Arts & Entertainment

'Bali' by Paton Miller

Gallery North kicks off the New Year with an exciting new exhibit titled Allegorical Narratives: Paintings & Drawings by Paton Miller. The show runs from Jan. 17 to Feb. 23 with a special opening reception tonight, Jan. 16, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Allegorical Narratives is Miller’s first solo exhibition at Gallery North and features a selection of paintings and drawings that highlight the artist’s use of metaphor and symbolism throughout his works. 

A painter of canvas, copper and board, Miller forges broader narratives out of personal adventures, allegories within which one meaning, story or image is doubled by another. 

A house, a mule, a dog, a boat, his imagery is distinct and subtly touches on the fundamental elements of our existence such as our personal journeys, life’s hardships or family. Through these insistent motifs, Miller’s painted spaces refigure his life history, his adventures and his sense of connection to others. His allegorical narratives are endless, as well, holding past and future in a spiraling cycle of regeneration. They describe a puzzle with an unknown number of pieces, assembled by the songwriter of an eternal ballad.

Born in Seattle, raised in Hawaii, Miller has been a resident of Southampton for 45 years. His work is in the collections of The Heckscher Museum of Art, the Parrish Art Museum, Guild Hall and The Long Island Museum, and he has served as a curator of East End Collected at the Southampton Arts Center for five consecutive years. He has also shown internationally at the International Invitational Art Expo in Shanghai, China, and the Florence Biennale in Florence, Italy.

Miller will also be participating in an ArTalk at the gallery on Feb. 2 from 3 to 5 p.m. To reserve your seat, call 631-751-2676.

Gallery North is located at 90 North Country Road in Setauket. Hours are Wednesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.gallerynorth.org.

Photo by Maryann Zakshevsky

Surprise your Valentine with a romantic dinner at an elegant mansion where luminaries from the 1920s and ’30s dined with members of one of America’s most famous and powerful families. 

On Saturday, Feb. 8, the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport hosts its annual Valentine Dinner at Eagle’s Nest, the historic waterfront estate of Rosamond and William K. Vanderbilt II, one of the most glamorous and romantic settings on Long Island.

The estate and its beautiful, early 20th-century Spanish Revival mansion are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The estate is the home of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

 This popular event offers limited seatings of 50 at 6 and 8 p.m.

The evening begins with hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer in the Memorial Wing of the mansion. After a brief tour of the living quarters, dinner will be served in the Northport Porch. Dessert and coffee will follow in the Lancaster Room and Moroccan Court, adjacent to the Vanderbilt Library. 

Choice of entrees include prime rib, chicken with Madeira sauce, stuffed sole with spinach and feta in a tomato dill sauce and heart-shaped cheese ravioli with vodka sauce.

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. Seating at this exclusive event is very limited and sells out quickly. Tickets are $150 per person, $135 members. Reservations are online only at www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.

Proceeds from this special evening will benefit STEAM education programs. For more information, call 631-854-5579.

The Pier 1 in Commack is already promoting storewide sales. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Home decor and furniture retailer Pier 1 Imports announced on Jan. 6 that it intends to shut down up to 450 of its 936 locations “in order to better align its business with the current operating environment.”

“Although decisions that impact our associates are never easy, reducing the number of our brick-and-mortar locations is a necessary business decision,” said CEO and CFO Robert Riesbeck. “We thank our team of hard-working associates for their commitment to Pier 1 and to serving our customers.”

The company also plans to close some distribution centers and reduce corporate expenses, including a reduction in corporate employees. 

Pier 1 has 11 locations on Long Island. Although the company did not reveal which locations may close, stores in Commack, Huntington Station, Bay Shore, Carle Place, New Hyde Park, Riverhead and Long Beach were listed as having “storewide” sales where customers could “save on everything.” Those locations also said they could not accept store pick-up orders, “due to the unique nature of this store.” 

Stores in Lake Grove, Massapequa Park, Rocky Point and Freeport did not list sales. 

The moves had some investors wondering if a bankruptcy filing was imminent.

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Photo by James Gorman

HEARTWARMING FUN

Get out of the cold and catch a performance of the timeless musical classic ‘Annie’ at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts. The theater presents its last three performances on Jan. 18 at 2 p.m., Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. and Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. through Jan. 20. Based on the popular comic strip by Harold Gray, the story follows little orphan Annie on her quest to find the parents who abandoned her on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage. Tickets are $40 adults, $36 seniors, $25 students. Call 724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org. 

Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly in a scene from 'An American in Paris.' Photo courtesy of Fathom Events

One of the greatest, most elegant, and most celebrated of MGM’s 1950s musicals, An American in Paris, heads to hundreds of select theaters nationwide on Sunday, Jan. 19, and Wednesday, Jan. 22, courtesy of Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events. 

Gene Kelly stars in the 1951 classic. Photo courtesy of Fathom Events

Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron star in the 1951 comedic love story about mixed signals and zany pursuits. When Jerry Mulligan (Kelly) leaves military service and returns to Paris to chase his dreams of being an artist, he’s soon pursued by a wealthy heiress who wants to be more than his platonic patron. But Jerry falls in love with Lise (a then-19-year-old Caron in her film debut), a French shop girl who, unbeknownst to him, is his best friend’s fiancée. Naturally, a love triangle ensues. 

The film, which also stars Oscar Levant, Georges Guétary and Nina Foch, was set to the music of George Gershwin and features I Got Rhythm, Love Is Here to Stay, I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise, ’S Wonderful and The American in Paris ballet, a 17-minute dance featuring Kelly and Caron.

Directed by Vincent Minelli and choreographed by Kelly, An American in Paris was an enormous success, garnering eight Academy Award nominations and winning six (including Best Picture).

This special two-day event includes exclusive insight from TCM Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz.

Participating theaters in our neck of the woods include AMC Loews Stony Brook 17, 2196 Nesconset Highway, Stony Brook on Jan. 19 at 1 and 4 p.m. and Jan. 22 at 7 p.m.; Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas, 1001 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale on Jan. 22 at 7 p.m.; and Island 16 Cinema de Lux, 185 Morris Ave., Holtsville on Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. To purchase your ticket in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.

In response to an unprecedented number of customers visiting Department of Motor Vehicle offices in the five boroughs of New York City and on Long Island, the NYS DMV is now offering appointments for Saturday at several locations in New York including two on Long Island − Garden City and Medford. In addition, all offices on Long Island are now opening at 7:30 a.m., an hour earlier than the previous opening time. The announcement was made in a press release on Jan. 11.

“Just this week, we deployed additional staff to help with communication and customer service and saw an immediate impact,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder.

“We have seen a large reduction in the lines outside most offices, and nearly twice as many customers are receiving expedited service through Saturday appointments. We are continuing to make adjustments and hire more staff to further improve the service to our customers,” he said.

To prepare for the anticipated increase in customers, the DMV hired more than 300 new employees and are still actively recruiting new staff. Office space was reconfigured, new work spaces were added and flex space, like conference rooms, were converted to permit testing rooms to maximize the number of customers who could be served at one time. 

According to the press release, the DMV also purchased new office equipment and document authentication devices to help expedite license and permit transactions. If there is a wait, customers are being offered return tickets to come back to the office at a specific time later in the day so they can avoid waiting in the office.

The reservation system has also been upgraded and the number of reservation slots available to customers Monday through Friday was increased. 

Customers, especially those needing a permit test, are encouraged to make a reservation, which they can do on online at: https://dmv.ny.gov/reservation. Reservations can significantly reduce a customer’s wait time. To ensure customers are prepared for their visit, staff is proactively providing study materials, forms and other helpful information while customers wait to complete their transaction. Staff will also review a customer’s documentation to make sure they have what they need.  

The DMV also directs customers to use the in-office kiosks or the DMV website for any transaction that can be completed online.

For more information about DMV, visit www.dmv.ny.gov.

The interior of Alls Souls Church. Photo from Daniel Kerr

All Souls Church, 61 Main St., Stony Brook has added Gregorian Chant/Music of Taizé to its monthly programs, providing a time for quiet meditation to clear the mind and rest the soul. The historic chapel will be lit with candles and alive with mystical chants and songs. This is a unique opportunity for reflection and/or silent prayer for people of all faiths (or no faith) searching for a spiritual connection in their lives. Next session will be held tonight, Thursday, Jan. 16 from 8 to 9 p.m. For more information, please call 516-607-9111.

Macy’s in Commack is set to close this summer. Photo by Rita J. Egan

A week into 2020, retail giant Macy’s announced it is closing at least 28 stores in the next couple of months, including one in Suffolk County — the Commack store located at 2 Veterans Highway. 

The Hicksville store in Nassau County is also on the chopping block.

“The decision to close a store is always a difficult one, but Macy’s is proud to have served … the Commack community over the past 39 years,” said Macy’s spokesperson Bridget Betances in a press release on Jan. 6.

The chain plans to shutter the 210,000-square-foot Commack store this summer because its lease is being terminated by the landlord. A clearance sale is slated for May and will run about two months. Commack Shopping Center Associates has plans to demolish the building and replace it with a BJ’s Wholesale Club. Approximately 100 employees will be affected. 

Macy’s in Lake Grove, Huntington Station and Bay Shore have been spared for now.

Stock photo

By Fr. Francis Pizzarelli

Father Frank Pizzarelli

As the New Year begins, let’s not be distracted by a political rhetoric that is more fixated on ad hominem attacks and divisiveness but rather let us support positive action on behalf of all Americans.

As we begin a new decade, it is imperative that people from every race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and social class commit themselves to a new social discourse that is grounded in civility and respect for all people no matter what their political and philosophical perspectives. We can no longer remain silent about the reprehensible conduct of those who lead us. Being silent is being complicit. By that silence, we say that this horrific rhetoric and demeaning language is okay.

Our country is founded on the principle We the People. We must renew our commitment to stand up for social justice, for equality and inclusiveness for all people, no matter what their ethnicity, race, color, sexual orientation, economic or social status.

The leaders of our faith community, both locally and nationally, must move out of their coma of silence, not become political or feed the rhetoric of hate and divisiveness, but rather they must stand up and call us to civility and a discourse that supports and respects the human dignity and integrity of every American citizen.

Our moral compass seems to be broken. We can no longer count on those who lead us civically and religiously to recalibrate it. We must have the courage to stand up and be counted to speak out on behalf of the poor, work for social justice, for peace and for human rights for all and believe we can truly make a difference. I see these miracles happening every day. I think they can become contagious.

At the beginning of every new year, we traditionally make a series of New Year resolutions that we break by Jan. 2. This year let’s identify some important social issues that urgently need to be addressed and work diligently at creative solutions that will improve the quality of life in all of our communities.

Homelessness is a growing problem across our county. Our traditional approach is a poor Band-Aid that sets most homeless people up for failure. The poor and the homeless live in the shadows. They’ve no fixed address so they have no political representation — no one to voice their concerns and struggles.

Our Department of Social Services, which is charged to deal with the homeless, is working with an antiquated model that is outdated and inefficient. Therefore, costing you, the taxpayer, an extraordinary amount of money and does little to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness in our midst.

Let us be mindful that more and more of our homeless are mentally ill, drug addicts and returning veterans suffering from untreated PTSD. We lack the basic human resources to break their cycle of dependency on the system.

Although Suffolk County has seen a decrease in fatal opioid overdose, the opioid crisis is still devastating communities across America. We are still paying lip service to a national infection but are doing little to treat it effectively. Evidence-based treatment says we need long-term residential treatment beds for a minimum of one year to 18 months, if we hope to empower the recovering addict to wellness and long-term recovery.

We have very limited resources in this regard. The few resources we do have are overtaxed with referrals and are underfunded. The time for talking is over; it’s a time for positive action!

May this new year and new decade be a new beginning for making our country great again — grounded in dignity and respect for all. Let us become the change we hope for!

Fr. Pizzarelli, SMM, LCSW-R, ACSW, DCSW, is the director of Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson.

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Photo courtesy of Theatre Three

The classic Grimm fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” heads to Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson from Jan. 18 to Feb. 22 with a sensory sensitive performance on Jan. 19 at 11 a.m.

Amanda Sally Desdemona Estella Barbara Temple, better known as Little Red Riding Hood, takes a thrilling journey through the woods to her grandmother’s house. See what happens when William de Wolf stops at Granny Becket’s for “a bite” and Little Red Riding Hood shows up. Joined by her twin sisters, Blanche and Nora, Little Red Riding Hood learns a big lesson about safety in this modern musical telling.

All seats are $10. To order, call 928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.