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Saturday, 21 February 2015
Ron Arad: An Italian Romance

Ron Arad: An Italian Romance


By Tammy Duffy




Paul Kasmin Gallery in NYC opened their solo exhibition of metal works by Ron Arad (b. 1951). The exhibition, entitled, In Reverse, opened on February 12, 2015, incorporates work completed by Arad in 2007, 2011 and 2013. The exhibition closes on March 14, 2015.


Arad was born in Tel Aviv.  He attended the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem and the Architectural Association in London. In 1989, with Caroline Thorman, he founded Arad Associates, an architecture and design firm, in London.


This exhibition, In Reverse, was first installed at the Design Museum Holon, an iconic building that Arad designed in Israel.  The exhibition is comprised of six “Pressed Flower” sculptures made from compressed Fiat 500’s in various colors; brown, blue, red, white and  yellow, a walking bookcase, and much more.


The Arad’s first family car in 1949 was a Fiat Topilino Giradineeta. This car was one generation before the cinquecento.  One day, during the early morning hours when Arad’s was only 7, one of his neighbors came to their door to tell them that their  father had been in an tragic accident.  The family rushed to the scene of the accident on their bicycles. They quickly saw that their family Fiat had been run over by a large garbage van.  They could not believe that anyone got out of the car alive. His father nearly died in that accident. Arad’s father is still alive, at the age of 96, and refuses to stop driving.



Thirty years ago, Arad was taking a flight to Rome and was contemplating purchasing his first Fiat.  During his time in Rome he questioned,” Why are there so many older Fiat’s in Rome, but no Fiat 600’s?”  During his travels as he was stopped at a traffic light he shouted out to a driver of a Fiat. “Are you selling your car?”  The driver surprisingly said, “Yes.”  Arad purchased the car for $500. By shear coincidence, the driver actually lived in Arad’s neighborhood in London.  At the moment of purchase of his first Fiat, Arad said,” Some day this car will be art.” The car is still parked in Arad’s driveway rusting away (next to his new Fiat) and collecting moss.  It is not part of the exhibition. However, his statement did come true, that Fiat’s would become art some day.   


Fiat owners are unique. I waited for two years to obtain my 2013 Cinquecento (aka, Vincenzo Botticelli) to get the right color. The designer and internationally known Lapo Elkann pushed Fiat to have his grandfather Gianni Agneli’s company bring back its iconic Cinquencento.  He was successful. We do crazy things with our Fiat’s, they are like members of the family.



As you enter the exhibition as a lover of Fiat’s your reaction is not what you think it would be. You initial thought is, how could he have compressed all these beautiful vintage Cinquecento’s? This is a sacrilegious act, one could possibly think.  However, what one experiences upon walking from car to car is a romantic interlude.  Your love for the Fiat is exemplified. You cannot help but stare at each vehicle and see its compression made imperfections. Imperfections that are perfect. The beautiful chrome bumpers on every vehicle survive the compression. How is that possible? The Fiat is superhuman.  These three dimension action paintings will mesmerize you. You imagine the life each Fiat had. Who drove them, where they went, what they saw, what loved one was carried in them and what trials and tribulations they experienced. One of the vehicles actually still has the keys in it. One can almost envision turning the keys to the on position. Where would it take you? See where it takes you.


So where did Arad get the Fiat’s for his exhibition? From a very nice family garage owned by the Proietti family. Anyone who owns a Fiat knows who the Proiettoi’s are. For those novices, they are THE godfather’s of vintage Fiat 500’s. They have babysat some Fiat’s in their garage for more than 30 years.  They are the international cartakers of vintage Fiat’s. The first conversations that Arad had with the Proietti’s were difficult. They could not understand why he wanted to destroy these vintage beauties. Arad convinced them he was not killing them but resurrecting them and making them immortal. Immortalization was the easy part. Getting the Fiats out of Italy proved to be quite the difficult task.


Arad compressed these vehicles as a therapeutic exercise from his childhood. Seeing  the family Fiat compressed by the garbage truck at such a young age was traumatic. Compressing these Fiat’s prove to be liberating. His love for his Father oozes from the vehicles. The first vehicle was compressed by an anthropomorphic monster. First they placed it between two steel compression plates and squeezed it to death. Then to finish it off, they removed it from the monster and placed tons of heavy rock on top of the Fiat and ran a construction vehicle over it numerous times. This process took two days. This was going to take too long, so he took the cars to Centraalstaal B.V. in the Netherlands to be placed in a professional compressor. This compression processes took just minutes per car to complete.


Go to this link below to see more photos from this exhibition



The exhibitions romance does not end there. As you walk to the back of the gallery there is an architectural structure sitting on the floor. At first you are not sure what it is. The piece is entitled, Restless. It is a walking bookcase. This is insanely romantic. As we think of all the books on our shelves, those we have read, reread, lent and borrowed. We think about where our books have traveled, where they have led us to travel. The walking bookcase can represent so many things. It represents the restless movement of information. If someone does not have the information or knowledge, one can use the structure to help fulfill a need. Maybe even help cure a broken heart. This exhibition lifted my heart. 


Some of Arad's past work has been described by critics as "scary", considering its "macho concrete and cut metal; tense sheets of tempered steel and guillotine edges.” His biomorphic shapes are created from his medium of choice, steel.


In 2008, he designed the Bauhus Museum in Tel Aviv. In 2008–09, Arad paired with Kenzo to create his first perfume bottle. The bottle was on display in his exhibit No Discipline. He has also designed the Design Museum Holon together with Bruno Asa, which opened in Israel in 2010. Also, in 2010, Arad started his collaboration with New Eye London to design an eyewear collection.

Go to this link below to see a video that is in the exhibition 


The romantic aspects of this exhibition do not end within the walls of the gallery. I received the most wonderful surprise after I purchased the hard cover book, that coincides with the exhibition. As you read the book, you come across these beautifully arranged pressed flowers throughout the book.  They are the same color as the Fiat’s in the exhibition. They are strategically placed in the book. The flowers are placed in areas of the book that make mention of his father in some instances. This is just lovely, creative beyond belief and utterly romantic. 

Posted by tammyduffy at 1:54 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 22 February 2015 8:32 AM EST



By Tammy Duffy 






The 9thannual, ‘Where Music Meets Couture Fashion Show, brought together a host of celebrities and professional athletes for an altruistic cause. The festive occasion occurred on Friday, February 13th at The Attic Rooftop Lounge, during the NBA All-Star Weekend, and illustrious New York Fashion Week.


Attendees enjoyed a fabulous VIP mix and mingle against the backdrop of complimentary cocktails, sponsored by Star Vodka, Beverage Company. Following the pre social mixer, guests enjoyed a variety of posh couture looks, sported by a prestigious list of renowned athletes and celebrities. The models for the evening included, featured celebrity model, Nicole Murphy, NY Giants, Walter Thurmond III, St. Louis Rams, Rodney Mcleod Jr., Oakland Raiders, DJ Hayden, Brooklyn Nets, Darius Morris, and French Professional Basketball Player, Alexandre Nicolai. The opulent affair also featured garments and accessories by Columbian Designer, Edwing D’Angelo, the Tyrell Collection, Schuyler, Nikini Swimwear, and the Andrew Harris Collection. 


The annual fashion soiree not only recognizes the success of the CEPR team, but also its notable list clients and partners, too. Additionally, the gala serves as the perfect platform to help bring relevance to the benefit of supporting charities and worthy causes. For this year’s showcase, CEPR donated a portion of the event’s proceeds to the Walter Thurmond Foundation for Arts and Education, which benefits the improvement of youth literacy within inner-city schools.


Posted by tammyduffy at 12:01 AM EST
HAM Tapestry Program Features Master Weavers

HAM Tapestry Program Features Master Weavers

The Hunterdon Art Museum is hosting a daylong celebration of tapestry on Sunday, March 22 beginning at 9 a.m.

The event, A Day of Contemporary Tapestry, includes lectures and demonstrations by master weavers Archie Brennan and Susan Martin Maffei. Guests will be treated to opening and closing receptions and can tour the Museum’s Contemporary International Tapestry exhibition, which features the works of 39 renowned artists – including Martin Maffei and Brennan -- and fills three galleries. There’s an optional lunch available from Metropolitan Seafood Co.

Tuition is $50 or $40 for Hunterdon Art Museum members.

For more information or to register, please call 908-735-8415 or visit www.hunterdonartmuseum.org.

Contemporary International Tapestry runs until May 10. The Museum, located at 7 Lower Center St. in Clinton, is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


The Hunterdon Art Museum presents changing exhibitions of contemporary art, craft and design in a 19th century stone mill that is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Founded in 1952, the Museum is a landmark regional art center showcasing works by established and emerging contemporary artists. It also offers a dynamic schedule of art classes and workshops for children and adults.

Posted by tammyduffy at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 21 February 2015 2:19 AM EST
Friday, 20 February 2015
Expanded Art After Hours Programming, “More in March” at the Zimmerli

Expanded Art After Hours Programming, “More in March” at the Zimmerli


New Brunswick, NJ – The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers offers “More in March” with a dynamic schedule of programs and new exhibitions. In addition to the regular schedule of events during Art After Hours: First Tuesdays, the evening includes a special presentation of the talk “Vision Research: Interactions between Scientists and Artists.” For music lovers, the New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra salon series and Music at the Museum invite audiences to explore music in new ways. For younger artists, Passport to Art and Drawing Club offer opportunities to get creative. Activities take place at the Zimmerli, located at 71 Hamilton Street in New Brunswick, on the Rutgers University College Avenue campus. Admission to the museum and public programs is free. Registration fees vary for classes and workshops. For more details, visit www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu.


The Zimmerli stays open late on March 3 for Art After Hours: First Tuesdays. The evening kicks off with a curator-led tour, at 6 p.m., of George Segal in Black and White: Photographs by Donald Lokuta. Lokuta met Segal in 1984 at the sculptor’s studio, located on his family’s farm in South Brunswick, sparking an artistic alliance that would engage him for more than 16 years and result in nearly 15,000 negatives. This new exhibition provides rare glimpses of Segal in the studio, as well as with friends and family. The tour is immediately followed by the next selection in the Big Ten: Art series, spotlighting an intriguing work from the Zimmerli’s collection. At 6:30, Rutgers Professor and Busch Campus Dean Thomas Papathomas presents “Vision Research: Interactions between Scientists and Artists.” With a focus on Salvador Dali's painting Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea Which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko), he discusses artists who use an intuitive grasp of visual perception fundamentals to open new horizons in research. Papathomas also highlights how visual scientists use their research-based knowledge of visual brain function to arrive at some understanding of the art experience and, occasionally, venture into making art. Slide Jam follows at 7:30 with artists Megan Suttles and Stephen Westfall discussing their new work. Suttles is the founder and curator of the artists’ collective Hot Wood Arts Center in Brooklyn. Her work explores the eternal struggle between restraint and disorder. Westfall is an Associate Professor in Painting and the Department Graduate Director at Mason Gross School of the Arts. He has exhibited for more than four decades; his paintings have revolved around relationships among colors and between color and composition. The Rutgers Chamber Jazz ensemble performs throughout the evening. Professor Kenny Davis directs these top students from Rutgers Mason Gross Jazz Studies program. Art After Hours takes place from 5 to 9 p.m., offering free admission and complimentary refreshments. To learn more, visit bit.ly/ArtAfterHourZTues


The New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra (newbrunswickchamberorchestra.org) continues its salon series on Saturday, March 7, at 7 p.m. Musical selections are interspersed with wine, cheese, and conversation, inviting guests to chat with the musicians about what inspires them and the process behind their art. An additional performance takes place on Friday, May 8, at 7 p.m. Admission is free for the salon series.


Registration is now open for upcoming sessions of the Zimmerli’s Spring Session of Drawing Club and Summer Art Camp. Drawing Club for Children and Young People meets after school (4:15-5:15 p.m.) for five Wednesdays. Sessions begin March 11 for 9 to 14-year-olds. The schedule for Summer Art Camp 2015 is posted, with classes for all levels and interests. Students can choose from a variety of basics (drawing, painting, sculpture) to such special topics as Adventures in Egyptian Art, Comic Book Creations, and Leap into Chinese Culture. Wes Sherman, a 13-year veteran at the museum, returns to lead a faculty of practicing artists and arts educators. He is a successful independent artist and holds an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts. Advance registration is required for all classes (fees vary). For complete details and to register, visit bit.ly/ZAMclasses.


Music at the Museum spotlights the talents of Mason Gross faculty members. On Sunday, March 15, at 2 p.m., "Piano Plus" features pianists Zoe Browder, Allison Brewster Franzetti, Karen Dalley, and Jing Yang, accompanied by soprano Pamela Stein and percussionist Peter Saleh. The ensemble performs works by Mozart, Crumb, and Salkind-Pearl. This family-friendlyweekend concert series is organized by the Mason Gross Extension Division and hosted by the Zimmerli. Admission is free, but seating is limited. For the complete schedule, visit bit.ly/ZAMMatM.



The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum houses more than 60,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary art. The permanent collection features particularly rich holdings in 19th-century French art; Russian art from icons to the avant-garde; Soviet nonconformist art from the Dodge Collection; and American art with notable holdings of prints. In addition, small groups of antiquities, old master paintings, as well as art inspired by Japan and original illustrations for children’s books, provide representative examples of the museum’s research and teaching message at Rutgers. One of the largest and most distinguished university-based art museums in the nation, the Zimmerli is located on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Established in 1766, Rutgers is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and a premier public research university.



Admission is free to the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. The museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street (at George Street) on the College Avenue Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The Zimmerli is a short walk from the NJ Transit train station in New Brunswick, midway between New York City and Philadelphia.


The Zimmerli Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and the first Tuesday of each month (except August), 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays, as well as the month of August.


Z Café featuring the Food Architects is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and snack items. The café is closed major holidays, as well as the months of July and August.


For more information, visit the museum’s website www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu or call 848.932.7237.


Posted by tammyduffy at 4:35 PM EST
Magical World of “CATS” Comes to MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre March 13 to 29

Magical World of “CATS” Comes to MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre March 13 to 29



Cats, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s magical musical homage to the feline world, comes to Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre in March.  Playful Theatre Productions will present nine performances over three weekends, including four matinees. Dates and show times for evening performances are: Fridays, March 13 and 27 at 8 p.m., and Saturdays, March 14, 21 and 28 at 8 p.m. Matinees will be presented on Sunday, March 15, Saturday, March 21, Sunday, March 22 and Sunday, March 29 at 2 p.m.  Kelsey Theatre is located on MCCC’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.  An opening night reception with the cast and crew follows the March 13 performance.  

Winner of seven Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score, “Cats” ran on Broadway for 18 years, totaling 7,485 performances.  Playful Theatre Productions has gathered a talented, spirited cast of actors for this extraordinarily popular show, which is based on T.S. Eliot's collection of whimsical poems, Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats (1939).  

The Kelsey stage will be transformed into a trash-strewn alley populated by the “Jellicle” tribe – the narrator Munkustrap, the wise leader Old Deuteronomy, the playful prankster Rum Tum Tugger, the shunned Grizabella, The Glamour Cat, the hefty Bustopher Jones, and many more.   Expressing themselves in imaginative dance and magnificent music, the cats will croon their way into fans’ hearts with unforgettable songs, most famously the blockbuster hit “Memory.”

The cast includes Kaitlyn Anthony of Bordentown as Victoria; Noah Barson of Richboro, Pa., as Macavity/Rumpus Cat; Kyle Blocker of New Brunswick as Rum Tum Tugger; John Boccanfuso of Yardville as Alonzo; Reise Bridgers of Hamilton as Victor; Tia Brown of Lawrenceville as Bombalurina; Emily Cobb of Ivyland, Pa., as Coricopat; Jaci D’Ulisse of Trenton as Electra; Devyn Fox of Yardley, Pa., as Rumpleteazer; Shannon Garahan of East Brunswick as Jellylorum; Wyatt Kim of Yardley, Pa., as Carbucketty; Jaimie McMillin of Bordentown as Grizabella; Michael O’Hara of Yardley, Pa., as Bill Bailey; Emily Christine O’Sullivan of Hamilton as Cassandra; Trina Mar of Croydon, Pa., as Admetus; Kate Skelly of Bordentown as Jemima; Nicholas Pecht of Hamilton as Bustopher Jones/Gus; James Petro of Hamilton as Munkustrap; Sasha Saco of Philadelphia, Pa., as Jennyanydots; Tom Sawyer of Yardley, Pa., as Tom Skimbleshanks; Colleen McMahon Skillman of West Windsor as Demeter; Matthew Snyder of Levittown, Pa., as Matthew Mungojerrie Roman Sohor as Parlin as Deuteronomy; Rachel Tovar of Trenton as Tantomile; and Michael Zweig of Philadelphia, Pa., as Mr. Mistoffelees.  Pit singers include Heather Corson, Vianna Fagel, Sally Page, Amanda Ramus, Michelle Rittmann, and Michelle Whitescarver.

The production staff includes Producer Suzanne Smith, Assistant Producer Hilary Leboff, Director/Choreographer Dani Tucci-Juraga, Music Director Laurie Gougher, Master Builder James Petro, Lighting Designer Robert Terrano, Associate Lighting Designer Star McCloud, Sound Designer Evan Paine, Assistant Lighting Designer Eric Collin, Light Board Operator Chris Neilsen, Wigs by Donna Reed, Makeup Designer Koren Zander, Costumers Kate Pinner and Michelle Rittmann, and Stage Managers Nancy Russell and Ruth Kresge.

Tickets for “Cats” are $20 for all. Free parking is available next to the theater. Tickets may be purchased online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333. For a complete listing of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure.

Posted by tammyduffy at 4:15 PM EST
Monday, 16 February 2015
Fifth Shades of Grey a Review by Duffy

Fifty Shades of Grey


Review by Tammy Duffy

A film about dominance, dominated the market this weekend, Fifty Shades of Grey. Is the movie really about dominance, submissiveness or a true love story where two people find love at the highest of levels. Does this couple have what people long for, a relationship filled with love, trust and communication that works at all levels? You betcha! Hence, why they made almost $90 million in the opening weekend. American's long for the great American love story.  We are romantics at heart.


When the first book by E. L. James was released I had a friend loan it to me to read. When she gave it to me to read she said, "Oh my god, tell me what you think of the book, this poor girl went through hell." After I read the book I told my friend what I thought. I said, "Lucky girl." I did not view what she went through as hell.  I read the other two books in the trilogy. They were enjoyable, but I do question why the ending of the third book, E. L. James killed her ability to write the next book.  I will not ruin the ending for those who have not read it. It was not the ending I wanted.


Anastasia Steele found someone who she could really communicate with at all levels. They trusted each other. So many relationships and marriages end because there is no trust and no communication. I think all couple should go through courses before they get married that evaluate their ability to communicate and trust each other. This will lower the divorce rate.


During the filming of this movie Dakota, according to sources, never went into the red room until she had to be filmed. She wanted to be surprised at all levels. Consequently, during the filming Dornan spent a lot of time in the red room during filming to acquaint himself with the tools.


Charlie Hunnam was originally cast in the role of Christian Grey alongside Dakota Johnson in the role of Anastasia Steele. Hunnam gave up the part with Jamie Dornan taking over. It was a tough casting call after Charles Hunnam had to quit the film. Dornan clearly needs acting classes.


The soundtrack of the film is fantastic. At the opening of the film legendary artist, Annie Lennox belts out , “I put a spell on you”. My mind gets lost in her voice.  It was just fabulous.


 Dakota Johnson did a fantastic job capturing the essence of the character Anastasia as demonstrated in the books. Her shy innocence, yet her ability to dominate the film and the story is captured perfectly.  However, Jamie Dornan cannot act. He cannot kiss, He cannot perform S&M, he cannot he cannot he cannot....If I was going to let someone tie me up to a bed post there better be chemistry and he better know what he is doing. He had the mannerisms of Doogie Howser, MD. The change in casting at the last minute is palpitated in this film. This should be a lesson to director, Sam Taylor-Johnson. A director always needs to have a back-up plan. 


Dornan did not capture the essence of Christian Grey, Charlie Hunnam would have. Amelia Warner, Dornan's wife has nothing to worry about having her husband in this film. He was so awkwardly animated in the film that I found myself laughing at him. I felt bad for him. He was as awkward as a virgin scientist. However, Anastasia's chemistry portrayed towards Grey was spot on to the book. So, one may ask, why did E. L James chose to make Grey look so sexually awkward in this film? Why did she cast Dornan who has the persona of the weirdo Chris who is currently on the Bachelor series? There is no doubt this is because of the sudden changing in casting, their choices were limited. Dornan  should take acting lessons before they start filming the rest of the films.


I have reset my expectations for Grey's character in the film and definitely think the other two films will be enjoyable. According to sources, Melanie Griffith said she will not go and see the film, due to the nudity of her daughter. The film is not about the nudity in my opinion. I think Griffith should go see it for she would be very proud of what her daughter has done.

Posted by tammyduffy at 7:58 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 16 February 2015 10:02 AM EST
Friday, 13 February 2015
Cybersecurity Meeting In CA, Invitation Only

Cybersecurity Meeting In CA, Invitation Only

 By Tammy Duffy

Today, the White House hosted a cybersecurity event with Silicon Valley's top corporate leaders to discuss the growing cyberattack threats.

The summit was held at Stanford (Calif.) University, and officials from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service and the FBI will also be in attendance, asking the private sector companies to share information on how to combat future cyberattacks.

The list of confirmed speakers included Apple CEO Tim Cook, as well as CEOs of Bank of America, Bancorp, American Express, Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Facebook, Google and Intel.

Notably missing from the panelists and speakers are representatives of Home Depot, J.P. Morgan Chase, Target, Sony and Anthem — five companies who suffered major, public data breaches over the past year. A senior administration official said the companies were not excluded from the panels. Why one might ask?  Additionally, officials from the National Security Agency and CIA were not on the list of panelists and speakers.

Privacy was the central theme at the panel, along with consumer protection and cybersecurity 

Posted by tammyduffy at 6:29 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 13 February 2015 6:54 PM EST
Cybersecurity Meeting In CA, Invitation Only

Cybersecurity Meeting In CA, Invitation Only

 By Tammy Duffy

Today, the White House is hosted a cybersecurity event with Silicon Valley's top corporate leaders to discuss the growing cyberattack threats.

The summit was held at Stanford (Calif.) University, and officials from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service and the FBI will also be in attendance, asking the private sector companies to share information on how to combat future cyberattacks.

The list of confirmed speakers included Apple CEO Tim Cook, as well as CEOs of Bank of America, Bancorp, American Express, Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Facebook, Google and Intel.

Notably missing from the panelists and speakers are representatives of Home Depot, J.P. Morgan Chase, Target, Sony and Anthem — five companies who suffered major, public data breaches over the past year. A senior administration official said the companies were not excluded from the panels. Why one might ask?  Additionally, officials from the National Security Agency and CIA were not on the list of panelists and speakers.

Privacy was the central theme at the panel, along with consumer protection and cybersecurity 

Posted by tammyduffy at 6:29 PM EST
Love Is In The Air!

Love Is in the Air – and the Water –

at Six Flags Great Adventure


Kissing Sea Lions and Love Birds of All Shapes and Sizes

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at the World’s Largest Theme Park






Bring together two kissing sea lions, a pair of love birds and the married couple that makes it all possible, and you’ve got a recipe for Valentine’s Day at Six Flags Great Adventure. This weekend, three special couples will celebrate their love Six Flags-style – California sea lions Kenobi and Dichali, blue and gold macaws Eugene and Ariel, and their caretakers, animal training supervisors David and Jessica Peranteau.


Animals brought Dave, a Philadelphia-area native, and Jessica, an Ohio native, together 19 years ago when they were both hired as marine animal trainers. The couple married in 2000 and has traveled the world working with land and marine mammals ranging from tiny hedgehogs to massive orcas. The two settled in New Jersey at Six Flags Great Adventure in 2004, and have developed thriving animal education programs in addition to nurturing and training more than 100 exotic animals, including hand-rearing capuchin monkeys, otters, lions and bears. They have a five-year-old son, Noah, who knows that animals are part of their family. Noah even shares his birthday with the park’s first-ever baby sea lion, Magoo, who was born June 25, 2014.  “I feel like I have two children born on the same day,” Jessica said.


“Animal care requires incredible dedication 365-days a year,” Dave Peranteau said. “Jess and I care so passionately about the animals and know that by educating the public about animals, particularly ones that are threatened, endangered or extinct in the wild, we ensure that future generations like Noah’s will be able to see and appreciate them just as we do.”


Something Is In the Water…It Must Be Love


Each morning when the sea lion trainers arrive for work at Fort Independence aqua stadium, they find California sea lions Kenobi and Dichali snuggled up together, sound asleep.


Although sea lions are not monogamous by nature, these two have developed a strong bond and enjoy spending the majority of their time together. The flippered couple serves as an integral part of the theme park’s animal education program, displaying natural and learned behaviors. One of their most memorable behaviors is a kiss.


Kenobi and Dichali often give kisses to each other, and occasionally share that moment with special guests and their trainers. Jessica Peranteau admits that there is something special about a sea lion kiss.


“It is cold, wet, and prickly.  Add a few fish ‘breath mints’ and a sea lion kiss is something you will never forget,” she said.


Cousins to seals and walruses, sea lions are native to the Pacific coast. Males can weigh up to 800 lbs., and although Kenobi is described as sweet and timid, the nine-year-old has a loud roar that earned him the nickname “T-Rex.” Dichali, who is eight years old, is described as extremely intelligent and loves to learn new things. “She loves to ‘test’ new trainers to make sure they are as smart as she is,” Jessica added.


Love Is in the Air


When you ask the Peranteaus to identify the most loyal and long-standing couple in their care, without hesitation they name Eugene and Ariel. They are a stunning pair of blue and gold macaws, whose species can be found in the rainforests of Central and South America. Blue and gold macaws are monogamous by nature and mate for life, so these two appear to be in their relationship for the long haul.


“Eugene and Ariel are madly in love, and are both quite jealous creatures. Eugene clearly dislikes male trainers around Ariel, and although Ariel can be quite flirtatious with men, she can be rather rude to female trainers who get close to Eugene,” Jessica said.



An attentive mate, Eugene often grooms Ariel’s feathers. The birds are in their twenties, and with an average life span of 60 to 80 years, appear to have several decades of companionship still ahead of them.


Guests can see Kenobi and Dichali in the theme park’s Fort Independence arena, and Eugene and Ariel on the Safari Off Road Adventure, beginning April 3. For more information on Six Flags Great Adventure, visit www.sixflags.com/greatadventure or call 732-928-2000.



Posted by tammyduffy at 6:19 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 13 February 2015 6:28 PM EST
Friday, 6 February 2015
Grant From N.J. Department of Health Enables Trenton Health Team to Engage Faith-Based Organizations in Improving Health

Grant From N.J. Department of Health Enables Trenton  Health Team to Engage Faith-Based Organizations in Improving Health




A grant of $300,000 from the N.J. Department of Health has been awarded to the Trenton Health Team to implement a program called "Faith in Prevention." In a city where 39 percent of the residents are deemed obese and 16 percent suffer from diabetes, the focus will be on getting and staying healthy by creating a partnership between the city's healthcare collaborative and the faith community.
"Through this program, we will be encouraging community residents to take ownership of their health and well-being," said Dr. Ruth Perry, THT executive director. Dr. Perry has provided leadership in the development of a comprehensive community health needs assessment for the city
of Trenton, in which faith-based organizations played a key role.
"Faith-based organizations already take care of the sick," said Gregory Williams, director of community engagement. His responsibilities include implementation of THT's Community Health Improvement Plan, which was developed last year as a blueprint for achieving THT's goal of making Trenton the healthiest city in the state. "Faith-based organizations, many of which consider the body the temple of the soul,
have a tradition of healing.  As we implement our CHIP, the faith community will be serving a vital role."
The Faith in Prevention grant from the N.J. Department of Health will fund the "Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More" curriculum, designed to promote healthy eating and physical activity. This project will also address CHIP priorities, especially health literacy, obesity and healthy lifestyles, and chronic disease.
Easing the transition from hospital to home will be another area of focus,
with faith-based groups working closely with patients being discharged from area hospitals. By helping patients return home, making sure they eat well, take their medicines and follow their clinician's orders, the church and CDC leaders will help patients recover and at the same time reduce hospital readmissions, reducing overall costs to the healthcare system.
Williams said THT will select 10 faith-based organizations to implement the education and prevention program funded by the state. Groups chosen for the program will start with a self-assessment to determine the
needs and interests of their congregation and community. Grant funds will also underwrite programs encouraging people to eat healthy foods and increase physical activity.
In implementing the grants, Dr. Perry said THT will work with its vibrant Community Advisory Board, composed of nearly 50 Trenton area organizations that share the common goal of improving Trenton residents' health.

"These faith-based programs will help us expand on our community connections, building awareness and participation in nutrition and active lifestyle programs that will be delivered through the infrastructure of a trusted and readily available resource: the community's churches and faith-based organizations," she said.
"Through this grant we will also work with faith-based partners to support a smooth transition for community members who have been hospitalized, helping to ensure that follow-up resources are available to reduce avoidable re-admissions wherever possible."

About the Trenton Health Team
Trenton Health Team (THT) is an alliance of the city's major providers of healthcare services including Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center and the city's Health Department. In collaboration with residents and the city's active social services network, THT is developing an integrated healthcare delivery system to transform the city's fragmented primary care system and restore health to the city.  The THT receives generous support from The Nicholson Foundation, corporate partners and other foundations.

For more information, visit www.trentonhealthteam.org

Posted by tammyduffy at 2:46 PM EST

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