Authors Posts by Heidi Sutton

Heidi Sutton

Heidi Sutton
957 POSTS 0 COMMENTS

Toby Tobias

Grounds & Sounds Cafe at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 380 Nicolls Road, East Setauket will present a Woodstock Tribute concert on Friday, Aug. 9 at 8 p.m. Relive the moment! Featured artists include Toby Tobias, Christine Sweeney, Rich Lanahan and The Claudia Jacobs Band. 1960s attire encouraged. Tickets are $15 at www.groundsandsounds.org or at the door. For further information, call 631-751-0297.

David Bush. Photo by Ken Spencer

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport recently appointed David Bush director of its Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium. Bush, who has served as the planetarium’s technical and production coordinator since 2000, is an astronomy and earth science educator. 

“Dave’s depth of knowledge, his experience as both an astronomy educator and as planetarium director for school districts, plus his skills as a technical pro and production artist make him uniquely qualified for this job,” said Lance Reinheimer, executive director of the museum.

In his new post, Bush will hire and manage planetarium staff, collaborate with development staff on grants and fundraising events, work with the administration on strategic planning, and acquire and maintain planetarium technology. He will also work with the Education, Curatorial, and Communications departments on programs that promote the museum’s mission and collaborate with regional planetariums, science centers, observatories and museums to share ideas and to develop and deliver quality programming. 

“I am thrilled and ready to take the planetarium in some new and exciting directions,” said Bush. “We have an incredible staff of talented educators and astronomers. I want to facilitate the growth of our team to create fresh content for the public and for visiting school groups from all over Long Island and beyond.

Bush said he wanted to focus on the visitor experience. “We want audiences to have a fun, memorable time that will leave them with a sense of awe and appreciation for the astonishing beauty of the night sky. Observing the heavens at night can spark some of our deepest questions about life and the universe.”

“The planetarium specializes in astronomy education, but we also do much more,” he said, continuing, “Our entertainment offerings include laser light shows, live concerts under the dome, plays, poetry and other creative ventures that use the amazing visual capabilities of the domed planetarium theater. We want to expand those offerings.”

The graphic novel ‘Twitcha’ was co-written by Smithtown’s Mary Gregorian.

There’s a new superhero entering the comic book world and she’s a teenage girl with Tourette syndrome. “Twitcha” is the brainchild of three teenage girls who illustrated and wrote the book based on their own experiences with the neurological disorder. NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders (NJCTS) published the book this spring.

During the summer of 2017, Sarah Baldwin of Mantua, New Jersey, Mary Gregorian of Smithtown, and Julie Nemerson of Northbrook, Illinois, attended the NJCTS Tim Howard Leadership Academy at Rutgers University. 

The academy is a four-day training for high school students that promotes self-advocacy, self-leadership, resilience and grit — all important skills to succeed while living with TS. As part of the academy, each teen completes a group project. Together the teens dreamed up a superhero that would be living with Tourette syndrome and facing the same struggles that they were, both emotionally and physically. 

“We spent hours each night in the dorms at Rutgers trying to create a character and a story that would empower other kids with TS,” said Gregorian who is a rising junior at Long Island University–Post. “It’s wonderful that our dream was able to take off into a reality.”

Twitcha’s tics are represented by the villain-turned-hero Misfire, who teams up with Dr. Sitstill to destroy anyone who wouldn’t conform to his idea of “normal.” But after their defeat, Misfire sees the error of her ways and teams up with Twitcha. The book will be used by NJCTS during Education Outreach presentations to elementary students, and lesson plans will be created so teachers can add “Twitcha” to their curriculum.

 “When we saw the first rough copy of ‘Twitcha,’ we loved the message,” said Faith Rice, executive director of NJCTS. “It’s truly a labor of love by three young ladies who understand the pain of stigma and isolation that many of our young people with Tourette syndrome face.” 

A digital copy of “Twitcha” is available on Amazon and hard copies are available for classrooms and libraries. Contact NJCTS at info@njcts.org or 908-575-7350 to request copies or visit www.njcts.org/twitcha.

2019 Stony Brook Film Festival Grand Prize winner Priya Ramasubban, director of Chuskit, with Stony Brook Film Festival and Staller Center for the Arts Director Alan Inkles. Photo by Nick Koridis

The 24th annual Stony Brook Film Festival wrapped up with a Closing Night Awards Reception held on July 27. The evening recognized the outstanding new independent films screened at the festival, which was held at SBU’s Staller Center for the Arts from July 18 to 27. 

Dozens of filmmakers, directors, cast and crew attended the event. With support from presenting sponsor Island Federal and other corporate and private donors, the Stony Brook Film Festival was able to welcome and host guests from all over the world including Spain, Austria, Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada and India. 

The opening night film, Balloon, from Germany, was sold out as were many of the other screenings in Staller Center’s 1,000-seat Main Stage theater.

Chuskit, directed by Priya Ramasubban, won the Grand Prize. “When the jury and the audience rank the same film the highest, then it receives a Grand Prize,” said Alan Inkles, festival director. This is the second year in a row and the ninth time in the festival’s 24-year run that a film has received a Grand Prize. “This festival was one of the most competitive yet,” he said. “Nearly 3,000 films were submitted, and only 36 were selected for the festival, so Chuskit was really a very special film – it’s a must-see.”

And the winners are:

 2019 Jury Award for Best Feature

In God I Trust

East Coast Premiere (Canada)

Directed by Maja Zdanowski; written by Paul St. Amand and Maja Zdanowski; starring Marc Senior, John Cassini (Se7en), Steven Roberts, Bilal Oliver and Melissa Roxburgh (Star Trek Beyond).

  2019 Audience Choice for Best Feature

The Silent Revolution

East Coast Premiere (Germany)

Written and directed by Lars Kraume; from the book by Dietrich Garstka; starring Leonard Scheicher, Tom Gramenz, Ronald Zehrfeld (Sweethearts) and Florian Lukas (The Invisibles)

 2019 Jury Award Best Short

Toke Is Cheap

(Canada)

A film by Kerry van der Griend

 2019 Audience Award Best Short

The Portraitist

New York Premiere (Luxembourg)

A film by Cyrus Neshvad

 Entries will be accepted for the 25th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival starting on Dec. 1. For more information, visit www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com.

Honeydew melons are a versatile treat and can be used as an ingredient in salads, side dishes, entrees and even drinks. Stock photo

By Barbara Beltrami

I have found that honeydew melons can often be a rather dicey proposition. I frequently think I’ve picked out a promising one only to get it home where it languishes and never ripens. Or it does ripen but the result is a flavorless disappointment. 

Well, that’s no way to start a food column, is it? Let me start over on a more positive note.  

When a honeydew is good, it’s very good. When it’s perfectly ripened, it is an explosion of mouth-watering fruit worthy of its name. On its own, it sings of summer. With other ingredients it’s a perfect foil for salty or slightly bitter flavors. And it’s such a pretty color; just looking at it is enough to cool one off. 

So, if you’re good at picking out melons, or if you’re lucky enough to find a winner, try some of these honeydew recipes.

Honeydew Salad with Honey-Citrus Dressing

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 avocado, diced

Freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon

½ ripe honeydew melon, diced

2 cups baby arugula

4 red radishes, scrubbed and sliced thin

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1½ tablespoons lime or orange juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 slices prosciutto, torn into small pieces

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl toss the avocado with the freshly squeezed lemon juice to thoroughly coat.  Add honeydew, arugula and radishes; toss again and set aside. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, honey, lime or orange juice, salt and pepper. When ready to serve, toss with melon mixture; sprinkle prosciutto on top and serve immediately with prosecco and breadsticks.

Honeydew Sorbet with Candied Ginger

Honeydew Sorbet

YIELD: Makes about 3½ cups

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

4 cups diced ripe honeydew melon

¼ to 1/3 cup candied ginger, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook sugar and water until sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Measure out ¾ cup; reserve and refrigerate any extra for later use. Puree melon in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Measure out 2½ cups. Cover and refrigerate any extra puree for another use. Combine sugar syrup, melon puree and chopped ginger in bowl of ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to freezer container, cover and freeze for at least two hours. Serve with ginger snaps.

Shrimp and Lobster Salad in Honeydew Bowls

YIELD: Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup chopped cooked shrimp

1 cup chopped cooked lobster meat

¼ cup minced celery

¼ cup minced green bell pepper

 1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or tarragon

¼ teaspoon celery seed

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 small ripe honeydew, halved and seeded

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, lobster, celery, green pepper, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill or tarragon, celery seed, salt and pepper; mix thoroughly and scoop into hollowed out honeydew halves. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for one hour before serving.

The marathon kicks off with ‘Killer Clowns from Outer Space.’

The Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington will host Retro Picture Show’s “Pay to Get Out” Horror Movie Marathon on Saturday, Aug. 3. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the marathon begins at at 8:20 p.m. Enjoy a night of 35mm horror screenings featuring eight terror-ific and sci-fi classics. The Sky Room Cafe will be open all night serving beer, wine, snacks and food. Pillows and blankets are welcome (no backpacks please) and dressing up is encouraged. 

Lineup:

‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space’

1988, Director Stephen Chiodo 

‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ 

1974, Director Tobe Hooper |

‘They Live’

1988, Director John Carpenter

‘The Devil’s Rejects’

2005, Director Rob Zombie

‘XTRO’

1982, Director Harry Bromley Davenport

‘Deranged’ 

1974, Directors Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby

‘The Incredible Melting Man’

1977, Director William Sachs

PLUS A BONUS MYSTERY MOVIE!

Tickets are $45 in advance at www.retropictureshow.com and $50 at the box office on the day of the event. If you last from beginning to end, you get $10 back and a free breakfast!

For more information, call 631-423-7610.

Kedar Kirane Photo from SBU

By Daniel Dunaief

Some day, a collection of soldiers in the Army may be sleeping in a bunker near an explosion. Their lives may depend on the ability of their bunker to crack, rather than fracture and collapse.

Kedar Kirane, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stony Brook University, recently received a $359,000 grant from the Army Research Office’s Young Investigator Program to develop a computational model to predict the fracturing behavior of woven textile composites under dynamic loading, such as blasts and other impact loads.

In his work, Kirane hopes to develop a model for how composite materials fracture.

Kedar Kirane. Photo courtesy of Mechanical Engineering/Stony Brook University

Ralph Anthenien, the division chief for mechanical sciences in the U.S. Army Research Office, described the process of granting these awards as “very selective.”

The program supports “innovative breakthroughs,” he said. Part of the charter is to fund “high risk research, which won’t have a 100 percent chance of success,” but could provide a way forward for research.

Ultimately, the hope in the work the Army funds is to “protect soldier’s lives and protect Army systems,” Anthenien continued. The research should “make everything for the Army better.”

Kirane suggested that this research could also have implications in civilian life, such as to predict automotive crashworthiness. While it’s possible to consider fractures and cracks at the atomic scale, he said he is focusing on the macro level because the structures he is studying are so large.

“If you start looking at the atomic scale, it would be impossible because we don’t have the kind of computing power we would need” to convert that into buildings, bridges or other structures, Kirane said.

He is exploring the rates of loading for these fiber composite materials and would like to understand how these objects hold up in response to a blast or a projectile hitting it, as opposed to a more gradual progression of stressors.

Kirane will not conduct any of the laboratory work that explores the fracturing and reaction of the materials. Instead, he will use public data to calibrate and verify his model. The grant supports only the development of the model, not the performance of any physical experiments.

While materials are manufactured with different procedures, he is focused on how the materials fracture, crack and branch. The work is “more of a fundamental study rather than an applied study for a particular material,” he said.

One of the areas of focus in Kirane’s research involves analyzing the branching of cracks during fracture. As the cracks branch, they multiply, causing the material to break into multiple pieces.

The speed at which load builds on an object determines its reaction. A slow buildup typically causes one crack to form, while a more rapid load can cause a single crack that can branch and rebranch to produce multiple cracks.

“Being able to model this is complicated,” Kirane said. “The more it fractures, the more energy it can dissipate.” Ultimately, he would like his model to provide the Army with an idea of how much load a structure can withstand before the developing defects compromises its integrity.

In other projects, Kirane’s work will try to extrapolate from studies of smaller objects up to much larger manufactured structures. Ideally, he’d gain a better understanding of how to extend the information up to the scale at which people live.

He starts with objects that are of various dimensions, at 10 by 10 millimeters and then doubles and quadruples the size to determine the effect on their resilience and strength. There are mechanics-based scaling laws to extrapolate the structure strength to larger sizes, Kirane explained. It depends on the material and its fracturing behavior.

“That is the use of having a model: you can do some experiments in the lab, develop the model, calibrate it, use the model to predict the response and the scaling correctly,” he said.

Kirane explained that he usually tries to get data from a published journal, especially from sources where he knows the principal investigators produce reliable research. 

Indeed, sometimes the models can suggest problems with the data.“There is some back and forth” between the bench researchers and the scientific modelers, he said.

Kirane, who joined Stony Brook two years ago, has two doctoral students in his lab, one master’s student and several undergraduates. 

A resident of Westbury, he commutes about an hour back and forth. He enjoys visiting Jones Beach and appreciates the proximity to New York City. 

Raised in Pune, India, Kirane speaks English, Hindi and Marathi, which is his native language. During his schooling, which was in English, he not only pursued his interest in science but also played a percussion instrument called the tabla and was a gymnast. He says he can’t do any of the gymnastics routines from his youth today, although he does practice yoga and his gymnastics training helps. 

As for his future work, he hopes to start collaborating with scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he’d like to conduct some research at the National Synchrotron Light Source II. He’d like to understand how rocks fracture at the atomic scales.

In his own life, Kirane said he doesn’t recognize failures but sees any result that falls short of his hopes or expectations as a learning opportunity. “If something doesn’t go as planned, it’s an opportunity to retry,” he explained.

Indeed, in Kirane’s research, scientists call the process of fracturing “failure,” but that judgment depends on the context. When structures are “supposed to be sacrificial and dissipate energy by fracturing,” he said, then that “fracturing is good and not equal to failure.”

 

The cast of ‘Rapunzel: A Tangled Fairytale’. Photo by Jessie Eppelheimer/ Engeman Theater

By Heidi Sutton

Question: What do you get when you combine the classic Grimm Brothers fairytale “Rapunzel” and Disney’s animated feature “Tangled”? 

Answer: “Rapunzel: A Tangled Fairytale,” a wickedly funny musical adaptation written by David Crane and Marta Kaufman, the creators of the hit TV show “Friends.” The children’s show opened at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport this past weekend and runs through Aug. 25.

Simon, trusted valet to the Prince, serves as storyteller and gives the audience the backstory on how Rapunzel ended up in the tower. We meet up with the young girl on the morning of her 16th birthday where her only wish is to be able to leave her imprisonment for one day and see the world.

Her “mother,” Gretta the witch, at first promises to grant her wish but then changes her mind. “I just want to know what’s at the end of the road!” begs Rapunzel. “The DMV – nobody wants to go there,” quips the witch. 

Meanwhile, Prince Brian has run away from the castle and vows only to return once he has slain a dragon or rescued a maiden. “As a hero, I’m a zero,” he laments. When the prince comes upon Rapunzel in the tower, he seizes this rare opportunity and hatches a plan to rescue her. What follows is a fun, exciting and hilarious adventure the entire family will enjoy.

Director Jennifer Collester knows her target audience well and has assembled the perfect group of actors to tell this hairy tale to young theatergoers. 

Making her Engeman debut, Joanna Sanges is terrific as the naive but strong-willed Rapunzel who will stand up to the witch, the king and anything else that comes her way — a wonderful role model for the many little princesses in the audience.

While not in a disco on the Engeman’s stage in the evenings (“Saturday Night Fever”) Christopher Hanford spends his morning weekends rescuing fair maidens as Prince Brian and does a fine job. Hanford spends the second half of the show wearing sunglasses (the witch cast a spell to make him blind) and is a good sport when Rapunzel forgets to help him navigate the stage. 

The indefatigable Bobby Montaniz plays multiple roles throughout the show (Simon, a cow, innkeeper, the king) and draws the most laughs. He quickly becomes the audience favorite.

But it is Suzanne Mason, as Gretta the witch, who gives the strongest performance and “with a twist of her wrist and a turn of her ring” takes this juicy role and runs with it. Like a sour patch kid, her character is both sweet and sour but not scary — just diabolical!

Perhaps the best part of the show is when Rapunzel and the Prince make their way into the audience on their way to the village and interact with the children, asking them questions such as what they like to eat.

The costumes, special sound effects and lighting pull it all together nicely to produce a marvelous morning of live theater.

Stay after the show and meet the cast in the lobby for pictures and autographs. An autograph page is conveniently located toward the back of the program.

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport, will present “Rapunzel: A Tangled Fairytale” on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. through Aug. 25. Costumes are encouraged. Children’s theater continues with an audience favorite, “The Wizard Of Oz” from Sept. 28 to Oct. 27, followed by the theater’s annual production of “Frosty” from Nov. 23 to Dec. 29 and Disney’s “Frozen Jr.” from Jan. 25 to March 1. All seats are $15. To order, call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

Barbara Zinna. Photo courtesy of Mather Hospital

Mount Sinai resident Barbara Zinna, a Mather Hospital, Northwell Health volunteer, was elected to a one-year term as president of the Nassau-Suffolk Council of Hospital Auxiliaries. Her term expires June 2020.

Zinna, an auxilian for 30 years, says one of her major roles as an auxilian is to raise awareness about the community services her hospital offers. Evidence of that commitment occurred when the Mather Auxiliary received the Healthcare Association of New York State’s Best Auxiliary Award in 2017. Also current president of Suffolk County Homemakers, an organization with 26 chapters throughout Long Island, Zinna previously served Mather Hospital’s Auxiliary as its president for four years. 

In her role as president of the Nassau-Suffolk Council of Hospital Auxiliaries, Zinna will continue to lead this organization of hospital volunteers that is aligned with the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, the organization that represents Long Island’s not-for-profit and public hospitals.

Hospital auxilians play a vital role in the delivery of compassionate care at each of their facilities and are major fundraisers for their respective institutions. 

Collectively, Long Island’s volunteer auxilians raise millions through gift shop and thrift shop sales, fashion shows, boutiques and other events. In addition, they are actively involved in advocating on federal, state and local levels on behalf of their hospitals and the thousands of patients that these institutions serve each day.

Candace Bushnell at home in Roxbury, Conn. June 2010

CAC to host Candace Bushnell 

Author and journalist Candace Bushnell heads to the Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington on Monday, Aug. 12 at 7:30 p.m. for Long Island LitFest. In conversation with author Ellen Meister, Bushnell will discuss her life, the impact of “Sex and the City” and her new novel, “Is There Still Sex in the City?”Tickets are $50 and include a copy of Bushnell’s new book, audience Q&A and book signing reception. Visit www.cinemaartscentre.org to register.

For more information, call 631-423-7610.