Tuesday, May 17, 2016

All in a day or two

Curtain call for Firebird starring Misty Copeland, Marcelo Gomes, Cory Stearns, and Stella Abrera. 9:08 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Yesterday in New York was bright and sunny and on the chilly side, and with heavy breezes in morning, and the heat on in the apartment building. Unusual in a morning in May.

The week on the calendar started off with bang. Publicolor, Stir, Splatter + Roll held their 20th Anniversary celebration with cocktails and dinner at the Metropolitan Pavilion. They  honored Michael Bloomberg and John Rosenwald, longtime generous supporters of Ruth Shuman’s life cause: Preparing high-risk students for success in college and career, and catalyzing change in struggling schools and communities.

And how do they do it? Everyone starts with a paintbrush and a can of paint and with their friends and fellow students, begin to transform the dismal atmosphere of their own neglected school buildings, and also begin the satisfaction of experiencing the change they created.
Ruth Shuman at home.
Publicolor’s student volunteers have experienced the transformation process in more than 400 New York City schools and under-resourced community sites since 1996. So last night was celebrating the 20th anniversary of this grand accessibility to purposes and personal satisfaction for more than 16,000 at-risk students.

I don’t know this for sure, but I’d bet Messrs. Bloomberg and Rosenwald have been  supporting this process since the beginning, or shortly thereafter. Ms. Shuman is a mountain-mover (and student-inspirer).
Ruth Shuman and Mr. Bloomberg at Publicolor's 20th Anniversary celebration last night.
Then also last night, over at the Metropolitan Opera House, The American Ballet Theatre was hosting its Spring Gala, black tie, with dinner and dancing (to the beats of DJ Coleman) on the Promenade in the David H. Koch Theater immediately following the performance. Mr. and Mrs. JH were in attendance at the performance. I was also told by Sharon Hoge who stopped by to see the arrivals resplendent in their evening clothes. She said the gowns were extraordinary.
Entering the Metropolitan Opera House lobby for the ABT Spring Gala performance.
Inside the Met Opera House.
JH also reported: The evening's performances featured the World Premiere of Serenade after Plato's Symposium by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky with music by Leonard Bernstein, ABT's Firebird starring Misty Copeland, Marcelo Gomes, Cory Stearns, and Stella Abrera, and the return of the fabulous quinquagenarian Alessandra Ferri to the Met's stage dancing Requiem beautifully accompanied by soprano Ying Fang).
Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre, Kevin McKenzie, opens the evening.
Alessandra Ferri and Ying Fang following their performance of Requiem (Pie Jesu).
Curtain call for Sylvia (Hunt Scene), The Sleeping Beauty (Act II Excerpt), and La Fille mal Gardée (Act I, Scene 1 Pas de Deux).
Curtain call for Alexei Ratmansky's Serenade after Plato's Symposium starring Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, Blaine Hoven, Calvin Royal III, Gabe Stone Shayer, Danil Simkin, James Whiteside, and Devon Teuscher. The ballet is an abstract exploration of some of the themes that Plato investigated within his Symposium.
The orchestra pit during intermission.
Following the performance, guests moved to the David H. Koch Theater for dinner and dancing to the beats of DJ Coleman.
Exiting the Opera House.
Milling about in the lobby of the David H. Koch Theater before dinner.
The Grand Promenade set for dinner.
Dessert preparation.
Pamela Ford, Mary Snow, Sutton Stracke, and Caryn Zucker served as the Spring Gala Chairs. Guests included Misty Copeland, Bridget Moynahan, Sophie Okonedo, Molly Ringwald, Jennifer Tilly, Cynthia Erivo, Nigel and Cristen Barker, Lais Ribeiro, Amy Astley, Anh Duong, Audrey Gruss, Christine and Steve Schwarzman, Ariana Rockefeller, Brian Atwood, Carmen Marc Valvo, Diane von Furstenberg, Eric Rutherford, Fe Fendi, Sherrell and Muffie Aston, Susan Fales-Hill, Judith Hoffman, Jamee Gregory, Joanne De Guardiola, Gillian and Sylvester Miniter, Elyse Newhouse, Jean and Martin Shafiroff, Joey Maalouf, Natalie Kaplan, Prabal Gurung, Serena Boardman, Star Jones, and many more.
The David H. Koch Theater. 9:30 PM.
Same hour, over at the Plaza, Ballet Hispanico was hosting its B Carvaval Benefit with a dinner dance.

Same time, up at the American Museum of Natural History, I was attending the annual PEN Literary Gala. This is always a very special evening, attended by hundreds, black tie and swarming with the literati and their admirers. The tables are hosted by dozens of famous writers, novelists, historians. Last night’s list included Martin Amis, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Ken Auletta, Alex Berenson, Gail Lumet Buckley, Robert Caro, Roz Chast, Susan Cheever, Ron Chernow, Harry Evans, Isabel Fonseca, Amanda Foreman, Henry Louis Gates, James Goodale, A. M. Homes, Margo Jefferson, Jay McInerney, Daphne Merkin, Sidney Offit, Darryl Pinkney, Francine Prose, Salman Rushdie, Stacy Schiff, Zadie Smith, Gay Talese, Jeffrey Toobin, Vicky Ward, and many more.
The cocktail hour in the Grand Gallery of the American Museum of Natural History for the annual PEN Gala.
The evening’s chairs were Cathy Graham, Jay McInerney and Alexandra Munroe. Honorary Chairs were Annette Tapert Allen and Toni Goodale.  Andrew Solomon, who is President of PEN America, presided with an opening speech about the freedom to express, the freedom to write openly and without fear of political oppression.

They honored publisher Michael Pietsch, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and Lee-Anne Walters, J.K. Rowling and Ahmed Naji. But more about that tomorrow ...
Honoree, publisher Michael Pietsch making his acceptance speech.
Lee-Anne Walters and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha who were awarded the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award. Ms. Walters was the young mother who first brought attention to the issue of the polluted drinking water that was poisoning the community of Flint, Michigan. Dr. Hanna-Attisha backed her with her professional expertise. The PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award was presented to Ahmed Naji who is in an Egyptian jail for having written a novel. The man on the left is his brother who was there to accept his award, and Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN AMERICA.
J.K. Rowling who was presented the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award, introduced by Sarah Jessica Parker and presented by Annette Tapert Allen.
While last Thursday, May 12th, Rockefeller University’s Women & Science Initiative held its 19th Annual Spring Lecture and Luncheon, at the campus on York Avenue and 66th Street.

Guests at the Women & Science Initiative.
This year’s lecture subject was “How Long Could We Live?; Harnessing our Longevity Genes,” and the lecturer was Cynthia Kenyon, Ph.D., who is vice-president of Aging Research at Calico, a new venture launched by the founders of Google, which is searching for innovative technological approaches to extend human life and health.

Prior to Caliico, Dr. Kenyon received her PhD at MIT. In 1986 she joined the faculty of the University of California San Francisco, before joining Calico in 2014.

Dr. Kenyon's research has shown that aging is not an arbitrary outcome of time and physical deterioration; rather, it is a biological process subject to genetic control.

She began finding evidence of this in the early 1990s, when she discovered genetic mutations that dramatically extend the lifespan of C. elegans, the tiny, soil-dwelling worm that is her favorite research model. Worms with certain gene mutations lived five times longer than average and, amazingly, they also displayed the energy, flexibility, and smooth appearance of normal young worms.

Dr. Kenyon has found longevity genes within a C. elegans hormonal circuit that corresponds to the human insulin system. A key regulator of this pathway, FOXO, has a counterpart gene in humans that is often mutated in an intriguing population: centenarians.
Cynthia Kenyon, Ph.D.
Cynthia Kenyon, Ph.D. and event host Marc Tessier Lavigne.
In studies of worms and mice, Dr. Kenyon and her colleagues have also identified a neural protective pathway that may help to explain the causes of age-related dementia. She sees great promise in efforts to forestall many diseases simultaneously by designing therapies that act upon the genes and proteins that influence aging.

Well. If you don’t think Dr. Kenyon’s thoughts and data weren’t riveting  to an audience of basically middle- to senior-age adults — mainly women —  a friend of mine (female) who attended told me you could hear a pin drop in that Geodesic dome-like auditorium as the good doctor was sharing her knowledge.
Post-lecture luncheon under the tent.
This is what makes this luncheon so special. It is unique in its way, not unlike the famous Hat Lunch of the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy. That lunch was about (generally speaking) what one wore on one’s head. This one is about the head on our shoulders and what’s in it for all of us. I’m simplifying to explain how compellingly available is the content of this annual Women & Science Luncheon.

Several hundred attend every year, and the sold-out lecture is followed by a bright and cheerful Spring luncheon under a large transparent tent just outside the auditorium to hold a couple of hundred guests. By New York 21st century standards it is also a glamorous affair in that people attending are looking their best (and last Thursday’s Kenyon lecture shed light on why it is worth it to present one’s best), and thinking their best.
A light lunch of poached salmon and steamed vegetables was served.
The event was hosted by Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D. President of The Rockefeller University. Among those attending were Samantha Boardman Rosen, M.D., Nancy Kissinger, Sydney R. Shuman, Debra Black,  Amy Falls Rogers, Agnes Gund, Anna Chapman, M.D. and Lulu Wang.
Blair Pillsbury Enders and Alison Cody. Samantha Boardman Rosen.
Anne Baker and Melissa Reichman. Princess Firyal of Jordan.
Marnie Pillsbury, Sydney Shuman, Beth Rudin DeWoody, and Cynthia Whitehead.
Debra Black. Claudia Overstrom. Jessica Hart.
Eliza Bolen, Amy Falls Rogers, and Jane Foley Fried.
Elizabeth McCreery and Shelley Carr. Nancy Kissinger.
Kristina Perkin Davison.
Daisy Helman and Amanda Eilian. Julia Koch.
Eva Andersson-Dubin, Beth Dozoretz, and Marcia Mishaan.
Bianca Duenas and Jeanne Garbarino.
On May 3rd, The Child Mind Institute hosted the 13th Annual Adam Katz Memorial Conversation, featuring a candid and funny conversation between award-winning comedian, actress, human rights advocate and host of The View Whoopi Goldberg and Child Mind Institute President Dr. Harold Koplewicz. The event brought together more than 350 parents and educators at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College for an in-depth discussion about Goldberg's struggles and triumphs living with dyslexia.

Ms. Goldberg, known for her noteworthy performances in such films as The Color Purple and Ghost, for which she won an Oscar, reflected on the difficulties she had in school because of her dyslexia, and praised her mother for her untiring support.
Child Mind Institute President Dr. Harold Koplewicz and Whoopi Goldberg.
"What I remember about being a kid was that I felt pretty protected, I wasn't afraid and I had a mother who understood after a while that there was something different about the way I learned things," she told the crowd. "It takes people a little while to accept that something's going on and it's not that you're being lazy. It's not that you're not trying."

Ms. Goldberg also shared some examples of the techniques she's discovered to overcome her dyslexia. She revealed that when she's required to learn a new script, she enlists someone to read the lines out loud with her so she can memorize them. In addition, when writing a book, she dictates the book to an assistant and then afterward, in order to maintain her style and cadence, has it read back to her and then edits it.
The annual Adam Katz Memorial Conversation is designed to raise awareness and educate the public about mental health and learning disorders affecting families nationwide, and is part of the Child Mind Institute's annual Speak Up for Kids campaign. This year's Katz Conversation was co-sponsored by Understood.org, a nonprofit committed to helping children and families struggling with learning and attention issues. For those unable to attend, a live stream of the event was available, and was watched by 2000 people worldwide.

The Child Mind Institute shares all of its resources freely and does not accept any funding from the pharmaceutical industry. Learn more at childmind.org.
Understood.org Managing Director Kevin Hager, Whoopi Goldberg, Vice President of the Poses Family Foundation Priscilla Rodriguez, and Child Mind Institute President Dr. Harold Koplewicz.
Dr. Harold Koplewicz, Whoopi Goldberg, and Hunter College President Jennifer Raab.
Dr. Harold Koplewicz, Whoopi Goldberg and Child Mind Institute Board Chair Brooke Garber Neidich.
As a part of its annual Speak Up for Kids campaign, The Child Mind Institute was at it again last week as they held its 2nd annual Change Maker Awards honoring several individuals and organizations that are making positive change in children's mental health and raising awareness of the need for early intervention to help kids lead healthy lives. More than 17.1 million children in the U.S. struggle with mental health and learning disorders. Fewer than half get the help they need, but these honorees are working to change that.
Wendy Svarre and Dr. Harold Koplewicz.
Cynthia McFadden and Brandon Marshall.
Cynthia McFadden hosted the event, and was joined on stage by Ann Sullivan, Commissioner of the NYS Office of Mental Health and Wendy Svarre, President and CEO of Hunter, The Americas, which sponsored the awards and has supported the organization for six years. Awards were presented to the following individuals and organizations:

CHAMPION AWARD: New York Jet Brandon Marshall
Throughout his stellar NFL career, Brandon Marshall has been a game changer — on and off the field. But his courage to speak openly about his mental health is even more striking. After being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2011, Brandon and his wife Michi co-founded PROJECT 375 to combat stigma and improve access to care and information.
COMMUNITY BUILDER AWARD: Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health.

Through its 2,700 member organizations, the National Council for Behavioral Health serves 10 million families living with mental illness and addiction, and works to ensure access to high-quality care. Linda Rosenberg has led the National Council in helping secure passage of the federal parity law, expanding integrated services, and introducing Mental Health First Aid in the U.S., among many other initiatives.

CORPORATE ADVOCATE AWARD: ALEX AND ANI. Represented by Carolyn Rafaelian, Founder, CEO & Chief Creative Officer.

Carrying on a family tradition of jewelry making, Carolyn Rafaelian founded ALEX AND ANI® in 2004. Named for her first two daughters, the eco-conscious jewelry and accessories brand reflects Rafaelian's values and charitable focus. To date, ALEX AND ANI | CHARITY BY DESIGN® has raised more than $30 million for charities around the world, including the Child Mind Institute.
Dr. Harold Koplewicz, Linda Rosenberg, Muffy Walker, Dr. Maria Mercedes Avila, Carolyn Rafaelian, and Brandon Marshall.
Utilizing the reach of social media, the following Outstanding Organization and Local Hero Awards were crowd sourced, with nearly 4,000 people from across the nation participating in nominating and voting. The winners are:

OUTSTANDING ORGANIZATION AWARD: International Bipolar Foundation, Represented by Board Chair Muffy Walker.

The International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) is dedicated to improving understanding and treatment of bipolar disorder. Founded in 2007, the organization supports research, promotes care and resources, and raises awareness through educational programs and World Bipolar Day each March 30th.

LOCAL HERO AWARD: Maria Mercedes Avila, PhD, Program Co-Director, Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment Disabilities, University of Vermont College of Medicine.

Dr. Avila is dedicated to serving children and youth at the margins — refugees and immigrants, teens struggling with mental health problems, and young adults affected by substance abuse. She has secured funding for programs that address these critical issues, and works to eliminate inequality in access to resources and programming.
Dan Neidich, Brooke Garber Neidich, Mike Fascitelli, and Christine Mack.
The Change Maker Awards are part of the Child Mind Institute's annual signature public education campaign, Speak Up for Kids, held each May to promote children's mental health. In its sixth year, the campaign celebrates people making change in children's mental health and provides accurate information to the media, families, educators and leaders that empowers them to speak up for kids.

Photographs by Scott Rudd (Rockefeller Institute)

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