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

'Sense of Touch': Novel by Bronxville Resident Rozsa Gaston Set in Renaissance Court of Anne of Brittany PDF Print Email

By Rozsa Gaston

Aug. 17, 2016: The novel Sense of Touch: Love and Duty at Anne of Brittany's Court, a tale of forbidden love between two courtiers at Anne of Brittany's court, is built around the true life story of a French queen who helped bring the glories of the Renaissance from Italy to France.

Lucky in love, unlucky in childbearing, Anne of Brittany is the only woman in history to have been twice crowned queen of France, first as wife of Charles VIII, then as wife to his successor, Louis XII. She was pregnant fourteen times yet saw only two of her children survive longer than three years. Both were daughters. Failing to provide a son and heir to the throne of France, she maintained her Breton bloodline on the throne of France through her daughter Claude (1499-1524), Queen consort of France and wife of Francis I. 

Anne of Brittany's personality? Strong-willed. Spirited. Generous. Quick to help those in need. Slow to forgive those who wronged her. Beloved by her Breton people. Admired by the French. A lavish high-spender who was one of the most important patrons of the arts of her times. Feminist in outlook, feminine in manner, Anne of Brittany strongly supported girls' education and invited young women of noble birth to her court, where she oversaw their education and provided their marriage dowries. 

Discover more in Sense of Touch and thank you, readers and friends, for helping me bring alive Anne of Brittany's surprisingly modern tale.

Editor's note:  Rozsa Gaston, author of Sense of Touch, her most recent book, is a resident of Bronxville.

Pictured here:  Cover of Sense of Touch by Rozsa Gaston with an image of Anne of Brittany by Jean Bourdichon, c. 1503. 

Photo courtesy Rozsa Gaston

James Lettiere, Art Critic: Art Museums Worth Seeing in Berlin and Munich PDF Print Email

By James Lettiere, Art Critic

Jul. 27, 2016:  I traveled to Germany recently, ostensibly to attend a wedding in the small Alpine village of Murnau in the south of the country. On either side of the event I had time to spend in Munich and Berlin and was able to visit a cultural institution in each city that I had never seen before. 

The Berlin Kulturforum is a collection of museums, concert halls, libraries, and institutes in the center of Berlin. It was built after World War II in West Berlin after many of prewar Berlin's arts institutions disappeared behind the Berlin Wall in East Berlin. 

My focus was on the Gemäldegalerie, a painting gallery that contains magnificent examples of Italian Renaissance paintings and panels, as well as Vermeer, Cranach (the elder and younger), Bruegel, and many others. 

In Munich, my other discovery was the Pinakothek der Moderne. This is also a picture gallery, but it also includes floors and galleries devoted specifically to architecture, works on paper, and modern design. The main picture gallery includes works of painters such as Bacon, Beckmann, Kiefer, Braque, Picasso, and Dix.

The galleries are spacious and well lit. Moving through the museum was pleasant and not at all like walking through a shopping mall, as it seems in some museums.

If you are contemplating a trip to Europe and can make it either to Berlin or Munich, these galleries are well worth the effort to visit.

Pictured here:  Photos taken in Berlin (top) and Munich art galleries.

Photos by James Lettiere

The Picture House Film Center in Pelham to Present Screening of 'Equity' Wednesday, July 27 PDF Print Email

By Amy Cole, ​Director of Communications and Outreach, The Picture House Regional Film Center

Jul. 27, 2016:  On Wednesday, July 27, at 7:30 pm The Picture House Regional Film Center (TPH) in Pelham will present an advance screening of the new film Equity (R rated, 100 mins.), followed by a post-film discussion and Q&A with director Meera Menon.

Equity opens nationwide on Friday, July 29.

Promoted as "the first female-driven Wall Street movie," Equity, which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of an investment banker (Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad) who is trying to work her way up the Wall Street ladder while a prosecutor (Alysia Reiner, Orange is the New Black) keeps an eye out for corrupt practices.

The cast is mostly female, and the film is written (by Amy Fox), directed, and produced (by co-stars Alysia Reiner and Sarah Megan Thomas) by women.

The Hollywood Reporter said of the film, "Making industry headlines before it even screened at the ongoing Sundance Film Festival when Sony Pictures Classics acquired it for distribution, Equity is a smart thriller set in the corporate world that disguises its modest budget with an intelligent script and good set of hooks."

After the film, Picture House critic-in-residence Marshall Fine will moderate the discussion and Q&A with the director

Meera Menon is a writer, director, and editor whose 2013 feature directorial debut, Farah Goes Bang, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Menon was awarded the inaugural Nora Ephron Prize for a groundbreaking woman filmmaker by Tribeca and Vogue. That year, she was also showcased as one of Glamour magazine's 35 Women under 35 Running Hollywood. More recently, she was selected to be a fellow at 20th Century Fox's Global Directors Initiative.

Menon received her BA in English and art history from Columbia University and her MFA from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. Menon's father, Vijayan Menon, is a film producer and founder of Tara Arts, which has served as a cultural ambassador to members of the Indian diaspora for over thirty years. As a result, Menon grew up in the South Asian film industry and won a national television award in India for her performance when she was 18 on the hit TV show American Dreams.

Tickets to the special advance screening and discussion are $15 for general admission and $12 for students, seniors, and members. They are available at or at the box office, 175 Wolfs Lane, Pelham, NY 10803.

Pictured here:  The Picture House Regional Film Center.

Photo courtesy Amy Cole, ​Director of Communications and Outreach, The Picture House Regional Film Center

Photographer Diane Arbus: Exhibition of Early Photographs at The MET Breuer PDF Print Email

By James Lettiere, Art Critic

Jul. 20, 2016:  There is sure to be much written and talked about with respect to the Diane Arbus exhibition of photographs that just opened at The MET Breuer, Diane Arbus: In the Beginning. The exhibition focuses on early examples of Arbus's pictures, ones she took from 1956 to 1962 in the five boroughs of New York City, with a handful taken in New Jersey.

Arbus is well known for her subject matter, namely, humanity's gritty side. The pictures in this exhibition seem to be more personal than her later pictures. The images project a dark moodiness that doesn't seem to me to be present in the more technically proficient later images. She is able to focus on the unique characteristics of her subjects that make them compelling to observe.

There are over 100 photographs, many part of the museum's Diane Arbus Archive, which was acquired in 2007, and never before seen by the public. There are also a number of handsome photographs by other photographers that are grouped as contemporaries or inspirations, including Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand.

The MET website contains a very good slide show of some of the highlights from the exhibition.

The exhibition runs through November 27, 2016.

The Met Breuer
945 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Phone: 212-731-1675 

Closed Monday
Tuesday–Thursday: 10:00 am–5:30 pm
Friday and Saturday: 10:00 am–9:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am–5:30 pm

Pictured here:  Catalogue of the exhibition.  

Photo by James Lettiere

Concordia Conservatory Presents Summer Music Festival 2016 on July 20 and 21 PDF Print Email

By Kathleen Suss, Executive Director, Concordia Conservatory

Jul. 20, 2016:  The Concordia Conservatory Summer Music Festival, an annual summer tradition, will take place on July 20 and 21 in the Sommer Center for Worship and the Performing Arts and the Schoenfeld Campus Center on the campus of Concordia College.

Performances for the festival occur over the course of two days. 

Wednesday, July 20

6:30 pm:  The Three Little Pigs, a one-act opera performed by Vocal Arts Camp, Sommer Center

7:30 pm:  Chamber Music Concert, Sommer Center

8:30 pm:  Gershwin-Kern Cabaret performed by Vocal Arts Camp, Sommer Center

Thursday, July 21

6:30 pm:  HATS, musical theatre workshop production, Sommer Center

7:30 pm:  Bash Concert, Schoenfeld Campus Center

The Vocal Arts Camp is led by faculty members Sheri Hammerstrom, Sun Young Chang, Jon Klibonoff, Julie Schmidt, and Audry Hamilton, and the counselors and campers are Kellie Williams, Megan Barker, Noelle Butler, Wylie Coleman, Olivia Damasco, Katie Gebbia, Peter Keller, Madeline LoBono, Marion LoBono, Francesca Maroun, Lauren Mickley, Francesca Serriano, Chloe Simonte, Grace Smyth, Katie Suss, and Anabelle Thurston.

The Chamber Music Camp faculty members are Keith Kreindler, Jee Sun Lee, and Caroline Park, and the counselors and campers are Jillian Quigley, Chloe Simonte, Shay Armand, Megan Barker, Alexandra Chitu, William Giegerich, Aidan Hartenstein, Audrey Hom, Emma Keegan, Nicolas Massimi, Soroush Rassi, Sri Srinivasan, Duke Wang, and Grant Wang.

The Musical Theatre Camp is headed by faculty members Audry Hamilton and Jon Klibonoff, and the counselors and campers are Lauren Mickley, Francesca Serriano, Kellie Williams, Aaliyah Hartenstein, Allison Marshall, Hannah Rampersad, Laura Sanchez, and Zarine Yaghoobi

The Camp Band Bash is led by faculty members Bob Gingery and Audry Hamilton, and the counselors and campers are Daniel DeGenaro, Claire Giegerich, Leo Gretzinger, Coleman Breining, Aidan Hartenstein, Nicolas Massimi, Jack Ognibene, and Dominick Scalera.

On July 22, the culminating Conservatory camp events include outreach performances for the camps at the Wartburg senior living center in Mount Vernon.

Admission to the Conservatory Summer Festival is free and open to the public. For more information, call 914-395-4507. 

Pictured here:  The façade of the Concordia Conservatory building.

Photo by A. Warner

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