to want. I am pleased that so many of my favorite works of art have made it into Susan’s personal collection.” In fact, Susan has two of Tom’s photograph collages at the top of her stairs, “so that I can see wonderful works of art each time that I climb my staircase.” Perhaps these sculptures with their masks state something about protection, self preservation, hiding from the outside world or perhaps they simply come from the fact that Susan is driven to create them. Her passion for creating these shamanistic figures has not lessened over the years. This is what Susan Reinhart does along with her teaching responsibilities and her travels and I believe that she will be making sculptures for a very long time. Her most recent creations are anthropomorphic, with animal masks attached to humanoid bodies. Stay tuned!
home grown talent.
be able to bring you up close and personal with some of our region’s
here in Connecticut and the Hudson Valley. I am particularly excited to
reviews of independent films, and articles which cover filmmaking activity
In the coming issues, you will find interviews with top filmmakers,
Reader at Universal, Sony TriStar, and Paramount Pictures.
years. Before moving to Connecticut, I worked as a Story Analyst and
Screenwriting at theaters throughout the Northeast for the past ten
duties at the studio, I have conducted The Inside Track Workshops for
film tax incentives were passed several years ago. In addition to my
know, our state has become a hotbed of filmmaking activity since the
one of the busiest film and video studios in Connecticut. As you may
I work as Vice President of Production at TRIPEG STUDIOS in Hamden,
and then what you can expect in my new column for VENÜ Magazine.
By way of introduction, I would first like to tell you a bit about myself,
me at the Connecticut Film Festival, or the Bushnell Filmmaker’s Forum.
I am thrilled to be a part of VENÜ Magazine. Some of you may have met
FOX ON FILM
“the biz”, and to hearing back from you!
I look forward to bringing you reviews, interviews and stories about
any other publication.
productions being produced in our region that will not be found in
In addition, you will have a ringside seat at the top film and television
> George Norfleet, Commissioner, Connecticut Film Office.
shot here in Connecticut and slated for a spring release.
documentary film P.T. Barnum, the Lost Legend, currently being
> Corey Boutillier, Director, Producer of the upcoming
> David Foster, Producer, The Mask of Zorro, The River Wild.
In the coming months, we will be talking with…
lifestyle, as well as privacy. We take those things for granted here
haven for Hollywood’s top names, in search of the highest quality
Connecticut and the Hudson Valley have long been considered a safe
interviews with movers and shakers in the entertainment world.
In addition to the world of film, I will, on occasion, bring you
The Spirit is Willing When the new musical Buddy’s Tavern was presented for three performances at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s prestigious National Music Theater Conference last summer, it’s likely that there were a few members of the audience who had the jump on the industry insiders by having seen it before. That’s because the musical was staged a year earlier a mere half an hour’s drive from Waterford at Norwich’s Spirit of Broadway Theater for a five week run. Buddy’s Tavern is the latest promising new work to spring from the Spirit of Broadway Theater (SBT) into the consciousness of commercial producers. You’d think that no one would be more tickled about the national attention that the show has dawn than Brett A. Bernardini, the theater’s Founding Artistic Director and CEO. But, Bernardini reports that the excitement felt by his patrons easily outstrips his own. “Everybody in the community looks forward to hearing the success stories,” he says. “People are giddy with joy that it started at the Spirit of Broadway.” It wasn’t always that way. In fact, when Bernardini opened SBT a little over a decade ago he says that most of Norwich thought that he was crazy. His 74-seat black box theatre was housed, as it is today, in the historic Chestnut Street Firehouse – a
cozy building where many of the original features, like the bays once used by horse-drawn fire wagons and a fire pole, are visible on the stage and in the lobby. But, despite the obvious charm of its location, SBT was surrounded by the city’s abandoned downtown businesses. So, few people thought that it would survive. Flash forward to present day. SBT is not only still there, but busy year round. The neighborhood has gotten livelier, too. “Norwich is like a lot of other towns,” Bernardini concedes. “Things that were moving forward are either stalled or going backwards. But, there are bars and pubs that weren’t here before and my patrons frequent those establishments. More and more of them are traveling to us from outside of town. Last year we had the fourth best attendance in our history.”
Words: William Squier Photos: Contributed dealt with subjects as unusual as the conjoined twins Chang and Eng and wire-walking over Niagara Falls. “If all you do is give chocolate to children, that’s all they’re going to want,” Bernardini says, in reference to the adventurous musicals he prefers to produce and direct. “First you have to teach them to eat peas! I have great audiences that will show up! They might not like everything, but they’ll always give it a try.” Kim Oler is the composer of Buddy’s Tavern and two other musicals originally seen at SBT. He believes that Bernardini’s audiences are loyal to the theater because he has worked hard at earning their trust. “They’ve learned over many years to put their faith in Brett,” he feels. “So have his writers.” One of Oler’s collaborators, Sean Hartley, echoes his sentiments. “Unlike New York audiences, they’re usually there to have a good time and give the show a fair chance,” he explains. Clockwise from top left: 1) The cast of The Great American Trailer Park Musical. 2) Rori Nogee, Brandon Nichols and Jesse Derron Gold in The Day Girl and The Night Boy. 3) The Cast of Once Upon A Time in Atlantic City. 4) Shawn Rucker and Zachery Gregus in Asylum: the Strange Case of Mary Lincoln. 5) Zachary Gregus in Once Upon A Time in Atlantic City.
Hartley has also had three musicals mounted by SBT. From May 4th through June 5th, Bernardini will present the latest, Snow, for which Hartley penned the book, music and lyrics. The show is set in Greenwich Village during the Sixties and features music reminiscent of Woodstock era singer-songwriters like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and James Taylor. The plot, which puts a spin on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, centers on the friendship between a single, pregnant art student and a would-be musician. Hartley values his ongoing relationship with SBT almost more than the individual productions he’s had of his musicals. “I like the fact that Brett’s supportive of the writer, not necessarily the specific work,” he emphasizes. “When I told him I was working on Snow, he was interested before I even showed it to him. He understands that sometimes you need to see the work ‘on its feet’ before you know what you really have.”
Bernardini founded SBT while heading up a youth theater program that was so popular that he decided that Norwich needed other outlets for the area’s actors. His first production was a play by Lee Blessing (A Walk in the Woods) about anti-American sentiment in the Middle East titled Two Rooms. “Lee came out for what was essentially our first gala opening,” he recalls. “He was very enthusiastic.” And he urged Bernardini to turn SBT into a crucible for developing works. Rather than focus on plays, however, Bernrdini chose to nurture new musicals. Since then, SBT has produced as few as two shows (in 1999) and as many as nine (in 2002) in a single year. A typical season
consists of six musicals, with a minimum of three premieres of new work. Past productions have included fare rarely seen outside of New York, such as Rooms, Songs for A New World and Thrill Me. And writing teams as well-known as Stephen Schwartz and Charles Strouse (Rags), Alan Menkin and David Spencer (Weird Romance), Joal Paley and Marvin Laird (Ruthless) have taken advantage Bernardini’s stagings to refine already widely produced shows. Bernardini’s emphasis, however, is on championing innovative pieces by writers you may not have heard of just yet. Because of that, his programming is often surprising. In recent seasons SBT has debuted shows that
To that end, Bernardini would like to build a second performance space of equal size on an upper floor of the theatre’s Chestnut Street location. And he recently expanded his staff to include three volunteers who will help to manage the facility, market the shows and otherwise assist with day-to-day operations. That will free Bernardini up to focus on staging new works and finding more of them for future seasons. As it is, Bernardini already spends as much time as he can traveling the country to see fledgling musicals. He often finds that SBT’s reputation has preceded his visit and that the writers are eager to have their show presented in Norwich. “It’s nice to know that a little tiny theater in southeastern Connecticut actually has an impact that transcends our physical footprint,” he says. And, undoubltedly, that tickles him more than anyone else! Spirit of Broadway 860.886.2378 www.spiritofbroadway.org
spontaneous combustion Let me start at the beginning . . . I met her on the beach. It was precisely 5:27 AM on a beautiful August morning, just before daybreak.
What was I doing at Greenwich Point Beach at such an ungodly hour? Good question. I’d been crisscrossing the continent on business for over a month, entertaining dozens of gluttonous clients who expected excessive dinners of red meat and red wine. Now back home, I was utterly jet-lagged, insomniaridden and flabby.
by Stephen Rhodes
So here I am, taking a pre-dawn jog along the water’s edge. After about a mile or so, I hook a wide loop near the craggy rock formation, then run faster, push harder, kicking up the sand in my slipstream. An apricot daybreak is leaking over the seeming infinity of the Long Island Sound, infusing the surface of the beach with a golden glow. When my eyes fall upon her for the first time, I’m struck first by the shimmer of her hair, a flowing, shoulder-length cascade of auburn silk that sweeps across her face as a breeze skims off the surface of the water. She is an artist, a painter: A white canvas is positioned on an easel that has been plunked into the sand fifty yards from the water’s edge. She intently sweeps her paintbrush against the canvas in broad strokes with a confident, sensuous style. As the distance between us narrows, my heart triphammers while I catalogue the ingredients of her majestic rarity of her beauty. She is dressed in a body-clinging red stretch tank top and paint-splattered denim shorts. Her tanned skin is tantalizingly caramel-colored. Her posture is all grace and sophistication; there is a regal swoop to her neck — a swanlike elegance that suggests royalty in her bloodline. Where did this magnificent creation come from? She is decidedly not another ice-water-in-the-veins blueblood from Connecticut’s Gold Coast. I trot up to her, and I hear myself blurt out: “So . . . you’re a painter?” The most gorgeous woman I’ve ever seen wheels around, peers at me with her big, mahogany-brown eyes and begins to laugh in my face. “That’s the best opening line you could manage?” I feel my face go crimson with mild humiliation. “Well, it was really a rhetorical question, of course.” 80
She smiles. “Okay, okay. Let’s start there. Yes, I’m a painter. What about you? You work on Wall Street, right?” “Yikes, is it that obvious?” “Not really. You’re different somehow. You lead a large group of people, am I right?” “Yes. That’s true.” She nods. “It’s evident by the way you carry yourself.” She turns back to her painting. “Can I see your painting?” “No.” She tilts the easel away from my line of vision. “It’s not ready to be seen.” “When will it be ready to be seen?” “At my upcoming show in Soho. Well, I really must go.” She packs up her brushes and her palette, collapses the easel and tucks the painting under her arm in a way that prevents me from getting a glimpse. I ask plaintively. “Will we see each other again?” She flashes me a melancholy smile. “What makes you think we’re meant to?” Then she simply gets into her Lamborghini Gallardo, guns the engine and peels away, leaving the words of her mellifluous voice ringing in my head. That could have been the end of it, right then and there. But, of course, it wasn’t. I was obsessed and it was just the beginning.
Thanks to the advent of the Information Age, it takes about six minutes on Google for me to cyberstalk the Mystery Girl with the solo art show in SoHo. My screen glows with the informa-
tion I desired: NEWQUIST GALLERY -- New Works by Leila Shirazi -- Opening Night Reception -- This Friday Night, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM. Leila. Leila Shirazi. As I lay awake that night, unable to sleep, her name plays in my mind over and over, like music I can’t get out of my head.
The night finally arrives, and the inevitable Friday night gridlock of downtown traffic causes me to be an agonizing twenty minutes late to the Newquist Gallery. I bail from the cab and rush into the gallery. Wow. The crowd of several hundred indicates that Leila Shirazi is something of a big deal in the art world and a big score for the gallery. I serpentine my way through the throng of white-wine-swilling artist-types, Bohemians, pseudo-intellectuals and the new-money wealthy, craning for a glimpse of the artist. I spot her standing next to a handsome, graying woman with red-licorice colored glasses -- the gallery’s namesake, Eleanor Newquist. Eleanor trills proudly into the microphone. “ — As Leila herself says, she derives artistic inspiration from classical Persian literary and philosophical texts, collective cultural memory, and specific references to historical events, epic tales, mystical treatises and lyric poetry. And with that, I’d like to present the internationally-renown artist who has created these magnificent works — Leila Shirazi!” As the crowd applauds enthusiastically, Leila elegantly steps over into the spotlight, thanks her host and reveals the fact that much of her work is inspired by the writings of the Persian poet Rumi. “I’d like to read an excerpt of his work, to put tonight’s show in its proper context: “‘Love rests on no foundation it is an endless ocean, with no beginning or end Imagine a suspended ocean, riding on a cushion of ancient secrets.’ “All souls have drowned in it and now dwell there. One drop of that ocean is hope the rest is fear.” She wraps up her talk to a thunderous ovation, and the audience surges forward on her like a tsunami. I start to make my way toward her, when an unsmiling, squinty-eyed man in a Brioni suit rudely shoves his way through the crowd. I glare at him. He is not a handsome man: he has a bulbous, misshapen nose that juts out as his most prominent facial feature, menacing slate-black eyes that seem to regard the rest of the world in a contemptuous squint. At the same time, it’s clear he projects an aura of invincibility and power that surrounds him like body armor. I instantly despise this guy. “Bravo, Leila, bravo.” The man speaks in a too-loud, bull-like baritone. “You’ve really come into your own.” “Robert.” Leila is visibly shaken by the presence of Brioni Guy. “Why did you come here, why tonight?” “Because I’m a connoisseur of fine art. More to the point -- I’m a collector of your works.” “You shouldn’t have come. It’s not right.” “I have as much a right to be here as anyone, even more so.” Leila closes her eyes as if to will Brioni Guy away. “Please don’t ruin this night.”
Suddenly, someone steps up and courageously confronts the man. “Hey, man, maybe you should listen to the artist’s wish and just leave.” This is me confronting Brioni Guy, in an out-of-body experience. He tilts his head in a condescending manner and takes a threatening step toward me. Fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. I feel the sinewy tendons in my right arm tensing, ready for action. Brioni Guy smirks at me, telepathically communicating that this won’t be our only encounter. He wheels around to Leila. “Congratulations, dear. As always, your beauty is the greatest work of art in the entire gallery. Good evening.” He forces himself through the crowd, aggressively elbowing the Bohemians out of his way as he exits. An elderly, frizzy-haired patron screws up her face and asks, “Who was that awful, awful man?” In a soft voice, Leila answers. “That’s Robert Lewellyn, my soon-to-be ex-husband.”
I managed to get her number that night, but it was too crazed for us to have a meaningful conversation. (Also, I wanted to respect her big night.) But before I could call her, Leila beat me to the punch with a message on my answering machine proposing dinner. I repeatedly replay the 23-second message simply for the aural joy of hearing her mellifluous, lightly-accented voice. “Hi, Mark — it’s Leila. I can’t thank you enough for coming to the rescue the other night. And I’d very much like to show my appreciation. I’m calling to see if we can get together. I have something in mind if you’re free tonight.”
Our first date commences with me driving twenty-minutes north on the Merritt Parkway, and using the GPS to find a rarely traversed dirt road in Easton, Connecticut. After a twist in the thickly-wooded road, I encounter a stunningly beautiful panorama -- a vast, pristine body of glass-like water winding its way through a majestic forest of ancient pine trees. I breathe in the perfumed alpine air of this hidden sanctuary, as I see the sign for the first time: ASPETUCK RESERVOIR - PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY - NO TRESPASSING FOR ANY REASON. Just then, Leila glides into view, and my heart triphammers. She is dressed in an all-white outfit with a gold-heart-buckled Gucci belt. Much of her face is concealed by oversized, moviestar sunglasses, which showcase her breathtakingly chiseled cheekbones. As Leila approaches my open window, she puts a finger to her bee-stung lips. “Shh. You have to promise to keep this place a secret.” “Scout’s honor.” I step out of the car with an $80 bottle of 2005 Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley and a $75 gold-gilded box of truffles from Chocopologie in Norwalk. “This is breathtaking, Leila.” “I come here to find inspiration.” She takes my arm. “Let’s go behind these trees.” Beneath a canopy of conifers along the water’s edge, a sumptuous picnic awaits. Leila theatrically brings out the procession of gourmet food: champagne, strawberries dipped in Belgian chocolate, chilled jumbo Gulf shrimp, feta cheese, brie, manchego cheese, tabouleh, hummus, and exotic Osetra caviar. ARTS/CULTURE/STYLE//MAGAZINE
Once everything is arranged just-so, Leila lights a candle. “A thousand years ago, the Persian philosopher Omar Khaygan said, ‘A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou. . .’ All is now perfect.” Indeed, it is, I say to myself. As the sun sets, I tell her that as an American, my knowledge of life in Iran was inhibited by the aftermath of the hostage crisis in 1979. “What was growing up in Tehran like?” “Before revolution, it was probably in some ways like growing up in America. Did you watch ‘Gilligan’s Island as a kid?” I laughed. “They had Gilligan’s Island on Iranian TV?” “It ran all the time. My favorite shows were Bonanza, Columbo, Hawaii Five-O and Miami Vice. I was in love with Don Johnson. I had a poster of him in my room. Oh, and who was the star of the other Hawaii show — ‘Magnum P.I.’” “Tom Selleck?” I was blown away. “Then of course, there were things not so much like growing up in America.” Stared off at the spectacular sunset, as she swirled her glass of wine. “As a teenager, I came within minutes of being tortured and killed by the secret police.” “God.” “I was a stubborn and foolish teenager. I believed in the power of artistic expression to overturn the Islamic revolution. At the time, the regime was targeting poets and artists for the death penalty — many were my best friends. My father had some friends in the government, leftovers from the Shah’s time. He was tipped that the secret police planned to raid our home to find evidence that I was part of a targeted group of artists. So he destroyed everything. My works of art, my journals, my books. Even my beloved Don Johnson poster was destroyed. I was furious beyond words. But my father’s tipsters were well-connected. The secret police came the very next day, tore my room apart, emptied drawers. They found nothing and they left. I didn’t fully understand it at the time, but my father saved my life. She paused. “My childhood friend Zuleika was not as fortunate. They found incriminating artwork and subjected her to torture at Evin prison -- floggings, shocks, amputation. They surgically blinded her in one eye. And after seven years, she was executed.” She chokes back the emotion of her memory. “That should’ve been me. But it wasn’t; it was a good friend.” I’m speechless. If she’s the scarred survivor of a repressive regime, I could never tell. She radiates nothing but positive energy. Then, seemingly from nowhere, dozens of colorful, tropical birds noisily flap and flutter down from the sky, settling into the conifers around us. It’s a flock of exotic birds with brilliant colored feathers -- a magical sight. “Whoa. Are those — parakeets?” Leila laughs. “Actually, they’re Quaker parrots from Argentina. I see them at the reservoir all the time. Folklore has it that a truck overturned on I-95 in the 1980s and they broke free. I don’t know if it’s a true story, but it should be. We all should be as free as these birds.” She refills our champagne glasses and raises her flute in a toast. “A toast to freedom. Yours, mine and everyone’s.”
Over the next six weeks, we fall passionately in love with one another. I have never known such passion in my 42 years, and I revel in discovering the subtleties of the masterpiece that is her body. She is perfect in every way. . . the regal swoop of her neck, the symmetry of her face . the silken feel of her mocha-sheened skin. ARTS/CULTURE/STYLE//MAGAZINE
I feel the electricity she generates, sparks on my fingertips, as I trace my hands over the curvaceous contours of her breathtaking body . . . We reenact our first encounter by meeting one another at precisely 5:27 AM at Greenwich Point Beach, sharing the daybreak over the Long Island Sound, as if we’re the only two people who exist on the planet for those precious moments. I feel as though I’m the most privileged man on the face of the earth. Then, fate intrudes to remind me that nothing this life-changing comes without a price to pay.
One spectacular day in November, I get a call from Sanderson, the number three executive at Primebanc Securities. Sanderson is at least three paygrades above me, and if I speak with him directly perhaps three or four times a year. “Mark, are you familiar with a client of ours by the name of Triptych? Triptych Partners?” Of course, I’d heard of them. It was a Top 50 hedge fund. “I’ve got a passing knowledge of Triptych, Marty, but they don’t do equities, do they?” “Well, maybe this is your lucky day. The CEO has requested a lunch meeting with you. And I should call your attention to the fact that they have a ‘Tier Blue’ Level standing.” Red alert. “Tier Blue” was indeed the top of the food pyramid at Primebanc. Two million minimum in commissions generated annually. These clients didn’t even have to ask -- they were guaranteed fifty-yard line seats at any Super Bowl courtesy of their good friends at Primebanc. “Sure, Marty, of course I’ll meet with him. Who’s the CEO?” “Robert Lewellyn.” I swallowed my shock at the sound of the name of Leila’s ex-husband. Brioni Guy. “He has asked that you join him for lunch at the Metropolitan Club this afternoon at 12:15 sharp.” “Confirmed, Marty.” I said. “Confirmed.”
Naturally, Lewellyn is nearly 30 minutes late. Calling it “12:15 sharp” was a passive-aggressive power play meant to throw me off-balance. I do a slow-burn wondering if I should I cut the cord and bail out of this bizarro encounter with Brioni Guy. No can do. Sanderson will freak out. And I already know that we’re not breaking bread to discuss business, per se. The dining room suddenly comes alive with a burst of energy, reminding me of an imminent electrical storm. Lewellyn. He pumps the hands of the powerful people (is that Paul Volcker he’s greeting?) as he barrels toward the table in a new suit, a $4,500 bespoke double-breasted Anderson & Sheppard with horsehairlined lapels that fits his body like a second skin. No longer is he just ‘Brioni guy.’ Neither an apology or a cordial handshake is forthcoming. “Good of you to come.” “Wouldn’t miss it for the world.” I scrutinize Lewellyn, as he scrutinizes me. Up close, is scarylooking, a barrel-chested bully who uses his unpleasant looks as a weapon. Try as I might, I cannot picture him arm-in-arm with the glamorous Leila. Beauty and the Beast. Then again, there
are many mysteries of the cosmos that defy explanation. Over the first course, Lewellyn gets right to it. “How they treating you at Primebanc?” My eyebrows lift in surprise. “All due respect, how is my career of any interest to you?” His smile is more of a grimace. “I have a business proposition.” “Okay. I’m listening.” “With your expertise in complex equity investments, and my relationships with the royal families in Dubai, we could launch a leveraged fund with sovereign money. I would bring a consortium of wealthy investors from the Gulf states, guaranteeing you a minimum of $100 million in seed capital for ten years. You would have full discretion over the fund, and your remuneration would be comprised of a 2% management fee. That would equate to a per year fee to you of -– “ “ — two million dollars,” we say at the same time. Lewellyn responds with a tight smile. “I see you’re good with numbers.” “And the catch is?” “Catch?” “A hundred million dollars doesn’t just fall out of the sky and drop into my lap, Robert. What’s the catch here?” He pauses for dramatic effect. “Of course, you would have to relocate.” “Relocate — where?” “It doesn’t much matter, but it couldn’t be a U.S. time zone. London. Hong Kong. Dubai. With the proper technology, you could set up shop on a yacht in the Caribbean.” I lean forward. “And how does Leila fit into this business plan?” Lewellyn frowns. A darkness descends over him, the menace is perfectly distilled in his baritone voice. “Once you’ve settled in, you send her a postcard telling her of your decision and wishing her all the best.” “That’s the catch.” “That’s your term not mine. A ‘$2 million a year’ catch.” I lean back in my club chair, trying to absorb this. “So I take a check from you and just sort-of. . .disappear. That’s your business proposal?” His expression is one of condescension. “I have it on good authority that your compensation at Primebanc doesn’t come close to matching the remuneration I’m offering you today.” Now that I know he’s serious, I toss my napkin to the table as if throwing down a gauntlet. “I’ll pass, thanks. I’m happy where I am and -- more to the point -- I’m deeply involved with ex-wife.” “Leila is my wife,” he corrects me. “Not for much longer.” Through gritted teeth, he says, “Let’s cease this charade and talk like men.” “Let’s do that.” He drew in a breath. “The instant I saw Leila at the Bruce Museum fundraiser, I knew I had to have her. Whatever it took. Clearly, falling for her didn’t make me special -- she obviously has that effect on all men who cross her path. But through my intense efforts, I finally convinced her to marry me. Once we were together, I became highly protective of her, you could even say paranoid that she would leave me. I vowed that if another man came between us, I would take pleasure in killing that man with my own hands.” My eyes narrow into slits, my voice drips with contempt. “Man, to have once had a woman like Leila and then mistreat her until
she leave you? Must be eating you alive.” Lewellyn glares at me evenly. “Yes. Yes, it is.” I get up to leave, and drop a $100 bill on the table. As I pass him, he roughly grabs my arm. “You’re a nobody, Mark Barston. Just another burned-out Wall Street asshole, making the senior execs rich while you fight your losing battle against your midlife crisis. Pathetic, really.” I stare at him balefully. “Leave Leila alone. She doesn’t care about you.” Returning to the firm, I knew it wasn’t my final encounter with Robert Lewellyn, not by a long shot, but I admit I didn’t expect such a swift retaliation. At the desk, I was handed a frantic message from my assistant. Sanderson wants to see me in his office. When I arrive at Sanderson’s plush executive suite on the 42nd floor, I’m surprised to find Oscar Mendoza and David Millstein there, everyone with doomsday expressions. Mendoza and Millstein are co-heads of our wildly profitable Commodities Division. Both fire venomous glares in my direction when I walk in. Mendoza seethes. “What the hell happened at that damned lunch, Mark?” I calmly take a seat on the same couch, leaving ample distance between us. “I don’t know what you mean, Oscar.” “Triptych Partners,” Millstein says, “is pulling all of its business from the firm by close of business today. They’re transferring their entire book of business to JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs. When we asked the head trader why, he said -- and I quote -- ‘all I can suggest is that you ask your boy, Mark Barston. He’ll explain it all to you.’” So Robert Lewellyn was bringing his personal vendetta to my home front, threatening my livelihood. Pulling his entire prime brokerage account from Primebanc and having his head trader point the finger at me personally. It was a brilliant surgical strike, a smart bomb that created shock and awe, and me, having no obvious means of defending myself before senior executives who would almost certainly downsize my compensation at year’s end. “Well, it’s like this,” I begin.
I take Leila to a quiet, waterfront bar off Steamboat Road called L’Escale so we can talk. “Tell me about your ex-husband. What makes him tick?” “At first, we went together like salt and pepper,” she says in a far-off voice. The financier and the ‘artiste.’ Left brain/right brain. But along with the life of comfort came the dark side of being married to a hedge fund superstar. He was scary, unpredictable. Violent temper. She sighs sadly. “I suppose I could have led a comfortable life of quiet desperation, putting on a smiling face at the club, I could have slipped quietly through life in a loveless relationship. But to me, living a life without passion is like living without your limbs. So I told him I was leaving him.” “He refused to let you go,” I say. “That’s right. He had people following me, put a GPS tracking device on my car. Our divorce has been tied up in court for two years with no end in sight. He keeps delaying, delaying, delaying -- while sending flowers and leaving scary messages on my answering machine.” “Like what?” ARTS/CULTURE/STYLE//MAGAZINE
“Like ‘You have to come back to me, Leila.’ Saying fate meant for us to be together. He said he never loved anything in his entire life until he met me, and he couldn’t believe I rejected him. Said, he gave me everything, anything my heart desired, and I was making a fool of him.” I lean forward, lowering my voice. “Is he capable of hurting you for real?” The question causes her to wince. She hugs herself. “After the SoHo opening, he managed to get me on the cellphone. He was really in bad shape. Said he wanted to remind me that we took a vow. ‘Til death do we part.’ So the only type of divorce he would grant me was a ‘two-bullet divorce.’ One for me, and one for him. Then he hung up.” “Would he go through with his threat? Does he have it in him to actually. . . kill you?” Her eyes take on a far-away look. Her voice is distant, but emphatic. “Absolutely,” she says, with full conviction.
For three weeks thereafter, there are no incidents involving Lewellyn. The quiet before the storm, perhaps? An answer of sorts comes to me in the most unexpected way. In mid-December, Leila and I are on our first trip away together, a four-day stay at the Ritz Carlton in San Juan. On the second day, we’re lying on a chaise lounge by the spectacular blue water of the ocean, when I casually unfurl the copy of the Wall Street Journal left at our door. On Page B-1, a headline catches my eye: COMMODITIES FUND ON ‘VERGE OF COLLAPSE,’ SEC FREEZES ASSETS, INVESTIGATES FRAUD I gasp aloud when I realize the article is about Lewellyn’s fund. Triptych Partners, a $4.6 billion hedge fund is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible civil fraud. A person familiar with the matter said the SEC believes that is “on the verge of collapse,” in part due to the precipitous decline in oil prices over the last six months from $128 a barrel to the current price of $38. A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against the hedge fund late Friday, when agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation also executed search warrants against the Greenwich-based fund’s Steamboat Road location on Friday, freezing assets and seeking documentation. “At first blush, it appears the assets under management at the fund simply evaporated with the rapid decline in the price of oil,” a person close to the investigation told the Journal. “Triptych was heavily leveraged to the upside, and continued to bet long and somewhere along the line may have drifted into a Ponzi fraud.” The reclusive principal of the fund, Robert P. Lewellyn was unavailable for comment, according to his counsel, Gerry Oberlin, who commented that no criminal charges have been filed against his client at this time.
◊◊◊ The news absolutely devastates Leila. She weeps quietly on the entire flight back to JFK. “I never wanted to see Robert in this kind of pain. I only wanted him to leave me — leave us — in peace. To just go on with his life.” What is there to say to comfort her? That Lewellyn can af84
ford the greatest criminal defense lawyers the Ivy League has ever produced? At the end, however, if the article is accurate, Robert Lewellyn is screwed. I take no joy in the self-destruction of my enemy. But a selfish voice within reminds me that Lewellyn will now be too distracted by his all-consuming legal woes to concentrate on his vendetta to destroy us. I allow myself a false sense of relief that Leila and I will now be free from this maniac’s threats of revenge. In doing so, I make the greatest mistake of my life.
This is how I think it happened. Though even now, I can’t think straight, I obsess over the scant, speculative details given to me by the police, wracked with anguish over my possible role in the tragedy. On January 14, I was in Chicago, away on business. Leila stayed behind to finish up a painting commissioned by the United Nations. Sometime late at night, coming home from the City, Leila stepped into her darkened home in a secluded area of Greenwich on the tip of Wilshire Pond. Maybe she sensed something was not right. Maybe she snapped on the lights, passing from room to room before she decided to take a brisk shower. I picture her coming out of the shower, toweling herself dry, then wrapping herself in my favorite silken Oriental bathrobe of hers before going downstairs to build a fire in her studio and call me on the cellphone. Perhaps it was then that she first smelled the pungent odor of the gasoline. And it was probably the next instant that Robert Lewellyn emerged from his hiding place, clamping a hand over her mouth, stifling her scream. The police detective surmise that at that moment, he plunged the clear fluid of a syringe into an artery in her neck -- a drug called succinylcholine that will paralyze her. She was likely still conscious, so Lewellyn can make his final statement to her without interruption, how the money’s gone, his life is ruined, it was all because of her. That she was selfish, misguided, that he can’t live witout her, that he can’t face going to jail. He probably reminded her of their vow, “Til death do us part.” And with the flick of a match, Robert Lewellyn made that vow come true. A murder-suicide. A deadly crime of passion.
On the one-year anniversary of the day we met, I return to Greenwich Point Beach, to the spot where we first met. At precisely 5:27 AM, I begin to weep uncontrollably. Of course, I am irreparably shattered. I’m a fraction of the man I was when Leila was in my life. I no longer work at Primebanc, in fact, I haven’t worked for months. These days, I’m barely functioning. Above all, I’m tormented by the immense regret that I couldn’t have made the ultimate sacrifice -- to give my life as the price of saving hers. It’s a fantasy, yes it is, but the certainty that I would have traded my life for hers is the most beautiful thing imaginable in the human experience. And Leila deserved nothing less. My grief is as vast as the Long Island Sound before me. And it always will be.
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The “Must Have” arts, culture & style magazine highlighting the regions finest professional and emerging creative talent with stunning visua...
Published on Mar 30, 2011
The “Must Have” arts, culture & style magazine highlighting the regions finest professional and emerging creative talent with stunning visua...