« November 2014 »
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
DUFFY Media Publications
Welcome to the Blog
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile

Thursday, 27 November 2014
Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs

Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs


By Tammy Duffy






Henri Matisse was born in the North of France in 1869.  Unlike the stories of many artists, there are no stories of childhood drawing. It was actually when he was recovering from an operation to remove his appendix at the age of 20, when his mother gave him a box of paints. He would  use his new paint set to escape into a kind of paradise where he was free to be who he wanted to be.  


Matisse traveled the world during his career. These very travels are what fed his creativity, color palette and designs.


In the final years of artist, Henri Matisse’s life, he invented a groundbreaking method of making art. Beginning in the 1940’s he began to make art by cutting shapes out of paper and distributing them in a lively fashion on boards and walls. He described his technique as, ”drawing with scissors.”  These  works became known as cut outs. They represent a brilliant chapter in the creative life of one of the most significant artists of the 20th century.


The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in NYC is hosting the exhibition, Matisse: The Cut-Outs. The exhibition runs from October 12, 2014–February 8, 2015. It is one not to miss.





Early in Matisse’s cut out process he designed book covers and designs for the ballet without really knowing that this was going to be a new medium. One of the pieces in the exhibition entitled, Two Dancers circa 1937, demonstrates an incredible texture and depth.  The work is not flat  it has an incredible depth.


Matisse does not know what he was making. He was cutting paper and making arrangements and  some were for a book, Jazz.  He compared the action of cutting paper to flying. He created a  liveliness to flat paper.  Matisse created Jazz when he was living in France. His wife and daughter were arrested for doing work with the résistance. He was very worried about that. He was working on Jazz at this time.  Some of the iconography can be viewed as ominous and certain images are directly related to German aggression. The wolf is supposed to represent the Gestapo.  There are wonderful bursts of light that have been seen as shells or ammunition blasts. The context in which these pieces were created allow one to understand the history of that time.






The range and intensity of Matisse’s palette is quite extensive.  He was incredibly aware and exact with the use of color.  There were 17 different oranges that he used. Studio assistances would paint his paper in advance.  They would use large sweeping strokes to create the correct color he wanted.  Matisse would then cut the pieces.  He used a fishing rod to place things on the wall to display his cutouts.

Perhaps unexpectedly for a painter who was so completely motivated by color, Matisse’s genius is never so evident as in his drawings—in a few beautifully balanced lines he can express perfectly the character or beauty of his sitter. His works as a sculptor also became of increasing importance to him, and many believe him to have been as gifted a sculptor as he was a painter. 


Time Life commissioned Matisse to create the Piece Christmas Eve.  He never made his stars by cutting them out individually. He would cut out numerous triangles and then build the star from the triangles. He used his cut outs as a form of sculpture.





The female form was an important piece of iconography for Matisse throughout his career.  He made the body out of color with the sweep of his scissors. He united color and drawing by this process.  He would build the figures out of his cutouts. If he had difficultly with a piece he would stop and then do a drawing and use the drawing to help him create the form.  Matisse would spend time outdoors drawing the movement of objects, trees, plants, birds, people, etc. He would then use these drawings to help create his cutouts to create works of art.  He was drawing with scissors.

 The chief function of color should be to serve expression as well as the possibility of thought. Matisse put down his tones without a preconceived plan. If at first, and perhaps without  him having been conscious of it, one tone would particularly seduce or catch him. He would respect this tone while progressively alter and transform all the others. The expressive aspect of color imposed itself on him in a purely instinctive way.  When he would paint an autumn landscape  he would not try to remember what the colors were of the season.  He would be inspired by the sensation that the season aroused in him, the ice purity of the sour blue sky would express the season just as well as the nuances of foliage. 




Matisse’s dedication to his art throughout his life was total and every painting, every work, was the product of painstaking care and thought.









Posted by tammyduffy at 11:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 27 November 2014 11:08 AM EST
Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Solar-Powered Stone Bike Path in the Netherlands Celebrates Van Gogh


To celebrate the life and work of painter Vincent van Gogh, Dutch artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde has created an illuminated bike path inspired by one of van Gogh’s most famous works; “Starry Night”. The path honors the 125th anniversary of Vincent van Gogh’s death in a spectacularly beautiful way. The kilometer-long bike path features 50,000 glow-in-the-dark stones, which have been embedded in the ground.




 The solar-powered stones soak up the sun’s rays by day, resulting in a breath-taking swirling pattern of glowing fragments reminiscent of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.




The installation is part of the larger Van Gogh Cycle Route, which is free of charge and open to the public year round. The entire route measures 335 kilometres and is split into five individual day trips, which connect several Van Gogh heritage sites.


Throughout the year, additional cultural events will take place in the Netherlands, Belgium and France to celebrate the life and work of Van Gogh.


Posted by tammyduffy at 5:51 PM EST
Sunday, 16 November 2014
Christmas Kicks Off Holiday Season at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre

Twas the Night Before Christmas Kicks Off Holiday Season at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre Dec. 5-7; Two Other Shows Add to Merriment


Three theatrical events will give families a festive way to celebrate the holiday season at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre in December. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

The month kicks off with a Kelsey holiday tradition. "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" embraces the joy of the long-awaited midnight visit by Santa Claus. Family audiences will delight in the Kelsey Players' musical adaptation of the famous poem by Clement Moore. Originally penned as a Christmas present for his children, Moore's poem has become a cherished classic. The musical features Kris Kringle, his eight tiny reindeer, some remarkably talented sugar plums, and the cutest mouse in New York City. The Moore family and their neighbors will create a magical winter wonderland set in 1822 New York for audiences of all ages to enjoy.

Performance dates and times are Friday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 6 at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 7 at 2 and 4 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors, students and children.

The "Twas" cast stars Ken Ambs as Clement Moore, Diane Wargo as Eliza Moore, Caroline Herbert as Margaret Moore and Caroline Bednar as Charity Moore. John Costello stars as Kris Kringle.

Also featured are Camryn McAuliff, Jillian Ambs, Logan Ambs, Mason Ambs, Emma Behrens, Taylor Bell, Karenna Breslow, Aimee Clark, Hayden Clark, Melissa Clark, Alisa Danley, Katelyn Dimsey, Bridget Godfrey, Freddie Iezzo, Luddy Iezzo, Marla Iezzo, Mateo Iezzo, Matthew Immordino, Courtney Kosman, Fallyn Niedermaier, Alexys Pulsinelli, Abby Scatena, Leif Simonelli, Sofia Staub, Isabel Urban, Tobias Urban, Zachary Urban, Charley Wojtowicz and Kaitlyn Young.

The production team includes director Diane Wargo, music director Pat Masterson, choreographer Danielle Varanyak, and stage manager Ginny McGowen. Lighting and sound is by Bernie McGowen and costumes are by Kate Pinner.

Next up, for two shows only, the Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre returns to Kelsey Theatre for “El Sueno: A Cultural Holiday Celebration” on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Alborada is New Jersey’s premiere Spanish dance company, which has built a following at Kelsey with its unique adaptation of the cherished holiday classic “The Nutcracker.” Set to live music, Alborada’s acclaimed professional dancers and young artists will perform gypsy flamenco, Spanish regional, and dances from various Latin American cultures. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $14 for students/children.

Capping off the season is another holiday dance treat. The New Jersey Youth Ballet presents its original hour-long, narrated adaptation of "The Nutcracker" ballet on Friday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 20 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Dancers in full costume perform to the famous Tchaikovsky score as they transport audiences to The Land of the Sweets. Tickets are $16 for adults, and $14 for seniors, students and children.

Kelsey Theatre is an official drop-off site for the Marine's Toys for Tots annual holiday drive.  Patrons are encouraged to donate a new, unwrapped toy in the drop box located in the Kelsey Theatre lobby.  Donations will be accepted through Monday, Dec. 15.

Tickets for all shows may be purchased by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333 or online at www.kelseytheatre.net  Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Free parking is available next to the theater.





Celebrate the holiday season with song, dance and poetry at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre. “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” presented by the Kelsey Players Dec. 5-7, starts off the fun.  Clockwise from top left, starring in "Twas the Night Before Christmas" are Ken Ambs as poet Clement Moore, John Costello as Kris Kringle, Diane Wargo as Eliza Moore, Caroline Bednar as Charity Moore and Caroline Herbert as Margaret Moore. Other Kelsey holiday events include “El Sueno: A Cultural Holiday Celebration” for two shows only on Dec. 13; and “The Nutcracker” Dec. 19-21.  Tickets for all events are available by calling the Kelsey Theatre Box Office at 609-570-3333 or online at www.kelseytheatre.net.



Celebrate the holiday season with song, dance and poetry at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre.  Alborada, New Jersey’s premier Spanish dance company, presents “El Sueno: A Cultural Holiday Celebration” for two shows only on Dec. 13.  Other events include “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” Dec. 5-7; and “The Nutcracker” Dec. 19-21.  Tickets for all events are available by calling the Kelsey Theatre Box Office at 609-570-3333 or online at www.kelseytheatre.net.





Posted by tammyduffy at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 15 November 2014
Stephen Knapp Lightpaintings: A photorealistic approach

Stephen Knapp Lightpaintings

A photorealistic approach


By Tammy Duffy




Louis K. Meisel, an American author and proponent of the photorealist art movement, having coined the term in 1969. Louis had an opening at his Gallery on 141 Prince Street in NYC this past week. The exhibition is Stephen Knapp, Lightpaintings.





Stephen’s works with light. He creates sculptures of light.  They are formed both with transmitted through and reflected off of pieces of glass.  As they are arranged in different patterns, each work is a constellation of glass fragments, bracketed to the wall with stainless steel supports, which themselves are incorporated into the final product. The glass used is colored “dichroic glass,” with what appears to be a thin layer of pigmented glass between two transparent layers.  When illuminated by a single, high-intensity light source, some of the light is transmitted through the glass (revealing the color of the pigment), while the some of the light is reflected off the fragment as the color’s compliment.  The result is a fascinating play of colors and shapes that radiates off the work to the surrounding walls.



These “light paintings” are the end result of a lifetime of the artist’s explorations with photography, glass, tiles, metals, and ceramics, as well as light sources. Mr. Knapp, born in Worchester, Massachusetts in 1947, has had an illustrious career, with multiple major commissions of murals and free-standing works, as well as museum and gallery shows throughout the world. Each of his works becomes a collaborative project with the technicians and artisans who work with the chosen materials.  Mr. Knapp’s art becomes a project in artistic social capital building among all those involved to the delight of the viewer.



The brilliant luminosity and three-dimensionality contained in these “sculptural light paintings” make them well worth a visit.  If you think that art is either painting or sculpture, prepare to be dazzled by the difference. You can see these light sculptures at the Louis Meisel Gallery at 141 Prince St, NYC.


Posted by tammyduffy at 8:29 AM EST
Holiday Soiree Featuring Sarah Donner & Scott Barkan




On Friday, December 5 at 7:30 PM, you can join the Arts Council of Princeton for a Holiday Soiree featuring Sarah Donner & Scott Barkan! A local singer-songstress, Sarah is lyrically playful, her music tied together with bright melodies and driving, energetic instrumentals.  You can expect somber humor from guitarist and songwriter Scott Barkan, who will play the gamut, from ethereal ballads to swampy grooves to blistering bluegrass numbers. Tickets are $10/$8 ACP members, students & seniors, available at the door 30 minutes before show time. The event will take place at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ 08542. Parking is available in the Spring and Hulfish Street Garages and at metered parking along Witherspoon Street and Paul Robeson Place.


Sarah Donner is an indie folk-pop songstress who works the stage with a powerful vocals, punchy guitar, and a candid and energetic stage presence. Some of Sarah’s videos have over two million views on YouTube alone, making her a local “web celebrity.” Her music has been featured on Conan O'Brien's blog, NPR, Showtime, and CBS News. It has also been licensed for television shows on Discovery networks, Bravo, MTV, VH1, and Showtime. Learn more about Sarah and her music at sarahdonner.com.

Scott Barkan is a guitarist, singer and songwriter based in New York's Hudson Valley. Scott’s most recent work finds his signature shimmering guitar tones and country improvisations serving as the backdrop for his witty, self-effacing and often heartbreaking lyric writing. Barkan's powerful voice and somber, humorous songwriting always remain front and center, the thread that strings all these elements together. Learn more about Scott and his music at scottbarkanmusic.com.

The Holiday Soiree will take place in the ACP’s intimate Solley Theater at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts. Please call (609) 924-8777 or visit www.artscouncilofprinceton.org for more information. This concert is supported in part by grants from the NJ State Council on the Arts and Wells Fargo Foundation.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP), founded in 1967, is a non-profit organization with a mission of Building Community through the Arts. Housed in the landmark Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, designed by architect Michael Graves, the ACP fulfills its mission by presenting a wide range of programs including exhibitions, performances, free community cultural events, and studio-based classes and workshops in a wide range of media. Arts Council of Princeton programs are designed to be high-quality, engaging, affordable and accessible for the diverse population of the greater Princeton region.

Posted by tammyduffy at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 13 November 2014
America Has Been Snoring

America Has Been Snoring


By Tammy Duffy





The launch of Sputnik and subsequent Russian firsts in space convinced many policymakers in the United States that the country was falling dangerously behind its Cold War rival in science and technology. Acknowledging the strategic significance of the "space race," consecutive U.S. administrations made seminal investments in education and scientific research in an effort to meet the Soviet challenge. The United States is one of the only countries that does not have any state supported universities. There is something to be said for that. These investments not only propelled the United States to preeminence in space exploration in the ensuing decades but also planted the seeds for future innovation and economic competitiveness. For many years the investments in space exploration have decreased significantly. Other priorities have taken precedence. In 2013, a different set of challenges and priorities drove the debate over the U.S. space program, which many analysts believe is once again at a critical juncture.  America has been snoring it is time to wake up.


God Bless the success of ESA (European Space Agency).  They launched the Rosetta spacecraft more than 10 years ago from its Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. Since blasting off in March 2004, Rosetta and its lander Philae have travelled more than 6bn kilometres to catch up with the comet, which orbits the sun at speeds up to 135,000km/h.

This majestic robotic lander  touched down on a comet on Wednesday and came to rest on its side in the shadow of a cliff. Think about this for a moment. It seems almost impossible to be true, yet it happened. The team effort of these scientists will propel ESA and the European counties that are members: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom; into a new era. Wake up USA.

Pictures from cameras on board Philae’s lander show the machine with one foot in the sky and lodged against a high cliff face that is blocking sunlight to its solar panels. A jubilant dance possibly. A dance being done with 10  year old sensors. What can be done today is electrically epic with today’s scientific technology. Let’s do it again!

The media has been very focused on the drama of the flight, the solar panels not getting light, the inability to drill due to the fact Philae’s is in a precarious position.  The media is missing the bigger story. I have been so excited about this the past two days my spine has been tingling. This is a really huge event. This is right up there with the first walk on the moon. It really is.  These kind of epic events drive the success of nation’s economies.  It drives innovation and competiveness.

Think about this. This device was launched 10 years ago.  If you look at the cell phone and the computer you use today versus what you used 10  years ago, there is quite a difference. These amazing scientists got Philae to land on this comet, take amazing photos and is planned for many other galactic feats. The photos have taken our breath away. Again, remember the sensors are ten years old.  They have traveled billions of miles and still work. This is huge. Let us all think about the technology we use today, what we create with an imager be it a camera or a medical device we use sensors and detector. When medical devices are developed there is a team that thinks 10-15 years out in the companies.  They develop devices that hopefully someday make it to market. It drives innovation. It drives technology and advancements in medicine. 

This 10 year old technology will not only help with the project ESA first launched Philae for, it will drive national innovations in Europe. Every chip, sensor, circuit board, software program etc on Philae can eventually find its way into the devices we find in our homes.

Philae touched down at a near perfect spot on the comet’s surface. This comet as well as others are not small. If one of these comets was on its way to hit earth, it would be a “GAME OVER” event. The fact ESA landed on this comet and secured itself could potentially allow us to “nudge” a comet into a new direction if it was coming to earth to perform a “GAME OVER” catastrophe. This is huge.  So, when anchoring harpoons failed to fire, the probe bounced back off into space. So weak is the gravitational pull of the comet, Philae soared 1km into the sky and did not come down again until two hours later.  Again another huge event.   In the time it took the probe to land for the second time, the comet had rotated, bringing more treacherous terrain underneath. The spacecraft bounced a second time and finally came to a standstill on its side at what may be the rim of an enormous crater. Technically, the agency pulled off not only the first landing on a comet in history, but the second and third too. This is a massive event.

Economic, scientific and technological returns of space exploration have far exceeded the investment. Royalties on NASA patents and licenses currently go directly to the U.S. Treasury, not back to NASA.


Right now, all of America’s human space flight programs cost around $7 billion a year. That’s pennies per person per day. In 2006, according to the USDA, Americans spent more than $154 billion on alcohol. We spend around $10 billion a month in Iraq, $3billion on our pets.  I can continue with the comparisons, but I think you get my point.


The debate about the merits of exploring space with humans and robots is as old as the space program itself. There are many arguments that can advance any discussion about the utility of space exploration and the roles of humans and robots.  


Space exploration will eventually allow us to establish a human civilization on another world (e.g., Mars) as a hedge against the type of catastrophe that wiped out the dinosaurs. We can explore space and create important new technologies to advance our economy. It is true that, for every dollar we spend on the space program, the U.S. economy receives about $8 of economic benefit. Space exploration can also serve as a stimulus for children to enter the fields of science and engineering. As we all know this is significantly lacking in the USA.  Space exploration in an international context offers a peaceful cooperative venue that is a valuable alternative to nation state hostilities. One can look at the International Space Station and marvel that the former Soviet Union and the U.S. are now active partners. International cooperation is also a way to reduce costs. I can only hope the USA teams or better, wants to compete with ESA to help drive our economy and our competitive position in a global context.  The national prestige would require that the U.S. become a leader in space. History tells us that great civilizations dare not abandon exploration. There are noble programs being performed by third parties, Virgin Atlantic and Tesla. However, this is not what they do every day as a company. They are distracted by other aspects of their business that give them to create their profitability to allow them to dabble in space exploration.  NASA does not dabble, they live it. 


There are those who say that space is simply too expensive for the return we receive. However, I cannot imagine any U.S. President announcing that we are abandoning space exploration with and without humans and leaving it to the Chinese, Russians, Indians, Japanese or any other group.


Exploration is intrinsic to our nature. It is the contest between man and nature mixed with the primal desire to conquer. It fuels curiosity, inspiration and creativity. The human spirit seeks to discover the unknown, and in the process explore the physical and psychological potential of human endurance.

The $1.58bn Rosetta mission aims to unlock the mysteries of comets, made from ancient material that predates the birth of the solar system.  The mission is so much more than that. In the data Rosetta and Philae collect, researchers hope to learn more of how the solar system formed and how comets carried water and complex organics to the planets, preparing the stage for life on Earth.

Space agencies have sent probes to comets before, but not like this. In 1986, Nasa’s Ice mission flew through the tail of Halley’s comet. In 2005, the agency’s Deep Impact spacecraft fired a massive copper block at comet Temple 1. But none before now has landed.  This  feat marks a profound success for ESA.  Congratulations ESA for a job spectacularly done! The USA is quite jealous.

Posted by tammyduffy at 7:39 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 13 November 2014 7:41 PM EST






Winery Hosts Central Jersey's Most Popular Food Truck,  Fire Pits  and Fireworks Weekend


Saturday, November 29th, 2014

11:00am - 10:00pm
(Fantastic Fireworks Display, Sat., 8pm)
 Sunday, November 30th, 2014

11:00am - 8:00 pm 

 (Season Finale Fireworks Display, Sun.,7pm)


Food and wine lovers will converge at Laurita Winery in New

Egypt for a Laurita Winery Season Finale Country Music, Food Trucks, Fire Pits and Fireworks Weekend.


Bring your lawn chairs and "beach" blankets to enjoy the festivities on Laurita Winery's rolling grassy slopes, many terraces and pergolas overlooking 40 cultivated acres of vineyards, or stake your spot in front of one of our many warm fire pits in "The Grove" a shaded area with children's playgrounds and two entertainment stages.


This is the last one for the season so come get your fill of your favorite food trucks products and don't forget to get our Legendary Sangria or our Fall Harvest Warmed Apple Cider Wine while it lasts. Otherwise you will have to wait until next year for the "2015 Un-Cork the Fun Festival Season" to begin


$8 admission, per person, per day (purchased online or at gate)
Available exclusively online: 
~ $12 weekend admission pass
~ $25 four pack admission 
No Charge for ages 12 and under.


 A Portion of the admission proceeds will be donated to the Linda E. Cardinale Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center at CentraState Medical Center.  

Entrance fee includes; a souvenir Laurita Winery wine glass, live entertainment, parking, shuttle service, vineyard tours and various kid activities.
 No entrance fee charge for our Laurita Winery Preferred Members.

Please Note: This is an outdoor event, we invite you to bring lawn chairs, blankets and warm clothing for cooler weather. Only Laurita wines and Laurita foods are to be consumed at these events. Sorry, no pets allowed.
Laurita Food Truck Festival is a rain or shine event. All tickets sales are final. No exceptions.


Register Now at  this link below!







Posted by tammyduffy at 7:32 AM EST
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
Photography Exhibition Opens at Hunterdon Art Museum Nov. 23



Photography Exhibition Opens at Hunterdon Art Museum Nov. 23


Yevette Hendler, Closed for Breakfast, 2012, pigmented inkjet print, 11 X 14 inches (16 X 20 framed), courtesy of the artist.


In her Hunterdon Art Museum solo photographic exhibition, Yevette Hendler finds beauty in decay. Through her lens, Hendler shows viewers the spaces and places that have been forgotten and neglected, and captures their hidden charms.


Hendler was selected for a solo show from the Museum’s 2013 Members Exhibition. The opening reception for Yevette Hendler: A Journey to DISREGARD is Sunday, Nov. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. Everyone is welcome, and wine and cheese will be served. The exhibition runs until Jan. 4, 2015.

Hendler is a local self-taught photographic artist who lives in Bloomsbury, NJ. She captures images of the local beauty that surrounds us every day specializing in textures, and getting in close to the subject and things that would otherwise go unseen. Hendler’s images reflect her passion for photography through capturing the details and vivid colors of the world that surrounds us thus creating fine art that is impactful and memorable.

Hendler is a member of ACE: Arts Community of Easton and the Hillcrest Camera Club and has displayed her works at the Easton State Theater, Oxford Municipal Gallery, Nuture Nature, LaDuca Gallery, Sigal Museum, St. John’s Gallery in Easton, PA, the Hunterdon County Library, Allentown Art Works and Moravian College. 



Posted by tammyduffy at 6:45 PM EST
Monday, 10 November 2014


Posted by tammyduffy at 8:19 AM EST
Saturday, 8 November 2014
When A Race Director Does Not Care

When A Race Director Does Not Care





I’ve been running races for decades. I have literally been to hundreds of races from small 5K’s to Ironman triathlons.  As in any event, mistakes can happen and people adjust. However, when the mistakes are brought to the attention of the race director year after year and the same mistakes and bigger mistakes are made, it’s time for the race director to be removed before someone gets hurt.


This weekend was the Trenton Half Marathon. This is an annual event  where founder Chris Seiler and Race Director Jennifer Levine have again proven their inability to coordinate the basics for a race.


The inaugural event of this race was in 2011, right after Hurricane Sandy. Where many races were cancelled (including  the NYC marathon) the Trenton Half Marathon prevailed that year…or did it.  As a participant in the race, here is what I saw. No Gatorade at all, the race started 45 minutes late, the volunteers were not properly trained because they could not answer the simplest of questions, there was no food or water for the runners at the end of the race because the food was put in an area where the general public could feast on the pizza, pretzels and water., there was one shuttle bus for thousands of people, people were forced to walk back to Lafayette street at the end of the marathon….which is several miles away, etc. This is basic planning for a race.  



Jennifer Levine, race director, claims she has ran 26 marathons. As the Trenton Marathon race director, she is a failure. I think she has ran them in her sleep. Just because someone can race a car does not make them a mechanic.  Jennifer clearly is not a mechanic. I am not sure she is even a marathoner. There is no way she could have ever ran 26 marathons and have so poorly orchestrated this marathon three years running.  She is creating an unsafe experience for runners. At a cost of $100 for the race, we deserve better. This has got to change.

 The mistakes of an incompetent Race Director such as Ms. Levine  come in all shapes and sizes.


Inaccurate Course


I’ve run and timed numerous races that were +/- a tenth of a mile off. The difference is that 10-20 years ago, races were put on by runners, now they are often put on by non-profits, people who don’t run and have never been to a race. Now that’s fine, but if you want to raise money for your charity/non-profit you also have to be respectful to the guy who pays $30 to run your 5K, but does not care about the cause or charity. It’s even more important if you want your race to grow, your reputation is on the line.


If you put on a race, I’d guess that at least 10% of the runners will have a Garmin (gps watch), thus they will know if the course is short or long. You’ll also have serious runners, who can simply tell by their time if the course is short or long.  It’s my pet peeve so get it right. It’s 2014 and it’s easier than ever to have an accurate course. The other side of the coin is if you utilize a USATF certified course, know the course inside and out,  just because the course you are using is certified doesn’t mean that you will lay it out correctly or executed properly by the race director.


A marathoner, Tom Garvey said,”Wouldn't mind if you forgot about the 10k results since the lead pack was directed up an on-ramp and into traffic! We had a solid 11k race.”  This is quite ridiculous. An entire 1k off. Come on Jennifer, get it together.  Meagan Elly, another marathoner today said, ”That was not cool at all! I was pissed!!” Tom Garvey continued to say, There should be an 11k refund award. And just to pile on it was straight up a hill right into oncoming traffic! 



Today’s Trenton Marathon started 25 minutes late. They even closed the streets a whole 30 minutes earlier so they could get their acts together and they still failed to get the race started on time.

This is inexcusable. To ever put runners in a position where they could possibly get hurt is unacceptable. I would venture  to guess Jennifer Lavine could care less.


This race is supposed to bring in revenue to the city of Trenton, it’s a race for the city. The VIP dinner the night before the race was not even in Trenton it was in Lawrenceville. So no revenue to the city of Trenton.  When Jennifer was asked why she did this she was perplexed, no idea why people were annoyed, her response was ,”Really?” The Mayor of Trenton who should have been at that event could not go because it was not in his town. 


Let’s talk about the parking for the runners the day of the event. We were asked to park in Pennsylvania and near the city Capital and walk several miles to the start line.  This is unheard of. There are always shuttles that take runners to the start line if it’s far away. There was a single shuttle that went from one hotel in Trenton that held 20 people. There were 3500 runners at the race.





When I went to get pick up my bib  for the marathon, I quickly noticed something that I have never seen at any race. The race director posted all of the names, addresses and ages of all 3500 attendees at the exit of the hotel. Anyone from the street (which is in Trenton, NJ) could just walk in and see all of the information, there are children , 6 , 7, 9 and 11 years of age and older on the list.   I found this disturbing. I have never seen this at any marathon or race I have ran. I asked the race director to remove it she refused.  I spoke to the hotel management and hotel security and they could not make her remove it but they were equally as alarmed.  The hotel recommended that we call the Trenton police. The police came arrived and asked  Jennifer to remove it and she still refused. Her comment to me  was," it's not your kid, why do you care. If their parents have no issue why should  you care" She did not realize or even ask if any of the kids I was concerned about were related to me or mine.  I asked her to place it in the expo and not next to the exit by the street, she refused. Many years ago there was a small child that was kidnapped and murdered in my town. Her parents allowed her and her brother to run the streets to all hours of the night, unsupervised. My Father used to walk her and her brother home constantly into the wee hours of the night. My Father would have strong discussions with the parents, who seemed annoyed that my Father cared that their kids were roaming the streets unattended into the dark night. The young girl was murdered one day because no one was watching her. It was horrible for the town and became an internationally known event.

I also learned from the hotel staff that Jennifer and her staff were graphically rude to everyone. They treated the very nice staff at the hotel like garbage. This is inexcusable. This is not the type of people you want running your race. They truly do not care. Just in it for the money.


This marathon has been lacking safety, no Gatorade, no food at the end because they do not keep the general public away from it or the runners, you have to walk miles to get back to your car because there are no shuttles, today, runners were sent directly into oncoming traffic.


What Jennifer Lavine did this year, with posting all the addresses, ages and personal information of every runner was beyond outrageous. Her egregious lack of safety and care for the runners is alarming.  It is a criminals wet dream to see a list like she posted, it could cause break in’s, a child getting kidnapped and god knows what else.  I reached out to Hal Higdon (an internationally known marathoner who is very well respected in the world of running) to get a pulse check on the situation. He said,” Obviously she has an attitude. Not sure what I would advise other than staying away from that race in the future.” I highly advise everyone take Hal’s advise.


Since this marathon started a few years ago it has horrifically decreased in safety. Against my better judgment I signed up for it again this year. A friend guilt tripped me into signing up, to support the city. I told him, it’s a logistical mess and do not enjoy paying $100 to get annoyed. They were not even collecting waivers. I did not give one and no one asked for one from me when I picked up my bib. Another huge problem. So what happened this year. Well, another late start, 25 minutes, no Gatorade until mile 6, the incorrect course distances, sending runners into oncoming traffic, having racers walk miles pre and post race to parking areas, is a small list of what happened today, if you finished early you could not leave until the last runner was in. They closed all the streets around the race exit so no one could leave. I gathered up other runners and gave them rides back to the hotel because there were no shuttles available to do so.


At the end of the race there was food, a stale pretzel and a banana, and a bottle of water. I would think $100 would get me a sandwich. It does at all the other marathons and half marathons I have done where I paid $100 to run. Shame on you Jennifer. It’s all about the money for you and not the well being of the runners. Several of us over the years have given the race director, Jennifer Lavine input to make the race safe and better for all of us. She continues to ignore everyone’s input.


This race is supposed to help the local Trenton businesses. I learned about a pasta dinner being held at the hotel from another runner. There was no notification sent out from Jennifer to the entire 3500 participants.”  This I lost revenue to the city. This is not what is supposed to happen.




I would grade the event today in this category a D-. There was a 5K, 10K and the half marathon and all the runners started at the same time. I have already explained above all of the other things that happened today.  It was also noted that right before all the runners started through the gate, the gate collapsed. The blow up deflated and this also delayed the race. They had to blow it back up.



Be respectful of runners time, especially faster runners who finish the race often times an hour before the awards presentation. If it’s a 5K, have awards about an hour to 1:10 after the race. When you get the awards posting from the timer, get to it, it’s not the time to talk for 10-15 minutes about the cause or organization. I understand that many races are for a charity, but if you want to grow the event, you need to attract runners and by putting on a professional event, that’s what makes runners come back to your race. At a minimum, get a decent prize for the overall male/female winners. Generally you can ask a running store and they will be happy to donate a gift card. The awards ceremony did not happen at the 10:30am time. We waited until 11:00AM and still nothing. We left.


Race directors need to be careful about offering up multiple distances in one race, unless they are an experienced race director; I’d wait a few years and learn how to put on one event flawlessly before adding more to it.  There was a lot of advertising done to discount the runner’s fee to the event. Even with the discount it was still $90 to run today.


Directing a race can be a rewarding event. It is a great way to get runners or walkers together to do something they enjoy. It’s a great opportunity to raise money for your or a chosen charity or cause. It’s also a great way to raise awareness for a cause. Directing a race entails a lot of aspect and can be time consuming as much as rewarding. When a race director loses sight of the basics and safety, its time to share that experience and make sure other runners never experience it either.


I will take the very wise advice of Internationally known and respected, Hal Higdon, “I would advise staying away from that race in the future.”  Very wise advice.

Posted by tammyduffy at 4:13 PM EST

Newer | Latest | Older