When the surname DeMille comes up in conversations of a cinematic nature, the first reaction is to think of Hollywood titan Cecil B., the director of epics like The Greatest Show on Earth and The Ten Commandments.
But in the world of independent film, Alex DeMille (no relation) of Garden City may very well be who people will be talking about in a few years, thanks to the modest success of The Absence. A short piece that was originally shot as a senior thesis towards earning his MFA in directing at U.C.L.A. film school, this near half-hour story was screened at numerous competitions, winning the Judges Choice Award at the 17th Annual Comic-Con International Film Festival.
If the mix of cable-knit sweaters and caps, pennywhistle, reels and jigs are your touch points for Irish music, Celtic Woman just might throw you. Consisting of four colleens (three vocalists and one fiddler), this quartet has been selling millions of records and raising boatloads of cash for PBS during its annual fundraisers ever since the then-fivesome was created by Susan Browne and David Downes in 2004.
With the latter being the former musical director of Riverdance, it’s no surprise that Celtic Woman is a glittery distillation of Irish culture thanks to a Vegas-worthy stage show packed with costume changes, step dancing, bagpipes, a choir and orchestration. Along with soloists Chloe [Agnew], Lisa [Lambe] and Susan [McFadden], it’s a concept and presentation that Celtic Woman founding member/fiddler Mairead [pronounced like parade with an m] Nesbitt sees as an escape for the group’s millions of fans.
When you first see Mark Wood, the last thing you’d expect to learn is that he’s a classically trained master of the violin. Or that he studied at Juilliard under iconic iconoclast Leonard Bernstein. In fact, it’s easy to mistake the native Long Islander for a rock star, rather than someone who’s played Carnegie Hall (he has). Between his lanky build, wild head of hair and his line of outrageously designed handmade violins called Vipers, it’s no wonder that Wood has been labelled the Jimi Hendrix of violin.
But for as much as the luthier/composer/instrumentalist likes to rock out, his true passion is trying to pull music education into the 21st century.
1. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) - “The Beatles are the greatest band in the world and John Lennon’s songs and their approach to changing pop music from sugar to very, very deep messages from ‘Revolution’ to what John Lennon was doing towards the end of The Beatles. And to achieve what they achieved in literally six years. They didn’t even hit 10 years. They were very impactful and for me, [this was their pinnacle] without question.”
After retiring from years of teaching at an elementary school and at the college level, Phyllis Goodfriend found a new life. She found photography. And she never looked back. Or stopped learning.
“I realized that photography was teaching me to see and that there was no limit to how much I could learn and develop as a photographer,” said Ms. Goodfriend, who along with her husband, Herbert, has lived in Great Neck for more than 43 years and raised their two sons in the community.
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