Monday, August 7, 2017

ROAD TO FREEDOM DAY at Dobbs, Ferry Review By Polly Guerin

The Patriotic Enacters on the Road to Freedom Day 
"HEAD QUARTERS, DOBBS FERRY" General George Washington wrote most of his correspondence from "Head Quarters, Dobbs Ferry" the major epicenter of his command over the American and French troops during the American Revolution.
     It is no wonder, therefore, that Dobbs Ferry citizens revere the historical significance of their town with the Annual ROAD TO FREEDOM DAY, which takes place marching in tandem with authentic uniform enactment in the lead, followed by the adults and children who wind their way to Mead House, the site of the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society, which continues the festivities with military demonstrations, other entertainments and hospitality.  Such display of patriotic pride reminds us to remember that the call for liberty and justice for all was at the core of the American Revolution so valiantly won whilst driving the British out of the country. 
    Anytime is a good time to visit historic Dobbs Ferry but August is especially important, when Dobbs Ferry commemorates the march of General George Washington's Continental Army troops and the French forces under the command of Comte de Rochambeau.  Let us not forget that it is said by American Revolutionary historians that without the support of the France alliance, America would have lost its war of independence. 
     
Adults and Children on the Road to Freedom 
The route taken by Washington and Rochambeau eventually follows the route of the Continental army on August 19, 1781 when it began a march of more than 400 miles to Virginia and the decisive American and French victory at Yorktown over British and Hessian troops under Lord Cornwallis (October 19, 1781) that ended the American Revolution.  Participating citizens and guests in August vicariously follow that route through the town of Dobbs Ferry led by fife and drums and the Ebenezer Stevens Artificers. Artificers were skilled craftsman, responsible for the repair and maintenance of artillery including cannons and muskets. In the summer of 1781 they were encamped at Dobbs Ferry and later marched to Yorktown with the army and resumed their work as cannons and muskets were in constant need of repair and maintenance. 

     
A Cemetery Tribute to the Revolutionary War Patriots
After the opening ceremonies at Gould Park, including a discussion and display of the Revolutionary flags, the marchers made their way to the Little White Church Cemetery to honor the American Revolution's patriots with Arificers and fife and drum ceremony.

    Alas after such victorious activities honoring this great day in history everyone goes to Mead House, the site of the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society, 12 Elm Street, where musical programs include musical selections from the era, as well as a display of historical artifacts and maps. The annual event is Free and open to the public, so mark your August calendar for next year's event. Refreshments welcomed the marchers and visitors with delicious homemade baked goods, cool beverages on the lawn and make your own ice cream Sunday in the Gallery.  For additional information download http://www.DOBBSFERRYHISTORY.org. 
Email:  DFHISTORY@1CLOUD.COM or call 914. 674. 1007.
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! Dobb's Ferry is a great summer Day Trip via Metro North Harlem line at Grand Central, a mere 40 minute ride on the iron horse speeding like the wind along the mighty Hudson and plucking you down on the shimmering shore of Dobbs Ferry for The Road to Freedom. Just wear comfortable shoes for the march. Fans mail welcome, I appreciate your comments, please contact pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's other Blogs on women determined to succeed, visionary men, fashion and poetry from the heart. Access the links on www.pollytalk.com.

Monday, July 31, 2017

GRAND OPERA DIMITRIJ at Bard Summerscape: Review by Polly Guerin

Antonin Dvorak's DIMITRIJ, Grand Opera on an epic scale of monumentality, has arrived at Bard, Annandale-on-the-Hudson's spectacular Fisher Center. designed by Frank Gehry.  It is this year's SUMMERSCAPE festival's long overdue American premiere performance of Antonin Dvorak's opera in an original new staging by award-winning director Anne Bogart.  For opera aficionados this is a rare opportunity to see the remaining performances,  Wednesday, August 2 at 2 pm,  Friday, August 4 at 7:30 pm and Sunday August 6 at 2 pm.  Summerstage coach from New York City August 6. Reservation required: 845.758.7900. 
Quite frankly, the opera, if only it was possible, deserves an extended run. 
 INNOVATIVE PROGRAMMING: Since the opening of the Fisher Center at Bard, Leon Botstein, principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra has been responsible for championing and restoring to the stage a growing number of important, but long-neglected operas. He combines his conducting career with his work at Bard College, where he has served as president since 1975. Botstein's unique approach to programming gives audiences opportunities to encounter neglected, but brilliant works which he performs alongside standard repertoire masterpieces, often enhancing the experience, as he did at the July 30 performance, with a preconcert talk that augmented the opera experience. 
     Dimitrij introduction at Bard stands as a testament to recognizing Dvorak's genius; the recognition of his lyricism and masterfully stirring chorus and brilliant soloists singing with such synergistic resonance that brought the July 30th audience to a standing ovation. With rising young tenor Clay Hilley's heroic performance in the title role and the captivating soprano Melissa Citro as Marina, Dimitrij's Polish wife, and the resonant, bright voiced Russian soprano, Olga Tolknit as Xenia completed their fatal love triangle. it was a breathtaking grand opera performance with others as talented too numerous to mention here.  Set design by David Zinn and costumes by Constance Hoffman make this thrilling new production a "must see" on your list of cultural interests.
THE STORY: Based on events of 17th century Russia, Dimitrij seemingly resumes where Mussorgsky's Boris Gudunov leaves off.  It vividly depicts the struggle for power during the "Time of Troubles" that ensued in the wake of the Tzar's death. Mistakenly supposing himself to be Dimitrij, the murdered son of Ivan the Terrible, Dvorak's protagonist believes he has a legitimate claim to the Russian Throne.  When he falls in love with Godunov's daughter, however, he decides to divorce his own Polish wife, he unwittingly triggers the chain of events that will result in his demise. Ultimately tragic, the story of the false Dimitrij pits Orthodox Russia against Catholic Poland. Bard's historic presentation also features Dimitrij's rarely heard, full-length overture and original brutal conclusion. The final scene's frozen-in-time tableau of the entire cast and chorus filling the stage with their omnipotent presence resembled an unforgettable work of masterful artistry.   
Melissa Citro as Marina, Dimitrij's Polish Wife
Dvorak's Dimitrij (1882) is rarely staged outside of he Czech Republic, and was acclaimed for its strong dramatic moments, original melodies and masterful choral work and was widely regarded as one of the most significant works created for the Czech operatic stage. It only received its United States concert premiere in 1984, more than a century after its composition. Bogart said,                  "The more I look at the opera-the architecture of the piece and the absolutely gorgeous music-the more I am completely bewildered why it's not done all the time, why it's not a stable part of the repertoire in the opera world."

     Ta Ta Darlings!!!   I was overwhelmed by this powerful performance and the captivating orchestration of Dimitrij. The stellar performance still resonates with me. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com.

Monday, July 17, 2017

World Premiere A PINK CHAIR (In Place of a Fake Antique at BARD

"Tadeusz Kantor was to Poland what Any Warhol is to America: an iconic postwar artist." It might be best to be open-minded to fully appreciate the avant garde performance of The Wooster Group's A PINK CHAIR (In Place of a Fake Antique). The experience is mesmerizing, an experimental performance incorporating video in the theatrical landscape that pays tribute to to the late visionary, Polish artist and director, Tadeusz Kantor. 
     Annandale-on-the Hudson, NY:  This summer, the Bard SummerScape 2017 festival presents the world premiere of a new theater production from The Wooster Group, the internationally recognized Obie and Bessie Award-winning experimental theater company. Each Scene in the piece, there are five, is a re-imagined installment of Kantor's work, revisiting as it does his previous pieces, Case in point, Part  III: A Miserable and Suspicious Inn (The Company encounters the film of I shall Never Return), and then in Part V: The Return of Odysseus, the Company reenacts the Odysseus Story From Kantor's I Shall Never Return with Some Disruptions. Haunting musical accompaniment included Ani Ma'amin a Jewish prayer set to music, an Argentinian tango a work by Chopin, a song from the Warsaw ghetto and others.
     It is interesting to note that  this new work by the Wooster Group not only pays homage to  Tadeusz Kantor, but his daughter, Dorota Krakowska serves in a spellbinding presence as A Pink Chair's dramaturge. Then too, the piece is directed by Wooster founding member, Elizabeth LeCompte, whose string of honors include prize recognitions and a National Endowment of the Arts Lifetime Achievement award.
    This innovative work is performed in the LUMA Theater of the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center on Bard's Hudson Valley campus.  Remaining performances include the following: Wednesday, July 19 at 2 pm, Thursday, July 20 at 7:30 pm, Friday, July 21 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, July 22 at 2 pm, Saturday July 22 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, July 23 at 2 pm.
     TADEUSZ KANTOR (1915-90) the stage director, set designer, creator of happenings and writer, was the artist behind such revolutionary theatrical works as The Dead Class (1975) . He founded the Independent Theater in Poland , and served as well as a director of the experimental theater in Krakow from 1942 to 1944.  WWII influenced his work and he is best known for his "Theater of Death" a series of surrealist works in which the shadow of Poland's experience of war and totalitarianism, he sought to create what he called "a bridge between the audience and the kingdom of death. The presence of  pink chair at the end of the performance alludes to the title of Kantor's piece and perhaps is a harbinger of "hope" in the aftermath.
   Ta ta Darlings!!! BARD'S SUMMERSCAPE 2017 FULL SCHEDULE OF PERFORMANCES CAN BE ACCESSED AT www.bard.edu/fishercenter.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.
Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Patek Philippe's "Art of Watches" Grand Exhibition: Opens July 13 at Cipriani

Whether you are a watch aficionado or not, here is your chance to enter the splendid hallowed halls of the former Bowery Savings Bank building across from Grand Central Terminal to view the Patek Philippe's tradition of high-precision watch manufacturing as well as the company's 178-year history and its heritage in the domain of Haute Horlogerie. Located in Geneva, Switzerland and the Vallee de Joux, Patek Philippe designs and manufactures timepieces and movements, including some of the most complicated mechanical watches, and many experts and aficionados consider Patek Philippe to be one of the most prestigious watch manufacturers. Owners of their time honored watches have included kings and queens. In 1851 Queen Victoria wore an exclusive Patek Philippe timepiece, a watch suspended from a diamond enamel brooch.  Patek Philippe popularized the perpetual calendar, the split-seconds hand, chronograph, and minute repeater in watches and modern captains of industry own such watches for their status and unique appeal.
     
Cipriani former  Bowery Savings Bank ballroom interior
     The 11-day exhibition, THE ART OF WATCHES GRAND EXHIBITION, running from July 13-23rd, is free and open to the public at Cipriani 42nd Street, 110 East 42nd Street and will be open to the general public from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Here is a rare opportunity to discover the world of the last privately family owned watch company from the inside featuring a curated selection of luxury pocket watches and wrist watches, from new ones to styles dating back to 1530. Rather than selling watches, the exhibition format is meant to educate visitors about the historical significance of time-keeping and the awe-inspiring ingenuity of the watches. 


    A UNIQUE STRUCTURE: For the first time ever, a two-story structure has been created within Cipriani, the former Bowery Savings Bank building, to accommodate the square footage required for an exhibition of this scale. Ten specific rooms include the Theater Room, Current Collection Room, Museum Room, US Historic Room Rare Handcrafts Gallery and Grand Complications Room. All have been created to showcase unique environments.
    DEMONSTRATIONS: As a way to educate visitors on the inner-workings of fine watchmaking, watchmaker and Artisan demonstrations are among some of the interactive activities taking place during the exhibition. After visitors have concluded their tour they are welcome to rest in the Patek Philippe Cafe. 
George Washington Pocket Watch 
COMMEMORATIVE CATALOG: A one-of-a-kind commemorative catalog available for purchase at a nominal fee during the storied exhibition, will highlight the historical timepieces, current novelties, rare handicrafts and grand complications showcased during the exhibition. 

And, did I mention Patek Philippe will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the catalog to The Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, which offers innovative after-school and enrichment programs for more than 10,000 youth, ages 6 through 18, in ten locations throughout the Bronx. Daniel Quintero, Executive Director of the Kip's Bay Boys & Girls Club said, "We are honored to be partnering with Patek Philippe during this exhibition, and grateful that they have chose our organization as the recipient of the catalog's proceeds."
       THE ART OF WATCHES, GRAND EXHIBITION is like a gift to New York and revers the memory of its founders (Antoni ) Patek and (Adrien) Philippe who landed in New York in the 1800s when they began to explore the new world.  Today The Henri Stern Watch Agency manages all of the business operations for Patek Philippe in the United States. 
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! I look forward to seeing you at Cipriani and delve into the unique world of watchmaking history. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Polly's Blogs on fashion, visionary men, women determined to succeed and poetry can be accessed on www.pollytalk.com, just click on the links to the Blogs that resonate with your interest.

Monday, June 26, 2017

REVISITING CALDER at Whitney Museum: Review by Polly Guerin

Elements of Calder's mobiles vibrate, sway, or unfurl creating a captivating visual dynamism. His airborne mobiles hang from ceilings and stand on floors, their elements rotating independently and at times causing chain reactions with their composition. They are fascinating structures that intrigue, but when these metal sculptures move they become airborne masterpieces.
     CALDER: HYPERMOBILITY at the Whitney Museum of American Art, focuses on the extraordinary breadth of motion achieved by Alexander Calder (1898-1976) in his works from the moment he turned to radical abstraction in 1930 and continuing throughout his career. The exhibit is extended to October 23, 2017.
     Thanks to an unprecedented collaboration with the Calder Foundation, this exhibit, enchanting as it is, engages visitors with a rare opportunity to experience works set in motion by motors or air currents and further animated by touch.     

In 1931 Calder set abstract forms in motion, using motors to re-imagine the spatial and temporal relationships of compositional elements.  The mechanized sculptures on view here are newly restored for this exhibition, and several are operating for the first time since they were initially presented by the artist. Each work, driven by a hidden electric motor, consists of components that transform and interact, either within a designated open space or as offset by a monochrome backdrop.
      These subtly oscillating shapes create the sense of a painting in motion, and as with his earlier mobiles, many of the sculptures feature circular forms inspired by the dynamics of unseen forces in nature.  Always experimenting, Calder would soon push beyond the repetition of the motorized works and by 1932 he made his first suspended mobile, Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere, which quickly led to various other mobiles incorporating spontaneous movements activated by air currents, human intervention, or chance. 
 BIRTH OF THE MOBILE: Calder began with kineticism in the 1920s while living in Paris, where he developed a close association with leading European avant-garde artists, including Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, Edgard Varese and Fernand Leger.
     In 1931 Calder invented the mobile, an entirely new mode of sculpture. The term was coined by Duchamp, the friend of American Artist, Florine Stettheimer. In French, mobile is  pun that means both "motive" and "that which moves."  Combined with carefully balanced components of wire, metal and wood, each mobile performs is own set of movements, enacting an infinite series of potential forms. 

In tandem with his kinetic works, he also made stabiles, sculptures that while stationery nonetheless convey a heightened sense of implied movement through their composition. 
     For this exhibition, musician Jim O'Rourke has composed a works in response to Calder's sculpture.  Listen on the mulimedia guide and whiteney.org/calder.  A complete  schedule of performances and activations for updates and to purchase or reserve tickets in advance, visit
whitney.org.calder.
    Ta Ta Darlings!!! Calder's mesmerizing mobiles engage, enchant, entertain and move our imagination into spheres of uncharted beauty.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com. Just click in the left-hand column to topics that resonate with your interest on fashion, beauty, women determined to succeed, visionary men, and poetry.

Monday, June 19, 2017

FORCE OF NATURE---Museum at FIT: Review By Polly Guerin

Charles James, "Tree" evening dress and "Petal stole
What better source of inspiration than Nature---its flora and fauna, geology, and physical beauty   has been the muse for designers throughout fashion history.  As Alexander McQueen said, "I have always loved the mechanics of nature, and to a greater or lesser extent my world is always informed by that."
     The Museum at Fit's exhibit, FORCE OF NATURE spans the eighteenth century to the present in ten sections, each focusing on a facet of fashion's connection to nature---on view through November 18, 2017. Curator Melissa Marra's research blends a fascinating marriage of fashion and nature in unexpected comparisons on display.
     Image Left: Charles James, "Tree" evening gown with "Petal" stole, 1955.  This evening gown with a petal-like stole bestows upon its wearer a sensual elegance by transforming her into a flower.
     Garments, textiles and accessories, exclusively from the collection of The Museum at FIT, illustrate how principles of the natural sciences, such as the dynamics of sexual attraction, have informed fashion design. For instance, elaborately feathered women's hats, show how the plumage of male birds use for sexual display has been appropriated to emphasize female beauty.  The natural world has influenced fashion in positive ways, but fashion's impact on the environment has been largely detrimental. Take the case of the thousands of birds almost made extinct by the use of their feathers and taxidermy bodies for use as decoration on women's millinery.  It is good to note that this style was abandoned and today many designers are engaging in more sustainable practices. This shift indicates a new attitude towards nature, from one of dominion to participation. 
     
Pierre Hardy, shoes 2015, France
During the Enlightenment, as naturalists classified plant species, exotic botanic gardens flourished throughout Europe. These gardens inspired the work of textile designers, who began to depict flowers from around the world.  The sexuality of plants and the symbolism of flowers such as roses and orchids 

     Fashion and nature is an international love affair. A pair of shoes by Pierre Hardy challenges traditional representation of flowers by rendering realistic images of lilies in saccharine, artificial colors. (Image Right: Pierre Hardy, shoes summer collection 2015, France.
      The bold patterns of animal skins have been appropriated by fashion designers for their strong visual impact and their exotic appeal. The striking patterns of the leopard, zebra and ocelot, for example, that serve to camouflage animals in the wild are often used in fashion as a way to stand out. Remember Josephine Baker famous scenario. She paraded around Paris wearing a matching leopard print pant suit while out walking her pet leopard. Superstars today wear to the limelight outrages animal inspired trappings to create exotic, out-of-the norm images.
   
Shrimpton Couture
In a never ending search for inspiration discoveries relating to celestial bodies, the greater universe, and the physical forces that created them have also led to extraordinary designs. Science and technology play key roles in transforming the shift in a new attitude toward nature. This is evidenced by designer interest in biomimicry (employing design principles that imitate nature's processes) and biomaterials that are grown using biological organisms. For further information contact the Museum information line: 212 217 4558. Internet access at

exhibitions.fitnyc.edu/force-of-nature.
    Ta Ta Darlings!!  It is always FREE admission at The Museum at FIT, then, too, there are the supplemental I-pad content, executed by Javier Alvarez with more informative details about each section of the show.  Fan Mail welcome at pollytalk@gmail.com  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com on subjects ranging from visionary men to women determined to succeed, fashion and poetry.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Reinventing the Bank Experience at Union Square: Review by Polly Guerin

Union Square, one of the most vibrant and historic intersections in New York City, is a pulsating hub. Throughout nearly 185 years it has been the gathering place for commerce, for entertainment, for labor, political events, farmer's markets and happenings. 
     It is the place to be and see the young and mature cognoscenti especially enjoy the park which owes its name to the location at the intersection---or union---of two major roads in New York City;  Broadway, the former Bloomingdale Road, and Fourth Avenue, the former Bowery Road. 
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION The site was authorized by the State Legislature as a public place in 1831 and acquired by the City of New York in 1833. For those you have forgotten their American Revolution history, the equestrian statue of King George III, pulled down by patriotic citizens and the historic moment November 25, 1783, is recognized as Evacuation Day, when the British were finally driven out of the city.  For years Evacuation Day was celebrated as a major holiday to commemorate the end of British rule in the United States.
    Who resides in the Park today? The equestrian statue of United States President George Washington, by Henry Kirke Brown, the first public sculpture erected in New York City, was unveiled in 1856.
    With such an illustrious past Union Square, surrounded by trendy neighborhoods, such as Chelsea, the Flatiron District, East Village and Gramercy Park, is a fast paced epicenter that attracts multi-national pedestrians and tourists from all over the world. It is any wonder, therefore, that a major bank's headquarters are located here?
By David Aquino Sanchez
WHERE IS THE BANK? When I first walked into the bank's headquarters, on the bank's storefront street level there were people sitting by the windows working on their laptops, just like a trendy restaurant. Then too, further into the street level, an artist, David Aquino Sanchez was painting a large mural, a replica of his rendering of a New York City themed painting, the apple morphed into an eagles head, plus other iconic images. "What are you doing here I asked?"  He explained that through a community outreach program, the bank features an artist every three months and that he would be at the location finalizing his masterpiece until September. This engaging artist has a large repertoire of works in color that identify with his diverse oeuvre. He takes pride in the charity he has formed to help the youths of Santa Domingo.  Called, the Shoeshine Boys, he plans to garner funds to help to elevate the young boys and girls out of their poverty circumstances. Visit David at www.davinaquinoart.com.
Yet there still was no sign of a traditional bank.
     Instead there was a glamorous staircase to ascend to the next level which again did not look like a bank and had even more remarkable spaces such as individual mini booths by the windows, which were already taken up by business and personal Internet people working. Then, too, there is a tablet station, but most impressive is a rather spacious open viewing lounge with huge windows overlooking the park. No reservations required, just take one of the colorful seats,  where weary individuals can, if they wish, merely sit and take in the panoramic view of the Union Square intersection. What's this all about I asked?  
Window Booths (individual work areas) and elongated Tablet Station 
REINVENTING THE BANK  A well informed individual explained, "It's Capital One's flagship bank, bringing back the human element in banking, returning to a place of hospitality and offering diverse fast-land Manhattanites an opportunity to slow down and perk up, and visit anytime they wish to---even when they are not banking."  And, did I mention--there's Peet's coffee shop where customers can take a breather and sip a hand-crafted cup of coffee, even bring it with them. Of yes, by the way, this is a bank, there is not doubt about it, and there's time to do traditional banking or discuss the diverse banking opportunities; all this in an innovative open environment. 
For further information Capital One Bank, 853 Broadway, NYC 10003 www.capitalone.com.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!!  Destination Union Square is the place to be and relaxing in the new bank experience is worth a trip downtown. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column to the Blogs that resonate with your interest.