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‘Arts Alive LI’ Fostering Arts, Creativity All October

Island-wide, multi-venue festival showcasing finest in culture, artistry

For the month of October, Long Islanders won’t have to travel into Manhattan to get an art and culture fix.

On Sept. 27, the Cradle of Aviation Museum, located at 1 Davis Ave. in Garden City, hosted representatives from the Long Island Arts Alliance (LIAA), Bethpage Federal Credit Union, the Long Island Community Foundation and local elected officials as they announced the month-long festivities promoting Long Island’s finest artists and their works.

“Arts Alive LI has something for everyone,” said Theresa Statz-Smith, executive director, Long Island Arts Alliance. “I truly believe that thousands will discover, as they journey to exhibition spaces, museums, theaters, historic venues, festivals and other gathering places why Long Island is one of the strongest cultural destinations in the country.”

Living in the shadow of New York City isn’t an easy task for local artists, but the likes of Patti LuPone, Jane Monheit, Jackson Pollock, the Emerson String Quartet and Blue Öyster Cult have provided Long Island with an artistic identity all its own.

“Bridging all of the Arts on Long Island over the course of a month is another great way to showcase Long Island as a wonderful place to live, work and play,” said Kirk Kordeleski, president and CEO at Bethpage Federal Credit Union. “Many Long Islander’s venture to New York City for cultural events and don’t realize there are many great venues right here that are family friendly and affordable, which is why we are proud to present Arts Alive LI.”

Kicking off the month-long celebration was Jerome Bell, an American Idol contestant. The Texas native belted out a tremendous rendition of the national anthem for those in attendance at the Cradle of Aviation, including Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

“This is a great way to bring our residents and those from outside our borders here to experience the great talent and culture that we have here. In Nassau County we are trying to build on what we have here in the arts,” said Mangano, noting that the county is home to two privately owned studios and nine sound stages for television and film production.

“Although we are neighbors to New York City, which is a mecca for the arts, here in Nassau County we really are proud of all that we have to offer. It’s Arts Alive Long Island that will certainly make the world know that this is a center of culture and arts and that we’re committed to keeping that tradition alive and growing,” Mangano added.

The Long Island Association distributed a report at the press conference, which explained the benefits that local arts organizations have on the Nassau and Suffolk economies. The report cited how from 2001 to 2008, employment in the arts increased by 50 percent and payrolls doubled during that time, while total payrolls generated on Long Island increased by only 22 percent. The report also revealed that employees of arts organizations tend to live locally and spend locally as well.

“The arts industry in many ways has the opportunity to lead the way as we go into this new economy as we build jobs and we grow. This whole event is about collaboration between arts organizations to show not only the greatness of the talent but give us the opportunity to grow, be successful and grow business. We think Long Island is at a tipping point and that arts can lead the way to some success,” said Kordeleski.

Upcoming events include performances from Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin on Oct. 13 at the Tilles Center, Jane Monheit on Oct. 14 at the Usdan Center, the Emerson String Quartet on Oct. 17 at Stony Brook’s Staller Center and Blue Öyster Cult on Oct. 27 at Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington.

For more information or to sponsor Arts Alive LI, please email artfestli2012 @gmail.com. To view the full calendar of events visit www.artsaliveli.org.

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com