Authors Posts by Heidi Sutton

Heidi Sutton

Heidi Sutton
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Image from Theatre Three

An afternoon of ‘Art’

Discover your inner Picasso! Grab some friends and join Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson for a painting class at Griswold’s Cafe on Sunday,  Jan. 20 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. The class will be led by local artist Rita Rooney who will help you create an 11×14-inch acrylic painting (see featured painting on right). Then head up to the Mainstage to enjoy a performance of Yasmina Reza’s one-act play, “Art.” Tickets for the paint party and show are $70. To reserve, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

*Update: Due to the weather, this event has been postponed until the Spring.

Photo from CAC

‘The Cat Rescuers’

The Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington will present the documentary “The Cat Rescuers” on Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. With over 500,000 street cats struggling to survive in NYC, spirited volunteers like Sassee, Claire, Stu and Tara have come to their aid. Their beat is Brooklyn, where the problem has exploded. Combing the borough’s alleys, backyards and housing projects, they trap the cats, get them fixed and returned to their colonies, or adopted. “The Cat Rescuers” shows the skill, resilience and humor they bring to this challenging and rewarding work, and how their mission to reduce animal suffering, has changed their lives. With director Rob Fruchtman in person. Tickets are $16, $11 members. Visit www.cinemaartscentre.org for more information.

Valentine’s Day at the Vanderbilt mansion. Photo by Maryann Zakshevsky/Vanderbilt

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to make plans for that special day. Why not treat your Valentine to a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at Eagle’s Nest, the elegant Vanderbilt mansion where Hollywood stars and European royalty dined with one of America’s most famous and powerful families?

On Saturday, Feb. 9, the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport will hold its annual Valentine’s Day dinner (a major fundraiser for education programs) with limited seatings of 50 at 6 and at 8 p.m.

The grand, 24-room Spanish Revival mansion on Northport Bay — listed on the National Register of Historic Places — is one of the most glamorous and romantic settings on Long Island.

Many rooms in the mansion will be decorated with Valentine themes, including the romances of Rosamond and William Vanderbilt, Romeo and Juliet and Napoleon and Josephine. Others feature the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (frequent mansion guests) and their beloved pugs, the legend of St. Valentine and Valentine cards and candy.

The evening is a rare opportunity to enjoy an intimate dining experience with a spouse, partner or special friend and to celebrate in Gold Coast style.

“Many people have used the storybook atmosphere of the Vanderbilt mansion as a romantic backdrop for first dates. Several people tell us they proposed marriage here. And each year many couples come to the Vanderbilt for their wedding ceremonies. This is a perfect place for a romantic dinner,” said Lance Reinheimer, the museum’s executive director.

As a guest, your evening will begin with passed hors d’oeuvres, prosecco, wine and beer in the Memorial Wing of the mansion, amid Vanderbilt’s exotic collections of ethnographic artifacts from Africa, Asia and South America.

After a brief tour through his private living quarters, you will dine in the Northport Dining Room Porch, where the Vanderbilts enjoyed leisurely dinners with their family and friends.

Dinner will be a choice of prime rib, balsamic glazed chicken stuffed with goat cheese, heart-shaped ravioli a la vodka or salmon stuffed with crabmeat. Viennese desserts follow in the Lancaster Room, with a side trip to the Vanderbilt Library and the Moroccan Court.

Tickets are $150 per person, $135 for members, by reservation only. For more information, call 631-854-5579 or visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.

Pay inequities based on gender and color are finally being addressed in Suffolk County. Stock photo

By Lisa Scott

Somewhat quietly in late 2018, the Suffolk County Legislature and County Executive Steve Bellone (D) added an important tool to the fight for pay equity: The Restricting Information on Salaries and Earnings (RISE) Act. 

The League of Women Voters of Suffolk County commends the entire Legislature and the county executive for taking this action. It is fair; it’s sound economics; it can reduce the need to pay for additional social support for working families; and it’s good for Suffolk County’s citizens. It shows that our county’s legislators and executive can work to reclaim their place as innovative, socially responsible elected officials while operating with foresight in a fiscally prudent manner. 

Why should pay equity be a concern for us all? Race and gender are significant factors in what women earn for doing the exact same jobs as men. In April 2018, the New York State Department of Labor reported that Suffolk County women in general earn just 78.1 cents for every dollar a man earns. Comparably, black women are paid about 64 cents for every white male dollar, and the pay gap of Latina women is about 55 cents to a white man’s salary dollar. 

Equal Pay Day in April reflects how long AFTER the end of the year a woman has to work before she takes home the same amount of earnings as a man in the prior year — thus, over 15 months of work for a woman to earn what a comparable man earned in 12 months!

Pay inequality isn’t just a women’s issue; it is a family issue. Recent research has found that 42 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 are their families’ primary or sole breadwinners. Wage discrimination can impair their ability to buy homes and pay for a college education and limits their total lifetime earnings, thereby reducing their retirement savings and benefits.

Gender pay inequity and low wages put the burden of meeting the expenses of employees squarely on the backs of local taxpayers, who make up the difference in the costs of living with social safety net programs.

The pay gap not only hurts women and their families, but it also hurts the communities they support. That means local businesses are hurt through lost sales, as are local schools and governments that depend on sales tax and property tax dollars to fund the programs and the infrastructure those communities need to exist. In New York State, social service costs are paid directly by county governments that then must wait for state and federal reimbursement. 

If pay equity makes good economic sense for our communities, how does the RISE act work toward this goal? The bill, which takes effect on June 30, 2019 was initially created to restrict employers from using salary and benefits history when establishing salary and benefits for new employees. The Legislature explained that utilizing this information in decision making perpetuates wage discrimination and the wage gap experienced by women, racial and ethnic minorities and employees returning to the workforce after an extended period away.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) recently signed an “equal pay for work of equal value bill” that directs the president of the civil service commission to study and publish a report evaluating public employers’ wage disparities related to the job titles segregated by the gender, race and/or national origin of the employees in the title. Once completed, the study will be delivered to the governor and the leaders of the Legislature, and the data from the study will be used to address pay inequities in the state’s workforce. 

“New York State has to be a leader on this issue — a model of reform,” the bill’s sponsor, Assembly member Barbara Lifton (D-Ithaca) said. “By getting our own house in order and ensuring that our public employees are being paid fairly for the work that they are doing, we are sending the wider message that wage disparities cannot be tolerated in a society that prides itself on treating everyone fairly.”   

The NYS Legislature is only in session until June. We must advocate now to strengthen our equal pay laws so that women have the tools they need to fight back against pay discrimination. 

The league’s work on pay equity stemmed from member concern over the feminization of poverty in the 1980s. Additional sources for pay equity information and advocacy include AAUW, PowHerNY, National Women’s Law Center and the Center for American Progress.

Lisa Scott is president of the League of Women Voters of Suffolk County, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.lwv-suffolkcounty.org or call 631-862-6860.

MEET PRISSY!

Prissy

Patiently waiting at Kent Animal Shelter for a new home, this 2-year-old sweetheart has one blue eye and one brown eye. Prissy has had a rough start to life but is ready to put all that behind her and put her best paw forward. Rescued from a high kill shelter down south, she’s very sweet and is just looking for someone to love. Could that be you? 

Prissy comes spayed, microchipped, and up to date on vaccines. Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. For more information on Prissy and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

Update: Prissy has been adopted!

By Heidi Sutton

What is art and what is not? Ultimately art is in the eye of the beholder, yes? But what if your two best friends don’t agree with you? Which is more important? Friendship or art? These are just a few of the questions explored in Theatre Three’s latest offering, “Art” by Yasmina Reza (“God of Carnage”). The one-act drama runs on the Main stage through Feb. 2.

From left, Antoine Jones, Matt Senese and Steve Kyle in a scene from ‘Art’. Photo by Brian Hoerger

The French play premiered in Paris in 1994. Translated by Christopher Hampton, it opened in London’s West End in 1996, and then headed to Broadway two years later for a 600 performance run. The original New York cast featured Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Alfred Molina. By the time the show closed in 1999, it had garnered many awards including a Tony for Best Play and the Lawrence Olivier Award for Best Comedy.

Serge (Steve Ayle), Marc (Antoine Jones) and Yvan (Matt Senese) have been best friends for the last 15 years. A dermatologist by profession, Serge decides to start collecting art and purchases a contemporary painting for $50,000. The modern artwork is 3 feet by 4 feet and has a white background with “fine white diagonal lines” (if you look closely —— very closely). 

He is eager to show it off when Marc comes over, handling it ever so carefully as he brings it out for air.  At first Marc tries to be polite and says nothing as Serge has him look at the painting from different angles but finally can’t control himself. “You paid $50,000 for this white s—?” Marc asks in disbelief and their friendship takes a dark turn.

When Yvan is shown the painting, he is rather ambivalent about it. “I didn’t like the painting … but I didn’t actually hate it,” he reports back to Marc. “Well, of course not, You can’t hate what’s invisible! You can’t hate nothing!” exclaims Marc, who is getting more agitated by the minute. 

The cast of ‘Art’. Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions Inc.

Although he has more pressing things to worry about like planning a wedding with his fiancé turned “bridezilla,” Yvan finds himself playing referee and trying to diffuse the situation. In the end, however, the argument is not really about a painting but about friendship, its boundaries and how we should treat and speak to each other. 

Director Linda May has assembled the crème de la crème of actors to relate this comedy. Steve Ayle (“12 Angry Men,” “I Hate Hamlet” ) is the quintessential Serge, Antoine Jones (Festival of One-Act Plays, “A Chrismas Carol”) is exemplary  in the role of Marc while Matt Senese (‘The Addams Family”) is hilarious as Yvan. The three work perfectly together to produce a wonderful evening of live theater. 

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present “Art” on the Mainstage through Feb. 2. Running time is 1 hour 30 minutes with no intermission. Contains adult language. The season continues with the musical “Nine” from Feb. 23 to March 23 and “The Miracle Worker” from April 6 to 28. Tickets are $35 adults, $28 seniors and students, $20 children. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

By Heidi Sutton

“Do you trust me?” It is a question Aladdin asks Jasmine several times during the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts’ current production of Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.” but one that I ask you now. If you do, then grab your children and run, don’t walk, to see this show. They (and you) will love every minute of it.

Based on the popular Disney animated film with music by Alan Menken and book by Chad Beguelin, the show whisks audiences away to the fabled city of Agrabah where the evil Jafar (Alex Mahr), advisor to the Sultan (Logan O’Leary), and his parrot Iago (Max Lamberg), seek to retrieve a magic lamp hidden in the Cave of Wonders. They enlist the help of a street rat named Aladdin (Cole Napolitano), a “diamond in the rough,” who becomes trapped in the cave. When he finds the lamp and polishes it, a magical genie (Ryan Romanelli) appears and grants him three wishes.

After tricking the genie in getting him out of his predicament, Aladdin uses his first wish to become a prince in order to woo the lovely Princess Jasmine (Priscilla Russo). When “Prince Ali” arrives at the palace, Jafar recognizes Aladdin and has him thrown in the dungeon. When his friends Babkak (Michael Puglisi), Omar (Jonathan Setzer) and Kassim (Matt Peluso) try to rescue him, they end up in the dungeon also. Aladdin uses his second wish to set them free. With only one wish left, Aladdin must choose between benefiting himself or doing what is morally right.

Expertly directed by Courtney Braun, the musical features a cast of 20 uber-talented actors ranging in age from 10 to 16 who all do a fantastic job.

From the very first scene when the genie appears on stage to introduce the other characters in “Arabian Nights,” the audience is mesmorized. 

The script is clever and funny and the musical numbers are delightful. Along with the familiar —“A Friend Like Me,” “Prince Ali,” “A Whole New World”— there are fresh new songs including “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim” and “These Palace Walls.”

The impressive set, designed by Tim Golebiewski, features panels on either side of the theater that rotate to reveal a marketplace, a cave full of jewels and a palace; and the Arabian costumes, designed by Chakira Doherty, are just beautiful. Images on the back wall of the stage constantly change to show different scenes of the city, and a video played during “A Whole New World” gives the illusion that the carpet is actually flying.

SPAC has gone all out with this production, a rarity with children’s theater, and has produced something magical. Don’t miss this one. Trust me.

Running time is 1 hour and 15 minutes with intermission and booster seats are available. Costumes are encouraged. Stay after the show for a meet and greet with Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie in the lobby.

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 East Main St., Smithtown will present Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.” through Feb. 24. Children’s theater continues with “The Little Mermaid Jr.” from March 16 to April 28 and “The Emperor’s New Clothes” from July 13 to Aug. 18. All seats are $18. For more information or to order, call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.

Photos by Courtney Braun and Cassiel Fawcett

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Stop & Shop announced on Jan. 4 that the company plans to acquire Long Island-based King Kullen. The purchase agreement will include 32 King Kullen supermarkets, five Wild by Nature stores and the use of King Kullen Grocery corporate office located in Bethpage. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, according to a press release. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“King Kullen is a well-respected grocery chain in the Long Island market that has an 88-year tradition of excellent customer service,” said Mark McGowan, president of Stop & Shop, in a news release. “We look forward to bringing our quality, selection and value to more communities in Nassau and Suffolk counties.”

King Kullen, which opened on Jamaica Avenue in Queens in 1930, is recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as the America’s first “supermarket.” 

“Our family has been in the grocery business for 88 years,” Brian Cullen, co-president of King Kullen Grocery Co., said in a statement. “Recently, we determined that the best option for our family and our associates was to merge King Kullen into Stop & Shop.”

“As a family-owned and operated business, we are very proud of our heritage and extremely grateful to all of our associates and customers for their support over the years,” he continued, adding, “We are confident the Stop & Shop brand will carry on our legacy of service in the region. It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of the fabric of this Island for all these years.”

In Suffolk County, King Kullen has locations in Blue Point, Bridgehampton, Center Moriches, Cutchogue, Eastport, Halesite, Hampton Bays, Huntington Station, Lake Ronkonkoma, Lindenhurst, Manorville, Middle Island, Mount Sinai, North Babylon, North Patchogue, Shirley, St. James and Wading River while Wild by Nature stores in Suffolk County are located in East Setauket, West Islip, Hampton Bays and Huntington.

It is not yet known whether the stores being acquired will continue to operate under their current banners or become Stop & Shop.

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Meet baby Leah!

New parents Luz Renderos and Nelson Orlando Albarracin welcomed 2019 with a new bundle of joy — baby girl Leah Isabella Albarracin. Baby Leah arrived at 3:44 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2019 and was the first baby born in the Maternity Department at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown. Special chimes rang throughout the hospital in celebration. Baby Leah was delivered by Dr. Dodis Kohan, weighing in at 6 pounds 15 ounces and was exactly 20 inches long.

 

Kali. Photo courtesy of Kent Animal Shelter

MEET KALI!

This little cutie is Kali, a pointer/heeler mix pup rescued from a high kill shelter in Texas and now safe at Kent Animal Shelter. At 6 months old, he is in search of a nice family and home where he can grow up and spend the rest of his days. Kali comes neutered, microchipped and as up to date as possible on vaccines. 

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. For more information on Kali and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

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