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Art, Drama, Music and Books
Art, drama, music & books

NYP/Lawrence Hospital Presents Jazz with a View: 34 Free Hudson River Concerts PDF Print Email


By Mark Morganelli, Jazz Forum Arts

May 31, 2017:  Jazz Forum Arts is thrilled to announce the 2017 season of its free summer concerts in Westchester County. For the second year in a row, NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital is partnering with Jazz Forum Arts to offer the free concert series as the exclusive presenting sponsor with a three-year commitment. 

Michael J. Fosina, president of NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital, recently presented a check for $30,000 to Mark Morganelli of Jazz Forum Arts as the exclusive presenting sponsor.

The 34 free concerts will be held at various sites along the Hudson River--Waterfront Park in Dobbs Ferry, Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, Pierson Park in Tarrytown, Horan's Landing in Sleepy Hollow, and Henry Gourdine Park in Ossining. The summer series audiences have grown over the past 18 years since its inception as the Dobbs Ferry Summer Music Series. Projected attendance this year is between 15,000 and 20,000 people.

The season begins with the Dobbs Ferry Summer Music Series on June 21 and runs through August 25 at Pierson Park in Tarrytown. The performers include emerging and established artists and groups ranging from quartets to orchestras. Family, friends, and pets can enjoy the top-quality music generously supported by NYP/Lawrence Hospital, varied cuisines from local food and beverage vendors, and the beautiful Hudson River sunsets!

Jazz Forum Arts Summer 2017 Free Concert Series is presented by NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital. Co-sponsors include Arts Westchester, RiverArts, Chase, Key Bank, GDC Rentals, Mercy College, Hudson Harbor, Rivertowns Guide, Stop & Shop, Westchester Community Foundation, and the Arnold E. & Olga C. Feldman Fund. For more information, visit for the event details and profiles of all the performing artists.

Complete Concert Schedule Listed by Location (all concerts 6:30-8:00 pm):

18th Annual Dobbs Ferry Summer Music Series, 10 free Wednesday evening concerts at Waterfront Park, foot of High Street, Dobbs Ferry, co-sponsored by Village of Dobbs Ferry, Mercy College, and RiverArts, June 21 to August 23, indoors at Hudson Social if rain

6/21: Chembo Corniel Quintet Latin Jazz
6/28: Essiet's IBO
7/5:  Cynthia Sayer & Her Joyride Quartet
7/12: Melanie Scholtz & Her Trio
7/19: Freddie Hendrix Quartet
7/26: Bob Albanese Quartet
8/2:  Vic Juris Trio + Kate Baker
8/9:  Geoff Gallante Quartet
8/16: Jordan Young Organ Quartet
8/23: Matthew Hartnett & The Gumbo All-Stars 

8th Annual Sunset Jazz at Lyndhurst Concert Series, 635 South Broadway, Tarrytown, 8 free Thursday evening concerts, July 6 to August 24, canceled by 3:00 pm if rain 

7/6:  Rocky Middleton Sextet
7/13: Darrian Douglas Unity Band
7/20: Steve Kroon Latin Jazz Sextet
7/27: DOMI Quartet
8/3:  Willie Martinez La Familia Sextet
8/10: Veronica Swift Quartet
8/17: Ayako Shirasaki Quartet
8/24: Bill Warfield & Hell's Kitchen Funk Orchestra

Jazz at Pierson Park, West Main Street, Tarrytown, 8 free Friday evening concerts at the Hudson River, July 7 to August 25, indoors in Senior Center on-site if rain, co-sponsored by Village of Tarrytown and Hudson Harbor 

7/7:  Andrew Halchak Quartet
7/14: Marshall McDonald Jazz Project
7/21: Michael Tate & 3D
7/28: Andrea Brachfeld Quartet Tribute to Dave Valentin
8/4:  Bobby Molina & TimbaWah
8/11: Andrew Beals Organ Quartet
8/18: Vanessa Racci Quartet Jazz Italiano!
8/25: Jazz Forum Arts Vocal Winners!

Jazz at Horan's Landing Park, 9 River Street, Sleepy Hollow, 4 free Tuesday evening concerts, August 1 to 22, canceled if rain, co-sponsored by the Village of Sleepy Hollow, all concerts performed by Mark Morganelli & The Jazz Forum All-Stars

Jazz at Henry Gourdine Park, Ossining Riverfront, 4 free Monday evening concerts, July 10 to August 21, co-sponsored by Ossining & GDC Rentals, indoors if rain at Joseph G. Caputo Community Center, 95 Broadway, Ossining

7/10: Gerry Malkin Quintet
7/24: Erik Lawrence Quartet
8/7:  Rhythm Rising Latin Jazz
8/21: Vincent Herring Quartet

About Jazz Forum Arts:  Now in its thirty-second year, Jazz Forum Arts is one of the country's premiere not-for-profit jazz presenters. Jazz Forum Arts brings top-quality live jazz music to wide audiences throughout the New York metropolitan area and is committed to the appreciation and understanding of this distinctly American art form. Jazz Forum Arts features established, emerging, and under-recognized artists as well as regional, national, and international musicians. Presenting jazz in its multifaceted styles, Jazz Forum Arts offers audiences Progressive and Bebop, Latin & Brazilian, World Music, Rhythm and Blues, New Orleans, Traditional, Swing, and Contemporary Jazz and is opening its new Jazz Forum Club venue at 1 Dixon Lane, Tarrytown, in June.

Pictured here:  Michael J. Fosina, president of NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital, presenting a check for $30,000 to Mark Morganelli of Jazz Forum Arts as the exclusive presenting sponsor.

Photo courtesy Mark Morganelli, Jazz Forum Arts

James Lettiere, Art Critic: Exhibition of Outsider Art at Hirschl & Adler Modern PDF Print Email


By James Lettiere, Art Critic

May 17, 2017:  The current exhibition at the Hirschl & Adler Modern, Parallel Unknown, on show until May 26, comprises small samples of the works of eight Outsider artists. It is very engrossing; visual simplicity and graphic dexterity combine to create a modern image.

"Outsider Art" is defined on the art website as: "A label applied to artworks that have little connection with the art world or are created by people with no formal art training. The term is also applied to artworks by people with psychiatric disabilities and others on the margins of society. However, as more and more examples have been exhibited and subsumed into the historical canon, some have argued that the 'outsider' label should be retired."

The artists in this exhibition are "outsiders," an eclectic mix of individuals with unusual attributes: Hawkins Bolden, a blind self-taught artist; Edward Deeds, a near lifelong ward of the state of Missouri and a mental patient; Royal Robertson, a self-proclaimed prophet; Mary T. Smith, a hearing-impaired domestic servant; Bill Traylor, a self-taught artist who was born a slave and became a sharecropper after Emancipation; Valton Tyler, a self-taught artist universally referred to as "visionary"; Frank Walter, a recluse who lived in a small cabin without running water or electricity; and David Zeldis, a sufferer of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

However, notwithstanding their diversity, their art displays common themes, as described on the Hirschl & Adler website:

Co-organized with Shrine (New York City), "Parallel Unknown" examines the unintentional points of connection and affinities shared by eight important Outsider artists. These artists, who at first glance appear to be unlikely matches, display an overlap in themes, materials or intention. By exhibiting them together, striking connections can be made despite each artist's lack of awareness of the others' output. Usually regarded in terms of singularity, the very term "Outsider Art" celebrates an artist’s unique experience or vision. "Parallel Unknown" shows that, while singular and visionary, the artists included here are nonetheless united by their shared artistic exploration of the human condition.

The pictures of Bill Traylor are some of my personal favorites and the examples in this exhibition are excellent representations of his work. The website says of Traylor:

A key figure in the tradition of twentieth-century African American folk art, Bill Traylor (1854-1949) is considered by many to be the truest embodiment of the "outsider" or "self-taught" artist. A visual story teller whose drawings have been likened to such evocative interpreters of the South as William Faulkner and Robert Johnson, Traylor's iconic images of people and animals reflect his powers of imagination as well as his close observation of the world around him. Critics have long speculated about the social, cultural, and political implications of his art, as well as its parallels with blues music. What is always agreed upon, however, is its universal appeal stemming from the artist's sincerity, humor, and remarkably sophisticated formalism. 

Another standout for my taste is Mary T. Smith. She can express a heartfelt emotion with a minimalist technique. The website says of Smith:

Mary T. Smith (1904-1995) was born in southern Mississippi and worked as a domestic servant throughout most of her adult life. Smith was born with significant hearing loss, which became more severe with age and made her speech difficult to understand. As part of the Southern tradition of "yard shows" that black artists used to decorate their property and convey messages that could not be openly voiced, Smith created an outdoor environment of incredibly graphic oil enamel paintings on found wood and pieces of corrugated roofing metal that she would drag home from a local garbage dump.

For more information about the exhibition and its eight artists and for general information about the gallery, go to

Hirschl & Adler Modern
The Crown Building
730 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10019
Tel 212-535-8810

Note that because of building renovations, the entrance is around the corner on West 56th Street.

Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 am - 5:15 pm
Saturday, 9:30 am - 4:45 pm
Closed Sunday and Monday

Photo by James Lettiere 

ArtsWestchester Announces 2017 ArtsBash Weekend May 19 and 20 PDF Print Email


By Hope Salley, Thompson & Bender for ArtsWestchester

May 10, 2017:  ArtsWestchester has announced this year's Annual ArtsBash Weekend, a spring fundraiser that includes an exclusive ArtsBash party on Friday, May 19, followed by a Family ArtsBash celebration on Saturday, May 20.

This year's ArtsBash fundraising party on Friday, May 19, is open to the public and will feature cocktails and food from more than 25 prestigious restaurants and will afford the public the opportunity to meet artists in their open studios throughout ArtsWestchester's historic downtown White Plains building. Leslie Lampert of Café of Love and John Crabtree of Crabtree's Kittle House have been appointed to the ArtsBash Cuisine Committee and will give lead direction on the food offerings.

In addition, the gallery's newest exhibition, From the Streets: An Exhibition of Urban Art, will provide the backdrop for the event, displaying graffiti murals, photography, sculptures, and mixed-media street art for all to enjoy.

"This not-to-be-missed experience provides a creative combination of food and art and is especially thrilling this year because of the unique work that highlights the evolution of graffiti and street art, celebrating some the region's most recognized street artists," said Janet Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester. "Our artists will open their studios to the public and top restaurateurs will elevate the experience with a creative take on cuisine. We encourage everyone to come out to celebrate resident arts and enjoy a great party!"

Some of the new dining destinations participating in this year's Friday evening ArtsBash include Meritage Restaurant, Texas de Brazil, and Pick and Roll Soul. The following is a complete list of participating restaurateurs for the event: 

Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza
Baked by Susan
Cathy's Biscotti
Coffee Labs Roasters
Coopers Mill at Westchester Marriott
G&K Sweet Foods
Gristmill Distillers
Half Time Beverage
Joseph Richard Florals
La Bocca
Lulu Cake Boutique
Meritage Restaurant
Mix Cocktail Bar + Kitchen at Crowne Plaza
Oasis Day Spa
Penny Lick Ice Cream Company
Pick and Roll Soul
Snap Bar Photo
Texas de Brazil
The Yerba Project
Top Chef Meals/Crystal Spoon
Tre Angelina
Wolffer Estate 

About the 2017 ArtsBash Cuisine chairs: 

Leslie Lampert of White Plains, executive chef/owner of Café of Love and Ladle of Love in Mount Kisco, has been talking with her mouth full for more than 30 years. As a senior editor at Ladies' Home Journal magazine, she produced and wrote scores of food articles and spent countless hours in the test kitchen developing recipes for more than 17 million readers. She has also written dozens of articles on food and lifestyle for many national magazines, including TIME, the New York Times, Parents, House Beautiful, and Glamour, among others. Leslie has appeared frequently on television as a lifestyle expert, including on The Today Show, CNN, and CBS's 48 Hours. Her 12-year-old award-winning, locally sourced take-out shop, Ladle of Love, inspired the launch of Café of Love in 2008. The café's seasonally driven menu and community-minded philosophies support local growers and farmers and feature the freshest ingredients from neighborhood farms.

John Crabtree of Pound Ridge is the owner of Crabtree's Kittle House. Since 1981, the Kittle House has been owned and operated by the Crabtree family, which returned the house to its former glory through extensive renovations and enhancements, including the beautification of the grounds, the expansion of the Atrium Dining Room, and the transformation of the former stables into an award-winning wine cellar. The most recent and exciting changes at Crabtree's Kittle House include a striking redesign by Christan P. Arkay-Leliever of KMS Team. With a mindful use of ecological materials and thoughtful attention to detail, the Kittle House exudes a quiet elegance, befitting its charmed past.

The day after the ArtsBash party, families and children of all ages are encouraged to participate in a day of fun at Family ArtsBash on Saturday, May 20, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Kids can partake in a variety of hands-on art activities and artist-led workshops. Activities include a chocolate art-making activity, drumming circles, clay-and-felt-making workshops, spin art, and more. 

Family ArtsBash also features an opportunity for families to explore ArtsWestchester's exhibition of urban art. Additionally, resident artists will once again open their studios to the public, making the event a unique opportunity for children to meet professional painters, sculptors, printers, and more who create artwork throughout ArtsWestchester's building.

The 2017 ArtsBash Weekend celebration will take place on Friday, May 19, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at ArtsWestchester in White Plains. In addition, Family ArtsBash will take place on Saturday, May 20, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Tickets to the Friday evening reception are $75 and are available online at or at the door Friday evening. For Family ArtsBash, there is a suggested family donation of $10.

About ArtsWestchester

For over 50 years, ArtsWestchester has been the community's connection to the arts. Founded in 1965, it is the largest private not-for-profit arts council in New York State. Its mission is to provide leadership vision and support to ensure the availability, accessibility, and diversity of the arts. ArtsWestchester provides programs and services that enrich the lives of everyone in Westchester County. ArtsWestchester helps fund concerts, exhibitions, and plays through grants; brings artists into schools and community centers; advocates for the arts; and builds audiences through diverse marketing initiatives. In 1998, ArtsWestchester purchased the nine-story neoclassical bank building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue, which has since been transformed into a multi-use resource for artists, cultural organizations, and the community. A two-story gallery is located on the first floor of ArtsWestchester's historic building on Mamaroneck Avenue.

Photo courtesy Hope Salley, Thompson & Bender for ArtsWestchester

Bronxvillian Jeff Cooney Is the Brains Behind Current Television Series 'Genius' PDF Print Email


By Margaret Fuller Hayden

May 3, 2017:  According to '76 Bronxville grad Jeff Cooney, he excelled as an athlete but was a "terrible" high school student. Cooney is now bringing a longtime aspiration to life as an executive producer of the National Geographic series Genius, working alongside Academy Award winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, with Geoffrey Rush playing (the older) Albert Einstein. For someone who claims he once wouldn't have known the difference between E=mcand the Bronxville zip code, he has come a long way. Cooney said that the show actually makes this equation "easy for kids and adults who snoozed through physics to finally understand."

The ten-part series premiered on Tuesday, April 25, on the National Geographic channel. The longer format allows the viewer to "delve pretty deeply into the dramas and relationships," said Cooney, and facilitates taking a nonlinear narrative approach to Einstein's life, set against two world wars, the rise of Nazism, and the Red Scare. "In a movie, you don't have that luxury; you have two and a half hours. You're missing essential parts of his life that only a television format like this can give you." Cooney said that in the making of the series, he and writer Noah Pink had in the back of their minds what is happening in Europe today. "It is a cautionary tale," said Cooney.

Cooney's involvement in the production business goes back to the Mad Men era, as he describes it. Growing up in Bronxville, he was an actor in television commercials at age seven, along with his three siblings. (One of them, Chris, is also an executive producer of Genius.) Their mother, Cynthia, "effectively managed us, taught us how to be pros. All the while, my dad, George, was in production of commercials [found] in the advertising hall of fame." These include the Keep America Beautiful commercial featuring a Native American and the I Love NY commercial featuring the casts of Cats.

At Holy Cross, where he lettered in football as a receiver and majored in English, Cooney started directing local political ads and proceeded to direct commercials for the next 30 years. "It was wonderful and I loved it. I shot everything from Coca-Cola to UPS. But as TV was entering a new gilded age, it was time to move on."

In the midst of devoting his talents to commercial production, Cooney discovered a subject for which he had tremendous passion. It was also something he described as his "way to exit the 60-second storytelling discipline and move to long form." That subject? Albert Einstein.

"There was a book called Einstein's Dreams written from the stream-of-consciousness point of view of what Einstein might have been thinking as he was developing his theories and living in Switzerland. The person next to Einstein thinks he's gazing at the Alps, but he's really looking to space." 

Thus began what Cooney characterized as a Homeric process, which involved acquiring the rights to former Bronxvillian Walter Isaacson's biographical book Einstein: His Life and Universe, upon which Genius is based. The project was ten years in the making. 

Jeff and his brother Chris set about creating an indie boutique studio, "a company that creates premium shows designed to support the artist's vision." Chris went on to run the commercial company EUE/Screengems with their father, while Jeff, along with Noah Pink, partnered with fellow producer Sam Sokolow on EUE/Sokolow Entertainment, which developed the script that would become Genius.  When they took the script to Imagine Entertainment, Ron Howard loved it and wanted to move on it right away. ("He just flipped," Jeff recalled.) Ron's partner, Brian Grazer, thought of the series format, and National Geographic swiftly jumped on board.

All ten episodes were shot in Prague, using set extensions and computer graphics to get around "cheating" Prague for Berlin or Zurich or Munich, Cooney explained. His admiration for Ron Howard couldn't be stronger: "The show will explain everything through dazzling special effects that he's so good at. He is the maestro, an amazing storyteller. His camera placement is uncanny, as well as his ability to work with a huge cast."


In addition to Geoffrey Rush as (the older) Einstein, the credits boast Emily Watson as Elsa Einstein and Michael McElhatton as German physicist Philipp LenardJohnny Flynn portrays the younger Einstein, which is likely a breakthrough role for the musician/actor. Click here to see actor Johnny Flynn talking about his role in the film.

Although the final two episodes are still in post-production, Cooney can rest on his laurels, at least for a little while. "Genius is the culmination of tremendous energy and hard work. It's gratifying that the reviews have been so very positive."

It will be a tough act to follow, but the next challenge already looms: The series has been renewed for a second season, featuring a different genius to be disclosed in time. 

Pictured here:  Top: Jeff Cooney (L) and Ron Howard on the set of Genius in Prague (photo by Anja Cooney); in text: advertisement for the series Genius (photo courtesy Jeff Cooney).


Bronxville Middle School to Rock with Musical 'Bye Bye Birdie' Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6 PDF Print Email


By Steve Krause, Middle School Parent, Bronxville Middle School

May 3, 2017:  Bronxville Middle School students have been hard at work preparing their spring musical over the last few weeks. They are now almost ready for their upcoming performances of the classic Broadway hit Bye Bye Birdie, a story inspired by the phenomenon of superstar singer Elvis Presley and his draft notice in 1957.

The community is invited to the Bronxville School auditorium for a rollicking good time at 7:00 pm on both Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6. If you haven't yet seen a show in the new auditorium, it is a beautiful venue--and this show makes great use of the space!

Bye Bye Birdie was originally a 1960–1961 Tony Award-winning Broadway production with a book by Michael Stewart, lyrics by Lee Adams, and music by Charles Strouse. It led to a London production and several major revivals, a sequel, a 1963 film, and a 1995 television production. Now this play has been adapted for school use and set in 1963. It is presented through an arrangement with TAMS-WITMARK Music Library, Inc.

Nearly 60 Bronxville sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders are part of the cast and crew for this spectacular production, which is directed by Bronxville Middle School (and High School) Choral Director Pamela Simpson. With the help of a supportive group of parents and faculty, these energetic kids bring the story of rock star Conrad Birdie, the "Elvis" of this show, to life.

The show brings us back to 1963, when the U.S. Army still had a draft. Conrad's manager, Albert Peterson, panics at the thought of losing Conrad to the Army. Albert's longtime girlfriend and secretary, Rosie Alvarez, helps him plan a last publicity stunt for Conrad. The plan is for Conrad to kiss a teenage fan on TV before heading off to the Army. They choose Sweet Apple, Ohio, for the big event. Then the story gets more complicated by a jealous boyfriend and all the other Sweet Apple teenagers. These cast and crew are excitedly putting the final touches on their show.

The show will appeal to theater lovers of all ages.

We all hope you will join us this weekend. Tickets are available for Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6. Curtain is at 7:00 pm both nights. Tickets are available for purchase online through Eventbrite, where you can select specific seats in advance, or at the door on the night of the show. To purchase tickets: Friday:; Saturday:

Pictured here:  Bronxville Middle School students rehearsing Bye, Bye Birdie.

Photo by David Fenner

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