What a seamless enterprise and an engaging night. The Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Chicago’s only Equity theatre dedicated to producing new works with women at the core, and Chicago Fringe Festival and NYC Strawberry Theatre Festival Award-winner, powerhouse Danielle Pinnock and her triumphant, world premiere, one women show, Body/Courage. Partnered with Waltzing Mechanics, this production shared Pinnock’s unique perspective on what it means to be truly beautiful. Body/Courage is a culmination of over 5 year of writing, mixed with over 300, one on one, interviews, is the very heart of this program, which felt like a work in progress, but in the best sense of that expression. Organic in structure, Rivendell has found the perfect piece to launch their new 2016 season. Directed by RTE member Megan Carney, this 90 minute witty, humorous and poignant journey chronicled one woman’s transformative journey to self acceptance through understanding the unique voices of others. A relevant lesson that rang true within many an audience member, judging from their reactions of uproarious laughter to shedding a few well earned tears.
Crafted from over 300 interviews conducted worldwide, Pinnock established herself as the new go-to character actress in the Windy City. Finding truth in her performances from young girl to Jamaican grandmother with equal aplomb and authority. The show bookends with her own personal stories, from childhood to present day. As a girl, Pinnock spent time split between two diametrically opposed grandmothers. One who purposely purchased school uniforms a size to small, “I was dressed for school like a black child Republican” Pinnock surrendered. The second, Grandma Una, shared a love of candy and feeding feelings to find self worth. “Fat was healthy in Jamaica” she shared. Then suddenly, “America sneezed and Jamaica caught the cold” as the quest to get Hollywood skinny invaded the popular culture there as well. This began a lifetime excursion of binge diets and being encourage and equally discouraged by the reflection in her own mirror. Tired of being obese and exhausted at the unrelenting hamster wheel of unsuccessful fad diets including the South Beach, LA Diet and the “pray the hunger away,” yes that is a real diet, you pray until you are no longer hungry, Pinnock discovered her trek was not a solo journey. This started her vanity project, chronicling interviews with hundreds of people about their relationship with food and their bodies. Touching on everything from skin color, body sizes and shape, illness and disability, ageing, and finally the newsworthy gender transition.
Body/Courage morphs from character to character at a split second pacing. This powerful and often funny contemplative journey introduces us to a young girl who shared “4th grade is when I became enemies with my body,” a professional escort who learned “big wallets lead to big egos” and a Trans character who felt trapped by her “sensual kindness” from “gender fluidity.” We even have a celebrity cameo, the “Tan Mom” also played by Pinnock in a long blonde wig, who manically paced the stage while sharing her parental tips which no one should follow. I found the more poignant moments of the piece were sampled from Pinnock’s own life story. She jokingly reflected upon her “Elaine Stritch phase” when she mixed rigorous amounts of alcohol consumption with casual sex. “My freshman 15 was more like freshman 60” she chronicled while double fisting bottles of Patron. Not surprisingly, the most significant pathos came from her dealings with her mother, who had a stroke the day before Pinnock’s wedding. “That heifer is not about to steal my day!” she snapped in a moment that brought the audience to hysterics. Finally, on Thanksgiving day, the final chapter in this interview series began as our heroine asked her mother, point blank, “do you hate my body.” A lifetime of insecurity laid forth in that moment. “You are wonderfully made sweetie” she replied, as both women were reduced to joyful and cathartic tears. Body/Courage eclectic design team included Diane Fairchild’s lighting, Regina Garcia’s set design, costumes by Janice Pytel and Robert Hornbostel on sound, with Danielle commanding center stage.
Voluptuous, full-sized, and embracing her full womanhood, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble presents Body/Courage is the perfect girlfriend’s night out. As Pinnock conveys her story, her own voice emerges within the stories of others. Is anyone at peace in their own skin? “Beauty is something you define within yourself” she concludes. While she may have asked “where is the plus sized Juliet?” mid-show, this princess rides to her own rescue, and has written a piece both promising and passionate. “I make my own mold and I make my own brand.” Smart girl! Finding and defining yourself from what you have been taught and what you have been told is only part of the story. You have to define yourself for yourself. Beauty is a piece of mind and as Pinnock derided, “Now, in this moment, I feel beautiful.” You will too.
Body/Courage is now playing through February 27, 2016 at the Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
Eli Marcus Brings His Networking Event to Fushimi Times Square
Eli Marcus, Chief Marketing Officer of NYC’s largest circulation Visitor Magazine, City Guide, has done it again. On February 28th he organized a wonderful networking event for those in the hospitality and theater communities. And true to form he did so in a beautiful new restaurant on 43rd Street off 8th Avenue – in the heart of Times Square. Fushimi Times Square is the latest outlet for the Japanese group who has had success in Staten Island, Bay Ridge and Williamsburg. Their restaurant at 311 W43rd Street is a welcome entry to the area and now that the scaffolding is gone from that block it is a pleasant walk to the welcoming door of this beautiful space.
The decor has a beautiful sculpture of a fish hanging from the ceiling which depicts the delicious selections of sushi and sashimi prepared by the talented chefs.
Guests at the evenings event were served appetizers of amazing tuna tartare and a variety of warm dishes of dumplings, and eggrolls – pork, shrimp and vegetarian.
Barry Huang, manager of Fushimi Times Square is a silhouette in the long entry way to this beautifully designed restaurant.
Eli invited some interesting people to the event. Publicist to megastars, Ramon Henry II, has an interesting podcast and is the author of The Fame Game.
Hugh Hysell is a major force in the New York social circles and it was great to see him at the event.
Errol Rappaport, promoter, and singer, actress, Quinn Lemley, who just returned from London where she performed her one woman show about Rita Hayworth joined Eli at the event.
Rocksax, purveyor of officially licensed music merchandise was in attendance and gave out some of their product to some lucky attendees.
In addition to the wonderful food, Fushimi’s beautiful bar is a welcome spot to relax.
As usual the attendees had an excellent time meeting, chatting and enjoying the food
Eli looks on as the Fushimi manager, Barry Huang thanks the guests for coming
Barry and the DJ kept the food, drinks and music going through the event
I look forward to returning to Fushimi at 311 west 43rd Street for a full dinner of their excellent visionary Japanese-fusion dishes.
Adrienne Warren To Perform At DIFFA’s 40th Anniversary Gala
DIFFA is excited to announce its highly anticipated 40th Anniversary Gala on Thursday, March 28, 2024 at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in NYC. It will feature a star-studded lineup of entertainment including Tony Award-winner Adrienne Warren (Tina –The Tina Turner Musical), vocalist and trumpeter Brian Newman and celebrity DJ Michaelangelo L’Acqua. The Gala will commemorate a remarkable legacy—forty years of impactful DIFFA initiatives — and raise critical funds to further support vital causes. Tickets and more details are available here.
The announcement comes on the heels of an incredibly successful Après Ski event held earlier this month, which raised over $100,000 for DIFFA grantees. Established in 1984 in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, DIFFA has since expanded its mission to encompass broader community challenges such as homelessness and mental wellness.
“What started as a group of designers and manufacturer’s gathering in an NYC basement to raise money to help support their ailing friends and co-workers’ doctor’s visits and living expenses, has grown into a catalyst for change. Since our founding, we’ve granted more than $55 million to organizations which provide direct care to those most in need of assistance,” remarks Dawn Roberson, Executive Director of DIFFA.
“DIFFA has been a cause very close to my heart for more than 30 years. I’ve seen first-hand how the organization has galvanized the design community to rally our talents, resources, and creativity in the face of some of the most intractable social and healthcare challenges of our era. I’m so proud to celebrate 40 years of giving back and am excited about DIFFA’s next chapter,” said David Rockwell, who currently serves as Chair Emeritus of DIFFA.
“Serving as a rallying point for the design community, the Gala event will allow us to continue DIFFA’s legacy of giving. An opportunity for brands and individuals to demonstrate their solidarity, it will also pay tribute to those pioneering individuals who were champions of the cause and instrumental in making a DIFFA-rence—from the 1980s when AIDS was a mysterious illness with little hope for a cure, to DIFFA’s work today in line with its expanded mission,” adds current Board Chair Thomas Polucci.
The gala will feature an award ceremony and special video segment highlighting an honoree from each decade of DIFFA’s history. Fern Mallis and Steven Cole of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) are among those offering video tributes to former DIFFA chairs Cindy Allen, David Rockwell, and George Slowik, and former executive director David Sheppard. The event will also recognize the incredible work of DIFFA’s grantees, including organizations such as Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Housing Works, God’s Love We Deliver, Bailey House, SAGE, Health, Hetrick-Martin Institute, and Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. These grantees provide direct care through several different initiatives—from funding pantry bag meals to supporting outreach programs for underserved and disenfranchised LGBTQ homeless and street-involved youth.
Thoughtfully designed installations by students at FIT, SVA, Pratt, and NYSID will provide an inspiring backdrop to the evening’s festivities. Each imaginative vignette will illustrate a different decade in DIFFA’s rich history. Guests will be treated to performances by Tony-award-winning actress Adrienne Warren, who recently played Tina Turner in TINA – The Tina Turner Musical on Broadway, as well as the dynamic sounds of DJ Michaelangelo L’Acqua.
DIFFA is deeply grateful to Benjamin Moore, presenting sponsor of the 40th Anniversary Gala, as well as gold sponsors Empire Office with Steelcase, EvensonBest, HOK, MillerKnoll, Rockwell Group, and Shaw Contract.
The DIFFA gala is just one in several 40th anniversary fundraising events. Lip Sync for Life—a drag event originally founded by DIFFA Chicago—is scheduled for the last week of June in conjunction with PRIDE festivities.
For more information on DIFFA and the full list of grantees, visit diffa.org.
DIFFA: grants funds to organizations providing treatment, assistance, and access to healthcare for a diverse group of people affected by HIV/AIDS, food & housing insecurities, and mental health issues. For four decades, DIFFA has created legendary programs and events that highlight a cause that has impacted the industry. As times change and we face a new set of challenges, DIFFA answers the community’s needs by expanding our mission to include funding for those with food and housing insecurities and to support mental wellbeing.
Harnessing the design industry’s resources and creativity to respond to critical health issues and build a healthier, robust, and inclusive community. Making a DIFFA-rence!
DIFFA is one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the United States. Mobilizing the immense resources and creativity of the design community, DIFFA has granted more than $55 million to hundreds of HIV/AIDS organizations nationwide. Including Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Housing Works, God’s Love We Deliver, Bailey House, SAGE, Health, Hetrick-Martin Institute, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, among many others. www.diffa.org.
Iconic New York City Restaurant Serendipity3 Celebrates The City and “The Notebook”on Broadway, Opening in March
Though I’ve lived in New York for many years, a stop at Serendipity3, the decades-old restaurant on East 60th Street, eluded me. Until now. Thanks to a recent connection with the romantic musical The Notebook — in previews on Broadway — a new dessert specially designed to celebrate Valentine’s Day and the show was unveiled. And I got to sample it in all its super sweet glory.
The Notebook Hot Chocolate Affogato Sundae features a marshmallow rimmed Serendipity goblet filled with two towering scoops of vanilla ice cream, a giant pillow of creamy whipped cream, romantic Valentine’s sprinkles. Once the server pours a carafe of super-rich and thick hot chocolate (made with semisweet and bitter-sweet chocolates, rich cocoas, heavy cream, Maldon sea salt and Madagascar vanilla paste) over the ice cream, it’s ready for consumption. The dessert is also topped off with a dusting of iridescent edible glitter, an edible frosting-sheet with The Notebook logo, as well as a field of edible butterflies and flowers. Available at the restaurant for $24.95, it became my introduction to this glittery and iridescent palace of pop culture.
Like The Notebook — first experienced as Nicholas Sparks debut novel and then as feature film starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams — Serendipity3 is a quintessential piece of 21st century pop culture. Not only does it offer classic restaurant fare such as sumptuous hamburgers and salads but many, many desserts especially sundaes.
When Serendipity3 added The Notebook to their list of Broadway collaborations, it was hardly the first. The restaurant is known for bringing extravagant desserts and world-record-breaking menu items to the table. These menu items have captivated a worldwide audience and a celebrity following for decades.
Founded in 1954, it is one of the city’s unique dining experiences. The home of decadent desserts such as the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, Serendipity has been captivating millions of patrons since its inception. It’s a quirky place where artists got their inspiration and actors fulfilled their cravings. Beginning with Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in the ‘50s, continuing with a celebrity following that includes Cher, Candice Bergen, Melanie Griffith and Ron Howard, the restaurant continues to attract celebrities such as Beyoncé, Ryan Reynolds, Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian. In addition, the restaurant has been the setting of three major Hollywood productions, “One Fine Day” (1996) with George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer, Serendipity (2001) with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, and Trust The Man (2005) with Julianne Moore and David Duchovny.
Produced by Kevin McCollum and Kurt Deutsch, “The Notebook” features music and lyrics by multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson and a book by playwright Bekah Brunstetter (writer and producer on NBC’s “This Is Us,” The Cake). The production is directed by Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen, Next to Normal) and Schele Williams (Aida, The Wiz), with choreography by Katie Spelman (Associate Choreographer on Moulin Rouge! The Musical).
The show tells of Allie and Noah, both from different worlds, sharing a lifetime of love despite the forces that threaten to pull them apart, in a deeply moving portrait of love’s enduring power. The cast features Tony Award®-winner Maryann Plunkett as Older Allie, Dorian Harewood as Older Noah, Joy Woods as Middle Allie, Ryan Vasquez as Middle Noah, Jordan Tyson as Younger Allie, John Cardoza as Younger Noah, Andréa Burns as Mother/Nurse Lori. Playing various roles are Yassmin Alers, Alex Benoit, Chase Del Rey, Hillary Fisher, Jerome Harmann-Hardeman, Dorcas Leung, Happy McPartlin, Juliette Ojeda, Kim Onah, Carson Stewart, Charles E. Wallace and Charlie Webb.
With a book that has sold millions of copies worldwide and a film that’s one of the highest-grossing romantic dramas of all-time, the musical adaptation of The Notebook comes to Broadway following a critically acclaimed world premiere engagement at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in the fall of 2022.
As for Broadway’s The Notebook, it’s now in previews at the Schoenfeld Theatre (236 W. 45th Street, NYC) and opens Thursday, March 14th.
For tickets and more info, visit www.NotebookMusical.com.
225 E 60th Street
Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. EST
For more information or to book a reservation, visit www.serendipity3.com
Jose Verdugo: Guardianship/ Conservatorship and What You Need To Know Part 3
Sabrina E. Morrissey, Credit: Facebook
Just released, Wendy Williams’ guardian has been accused of a scheme to rob her client in a $30 million lawsuit while controlling Wendy Williams’ finances and countless others. The U.S. Sun exclusively revealed that Wendy’s guardian, Sabrina Morrissey, her firm Morrissey & Morrissey LLP, and about 10 other attorneys have been named as defendants in another lawsuit.
If you remember from yesterday’s story these are the same individuals that were and are involved in Errol Rapports mother’s case and Libra Max with her father the artist Peter Max.
The case Morrissey and the attorneys are accused in, is for Jose Verdugo, who had won $5.5 million in a personal injury claim. For more than a decade, the defendants imprisoned Verdugo in a humiliating and oppressive guardianship by manipulating and serially deceiving him, as well as New York Supreme Court and the Appellate Division. The fraudulently-based attorney and guardian fees, plundered Verdugo’s multi-million dollar personal injury recovery.
Your Inner Dialogue: Positive Affirmations for Addiction Recovery
Positive affirmations are of help to many people working to recover from an addiction. The uplifting messages, when repeated regularly, train the brain to think positively. They focus on the present and future, providing motivation and inspiration to continue on the road to recovery.
How Affirmations Work
The brain is a malleable organ. Affirmations help take advantage of the brain’s neuroplasticity by repeating positive messages about ourselves or our goals. Each time we verbalise the affirmation, that statement fires along certain neural pathways in support of the affirmed idea or belief. Repeated over and over, affirmations strengthen those supportive pathways until, with enough repetition, the affirmation becomes the default outlook programmed into our brains. As a result, drug rehab programs in texas often make affirmations a priority.
Creating Effective Affirmations
Telling yourself “I no longer crave drugs” likely rings hollow in early recovery. More realistic affirmations like “If a craving comes, I can get through it” set reasonable expectations. Over time, as these affirmations prove true, they can lay the groundwork for more ambitious statements. By starting small with positive, solution-focused affirmations, we can start retraining our brains with helpful messaging. Repeated regularly, effective affirmations help cement the attitudes and behaviours that allow people in recovery to cope with challenges and continue healing.
Integrating Affirmations into Daily Life
To fully benefit from affirmations, they must be put into consistent practice. Simply thinking about them from time to time is not enough for real change. Affirmations should become ingrained into one’s daily routine.
Ways to effectively integrate affirmations include:
Writing Them Down
Writing affirmations by hand helps imprint them into the mind. Keep a running list of affirmations to review regularly. Also, keep individual affirmations in multiple places, such as on sticky notes around the home, the car dashboard, and more. These little reminders help facilitate the repetition of positive phrases throughout the day.
Reciting Them Out Loud
Vocalising the affirmations is powerful too, engaging more of the brain through auditory pathways. Set reminders to repeat affirmations out loud at certain times, such as morning and evening. Doing them in front of a mirror can also help increase effectiveness. Making Them Digital
Digital applications provide another way to practise daily affirmations. Apps will send daily reminders to view inspiring quotes and phrases. Some affirmation apps allow users to select or create their affirmations as well. Viewing these positive messages right on a frequently-checked device helps reinforce them.
Affirmations Take Practice
Keep in mind that integrating affirmations into one’s mindset requires consistency and practice. At first, the concepts expressed may feel silly or untrue. However, with routine use, their effects become cumulatively powerful in supporting continued recovery. Affirmations lay the groundwork for emotional and spiritual growth that sustains people through challenges on their journey.
Affirmations are a simple yet powerful technique that can lead to profound changes for those in addiction recovery. By overriding negative thought patterns and activating motivation centres of the brain, affirmations promote personal growth and healthy decision-making. When consistently integrated into one’s daily routine through written, vocal, and digital practice, affirmations retrain the mind to be more supportive of recovery goals. Maintaining focus each day on positive visions of self-worth, forgiveness, strength, and hope builds the emotional resilience needed for the lifelong journey of recovery. Though challenging at first, committing to regular affirmations lays the groundwork for lasting transformation one phrase at a time.
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