By Nalini Leilani
By Isaiah Negron
Hot DJ Alex Cecil is a prime example of taking a leap of faith and following your passions in life. While growing up on the Upper East Side in New York City, he explored his artistic side, taking up the cello in the 2nd grade. “I was talented at it, but it wasn’t the right medium for me,” remembers Cecil, who was also very good with numbers and received a perfect score on his math SAT’s. At Georgetown University he majored in finance and minored in art, to challenge and expand his mind. After graduating, he worked for Citibank for five years until one day he decided to do something very different.
By Isaiah Negron
“Health is Cool” is the mantra of Seth Luker and Mike Wall the co-founders of Rockin’ Wellness Whole Body Nutrition Shake. Starting from a small commercial kitchen in Bellmore, Long Island this dynamic duo created a nutritious blend for their shake from the world’s finest super foods. If you like chocolate this drink is for you and it tastes as awesome as the benefits it provides. It’s perfect for breakfast, a mid-day energy boost or a meal replacement. The unique mix, which is made in strictly controlled quantities, is made from Cacao, Goji berry, hulled hemp seed, flaxseed, chia seeds, maca root, acidophilus and yerba mate. The shake contains nothing artificial and has no preservatives. Rockin’ Wellness aids in weight maintenance, focus, improved mood and optimal cell re-generation. Mike and Seth encourage you to make the drink your own so I blend in bananas, strawberries, blueberries, soy milk and ice for a yummy treat that makes me forget the heat wave and gives me the energy to perform at my peak all day long. And because it has only 90 calories a scoop, I’ve already seen the benefits on my waistline.
By Joe Alexander
Looking at the art of Jessica Lichtenstein, one is transported into an imaginary world of childlike hedonism. The colors bombard you with a familiar sense of happiness, the thick acrylic glimmers back at you like a diamond on display, and the girls well…they smile at you, seducing you from behind an optical lens as you voyeuristically “peep” into their candy colored landscapes. But as always, there is more behind that lens than meets the eye.
By Sydney Masters
The 38th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show opens in Bridgehampton on August 25th and ends with the glamorous Grand Prix Lunch on Sunday September 1st. This $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier attracts Olympians and World Champions to its high jumps and blazingly fast rounds.
Forever Tango,” Luis Bravo’s spectacular revue, should begin with a warning: “trying this at home can be injurious to your health.” The tango…
By Barry Bassis
Last year, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra performed a concert of Beatles songs. Now the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has returned the compliment with an album of songs by Burt Bacharach, “What the World Needs Now …” Although none of these interpretations overshadows the recordings of Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin or Dusty Springfield, the album is quite pleasant and has the merit of collecting all these songs on one CD. Bacharach’s genius is creating sophisticated pop songs that never fail to sound fresh, like “I Say a Little Prayer” and “Walk on By.” He made his reputation collaborating with lyricist Hal David, who was never pretentious and could be witty. On the other hand, they could both be sappy (as on “Close to You” or “Magic Moments”) The vocalists are Graham Bickley, Mary Carewe, Alison Jiear and Sarah Lark. Arranger-conductor Richard Balcombe recognized that he couldn’t improve Bacharach’s original flourishes, such as the guiro (a Latin-American percussion instrument) on “The Look of Love” or the saxophone solo on “Arthur’s Theme” but the lush orchestration adds to the romance without inhibiting the rhythmic drive. Jihear’s “Don’t Make Me Over” and “There’s Always Something There to Remind Me” are suitably intense—she is the most soulful of the singers—and “The Look of Love” is ethereal. Bickley’s voice is well suited to “Promises Promises” and “Wives and Lovers” — he sounds a bit like Jack Jones — but is too light for “Twenty-Four Hours to Tulsa.” Sarah Lark’s buoyant rendition of “San Jose” made me appreciate the clever lyrics more than before and Carewe is charming on “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.”
By Barry Bassis
What’s with all the plays with Russian titles this past season? There was “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” “Nikolai and the Others,” and “Natasha, Pierre And The Great Comet of 1812.” The last one is a musical based on part of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” and is being performed in Kazino, a supper club erected just for this show. Both the venue and the musical are worth taking in.
By Barry Bassis
We all know that great music lasts forever, but some musicians seem to live, and even perform, into their old age.
When a new CD, “Magic 101,” arrived from Frank Wess, I immediately checked for the date of the recording, assuming it must have been made decades ago. Yet, the session took place in June 2011. Born in 1922, he performed at Birdland earlier this year to celebrate his 91st birthday. Wess was a mainstay of the Count Basie band during his ten years there. That group became know as the “Two Franks” band because of the two saxophonist-composer-arrangers Frank Wess and Frank Foster. In 2007 he received the American Jazz Masters Fellowship award from The National Endowment for the Arts. And what does Wess sound like on the CD? Smooth as silk. Wess plays tenor saxophone and, never a flamboyant musician, he is mellower than ever, on evergreens like “The Very Thought of You” and “Easy Living.” He also sustains a gentle swing, with the help of a first-rate group: Kenny Barron on piano, Kenny Davis on bass and Winard Harper on drums. This is an album you can put on to relax after a stressful day. Incidentally, the tile of the new album is a reference to the fact that Magic is the nickname his band mates gave to Wess. My only complaint about the CD is that Wess doesn’t play flute, an instrument on which he was one of the jazz pioneers.
By Rory Winston Mariinsky Ballet Scheherazade Spinning a yarn as though one’s life depended on it is the subtext of “Scheherazade.” It is also the essence of the Kirov Ballet, the historically-renowned company of tale-spinners, leapers, and contortionists that have put their respective cabrioles, triple tours and jetés entrelacés at the service of this ballet…