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

Five Sensational Singers Present 'A Night at the Opera' at Reformed Church May 2 PDF Print Email

By Dr. Sándor Szabó, Minister of Music, The Reformed Church of Bronxville

Apr. 29, 2015:  There's Lincoln Center and then there's the softly lit ambience of the Edwards Room at The Reformed Church.

On Saturday, May 2, at 7:30 pm, five professional soloists from the church's Chancel Choir will bring their combined 50 years of opera experience to bear in a scintillating performance of favorite opera arias.

They'll be wearing tuxes and gowns, but guests can come as you are for an evening of exceptional music. Dr. Sándor Szabó, minister of music at the church, will accompany on piano.

Individually, the soloists have graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Pittsburgh Opera, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Bard College's Summerstage, and Barclays Center, among many other venues. Collectively, they hold music degrees from The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Hartt School of Music, Boston University, and Northwestern University, to name a few.

Soloists include Nani Fueting (mezzo-soprano), Laura Green (soprano), Christopher Lucier (tenor), Kyle Oliver (baritone), and Jennifer Ribeiro (soprano).

A free reception will follow the performance.

Pictured here:  Entrance to The Reformed Church of Bronxville.

Photo by A. Warner

Comedy Comes to Sarah Lawrence College April 17, May 1, and May 15 PDF Print Email

By Judith Schwartzstein, Director of Public Affairs, Sarah Lawrence College

Apr. 22, 2015:  The Funny Thing Is …, a three-part series of performances and analysis of the comedic process, will take place at Sarah Lawrence College on April 17, May 1, and May 15. Presented by The Writing Institute, award-winning Comedy Central director, writer, and producer Dave Steck hosts a cast of top comic talents who will examine the process of creating comedy in roundtable discussions and performances. 

Each event will begin with a roundtable discussion with the evening's artists, followed by performances and screenings of their work. The schedule is as follows: 

  • April 17:  Acting Funny: An Evening with Sketch and Improv Performers: Steck speaks with members of Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), who will then perform. 

  • May 1:  Writing Funny: An Evening with Movie and TV Comedy Writers: Steck speaks with movie and TV writers and screens some of their short films. 

  • May 15:  Talking Funny: An Evening with a Stand-up Comedian: Steck speaks with stand-up comedians who then each perform a short set. 

Each event will take place in the Donnelley Film Theatre of the Heimbold Visual Arts Center at 915 Kimball Avenue in Bronxville. Tickets are $18 ($12 for students) per session and are available at

Guest panelists/performers: 

  • Brandon Bassham is the writer/director of feature films Fear Town, USA, and The Slashening. He has been at UCB since October of 2006.

  • Becky Chicoine is a writer, performer, and singer living in Brooklyn. She has studied at UCB since 2010 under Will Hines, Chelsea Clarke, Lydia Hensler, Abra Tabak, Erik Tanouye, Ben Rodgers, Eliza Skinner, and many more. You can see her perform around the city with her improv groups WolfeQueen, Top Dog, and musical improv group Fancy Mantelpiece. 

  • Sam Reece is from New Jersey, Philadelphia, or Las Vegas. She's not even really sure where she's from, but now she lives in New York. Oh well! Sam's work has been featured on Splitsider, Funny or Die, Mashable, MyDamnChannel, CBC Punchline, and more. 

  • Mark Vigeant is a comedian based in New York City. He is one half of the sketch group Kingmaker, whose videos have been featured on FunnyOrDie and the Nerdist. Kingmaker also contributed to the writing of and starred in the comedy horror film Fear Town, USA, directed and written by Brandon Bassham. 

  • Dan Kenkel is a writer, performer, and generally a comedian from Ithaca, New York. He is currently an actor/writer/director in OSFUG: A Fast Fuckin' Sketch Show and performs in the sketch shows of his talented friends. He can be seen around the city with Mark Vigeant as the comedy duo Kingmaker. He is also an alum of Cornell's Skitsophrenics. 

Moderator Dave Steck is an award-winning director, writer, and producer. He has worked for Comedy Central as well as with many well-known comedians, including Mike Myers, Denis Leary, Robin Williams, Cameron Diaz, Johnny Depp, Paul Riser, Helen Hunt, Hank Azaria, Nick Kroll, Todd Barry, David Wain, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Jenny Slate, Pete Holmes, Bret Gelman, and Michael Delaney, to create works for film, television, and the Internet. He recently received his second Emmy Award nomination.

Steck has been production supervisor for numerous hit shows, including NBC's Mad About You, and has produced or supervised production on over half a dozen feature films. He is the founder and executive director of the Yonkers film festival YoFi Fest; a founding member of ARTY, Arts Roundtable, Yonkers; the force behind Art-tober; and a visual artist whose work has been shown in galleries in and around New York. He has taught at the New School and Jacob Burns Film Center and is a frequent lecturer and interviewer on the film festival circuit. 

"I know funny. Often, when I say, 'this smells funny,' I'm usually right," said Steck. 

Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early. For more information, call 914-395-2205 or e-mail CLOAKING .

Pictured here:  Comedian Dave Steck, who will serve as moderator for the comedy events.

Photo courtesy Judith Schwartzstein, Director of Public Affairs, Sarah Lawrence College

Sarah Lawrence College Poetry Festival Brings Acclaimed Poets to Campus April 24 to 26 PDF Print Email

By Judith Schwartzstein, Director of Public Affairs, Sarah Lawrence College

Apr. 22, 2015:  A number of nationally acclaimed poets will participate in Sarah Lawrence College's 12th annual poetry festival, April 24 to 26, on the campus of the college. The largest free student-run poetry festival in New York will include readings by fifteen invited poets, craft talks, a panel discussion, and a book fair for local presses.

"We are very excited to welcome acclaimed poets Marilyn Hacker, PEN Award winner for poetry in translation and numerous other honors, poet and best-selling memoirist Nick FlynnJamaal May, whose book Hum has won the Beatrice Hawley Award and the ALA Notable Book Award, and Patricia Smith, winner of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress and the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, among many others," said Brynn Downing, a second-year graduate student who, with a committee of MFA students, is directing the festival.

"We will also welcome back to campus undergraduate alumni Rickey Laurentiis, recipient of a 2013 creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2012 Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and Aja Monet, the youngest individual to win the legendary Nuyorican Poet's Café Grand Slam title," announced Downing.

Craft talks include a lecture on publishing poetry by Timothy Donnelly, poetry editor at the Boston Review, a breakfast lecture on crafting a first poetry manuscript by Tarfia Faizullah, winner of a Fulbright Fellowship and a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and Sarah Lawrence alumna Kendra DeColo. A craft talk on elegy will be given by Matt Rasmussen, winner of the 2012 Walt Whitman Award given by the Academy of American Poets, whose first book of poems, Black Aperture, was a finalist for the National Book Award. There will also be a panel on writing against the dominant voice, featuring poet Cate Marvin, co-founder of VIDA, an organization that seeks to explore critical and cultural perceptions of writing by women.

All events are free and open to the public, but registration is required. For a full schedule and ticket information, please see our website:

Pictured here:  South entrance of the Westlands building on the campus of Sarah Lawrence College.

Photo by Joe Vainner and used per the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License; border was added to the original.

Screening and Discussion of Film 'Mortal' on What It Is to Be Human Monday, April 27 PDF Print Email

By Christina Staudt, President, Westchester End-of-Life Coalition

Apr. 22, 2015:  On Monday, April 27, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, members of the larger Bronxville community are invited to watch Mortal, a new film about what it is to be human. The film is under development by filmmaker and fine arts photographer Bobby Sheehan, a graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, whose credits include documentaries for television, commercials for major corporations, and, notably, the "docufantasy" film Arias with a Twist, featured at the Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals in 2010.

Following the screening of Mortal, Sheehan will join members of Westchester End-of-Life Coalition's Live with Care team in an exploratory conversation about bringing information and resources related to serious illness and the end of life to the general public through film and video. The audience will be encouraged to actively participate with suggestions, questions, and comments. In an open give-and-take, the gathering will consider such things as the most effective sections of the film for starting a conversation about the end of life, what guidance the film offers the general public, and what segments might be omitted, added, or restructured.

A unique opportunity to participate in developing a work in progress, the event is likely to draw professional and family caregivers, marketing experts, and film enthusiasts, as well as others who want their voices heard in the important growing national conversation about mortality.

The program will take place in the Esther Raushenbush Library (second floor) at Sarah Lawrence College and is co-sponsored by Westchester End-of-Life Coalition and the master's program in health advocacy at Sarah Lawrence College.

The event is free, and light refreshments will be served. Registration (by email to  CLOAKING ) is not required but requested for planning purposes.

Bronxville Resident Tess Lewis Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship PDF Print Email

By Irena Choi Stern, Bronxville Resident and Recently Retired Assistant Dean, Alumni Relations, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Apr. 15, 2015:  Bronxville's Tess Lewis is one of 175 scholars, artists, and scientists named Guggenheim Fellows for 2015. The April 9 announcement in the New York Times came on the heels of a March 24 ceremony where the translator, editor, and literary critic received the Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY) 2015 Translation Prize for her work-in-progress, a translation of Angel of Oblivion, by Slovenian-Austrian writer Maja Haderlap. This week, she leaves for Vienna to meet with Haderlap to polish the last draft.

"It's been a big year," Lewis said. 

The Guggenheim Fellowship, which carries an average grant of $44,000, will allow Lewis to focus on her next project, translating the writings of Ludwig Hohl, a Swiss writer born in 1904 who died in 1980. 

"The project is huge," Lewis said. "It's an 800-page collection of essays and aphorisms and notes, and I don't have a publisher for it yet, so [the Guggenheim] will make it easier to get a publisher."

Lewis has translated works by Peter Handke, Alois Hotschnig, Doron Rabinovici, Pascal Bruckner, E. M. Cioran, Jean-Luc Benoziglio, Anselm Kiefer, and Klaus Merz. She has been awarded translation grants from PEN USA and PEN UK and an NEA Translation Fellowship. 

Most recently, she won a Max Geilinger Translation Award for her translation of the Swiss poet Philippe Jaccottet's philosophical narrative, Obscurity. Lewis's essays have appeared in a number of journals and newspapers, including the New Criterion, the Hudson ReviewWorld Literature Today, the American Scholar, and Bookforum. 

She served on the board of the National Book Critics Circle and has been an advisory editor for the Hudson Review for almost two decades. In 2014 and 2015, Lewis curated Festival Neue Literatur, New York City's premiere annual festival of German language literature in English. This festival showcases emerging German-language writers who are not yet translated into English, or only minimally so, by bringing two writers each from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland to New York City for a week of readings and literary events. 

Raised in both France and the United States, Lewis is fluent in French and German, which were her majors at the University of Notre Dame. She went on to the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, receiving a master's degree in English literature at New College, where she met her husband, Josh Lewis. The Lewises have been residents of Bronxville since 1994. Their daughter, Chloe, is a junior at Ithaca College and their son, Isaiah, is a junior at the Horace Mann School.

The prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships have grown in importance as funding has declined for individuals in the arts, humanities, and sciences, providing opportunities for scholars, especially those who are freelancers like Lewis.

"The Guggenheim is recognition and validation, which is always nice, and it'll make getting further projects easier," Lewis said.

Pictured here:  Tess Lewis.

Photo courtesy Irena Choi Stern

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