Arts & Entertainment

Tony Zador. Photo courtesy of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

By Daniel Dunaief

For some people, the frontier lies deep in space, further than the eye can see. For others, the frontier resides at tremendous pressure beneath the surface of the ocean. For Tony Zador, the chair of neuroscience and professor of biology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the frontier is much closer to home, in the collection of signals in our brains that enable thought and direct our actions.

Recently, Zador and his research team helped explore that frontier, developing a technological innovation that allowed them to see where nervous system cells from one important region projected into other areas.

About six years ago, Zador came up with the idea to barcode the brain. Zador and his former graduate student Justus Kebschull explored the connections between the locus coeruleus (LC) and other parts of a rodent brain. The LC is responsible for reacting to stressful situations, allowing an animal to stimulate areas that might help save its life, including those responsible for visual or auditory processing.

Researchers believed that the intercom system that connected the LC to the rest of the brain could stimulate all areas at once, like a building-wide announcement coming over the public address system. What scientists didn’t know, however, was whether that communication system could send messages to individual areas.

“People knew before our work that neurons in the locus coeruleus broadcast their signals throughout the cortex,” Zador said. “What was not known was whether there was any specificity. It was always assumed.”

Zador found that individual neurons had precise connections to different parts of the brain. While this doesn’t prove that the LC can selectively activate one area, the way a superintendent might send a signal to one wing of a building, it demonstrates the specificity of the connections, which “raises the possibility” of selective signals.

Indeed, if each neuron diffusely spread out across the entire cortex, there would be no way to achieve localized control over cortical functions through the LC system. The visual cortex, for example, would be alerted at the same time as the auditory and frontal cortex.

Ultimately, Zador is interested in the brain’s neuronal network. The way nervous system cells communicate in our brains can help us understand how we process and interact with the world around us. Down the road, he is hoping to help create something called a connectome, which will provide a map of that network.

This information, at a basic level, could provide a better understanding of neurological conditions such as autism, schizophrenia, depression and addiction.

At this stage, however, Zador is building a network called the projectome, which provides a map of the specific regions neurons go in the brain. He collects this information by inserting a deactivated virus with a unique genetic code into the brain. These viruses act as a label, allowing Zador and his colleagues to trace the areas where individual neurons go. This technique, he said, doesn’t indicate whether neuron one is connected to neuron two, three or four, but, rather, it indicates whether neuron one is connected to a bunch of neurons in regions one and two but not in three and four.

Zador “had to develop a method of bar coding each neuron so that it is unique and a technique of detecting each bar code individually,” said Bruce Stillman, the president and chief executive officer of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. By collecting numerous samples of where these neurons go, Zador, his collaborators and other scientists can determine the natural range of variability for animal models of individuals with typical behaviors and reactions. Once they establish that range of typical wiring, they can compare that to animal models of neurological challenges, like autism. Zador wants to “create a baseline against which we can compare neuropsychiatric models of disease.”

Stillman explained that Zador’s focus at CSHL has been on cognition — how the brain makes decisions, retains memory and pays attention to tasks at hand. Zador, Stillman suggested, is “one of the pioneers in establishing the rodent cognition area.”

To understand cognition, however, Zador needed to see what regions of the brain are connected to other areas, providing a road map of the brain. Even though he didn’t have a background in molecular biology, Zador benefited from working with specialists at CSHL to create this bar coding, Stillman explained. Stillman described Zador as “bright” and “broad thinking.”

Zador said the next step in his work will be to relate the projections to the individual cells’ function in the brain. He would also like to see their neuron-to-neuron connectivity. He said he is pursuing both goals and hopes to submit a paper in the next month or two describing such a method for the first time.

“Although we can sequence the codes” from neighboring neurons, “we still have work to do to figure out connectivity,” Zador said. “That involves significant molecular tricks that we’re refining.”

Georgio Ascoli, a collaborator with Zador and the director of the Center for Neural Informatics at the Krasnow Institute of Advanced Study at George Mason University, described Zador as an “internationally renowned, highly respected scientist,” whose best known contributions relate to the challenge of understanding how the brain can seamlessly decide which stimuli in a varied environment like a cocktail party to listen to among numerous choices.

A resident of Laurel Hollow, Zador lives with his wife Kathy Shamoun, who practices Chinese medicine at CSHL and is a childbirth educator and doula. The couple has two sons, Ronin, 10, and Bowie, 6.

As for the benefits of this bar-coding approach, Ascoli explained that the technique is “potentially revolutionary because of its inherent scalability to full mammalian brain mapping, which is currently out of reach for alternative approaches.”

From left, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal will come to Northport on Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of Engeman Theater

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport, will host stars Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp as they perform their new concert Adam & Anthony LIVE Monday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the iconic musical “RENT,” the concert will feature material from both artists’ solo shows, popular hits and duets as they performed in the original Broadway production, national tour and film adaptation of “RENT.” Adam and Anthony will also share stories about working with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and composer Jonathan Larson. Tickets are $75 per person and may be purchased by calling 631-261-2900 or by visiting www.engemantheater.com.

Landmark status is granted to The Jazz Loft building in Stony Brook. File photo

The following is an edited Town of Brookhaven public comment presentation made Sept. 1.

Good evening, Mr. Supervisor and town board members.

My name is John Broven, author of three books on American music history. I am privileged to live in a historic district of East Setauket, part of the beautiful Three Village area. My late father-in-law, Clark Galehouse, founded Golden Crest Records out of Huntington Station in 1956 and released many jazz albums among others — I think you know where I’m coming from.

I fully endorse the recommendation of Town Historian Barbara Russell and the Historic District Advisory Committee to accord The Jazz Loft building at 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook, landmark status. I would like to read my historical notes in support of my position.

The Jazz Loft building, in fact, consists of two historic structures: The Stone Jug and the 1921 firehouse. The building accommodated the first museum in Stony Brook, founded in 1935 by real estate broker and insurance agent O.C. (Cap) Lempfert, a keen hunter and taxidermist. At first, the museum was located in the home of Arthur Rayner where Saturday nature talks for children became a weekly event; naturalist Robert Cushman Murphy, of R.C. Murphy Jr. High School, led some of the nature walks.

Originally called the Suffolk County Museum of Natural History, it became known as the Little Museum in the Jug after it was moved to the Stone Jug storage building — a former tavern and social center of the village — with the backing of Mr. and Mrs. Ward Melville. The museum was formally incorporated as the Suffolk Museum in 1939.

You may be amused by a quote from a history of the Museums at Stony Brook, a later name before it became today’s prestigious The Long Island Museum: “The move was no small task since by that time the collection include a 400-pound loggerhead turtle, an eagle with a 6-foot wingspread, a trumpeter swan, and hundreds of small collection items.”

I am aware that Mr. Lempfert’s granddaughters, Mary and Jane L’Hommedieu, who both now live on the West Coast, are delighted at the town’s potential recognition of their grandfather’s museum building — and thus his pioneering work. Jane tells me he also made and exhibited duck decoys, collected Native American artifacts from his property for the museum and even constructed a wigwam. A major achievement of the museum to this day was to collect and show the fabulous paintings of William Sidney Mount.

It is wonderful that the building has come alive this year after careful restoration as The Jazz Loft incorporating a museum — how appropriate! — live jazz and education facilities. What Tom Manuel, a talented jazz musician, educator and historian, his board and The Ward Melville Heritage Organization have done to date is very impressive, not only for the Three Village area but also for Long Island tourism — and jazz itself. I know Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) attended the opening. By granting The Jazz Loft building landmark status, in effect the town will be protecting and preserving our past, present and future heritage. I trust the town board will support its Historic District Advisory Committee because I consider all the historical and cultural boxes have been ticked.

The result: A unanimous vote in favor.

John Broven is a member of the editorial staff of this newspaper. He gives thanks to Joshua Ruff, director of collections and interpretation of The Long Island Museum, for providing historical detail by way of “The Carriage Museum” (1987) publication.

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Dolly the sheep. File photo

By Elof Axel Carlson

Dolly was a Dorset Finn breed of sheep born in 1996 in Scotland. She was conceived from a nucleus taken from a breast cell of an adult healthy sheep that was transferred into the cytoplasm of an egg of a different breed whose nucleus had been removed.

Dolly was the first successful live-born lamb out of about 250 tries. She was named for Dolly Parton. Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell were the scientists who constructed her. Dolly began developing arthritis at age 5 and died a year later showing signs of old age. Normal life expectancy for a Dorset sheep is 12 years. It was thought that the cloning nucleus from the donor Dorset sheep passed on its age to Dolly at birth and that this led to her premature aging. That turned out to be false.

Kevin Sinclair, a developmental biologist in England, obtained four live clones from the breast tissue that was used to make Dolly. The successful live-born sheep were named Debbie, Diana, Daisy and Denise. They are now (2016) 9 years old and in perfect health.

Cloning is still inefficient and more failures (mostly during early embryonic stages) occur than successes. Success with dogs in Japan has led some pet owners to pay for a cloned twin of a favored aging pet. In Dolly’s case an electric shock was used after the transfer of the nucleus to stimulate the cell to divide. For some embryologists a series of transfers to fresh enucleated eggs is required to achieve success.

Why most fail is not known, but the field of epigenetics may supply some of the answers. Genes are coated chemically by the organism in body tissues. Normally, in males and females these coatings, which regulate whether genes are on or off, are removed in the testes or ovaries where reproductive cells are made. I do not doubt that in a decade or so scientists will learn to do that in a test tube or Petri dish. Will that technology be used commercially? Very likely. Prize race horses and beef or milk cattle could be cloned if the success rate was about 70 percent. It will probably not be better than that because natural fertilization fails in about one third of fertilized eggs, a substantial part of that being extra or missing chromosomes when sperm or egg nuclei are produced.

Living things are very complex and the chance of getting almost 100 percent “perfect” cells is virtually impossible to achieve. That is why many couples attempting to have children often take months or years before they become pregnant or seek help from an in vitro fertilization clinic.

The success of Dolly’s cloned sibling sheep worries some medical ethicists that, if applied to humans, this could be abused by narcissistic personalities who want to clone themselves. So far that hasn’t happened and many countries (and states in the U.S.) have banned cloning using human tissues. For those who enjoy watching (and betting on) horses, it raises an interesting idea. If races were eventually done with cloned champions, it would favor the training over the breeding as the basis for who wins. Imagine a field of a dozen cloned Seabiscuits and trying to figure out whose training was the best.

Elof Axel Carlson is a distinguished teaching professor emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University.

Hormone replacement can have serious consequences. Stock photo

By David Dunaief, M.D.

We are bombarded continually with ads suggesting that men should talk to their doctors about “Low T.” This refers to low testosterone. Is this all hype, or is this a serious malady that needs medical attention? The short answer is it depends on the candidate. The best candidates have deficient testosterone levels and are symptomatic.

Men do go through andropause or have unusually low testosterone (hypogonadism). The formal name for treatment is androgen replacement therapy.

The greatest risk factor for lower testosterone is age. As men age, the level of testosterone decreases. Respectively, 20, 30 and 50 percent of those who are in their 60s, 70s and 80s have total testosterone levels of less than 320 ng/dL (1). However, some of the pharmaceutical ads would have you think that most men over 40 should seek treatment. Treatments offered include gels, transdermal patches and injections.

While real estate is all about “location, location, location,” with testosterone “caution, caution, caution” should be used.

Who are the most appropriate candidates for therapy? Those who have symptoms including lack of sexual desire, fatigue and lack of energy. However, what is scary is that around 25 percent of patients are getting scripts for testosterone without first testing their blood levels to determine if they have a deficiency (2). A simple blood test can measure total testosterone, as well as free and weakly bound levels at mainstream labs.

The number of testosterone scripts increased threefold from 2001 to 2011 for men more than 40 years old (3). Either we have discovered vast numbers of men with low levels or, more likely, marketing has caused the number of scripts to outstrip the need.

What are the risks and benefits of treating testosterone levels? Is testosterone treatment really the fountain of youth? There are benefits reported for those who actually have significantly deficient levels. Benefits may include improvements in muscle mass, strength, mood and sexual desire (4). However, several studies have suggested that testosterone therapy may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke, heart disease and even death. These are obviously serious side effects. It also may cause acquired hypogonadism by shrinking the testes, resulting in a dependency on exogenous, or outside, testosterone therapy.

When testosterone is given, it may be important to also test PSA levels (5). If they increase by more than 1.4 ng/ml over a three-month period, then it may be wise to have a discussion with your physician about considering discontinuing the medication. You should not stop the medication without first talking to your doctor, and then a consult with a urologist may be appropriate. If the PSA is greater than 4.0 ng/ml initially, treatment should probably not be started without a urology consult.

How can you raise testosterone levels and improve symptoms without hormone therapy? Lifestyle changes, including losing weight, exercising and altering dietary habits, have shown promising results. Let’s look at the evidence.

Cardiovascular risk

One study’s results showed that men were at significantly increased risk of experiencing a heart attack within the first three months of testosterone use (6). There was an overall 36 percent increased risk. When stratified by age, this was especially true of men who were 65 and older. This population had a greater than twofold risk of having a heart attack. This risk may have to do with an increased number of red blood cells with testosterone therapy. Those who were younger showed a trend toward increased risk but did not meet statistical significance.

When the patient was younger than 65 and had heart disease, there was a significant twofold greater risk of a heart attack; however, those without heart disease did not show risk. This does not mean there is no risk for those who are “healthy” and younger; it just means the study did not show it. This observational study compared over 50,000 men who received new testosterone scripts with over 150,000 men who received scripts for erectile dysfunction drugs: phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, including tadalafil (Cialis) and sildenafil (Viagra). PDE5 inhibitors have not demonstrated this cardiovascular risk.

Unfortunately, this is not the only study that showed potential cardiovascular risks. A 2013 study reinforced these results, showing that there was an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and death after three years of testosterone use (7). Ultimately, it found a 30 percent greater chance of cardiovascular events. What is worse is that risk was significant in both those with a history of heart disease and those without. This was a retrospective study involving 1,200 men with a mean age of 60.

We need randomized controlled trials to make a more definitive association. Still, these are two large studies that suggest increased risk. If you already have heart disease, be especially careful when considering testosterone therapy.

FDA response

The FDA, which approved testosterone therapy originally, is now investigating the possible cardiovascular risk profile based on the above two studies (8). The FDA doesn’t suggest stopping medication if you are taking it presently, but it should be monitored closely. The agency, in the meantime, has issued an alert to doctors about the potential dangerous side effects of androgen replacement therapy. The FDA says that the use of testosterone therapy is for those with low levels and other medical issues, such as hypogonadism from either primary or secondary causes.

Conflicting data

Two newer studies contradict the previous findings and suggest that testosterone supplementation for those who are deficient may not increase the risk of cardiovascular events or death. However, both studies have their weaknesses. One found that, although the cardiovascular events and death increased over the first two months, over the medium (9 months) and long terms (35 months), the risks actually decreased (9). Weaknesses: There was an initial detrimental cardiovascular effect; the study was observational; and the population was not well-defined as to participants’ history of cardiovascular disease or not. The second study was retrospective or backward-looking in time (10). These studies may not change the FDA warnings. What we need is a large randomized controlled trial.

Obesity and weight loss

Not surprisingly, obesity is an important factor in testosterone levels. In a study that involved 900 men with metabolic syndrome — borderline or increased cholesterol levels, sugar levels and a waist circumference greater than 40 inches — those who lost weight were 50 percent less likely to develop testosterone deficiencies. Those who participated in lifestyle modification had a highly statistically significant 15 percent increase in testosterone (11). Also, when men increased their physical activity and made dietary changes, there was an almost 50 percent risk reduction one year out, compared to their baseline at the start of the trial.

Interestingly, metformin had no effect in preventing lower testosterone levels in patients with abnormal sugar levels, but lifestyle modifications did. These patients were relatively similar to the average American biometrics with prediabetes: HbA1c of 6 percent and glucose of 108 mg/dL; a mean of 42-inch waists; and a BMI that was obese at 32 kg/m2. The mean age was between 53 and 54.

If there is one thing that you get from this article, I hope it’s that testosterone is not something to be taken lightly. You can improve testosterone levels if you’re overweight by losing fat pounds. If you think you have symptoms and you might need testosterone, talk to your doctor about getting a blood test before you do anything. It may be preferable to try alternate medications that improve erections such as sildenafil and tadalafil.

References: (1) J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Feb;86(2):724. (2) J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Online 2014; Jan 1. (3) JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Aug 12;173(15):1465-1466. (4) J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Aug;85(8):2839. (5) UpToDate.com. (6) PLoS One. 2014 Jan 29; 9(1):e85805. (7) JAMA. 2013;310:1829-1836. (8) FDA.gov. (9) Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2016;4(6):498-506. (10) Eur Heart J. 2015;36(40):2706-2715. (11) ENDO 2012; Abstract OR28-3.

Dr. Dunaief is a speaker, author and local lifestyle medicine physician focusing on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management. For further information, visit www.medicalcompassmd.com or consult your personal physician.

File photo by Giselle Barkley A Dragon Boat team races to the finish at last year’s event. File photo by Giselle Barkley

Dragons will roar once again as the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosts the 3rd annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival in the village on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The free event, which will be held at the Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park, 101 E. Broadway and the Port Jefferson Inner harbor, is anticipated each year with great fanfare.

The festival is the brainchild of Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber, who attended a dragon boat festival in Cape May, New Jersey, a few years ago.

“This year’s ‘Dragons’ has 32 teams, up from last year of 22,” said Ransome. “We have brought in new Asian entertainment and have configured the layout of the park differently to accommodate all the new team encampments and the entertainment. The event is rain or shine and will lots of great recreational racing competition, where we will be giving out over 300 medals to our winnning team paddlers!”

Opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m. with Erin and Kiera Pipe singing the national anthem and a performance by the Asian Veterans Color Guard. Buddhist Monk Bhante Nanda of the Long Island Buddhist Meditation Center will hold the Blessing of the Dragon and “Eye Dotting” ceremony to kick off the races and there will be a special appearance of the festival mascot Dragon sponsored by the Harbor Ballet Theatre.

With the first race scheduled at 9 a.m., boat teams will compete in a 250-meter course in four dragon boats provided by the High Five Dragon Boat Company and will include representatives from local hospitals, civic groups, businesses and cultural organizations. Each team will be made up of 20 “paddlers,” one steersman and one drummer. Heats will run all day (all teams will race three times) with a culmination of an awards ceremony at the end of the day.

Spectators can easily view the race course from the park’s edge and pier. In addition to the races, there will be a day-long festival featuring numerous performances including the famous Lion Dance, martial arts, dancing and singing. New this year is the performance of Bian Lian, the art of Chinese mask changing. In addition there will be a performance of the Erhu (a Chinese two-stringed fiddle).

Various Asian delicacies will be offered from food vendors including spring rolls, pot stickers, pork buns, sushi, cold noodles, bubble tea and fried dumplings. There will be many activities for children including the painting of “dragon” eggs, visiting with real dragons, crafts and even a fun photo booth to create a fun memory keepsake!

Adults can try their hand at traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy and enjoy massages and Reiki by the Port Jeff Salt Cave along with chair massages by Panacea Massage & Wellness Studio of Port Jeff.

Sponsors include the Confucius Institute of Stony Brook, LongIsland.com, People’s United Bank, Times Beacon Record Newspapers, News12, ServPro of Port Jefferson, Maggio Environmental Services, New York Community Bank, Stony Brook University, Tritec, Suffolk County National Bank, OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates — Long Island Chapter and Asian-American Cultural Circle of Unity.

Free shuttle buses provided by the Port Jeff Jitney will make frequent stops at the Port Jefferson Train Station, CVS parking lot on Barnum Avenue and the corner of Belle Terre Road and Myrtle Avenue to bring eventgoers to the Port Jefferson Village Center until 5:30 p.m.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come enjoy the festivities. For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit www.portjeffdragonfest.com.

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE:

A dragon greets visitors at last year’s festival. Photo by Elyse Sutton
A dragon greets visitors at last year’s festival. Photo by Elyse Sutton

7:45 a.m. Team captains meeting on the Great Lawn at Harborfront Park

8:30 a.m. Opening ceremonies 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Food vendors, crafts, children activities, photo booth pictures, cultural/educational/nonprofit vendor tables

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dragon Boat races in the Port Jefferson Inner Harbor

9 a.m. First races begin

9 a.m. DDKY Korean Traditional Drums

9:30 a.m. Long Island Chinese Dance Group

10 a.m. Sound of Long Island Chorus, Chinese classic, modern singing, dances

10:30 to 11 a.m. Performance by Taiko Tides — Japanese percussion instruments, drumming

11:15 a.m. Performance by the Stony Brook Youth Choir — Peking Opera, Chorus and Chinese Yoyo

11:30 a.m. North Shore Youth Music Ensemble

12 to 1 p.m. Lunch break (no racing)

12 to 12:45 p.m. Parade of the Team T-Shirt Contest and Best Drummer Costume Contest. Location: Show Mobile

12:45 p.m. Authentic Shaolin Kung-Fu Lion Dance, Kung Fu and Tai Chi demonstration

1 p.m. Races continue

2 p.m. Chinese Umbrella Dance performed by Alice and Emily Snyder

2:30 p.m. DDKY Korean Traditional Drums

3 p.m. Bian Lian performance (art of Chinese mask changing) and performance of the Erhu (Chinese two-stringed fiddle)

3:30 p.m. Song Island Performing Art Group

4 p.m. United Martial Arts Center — Japanese Karate and Ninjutsu

4:30 p.m. Performance by Taiko Tides — Japanese percussion instruments, drumming

4:45 p.m. Last Dragon Boat race

5 to 5:30 p.m. Closing ceremonies and awards

Above, the Eastbound Freight Bluegrass band in front of the Port Jefferson Village Center. Photo by Amy Tuttle

By Philip Griffith

On the soft summer evening of Aug. 31, another friendly audience viewed and listened to the Eastbound Freight Bluegrass band [in Port Jefferson]. It was the final of nine free Sunset Concerts of the 2016 season. Raindrops moved picnic suppers, blankets and chairs into the comfortable confines of the Port Jefferson Village Center overlooking the Harborfront Park and Long Island Sound.

Listening to the traditional bluegrass music, I was reminded of my family’s visits to Clarksburg, West Virginia. It was there in my grandparent’s home that my father and his 12 brothers and sisters grew up.

During their childhood and adult years, my father and uncles were coal miners. Like the Welsh coal-mining family in the Academy Award winning 1941 motion picture, “How Green Was My Valley,” the miners performed their dangerous work with manly pride and all contributed their meager wages to their mother.

The West Virginia heroes were John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers, socialist candidate for U.S. president Eugene Debs and union organizer Mary Harris Jones, a.k.a. Mother Jones. My grandfather and his sons were part of the bitter labor union struggles of coal miners.

During the 1930s Depression, my father migrated to New York City to find work, but he always loved his roots in the mountain state. On our family’s frequent visits to his childhood homestead, there would always be warm gatherings of families and friends.

At those reunions, there would be much food, drink and always the playing of their own brand of Appalachian Mountain country music. This family ritual provided a joyful respite from the rigors of coal mining. It was at those gatherings that I first hear and forever loved old-time country and bluegrass music. The Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, wrote, “Music is the art which is most near to tears and memory.”

I do not know what other recollections were engendered among the audience by these pure sounds of American bluegrass, but I’m certain it triggered a toe tapping, hand-clapping response. After both the last tune and an encore, the audience gave Bill Ayasse, Bruce Barry, John Bricotti, Bill De Turk and Dave Thompson standing ovations of appreciation.

These annual Sunset Concerts are a valuable artistic contribution to the wonderful life in the Village of Port Jefferson. Thank you to everyone who gives us this musical gift each year since 2009.

The author is a resident of Port Jefferson.

Editor’s note: The Sunset Concert series is sponsored by the Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council.

Photo courtesy of WMHO

Blast from the Past:

Do you know where and when this photo was taken? Why are these men wearing costumes? Email your answers to info@wmho.org. To see more wonderful vintage photographs like this, visit The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s ongoing exhibit, It Takes a Team to Build a Village, at The WMHO’s Educational & Cultural Center, 97P Main Street, Stony Brook. For more information, call 631-751-2244.

Last week’s photo:

Beauty ShopThis photo was taken in the early 1940s in the Harbor Crescent section of the Stony Brook Village Center. Photo courtesy of The WMHO

Over 100 exhibiting artists and artisans will be at Gallery North's 51st annual Outdoor Art and Music Festival this weekend. Photo courtesy of Gallery North
Exhibiting artists and artisans will offer a variety of art and crafts at this weekend's Outdoor Art and Music Festival. Photo courtesy of Gallery North
Exhibiting artists and artisans will offer a variety of art and crafts at this weekend’s Outdoor Art and Music Festival. Photo courtesy of Gallery North

They say some things just get better with age. This can surely be attributed to Gallery North’s annual Outdoor Art and Music Festival, which celebrates its 51st anniversary this year. Over 100 exhibiting artists and artisans, offering a variety of art and crafts such as painting (acrylic and oil), ceramics, jewelry, photography, fiber art, sculpture and mixed media work, will congregate on North Country Road in Setauket this Saturday, Sept. 10 and Sunday, Sept. 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine.

The two-day event provides members of the community an opportunity to interact with artists, purchase finely made crafts, and enjoy a weekend full of exciting activities while searching for the perfect handmade gift for family and friends and to get a jump-start on holiday shopping.

Roberta Fabiano and Tony Montalbo will perform live during Gallery North's 51st annual Outdoor Art and Music Festival. Photo courtesy of Gallery North
Roberta Fabiano and Tony Montalbo will perform live during Gallery North’s 51st annual Outdoor Art and Music Festival. Photo courtesy of Gallery North

Throughout the weekend visitors will enjoy musical performances by Sybil Lefferts & Friends, Claudia Jacobs Band, Roberta Fabiano and Tony Montalbo and The Bobby Sexton Trio. All musical entertainment is sponsored by Bridgehampton National Bank.

In addition to enjoying the outdoor festivities, all are invited to stop by the gallery to view the current Printmaking exhibition. The Community Art Center will also be open on both Saturday and Sunday welcoming visitors to participate in the gallery’s Make Your Mark Tile Fundraiser. Adults, children, families, as well as professional artists are invited to paint their own six-inch ceramic tile, which will be used in the garden wall of the terrace of the new Community Art Center.

In honor of excellence in Fine Art and Craft, Gallery North’s Board of Trustees and Friends will sponsor prizes for outstanding work in the areas of jewelry, painting, crafts and mixed media, work on paper including watercolor, pastel and graphics and drawing, wood craft, photography, glass as well as best in show. This year’s judges will be Larissa Grass, Stephanie Gress and Dean Goelz. Prize sponsors include Sharon Cowles, Judy Gibbons, Robin and Doug Dahlgard, Ronne Cosel, Stephanie Gress, Nancy Goroff and Dina and Bill Weisberger.

Event schedule

Saturday, Sept. 10

◆ 10 am to 5 pm: Make Your Mark — Tile Fundraiser in the Community Art Center (CAC)

◆ 11 am to 1 pm.: Kids Art Table

◆ 12 to 2 pm: Sybil Lefferts & Friends in concert

◆ 2:30 to 4:30 pm: Claudia Jacobs Band in concert

Sunday, Sept. 11

◆ 10 am to 5 pm: Make Your Mark — Tile Fundraiser in the CAC

◆ 11 am to 1 pm: Kids Art Table

◆ 12 to 2 pm: Roberta Fabiano and Tony Montalbo, 9/11 Tribute

◆ 2:30 to 4:30 pm: The Bobby Sexton Trio in concert

Gallery North is located at 90 North Country Road in Setauket. For additional information, please call 631-751-2676 or visit www.gallerynorth.org.

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