Arts & Entertainment

‘Tree’ by Gloria M. will be on view at the Long Island Museum from Nov. 19 to Jan. 3, 2016.

By Melissa Arnold

When you suffer from memory loss, even the simplest tasks can be maddeningly frustrating. Most people will experience simple forgetfulness as they get older — misplacing keys, not knowing someone’s name right away and so on — but others will develop dementia, a debilitating condition that affects daily living skills and communication.

According to the World Health Organization, 47.5 million people have dementia and there are 7.7 million new cases diagnosed every year. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia. As memory loss progresses, it can become difficult to communicate, and many people say they feel they’re losing control over their own lives.

For more than a year, Day Haven Adult Day Services in Ronkonkoma has worked to engage participants struggling with memory loss through artistic expression. Now, the work of 15 artists from the program will be on display at the Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook. The exhibit, aptly titled “Through Our Eyes,” allows the artists to share themselves freely when using words might be too difficult.

“One of the first things someone with Alzheimer’s disease loses is the ability to retrieve the right words,” said Betsy Geary, program director at Day Haven. “Here, that conversation is elicited by art. It brings people together.”

Day Haven is a social adult day services program for physically frail older adults and those with Alzheimer’s disease. The program also provides support for caregivers. Participants typically live with a spouse or adult child and spend the day exploring all kinds of recreational activities.

This isn’t the first time Day Haven participants have experimented with their artistic talents — the center’s Port Jefferson location, on Sheep Pasture Road, has had a dedicated art program for several years.

But the location in Ronkonkoma did not have an art program until recently, when the Long Island Museum stepped up to help. “We were able to provide a museum educator to help them get started with a dedicated art program,” said Lisa Unander, director of education at the museum. “The response was wonderful; everyone was so engaged.”

Beginning last September, a museum educator has made weekly trips to Day Haven, holding 2 1/2-hour sessions with interested participants, allowing them to explore visual art using a variety of mediums, including paints and clay. “(The educator) took the time to find out which mediums would bring out the creativity in the participants and what they felt most comfortable doing,” Geary said.

As many of the participants at Day Haven are frail or deal with physical challenges, the educator also brought along a variety of stencils, special paintbrushes and other tools adapted to fit their individual capabilities.

Week after week, Geary was delighted to find that the participants were blossoming. “I’ve seen people literally thrive off of doing art. For some participants, we’ve watched them go from the simplest of art to a deep mode of self-expression. I’ve rarely seen anything like that in other settings.”

According to Unander, The Long Island Museum has worked for several years to ensure people with memory loss can enjoy their programs. Their initiative, called In the Moment: Art Engagement for People with Memory Loss, has benefitted more than 1,000 participants since its inception in 2011.

Museum staff members were trained by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on how to adapt their programs to fit the needs of those with memory loss. Soon after, they began to offer exhibit tours just for them.

The museum’s partnership with Day Haven is just the next step in making those with memory loss feel welcome and understood. Unander says the museum is working toward a spring conference for caregivers, medical staff and others on integrating art therapy with memory loss care.

Geary hopes that those who see the exhibit will leave with a greater appreciation for what those with memory loss can achieve. “I want people to see that there is always potential to do something new that we can celebrate. Even though (we) can lose the usual ways of communicating, art really can bring us together in a conversation without words,” she says.

“Through Our Eyes” will feature more than 30 paintings and clay creations, along with descriptions of the significance of each piece written by the artists or their families. The exhibit will run from Nov. 19 through Jan. 3, 2016. An artist reception will be held on Dec. 1, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The museum will also offer a free open house on Dec. 6, and a free “Senior Tuesday” event for people 62 and older on Dec. 8.

For more information, visit or call 631-751-0066, ext. 212.

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George Liberman reprises role for 9th year

Alexander Yagud-Wolek and George Liberman in last year’s performance of ‘A Christmas Carol.' Photo by Elizabeth Castrogiovanni, Kayline Productions

By Rita J. Egan

In the classic tale “A Christmas Carol,” a glimpse of his younger years working for Mr. Fezziwig provides a delightful vision of Christmas past for Ebenezer Scrooge. This holiday season, for the 9th year in a row, actor George Liberman will take on the role of the miser’s former boss in Theatre Three’s adaptation of the holiday classic.

It’s a character the actor loves portraying and one whose kind-hearted spirit he captures perfectly, with great energy and a jovial laugh.

The Ghost stopped at a certain warehouse door, and asked Scrooge if he knew it. “Know it!” said Scrooge. “Was I apprenticed here?”

They went in. At sight of an old gentleman in a Welsh wig, sitting behind such a high desk, that if he had been two inches taller he must have knocked his head against the ceiling, Scrooge cried in great excitement: “Why, it’s old Fezziwig! Bless his heart; it’s Fezziwig alive again!”

Old Fezziwig laid down his pen, and looked up at the clock, which pointed to the hour of seven. He rubbed his hands; adjusted his capacious waistcoat; laughed all over himself, from his shows to his organ of benevolence; and called out in a comfortable, oily, rich, fat, jovial voice.

Excerpt from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” 1843

“Fezziwig was a good businessman, but he believed that a happy workplace is a prosperous workplace, exactly the opposite of the environment that Scrooge is working in. His workplace was miserable; he was miserable. The Fezziwig workplace was totally different. You kind of see that when you go into the whole Fezziwig sequence in the show. It’s just a happy place,” said Liberman, who has played this role more than 400 times.

“The Fezziwig party — he’s inviting all of his workers, regardless of their class. He’s inviting his neighbors in; he’s having a great time. He wants everyone to enjoy themselves,” the actor said. “He’s bubbly, he’s happy; he has a great relationship with his wife. That’s kind of the way I try to portray him — being very, very happy and very bubbly, very full of life — and that’s what I love about the role.”

Douglas Quattrock, director of development and marketing, and group sales and marketing coordinator, who has played Bob Cratchit in the production for the last 12 years, said Liberman has a great understanding of the Fezziwig role. Quattrock explained that the character adds that touch of humanity to the story, where the most important thing is love.

“I think George embodies that. I’ve noticed that tenderness grow over the years. Every year he’s brought that nuance to it that a lot of actors who might play the role once or twice might not capture,” Quattrock said.

Liberman’s relationship with Theatre Three began in 1991, when he attended a performance of “Sweeney Todd.” The actor enjoyed the show so much he began auditioning and through the years has appeared in “Man of La Mancha” (Captain of the Inquisition), “Guys and Dolls” (Rusty Charlie) “Fiddler on the Roof” (Lazar Wolf), as well as others.

Jeffrey Sanzel, Theatre Three’s executive artistic director, describes Liberman as a go-to person who always has great chemistry with his castmates. “George is one of the easiest people to work with. I have never heard anybody say anything other than he’s wonderful,” Sanzel said, who also directs “A Christmas Carol” and stars as Scrooge.

Liberman’s interest in performing began during his days at Adelphi University. While a student there, he was a member of the Adelphi University Octet. The singing group would perform throughout New York State, and he appeared in one of the university’s musicals, “Little Mary Sunshine.” However, he said after graduating from college, due to working full-time and family responsibilities, he didn’t perform again until 1991, appearing in Theatre Three’s production of “Man of La Mancha”.

It wasn’t until the husband and father retired from working as an administrator for the New York State Office of Mental Health nine years ago that he approached Sanzel about participating in “A Christmas Carol.” He explained that the holiday production’s rehearsal and performance schedule would have been too demanding for him while working full-time.

Sanzel said he knew Liberman was perfect for the role of Fezziwig. “He’s very warm. There’s a real honesty about George, which comes across on stage because he’s that way in life,” the director said.

Liberman’s participation in “A Christmas Carol” keeps him, as well as the other actors, extremely busy the last few months of the year. Rehearsals this year began in the beginning of October, when the cast met downstairs to run through their lines, and on Oct. 26, they began rehearsing on stage, with a good percentage of the set constructed. Liberman, who loves to golf, said jokingly that he’s not quite sure what he would do this time of year if he weren’t rehearsing and performing on stage, especially with golf season being over.

Jenna Kavaler, George Liberman and Jeffrey Sanzel in last year’s performance of ‘A Christmas Carol.' Photo by Elizabeth Castrogiovanni, Kayline Productions
Jenna Kavaler, George Liberman and Jeffrey Sanzel in last year’s performance of ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Photo by Elizabeth Castrogiovanni, Kayline Productions

Liberman said he enjoys working with his fellow “A Christmas Carol” actors, both those who have returned from previous years and newcomers. He said Michelle Cosentino will be playing Mrs. Fezziwig for the first time and is wonderful in the role.

Cosentino enjoys working with Liberman as well, and she said she appreciates how welcoming and patient he is. “He’s pretty much Christmas 24/7. It’s like happiness is bursting out of him,” Cosentino said.

Liberman said he continually learns more about the story and the role and has added some refinements over the years, and he said he has grown as an actor as well. The growth has occurred not only due to playing Fezziwig each year, but also by watching Sanzel take on the role of Scrooge every holiday season. Liberman said he has learned a lot by watching the director, especially with how he shades his character in different ways.

In addition to his appreciation for what Fezziwig stands for, Liberman said the theme of “A Christmas Carol” also brings him back each year. He said, for him, the classic holiday story shows that even when you are as mean as Scrooge is, a person can learn the errors of his way.

“The message of the show is a very uplifting, positive message, as it progresses through the show. So I really enjoy doing it,” the actor said.

Liberman hopes that theatergoers will enjoy the message of the holiday story as much as he does. “I would hope that when people walk away, they’re inspired, and they come away with the notion that even the meanest of characters, the meanest of people, can be redeemed and can change, can see the positive in people and can do something positive for those around them,” he said.

Theatre Three, 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson, will present its 32nd annual production of “A Christmas Carol” from Nov. 14 to Dec. 27. Ticket prices range from $15 to $30. For more information and show times, visit or call 631-928-9100.


‘We have parts of the plane and we also have the pilot, who is quite alive and kicking. The pilot is in Moscow and so are parts of the plane.’  Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, 1960

By Rich Acritelli

It was a great time to be alive within American society during the 1950s and 1960s. Our nation defeated the fascist powers of Germany and Japan and was the strongest country to emerge from the fighting of World War II. These decades saw the growth of Levittown, Mickey Mantle hitting home runs, massive goods and services being consumed by our citizens and “Leave It to Beaver” and “The Honeymooners” on television.

While this nation enjoyed these positive times, the United States was engulfed in the Cold War. These concerns are depicted through Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’ production of “Bridge of Spies.” Once again these two Hollywood icons have created a unique film that will not only be well perceived in movie theaters but will be used by future high school and college teachers to describe the impact of this epic conflict.

Directed by Spielberg, this movie does a masterful job of showing how our government functioned during those tumultuous years at home and abroad. Hanks portrays James B. Donovan, a New York insurance lawyer who was part of the prosecuting team that convicted the top Nazis at Nuremberg in 1945. He was also approached in 1957 by the government to provide a capable defense for Soviet spy Rudolph Abel, played by Mark Rylance, who was arrested with American military intelligence.

While he was apprehensive at first to take this case, he understood that even enemies of the state were entitled to due process. Through this part of “Bridge of Spies” Spielberg depicted how Donovan was able to see both sides of the Cold War through the Soviet perspective. This aspect becomes dominant within the film when Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane was shot down over communist territory in 1960. The creators of this movie supremely showed the paranoia that our Central Intelligence Agency held in training its pilots for the dangerous and secret operations that it conducted.   

Powers, played by Austin Stowell, understood the gravity of the Cold War and accepted the risks inherent in taking high-altitude pictures of enemy troop movements and weaponry. When Powers was shot down, it presented a dilemma for our leadership, which did not want our pilot to be executed for espionage.

During and after his defense of Rudolph Abel, Donovan stressed the need for our government not to execute this spy and to treat him with some decency. Although these were humanitarian views, Donovan continued to counsel the government about the need to show fairness out of the fear that eventually one of our own spies would be caught by the enemy. Well, the movie shows how his assessment comes to fruition.   

Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA, played by Peter McRobbie, pushed Donovan to travel to East Berlin to engineer an exchange of the Russian spy for Powers’ release from captivity. From a historical point of view, Spielberg produced the hysteria of the earliest moments when the communists erected the Berlin Wall. “Bridge of Spies” teaches the viewer how the communists tried to isolate the eastern part of Berlin from the western world, the chaos between these powers and the pressure that was placed on Powers to break under imprisonment.

Donovan was tasked with not only getting Powers back but also an American student who was caught behind the wall. With common sense, intelligence and poise, Donovan understood that this incident could have triggered a massive war between these two political and military foes.

The all-star cast also includes Alan Alda, Amy Ryan, Billy Magnussen, Michael Gaston, Domenick Lombardozzi and Eve Hewson.

Once again the combination of Spielberg and Hanks has made a film that will be respected by moviegoers that never get tired of watching this type of American history. It is possible that these two men could be one of the best teams to ever make movies of this magnitude. “Bridge of Spies” is a historic thriller that will continually show you how difficult the Cold War was to wage for our government and the serious national threats that were always present against our citizens during and after this time period.

‘Bridge of Spies,’ is now playing in local theaters. Rated PG-13.

‘Woman and Dog’ by Marisol, 1964 Image from Philip F. Palmedo

By Elizabeth Kahn Kaplan

Just a few weeks ago, the Museum of Modern Art opened its exhibit, Picasso Sculpture, to critical acclaim. The exhibit is so chock full of fascinating objects that it can be daunting to take them all in properly, and so it is fortunate that Philip F. Palmedo’s latest book has appeared, just in time to guide us. The book can help even a newbie to understand, appreciate and delight in modern sculpture, not only by Pablo Picasso but by 93 other sculptors who expanded the boundaries of what is considered great art.

Enriched by 155 illustrations, and satisfactorily printed on thick glossy stock, ‘The Experience of Modern Sculpture: A Guide to Enjoying Works of the Past 100 Years’ makes a joyous introduction to the subject, with informative, user-friendly notes. It is also, with its carefully chosen bibliography, a worthy addition to the bookshelves of art historians.

Palmedo, a resident of Head of the Harbor, seamlessly achieves his objective, which is to enrich the experience of modern sculpture, “particularly for those who have found it uninteresting, mute, or simply baffling.” He guides a willing learner to experience a work’s power, originality, and, often, humor, by absorbing the artist’s purpose in its creation. We are encouraged to dismiss previously held intellectual distinctions of what is art. Palmedo believes, “The appreciation of sculpture is first of all a visual and sensuous affair. It is the encounter and the experience that are important.”

The-Experience-of-Modern-Sculpture-jacket-wConstantin Brancusi’s graceful “Bird in Space “(“L’Oiseau dans l’espace”), 1932–1940, is a case in point. A commanding presence of polished brass, almost 5 feet tall, it evokes the thrill we experience when a bird celebrates its freedom in flight; we need no artist to sculpt its wings or beak to confirm its identity.

As the 20th century progressed, sculptors began to appropriate materials that were either previously unavailable or simply not considered for use in the past. In 1909, when Picasso first transitioned within cubism from painting to sculpture, he chose bronze for the head of his mistress and muse, “Woman’s Head (Fernande).” “Contrast this with his 1942 ‘Bull’s Head’ — an assemblage of the leather seat and metal handles of a bicycle.

“No matter that the bull has an unusually pointy snout; we recognize it immediately because of its gently curved, symmetrical horns,” Palmedo writes. “The two aspects of the sculpture — the simple, familiar objects, and the form of the bull — seem to first oscillate in our consciousness and then coexist. A simple and captivating magic trick is performed before our eyes.

“You often wonder, looking at a piece of abstract sculpture, whether you are feeling what the artist intended you to feel, whether you are getting it. When you get the joke . . . in Picasso’s ‘Bull’s Head,’ you have the pleasure of knowing you are indeed connecting with the artist’s intent. You are getting it — as long as you don’t think that the joke is everything.” Both of these works are included in Picasso Sculpture at MoMA.

Another work that incorporates unusual materials along with a dose of humor was created in 1964 by Marisol — one of 15 women artists whose work is recognized in this book. Her life-size “Women and Dog,” in which the four women are said to be self-portraits, is on exhibit at the new home of the Whitney Museum of Art, and incorporates wood, plaster, synthetic polymer, a taxidermic dog head and miscellaneous items.

Palmedo likens a perfectly balanced abstract sculpture to a great musical composition. In Anthony Caro’s complex construction of bright yellow-painted steel “Fanshoal,” 1971–1972, Palmedo senses that any alteration of the relationship between the disparate parts would lessen the perfection of the whole. He likens it to a Bach partita that contains no superfluous note.

Another work, created in homage to a master of musical composition, is Kenneth Snelson’s “Mozart I,” in stainless steel, 1981–1982. Palmedo sees Snelson’s act of creating a work of art as very similar to composing music, in its clarity, lyricism and rigor of composition.

"Swing Dance," fabricated bronze, 2005 by Bill Barrett
“Swing Dance,” fabricated bronze, 2005 by Bill Barrett

The movement of dance and music has inspired many sculptors past and present. Bill Barrett’s “Swing Dance,” 2005, of fabricated bronze, captures the vitality of a couple swept up in the music and rhythm of a boogie beat. “Capturing evanescent movement in bronze is no mean feat,” writes Palmedo, who pays tribute to Barrett’s distilled, subconscious sense of grace and melodic line.

Lin Emery’s sculpture, “Sunflower of 2009,” photographed here in motion, underscores her fascination with movement. Early in her career she used flowing water as the motive force for kinetic metal sculptures. In later works such as this, ball bearings create delicately balanced works moved by the wind. Polished aluminum surfaces resembling parts of the flower reflect the changing colors of clouds and sky, and we respond as we do to the beauties of nature. The skill of an engineer is required to achieve a kinetic work, a balancing act between beauty and the machine.

The pleasure that Palmedo derives from art in all its manifestations is a defining characteristic of his persona. He writes, “There are times looking at a sculpture when I am profoundly struck by the absolute perfection of the relationship between all of its elements and for a brief moment I experience something as close to joy that a physical object can grant.” This magnificent book brings the willing reader into that delightful state.

Palmedo will be speaking and signing copies of his book at The Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook on Friday, Nov. 20, at 5 p.m. The book may also be purchased from the publisher, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., the gift shop of The Long Island Museum, and at

Three Village gathers in footprint of former Capital One building to open new arts center

A scene from Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Reboli Center in Stony Brook. Photo by Phil Corso

A group of dedicated Three Villagers has blended together a perfect cocktail of art and history, and anyone passing through historic Stony Brook village can have a taste.

The Reboli Center for Art and History held its ceremonial ribbon cutting in the company of founders and supporters on Tuesday morning while standing within the footprint of what used to be a Capital One bank. But they did much more than snip a piece of blue ribbon — they ushered in a new era in Stony Brook history, where North Shore residents can admire work from the late Joe Reboli of Setauket and take part in artistic and historic programming delving into the story of Three Village, Suffolk County and Long Island.

“It has been my dream, ever since he passed away, to have a place where the community can come and see his work,” said Lois Reboli, wife of the late artist. “He loved this community, he was very involved in the community and I am just beyond excited about this opportunity.”

Joe Reboli was born and raised on Main Street, not far from where his name was memorialized on Tuesday. He and his family had a long history in the area: His grandfather ran a business across the street, and his aunt worked in the same building when it was a bank decades ago.

He died in 2004 at age 58 after being diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. Since his death, Lois Reboli has been attending makeshift meetings at coffee and kitchen tables across Three Village with a squad self-identified as The Rebolians, working to make sure Joe Reboli’s story lived on. The list of names added to that squad has not stopped growing since his death.

Joe Reboli and his work line the walls of the new art and history center. Photo by Phil Corso
Joe Reboli and his work line the walls of the new art and history center. Photo by Phil Corso

One of the first people to make that list was Colleen Hanson, who worked as executive director of Three Village’s Gallery North from January 2000 until her retirement in September 2010. She worked alongside Lois Reboli after the artist passed and also helped launch the first Reboli Wet Paint Festival weekend at Gallery North in 2005. She said it was a long-standing mission of hers to honor Joe Reboli and keep his work at the forefront of the Three Village conversation.

“I made a vow that we would do something for him,” she said. “If we were to find a space, it had to be in Three Village and it had to have a Joe-like feeling. Now, I pinch myself and think, ‘This is so cool.’ We love this community. We want it to be even better and richer for everybody, and I see this as a beautiful upbeat place where people want to be.”

Lois Reboli started to see her team assemble before her eyes, with Hanson and former Gallery North assistant to the executive director, B.J. Intini. The three dubbed themselves the “tres amigas,” and that nickname followed them all the way to Tuesday’s ribbon cutting.

The founders received help from many along the way, but there was one significant piece of assistance they said they never saw coming.

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) was in talks with Lois Reboli regarding the potential creation of a Reboli arts center, and he helped the “tres amigas” create a not-for-profit called the Friends of Joseph Reboli, with a mission of collecting, preserving and exhibiting artwork and artifacts related to Joe Reboli. The group filed for federal 501(c)(3) status in 2012.

“This is not going to subtract from our existing cultural institutions,” Englebright said. “It is going to make this area an attraction and enhance it.”

It wasn’t until March 2015 when Hanson said she heard of the Capital One bank in Stony Brook potentially leaving the historic-landmarked building at a price tag of $1.8 million, and they have not looked back since. The Rebolians started raising money and seeking help from the greater Three Village community to acquire the space.

Englebright spearheaded a state grant at $1.3 million toward the purchase price, and that was coupled with two anonymous $150,000 donations that allowed them to plant a Reboli flag in the property.

Lois Reboli signed that contract on Sept. 25 — her late husband’s 70th birthday.

The Reboli Center for Art and History will keep Joe Reboli’s artwork alive with thriving displays and exhibits. A Reboli atelier will also complement the center’s work by establishing an education program at a Flowerfield facility, where participants can develop and foster a contemporary painting community grounded in classical traditions of drawing and painting — just like Joe Reboli would have wanted.

The rest of the story has yet to be written.

“It was very important to me that people didn’t forget his work,” Lois Reboli said. “He loved this area.”

Nan Guzzetta's collection of 1920s accessories. Photo by Ellen Barcel

By Ellen Barcel

Coming off the Spirit Tour in Setauket and Halloween, Nancy Altman “Nan” Guzzetta is preparing for the Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson — preparing costumes that is. As owner of Antique Costumes and Props By Nan in Port Jefferson, she provides high-end costumes for a wide variety of events including entire shows, themed weddings, historic anniversary celebrations and a whole lot more. Upcoming events for which Guzzetta will provide costumes include “The Music Man” in East Northport and the Santa Parade and Santa’s Workshop in Port Jefferson to name just a few.

Nan Guzzetta’s famous pincushion. Photo by Ellen Barcel
Nan Guzzetta’s famous pincushion. Photo by Ellen Barcel

Guzzetta’s attention is to detail, historical accuracy being her strong suit. “We don’t do Disney or Star Wars,” but Henry the VIII, that’s another story, or Gatsby, Titanic or Downton Abbey inspired pieces. “I work with museums a lot, for their galas.” When the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook opened its recent Gilded Coast exhibit,  “I costumed people for the gala.” And, she added, “Oheka Castle has a big garden party every year. I costume for that.”

The Dickens Festival honoree was “costumed yesterday,” she added. And “we did the 350th anniversary of Smithtown … we did a descendent of Bull Smith.” Richard “Bull” Smith is said to have drawn up the boundaries of Smithtown in the 1600s when he rode a bull around a tract of land.

Other costumes available include classic movie stars, ancient Egyptian and Roman outfits and even Marie Antoinette. She also provides all sorts of accessories such as fencing foils for the Musketeers, art deco jewelry to go with early 20th century ball gowns and fancy hats to complete an ensemble. She even provides hat pins to hold the elegant head pieces in place.

Antique Costumes is located in a historic Civil War era house, the Captain Henry Hallock house. Hallock was a Port Jefferson sea captain and shipbuilder. The house is sometimes referred to as the Chambers Mansion as it was later owned by Dr. Martin Luther Chambers. The mansion was also the home at one time of the Moose Lodge and the Slavic Cultural Center.

The mansion has a fascinating history all its own. In the 1970s the English band Foghat recorded a number of its gold records there. Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen also produced recordings at the mansion. Guzzetta added that it was one of the foremost recording studios in the Northeast at the time. The building also has a stage where live productions were once held.

Nan Guzzetta's medieval costumes with headpieces. Photo by Ellen Barcel
Nan Guzzetta’s medieval costumes with headpieces. Photo by Ellen Barcel

Costumes in the mansion are arranged by theme: the children’s room, the Downton Abbey rooms, the wedding room, the red carpet room, the Renaissance room, etc. Tucked between costumes is a door leading to Guzzetta’s personal research library. And through the passage way is the theater.

Filled with energy and a fount of knowledge, Guzzetta said, “Isn’t this fun?” as she showed one room after another filled with costumes.

Many of the events she costumes for will hold prizes for the best costume, Guzzetta said. “I can boast that we have more prize winners than any other.”  She added that a man recently rented a Christopher Columbus costume. He was asked to lead, not only one or two, but six different Columbus Day parades. “He’s sending us pictures.”

But, she also added that “We’re the best kept secret,” around. Why? Because many people don’t like to share their secret. They want people to think that they make their own elegant and historically accurate outfits.

When asked how things have changed over these 40 years that she’s been in business, she noted that “It’s changed dramatically.” There are fewer themed weddings, for example, but there are many more historic celebrations, like a 100th anniversary celebration in Cold Spring Harbor last year. She recently designed a costume for a book on Nikola Tesla, the 19th century Serbian-American inventor whose Shoreham, Wardenclyffe, laboratory is currently under restoration.

Guzzetta added that with the Internet, her business now is not only local but national and even international.  People sometimes rent here and bring the costumes to “Venice for Carnival or New Orleans for Mardi Gras.” She accommodates magazine and greeting card shoots, as well as commercials. She even rents vintage furniture.

When asked when is her biggest season, Guzzetta observed that the need for her high-end costumes is really spread throughout the year. In planning large events people contact her “well in advance,” but “Halloween is frequently last minute.” But Halloween is not just for kids. More and more adults are attending masquerade balls and parties where costumes are a must.

From Nan Guzzetta's collection of Americana uniforms. Photo by Ellen Barcel
From Nan Guzzetta’s collection of Americana uniforms. Photo by Ellen Barcel

Not only does Guzzetta have costumes, ready to be rented, but “we built them,” as well. “Over the years we’ve collected many vintage items … we rarely rent out the vintage ones,” now, but use them as models for new pieces. “I collect the best of every period and rent it.”

How does she deal with all the different sizes and shapes of her clientele? In some cases, she has several different sizes of a particular costume. In others she will alter them to fit. “All alterations are done here at no extra charge.” In other cases, she does what many theater productions do: There’s a slit in the back and the costume is laced up to fit the wearer. And, if she’s “building” a new costume, she has the renter’s measurements. Usual rental for individuals (it varies for theater productions) is three days, one to pick up the costume, one for its use and one to return it.

“We do teas and tours here,” too. The tea service can include a tour of the restored mansion or a tour and lecture, the group’s choice.

How did Guzzetta, who was a registered nurse, develop such a unique business? A lover of art and history, she opened an antique shop in Port Jefferson acquiring some costumes. But, “when I couldn’t get any more vintage costumes, I began renting (rather than selling) them and then making copies.” But for her, it’s not really work at all. “It’s a joy to come in every day.”

Antiques Costumes and Props by Nan is located at 709 Main Street, Port Jefferson (parking off Jones Avenue). Call 631-331-2261 or go to www. The business is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays by appointment only and weekends in special circumstances.

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A view of last year’s event from the second floor of the Village Center. Photo by Dick Solo

By Naomi Solo

Port Jefferson Village’s Go Green event returns for its eighth year on Saturday, Nov. 7, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Port Jefferson Village Center overlooking the harbor. Awareness of the urgency for environmental action inspired the development of this free event eight years ago through the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook University, then directed by Dr. E. Ann Kaplan. John Lutterbie worked with co-chair Naomi Solo to get things started. With 100 percent cooperation of the Port Jefferson Village government, Go Green has now become an annual event. It is with great pride that we salute the youth of our local schools at the event this year, who have led the way in green projects.

Students at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School, led by Kari Costanza and Tom Meehan, have initiated a Repurpose and Recycle fashion show, have initiated a school cafeteria waste audit leading to district-wide recycling, have raised earthworms for the school garden and have established a lovely native plant garden to attract birds. The students have had many “Green Team” meetings with exciting guest speakers including Sue Avery from the Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI). Currently, they are working on a bottle cap drive titled Caps for Love to raise funds for more projects.

The students at Port Jefferson Middle School, led by Peter Burawa, have participated in the Siemen’s “We can change the world” 2012 challenge, which addressed many environmental issues in the community. They have promoted using safe fertilizers and campaigned to stop people from dumping in the storm water drains of our Village. Titled The Grate Project, the winning slogan was “Only rain down the drain.” They continue to participate in beach cleanups, choosing the slogan “This beach is not your ashtray” after collecting and categorizing debris and work for proper disposal of food wrappers with signs posted at our local eateries. Visit their bake sale table at the event.

Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, working with The Long Island Seaport and Eco Center (LISEC), provide crucial support for the Environmental Club led by teachers Dawn Moody and Jon Muletta. They have instituted conservation projects by constructing birdhouses, selling Clean Canteens and doing away with plastic water bottles in the school. In addition they are fostering many recycling projects and beach cleanups. The students are undertaking research on harbor cleanliness and health of our local sea life, have fostered organic landscaping and native plant gardens and have made “Onya’s reusable shopping bags.” In May of this year they sponsored the Green & Clean fair. Many additional recycling and eco-friendly projects are underway, with fundraising to support the environment. Drop off small handheld electronics at their booth during the event for recycling. 

On the morning of Nov. 7, before the fair, you can witness a new initiative involving our schools when Village Gardener Caran Markson joins with Lauren Hubbard of the Maritime Explorium, the Long Island Native Plant Initiative and many school volunteers to spread mulch for a new garden project at the triangle plot near the middle school building. This work is preparation for a spring planting of indigenous flowers.

These are inspiring examples of a community working together. In celebration of these remarkable achievements, Mayor Margot Garant along with village trustees will issue proclamations to each school at 2 p.m. during the Go Green fair. This will be followed by performances by the elementary school’s Select Choir led by music teacher Jessica Pastor.

In addition to the schools, LISEC, LINPI, the Maritime Explorium and other groups will be present. Our Port Jefferson Free Library will have special fun projects for the children to create. Last but not least, do not forget the now famous “Green Elephant” table organized by Barbara Haegele. Bring your gently used items (no clothes, books or electronics please) and donate them to the table where you may take any items for free in yet another example of recycling.

The Port Jefferson Village Center is located at 101A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson. For further information, call 631-473-3549 or 631-802-2160.

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SCCC hosts Long Island documentary premiere

Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental and film director Gerry Gregg respond to questions from the audience. Photo by Donna Newman

By Donna Newman

The documentary “Close to Evil” is the result of a collaboration between Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental and filmmaker Gerry Gregg. It was screened at Suffolk County Community College’s Ammerman Campus on Oct. 29 for an audience of more than 400, including Honors College students as well as interested Long Islanders. The film was viewed in rapt silence and followed by a penetrating Q-and-A.

Steven Klipstein, assistant director of the Suffolk Center on the Holocaust, Diversity and Human Understanding, introduced the program, making reference to the Holocaust Museum on the top floor of the campus library that documents the ultimate sadism of that historic event. “It’s a miracle that any of these people survived,” he said. “I hope you get something out of seeing [this film].”

By coincidence, the screening was 71 years to the day after 9-year-old Tomi found himself, along with family members, on a transport heading from his village to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. They had spent two years in hiding in their native Bratislava (now the capital of Slovakia) avoiding capture. Tomi survived long enough to be liberated in April 1945. After the war he attempted to return “home” only to find all traces of his former life in Bratislava gone.

Initially he immigrated to Israel before heading to Ireland, where he has lived ever since. In Ireland he started a business, fell in love, married and raised three sons. “I never spoke of it [his wartime experiences] for 55 years,” said Reichental, “I couldn’t.” He never even told his wife.

In 2003 he realized he had a responsibility to those who perished — including 35 members of his family — as one of the last living survivors, to speak out. He now speaks to student groups across Ireland to relate his experience and his eyewitness testimony about the inhumanity of Hitler’s Final Solution. In 2012 he participated in a radio broadcast that brought his story to the attention of a neighbor of former Bergen-Belsen prison guard Hilde Lisiewitz Michnia in Hanover, Germany. The neighbor contacted Reichental to tell him about the 93-year-old widow.    

As originally scripted, the documentary was meant to focus on a possible meeting between Reichental and Michnia. “I have an opportunity to meet this woman,” said Reichental to Gregg. “It would make history [for us] to go together.” He expected, in his naiveté, that Michnia was a victim of her time. Obviously, she must have been brainwashed; indoctrinated with Nazi propaganda. He thought she would show some remorse. And reconciliation was all he wanted.

As shooting progressed, the story took on a life of its own. “There were twists and turns,” said Gregg, “things we didn’t see coming. There’s even a Hollywood ending. We didn’t know any of that would happen.” The surprises include: the awarding of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, its highest honor, to Tomi Reichental, and an unexpected alliance between Reichental and Alexandra Senfft, a granddaughter of Hanns Ludin, Hitler’s ambassador to the Slovak Republic — the man responsible for the deportation (leading to extermination) of more than 60,000 Slovakian Jews.

Gregg said they hope to find a distributor for this unique film, so it can be seen throughout the United States. The two men have made two tours of America so far to present the film to select audiences. Thursday’s showing was co-sponsored by the SCCC Honors College, the Suffolk Center on the Holocaust, Diversity and Human Understanding and the Ammerman Campus office of Campus Activities and Student Leadership Development.

The Suffolk Center on the Holocaust, Diversity and Human Understanding, located  on the second floor of the Huntington Library on the campus of Suffolk County Community College, 533 College Road, Selden, maintains significant collections of original materials that document the Holocaust and chronicle slavery in America.

CHDHU’s mission is to educate the community on historical events and to promote cultural understanding and respect for human dignity. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and by appointment. For further information, please call 631-451-4700 or visit

Marc Berger photo by Jill McCracken

By Stacy Santini

Mocha buttes rising upward from the soil, vistas framing breathtaking views of distant snow-capped mountains, Indian-traveled sandstone underfoot, rock formations resembling Donatello sculptures, rushing rivers and sienna sunsets; visually, there is no place comparable to the American West.

It is hard to imagine that beauty such as this can be as relevant cinematically in song and just song alone, but lyric-ace Marc Berger has managed to capture this imagery with his album RIDE and will be sharing it with the community at a free concert at North Shore Public Library in Shoreham on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m.

Berger’s relationship with the West began while studying law at Rutgers University. When he was 21, he embarked on a cross country journey that would alter his life and career path for ever. Berger describes this catharsis, “Probably because I grew up in the Northeast, I had a strong desire to go out West when I travelled, and the effect it had on me was staggering. I explored the Mojave Desert, Yosemite, all of it, and I came home transformed. Every year for 5 years, making this journey was an integral part of my existence. On each drive I went further inward. At that time, there were no distractions, no cell phones and such. It was a beautiful thing.”

As a result of his travels, he began to write songs about his experiences. Success welcomed Berger early on. His first attempt at his to music publishing firms found him signing a contract. Along the way, icons like Richie Havens befriended him and were very interested in his work. Havens recorded Berger’s song “The Last One” in 1982 and it received much attention.

It was not long before Berger realized that if he wanted to truly make a contribution to the culture he was living in, he needed to sing. “After Richie did my song, I got to thinking about how singing my own lyrics would be the only true expression of myself, and so I willed myself to sing and perfect my voice,” says Berger.

Berger’s roots run deep within the music industry. He has opened for Bob Dylan and other equally impressive bands and musicians. Collaborating with him on his next album, starting in December, will be world class instrumentalists such as Tony Garnier, bass player for Bob Dylan and Paul Simon; Joe Flood, mandolin and fiddler for Levon Helm; and Eric Ambel, guitarist for Joan Jett. Garnier can also be heard on several tracks on RIDE.

Joe Wawrzyniak from Jersey Beat calls the new album “Supremely tuneful and colorful … One can almost taste the dust and feel the desolation of the wide- open prairies while listening to this exquisitely harmonic gem.”

With RIDE, Berger’s passion for the West and his music are palpable, “I don’t think of it as music, but as art, and the art form is secondary to the artist. It is a vehicle to communicate a personality that is only the artist. The most challenging part of this was getting the recording equipment to be pictorial; meaning that I did not want you to just hear a song and picture a band, I wanted you to actually see the great American West, be there present in it,” he said.

With songs such as “Montana,” “Nobody Gonna Ride on the Railroad” and “Heavenly Ancients,” Berger accomplishes just that.

Accompanying Marc next weekend on bass is Rich DePaolo, an extraordinary talent himself. “It is Marc’s vision for sure. I have been working with him for over fifteen years. He is very focused as an artist and clear as to how he wants his vision realized. It is a jot to be a part of this,” he said in describing the collaboration.

North Shore Public Library is a venue that never disappoints when it comes to its concert series. “I am a fan of the American West. Marc’s song, ‘Heavenly Ancients’ on RIDE brought me back to being on the desert floor and glaring up at the sky. His music really captured the awe of the landscape,” said librarian Lorena Doherty.

“I have been doing adult programs here for some time now, bringing in multicultural programs and classical music. Having Marc Berger come here is unique and different. It is very exciting as I am finding that independent musicians have great appeal. We had an amazing turnout for ‘Miles to Dayton’ and I expect the same for Marc,” she added.

North Shore Public Library is located at 250 Route 25A in Shoreham. For more information, please call 631-929-4488.

Tour guide Dan Sheehan on one of his tours with the Northport Historical Society. Photo from Northport Historical Society

The Northport Historical Society is hosting a Jack Kerouac-guided walking tour through Northport Village on Sunday, Nov. 1, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The Kerouac Crawl event will include stops at various drinking establishments including Gunther’s Tap Room, where the famous literary figure frequented, as well as Rockin’ Fish, Skipper’s Pub and more.

Northport resident Dan Sheehan will lead the tour and he will include a thorough history of Main Street’s dynamic during Kerouac’s time in Northport.

The fee is $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers, and includes the tour, refreshments at the museum and a souvenir.