Remembering the Revolution: Happy 4th

At the risk of instituting a tradition, let’s start out this Independence Day week column with another slice of history from “Notes on Quogue—1659-1959” by Richard H. Post, published by the Quogue Tercentenary Committee in 1959, the 300th anniversary of the Quogue Purchase.

“All males from sixteen to sixty capable of bearing arms were ordered to be enrolled by the Continental Congress on May 1, 1776. Over two thousand responded in Suffolk and one thousand seven hundred and seventy in Queens. In June 1776, reinforcements of two hundred men were sent by Suffolk to the Continental Army in New York City.

“‘Probably unique in the annals of war’ was the formation in Southampton of a company of militia composed largely, if not entirely, of grandfathers, “to the age of seventy, and upwards … Each man was well equipped with a good musket, powder, ball, cartridges, etc … their leader … made a very animated speech to them on the necessity of holding themselves in readiness to go into the field in  time of invasion.”

An encouraging switch on the old saw about young men fighting the old men’s wars.

Meanwhile, for those who believe that there can be no authentic celebration of Independence Day without pyrotechnics, there is a strong possibility that village residents strolling in the vicinity of Quaquanantuck between Shinnecock Road and Club Lane on Saturday, July 1, around 9 to 9:15 will be able to see a fireworks display suitable to the occasion.

Happy Fourth on whatever day it’s being celebrated this weekend into next week.

New Art Exhibitions This Week: At the Quogue Library …

“Alice Vlcek: Power of Suggestion” is the title of the new exhibition that opened on June 26 at the Quogue Library Art Gallery and will remain on view through July 16. An artist’s reception will be held on Saturday, July 1, featuring refreshments, a talk by the artist and a Q&A.       

Alice Vlcek describes her recent work as “a bridge from images of nature to various moods and feelings about nature.” She uses color, texture, layering and brush strokes to convey the rhythm, energy and movement in nature and is inspired especially, she says, by memories of the sea and gardens.

As part of her formal training in the 1970s she studied at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture under de Kooning, Katz, Vicente, Resnik, Guston, and Geist. After 25 years as a realist she became an abstract artist in 1990.

The artist currently sells from her home galleries in Brooklyn and Quogue and is also represented and shown by Pen and Brush Gallery in Manhattan.

Cristina Kepner and Judy McDermott are chairs for this show, which will be on exhibit from June 26 to July 16.

… and at the Quogue Gallery

“Ben Wilson: An Abstract Expressionist Vision” will be the next exhibition opening at the Quogue Gallery, featuring 14 paintings, mostly oil on canvas, dating from as early as 1963 and running to 1990. The exhibition will be on view from June 29 to July 19, 2017, with an opening reception scheduled on Saturday, July 1, from 5 to 7 p.m.

As detailed in a press release from the gallery, in the 1950s the Abstract Expressionism movement—called a “shower of wonders” by contemporary critic Harold Rosenberg—made New York the center of the art world. Inside the close-knit circle of American painters and sculptors who became the heroes in this exciting chapter of art history, Ben Wilson forged his own distinctive style from a rigorous drawing regimen, painterly techniques refined in studio classes in Manhattan and Paris, and that well-known Roosevelt-era incubator of talent, the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

It was an epoch of momentous change. Like Cubism and Impressionism, “action painting” (as Rosenberg called it in 1952) advanced the course of Modernism along the path toward abstraction. Wilson’s development as a painter mirrored that progression, moving away from poignant ’30s-era figural paintings rooted in German and Austrian expressionism toward the geometries of his vibrant Ab Ex paintings.

Just as with Cubism and Impressionism, the excitement that continues to awe viewers of works by Wilson, de Kooning, Pollock, Kline, Rothko and Gorky starts with the sheer energy involved in the way these artists put paint on canvas.

For more information, visit the Quogue Gallery website, www.quoguegallery.com

Roger Rosenblatt Master Class, for Everyone

An opportunity like this would likely make it into the column just on the strength of what is being offered: an affordable pass into the magical world of creative writing, uses of the imagination, and the cauldron of creative energy that is the nationally prominent, 42-year-old Southampton Writers Conference at the Stony Brook Southampton graduate arts campus.

The fact that the master class at the core of this opportunity is led by Quogue’s own literary lion—distinguished professor, raconteur, connoisseur, fussy eater and all-around good egg Roger Rosenblatt—just cements its place of prominence in this week’s column.

The Southampton Writers Conference at Stony Brook Southampton will once again offer a Master Class led by the aforementioned New York Times best-selling author Roger Rosenblatt and featuring esteemed guest writers during this year’s event, running from July 12 to 23, 2017.

Imagine What You Know: Five Ways of Looking at Writing” is a groundbreaking approach to examining the art and craft of writing for every genre, using a multi-media array of music, film clips and other works of art to broaden and deepen the discussion. The class was designed by Roger to be as useful for accomplished writers as it is for those taking their first steps or simply exploring the idea of writing.

All those who sign up for the Master Class will have access to everything that is offered during the 12-day conference—evening salons, guest author readings, panel discussions and more—with the only exception being the graduate credit-bearing workshops.

The fee for the Master Class is $650. For more information, or to apply, visit www.stonybrook.edu/writers or email Christian.McLean@stonybrook.edu. The deadline for applying is July 1 but Quogue residents might be able to sign up after that date.  

Roger’s five guests this year will be: Sharon Olds, Brit Bennett, Frederic Tuten, Natalie Diaz, and one of At Quaquanantuck’s favorite writers, Patricia Marx.

Students of the Master Class have called it inspiring and fun, citing it as “wonderful,” “insightful,” “amazing.” One novelist wrote: “He put the most positive spin possible on each class member’s remarks as he listened with extraordinary intensity. His class still lingers in my head.” Another wrote: “Roger taught me more in five sessions than I had learned in numerous semester-long writing classes.”

In the first week of the conference, on Friday, July 14, at 7 p.m. “Selected Shorts,” one of the best reading series in New York and a very popular Public Radio International program, will bring four celebrated actors—Betty Buckley, Blythe Danner, Richard Kind and Maulik Pancholy—to the Avram Theater at the campus to help launch the 10th anniversary issue of TSR: The Southampton Review. More details next week.

Important Dates Coming Up Faster Than You Think:

Quogue Historical Society: The Historical Society’s 1822 Schoolhouse behind the Quogue Library opens for the season on Saturday, July 1, at 11 a.m., with 18-year-old school mistress Miss Lizabeth giving visitors a firsthand look at what life was like in the late 1860s for schoolchildren in Quogue. Built by the citizens of Quogue in 1822, the one-room schoolhouse was the village’s first community building and served as its school for 70 years.

On Thursday, July 6, at 6 p.m. Quogue Historical Society Curator Julie Greene will give a talk on the exhibition, “Down on the Beach: Quogue’s Life-Saving Service, 1849-1937.”

Church of the Atonement: This week the church welcomes the Reverend Amy A. Slater and her husband, Tom, for the services on July 2. Reverend Slater has her Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary and is the Associate to the Rector at St. Mary’s Church in Arlington, VA.

She and her husband have a daughter, Sarah, who is a consultant for Deloitte in Boston and a son, Austin, a student at Stanford University who plays professional baseball for the San Francisco Giants’ Triple A affiliate in Sacramento.

A reminder that all children in the community age 7 to 14 are invited to sing in the junior choir,  led by Patricia Osborne Feiler, organist and choir director. Rehearsals are at 9 a.m. on Sunday mornings. For additional information regarding the junior choir, contact Mary Vogel via email at m.vogel@verizon.net.

Holy Eucharist services this week will be at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., all are welcome. The Episcopal church is located at 17 Quogue Street.

At the Library: First up in the Quogue Library 2017 summer Conversations with the Author series will be David Oshinsky, author of “Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital,” on Sunday, July 9, at 5 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and are on sale now, and patrons are advised that tickets may not be still available at the door on the day of the lectures. For more information,call 631-653-4224, ext. 101.

At the Wildlife Refuge: The 11th annual Wild Night for Wildlife benefit gala—the most important event in the Quogue Wildlife Refuge’s fundraising program—will be held Saturday, July 15, on the beautiful grounds of the wildlife sanctuary.

The event will feature substantial hors d’oeuvres by Dockers Waterside, cocktails, wine from Martha Clara Vineyards, beer from Southampton Publick House, live music by Souled Out, live and silent auctions, and a chance to meet QWR resident animals up close. A private VIP reception will be held at 6 p.m. for those contributing $750 or more per person.

All sponsors will be officially recognized at the Gala, and on the event website. Contributions are tax deductible. Tickets will be held at the door. For further information, call 631-653-4771 or e-mail: info@QuogueWildlifeRefuge.org.

Westhampton Garden Club: Anyone interested in horticulture, floral design, conservation and photography is invited to attend the Westhampton Garden Club’s 2017 Flower Show, “La Belle Époque,” to be held on July 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Parish Hall of St. Mark’s Church at 40 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. Admission is free.

Quogue Fire Department: This year’s Quogue Fire Department Open House will be held on Sunday, August 6, from 4 to 6 p.m.

At Quaquanantuck always strives to keep readers in the know. Meanwhile, the column will be more comprehensive and have added value if readers will kindly send news items and photos (even, or especially, ones taken with smart phones) to AtQuaq@gmail.com.

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