‘What Haunts Us’ explores suicides following sexual abuse

Nov9 What Haunts Us

“What Haunts Us” will be screened at IFC Center.

 

By Seth Shire
Director Paige Goldberg Tolmach’s fascinating and unsettling documentary, “What Haunts Us,” could not have come at a more appropriate time, which can be fortunate or unfortunate, depending on how one looks at it. The film is part of DOC NYC, which runs from November 9-16.

In the college sociology classes that I teach, we discuss the concept of deviance. I make the point that what, at one time, might not have been thought of as deviant behavior, now, as society progresses, is seen as deviant. The recent revelations about sexual harassment that dominate the news, including testimonies from those who knew what was going on but chose to say nothing, until now, are great examples of this.

“What Haunts Us” concerns Charleston, South Carolina’s Porter Gaud School, the high school attended by Goldberg Tolmach. Alarmed by the number of suicides of male students in her graduating class, from over 30 years ago (six suicides out of a class of 49), the filmmaker delves into what was going on, beneath the surface, particularly with a popular teacher named Eddie Fischer. Fischer sexually abused male students for years and was protected by a wall of silence, from both administrators and students. As one former, now middle-aged, student puts it, “You’re dying to tell someone about it, but you’re scared as hell someone will find out.”

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Residents welcome flea market’s return

Near First Ave Loop

The first Stuyvesant Town flea market to be held in 17 years was well attended by vendors and shoppers.

By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday, thousands gathered around the Oval for the long awaited Stuyvesant Town flea market, last held before 9/11.

After the attack on the Twin Towers, management cancelled the annual market, citing homeland security, but then never again held another one. This led many residents to suspect the reason had more to do with the timing as the property was going market rate and the decades-long tradition was suddenly being seen as too low brow.

However, if the event’s comeback crowd was any indication, community members welcomed the opportunity to make a few bucks cleaning out their closets.

There were 510 vendor spots around the Oval, stretching north and south towards the inside of the First Avenue and Avenue C Loop roads. There were also a handful of vendors alongside the 14th Street and 20th Street Loops and even inside Playground 11. There weren’t many no-shows for vendor spaces (two percent according to management’s count), although at least one empty spot this reporter passed by was quickly scooped up by someone with a stash of handbags. It isn’t clear how long this would-be vendor was there though since selling bags was against management’s rules. Other rules, aimed at preventing bedbugs, forbid the sale of clothing and furniture.

Jade Lee, a longtime resident who’d set up her table early, said she’d made lots of sales of books and trinkets within the first hour.

“I just wanted to get rid of things in my apartment but half of it’s gone,” said Lee, who was stationed close to First Avenue.

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Stuy Town resident-owned gallery showing rare works by Dr. Seuss

Jeff Jaffe, who owns Pop International with wife Nanette, stands by one of the pieces in the exhibit. (Photo by Frances Sinkowitsch)

Jeff Jaffe, who owns Pop International with wife Nanette, stands by one of the pieces in the exhibit. (Photo by Frances Sinkowitsch)

By Sabina Mollot

When people think of Dr. Seuss, detailed oil paintings and taxidermy-inspired sculptures aren’t necessarily what come to mind. But the world-famous children’s book author and illustrator known for his whimsical creatures like Cat in the Hat and the Grinch did create other types of art, which he called his “midnight art.” And a number of those midnight art pieces are now part of an exhibit at a gallery in midtown owned by a Stuyvesant Town couple. The husband and wife team, Jeff Jaffe and Nanette Ross, own Pop International Galleries, which has two locations, the flagship in SoHo, and another in midtown’s Citicorp Building. The latter venue will be the site of the Seuss exhibit, called “The Cat Behind the Hat,” which will also feature some of the more well-known images from the artist’s beloved books.

Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, enjoyed a nearly seven-decade-long career and his midnight art, along with the other pieces, are being made available courtesy of his widow Audrey. This was in accordance with Seuss’s wishes that his secret works be shared with the public after his death. No originals will be available for sale but limited edition prints and artist proofs, which are museum quality, will be. Prices on the works range from $500-$35,000 depending on their rarity, and Jaffe, who spoke with Town & Village on Monday afternoon, said five pieces had already been sold that morning alone.

The exhibit, which opens today, Thursday, February 12, will run through the end of the month. It’s timed to coincide with Seuss’s birthday and the 25th anniversary of his last book, Oh the Places You’ll Go.

For Jaffe, the best part of the exhibit is the midnight art, since it shows a side of the artist that most of his fans have never seen.

“What’s great about his personal art is that he loved to do it more than anything,” Jaffe said. However, this is not to say Seuss didn’t enjoy the work he did for his children’s books. Rather than feel stifled as an artist by the illustrative style he was best known for, “he was quite humble that his books had such a profound effect.”

As for how he came to be known as Dr. Seuss, this was his mother’s maiden name “and she always wanted him to become a doctor,” said Jaffe. “That’s how he was. He had a diabolical sense of humor.”

Seuss’s style and the kinds of art he did evolved over the years. He did graphic art and advertising design in his early years and later on children’s books. He also did what he called “unorthodox taxidermy” pieces throughout his career though mostly early on, and ten of them will be on view at Pop International. Jaffe noted how the sculptures, in materials like resin, were fashioned from real bird bills and other parts from animals that had died that Seuss would get from his father who worked at a zoo. No actual animal parts are in the final art pieces, which have the artist’s distinctive style through details like googly eyes on a walrus. “They’re absolutely hilarious,” said Jaffe.

So far, the reaction to the exhibition has been, as expected, huge.

“We get avid, avid art collectors and we have people who just love Dr. Seuss,” said Jaffe. One illustration that’s been especially popular is “Kid, You’ll Move Mountains,” which is from the book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go.

“It’s the sort of thing you’d buy for a graduation,” said Jaffe. “It’s been really quite amazing to see the reaction and emotion.”

As the gallery’s name suggests, Pop International features works by pop artists from newcomers to the most well known like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. A show coming up at the SoHo location in March will feature five street artists with the focus on the Brazilian female artist Panmela Castro. Much of her work has had the theme of awareness of violence against women. Her works will be joined by works by four male artists in an exhibition titled, “We’ve Got Your Back, Girl.” The other artists are Dom, Pattinson, Chris Stain and Joe Ivato, and the show will be done in association with Creative Arts Works.

The Dr. Seuss exhibition will have its official opening at Pop International, 153 East 53rd Street (Citicorp building Atrium), with a reception taking place on February 12 from 5-8 p.m. To RSVP (required), call (917) 302-8404. A catalogue with prices can be requested online at popinternational.com.

Jaffe and Ross have owned the midtown gallery for two and a half years and the SoHo one at 473 West Broadway for 18 years. They’ve lived in Stuyvesant Town, where they’ve raised two children, for 25 years.

Greenwich Village Orchestra offering 15 free concert tickets to Town & Village readers

Greenwich Village Orchestra

Greenwich Village Orchestra

The Greenwich Village Orchestra will present its annual holiday concert for children and their families on Sunday, December 7 at 3 p.m. and 15 readers of Town & Village will be given free tickets.

To claim the first come, first serve tickets, guests should go to the ticket desk and say they saw this notice in T&V.

At this event, children are encouraged to dance, sing and march with a full symphonic orchestra. Children can also try out a variety of instruments at the GVO’s Instrument Petting Zoo.

The venue is Washington Irving High School Auditorium at 40 Irving Place between 16th and 17th Streets. Children get in free. There is a $20 suggested donation for adults. For more information, visit gvo.org.

Meetings and drives in the community

Below is a list of a few upcoming events for community residents:

Go bag (Image courtesy of the NYC Office of Emergency Management)

Go bag (Image courtesy of the NYC Office of Emergency Management)

Emergency preparedness meeting

An meeting on emergency preparedness will be held Thursday, November 20, 6-8 p.m., at the High School for Health Professions and Human Services (old Stuyvesant High School), 345 East 15th Street, between First and Second Avenues. There is a disability entrance on 16th Street with an elevator to the main floor.

At the end of the session, attendees will get a free go-bag packed with items essential to have in an evacuation situation. Participants must register in advance at www.nyprepare.gov. To receive the go-bag participants must register and attend.

 

tenants Assoc logoTenants Association planning meet for December 6

A general meeting of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association will be held in the auditorium of Middle School 104, East 20th Street between First and Second Avenues, on Saturday, December 6 at 1 p.m. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. More details will be provided at a later date.

 

Cub Scout Pack 422 holding food drive on Sunday

Cub Scout Pack 422 is holding food drive on Sunday, November 16 to benefit New York Gospel Mission which is an organization dedicated to feeding our local men, women and children from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The drive will take place at Trader Joe’s at 14th Street, just West of Third Avenue.

Most requested non-perishable items are: canned vegetables, pasta, canned fruits, rice, canned fish, baby food, canned soup, crackers, boxed macaroni & cheese, dried fruit and nuts, cereal and juice.

The Cub Scouts will be in front of Trader Joe’s to help with food selection or to even shop for your donation.

 

Stuy Town holding holiday season food drive, coat drive

The management of Stuyvesant Town is asking residents to donate to two community drives, a coat drive that will benefit New York Cares and a food drive benefiting City Harvest.

For the food drive, nonperishable foods such as canned and boxed goods will be accepted through December 17. The items will then be distributed by City Harvest to over 500 community food programs.

For the coat drive, gently used coats and jackets for adults and children will be accepted through December 26. The coats will be distributed to New Yorkers most in need by New York Cares through local churches, schools and shelters.

The dropoff point for both drives is the Stuyvesant Town management office at 276 First Avenue.

This will also be the dropoff point for the Town & Village holiday toy drive benefiting Beth Israel, with donations being accepted through December 12.

 

For local entertainment events such as concerts, theater, comedy, children’s activities and art exhibits, see our Around & About section. For listings of free events happening throughout the city this week, see Cutting Corners. For health and fitness events such as screenings, support meetings and classes, see our Health and Fitness section. To see what’s going on service and program-wise at different houses of worship, see our Religion in the Community section.

Dogs take a bow (wow) at GNA parade

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By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday afternoon, the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, Inc. held its annual Canine Comedy Parade, an event at which every dog is guaranteed to have its day — or at least a few minutes of fame on a hydrant-lined red carpet.

As always, area residents showed up with their four-legged friends, many of them in costume, and competed for gift certificates from Gramercy pet supply shop Canis Minor as well as ribbons.

Unlike most dog shows, the GNA’s 25-year-old affair is always a low-key one; $5 gets pooches a chance to compete for titles such as “Most Likely to Eat Your Dinner When You’re Not Looking” and “Most Likely to be Mistaken for a Dustbunny.”

What pedigree a dog has isn’t important, and the event, held on the street on Gramercy Park West, has been

billed as the “anti-Westminster.” Outfits for the contestants are optional, but this year a theme seemed to be sports; several dogs came in jerseys of their owners’ team of choice, while other costumes included a devil, a fairy and a yenta.

Ultimately, the title of “Best in Show” and a $50 gift certificate from Canis Minor went to Comet, a poodle pinscher dressed up as a hot dog.

“Last year he won ‘Best Upcoming Supermodel,’ even though he’s male,” explained Linda Phillips, his owner.

Runners up and winners of $25 gift certificates were Cody, a bijon dressed up as a dragon and Coco, a poodle-bijon in fairy wings.

Diminutive Coco, owned by Ruby Serafin and Juliette Knight, also won the title “Most Likely to be Mistaken for a Dustbunny.” According to Serafin, attending the parade is something of a tradition for her family.

“I’m not sure how many times we’ve come,” she said. “We used to come all the time when we had another dog.”

As for the other runner-up, unlike the rest of the dogs, which came from either Gramercy or Stuy Town, Cody came all the way from Queens with owners Rita and Mike Horowitz. The couple lives in Queens but heard about the event online and figured they’d check it out.

Cody appeared to be excited about the event and the chance for photo ops, but then again it could have been due to all the eggs (his treat of choice) that Rita had given him.

“If you give this dog eggs, he’ll do whatever you want,” she said. “And we have plenty in the house from the Jewish holidays.”

Along with the prize-winners, all dogs went home with ribbons that seemed to make their owners happy.

Molly, the only pit bull to enter, won a ribbon for “Most Likely to Blog About the Award.”

Hal Cohen, her owner, noted that last year she was honored as “Pit Bull Ambassador of the Year” and he and Molly were parade regulars.

As for her costume this year, a pink kerchief worn over her head, transforming her into “Yenta Dog,” it wasn’t even planned. Molly had apparently had a pink kerchief around her neck after leaving the groomer’s, and didn’t seem to mind it was there, so Cohen left it on.

He added that he hoped Molly would get less harsh words from passersby as a yenta than when Cohen dresses her up in a Mets jersey.

“Yankee fans hate on my dog, but she doesn’t know it’s a Mets banner. She’s a dog,” he said.

Passion about sports seemed to be in the air though.Bauer, a shih tzu in a Michigan Jersey, won the “I Still Hate Woody Hayes” award.

Exhibitors at the event were from local pet-related businesses and organizations such as Wiggly Pups dog spa, Hope’s Hand Knits, Bideawee and Cauz for Pawz thrift shop.

Alan Krevis, president of the GNA, said the event has gotten better over the years with little changes such as including the vendors and the addition of the red carpet.

This year’s “was a great day. Everybody had a good time and by the turnout is something the neighborhood enjoys,” he said.