Author Archives: caroleditosti
Move the Passion! Sounds hot, yes? Well, I took in two venues during the Move the Passion Walking Tour of NYC on December 3rd. The tasting encompassed seven venues around Manhattan where one could sample the various wines offered and enjoy various appetizers which paired well with the wines.
If you enjoy the Veneto region of Italy, you know the province that takes in Venice, Verona, Padua, Treviso, etc., in the northwest corner of Italy on the Adriatic, you probably have tasted Soave and Prosecco that are produced in the Veneto. Because the climate and terroir are conducive to wine making and grape cultivation in that area going back to Roman times and before, the vintners know what they are doing and have perfected their skills to create some incredible wines which give great value.
I haven’t been to Italy in a few years and feel fortunate to be able to experience Italy around the city at wine tastings (#Vinataly and Slow Wine are presenting their mammoth tasting on on February 3rd at the Metropolitan Pavilion) at Eataly events which have featured wines from Umbria and the Veneto, and at special presentations like the “Pausa de Luce,” in upscale Italian retailers. Move the Passion was such a lovely event which I hope returns again next year because the city’s wine lovers are unstoppable once they are on notice there is an event.
Though I had other events to attend, I made sure to drop in to The Astor Center which featured some delicious Proseccos. I then dropped in to Risotteria Melotti for some interesting Soave. In both instances I had never tried these wines before and I have put down my markers to make sure to ask for them when I am looking for a pairing for fish or to have a Prosecco as a pre-appetizer wine and appetizer wine.
For years I have disagreed with my cousin who prefers Prosecco to champagne. Learning about Prosecco, becoming educated to its smooth, refreshing taste, understanding its quality and value, I have changed my mind. I now prefer it to champagne which has been over- hyped up for centuries because of the relationship of France to this country. In my estimation, the “fantasy” and the reality are very different. Champagne’s value, quality and taste doesn’t comparewith Prosecco. Prosecco is the best kept secret for sparkling wine lovers. Good! More for us and great value!
Of course, if you are a wine snob and are a CEO of a hedge fund or corporate, then you can drink Cristal 2005 ($274.00 a bottle on one website) like water and won’t know the difference. Go for it. I’ll throw in my lot with the 99% of the global wine lovers and leave the .001% to its palate. I do hope my estimation is wrong and the .001% also drinks Prosecco. If they don’t, they are missing a fabulous experience.
Here are some other delicious Proseccos I tried at the Astor Center. They are double processed, steel barrel aged, DOC and DOCG ensuring the highest quality and standards. The only Prosecco is an Italian Prosecco from Northern Italy. Don’t be fooled into drinking an Australian sparkling white which is NOT Prosecco. Check out my posts about this from last year’s article on #Vinatly…CLICK HERE.
The Soave white wines from the Veneto were equally delicious and surprising as I had not tried these vintners before and found them to be drinkable with a wide range of foods and cuisines, for dinner or as an aperitif. A number I tried (I wish I had more time…it was at closing) were lighter and refined for easy enjoyment. The Soave tasting was held at Risotteria Melotti in the Village.
This Soave (pictured above) was featured in the window next to the Soave Consortium sign in the above picture at the beginning of the article. There are 4 types of Soave: 1) Soave DOC 2)Soave Classico DOC, 3) Soave Superiore DOCG and 4)Reciotodi Soave DOCG. Soave is mainly composed of two grapesGarganega (70-100%) and Trebbiano de Soave. The wines are fermented in stainless steel, which brings out the lively acidity and fresh fruit notes.
The Soave producers featured at the tasting at Risotteria Melotti were
The pictures of the Soave white wines were taken at Risotteria Melotti, a wonderful restaurant in the Village whose menu you should check out because it is gluten-free and serves delicious risotto that IS ORGANIC AND IMPORTED. HELLO FOLKS! (Check out the duck risotto and great salads on the menu and gluten-free desserts)
DECEMBER IS THE MONTH FOR VENETO WINES. THERE WILL BE TASTINGS AND EVENTS AROUND THE CITY. EATALY WILL BE OFFERING TASTINGS ON FRIDAYS AFTER 6:00 PM DURING THE MONTH OF DECEMBER. THERE ARE 32 PRODUCERS THAT ARE REPRESENTED AT EATALY IN THE WINE SHOP AND AT THEIR RESTAURANTS. SO TRY A GLASS AT ONE OF THE RESTAURANTS OR STOP OFF AT THE WINE STORE FOR A TASTING. CLICK HERE FOR EATALY’S WINE SHOP AND LOOK FOR THE VENETO TASTINGS ON FRIDAYS BETWEEN 6-8 PM.
If you love the best of Italian Prosecco DOC and DOCG, Soave and even delicious lesser known red and white wines from the Veneto, you will appreciate Move The Passion, which begins this evening in New York City.
Move the Passion is a wine tasting event where you will be able to walk or be driven around to various areas of New York City to sample and discover the best wines from the Veneto which is Italy’s top wine producing region. The U.Vi.Ve. is the consortium of the Veneto wine producers to ensure the highest standards of Veneto wines, including their quality and uniformity. They have organized for the entire month of December a celebration of their finest wines highlighted throughout the city with various events.
Move the Passion is such an event. It offers wine lovers the unique opportunity to discover amazing Italian wines at 7 wonderful wine locations in New York City. The walking Veneto Wine tour will take place on December 3rd from 6 to 10 pm and will take in the following venues:
Arclinea: 21 East 26th Street
Astor Center: 399 Lafayette St.
Giovanni Rana Restaurant: 75 9th Ave.
Maslow 6: 211 West Broadway
Revel Restaurant: 10 Little West 12th St.
Urbani Truffles: 10, West end Avenue (between 59th and 60th)
Risotteria Melotti: 309 E 5th St.
You will be tasting sumptuous wines and fabulous food to go with them including truffles, rice (risotto), home made pasta, panettone, cheese and more.
REGISTRATION IS MANDATORY TO ATTEND THE EVENT.
TO REGISTER: CLICK AND SCROLL TO REGISTRATION.
Was it Jack Kerouac who said, “There is wisdom in wine?” Go for it!
Last week I was invited to participate in a celebration of the presentation of “Pausa di Luce.” I must admit, though I speak some Italian, I was perplexed. Curious, I went to be educated. This would be a wine tasting of a delicious upscale wine from Montalcino, Tuscany with which I was not familiar. I adore Tuscan wines. They remind me of the fabulous experiences I’ve had touring that wonderful region of Italy. I wondered if I would like this wine, a combination of Sangiovese and Merlot a recent addition to the wine-making scene in Tuscany. What I discovered was novel. Luce was the first wine in Montalcino produced with Sangiovese and Merlot grapes.
In 1995 in collaboration with the Robert Mondavi company, the Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi company which oversees its estate Luce della Vite created and produced wines from Montalcino, Tuscany. After the collaboration with Mondavi ended, Lamberto Frescobaldi continued his passion creating Luce wine, and in 2009 reached a turning point. He considered: what better way to express the elegant style of his wonderful wine Luce, than to represent it with Italian-produced, hand-crafted creations? From then on Frescobaldi partnered with different companies to create limited edition pieces which reflected and symbolized aspects of the wine, Luce, that he so enjoyed producing.
This year the wine estate Luce della Vite which produces Luce partnered with renown Poltrona Frau, a leader in the finest Italian-made hand-crafted furniture. Together in their joint project, they conceptualized, “Pausa di Luce.” What is “Pausa di Luce?” It is Poltrona Frau’s creation, an armchair to celebrate the exclusive and elegant style of this grand wine of the “Casa di Luce.”
The theme is laid back excellence, something rather far flung in this modern time of digital hyperspeed and modulated rat-race living. Italians are known for their ability to take the time to relax, to appreciate, to rest, to contemplate. Rest is vital for renewal and rejuvenation. Luce is a wine that needs time to peak in its brightness, full bodied flavor and supple mouth taste. There is a required period of resting and readying the wine, making it imminently flavorful. With its supple, comfortable armchair, Poltrona Frau conceptualized relaxation and comfort, hand-crafted, Italian-style to embody the finest elements of Luce since it is a wine to enjoy, savor, relax with.
It is fitting that The “Pausa di Luce” is a special edition armchair which heralds back to the armchair handcrafted for the company by artisan Renzo Frau in 1919. Naturally, master craftsmen-artisans have designed a resting area where you may put your wine glass, sip, relax, settle back and enjoy. And ladies, relaxation isn’t just for men any more. You, especially, should be able to “pausa,” sip this luscious wine and indulge yourself to contemplate your next endeavor. I understand why the winemaker is proud to brand his product with beautifully designed and hand-crafted Italian made products, this year collaborating with Poltrona Frau. There is nothing that beats relaxed style and elegance. No uncomfortable stiffness here.
However, when I discussed the concepts further with Luce della Vite’s North American Director, Alessandro Lundardi, I understood something deeper: the need for conservation, for preserving the ancient, healthful ways, for not allowing the beneficial elements to be overtaken and destroyed by the new blighted ones. For example, the region of the vineyards of the estate is southwest of Montalcino. However, that entire region is in many ways still a relatively wild landscape; the Italians have established a respectful relationship with nature preserving it from excess building and land speculation. Its landscape is so exceptional that in 2004 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. Montalcino is an ancient village on a hilltop, and the earth is rich, the climate yields outstanding wines created over the centuries, carrying through the tradition back hundreds of years for Tuscan wine-making, one of the key cornerstones being sustainability, no intrusion with chemicals, organic principles and intervention only if a vineyard needs to be made whole again.
Now, what about the wine, Luce? The 2009 vintage is beginning to peak and is delicious. It was served with various savory canapes. However, I can imagine it with sharper cheeses and with stronger red meats with which it will hold up well and bring out the piquant flavors. You can buy Luce and the Tuscan wines from Luce della Vite HERE.
The “Pausa di Luce” armchair is available only on request in a select number of Poltrona Frau showrooms in Italy (Milan and Rome), Asia (Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai), and the US (New York, Miami and San Francisco).
Last year I was introduced to Italy’s region of Umbria at La Scuola Grande, Eataly’s events restaurant. It was then I savored my first Sagrantino wine made only in the Montefalco region of Umbria and tasted the regional foods, legumes, mushrooms, pork that were and are often the traditional mainstay of Umbrian cuisine. This year Umbria is being featured once again at Eataly, NYC and to highlight the region, Steve McCurry, world-renowned photographer has created an exhibit of his photos. These will familiarize viewers with the lifestyle of the region, its towns, marketplaces, textile trades, terrain, the wineries, cuisine, artisan crafts, in short, all that is wonderful in this region, known as “the green heart of Italy.”
What impresses me about Umbria is the passion of those who are the leaders of the region who want to make sure that past connects with present-future. In other words, there is a great respect for ancient wine-making traditions, cuisines and crafts and the fervency to keep these traditions alive so they are transmitted abroad and actually sealed into perpetuity (that’s branding, folks). Part of keeping a record of what was and what will be is the “what is.” That’s where Steve McCurry comes in with his photographs. According to the President of Umbria, Catiuscia Marini, “The passion people have for the region of Umbria was captured perfectly by McCurry’s remarkable storytelling power.”
An iconic voice in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, McCurry is a good choice to pick out mythic images of the Umbrian landscape, its people, its appeal of every day life activities. McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry and he has published a number of photography books, for example The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage (2003), In the Shadow of Mountains (2007), and The Iconic Photographs (2011) to name a few examples.
McCurry selected various photographs that were used in the exhibit and can be seen at the Italian Trade Commission until Saturday, November 16th. McCurry’s photographs will also be on display at Eataly, during their month long celebration of the region of Umbria in the month of November. Eataly is holding classes focused on wines and traditional regional cuisine and is featuring Umbrian products, including wines and the Sagrantino only produced in Montefalco, Umbria.
Sensational Umbria is the title Steve McCurry has given to his project of 100 photographs. If you haven’t visited Umbria and don’t think you will have a chance in the next months, go to Eataly, NYC and take a peak at the exceptional photographs. Have a glass of Caprai wine with your pork or short ribs dish at Manzo Ristorante or Birreria. Peruse some of the Umbrian products seen here. You’ll be happy you got a chance to embrace Umbria in NYC and it will be an encouragement for you to eventually to visit that magnificent, less traveled and poetic region of Italy.
The U.S. has been at war for more than a decade. In that time period lives have been lost for a cause that many question and that more feel was trumped up to justify the monetary benefit of an elite few, oil barons, as well as the lords of war and those supporting and fueling the military industrial complex. The casualties who have died for a cause that St. Thomas Aquinas would not have labeled just for its length of continuance, mismanagement and malfeasance are at peace. Those casualties who have remained alive and are scarred physically and emotionally are legion.
Many who have returned with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder now number in the hundreds of thousands. Statistics suggest that only half of them have sought treatment. There are many wounded warriors and returning vets who do not go for help because they feel therapies offered are ineffective. They remain hopeless and feel victimized by a government that is uncaring and callous and a culture that is indifferent, fatuous and ignorant. Oftentimes, their emotional state and symptoms of anger, drinking, drugging, hyper aggression, depression, anxiety, jumpiness, sleeplessness, restiveness spill out on their family, spouses and children. If coaxed to seek help, the suggestion is ignored or provokes an angry response. The tragedy is that PTSD is never eliminated. However, there is hope if a wounded warrior seeks help. Chances are with the right type of sustained assistance from a network of individuals using a variety of therapies, PTSD will be mitigated. One only has to reach out.
This is easier said then done. The problem, then, is not being at war, it is coming home from the war, forever. Such is the subject of Charles Fuller’s play, One Night which opens to a World Premiere in NYC on November 6th. The Cherry Lane Theatre commissioned the play and the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright of A Soldier’s Play answered the call. The play delivers a powerful and important message that we must be alerted to. For our men and women veterans are returning home but what are they returning to? A life of meaning and purpose, or one of emptiness and continual anxiety, stress, dislocation and fury?
Certainly, if they have seen combat, have seen their buddies sharded or incinerated by mines and explosive, have seen themselves or others losing limbs, if they have suffered Traumatic Brain Injury or worse, have walked away unscathed physically, only to labor under delusive aftershocks of heightened oppression, guilt, flashbacks, suicidal/violent thoughts and more, they are experiencing PTSD.
How do they cope? Will they seek help or slip into the convenient or overlooked statistic? One Night covers all of this and shadows how a woman responds in recompense to an unjust act effected by soldiers, themselves suffering from an inability to deal with their own trauma to act humanely. The sufferers unload onto the perceived weaker sex and the woman like many women who serve in the U.S. military ends up battling an additional enemy ones wearing the same uniform. War turns men and women against each other eliciting the worst in times of stress. It can happen in many times during a decade, it can happen “one night,” but if it happens woe to all it happens to.
The World Premiere of One Night is being presented by the Cherry Lane Theatre and the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
One Night directed by Clinton Turner Davis will be at the Cherry Lane Theatre from November 6 to December 15.
Mon and Tues at 7 pm., Thurs and Fri. at 8 pm, Sat. at 2 pm and 8 pm, Sun. at 3 pm.
Grantham Coleman, K.K. Moggie, Matthew Montelongo, Cortez Nance Jr., Rutina Wesley
Set John McDermott, Costumes Jessica Jahn, Lighting Nicole Pearce, Sound Sean O’Halloran, Video Gil Sperling, Fights UnkleDave’s Fight-House, Props Starlet Jacobs, Stage Manager C. Renee Alexander, Assistant Stage Manager Kristin Pfeifer
Running time is 2 hours with one 10 minute intermission.
FOR TICKETS CLICK HERE.
5% of ticket proceeds benefit IAVA, the first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Learn more and support the Next Greatest Generation at IAVA.org.
In a land far, far away there was magic and there was brutal reality. If that sounds like a bit of a fairy tale, so it is. But when you think about the long haul of eternity, life is a bit of a fairy-tale in its beauty and pain. There are magical times and then there is the brutal reality of sorrow and loss, But with faith and effort, there is overcoming. Such are the themes of the modern fairy-tale Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair told by Jewel Kats (illustrations by Richa Kinra) with the caveat that we can have a wonderful things, but there might be some things we will never have.
Most of us are familiar with the iconic Disney animated film with Cinderella’s fairy godmother, the pumpkin coach and the mice attendants who outfit our heroine for the ball. If you visited NYC, you might have taken your daughters to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Broadway. There are film versions and adaptations, for example Ever After: A Cinderella Story starring Drew Barrymore and Kenneth Branagh has directed a live action Cinderella which is slated to come out in March 2015.
The Cinderella story is mythic, digging into the heart of every girl’s and every woman’s unconscious needs. The handsome, wealthy prince takes kind, sweet Cinderella away from the horror of her wretched, abusive Stepmother and wicked, ugly, demeaning Stepsisters. For the rest of her life as Mrs. Prince, Cinderella “lives happily ever after,” while the Prince with his inherited family wealth supports her in comfort and style, wiping out all the sad memories of her hurtful treatment by the “Steps.” The irony is a man, Charles Perralt, wrote the story in 1697, not a woman. Indeed, the story supports a paternalistic, oppressive culture which inspires women to endure the drudgery of life with the hope that “one day, their prince will come” and if she is proposed to, her man is her prince and “king of his castle.” Such is the stuff that inspires Golddiggers and naive brides alike. Unfortunately, the reality of marriage and “happily ever after” is very different.
That is why I like Jewel Kats’ retelling of Cinderella. In Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair. Kats’ Cinderella is disabled. However, her spirit and attitude are not broken. When the fairy godmother comes to transport her to the ball, she doesn’t touch her wand to Cinderella’s feet or legs creating mobility. Some things do not change; at 12:00 AM, all returns to what it was before. But something magical does happen to Cinderella’s wheelchair. At the ball, the prince is intrigued by this woman and forgets about her disability. What he understands about her touches his heart.
At 12:00 AM they part and reality sets in once more, but the ball has opened Cinderella’s eyes. She leaves the miserable life she led with her Steps, packs up and sets out on her own. This is a self-reliant woman who knows how to take her skills and use them to live and support herself. She is not “waiting for her prince to come.” She will make it on her own.
What happened at the ball? Does she eventually meet up with the prince again? Well, you’ll have to find out for yourself. I’m not telling. I do think that Kats’ version is the most modern and prescient of all. What I love about it is that to a great extent, it explodes the dangerous myth that there is “happily ever after” in marriage. Not that there isn’t, but that you have to work at it and some things, some realities, you cannot change. You must adjust to them.
This is a very important message to bring to young girls. Life can hold magic and pain, and the most disabled are those who are wicked, jealous and cruel.
Some fairy tales are not told by paternalists, but are retold by resilient, smart women.
The timeless story of “Cinderella” dates back to 1697 when first created by Charles Perrault,
Have you ever heard, “It’s all in your attitude?” Well, Ditzabled Princess by Jewel Kats and artist Katarina Andriopoulos is an adorable mid-level children’s “comical” book that teaches a wonderful lesson about it. With a positive, uplifted attitude one will draw friends, family and others toward love and a spirit of living life to the fullest.
We are not talking Pollyanna, here, either. We are discussing a strong realistic and affirming way to view circumstances with an approach that uses humor and humanity to get over what a negative individual might carp, complain and stress themselves into a hellish place over. Thank goodness, Jewel Kats is the opposite, for she has given us a Jewel of a book that even adults would appreciate. And I can think of a few adults who need to “get over themselves” that I will probably buy this book for when they need a laugh.
Ditzabled Princess is a diary of a 33 year old disabled princess. Please underscore princess. There is nothing disabled about this women. In fact she is so capable, it’s like she is living the life of three able bodied individuals rolled into the body of one beautifully spirited and outwardly lovely person. Jewel tells us who she is in a nutshell: “a demanding Diva who loves to shop as much as she loves to write.” Jewel is assisted by a lovely “hot pink elbow crutch.” What’s not to love?
Jewel Kats is much, much more, of course. Add to that creative, talented and very clever, and she is aided and abetted by her “Dad,” her “Mom,” her beloved “Hubby,” “Baby Sis,” “Middle Sis,” and B.F.F. (best friend forever). And each of them in their own right “handles” this diva with love, humor and at times, utter frustration. Did I mention that this princess is also a bit of a messy house keeper and not a very good cook? I don’t know about you, but I’m down with that.
By the end of reading the comical exploits of Jewel Kats (I had a smile on my face the entire time.) I understood what I should do. Any time that inner critic (You know the one who criticizes you at the most rotten times.) opens her mouth to say something really dark about where I am along my own journey, I would get out Ditzabled Princess and read it again for the humor, the wisdom and the CLEVERNESS which will snuff out that nasty feeling. And I will especially go to pages 50-51 and read them over a few times, then read them to my niece who will really appreciate them. (She’s around 11 going on 18 and is a princess-in-training.)
Now, don’t expect me to tell you what’s on those pages. You will just have to buy the book on Amazon yourself.
Thanks to Chris Miller for introducing me to the Ditzabled Princess Jewel Kats. Wish I had known of her sooner…I could have honed my princess skills with her tips.
The 21st year of the Hamptons International Film Festival has seen its share of great feature films, documentaries, shorts, world cinema offerings, and UK favorites. This year’s festival was highlighted by visits from celebrities like Ralph Fiennes, Bruce Dern, Will Forte, David Duchovny, Hope Davis, Timothy Hutton, Ralph Macchio, Helena Bonham Carter, Bryan Greenberg, and actors to watch like Dane Dehaan. These individuals graciously offered their time with the audience in Q & As and helped to support their films some of which were either World Premiers or East Coast Premiers.
By Monday, the last day of the festival which ran from Thursday October 10th through October 14th, audience ballots were calculated, the choices finalized. The Hamptons International Film Festival audience win fofor Narrative went to the UK and the US brought in the Documentary wins, both the full-length and the short which both had their premiers at the festival.
Philomena won the Audience Narrative Award. Tickets were difficult to come by because of the star, the beloved Judi Dench, and its haunting subject (unwed mothers in Catholic Ireland) which has been touched upon in films like the Magdalene Sisters. In the 1950s Ireland’s Catholic Church held sway in maintaining paternalism, placing the worst of the double standards of male chauvinism at the forefront of the cultural ethos. Philomena Lee (portrayed with poignant, touching humor by Dame Judi Dench) was a victim of repression when Church officials forced her to put up her child for adoption because the man bed her but didn’t wed her. Stigmatized by the community of good men and women and trapped by societal norms, Philomena gave up her son for adoption despite her best intentions to keep him. Years later, Philomena attempts to right her wrong. She goes on a journey to find her son with the help of a BBC reporter and their travels are endearing and fun. Stephen Frears directed the film whose screenplay is adapted from the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith.
Desert Runners, having its East Coast Premiere at the festival won the Audience Award for Documentary. The film chronicles individuals who sign up for and run the entire Desert Ultramarathon series which must be done in one year. This is a series where challengers run 150-mile ultra-marathons through four of the world’s most brutal and dangerous deserts: the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Gobi Desert in China, the Sahara in Egypt, and after all that heat, the desert of ice in Antarctica. How do these individuals deal with hurdles, success and failure as they run the extremes of life’s call to their souls? How do they canvass and balance their internal peaks and valleys in the beautiful and deadly environments that force their physical, mental and emotional range to their limit? It is a well told tale which shows individuals who have a need to go up against nature’s extremes for the honor of a race well run.
One Last Hug (…and a few smooches) Three Days at Grief Camp directed by Oscar nominee Irene Taylor Brodsky won the Audience Award for Short Documentary. How does one grieve the loss of a loved one? Internalize it, shut down, and move on? Cry? How does a child grieve the loss of a mother, a father, a brother, a sister? This documentary shows how. With an objective and non maudlin, overly sentimental approach, which is even more touching and powerful, the viewer immediately connects with the children’s stories as they tell who died in their families. The documentary short moves in real time with the guides who help the kids through activities designed to safely allow them to express the multiple emotions that come when confronting a loved one’s material absence and final abandonment. As the kids express their feelings, they are comforted and learn to comfort one another to relieve their pain. It is a powerful reminder that with loss there is also the comfort of others and another type of love found.
For more on the 21st Annual Hamptons International Film Festival please go to this link: Hamptons International Film Festival 2013
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON BLOGCRITICS AT THE LINK BELOW
Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. Beginning tomorrow there will be an amazing conference on Sustainability. President Bill Clinton is giving the Keynote address. It can be live streamed for free. (details are below) I will be attending on Saturday and perhaps a bit of Sunday. I do love it at Omega. The reason is because of their ethics, principles and mission. The individuals from the top down care about the planet and embrace this care in every aspect of Omega Institute: people, practices, lifestyle. When I say care, Omega’s mission is a sacred one; it is obvious the moment one steps onto the campus. I pray that more places will follow their example. One step…who was it that said great things have little beginnings? Omega may appear to be at a turning point, but they are striving to make a difference which they have done for years. They are a global model for sustainability. This conference is more than a beginning.
This press release is courtesy of Chrissa Pullicino
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Chrissa Pullicino
September 25, 2013 Office: 845.266.4444, ext. 404
President Bill Clinton to Deliver Keynote Address at Omega Conference
Where We Go From Here Conference Will Examine Sustainability as a Question of Values & a Challenge of Systems Design—Now Including Conference Live Stream
RHINEBECK, NY—Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy demonstrated just how real the threat of climate change is, the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) is hosting Where We Go From Here: Opportunities & Solutions for an Interdependent World, a conference that addresses the imperative for examining sustainability issues from a holistic perspective based on the interconnection between human behavior, economic and social systems, and the environment. The conference will be held October 4–6, 2013, and will feature keynote speaker President Bill Clinton, 2005 MacArthur Fellow Majora Carter, environmentalist Paul Hawken, economist Jeremy Rifkin, and other major leaders in sustainability. The conference also will be available free to the public via live stream on Saturday, October 5, and Sunday, October 6.
As the problems of climate change and dwindling resources manifest themselves more clearly and urgently, the conference will assess the shortcomings of current sustainability efforts—and create a road map for going forward that places whole-systems thinking front and center.
“With ever more frequency and intensity, we are seeing the effects of being out of balance with the earth and each other. We cannot solve this problem without considering the whole—understanding the big picture and finding our place within it,” said Robert “Skip” Backus, chief executive officer at Omega and the visionary behind the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL). “We are thrilled that President Clinton will deliver the keynote speech. Omega is proud to initiate the discussion about where we go from here, and to serve as a model for a whole-systems approach to sustainability.”
Founded four years ago, the OCSL includes the first green building in America to receive both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certifications, and has evolved into an emerging environmental leader, offering programs that teach the regenerative environmental practices modeled by the building. Omega Institute is integrating similar designs into other facilities on its Rhinebeck, New York campus. A recent addition to the Omega Women’s Leadership Center is the first commercial project in the United States to meet Passive House certification standards—the building uses very little energy and the space is designed to reduce heating costs by 75%.
“Recognizing our interdependence—to each other and to the planet—is key to finding solutions to our pressing environmental challenges,” said Backus.
Where We Go From Here will include keynote talks, panel discussions, stories from the field, and a tour of the award-winning Omega Center for Sustainable Living.
Leading economists, environmentalists, philanthropists, designers, architects, and activists round out the list of speakers, including:
· President Bill Clinton, Founder of the Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, was the first Democratic president in six decades to be elected twice, and led the U.S. to the longest economic expansion in American history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs. After the leading the White House, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation with the mission to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote healthier childhoods, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and private citizens to turn good intentions into measurable results. clintonfoundation.org
· Janine Benyus, a biologist, consultant, and author of six books, including the classic Biomimicry, is cofounder of the Biomimicry Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes the study and imitation of nature’s remarkably efficient designs. biomimicry.net
· Majora Carter, recipient of a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 when few were talking about sustainability, and even fewer, in places like the South Bronx. Since 2008, her consulting company, Majora Carter Group, has exported climate adaptation, urban micro-agribusiness, and leadership development strategies for business, government, foundations, universities, and economically underperforming communities. majoracartergroup.com
· Bob Berkebile is an influential sustainable design architect and community planner, a founding principal of BNIM Architects, and a board member of the U.S. Green Building Council, the Nature Conservancy, and the Center for Global Community. bnim.com
· Robert “Skip” Backus is chief executive officer of Omega and the visionary behind the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL). He helped lay the foundation for Omega’s environmental and conservation initiatives, including campus recycling and composting, sustainable purchasing and support of local agriculture, water conservation, and 100% sourcing of campus electricity from wind and solar technology.
· Carla Goldstein, JD, is Omega Institute’s chief external affairs officer and cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center. An attorney with 25 years of experience in public interest advocacy, she has contributed to more than 100 city, state, and federal laws, and has worked extensively on issues related to women’s rights, poverty, public health, and social justice.
· Maya Azucena is an award-winning singer, activist, and cultural ambassador. At the 2010 United Nations Summit, she was selected by the Office of Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as the exclusive performer at the Every Woman, Every Child event. She is also a cofounder of the multimedia website MDGFive.com, which raises awareness for maternal health. mayaazucena.com
· Rob Hopkins, author of The Power of Just Doing Stuff and The Transition Handbook, is cofounder of the International Transition Network, a charitable environmental organization. The Independent lists him as one of the top environmentalists in the United Kingdom. The Observer calls him “one of Britain’s 50 New Radicals.”
Speakers are subject to change.
People can join the conversation about where we go from here on Twitter @Omega_Institute (conference hashtag #OCSL2013), and on Facebook.com/Omega.OCSL.
For complete details or to register, visit eOmega.org/ocsl2013 or call 800.944.1001.
About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation’s most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations
The Paradigm Shift
The long needed paradigm shift for authors is here. Like never before, successful writers of all genres are available to their fans and others as many discard traditional publishing routes that were profitable to everyone but the writer. Self-publishing and direct to the source return the profits back to authors. As social media, blogs and e-zines trump traditional media, and streaming (House of Cards) Youtube (plays and shows) and Google Hangouts (live music shows) become widespread, TV venues that formerly preyed upon the division between the creator and the passive audience are dying. It’s about interactivity. As a result writers are relying on interactions with followers on Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, etc., to promote and sell their work, engage their readers and update them on their latest triumphs. To remain current, they must stir the pot and trouble the waters of innovation and artistry. How else can they benefit from the currents of cultural resplendence? If they don’t connect, they will eventually be choked off as is happening to old line venues for the cultural arts.
Authors Stay Juiced Through Workshops and Master Classes
Another way noted writers are connecting is by giving back in workshops, conferences and master classes. It is particularly rewarding when brilliant authors are sure footed guides who can shepherd their fellow writers up the mountain of difficulties regarding word-craft to unlock inspiration. Fluid workshops are settings which inspire writers to share their work without fear. They encourage spontaneous, authentic writing. They help authors learn new techniques and allow them to bathe in the creative flow of juiced writing.
Three noted writers and authors whose workshops and classes I took in the last months were particularly helpful and each was extremely generous. David Henry Hwang, successful Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright, Nick Flynn, poet and memoirist, and Rosary O’Neill, playwright, screenwriter and diverse author reached into their bounty of spirit and shared liberally. Reflecting back on the process with these exceptional writers, I now see that the exchanges and connections offered unique experiences that are helping me hone my craft and provide direction for my writing projects.
MASTER CLASS WITH DAVID HENRY HWANG at the Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC
I absolutely adore this man, this stunning screenwriter, librettist and multiple award-winning playwright best known for M Butterfly, Yellow Face and Chinglish. I have seen much of his work on Broadway and Off Broadway. The first time I saw M Butterfly (I saw it twice.) starring John Lithgow and B.D. Wong, I remember telling my cousins after the performance that it was a happening. Thrilling and alive, it was like seeing Venice for the first time or tasting my first sip of vintage wine from a bottle that cost more than $150. Poor similes, I grant you, but I was gobsmacked. Taking this class with him I was anxious to understand his technique. I had seen his development and knew early works like Dance in the Railroad. I and was looking forward to seeing his Kung Fu at the Signature Theatre in March of 2014. What would he share?
The writers/students in the master class with David Henry Hwang were at various stages in their writing careers; their backgrounds were motley. Wang enjoys people and he interacted with us after getting a general feel for this large group who was there to breathe the same air as this multiple award winner and Pulitzer Prize nominee. He of course, is unassuming, disarming and a sponge of humility you could just hug and squeeze. Despite the large numbers in the group, David Henry Hwang put us at ease and somehow created an intensity and intimacy during the session, a talent in itself.
Move toward the unconscious.
The master playwright encouraged us to continually transcend the conscious mind and write frequently, overriding our conscious censor. For example, when thinking “I’m not good enough,” or “Why should anyone care about what I’m writing,” that is the nihilistic self-critic. Inspire yourself and unblock using various techniques; some suggestions are below.
- Silence the censor by writing as fast as you can. You can always go back and edit.
- Cut out phrases from a magazine article and shuffle them into various sequences. Copy a phrase or two priming the pump until it’s flowing. Don’t stop until there is a natural pause.
- Write out words in free association. Put them in a hat and choose various ones that continue the associations. Write continually and automatically. Follow where the writing leads you; don’t lead it.
- Of course, David Henry Want suggested to always write what inspires and keeps your interest. The more you have fallen in love with what you are writing about the better.
- Allow yourself to give your characters free reign. They will lead you to amazing places that you never new were possible on the journey.
NICK FLYNN’S MEMOIR AS BEWILDERMENT at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY
Nick Flynn is a poet and best-selling memoirist. He wrote The Reenactments, The Ticking Is the Bomb, and the haunting and beautiful best seller, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City which was published as Being Flynn, the title of the independent film based on the book. The film stars Robert DiNero and Paul Dano. Flynn’s three books of poetry are The Captain Asks For a Show of Hands, Some Ether, and Blind Huber. I was familiar with his memoir Another Bullshit Night... and liked his style of writing. During the two day workshop, Nick Flynn was generous answering questions about the making of the film (it took seven years) and his writing life. He challenged us, attempting to jar our sensibilities into the unusual because only then could the chaffing break us into the realm of the unexpected to authenticity. As we wrote and shared our writings, elements he uses in his own writing resonated deeply. His wonderful humor carried us through any nervousness.
Use image and object chains from various sources.
- Flynn encouraged us toward selecting images and objects threading them in our work. Images carry emotional power and weight. These are tied to associations from our unconscious that have meaning beyond what we may not recognize consciously.
- Write down dreams and the images will more naturally appear to us. Incorporate images or objects in automatic writing which should be spontaneous and unedited.
- The writing muscle should be exercised each day, a minimum of seven minutes. Write ceaselessly allowing the flow and trusting it to take you wherever. Dare to risk the journey, the more bewildered the better. Eventually rationality through the concrete image emerges.
- Create moments of surprise and use them in writing. Look for a science article (NY Times, perhaps) that is filled with images or objects and write about one that has energy and interest. Look through old pictures. List three questions about the people or objects in the photos. Write on each for 7 minutes. Incorporate the results in your work then edit later what doesn’t sing. You’re practicing powerful description and your technique will be enhanced overall with your writing projects.
ROSARY O’NEILL’s SCRIPTWRITING WORKSHOP at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY
Rosary O’Neill, Ph.D. is a playwright, director, screenwriter, writer of narrative nonfiction and a scholar who hails from New Orleans. She was the founding artistic director at Southern Rep Theatre where her plays about family with Southern Gothic themes were produced for many years. A prolific writer and virtual dynamo who has received 7 Fullbrights, and fellowships to the Norman Mailer House, Tyrone Guthrie Centre and other venues, she has studied abroad where she has completed research for a play about John Singer Sargent and a book and play about Degas, to name a few works. With extensive experience in acting and theatre production, she has written The Actor’s Checklist, is currently working on a soon to be published book with new information never before revealed about the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Rosary O’Neill has written 22 plays. Most have been published by Samuel French. Many of them have been performed at the Southern Rep and many have garnered readings at the National Arts Club, the Rattlestick Theatre, The Players Club and in regional theaters like The Westchester Collaborative Theatre and Bard College. Her latest work, an uplifting musical entitled Broadway or Bust with lyrics/music by David Temple, directed by Deborah Temple will be performed at Bard College Black Box Theatre, November 13th and 15th. She has written a TV series entitled Heirs that that is currently being shop optioned. An experienced college professor, Rosary’s class was a joy and steered folks in a different direction, toward writing characters that live and are breathing and vital. This is playwriting/screenwriting at its best.
Sound character when creating dialogue.
- When writing characters, think of individuals you know, their high points and dramatic episodes. Ask yourself why you remember them; what strikes you about them? Give yourself a prompt that you think might help you distill who they are in an image, then write about them. Eventually, this can be worked into creating character.
- Read all dialogue aloud. Make sure it sings. If you are bored and don’t wish to read it, have someone else read it aloud. If it doesn’t resonate to you or the other individual, then drop it and move your inspiration elsewhere.
- Select a scene where there have been family get-togethers. Dialogue should reveal differences in character, cadences, phrases, accents, content. How are you revealing tonal messages through speech? Act out the lines. What doesn’t fit, jettison.
- Remain upbeat at all times. Shun negative thoughts. Do you have anything better to do with your life than to create life, through characters, dialogue and plays/films? All dialogue has run through you at one point or another. You are recalling it to your remembrance and shifting it around for greater use. Above all, enjoy the experience.
PARTING SHOTS: David Henry Hwang, Nick Flynn, Rosary O’Neill
DHH- Find a way to have your plays read aloud, even if you are getting actors in your living room. It’s the only way to find out if the characters cohere, if the whole thing works.
NF-Only submit your finest work, your best, work, the stuff you’ve edited and crafted and you still find vibrant after reading it 100 or more times. If you don’t want to read what you’ve written, then put a red line through it and circle it. Cut it out. You’re bored with it, others will be too.
RO-Spend a lot of time editing and revising. The work must pop, the dialogue must sing. If it doesn’t, you’ve overwritten. It’s too long. Cut, cut, cut, but still be logical and make sense. You can always add. The editing is hard, but vital to great writing.
All of them: Keep on writing!