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High Energy Salutes

Originally Posted: November 14, 2007

Nicole B. Brewer

The Southampton Cultural Center was the setting for a lively kickoff reception for the 2nd Annual East End Black Film Festival. Organizers Brenda Simmons, Bonnie Cannon, and Cheryl Buck put together a cool laid back evening of music and spoken word.

Audrey Gaul with John and Marcia White at Black Film Fest Reception. Photo by
John Wegorzewski

When we arrived an improvisational Jazz and R&B troupe were revving things up with some soulful sounds that had everyone swaying in their seats. Led by vocalist Terry Singleterry, the group came together from all over the Island and as far as Philadelphia for this special performance. Featured were Abdul Zuri on lead guitar, Randy Loving on drums, Sir Charles on sax, and Patrick Johnson on bass guitar. Singleterry, an accomplished singer, covered the gamut from 1950s doo-wop to tear-up-the-stage rock.

Channeling everyone from Sam Cooke to Wilson Pickett to Ben E. King, Terry and his pick-up band were a cool tonic for a Friday night gathering. The band wowed on Gnarls Barkley's "You Make Me Crazy" and brought down the house with a rendition of Prince's "Purple Rain" that had Singleterry writhing on the floor like His Purpleness.

A reminder of the problems blacks in America still face came in the form of a powerful reading by noted poet Jim Banks whose words resonated with the racially mixed gathering equally. There were several other poets reading that night but a standout was Henry Bradley IV.

Following the readings, Singleterry and his fellow musicians set out to rock the house and did, and then smoothly turned over the stage to a group of local teens featuring the Sheppard Brothers and Ryan McCloskey for a closing set of driving rock worthy of the best concert stage anywhere. Get these boys a record deal!

On Saturday, the festival launched at The Parrish Art Museum with a diverse program of films with something for everyone from children's programming to classics such as "Cabin in the Sky", a milestone in its use of a totally black cast that featured the preeminent actors of the era to the powerful "Tsotsi". A $5 pass enabled you to see several films in the course of the day and the festival organizers made sure there was plenty of soul satisfying food on hand for devoted filmgoers. An unheard of bargain on the East End, which hopefully more will try at future festivals. Congratulations to the whole team who helped shine some light on our community.

Consul General Krzysztof W. Kasprzyk, Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, Rabbi Meir Lau, and
former Mayor Ed Koch at the celebration to honor WW II hero Jan Karski. Photo by
John Wegorzewski

On this Veteran's Day, while hundreds of thousands marched across the country in recognition of our country's valiant men and women who served in the Armed Forces, a very special celebration was taking place to honor WW II hero, Jan Karski. He was the first person to tell the Allies about the atrocities of the Holocaust which he had witnessed first hand.

In honor of Poland's Independence Day and Veterans Day, Krzysztof W. Kasprzyk, the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in New York, presided over a special ceremony remembering the legendary Polish Underground courier. Karski brought the news of the Holocaust directly to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and English Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1942-43. Unfortunately, his words fell on deaf ears.

In recognition of Karski's wartime courage and lifelong commitment to the memory and history of Polish Jews, Poland memorialized Karski with the unveiling of a monument in front of the De Lamar Mansion, the Consulate's residence on Madison Avenue at 37th Street, which was officially designated Jan Karski Corner during the ceremony.

Polish, New York, Jewish-American, and international dignitaries attended the unveiling, including Ambassador Maciej Kozlowski of The Republic of Poland, The Honorable Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka the Undersecretary of State of The Republic of Poland, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski the Former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Poland, Former New York Mayor Edward I. Koch, and special guest speaker Former Chief Rabbi of Israel and currently Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Meir Lau.

After World War II, Karski studied at Georgetown University and became a professor of European Studies there. One of his favorite students, former President Bill Clinton, wrote a letter about the professor, which was read at the ceremony.

In a fitting tribute, Karski's life-size statute depicts him sitting at a bench playing chess. Karski, an accomplished chess player, died in 2000 at the age of 86 while playing a match against a young Polish diplomat.

Cantor Joseph Malovany and The Academic Choir of Poznan University, Poland performed stunning musical selections on the sidewalk and from the balcony overlooking the crowd of over 300 who assembled on 37th Street for the dedication.

Harry Slatkin, Anouschka and John Demsey, and Laura Slatkin at the celebration for
the Demsey's. Photo by PatrickMcMullan.com

A reception and exhibition of memorabilia of Karski's life followed in the beautiful Beaux Arts De Lamar Mansion home to the Polish Consulate. Dining on the sumptuous spread of Polish delicacies were noted Theologian Father George Rutler, Malina Nealis, Richard Laskowski and Angela Infante, Kasia and Chris Waleczak, Anare Grun, Natalia Kadlikowska, George Rutler, Masha Leon, Witold Wegorzewski and Elsa Vanach, Teresa and Witold Sulimerski, Stas Kmiec, Beatrice Malovany, Charles Chotkowski, Monika Fabijanska, Paul Glasser, Joseph and Eugenia Gore, Michael and Rebecca Kaufman and philanthropist Sigmund Rolat.

Changing gears, candle king Harry Slatkin, alongside his wife Laura, hosted a private cocktail party at their Upper East Side townhouse to celebrate the wedding of Anouschka and John Demsey recently.

The decadent celebration, lit with the aromatic candles of Slatkin & Co. and paired with champagne and delicious hors d'oeuvres, set the evening's elegant mood. Among those offering their congratulations to the happy couple were designers Zac Posen, Maggie Norris, and Thom Brown, Estée Lauder's Leonard, Aerin, and William Lauder, Lisa Airan, Helen Shifter, Blaine Trump, interior designer Alex Papachristidis, Scott Nelson, Linda Jeff Pheifle, and Adam Mahr.

A late arriving Iman came midway through Slatkin's toast to the happy couple, who unbeknownst to the pair had individually befriended both of the hosts prior to their relationship. Also raising their glasses to the newlyweds were Allure's Linda Wells, House & Garden's Dominique Browning, Cynthia and Amanda Frank, Glamour's Cindi Leive, Interview's Ingrid Sischy, Sandy Brandt, Atoosa Rubenstein, Bonnie Fuller, R. Couri Hay, Paul Wilmot, Sarah Brown, Ali Slatkin, and the groom's mother, Renee.

Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com HamptonsOnline NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer

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