Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

URBAN POP Exhibit Brings 5 Notable Artists to Gold Coast Arts Center, Great Neck, Long Island

Lenny Achan, Michelle Carollo, Will Power, Shiro and Luis “Zimad” Lamboy with Gold Coast Arts Center director Regina Gil and curator Jude Amsel © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

 

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

Some of the most illustrious artists of Urban Pop are on view a short distance from the mean streets of the city: The Gold Coast Arts Center has again chosen to showcase graffiti, street artists and media savants of urban culture in its exhibit, “URBAN POP,” on view through September 8. Fans had a chance to meet the five featured artists at an opening reception, May 20, at the Great Neck, Long Island gallery.

“The art scene has developed significantly since the 1970s with the introduction of using popular culture (pop art) as a source of inspiration,” writes exhibit curator and gallery director Jude Amsel. “Many contemporary artists have now merged other modern influences such as street art, graffiti, architecture and urban culture into their work.

Gold Coast Arts Center Director Regina Gil with artist Meres One in front of his painting, at the opening of URBAN POP exhibit © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Among the artists featured in Urban Pop, include Shiro, whose controversial work appeared on the murals at 5Pointz, a warehouse complex and graffiti mecca in Queens, and Luis “Zimad” Lamboy. Their work, along with several other artists, was subsequently destroyed when whitewashed by the property owner and was the subject of a prolonged court battle, ultimately decided in favor of the artists, awarding them $6.75 million. On hand at the reception was Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, one of the most prominent graffiti artists and a leader at 5Pointz, who has painted sections of the arts center.

Works by Luis “Zimad” Lamboy, Will Power, Shiro, Michelle Carollo and Lenny Achan are on view at URBAN POP at the Gold Coast Arts Center Gallery, Great Neck, Long Island through Sept. 8, 2018 © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Shiro actually provided the theme for the show, gallery director and curator Jude Amsel said. “She is marking her 20th anniversary as a graffiti artist. She is like Lady Pink – one of the world’s most famous graffiti artists.”

Her paintings feature a consistent character – her alter ego.

“Since I was little, I have been deaf in one ear. I wasn’t communicating with people. My family kept moving for my father’s job. It was hard to make new friends, so I kept drawing a character – my imaginary friend. I wasn’t lonely with my friend. Now I travel all over world by myself – India, Brazil, China – 18 countries. I can travel by myself because I have my best friend,” says Shiro.

She leaves her images like an “I was here” stamp in the places she visits.

“People call me to do the murals, big murals, with my character, my best friend. I leave her on the wall in the country. I keep creating my character.”

She covers her face when I photograph her with her painting. “I don’t want to worry about how I look, I want people to see my art,” she says.

Shiro with one of her New York City, hip-hop inspired paintings at the opening of URBAN POP at Gold Coast Art Center gallery, Great Neck, Long Island © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Shiro grew up in Tokyo and began her career as an aerosol artist in 1998. “As a young artist, I fell in love with hip-hop. In Japan, the only way to get information about hip-hop culture was to read books, watch videos, and listen to music. I used to go to clubs in Japan every weekend with friends and other artists to dance and paint, all the while imagining what it would be like to experience the movement in NYC at the time.”

She came to New York in 2002, inspired by a film, “Wild Style” to see the Bronx.

In celebration of her 20th anniversary as an aerosol artist, she began her “90’s project’” by painting walls internationally.

She’s been living in New York for the past four years, “the city I used to dream about.”

Luis “Zimad” Lamboy discusses his multi-media work in URBAN POP at Gold Coast Art Center gallery, Great Neck, Long Island © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Luis “Zimad” Lamboy is showing pieces created for the show that draw upon his early career. “In the mid-80’s I discovered creating graffiti, collage and mixed media on paper which wasn’t being done at the time by any of my peers. It’s been awhile since I’ve gone back to doing this style of work. I felt it necessary in order to move forward in my career to look back and fine tune what I had started. The new works are vibrating with color and life and feel as it tells a story of walls I’ve done, characters I’ve created and the many people I’ve had the honor of meeting and calling brothers and sisters.

“Red Devil” (2014) by Luis “Zimad” Lamboy on view at URBAN POP at the Gold Coast Arts Center Gallery, Great Neck © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Michelle Carollo’s major work, “Steampunk Davis,” is a large-scale (8’ x 8’ x 4’) 3-D construction, inspired by 1930s modernist painter, Stuart Davis. “This is an homage to his work.” It’s constructed of the discarded junk she found around her Brooklyn studio.

You feel the power, a kinetic energy of the piece.

“My work explores gender, pop-culture, and domestic industry,” she writes. “It uses humor and color to capture the energy, power and tension in contemporary culture. By using a series of symbols, figures and built handicraft, my work blends the playful with the serious.

Michelle Carollo with “Steampunk Davis” at the opening of URBAN POP at Gold Coast Art Center gallery, Great Neck, Long Island © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

“I draw on multiple references from cartoons to graffiti and entertainment, as well as technology and the history of art. I find there is something completely ridiculous and pleasurable in making deceptively simple imagery. The result is a visual mash-up that remixes spontaneous information with a type of balanced order.”

The drawings are her studies for the larger piece to “help figure what color, patterns, shapes,” she says.

She also is exhibiting a quilt, demonstrating the versatility of the application of her kinetic scope. “I just started working with fabric.”

Carollo, who conquers “one white wall at a time,” has exhibited at MOMA PS1.

Lenny Achan’s style reflects his experiences growing up in New York City as a graffiti and street artist in the early 1990s. The works look as if origami were sucked into a canvas, but it is an illusion: he cuts New York City transit maps into precise shapes and assembles them, adding transparent spray paint as shadow to complete the illusion of 3-D.

“People looking at NYC transit maps likely means they are stressed out. I wanted to give people a reason to smile.”

Lenny Achan with “Cityboy” in URBAN POP at Gold Coast Art Center gallery, Great Neck, Long Island © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Achan describes himself as “an artist and inventor, influenced by my time growing up in NYC” but embracing experiences outside of the traditional art world to enhance and influence his creative expression.

“I am a student of the laws of nature and sacred geometry and draw from the complexities of everyday life to create pieces that help audiences reflect on more simple times. My philosophy of modern art and the street art movement has been heavily influenced through studying and experiencing global disruption of various commercial and political industries. Art in all forms is a vehicle for innovation and communication. I used everything around me to create and share my view of the world.”

“CityBoy” by Lenny Achan on view at URBAN POP at the Gold Coast Arts Center Gallery, Great Neck © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

He says, “I wanted to use sacred geometry to mimic life. Geometry is sacred to the philosophy of origami – shapes, whether a person or a bumble bee – are shapes of geometry.

“It is formulaic – they mimic and respect the complexity of math, science, biology, while at same time” break down to simpler, essential shapes.

Achan clearly achieved his desired impact: a woman reflecting on his NYC Transit Map dog, “Cityboy,” exclaims how it brought her pure joy.

Will Power is striving to make INV8ERS an iconic figure for urban art culture worldwide © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Will Power, a self-taught contemporary artist who was influenced by graffiti and hip-hop culture,  describes the INV8DERS  series of works in the exhibit as “a hybrid fusion of a New York City pigeon with spray paint can. The pigeon represents Graffiti and Street artists, the spray paint can head represents Contemporary Urban Art.” He is striving to make INV8ERS an iconic figure for urban art culture worldwide. He describes the vibrant colorful background as his foundation, his evolution from graffiti. “the ability to combine these various colors is a skill learned from many years of being a graffiti artist. The INV8DERS are a perfect amalgam of graffiti, street art and fine art.”

URBAN POP exhibit curator Jude Amsel says the five artists “bring a myriad of visual cultural influences to their fine art practice.” © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

These artists “bring a myriad of visual cultural influences to their fine art practice,” said Gold Coast Arts Center’s Gallery Director and exhibit Curator Jude Amsel,  Some hone their skills on the street, others working in the studio find their version of popular urban art, some having a unique language of their own not categorized within a specific movement.  However, each one of the artists offers something unique and different as to their expression of Urban Pop.”

For more information, visit http://goldcoastarts.org/urban-pop/ or call 516-829-2570.

The Gold Coast Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting the arts through education, exhibition, performance and outreach. Located on the North Shore of Long Island, it has brought the arts to tens of thousands of people throughout the region for more than 20 years. Among the Center’s offerings are its School for the Arts, which holds year-round classes in visual and performing arts for students of all ages and abilities; a free public art gallery; a concert and lecture series; film screenings and discussions; the annual Gold Coast International Film Festival; and initiatives that focus on senior citizens and underserved communities. These initiatives include artist residencies, after-school programs, school assemblies, teacher-training workshops and parent-child workshops. The Gold Coast Arts Center is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education program, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Gold Coast Arts Center, 113 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, NY 11021, 516-829-2570, www.goldcoastarts.org.

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© 2018 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com,  www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin , and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

After 18 Years, Strawberry Fields Plays Its Last Beatles Tribute at BB King Blues Club…But the Beat Goes On

Strawberry Fields, a Beatles tribute band, playing its last performance at BB King Blues Club, after 18 years; BB King is closing, but Strawberry Fields continues to play in various venues. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin and David Leiberman,

Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

 

After 18 years of playing BB King’s Saturday brunch, Strawberry Fields, one of the most heralded of Beatles tribute bands, played for the last time at the celebrated live-music venue in Times Square.

The room was packed with appreciative fans, family and friends, many who have been regulars, and many who were out-of-towners enjoying this slice of New York.

The lighting deliberately shadows the bandmembers’ face because the illusion of seeing the Beatles performing live is so accurate – close your eyes and the sound is re-created note for note, tone for tone, beat for beat. But instead of an immense stadium or arena, they are playing for you in this remarkably intimate and comfortable supper-club setting – that is, until this weekend, when they played their last Saturday brunch at BB King.

They play on the same musical instruments of the Beatles’ era, with the same sound amplifiers, even the same 40-year old drum set that Ringo Starr used so the sound is as authentic as it could be.

Strawberry Fields, in the Sergeant Peppers costumes provide live rendition to songs that the Beatles never performed in concert © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

The costumes set the timeframe for the music: dressed in mop top hair, black suits and thin ties for the early Beatles Rock n’Roll era when they burst onto the world stage that was so melodic and danceable; re-creating the album cover for the Sergeant Pepper era of innovation (where the Band re-creates the innovative instruments and multiple tracks invented in the studio after the Beatles stopped performing concerts to focus on in the extraordinary musical innovations that could only be accomplished in a studio); and finally, the “White Album,” “Abbey Road” and “Let it Be” period of social and political activism, with “John Lennon” in an army jacket.

Strawberry Fields, a Beatles tribute band, playing its last performance at BB King Blues Club, after 18 years; BB King is closing, but Strawberry Fields continues to play in various venues. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

There are any number of Beatles tribute bands, but Strawberry Fields is acknowledged to be one of the best – the musicians who have taken on the persona of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr since the band was formed 28 years ago, have performed in Beatlemania on Broadway and in touring companies, Let it Be, the 40th Anniversary re-creation of the Shea Stadium concert, and have performed all over the country and the world: Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, the Plaza Hotel, Paramount Theater, numerous Hard Rock Cafes – some 2000 performances.

Yet after all this time, they don’t play by rote, as if their head was some other place or that playing the same music over and over has become a chore. It is as fresh and vital as if they were the Beatles and recognized the responsibility of playing live for people who were such devoted fans of their records.  They play with such purity, respect and reverence for the music and the creators – not as cliché, over-the-top, or caricature.

 

Tony Garofalo as John Lennon, founded Strawberry Fields in 1991 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Tony Garofalo, the John Lennon impersonator, is Strawberry Fields’ Founder, Creator, Producer and Financier, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Piano, Mouth Organ, Lead Vocals. Tony has continuously perfected the role as John Lennon throughout the 80’s and 90’s, performing with countless incarnations of Beatlemania. He formed Strawberry Fields in 1991 to make a complete Beatles performance accessible in variety of musical venues.

Tony was born into a musical family, with a mother who was a professional dancer/ teacher and father who is both a 25 year guitar teacher and professional Carnegie Hall alumnist with the New York Mandolin Orchestra. Tony has been playing guitar since he was five, and is also trained in the fine art of classical guitar, mastering pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Sor, Julian Bream, and Andrew Segovia.

But Tony had another life entirely as an undercover Detective and Sergeant and a first-responder who was among those who came to the World Trade Center on 9/11.

He served in the NYPD police for 20 years, with over 700 arrests to his credit and has worked in the central robbery unit, narcotics division, detective division, and internal affairs bureau. Tony was also a key contributor in the September 11th rescue and recovery effort both at Ground Zero and the Staten Island Fresh Kill location. Colleagues and police brass call him the real Sergeant Pepper.

The colorful character is also known for re-constructing the famous Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car (autographed by Dick Van Dyke).

Billy J. Ray, who has been Strawberry Fields’ Paul McCartney since 1978, was a member of the original Broadway Beatlemania cast, with John Korba as George Harrison © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Billy J. Ray, who has been Strawberry Fields’ Paul McCartney since 1978, was a member of the original Broadway Beatlemania cast, and plays Bass Guitar, Piano, Lead Vocals. Billy bears a certain resemblance to Paul: that boyish charm and devil-may-care attitude that captivates any audience. He can sing the rockers with unbounded energy and change gears quickly to render a soft, beautiful ballad in Paul’s inimitable style. His Hofner “Beatle Bass” and Rickenbacker Model 4001 complete the look, feel, and aura associated with Paul McCartney.

John Korba is Strawberry Fields’ George Harrison © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

John Korba, who takes on the George Harrison part, plays Lead and Rhythm Guitar and does Vocals. John was associate conductor of the Broadway show Rent for four years, associate conductor for the Broadway productions of The Civil War and the Rocky Horror Show and has appeared in numerous Broadway productions including TabooKat and the KingsRain and Let It Be. He has performed and recorded with Hall and OatesCarly SimonTodd RundgrenPhoebe SnowJohn Waite, and numerous other artists. He spends most of his time, when he’s not touring, writing, recording, and producing various projects in his own studio. In the stage lighting, John takes on an amazing  resemblance to George.

Michael Bellusci, Strawberry Fields’ Ringo Starr impersonator, is responsible for Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Music Orchestration and Technical Director © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Michael Bellusci, the Ringo Starr impersonator, is responsible for Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Music Orchestration and Technical Director. Michael discovered his passion for drums the moment he saw the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show, Sunday February 9, 1964. He is a multi-instrumentalist and has studied with such drumming legends as Tommy Hatch (long time staff drummer at Radio City Music Hall), Sam Ulano, Rod Morgenstein, Justin DiCioccio, and Frank Marino. Michael’s musical career has spanned four decades, from 1970 to the present, performing with a long list of musical acts that include: Get With It (with Kasey Smith of Danger Danger), the ConglomowitzWonderous StoriesLeslie Fradkin (original “George” from “Beatlemania”, Edison Lighthouse), the Off Broadway theater production of Cougar the MusicalThe Big Apple CircusHere Comes the Sun, George Harrison tribute with Godfrey Townsend (Allen Parsons Project Live, John Entwistle Band, Happy Together tour musical director), and most notably, was selected to perform as Ringo for well over a decade with the touring cast of Beatlemania, which starred Mark “Farquar” VaccacioLeslie Fradkin, and Don Linares. Michael, an original member of Strawberry Fields who toured with the band through the 1990s, is now repriseing his role as Ringo in Strawberry Fields. Some have described him as a “dead ringer” in both his resemblance to Ringo and his drumming expertise.

“They have closed a chapter, but the book is still going on,” said Maria Milito, the popular 104.3 FM Classic Rock radio host who first introduced Strawberry Fields show at BB King 18 years ago, and closed out the last show © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

They are not so much “playing” the Beatles as re-creating the Beatles’ musical artistry with a respect, a reverence that is powerful. I half-expected Yoko Ono to make an appearance to express her appreciation to how Strawberry Fields keeps the Beatles legacy alive across generations (the youngest fan in the audience was just three weeks old). Or perhaps Sir Paul McCartney, who, along with Ringo Starr, and Sid Bernstein (the original Beatles concert promoter for Shea Stadium), announced the band at the 40th anniversary re-creation of the Shea Stadium concert and in July 2013, invited Strawberry Fields for a personal meeting and after-concert VIP party at the Brooklyn’s Barclay Center, when Paul was photographed holding Tony’s actual NYPD Police Sergeants badge.

Billy J. Ray, John Korba, Michael Bellusci, and Tony Garofalo of Strawberry Fields taking a final bow at BB King Blues Club, which is closing © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

How is it possible to play Beatles music in over 2,000 shows and keep it fresh and exciting? “Partly that is because all four of them are extremely talented, lifelong musicians. Another reason is that all of them were either in the touring company or the Broadway cast of Beatlemania and had to graduate from ‘Beatle boot camp’ so they are the best of the best. And it is also because they never do the identical show twice. Since they are quite literally capable of performing any of the more than 200 songs in the Beatles canon, they change up the set list every time,” says Deborah A. Sable, who met Tony Garofalo through Strawberry Fields and married him a year ago. “I was with them on tour at Busch Gardens in Tampa where I watched them do 18 shows in six days and no two were exactly the same!”

You have the opportunity to savor the musical virtuosity of the Beatles – who were self-taught musicians – to really appreciate the intricacy and the innovation of the Beatles. This isn’t just nostalgia; this is preservation of the musical artistry in the way Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Chopin will always be a part of musical repertoire.

And they have their own fans – we meet Dina Marks, a teacher in PS 63 in Ozone Park and Wantagh, Long Island resident, who has followed them around their outdoor concerts and has come to the Saturday BB King brunches where Strawberry Fields has performed for the last 18 years “at least once a year for my birthday and anniversary” and wears a replica of the same John Lennon army jacket that Tony wears. “The minute I heard they were closing, I said, ‘I don’t care what, I will be here.’ They make me feel they are playing just for me.”

While Strawberry Fields is now on the prowl for a new indoor venue to replace BB King, the band has a series of summer outdoor concerts set:

July 10, 2018: Rocky Point Free Outdoor Concert, 7 pm, St. Anthony Padua Church, Route 25!, NY 11778 (raindate Aug 28)

July 18, 2018: Tanner Park Free Outdoor Concert, 7:30: Beach Waterfront concert Band Shell, 99 Tanner Park, Copiague, NY 11726 (10,000 are expected to attend).

July 19, 2018: Smithtown Library Free Concert, 7:30: at the Library, Northeast corner of Route 25 and route 111.

July 27, 2018: Glen Cove Free Downtown Sounds Concert Series, 7:30 pm: Village Square at intersection of Glen, School and Bridge Streets, Glen Cov e NY 11542.

Aug. 1, 2018: town of Oyster Bay Concerts Under the Stars series, 8 pm. Syosset Woodburyt Park, 7800 Rte 25 (Jericho Turnpike), Woodbury, NY 11797.

Aug. 11, 2018: Musikfest Concert at outdoor Festplatz main state, 8 pm, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem PA 18015. Largest East Coast outdoor concert venue with 15,000 expected (artsquest.org).

Strawberry Fields, a Beatles tribute band, playing its last performance at BB King Blues Club, after 18 years; BB King is closing, but Strawberry Fields continues to play in various venues. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“They have closed a chapter, but the book is still going on,” said Maria Milito, the popular 104.3 FM Classic Rock radio host who first introduced Strawberry Fields show at B B King 18 years ago, and closed out the last show.

“It’s a bittersweet moment for us,” Tony says in his farewell. “The greatest thing about the Beatles was love. Just go out into the world and just love.”

For more information, visit the Strawberry Fields website, www.StrawberryFieldsTheTribute.com.

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© 2018 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com,  www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin , and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

 

All Types of Kinds Wins 2018 Your Big Break Talent Competition at Gold Coast Arts Center, Long Island

All Types of Kinds, the 2018 “Your Big Break” Talent Competition winner, performing at Gold Coast Arts Center’s Acoustic Café, Great Neck, Long Island © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

All Types of Kinds is the 2018 “Your Big Break” Talent competition winner at the Gold Coast Arts Center’s Acoustic Café, organized by the Gold Coast Arts Center, Love Revolution Org, and the Rick Eberle Agency.

The band was among the top five finalists that also included two other bands – 37 Stripes and Psychopompus – and two singer/songwriters – Kaylee Shahira and Lydia Von Hof – who had won their knockout rounds held earlier this year. They performed in front of a sell-out audience and judges from the music business including producers, radio and television personalities and music business executives.

The competition really does provide a “big break”: as the talent competition winner, All Types of Kinds will have the opportunity to open for national acts at major local venues like The Paramount; recording time at DCITY Studios; a feature on Reverbnation.com; musical equipment from All Music Inc. and ZOOM North America; and public relations and social media campaign, booking and label services consultation with the Rick Eberle Agency.

All Types of Kinds, the 2018 “Your Big Break” Talent Competition winner, with judges and organizers at Gold Coast Arts Center’s Acoustic Café, Great Neck, Long Island © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
All Types of Kinds, the 2018 “Your Big Break” Talent Competition winner, with judges and organizers at Gold Coast Arts Center’s Acoustic Café, Great Neck, Long Island © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

All Types of Kinds, a New York City-based Alternative band consisting of guitarists Billy Conahan, Ray Rubio, and Rocco Stoker, along with percussionist Berk O, won with their polished precision, sweet harmony, musicianship, artistry, versatility and originality in their smart lyrics. As a group, they have performed from folk to rap and other genres in between, and it all came out in this performance. Their music and shows reflect the band’s diverse background: they all are  singer/songwriters with an extensive repertoire of songs and experience performing in musical theater, stand-up comedy, and as actors. This all comes together in how they engage the audience, giving a very entertaining performance.

Psychopompous, which formed at Great Neck South High School, performing in Finals of “Your Big Break” Talent Competition at Gold Coast Arts Center © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

First formed at Great Neck South High/Middle School in 2010, Psychopompous is the most recent nominal iteration of the musical project formed by singer and guitarist Justin Kelly, percussionist Beni Hahitti, and bassist Maximillian Nero. The three created Psychopompous through a mutual interest primarily in progressive rock, and then expanded into an unending plethora of musical interests that continues to grow at an alarming, and often frustrating rate. Their music has taken notes from progressive rock, heavy metal, alternative, blues, funk, psychedelia, Gregorian chant, Tibetan throat singing, and occasionally whale songs. They have been known in the past for their sincere love of technical music, experimentation, improvisation, and their unbridled willingness to play music nobody wants to hear.

37 Stripes brought out a huge fan club for their performance in the finals of the “Your Big Break” Talent Competition at Gold Coast Arts Center © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

The band 37 Stripes, formed in the fall of 2016, consists of 8th and 9th graders. The members were introduced at the School of Music and Art on Long Island and quickly connected with one another and settled on musical upheaval as an alternative expression. 37 Stripes have been writing their music and playing at festivals and venues around New York City. Band members are Manhasset residents Andrew Hahn, who plays Fender bass, sax, and keyboard; Oscar Cellura on Fender guitars, and keyboard; and percussionist Zach Levine, a resident of Syosset, who plays the drums. The band has played at the renowned “Bitter End” in Greenwich Village and Mulcahy’s in Wantagh, NY. 37 Stripes were also finalists in the Town of Oyster Bay’s Battle of the Bands and the Morgan Park (Glen Cove) Summer Music Festival. They were invited to appear live on Rick Eberle’s “Rising Stars” radio program.

Kaylee Shahira performing in “Your Big Break” Talent Competition at Gold Coast Arts Center © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Kaylee Shahira is a young, passionate indie-pop artist with a killer sound who hails from northwest Indiana. Shahira loves writing about the questions nobody can answer — living with mental illness, personal life philosophies, and the intricacies of being a social animal. Shahira exudes promise as an emerging artist. She performed her original song, “Dime,” which contemplates the notion that a person changes every 10 years.

“Your Big Break” Talent Competition at Gold Coast Arts Center © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Lydia von Hof is a 16-year-old classically trained pianist, singer who ranges from jazz to opera, and, composer, and since her first appearance at Your Big Break, where a judge encouraged her to writer her own song lyrics, has become a passionate singer-songwriter. piano player, and songwriter whose song and performance just won first prize at the Young Performers showcase at the Hard Rock Café in Boston. The Commack High School junior performed as a soloist at Madison Square Garden at a New York Knicks halftime show and is the 2016 winner of Long Island’s Got Talent. Aside from singing pop, jazz, R&B, Broadway, and opera, Lydia has performed classical piano solos at both Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.  She has been a returning musical guest on PATV’s “The Brick Wall.” She performed four of her own songs – evocative of Adele, who is one of her musical inspirations, along with Michael Jackson.

Budhist Priest bring the audience on a historical musical tour at the Gold Coast Acoustic Café © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The headliner for the show was Budist Priest, which presented a stunning historical tour of music that went back to the “rock” of its day, in the 1600s, to Johann Pachelbel’s baroque Canon, and to “future”.

Rick Eberle of Rick Eberle Agency, the competition organizer, (center) with judges of Your Big Break Talent Competition: Mark Ambrosino, producer, artist at Sojourn Records; Jerry Lembo, artist manager, radio promotion;; David Caggiano – producer, artist and Guy Brogna – promoter, artist at All Music Inc © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Gold Coast Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting the arts through education, exhibition, performance and outreach. Located on the North Shore of Long Island, it has brought the arts to tens of thousands of people throughout the region for over 20 years. Among the Center’s offerings are its School for the Arts, which holds year-round classes in visual and performing arts for students of all ages and abilities; a free public art gallery; a concert and lecture series; film screenings and discussions; the annual Gold Coast International Film Festival; and initiatives that focus on senior citizens and underserved communities. These initiatives include artist residencies, after-school programs, school assemblies, teacher-training workshops and parent-child workshops. The Gold Coast Arts Center is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education program, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. More information can be found at www.goldcoastarts.org.

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© 2018 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com,  www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin , and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

 

Nassau County Museum of Art Hits Highest Notes with ‘Anything Goes: The Jazz Age’ Exhibit

On view for the first time outside of Princeton University Library is Francis Cugat’s original painting, “Celestial Eyes” (ca 1925), that was the cover for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

What is most remarkable about the new exhibit at the Nassau County Museum of Art, “Anything Goes: The Jazz Age” celebrating the Roaring Twenties, is the cross-connections between art, music, literature, design, furniture and fashion, and the people who were similarly cross-pollinating these cultural categories. There is a drawing by George Gershwin, another by ee cummings, the original painting by Francis Cugat (brother of Xavier, the musician) that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote into his iconic novel, “The Great Gatsby” and had to have for its cover (and has never before been seen outside the Princeton University Library).

George Gershwin’s “Portrait of Dr. Zilboorg Reclining on a Couch” © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

There are the Park Avenue Cubists, and the clique that gathered at Gerald & Sara Murphy’s beachhouse in Antibes (Sara, a famous Jazz Age muse, is the subject of a little-known Picasso drawing of her on the beach at Antibes). One room of the fantastic Frick mansion that is now home of the museum is devoted to Jazz Age music, with gramophones and Victrolas and radios that show off the design, while early records from the collection of Dr. Jay Tartell play. Even fashion and jewelry design (Tiffany is represented).

There are so many astonishments as you go through – James Joyce’s “Ulysses” was censored and burned but here in a bookcase is one of the first editions, along with a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “This Side of Paris,” based on Hobey Baker, a World War I flying ace and Princeton hockey star and in a gallery, the original Hobey Baker Memorial Trophy.

Anna Walinska’s “Self Portrait, Paris” (1927) © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

In this extraordinary multimedia exhibit, you are immersed in the masterpieces and experiments of a generation that changed the history of Modernism. The giants among the artists – Picasso, Léger, Matisse, Beckmann, Nolde, Lachaise, Man Ray, Stuart Davis, Florine Stettheimer and Tamara de Lempicka – are all represented in the show with major works, but there are so many artists – particularly women artists – who will be new for many like Anna Walinska, a teenager from Brooklyn who lived in Paris during the ‘20s and met Picasso, Matisse, Stein and others while making the drawings and paintings which are on view in a solo gallery in the show.

Florine Stettheimer, “Portrait of Louis Bouche” © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

The exhibition tracks the progress of Modernism in art from Cubism to Neoclassicism. Composers such as Gershwin and Porter were taking syncopation and the blues to new heights at this time, and their records, sheet music, and piano rolls are on view and are heard throughout the show on ’20’s-era turntables and player pianos.

Re-creating the famous RCA logo in “The Jazz Age” exhibit at Nassau County Museum of Art © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Ballets Russes, for whom Picasso and Chanel designed productions, broke all dance conventions and inspired a new wave of fashion, with examples in the exhibition curated by noted expert on ’20’s fashion, JoAnne Olian. The exhibit’s pieces of Art Deco furniture and rare jewelry from the private collection of the Macklowe Gallery display the machine-age elegance that was in vogue.

Tess Ma of Roslyn, in a ‘20s ensemble, admires the fashions curated for “The Jazz Age” by JoAnne Olian © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“We’re used to Cubism today, but these guys were brave,” museum director Charles A. Riley II, who organized the show, said at the opening reception.

The show ties all the cultural strains together so you almost see the creative pollination from one discipline to another, all in an expression of a philosophy that defined the Jazz Age: “Living well is the best revenge” was the motto of an extraordinarily fortunate generation, anything but “lost,” that remains today the epitome of sheer creative freedom.

Riley noted that though a sense of artistic “freedom” and breaking social and cultural conventions was the theme of the Roaring Twenties, it was “freedom plus order.” Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic to Paris that so inspired the sense of adventure and daring, was also an exercise in discipline.

The show offers a comprehensive picture of the Jazz Age when World War I ended on November 11, 1918 and ended on October 24, 1929, when Wall Street crashed after its historic nine-year bull run. The commentaries and notes that accompany the exhibit are fascinating insights to the context for the creations and the people propelling them.

Guy Pene du Bois, “A Dramatic Moment”, from the collection of Dr. Harvey Manes © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

In addition to art and design, the exhibition brings the age of superstars vividly to life with memorabilia celebrating the Golden Age of aviation, including a leather pilot’s helmet and goggles, photographs of Babe Ruth and a seat from the original Yankee Stadium built in 1923, original Victrola turntables and the first generation of radios, first editions of monumental novels and sheet music, and the original Hobey Baker trophy, the top honor for American college hockey (all players who visit wearing their team jersey during the run of the show will be admitted for free).

As Riley, who donned his own Princeton hockey jersey, noted, Hobey Baker’s life was worthy of a movie – a World War I flying ace, at the end of the war he would likely have headed to Wall Street; he took one last flight which proved fatal.

Gaston Lachaise’s “Elevation” (1912-1927) on view at “The Jazz Age” at Nassau County Museum of Art © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The exhibition unveils some important historical discoveries, including previously unknown drawings by the poet cummings that were found by his dear friend Gaston Lachaise. Their friendship and collaboration is celebrated in a gallery that includes many of Lachaise’s greatest sculptures, including a monumental cast of “Elevation,” as well as his own drawings and a stunning portrait by cummings of the legendary supermodel Marion Morehouse.

A fortunate group of American artists and writers in Paris during the ’20s, many of them in Stein’s circle, were pioneering a new style of abstraction, and the show boasts some significant canvases by Davis, as well as Charles Green Shaw, Gertrude and Balcomb Greene, Joseph Stella, Carl Holty, Jan Matulka, Charles Biederman and an unknown work on paper by Betty Parsons, who would become best known as one of the great champions of Abstract Expressionism.

Cherry and Jerry Yang of Manhasset admire the Jazz Age posters © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

In another art historical coup, the show presents an unknown drawing by the model and muse Kiki de Montparnasse that had been hidden among the papers of Man Ray, whose portrait of Kiki is among the treasures on view, along with his portraits of Hemingway, Chanel, James Joyce and dancers from the Ballets Russes. The other major photographic finds in the show are by Carl Van Vechten, whose lens captured the jazz greats in Harlem nightclubs. The show also boasts an unknown drawing of Baker by the artist Paul Colin, whose posters, including rare examples included in the show, made her famous in Paris.

“When I play hockey, I leave it all on ice,” Riley said, wearing his hockey jersey.”This show is everything I’ve got – my heart and head. All laid out.”

Among the photographic treasures on view in “The Jazz Age” is this montage of George Gershwin with autographed program, loaned to the exhibit by Jay and Deborah Tartell © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Throughout the exhibit, there are fabulous photographs of these key figures that put you right into the moment.

The Long Island connections in the show are among the highlights. F. Scott Fitzgerald published  “The Great Gatsby” on April 10, 1925, but he started it two years before over the garage in a rented house in Great Neck. In his lecture, Scribner III, whose grandfather published the novel, will reveal the backstory of its progress from manuscript to masterpiece under the editorial guidance of Maxwell Perkins, who secured the iconic cover by Cugat. And Lindbergh took off from the storied air strip at Roosevelt Field, where Elinor Smith, the “Flying Flapper of Freeport,” set new records for altitude and endurance.

Dr. Jay Tartell spins some Hot Jazz. He has provided gramophones, victrolas, and records from his collection; his notes about phonographs and the making of “superstars” and the phonograph industry are fascinating. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Indeed, the local connections are also in the collectors who have loaned to the exhibit, including Dr. Jay Tartell and Deborah Tartell who not only loaned the stunning gramophones, phonographs and victrolas, but also that sensational photo and autographed program of George Gershwin; and Dr. Harvey Manes, a trustee, who loaned several works.

Angela Susan Anton, NCMA Board President; museum director Charles A. Riley II; and Frank Castagna, an exhibit sponsor. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Drawing on museum, university and private collections, including those of the Heckscher Museum, Parrish Museum, Cradle of Aviation Museum, New York University Grey Art Gallery, and Princeton University, the wide-ranging exhibition has been underwritten by the Americana Manhasset and Wheatley Plaza, longtime supporters of the museum and its mission.

In addition, the programming and publications have been sponsored by generous gifts from The Ritz-Carlton Residences and by Charles Scribner III. Each week the show will feature special programming, including live jazz in the beautiful paneled library of the mansion, lectures by experts in the arts and design, and live demonstrations of the player piano and Victrola in addition to the museum’s renowned docent-led tours and education programs.

Among the programming highlights are a May 12 lecture by Scribner, a popular speaker at the Morgan Library and Metropolitan Museum of Art, among other venues; an original cabaret musical based on the lives of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald composed and performed by Angela Sclafani and her ensemble; and tours of Jazz Age Manhattan led by museum director Charles A. Riley II, author of two books on the period. The museum is publishing a fully-illustrated catalog of the exhibition with essays on the art, music and fashion of the era, and is re-launching the official website with special features keyed to the show.

This year’s gala ball on June 9 will be themed “All That Jazz” with guests in costumes, Angela Susan Anton, Board President, announced.

“Anything Goes: The Jazz Age” is on view through July 8, 2018.

The Nassau County Museum of Art is located at One Museum Drive in Roslyn Harbor and is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors (62 and above) and $4 for students and children (4 to12). Members are admitted free.

For more information about the museum and exhibit, call 516-484-9338 or go to www.nassaumuseum.org.

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© 2018 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com,  www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin , and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

‘Collective Consciousness’ on View at Gold Coast Arts Center Focuses on Responsibility for Environment

“Collective Conscious” Curator Jude Amsel, Gold Coast Arts Center Director Regina Gil, NYS Assemblyman Tony D’Urso with artists Beth Williams Garrett, Nancy Gesimondo, Yoon Cho, Charles Cohen, Lauren Skelly Bailey and Linda Cunningham © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

“Nature has been inspiring artists for centuries, and its beauty has been captured in paintings, sculptures, photographs and a variety of other medium. But some artists take the relationship between art and the environment a step further, creating works from nature itself or producing artworks that make bold statements about the natural world and the imprint mankind has left on it.” This is what curator Jude Amsel was looking for when she put together the exhibition, COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS, on view at the Gold Coast Arts Center Gallery in Great Neck, Long Island through April 1.

The seven artists whose works are represented “are commenting on man’s relationship with our planet. These artists have the power to make environmentalism a priority and bring green initiatives to the forefront of cultural conversations,” she stated.

“With all the gloom and doom, we can feel sad with what’s happening in the world. But these artists bring an awareness,” a literal consciousness of our role and responsibility, Amsel said at the Artists’ Reception, March 4. The viewer is left with a sense of optimism that man’s better impulses will rise to the fore.

Yoon Cho’s work – multi-media performance art which combines video superimposed with digitized drawings – is the starkest commentary on this theme: her project was inspired by a difficult pregnancy after 10 years of marriage and the birth of her son, she and her husband traveled to barren landscapes to comment on extinction and procreation, the images of life forcing its way through.

Beth Williams Garrett created feminized Buddha head sculptures out of plastic bags.

Linda Cunningham turned the blighted industrial waterfront of the South Bronx into striking images on torn, furled canvas.

Nancy Gesimondo found solace in creating assemblages of natural materials, where mussel shells appear as butterflies, a metaphorical prayer flying to heaven; water chestnut seedpods are like flying bats, and peacock feathers are like tall grass.

Lauren Skelly Bailey re-creates the natural world of coral reefs in meticulous glazed ceramics, mimicking the surprise you have when you touch coral, which seem to be fluid and flowing to discover they are rock hard.

Charles Cohen uses realistic photography to get reduce household products to the shape and color of their plastic containers to force a different perspective.

Luba Lukova, whose graphic artistry can be seen in the New York Times, brings her timely commentary to an image of a green plant shielded by a hand as bombs fall, in her silkscreen, “Peace and Planet” (2015).

What is so interesting is to see such variety of media and approaches that come together to the essential message of human impact on the natural world: a collective consciousness of our responsibility.

Here’s more from the artists about their works:

Artist Lauren Skelly Bailey is exhibiting ceramics in “Collective Conscious” at the Gold Coast Arts Center © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Lauren Skelly Bailey’s ceramics are uncanny in the way they so realistically, meticulously yet artistically represent coral. You appreciate the beauty of nature’s own design. And like nature itself which is deceptively complex (think of a wasp’s nest), her work is exceptionally technical. “Stacking Up” (2016) for example, is crafted of porcelain, stoneware, slip, glaze, resin and flock – the pieces are each fired five to seven times. There are pieces gilded with real gold on the last firing.

She began her arts education studying painting and cartooning at Adelphi, graduating with a BA and MA, then went on to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to earn her MFA. She produced many of these ceramics during a residency at the Museum of Arts & Design and had two grants from the NYS Council for the Arts.

“My work explores methods of making assemblage sculptures, conglomerations, installations, and figurines. There’s that sensation of falling for process, the chase of finding the unexpected and learning how it occurs. From that knowledgeI make intentional decisions regarding textural surfaces, glazes, slips and clay applications, changing the context of the piece from a study to a solution. I respond to changes and observe balance in my work, seeking to push an uneasy tension between materials and form. Each new sculpture is a mo­ment, something new that has been achieved or understood, taking me further into my experience with ceramics.” (laurenskellybailey.com)

Nancy Gesimondo (left) with curator Jude Amsel. Gesimondo’s assemblages in “Collective Conscious” evoke Native American reverence for nature at the Gold Coast Arts Center © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The first reaction to Nancy Gesimondo’s assemblages is how they evoke Native American references. Nancy is from Sunnyside, Queens.

“My work is an exploration of ma­teriality and science that results in new visceral narratives. I create assemblages comprised of natural materials such as shells, feathers, seedpods, semi-precious stones, rocks and crystal formations.The juxtaposition of these found ele­ments results in surreal landscapes, imaginal creatures and hybrid specimens that aim to suggest the exploration and sense of mystery of an archeologist assembling vestiges of a distant past with no true refer­ence of their origin.

“My work is a reflection of my ap­preciation of nature’s beauty and diversity, as well as my concern for its decline. The delicate fragments imbue the work with an ethereal quality that portends a futuristic glimpse of the place we call home.”

Her assemblages draw upon natural materials she regularly collects – feathers, shells, seedpods, semi-precious stones, rocks and crystal formations. “It shows a reverence for Earth.”

“I’ve been collecting feathers forever – they are like little signs from beyond to me.”

She added, “I let the materials guide me towards the image. I very rarely see the composition in advance.”

The overall feeling is of tranquility, a peacefulness, a poetic aesthetic. The natural elements are used as metaphors.

“A Winged Victory for the Sullen” (2016) is an assemblage with amethyst crystal, iridescent feathers, and water chestnut seedpods (collected at Beacon NY), that look like flying birds. It is mounted on 300 lb watercolor paper, and she explained how she had to puncture roofing nails from the back, then glue the seedpods on.

“Evening Prayers III,” (2017) draws upon mussels that look like butterflies, and a strip of peacock features that look like tall grass. “It’s difficult to find mussels that are still together, but after my father died, I wanted to go to the beach. I went to Long Beach where I know there are mussels, but on this day, I never saw so many whole mussels as then. I collected four bags worth. I felt it was a sign from my father, “Abundance. Don’t worry.”

“The shells poetically morph into butterflies. They are like prayers – wishes and wants that fly to heaven.,”

“In my work, there is always some poetry.” (www.nancygesimondo.com)

Linda Cunningham’s torn and furled canvases are a commentary on South Bronx blight on view at “Collective Consciousness” at the Gold Coast Arts Center © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Linda Cunningham makes an artful plea on behalf of South Bronx in her series, “South Bronx Waterfront Sagas-shards: The New Vision” (2016).

“Collaged canvas with torn edges convey contradictions document­ed with photo-transferred images, layered with acrylic and pastel revealing a broken South Bronx his­tory, an urban renewal tragedy, an area once the retreat of choice for fresh air and greenery. The shards of information and vistas evoke the Port Morris harbor where barges once docked and youth swam off a pier in the East River. The beautiful open vistas are now inaccessible to the residents of the Mott Haven and Port Morris areas of the South Bronx, abandoned and dominated by deteriorating remains, rotting remnants of piers, power stations and City Waste transfer stations.”

Cunningham’s work centers upon time, transience, contradictions, and compelling environmental con­cerns juxtaposed against industry and urban blight.

The canvas itself is twisted and tortured in its way – not at all the neat rectangles that fit into frames.

“Life doesn’t come in a convenient box – I can’t work in a square (or rectangle). Life is one torn edge to another.”

The irony is that she makes the South Bronx blight beautiful. (www.lindalcunningham.com)

Beth Williams Garrett uses plastic bags to create her feminized Buddha head sculptures on view at “Collective Consciousness” at the Gold Coast Arts Center © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Beth Williams Garrett, who studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and has shown her artwork up and down the East Coast, said, “I was a painter for 30 years, until 2010, when I felt the need to make sculpture. I was searching for a suitable sculpting ma­terial, I stumbled upon using plastic bags as a medium… Plastic bags were being thrown away – that’s no good for environment. They present themselves to me as a material to make sculpture with.”

“The inspiration for my first sculptures came from my travels to Buddhist temples in Japan and ancient ruins in Rome.”

Indeed, the sculptures fashioned of plastic bags evoke Buddha, but then there is a twist. “I have always felt my work was autobiographical, as a woman and focused on the female figure.

The result is a feminized Buddha – “girl Buddhas” she said.

Her skill as a painter comes through in the way she uses the colors and patterns in the plastic bags to great effect. One of the pieces draws on both her painting and the sculpting.

“Since then, I have been exploring what I can do with the plastic bags. My newest endeavors have been combining the 3-dimensional work with the 2-dimensional work as relief/multi media pieces and I continue making heads as I love how the plas­tic bags lend themselves to creating facial expressions.”

“It happened by accident in the studio. I propped the plastic bag head on a canvas to take a picture and decided to combine the two. I usually paint bodies without a head, so it made me laugh to make plastic bag without the body. (bethwilliamsgarrettart.webs.com)

Yoon Cho says her son was the inspiration for her multi-media “Desert Walk Photo and Video Series,” which she undertook with her husband, visiting 20 sites in four states on view at “Collective Consciousness” at the Gold Coast Arts Center © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Yoon Cho’s Desert Walk Photo and Video Series explores the connection with our environments by featur­ing America’s diverse desert land­scapes with superimposed digital drawings of various biological life forms over the artist’s walk per­formance. The silhouette graphics of biological life forms such as cells, pollen, reproductive organs, embryos, and skeletons in the sky tell a story of the cycle of life and our co-existence with the Earth.

Cho’s personal journey from a difficult pregnancy to mother­hood and upbringing in a family of physicians encouraged her to examine the relationship between the biological life forms and their habitats. The Desert Walk encap­sulates beauty, destruction, and preservation of the land we live in.

The work is based on photographs from 20 different sites in four states (New Mexico, California, Nevada and Arizona). The final scene is at the Array where astronomers listen for signs of life from outer space. “That represents the future,” she says.

Her work was supported by the Puffin Foundation and New York State Foundation of Arts. (www.yooncho.com)

Charles Cohen, with Gold Coast Arts Center director Regina Gil, with his photographic collage, “Executive Function,” on view at “Collective Consciousness” at the Gold Coast Arts Center © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Charles Cohen uses photography to change perspective.

“From the threshold between participation and observation, I break with day to day experience. Familiar with the ethnographer’s dilemma, I embrace this betwixt state as the key to being human: we act as protagonist and critic in our own lives so that we can bridge the gap between individu­al and collective.

“My work exposes reductive dual­ities and challenges the ordinary relationship between perceiv­er and perceived by provoking reflexive thought… My work explores a range of subjects, literal and figurative, in an embrace of liminality and in confrontation with a binary view. The result transforms the sub­ject/object relationship from real to metaphor and liberates a state of being—one. (www.promulgator.com)

Luba Lukova’s “Peace and Planet” (2015) on view at “Collective Consciousness” at the Gold Coast Arts Center © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Luba Lukova creates images that she hopes will catalyze action and change the world. Her thought-pro­voking posters address essential themes of humanity and injustice worldwide. Her messages help viewers develop empathetic un­derstanding for social and cultural issues through indelible metaphors and an economy of line, color, and text. Lukova’s work is included in the permanent collections of MoMa; Denver Art Museum; Biblio­thèque nationale de France; Hong Kong Heritage Museum; Centre de la Gravure et de l’Image imprimée, La Louvière, Belgium; the Library of Congress; and the World Bank, Washington, D.C. (www.lukova.net)

The Gold Coast Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts through education, exhibition, performance and outreach. It offers classes for tots to seniors in art, music, dance and performance;, events, gallery, film festivals and outreach programs.

The Gold Coast Arts Center, 113 Middle Neck Rd, Great Neck, NY, 516-829-2570 or www.GoldCoastArts.org.

 

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© 2018 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com,  www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin , and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Judy Collins, Jason Robert Brown, US Premiere Among Highlights of New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at St John the Divine

The traditional candlelighting that is so inspirational and concludes the New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine as people sing, “This Little Light of Mine.” © 2018 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

One of my favorite ways to bid adieu to the year and begin anew is the annual Concert for Peace at the magnificent Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine,. This is a signature New Year’s Eve event that was founded by Leonard Bernstein in 1984 with the idea of bringing together New Yorkers and visitors from around the world for an evening filled with uplifting music.

This year’s concert, the 33rd Annual Concert for Peace, honored the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with a performance of two selections from his MASS, Almighty Father and Simple Song, sung by Jamet Pittman, and the magnificent Cathedral Choir and the Cathedral Orchestra under the direction of Kent Tritle, Director of Cathedral Music.

Kent Tritle, Director of Cathedral Music, leads the Cathedral choir and the Cathedral Orchestra © 2018 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

A highlight was the U.S. premiere of “See the Wretched Strangers” by composer Lucas Wiegerink who came up for a bow. The text, written by Shakespeare, is an impassioned commentary on immigration and refugees. “Imagine that you see the wretched strangers./Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,/Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation,/And that you sit as kings in your desires…And this your mountainish inhumanity. Imagine.”

It was performed by Amit Farid, piano; Arthur Fiacco, violoncello; Jamet Pittman, soprano; Katie Geissinger, mezzo-soprano; Lee Steiner, tenor; and Enrico Lagasca, bass.

A series of choral songs about our shared Earth continued the theme that has been integral to these concerts of neighborly compassion, inspiring a renewal of hope for the coming year. “Earth teach me to remember kindness./As the dry fields weep with rain./Earth teach me.”

Jason Robert Brown, Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist, performs “Hope,” which he wrote the day after Election Day 2016 © 2018 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Jason Robert Brown, Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist, performed a new piece which he described as “disco go go girl power anthem” written for an 11-year old named Gabby, called “Invisible.” He was joined by Jesse Warren-Nager, soloist, Gary Sieger, on guitar; Randy Landau on bass; Gabe Violett and Jessica Vosk, back-up vocals.

He also performed, “Hope,” the title and the longing message of a piece he wrote the day after Election Day 2016, out of despair. “When life is crazy and impossible to bear-/It must be there./ Fear never wins./ That’s what I hope,/ See? I said “hope.” The work begins.”

That sense of despair emerged from Judy Collins, Artist in Residence at the Cathedral Church, who fought back that despair by urging “Resist. Resist. Resist. Keep resisting.” She led a mournful, “To Everything, There is a Season, Turn, Turn, Turn” and “Amazing Grace.”

Judy Collins leads singing of “Turn, Turn, Turn.” © 2018 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Right Reverend Clifton Daniel III, the Interim Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, urged, “Pray no one takes for granted out gifts of speech, though, art. Do not take for granted the gifts given by those who came before, or our responsibility to preserve those gifts for the next generation.”

The Right Reverend Clifton Daniel III, the Interim Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, urged, “Do not take for granted the gifts given by those who came before, or our responsibility to preserve those gifts for the next generation.” © 2018 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Harry Smith, who has hosted these events for many years, contrasted the celebration of “great leaps forward, when we felt we were moving the earth and its people toward more egalitarianism,” versus other years when there was the backward movement of war and poverty. This year, he added to the list the national scourge of opioids, epic natural disasters, homelessness, refugees.” But a highlight was that women’s voices have been heard as never before, when men were held to account…” But, he said, “Workplaces may be safer, but not equal. But we made an important step forward this year.”

Harry Smith intones, the antidote to despair “is action.” © 2018 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

He added, “We fret, worry, obsess over every tweet and prevarication.” But then he described people he met in his travels who have taken matters into their own hands, who are taking action. “People of varying politics and persuasions determined to make lives better. The antidote… is action.”

The New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace concludes with the light of thousands of candles held aloft © 2018 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

 

The evening always concludes with an inspirational lighting of candles – it starts from the back of the enormous hall, and the firelight comes forward until the entire cavernous space glows in the warmth and light.

Candlelight at The New Year’s Eve concert for Peace at Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine © 2018 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Cathedral itself is a marvel. Originally designed in 1888, with construction beginning in 1892, the cathedral has undergone radical stylistic changes and the interruption of the two World Wars. It started out in Byzantine Revival-Romanesque Revival style, but the plan was changed to  Gothic Revival in 1909. A major fire on December 18, 2001 caused the cathedral to be closed for repairs until 2008. It remains unfinished with construction and restoration a continuing process – which inside, only adds to the mystique of the place. It boasts being the largest Gothic cathedral, and may be the world’s largest Anglican cathedral and church; it is also the fourth largest Christian church in the world.

Judy Collins, artist in residence at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine and a fixture of the New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace, with Tony-Award winning composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown who also has become a regular © 2018 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

The cathedral houses one of the nation’s premier textile conservation laboratories to conserve the cathedral’s textiles, including the Barberini tapestries. The laboratory also conserves tapestries, needlepoint, upholstery, costumes, and other textiles for clients.

There are concerts by the Cathedral Choir and other artists and events throughout the year. Check the website for details.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street), New York, NY 10025, 212-316-7540, info@stjohndivine.org, www.stjohndivine.org.

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© 2018 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com,  www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin , and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Nighttime Stroll of New York City’s Holiday Lights

The look of enchantment on a child’s face at seeing the animated holiday windows at Saks 5th Avenue © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

Take the walk to see the animated windows and the holiday lights at Rockefeller Center (it’s best after 5 pm in the dark): My route typically starts at Macy’s on 34th Street, then up to Fifth Avenue to visit Lord & Taylor’s (both of these have nostalgic New York City themes this year), then up to Saks Fifth Avenue (celebrating the 80th anniversary of Snow White, with a light show that covers the entire building with Disney music) and Rockefeller Center, then up to Bergdorf Goodman (stunning displays that pay homage to New York City’s iconic institutions including the New-York Historical Society and the American Museum of Natural History.

Come walk with me:

A father and child enjoying the holiday windows at Macy’s © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Start at Macy’s at 34th Street, with displays along 34th Street and Broadway (amazingly, in the days before Christmas, the store is open until midnight; check schedule).

Doors open to reveal what’s inside the elaborate dollhouse at Macy’s © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Macy’s theme this year is a nostalgic peek at New York City in miniature, with a doll house that opens; scenes of the Roosevelt Island cable cars and New York trains, in addition to its time-honored, traditional windows along 34th Street based on an actual child’s letter to the editor of the New York Sun in 1897 asking “Is there a Santa Claus?” with the reply, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

Lord & Taylor’s animated holiday windows © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Walk up to Fifth Avenue, then north up to 38th Street to Lord & Taylor. This venerable store takes its holiday windows cue from the Hallmark Channel with whimsical scenes.

Continuing on, you pass the regal edifice of the 42nd Street Public Library, with its famous lions bedecked with holly wreaths for the holiday. If you come early enough, you should stop in; there is always a wonderful exhibit.

The Sound & Light show across Saks Fifth Avenue’s entire building façade.        © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Continuing up Fifth Avenue by 49th Street, the crowds begin to get so thick, they are impassable, but people are courteous and kind to each other, and you make your way toward Rockefeller Center and directly across, Saks Fifth Avenue.

The Sound & Light show across Saks Fifth Avenue’s entire building façade © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

I watch the first light show that spans the entire front of Saks’ building from 49th Street corner, diagonally across. It’s a Disney theme this year, with Disney music, paying homage to the 70th Anniversary of Snow White.

I inch my way through the crowds to Rockefeller Center, getting a view of the famous tree above the ice skating rink, and the row of angels. This is also the best place to watch the Sound & Light show on Saks Fifth Avenue’s facade.

Angels line the path to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Rockefeller Center is the epicenter for Christmas in New York – the Christmas tree, ice skating on one of the most iconic rinks in the world (therinkatrockcenter.com), ringed by giant Nutcrackers and holiday garlands and a veritable parade of angels. Perhaps little known, there are delightful eateries and shops inside at rink level.

I don’t visit Saks’ windows yet, but instead, continue on up Fifth Avenue, passing  by St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and such iconic places as Cartier’s, with its famous red bow, and Tiffany’s, and the giant lighted crystal star in the middle of the crossroads of 57th Street and Fifth.

Cartier’s tied up with its festive red-ribbon bow© 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

I come to Bergdorf Goodman’s, still so elegant, and once again, with the most imaginative and magnificently designed windows. This year, the windows pay homage to iconic New York City institutions including the New-York Historical Society, American Museum of Natural History, Museum of the Moving Image, New York Philharmonic and New York Botanical Gardens.

Bergdorf Goodman pays homage to the New-York Historical Society in this dazzling holiday window display © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Just across the street, I take a peek at the view of the Plaza Hotel before reversing direction.

Coming back, I walk along Fifth Avenue, stop in at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and cross the street to queue up to walk by the Saks Fifth Avenue windows, with the scenes of Snow White.

Saks Fifth Avenue’s holiday windows pay homage to Snow White’s 70th Anniversary © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

When I get to 42nd Street and the Public Library, I turn up toward 6th Avenue, to walk through the fantastic Christmas market that takes over Bryant Park with small boutique shops and eateries. There is a wonderful skating rink with its own Christmas tree. Indeed, Bryant Park has become one of the most festive places to visit in the city during the holidays.

Ice skating at Bryant Park © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The walk takes about two to three hours.

See also

Holidays in New York, The Most Enchanting Time of the Year

_______________________

© 2017 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com,  www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin , and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Enchants Millions, Ushers in Holiday Season

The Grinch was one of four giant character balloons making its debut in the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

An estimated 3.5 million people were on hand for the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, amid perfect blue-skies day. Many had staked out their place along the parade route by 4 am, bundling up in the 30-degree temperature, which thankfully warmed up when the parade got going and the sun streamed across Central Park.

Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette along with NBC TV’s Al Roker, surrounded by a few of the 1,000 clowns and 10,000 participants, to cut the ribbon.

NBC TV’s Al Roker and Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennett cut the ribbon to start the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

New this year: a Singing Christmas Tree populated with 125 Macy’s employees, which Gennette said would become a new tradition for the parade.

Fan favorites include the population of giant character balloons, now expanded to 17 with the addition this year of four giant characters: Olaf from Disney’s “Frozen,” Illumination presents Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, Jett from Super Wings™ and PAW Patrol, plus 28 legacy balloons, balloonicles, balloonheads and trycaloons.

Olaf from Disney’s “Frozen” makes its debut as a giant character balloon at the Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The balloon line-up also featured the return of Harold the Baseball Player, a legacy Macy’s character prominently featured in Twentieth Century Fox’s iconic holiday film classic “Miracle on 34th Street.” In celebration of the film’s 70th anniversary, the Harold heritage balloon was for this year’s Parade, painted in hues of black, white and grey, to look exactly as it did on-screen during a memorable scene in the 1947 film. In addition to Harold, the famed spokesduck, the Aflac Duck, debuted as an all-new balloonicle (a Macy’s Parade innovation of hybrid cold-air balloon and vehicle).

Returning giant balloon characters included Angry Birds’ Red; Charlie Brown; Diary of a Wimpy Kid®;  Sinclair’s Dino®; the Elf on the Shelf®; Hello Kitty®; Ice Age’s Scrat and His Acorn; Pikachu™; Pillsbury Doughboy™; Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger; Ronald McDonald®; SpongeBob SquarePants; and DreamWorks’ Trolls.

Ice Age’s Scrat chases his Acorn at the Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com
Charlie Brown floats down Central Park West in the Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

The balloons became a feature of the Macy’s parade after just the first three years of the parade, which began in 1924 by some Macy’s employees, who brought live animals. But by 1927, the live animals were considered a nuisance and replaced (except for New York City mounted police, followed by a team of sanitation workers who receive as loud a cheer) by the giant balloons, one of the famous unique features of the parade.

DreamWorks’ Trolls at the Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com
Giant character balloons are a special feature of the Macy’s Parade since 1927 © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The balloon line-up featured the return of Harold the Baseball Player, a legacy Macy’s character prominently featured in Twentieth Century Fox’s iconic holiday film classic “Miracle on 34th Street.” © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Floats

This year five new floats debuted including Everyone’s Favorite Bake Shop by Entenmann’s® (Sara Evans), Harvest in the Valley by Green Giant® (Lauren Alaina), Parade Day Mischief by Sour Patch Kids® Candy (Nicky Jam), Shimmer and Shine by Nickelodeon (Jojo Siwa) and Universal Playground by Sprout® (Angelica Hale).

The Thanksgiving Tom Turkey float opens the Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/ oingplacesfarandnear.com

The returning float roster, for a total of 26 floats, which also carry the celebrities and entertainers, included 1-2-3 Sesame Street by Sesame Street (Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast and Muppets of “Sesame Street“); The Aloha Spirit by King’s Hawaiian (Goo Goo Dolls), Big Apple by N.Y. Daily News (Bebe Rexha); Big City Cheer! by Spirit of America Productions (Miss America 2018 Cara Mund); Building a Better World by Girl Scouts of the USA (Andra Day and Common); The Colonel’s Road Trip to NYC by Kentucky Fried Chicken (Dustin Lynch); The Cranberry Cooperative by Ocean Spray®; Deck the Halls by Balsam Hill® (Olivia Holt); Discover Adventure! by Build-A-Bear (Sabrina Carpenter); Frozen Fall Fun by Discover®/NHL (Wyclef Jean) and NHL Hockey Hall of Famers Ray Bourque & Bryan Trottier); Fun House by Krazy Glue® (Flo Rida); Heartwarming Holiday Countdown by Hallmark Channel (98 Degrees); It’s All Rock & Roll by Gibson Brands (Jimmy Fallon & The Roots); Mount Rushmore’s American Pride by South Dakota Department of Tourism (Smokey Robinson); On The Roll Again by Homewood Suites by Hilton® (Andy Grammer); Santa’s Sleigh; Snoopy’s Doghouse by Peanuts Worldwide; Stirrin’ Up Sweet Sensations by Domino® Sugar (Cam); Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Nickelodeon (Kat Graham); and Tom Turkey featuring Bravo’s Top Chef (Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio).

The ever-popular Sesame Street float at the Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

 

Late-night host Jimmy Fallon and The Roots were aboard the It’s All Rock & Roll by Gibson Brands float © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Dustin Lynch rides aboard The Colonel’s Road Trip to NYC by Kentucky Fried Chicken float © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Common and Andra Day on the Building a Better World by Girl Scouts of the USA float © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The Macy’s parade floats are an engineering marvel: often 3-stories tall and several lanes wide, they must collapse to no more than 12 1/-feet tall and 8-feet wide to travel to Manhattan © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Mount Rushmore’s American Pride by South Dakota Department of Tourism carries Smokey Robinson © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Designed and created by the incredible artists of Macy’s Parade Studio, which include carpenters, painters, animators, sculptors, metal fabricators, scenic/costume designers and electricians, this year’s line-up of floats sets an unparalleled stage for entertainment. The painstaking process of creating a Macy’s Parade float is both a creative and technical endeavor. Macy’s Parade floats are often three-stories tall and several lanes of traffic wide, but must collapse to no more than 12½-feet tall and 8-feet wide in order to travel safely from the New Jersey home of the Parade Studio, to the Manhattan starting line via the Lincoln Tunnel each Thanksgiving eve. These creations are not only works of art, but also engineering marvels.

Marching Bands

The Macy’s Parade Great American Marching Band, with members from throughout the United States © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Marching bands bring a national excitement and hometown pride to the streets of the Big Apple, not to mention the musical beat to the holiday revelry. The 12 performance ensembles that marched this year came from as far as Palmer, Alaska (Colony High School), and as near as Trumbull, Conn. (Trumbull High School), and also included Davis High School (Kaysville, Utah), Rosemount High School (Rosemount, Minn.), West Harrison High School (Gulfport, Miss.), Rockford High School (Rockford, Mich.), Ohio University (Athens, Ohio), Nation Ford High School (Fort Mill, S.C.), Prairie View A&M University (Prairie View, Texas), the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard, Macy’s Great American Marching Band (United States) and the NYPD Marching Band (New York, NY).

Marching bands come from all over the country for the Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Marching bands come from all over the country for the Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The United States Air Force Band © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Specialty Parade Entertainment

Specialty Parade entertainment always provides an exciting and sometimes humorous look at the nation’s finest performance groups. Returning to the line-up this year are the dancers and cheerleaders of Spirit of America Dance Stars and Spirit of America Cheer. These groups combined feature more than 1,000 of the nation’s very best performers recruited from small towns and big cities.

Spirit of America at the 91st Annual Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Adding to the dance floor revelry was 34th & Phunk, a special group commissioned and produced by Macy’s with organizers from the United States Tournament of Dance. Choreographed by the legendary artist Willdabeast Adams and acclaimed dancer Janelle Ginestra, 34th & Phunk will be a one-of-a-kind hip-hop dance crew featuring performers of all ages and from all walks of life, who have a passion for dance and precision movement. The talented kids of Camp Broadway this year auditioned and were selected dancers/singers from military bases around the nation and paid tribute to America with their performance.

New this year: a Singing Christmas Tree populated with 125 Macy’s employees © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Rounding out the performance group list are the zany Red Hot Mamas (Post Falls, Idaho) who delivered their signature humorous take on the holiday season, along with the whimsical stars of the Big Apple Circus (New York, NY).

The zany Red Hot Mamas from Post Falls, Idaho at the 91st Annual Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Some of the 1,000 clowns and street entertainers at the 91st Annual Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Some of the 1,000 clowns and street entertainers at the 91st Annual Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Some of the 1,000 clowns and street entertainers at the 91st Annual Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Some of the 1,000 clowns and street entertainers at the 91st Annual Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Iconic symbols of thanksgiving – The giant turkey, Pilgrim Man and women lead the parade. Finally, the most stupendous float of all: Santa Claus with his elves and reindeer ushering in Christmas. A shout turns into a rolling cheer, children and parents scream and raise their arms as he passes.

The most stupendous float of all at the Macy’s Parade carries Santa Claus with his elves and reindeer ushering in Christmas © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Santa Claus brings cheer to all that have come to see the Macy’s Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Macy’s Parade has become the launch for the winter holiday season not just for New Yorkers, but for the entire nation. The television broadcast is watched by some 50 million.

Some 3.5 million lined the Macy’s parade route and let out a cheer as Santa Claus comes into view © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
People cheer as Santa Claus comes into view © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com
People cheer as Santa Claus comes into view © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
People cheer as Santa Claus comes into view © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

See also:

A Balloon Festival of a Different Sort: Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation Draws Thousands

_______________________

© 2017 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com,  www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin , and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

A Balloon Festival of a Different Sort: Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation Draws Thousands

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation event draws hundreds of thousands of people © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK –This Thanksgiving, a magical march returns to the streets of New York City and to homes across the U.S. as the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® kicks off the holiday season with its signature spectacle of wonder. On Thursday, Nov. 23 (9 a.m.-noon in all time zones), the streets of Manhattan fill with the sound of “Let’s Have a Parade!” Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker of NBC’s “Today” will host the broadcast. Telemundo will simulcast the parade in Spanish, with the event hosted by Carlos Ponce, Jessica Carrillo and Karim Mendiburu.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation event draws hundreds of thousands of people © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

But the night before, the streets around the Museum of Natural History on Central Park West are literally flooded with hundreds of thousands of people coming to delight in seeing the massive balloons – 17 giant character balloons and 28 legacy balloons, balloonides, balloonheads and trycaloons, being inflated by hundreds of volunteers.

New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio spoke of how iconic the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and the Balloon Inflation events have become, and how the parade not only kicks off the holiday season for the city, but the entire nation.

NYC Mayor Bill DiBlasio at the Macy’s Parade Balloon Inflation © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“It’s an example of what makes New York City great – hundreds of thousands here tonight, tomorrow millions, and it comes off flawlessly,” Mayor DiBlasio said. “It takes a lot of work, and working together. New York City is a beacon to the world – we have people of every background, faith, nationality, in harmony, giving thanks together.

“This is a beautiful event that happens because we’re safe. Every year, the NYPD does more to keep us safe. We live in a dangerous world. We have the strongest anti-terrorism capacity of any police force in thecountry. You will see a lot of officers so people feel good, confident, calm.

“There has been no credible or specific threat against New York or the parade. But we have precautions in place. Everyone needs to help: if you see something, say something.”

Acknowledging the terror attack that took place on Halloween in which 8 people lost their lives, he said, “That attack was an attempt to under our values, our democracy. It failed. Everyone is out, enjoying this great celebration. It is important to show how it failed.

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill describes heightened security for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade © 2017 Karen Rubin/ news-photos-features.com

NYPD commissioner James O’Neill said that there will be 36,000 police out on the streets, criticial response teams, mounted police, long-gun teams. “This is the reality of 2017. We have 2000 more officers on patrol than last year.”

Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette noted that the parade started almost a century ago by employees who wanted to do something for their families and local people. For the 91st edition, the line-up will feature 17 giant character balloons; 28 legacy balloons, balloonicles, balloonheads and trycaloons; 26 floats; 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; 12 marching bands; and 6 performance groups.

Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette noted that the parade was begun in 1924 by Macy’s employees who wanted to do something for their families and community © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

A special float by Delta Air Lines will debut to commemorate the season of togetherness with the gift of song, as more than 125 Macy’s employees gather to form a one-of-a-kind cross-generational choir aboard the Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree.

“It’s the beginning of a new tradition.” Gennette said.

Here are highlights from the Balloon Inflation:

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation event draws hundreds of thousands of people © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation event is a magical experience © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation event  © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation event draws hundreds of thousands of people © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

 

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation event draws hundreds of thousands of people © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation event draws hundreds of thousands of people © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation event © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

 

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation event draws hundreds of thousands of people © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation involves hundreds of volunteers © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation event draws hundreds of thousands of people © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation event draws hundreds of thousands of people © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Here’s more of what to look for in the Parade:

The star power on parade will once again feature some of the nation’s most riveting performers. Taking to the streets of New York City on board one of Macy’s signature floating stages and thrilling the nation with their performances at Herald Square will be 98 Degrees, Lauren Alaina, Cam, Sabrina Carpenter, Andra Day & Common, Sara Evans, Jimmy Fallon & The Roots, Flo Rida, Goo Goo Dolls, Kat Graham, Andy Grammer, Angelica Hale, Olivia Holt, Nicky Jam, Wyclef Jean, Bravo’s Top Chef stars Padma Lakshmi & Tom Colicchio, Dustin Lynch, Miss America 2018 Cara Mund, Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast & Muppets of Sesame Street, Bebe Rexha, Smokey Robinson, Jojo Siwa and more.

On 34th Street, Broadway’s best shows will take a star turn in front of Macy’s famed flagship with special performances from the casts of “Anastasia,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Once On This Island” and “SpongeBob SquarePants – The Broadway Musical.” In addition, the show-stopping Radio City Rockettes®  will bring their signature high-kicking magic to Herald Square.

“The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of our great holiday traditions and we’re thrilled to be able to once again bring the pageantry and spectacle to viewers across the country,” said Doug Vaughan, Executive Vice President, Special Programs and Late Night, NBC Entertainment. “We can’t wait to see all the balloons, floats and high-end entertainment that have become such an integral part of this wonderful event.”

“For more than 90 years, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has signaled the start of the holiday season for millions of families. We are thrilled to once again come together as a nation to give this gift of joy and wonder to all,” said Susan Tercero, group vice-president of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She added, “Our incredible team has planned a fantastic spectacle featuring an amazing line-up of giant character balloons, floats of fantasy, the nation’s best marching bands and performance groups, a dazzling array of musical artists, all coming together to herald the arrival of the one-and-only Santa Claus.”

The Macy’s Parade is always a unique multi-level, magical march that provides spectators with different experiences, whether they watch it on television with friends and family or scout the perfect spot on the route to watch it unfold live. To give fans another unique viewing opportunity, Macy’s, along with NBCUniversal and Verizon will once again take viewers closer to the magic via up close and personal views of the event through a 360-degree livestream of the parade on Verizon’s YouTube page. The stream, found at www.youtube.com/verizon, will be synced with the start of the Parade.

Flying Icons

Taking flight on Turkey Day will be the Parade’s signature giant character helium balloons. Since their introduction in 1927, these giants of the sky have featured some of the world’s most beloved characters. This year four giant characters will debut, including Olaf from Disney’s “Frozen,” Illumination presents Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, Jett from Super Wings™ and PAW Patrol®.

The balloon line-up will also feature the return of Harold the Baseball Player, a legacy Macy’s character prominently featured in Twentieth Century Fox’s iconic holiday film classic “Miracle on 34th Street.” In celebration of the film’s 70th anniversary, the Harold heritage balloon has been recreated for this year’s Parade, painted in hues of black, white and grey, to look exactly as it did on-screen during a memorable scene in the 1947 film. In addition to Harold, the famed spokesduck, the Aflac Duck, will debut as an all-new balloonicle (a Macy’s Parade innovation of hybrid cold-air balloon and vehicle) and is sure to have fans quacking with joy and laughter down the route.

Returning giant balloon characters include Angry Birds’ Red; Charlie Brown; Diary of a Wimpy Kid®;  Sinclair’s Dino®; the Elf on the Shelf®; Hello Kitty®; Ice Age’s Scrat and His Acorn; Pikachu™; Pillsbury Doughboy™; Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger; Ronald McDonald®; SpongeBob SquarePants; and DreamWorks’ Trolls.

Parade Floats

Floating down the route this Thanksgiving, the Parade’s signature floats transport spectators to worlds of wonder. Designed and created by the incredible artists of Macy’s Parade Studio, which include carpenters, painters, animators, sculptors, metal fabricators, scenic/costume designers and electricians, this year’s line-up of floats sets an unparalleled stage for entertainment. The painstaking process of creating a Macy’s Parade float is both a creative and technical endeavor. Macy’s Parade floats are often three-stories tall and several lanes of traffic wide, but must collapse to no more than 12½-feet tall and 8-feet wide in order to travel safely from the New Jersey home of the Parade Studio, to the Manhattan starting line via the Lincoln Tunnel each Thanksgiving eve. These creations are not only works of art, but also engineering marvels.

This year five new floats will debut including Everyone’s Favorite Bake Shop by Entenmann’s® (Sara Evans), Harvest in the Valley by Green Giant® (Lauren Alaina), Parade Day Mischief by Sour Patch Kids® Candy (Nicky Jam), Shimmer and Shine by Nickelodeon (Jojo Siwa) and Universal Playground by Sprout® (Angelica Hale).

The returning float roster includes 1-2-3 Sesame Street by Sesame Street (Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast and Muppets of “Sesame Street“); The Aloha Spirit by King’s Hawaiian (Goo Goo Dolls), Big Apple by N.Y. Daily News (Bebe Rexha); Big City Cheer! by Spirit of America Productions (Miss America 2018 Cara Mund); Building a Better World by Girl Scouts of the USA (Andra Day and Common); The Colonel’s Road Trip to NYC by Kentucky Fried Chicken (Dustin Lynch); The Cranberry Cooperative by Ocean Spray®; Deck the Halls by Balsam Hill® (Olivia Holt); Discover Adventure! by Build-A-Bear (Sabrina Carpenter); Frozen Fall Fun by Discover®/NHL (Wyclef Jean) and NHL Hockey Hall of Famers Ray Bourque & Bryan Trottier); Fun House by Krazy Glue® (Flo Rida); Heartwarming Holiday Countdown by Hallmark Channel (98 Degrees); It’s All Rock & Roll by Gibson Brands (Jimmy Fallon & The Roots); Mount Rushmore’s American Pride by South Dakota Department of Tourism (Smokey Robinson); On The Roll Again by Homewood Suites by Hilton® (Andy Grammer); Santa’s Sleigh; Snoopy’s Doghouse by Peanuts Worldwide; Stirrin’ Up Sweet Sensations by Domino® Sugar (Cam); Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Nickelodeon (Kat Graham); and Tom Turkey featuring Bravo’s Top Chef (Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio).

Drum Roll, Please…

Marching bands are a central piece of the Thanksgiving delights, bringing national excitement and hometown pride to the streets of the Big Apple, not to mention the musical beat to the holiday revelry. Twelve performance ensembles will take up the call of the baton and march down the streets of Manhattan. This year’s bands include Colony High School (Palmer, Alaska), Davis High School (Kaysville, Utah), Rosemount High School (Rosemount, Minn.), West Harrison High School (Gulfport, Miss.), Rockford High School (Rockford, Mich.), Ohio University (Athens, Ohio), Nation Ford High School (Fort Mill, S.C.), Trumbull High School (Trumbull, Conn.), Prairie View A&M University (Prairie View, Texas), the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard, Macy’s Great American Marching Band (United States) and the NYPD Marching Band (New York, NY).

Specialty Parade entertainment always promises a unique, exciting, and sometimes humorous look at the nation’s finest performance groups. Returning to the line-up this year are the dancers and cheerleaders of Spirit of America Dance Stars and Spirit of America Cheer. These groups combined feature more than 1,000 of the nation’s very best performers recruited from small towns and big cities. Days before Thanksgiving, they will gather for the first time in NYC, ahead of their once-in-a-lifetime national spotlight. Adding to the dance floor revelry will be 34th & Phunk, a special group commissioned and produced by Macy’s with organizers from the United States Tournament of Dance. Choreographed by the legendary artist Willdabeast Adams and acclaimed dancer Janelle Ginestra, 34th & Phunk will be a one-of-a-kind hip-hop dance crew featuring performers of all ages and from all walks of life, who have a passion for dance and precision movement. Bringing a Broadway flair to the spectacle will be the talented kids of Camp Broadway, who this year have auditioned and selected dancers/singers from military bases around the nation, and who will pay tribute to America with their performance. Rounding out the performance group list are the zany Red Hot Mamas (Post Falls, Idaho) who will deliver their signature humorous take on the holiday season, along with the whimsical stars of the Big Apple Circus (New York, NY).

Interactive Fun

This year the magic of Macy’s iconic balloons and Parade artistry will head south for the winter to give fans an up close and personal experience for the holidays. Starting on Saturday, Nov. 18, Universal Orlando Resort’s destination-wide Holidays celebration begins, featuring the all-new “Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s.” This one-of-a-kind experience is where merry and mayhem mesh to create a fantastic treat for park guests that features more than 15 incredibly detailed floats, colorful stilt-walkers and characters, and a specially created cast of all new Macy’s balloons that you can’t see anywhere else. Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s will run daily from Nov. 18 through Jan. 6.

The 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will begin at 9 a.m. from 77th Street and Central Park West. The procession will march to Columbus Circle, turn onto Central Park South and march down 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas. At 34th Street, the Parade will make its final turn west and end at 7th Avenue in front of Macy’s Herald Square. “A Holiday Treat for Children Everywhere” has been the guiding motto of this annual tradition for more than nine decades and is the mandate that continues to this day.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast is produced by the Emmy Award-winning Brad Lachman Productions. Brad Lachman serves as executive producer, Bill Bracken will co-executive produce and Ryan Polito directs.

For more information on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,  visit www.macys.com/parade  or call the Parade hotline at 212-494-4495. Follow @macys on various social networks and join the conversation using #MacysParade.

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© 2017 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com,  www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin , and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

‘Fool The Eye’ at Nassau County Museum of Art Explores Artists’ Techniques of Illusion

Marc Sijan’s Security Guard watches over “Fool the Eye” exhibition on view at the Nassau County Museum of Art 24/7 with no complaint © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

You walk into the Nassau County Museum of Art, housed in the stunning mansion built for Childs Frick in 1919, the scion of Henry Clay Frick, and are confronted by a guard, hands crossed in front of his chest. You do a double-take – it takes a bit of questioning in your own mind what you are seeing to realize the guy isn’t moving, isn’t even breathing. In fact, it is a sculpture, so realistic you have to double-check your brain. This is just the first of an entire exhibition devoted to art that literally “fools the eye.”

One could argue that all art fools the eye – you are, after all, taking a living, changing, three-dimensional (even four-dimensional) subject and using manufactured materials and constructions converting it to two- or three-dimensions, in an assimilation or approximation of what is lives in a moment in time.

But these artists, gathered together in the “Fool the Eye” exhibit now on view at NCMA, employ fascinating techniques that keep you guessing as you walk from gallery to gallery: Is it a flat surface or a sculpture? Is it a photograph or a painting? Is it made of wood or bronze, rubber or steel? Is it real or faux?  The works on view date back to 1870 (“A Canvas Back” by William Davis), to as recently as a weeks ago (Ben Schonzeit’s “The Fantasticks”) showing that these artistic devices of fooling the eye are well entrenched in artists’ palette.

David Mach’s “Blue Weave” at the Nassau County Museum of Art © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

You see a re-creation of a portion of the famous Van Gogh self-portrait with all the vibrant color and exciting brushstrokes, only to realize that David Mach created “Blue Weave” (2013) as a postcard collage out of individual strips. Similarly, a vibrant, richly textured portrait, “Blue Hair” by Federico Uribe (2014) is a collage made entirely of small colored pencils, and Chuck Close’s “Self Portrait” (2004) is actually a woodcut in 19 colors.

Sharon Moody’s “Drowning Girl Secret Hearts Vol. 1, No. 83.” Is it a comic book, or a painting? © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

You see a famous photo of Marilyn Monroe taped to a board, and realize that except for the tape, the entire piece is a painting (“Gold Marilyn” by Otto Duecker); similarly, Dueker has made such a painting of a Frank Sinatra “photo.” “Drowning Girl Secret Hearts Vol. 1, No. 83,” is Sharon Moody’s oil painting that you are convinced is an actual comic book appended to a board. Then there are the hypnotic geometric abstractions, like Victor Vasarelly’s “TITOK-L” (1972).

Otto Duecker’s”Frank Sinatra” (2011), oil on board, courtesy of Arthur and Arlene Levine at the Nassau County Museum of Art © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Fool the Eye, on view at Nassau County Museum of Art’s Saltzman Fine Arts Building through March 4, 2018, challenges you to experience the wonder of masterful artistic techniques. This exhibition includes examples of traditional trompe l’oeil (meticulously painted, hyper-real images) and a wide range of other approaches to illusion. See larger-than-life oversized objects, hypnotic geometric abstractions, sculptures made of unexpected materials, images with mind-bending impossibilities and fine art so seemingly realistic, they are (nearly) indistinguishable from real things. The magic will provoke debates in every gallery about reality and deception.

There is the shocking sense that a work of art is “following you” – changing as you move slightly and change your angle of view. Disorienting. Jarring. Creepy even. That’s the case with Patrick Hughes’ “Living Library” (2017), and two stacked Brillo boxes, Patrick Hughes’ oil on board construction homage to Andy Warhol, “Warholly,” 2008). Most of the time, though, you come away with a sense of amusement, realizing you’ve been played.

Brillo boxes, Patrick Hughes’ oil on board construction homage to Andy Warhol, “Warholly,” 2008, seems to follow you as you move © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Artists throughout the ages have been intrigued by perceptual illusions, devising visual tricks to manipulate the perception of space, incorporating spatial illusion as an aspect of their art. Featured in this exhibition are 20th- and 21st-century artists whose work has explored illusion, including Salvador Dali, Janet Fish, Audrey Flack, Jasper Johns, Judith Leiber, Roy Lichtenstein, Vik Muniz, Ben Schoenzeit, and Victor Vasarely.

NCMA Trustee Harvey Manes with Victor Vasarelly’s TITOK-L (1972), one of five paintings from his collection on loan for “Fool the Eye.” © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“Fool the Eye” is guest-curated by Franklin Hill Perrell with Debbie Wells whose previous collaborations for the Museum have included Feast for the Eyes (July 2016), The Moderns: Long Island Collects (July 2015) and Garden Party (March 2014).

‘Fool the Eye’ Curator Franklin Hill Perrell, NCMA President Angela Susan Anton and Director Charles A. Riley II at the opening reception © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“This show is the work of a superstar curator,” Charles A. Riley II, NCMA’s Director, said. “One thing that brings it all together: when an artist guides you in how to see… How artists create the illusion of life. Is it real or isn’t it? Is it or isn’t it? That question prevails through the whole show…There is a vitality.”

“Fool the Eye” curator Franklin Hill Perrell © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“All the art has to come from some place, someone has to arrange,” Perrell tells the gathering at the opening reception on November 17. “No other museum scurries around country convincing people to give up things they don’t want to give up- then have to get it here.”

Perrell rattles off a long list of nearly 60 galleries and private collections where the works have come, including NCMA trustee Dr. Harvey Manes who loaned five works including two Salvador Dalis and a Roy Lichtenstein.

One of the works – Ben Schoenzeit’s “The Fantasticks” – was painted specifically for the show, as I learn (one of the best things about an opening reception is that some of the artists show up).

“I was just finishing a piece when Franklin came to my studio in Soho and wanted a painting not yet finished,” says Schoenzeit, who has been featured often at NCMA. “I didn’t know how to finish it. I knew [the show’s theme] was tromp d’oeil, so I painted this with this show in mind.”

He says it took a month to make “The Fantasticks” (in between other projects), which is based on a collage.

Artist Ben Schonzeit painted “The Fantasticks” expressly for the “Fool the Eye” show at the Nassau County Museum of Art © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

“It’s funny – it came out funny,” he says, using the word “they” to describe his paintings. “They surprise me…I don’t have a finished concept when I start. They tell me. These things come to me.”

How do you know when it’s done? “When it walks away. When I have nothing more to say. When adding more makes it worse, or the idea you add doesn’t fit,” Schoenzeit says.

He steps back from the over-sized canvas. “I like to see it out of the studio, how it feels in real world, rather than in the chaos of my loft.”

Why “The Fantasticks?” “This was a long-running show in Greenwich Village [which he saw more than 30 years ago]. At the end, they threw colored tissue paper squares into the audience. I picked [some] up and put them in a collage. The paper is the envelope that I wrote ‘The Fantasticks’ on: There are other references in the painting (acrylic on linen): a stage, curtain.

Chuck Close’s “Self Portrait” (2004) © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com
Detail from Chuck Close’s “John” © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Programs that NCMA is offering the public in conjunction with Fool the Eye include: Paper Medium Rare: All Things Paper, a film that is screening daily; Fool the Eye Meets Fool the Palate, a December 10 talk by guest curator Franklin Hill Perrell; Brown Bag Lectures presented by Museum Docent Riva Ettus on December 14, January 4 and February 1; Sketching in the Galleries with Glenna Kubit on December 19, January 9 and February 6; and artist Dale Zinkowski in the galleries on March 4 to meet with visitors and answer questions about his work. Docent-led tours of the exhibition are offered every day at 2 p.m. Call 516-484-9338 for current exhibitions, events, days/times and directions or log to nassaumuseum.org/events for details and registration.

“Fool the Eye” exhibit also marks the first in the museum under the helm of its new director Charles A. Riley II.

Daniel Sprick, “Souls in Purgatory.” Is it a photograph or a painting? You have to really look to see © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Dr. Riley’s long association with Nassau County Museum of Art includes having served as curator-at-large and popular presenter of many lectures offered for many exhibitions. He helped curate the Museum’s Picasso, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionist exhibitions and recently curated the permanent installation of Western art at a major new private museum in Taiwan as well as several exhibitions in Berlin, Amsterdam, Lausanne, Manhattan and Long Island’s East End.

NCMA’s new Director, Charles A. Riley’ s Free as Gods: How the Jazz Age Reinvented Modernism, will provide the basis for the museum’s next exhibit. © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Dr. Riley is a prolific arts journalist, reviewer and essayist and a celebrated public speaker. His 32 books on art, business and public policy include the recently published Free as Gods: How the Jazz Age Reinvented ModernismThe Jazz Age in FranceThe Art of Peter MaxArt at Lincoln Center, The Arts and the World EconomyColor Codes, and The Saints of Modern Art. Dr. Riley’s next book, a study of Rodin in Chinese and English, will be published by the Chimei Museum in fall 2017.

The next exhibit to open is “The Jazz Age: Picasso, Matisse, Chanel, Gerwin, Joyce, Fitzgerald and Hemingway” (March 17-July 8, 2018), based on Riley’s book, “Free as Gods.” 

An Art Destination

The Nassau County Museum of Art is an entire art destination:

Sculpture Park has some 30 works, many of them monumental in size, by renowned artists including Fernando Botero, Tom Otterness, George Rickey and Mark DiSuvero among others, are situated to interact with nature on the museum’s magnificent 145-acre property.

Walking Trails: The museum’s 145 acres include many marked nature trails through the woods, perfect for family hikes or independent exploration.

Gardens: From restored formal gardens of historic importance to quiet little nooks for dreaming away an afternoon, the museum’s 145 acre property features many lush examples of horticultural arts. Come view our expanded gardens and beautiful new path to the museum.

Nassau County Museum of Art, consisting of the Arnold & Joan Saltzman Fine Art Building and The Manes Family Art & Education Center, is located at One Museum Drive in Roslyn Harbor, just off Northern Boulevard, Route 25A, two traffic lights west of Glen Cove Road. The Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors (62 and above) and $4 for students and children (4 to12). Admission to the Saltzman Fine Art Building includes admission to The Manes Family Art & Education Center. Members are admitted free. Docent-led tours of the Saltzman Building exhibitions are offered at 2 p.m. each day; tours of the mansion are offered each Saturday at 1 p.m.; meet in the lobby, no reservations needed. Tours are free with museum admission. Call (516) 484-9338, ext. 12 to inquire about group tours. The Museum Store is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call (516) 484-9338 for current exhibitions, events, days/times and directions or log onto nassaumuseum.org. Call (516) 626-5280 to reach The Manes Center directly.

(Artists and art-goers would also do well to visit the new exhibition, “Our Senses: “An Immersive Experience” now on view at the American Museum of Natural History to better understand the physical, cognitive and emotional underpinnings to achieve such illusions; visit amnh.org. See: American Museum of Natural History Creates Immersive Experience for Understanding ‘Our Senses’)

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© 2017 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com,  www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin , and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures