Arts & Entertainment

From left, Samantha Carroll, Jay McKenzie and Bobby Peterson in a scene from ‘Violet’ at the SCPA. Photo by Theresa Grillo

By Charles J. Morgan

The noir musical “Violet,” based on the short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts, opened last Saturday at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts. But what is a noir musical? Is it an opera, rock or otherwise? Is it sad, heart-rending, tragic, on a level with “La Bohème”? Your scribe suggests it is somewhere between Rossini’s effort and the recent “Murder Ballard” — the former an illustrious work of art, the latter the apotheosis of poor taste. “Violet,” therefore, is a middle ground, standing across the road as a signpost directing the theatrical traveler to the crossroads of mediocrity. Take one of the forks: aesthetic satisfaction; take the other —  “…’n I wuz like wow!”

There are noir motion pictures too. They all occur in one noir night, in noir and white and always have plot lines involving a murder solution. It makes one wonder why noir musicals are penned in the first place. Presumably they were intended to pitch shock and schlock into the roiling sea of praise poured onto the “happy ending” dance and song of the major hits. In your scribe’s not-so-humble opinion, “Violet” is a classically flawed work hinging on the fact of a young girl’s face horribly disfigured by a flying axe blade. At this juncture one could rank it with the Parisian Theatre Guignol.

Now then, standing back from all of the above, there was the indomitable Ken Washington direction. As his ever present skills reveal, interpretation and blocking were kept well ahead of the pursuing nemesis stasis. A pitfall of the one-set production is always a threat, but Washington came through. He handled the individuation of characters by giving them fast and slow motion that kept the boards well trod.

In the obviously starring role of Violet was Samantha Carroll. In singing and acting she was outstanding. With a fetching stage presence, she coupled this with a delightful soprano voice. With scarcely an exit she was easily the jeweled bearing on which the dynamic of the show rotated.

Two male singers vied for her attention … her complete attention. One, a sergeant; the other a Tech 4. The sergeant (Flick) was Jay McKenzie, the Tech 4 (Monty) was Bobby Peterson. McKenzie was the cool, veteran soldier with a strong tenor. In Act II his duet with Carrol was very impressive.

Peterson was more than just a foil for the sergeant. His voice was robust with a lyric tenor closeness that expressed his simple love for Violet. Michael Bertolini doubled as the bus driver and, in a powerful cameo, a corrupt Bible-thumper. He sang and danced with a group of pretend Bible singers. Viewing it your scribe felt Catholics in the audience would wear a wry grin; Evangelicals would have picketed that “preacher’s” performance.

As Young Violet, Hayleigh Jusas revealed excellent stage presence and a strong voice. In the “preacher” segment one ultra-powerful voice stood out: that of Amanda Camille Isaac. It was powerful, smooth and wrought with strength that not only expressed her religious fervor but rattled the rafters.

Music was live under the direction of Melissa Coyle with Craig Coyle on second keyboard, Ron Curry on bass, Jim Waddell on drums. Tiffany Jordan on cello, Brad Bosenbeck on violin and two guitars handled by Ray Sabatello and Douglas Baldwin provided palpable background, effecting it all with no brass.

“Violet” was a completely well-executed noir piece. It was balanced with other than rock, pertinent, believable recitatives and tender solos. To your scribe it was a critical challenge. To the audience it was a treat.

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown, will present ‘Violet’ through May 17. Tickets are $35 adults, $20 students. For more information, call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.

Peter Fogel stars in the touring production of ‘My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy.’ Photo from Theatre Three

During the first 15 minutes of “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy,” currently on tour and playing at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson, I became a little concerned. I expected to be laughing my tuches off, but that wasn’t the case. Until, that is, Peter Fogel, portraying the show’s author, Steve Solomon, really started describing his Italian mother and Jewish father.

Despite the slow start — and some predictable jokes — the one-man show is enjoyable, especially if you can relate to it.

The show ran on Off-Broadway from 2006 until 2008 and spawned sequels “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m STILL in Therapy” and “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m Home for the Holidays.” Inspired by Solomon’s family and his upbringing in Sheepshead Bay, the show received favorable reviews and has toured internationally and in more than 100 cities.

Fogel, a Stony Brook-born, Baldwin-raised comedian, does a wonderful job of portraying all of the Solomon family and has great comedic timing when interacting with audience members who couldn’t stop laughing.
Fogel is especially hilarious as Grandma Angelina, who states “grandpa was a mail order groom damaged in shipping” and in one conversation confuses “condo” for “condom.”

One of the show’s strength’s is how even the punch lines have a little poignancy to them, like when Solomon asks his parents about the birds and the bees, but they always answered in riddles.

At the end of the show, Fogel made a comment about performing the show in other states and how not as many people get the jokes, which are definitely New York-centric.

There aren’t many other places that will truly understand the bit about driving through a gated Florida retirement community and being stopped by an elderly security guard with a walker or having a Jewish father whose cure-all to life’s problems is Chinese food.

These bits make the show and are so incredibly true for anyone whose parents, or grandparents, have shipped off to Florida or kept Kosher — unless it involved Chinese food.

Some of the jokes may be a little cliché, but man are they funny!

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present ‘My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy’ through May 10. Tickets are $44 on Wednesdays and Thursdays and $49 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Special group rates are available. For more information, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

Featuring two nationally recognized groups in folk music and an open mic filled with 10 local singer-songwriters, the Northport Arts Coalition’s StarLight Concert Series ended its season with a bang on Friday.

A packed house was captivated by the intertwined harmonies of singer-songwriters Chuck E. Costa and Mira Stanley of The Sea and the Sea and the old time up-tempo music of Jan Bell and the Maybelles, a cornerstone in the Brooklyn folk and country scene.

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‘Past Tense,’ by William Grabowski

The Huntington Arts Council recently announced the winners of its latest exhibit, a self-portrait show titled “I See Me.”

Juried by Lynn Rozzi, director of the Firehouse Plaza Art Gallery at Nassau Community College, the “I See Me” prospectus requested artists to respond to the challenge of sharing their interpretation of questions and statements behind self-portraiture: “Who are you? How do you see yourself? Let everyone in on your personal vision of you. Self-portraits rule the day!” The response, reflected in the exhibition of works, consists of a diverse mix of media including but not limited to oil, digital photo, watercolor, graphite/gouche, ink and pastels.

Participating artists include Anu Annam, Christopher Arvans, Robyn Bellospirito, Mark Belton, David Benson, Pamela Best, Marlene Bezich, Elizabeth Cassidy, Beth Costello, Katherine Criss, Judith Davidson, Jessica Dayan, Emily Eisen, Paul David Elsen, Jessica Faro, Jim Finlayson, Nicole Franz, Susan Geffken Burton, William Grabowski, Donna Grossman, Dan Guido, Kirsten Hadjoglou, Rodee Hansen, Samantha Hernandez, Sofie Hoff, Lori Horowitz, Caroline Isacsson, Kate Kelly, Lauren  Miceli, Margaret Minardi, Denis Ponsot, Robin Rosen-O’Leary, Lauren Ruiz, Jim Scovel, Constance Sloggatt Wolf, Jackie Stevens, Janice Sztabnik, Bobbie Turner, Tracy Vaccarino-Guzzardi, Chuck Von Schmidt, Pamela Waldroup, Lois V. Walker, Randy Weisbin and Fahiym Williams.

“‘I See Me’ employs the very interesting and up-to-the-minute concept … The Selfie … with the theme of self-portraits. And it seems to have touched the funny bone of a lot of artists who had a really good time picturing themselves in interesting, psychologically insightful and incredibly artful ways. This is a show not to be missed,” said Linda Louis, a member of the HAC board of directors and exhibition committee.

William Grabowski captured first place for his digital photo, “Past Tense.” Beth Costello garned second place for “No Language Barriers Here,” ink/oil pastel/paper on panels, and third place went to Margaret Minardi for her “Self Portrait,” colored pencil.

Awards of excellence were given to Marlene Bezich  for “Under Cover Artist #1,” oil; Donna   Grossman for “When One Door Closes,” oil/door panel; Jessica  Dayan for “Mirror,” oil/linen; and Mark Belton for his untitled self-portrait, acrylic/canvas.

“I See Me” will be on display in the Main Street Gallery through April 27, 2015. The gallery hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 631-271-8423 or visit www.huntingtonarts.org.

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The Mary Louise Booth House. Photo by William P. Steele

By Rita J. Egan

On Jan. 27, the childhood home of a writer, editor and translator of the 1800s, Mary Louise Booth, was officially listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Members of the Yaphank Historical Society were anticipating the news since the New York State Board for Historic Preservation approved the house for submission in the beginning of December.

The Mary Louise Booth House exhibit room. Photo by William P. Steele
The Mary Louise Booth House exhibit room. Photo by William P. Steele

Tricia Foley, historian for the Yaphank Historical Society who is working on a book about Booth, said the house, located at the intersection of E. Main Street and Yaphank Avenue, was built in 1829.

“It’s an early house of the period at the beginning of Yaphank’s development. In 1800 there were only 20 houses here and by the 1840s there were 200,” she said.

Foley said the Long Island ½-house is a one-story structure with an attic, two windows in the front and a door on the left. This was so if the owners added an extension, the door could be in the middle, according to the historian. Foley said many of the ½-houses were custom built, and the Booth house features beaded edges around all the windows as well as fireplace mantles in the parlor and bedroom with an unusual detailed, carving style.

Its inclusion on the list means the historical society can apply for more grants and there’s increased protection against demolition in the future, according to Foley. The group hopes to apply for a grant in the near future for renovation.

“There is a bay window in the kitchen, in the keeping room, and when we get more funding we would like to remove it, because it’s not period appropriate. It was probably put on later in the 19th century or early 20th century,” the historian said.

An exhibit documenting Booth’s life, who was born in 1831, is on display at the house. The Yaphank native was one of the first female reporters for The New York Times and the author of “History of the City of New York.” Foley said this book was originally intended to be a school textbook, but once the publisher realized just how significant the work was, it was released for public distribution.

The Mary Louise Booth House parlor. Photo by William P. Steele
The Mary Louise Booth House parlor. Photo by William P. Steele

Booth was also the founding editor of Harper’s Bazaar when the magazine started as a weekly in 1867 and worked with the publication for 22 years until her death in 1889, according to Foley. The historian said the editor did her best to educate women about the pressing subjects of the era.

“She was a suffragist and abolitionist, and she quietly brought in women’s issues into the different features and columns every week to keep women apprised of what was happening. She didn’t express her opinions, but she let people know very quietly,” she said.

While Booth remained objective when it came to the articles she published, outside her office, the editor and her friend Susan B. Anthony were involved in working toward equal pay for teachers. The former Yaphank resident was also part of the Women’s Suffrage movement, and she was the secretary of the 1855 Women’s Rights Convention in Saratoga Springs. The writer and editor was considered an abolitionist as well, and during her research, Foley found that Abraham Lincoln sent Booth a letter for her efforts in the Union cause. The president was impressed by the writer’s personal work as well as inspired by a book she translated from French to English called “Uprising of a Great People” by Count Agénor de Gasparin.

Foley said Booth, who during her lifetime translated over 40 books from French to English, was also involved in the Statue of Liberty transaction due to her translating and networking abilities. The translator introduced the statue’s sculpture, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, to key players in New York City such as bankers and government officials. The historian said Booth showed a gift for language at a young age. After she and her family moved from Yaphank to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when she was 14 years old, the future translator taught Latin classes as a teenager and also attended a French academy to practice conversational French.

The Mary Louise Booth House. Photo by William P. Steele
The Mary Louise Booth House. Photo by William P. Steele

“She had such a gift for language. She picked up conversational French very easily,” Foley said.

The historian said she isn’t surprised that Booth’s childhood home, which is the last remaining residence of her lifetime, was recognized on the register considering her work, which influenced the country and New York State history. The house, which was originally located on E. Main Street across from where it stands today, had various owners throughout the years until it became the property of the Kinney family after World War II. When the family donated the house to Suffolk County Historic Services in 1998, it was moved to its current location, and the Yaphank Historical Society became the steward of the home, according to Foley.

The public can visit the Mary Louise Booth Childhood Home Sunday afternoons in July and August or by appointment. For more information, visit www.yaphankhistorical.org or call 924-3401.

Jean Linzee will portray Emily Dickinson. Photo from the WMHO

In honor of National Poetry Month the Ward Melville Heritage Organization will host a live dramatic performance titled “Artists & Poets,” showcasing iconic American poets, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, at the Educational & Cultural Center, 97P Main St., in Stony Brook Village on Sunday, April 19, from 2 to 5 p.m. The event will  feature Jean Linzee as Emily Dickinson and Darrel Blaine Ford as Walt Whitman.

A former Long Island biology teacher and world-traveled ornithologist, Ford not only has a striking physical resemblance to Walt Whitman but a personal affinity with him since childhood, when he was given a copy of “Leaves of Grass” and was “hooked ever since.” He has been recreating Whitman’s persona for over 30 years and continues to maintain his legacy today by visiting schools and libraries as the famous poet.

Linzee is a Yale graduate and has taught English and theater at The Stony Brook School for over 20 years. Her experience includes not only teaching but also acting, directing and writing. She has conceived, written and performed in many of her own one-woman shows, as well as William Luce’s “The Belle of Amherst,” based  on the life of Emily Dickinson, which she has performed in England, Poland, Switzerland and throughout the United States.

There will be a special interaction with the audience and the actors, who will perform in an impromptu skit embodying the personas of Dickinson and Whitman as if they were meeting for the first time. The performance is $20 per person and will include refreshments.

There will also be a free art exhibit on site including works by Pat Solan, Flo Kemp and members of the Stony Brook Photography Club. Additional dates for the free art exhibit are April 16, 17, 18, 20 and 21.

For further information, please call 631-689-5888 or visit www.stonybrookvillage.com.

Music, food and games at SPARKBOOM event on Saturday

Wantagh native AJ Estrada strums a tune from his latest project, ‘Archibelle.’ Estrada will be performing at an event in Huntington on Saturday. Photo from AJ Estrada

By Julianne Cuba

On Saturday, a LaunchPad Huntington on Main Street will be home to an event that merges art, music, food and games, all while showcasing Long Island talent.

The event, called “ART BYTES: A Special #ARTNTECH Event,” is the brainchild of LaunchPad Huntington, a business accelerator and event space on Main Street in Huntington, Long Island Visual Professionals and SPARKBOOM, a project of the Huntington Arts Council that aims to support Long Island artists.

Raj Tawney, who is head of public relations & media for SPARKBOOM, said the program has hosted dozens of events since its first in 2013. Saturday’s event is expected to attract at least a few hundred people — but more than expected always seem to show up.

“The program exists because we felt there wasn’t enough opportunity for Generation Y and millennials in regards to emerging creative talent in Long Island,” Tawney said. “So, we developed this program give opportunity to younger artistic types in the area, so they don’t feel like they need to run to Manhattan to seek opportunity.”

One ART BYTES artist is AJ Estrada, a jack-of-all-trades. Estrada — a native of Wantagh — sings, plays the guitar and paints digitally. Estrada will be singing and performing songs from his new project, “Archibelle.” And his artwork will be on display in the featured artist gallery.

“I think this event, and SPARKBOOM, in general, has done a tremendous amount of work in curating and bringing together creatives from all over Long Island,” Estrada said. “They’re truly an outstanding group of people.”

Alexa Dexa, a Lindenhurst native who takes the name Dexa after her paternal grandmother, will also be performing at ART BYTES. Dexa, who is a 2011 graduate of Berklee College of Music, will be performing selections from her upcoming album, “Year of Abandon,” which, according to Dexa, is a collection of “toychestral” electronic pop songs concentrated on the meanings of the word “abandon.”

Accompanying Dexa’s own voice will be her toy piano, pitched desk bells and electronic beats she handcrafts.

“Any event that supports and showcases local music and musicians in their local neighborhoods is doing a great service to the arts community and the general public,” Dexa said. “Events like this absolutely strengthen the cultural validity of Long Island and certainly keep me from straying too far for too long while on tour.”

The event is free, with a $5 suggestion donation. It will take place at LaunchPad Huntington, at 315 Main Street on the second floor.

From left, Kyle Petty as Simon and Danny Amy as Jesus in a scene from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’ Photo by Diane Pacifico Marmann

By Charles J. Morgan

There are two ways that “Jesus Christ Superstar,” currently in production at the CMPAC, may be the subject of a critique: the theatrical and the biblical. The work of Tim Rice (lyrics) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (music), who gave the theatrical world “Evita” and “Phantom of the Opera,” it is a rock opera with no recitatives — all song and some ancillary choreography.

Brilliantly arranged live music, actually in the pit, featured Matthew W. Surico directing and on keyboard, backed by Danny Passadino on second board, Diana Fuller and Laura Carroll on guitars, Rob Curry on bass, Jacob Krug on percussion, John Dumlao on violin with Jared Shaw on drums, Kevin Merkel on horn and the skilled fingers and embouchure of Gary Golden on trumpet. This crew had it all, superbly rehearsed, musically overwhelming; Surico had culled top talent.

Director Danny Amy had the leading role of Jesus of Nazareth. Tall and imposing with a lyrical tenor voice, he dominated the enemies and followers with gentility consonant with that of the Nazarene.

Two key roles were held by Jim Sluder as Judas and Debbie Hecht as Mary Magdalene. Sluder brought out the purely earthbound fanaticism. His intense drive to have Jesus proclaim himself as an earthly ruler will lead him to the betrayal. Sluder’s high-pitched intensity had him truly “eating up the scenery.” Hecht’s role was problematic. There is a scholarly trend currently that puts her extremely “close” to Jesus. Her plangent and echoing voice was near rapturous and brought off the humanity of Jesus, which was the essence of Rice and Webber’s efforts.

Four other roles were critical: Annas, played by Ralph D’Ambrose, Caiaphas by John DiGiorgio, Herod by Marc Andre Ausset and Pontius Pilate by Carl Tese. D’Ambrose was the mocking, teasing enemy of Jesus, a part he carried out with detailed efficiency. DiGiorgio, costumed in red with gold-tipped staff revealed a voice that approached a deadly basso at times and brought out his authority with booming, stentorian menace. In contradistinction to the others, Ausset captured the deviant, flighty Herod in a spangled costume and even danced with his female courtiers in a number designed to look like a Moulin Rouge group doing the Galop Infernal. Tese had a near basso voice that he used as an accent to his proclamations. He quite ably evinced the dangers of the middle-of-the-road lack of decision that marks Pontius Pilate’s fatal pronouncement.

In Act I, Hecht’s “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” was a relief from the raucous song and dance of the tormentors and followers, yet it evinced a deep sincerity and that underlying attraction that perhaps is attributed to the Magdalene without biblical evidence. “Pilate’s Dream” by Tese gave the audience a clear picture of Pilate’s hesitancy and his fear. Annas, Caiaphas, priests and the chorus perform “This Jesus Must Die,” a pounding, roaring declaration that made known the desires of the Sanhedrin more than obvious.

Act II is a passion play. The “Last Supper” made no effort to emulate da Vinci but was neatly executed with “Do This in Memory of Me,” outstripping the meaning of the first Eucharist. Ironically Webber’s artful tendency to use a rock cum Latin beat still paid off here. The confrontation of Christ with Pilate was done well except for the famous “What Is Truth?” which was delivered almost in passing when it deserved more of a showcasing.

Choreography by Jennifer Amy was conservative but effective. Set design by Danny Amy was very impressive. The dust and stones of first-century Jerusalem were done in detail with even an upstage center exit that gave a true three-dimensional air. Intricate lighting was the work of David John Serrecchia. He played it suggestively with head spots on Jesus looking like a halo. The finale was handled by the orchestra in a number entitled “John 19:41.” With Surico’s talent handling this one, it had all the sonority of a typical full-blast finale.

The CM Performing Arts Center, 931 Montauk Highway, Oakdale, will present “Jesus Christ Superstar” through April 26. Tickets range from $20 to $29. For more information, call 631-218-2810 or visit www.cmpac.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Peaches Rodriguez, a break dancing pioneer, stand-up comedian and East Northport resident who broke into stardom after her role in the 1984 film, “Beat Street,” is the unlikely doppelgänger of a well-known French politician.

Comedian and dancer Peaches Rodriguez, above, is enjoying a new level of intercontinental fame, thanks to her resemblance to French politician Marine Le Pen. Photo from Peaches Rodriguez
Comic and dancer Peaches Rodriguez, above, is enjoying a new level of fame, thanks to her resemblance to French politician Marine Le Pen. Photo from Rodriguez

After a break dancing competition in Queens last month, Abdel Karim, who is a hip-hop choreographer and a friend of a friend of Rodriguez on Facebook, created a video meme of Rodriguez break dancing with the suggestion that it was actually Marine Le Pen, the popular nationalistic politician, dancing just after local elections in France.

Because of its extreme absurdity, the video went viral in France, with nearly 300,000 views on Facebook. That video, along with a second video of Rodriguez and a few other break-dancers, also went viral in the United States, with more than 100,000 hits.

“It’s always good to get exposure no matter how you get it,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview this week. “You can’t control something that goes viral. And you have to take it as it comes. It’s almost so random you just have to roll with it and enjoy it as it happens … the views are continuing to go up.”

It’s as if there was a video of a Hillary Clinton look-alike break dancing after an election, Rodriguez suggested for comparison — because that’s exactly what happened, she said.

Comedian and dancer Peaches Rodriguez is enjoying a new level of intercontinental fame, thanks to her resemblance to French politician Marine Le Pen, above. Photo by Rémi Noyon, through Flickr Creative Commons license
A video of Peaches Rodriguez has gone viral, due to her resemblance to French politician Marine Le Pen, above. Photo by Rémi Noyon, through Flickr Creative Commons license

In the 1980s, after moving from Connecticut to New York with the hopes of beginning a career in comedy, Rodriguez said she got into break dancing after realizing how good she actually was at that style of dance.

Today, Rodriguez still does both — stand-up comedy and break dancing. But her main job is a traveling comedian in the tristate area, she said.

“I break-dance part time, they have battles and events,” she said. “It’s a cool underground scene.”

Rodriguez also spends her time mentoring young, novice dancers in the industry.

Due to her new intercontinental fame, Rodriguez said she has a few gigs already lined up in the U.S.
Rodriguez added that if Clinton wins the 2016 presidential election, she would not hesitate to dress up like the former U.S. secretary of state and bust a move or two.

‘Breakfast Memories’ by Irene Ruddock

By Ellen Barcel

The Suffolk County Parks historic Deepwells Farm and Mansion on Route 25A in St. James will host the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club’s Associates’ and Members’ Non-Juried Art Exhibition from April 12 to 26.

“It’s a new tradition” for the club said board member and co-chair Jeanette Dick of Belle Terre. “This exhibit is an additional undertaking by the club to fulfill their mission to promote the work of women artists. It [will be] a bi-annual event held at different galleries and museums in the tri-state area.” The first was at the museum in Water Mill and the second at a gallery in Connecticut. This one, at Deepwells, will be the third. “It’s a new adventure for us, a new venue,” for the 118-year-old club, she said.

Catharine Lorillard Wolfe was a philanthropist, art collector and one of the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, bequeathing her collection of paintings to it. The art club was formed in 1896 to “provide aid, counsel and exhibition opportunities to young women artists in New York City.” The club, which meets in Grace Church in NYC, has grown over the years with membership spanning the country.

One of the board members of the club, Setauket artist Irene Ruddock said, “It’s so nice meeting women from all over the country and they are good. [The club] is one of the most prestigious [art] organizations.” Ruddock went on to add, “Our own wonderful Jeannette Dick is taking over as president of this organization. It’s an honor for her to be president.”

"Pungent Aroma" watercolor by Eleanor Meier
“Pungent Aroma” watercolor by Eleanor Meier

Added Dick, who referred to herself as currently president-in-training, “It’s a wonderful club with women I greatly admire — a wonderful group of women to work with who are very talented.”

According to Eleanor Meier, co-chair of the exhibit and club board member, Deepwells Mansion was selected as the site for the current exhibit because it’s “a nice venue and close to the St. James railroad station for those coming out from the city.”

The mansion was built in approximately 1845 and has been home to Joel L.G. Smith, a descendent of Richard “Bull” Smith of Smithtown and William L. Gaynor, mayor of New York City from 1910 to 1913. The Greek Revival mansion and part of the farm property was acquired by Suffolk County in 1989 and has been the site of many events including art shows, arts and crafts festivals and holiday boutiques.

Open to professional artists, the show will include a wide variety of media including watercolors, acrylics, oils and etchings. Seventy-four works of art from associates and members of the club will be on display. Noted Dick, “It’s a good sized show with a good mix of media.” She added that the show includes sculpture. Pat Solan of Port Jefferson Station will be showing a sculpture as will Priscilla Heep-Coll from Brooklyn.

Ruddock noted, “The whole point of the show is to give the associates who never had a show a change to exhibit. It’s very hard to get into this club. Some people try for years.” It’s not a juried show, she added. “If you’re an associate [of the club] you can show,” with each artist submitting a work that was “representative of their style.”

Ruddock’s submission, “Breakfast Memories,” is a still life done in pastels of brown eggs and an antique canister set. “It was so much fun to do,” she noted. Of the brown eggs, she said, “each one was different with its speckles. I fell madly in love with a canister set in an antique shop, [a set] that I’d been looking for for years. I took it home and set it up with the eggs to paint. It was exciting … I have so much fun with art.”

"Pecking Order" pastel, by Jeanette Dick
“Pecking Order” pastel, by Jeanette Dick

While the show is open to associates and members across the country, many Long Island artists will be represented including members of the Setauket Artists, including Renee Caine, Patty Yantz, Anne Katz, Paula Pelletier, Patty Schwarz, Flo Kemp, Jane McGraw-Teubner, Jeanette Dick, Irene Ruddock, Eleanor Meier, Angela Stratton, Carole Scinta, Pat Solan, Joan Rockwell and Sheila Breck. Other Long Island artists include Mary Maran, Joyce Bressler, Alexandra Marinaccio, Marion Cohen, Lillian Forziat, Helen Giaquinto, Lucille Berrill Paulson, Liz Jorg Masi, Debra Grossman and Alexandra Albano.

Most of the works are for sale with proceeds to benefit the club’s scholarship programs. Expect a very good show as, said Meier, “the club has high standards.” A reception for artists and invited friends will be held on April 12. The exhibit will be open daily from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

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