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Jud Newborn

Alan Cumming has become a stalwart and superbly entertaining supporter of Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre, making yet another appearance there — his third — on Feb. 24.

As at past events, all ticket holders received a copy of Cumming’s second memoir, Baggage: Tales of a Fully Packed Life. Cumming’s documentary, My Old School, was screened first at the sold-out event, followed by an interview with audience Q&A, hosted by producer and curator Jud Newborn.

Audiences were regaled by examples of Cumming’s kaleidoscopic career and his array of award-winning credits in every genre of entertainment. Apart from audience adoration, the main spirit was one of good-natured hilarity — and Cumming left, with a light-hearted “see you next time!”

The Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington had a charmingly “kooky” evening on March 5 with renowned film director Barry Sonnenfeld. 

Cinema Arts Centre co-director Dylan Skolnick interviewed Barry Sonnenfeld on stage, showing a series of clips from Sonnenfeld’s films (including The Addams Family with Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston, and Get Shorty with John Travolta and Gene Hackman). 

Sonnenfeld, a noted raconteur, cinematographer for When Harry Met Sally and Big, and then director of the Men in Black trilogy and Coen Brothers films as well as the two Addams Family movies, held forth hilarious stories that were “creepy, spooky, and altogether ooky,” to the delight of the CAC audience. 

Afterwards, in a reception with entertainment by New York Times acclaimed jazz guitarist Mike Soloway, attendees met Sonnenfeld personally as he signed copies of his new book, “Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother: Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker.” The event was curated and produced by Jud Newborn, the Cinema Arts Centre’s Curator of Special Programs, as part of his on-going series of celebrity guest appearances.

Photos by Andy Attard/ Flashback Photography

'Roller Coaster Grandma'

The Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington recently announced it will donate 33 copies of the graphic novel “Roller Coaster Grandma: The Amazing Story of Dr. Ruth” to school districts and libraries in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The graphic novel was written by author and media personality Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who visited the Cinema Arts Centre for an event in June.

Dr. Ruth with her graphic novel

The autobiography, for ages 8 to 12, depicts the ups and downs of Dr. Ruth’s life, from her escape from the Nazis at age 10 aboard a Kindertransport, to her training as a sniper with the Hagganah in Israel, through her immigration to the U.S. where she started as a maid, became a college professor, and eventually a television star.

Using a trip to an amusement park with her grandchildren as its framework, the story demonstrates lessons of grit, resilience and strength that young readers can apply to their own lives.

Dr. Jud Newborn, who curated the event An Evening with Dr. Ruth at the Cinema Arts Centre last month, and CAC board member Stephen Fisch arranged for the donation. The Cinema Arts Centre hopes that by sharing Dr. Ruth’s incredible story it may help to inspire and empower the young people of our community.

The institutions receiving the donated books include: South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Public Library, Syosset Public Library, Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library, Cold Spring Harbor Library, South Huntington Union Free School District, Harborfields Central School District, Huntington Union Free School District and Northport-East Northport Union Free School District.

To learn more about the Cinema Arts Centre, visit www.cinemaartscentre.org.

Dr. Jud Newborn presents Dr. Ruth with a birthday cake during her visit to the Cinema Arts Centre last Wednesday

America’s most famous sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer visited the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington on June 19 for a 91st birthday celebration and screening of the new acclaimed documentary, “Ask Dr. Ruth.” The sold-out event also included an interview with Dr. Jud Newborn, Cinema Arts Centre curator and producer of celebrity events, followed by a special reception with entertainment from Metropolitan Klezmer. All attendees received a copy of Westheimer’s latest book, The Doctor Is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre.

Photos by Andrew Attard/ Flashback Photography of Long Island

From left, curator Jud Newborn, Pantheon Books publicist Kathryn Zuckerman, author Victoria Riskin, and Cinema Arts Centre Director Dylan Skolnick Photo by Ryan T. Perry/CAC

Author Victoria Riskin, daughter of Hollywood film icon Fay Wray and legendary screenwriter Robert Riskin, signed copies of her latest book, “Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir” at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington on Monday. The book signing was held at a reception following a screening of the original 1933 “King Kong.” The event was curated and produced by Jud Newborn.

Join the Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington for a special presentation of “King Kong” (1933) starring Fay Wray on April 1 at 7:30 p.m. The evening will Include a reception with Victoria Riskin, daughter of Fay Wray & Robert Riskin, in person and her new book for sale, FAY WRAY AND ROBERT RISKIN: A HOLLYWOOD MEMOIR with live jazz entertainment by guitarist Mike Soloway.

Monday, April 1 at 7:30 pm | $11 Members | $16 Public

Click here to listen to Victoria Riskin interviewed on WNYC!

“How would you like to star opposite the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood?” Enticed by these words, brunette leading lady Fay Wray dyed her hair blonde and accepted the role of Ann Darrow in King Kong — and stayed with the project even after learning that her “leading man” was a 50-foot ape.

When the amazing King Kong was unleashed onto moviegoers 80 years ago there truly was no cinematic event that matched its grand scale and unbridled imagination. This thrilling tale of a band of intrepid filmmakers, and a young actress (Fay Wray), who discover a giant ape on a remote island, then bring him back to New York with disastrous results is awe-inspiring, but what sets King Kong apart and helps it achieve its all-time classic status is a simple story wrought with complicated themes and emotions, much of which is embodied in the vivid performance of Fay Wray, the hypnotic beauty that steals Kong’s heart.

“If there was an Academy Award for movie books, Victoria Riskin would be making room beside the Oscar her father won for writing the romantic comedy classic It Happened One Night.” —Douglass K. Daniel, Associated Press

FAY WRAY AND ROBERT RISKIN: A HOLLYWOOD MEMOIR is a Hollywood love story, a Hollywood memoir, a dual biography of two of Hollywood’s most famous figures, whose golden lives were lived at the center of Hollywood’s golden age, written by their daughter, an acclaimed writer and producer. Fay Wray and Robert Riskin, legendary Academy Award winning screenwriter, lived large lives finding each other after establishing their artistic selves and after each had had many romantic attachments—Wray, an eleven-year-long difficult marriage and a fraught affair with Clifford Odets, and Riskin, a series of romances with, among others, Carole Lombard, Glenda Farrell, and Loretta Young. Here are Wray’s and Riskin’s lives, their work, their fairy-tale marriage that ended so tragically. Here are their dual, quintessential American lives, ultimately and blissfully intertwined.

Victoria Riskin served as the President of Hollywood’s Writers Guild for twenty years. She was also a director for Human Rights Watch for twelve years, as well as a psychologist with keen insights into the symbolism of classic films.

Curated and Produced by Jud Newborn.

For more information, call 631-423-7610 or visit www.cinemaartscentre.org.

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From left, Councilwoman Susan Berland, Grant Shaffer, Alan Cumming, Jud Newborn and CAC board member Jacqueline Strayerd at the reception. Photo by Jessica & Andrew Attard, FlashBack Photography

On Sept. 18, the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington hosted a sold-out event with actor Alan Cumming and his partner and literary collaborator Grant Shaffer to celebrate the publication of their recent children’s book, “The Adventures of Honey & Leon.”

Guests were treated to a cake decorated with the cover of the book. Photo by Jud Newborn

The event kicked off with a rare screening of “The Anniversary Party,” written, directed, produced and starring Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh. A Q&A session followed with Jud Newborn, Cinema Arts Centre’s special events curator where Cumming and Shaffer discussed their book, which is based on their own dogs and their adventures while their parents are away on vacation, and concluded with a book signing.

Through an anonymous donation from a Cinema Arts benefactor, being made in honor of Cumming and Shaffer, copies of the book will be donated to area elementary schools and libraries. “We are delighted that this book will be enjoyed by local children and their families,” said Dylan Skolnick, co-director of the Cinema Arts Centre. “The book supports the values and openness, acceptance and the importance of family that are fundamental to the Cinema Arts and it’s over 10,000 members,” he said.

“I would like to thank the anonymous donor and the Cinema Arts Centre for making available to our local schools and libraries copies of this beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written book,” added Councilwoman Susan Berland (D). “‘The Adventures of Honey & Leon’ highlights the love and devotion pets have for their families and that families come in all shapes and sizes. We all have to leave our pets home periodically and now we know how they are planning to follow us when we are gone. Bravo!,” she said.

Reviewed by Melissa Arnold

Grant Shaffer and Alan Cumming with their current pets, Jerry and Lala. Photo from Jud Newborn

Have you ever wondered what your pets are thinking, or what they’re up to when you’re not around? Actor Alan Cumming and his photographer/illustrator husband, Grant Shaffer, sure have. Constantly entertained by their late beloved dogs, Honey and Leon, the couple decided to share the fun in their new children’s book, “The Adventures of Honey & Leon,” beautifully illustrated with a silly, imaginative story line. Cumming and Shaffer, who have been together for 13 years, recently answered questions about the book via email.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Were you always animal lovers?

Alan Cumming: I always had animals around me growing up. I had two little West Highland Terrier dogs when I was a little boy, but as I lived on a country estate there were always sheep and cows and deer and pheasants around.

Grant Shaffer: I’ve always been an animal lover. I grew up with dogs, cats, a rabbit, lizards, snakes, hamsters, fish … I even had a pet rat that I was crazy about.

Is this your first foray into writing/illustrating?

AC: I’ve also written “Tommy’s Tale,” a novel published in 2002; “Not My Father’s Son,” a No. 1 New York Times best-selling memoir; and a book of photographs and stories titled “You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams.” GS: I illustrated a children’s book last year called “Three Magic Balloons,” written by Julianna and Paul Margulies.

How did you come up with the story line?

GS: The idea came up when we’d be traveling and missing our dogs. We would spot people at the airport, on the street or at a beach and say, “There’s Honey” (old lady in a bathrobe and a floppy sun hat), or “There’s Leon” (short little guy wearing big sunglasses and a flat cap), and the story just grew from there. The problem with dogs is that they don’t stick around forever. I think this was our way of trying to immortalize them, and we thought kids would like this tale.

AC: It seemed such a good collaboration considering our respective jobs. I love the idea that we have created something together that celebrates the creatures we loved so much.

What was the process like?

GS: Alan wrote the story first, and then I added the drawings. We mulled the idea of doing a children’s book for years, so it took a long time. It was great, and pretty fluid. I’ve heard of some couples who are barely speaking to each other after a joint project like this, but luckily that’s not us!

How did you come to adopt Honey and Leon?

GS: Before we met, Alan had adopted Honey, and I had adopted Leon, so when we got together, so did they. They were pure love and magic to us, but all dog owners think that about their dogs. Leon would sing (howl) along to Radiohead or if a siren went by, and Honey always crossed her paws like a lady, and she’d actually pose for a camera, looking left, then right.

Did you often wonder what the dogs were thinking at home?

GS: All the time. It usually involved food and dog treats I think. One time we rang up a pet psychic, so she could tell us what the dogs were thinking. She was so off, saying that Leon didn’t like my phone’s ringtone (I never used a ringtone) and that Honey wanted Alan to eat more vegetables (as a vegan, that’s all he eats). It was worth a funny phone call though.

Can you share with the readers a favorite story about Honey and Leon?

GS: We used to play a game: If I walked the dogs, Alan would hide somewhere in the house. Alan’s hiding places became more involved, and the chase would become more frantic each time. I would guide them with “hot” and “cold,” and Alan would clue them in with a whistle. When they’d finally find him, it was like a family reuniting that had been separated for decades — lots of whining and licks!

Do you two hope to adopt pets again someday?

GS: We already did! When Honey died (from old age), Leon was so lonely, so we adopted a Chihuahua mix named Jerry. Then Leon died (from old age) and we adopted Lala (a mini-collie mix, but she looks like a black fox). We are in love all over again.

Is there a particular message you hope to pass on to kids with this book?

GS: I like that the story features two gay dads, but that isn’t the story really. It’s just, “Here is our family on a fun adventure together.” I guess that’s a message in itself.

Who is your target audience?

AC: We recommend the book for kids ages 3 to 7.

Are there any other books we can look forward to from you?

GS: “The Further Adventures of Honey & Leon” comes out in 2019. “The Adventures of Honey & Leon” is available online and in stores wherever books are sold.

Cumming and Shaffer will make a special appearance at the Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington on Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $75, $60 members. The event, hosted by Jud Newborn, includes a rare screening of Cumming’s “The Anniversary Party,” followed by a Q&A and book-signing reception for “The Adventures of Honey & Leon.” Every ticket holder will receive a copy of the book. Call 631-423-7611 for more information.

Patricia Bosworth

Renowned actress and journalist comes to Huntington for a night of film, stories

By Melissa Arnold

Patricia Bosworth has worn many hats throughout her lengthy career, but above all she is a storyteller. She’s written for the most well-known magazines and newspapers in America; she’s penned the biographies of Hollywood greats Jane Fonda and Marlon Brando, among others; and she’s graced stage and screen countless times in fulfillment of her childhood dreams. Now, Bosworth is telling her own story.

On March 15, Bosworth will appear at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington to share her new memoir, “The Men in My Life,” which was released in January.

“At the CAC we often have celebrities come in to talk about their memoirs. Here we have in Patricia Bosworth a true literary talent who is deeply respected,” said Jud Newborn, curator for special programs at the Cinema Arts Centre. “This book has everything juicy in it that you could want surrounding the world of acting, but it’s also a work that can sit proudly on your bookshelf. It’s placed in the context of crisis and transformation during a particular time in our history. It’s intelligent, fiercely honest, and entertaining.”

In a recent phone interview, Patricia Bosworth said she lived a lot of the time in a world of fantasy when she was a little girl.

Patricia Bosworth will be signing copies of her new book, above, at the event.

“I was always imagining, always pretending to be other people,” recalled Bosworth, who grew up in the shadow of her parents’ troubled marriage. Her father, Bartley Crum, saw his law career destroyed after he defended Hollywood’s infamous Big Ten from alleged communist sympathies in the 1950s.

Along with Bosworth’s fantastic imagination came two big dreams — to become a movie star and a writer. Buoyed by the support and love of her family, she set off in search of an acting career. It was not an easy life, however, and Bosworth suffered horrible abuse at the hands of the man she would marry and divorce before her 20th birthday. Shortly afterward, her beloved brother, Bartley Jr., took his own life following a long struggle with his sexuality. Just five years later, Bosworth’s father also committed suicide.

“I named my book ‘The Men in My Life’ after (my brother and father), because they really were the two most important men in the world to me,” Bosworth said. “I’ve spent my life trying to get over these huge losses and feeling guilty about their deaths.”

A self-described workaholic, Bosworth followed the path of many other suicide survivors, throwing herself completely into her career as a means of keeping the trauma at bay. “It was a thrill seeing myself on screen for the first time. It was challenging, and I wanted to change my hairstyle, but I wanted to do more,” Bosworth recalled.

She was eventually invited to join the prestigious Actors Studio in New York City, which allowed her to work with legends including Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Marilyn Monroe and others. It was in Bosworth’s words a “hotbed of creativity,” but it was also the most important workshop in America for recruiting new talent — thanks to skill and good timing, she quickly lined up jobs in television, Broadway and film.

While Bosworth’s resume is far too extensive to list, she singles out a few roles as career highlights. At 23, she played opposite Helen Hayes in a Palm Beach production of Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” where she had the chance to meet Williams and talk about his inspiration for Laura, the character she played. Two years later, she appeared in the 1959 film “The Nun’s Story” alongside Audrey Hepburn, whom Bosworth called “a remarkable actress and beautiful human being.”

Patricia Bosworth

Developing close relationships with famed actors made Bosworth an easy choice for writing their life stories. Her first biography was of Montgomery Clift, whom she met as a teenager through her father. Later, she became the first woman to write a biography of Jane Fonda, a dear friend from the Actors Studio.

Bosworth’s career in journalism began with interviewing actors for New York Magazine, but her first mentor was Mario Puzo, author of “The Godfather.” She spent time at a variety of women’s magazines and freelanced for the New York Times for 15 years before becoming managing editor of Harper’s Bazaar and now serves as a contributing editor for Vanity Fair.

In “The Men in My Life,” Bosworth writes candidly about grief, surviving abuse, having a difficult, illegal abortion, and getting to know Hollywood’s finest in a way no one else could. “I wanted to tell my story because while we talk about many of these issues today, they were either considered taboo or rarely discussed (in the 1950s). I’m not the first one to write about this, but these memories have been in my head and my heart for decades,” she explained. “I wasn’t ready before. But now I am, and I’m very glad I did it.”

In addition to sharing the book at the March 15 event, the Cinema Arts Centre will screen the 1951 film “A Place in the Sun,” starring Bosworth’s friend Montgomery Clift and a 17-year-old Elizabeth Taylor.

An evening with Patricia Bosworth will begin at 7 p.m. March 15 at the Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. A dessert and Prosecco reception will feature local jazz guitarist Mike Soloway and give guests the chance to meet Bosworth. Tickets are $20 for CAC members and $25 for nonmembers. For information, call 631-423-7611 or visit www.cinemaartscentre.org.

Councilwoman Susan A. Berland with Joel Grey at the Cinema Arts Centre. Photo by Alex Wolff, Concierge Photography
Joel Grey with two specialty cakes at a reception after the event. Photo by Alex Wolff, Concierge Photography

Oscar, Tony and Golden Globe winner Joel Grey made a special appearance at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington on Feb. 23 for a rare big-screen presentation of Bob Fosse’s 1973 “Cabaret,” which stars Grey as Emcee and Liza Minelli as Sally Bowles, followed by an audience Q-and-A moderated by Jud Newborn.

Grey also signed copies of his revealing memoir “Master of Ceremonies” which recounts his fascinating and complex behind-the-stage life story, acting career, family and love life. Councilwoman Susan A. Berland (D) presented a Town of Huntington Proclamation to Grey after the sold-out event. “It was an honor to present a proclamation to Joel Grey for his career as one of the most renowned American entertainers,” said the councilwoman.