A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Empire State Pride Agenda‘s “Hampton’s Tea Dance” in Bridgehampton, New York. Having never been out to any of The Hamptons, I was thrilled to find out that I would be in East Hampton for the duration of my stay.
I gladly boarded my train at Penn Station and found myself in East Hampton a couple of hours later. Though I’ve been in (and out of) New York for the past four years, I must be honest- I’ve never carried much interest in visiting The Hamptons. This was primarily to a misinformed idea that it was boring.
Well, I must say that I was terribly misinformed and now whole-heartedly believe that a little piece of heaven exists in the paradise that is Two Mile Hollow Beach. Within a couple hours of sunbathing and taking a swim in the Atlantic Ocean, I slowly began to meet my fellow beach goers who were all amazingly friendly. A while later at Almond Bridgehampton, I found myself in the middle of the friendliest restaurant and bar I have ever experienced.
Within seconds of walking in the door of Almond, I spotted about five people I had met earlier on the beach and was quickly ushered into a seat to join them at the bar. It is safe to say that never in my life have I had so many people come and introduce themselves to me, and yes, I know what you’re thinking “they probably thought you had a trust fund”- I honestly made some great connections that night and just didn’t want the evening to end. Not to mention, one of my beach friends ended up treating me to a delicious meal of a hamburger, ratatouille and sauteed Amagansett greens along with more gin than I usually care to stomach. Between the friendly atmosphere, a celebrity sighting (Nate Berkus was also dining on that particular Friday), and the drunken antics of a Bridgehampton brat named Samantha, I quite honestly had one of the best nights… ever!
The next day went somewhat similar. After a late morning and early afternoon on the beach I managed to see all the same people from my various weekend adventures at the ESPA Hamptons Tea Dance at the Sculpture Fields of Nova’s Ark . The event is held annually to raise money for the Empire State Pride Agenda- New York’s statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy group. The ESPA has worked tirelessly at negotiating New York City’s comprehensive domestic partnership law, passing a statewide hate crimes law, and enacting local non-discrimination laws and policies in Buffalo, Ithaca, Nassau County, and Westchester County. To view their complete mission and public policy agenda, click here. Guests of the event enjoyed dancing to beats spun by DJ Lady Bunny as well as an open bar in a breathtaking surrounding.
The next day, I left East Hampton both sad to leave, yet eager to return in the near future.
A special thank you to R. Chitel and Bob Norell for a fantastic weekend.
It is no secret to my musician friends that I have a special place in my heart for the late soprano, Anna Moffo. Here is a somewhat hidden gem from her Italian variety show “The Anna Moffo Show.” Here she performs with a talented cast, selections from Leonard Bernstein‘s “West Side Story.”
I found this lovely gem on Lexington Avenue in NYC
Last week, I met up with photographer Allison Harrell at the cafe Little Brown on 85th and Madison Avenue in New York City. I’m a fairly recent fan of Miss Harrell’s work, and wanted to learn more about her and her inspiration behind the camera.
Allison seems to have experienced what one might call an artistic awakening during her time as a Pre-Med student in Tennessee; making the kind of swift life-changing decision that eventually landed her in the heart of New York City.
We sat for a while discussing the manic weather pattern of the day when I asked her about her semester abroad in Perugia, Italy. You can always tell the joy someone has taken from an experience when the mere mention sparks a light from within. The self-proclaimed coffee-fiend and cannoli lover quickly divulged one of her favorite memories.
“…it was on an excursion to Venice.” she said smiling. “My friend and I went to this wonderful vintage costume shop where one of the owners invited us to celebrate the Festa del Rendentore on his boat!” Allison informed me that the festival is an annual event held in July to celebrate the end of of the plague of 1576 that claimed the lives of 50,000 Venetians. “We were able to watch the firework display between St. Mark’s Square and Il Rendentore on the water… watching the sun come up on Lido in the morning- that was one of those truly amazing life moments!”
Allison possesses the kind of positive energy that can change the mood of a room instantly. The bright-spirited photographer draws inspiration from life’s surprises, or as she put it- flavors that you wouldn’t have thought to taste on your own. “Some of the best things in life find me!” She exclaimed while taking a sip of her iced-coffee a la Nancy Botwin. “… hopefully its because I’m receptive to them.”
She continued on as we played a game of musical chairs with other Little Brown patrons trying to avoid the rain. “I feel that there’s an incredibly human quality that happens through the camera. A lot of people see the lens as a filter. For me, its more like a bridge.”
Allison also admits to being inspired by art history and favors the Fauvist movement for it’s colorful display of emotion. “I just love this era for art! I feel like every shape and stroke comes from an emotional place. It’s truly for everyone. Regardless of your educational level in art, the emotional quality behind Fauvism is so obvious anyone can be moved it.”
Perhaps it is her daily outlook on life that lends itself to her art. “Every day I wake up and hope to be inspired. That’s my MO! If I’m really lucky, I have the opportunity to influence a brightened, positive perception in the people with whom I work and those who see it.” And this is entirely true, because when we finished, the rain suddenly stopped and I stepped out onto the pavement of a suddenly sunny Madison Avenue.
Visit www.amhphoto.com to view more of Allison’s work.
- Diana Warner New York Anniversary & Mustache Party? (jacoboheme.com)