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Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF) hosted its first-ever Race of Hope Drive-By Lunch in Southampton to thank top donors and kick off the Virtual Race of Hope which will bring together hundreds of runners across the nation this summer to raise mental health awareness.

Traditionally, the Race of Hope takes place in Southampton every summer and has been one of the charity’s signature events since 2015. This year, the Race will go virtual with an online opening ceremony and countdown on August 2, 2020.  

The Drive-By lunch took place on a perfect, sunny day in front of the Southampton Cultural Center on Pond Lane.  HDRF Founder and Chair Audrey Gruss donned a running cap, tee-shirt and face mask in HDRF’s signature sunshine yellow; she waved and thanked guests as they drove by in their cars to receive a delicious picnic lunch to take home. Race of Hope Co-Grand Marshals Jamee Gregory and Arthur Dunnam also joined Gruss to greet guests.

Over 30 top donors attended, lining up by car on Pond Lane, which was decorated with HDRF’s HOPE yellow balloons (recyclable and environmentally friendly). Each guest received a straw basket tied with yellow ribbon and brimming with a lunch of sliced chicken, two side salads, cheese platter, cookies and brownies and fresh cherries and peaches. The baskets were generously provided by Race sponsor Eli Zabar. Other major sponsors are Findlay Galleries and Livingston Builders. 

Martin Gruss led the procession of arriving cars in a bright yellow 1972 vintage Ferrari. Giant “Stand with Me” banners of past HDRF celebrity honorees, with quotes about overcoming depression, were lined up to remind guests that depression advocacy is critical for reducing stigma and sparking life-saving conversations.  

Audrey Gruss said: “Depression is a grand-challenge public health issue that was critical before COVID-19 and imperative now. Mental health needs to be a top priority for our nation now, and we are so thankful to all our Southampton supporters who are answering the call.”

She added: “Depression is the Number One reason for disability and suicide worldwide, and yet over 35% of people do not respond to conventional medications. That is why HDRF’s advanced research into new and better treatments is so urgent.”

Guests included: Lisa AerySteve BernsteinJanna Bullock, Amanda GrussChambersEliza Nordeman DavisRoy CohenMax Federbush, Alex SchaffelBambi and Roger FelberbaumLucia Hwong GordonAlan GlattPeter GregoryKim HeirstonMariana KaufmanAnne S. NordemanScott SnyderClelia and Tom ZachariasRichard Ziegelasch, and Silvia Zoullas.

The drive-by lunch kicks off the Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s Virtual 5K Race of Hope, the same race that has been a summer highlight in Southampton since 2015. This year, all registered runners and walkers can choose their own race route wherever they may be in the country.

The Virtual Race of Hope
Here’s how it works:  

  1. Go online to and register for the Virtual Race for a fee of $40.
  2. You will then receive fabulous signature Race of Hope gear in the mail. 
  3. There will be an online opening ceremony and countdown for the Race on August 2 at 8 AM.  
  4. Participants can run or walk their race after the virtual countdown on August 2, or they can march to their own drum and complete the race at any time that is perfect for them.

The Virtual Race live broadcast event on Sunday, August 2 will feature participants’ messages of hope and a Grand Marshal welcome message prior to the race starting at 8:30 AM.  Grey’s Anatomy star Eric Dane, a Race Ambassador, will have hopeful messages forRace participants as they complete the Race. 

#Share Hope, a social media contest.

Anyone who registers can participate in HDRF’s social media contest called #Share Hope. Find out about the social media contest on Everyone who has sent in a video or photo of themselves running or walking is eligible.  Up to 50 lucky winners will have submissions featured on HDRF’s social media pages, leading up to and/or during the online opening ceremony on Sunday August 2 at 8 am. They will also receive a sturdy and practical Hope for Depression Research Foundation signature canvas tote. 

Audrey Gruss founded HDRF in April 2006 in memory of her mother Hope, who struggled with clinical depression. Today, HDRF is the leading nonprofit organization focused solely on depression research.  Over 300 million people annually struggle with depression globally, but despite its prevalence, depression is still misunderstood, underfunded and under-researched. The mission of the HDRF is to fund cutting-edge neuroscience research into the origins, medical diagnosis, new treatments, and prevention of depression and its related mood disorders, including bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder and suicide. To date, HDRF has provided more than $36-million through over 125 grants for accelerated breakthrough depression research that promises to lead to new and better medications and treatments. 


Michael John LaChiusa and Graciela Daniele The Gardens of Anuncia



Andréa Burns, Mary Testa, Priscilla Lopez, and Eden Espinosa. Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Michael John LaChiusa’s The Gardens of Anuncia is based on the early life of Broadway legend Graciela Daniele The two have been collaborators on several projects including Hello Again (1994), Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1995), Marie Christine (1999), and Bernarda Alba (2006). This is his love letter to her, complete with a tango-infused score.

This memory musical is directed and choreographed by Daniele, which is surprising as we miss the more intricate dancing moments.

We meet Anuncia (Priscilla Lopez), as she tends to her country garden in America, reminiscing about her girlhood in Juan Perón’s Argentina from 1940s-50s as she trys to avoid attending an awards ceremony, where she’ll be honored with a Lifetime Achievement. Instead, she reflects on her family and childhood, as she brings back her Mami (Eden Espinoza), her Granmama (Mary Testa), and her aunt Tia (Andréa Burns), hoping to honor all the women who supported her journey in becoming an artist. Her distraction is she is looking around her garden for the proper place to bury Tia’s ashes. We see a young Anuncia (Kalyn West), as she is shaped by three very different women. From Tia she learns imagination and music, her Mami enrolls her in ballet class to fix her flat feet and her Granmama gives her drama.

Tally Sessions Photo by Julieta Cervantes

In the meantime Anuncia and a deer (the fabulous Tally Sessions) dance, talk and romance.

Highlights of the show include Eden Espinosa, who will be on Broadway later this season in Lempicka, tango “MalaGueña,”. Andréa Burns makes us love “Listen to the Music” and Mary Testa’s one-liners and description of her secret courtship with Anuncia’s grandfather (Enrique Acevedo) in “Miss The Man” give the show some oomph.

The design of the garden by Mark Wendland and the lighting, by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, give the show it’s magical look.

The Gardens of Anuncia shows the love of the collaborators and of the women who shaped our lives.

The Gardens of Anuncia: Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, Lincoln Center through December 31.

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Headed To Walter Reade With Camp4Heroes To Bring Christmas To Our Vets: A Pit Stop In Washington DC Part 1



My friends and I arrived in Bethesda, Maryland to go to Walter Reade with Camp4Heroes to bring Christmas To Our Vets. The day was extremely foggy.

Having never had the chance to really visit Washington DC my friend and I woke up early with about 3 hours and headed from The National Mall and The Lincoln Memorial.

I had always wanted to see this statue ever since I saw Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

Not really wanting to walk up a ton of stairs, we decided to use the elevator to the memorial, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as there is an exhibit on Lincoln in this space.

The Lincoln Memorial honors the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Henry Bacon is the memorial’s architect and Daniel Chester French designed the large interior statue of a seated Abraham Lincoln (1920), which was carved in marble by the Piccirilli brothers.

Jules Guerin painted the interior murals, and the epitaph above the statue was written by Royal Cortissoz. Dedicated on May 30, 1922, it is one of several memorials built to honor an American president.

In getting to the memorial you pass the most amazing statues. These actually stand guard to the bridges to The National Mall.

Around the exterior are these.

What is the most surprising thing, is that these statues, The National Mall, Lincoln, the Washington Monument and other buildings that surround the area, are gigantic. We see the crowds at The National Mall and we actually do not comprehend how many people are actually there. Think New Years Eve in Times Square and triple it. 

The National Mall also including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and World War II Memorial. More on those tomorrow.

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Avengers Tower Sets Meet And Greet With Signing



C. B. Cebulski, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, and The LEGO Group Senior Graphic Designer Mark Tranter will be at the Fifth Ave LEGO Store this Friday, December 1st from 5pm-6pm signing the Avengers Tower set—the most iconic building in the Avengers Universe, with 5,201 pieces and an all-star cast of 31 figures.

The Avengers Tower, formerly known as Stark Tower, was a high-rise building complex located in Manhattan. Constructed by Tony Stark, the tower was powered by an Arc Reactor that made it capable of running itself for over a year. The top ten floors housed the research and development initiatives.

Following the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., Stark Tower became the main headquarters of the Avengers. However, after the Ultron Offensive, Stark refurbished a Stark Industries warehouse upstate into the Avengers Compound to use as their primary base while Avengers Tower was repurposed for Stark Industries’ use. In the aftermath of the Avengers Civil War, Stark sold the tower and moved all of its equipment to the Avengers Compound.

By 2024, the tower, under its new ownership, had gone through extensive construction and renovation.

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God Comes Back To Times Square



On Monday, November 27,  the 2023 global Light the World Giving Machines campaign showed Christ’s light and love. Three machines were unwrapped in Times Square.

The theme for these machines is “Let Your Light Shine,” words the Savior of the world spoke to His followers. Giving Machines provide a unique path to spread His light — in your community or in a faraway country. Instead of buying something for yourself, your purchase is a donation for someone in need.

As we start the process of hoping there will be greater light in the world, we invite all to light the world,” said Elder David Buckner, an Area Seventy. “Today we start that as a process of hope and promise and joy that the world so desperately needs.”

Giving Machines, now in their seventh year, offer a unique way to serve and care for others. Instead of buying something for yourself, your purchase is a donation for someone in need. Across machines in all locations are a combined 1,200 different items requested by carefully screened and reputable local, national and international nonprofit organizations. These include meals, groceries, shelter, clothing, healthcare, education, bedding, hygiene kits, job and career training, crops and livestock (such as chickens, goats, pigs, ducks, sheep and beehives). Patrons can type in 777 to purchase one of everything in a machine.

The Giving Machines are open for business and have move to their permanent Manhattan holiday location: The Church of Our Savior at 59 Park Ave. (at 38th Street). They will be available through January 1, 2024. In total, Giving Machines are available in 60 additional locations in seven countries.

Besides the machines, 15 digital displays will be in Times Square featuring Christmas messages from the Church of Jesus Christ. These messages will include the birth of Jesus Christ and gratitude for local interfaith leaders and charities who are working with the Church to help those in need.

The nine participating national and global nonprofits are:

  • African Girls Hope Foundation
  • American Red Cross
  • Care
  • Church World Service
  • iDE (International Development Enterprise)
  • Lifting Hands International
  • Mentors International
  • WaterAid

The Church and UNICEF have collaborated on various projects to help children and mothers around the world. The American Red Cross of Greater New York, mission is to alleviate human suffering during times of disasters and emergencies. They provides 40% of the blood supply in the U.S. CARE has projects in over 111 countries and reaches more than 170 million people annually. The Church World Service, said her organization is focus on immigration legal fees, offer menstrual health products to help women and more.

In total, more than 250 local, national and global nonprofits are participating this year — more than all previous years combined.

It is time to bring light to what is admittedly a very dark world.

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The Broadway Green Alliance Is Turning 15



This fall, the Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) celebrates its 15th year as an industry-wide initiative that educates, motivates, and inspires the entire theatre community and its patrons to adopt environmentally friendlier practices on Broadway and beyond. To mark this milestone, the BGA will host a free celebratory “bike-powered” concert and birthday bash on Monday, October 23rd in the New Amsterdam Room at the New Amsterdam Theatre (214 W 42nd Street) which will be streamed live on Stars in the House.

The in-person event begins at 5:00pm ET with limited tickets available, and the live-stream concert begins at 6:30pm ET on the Stars in the House YouTube channel at

Broadway performers and hosts joining the event include Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley (Stars in the House), Tony Award Nominee Kerry Butler (Beetlejuice), Tony Award Nominee Anika Larsen (Almost Famous), Tony Award Nominee Kenita R. Miller (For Colored Girls…), Tony Award Nominee Adam Pascal (Rent), Mara Davi (A Chorus Line), Jenn Gambatese (Mrs. Doubtfire), Jackie Hoffman (Xanadu), James T. Lane (Chicago), Patti Murin (Frozen), Rachel Webb (& Juliet), and more to be announced.

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