Sunday, December 9, 2018

China Institute Holds Annual Blue Cloud Gala

John S. Long, Dame Jillian Sackler, and Howard P. Milstein

Last month, the China Institute held their annual Blue Cloud Gala, which honored Liu Dan, John S. Long, Howard P. Milstein, and Dame Jillian Sackler for their contributions to US-China relations. Co-chaired by Yue-Sai Kan and Chien Chung (Didi) Pei, the evening included performances by the U.S. China Music Institute at Bard College Conservatory and ballroom champion dancers Victor Fung and Anastasia Muravyeva. More than 300 guests crowded the Pierre Hotel Grand Ballroom and raised nearly one million dollars.
Chien Chung (Didi) Pei

Howard P. Milstein was honored for his generous philanthropy and for founding the Milstein Medical Asian American Partnership Foundation.  Receiving the award, he said, “It’s a privilege to be able to help support the good work of the China Institute, and it is particularly meaningful because I’ve had the opportunity to benefit from many of their scholarly programs.” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney sent him a special congratulatory video.

John S. Long, founder of the Long Family Foundationwas honored for establishing the University of California Irvine Long Institute, which works to bridge a common understanding between the US and China. “I’m just delighted to be part of this,” said Long.  “We do a lot of work with the second generation of Chinese here and that’s something that we and China Institute have been collaborating on.”

Dame Jillian Sackler, philanthropist and chair of the Foreign Policy Association, was recognized for her achievements in East-West cultural diplomacy, including founding the Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology at Peking University in Beijing.  “I’m very honored to receive the Blue Cloud Award,” said Dame Jillian. “I feel like a pioneer of museums in China because I built the first teaching museum there in 1993.  It was the first modern institution in the country to have state-of-the-art curatorial standards. I feel proud to have begun the realization that museums can contribute to the community.” Dame Jillian wore a gown created by Chinese designer, Guo Pei. The dress’ half-black, half-white pattern with embroidery and ink took more than 560 hours to make and was meant to symbolize a “cultural collision”, as well as Dame Jillian’s talent for bringing people together.

Liu Dan, one of China’s most significant living artists, was also honored.  His award was accepted by Didi Pei. “The construction process is never truly finished because we are always looking to do more, and this is what tonight is really about,” said Pei. “It is an opportunity to highlight all that we have done and set our collective sights on what we will build moving forward.”

The gala also featured a live auction by CK Swett who raised $250,000. 

The China Institute is the oldest bicultural, non-profit organization in the US to focus exclusively on China. At the gala, their president, James Heimowitz, announced new initiatives to come, including launching the US-China Next Generation Philanthropy Initiative, providing opportunities for emerging Chinese and American philanthropists. China Institute will also begin working with Bard College Conservatory to teach traditional Chinese music to New York City communities.

Photo Credit: Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan

Free Beauty Events December Giveaway is back this month with another amazing giveaway, and time it has a whopping $160 value!  For anyone not familiar with FBE, the site is a great tool for all beauty addicts.  It helps you stay up to date on the latest beauty happenings in your area and serves as an awesome way to snag killer free samples. Each month the site gives away a bundle chalk full of the industry's best must haves.  Let's check them out!  

This month's basket includes industry favorites from Essie, Maybelline, Eva NYC, Neutrogena, Carols' Daughter and more!  The contest runs from now through 12/31//18, winners will be chosen on 1/10/19 and notified by 1/15/19.  Entering is simple!  Visit FreeBeautyEvents on Facebook (don't forget to like them!) or enter directly on their website.

Besides the monthly giveaways, the site also offers great beauty advice and product reviews on their blog.  Like any of the products you read about?  Keep your eyes open for your chance to stock up!  Easy as 1-2-3, just enter your zip code into the site's search bar to find out which locations in your area might be handing out samples.  It's a helpful way to keep up to date with the beauty events happening in your town.  

Get more FBE info here

Have you attended an event listed on the site? 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Organic Skin Co. Lip Service Collection

Tis' the season for bold, festive lips!  The holidays are finally around the corner (yippee!), and I can't wait to start dressing the part.   The holidays are a fun time to experiment with colorful new lippies, and The Organic Skin Co. have a bunch worth checking out.

Infused with organic calendula and rosemary superficial extracts, Ruby Red and Blossom come from the brand's Lip Service Collection, and are perfect holiday shades.  

 Ruby Red is a rich, brick red that isn't too loud.  It's bold and looks great paired with a smoky or nude eye.  The texture is creamy and smooth, and the coverage is buildable.  It's on the matte side, but has a slight sheen and isn't drying at all.  The brand actually advertises that prolonged use is supposed to leave you with healthier, more supple lips.

 Blossom is a deep, bold pink and I like this one a lot.  It's almost like a muted hot pink, with a hint of red that gives it a darker look.  It's bright, but not exactly vibrant.  It's great for those who like to make a statement without being too flashy.  Both lippies are super hydrating, free of parabens, nanos, bismuth oxychloride, gluten, talc, and have great wear time.  

The Organic Skin Company is Vegan certified, as well as cruelty free.  Their products are also great gift ideas for the beauty lover on your list!  

You can shop their whole line here.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

New Launch: CAILYN Cosmetics The Bulgarian Rose Make Up Primers

 CAILYN Cosmetics has recently launched two brand new make up primers; The Bulgarian Rose Water Make Up Primer and The Bulgarian Rose Oil Make Up Primer.


The Bulgarian Rose Water Make Up Primer is advertised as a "water- like serum with instant brightening effects, featuring Bulgarian Rose Oil and precious natural ingredients that add natural luminosity to the skin, and create a makeup ready complexion".

The rose oil is supposed to act as an emollient that moisturizes the skin.  It also contains vitamins A,C, & E to help reduce fine lines, as well as four unique fruit oils that are supposed to leave your skin feeling smooth instead of greasy.  The micro pearls are there to add a subtle glow.  

I enjoyed using both of these primers.  I applied the Rose Water primer in the morning time, before my foundation.  The mirco pearls offered a subtle, but dewy glow.  I saw it when wore it alone without foundation.  Once I applied my (full coverage) foundation, it was no longer noticeable.  I also liked the consistency, which was unlike other oils I own.  It felt lightweight on my skin, but on the thicker side during application.  I applied one drop below each eye, and it trickled slowly down my cheek, as opposed to others that are lose and runny.  Overall, it still absorbed quickly and smelled beautiful.  Sweet and fruity.   It performed well in terms of creating a smooth canvas and not breaking me out.  This is definitely one of my current favorites.

The Bulgarian Rose Oil Make Up Primer is advertised as a "dual functional oil based primer and serum".  It is a combination of natural ingredients including Bulgarian Rose and Sunflower Seed Oil to nourish and hydrate skin.  It is considered a makeup primer, but also a great over night treatment to replenish skin.     

I've been using this one for occasional nightly treatments.  I have combination skin so I have to trade off and use each one sparingly so I don't break out.  But so far, so good.  This one has a greenish tint to it, and more of a plant-like scent.  Its consistency is looser, and runnier then the water based primer, but seems to absorb just as quickly.  There are no micro pearls in this one.  It is supposed to enhance your skin's natural radiance.  This one is supposed to be good for anti-aging, and can also be used when applying makeup.          
If you're looking for a primer with hydration benefits, I'd definitely recommend giving either of these a shot.  The Rose Water primer is great if you have combination skin like me, and want to incorporate some hydration into your make up routine.  The Rose Oil works if you're on the dry side and want the option to use it day and/or night.   


 Both primers retail for $35.00 and you can shop them at



Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Foreign Policy Association Holds Centennial Gala

The Foreign Policy Association celebrated 100 years with a Centennial Gala chaired by Sana H. Sabbagh, Dame Jillian Sackler, and Daisy Soros last month, in the Temple of Dendur in the Sackler Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
The evenings Co-Chairmen were Judith L. Biggs, David L. Coulter, Brendan Dougher, Nina Henderson, Intesa Sanpaolo, Elbrun Kimmelman, Robert C. Miller, Lois B. Pope, Irene Pritzer, Hugh R. Roome III, and Michael Sabia.  
Dame Jillian Sackler, the FPA’s chairman (the first woman to hold the position) noted, “For 100 years, the FPA has been a leader in the United States’ foreign affairs community and played an essential role in developing awareness, understanding, and informed opinion on the issues of our time…As we look to the next century the non-partisan FPA is in a unique position to bring together disparate points of view from around the world.”
Daisy Soros introduced  the evening’s key note speaker, her friend of many years, The Honorable William J. vanden Heuvel.  He told of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s trip to New York on October 21, 1944, when he addressed two thousand members of the FPA at the Waldorf Astoria: “Enduring Peace in the world does not have a chance unless the Nation, our Nation, our America, is willing to cooperate in winning and maintaining it …Peace, like war, can succeed only where there is a will to enforce it.” vanden Heuvel explained that this was one of the most significant speeches of his presidency.  Then, he added his own sentiments, “I believe that the greatest threat to American Democracy is endless war.  I believe that America should use its great power to stop war and preserve the peace…There is so little talk of peace in our society today.  Even at the United Nations, where the prevention of war is a primary mission, there is a sense of fatalism as valiant efforts are reduced to failure….” After his speech Mrs. Soros presented him with the FPA’s Centennial Medal.

About FPA
The Foreign Policy Association works with a broad cross-section of the U.S. public and U.S. leaders to expand awareness, understanding, and informed opinion on global issues and U.S. foreign policy challenges.  Since 1918, FPA has provided programs engaging local community members, educators, students, business professionals, and key public officials.  These programs build knowledge of current international developments, offer tools for continued learning, and facilitate connections between program participants and peers abroad.  With balanced, authoritative, nonpartisan programs, FPA encourages effective citizen participation in the U.S. foreign policy process.
Says president Noel Lateef, “The Foreign Policy Association’s mission today—as it has been throughout its 100-year history—is to contribute to a more vibrant democracy through citizen participation in the foreign policy process. A private, nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization, FPA serves as a catalyst for developing awareness, understanding of and informed opinion on U.S. foreign policy and global issues. It is the nation’s oldest organization devoted to citizen education in international affairs.”
Photos by Steven Martinez, Rosemarie Wallace, and James R. Brantley

New York Landmarks Conservancy Hosts its 25th Living Landmarks Gala

Last week, The New York Landmarks Conservancy hosted its 25th Living Landmarks Gala at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. 
The New York Landmarks Conservancy honors distinguished New Yorkers as “Living Landmarks” for their contributions to the City.  The Conservancy is dedicated to preserving and protecting the iconic buildings and diverse neighborhoods that define this extraordinary City.
This year’s honorees included Christie’s Americas chairman emeritus Stephen S. Lash, garden designer Lynden B. Miller, philanthropists Liz and Jeffrey Peek, actress/dancer/singer Chita Rivera, Dr. Thomas Sculco, Publicolor founder Ruth Lande Shuman, Columbia University president Michael I. Sovern, and former MTA Chair Peter Stangl. 
Landmark’s president Peg Breen opened the program and introduced the evening’s master of ceremonies, David Patrick Columbia.  The evening's music was provided by fellow Living Landmark Peter Duchin and his Orchestra.  Arie L. Kopelman and Leonard Lauder, both Living Landmarks, served as Honorary Co-Chairs for the evening.   



 Photos by James Salzano


Friday, October 19, 2018

Casita Maria Celebrates it's Annual Fiesta 2018

Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Carlos Souza, and Mary Snow 

 Earlier this week, Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education celebrated it's annual Fiesta 2018 at New York’s Plaza Hotel. Each year at Fiesta, the Casita Maria Gold Medal of Honor is awarded to outstanding individuals in recognition to their contribution to the worlds of arts, education, and philanthropy. This year, Casita Maria honored three exceptional philanthropic individuals: Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Mary Snow, and Carlos Souza. 
Cuban Actress Sissi Fleitas was the evening’s host. The Dinner Chairmen were Jacqueline Weld Drake, HRH Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, and Carlos Mota. Casita Maria’s Chairman Jacqueline Weld Drake presented all three honorees with their Gold Medals of Honor. 
The Honorary Chairs were Elizabeth Peabody, Christine Schwarzman, and Lynn Wyatt. 
American-Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto performed two songs with guitarist Guilherme Monteiro. 
“I am proud to say that in 2018, our programs have served more than 1000 promising young members of the Bronx, East Harlem and Harlem communities,” said Board Chairman Jaqueline Weld Drake. She went on to say, “Looking ahead to what’s in store in 2019 and beyond, Casita Maria will continue to advance our mission and work to build a brighter, more creative, and culturally rich future for our children and all future residents of the South Bronx and East Harlem.” 

Casita Maria’s Executive Director, Haydee Morales, said “For more than 80 years, Casita Maria's educational and creative arts programs have opened doors of joy and opportunity for the youth, families, and communities we serve. We are proud of our history as the first and oldest Latino-serving charity in New York City, and look forward to many more years serving the people of East Harlem, Hunts Point and the South Bronx. Over the last year, we have redoubled our efforts to bring high- quality education to South Bronx youth, and to curate and present artists and performers who represent the best of the Bronx's diversity, beauty, and resilience.” 

Casita Maria’s annual benefit is an elegant and fun evening that begins with cocktails, followed by seated dinner, music and dancing by The Bob Hardwick Sound. Past honorees have included outstanding individuals such as Santiago Calatrava, Marcelo Claure, Roberto Cavalli, Patricia isneros, John Demsey, France Desmarais, Marta and Placido Domingo, Emilia and J. Pepe Fanjul, Joanna Fisher, Carlos Fuentes, Audrey Gruss, Agnes Gund, Rosaura Henkel, Audrey Hepburn, Carolina Herrera, Julio Iglesias, Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg, Eddie Palmieri, Elizabeth T. Peabody, Rodman C. Rockefeller, Julia Salvi, Daisy Soros, Hutton Wilkinson and Lynn Wyatt.
About Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education
Casita Maria was founded in 1934 by Claire and Elizabeth Sullivan.  For more than 80 years, Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education has served as a cultural and community anchor for thousands of young people and their families in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. Casita has earned a reputation as the first and oldest Latino charity in New York City. The mission of the Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education is to empower youth and their families by creating a culture of learning through high quality social, cultural, and educational opportunities.
Olivia Palermo and Nicky Hilton Rothschild
Renee Rockefeller, Jennifer Creel, Alexandra Lind Rose
Princess Astrid Von Liechtenstein, Carlos Souza
Photos by:
Annie Watt/ Annie Watt Agency 
Gonzalo Marroquin /PMC

Monday, October 8, 2018

Free Beauty Events October Giveaway is back this month with another amazing giveaway.  For anyone not familiar with FBE, the site is a great tool for all beauty addicts.  It helps you stay up to date on the latest beauty happenings in your area and serves as an awesome way to snag killer free samples. Each month the site gives away a bundle chalk full of the industry's best must haves.  Let's check them out!  

This month's basket includes industry favorites from Maybelline, Lumene, imPress, Milani, Eva- NYC, LA Girl, and more!  The contest runs from now through 10/31//18, winners will be chosen on 11/10/18 and notified by 11/15/18.  Entering is simple!  Visit FreeBeautyEvents on Facebook (don't forget to like them!) or enter directly on their website.

Besides the monthly giveaways, the site also offers great beauty advice and product reviews on their blog.  Like any of the products you read about?  Keep your eyes open for your chance to stock up!  Easy as 1-2-3, just enter your zip code into the site's search bar to find out which locations in your area might be handing out samples.  It's a helpful way to keep up to date with the beauty events happening in your town.  

Get more FBE info here

Have you attended a past event listed on the site? 

together1heart Honors Actors Susan Sarandon and Danny Abeckaser

Actors Susan Sarandon, AnnaLynne McCord, Danny Abeckaser

Susan Sarandon and Danny Abeckaser were honored last week at the together1heart inaugural New York Gala at TAO Downtown. The evening supported together1heart's continued work to end slavery and to support women's rights globally.

It was a moving evening with every speaker receiving a standing ovation.  Bill Livermore, Executive Director of together1heart, cited a figure of 22 million girls currently held in sex slavery worldwide and the emergence of significantly younger women being sold into Cambodian brothel’s. “Somaly Mam recently rescued a child of only 22 months,” he said.

Sina Vann, herself a survivor of sex slavery, and now a staff member of together1heart, described the horrific conditions she was kept in against her will, and the joy she now experiences working with survivors. Actor, writer, and producer DannyAbeckaser received the “Voices for Change” award for his generous support of both the organization and for the chairman, actress AnnaLynne McCord.  Said McCord, “This organization changed my life, gave me a sense of worth, and an understating of what one person can do.  When you show up for children you change the world.  I want to applaud everyone who showed up tonight.”  

Susan Sarandon and Somaly Mam together on stage made an indelible impression.  Said Susan, “In this time when you can be disheartened and distraught, look instead at how many women are finding their voices and how many men are standing beside them.  Love is a powerful force and we are all privileged to be part of the love Somaly Mam brings to a difficult story.  Look at what Somaly has done, what one person can do.  She invited me to meet the young women and girls in her program.  What I met were strong women. You don’t forget the past but you can move forward”.  Said Somaly on closing, “Susan, I love you very much”.

Guests included Model Carol Alt, Adrianna Beer, Andrea Cataneo, Yuliya Dan, Ezequiel de la Rosa, Victor DeSosa, Claude Hildenbrand, Arielle Jacobs (Jasmine from Disney's Aladdin), Jenn Lyon (HBO Claws), Jennifer MacFarlane, Ty-ron Mayes, Samira Panah, Jean Shafiroff, and Chris Talbot. 

 together1heart works to care for and secure the rights of young women and girls who are victims, or at risk of being victims, of slavery, and to successfully recover, educate, train and reintegrate them into mainstream society through financial independence in a sustainable and innovative manner. They accomplish this by helping and teaching them how to achieve financial independence through sustainable careers. together1heart welcomes them to become a part of our survivor empowerment network.

 Photos by Stephen Smith

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Casita Maria's Pachanga Luncheon

Jacqueline Weld Drake, the longtime chairman of the Casita Maria Center for Arts Education, hosted her annual Pachanga luncheon last Monday at her Park Avenue residence. The annual event allows the Junior (“Pachanga”) Committee to plan for the upcoming Fiesta Gala at The Plaza Hotel Tuesday October 16th. This year's Pachanga Chairs are Adriana Echavarria-Eisenhower, Anthony Souza, and Sean Souza. Guests included Fabiola Arias, Andrea Casanova,  Atencio Coromoto, Henry Lord Boulton VI, Halim Bulos, Bella Eastham, Hanson Greene, Elizabeth Jacoby, Michelle Karut, Alicia Lubowski-Jahn, Henrique Cisneros, Gabriel Rivera-Barraza, and Sabrina Wirth. 

Casita Maria's Fiesta 2018 Gala will honor Isabel Goldsmith-Patiño, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Mary Snow, and Carlos Souza. The Dinner Chairmen are Jacqueline Weld Drake, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, and Carlos Mota. This year's Honorary Chairs are Elizabeth Peabody, Christine Schwarzman, and Lynn Wyatt. 

The Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education offers high quality, innovative after school arts education to over 1,000 students daily in their state-of-the-art facility in the South Bronx. Casita's enriching programs produce engaged, well-rounded individuals, who go on to fulfill their dreams.

Photo Credit: Annie Watt Agency

The Artists Behind "Sleeping Beauty Dreams"


 Sleeping Beauty Dreams is a retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.  The highly anticipated work is an artistic exploration of the untold story of Princess Aurora's 100 years of dreams, set to premiere in Miami at The Adrienne Arch Center on December 7th and 8thIt will be very different from the fairy tale and popular The Sleeping Beauty ballet, and I'm both intrigued and excited to see the project come to life.  

The piece will star American Ballet Theatre's former principal dancers Diana Vishneva as Aurora, and Marcelo Gomes as the Prince.  It will be the first time the pair has performed together since leaving the company.

I recently attended the exclusive Sleeping Beauty Dreams presentation at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and learned about the project.   The work is a mixture of dance, music, technology, film, and art.  The panel included Diana Vishneva (principal dancer), Tobias Gremmler (digital artist), Thijs de Vlieger (composer) Edward Clug (choreographer), Bart Hess (costume design) and Laurent Fort (light artist).  Each artist gave remarks about their part in the creative process.  

Costume designer Bart Hess said "My work is known for using materials that are not usually considered for fashion like silicon, latex, plastic, foil, and metals. Some of the costumes and installations I’ve designed in the past, employ completely not wearable materials like shaving foam or iron or like the 'slime dress' for Lady Gaga."

Digital artist Tobias Gremmler, explained the creation of 3D digital avatars that will dance alongside Vishneva and Gomes, and react to the dancers' movements in real time.  This innovative technology will make its debut on the stage inside the dance world for the first time.  I expect this will be more then another brilliant performance art lovers will be raving about.  Sleeping Beauty Dreams sounds like a surefire new experience that anyone with a beating heart should go see.  

You can get tickets to the New York’s Beacon Theater December 14th and 15th performances here:


Photo credit: Presley Ann for PMC and Brian Willam Waddell

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Free Beauty Events August Giveaway is back this month with another amazing giveaway.  For anyone not familiar with FBE, the site is a great tool for all beauty addicts.  It helps you stay up to date on the latest beauty happenings in your area and serves as an awesome way to snag killer free samples. Each month the site gives away a bundle chalk full of the industry's best must haves.
This month's basket includes industry favorites from Milani, KISS, Maybelline, Toppik, Dove and more!  The contest runs from now through 8/31//18, winners will be chosen on 9/10/18 and notified by 9/15/18.  Entering is simple!  Visit FreeBeautyEvents on Facebook (don't forget to like them!) or enter directly on their website.

Besides the monthly giveaways, the site also offers great beauty advice and product reviews on their blog.  Like any of the products you read about?  Keep your eyes open for your chance to stock up!  Easy as 1-2-3, just enter your zip code into the site's search bar to find out which locations in your area might be handing out samples.  It's a helpful way to keep up to date with the beauty events happening in your town.  

Get more FBE info here

Have you attended a past event listed on the site? 

Monday, July 30, 2018

My First Keratin Treatment at Keratin Lounge by LASIO

About three weeks ago, I got my first ever, Keratin treatment at the LASIO Keratin Lounge   in NYC.  These hot, humid, months always are always a challenge for dealing with thick, curly hair, and word on the street has been keratin treatments are a great alternative. 

Keratin treatments have been around for a minute, but LASIO's technique is unique to their salon.  A LASIO certified stylist evaluates your hair and creates a specialized "Keratin cocktail" that caters specifically to your texture.  
My stylist suggested a treatment that would reduce 90% of my curl and all of my frizz.  It sounded a little drastic at first, but after further discussion, she pointed out that things like sweating and using the wrong products can make it fade out sooner.  The treatment is designed to last about four months (with proper maintenance), and fade out evenly from root to tip.  Which meant, I didn't have to worry about my roots growing out funny and making time for a touch up.  So, I figured, why not go all the way?   

My stylist washed my hair first with clarifying shampoo and then again with conditioner.  After blow drying out the moisture, thus began the keratin application.  She spritzed on the mixture from root to tip, eventually drying my hair again, and running over it with a flat iron.  The flat iron sealed in the formula, completing the process.  The advertised time is 90 minutes start to finish, and I was stunned to see I actually was done in 90 minutes.  

End result?  I love it and wish I had done it sooner.  Doing my hair is soo quick and easy now, and for the first two weeks, I walked out the door au natural.  No flat iron, no hair spray, nada.  I loved the subtle body and bounce.  It was such a refreshing change not to have to worry about what I was gonna do with my hair in the humidity.  My hair is the softest, silkiest and shiniest it's ever been.  

LASIO also recently released the Keratin Protector to help prolong the treatment's life span and increase performance by 40%.  It is great for summer because it protects against salt water and chlorine damage, but you can also use it as a daily leave in treatment.  I spritz it on every morning, especially before hitting the beach and then wash it out when I get home, and my hair is holding up nicely.  The price of the treatment varies from person to person.  Mine was complimentary, courtesy of the salon, and would have run around $400.


The Keratin application..

End result 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Joshua Beamish/ MOVETHECOMPANY Debuts "The Masque of the Red Death" at The Joyce Theatre Ballet Festival

 Last month, the Joyce Theatre hosted its annual Ballet Festival, which showcased performances by various dance companies, including internationally known, Joshua Beamish/ MOVETHECOMPANY.  The New York based, contemporary company made its return to the Joyce stage, this time with the world premiere of Beamish's new full length work "The Masque of the Red Death", inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe short story.  The piece explored the different color palette, moods, and social context presented in Poe's Gothic tale. 

The work embodied the fantasy essence that is Poe's Red Death story.  Through a mixture of spoken and recorded texts from opera signer Jessye Norman, "The Secret Lives of Color" by Kassia St. Clair, and "Chromophobia" by David Batchelor, the audience was transported into a realm of darkness.  The piece was full of award worthy theatrics.

 The costumes and lighting played heavily into the ambiance.  While dark in tone, vibrant colors also shone throughout.  The dancers created abstract shapes and images against bright blues, greens, orange and a blinding white towards the end.  Sections with the spoken text sounded muffled at times, and I couldn't help but wonder if it was intentional.  It added a distinct, underlying menacing element to the performance that fit the narrative eerily well.

 I have been moved by performances in the past, but this was different.  Watching Beamish's "The Masque of the Red Death" felt uneasy and unsettling, in a great way.  The unexpected trepidation, and anticipation of what would come next was a new and exhilarating experience. 

Photos courtesy of PR

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