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Contemporary Culture

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July/August_CT-NY Edition


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contents

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Expedition News A review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures

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Gordon’s Good Reads The place to find a good read

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52

Events + Gatherings FCBUZZ in Greenwich

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Business Renovation & Recreation

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36

Sport Cardio Tennis

38

Wine Bordeaux En Primeur

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Health & Wellness While you were Eating Appetite 42 Sport Hill Farm

Intellectual Property 44 Free Speech vs. Anonymity (II) Motoring 46 Bugatti Super Sport Aviation 50 Terrafugia: Cleared for Takeoff

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Music 52 Javier Colon pg. 52 Janet Gardner pg. 54

66 46

Travel Berlin

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Decorative Arts SOFA New York

64

Art 66 Corrugated Creations: Jimmy Grashow Dance 70 Pilobolus

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Style 74 Exterior Motives Short Story 76 Hamilton Basso Film 79 Midnight in Paris Stage 82 Summer in the Park New Frontier 84 Cancer Gene Therapy

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8 July/August_CT-NY Edition

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Peacock, 2008, Cardboard: Just one of the many spectacular Corrugated Creations by James “Jimmy” Grashow

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events + gatherings

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ARTS/CULTURE/STYLE//MAGAZINE

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ADVENTURE

expedition news tional – and their work in current and former conflict zones to reduce the threat of death and injury from remnants of conflict. He hopes to draw attention to the members of the United Nations Security Council that have yet to sign the Ottawa Treaty, namely the U.S., Russia and China. Fisher will walk across many areas that remain impacted by landmines and other lethal remnants of wars both old and new. His journey will raise awareness of how these weapons continue to plague people’s lives long after ceasefires. Additionally, the expedition will raise funds for The Bunkeya Cultural Village (BCV) in the Katanga Province of the

by Jeff Blumenfeld Democratic Republic of Congo. Julian Monroe Fisher is a noted African explorer and anthropologist from Greenwood S.C., who currently lives with his family in Austria. His team in 2008 was recognized by the Ugandan Wildlife Authority for establishing a new route down from the Rwenzori Mountain glaciers along the Lamia River to the Semliki River confirming conclusively that the mountains are a true source of the River Nile. His sponsors include: Eton, Goal Zero, GoPro, Jetboil, Nitewatches, and Spot. (More info: WalkAcrossAfrica.org, JulianMonroeFisher. com). More information about MAG and its global work visit: maginternational.org).

into the deep: returning to the mariana trench a walk across africa In late April, renowned African Explorer Julian Monroe Fisher, 56, launched his most ambitious expedition to date. Equatoria – A Walk Across Africa is a four- to five-month expedition that will have Fisher walking solo west from the Indian Ocean coastal town of Pemba, Mozambique, towards the coastal town of Lobito, Angola, at the Atlantic Ocean. The more than 4,000 mile walk will take him across the landscape comprising parts of the territories of the African countries of Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. Some gear will be pre-shipped to drop zones along the way; he will also purchase supplies from local villages as he travels, loaded onto an estimated 30 lb. backpack. Most of the journey will be on footpaths and unpaved roads, with some grassy savannah. If successful, Fisher will become the first recorded American to walk coast to coast across the African continent from Mozambique to Angola, and it is believed to be the first recorded solo expedition by any explorer ever attempted along this specific route, according to Fisher, who currently resides in Gars Am Kamp, Austria. The primary objective of the project is to bring global awareness to the efforts of the Mines Advisory Group – MAG Interna-

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CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

Hawkes Ocean Technologies announce this month that the experimental prototype DeepFlight Challenger submersible is being prepared to make a record 36,000foot dive to the Mariana Trench. The dive, planned for sometime this year, is part of the Virgin Oceanic Five Dives project, a series of ocean expeditions being carried out by DeepSub LLC. Concurrently, Hawkes Ocean Technologies is prepping two Deepflight Super Falcon craft for separate expeditions: a Hawkes-led project in the Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan, and a multi-year ocean expedition, led by venture capitalist Tom Perkins. The DeepFlight submersibles are designed and built by Hawkes Ocean Technologies, Point Richmond, Calif., a company founded by renowned marine engineer Graham Hawkes, to introduce a new generation of ultra-lightweight, cost-effective manned craft, based on the Hawkes-patented concept of underwater flight and the higher safety standards of positive buoyancy. Since the late 1990s, four generations of DeepFlight vehicles have been launched, and are now proving to be a flagship technology in enabling privately funded ocean exploration using manned submersibles. DeepFlight Challenger, the third generation winged submersible, was commissioned in 2005 by the late adventurer,

Photo: Courtesy of Hawkes Ocean Technologies

Steve Fossett, as an experimental prototype to push sub-sea technology to its absolute limits. Fossett had planned to make a record dive to the deepest point in the ocean, the Mariana Trench. The project was taken over by Chris Welsh and DeepSub LLC in 2010, who, with the support of Virgin Oceanic, is planning to dive DeepFlight Challenger to the deepest point in each of the world’s five oceans. Hawkes Ocean Technologies owns the patents and intellectual property rights to commercialize DeepFlight Challenger for science, industry and adventure. (More info: deepflight.com).

Jeff Blumenfeld is author of “You Want to Go Where? – How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Your Dreams” (Skyhorse Publishing). The book covers some of the world’s most historic expeditions and adventures with an eye towards how people can gain funding for their own projects. To order a personally signed copy, send a check for $20 (includes postage and handling) payable to Expedition News, 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820.


an englishman in new york prepares for hudson river descent in trash boat

A furniture maker and endurance cyclist from London has hatched an audacious plan to build a boat made of discarded New York City construction materials, tow the boat behind his bicycle 300 miles to the source of the Hudson River in the Adirondacks, then paddle back downriver. Not as wild as you’d think - the adventurer, James Bowthorpe, 33, has done it before on the Thames River in London, traveling 130 miles. And oh yeah, in 2009 he completed an 18,000-mile bike ride across 20 countries in less than six months, beating the world record by 20 days. (If you’re won-

dering how Expedition News finds these people, we often wonder ourselves). Bowthorpe met us in a coffee shop near the Explorers Club in New York to explain his plan. With fiery red hair and beard that makes him look like a modern day Viking, we shared tea while he explained how he planned to MacGyver a craft together this September, pedal it north, then paddle from Lake Tear in the Clouds to the Atlantic. Bowthorpe will scour the streets of New York for metal, timber and anything else of use he can load onto a bicycle trailer and pedal to a Manhattan workshop he has yet to secure. A combination of welding and carpentry will create a one-man, 12-ft. rowing craft that’s strong and reliable enough to withstand the bicycle ride north, an eight-mile portage to the river’s source, then a descent of thousands of feet during an eight-week journey downriver. A documentary of the Hudson River Project will be videotaped by a crew following along in a motorhome. “I hope to encourage people that adventure should be a day-to-day activity - you don’t have to climb Everest to find adventure,” he said in a dry monotone not unlike Karl Pilkington on popular Ricky Gervais podcasts. As he left the coffee shop, it was trash day on the Upper East Side and Bowthorpe

shackleton’s whisky: “delicious”

Photo: nzhat.org

A Glasgow distillery is betting that a whole lot of people will want to sip the Scotch that Sir Ernest Shackleton had with him on his Antarctic adventure. Three crates of the explorer’s whisky spent a century forgotten and frozen to the rock underneath the hut he used as a staging ground for his attempt at the South Pole (see EN, August 2010). Once they were discovered, it took another four years of strategizing before the crates

could be safely removed, a sojourn in New Zealand where the bottles were thawed under precise laboratory conditions, a private jet ride back to Scotland, and eight weeks of exacting analysis. Now Shackleton’s Antarctic whisky has been recreated and is ready for mere mortals to drink. Whyte & Mackay, the company that now owns the distillery that made Shackleton’s spirit, announced this month that it had tasted the original blend, deemed it delicious and created “an exact replica.”   Fifty thousand bottles will go on sale for $160, with 5 percent of each sale being donated to the New Zealand nonprofit responsible for conserving Shackleton’s hut, according to Whyte & Mackay Master Blender Richard “The Nose” Paterson. His tasting notes reveal Shackleton’s Scotch has “delicate aromas of crushed apple, pear and fresh pineapple. It has a whisper of marmalade, cinnamon and a tease of smoke, ginger and musovado sugar.”   Makes the thirstier members of the EN staff wonder whether you drink it or eat it.

couldn’t help but gaze longingly at a metal filing cabinet someone had discarded. It seemed like a good gunwale to us, but it’s a little too early for this Englishman in New York to start scrounging just yet. (More info: jamesbowthorpe.com, Antony Crook, 917.803.1026, antonycrook@mac.com).

jeff lowe’s pack recovered after 20 years on the eiger

In 1991, after 9 harrowing days on the North Face of the Eiger, American climber Jeff Lowe abandoned his backpack when he couldn’t find any anchors at the end of his rope. Lowe untied and left the rope and his backpack behind as he free soloed the last 50 feet to the summit ridge where he was plucked off the mountain by a helicopter, just hours before a big storm would engulf the great North Face. On March 25, Josh Wharton spent over two hours chopping Lowe’s pack out of the ice and snow, high up on the North Face of the Eiger. Lowe was anxious to see the condition of the pack after 20 years on the mountain. Wharton delivered the frozen, weather worn pack to Lowe on the deck of the Bellevue Hotel at Kleine Scheidegg, Switzerland.     Lowe was relieved to have this bit of unfinished business taken care of after all these years. Leaving the pack was contrary to Lowe’s Alpine Style ascents, but necessary for his own survival on that day.     Lowe was in the region filming Metanoia on the North Face of the Eiger (see EN, January, 2011). Support and sponsorship is still needed to complete the film. (More info: see the video clip at vimeo. com/21548239; for a list of contents, see our blog entry at expeditionnews.blogspot. com; jefflowemovie.com).

CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

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PRESENTS AN EVENING

JOIN US FOR DINNER AND DANCING To Benefit the Pediatric Department and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Greenwich Hospital

Friday, July 15, 2011

Belle Haven Club, Greenwich, CT Music By The Stingers

To purchase tickets please contact The Greenwich Hospital Foundation (203) 863-3863 A Special Thanks to Our Sponsors Acqua Panna, Mina and Stuart Bloom, Finch Paper, Grand Touring Vodka, Nestlé Waters North America, S. Pellegrino, Serendipity Magazine, Trans-Continental Credit and Collection Corp., Turner Entertainment, VENÜ Magazine and Vineyard Vines


BOOKS

GORDON’S GOOD READS The place to find a good read...

by Gordon Hastings

your latest good read may be old indeed RUSTPROOF! “I always meant to read it… forgot about that one… read it a long-time ago but would enjoy it more now… never had the time…” Sound familiar? There is no embarrassment in discovering the wonderful books already written that you did not have the time or mind-set to read. Opening the pages of great books at a different time and place in your life can be enormously rewarding! It becomes a brand new book! I can only share with you my experiences with the few titles I mention here but the list is as long as a lifetime.

tom wolfe and thomas wolfe great novelists at opposite ends of the 20th century

A good friend recently commented that Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) was the best novel written in the last half of the 20th Century. Wow! Certainly, the good thing about loving books is that opinions are all wonderfully subjective. Of course, I loved Bonfire, it was on everyone’s lips and the movie was fabulous but as usual, never quite as good as the book! I am Charlotte Simmons ( 2004) another Tom Wolfe novel never received the acclaim of Bonfire. It is all in the eye of the beholder but I think Charlotte is every bit as good a read. Arriving on the scene at a prestigious university comes Charlotte Simmons, poor, devout, strict, proud and beautiful. She confronts the swells from the well-to-do. Charlotte is not only beautiful, she is also brilliant and both of these attributes are immediately perplexing and yes threatening to her new classmates. I will leave to your imagination further details as this wonderful story unfolds. There was another southern novelist, Thomas Wolfe. Thomas Wolfe, who died at thirty-eight

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ARTS/CULTURE/STYLE//MAGAZINE

in 1938, was not related to Tom Wolfe, but he wrote two great books about coming of age. The first, Look Homeward Angel (1929) was followed by Of Time and the River (1935) Whereas my friend considers Tom Wolfe the best novelist of the late 20th century, none other than William Faulkner described Thomas Wolfe as the best of the early 20th century. Both of Thomas Wolfe’s books are worth every reading moment. Look Homeward Angel is by far the better known and is considered an autobiographical novel. Of Time and the River is a sequel and is every bit as captivating although a bit more patience is required.

rustproof! holden caulfield, scout finch, jody baxter The newly released J. D. Salinger biography written by Kenneth Slawenski just a year after Salinger’s death will bring Catcher in the Rye (1951) and Holden Caulfield to the forefront again. The same is true of the recent revived interest in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

(1960) on the occasion of last year’s 50th anniversary of its publication. Salinger’s death prompted me to revisit Catcher in the Rye and the publicity surrounding To Kill a Mockingbird’s anniversary placed me back in the center of those pages. Reading these works as an adult is a wonderful experience. While hunting for Catcher in the Rye in the “Classics” section of my bookstore I found another gem, one that I had not read, The Yearling (1939) by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The novel won a Pulitzer and was an instant best seller. Jody Baxter, growing up in back woods Florida “cracker” country with a father and mother preparing him for a life, which would be as difficult as their own. Originally it was labeled a children’s book but do not be fooled by the title, its message, descriptions and dialogue is a worthy read for all ages. The reference to “rustproof” in this article is credited to Ivan Doig, author of House in the Sky, who wrote a wonderful prologue for the The Yearling’s paperback re-issue in 2002. He is a well-known novelist raised on a ranch in Montana. “Rustproof” is a wonderful description of so many great reads we have overlooked or forgotten. Re-kindle the memory!


gordonsgoodreads.wordpress.com I have seen the movie Water for Elephants, and applaud the translation of the book to the screen. I am sure you will find the film even better if you read the book first. One final thought, buy Water for Elephants in hardcover. It will stand the test of time in your library! If you have seen the movie but not read the book, then do so in reverse. Again, you will only add to the pleasure of the story.

wikileaks, the brooklyn bridge, suspension water for elephants, read it before seeing! Did Sara Gruen, author of the novel Water for Elephants, grow up in a circus family? Was she an equestrian center ring star or a master trainer of elephants? Did she and the other members or her family leave her father largely alone with his memories in a “respectable nursing home?” The answer to all of the previous questions is no! How then did Sara Gruen create two marvelous parallel stories packed with the intricate details and broad panorama of a Great Depression era travelling circus and the daily routine of a ninety-three year-old man spending his last days reminiscing in a nursing home? My observation is that Gruen has a vivid imagination, wonderful story telling skills, and sought out the correct research to bring realistic detail to the story. After devouring this book (that is what you will likely do) I think you will agree that there is little wonder why it has been on the New York Times Trade Fiction Best Seller List for 111 weeks! I don’t know which story I like better. Is it Jacob in his old age making every effort to maintain his dignity and self-esteem? Or is it Jacob the young would-be-veterinarian out of Cornell before graduating, running away from a family tragedy and in the dead of night hopping a circus train? Is it the beautiful young Marlena the equestrian circus star stuck in a hopelessly abusive marriage? Is it Rosie, an elephant that only understands Polish that becomes the glue in a love story? Is it the collection of humanity that populates a travelling circus stuck in a daily struggle for survival? I wonder if the up-coming movie can possibly create the color, smells, smiles, sadness, humanity and empathy that Sara Gruen has done so beautifully in Water for Elephants.

The New York Times revealed on Wednesday April 26th that the latest WikiLeaks distribution tells a story of plots to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge. “Al Qaeda has long had a fascination with suspension bridges, especially the Brooklyn Bridge. New documents reveal that before Sept. 11, 2001, methods for bringing down bridges were being taught at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan,” says the Times. The longer I write this blog the more flashbacks I have to books I have read that connect with current events. If you are interested in reading of terrorist plots, sabotage and sophisticated murder mysteries written on the level of Caleb Carr and wish at the same time to connect with the glorious history and construction of the Brooklyn Bridge I commend Suspension, a novel by Richard Crabbe. You will also discover an important Civil War connection with the bridge. Written in 2010, Crabbe builds his story around a murder mystery that leads to a plot to sabotage the bridge by seven former Confederate soldiers who labored for years to hatch a plot to destroy the bridge because of a deep hatred for the Yankees who vanquished them in the Civil War. The Brooklyn Bridge? Of course! Washington Roebling the son of Brook-

lyn Bridge designer John Roebling was placed in charge of the project upon the death of his father. Washington Roebling was a distinguished Union Army Civil War officer having served with particular distinction at the Battle of Gettysburg. Thus Roebling’s “Yankee-Bridge” became an even more meaningful target! A wonderful mystery with vivid details on the construction and history of the most famous bridge in the world, Crabbe’s first novel qualifies as excellent in both plot and storytelling.

dusting off four sinclair lewis classics

Browsing the “Classics” section in the local library can be truly rewarding and it is a very private place! I promise, you will have an “I always wanted to read that” moment! Move along the shelf to the “L” section and pull four of the very best from Sinclair Lewis. Main Street (1920), Elmer Gantry ( 1927), Dodsworth (1929) and Babbitt (1922). The stories are timeless. Babbitt, a man in “midlife crisis” before anyone had coined the term! Dodsworth, the least likely expatriate, an adoring husband following his adventurous wife into a The Sun Also Rises escapade in Europe. Elmer Gantry invents and reinvents himself listening to his own voice stepping into the world of traveling tent evangelism. Main Street, back to small town America and Minnesota roots with a dash of Prairie Home Companion, long before Garrison Keillor was born. We all look to the New York Times Best Seller List but obviously so many of the great ones have already been written. Visit or re-visit Sinclair Lewis and you will quickly forget that these books were published in the 1920s. They are even more relevant today with the beauty of the writing nourishing to the mind and soul.

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SCRANTON SEAHORSE INN The Scranton Seahorse Inn is located in the heart of the village of Madison on the Connecticut shoreline. This wonderful inn, opened January 2006, is close to spectacular beaches, charming boutiques, elegant restaurants and outlet shopping. Housed in the 1833 Greek revival home of Sereno Scranton, the Scranton Seahorse Inn offers its guests the convenience of luxurious newly appointed accommodations along with the charm and ambiance of a historic New England homestead. Modern Hospitality. Historic Charm. The Scranton Seahorse Inn. 818 Boston Post Road (203) 245-0550 scrantonseahorseinn.com

July 2 Concert on the Green featuring Wallingford Symphony Orchestra (5-9pm)

create the perfect piece for you. Browse our cottage shop filled with dazzling jewels, whimsical flare and fabulous accessories. And, our Bridal Boutique Line adds that perfect sparkle of romance to your wedding day. Come back often, our creations change every day! 673 Boston Post Road 203-245-4850 bellaperlinajewelry.com

July 3 Fireworks July 4 Independence Day Parade (11am) July 9 Antiques Show on the Green (9am-4pm)

THE NOSEY GOOSE Nine rooms full… an eclectic blend of decorative furnishings and accessories for the home, specializing in shabby chic décor, as well as gifts and antiques. 33 Wall Street, Madison 203-245-3132

July 17, 24 & 31 Concert on the Green 6-8pm)

SHOPPING

July 28-31 Sidewalk Sales downtown

PETER INDORF Have you always dreamed of owning a piece of custom designed jewelry? Explore the possibilities at peterindorf.com. Peter Indorf has been creating one-of-a-kind jewelry for clients since 1972. His classic and contemporary designs are made in platinum or gold and adorned with diamonds, precious gems and pearls. 703 Boston Post Road (203) 245-5700 peterindorf.com

August 13 Antiques Show on the Green (9am-4pm) THE COUNTRY SHOP OF MADISON A women’s specialty boutique featuring contemporary clothing and accessories 684 Boston Post Road (203) 245-1819 thecountryshopofmadison.com

August 27 Antiques Show on the Green (9am-4pm) September 10 Pooch Parade/Dog Show on the Green (9am-noon)

FRANCE AMERIQUES Cashmere, Resort Evening, Business, Fun Own Design, Alterations French, Spanish, Italian Imports 15 years in business 685 Boston Post Road (203) 318.0352

August 18 Beachcomber event Downtown (evening)

CIAO BELLA MODA INTERNATIONAL Come celebrate Ciao Bella’s 5th Anniversary this summer. Just voted “Best Womens Chic Boutique” in the Shoreline Newspaper Readers Poll. Looking for fun fabulous fashion and Accessories, then Ciao Bella has what you need! Featured brands include 525 America, BB Dakota, Miss Me, Sugar Lips, Velvet and so much more. New arrivals weekly. 36 Wall Street Madison (203) 245-1819 shopciaobella.com

BELLAPERLINA Discover the love of color, texture and design with limitless customized creations! From precious stones to freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals to Murano glass, let bellaPerlina

September 17 Antiques Show on the Green (9am-4pm)

KHAKI & BLACK Men’s and women’s everyday wear. Simon Pearce. Come visit us Monday - Saturday 10 - 6. Sunday 12 - 4. Station Square 22 Durham Road (203) 245-8887 khakiandblack.com


(advertorial)

ART/GALLERIES

You’ll find lovely shops, a theatre, fine restaurants with mouth watering cuisines, sandy beaches, and historical sites. Fashionistas of all ages and those seeking unique home decor or gifts will discover the extraordinary shops offering fabulous, unique products. Meet your favorite author for an autograph, enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres during a fine art exhibit, or visit our renowned outdoor Sculpture Mile exhibit. Madison offers something for everyone.

Vincent Giarrano The Selection oil 20” x 16”

JOLIE BOUTIQUE Comfort and color from the frugal fashionista at Jolie Boutique. The hallmark of the Jolie Collection is Comfort, Affordability, French Inspired, Fit and Fashion. Open 7 days.Like us on Facebook for weekly arrivals. Madison Town Center 670 Boston Post Road (203) 245-5828 jolieboutique.net

SUSAN POWELL FINE ART Voted #1 Best Gallery to Buy Art in 2009 and 2010. Specializing in Contemporary Realism including Landscapes, Marines, Still Lifes and New York City Scenes. 679 Boston Post Road (near the fire station) (203) 318-0616 susanpowellfineart.com

SALON/SPA

MAGGIE’S OF MADISON Maggie’s of Madison is a full service home boutique offering handpicked table linens, bed linens, gifts and home accessories from around the world. Our lines include John Robshaw, Matouk, Sferra Bros, Mariposa, Vietri, Jars, Juliska and many more. We help our clients find the perfect gift for a new bride, a best friend, or hostess. Visit Maggie’s to experience service and quality products at their finest. Bridal and Gift Registry available. 705 Boston Post Road (203) 318-8883 maggiesofmadison.com

SONAS MED SPA What’s so funny about laugh lines? We can help you get rid of your laugh lines non-surgically. Call for a free consultation 869 Boston Post Road (203) 245-2227 sonasmedspa.com

BOATING PHOTO: AMY ETRA

Sea. Shop. Stay A true coastal treasure, Madison is the perfect combination of small-town charm and urban sophistication. It’s a wondeful place to live and work, and a must place to visit.

www.madisonct.com

THE BOAT CENTER Welcome to The Boat Center, Madison’s Premirer Boat Dealer. We represent a number of manufacturers, including Bayliner, Trophy, Northcoast and ProLine. These boats offer a wide range of cruising, water sport and fishing options, as well as just having fun on the water. Rent a Kayak at The Boat Center and explore the beautiful, scenic Hammonasset River. 178 Cottage Road (203) 245-7242 theboatcenterct.net

W-SALON Let W-Salon inspire you to fall in love with your hair again... Over 29 years of experience and high industry standards has been the success of our team of well-honed stylists and colorists. We offer the utmost latest styles and coloring techniques, along with professional quality service. “Let us caress your beauty and create a new you.” 1347 Boston Post Road Suite 102 (203) 245-7400 w-salonmadison.com


EVENTS + GATHERINGS

FCBUZZ IN GREENWICH by RYAN ODINAK

Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County

G

reenwich may think of itself as more a part of New York than Connecticut, but it is an undeniable draw for people all over Fairfield County. Its charming upscale downtown is full of boutiques and larger anchor department stores with a variety of restaurants tucked along “The Avenue”—Greenwich Avenue. Couple this with top notch arts and culture programming, and you can create your own full day outing any time of year.

Not far from downtown is one of the crown jewels of the region, the Bruce Museum. It has been consistently voted the “Best Museum” by area media and features art, science and natural history in more than a dozen changing exhibitions annually. The Bruce Museum also has a seaside center located on Greenwich Point to educate visitors about the ecology of Long Island Sound and environmental issues. Each year the Bruce Museum sponsors two outdoor festivals that feature original work by some of the best artists and craftspeople from around the country. The Crafts Festival in May offers handmade, contemporary functional work such as jewelry, furniture, wearable’s, glassware, ceramics etc. The Arts Festival, regularly held on Columbus Day weekend, features fine art including painting, graphics and drawing, mixed media, sculpture and photography. Both draw thousands to

Clockwise from top left: Art work placed in store window as part of the GAC month long Art to the Avenue program held each May along Greenwich Avenue that includes 135 locations and artists; Members of the Greenwich Chamber Orchestra; Annual Kite Flying Festival at Greenwich Point Beach; An interior view of artwork in the Greenwich Art Council Bendheim Gallery

Greenwich to appreciate and purchase art. Another anchor organization is the Greenwich Arts Council (GAC) which manages the downtown arts center that includes the Bendheim Gallery, a performance space, artist studios and offices for other nonprofits. GAC has a special relationship to downtown through its annual Art on the Avenue spring celebration. It turns downtown Greenwich into a strolling art gallery that brings works of art to store windows throughout the month of May. In recent years, Art to the Avenue has grown to include many “Off the Avenue” community locations as well, that extend the reach of the downtown exhibitions. Each season the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra presents five classical music concerts, each featuring an exciting guest soloist. It also provides three free Young

People’s concerts during each school year, which are attended by 6,000 students in grades 2-7 in Greenwich public and independent schools. Chamber Players of the Greenwich Symphony is comprised of the Principals (First chairs) of the Greenwich Symphony with occasional guest musicians joining in. The Chamber Players offer outstanding selections from the chamber music repertoire. They present four pairs of concerts each season and perform at the Bruce Museum and other local venues. The Flinn Gallery, sponsored by the Friends of the Greenwich Library, is an education oriented exhibition space that presents art in all mediums from a wide range of periods, visions and techniques. The volunteer Art Committee runs the gallery—curating and mounting six exhibitions every year. Some of the exhibiting artists may have gotten their training at the Greenwich Arts Society, which offers studio art classes to develop skills and experience in a focused learning environment. They are located in the downtown Arts Center and offer classes for both children and adults. If it’s performing opportunities you are looking for, the Acting Co. of Greenwich is now in its 19th successful season of bringing quality theater to the community. They offer free adult improv classes and last season they produced their first musical in a joint venture with The Pound Ridge Theatre Company. Joining the Greenwich Choral Society is another opportunity to take to the stage. It is dedicated to excellence in choral music and presents three or four different choral music programs during its season. When the urge to take a stroll and let things unfold hits, head on down to the “The Avenue” and beyond and be surprised by what you’ll find.

To find out what’s happening in Greenwich 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.

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The Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary Spring 2011 Gala “Building Bridges…Building Community” Honoring Ron Noren, Esq. Saturday, March 26, 2011, The Patterson Club, Fairfield, Connecticut Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary completes $500,000 pledge to emergency department expansion and the renovation. With a $50,000 check delivered at its March 26 annual gala reception, the Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary completed its $500,000 multi-year pledge to support the expansion and renovation of the hospital’s emergency department. The event also paid tribute to the immediate past chairman of the hospital board of directors, attorney Ronald Noren of Easton, for his years of service to the hospital and the community. Media partner: VENÜ Magazine

Photos: CAPITOL PHOTOINTERACTIVE

Media Partner: VENÜ Magazine CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

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EVENTS + GATHERINGS

Photo by: Neilson Barnard/GettyImages

Jumpstartís Scribbles to Novels  Event Raises $1.1 Million

For more information, visit www.art-mrkt.com Featured author Thomas Chatterton Williams, Supermodel and Jumpstart Spokesperson Carolyn Murphy, Grammy Award winning performer Rosanne Cash, and author Harlan Coben come together to bring attention to early literacy.

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artMRKT, a newly formed Brooklyn-based organizer of art fairs, has announced the debut of artMRKT Hamptons, a new fair to be held Thursday, July 14 through Sunday, July 17, 2011, on the grounds of the Bridgehampton Historical Society in Bridgehampton, New York. artMRKT Hamptons will present more than 35 leading local, national, and international galleries in a state-of-the-art tented venue. The opening night preview party will benefit Southampton Hospital and will be sponsored by Cadillac. Among the galleries participating in artMRKT Hamptons are: Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York; Meulensteen, New York; Salomon Contemporary, New York; Forum Gallery, New York; and Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami. artMRKT, founded last year by third generation gallerist Max Fishko and longtime business partner Jeffrey Wainhause, is gearing up to be one of the nation’s premiere fine art fair companies for leading national and international galleries. “First and foremost, artMRKT is about the art. And it is also about the ideas, the energy, and the excitement that are harnessed and shared by everyone involved. We intend artMRKT’s atmosphere and approach to foster cultural, educational, and intellectual transactions – and this responsibility we take seriously,” noted Max Fishko.

ELLIOTT ERWITT: PERSONAL BEST International Center of Photography 1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street through August 28, 2011

ew York City, Wednesday, May 4th, Jumpstart’s Scribbles to Novels event brought acclaimed authors Harlan Coben (Caught), Rosanne Cash (Composed), and Thomas Chatterton Williams (Losing My Cool) together to celebrate and support the literary journey that takes a child from scribbles to novels. This event gave our authors a chance to discuss how they started writing, what keeps them writing, and how where they came from impacted their love of writing. Four hundred guests had the opportunity to chat with and have books signed by our renowned authors, all while supporting Jumpstart’s important early literacy programming in New York City and across the country. Scribbles to Novels raised $1.1 million. Being honored at the event for a decade of partnership with Jumpstart was the Pearson Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Pearson, the international media company known for its philanthropic support and advocacy for early education. The three featured authors are published by Penguin, which is owned by Pearson. In addition to Mr. Coben, Mr. Williams, and Ms. Cash, who performed two of her signature songs at the event, Scribbles to Novels featured the super-model and Jumpstart spokesperson, Carolyn Murphy, who co-emceed with Harlan Coben. “We are honored these individuals are choosing to celebrate the power of the written word with us on this special night,” said Jumpstart’s Executive Director, Myung J. Lee. “Jumpstart is transforming children’s lives, one neighborhood at a time. It is very gratifying that these artists and other concerned citizens are coming together to shine a spotlight on closing the pervasive early education achievement gap that affects young children in impoverished communities.” Jumpstart’s long-time partner agreed. “This school year marks Pearson’s 10-year anniversary supporting Jumpstart and its mission. Pearson people and businesses are honored to be part of this celebration in support Jumpstart‘s work in classrooms everyday,” said Pearson Foundation President Mark Nieker. “We are pleased that these celebrated authors are able to join us to support this mission and to share their own stories.”

An eyewitness to history and a dreamer with a camera, Elliott Erwitt has made some of the most memorable photographs of the twentieth century. A substantial retrospective exhibition of his work, Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best, will be on view at the International Center of Photography (1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street) through August 28, 2011. The exhibition will include more than 100 of Erwitt’s favorite images, a selection of his documentary films produced over the past sixty years, as well as some previously unseen and unpublished prints from his early work. Erwitt was honored on May 10 as the Lifetime Achievement recipient at the 2011 ICP Infinity Awards. “To me, photography is an art of observation,” said Erwitt. “It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place . . . I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

For more information, visit www.jstart.org

For more information, visit www.icp.org 212.857.0000

CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

Elliott Erwitt Marilyn Monroe, New York City, 1956 © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos


Carver Benefit a "KNOCK OUT"

May 14, 2011

More than 350 people gathered at the Port Chester Carver Center on May 14, 2011 for their annual benefit. Guests were treated to a live exhibition boxing match and Suzuki violin performance - just two of many programs offered at Carver. For more information please visit www.carvercenter.com Media Partner: VENĂ&#x153; Magazine

Pro boxer and Program Director David Telesco and M.C. Mike Kenny

Britani Griffin, Michael Williams, Janett Gross

"CHEERS for CARVER!!"

Executive Director Kerry Walsh and Board member Sister Rosemary Sheehan Benefit Chairs John & Diana Heffernan, Maggie & J.K. Trimble Clore Butler, Chris Leslie, Diana Heffernan

Jim Burchetta, Jamie Heffernan, John Heffernan Mary Matthews, Janet R. Matthews, Kerry Walsh

Suzanna Keith, Nan O'Neil, Margi Arquit

Joe Kwasniewski and Melissa Podaski

Suzuki Violin program in action!

Sara Goddard and Dinah Howland

Photos: KATHLEEN DOOLEY DIGIOVANNA CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

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EVENTS + GATHERINGS

“Crossroads and Symmetries” July 31st through September 17th “Crossroads”

Open to all Silvermine Guild Artist members, and in all media, this exhibit showcases the artists’ perception of crossroads, be it metaphorically, symbolically, spiritually, or culturally. Often used metaphorically, crossroads is an abstraction of places or occasions where people meet. “To be at a crossroads” refers to any turning point with an unpredictable outcome – the literal meaning of crisis. Juried by Tracy Fitzpatrick, Curator and Assistant Professor of Art History at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY.

John Arabolos & Heidi Lewis Coleman: “Intuitive/Systemic Symmetries”

This exhibit is an exploration into the existence of a universal aesthetic language, blending two different methods with similar visual perceptions, as embodied by the works of these Silvermine Guild Artists. The result of their exploration demonstrates the common themes as well as the harmony between their works. Opening Reception: Sunday, July 31st, 2pm to 4pm Silvermine Galleries 1037 Silvermine Road, New Canaan, CT (203) 96609700, ext. 20 www.silvermine.com

AWARD WINNING ARTIST TACKLES CONTEMPORARY ISSUE What is the role of an artist today? For Donald Axleroad, recent winner of the Best-in-Show in Spectrum, the annual juried competition at the Carriage Barn Arts Center in New Canaan, it is to use a visual vocabulary to speak about contemporary issues that affect the public. His mixed media assemblage, “The Greed of Cerberus” (the three headed dog who guards the proverbial “Gates of Hell”) alludes to the greed of financial institutions which fostered the massive run of “Foreclo$ures” throughout America, leaving many people homeless and disrupting the lives of many other families. The juror, Paul Clabby, Curator and Director of the John Slade Ely House, Center for Contemporary Art in New Haven said, “I am surprised I have not seen more work on this subject. Here is an artist addressing a major issue of our time.” A Stamford artist who has won many regional and national awards, Axleroad is engaged in reviving the traditions of past artists who have depicted the plight of those “less fortunate”, from America’s Ben Shahn and his portrayals of the Great Depression to Goya’s renderings of the Spanish Inquisition and German Expressionist such as Ludwig Kirchner who satirized the vice and moral corruption of Berlin under Hitler and Edward Munch who depicted the psychological angst of many victims in “The Scream”. Foreclosure is a new theme for Axleroad who in recent years has developed a body of work inspired by “The Human Condition” in which he calls attention to the challenges of aging and the plight of confused Alzheimer’s victims in works such as “Here I am; Where Am I ? , Am I Here?”, and the dilemma of “Role Reversal” when children become like parents to their own children. Known for his works inspired by ancient mythology, he sees a relavence between the tragic Greek heroes confronted by the capriciousness of the gods and modern man coping with the challenges of fate; both forces over which they have no control. Axleroad says, “In looking at what’s going on right now there are a lot of things happening that didn’t happen before. With divorces

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more prevalent, there are so many split families; the children suffer. There’s also the widening gap between the rich and the poor. I like to show the plight of people who have difficulty in speaking for themselves.”

Donald Axleroad with his mixed media, “The Greed of Cerberus”, which won the Best-in-Show in Spectrum, the annual juried competition at the New Canaan Society for the Arts, Carriage Barn in New Canaan.


Events + Gatherings

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Business

Renovation Inspires by Mike Lauterborn

Fairfield, CT – The goal at the outset was to renovate a property for retail and office usage. The resulting development was more than anyone could have imagined, and has become one of Fairfield’s greatest assets. In a recent sit-down at Carabiners Rock Climbing, one of many businesses that calls the property home, Harold “Hal” Fischel, the site’s developer, and Deanna Spartachino, Marketing Manager at Fischel Properties, spoke about how Sportsplex@Fairfield, 85 Mill Plain Road, evolved. 32

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“Dupont initially established the complex, which consists of 120,000 square feet of building space on 6.25 acres,” said Fischel, who, in 1970, founded the Fairfield-based development company that bears his name. “Dupont manufactured large rubber industrial parts. Fairprene Industrial Products Co. purchased the site and continued the operation until we bought the property in 2006. Many of the machines were still here and Fairprene was in the process of disassembling their operation. We began to renovate everything – the roof, structural elements, all the utilities – and eliminated a big water tower and an 80-foot chimney. The vision was to convert it to market-receptive usage.” The hitch with the plan was that the complex was in an industrial zone, restricted to allowed uses like indoor recreation. “We started searching for prospects,” said Fischel. “One by one, we found them, starting with the Gymnastics & Cheerleading Academy. Then we came across a chap, Steve Caton, in New Bedford, MA, who was interested in operating his Carabiners indoor climbing facility in Fairfield County and proceeded to build 30,000 square feet of climbing walls here. Another fellow was interested in building


Reuse & Recreation an ice skating facility and created two real ice/frozen water training rinks that now fall under the banner Fairfield Ice Academy.” Fischel said that, with those businesses as anchors, others followed, including The Field House, Fairfield Hot Yoga, Crossfit and Get in Shape for Women. “All these recreational-oriented businesses on one site have created a destination location,” Fischel said. “A plus is that it allows children, during vacation or summer camp, to experience different venues on one site. The venues work together to create an experience for the kids.” The newest additions to the tenant mix include Fairfield Fencing Academy, Fairfield Pilates, two food establishments, spinning and tae kwon do. “As of April 2011 , we were 85% leased and on the way to full occupancy,” said Spartachino. “Each business benefits from the exposure created by the surrounding businesses,” said Spartachino. “For instance, a climbing customer may notice and become interested in tumbling and ice skating, and vice versa. That’s a very unique situation. I also run into parents who, for instance, sign up their son for hockey and daughter for gymnastics, so they can do one-stop dropoffs. There’s really nothing like this between here and New York City.” Credit for the complex’s success can be attributed to Fischel’s talent for identifying structures, often historic, that can be saved, renovated and reintroduced to the market. “The theory is that it’s more economical to convert an existing structure than build from the ground up, which might include demolition,” said Fischel. He compared the project with one his firm completed in the late 1980s – West Cove Marina in New Milford. That site includes boat slips, maintenance services and access to an adjacent lake with waterskiing, rowing and kayaking. “That first gave me the realization that people are appreciative of recreational facilities,” said Fischel.

Of course, location, as they say, is key. “Sportsplex is right off I-95 and a half block from the Post Road, downtown Fairfield and a large commuter parking lot,” he said. Already, two of the businesses, Carabiners and the Gymnastics & Cheerleading Academy, have expanded, taking on more space. First Person Sports, offering Infra-red Laser Tag, has also recently opened, bringing another level of recreation to the complex. Numerous birthday parties, bar mitzvahs and adult get-togethers occur every week across the facilities, pulling families from all over Fairfield County. The buzz gives people yet another reason to move to Fairfield. “We actually get calls here at the Sportsplex from families that are considering moving here and want to check what we offer,” said Spartachino. Admittedly, there were challenges along the way to this pinnacle. “As an old building, it took tremendous creative vision to have it all come together,” said Fischel. “We wanted to build a field house for soccer and lacrosse – turf sports. The problem was there was a row of support columns down the center that had to be removed so a high-ceilinged clear span building could be placed in its footprint. Those columns were 100-year-old massive pine timbers. These valuable timbers that we had to move will be reused for architectural features.” Spartachino said people love the natural brick and loftiness of the existing industrial buildings. “These spaces align well with the activities of the businesses that decided to call this complex home. The magnificence of the site, too, is such that it spans two entire Post Road blocks.” Fischel has added to the visual attractiveness of the site by adding antique street lamps that complement the charm of the town and planting 250 arborvitae trees to mask the Metro North train tracks from view. From a marketing perspective, Spartachino said promotional support has included a Family Fun Day held last June, which offered free access to all the facilities. “It gave people an opportunity to sample everything from ice skating to trampolines. We also sponsor a movie night at Jennings Beach every summer. Last year our presence there included a gymnastics demo and portable climbing tower. We operate a customized bus as a shuttle to our facilities, as well, which has gone to several Touch-A-Truck events over time.” Fischel said that after a certain point, what will carry the business is word of mouth. “I think the various businesses at Sportsplex are able to quantify their success through repeat business,” he said. “As developers, we’re happy to fill the spaces. It’s then the business’ turn to attract customers.” For more information, visit www.sportsplexatfairfield.com

CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

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Hinding was here.

Meticulous tennis and multi-purpose court construction, installation, maintenance and accessories. Only the finest. Always.

TENNIS COURTS

If you can play on it, we can build it. 24 Spring Street s West Haven, CT 06516

203-285-3055 s HindingTennis.com Official sponsor: USTA New England

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Winter at Four Seasons. Adult and Junior tennis programs, clinics, leagues, workshops, events and world-class competitive training that truly are…one-of-a-kind.

FOUR SEASONS RACQUET CLUB 589 Danbury Road (Route 7 ) Wilton, CT 06897

203.762 .2423 4SeasonsTennis.com

CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

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SPORT

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CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE


cardio tennis [ you’ve got to give it a try ]

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a fitness fanatic. I love sports, workout several times a week, keep an eye on what I eat (most of the time) and am forever looking for new ways to get that “caught in the rain” sweat and workout high. Over the years I’ve tried them all: running, stair-master, elliptical, Yoga, Pilates, weights, you name it. If there’s a way to break a sweat, I own a book about it, have bought the proper equipment for it, and have given it a shot. Obsessed: perhaps. Addicted: definitely--and proud of it. Of all the forms of exercise I’ve tried in my life, nothing has satisfied the workout-aholic inside of me as much as running and hitting tennis balls. This is why I’m such a huge fan of Cardio Tennis. Developed by the Tennis Industry Association in conjunction with the United States Tennis Association, teaching pros and health experts throughout the country, Cardio Tennis is designed to encourage people of all ages to play tennis and adopt a more active lifestyle. We’ve all heard the frightening statistics regarding obesity in the United States. For years we have been largely a fat and out of shape society suffering from what I call the “over” syndrome: overscheduled, over-stressed and overweight. Thankfully, it seems as if we’re finally beginning to wake up from our sugar and fat-induced comas as more and more are saying NO to the French fries and YES to a good sweat. Fitness is beginning to creep into more peoples lives however, with everyone’s fast paced, overly scheduled lifestyles, they’re only willing to set aside so much time for exercise. They want to get in, workout, and get on to their next activity. With this in mind, most tend to use the easily available cardio equipment at their gym, take classes or lift weights. They generally don’t think about tennis as a great fitness opportunity. Well, they will now! Conducted on a tennis court by certified tennis professionals, Cardio Tennis classes include a short, dynamic warm-up, a cardio workout where the pro feeds balls to players based on their ability and fitness level, and a cool down phase. From the music that greets you as you step onto the court (that’s right, I said music on the court) to the energetic pros running the session, everything about Cardio Tennis is upbeat. During the course of the sixty-minute session, you’ll hit forehands, backhands, volleys, overheads and serves. You’ll sprint, recover, stretch, jump and laugh -- a lot! Not only does Cardio Tennis provide a complete workout in a short period of time it also offers players an enjoyable social experience. How often do we climb onto a treadmill or stair-master, put on our headphones and zone out until the timer on the machine tells us that our workout is finished? In a Cardio Tennis class, you’ll have so much fun that the time will fly by. Plus, you’ll make new friends. In addition, the program allows players of all levels to workout together. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner and your husband is a seasoned player. The pros are trained to conduct the classes so that

each player works out at their own level of both tennis and fitness. When you combine the non-stop action, music, heart rate monitors and fun atmosphere it adds up to a new, refreshing experience. Participants hit all the shots and make all of the movements they would during singles or doubles but the focus is on getting a great workout, not beating your opponent. That being the case, none of the unpleasant psychological or emotional issues that can arise during competition (and have driven people away from the game) enter into Cardio Tennis. It’s basically no pressure, fun tennis! Since the program began in 2005, Cardio Tennis is now offered at more than 1800 facilities nationwide and that number is growing. The program was also featured on a recent episode of televisions “The Biggest Loser.” Whether you are a seasoned competitor, social tennis aficionado or have never held a racket, Cardio Tennis will give you a full body workout and a great time. To learn more about this fabulous program and find a class in your area, go to www.cardiotennis.com.

Words: Greg Moran Photos: Mike Moran CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

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WINE

Bordeaux En Primeur words and photographs: Joy Kull

Trip Journal: First Day In Bordeaux It is early morning in St. Emilion on the first Monday of April. The cobblestone streets are quiet except for a few shopkeepers opening for the day. Just 40 minutes outside the city of Bordeaux, St. Emilion is home to some of the most prized vineyards and esteemed wineries in the world. After a quiet winter, the town is coming back to life for en primeur week. Chateaux are pulling barrel samples for the public’s first tasting of the 2010 vintage and brokers and negociants are coming from all over the world to purchase lots in “futures.” The concept of pre-sales has been around in the wine trade for centuries. In the 1970’s, 38

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wine was sold sur souche, on the vine before the grapes were even harvested. This comes with little surprise, since today a hectare of precious vines in Bordeaux starts at 5 million Euros. The consumer buys the wine at the opening price via brokers and negociants. After up to two years of barrel ageing and additional shipping costs and taxes, the wine is delivered. In theory, consumers are securing the most soughtafter wines at the best price. However, just like any other form of investment, there are risks involved. Economic recession can cause prices to remain immobile or even fall since the opening price. It is also pos-

sible that changes or failures in the relationship between the producer and importer can leave the consumer empty-handed. And of course, investment in a rudimentary product is always risky. That said, buying en primeur makes sense for the most historical and distinguished vintages. From the way it looks, 2010 may just be that. Trip Journal: Tasting the 2010’s! The 2010 vintage has unbelievable structure and high acidity. Though my mouth was not too happy after numerous tastes of such an astringent drink, high acidity is the most


The finest Chateaux come together to showcase their 2010 Grand Crus. Nothing pairs better with a full-bodied Bordeaux than fresh Cote de Boeuf! The vines are enjoying the unusually warm weather.

Every April, hundreds of wine professionals fly to Bordeaux for en primeur week, when the Chateaux release barrel samples of their most recent vintage. I was there this year for all of the excitement and bustle of the 2010 vintage. My suggestion: buy some now! That is, if you can wait ten years to enjoy it… important qualification for a wine’s ability to age. I tasted wines from almost every appellation in Bordeaux: St. Emilion, Pomerol, Haut Medoc, Medoc, and many more. Every one of them was exquisite in its own right. Tasting hundreds of wines alongside some of the industry’s most coveted professionals was one of the most inspiring experiences in my very young life. Even more so, was the private tasting at Chateau Le Gay in St. Emilion’s neighboring region, Pomerol. The small (22 acre) estate is a grape’s throw from the iconic Chateau Petrus and is making a name for itself under the new regime of Madame Catherine Péré-Vergé.

The vines, 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc, are on average 50 years old. Trip Journal: Chateau Le Gay I had the pleasure of tasting the entire line up of Mme Péré-Vergé wines, which culminated with the flagship from her other Chateau, La Violette. Like a proper “professional,” I spat every wine I tasted. But, as soon as I took a sip of La Violette, I knew I could not dare let it go to waste. I immediately apologized to Mme Péré-Vergé. (In response she laughed and told me it is an insult to spit her wines anyways.) The 2010 La Violette is 100% Merlot from

5 acres of vines located on the Pomerol plateau, the highest elevation in Pomerol. Here the soils are a mixture of clay, limestone, and gravel. It smells of violets (no surprise),black raspberry jam, and chocolate. In the mouth, the lush raspberry and plum are complimented by bright acidity and smooth, earthy tannins. Surely the critics will love this wine as much as I did. I could not ask for a better end to my short visit to Bordeaux. La Violette was the perfect closing wine and confirmed that 2010 will undoubtedly be an iconic vintage. I left with a big smile. And very purple teeth. CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

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Health + Wellness

WHILE YOU WERE EATING Visit any grocery store and you’ll find the meat case packed with cuts from our nation’s four biggest beef producers: Cargill Beef, JBS SA (US subsidiary owns Swift and Smithfield Beef), National Beef Packing, and Tyson. Read the package labels carefully and try to find any mention that the steer were raised in confinement on factory farms, fed a diet of genetically-modified (GM) corn and soy to fatten them up quickly and cheaply, then routinely supplemented with antibiotics and growth hormones to kick the meatmaking machine into high gear. You won’t find anything. Factory meat production is Big Business and it’s not in their best interest to tell you what’s in your food. by Analiese Paik Founder & Editor, Fairfield Green Food Guide fairfieldgreenfoodguide.com

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owhere is obfuscation of facts more troubling than with genetically modified foods (GMOs). In the early 1990s large, multinational biotechnology companies including Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Bayer, and Syngenta began producing and marketing seeds whose DNA they had engineered to either resist herbicides or produce pesticides to protect that plant from viruses and insects. Classified as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), these seeds contain portions of DNA from another organism that was inserted into their genetic material in a lab to confer the desired traits. In the case of transgenic GMOs, the inserted DNA was derived from another species, and not always from the plant kingdom. Processed foods sold in the US commonly contain ingredients made from the “Big Four ”GM crops:soybeans, corn, canola and cottonseed, yet they carry no labels declaring “contains GMOs”. The bottle of canola oil innocently sitting in your pantry is likely GM, since eighty percent of the canola grown in the US is genetically modified. “It’s being carefully hidden” explains Bill Duesing, an organic farmer and Executive Director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of CT (CT NOFA). “The US food industry will do anything they can to make this stuff seem the same.” GE seeds are unique enough to be patented as intellectual property (they meet the “usefulness” requirements of patent law), yet were likewise granted generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status in 1992 by the FDA after being deemed “substantially equivalent” to their non-GMO counterparts. GMOs considered GRAS require no long-term, independent animal, human and environmental studies to determine their safety. Wait. We’re eating plants that can produce their own pesticides and contain DNA from other species that was forced into their genetic makeup, yet they’re not being tested and require no labeling? This is a real head-scratcher. Jeffrey Smith, Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology (responsibletechnology.org), and an internationally recognized expert and author of two books on the health dangers of GMOs, Genetic Roulette and Seeds of Deception, weighted in on the topic. “It’s Monsanto’s unprecedented influence on this and previous administrations. It’s hard to know where they end and the government begins. The entire foundation of this technology is based on rhetoric, manipulation, and lies.” “The number of crossover people from Monsanto to the FDA is phenomenal” adds Duesing. “It’s a revolving door.” The documentary film, The World According to Monsanto, spotlights a few individuals who swung back and forth through the now-famous revolving door between Monsanto, the FDA and the USDA. Perhaps the most salient examples is that of Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto attorney appointed by President Obama as Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of the

FDA in 2009. Outrage over his appointment from critics of genetically engineered food centered on Taylor’s service between 1991 and 1994 as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy, a time when the agency eschewed unnecessary regulation and drafted biotech industry-friendly policies despite warnings by some of its own scientists.

tion of GMOs in 1999, and the US rejection of artificial bovine growth hormone (rbGH) in 2005, Smith is confident that food companies will respond to GMO rejection by a mere five percent of US consumers. “Manufacturers won’t wait for a substantial drop in market share. They won’t lose customers by eliminating GM ingredients either.”

There is growing concern among scientists, watchdog groups, members of the organic agriculture community, and consumers that GMOs pose threats to humans, animals and the environment. Jeffrey Smith said “claims that GM crops will feed the world are not based on reality. They decrease yields and increase the use of agricultural chemicals.” Duesing shares his views. “Genetic engineering is giving pollution a life of its own. It’s a food system that’s built around agricultural chemicals and herbicides designed to kill all green plants, except the GM plant.”

Due to growing concern about the safety of GMOs, lawmakers in 14 states, including Connecticut, have introduced legislation that would mandate, in some form, the labeling of genetically modified foods. Jeffrey Smith explains that “labeling exists in most developed countries with varying levels of thoroughness and enforceability. Europe is the most thorough and .9% is the threshold for labeling.” Duesing believes that it will help if foods containing GM ingredients are labeled, and will be one of the things that drives change, but isn’t convinced it’s the only or best answer. “Energy and the environment would be more important. I’ve been working 30 years to try to influence consumers.”

Adding to the unease is the industry’s lessthan-stellar track record on environmental stewardship. “These biotech companies have a history of creating long-lived pollutants that damage the environment and then we have to control it” Duesing pointed out. “We can’t eat fish from the Hudson, Housatonic or Quinnipiac Rivers because they’re contaminated with PCBs dumped in there by Monsanto.”

There is growing concern among scientists, watchdog groups, members of the organic agriculture community, and consumers that GMOs pose threats to humans, animals and the environment. One instance of cross-contamination vividly illustrates the potential threats GMOs pose to human health. “StarLink [a GM corn approved for animal use only, but which accidently contaminated human food in 1990 and sickened at least 35] may be part of the collective genome forever and there’s a high probability that it’s an allergen.” recalls Jeffrey Smith. “What we have now is really dangerous technology.” Jeffrey Smith’s claims are the product of years spent traveling the globe to research and immerse himself in the world of biotech foods. Smith visited Fairfield, CT in April as part of his 2011 lecture tour designed to inform citizens about the dangers of GMOs and teach strategies to identify and avoid them at point of sale. Buying organic and choosing processed foods carrying the Non-GMO Verified seal are among the helpful options outlined in his free publication,The Non-GMO Shopping Guide. Smith’s Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to “end the genetic engineering of our food supply quickly” through consumer rejection rather than through “politics and government.” Buoyed by Europe’s tipping point of consumer rejec-

State Representative Richard Roy (D-Milford), House Chairman of the Environment Committee, recently introduced an amendment requiring products containing GMOs to be labeled in the state of Connecticut. Roy is clearly well-educated on the topic of GMOS and takes a refreshingly consumeroriented approach to mandatory labeling. “The producers of GMO foods gush their support for what they say is a superior product. If the product is as good and safe as they claim, they should be happy to promote the product” explains Roy. “Instead, they refuse to tell the consumer that a product contains GMOs. What are they hiding?” Roy attended Jeffrey Smith’s lecture in Fairfield this past May, and briefly shared with the audience his position on GMO labeling and track record of getting difficult legislation passed. “I’m the guy that got the [hands-free] cell phone law passed after a seven-year battle and the pesticides off school grounds.” Undeterred by the GMO labeling amendment’s removal in early May by the General Law Committee, Roy optimistically pointed out that “it can be called again as a proposed amendment on another bill. Support is a growing from a number of legislators, along with  environmental groups, especially those involved in toxics legislation and healthy living habits.” Resources Center for Food Saftey: www.centerforfoodsafety.org CT NOFA: www.ctnofa.org Institute for Responsible Technology: www.responsibletechnology.org Non-GMO Shopping Guide: www.nongmoshoppingguide.com Non-GMO Project: www.nongmoproject.org

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APPETITE

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‘Proud Popp’

A morning at Sport Hill Farm

by Jenna Blumenfeld

Armed with a loaf of bread, Patricia Popp calls out to a deserted, fenced in yard. “Here girls, time for breakfast! Come to Mama!” Instantly, brown hens are summoned, running towards her and multiplying quickly as she tosses crumbs around them, until well over twenty, now thirty chickens are dominating the previously barren grass. Without a doubt, these are some happy chickens. Ms. Popp, or Patti to those who know her, is not the vision that comes to mind when you think of a farmer. She is adorable with her clear blue eyes, sandy hair and a peppy, friendly manner that seems to brighten when she speaks about Sport Hill, the organic farm in Easton, Connecticut she and her husband have been cultivating for six years. On a dreary, rainy morning I had the opportunity to sit down with her to discuss Sport Hill Farm, her views on local food and what programs she had in store for the future. “The first year we had a CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] program was the most stressful time in my life,” Patti said. “I was having nightmares about vegetables. Here you were taking someone who had no previous farming experience. I was totally off my game and didn’t even know what kale or Swiss chard was.” But as Patricia talked candidly about sprouting seedlings, proper crop drainage and composting, it was clear that she was incredibly knowledgeable, and not only upholding the modern values and programs of other organic farms in the area, but widely expanding the notion of how a single farm can serve a whole community. While Sport Hill Farm has a CSA service, where customers reserve a box of produce each week, Ms. Popp has invented a program called Crop Cash for those who wish to have more flexibility.

“Crop Cash is an option for people who may want to go on vacation, and who don’t want to be locked into a CSA for twenty-one weeks. They can prepay at the beginning of the season, and come shop in our store on that ‘house account’. It is an easy way to buy directly from a farm.” The store itself is enough motivation to participate in Crop Cash. Housed in a recently renovated barn, the airy shop derives all of its products on-site or from other nearby farms. The shop radiates with light and the fresh-cut interior of blonde wood and exposed rafters. A handwritten sign above the cash register displays a quote by Hippocrates reading “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” In a refrigerated container there are fresh eggs gathered that morning from free-range hens milling around outside the window. And the cash register is mechanical, not digital. Quite simply, the store seeps with charm. The top floor of the barn is where Ms. Popp holds community education programs ranging from “Farmer Jane and John” classes for 4-7 year olds, to four-week summer camps for elementary children, to adult gardening courses. Patti explains, “I think people want to learn how to eat better; how to become closer to their food. This all comes back to education.” Sport Hill Farm is certainly not the largest farm in the area. Nor is it the oldest. It is not a superlative. Rather, it is a glowing example of how we as convenience-minded humans can and should support the institutions, whatever the size, which are allowing us to be conscious of where our food comes from. All of us do not need to be organic farmers, but we can endorse, advocate for and patronize them.

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intellectual property

Written by: Sheryle Levine and Alan Neigher Byelas & Neigher, Westport, CT

The Internet:

Free Speech vs. Anonymity (II)

In our last column, we briefly discussed defamation as an exception to the generalized assertion that freedom of speech permits freedom of all speech. This column will discuss the differences in defamation “protections” (defenses) afforded to “traditional media”, on the one hand, and to internet providers, on the other. Those differences are substantial. n the midst of the internet boom in 1996, Congress passed a remarkable law, the Communication Decency Act of 1996. While much of the new law was devoted to “decency”, its most notable provision was Section 230. It stated that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another content provider.” In one sentence, Congress reshaped the entire foundation of common law underlying defamation, privacy and numerous other concepts of “torts.” Internet service providers (“ISPs”) and “users of interactive computer services” - bloggers, auction sites (e.g., ebay), retailers, social networks - - were granted a new and special status. Online intermediaries, who had historically been the primary targets as defendants by defamation and privacy plaintiffs, are now protected from being treated by state and federal courts as publishers or speakers. Previously, newspaper publishers and news broadcasters were held to account for defamatory letters or utterances by third parties, irrespective of whether those parties were employees of the media organization. Section 230 also states that the same providers and users of interactive comput-

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er services are permitted to voluntarily act “in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material [they might consider] to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable “irrespective of whether” such material is constitutionally protected.” Thus, Congress extended a dynamic and novel setting for ISPs – immunity from defamation, invasion of privacy and other torts, and the freedom to edit, restrict or delete (“in good faith”) objectionable material. Granting some editorial authority over content does not mean that the provider loses its Section 230 immunity. As an appeals court has recently held, the exercise of “a publisher’s traditional functions — whether to publish, withdraw, postpone or alter content” from third parties — does not turn the website into a content provider. This New World of internet immunity has created some anomalous results. A newspaper or broadcast facility may remain liable for third party statements made in a print edition or news broadcast, but remain immune for statements made on its own website. This inconsistency has puzzled courts and commentators since the enactment of Section 230. The best (but not the only) explanation is from a high appellate court:

Section 230 was enacted “to promote the free exchange of ideas over the internet and to encourage voluntary monitoring for offensive or obscene material.” Fair enough. But the question remains: is someone less defamed over the internet than for the same statement in a newspaper or broadcast? That remains, as courts will note, an open issue. Section 230 immunity for websites is not absolute. In 2008, an appellate court held that Roomates.com lost its Section 230 immunity, and was subject to Fair Housing Act liability, by developing and utilizing a multiplechoice questionnaire for users. By directing information provided by users only to other compatible users, matching preferences and excluding incompatible users, Roomate.com was, in part, responsible for discrimination on the basis of gender, orientation, religion and ethnicity. By helping to develop information in the profiles, Roomates.com itself became a “content provider”; accordingly, it lost its Section 230 immunity. The line between a provider who edits and polices its site, and one that is at least in part a “content provider” may not be a bright one. But for purposes of the internet, providing “content” seems to be the demarcation between immunity and exposure to liability.


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MOTORING

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MOTORING

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AVIATION

Thanks to Terrafugia, your new car is ready to fly

Cleared for

takeoff By Cindy Clarke

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You may remember them from the Jetsons, personal little airplanes that could zip you from home to work to the store and back into your garage, space age style. They’re the stuff of futuristic dreams for most of us, but not for the MIT grads of the Woburn, Massachusetts-based aerospace company, Terrafugia, whose personal aircraft prototypes, fittingly called the Transition®, are taking off. Translated from Latin, the company’s name means “free from the Earth” and that pretty much sums up what Terrafugia’s car/plane products are all about. I had the opportunity to speak with Richard Gersh, vice president for business development at the company, about the launch of these innovative sky cars. An aspiring pilot himself, he explained that the Transition is a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) with the footprint of an SUV and the ground maneuverability of a car. “These are roadable airplanes that can fly up to 10,000 feet at air speeds of 125 miles per hour (MPH), and maintain highway speeds on


the ground. Fully loaded they can carry a maximum weight of 1,430 lbs and enough fuel for a 400-mile trip. They’re designed to comfortably carry two passengers, luggage and golf clubs included, to their destination by land and air,” said Gersh, noting that they were purpose-built for the convenience of today’s sport pilots. By convenience, he means being able to fly from one small regional airport to another, virtually at will, quickly and easily, bypassing traffic, congestion and expensive hangar fees, with the added advantage of tucking in your wings once you are on the ground and driving yourself to and from the airport in the same vehicle. Did I mention that you can also fill up your gas tank at any local gas station, premium only please, and park your personal plane in your garage at home? If you think the Transition must be beyond your reach, either financially or technologically, think again. Admittedly you have to be well heeled to enjoy the high life they offer – these little beauties are expected to retail somewhere near the price of a Bentley when they come flying off the production line later this year. But when you consider the savings over the aero-options available today – no more monthly hangar fees of $1,000 or more, no need for ground transportation to and from the airport, no special airplane fuel needed – the affordability factor goes way up! As far as earning your wings, that’s not out there either. “The basics of flying are pretty easy. Sport pilots can be certified for Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) in as little as 20 hours,” explained Gersh, and the qualifications are equally simple. Aspiring pilots must be at least 17 years old, have a valid driver’s license, be in good health and not be impaired by medications or substances that could impede judgment or motor skills. The training course requires logging at least 20 or more hours of hands-on lessons and includes dual instruction with an instructor and student, cross country flying, taking off from one airport and landing at another, and solo flights. Forget about those daunting dials, gauges and complex instruments of supersonic jetliners. Equipped with a dashboard that is strikingly similar to that found in a car, the Transition is designed for visual flying during daylight hours. Flights are dependent on favorable weather conditions and good visibility, without having to rely on an air traffic controller or conform to scheduling restrictions. And if you have flown to a meeting a few hours away, and the skies turn stormy on your flight back home? The Transition has built-in safety features, including a parachute, but Gersh advises that you follow the same precautions you would with your luxury car during inclement weather. You can land your plane at the nearest airport – there are 5,200 public airports around the country, most within 30 miles of major cities, he says – fold in your wings with the touch of a cockpit button, drive off the runway and stay put until it is safe to resume your journey. The brains behind this space-age-technology studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with three of them co-founding Terrafugia in 2006. A private pilot since the age of 17, co-founder and company president Carl Dietrich received his Ph.D. from the Department of Aeronautics shortly after being awarded the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for Innovation. Chief Operating Officer All photographs courtesy of Terrafugia

and co-founder Anna Mracek Dietrich, also a private pilot, was named one of Boston’s top 15 innovators by the Boston Globe in 2010 and serves on the Board of Directors of Women in Aviation International. Co-founder Samuel Schweighart, also a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics, is a private pilot as well as an avid hang glider pilot. Together the founding trio assembled a world-class team of aerospace engineers, military pilots, and marketing executives, adventurers all, who share a boundless passion for flying. When can we expect to look up in our friendly skies and see the Transition overhead? According to the company, they have already taken orders for 100 flying cars, with the very first delivery scheduled for the end of 2011. Gersh said “We debuted our prototype at the Greenwich Concours D’Elegance and The Concours International in 2009, taking our place next to luxury automobiles and vintage roadsters, and actually sold one of our 100 initial orders there.” Which means that we could be sharing our Fairfield County roadways – and skyways – with one of what promises to be the first of many Transitions sometime next year!

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Music

>> Javier’s third album, The Truth-Acoustic EP, is available on iTunes, CDBaby.com and Amazon.com

by Laura Kist

“It was the most nerve-racking experience I have ever encountered,” said Javier Colon of his audition for NBC’s The Voice. “I was more nervous for that audition than I’ve ever been in my life… A lot was riding on it, and I knew that I had to get out there and absolutely give my all.” This, coming from a guy who has shared the stage with the likes of Joss Stone, Derek Trucks and Hootie & the Blow Fish. Nerves aside, it is now finally Javier’s time.

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Javier Colon knew at an early age that music was his calling, in large part thanks to a teacher, Ms. Spadaccino. “She found me first day of choir class,” Javier begins. “She walked around the room and stopped right in front of me as we were singing and she asked me to stay after class. She told me that she liked my voice.” Javier’s teacher made him do things musically that he didn’t want to do, like perform in front of others. “It was then that I realized, singing for these other classes and getting positive feedback, that I thought, ‘Wow, I guess I’m OK. And if people are really liking it, maybe I should do it more’,” Javier recalls. “And it just kind of blossomed from there.” Music was far from a foreign entity in the Colon home. “Music was definitely a huge part of the household. My dad was in the radio business for

all of his life. He worked at a Spanish radio station in Hartford.” Javier continues, “When we were young kids and [Dad] was at the radio station, my mom would have it on, listening in. And when he was home, he’d have the radio on listening to what was going on. Even now it is still that way. It was a big part of our childhood, listening to music. My first songs I sang were Spanish, imitating what I’d hear on the radio. That’s really how it started.” Javier continued honing his craft through middle school and high school. He went on to attend the prestigious University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music, studying Music Education. During that time his friend, Ian McHugh, convinced him to join a newly formed band, EmcQ. “We put together this 8-piece funk, soul, R&B band. It was really the first time that I stepped up on stage in


front of a band,” Javier recalls. “The first show that we ever did was at the Arch Street Tavern in Hartford, and I remember feeling so awkward because it was the first time I was in the front and center.” Javier continues, “It was the beginning for me getting comfortable on stage. I had done a bunch of stuff in high school and some things in college, but being with a band was completely different. I have fond memories of that band and Ian and I still work together today, writing songs and working with other artists.” It was when EmcQ opened for Soulive that the guitarist, Eric Krasno, recommended Javier to Derek Trucks, guitar virtuoso and member of The Allman Brothers Band. Derek was looking for a singer for his own project, The Derek Trucks Band, and for the next two years, Javier was that man. He learned a lot on the road, both musically and personally.

“Being on the road that long and being on a tour bus, going from city to city, you kind of learn to appreciate things, like your own bed,” Javier laughs. “But you also get to appreciate the country...that was an amazing experience, getting to perform all over with such a great band.” “The other thing it also taught me,” Javier continues, “is it takes hard work to build a following and to be able to make a living [in music]. Derek started as a young kid touring around the country and now he’s touring around the world. It really just goes to show that he’s worked really hard for it. And I got to see that building first hand.” In 2002, Javier left the Derek Trucks band to pursue a solo career, having been signed by Capitol Records. With the label, he released two albums; self-titled Javier and Left of Center. In 2006, Javier parted ways with Capitol—he wished to write and play music that was

better suited to his influences and inspirations, such as James Taylor and Stevie Wonder. Javier has an appreciation for all things musical and his strongest influences reflect that. “James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Stan Cook, Cat Stevens, Babyface. There is a huge range of folks who have inspired me,” Javier explains. “Those are probably the strongest. As far as those who inspire me right now, anyone from Sarah Berellis to Coldplay.” However, when it comes to which genres inspire him, the answer is more surprising. “Lately I’ve been a big fan of country music. I think country music is one of the only places you can go and tell a story…and I love that as a songwriter. That’s kind of been in my head lately, to try to write more stories.” After a listen to his third release, The Truth-Acoustic LP, it is clear that Javier is doing just that. The album is composed of six beautifully crafted songs of life’s triumphs and tragedies— from raising a child, in “Little Girl”, to realizing the person you love is leaving you—but not in the way you would ever imagine or wish for, as in “Ok, Here’s the Truth”. In addition to putting out a third record, Javier has been touring with an elite cast of players on the music scene: Joss Stone, Hootie & the Blowfish, The Indigo Girls and Chaka Khan, to name a few. However,

making ends meet as a musician to support his wife and two little girls has not been easy. Just at the right time, Javier had the opportunity to audition for NBC’s The Voice, a vocal competition featuring celebrity coaches Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton. The grand prize: $100,000 and a recording contract. With a soulful rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s classic, “Time After Time,” Javier more than impressed all four coaches, and subsequently chose Adam Levine as his mentor throughout the competition. Winning The Voice can give him the second chance he needs. “If I’m lucky enough to do what I love to do and earn enough to pay the bills, and be comfortable, then that would be what I’m looking to do,” Javier stated. “I’ve been around the country a bunch and I would really like to be able to take my music around the world. Not only is it my dream, but hopefully my destiny to do that.” All you have to do is listen to Javier’s music and you know it is. And it looks like America agrees. The week after Javier debuted on The Voice, his single, “Time After Time,” hit 65 on Billboard’s Top 100, with 46,000 downloads. Given his vocal range, his experience and his dedication to the art of music, it is now wonder this is Javier’s time.

11 things you might not know about javier: 1: Something you’ve never done once in your life. Never been drunk. 2: Favorite book. DaVinci Code. 3: Favorite movie. Beverley Hills Cop 2. 4: What song are you most proud of writing. Ok, Here’s the Truth. 5: If you could play 18 holes with anyone in the world, who would it be? The President. 6: Favorite band. Coldplay. 7: Favorite place. Lake Tahoe. 8: Favorite Broadway show. Les Miserable. 9: Favorite actor/actress. Keira Knightly. 10: If you could duet with anyone in the world who would that be Female: Celine Dion; Male: James Taylor. 11: Tell us something that many people don’t know about you that would surprise them. I am an avid racquetball player.

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Music

dental diva Brace Tourself: She’s a Vixen

Janet Gardner recently walked down the hallway of her son’s school, carrying a tray of cupcakes. Because it was his birthday, 8-year-old Ryan was allowed to bring a drum and play it for his classmates. As Gardner approached his room, she heard two young girls gushing about her son. “Oh, he’s so good on that drum!” That stopped her dead in her tracks. “He’s got groupies already,” she thought to herself. “This... is gonna be dangerous.”  Is turnabout fair play? Janet Gardner did front an all-chick rock ‘n roll band for several years in the ‘80s and ‘90s. She wore leather, had big hair, and as the lead singer for VIXEN, opened up for groups like OZZY and KISS on stages all over the world, in front of thousands of fans. You think her parents didn’t worry?

by Kristen Cusato

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Today, Janet Gardner is a wife, a mother and a dental hygienist in Connecticut. How did she end up where she is today? Let’s start with where she came from. Gardner was the youngest of five children born into a very loving Mormon family in Utah. Yes, that’s right. Janet Gardner, former lead singer of VIXEN, grew up a Mormon. “My Dad didn’t push it. Up to a certain age, we were required to do the Mormon stuff, but then once we reached an age where we could make the decision for ourselves, we were allowed to,” Gardner says. That included a tour of U.S. with the Young Americans, a show choir made up of high school kids from several states that mixed dancing and singing. After performing for a few years, she landed in Los Angeles, and started singing with a band. And one night, at a gig, someone told her she would be perfect for an all-girl band in town. She auditioned, but it didn’t feel right.   “Too Go-Go’s like”, she says. “I was into melodic rock—Pat Benatar, Heart.” But they worked together, melded their styles, and VIXEN was born. “We did little mini-tours, where everybody was sleeping on the floor of one hotel room, it was really funny.” Eventually EMI signed them. Then they changed their mind. Then they signed them again, putting these girls in their early 20s on one big rock and rollercoaster. They made a record, and went out on the road to support it with the only

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artist going out at the time, Eddie Money. Gardner called that pairing a mismatch, but said it was fun. And it led VIXEN to their first arena tour, opening for THE SCORPIONS in Europe. Every night, she says, the lights would go down, the lighters would go on, and the crowd would roar. “It was like everything you dream about as a kid ‘I’m a rock star! Ahhhh!’ Constant goosebumps,” Gardner says. Her ‘we made it’ moment? The day she was driving into Hollywood, and heard the  DJ for KLOS radio in L.A. introduce her song on the radio. “’Here’s VIXEN with “Edge of a Broken Heart”’, I had to pull over! Although I did feel pretty confident about that song when Richard Marx, who produced it, played  the final mix for me a few weeks before,” Gardner says. It wasn’t easy though, being part of an all-girl band. The members of VIXEN found they had to prove themselves over and over again. “People are always quick to write you off as some sort of novelty thing, so we knew every night had to be pretty amazing.”   She has some good stories. Like the time she opened the bathroom door of the tour bus and found a male fan standing there. “Hello,” she said. “How did you get in here? Did you climb in through the toilet?” Or the time a fan tried to go with the band to their next destination, by climbing onto the  top of the bus


Every night, she says, the lights would go down, the lighters would go on, and the crowd would roar. “It was like everything you dream about as a kid ‘I’m a rock star! Ahhhh!’”

and holding on for miles. She did date a few rock stars, although she wouldn’t say which ones. But Janet Gardner doesn’t have a lot of crazy partying stories. “Most of the time after a show, we’d get on the bus, pop popcorn and play Pictionary,” she said. Really? Really. “We had our moments, but nobody fell over drunk on stage or ended up in rehab.” Which may be the reason VIXEN was able to tour for so long. They were on the road from 1984 to 1991, sometimes doing 200 dates a year, with BON JOVI, RATT, DOKKEN, and often headlining.  But the band broke up. Musical differences. It happens. Bands also tend to get back together, and when

two of the members started playing as VIXEN again, the guitar player sued for the rights to the name. They settled. Then they tried to tour again with the original members. It didn’t work. That was about the time Janet Gardner decided she wanted something more out of life. She had met her husband, engineer and guitar player Andy Katz, while making the album “Tangerine” in 1998. “I said ‘I want to have a family and can’t be at the mercy of the music business anymore’.” She had a son. And followed in the footsteps of her grandfather, uncles and cousins, going into the stable field of dentistry. She graduated in 2005 from the University of Bridgeport with a degree in Dental Hygiene, and is very content cleaning people’s teeth at an office in Fairfield County. Does she get recognized? “Sometimes it comes up. I’ve seen patients four or five times and they have no idea who I am,” she says. “And there are others who are musicians who come in and just talk music.”   Janet Gardner is beautiful, by the way. She may look better today than she did back then. She has luminous skin, and gorgeous straight, thick strawberry blonde hair. And she’s pretty animated, especially as she describes the technique she used to get her hair so big back then. “It was so peroxided, it was crunchy. I’d blow dry it upside down, tease it really good at the roots, and use lots of Aqua Net. The white can, with pink letters. Extra super lacquer hold.”    Who is she listening to now? She’s a big fan of GRACE POTTER AND THE NOCTURNALS, PINK  and JOHN MAYER. And she does still dabble in the scene occasionally. There was a VH1 Bands Reunited show that brought all the original members of VIXEN together for a one-time show in 2004. And she’s played the Mohegan Sun casino with “Scrap Metal”, a band made up of old friends from  WARRANT, MR. BIG and NELSON, who all sing their top hits for a nostalgic crowd. She admits she misses it. “I do think I’m getting to the point where I want to have some music back in my life,” she says. “I went completely out so I could have a family life. But now I want to get back into it. We’ll see how it goes.” She and her husband have a studio in their home and they’ve been ‘tinkering with some songs’, preparing for what could be a Janet Gardner solo album. “It’s time for that,” she says. The VIXEN days may be over, but Janet Gardner’s star may just be ready to shine once again.

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(advertorial)

Richard Vaux

ART an old friend Rob Brooks & Tucker Robbins

Art you love will never go out of style.

CRASH

A s gallerists we see many people walk through our door. While it might be an eager artist with a portfolio under his or her arm or an art historian with an established eye, over the past two years, the most UHZDUGLQJ H[SHULHQFH LV PHHWLQJ WKH ÀUVWWLPH EX\HU who - in an instant - catches “the art bug” and becomes an art collector. Whether a new, young family in town, or a long-time resident we recognize the look: eyes widening, as if a light has gone on in their head - illuminating a colorful abstract canvas, a more traditional, master work or a hyper-realistic image.


Melissa Barbieri

For the new collector, art is now the one thing they want, even need, in their lives! The “ahha” moment begins with one work of art, which leads to two and then turns into a lifetime journey. We thrive on being a part of that evolution and sharing in the buyer’s intimate expression of their personality, creativity, sense of humor and passion in their choice of works. After collectors acquire a work of art and install it in their home it becomes part of the family. Something to wish, “Good morning” and “Good night”, and like an old friend they come to appreciate more and more as time goes by. An art collector does not respond to trends or buy art for its turnover value, they choose a piece because they fall in love with it and cannot live without it. There are no rules for the art collector,

no deadlines, no color or style requirements, it is a voyage of the heart that often results in an eclectic and meaningful assortment of objects. Collecting is an experience that begins with the “ah-ha”, a memory of a time and place and a vision of a life surrounded by beauty. Collectors know that one work of art can rejuvenate a space, by the simple act of pairing a beloved family heirloom and a pop print, the room is transformed and the heirloom refreshed in a new light. 7KHEHVWDGYLFHZHFRXOGJLYHDÀUVWWLPHEX\er? Trust your instinct and aquire art that you love. Art you love will never go out of style. Sarah Biggers & Katherine Cissel Gallelry Managers

Artwork provided by Southport Galleries, located at 330 Pequot Avenue, Southport CT 06890


TRAVEL

Photo: Carsten Lisecki

Photo: Carsten Lisecki Photo: Carsten Lisecki

Photo: Carsten Lisecki

Photo: Carsten Lisecki

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BERLIN: On Wings of Desire

Photo: Carsten Lisecki

T

here are 15 Berlins in the U.S.A., starting with the one in Connecticut off Route 15 (the Berlin Turnpike), and not counting Irving Berlin, who wrote “God Bless America”. That leaves Berlins in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Vermont, Maryland and North Dakota, and even Kentucky (really!) among them, but for most of the world, there is only one Berlin – the one where a husky-voiced, stilleto-ed cross-dressing Marlene Dietrich sang “Falling in Love Again” in some sybaritic subterranean Weimar cabaret whilst Hitler and Goering were preparing to invade Czechoslovakia, Austria and Poland. I refer of course, to the one in Germany, the one where the infamous Wall drew a concrete line of fear down the center of this classic European city. Called officially the “anti-fascist protection rampart” by

By Lisa Seidenberg the Communists and the “wall of shame” by most everyone else, it was meant to keep East Germans from emigrating and defecting to the decadent West. Arriving in Berlin this past winter, after a hiatus of 21 years, I was anxious to see what life was like post-Wall. The last time I had been there was March of 1990, weeks after the wall literally came tumbling down as throngs of ecstatic Germans partied all night and chiselled away at the concrete slabs and loathsome guard towers that came to symbolize the Cold War. Like many visitors at the time, I went home with a souvenir chunk – a pink and black painted piece of Wall about the size of a large spread hand. “Open this gate, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” That was the challenge to the Soviets made by then President Ronald Reagan in Berlin on June 12, 1987. Two years after Reagan’s visit, and after mass

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Photo: Carsten Lisecki

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Photo: Carsten Lisecki

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protest demonstrations broke out all over East Germany, the Wall a whole generation had grown up with, was transformed almost overnight into a memory. It was disorienting. Since the War, the psychology of life in this city was all about the Wall; like a terrestrial North Star, you knew where you were in relation to it. In Wim Wenders’ lyrical film “Wings of Desire” (1987), an angel in human form (played by Bruno Ganz) roams the city listening to conversations. An old man says, “Here, I am a foreigner, but at the same time, it is so familiar. Here, you can never get lost. You always end up at the Wall…” It would be churlish to suggest that something there is that misses The Wall considering its bloody history. Between the years 1961 and 1989, almost 5000 people attempted to escape from the East Side to the West by scaling the Wall and 260 died in their brave crossings. And yet... Strolling around the no man’s land that once was the area of the Wall, there is an unsettling surprise. The City of the Wall has become the City of the Mall! Gleaming walls of steel and glass line the boulevard at Potsdamer Platz leading to a central arcade that opens into a cinema-plex smorgasbord (OK, that’s Swedish but close enough) so enormous that the annual Berlinale – the International Berlin Film Festival - is held there and takes over the city each February to become the festival uber alles in the film world, surpassing even Sundance and Cannes. In the 1920’s and ‘30’s, Potsdamer Platz was one of the major urban crossroads of the world, comparable to Times Square or Piccadilly Circus in London. When the Nazis came to power, Hitler‘s chief

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architect, Albert Speer, had plans to remake the Square, with its luxurious hotels and convenient railway convergences, as the political center of Germany and of his future world empire. Gestapo headquarters were located there along with its notorious prison and torture rooms. Now, despite attempts to re-glamourize the area, no one would dream of going to Potsdamer Platz for anything besides catching a movie. The few restaurants and bars there charge way too much for a glass of Riesling or pint of Pilsener for the average resident. A short walk down Under den Linden (a major tree-lined thoroughfare), takes you to the main tourist attractions - the Reichstag, the German Parliament Building, which was bombed during air raids near the close of World War II, and the Brandenburg Gate, the most prominent historical symbol of Germany. It was at the Brandenburg Gate that Reagan delivered his challenge to the Soviets in 1987 and it was the image of revelers atop the Brandenburg Gate that became the symbol of the end of the Wall and ultimately Communism’s fall as well. To see it now is to see the immense structure fully restored to its classical glory, six immense Doric columns topped by a chariot driven by the Roman Goddess of Victory. The paradoxical among us – or the very thirsty – will notice something else. Steps from the Gate and occupying the best real estate for viewing and picture-taking is the international symbol of caffeine – Starbucks. Or as I prefer to call it – Brandenbucks. At the counter, I ordered a soy latte – with extra angst. Not wanting to miss out on the memorable, candidate Barack Obama also made Berlin a stop in the summer of 2008 on his campaign tour. He was greeted by an estimated 200,000 people, outdoing Reagan in numbers, but with no comparable sound-bite. The press declared, nevertheless, that he was victorious in Germany, more


Photo: Carsten Lisecki

or less I suppose, like Frederick the Great and the early Beatles. It was President Kennedy of course who set the bar very high in 1963 with his “Eich bin ein Berliner” speech taunting the Russkies and expressing American solidarity with the Berliners East & West (actually there were four“ sectors” after Worl War II – one Russian and the three Allied areas, American, French and British). A footnote: While the phrase “Eich bin ein Berliner” was meant to be interpreted “I am a Berliner or resident of Berlin”, it was noted at the time that few in the audience responded. Not only was ‘Berliner” not the correct term for a city’s inhabitant, the word “berliner” was the name for a common fruit-filled breakfast treat. In effect, he was saying “I am a jelly dough-nut” or “I am a pop-tart”, a statement which folks, or rather volkes, apparently found most amusing. For a more authentic city destination, a visit to the East Side Gallery is worth the trek, but don’t go on the coldest day of winter, as I did, as this is not a gallery in a traditional sense. Billed as the largest open-air art display in the world, the ESG is a mile-long section of the Wall that has been painted with colorful murals by artists from all over the globe. Painting and graffiti had long been an attraction at the Wall, but only on the Western-facing side,. After 1989, many of the artists returned to re-create their work on the Eastern side, most famous among these an image of the Soviet leader Brezhnev Frenchkissing Erich Honecker, despised former leader of East Germany. There is no shortage of monuments and museums in Berlin and the U-Bahn or S-Bahn trains will take you anywhere in the city for 2.20 Euros (about three dollars) as will the very efficient city buses. Avoid Checkpoint Charlie, once the crossing point between the American and Russian Sectors and now a kitschy overpriced museum. Instead take a Trabant-tour of the city – “Trabbies” being the nickname for the once-ubiquitous cars of the GDR and named one

of the 50 worst cars of all time. Or go to Alexander Libeskind’s Jewish Museum for an amazing example of off-kilter modern architecture and a huge trove of artifacts detailing the cultural history of the city’s once substantial Jewish population. Missing, oddly enough, is a major piece of that story – Hitler’s bunker, the underground building where the Fuhrer and his new bride Eva Braun waited out the final hours of the War. As the Americans were crossing the River Elbe (to the South) and Russians tanks were moving in on the city, Hitler is said to have shot himself while Eva ingested cyanide (who first?). Or so it is believed, as their bodies were never found. The bunker is hard to find, as it was torn down and replaced with a parking lot in the past few years. Berlin is not just for the history obsessed, it is, at heart, a vibrant and cosmopolitan city and in art circles, Berlin is arguably the NEW New York. Neighborhoods like Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, or Prenzlauerberg are roughly equivalent to the Lower East Side and Soho in Manhattan or Williamsburg, Brooklyn – full of Bohemian life (with real Bohemians), Turkish restaurants and art everywhere. The former East is definitely the place to be even though it is swiftly taking on the commercial mall-ed aspect of the other side of the city. Unfortunately, like artist neighborhoods everywhere, the artists are being gentrified (i.e. priced-out) as property values increase. To make the city even more attractive, it is surprisingly a bargain, cheaper by far than New York, Paris or London. A decent hotel can be had for less than 70 Euros or about $100. You can even dine vegetarian and organic now in this citadel of bratwurst and beer. And while speaking the language never hurts, many people speak English - especially younger Germans - which makes it easy to make friends. And you never know, you might meet an angel.

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DECORATIVE ARTS

PHOTO: RUSSELL JOHNSON

Clockwise from top left:

mark your calendar SOFA New York cannot be missed

1) Amsterdam, 2005, White and Clear with Primary Color Spiral Wraps and Red Powdered Coated Bronze, 51" x 41-1/2" x 4", Metal and design by Louis Mueller with glass by Benjamin Moore. 2) Japan 3, 2010, Marian Bijlenga, dyed fishscales, 30" x 26". 3) Golden Fissure, 2010, Mary Giles, Hammered Brass with Iron and Brass Wire, 10" x 28" x 13". 4) Atomic Vase, 2010, Kate Malone, Glazed Stoneware, H 14-1/2" W 13-3/8" D 10-5/8".

by

Matthew Sturtevant

It took all my strength to get up and out after a brutal winter that just would not give in to spring, but after walking through the doors at the 67th Street Armory on Park Avenue my feet became a little lighter, and I began to feel the warm glow of creativity, inspiration and joy of life awakening in me. This grouping of dealers representing artists and artisans from around the globe was so fresh and inspiring that it will leave you in absolute bliss. At the entrance we were greeted by Akiyama Yô represented by Joan B. Mirvass LTD of New York who’s stoneware encrusted in iron filings appeared to have just been hoisted out of a volcano and then half polished with slits and geometric forms. Across the isle Fedri Fine Art of Dallas had a collection of artist working out of Murano on Venice Projects and represented Kiki van Eijk who’s whimsical works in glass attracted my attention with “Rest” a work in one piece of glass with a fixed hourglass embedded in a stack of pillows. As I turned around I was greeted by a standing three quarter sized mirrored glass alien cartoon figure decorated with yellow polka dots. When I studied closer I realized my reflection was just as absurd as the object in front

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of me. From there I was drawn to a porcupine like sculpture displayed on a pedestal by Mary Giles represented by Browngrotta Arts of Wilton, Connecticut. As I drew closer I realized it was a mass compiled of fine oxidized brass quills divided by a fissure finished in golden sequins. It was a textural delight. In the aisle I took notice of a bench by Jaehyo Lee, which upon further inspection I realized was a mushroom shaped chunk of heavily oxidized wood riddled with a sinew of steel bolts and screws that had been bent and then polished to a steely flat glow creating a great contrast. As I sat down on it (it was very comfortable) urged on by the owners Cynthia-Reeves Projects of New York I saw a simple leafless branch suspended on a white plexiglass panel on the opposite wall. As I starred at it I began to notice that the shadows it created were moving ever so slightly as if it were breathing. This wondrous sculpture, object or functional artwork was by Claire Watkins, and I’d realized that I had only been in the show for 15 minutes and everywhere I looked ingenious design was always in view.


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ART

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Above: Crane, 2004 (from the exhibition Cardbirds), Cardboard, Photo: Joseph Kugielsky. Left: The Great Monkey Project, 2008, Cardboard, Photo: Rob Grant.

Corrugated Creations:

James “Jimmy” Grashow by Laura Einstein

I first met Jimmy Grashow while visiting Chris Durante in his framing studio in Danbury, Connecticut. I was having some framing done and also curating an exhibition for Durante at Fairfield Arts Center. Jimmy came in to check on a magnificent sculpture of a peacock that Chris was encasing in a perfectly-suited frame. This sculpture had been commissioned for the cover of the New York University Bulletin (Summer 2008). Since that time, our paths have crossed again and again and I am pleased now to call Grashow a friend. If you stay at an infamous Grashow party long enough, you might see, in the wee hours of the morning,  artist and teacher Joe Fucigna dancing around holding one of Jimmy’s cardboard constructions of an ear of corn and hear him state, “I am no longer Joe Fucigna, I am now a piece of corn…”  Within Jimmy Grashow’s joy of life and love of lively parties is a thoughtful man who finds joy in creating works of art. For him, it is the process, not the finished product alone, that is vitally important.  Process is the meat and bone to these works of art that are much more than lighthearted and fun. Grashow’s cardboard monkeys create monkey business – some are flexing their biceps, some are swinging by their tails, and others are in exaggerated monkey-type poses. At first glance, they appear to be a group of playful creatures. However, Grashow reminds us that they are nothing more than corrugated cardboard shells. They are fashioned from highly flexible, pliable cardboard, a hot glue gun and Jimmy’s hands cajoling the paper into these energetic animals.  For Grashow, process, from the initial idea to its ultimate decay of that very work of art is as important as the sculpture itself. The very making of a work of art is the most important aspect of it and its destruction and decay is the natural culmination of its creation. So, do not think for a moment that Jimmy Grashow is purely fun-loving. He is as spiritual as he is intelligent – as he is comfortable in his own skin – as he is an exemplary artist. >>

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ART

Clockwise from left: 1) Houseplants, 2010 (details from House Plant Bouquet), Paper and Wood, Photo: Deb Stallwood. 2) A City, 1984, Cardboard, Wood and Fabric, Photo: Steve Ogilvey. 3) Corrugated Fountain (detail), 2010, Cardboard, Photo: Richard Boyd. 4) Peacock, 2008, New York University Bulletin (Summer 2008), Cardboard, Photo: Rob Grant.

Jimmy Grashow received his Bachelor of Fine Arts (1963) and Master of Fine Arts (1965) degrees at Pratt Institute, in his hometown of Brooklyn. He began his Master’s thesis studying with George McNeil, recognized as a first-generation abstract expressionist painter. At thesis time, Grashow had the idea to create large muslin humanoid figures numerous enough so that he could fill an entire room. At the same time, he would paint these figures in assorted exaggerated positions on canvas and would move back and forth from creating and painting sculpture to painting canvas. This, ultimately, did not work out. Grashow found that he was spending most of his time on the sculptures and began to see the painted canvas as too static, not allowing for spontaneous movements and adjustments. In the end, this dual approach made no sense. It was neither fluid nor flexible.  A vital work for Grashow is his Corrugated Fountain that was inspired by the Trevi Fountain in Rome and earlier works and plans for the fountain by the artist, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. This spectacular fountain stands out as a majestic Baroque sculpture most notably identified with its heroic treatment of Poseidon looming over his horses and sea creatures with trident in hand. (By the way, stay tuned for the documentary film on this piece by Olympia Stone of Allan Stone Gallery entitled, THE CARDBOARD BERNINI.) It was post graduation, when Jimmy received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Florence, that the idea for this fountain came about.  At this time, he thought of creating “gorilla sculptures” whereby he would create large installations in public squares throughout Florence during the middle of the night.  He had the intriguing notion that the Italians would begin their day astounded by sculptures scattered throughout this Tuscan city!  In 2006, upon making a condolence call to the New York home of his dealer, Allan Stone, Grashow experienced his own Murder Maché, decom68

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posing on Stone’s backyard. These monumental papier mache sculptures of fighting men, with oversized heads, hands and feet were toppling against and on top of each other. Unbelievably, some were even chained to trees! Grashow had been exhibiting with the Allan Stone Gallery since 1965. For a guy who is interested in the transient side of life, seeing one’s own works of art being “held captive” in the backyard of his dealer’s home further informed Grashow’s decision to make a large fountain – one that would ultimately be put outdoors to, at the artist’s own request, decay according to nature’s whims. In this case, he could himself be the author of its destruction. Grashow proudly states that he always completes a project, noting that the finished work of art is born out of complicated resolutions resulting from trial and error. Regarding his choice of cardboard and paper as medium Grashow states, “Water and cardboard cannot exist together. The idea of a corrugated fountain is impossible, an oxymoron that speaks to the human dilemma. I wanted to make something heroic in its concept and


execution with full awareness of its poetic absurdity. I wanted to make something eternal out of cardboard.” This piece opened at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia, in 2010. From there, it traveled to the Allan Stone Gallery in 2011, and will have its final resting place at The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut, in April 2012. There, this incredible fountain will be allowed to turn to mush or paper pulp. As Grashow says, “ashes to ashes, mush to mush.” Grashow believes that his Corrugated Fountain, a project that he worked on for four years is, in itself, a retrospective of all that he has done throughout his career as an artist. It ties in Grashow’s love of painting, woodcuts, wood engraving, and sculpture. Grashow states, “Cardboard is just dying not to be thought of as garbage.” Grashow also states that an artist develops through the materials that he or she uses. For himself, it is cardboard. He can infuse cardboard with life that transcends its frequent appearance as daily garbage.  Sculpture has been in Grashow’s life from early on, and his love of the heroic Poseidon-type character can be found in summer camp. As a kid Grashow would be up late into the night creating south sea gods out of papier mache.  One such evening, Grashow noticed that it was raining and that his monumental sea god had turned to mush. At this young age, Grashow was hit full force with the concept of the transience of things that would affect his life and art so strongly. As for Grashow’s woodcuts and engravings, he has made one per month for approximately thirty years. Upon carving wood at Pratt in his printing class, he found that the process came naturally to him, and he now runs his hands softly over the favored pear wood that he uses for his graphic work. In fact, his graphic work has been the bread and butter of his professional career. Grashow has created record album covers for rock artists including Jethro Tull, The Yardbirds, Ramsey Lewis and Deep Purple to name a few. He has had numerous commissions for prints and illustrations for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Life, Time, Esquire, and New York magazine among many others.  His work has been exhibited at The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Peabody-Essex Museum among others. Grashow’s next project will be in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he will create a fish parade of sea creatures that will be attached to poles and paraded down the streets of Pittsburgh.  Grashow recently made a toast, “…we toast to our portion of the Process…an infinite unbroken stream…L’Chaim, this is a celebration!” This is the essence of Jimmy Grashow, a man who celebrates life and the process of making a life – in the end, it is a fine one.  I believe that Jimmy Grashow’s extraordinary works of art will resonate with those who are lucky enough to know him and to experience his body of work ranging from grandiose sculpture to bouquets of cardboard houseplants to “cardbirds” – not precious, but most certainly treasured for their very essence.

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DANCE

at

photos by john kane

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DANCE

Windows illuminate the spacious room, and fresh air drifts through the open doors in the summertime. Washington Club Hall, built in the small rural town in 1907, is home to Pilobolus, a not so small dance company that began in 1971. True to their affinity for the countryside, the company’s name derives from a fungus that grows in cow manure and shoots its spores up to six feet high. And like the fungus, Pilobolus dancers are known to launch into the air, forming striking shapes which shift to the rhythm of one’s imagination. Artistic director and co-founder Robby Barnett calls Pilobolus “an arts organism.” “The dances are simply the fruit of this living creature. It has a life of its own. We do our best to steer it well, to train it, but it goes in directions that always surprise us.”

Recognized for their protean pile-ups, where bodies merge and shift behind screens to produce silhouettes of animals, vehicles, and nature scenes, Pilobolus leaves an indelible imprint on the mind. Without this flowing current of shadows, in full view, a surprising cleverness still suffuses the dancers’ sprightly athleticism. “Growing up in a bilingual household, I fell behind in my language skills and I found more comfort expressing myself through athletic movement,” says Dance Captain Jun Kuribayashi, who has been with the company for seven years. His movement, along with the other six dancers in the main touring company, is rife with expression. If you’ve never watched Pilobolus perform, you may have seen their spots for the NFL, Mobil, Hyundai or their feature on “60 Minutes.” Their ingenuity and athleticism have also taken them to the Olympics, Academy Awards, the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” In the course of their worldwide travels, Pilobolus’ accolades include being voted Best Dance Troupe by Connecticut Magazine, receiving the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement in choreography, the Berlin Critics Prize, and an Emmy. Despite their success, the company’s beginnings were humble. Jonathan Wolken, Moses Pendleton, and Steve Johnson attended Dartmouth College, then a men’s college, and took a modern dance class that emphasized improvisation and body-linking acrobatics with instructor Alison Becker Chase. They choreographed a small piece called “Pilobolus,” which gained recognition from dance notables, and soon the dance company formed. “Not only had we not done any dancing, we hadn’t seen any dance to speak of,” says Barnett, who joined the company soon thereafter. “We hardly knew what dance was, but a liberal arts college invites you to explore.” Pilobolus relocated to Connecticut in 1978, after making long commutes and sleeping on floors to accommodate fellow dancers. Connecticut became

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home. “After being in the big cities, where you’re constantly over-stimulated, you just want to be somewhere peaceful and serene,” says Kuribayashi. Though the company rehearses Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, its members find moments to take pleasure in their surroundings by running, climbing, and swimming nearby. “It is not without some irony that we have chosen a professional that is largely interior,” says Barnett. Their rehearsal space transforms into a community meeting place when any mobile person, from teenagers to retired businessmen, comes to their workshops to explore movement. The sessions are not exactly traditional, with no coordinated warm-up or pre-choreographed step. Rather, they resemble a theatrical improvisation class with emphasis on interaction and physical contact. “We learned how to do some body weighting moves so a tiny woman could easily lift a large man,” says one dancer who attended a week-long intensive. This same kind of teamwork enables Pilobolus to choreograph dances (over 100 works) which are at once striking and collaborative. In fact, collaboration is at the heart of Pilobolus’ achievements. “As a member of Pilobolus, not only do I get to dance beautiful, witty, quirky or outrageous pieces, but I’m allowed the opportunity to contribute to the society of ideas that eventually become our new work,” says Kuribayashi. The company also welcomes the involvement of people outside of the dance community, including renowned puppeteer Basil Twist, Japanese Butoh artist Takuya Muramatsu, and Steve Banks, lead writer of SpongeBob SquarePants. They also teamed up with MIT’s Distributed Robotics Lab to choreograph a piece with LED-lit robots. As it ventures beyond its home base in Connecticut, Pilobolus continues to exhilarate those who attend its workshops and performances.


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STYLE

Exterior Motives

Style and Function, bringing people outdoors by Robin Horton

What’s drawing people outdoors these days? Perhaps it’s rise of the “staycation,” originally driven by the economic down turn, or the increasing number of individuals telecommuting from home, that has resulted in people investing more in creating outdoor living areas that extend the boundaries of their indoor spaces. Whether it’s a need for respite from our virtual worlds or just a desire for time outdoors, it’s no surprise that taking the indoors outside is becoming a bigger and bigger trend. People are creating outdoor spaces that function much like their indoor rooms. The outdoor living room has become a stylish place for lounging, dining, and entertaining, and even working.

CLEARLY STYLISH The Pasha Chair by Italian company, Pedrali, blends tradition and innovation with classical style in modern polycarbonate.

Throwing Curves Some new seating and planters from Laurie Beckerman borrow from nature incorporating into their designs the organic, sensual curves of ocean waves and rolling hills.

Kinnoa’s Tangier collection works like building blocks–you arrange them as needed.

Fluid Lines: Collaboration’s  PL series of lightweight fiberglass or concrete planters.

GO CONFIQURE! Laurie’s curvy Corian rocker allows for a tête-a-tête.

Modular pieces offer the possibility of many different seating configurations using a few select pieces whose arrangement can be changed depending on use. Consider investing in high quality, well designed modular furniture that will enable you to use it many different ways–fewer pieces, more options.

Robin Plaskoff Horton is the publisher of Urban Gardens: Unlimited Thinking for Limited Spaces, (urbangardensweb.com), the award-winning green lifestyle and design blog showcasing fresh, innovative, and eco-friendly designs, trends, and ideas. Urban Gardens received a 2010 Webby nomination, hailed by The New York Times as “the Internet’s highest honor,” as well as an International Creativity Award and both Silver and Gold awards from The Garden Writers Association. Robin is Principal and Creative Director of Robin Horton Design, a strategic and creative print and web design consultancy, (robinhortondesign.com), and also co-facilitator of The Blog Workshops, creative writing/social media workshops.

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Aswoon by Susan Woods made debut at ICFF

HANGING OUT in THE GARDEN New Twists on Tradition: Fatboy’s Rockcoco is an outdoor-proof chandelier, a modern take on the Louis XV style.

Weaving Our Way out Woven furniture, especially colorful pieces, many constructed of sustainable materials, offer accent bursts of color for neutral palettes and can also contribute to creating an eclectic mix of the traditional and the contemporary.

Illuminating evenings outdoors with Domitalia’s Phantom2 collection. They can be ordered with battery packs, eliminating need for cords.

Driade’s Pavo Real Poltrona by Patricia Urquioloa

Double Agent Designs

Many of us are taking the multitasking from our offices into our gardens. Multipurpose furniture like chairs that do double duty as lighting are becoming popular.

Seating, heating and cooking all in one AKA47’s Rondo Fire Pit doubles as seating and also accommodates an optional barbecue grill. According to the 2011 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Residential Trends Survey, today’s homeowners want function, efficiency and…fire pits in their outdoor space. They desire some of the same basic living features they have indoors: light, fire, food, and a place to sit and enjoy it all.

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Image courtesy of : Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

HAMILTON BASSO

Short Story


written

by Nona Footz

Every morning I drive by José Feliciano’s house on my way to the office. And I have to admit, I always turn my head to take more than a passing glance. I’m not certain as to what I think I will see, but I still look. Perhaps José will be sitting on the porch enjoying the Weston air as he strums his guitar. Ormaybe lights will illuminate the studio adjacent to the main house hinting at the possible composition of the next Feliz Navidad. This little drive-by has become a part of my morning routine and it’s always worth a look. There are other famous residents in this tiny town of 10,000 – Keith Richards, his wife ‘80s-model and actress Patti Hansen, actors James Naughton and Christopher Plummer, and some say Johnny Depp. But there are other unsung industry changers from Weston who cannot be readily seen yet should be equally recognized. In addition to my Feliciano drive-by I also always turn my head to look to the other side of the road and pay homage to Hamilton Basso. Buried next to his wife in a plot tucked away in a corner of the Episcopal cemetery is one of America’s great writers who seem to have been all but forgotten. Hamilton Basso’s literary career spanned 35 years between the years of 1929 and 1964. He produced eleven novels, a book of travel sketches, a collection of New Orleans essays edited by his wife, and a biography of the Civil War Confederate General Beauregard which received positive praise from 20 reviews and a second page placement in the New York Times Book Review. Basso’s first commercial success was “The View from Pompey’s Head” which held a formidable position on the New York Time Bestseller List for 40 weeks selling 75,000 copies in 1954. “Pompey’s Head” as it was simply titled in Britain, was translated into seven languages, a Braille version and purchased for movie rights. Basso was a regular and controversial contributor to the political magazine The New Republic, and was also the Associate Editor of The New Yorker from 1943 until his death in 1964. He was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1954, the same year he helped release the infamous poet Ezra Pound from a psychiatric hospital. Hamilton Basso was no literary slouch. Perhaps it is stating the obvious that Basso must have at one time been a recognized and celebrated author given his lengthy obituary in the New York Times. However, during a recent visit to the New York City bookstore-Mecca The Strand I requested copies of Basso’s books only to be served up with a wide-eyed look of “Who?” Guess I stumped them - Basso was nowhere to be found in their claim-to-fame 18 miles of books. I ventured over to the Weston Public Library hoping to find a shelf full of Basso books complete with perhaps a brass plate tacked onto said shelf celebrating a “home town boy.” Basso’s wife Etolia (“Toto”) was a member of the 1963 Library Building Committee and

apparently one of the earliest members of the Weston Historical Society. Surely the town would recognize her contribution by way of an honorary or celebratory shelf for her husband’s books? I made my way to the “B” section of the library’s collection but was disappointed. There on the second shelf from the bottom, were well-worn copies of some of Hamilton Basso’s books, aged enough to still have the original Manila 3x5 library cards tucked into the pocket of the inside back cover. The laminated book jackets were loose and yellowed yielding a crackling sound as I opened each and every one of them. I read the library cards dating back to March 31st 1963 to see who had taken the books out. During those years a borrower wrote their own name and home address on the library card (mostly in pencil) at the check-out desk. I was momentarily comforted to discover that a neighbor of the Bassos on Valley Forge Road had checked the majority of the books out of the library not once, but twice during the spring of 1966. Granted, it was two years after Hamilton had unfortunately passed away at the age of 59 from lung cancer. But maybe “Mrs. G. of 144 V. Forge” knew the Bassos and wanted to also honor this great writer. I liked her immediately. Joseph Hamilton “Ham” Basso was born to Italian immigrant parents in 1904 in New Orleans and lived his first twenty two years in the South which provided the thematic backdrop for much of his writing. His grandfather Joseph was one of the earliest shoe manufacturers in the area producing shoes for the stage once the French Opera landed in New Orleans in the 1880’s. The French Quarter was an intellectually rich community where Ham relished amongst words, music, and images. He listened to stories of Confederate veterans who sat around the local parks, he read books generously lent to him by small bookshop owners, and he was known to concoct countless stories which led to him becoming a champion writer and orator in high school. Basso studied law at Tulane University in 1922 but got way-laid by journalism and literature prior to graduation as he became involved with a group of southern writers from the Double Dealer. Considered New Orleans’ first literary journal, the Double Dealer published the works of William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Jean Toomer, Sherwood Anderson and Thornton Wilder. As the authors often gathered after-hours at local bookstores for long and weighty discussions and libations, this was also where Ham met his wife-to-be Etolia Moore Simmons, the tall dark-haired beauty and daughter of a well-to-do St. Louis family. While still a bachelor, Basso took a steamer ship to New York City in 1926 looking for inspiration for his budding writing career. He wrote during >>

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short Story the day while doing odd jobs in department stores and freight companies at night. Living in Greenwich Village with the Jazz Age in full throttle, Ham tried to “find himself” but ultimately did not end up relishing the city experience, suffering mostly from loneliness and disappointment. He returned to the French Quarter five months later joining The New Orleans Times-Picayune as a night-shift reporter. Basso went on to publish his first book three years later, the semi-biographical Relics and Angels, however, it received little to no press. A year later he married Toto in a small ceremony in the hills of North Carolina and took a job as a copy writer much to his in-laws’ dismay. They worried as to how he would support their beloved Etolia, but Ham’s passion and dream was to push forward and do whatever it took to become a successful writer. His first novel was published, albeit with little acclaim, but he was determined to be a success. Civil War biography Beauregard; The Great Creole, gained high praise in 1933 and the Bassos made some much-needed income despite the difficult Depression. Within a few short years they decided to move to North Carolina. The quiet was conducive to Ham’s writing and he and Toto enjoyed living in the mountains. They made a few short-lived moves between North and South Carolina while Ham wrote In Their Own Image, a novel reflecting the area’s distinctive have’s-and-have-not’s. The 30’s were Basso’s most productive years. Between 1934 and 1936 he quickly produced three novels – Cinnamon Seed; In Their Own Image; and Courthouse Square which was optioned into a motion picture. In an article by literary critic Malcolm Cowley published shortly after Basso’s passing, Cowley indicated the novels improved with each publication. Each plot played upon a derivation of a male protagonist’s dilemma with being a Southerner attached to the motherland, yet yearning for more; that quintessential struggle or conflict between where one comes from and where one ends up. Basso soon became the Associate Editor of The New Republic, the same year Days Before Lent was listed among the “One Hundred Notable Books of 1939,” winning the Southern Authors Award and being adapted for a film, re-titled “Holiday for Sinners.” Basso was known mostly as a southern novelist, but once at The New Republic he openly challenged many – “The Kingfish” Louisiana’s infamous Governor Huey Long, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, and 30’s political radical Father Coughlin. Working at Time magazine in 1942 Basso was miserable; “The state of my purse is going to make it necessary for me to do a stint at Time magazine” he wrote to esteemed literary critic Van Wyck Brooks in Westport Connecticut under obvious duress. Basso did not want to have to rely on what he deemed low-level journalism jobs to keep him afloat - producing novels and weighty works of nonfiction were the only worthy highbrow outcome of writing in his opinion. Two years later Hamilton joined The New Yorker as a columnist for the “Talk of the Town” and was quickly promoted to reviews, profiles and short stories. This is where Basso did some of his very best writing and perhaps was happiest professionally. He was able to combine novel writing with journalism which helped pay the bills but also allowed him to interact, lunch and schmooze with like-minded and well respected writers. His six New Yorker short stories and profiles of Somerset Maugham and Eugene O’Neill received wide-spread praise across the literary community. 78

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Lured to the town of Weston in the mid 1940s Hamilton sought refuge and bought a country house complete with wide front porch and eight acres of undeveloped land close to the Saugatuck River. He enjoyed the country and kept a low community profile shunning the literary scene that was quickly growing north of the Merritt Parkway. He preferred instead, to spend time in his studio, a converted barn behind the family’s house while Toto tended the garden. In a letter written in January 1945 in painstakingly tiny pencil print on yellow stationary with “R7.06, Weston” on the masthead Ham declared, “This, I’m told, is the snowiest winter since 1895… when old man Jones tunneled three miles through the ice to the crossroads because his wife had run out of nutmeg… and everything at the moment is a cake of ice, but we continue to like it and to thrive.” Clearly Basso would have had something to say about the Connecticut winter this past January! When Spring arrived, Hamilton and Toto enjoyed long walks through the trails along the river (now the Trout Brook Reserve) although even the New York Times found it newsworthy when Toto was bit by a copperhead snake requiring a heroic two mile mad dash home by Hamilton to call for help. Ham, as told to me by a family friend, apparently cut the wound open and sucked out as much venom as possible until help arrived. Toto later recovered at Norwalk Hospital after additional serum supplies were brought from Greenwich Hospital. Ham served on the local Weston School Board and was remembered for his interest in several local civic affairs. In the 1987 documentary The Outlivers, which won a Regional Emmy Directing Award is narrated by Christopher Plumber honoring the town’s bicentennial. In it, the Town Clerk shares a story when Ham Basso “an emotional Southerner” got into a heated argument with a fellow board member and ardent fiscal conservative asking the man to “take it outside” and threatening to hit him over the head with a rolled up newspaper in vehement disagreement over an issue. Apparently this was an antic Ham was well known for around town; a Southern gent yet passionate about fixing societal wrong-doings. Hamilton passed away peacefully on May 13, 1964 at New Haven Hospital with this wife and mother at his bedside. One last book was published later that year, A Touch of a Dragon, a comedic novel about the ironies of love and life in a study of a woman who had an abundance of money who exhibited appalling elitist and narcissistic behavior. After his death a New York Times Book Review stated Basso was “an expertly professional novelist… always write(ing) with grace, wit, and sharp observation of the social world.” Basso was often described as “liberal but never radical, an intellectual but never a closet scholar, a political thinker but never a dogmatist, a southerner but most often a reluctant southerner.” The sole offspring of the Bassos became a notable anthropologist, with a special interest in the Apache people. As an undergraduate of Harvard, Keith Hamilton Basso spent the summer of 1960 on the Fort Apache Reservation in Arizona which shaped the future of his career. He somewhat followed dad’s writing footsteps, publishing six works of non-fiction before retiring from the Anthropology Department at the University of New Mexico in 2006. So what will be remembered about Westonite and prolific passionate writer Hamilton Basso? Perhaps Basso said it best in a letter he wrote to Maxwell Perkins, famed editor of Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, “…when a man dies, and we think of him, or if we read his name on a stone, we get a feeling…of his entire life.”


Film

Fox on Film... and Entertainment

Peter Fox

Left to Right: Rachel McAdams as Inez and Owen Wilson as Gil

American Premier at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Beverly Hills, California, May 18, 2011 Exclusive to VENÜ Magazine

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS A film by WOODY ALLEN On the red carpet last night, news spread quickly that Woody Allen would not be in attendance. The buzz was one of disappointment, but not surprise. The reason? Woody Allen was hard at work on his next film... This would prove to be the only disappointment of the evening, as the star-studded audience was captivated and enchanted by Mr. Allen’s de-

lightful new film, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, a film unlike any other in his career. The first four minutes of the film, a montage sequence of various landmarks in Paris, expertly photographed by Director of Photography Darius Khondji (SEVEN, THE BEACH), is easily the best montage of its kind ever filmed. Khondji smartly covers the city of Paris as never seen before on film,

choosing simple, minimal photography by day and soft, golden hues by night; resisting complicated photography and wisely, respectfully, allowing the natural beauty of the City of Lights to do the work. But it is the exquisitely woven screenplay by Mr. Allen that grabs us and doesn’t let go. We begin with Gil, a successful Hollywood screenwriter (Owen Wilson), and his fiancée Inez,( Rachel McAdams) as they join Inez’ parents, John (Kurt Fuller) and Helen (Mimi Kennedy) on John’s business trip to Paris. John, a successful, conservative businessman, makes no attempt to hide his contempt for Gil, who is contemplating the idea of leaving his lucrative career as a Hollywood screenwriter to pursue his lifelong--but as yet unfulfilled,--dream of living and writing novels in Paris. Helen remains on the fence as John snipes at Gil, the foursome eating lavishly in a high-end Paris restaurant. John regards Gil as a left-wing, EastCoast liberal unfit to marry his daughter. The men are trading insults over dinner when they are interrupted by the arrival of a handsome young couple. Paul (Michael Sheen) and Carol (Nina Arianda) are in Paris for a short time while Paul lectures at the Sorbonne. While Gil finds

Paul to be a stuffy, obnoxious know-it-all, Inez, who has known Paul since college, is instantly brought back to that time and begins to openly flirt with him. Sheen’s performance in the complex role of Paul is tremendous. Says Allen of Michael Sheen’s performance: “Michael had to do the pseudo-intellectual, the genuine intellectual, the pedant, and he came in and nailed it from the start.” When Gil, Inez, Paul and Carol visit the Rodin Museum, Paul picks an argument with the tour guide, played by France’s First Lady, Carla Bruni. Allen offered the role to Bruni after he and his wife and his sister were invited to breakfast with Bruni and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. At that breakfast, Allen took a chance and offered the role to Bruni, which she immediately accepted. “I told her, ‘I won’t take much of your time, you won’t have to rehearse--just come in for a couple of days and shoot”, says Allen. “And she says, ‘Yes, it would be fun. I’d like to be able to tell my grandchildren that I was in a movie, just for the experience.” Gil reaches his breaking point with Paul’s pompous attitude and Inez’ flirty interactions with Paul. When Inez, Carol and >>

Photos by Roger Arpajou © 2011 Mediapro, Versátil Cinema & Gravier Productions, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

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Fox on Film... and Entertainment Allen’s directorial genius is evident in every frame, and in every line of dialogue. Said Michael Sheen: “He’s quite caring. He’s very hands-on, and gave me more direction than anyone else. But he doesn’t make very grand statements or gestures. It was fascinating to learn how [he] works, someone who has worked outside of the studio system.” Left to Right: Léa Seydoux as Gabrielle and Owen Wilson as Gil

Left to Right: Carla Bruni as Museum Guide and Owen Wilson as Gil

Left to Right: Owen Wilson as Gil and Rachel McAdams as Inez

Left to Right: Marion Cotillard, Alison Pill, Owen Wilson and Woody Allen

Left to Right: Owen Wilson as Gil and Léa Seydoux as Gabrielle

Paul want to go dancing at the end of the evening, Gil opts out and decides to walk back to the hotel by himself. Gil becomes lost, and is offered a ride in an antique Bugatti limousine filled with partiers. They drive to a bar, and Gil suddenly finds himself back in the 1920s. Inside, we see France in the days of Hemmingway, Picasso, Dali, Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Gil has been transported back in time. The dialogue between

Gil and Ernest Hemmingway (Corey Stoll) is stellar, and Stoll’s performance is riveting. In a huge leap from his role on LAW AND ORDER LOS ANGELES, Stoll spreads his wings and steals nearly every scene in which he appears. Gil stumbles back to the hotel, where his not-so-curious fiancée Inez is amused to hear that Gil has spent last night in another dimension. She invites him to join her, Paul and Carol out for several more outings,

which he declines, opting instead for the midnight rendezvous with the Bugatti. He connects with Adriana (Marion Cotillard), a lover to some of the various artists that Gil encounters on his midnight adventures in Paris. When Adriana and Gil leave the bar one evening to find a horse drawn carriage awaiting them, they are brought back even further in time. They arrive in La Belle Epoque, Paris, 1890, where

Photos by Roger Arpajou © 2011 Mediapro, Versátil Cinema & Gravier Productions, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

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they encounter Henri de Toulous- Lautrec, as well as the main premise of the film: The illusion people have that living in a different place and time would make life less complicated and more exciting. It is here that Gil explains that he is from the future, from another time. Adriana tells Gil that she wants to stay in La Belle Epoque, rather than leave that time to be together with him. His illusion shattered, Gil is left to face his perceptions of love and self,


Left to Right: Owen Wilson as Gil and Rachel McAdams as Inez

Left to Right: Kurt Fuller as John and Mimi Kennedy as Helen

Owen Wilson as Gil

Left to Right: Alison Pill as Zelda Fitzgerald and Tom Hiddleston as F. Scott Fitzgerald

Gad Elmaleh as Détective Tisserant

as well as his own conscience, with a changed perspective. The performances by this all-star ensemble cast are flawless. Kathy Bates (Gertrude Stein) and Adrien Brody (Salvador Dali) give memorable performances. Allen’s directorial genius is evident in every frame, and in every line of dialogue. Said Michael Sheen: “He’s quite caring. He’s very hands-on, and gave me more direction than anyone else. But he doesn’t make very

grand statements or gestures. It was fascinating to learn how [he] works, someone who has worked outside of the studio system.” MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is a great achievement in cinema, and among Woody Allen’s very best work. Elegant, mature, visually intoxicating and lovingly executed, it leaves you wanting to watch it again and again--not only for the performances, the visual beauty of Paris, and (what else

Owen Wilson as Gil and Marion Cotillard as Adriana

from a Woody Allen film?) the laughter, but the poignant message of the film: What of the present? In the span of his career, Woody Allen has written, produced, directed and/or composed the music score in 50 films. In this regard, his only peer is Charlie Chaplin. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is a must-see movie, and puts to rest any debate as to Mr. Allen’s place among cinema’s “all-time best list”. This is a triumphant film,

made by one of the greatest cinematic auteurs of our time, at the top of his game. At the end of the screening, some of the cast lingered at the after party, including Owen Wilson and Michael Sheen. Also in attendance were Jackie Collins, Jena Malone, Jacqueline Bisset, Michael Rappaport, Ron Artest (of the L.A. Lakers) and Beck. The buzz at the end of the evening? “How can he top that?”

Photos by Roger Arpajou © 2011 Mediapro, Versátil Cinema & Gravier Productions, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

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summer in the park

STAGE

Big River 2010

Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew 2009 Camelot 2009

Theatre for a Young Audience, Seussical 2009

by william squier

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Camelot 2009

with melody “One of the greatest moments in my life came right after college when I was doing summer theater,” recalls Melody Meitrott Libonati, the artistic director of the Summer Theatre of New Canaan (stonc.org). The time was the mid-seventies. The place was Theater by the Sea, a summer stock house still going strong in Matunuck, Rhode Island. And Melody fondly remembers dividing her days between the sun and shoreline of the neighboring Atlantic and the cool, dark confines of the weathered old playhouse. “It was such a great environment to explore theater,” she says.


Shakespeare’s Henry IV

Shakespeare’s Henry IV

the job and stayed on for thirteen years to help to develop the school’s theater curriculum. When her youngest child, Christian, was ready to leave for college, she parlayed that experience into opening the Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan to occupy the school year. And STONC was launched to fill the rest of her calendar. Big River 2010

he memory of that experience was such a positive one that Melody was eager to start her own warm-weather venue when the opportunity arose. “You can’t really think about it for too long,” she jokes about founding the Summer Theatre of New Canaan in 2003. “But, I went to a number of people in the community and asked, ‘Do you think this would be a good idea?’ The response was overwhelming that is was!” Melody and husband Ed, who serves as STONC’s executive producer, originally met at Ithaca College when she was majoring in acting and he was in the communications program. After spending about a dozen years in New York City establishing themselves in their respective careers, the couple decided to move out to the suburbs to raise a family. “We drew a circle around Manhattan of towns that were within an hour’s commute,” Ed Libonati says. Eventually they found their way to Connecticut. Once they’d settled in New Canaan, however, Melody set aside acting in commercials, daytime drama and on Broadway to focus on taking care of her two children, Allegra, then 6, and 18-months-old Christian. “I was going back and forth to the city,” she says. “But, I wanted to be with them to make dinner and help with their homework.” Around that time the King Lowe Haywood day school in Stamford was looking for a musical theater teacher to work with their students. Since its academic calendar lined up perfectly with her children’s, Melody took

STONC was conceived as a professional theater from the start. But, for the first few years it operated out of the town’s middle school auditorium. So, early audience members were surprised to find the space retooled with a full fly system and lighting, a 27 piece orchestra and experienced performers onstage where many had seen their kids in an amateur production a month or two before. After experimenting with a couple of other locations, including the Stamford Center for the Arts, STONC finally found a permanent home under a tent in a cozy corner of New Canaan’s Waveny Park in 2009. Along the way, the Libanotis attracted the support of a cadre of celebrity admirers. The likes of Lucie Arnaz, Laura Benanti, Harry Connick Jr., Debbie Gravitte and composer Stephen Schwartz all donated performances to raise funds for STONC. Broadway director / choreographer Tommy Tune brought his godson to see the theater’s 2008 production of The Music Man and was so impressed that he hurried backstage after the show with an unsolicited offer of help. “He filled the Rich Forum for a benefit,” Melody reports. That outpouring of support, coupled with corporate and private contributions have kept the theater viable because, as Ed points out, “We start at zero every year.” Up until now, STONC’s family-friendly seasons have typically included one large scale musical, two small musicals for children and a play by William Shakespeare, performed back-to-back within the course of a few weeks. “The musicals were a no-brainer, given Melody’s background and experience,” says Ed. “Our daughter Allegra’s work with Shakespeare caused us to explore that. So, we turned the key and we had a program.” This season the schedule is entirely musical, with the main stage already occupied by You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown until July 9 and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel set to replace it from July 25 through

Shakespeare’s Henry IV

August 6. “There’s a demand in our area for quality summer musicals,” Ed explains. “In this economic environment, we felt we needed to stick to our core strengths to satisfy our audience.” Fans of STONC’s innovative interpretations of the Bard of Avon, however, had the chance to see a reprise of last summer’s production of Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2, dubbed H4 and adapted Allegra Libonati with Michael Chmiel, Michael Nathanson and Brian Silliman, when it bowed Off-Broadway earlier in the year. And Shakespeare’s Prince Hal isn’t the only alumnus of Waveny Park to make it to Manhattan. “I’ve always felt like part of what you do (as a theater artist) is share what you’ve learned,” Melody says. So STONC began an apprentice program for high schoolers and paid professional internships for college students early in its history. This year the theater added a junior company for middle school kids. As a result, some of their programs’ youngest past participants have already made it as far as Broadway, including Nathan Brenn who was featured in the revival of West Side Story, Sadie Seelert who plays one of the Banks children in Mary Poppins and Aston Woerz who recently opened in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. “They’re students that really thrived on being with the adults and watching what they did and how they did it,” Melody notes. “So, there was a big learning curve. But, we still had a heck of a lot of fun!” As STONC nears the end its first decade Ed Libonati says that he still considers it a startup entity. “People are beginning to understand where we are and what we do,” he explains. “So, we can really define who we are. Our goal is to have a fully staffed, year round program with very strong education outreach. We want expand to 90 days, the full summer. To make it more of an outdoor festival that brings in top orchestras and other performing groups.” “New Canaan is smaller and quieter than some of the towns around it,” Ed concedes. ‘But, it has the resources to take the lead in supporting and presenting the arts. It’s fertile ground. We’re planning to stay here for years to come.”

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IN FUTURE ISSUES OF VENÜ

meet the new frontier

ROCK STARS OF CANCER GENE THERAPY

The late Edward Netter of Greenwich, Connecticut together with his wife Barbara in 2001 co-founded the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT). Edward Netter, then president and CEO of Greenwich based Geneve Corporation, envisioned a world of cancer treatment devoid of harsh treatment and painful suffering. The Netters had previously lost their daughter-in-law to the ravages of cancer. In the ten years since its founding, ACGT has awarded $22.5 million dollars in research grants and ACGT Research Fellows have attracted another $58 million in complimentary funding. ACGT Fellows are conducting cancer gene therapy research at leading institutions in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Seventeen human trials have been approved with over 100 patients currently enrolled. Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy located in the Stamford Greenwich Community has brought together a group of incredibly talented researchers who believe in their very souls that gene and cell therapy will lead the way to the treatment 84

CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE

of cancers without the debilitating side-effects of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy! ACGT refers to these men and women as the “Rock-Stars” of this exciting scientific and medical journey. When great and visionary ideas are hatched right here in our local community, Venü’s mission is to bring you the story. In the coming months we look forward to reporting breakthrough cancer gene therapy through the eyes and voices of ACGT Fellows themselves. We know you will enjoy meeting these scientific research “Rock Stars” and discover for yourself why their very humanity is making such an important difference in the future of cancer treatment. Venü is also honored to have been invited by ACGT to be a partner in support of their tenth anniversary celebration. New Frontiers, in Honor of Edward Netter, will be held on April 19, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich. The dinner will be coupled with a Scientific Symposium on Cancer Gene Therapy, attracting scientists from throughout the nation.


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VENU Magazine #8 July/Aug 2011  

VENU Magazine: Contemporary Culture highlighting the regions finest professional and emerging creative talent with stunning visuals and intr...