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STARS & PERSONALITIES OF THE MONTH BY MAXIMILLIEN de LAFAYETTE

 editor@worldjewishnewsagency.org

 

 

'Still Life Goes On'                                    

The New Amsterdam Musical Association (NAMA) recently profiled by The New York Times on the Celebration of its 100th year as a Musical Institute is expanding into Theatre to celebrate this banner year. Opening on May 20, is ‘STILL LIFE GOES ON’, written and directed by Christine Melton-Jordan, who recently completed a successful two-month run at NAMA of her play, ‘BLACK PEARLS’. This 4 character play features former NFL Running Back, Jimmy Gary, Jr. of The Seattle Seahawks ,Hank Dennis, Jane Levy, and Rebecca White. Set in 1968 America, in Buster’s Place, A Greenwich Village Nightclub ‘STILL LIFE GOES ON’ explores the story of two lovers, the reclusive nightclub owner and his headline singer, who cling  to each other while trying to restore their shattered lives. Enter French Woman, Janine Lenot who comes to Buster’s to repair her estranged relationship with her singer-daughter. Emotions flare with explorations of race, heritage, the ‘Jim Crow’ era, the European Colonization of Africa, and the question of identification in Contemporary Western Society. Complemented by A beautiful Jazz Score Composed by Tyrone Brown (of The Max Roach & Rachelle Farell ensembles). Christine Melton-Jordan - Playwright/Director. NAMA: New Amsterdam Musical Association, 107 West 130th Street, NY, NY 10027. Ticket Donation $10.00. Contact Christine Melton-Jordan for more information/tickets at 212- 348-5415 or email: namamusicaldrama@yahoo.com   . Showtimes are: May 20 to June 26, 2005. Fridays (8:00 p.m.) Saturdays & Sundays (3:00 p.m.). Producers - NAMA & Melton Pot Productions.

HUDSON THEATRE ENSEMBLE SELECTS ISRAELI DIRECTOR – ADI ZISMAN – TO DIRECT MUSICAL REVUE - CLOSER THAN EVER.
Each song tells a story. Each moment is a portrait.

The Hudson Theatre Ensemble is delighted to present “Closer Than Ever,” a funny, wise, and witty romantic musical revue for today, by composer David Shire (Big - The Musical) and lyricist Richard Maltby Jr. (Miss Saigon), collaborators who have worked together for decades(the team that brought us the Broadway musical "Baby”) with direction and musical direction by the extraordinarily talented Israeli Director, Adi Zisman. Jewish producers, Diana London and Florence Pape, were so impressed with the outstanding quality, professionalism, and polish of Ms. Zisman’s musical direction of their “Company, ” “Personals,” and “HapPEAly Ever After” that they selected her over many American applicants and offered her the post of directing as well as musically directing this season’s “Closer Than Ever.” Clearly, Ms. Zisman is delivering on the promise that her education and credentials have prepared her to achieve: graduating Telma Yelin, receiving the outstanding musician award in the army, receiving a BA and MA in piano and musicology both Magna Cum Laude, composing her own musical, producing an original cabaret album, directing numerous shows: Joseph, Little Shop of Horrors, Blood Brothers, etc, and her extremely positive recent interview in Haaretz. Each song in “Closer Than Ever” is an intimate, insightful tale about love, security, happiness – and holding onto them in a world that pulls you in a hundred directions at once. Maltby and Shire bring their celebrated craft and contemporary sensibility to songs about aging, mid-life crisis, altering relationships, doors opening and closing as life moves on, second marriages, and role reversals with parents, as well as wicked satirical jabs at working couples and unrequited love. The Hudson Theatre Ensemble, a professional community theatre, is now in its sixth season and resides in a beautiful new theater in Hoboken, NJ. We produce plays, musicals, and children’s shows. Past seasons include the musical “Company” (musical director: Adi Zisman), Personals” (director/musical director: Adi Zisman) “Steel Magnolias,” “12 Angry Men,” “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” “The Real Inspector Hound,” and many others, as well as our popular Silly on Sixth – Children’s Series: “Sleeping Beauty,” “HapPEAly Ever After” (director/musical director: Adi Zisman), and “Silly 3s.” These spirited productions have earned us much acclaim for their professionalism as well as their heart and soul: “Adi and the Hudson Theatre Ensemble prove you don’t have to go all the way to Broadway or pay astronomical prices to see a great musical. The footlights shine bright right here on this side of the Hudson.” “Closer Than Ever” will be performed at The Hudson School Performance Space at 601 Park Avenue in Hoboken, NJ on Friday June 10 and 17 at 8PM, Saturday June 11 and 18 at 8PM, and Sunday June 12 and 19 at 7PM. Tickets are $16 general admission; $12 seniors/students. For more information or reservations, please contact Florence Pape at 201-377-7014 or reservations@HudsonTheatreEnsemble.com

 

The Sixteenth Annual Jewish Cultural Achievement Awards in the Arts


Photos, left: Actor Adam Arkin, right: George Blumenthal.

The National Foundation for Jewish Culture (NFJC), the leading advocate for Jewish cultural creativity and preservation in America, announced today that it will honor four esteemed individuals at its sixteenth annual Jewish Cultural Achievement Awards (JCAA) on Monday, June 6, 2005 at The Roosevelt Hotel (45 East 45th Street). George Blumenthal will receive the Cultural Entrepreneur award for his pioneering efforts in using digital technology to preserve the Jewish cultural heritage. The three artistic honorees, whose work has contributed both to the American cultural mainstream and to a contemporary Jewish cultural identity in America, include Frederic Brenner for Visual Arts, Liz Lerman for Performing Arts and Donald Margulies for Literary Arts. All of the honorees are truly notable in their respective fields and the recipients have made art and culture arising from a Jewish sensibility more accessible to audiences throughout the country. Adam Arkin (actor, Brooklyn Boy, Chicago Hope) will be presenting the award to Donald Margulies, Rachel Cowan (Nathan Cummings Foundation) will be presenting to Liz Lerman, Frederic Brenner will receive his award from Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (Professor of Performance Studies and Hebrew and Judaic Studies NYU's Tisch School of Arts), George Blumenthal will receive his award from Lawrence Schiffman (Chair of New York University's Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies).

Rachel CowanPhotos from L to R: #1.Liz Lerman, Founder and Director Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Washington, D.C.Over the last 20 years Liz Lerman has established herself as a leader in both the modern dance and community arts fields. She has earned international recognition for her work with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, as a solo performer, and as choreographer of over 50 works. Her credentials include an American Choreographer Award and numerous Choreography Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Liz's work has been commissioned by the Lincoln Center, American Dance Festival, Dancing in the Streets, BalletMet, and the Kennedy Center. #2. Rachel Cowan

The Jewish Cultural Achievement Awards are the American Jewish community's foremost recognition of artistic achievement. A portion of the proceeds from this event will support the further digitization of Jewish manuscripts, books, art, and film, as well as educational materials that will encourage their use and appreciation. To purchase tickets for the event, or to make a contribution to the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, please call (212) 629-0500 or visit them online at www.jewishculture.org.  About the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. The National Foundation for Jewish Culture is the leading advocate for Jewish cultural creativity and preservation in America.  Founded in 1960 by the Council of Jewish Federations, the NFJC works with artists, scholars, cultural institutions and community agencies to enhance the quality of Jewish life in America through the arts and humanities.  The National Foundation for Jewish Culture is supported by the Jewish Federation movement in America through allocations from the National Funding Councils, including funds provided by the UJA Federation of New York, and more than 100 local Federations of Jewish philanthropy.  For more information, please visit www.jewishculture.org. More information about the event can be obtained directly from  Scott Klein at Keith Sherman and Associates, Phone: (212)764-7900, fax: (212)764-0344 or by emailing him at scott@ksa-pr.com

INTERNATIONAL STARS AND CELEBRITIES OF THE MONTH: ILIL ARBEL, ALISON ENGLAND, ERIKA LUCKETT, PAULETTE ATTIE, LIESL MULLER, NATALIE DESSAY, ROBERTO ALAGNA, ANN PLAGIANOS, NINA GRUSCHWITZ.

 

Photo: Dr. Ilil Arbel.

 

Dr. Arbel is the author of  the magnificent book "The Lemon Tree" and several other books on Jewish culture, mythology and arts. Unquestionably, Arbel is one of the greatest writers/authors of our generation. A tour d'horizon of her world of culture, authorship, wisdom and art is a must. Visit her website at http://www.ililarbel.com . This superb and formidable author and Israeli scholar is a major contribution to the  world. of literature, modern thoughts and social philosophy. Her books nourish and fertilize the landscape of world culture, history and Jewish heritage. No Judaic library or center of reference is complete without her books, particularly, "The Lemon Tree" and "Maimonides".

 

 

 

Imagine a world without music!? A sky without stars?! Empty stages and silent orchestras?! Imagine our lives without cherished memories, some permissible escapades and days without nights...and nights without the sparkling voices of  bursting talents and captivating divas!? This could and would be the end of our world, the apocalypse of the mind and the soul. Fortunately, our world is filled with beauty, tender whispers, innocent creative madness, flashes of hope and delightfully beautiful musical virtuosity bursting from within the heart and soul of Alison England, Erika Luckett, Anne Paglianos, Paulette Attie, Anna Bergman, the sweet, tender, wise and loving words and phrases of Ilil Arbel,  and perhaps the eternal sacred whispers and exploding laughters of Melina Mercouri?!

 

Photo: Alison England, broadcasting live.

 Imagine a world without the poetry of Lamartine and Victor Hugo,  a world without the screaming of the bleeding souls of Goya, a world without Brahms, Chopin and Ravel...a world without children playing with their dolls, cars and torturing their toys...a world without the smiles and the faces of people we love...a world without books by Tolstoy, Ilil Arbel, Voltaire, Proust and Chateaubriand...Everyday, every single dawn and sunset that enters my life invites me to thank the daring maker of our universe. For I know, every new day in our lives will bring new hopes, new possibilities, new opportunities and an ultimate reason for creating, writing, composing, singing and spreading warmth and beauty around us. Thanks to THE music and THE beautiful voices of artists, entertainers, even crazy and silly comedians, our world shines brighter and warmer. Our guests  and international artists of the month gave me this ultimate reason for rejoicing.

THE MAJESTIC DIVA ALISON ENGLAND

Alison England, a super magnificent Opera Diva from the United States invaded France with most unusual ammunition: An American sense of humor, a majestic operatic voice and a Voltairian-Ernst Hemingway laisser faire attitude. She came to Paris, et voila, the French went apes! They loved this American aristocratic wild Diva! She mesmerized and confused the hell out of them. They did not know what to do with flamboyant, extravagant and overwhelming Yankee woman. So, they settled for an ultimate admiration for her  with one million questions buried in their aching  Parisian curiosity. So, Alison is doing fine in France. She is highly respected in France. She teaches voice. She designed opera productions. She sings like a dream, she keeps on mesmerizing the French and the French are not totally pleased with all this. They still want to know a lot of thing about this " Ravissante Americaine" (Ravishing American Woman". One of the 4 reasons of Alison's great success in France is her  approach to life. Of course, her sublime operatic voice opened wide doors for her. But, her vision of the world, her most wonderful American humor and internal strength made her shine in France.

Liesl Müller Echoes The Authentic Music of the Golden Era

Meine Lieblingslieder CD

Wien und der Wein

Photo: Liesl Muller, the international traditional star or world cabaret.

Muller is an icon. Probably, one of the very few and last remaining European Divas of the Golden Era of Paris, Vienna and Berlin nostalgic world of cabaret.

Erica Soderholm in the World Art Celebrities Journal writes that Liesl Müller is among artists who define what ‘La Chanson Française’ is all about. The article includes an ‘historical synopsis of French singers of the golden era - artists like Damia, Yvette Gilbert, Juliette Greco’. Homage is paid to remarkable American and Canadian singers like Raquel Bitton, Juliette Koka, and Joelie Rabu. International critics agree "Liesl Müller's music is a tribute to the singers, composers and librettists of the golden era. She uniquely presents the songs of yesteryear. Some songs of the thirties and forties can be sampled on Liesl Müller's Golden Era website. It is also a joy to listen to her authentic interpretation of Viennese songs of the twenties and earlier.Liesl Müller, an accomplished chansonniere in the classical tradition and a great admirer of Lotte Lenya and Ute Lemper, is herself an excellent interpreter of the work of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. "Liesl Muller and Penny Weedon

Photo: Penny Weedon and the "intimately sublime" Viennese Chanteuse Liesl Muller are currently jointly working on a new album featuring beautiful songs of a bygone golden era. The period from the Thirties through to the Sixties will be evoked in French, German and Italian with some interesting Viennese and Rumanian additions.                 http://www.golden-era.co.uk/ 

A recent review of her CD in the international press goes like this: "A refined lady who sings like a femme fatale chanteuse of "Les annees folles" and Paris Pigale of 1930. A warm and sinfully evocative voice which brings to life the magic, nostalgia and tender beauty of a vanished golden era of the early days of Cabaret and Kabaret of Paris and Berlin. Listening to Liesl Müller's "Paris Canaille" is a joyfully sad delight, because  Liesl awakes in us cherished memories we lost for ever.

Liesl Müller - For JohnnyPhoto: "For Johnny" most recent CD by Liesl Muller.

Liesl's interpretation of Edith Piaf's "Milord" is tenderly sublime. She did capture the intimate moments, the passion and the vocal virtuosity of Piaf. Liesl did not sing Piaf's biggest hit with a French flair. She did it her way; an honest, warm and emotionally captivating personal interpretation. Liesl Müller is an authentic cabaret chanteuse with class, style, finesse and emotions. She is the real thing!  Her recent CD " Wien und der Wein" is a superb evocative interpretation of the golden era of early Paris and Berlin world of cabaret. The simple, yet melodiously beautiful musical arrangements, the fabulous accordion half java, half musette "flons flons", and the voice of Ms. Müller gave us a magnificent recording. The accompaniment of Caio Bescarano, Mario Cavaceppi and David Perkins are first class. And this is exactly what Ms. Muller needed to authentically and truthfully recapture the golden era of European cabaret. The song "Drunt' in der Lobau" (Down there in the Lobau)  is a pure magic. It tells us the story of a woman who "cannot find the place where her young lover kissed her, but she does remember every bit of that wonderful moment when they kissed: nightingales were singing, happiness laughed from a thousand branches, and they dreamt of an everlasting love." Liesl did a superb job in singing that song. Wien und der Wein is a marvelous CD. Two thumbs up! Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Buy it. Get your copy. You will treasure it for many years to come. WIEN UND DER WEIN: GEM IEJCD3. Licensed by MCPS. Highbreck Associates. www.golden-era.co.uk

NATALIE DESSAY: French Arias ,
Michel Plasson, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse.

Splendid collection of coloratura soprano arias cleverly chosen  from French most lyrical operas by Donizetti,  Massenet,  Thomas, Offenbach and Gounod.  Natalie Dessay,  the world's top coloratura soprano, showed her incomparable virtuosity and flute-like high notes in a perfect bouquet of popular and best kept secret operatic odes and ballades. In brief, acquire a copy. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Released on Virgin.

 ROBERTO ALAGNA: NESSUM DORMA

French-Italian tenor Roberto Alagna delivered a world-class album of Italian arias, including Giordano's Fedora, Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur Puccini's Nessun dorma,  Leoncavallo's La Bohème, I zingari, and Zazà. Alagna took on a great vocal challenge, for he has a  medium-bodied voice. However, his vocal projection and  Italian diction were magnificent.  Alagna is backed up by the Royal Opera House Orchestra. Highly recommended. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. Released on EMI.

ERIKA LUCKETT'S "UNEXPECTED" IS PURE GOLD! TWO THUMBS UP! Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Photo: Cover of Erika Luckett's CD "UNEXPECTED", selected by World Art Celebrities Journal as "Best International Music CD of the Year".

Erika Luckett is a  musical phenomenon.  She just sent me her new CD "UNEXPECTED"; a bouquet of 11 songs of an exquisite beauty. And as usual Erika was the lead and background vocals, the composer, the lyricist, the steel string, the nylon string, the electric guitar, the cuatro and the hand claps artiste extraordinaire. She did it all and came up with a five star rating product! "UNEXPECTED" is a real gem, for it contains an astonishing multi-varied abundance of musical and vocal virtuosity, styles, genres and individuality. For instance, the song "UNE PROFONDE DOUCEUR" in French is the reflection of a pure Parisian-intellectual-existentialist-romantic, quasi film noire and seductive Montmartre flair chanson. A genre quite difficult to project and deliver, since in France, very few remarkable singers like Barbara, Catherine Sauvage and Zizi Jeanmaire succeeded in doing so. Erika Luckett mastered that genre and brought it back to life through most singular originality. Others songs in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese cache and English added an unlimited and infinite  rich, rich, rich cosmos of world music. This woman is amazing. It would be wrong and improper to compare her to giants in the music industry. For Erika Luckett is a living legend and quite a unique artist, in all her rights.  However, I am still tempted to put under her hat and in her creativity, the voice, the persona and bursting talents of Barbara, Joan Baez, Amalia Rodriguez, even the wild Gypsy Kings!

Her CD is a triumph. Erika "UNEXPECTED" was expected to be a masterpiece. This is a cosmic festival of Samba, Bolero, Janice Joplin delightful madness, Chris Christofersen  genius, the mystique of Paris, the melodramatic magic of Portugal El Fado, the lyricism of a clever singer blended with intellectual romanticism. Do not allow me to complicate the review of her CD. It is simply overwhelming, magnificently delivered and goes straight to your heart. Two thumbs up. No discotheque or a meaningful musical collection is complete without "UNEXPECTED". Visit her website at http://www.erikaluckett.com

WHO IS ERIKA LUCKETT? WELL, SHE HAS BEEN ELECTED TWICE AS "THE BEST SINGER IN THE WORLD!"

Ericka LuckettErika Luckett is blazing a trail. People's jaws are dropping. Where did she come from? Her music defies easy categorization. Part blues, part funk, part latin, part folkpop... This is intelligent music that reaches the heart. As one fan put it, "I want to live my life the way she plays her guitar: winged inspiration with no boundaries, fingers dancing across steel". Crossing boundaries comes easily to Erika. Born in Mexico and raised in Venezuela and Brazil, she savored the richness of the Amazon, the urban rhythms of Sao Paulo, the percolating warmth of the Caribbean. As a teenager she made her way to France, playing in the subways where her own concoction of Folk/Latin/Jazz/Pop echoed in the underground. Her music radiates life and the wisdom culled from meeting the world head on with an open heart and an exuberant spirit. After France, the multi-lingual Luckett made her way to the Berklee School of Music where she earned a degree in film scoring. From there she embarked on a composition whirlwind, writing for film, multimedia and theater, garnering an Academy Award nomination, an Emmy Award and a Newsweek Magazine "Pick of the Year" for her efforts and collaborations. She founded the world jazz ensemble, Wild Mango with whom she recorded three albums and toured internationally playing the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Barbados Jazz Festival and the Aspen Jazz Festival, among others. In 1999 she leapt into the world of solo singer/songwriters and has since established her presence across the country, performing over 150 shows a year and releasing three albums which have earned awards and wide spread accolade. Her first recording, "Tinted Glass" (2000), won the Just Plain Folks award for Best Album (Torch). "My Little Crime" (2001) picked up Acoustic Guitar Magazine's 2002 Homegrown award for Best Independent Release of the Year, was named Best Album of the Year on Susanne Millsaps' (KRCL radio) list of the year's top 40, won Best Album of the Year (Jazz Vocal) at the Just Plain Folks awards and was included in the Performing Songwriter Magazine "Editors Choice Compilation." In her most recent recording, "The New Orleans Sessions" (2002), she pares down to just voice and guitar revealing a unique style that includes a percussive, harmonically rich approach. The instrument becomes her orchestra complementing the emotional intimacy of her voice and the strength of her songwriting. A true citizen of the world, Erika's music captures a delicious blend of cultures: Smoky vocals over a deeply grooving guitar.

 

Photo: The dramatic and world-class opera star, Ann Plagianos. A national treasure.

WORLD HOSPITALITY MAGAZINE'S GERMAINE POITIERS called Ann Plagianos: " A magnificent operatic presence, a world-class opera diva...A real gem.." The Dramatic mezzo-soprano Ann Plagianos  made her European debut  in the title role of Massenet's opera "Herodiade" with Montserrat Caballe, Juan Pons, and Jose Carreras with the Teatro Dell' Opera in Rome, Italy.  Ms. Plagianos was a semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera District "Regional Competition in NYC. She has toured with New York City Opera in their production of "Carmen". With a powerful and captivating voice, she delighted audiences in the States and Europe.  Ms. Plagianos' roles include Amneris in "Aida", Eboli in "Don Carlo", Santuzza in "Cavalleria Rusticana", Laura in "La Gioconda", Azucena in "Il Trovatore", Ortrud in "Lohengrin", Adalgisa in "Norma", Flora in "La Traviata, Frugola in "Il Tabarro", Isabella in "L'Italiana in Algieri", Maddalena in "Rigoletto", Suzuki in "Madama Butterfly", Prince Orlofsky in "Die Fledermaus", Lola in "Cavalleria Rusticana", and Mrs. McLean in "Susannah". It is always a delight and a feast to the eyes, the intellect and the mind to witness an opera singer, such as Ms. Plagiano perform with grace, intelligence and vocal virtuosity. The magazine  described the New Yorker diva as " a writer, a thinker, an artist and a torch of spirituality. She is the kind of stars you trust, you admire and love to be in their entourage. Brilliant, sparkling vocal virtuosity, dominant stage presence and personal warmth define the trilogy of the unique and captivating  rich operatic aura of this diva." Will she perform soon in New York? Her fans are anxiously waiting!

PAULETTE ATTIE: A TRANSCENDENTAL LEGEND FOR ALL TIME

Photo and caption by Suzanne Freeman: Paulette Attie runs the scales on a piano while students at P.S. 1 in New York City loosen up their vocal chords.

Paulette made both the Jewish and International lists of the 100 most unusual and outstanding women of the year.  In just one single month, 7 magazines and newspapers in the United States and Europe wrote glowing articles about this legendary artist. And three times, her photo crowned their front page and covers! People use to say, legends are made not created. It is true to a certain degree. The ultimate truth is this: Legends are nor made, nor created. They are legends! They escape us. They are beyond our intellectual and emotional measurements. They transcend time and space. And since when, time and space are or were created? They were before us and will remain long time after we are gone. And this is WHY we call the best of us "LEGENDS". When a legend is born like Paulette Attie, we do not take note. When a legend like Paulette Attie enters the SCALA of our lives, the shadows and the lights of all understanding and confusion, the sublime and the absurd intellectualism, the beauty and the provocative, the time and space mingle, unite, begin to disturb us and confuse the hell out of us. We do not fully understand the magnitude of their talents and immense impact on us. We smile, we laugh, we admire them, we applaud them, we gossip about them, sometime we hate them and envy them...but almost all the time we call them "LEGENDS". If they have passed away, they become "LEGENDS". If they are still around, we call them "LIVING LEGENDS". And I have problem with this. Why LIVING legends? Why not simply LEGENDs, since we did agree that they escape time, space and the mind of those who naively taught us that we are bound by time and space. PAULETTE ATTIE is this sort of legend: TRANSCENDENTAL!

Suzanne Freeman wrote: September 11 — Before Paulette Attie wrote her song, "United Are We," she wrote a poem about September 11, 2001. "It was my immediate response to what was going on in the world," Paulette said. "That took care of me while I was watching all the horror on TV and could see all the courageous deeds. Then, I said to myself, I need to write something that will be meaningful for everybody. That's where the song came from." When the award-winning songwriter and performer made her work public, she began to receive standing ovations, followed by some good suggestions. "When I started singing it to people who are knowledgeable in the music business, they said, 'Paulette, this sounds like a wonderful children's song.' It sort of put a little bee in my bonnet," she told Scholastic News Online. Her search for young voices led her to P.S. 1, a 107-year-old elementary school in the shadow of the World Trade Center. It was the closest school to Ground Zero that was still open for business. The 650 students of P.S. 1 have rehearsed and performed the piece several times over the last year. They were featured on New York 1, a local cable-news program in New York City, and will soon be the stars of their own music video. But on September 11, 2002, they staged their own tribute to the victims of 9/11. No media cameras were allowed on school grounds. The short ceremony, which included a tree planting and the reading of a poem, was for the students, their parents, and teachers only. "It was fabulous," said principal Maguerite Straus. "The kids were happy to be a part of it. They knew it was very special." The entire school met in the outdoor yard, which is where they were when the first plane hit one year ago. "It was primary day, and our school was being used for voting," Maguerite said. "We were ready to start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance when the first plane hit."

Photo: (left to right) Peter Howard, John Wallowitch, Rod Derefinko, Frances "Frankie" Gershwin, Paulette Attie, Chuck Prentiss, Bertram Ross.

United Are We" Lyrics by Paulette Attie


Right here's the place to be, the time for you and me,
Enjoy sweet harmony because united are we.
Our heroes heard the call, saw their brothers fall,
Still they gave their all, that's united are we.



Don't need to be a king, don't need a diamond ring,
We've got everything because united are we.
And through the nation wide, we share the New York pride,
We stand side by side, because united are we.

The reason is simple, it's easy as can be,
When we love one another, united are we.
If I'm a part of you, then you're a part of me,
When we give to each other, we're happy and free.

Don't need remote control, high-techie rigmarole,
Switch on and see the whole, united are we.
And when we're upped and downed, on a merry-go-round,
We can still rebound, turn it around,
We're not lost; we're found because united are we,
Let the words resound: United Are We.

United are we, united are we,
The design is grand, that's the way it was planned,
Let's give ourselves a hand,
Because united are, united are, united are WE!

 

 

WORLD ART CELEBRITIES JOURNAL called her "The Immortal". LA FEMME MAGAZINE's Louise de Chambertin wrote: "She is Glorious!". ART AND STYLE MAGAZINE saw in  Attie "One of the greatest American singers-entertainers of our time".

Paulette Attie made her singing debut in a talent show at age 3 (and refused to get off the stage). Since then, she has performed in over 1,000 concerts from Carnegie Hall, the Bruno Walter Auditorium, Lincoln Center Outdoors, and the Hollywood Bowl, venues in Japan, Mexico, and Canada, to over thirty cabarets.  Paulette graduated Phi Beta Kappa and number 1 in her class from UCLA and was a showgirl in Las Vegas one week later.  Paulette was selected California’s Sportswoman of the Year, for which she made numerous TV appearances.  TV roles followed on Love of Life, One Life to Live, All My Children, Mercy or Murder, General Hospital, Sesame Street, and the French nightclub singer in the TV movie The Yanks Are Coming (Silver Globe Award).  She produced and performed in a series of yearly concerts at New York's Lamb’s Theatre and was the inaugural performer at the New York and Riverbank State Parks.  Album: Paulette Performs Puccini to Porter. Off-Broadway shows saw Paulette as Lady Capulet in Sensations, Dorothy Parker in Dorothy Parker: A Montage, the Lady in The Lady Of Larkspur Lotion, and playing herself in her one woman show, About Time, including songs and poems which she wrote.  She has played the leading roles in the musicals Gypsy, Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, and Sensations, the operas and operettas The Bald Soprano, The Old Maid and the Thief, The Merry Widow, and La Vie Parisienne, and the plays Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, Red Peppers, You Know I Can’t Hear You...., and The Perfect Party.  She is the only American to have appeared with Le Theatre de France, where she was directed by and performed with Jean Louis Barrault at New York City Center and toured with the company in the U.S. and Canada.  She played the voice of the French cat to Mel Blanc's skunk in the cartoon, Pepe le Pew.   Paulette Attie's Musical Playbill, 2 years on WNYC AM and FM had distinguished songwriters joining Paulette in song.  In 1979, Paulette founded the National Musical Theater.  She conceived of and wrote Encore, produced by NMT, with Columbia Artists presenting the national tour.  She’s the recipient of 5 consecutive ASCAP Plus Songwriter Awards 2000 – 2004 and the National Poetry Award, 1998.  Paulette became the first woman performer elected into the Friars Club in 1988.  She was the singer for Israel’s 50th Anniversary in Washington D.C. With numerous articles about show business to her credit, Paulette just completed writing her first book, The Seven Keys to Live a Masterful Life. And today, THE JEWISH POST adds: Imagine a world without Paulette Attie. It would look like a prairie without wild flowers, and a dark sky without a rainbow. Attie is one of the "ESSENTIALS".

 

THE FABULOUS MARGARET CURRY IN "MY DEAH"

Monday, June 27, 7 pm, Manhattan Ensemble Theatre, 55 Mercer Street @ Broome Street, NYC

Margaret

Margaret Curry told us :" I have the amazing honor of being a part of this very special benefit for a very worthy theatre company. Don't miss it!! It promises to be tragically hilarious." June 27, Tony winner Joanna Gleason ("Into the Woods," currently starring on Broadway in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"), Oscar nominee Chris Sarandon ("Dog Day Afternoon") and John Glover (TV's "Smallville" and currently Off Broadway in "The Paris Letter") star in John Epperson's (aka Lypsika) play MY DEAH, the Medea legend set in The South, at 7pm.


 MY DEAH Starring Joanna Gleason, Chris Sarrandon and John Glover. Directed by Erik Sniedze

The event is a benefit for The Millennium Talent Group and will take place at Manhattan Ensemble Theatre at 55 Mercer Street, just south of Broome. Don't miss this incredible event! For more info call 212.925.1900 between 10 am and 5 pm. With Andy Langton, Margaret Curry, Tony Raymond, Matt Schuneman, Taylor Stockdale, Ryan Knowles, Laura Gosheff, Dennis Shinners, Louis Reyes Cardenas.  Margaret is currently working on a new solo cabaret show, and is also working on a show with Brent Winborn, both of which will have Ric k Jensen as musical director/arranger. Margaret continues as Titania in "Fools in Love" , which moves Off-Broadway in June to the Manhattan Ensemble Theatre for a ten-week run. Margaret is a world-class artist with unsurpassed talent, depth and formidable stage presence. Go see her in action. She is terrific.

 

 

JEWISH PLAYWRIGHT RELEASES FREE COPIES OF ORIGINAL SCRIPTS VIA WEB

Photo: Max Sparber.

At a time when the film and music industry is taking extraordinary steps to discourage audiences from making and sharing digital copies of their products, Jewish playwright Max Sparber is taking exactly the opposite approach. This New Orleans-based writer whose plays have been performed throughout the country, has taken the unusual step of releasing eight of his scripts as PDFs on his Web page, http://maxsparber.blogspot.com/.  Additionally, Sparber has released the scripts with Creative Commons license. This alternative to copyrighting allows authors to release their work with a greater permissiveness than traditional copyrighting  allows. Sparber's scripts, for example, may be freely copied and traded, so long as no profit is made from the exchange. Additionally, one of his plays, "Boy ELROY," may be performed by anyone at any time, without any requirement that the author be paid or even notified.

Photo: A massive uprising against Bessarabian Jews that occured at the start of the 20th century, and the basis for my play "Kishinev." Pictured are murdered Jews, wrapped in prayer shawls and laid in the streets of Kishinev, awaiting burial. Sparber's Kishinev play was based on a historic antisemitic uprising in the East European city of Kishinev, this play tells of a young Hasidic girl, beset with supernatural visions, who rises to lead a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews during a pogrom. Kishinev was originally written in screenplay form, but was quickly adapted to a stage play. It is epic in approach, with a running time that approximates three hours and a cast that nears one hundred. It has never been produced.
 

 

Sparber's eight plays have, collectively, been performed 19 times around the country, including two Manhattan productions, and he has been lauded by such publications as the New Yorker and the Denver Post. (Each script online is augmented by past reviews of productions.) Additionally, Sparber worked as a theater critic for five years, three of them for Minneapolis' celebrated newsweekly, City Pages. He points out that he hasn't had much difficulty finding venues for his plays; he  has enjoyed seven productions of his plays in the past two years alone. Yet he argues that by releasing his scripts in a free, easy transferable format, he will enjoy even more productions in the future. "As I see it, I have everything to gain by giving the plays away," Sparber says. "Scripts are not literary exercises. They're designed to be performed, not read." He sees his Web page as a one-stop production resource for his scripts. Aside from offering copies of his scripts, the site offers additional support media, such as MP3s of songs from his plays. "I suppose there is a risk that people might just take the scripts and perform them without paying me anything," Sparber says. "But, then, they would have to avoid publicizing the production, as it's easy enough to find out if someone if being duplicitous with a single Google search." More than anything, Sparber says, he just wants to make the process of finding and reading his scripts as simple as possible. He points to such examples as science fiction author Cory Doctorow, who releases his novels as free online documents before they go into publications, and points to an increase in eventual sales due to the increased publicity that accompanies his books. “It might seem counterintuitive to give your writing away for nothing,” Sparber says, “but it’s really just a new business model, and one that’s been shown to work. Eventually, the increased exposure leads to increased profits.” And with his play "Boy ELROY", which he is literally giving away to anybody who wishes to perform it? "It's a pretty experimental script," Sparber says. "I'm just interested in seeing what people can do with it. I’m not looking to make any money on that one. Sometimes its nice to just give something away." Sparber's plays include "Kishinev," a dramatization about anti-Jewish riots in Eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century, and "Cruelties," which looks at the self-destruction of a popular novelist inspired by Truman Capote.
 

Roni Ben-Hur at the Lenox Liunge in celebration of this new CD

Israeli Superstar Roni Ben-Hur to take on New York.
Photo: Singer Kathy Kosins.

Israeli born (to Tunisian parents) guitarist Roni Ben-Hur quite his job as a high school teacher and moved to New York City to study with master pianist Barry Harris.  Since arriving here Ben-Hur has released four critically acclaimed recordings, including his latest, "Signature,” and has become a first-call sideman for many of jazz's legendary players.  Roni has also taught thousands of people the joys and thrills of playing jazz through his workshops, ensembles and private lessons at The Lucy Moses School of Music, and through two high school music programs developed entirely by Ben-Hur. In addition to being a six-time ASCAP award-winning songwriter, and a ten-year member of Was, Not Was (world renowned producer Don Was’ band), vocalist Kathy Kosins is a musical archeologist.  In order to a find a new repertoire of little known and rarely sung songs to be recorded on her new CD, "Vintage," (coming out on Mahogany Jazz/Warner Bros.), Kathy scoured used vinyl shops, flea markets, garage sales and anywhere she could get her hands on classic recordings from vocalists such as Carmen McRae, Julie London, Tony Bennett, June Christy, and others.  The result is tour-de-force jazz record that showcases Kathy’s magnificent alto. Roni Ben-Hur will be appearing in July at the Lenox L0unge in celebration of this new CD, on July 22 & 23.

 
ART, QUALITY, FUN  AND GLAMOUR AT THE FLORENCE BIENNALE

CHERCHEZ LA FEMME! THE ARTISTIC FEMME AT FLORENCE BIENNALE

Photo: An artist  and her art at the Biennale.

Who said art has to be austere? Art could be fun too. Art is a nourishing experience if shared with others. And this is what an artist gets at the Florence Biennale. Delight, learning, fun, exchange of ideas, exposure, recognition, challenge, talent development, friendship and even glamour are part of the international art competition and exhibition of the magnificent Florence Biennale. Oui Monsieur, art is a succulent fun, when femmes fatales artists, femmes existentialist artists, femmes provocatively talented artists, the Nafertiti and Cleopatra type artists,  and super accomplished  artists add their talent, their artistic aroma and sinfully captivating scents to the linens and canvases hung on the walls of the historical Fortezza da Basso  hosting the prestigious art event of the Biennale.

Rarely we do see women artists from around the globe taking part in a huge collective art exhibition and sweet-bitter competition as our eyes witnessed this unusual women artists gathering phenomenon in Florence: A real human mosaic of accomplished women artists and promising emerging talents, a festival of a universal art in all its forms, dimensions, planes, concepts and visions. An avalanche of creative women artists adding glamour, un flair chic and finesse to the world of art. Even women artists from Saudi Arabia and "religiously somber" countries participated in the competition of the Biennale!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14THE FEMALES ARTISTS OF THE FLORENCE BIENNALE

Photos from L to R: #1. Barbara Elizabeth Mercer, a noted Canadian artist who participated in the Biennale. Mercer worked with the Canadian Opera Company, the CBC, the National Ballet of Canada, the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, and TV Ontario. Mercer who works  in acrylics, egg tempera, pen and ink, mixed media,  is also an accomplished writer, author, poet,  printmaker, sculptor and a  music composer. #2. Upper Block, 30-1/2" X 25", acrylic on canvas by Barbara Elizabeth Mercer. #3. "The man in Drag, the Violinist, the Artist, and the Thief on a Tram in Amsterdam" by Susan Dorothea White who exhibited at the Florence Biennale 2001. Ms. White   represented Australia in more than  60 international group exhibitions and biennales around the world. Often the same works  she created were rejected in Australia but, have been selected for international exhibitions.

I don't know what kind of criteria, the Biennale jury adopted to select the best artists who participated in its international art competition. But most certainly, those criteria got to be solid and meaningful, for the winners have revealed a high level of artistry. Art is universal. Art is divinity. Art is not masculine nor feminine. Art is beyond our comprehension, for it unites, freezes and frees every single whisper, daring thoughts, unimaginable Sufi vision,   Danteis-que and delightful madness. And the women artists who competed at the Florence Biennale revealed just that! The Biennale women artists sparkle under a  rainbow of splashes of lights, deep compositions, enchanting colors,  elegant pottery and ceramics forms, strong personal statements, reflections of ethnic culture, even some Zen escapades and delicately intellectual-lyrical strokes as it is the case in the artwork of Lebanese artist Salwa Zeidan who captured the 4th place in the last year Biennale competition.

Photos from L to R: #1. Conflict by Inez Schrader. #2. Dance by Helen Lucas. Both painters exhibited at Florence Biennale 2003. #3. Margret E Short, one of the contestants at the Biennale 2005.

 

 

 

 

 

Photos from L to R: Barbara Andolsek, finalist in the National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society 2004 Best of America Competition , has been invited to participate in the Biennale 2005. #2.  "Street cafe" by Artist Barbara Andolsek. #3.  Pottery by Sana Musasama,  a 2001 Biennale participant and current Assistant Professor at Hunter College, (Adjunct Ceramics). #4. ethereal painting by Salwa Zeidan.
 

 
FEMALES PARTICIPANTS IN  THE FLORENCE BIENNALE: WORLD-CLASS ARTISTS

12.12.2x2.04Photos from L to R: #2. Superb artwork by Connie Noyes, a participant in the Biennale 2003. Her work is exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL . #2. Ode to Janis J - Power & Passion I, by Birte Hella.
 

 

A very particular painting "The Bedouin Woman" by Sharifa Al Sudairy  which was ranked fifth in  the Biennale  in 1997, captured my attention, for that painting has conveyed a humanistic message and flirted with a sensitive socio-political theme. Like Salwa Zeidan, Al Sudairy is a self taught artist with a remarkable and honest talent. In an interview given to Al Hayat newspaper, Al Sudairy said: " I received most of my education here in Saudi Arabia. However, as a painter, I am self-taught; I did not attend any university or institute to learn art. When I first got married, I traveled much. Later, I was busy with my children. When they grew up, I started tending to my art. Today, I feel that I did not do enough." She added, "I think I started in the 1980s, when I participated in an exhibition held in Jeddah, which displayed paintings of a group of women artists. It was Princess Moda bint Khaled who encouraged me; she was invited to dinner at my sister's place with members of Gulf committees and associations. My sister started showing them a number of her paintings and then told them I have some too. So they asked me: why don't you participate in the exhibition that would be held in Jeddah? They mentioned some of the women participants among whom was Mona Qusaibi, a famous artist who organizes exhibitions. The next day, Princess Moda called me and encouraged me again. She gave me Mona Qusaibi's number and insisted that I call her and tell her about my desire to participate in the exhibition. The truth was that I was surprised by her quick positive answer. I was very buoyant, so I sent my painting, traveled to Jeddah and participated in the exhibition with the support of my father… I was very happy because everybody admired the painting I displayed." Sudairy continued, "That first exhibition was followed by another, which was positively reviewed in the media. In 1989, I took part in a competition for the Gulf artists in Bahrain. I sent one of my paintings to Bahrain while I was busy with the Jeddah exhibition. A week later, my painting was ranked third among the others."

A WORLD-CLASS ARTISTS PARTICIPATED IN THE FLORENCE BIENNALE

Photos from L to R: #1. "Garbage can lid", a selection from the survival series by Jenny Holzer who participated in the Biennale . Holzer's paintings were exhibited at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Center Georges Pompidou, Paris, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 48th International Exhibition of Contemporary Art, The Museum of Modern Art,  and the Guggenheim Museum Soho, New York. She is the recipient of the Diplome of Chevalier from the Order of Arts and Letters from French Government, and the Goslar Emperor Ring Monchehaus Museum fur Moderne Kunst and Verein zur Forderung Monererner Kunst Goslar. #2. Painting from the Nocturne Series by Barbara Bachner who exhibited at the Biennale 1998. 

ARTISTS GET A BOOST FROM THE BIENNALE

Florence Biennale launched the career of many artists who took part in its international art competition. Self taught and remarkably accomplished artists exhibited their work, side by side at the Biennale. And by doing so, they reached out to world art communities. They exchanged ideas and visions with leaders in the field. They explored possibilities not readily available to them. Those who were honored by the Biennale jury enjoyed international recognition and were proud to show the prestigious awards they received from the Biennale. Some became famous and a household name. Others are on their way to world fame. And all this, thanks to the devotion, sincere efforts and opportunities given to them by Piero Celona, Pasquale Celona and John T Spike.

 

 

LOVELY AND MEANINGFUL ARTWORKS BY FEMALE ARTISTS AT THE BIENNALE

Has the Florence Biennale lived up to her expectations? Yes! You bet!

Nina GruschwitzLet Us FlyPhotos from L to R: Nina Gruschwitz, a London-based abstract painter who represented the United Kingdom at the Florence Biennale 2003. "The Florence Biennale is an international event, which means a lot of artists from different countries will gather under one roof to show their work", said Nina Gruschwitz. #2."Let Us Fly (Detail 2002), by Gruschwitz, 100x150cm, acrylic on canvas.

The Florence Biennale deserves a lot of credit. It did open doors to many female artists. Its contribution to world art is significant. The Biennale should and must be considered as a giant international bridge joining and uniting  multiple and different kinds of cities. Cities of an astonishing multi-varied styles, genres and schools of art and culture. Under one roof, the Biennale managed to bring together so many different artists from so many different countries. Almost 75 countries. The American females artists brought their ultra-modern avant-garde, revolutionary art visions. The Middle Eastern females artists added an exotic touch. The females artists from Portugal, Spain and Brazil enriched the expositions with ardent colors and vivacious compositions. The Russian and Eastern Europe females artists infused their politely rebellious figures and humanistic warmth. The British and Australian  females artists added strong and liberated strokes.

Photos: "Canadian Icons" by Canadian artist Barbara E. Mercer at the Biennale 2003.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS, EXCITEMENT AND ENTHUSIASM AT THE FLORENCE BIENNALE

"Has the Florence Biennale lived up to her expectations?", asked an art critic at the BBC. Nina Gruschwitz answered: "I've dreamed of getting to know as many artists as possible. New inspirations, a new creative atmosphere, new art styles...what could be more exciting?" It is more than exciting, for the Biennale succeeded in attracting young and relatively old artists. A polite way to describe the age of a 71 year old woman artist, Barbara E. Mercer of Canada who showed her Canadian Icons series of portraits at the Florence Biennale last December at age 70. Mercer was so excited. She told Canadian Contents journal about her "exciting experience at the Biennale". Here is an excerpt from the paper, as written by J. Lynn Fraser "One of the artists whom Mercer met was a young man whose language she could not speak but with whom she communicated through hand gestures. By the end of their conversation about each other's artwork he had taken her hand and kissed her on the cheek. Mercer thought Florence during her two week stay was "absolutely magnificent" and that the "ambiance was wonderful and mysterious". No doubt encounters like that with the young man did a lot to maintain her enthusiasm. Ms. Fraser continues: "The Florence Biennale was organized in part by Harvard educated, curator, art historian, and author Dr. John T. Spike. He would compare Barbara's work to David Hockney and Caravaggio. Spike is the author of more than twenty books and has published major monographs on Masaccio (1996) and Fra Angelico (1997), and the standard catalogues raisonnés of the paintings of Mattia Preti (1999) and of Caravaggio (2001)."

 

 

THE MAGIC AND RICH CULTURAL-ARTISTIC EXPERIENCE AT THE FLORENCE BIENNALE

Photo: A view at the Biennale. Courtesy of Sarah Larsen.

SO MANY BIENNALES AROUND THE GLOBE.

Yep! So many biennales around the globe, including:
1-
Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art . 2-Bienal Internaconal de São Paulo, Brasil. 3-International Biennale, Brazil. 137 artists from 75 countries 614 works. 4-Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, France. 5-Biennale of Sydney, 2002. 6- International Festival of Contemporary Art. 7-Biennale de Paris. 8-Berlin Biennale, 2001. 9-Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, France. 10-Havana Biennal, Cuba. 11-Istanbul. International Biennial.
12-Venice Biennial International Art Exhibition. Also other Biennales in the United Arab Emirates,  etc.... But the best of all is the Florence Biennale!

Other females artists who exhibited at Florence Biennale:

A Great Game Called Life Decorative Art Panel

Mildred Hurwitz

Photos from L to R: "A Great Game Called Life", decorative Art Panel by Mari Hall. #2. "Cubist Rainbow", triptych, oil, 26" x 60", by Mildred Hurwitz. #3. "Fragrance Floating on the Wind", by Nancy Scheinman. #3. "Perugia", by Cisca van Veelen.

Photos from L to R: #1. "Tangle" by Jamie Gagan. #2. "Joy", bronze unique cast, by Shona Nunan. #3. "Perugia", by Cisca van Veelen. #4. "In the Studio", by Elisa Terranova.