Hamptons Happenings: February 7 & 8


Need to speak your piece to local government about The Hills high-end resort being proposed in here in the Hamptons? Tonight is the night for the fourth and final public meeting on the East Quogue-based project. The gathering to discuss Discovery Land Company’s bid to build a luxury resort–complete with 118 homes, a golf course and country club–will be held at Southampton Town Hall, starting at 6 p.m. 


Those interested in food, farming and fascinating conversation should head to Almond’s in Bridgehampton this evening at 7 p.m. for Artists & Writers Night featuring Scott and Megan Chaskey of the Peconic Land Trust and the healing arts. The night will feature family style three-course menu created by executive chef Jason Weiner. The cost is $45, which includes a glass of local wine or craft beer and gratuity, tax is not included. Reservations are required.

noyac-candle-jpgOr head over to c/o The Maidstone in East Hampton for Ladies Night at the Maidstone from 6 to 8 p.m.  The evening will include socializing, shopping and happy hour discounts. Confirmed vendors include: HAMPTONS Handpoured (which makes my very favorite candle in the world), Stella & DotRodan + Fields , Sea Glass & SunsetsJustine Moody Designs, Rustic Lady Bug, LuLaRoe, VELO2 Cute Designs
and Chloe + Isabel by Patrena.


Speaking of ladies and shopping, Sophie Kinsella of “Confessions of a Shopaholic” series fame has written a new book called “My (Not So) Perfect Life” and it’s really terrific. I got my copy last week and ripped through it! On bookshelves starting today, the British author is making a few rare American appearances and kicking off a mini tour here in the U.S. starting with a signing up in White Plains tonight. Get your tickets here. Can’t make it up to Westchester? That’s okay. She’s also doing a live chat on Facebook with USA Today at 1 p.m.  My favorite of all her books, this standalone novel is part love story, part workplace comedy, and part witty critique on the judgments we all make in a social media-obsessed culture. If it were summer I’d say it’s the perfect beach read.

helen-simonson-credit-nina-subinCloser to home, bestselling author (and Brit-turned-Brooklynite) Helen Simonson kicks off the Spring Writers Speak Wednesdays Series at Stony Brook Southampton tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Ms. Simonson’s talk will include her experiences earning her MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton; turning her thesis into her big debut novel, “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand,” which was a New York Times bestseller; and her latest novel, “The Summer Before the War,” which came out last year.


Need to Know: Creative Opportunities


Tomorrow is the last chance to get your YAWP (Young Artists and Writers Project) applications in for consideration. Stony Brook Southampton is once again offering the program for up to 30 select high school students from the East End of Long Island, New York City, and one American International school to attend a five-day, four-night scriptwriting retreat at the campus, November 14 to 18, 2016.

While participating at YAWP, the students attending will have a chance to: find their creative voices in scriptwriting in a supportive environment; generate valuable new material for transcripts; improve writing and communications skills; build confidence;  and make new friends while forging lasting connections.

Students are fully supervised and chaperoned at all times, and time is made every day for school homework so that students stay current with their classes. The fee for the 5-day, 4-night retreat program is $500 per student, which covers lodging, food, materials and expenses for aDecember production of the work, which will be held at Stony Brook Southampton’s Avram Theater on December 9 and 10.

To learn more or to sign up, students may contact their English teachers, head of school, or email william.chandler@stonybrook.edu. More information is also available at http://www.stonybrook.edu/yawp and at Facebook.com/YoungAmericanWritersProject.

For the adults, Guild Hall of East Hampton is now accepting online applications to the Guild House Artist-In-Residence Program, through Thursday, December 1, 2016. The residency runs for 8 weeks from March 11-May 7, 2017 in East Hampton, New York.

Entering its second year, the residency provides two-months of living space, a stipend, introductions to the cultural community of the Hamptons, and access to mentorship through Guild Hall’s Academy of the Arts, whose membership is comprised of many of the nation’s most accomplished and influential artists. The residents will also have the opportunity to collaborate and form partnerships with regional artists, as well as many cultural institutions. Four (4) emerging artists (21+ years) working in the visual, literary, or performing arts, and/or curatorial or critical studies will be selected by a jury of GH Academy members.

For more information, interested artists may contact Marianna Levine at AIR@GuildHall.org or visit GuildHall.org.


Gruesome Playground Injuries, Kid Lit & Old Haunts


A name like “Gruesome Playground Injuries” certainly grabs the attention. I’m quite interested to see more of this play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph, which is staging at Guild Hall in East Hampton starting Thursday, October 27.

I don’t know a lot about the play (yet) but I do know that it’s not, thankfully, about blood and guts around the merry-go-round or anything like that. Instead, it tells the story of Kayleen and Doug, who first meet in the nurse’s office of their elementary school. Over the next 30 years, they are brought together again and again by injury, heartbreak and, on occasion, their own self-destructive tendencies. gruesome-playground-injuries-1

The play comes out East courtesy Genny Productions, a new theatrical production company that is founded by Brian Clemente (who has worked under Steve Hamilton a time or two at Guild Hall), Jacob Alden Roa, Julia Masotti and Mary Ragus. The show stars Julia Masotti and Jacob Alden Roa and stages through Sunday, October 30. Purchase tickets here.


Did you know that children’s literature, aka “kid lit,” is the fastest growing segment of the publishing world? Apparently ’tis. For those writers who are interested in learning more about this potentially lucrative market, Stony Brook Southampton has a terrific opportunity with its Children’s Literature Fellows program, developed by Patricia McCormick, Emma Walton Hamilton and the MFA in Creative Writing program at Stony Brook Southampton.

The distance learning, one-year certificate program with one-on-one instruction from successful kids’ lit authors like McCormick–working in picture books, middle grade novels, and YA fiction and creative nonfiction–addresses the needs of those writers who want to develop their craft but who may not have the time or the resources to enable enrollment in a full MFA degree program.  The deadline for applications for the 2017 Children’s Literature Fellows program is December 1, 2016.



Lastly, for those wanting to get a jumpstart on the upcoming spooky weekend, the Southampton Historical Museum has just the thing with its free “Historic Haunts of Long Island” program, which will be held at Rogers Mansion in Southampton on Thursday,
October 27, at 11 a.m. There the award-winning author and historian Kerriann Flanagan Brosky will take her audience on a ghostly journey through Long Island’s History and sign copies of her book “Historic Haunts of Long Island.” The event is co-sponsored by the Rogers Memorial Library.




Love, Sex, Anarchy, and Some Great Writing


As we are getting ready and girding our loins for the opening of the Hamptons International Film Festival on Thursday, there are still a few really great things to go do and see today and tomorrow.

Tonight, Tuesday, October 4, head to Guild Hall in East Hampton to catch a reading of “Love, Sex, Anarchy” by Melissa Bell at 7:30 p.m. As part of the John Drew Theater Lab, the performance, directed by Luke Tudball and featuring Heather Bagnall, is free.

Based on the life of activist/anarchist Emma Goldman, this multi-media theater work in progress incorporates a fluid set, choreographed transitions, an original musical score and sound design, along with archival media to explore ways in which ideologies conflict with emotions. Want to make a big night of it? Then head to the 1770 House down the street before the show and enjoy a special $27 two-course, prix fixe dinner. Just make sure to tell your server the secret code. Pssst, it’s “JDTLab.”


Iris Smyles photo from her website. Love it. 

Also tonight, it’s Almond’s Artists & Writers Night featuring Iris Smyles, the clever and supremely interesting author of “Iris Has Free Time” and “Dating Tips for the Unemployed” who also happens to be an East Hampton Star editor. The evening, which starts  with a reception at 6:30 p.m, will be the first of many new “Artists & Writers Night” events of the season at the Bridgehampton-based restaurant. The evening will feature a family style three-course menu created by executive chef Jason Weiner. Cost for the night is $45, which includes a glass of local wine or craft beer and gratuity, tax is not included. Reservations are required.


Kim Addonizio will kick off Writers Speak Wednesdays at Stony Brook Southampton tomorrow night.

On Wednesday night, October 5, head to the Stony Brook Southampton campus for its first Fall Writers Speak Wednesdays of the season with two-time Pushcart Prize winner Kim Addonizio. The author will talk about her recent projects, including her newest poetry collection, “Mortal Trash,” and a memoir in essays, “Bukowski in a Sundress.” The free author talk will begin at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall. Upcoming events in the series include talks by: Dani Shapiro, October 19; John Knight in conversation with Emily Gilbert, November 2; Lia Purpura, November 16; and Ruth Franklin and Susan Scarf Merrell, November 30.

Interested in becoming  a better writer? Then show up early for  an Open House and informational session, which begins at 5:30 p.m. for prospective MFA in Creative Writing and Literature candidates. Program Director Julie Sheehan and other faculty members will discuss the MFA workshops in fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, and more, all taught by distinguished working writers. And for those who would like to learn about writing books for kids, there will also be a presentation on the one-year Children’s Lit Fellows program by kids’ lit Director Emma Walton Hamilton. All those interested in attending are asked to email rsvp_mfa@stonybrook.edu.


Learn to Act from Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin Head shot

I absolutely LOVE this!

Stony Brook Southampton is offering a Two-Day Acting Master Class with Alec Baldwin and Chekhov Technique Instructor Bethany Caputo on July 11 and 12. But you’ve got to hurry if you want to participate, as only a few slots remain.

The small workshop class is limited to only 16 and is part of the Southampton Theatre Conference at the Southampton Graduate Arts campus at Stony Brook Southampton. A video audition is required. Here are the submission guidelines. 

On the first day, Monday, July 11, students will work with Bethany Caputo to explore the Michael Chekhov Technique, a psychophysical approach to acting, and some of the basic tools and principles from Chekhov’s work with character. On Tuesday, July 12, Alec Baldwin joins Caputo in a scene and monologue intensive integrating some of the tools explored in the preceding day’s session.

Since 1980, Alec Baldwin has received a Tony nomination (“A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1992) an Oscar nomination (“The Cooler” in 2004) and won two Emmy awards, three Golden Globes and seven consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards as Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on NBC-TV’s “30 Rock.” His films include “The Hunt for Red October,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Malice,” “The Edge,” “It’s Complicated,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Still Alice” and “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation,” among many others.

Bethany Caputo is an actress and a teacher in New York City who performs regionally at such theatres as Arena Stage, The Goodman and Actors Theatre of Louisville. In 2015, she appeared with Alec Baldwin and Laurie Metcalf in Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” at the John Drew theater in East Hampton, NY. Ms. Caputo studied at the Moscow Art Theatre where she was introduced to the Chekhov technique in 1997. She is now on faculty with MICHA, the Michael Chekhov Acting Studio in New York City and with Stony Brook University Graduate Department.

Other offerings in the 2016 Southampton Theatre Conference include workshops in playwriting with Lucas Hnath (“The Christians,” “Red Speedo”) and Stephen Adly Guirgis (2015 Pulitzer Prize, “Between Riverside and Crazy”). Click here for additional  information.

Forget Flying, Now It’s ‘Fear of Dying’

Anyone who’s been alive since 1973 knows who Erica Jong is. It’s impossible to forget her sexy seminal (and 27-million-copy-bestselling) novel, “Fear of Flying.” It’s safe to say that Isadora Wing and her guilt-free “zipless _ _ _ _” were not just controversial, they were revolutionary.

Well now Jong has done it again with “Fear of Dying,” which tackles other deeply personal issues for and about women and their sexuality. And she’s coming to Stony Brook Southampton TONIGHT to talk about her books for Writers Speak Wednesdays. Get there early for her free author talk, which starts with a reception at 6:30 p.m. at Chancellors Hall on campus and continues at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor, as I’m sure this one will fill up super fast!

Erica Jong by MaryAnn Halpin

Erica Jong photo by MaryAnn Halpin.


For Artists, Actors and Writers


You gotta love all the riches that we have at our fingertips here. And I’m not referring to the money. I’m talking about the TALENT.

If you’re a creative person, there’s no place better than the Hamptons to find community. Here are three cool things just for you.

Artists: The Watermill Center is now accepting applications for its
2017 Artist Residency Program, through April 29. Celebrating its 10th year,  The Watermill Center is inviting submission of applications for its 2017 Artist Residency Program.

Taking place during the winter, fall and spring, the Residency Program provides artists with the opportunity to utilize The Watermill Center as a home and a workshop to create and develop their own work. Each residency will last from two to four weeks during January through May and September through December 2017. The selection committee is composed of distinguished international artists, academics, and cultural leaders across all disciplines. Artists from within and outside the United States are encouraged to apply. Details about the application and program are available at watermillcenter.slideroom.com. Fun fact: By June of 2016, the Center will have hosted over 200 residents.

Actors: Starting this Tuesday, March 8, Michael Disher will lead a group of actors on the quest for “perfect plays” for presentation. The class, which will be held on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., continues through April 5 at the Southampton Cultural Center.

Through reading, research, scene study and social reaction, Mr. Disher and his troupe will assess American classics, new works, known and obscure playwrights and material with meat and meaning. Reading, scene study and resonance, coupled with technique and theory, will drive these classes. Suitable for ages 17 and above.  $195.00. To register email mbentondisher@gmail.com

Writers: The masters of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Stony Brook Southampton will give a Faculty Reading on Wednesday,  March 9, during the Writers Speak program at the Southampton campus. Ursula Hegi, Susan Scarf Merrell, Roger Rosenblatt, Julie Sheehan and Lou Ann Walker will each read from their work on in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

Coming up in the series: novelist Terese Svoboda in conversation with poet and MFA in Creative Writing Director Julie Sheehan, March 23; Robert MacNeil in conversation with Roger Rosenblatt, April 6; and Erica Jong, April 27.  Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to all. The evenings begin with a brief reception at 6:30 p.m.; readings begin at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A and book signing.