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The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood

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Page 22 Thursday, January 6, 2000 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION


Pen and Ink


Cheri Rogosky for The Westfield Leader and The Times GeorgesPierre Seurat



“Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte” by Georges


Arts & Entertainment State of the Art


The Westfield Art Association

will welcome Acrylic NeoExpressionist Josephine Barreiro on Sunday, January 16, from 2 to 4 p. m. at the Westfield Community Room, 425 East Broad Street, Westfield. For more information, please call (908) 2327058 or (908) 2323381.

Mixed Bag

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center will host a Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration to mark the legacy of the leader on Wednesday, January 12, at 7 p. m. in Prudential Hall. For more information, please call 1888GONJPAC

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City will feature its 18th century creche and spruce Christmas tree display through Monday, January 10. For more information, please call (212) 5357710.


The Town Book Store in Westfield will host a book discussion group meeting for “The Last Place on Earth” by Roland Huntford on Tuesday, January 11, at 8 p. m. For more information, please call (908) 2333535.


The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark will host the Stuttgart Ballet on Saturday, January 8, at 8 p. m. and Sunday, January 9, at 3 p. m. at Prudential Hall. For more information, please call 1888GONJPAC.


The Union County Arts Center will present a viewing of Driving Miss Daisy as part of the 19992000 Classic Film Series on Wednesday, January 12, at 1 and 8 p. m. For more information, please call (732) 4998226 or contact www. ucac. org.

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark will welcome the Hudson Vagabond Puppets in “Los Tres Reyes: The Three Kings” on Saturday, January 8, at 2 p. m. and Sunday, January 9, at 2 p. m. in the Victoria Theater. The program is for children ages 8 and up. For more information, please call 1888GONJPAC.

Classical Corner

A Review of Local Concerts

David Palladino’s

Robert Downey, Jr. Puff Daddy

Scott Weiland Where Have All the Role Models Gone?

Stars Don’t Shine After Arrests and Bail Trip to Broadway’s Aida

Scheduled by Commission


MARTHA STEWART IN THE MAKING... Dara Silverman of Westfield celebrated her ninth birthday by offering a culinary party at Classic Thyme in Westfield. Dara approached Classic Thyme about presenting culinary parties and has been spearheading the events for five years. She has instructed partygoers on how to make their own pizzas, how to give an afternoon party and make hot dog wraps. Pictured, left to right, are: Instructor at Classic Thyme Eileen Rooney, Dara and CoOwner of Classic Thyme David Martone.

In my senior year at Moravian College, my drawing class shared a studio with a group of painting students. I became instantly marveled by one canvas in particular, leaning lazily against the wall, speckled with dots and imitating “Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat – the father of pointillism.

The student began the painting and it seemed to remain halfcompleted each time my class convened. I wondered why the artist was laboring over the piece, which seemed so indescribably beautiful to me.

It was never completed. Deemed a complete artist by the age of 25 when he painted “Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte,” French native Seurat innovated the technique of building up dots of varying color and size to create images in refined detail.

Renoir once said that he could never imagine a Seurat masterpiece painted in “broad or blended tones.” He also cited Seurat’s style as being “intensely personal” and almost scientific in nature.

The parent of neoimpressionism, Seurat was continuously searching for different colors and effects that would cause a special texture of a piece. He produced over 500 paintings and drawings.

Parisianborn, Seurat studied at the Ecole des BeauxArts in 1878 and 1879 where he was strongly inspired by Rembrandt and Francisco de Goya.

Let’s make one thing crystal clear: celebrities are only human. Though we hold them up to the limelight and examine each star like a specimen under a microscope, they are fraught with flaws just like everybody else. However, it is only natural that we look to celebrities as golden icons, and when we realize that these paradigms can crumble, we find ourselves scrambling for role models. A bit of advice: don’t look to the stars.

No one could portray a doomed drugaddict with better realism and finesse than Robert Downey, Jr. Just look at his role in Less Than Zero. Could anything be more of a mirror? Try as he might, Downey has been unable to beat the drug bug since the age of 8 and he continues to dig himself a deeper hole by breaking his parole on drug charges. The judge who had sentenced Downey to three years, feared that we would next read about the actor’s struggles in his obituary. Let’s hope not.

Rapping onto other celebrities who have fallen short of our ideals, we look to Bobby Brown who was arrested on sexual battery; Scott Weiland who was slapped with a felony warrant for heroin possession; George Michael who has been charged with “lewd behavior,” Ol’ Dirty Bastard who has been met with slaps on the wrist for crack possession and last but not least Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and his 100 percent denial of gun possession. Sure, we would like to believe their innocence.

We must toss out our microscopes and rosecolored glasses and force ourselves to look at these celebrities without unrealistic and inhuman expectations. Unfortunately, children may continue to look up to these celebrities for inspiration, moral example, and (eek..!) some of their selfworth.

This mode of thinking is just as dangerous as the drug addiction, narcotic possession, firearms, or sexual Sodom and Gomorrah. Celebrities are simply human beings with special skills who have “made it big,” not gods and goddesses. Let’s get real.

Cheri Rogosky for The Westfield Leader and The Times


Crescent Concerts will present Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 on Saturday, January 15, at 8 p. m. at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church in Plainfield. For more information, please call (908) 7562468.

Westfield Symphony Delivers Timely Concert at First Night

Continued on Page 21

WESTFIELD – The Westfield Recreation Commission will sponsor a trip to experience the new Broadway play, Aida,

written by Elton John and Tim Rice, on Friday, March 10.

The cost of the show ticket and transportation is $95 per person.

The bus will depart from the Westfield Municipal Building at 6 p. m. for the 8 p. m. performance. The bus will return at approximately 11 p. m.

For further information, please call (908) 7894085.


Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

WESTFIELD – While all corners of the world kept their wide eyes prepped for the emergence of the 21st century this New Year’s Eve, the pews of The Presbyterian Church in Westfield were

packed with First Night 2000 attendees, bracing themselves for the baton of Westfield Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Maestro David Wroe.

Maestro Wroe took the orchestra through the wellknown masterpieces

Appalachian Spring by Brooklynborn Aaron Copland and the Carnival of the Animals

by French pianist Camille Saint Saens.

The works of two local artists were also highlighted; The Little Village by Carlos Franzetti and the Dance of the Millennial But terflies by Genevieve Manion.

Maestro Wroe chose to highlight the intimate, light version of Copland’s masterful Appalachian Spring. The small, but wellbalanced ensemble of nine strings, flute, clarinet, bassoon and piano particularly highlighted the choice writing of this

unabashed American folk piece. All musicians and music lovers know that less is definitely more with Copland. The Maestro’s tempos, as usual, were perfect. Because of the increased demand for accuracy in a smaller ensemble, intonation is even more of an issue than it is normally.

During a previous interview,

Appalachian Spring was described by Maestro Wroe to The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood as an arduous piece to accompany.

While the sound did improve by the end of the concert, there were some intonation problems in the upper strings during the first piece. Furthermore, the ensemble was at times, not necessarily in noteagreement with the Steinway piano.

Possibly in turn, the pianist was not reciprocating the exciting aggressiveness of the orchestra, nor of their interpretation and accuracy. Overall, though, a job very well done. The Shaker theme, especially the phrasing, was most noteworthy.

Next came the local talent. After a brief introduction by Maestro Wroe about the art of Spanish dance preceding the tango and the firey WSO concert this summer, “Tango in the Park,” Franzetti’s selfcontained 4/ 4 party tango called Little Village

followed. The charming little tango was just that, a charming little tango.

Generous funding by The Westfield Foundation and PNC Bank enabled the WSO to commission

Dance of the Millennial Butterflies from Ms. Manion specifically for this year’s First Night performance.

Ms. Manion, a Westfield High School graduate and student at Montclair University, offered the audience a small synopsis of how she composed Butterflies and the mood she was aiming to convey during its conception. With a plethora of plucks and the sense of 2,000 swarming butterflies delicately sprinkling the captive audience, Maestro Wroe successfully breathed life into the piece, which highlights the flight and moods of butterflies of all types.

Perhaps equal to the Copland in stature, the Carnival of the Animals by the master Saint Saens was certainly less serious in nature, but by far the best performed piece of the evening.

The master orchestrator Saint Saens created an exciting, fun parody of French political life and international attitudes by illustrating countries and perhaps even individuals in musical fashion — Swiss accuracy and dignity were poked fun at as well as French

“They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me

that in those who make jokes in life, the seeds are covered with better soil and

with a higher grade of manure.” -Ernest Hemingway, author

PARTNERS IN MELODY... Maestro David Wroe, Music Conductor and Director of the Westfield Symphony Orchestra, poses proudly after a special First Night Westfield 2000 concert with Westfield resident and Montclair University student, Genevieve Manion. Ms. Manion was approached by Maestro Wroe to pen a speciallycommissioned piece for the event. The melodic result was Dance of the Millennial Butterflies.

On The Beat

‘Brighter Path’ by Maria Woodford


Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

WESTFIELD – I recently had an opportunity to listen to local talent Maria Woodford’s latest offering,

“Brighter Path.” This singersongwriter is off to an impressive start with this enjoyable bunch of original compositions. Woodford combines the lyrical strength of Lucinda Williams with the emotional singing of Joan Osbourne.

The album kicks off with the uplifting, “2: 00 AM.” There is a rhythmic pace to this tune that fans of Alternative Country (read the Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, Wilco et al) would eat up. This is an extremely mature piece of writing from such a young songwriter. I’ll gladly put this song up against any current “country” artist today (i. e. Garth Brooks or Chris Gaines or whatever name he is going by these days!) These lyrics speak from the heart.

The plaintive “December” follows and gives off a southerntinged soul vibe. I could easily see the Counting Crows covering this tune and doing very well with it. The song has a nice, laidback pace that relaxes the listener.

My favorite track is the third song, “Perfect Stranger,” with its exceptional rhythmic changes and Robert Fripplike (of King Crimson fame, see my last review for the conceptual continuity) guitar work of Scott Hallock.

I believe I would choose this as the first single to distribute to radio programmers. Not only does this song impress throughout, but it also has a very tasteful instrumental ending, which serves as icing on the cake!

The next song, “I’m Slipping” contains excellent piano flourishes as well as smooth overdubbed back ing vocals. However, the piano is too

low in the mix to fully appreciate. I am not sure whether Woodford intended it this way or was just the victim of a mediocre mixing console. Given a bigger recording budget and a better studio, Woodford could easily improve on this gem.

Drummer Joe Devico really shines on the next track, “End.” I would love to hear this tune done in a live setting with a full band. Devico’s use of the hightoms is very clever on this tune.

The album does not rock heartily until the sixth song, “Thunderbird.” Woodford’s band is mighty impressive here as bassist Brian Herkert and guitarist Alex Radus weave intricate lines on this sultry rocker. I hope

Woodford puts some more uptempo rockers like this on her next

album as she and her band are very versatile.

“Tell You Why” is a soft acoustic

piece that never really takes off. It is one of the weaker numbers on the album. The next tune, “Postcards from Prison,” is an interesting, midtempo rocker. The lyrics seem to be taken from the perspective of a woman scorned who is mentally prepared to leave her cheating partner and start over. I am unable to tell whether the prison analogy is real or just imagery to describe the woman’s situation but this is a fascinating song nonetheless with biting, caustic lyrics.

Another relationship song follows. “Tired” is Woodford doing her best Jewel impersonation, while utilizing the seasons as an analogy for the end of a relationship. This is also a slow number which does not seem to ever get going for me.

The pace picks up with “Superstardust,” an excellent uptempo tune with exemplary bass playing from Herkert. Herkert plays some tasty Jaco Pastoriuslike fusion on his bass that at times during the number is both discreet and overt.

Whilst containing the best overall arrangement of any song on the album, “Superstardust” has some dark lyrical imagery floating beneath the melody. See if you can spot it!

“Here I Am” follows up “Superstardust” as a midtempo rocker but it fails to impress. A noneventful tune, but any song would be when paired next to the terrific, “Superstardust.”

Woodford really impresses as an

Continued on Page 21
Copyright 1999 - The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)