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Summer Times

Margot Robbie in a scene from 'Barbie'. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

By Tim Haggerty & Jeffrey Sanzel

This summer’s cinematic offerings range from blockbusters to independents, with Hollywood stars intermingled with well-known character actors and a handful of up-and-coming personalities. 

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

First up is the fifth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Three decades in, Harrison Ford continues his adventures three decades in as the titular professor of archeology, Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr. Approaching retirement, Indy must don his hat and pick up his whip once more to make sure an ancient and powerful artifact, the Antikythera, doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Phoebe Waller-Bridge plays his goddaughter.

Rated PG-13 · Release date June 30

Insidious: The Red Door

Patrick Wilson makes his feature directorial debut with The Red Door. Wilson and Rose Byrne appear in this last entry of the Insidious run, in which the original Lambert family attempts to (finally?) exorcise the demons plaguing them. (As with most horror movies of this ilk, demons surprisingly can be resurrected by decent box office returns.)

Rated PG-13 · Release date July 7

Joy Ride

Joy Ride stars Oscar-nominated Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once) joins Ashley Park, Sherry Cola and Sabrina Wu in a buddy comedy about a quartet of friends who embark on a trek across Asia to help one of their group search for her birth mother. Directed and co-written by Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians).

Rated  R · Release date July 7

Mission: Impossible 7

Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Rebecca Ferguson join headliner Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning, Part One. Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team embark on “their most dangerous mission,” tracking down a weapon that threatens humanity in this action-franchise. The claim is that Dead Reckoning, Part Two (due out June 28, 2024) will be the final chapter. 

Rated PG-13 · Release date July 12

Theater Camp

Budding thespians are the target of the satirical Theater Camp which follows the eccentric staff of a rundown theatre camp in upstate New York as they come together with a less-than-theatrically-inclined member of the camp family to keep the program going following the sudden absence of the beloved founder with Dear Evan Hansen’s Ben Platt playing a counselor guiding the campers in their summer’s big show. 

Rated PG-13 · Release date July 14


Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer promises to be a dark, powerful, and cutting-edge biopic of the scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, chronicling his work on the atomic bomb and the repercussions on his professional and personal lives. Cillian Murphy plays Oppenheimer, supported by an extraordinary cast: Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Kenneth Branagh, Florence Pugh, Benny Safdie, Gary Oldman, Rami Malek, and Josh Hartnett.

Rated R · Release date July 21


Possibly the most anticipated release is Greta Gerwig’s Barbie. With an all-star cast—Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Will Ferrell, Dua Lipa and many others—the meta-comedy shows a particular Barbie (Robbie) and Ken (Gosling) as they venture into the real world. If the trailers reflect the finished production, it should be one of the summer’s best.

Rated PG-13 · Release date July 21

Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion is Disney’s latest foray into bringing amusement park rides to the big screen. A woman and her son enlist a motley crew of so-called spiritual experts to help rid their home of supernatural squatters. All -star cast includes LaKeith Stanfield, Danny DeVito, Owen Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Jared Leto, Winona Ryder, Tiffany Hadish and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Rated  PG-13 · Release date July 28

Talk to Me

The Australian horror film Talk to Me was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival and has already garnered excellent reviews. The traditional plot centers on friends who unwittingly unleash malevolent forces when conjuring spirits with an embalmed hand.

Rated  R · Release date July 28

TMNT: Mutant Mayhem

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle phenomenon returns with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. The movie’s revival is due to longtime fans Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and is computer animated feature emphasizing the “teenage” element of the original comics.

Rated  PG-13 · Release date August 2


Will Ferrell leads an all-star voice cast (Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher, Josh Gad, Will Forte, Sofia Vergara) in the adult live-action animal adventure Strays. A naive border terrier (voice of Ferrell), abandoned by his deadbeat owner, decides to trek back home to exact his revenge. 

Rated  R · Release date August 18

Blue Beetle

Those seeking a superhero infusion will embrace Blue Beetle. Cobra Kai’s Xolo Maridueña plays the title character in this DC origin story about a recent college grad who becomes possessed by the Scarab, an ancient alien biotechnological relic, which turns him into the Blue Beetle. With Susan Sarandon and George Lopez.

Not Rated  · Release date August 18


After her dark comedy Shiva Baby, director Emma Seligman’s sophomore outing is Bottoms. Seligman reunites with Shiva Baby’s Rachel Sennott for this teen sex comedy in which two high school seniors create a fight club so they can hook up with cheerleaders.

Not Rated  · Release date August 18

Brief Encounters

Brief Encounters is the summer’s most unusual opening. Filmed in 1967, the movie was banned in the Soviet Union and is finally getting its formal American release. Romanian-born director Kira Muratova (generally identified as Ukranian) sets a romantic triangle amid the casual shortages and shoddy apartments of professional-class Odessa.

Not Rated · Release date August 25

With a mix of comedy, drama, thriller, and pure escape—along with the usual sequels—summer 2023 promises something for every filmgoer. 

This article originally appeared in Summer Times, TBR News Media’s seasonal guide supplement.

One woman’s pandemic project brings local scents across Long Island

By Julianne Mosher

When the world shut down in 2020, Renee Fondacaro immediately knew she wanted to take on a hobby. 

Always a fan of candles, Fondacaro would have them constantly burning in her Old Field home. She took on a hobby at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by blending essential oil scents with a clean, healthier candle wax base that she would drop off at her friends’ homes.

“I had ordered a candle kit because the pandemic was boring,” she said. “I made a bunch of them and would drop them off to my friends because I felt like it was a little gift that could maybe bring happiness when everyone was so stressed out.”

And they did bring happiness — because they smelled great. Fondacaro’s friends and family began to ask her, “Why are you not selling these?”

So, just about six months later, the mom of three signed up for her first craft fair in October 2020 where she made her first official sale. She and her husband John, who is a veterinarian specialist, decided that instead of a hobby, this was going to be a business. Soon after, they formed an LLC, got insurance and trademarked, and settled on the name “Old Field Apothecary,” as she creates her mini masterpieces right inside her Old Field home.

As a two-time cancer survivor, and retired nurse, Fondacaro is very health conscious. As an avid candle lover, sometimes it’s hard to know what exactly is being put into the air we breathe. That’s why she decided to make her candles at Old Field Apothecary 100% natural.

“It was really important for me to find ingredients that were very, very clean,” she said. “Candles can be very toxic if they’re not made with good, clean ingredients.”

Using clean coconut and apricot cream wax, she melts the mixture into jars that are heat safe for with woodburning wicks that make the perfect crackling sound. She would ask people what scents they were looking for, and now, nearly three years later, she has created over 80 different types, along with linen and room sprays and wax melts. She said the process is relatively simple, the longest part is melting the wax.

Fondacaro, who grew up in Setauket, would travel to local farmers markets and other craft fairs, along with making a website to sell her products. But she wanted to include the community even more. She started to approach local and other Long Island-based stores to start collaborating with including the Three Village Historical Society in Setauket and The Reboli Center for Art and History, The Long Island Museum, and The Jazz Loft in Stony Brook (where the candles are named after famous jazz musicians).

She began to venture out of the local Three Village area, too, including a collab with Kidd Squid Brewing Company in Sag Harbor and the Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay. She is currently planning a scent for a shop on Block Island, too, and for some wineries on the North Fork.

But the Reboli Center is the place that has the most variety. Lois Reboli, president of the center, said that Fondacaro walked in one day and they talked about a collaboration. She couldn’t be happier with their partnership.

“Her candles are exceptional and we are very honored to have them at our place,” said Reboli. “They bring in a lot of foot traffic from people who may have not come into the Reboli Center before.”

Fondacaro said some of her most popular scents are the lavender candles because they’re calming and not overwhelming. She loves the more woodsy, earthy scents. 

“Almost everyone who buys my candles always come back and tell me that they really can see the difference in the way they burn,” she said. “They don’t get headaches. They don’t get watery eyes. They don’t get side effects and symptoms from any toxins, so I love that.”

And there is a scent for everyone: blackberry and musk, coffee bean and cacao, strawberry cream truffle, or “after the rain” — just to name a few. Plus, they’re animal friendly so furry friends can enjoy these new smells, too. 

Candles start at $27.95 and are hand-poured right in Old Field. To view the entire collection, visit www.oldfieldapothecary.com

This article originally appeared in Summer Times, a seasonal guide supplement by TBR News Media.


Elderberry produces flat-topped berry clusters relished by birds.
Make your home a haven for wild things

By John L. Turner

One of the basic axioms in ecology is that no living thing exists in isolation, that each species in an ecosystem is varyingly affected by others species and, in turn, has an effect upon them. John Muir, the famous naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club, understood this more than a century ago when he observed: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” As it relates to  humans, this idea was made famous by John Donne’s famous quote: “No man is an island entire of itself,” that each of us is affected by those around us upon whom we also have an effect. 

In ecosystems these effects are numerous and varied, and can be both easy and hard to quantify. Competition for light, water, and nutrients between species is well known but as Suzanne Simard’s recent revelatory book Finding the Mother Tree  documents, a surprising amount of cooperation exists between trees in a forest, involving both individuals of the same species and between tree species.

Among animals there’s cooperation too. Parents nourish offspring (with older offspring of scrub jays helping parents feed newborn offspring), and dolphins, whales and pelicans hunting together. But there’s also competition among animals — witness the interaction between ospreys and the resurging bald eagle population on Long Island. In all ecosystems there are predators sustained by an even larger base of prey, there’s host — parasite relationships, and, importantly decomposers and recyclers who prevent dead organic matter from accumulating by recycling nutrients and energy back into the system.

These relationships can conveniently (and simplistically) fit into one of three categories — positive, neutral, or negative for the species involved, or often and more typically, positive for one and negative for the other (think: Osprey catching and eating a fish). But the relationship can be positive for both as is the case with a pollinating bee and a wildflower — the bee secures nectar, pollen or both for itself and its young and the plant produces new progeny, in the form of seeds, through the pollination process.  

Non-native species, like the overwhelming number of wildflowers, shrubs, and trees in most homeowners’ yards, turn this axiom on its head and that creates a big problem.  Many non-native plants routinely planted by homeowners in some ways live in isolation — they produce little to no nectar or pollen so they do nothing to sustain pollinating insects and their leaves are fed upon by few if any insects. They do not have an effect upon other species and aren’t “hitched” to other species as Muir would undoubtedly have noted. 

It doesn’t have to be this way and many homeowners, with more joining each day, are “going native,” planting plants in their yards that are indigenous to Long Island, that  upon planting, become part of the local food web.  These owners are embracing the above axiom by installing plants that positively affect the insect, bird, and mammal populations around them.     

 It’s easy to join this burgeoning movement as native plants are much more available as organizations, individuals, and nurseries outlets respond to consumer interest.  One not-for-profit environmental organization, the Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI), has, as its mission, the propagation and sale of native plants. They have dozens of species available at their facility located in the St. Joseph’s Convent in Brentwood and is worth your support.    

There are four main foods produced by plants that sustain wildlife — nectar, pollen, leaves and fruits (berries, nuts, and acorns) — that you need to think about when planting native species. Various insects depend upon the first three, while birds and mammals typically focus on fruits (and nectar in the case of hummingbirds).  


Highbush Blueberry

There are, of course,  some plants which provide more than one type of food that sustains wildlife.  

A great example is the woody shrub Highbush Blueberry, a common species growing in freshwater wetlands throughout Long Island. Its bell-shape flowers produce nectar consumed by many species of bees and butterflies; its pollen is eaten by some bees and other insects; the tasty berries are eaten by a variety of birds and small mammals (and, of course, a large mammal with two legs with whom you may be familiar if you like blueberry muffins or pies); and the leaves sustain caterpillars of many moths and butterflies including a wonderful group of small butterflies which includes the hairstreaks and elfins).  So Highbush Blueberry is a “go-to” plant in moving your yard from paucity to productivity. 

Another woody shrub to consider is elderberry which produces flat-topped berry clusters relished by birds. I enjoy watching the mockingbirds and catbirds each summer visit the ripened berry clusters of several elderberry bushes I’ve planted in the backyard.  

Others shrubs to think about (and there are still others) include Spicebush, which is used by the beautiful Spicebush swallowtail butterfly as a food source while a caterpillar;  and shadbush and chokeberry, both of which produce berries eaten by quite a few bird and small mammal species. If your property has moister soils think about planting Sweet Pepperbush, also known as Summersweet due to the strong and distinctive odors the plant gives off in summer. Many insects are attracted to these odiferous blossoms.  Lastly, two other native “woodies” you might to consider for wetter soils are Steeplebush, also known as Spirea and Swamp Rose.   


Speaking of woody plants, a number of tree species provide benefits to wildlife. Oaks, willows, hickories, cherries, beech, birch, dogwood, and sassafras are all especially valuable. Oak leaves, for example, are known to support hundreds of different kinds of caterpillars which are eaten by dozens of bird species. And bright red sassafras berries are consumed by a host of birds including cedar waxwings, catbirds, and several thrush species.   

Wildflowers and grasses


You can also affect positive change with non-woody plants such as wildflowers and grasses. Two excellent groups of plants that pollinators love are goldenrods and asters. Goldenrods (what a wonderful and evocative common name!) produce copious amounts of nectar that many bees, beetles, and butterflies consume as well as the plants’ pollen. (By the way — it’s not goldenrod pollen that causes hay fever — their pollen grains are too big — but rather ragweed, blooming at the same time, which has much smaller pollen grains since they are wind pollinated.) 

Standing on the edge of a thick stand of goldenrod in bloom in late summer is to visit the busiest insect airport imaginable — dozens of bees, wasps, flies, beetles, and butterflies probing the countless flowers for nectar and pollen. Many moth and butterflies, as caterpillars, feed on goldenrod leaves. Several dozen goldenrod species are native to Long Island so there’s a lot of variety to choose from.  Why not plant some “sunshine concentrate” in your flower beds?

Asters, too, are important wildflowers for wildlife providing nectar. Like goldenrods, they are beautiful, adding bright splashes of color to your yard such as the stunning purple rays of New England Aster. Several aster species are available for sale. 


Many other native species can become part of your local ecosystem. Milkweeds are another group, perhaps most well-known because Common Milkweed is the common host plant for the Monarch Butterfly, a species that’s the focus of a great deal of conservation concern due to their declining numbers (although in 2021 there appears to be a slight uptick in their numbers). 

Besides Common Milkweed you should think about planting Swamp Milkweed if you have wetter, richer soils and Butterflyweed, a bright orange member of the milkweed family. Many species of insects are attracted to the nectar produced by these species and Monarch caterpillars can successfully grow eating Butterfly Weed leaves as the five caterpillars that came from a small flower garden by my back door can attest. 

Other native wildflowers that sustain wildlife include, but are not limited to, Joe-pye weed, Boneset, Thoroughwort, Northern Blazing Stars, Bush Clovers, Mountain Mint, and Beggars Ticks.  

To attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds you need to plant red flowers — three good ones are Cardinal Flower (a stunner)!, Wild Bergamot (also known as Oswego Tea) and  Trumpet Vine.  

There’s value in planting a number of the same plants together, forming clumps rather than single plants. Some beetles don’t fly as well as other insects so its worth clumping together some natives to assist them. And odors and chemicals given off by groups of the same species are much stronger than scents given by individual plants so more is better!  


If want to do more to make your yard wildlife friendly here’s a few other ideas:  

A great project with the kids is to make a bee hotel.


Build bee hotels. Many bees, wasps, and other pollinating insects can benefit from “bee hotels” placed around your property. A great project is to engage your children in researching, constructing and installing small bee hotels suitable to your property. These hotels will help some of the several hundred native bee species like mason bees which, unlike the European honeybee, nest solitarily. There’s many different designs you can find on-line such as drilling holes of various diameters into a several foot long segment of a “4 by 4”. Tying together a bunch of hollow bamboo stalks into a wood frame that hangs is an alternative design. 

Can your Spray Can! It is tempting to turn to the easy fix of chemicals to control garden pests. The problem is these chemicals work too well; remember pesticides, herbicides, and other “cides” are all poisons, some of which have broad and deadly impacts to a large number of species. Research other, more benign options for controlling unwanted species — by doing so you allow the wanted species to flourish.  Turn away from poisons. 

Leave the Leaves and Save the Stubble! Layers of fallen leaves and standing stem stubble in your garden beds and throughout your yard sustain many species, especially insects that overwinter under leaves and in hollow stems. 

Frog Logs to the Rescue! If you have an in-ground pool you may want to buy frog logs or ramps to allow animals like chipmunks a chance to escape. The “logs” are semi-circle floats in which a fabric ramp connects the float with the anchor portion filled with sand.   

If you put away the poisons, invest in some frog logs if needed, retain leaves in flower beds and in the corners of your yard and, most importantly, plant native species to nourish pollinators and many other species of wildlife, your yard will become part of the living fabric of the larger world surrounding you. It’s axiomatic! 

A resident of Setauket, author John Turner is conservation chair of the Four Harbors Audubon Society, author of “Exploring the Other Island: A Seasonal Nature Guide to Long Island” and president of Alula Birding & Natural History Tours and pens a monthly column for TBR News Media titled Nature Matters.

*This article originally appeared in TBR News Media’s Summer Times supplement on June 24.

Catherine Deneuve and Benoît Magimel in a scene from Peaceful. Photo courtesy of Staller Center

Stony Brook University’s Staller Center  for the Arts turns into a movie lover’s mecca when new independent films screen at the Stony Brook Film Festival on evenings and weekends from Thursday, July 21 to Saturday, July 30. The popular festival, now in its 27th year, pairs memorable short films with an array of features you won’t see anywhere else, making it a favorite of moviegoers and filmmakers alike.

Presented by Island Federal, the 2022 Festival lineup offers 38 films from over 28 countries. The Festival kicks off with the North American premiere of Peaceful, starring Catherine Deneuve, Benoît Magimel, and Gabriel A. Sara. A life-affirming drama about acceptance and resilience, Peaceful follows Benjamin, an acting teacher with a terminal illness as he navigates his final months and days. The beating heart of the film comes from Gabriel Sara — a cancer specialist from Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan in real-life — who portrays Benjamin’s very humane specialist Dr. Eddé. Catherine Deneuve’s powerful performance as Benjamin’s mother is unforgettable.

“This year’s Festival is somewhat of a family affair, with several real-life family members making films, and members of our Stony Brook family returning,” says Festival co-programmer Kent Marks. “Our Sunday night independent feature, the very touching This is a Film About My Mother, which was shot in Ithaca, New York, stars real-life siblings Tess and Will Harrison and was written and directed by Tess.”

The theme of family continues with the mesmerizing Korean independent film, Seokkarae. Written and directed by Mike Beech, and starring his wife, Jiwon Lee, the character-driven film depicts a quiet twenty-something attempting to keep the family business going despite tough odds. Jungle is another such collaboration, written by real life partners Claudia Verena Hruschka and Kieran Wheeler, with Wheeler directing and Hruschka giving a gut-wrenching performance in this hard-hitting short from Australia. 

From Australia to Stony Brook, The Switcheroo is co-directed by Stony Brook brothers Ryan and Anthony Famulari. Made for next to nothing during COVID, this hilarious comedy has the brothers serving as the entire crew, with Anthony cast in the very funny role of a man and his clone. Two more co-directors are sisters Austin and Westin Ray with their UK-based quiet thriller Before Seven. The Ray’s, Festival alums from 2014, served as directors, writer (Westin) and composer and cinematographer (Austin). Another SBFF festival alum is John Gray, who won the audience choice award for his 2020 film Extra Innings, and is back this year with the intriguing family drama The Little Drummer Boy.

Women will take center stage at this year’s SBFF, both in front of and behind the camera. SBFF’s opening and closing night features and shorts were all helmed by female directors. In all, 17 of the Festival’s 38 films were directed by women. Two films, Kitchen Tales and Before Seven, were made with nearly all-female crews. 

The Jackie Stiles Story and Nasima are two completely different documentaries about female athletes from the middle of nowhere — a small Kansas town and a small seaside village in Bangladesh — who both beat the odds and made a huge impact in their respective sports of basketball and surfing. 

There are heroines from all walks of life, whether in the New Zealand drama The Justice of Bunny King, the Israeli epic Image of Victory, the Albanian thriller Vera Dream of the Sea, or the American indie Peace in the Valley, all of which feature knock-out performances by their lead actresses.

Reflecting on current issues, two films in the Festival, Olga and Berenshtein both take place in and around Ukraine, and both are from times when the Ukrainian people faced down an oppressive regime — whether it be from the Nazis or their own government.

Mila, a must-see short film on SBFF’s closing night, is a debut effort by writer/director Cinzia Angelini and made by 350 animators from 35 countries, who volunteered their services to help Angelini get her story made after all major studios turned it down. Inspired by events of the 1943 Trento bombing in Italy, this heart-warming story depicts a young girl who has lost everything but still clings to hope. 

The closing night feature, Lost Transport, is a powerful and deeply moving film set during the final days of World War II, uniquely told from a female perspective. When German soldiers abandon a deportation train, leaving the fate of its occupants in the hands of advancing Russian troops, three women from vastly different backgrounds, set aside their differences, working together to survive.

“The diversity of filmmakers is a hallmark of Stony Brook Film Festival, with student filmmakers, seasoned pros, and nine first-time directors represented this year,” says Festival Director Alan Inkles. “We are very excited to have filmmakers from all over the world join us in-person this year for their premiere screenings. Our audience can gather in a huge theater with Long Island’s largest screen, to see movies the way they were meant to be seen. Not only are these films not available on any streaming format, but you also get to hear directly from the filmmakers themselves, ask them a question at our live Q&A, and even vote for your favorite.”

For 27 years, the Stony Brook Film Festival has hosted 549 filmmakers from 78 different countries, featured nearly 55 World Premieres and over 75 U.S. premieres. In total, the Festival has screened almost 1100 independent films from all over the world. The Festival kicks-off with an Opening Night Party and closes with an Awards Ceremony and Closing Night Party.



Thursday, July 21 at 8 p.m.

Feature: Peaceful, France

Short: Lentini, United States


Friday, July 22 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Olga, Switzerland, Ukraine,  France

Short: Kitchen Tales, United Kingdom


Friday, July 22 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: Glob Lessons, United States

Short: Before Seven, United States


Saturday, July 23 at 4:30 p.m.

Doc Feature: The Jackie Stiles Story, U.S.


Saturday, July 23 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Contra, Germany

Short: The Little Drummer Boy, U.S.


Saturday, July 23 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: Peace in the Valley, U.S.

Short: Elevate, United States


Sunday, July 24 at 4:30 p.m.

Documentary Feature: Nasima, U.S.


Sunday, July 24 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Berenshtein, Israel & Ukraine

Short: The Switcheroo, United States


Sunday, July 24 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: This is a Film About My Mother, U.S.

Short: North Star, United States


Monday, July 25 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Hit the Road, Iran

Short: Summer of Bees, Finland


Monday, July 25 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: Seokkarae, Korea

Short: Saving Elodie, United Kingdom


Tuesday, July 26 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Hard Shell, Soft Shell, France

Short: Almost Winter, United States


Tuesday, July 26 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: The Justice of Bunny King, NZ

Short: The Dress, United States


Wednesday, July 27 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Image of Victory, Israel

Short: Milk, United Kingdom


Wednesday, July 27 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: The Test, France

Short: Free Fall, France


Thursday, July 28 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Haute Couture, France

Short: Jungle, Australia


Thursday, July 28 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: Sons of the Sea, South Africa

Short: Ousmane, Canada


Friday, July 29 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Vera Dream of the Sea, Kosovo & Albania & Republic of Macedonia

Short: All that Glitters, United Kingdom


Friday, July 29 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: Black Box, France & Belgium

Short: Aysha, Germany



Saturday, July 30 at 8 p.m.

Feature: Lost Transport, Netherlands & Luxemborg & Germany

Short: Mila, United States



10:30 p.m.

Ticket information

All screenings are held at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook in the 1,000-seat Main Stage theater. Festival goers can choose from a Gold Pass, Festival Pass, or Individual Pass. Passes start at $20. All passholders will hear from filmmakers throughout the Festival and have the opportunity to rate and vote on favorite films to help choose the winners of this year’s Festival. 

Gold Passholders receive entry to all films, VIP reserved seating, a Stony Brook Film Festival swag bag, discounts at local restaurants and businesses, access to Opening and Closing Night After Parties, filmmaker Q&A’s, and the Closing Night Awards Ceremony. Festival Passholders receive entry to all films and guaranteed seating for sold-out films, filmmaker Q&A’s, access to the Closing Night Awards Ceremony, discounts at local restaurants and businesses, voting for Audience Choice Award, and a Stony Brook Film Festival Passholder gift. For more information or to order, call 631-632-2787 or visit stonybrookfilmfestival.com.

*This article originally appeared in TBR News Media’s Summer Times supplement on June 24.

By Cayla Rosenhagen

Since 1970, the Long Island Game Farm Wildlife Park and Children’s Zoo in Manorville has been a premier location for families and people of all ages to visit and learn about all the feathered, furred, and scaled creatures with whom we share the Earth. It’s an ideal spot to foster environmental awareness, appreciation, and respect.

I hadn’t visited the Game Farm since I was very young, so returning here was extremely nostalgic for me. The moment I entered the gates and stepped onto the boardwalk surrounded by rich green forest, memories all started coming back to me. I was greeted by a friendly parrot and soon made my way to the first interactive exhibit — Bambiland. I was in utter awe spending time with the friendly, young Fallow Deer. They pranced around happily in their paddock and eagerly approached visitors, seeking food and attention.

In a similar fashion to the deer enclosure, the goat nursery also allows guests to step into the world of these curious creatures. It’s the perfect place for human kids to encounter goat kids. I felt nothing but sheer delight playing with and bottle-feeding the affectionate babies. I certainly had a difficult time leaving the goat pen, but I was prompted by my excitement to visit with all the other animals on the farm.

Throughout the day, I learned about and met all kinds of animals, from African Spurred Tortoises and Grant’s Zebras to peafowl and wallabies. There were also alpacas, llamas, bison, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, and more. 

The kind and welcoming staff members’ immense wealth of knowledge about the animals, as well as the abundance of informational signage all around the park greatly contributed to my experience and generated quite a few “wow!” moments. 

Additionally, I was fortunate to see Bobo, the almost-two-year-old reticulated giraffe majestically grazing and interacting with zookeepers. The gentle giant recently returned to the Game Farm from an extended vacation in the South, where the warmer winter weather is more tolerable to him. You can visit him all summer long, until he heads back down south again in October. 

Although I only saw Bobo from just outside his enclosure, guests do have the opportunity to get closer and even feed him with the V.I.P. Animal Tour. This all-inclusive package also encompasses wallaby, emu, zebra, and ring-tailed lemur encounters, and bottle-feeding opportunities at the nursery. There are also several individual encounters experiences, such as those with the zebras and camels, and children’s pony rides, some for additional fees.

Aside from the remarkable array of creatures to meet, the Game Farm offers amenities such as their snack bar with kid-friendly menu items, gift shop, picnic grounds, and playground areas.

The Long Island Game Farm is located at 489 Chapman Blvd. in Manorville. Weather permitting, you can visit the Game Farm any day of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through September. General admission tickets cost $24.95 for adults (ages 13-61), $21.95 for seniors (age 62 and older), $18.95 for kids (ages 3-12) and toddlers and babies two and under are free! For more information, please call  631-878-6644 or visit www.longislandgamefarm.com.

Cayla Rosenhagen

Author Cayla Rosenhagen is a local high school student who enjoys capturing the unique charm of the community through photography and journalism. She serves on the board of directors for the Four Harbors Audubon Society and Brookhaven’s Youth Board, is the founder and coordinator of Beach Bucket Brigade, a community outreach program dedicated to environmental awareness, engagement, and education, and pens a column for TBR News Media titled Cayla’s Column.

*This article originally appeared in TBR News Media’s 2022 Summer Times Supplement.

A scene from Willow. Photo courtesy of Banana Films
Watch in-person or virtually this year!

Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts turns into a movie lover’s mecca when new independent films screen at the Stony Brook Film Festival on evenings and weekends from Thursday, July 22 to Saturday, July 31. The popular festival, now in its 26th year, pairs memorable short films with an array of features you won’t see anywhere else, making it a favorite of moviegoers and filmmakers alike.

The live, in-person screening of the film festival, presented by Island Federal, will be followed up by a virtual festival from Aug. 5 to 30 on the IndieFlix Festivals app. 

Presented by Island Federal, the 2021 Festival lineup boasts 35 films from over 15 countries and includes never-before-seen features from around the globe. The Festival kicks off with the world premiere of The 5th Man, a documentary on Paul Limmer, a former track coach at Bellmore’s Mepham High School. During his 50-year career there, Limmer racked up hundreds of wins, though director Trey Nelson focuses on the story of all the other kids – the ones who never felt “seen” – until Paul Limmer came into their lives. 

The film will be preceded by Feeling Through, an Oscar-nominated short featuring deaf-blind actor Robert Tarango of Selden. Other must-see features include Yamina Benguigui’s Sisters, starring Isabelle Adjani and Maïwenn, a finely crafted reflection on memory and belonging to two worlds and As Far As I Know, an uncompromising film that wrestles with questions of perspective and victimhood. Milcho Manchevski’s newest masterpiece Willow is resplendent in unforgettable images and unconventional narrative. Closing out the 2021 Festival is the intense and complexly drawn sports drama Final Set.



Thursday, July 22 at 8 p.m.

Feature: The 5th Man, United States

Short: Feeling Through, United States


Friday, July 23 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Risks & Side Effects, Germany

Short: David, United States

Friday, July 23 at 9:15 p.m.

Feature: Red River Road, United States

Short: The Following Year, Spain


Saturday, July 24 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Sisters, France

Short: Girls Are Strong Here, U.S.

Saturday, July 24 at 9:15 p.m.

Feature: Games People Play, Finland

Short: Off Duty, United States


Sunday, July 25 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Persona Non Grata, Denmark

Short: On the Sidewalk, at Night, U.S.

Sunday, July 25 at 9:15 p.m.

Feature: Anchorage, United States

Short: The Saverini Widow, France


Monday, July 26 at 7 p.m.

Feature: As Far As I Know, Hungary

Short: DA YIE, Ghana

Monday, July 26 at 9:15 p.m.

Feature: Willow, Republic of Northern Macedonia, Hungary, Belgium

Short: The Night I Left America, U.S.


Tuesday, July 27 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Fire in the Mountains, India

Short: The Music Video, Canada

Tuesday, July 27 at 9:15 p.m.

Feature: Everything in the End, U.S.

Short: Max is Bleeding, U.S.


Wednesday, July 28 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Sun Children, Iran

Short: Noisy, United States

Wednesday, July 28 at 9:15 p.m.

Feature: The Castle, Lithuania, Ireland

Short: Inverno (Timo’s Winter), Italy


Thursday, July 29 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Murder at Cinema North, Israel

Short: Devek, Israel

Thursday, July 29 at 9:15 p.m.

Feature: How to Stop a Recurring Dream, United Kingdom

Short: This Uncertain Moment, U.S.


Friday, July 30 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Lorelei, United States

Short: Swipe, United States

Friday, July 30 at 9:15 p.m.

Feature: Perfumes, France

Short: Ganef, United Kingdom



Saturday, July 31 at 8 p.m.

Feature: Final Set, France


10:30 p.m.

Ticket information

All live screenings are held at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook in the 1,000-seat Main Stage theater. Festival passes are on sale for $125, which guarantees entry to all live films at the Staller Center in July. Virtual passes are $85 with guaranteed access to all virtual films. For $250 you can purchase a Gold Pass, which guarantees entry and preferred seating for all live films at the Staller Center in July and full access to the Virtual Festival. Student passes are also available. For more information or to order, call the Staller Center Box Office at 631-632-2787 or visit stonybrookfilmfestival.com.

*This article first appeared in TBR News Media’s Summer Times supplement on June 24, 2021.

Dev Patel stars in the medieval fantasy ‘The Green Knight’. Photo courtesy of A24 Films

By Jeffrey Sanzel

A year ago, studios were deciding whether to release their summer slates. Would theaters open to limited seating? Should movies be offered on streaming platforms? Does it make sense to delay a few weeks or even hold off to the fall? Many films announced for July did not appear until September or even later. Disney+, Amazon Prime, Vudu, and others hosted a range of new releases. For the summer of 2021, it is notable that some will continue simultaneous theater and home viewing releases. 

Some of the more anticipated films are already out, so we will focus on what is coming up in July and August.

There is never a shortage of sequels, especially for those who like numbers in their titles: The Forever Purge (July 2); Spacejam: A New Legacy (July 16); Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania (July 23); Escape Room 2 (July 16); and Don’t Breathe 2 (August 13). This list could also include the Candyman reboot (August 27) and the “soft reboot” of The Suicide Squad (August 6).

Summer of Soul

While Woodstock has become the cultural icon of music events, the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival had huge attendance. It featured legendary artists (Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and Nina Simone, among many others.). Director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s documentary explores the music and its influence with exceptional archival footage. 

Rated PG-13 · Release date July 2

Black Widow 

For those looking for a superhero blockbuster, Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as the Avengers super-spy in a prequel that takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War. The character has been seen in over eight different films (including her death in Avengers: Endgame) in a ten-year span. This origin story is part of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Rated PG-13 · Release date July 9


Few cinematic auteurs cause as much anticipation and frustration as M. Night Shyamalan. In Old, a family on a tropical vacation realizes that they are aging rapidly. The basic premise was suggested by the graphic novel Sandcastle, but in Shyamalan(d), nothing is ever straightforward. Whether this will be The Sixth Sense or The Lady in the Water remains to be seen. 

Rated PG-13 · Release date July 23


Matt Damon stars in director Tom McCarthy’s thriller about an Oklahoma oil-rig worker who travels to Marseille, France, to clear his daughter’s name when imprisoned for a crime she says she didn’t commit. The preview offers Damon in rugged protective father mode, emoting shades of Liam Neeson. The cast also includes Camille Cottin from Call My Agent.

Rated R · Release date July 30

The Green Knight 

One of the summer’s most anticipated movies is writer-director David Lowery’s take on the 14th-century poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” The always excellent Dev Patel stars as the titular lord in an epic fantasy with horror-movie overtones. The Green Knight is definitely something for those who have been missing Game of Thrones: The film is replete with quests, romance, giants and beheadings. Also starring Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, and Sean Harris.

Rated R · Release date July 30


Jennifer Hudson stars as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Earlier in 2021, National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha received the ire of Franklin’s family, having been cut out of the production’s development. Conversely, the family has embraced the upcoming Respect, claiming that Hudson was the only person Aretha considered right to portray her. The exceptional cast includes Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Marc Maron, and Audra McDonald. 

Rated PG-13 · Release date August 13


In a remake of the French-language La Famille Bélier (2014), Emilia Jones plays a teenager torn between musical aspirations and a devotion to helping her deaf family in their fishing business. This mix of coming-of-age romance and topical family drama received accolades at Sundance. Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin and Eugenio Derbez co-star.

Not Rated · Release date August 13

Free Guy 

Ryan Reynolds plays “Guy,” a bank teller who discovers that he is just a background player in someone else’s video game. This realization drives him to make a life for himself. The clever premise of this action-comedy could be a breakthrough experience or just another been-there-done-that.

Rated R · Release date August 13


Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy makes her directorial debut with a sci-fi drama starring Hugh Jackman as Nicholas Bannister, a veteran living in climate-ravaged Miami. Bannister provides an unusual service: He gives clients an opportunity to relive any memory. His course is derailed by an affair with Mae (Rebecca Ferguson), leading to twists and turns in both the past and present.

Rated PG-13 · Release date August 20

The Night House 

This psychological thriller follows a recent widow (Rebecca Hall) living alone in the lakeside house built for her by her late husband. In true horror mystery fashion, the night brings nightmares that drive her to delve into the dark secrets of her husband’s past. The film also stars Sarah Goldberg and Stacy Martin.

Rated R · Release date August 20

The Beatles: Get Back

 Peter Jackson has created a documentary that focuses on the making of the Beatles 1969 album Let It Be, using footage captured for Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1970 film (also called Let It Be). The creation of songs such as “The Long and Winding Road” and “Get Back” is played against the clashes and carousing of a band on the verge of dissolution.

Not Rated · Release date August 27

This article first appeared in TBR News Media’s Summer Times supplement on 06/24/21.

By Tara Mae

As we sail into the summer season, the Grand Carousel at the Shoppes at East Wind in Wading River offers a ride through nostalgia and a trail to making new memories.

An extension of the East Wind Hotel and Spa, the Shoppes is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year and, according to Marketing Director Charlotte Coté, the carousel has been the focal point since its opening in 2016.    

“Creating a quaint shopping village with specialty stores, food and more, the carousel became the centerpiece enjoyed by individuals of any age,” she said. “The custom indoor heated pavilion not only provides entertainment throughout the year but also protects the beauty and elegance of the carousel from the outdoor elements.”

Purchased specifically for the Shoppes’ indoor pavilion, the carousel was built by Chance Rides Incorporated of Wichita, Kansas in 1993, before residing at the Parmatown Mall in Parma, Ohio. It then sat in storage until it was rescued and shipped to Long Island. 

The handicap accessible ride is designed to resemble the elegance and majesty of carousels from yesteryear. An Americana carousel, it has an oak floor, beveled glass mirrors, a standard pietop with a lighted crown, as well as wildlife and horse designs created by ride manufacturer Bradley & Kaye Amusement Company. 

All jumpers, its animals include twelve galloping horses in the style of “country fair,” adorned with bright colors and jewels, a cat, a zebra, a reindeer, a rooster, a rabbit, and a dragon. The carousel also features a chariot and pipe organ calliope-style music.

A favorite of both the young and the young at heart, the carousel’s appeal is shared by both visitors and staff. 

“Everyone has a memory of riding a carousel and that is what makes it special,” said Coté. “We see many local families returning time and time again with their children. Our operators enjoy seeing the joy in people’s faces, riding the carousel for the first time, and parents and grandparents reminiscing [about] their carousel rides when they were kids,” she added.

For Carousel Manager Robert Cutinella, who said his favorite carousel animal is the reindeer, the public’s appreciation and amusement are the best aspects of the ride.

“What makes our carousel so special is that everyone has big smiles from the time they walk in … picking out an animal (not an easy decision, even for me), enjoying the carousel’s music, and the experience of the ride. It makes everyone feel like a kid again,” he said. 

This appeal perfectly complements the 28 free standing shops. Connected by brick-paved walkways and the carousel’s pavilion, they run the gamut from bespoke tailoring and boutique clothing to fine dining and assorted sweets. 

“We’ve been going to East Wind for Mother’s Day and Easter Day brunches since before I had kids,” frequent visitor Helen Partlow said. “Once we had kids, we would take the whole family, including grandparents, and go to the carousel.”

She enjoys the carousel and shops with her family and showcases them through her role as publisher of Port Jefferson Macaroni Kid, a subset of a national publishing platform for parents. 

“I think it’s a nice place to go when you’re already going somewhere, to add it to your day, or to go for a short visit … I’ll take them to the carousel, have ice cream, and pizza. We also go to the specialty food stores,” Partlow added. 

Tweets Ice Cream Café serves a wide variety of tasty treats, such as classic ice cream flavors, specialty milkshakes, and Starbucks. “The kids get what they like and I get something fancier,” she said. Partlow describes Brezza Pizza Kitchen as one of the “best pizza places.”  

Specialty food shops present niche or specific selections. The Cheese and Spice Market, for instance, has artisanal and farmstead cheeses and charcuterie take-out boxes, platters, and gift baskets. 

Yet out of East Wind’s many options, perhaps what most appeals to Partlow is the carousel. “It represents one of those symbolic things that all kids seem to like, but aren’t always [available],” she said. “It represents a stage of childhood, where they are still into imagination and play. It will be a nice memory that I will look back on as they grow up.” 

Coté sees the carousel as a symbol of the joy the Shoppes at East Wind may bring to the public. “The Shoppes is not just shopping. It is a place where families can come, enjoy the outdoors, grab a bite and have fun for a few hours and the carousel is a welcoming addition to that experience. The carousel is a beacon of happiness at The Shoppes.” 

Located at 5768 Route 25A, Wading River, the Grand Carousel is open seven days a week. Operating hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Fridays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The price of a ride on the carousel is $5 for one token (one token per ride) or 5 tokens for $20. Current COVID protocols are observed. For more information, visit www.eastwindlongisland.com.

*This article first appeared in TBR News Media’s Summer Times supplement on 06/24/21.

All photos by Heidi Sutton

Above, a painting of Frank Melville Memorial Park in Setauket by artist John Koch at a previous Wet Paint Festival. Photo courtesy of Gallery North

By Melissa Arnold

It’s been a tough season for the plethora of local events that have either been canceled, postponed or restructured. Thankfully, technology like livestreaming and video chat have made it possible for some events to go on as scheduled, albeit a bit differently.

For the past 16 years, the Wet Paint Festival has given Three Village residents and visitors an up close look at the creative process of local artists as they work. The event was founded to honor the memory of beloved Long Island painter Joe Reboli, who died in 2004.

But inviting artists and community members to gather for creative fun and conversation doesn’t exactly fit in this quarantined, socially distant time. So what to do?

It’s been a baptism by fire of sorts for Ned Puchner of Gallery North in Setauket, which has sponsored the event from its beginnings. Puchner, who became the gallery’s executive director in December, was looking forward to his first Wet Paint Festival. Now, he’s been called upon to dream up an alternative.

“It’s been one of those unique experiences where you get to know people really fast,” Puchner joked. “But I’ve also learned very quickly how much support there is here for the arts and the art community, even despite the pandemic and its challenges. It’s been very encouraging for me to see that outpouring.”

Originally founded by former Gallery North director Colleen Hanson and the Reboli family, the Wet Paint Festival invites artists from Long Island and beyond for a relaxed weekend of plein air (outdoor) painting. The artists paint at the same location from vantage points of their choosing, allowing each put their own spin on well-known scenes and landmarks.

In the past, the festival has been held at West Meadow Beach and the adjoining Old Field Farm, Frank Melville Memorial Park, the Stony Brook railroad, the Thompson House, and Avalon Park & Preserve, among other places.

This year’s event will celebrate each artist’s originality as Wet Paint goes virtual. Painting sessions will be either livestreamed online or pre-recorded from a location the artist selects, whether it’s their own backyard or a public spot. During each session, the artist will talk about their creative process and take questions from viewers, just as they would in person.

To accommodate for the new format, the artists will paint for an entire week, from July 18 through July 25. The completed artwork will then be on display on the Gallery North website throughout the month of August.

The virtual festival is the latest in Gallery North’s ongoing effort to provide engaging online experiences during the pandemic.

“We had the Wet Paint Festival completely planned and were starting to gather sponsors and registrants when we had to close the gallery on March 14. When we closed, we decided to postpone the event, not realizing how long we would be unable to function and be outside,” Puchner explained.

“As time went on, we took it as an opportunity to get creative not only with Wet Paint, but with everything we do,” he said. The gallery began to share daily art activities, host “virtual open studio” events, film screenings, lectures, and opportunities to give and receive feedback on work in progress. As the staff grew more comfortable with video chat platforms such as Zoom, they knew they had to find a way to present the Wet Paint Festival, too.

Angela Stratton of Selden has enjoyed painting at the festival for the past 15 years, and while she’ll miss the connection and camaraderie of the typical event, she’s excited to see what comes of the online version.

“I’m the kind of person that likes to be outside anyway, so getting to paint at the same time is really a double treasure,” said Stratton, an oil painter. “Of course, there can be issues with painting outdoors ­— the sun goes in and out, it can be windy, it can rain — but it gives you the real depth of color you just can’t get from a photo.”

Stratton is still up in the air about where she’ll be painting, but she enjoys the challenge provided by the Old Field lighthouse.

Annette Napolitano, a realist painter who works in both watercolor and oil, would normally go out once a week to paint with a group of friends. She’s participated in Wet Paint for several years now.

“The first time I did the festival, I was so excited to be with the other artists, all of us working in the same place. The world is so big, and it can be a challenge to grab just a piece of it,” said Napolitano, of Rocky Point.

“I think bringing the festival online is a good solution because it’s like a pop-up event — people can come and go as they please. It’s also nice that we have a whole week to work, and it’s going to be fun to see people share their work from different parts of Long Island,” she said.

Puchner hopes that the event will inspire creativity not only in the participating artists, but people at home as well.

“At the center of the arts is expression. Everyone has had different experiences during the pandemic, but it has been significant for all of us,” he said. “There’s a fundamental need to discuss how we’re feeling, and the arts are a safe space for expression of all kinds.”

Livestreamed and recorded artist visits will be available for public viewing the week of July 27 at www.gallerynorth.org. Then, all completed works will be on the site for viewing and purchase throughout the month of August, with commissions split equally between the artist and the gallery. A virtual reception will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Aug. 8 via Zoom; registration is free but required.

For further information, visit www.gallerynorth.org or call 631-751-2676.

*Article from TBR News Media’s Summer Times 2020, free on newstands today.