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Posts In Featured Artist

Food Offering | Adrien Schmitt

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This Sunday in LA we kick off our 10th Season. The theme is MAGIC–obviously, or maybe not?, when thinking of the food offering, I thought of baking. How do flour, sugar, eggs, milk, etc become breads and cakes and cookies and pies? Surely, it’s a kind of magic. I remembered that I heard about a young French American baker who had discovered his passion and was embarking on his own baking business. I’m thrilled–I mean, I say that a LOT, but this time I mean it–that Adrien Schmitt is going to provide the food offering for us this Sunday. He’s baking something special. He just turned 12. Join us Sunday for magic! And what is sure to be a tasty treat.

Here’s his bio:

Adrien Schmitt was born in Paris and moved to LA at the age of 2. Formerly a student at the French Lycee, Adrien now is in 7th grade at Culver City Middle School. He discovered his passion for baking at the age of 10, baking for birthdays, then started taking the recipes and improvising and making his own variations. This year, Adrien started his own baking business specializing in French style baked goods, cakes and pies. He just celebrated his twelfth birthday. His favorite birthday gift was an apple green Kitchen Aid mixer.

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Featured Performer | David Kovac

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This Sunday for our LA kick off to our 10th season, the theme is MAGIC–and, well, that means we need to have some actual magic in the line-up. I’m thrilled to announce that we have a wonderful magician to thrill us with hijinx and slight of hand and prestidigitation. David Kovac is originally from Chicago and has made his home in LA for the past few years. He appears regularly at Magic Castle and is one of the most charming performers you’ll ever meet. Join us Sunday, October 16th at noon at Bootleg Theater for MAGIC. And enjoy a mini-set of magic from David.

Here’s David’s bio:

The Chicago Tribune named David Kovac one of their Top Five Trickster Heroes, referring to him as “a Wizard of Odd who places art before effect, turning simple tricks into theatrical presentations.” His deft, dapper performance style is drawn from the best traditions of vaudeville and refined variety theatre, and he has become a popular emcee at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. Mr. Kovac was critically acclaimed as Applegate the Devil in the musical DAMN YANKEES!, and has toured five continents as a guest entertainer with Crystal Cruises. In 2016, First Folio Theatre produced FOOLING BUDDHA as part of their 20th Anniversary Season. In this original, full-length solo play, Mr. Kovac portrayed a total of 10 different characters, including a conjuror. He is also honored to have participated in several Buddhist mentoring programs which paired elementary school children with adult working professionals in the arts and humanities; these endeavors resulted in an exhibition titled The Living Museum. David currently resides in Studio City.

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Featured Performer | Vanessa Claire Stewart

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This Sunday is our first LA service of the season. The theme is MAGIC–so exciting! When thinking about the musical guest I kept thinking of that great cover of Old Black Magic by Keely Smith and Louis Prima–a truly magical number. I remembered that there was a much celebrated show about them in LA last year and I reached out to the star of the show, Vanessa Stewart, who played Keely Smith, asking if she’d be willing to come and perform the song. She said YES!! More magic. She’s asked her hubby, the wonderful French Stewart to join her. Join us for what’s promises to be a magical day–Sunday, October, 16th at noon at Bootleg Theater.

Here’s Vanessa’s bio:

VANESSA CLAIRE STEWART

Vanessa recently finished her tenure as co-artistic director for Sacred Fools Theater in Los Angeles. In 2008, she co-wrote and starred as Keely Smith in Louis and Keely: Live at the Sahara for Sacred Fools (Ovation Award for best actress and best Musical, LA Weekly Award for best musical). Louis and Keely has since moved to Geffen Playhouse, Laguna Playhouse and the Royal George theatre in Chicago with Tony award winning actor Anthony Crivello as Louis. Vanessa has also recently co-hosted the LA Weekly Awards, the Ovation Awards and opened the Newport Beach Jazz Festival. In 2011, Vanessa penned a play about Buster Keaton called Stoneface which got its start at Sacred Fools before moving to Pasadena Playhouse and receiving the 2012 Stage Raw award for Best Production. Currently, Vanessa is writing book and lyrics for an original musical entitled Deadly about serial killer HH Holmes, which was recently workshopped at Sacred Fools and the Chance Theater. FILM/TV Credits include: THE LIST with Jennifer Morrison, GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS with Octavia Spencer, and appearances on RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, THE WANDA SYKES SHOW and the upcoming show SENSITIVE MEN

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Featured Performer | Keli Garrett

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This Sunday we celebrate MAGIC in Los Angeles–Sunday, October 16th at noon at Bootleg Theater. And I’m thrilled to have a dear friend and one of the very earliest members of The Secret City coming to join in the fun. Keli Garrett is a playwright who is making her home in Los Angeles. Keli brings a fierce intelligence and a bright spirit to all she does and her work has been staged all over the country. I’m so pleased to welcome her back to The Secret City fold. Join us Sunday for MAGIC.

Here’s her bio:

Keli Garrett’s plays and adaptations have been produced and developed at One Coast Collaboration Festival in Seattle, Mixed Blood, Penumbra Theatre, Playwrights Center, Dixon Place in New York City, The Women’s Project, the Zoo District in Los Angeles, Penumbra Theatre, The LAByrinth Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, 24 Hour Plays, Playwrights Horizon in New York, Rites and Reason Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, City Lit Theater Company, Chicago Theater Company, Organic Theater, The Providence Black Repertory Company and The California College of Arts and Crafts. The Rhode Island Arts Council, The Joyce Foundation, City Lit Theatre and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum have commissioned her work. Keli is a 2011 McKnight Fellow with Playwrights’ Center where she is also a Core Member Alumna and she is a Dramatists Guild member, where in 2004 she was a fellow. In 2004-2006 Keli was a resident member of The Women’s Project Playwrights’ Lab, and in 2006 a LaNapoule Artist in Residence sponsored by the Clews Foundation; and a Walter E. Dakin Fellow in Playwriting at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference 2007. In summer 2010 she held a Residential Study in Provence, France at the Fondation des Treilles for her new play, Zebra. She holds an M.F.A.1999 in Creative Writing from Brown University, where in 1997 she was a Beinecke Foundation fellow and a B.A. from Columbia College.

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FEATURED ARTIST | Saidah Arrika Ekulona

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This Sunday, Sept. 25th we kick off our TENTH SEASON with our final gathering at Dixon Place. The theme is FLIGHT! Perfect for this next season where we will be going new places and growing in new ways. And, to help us move it forward, we have the glorious talents of Saidah Arrika Ekulona who, in addition to being a fantastic, award winning actor, is also one of our newest board members. I’m always thrilled when Saidah’s in the house–and can’t wait to have her with is this Sunday, back in NYC following a stint on the other coast. Join us for FLIGHT this Sunday, Sept 25th at 11:30 at Dixon Place.

Here’s Saidah’s bio:

Saidah Arrika Ekulona is an award-winning theatre, television and film actress. She’s originated roles on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in regional theatres and international theatres, and originated the role of Mama Nadi in the Pulitzer Prize winning play RUINED, for which she won an Obie Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Jeff Award, Audelco Award and the Black Theatre Alliance Award. Theatre credits include BROADWAY: Well OFF-BROADWAY: An American Daughter (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Othello; Unconditional; Well; The Square; Romeo and Juliet (Public Theatre/NYSF); The Thugs (Soho Rep); Fabulation (Playwrights Horizons); A Streetcar Named Desire (NYTW), among others. Saidah’s television appearances include IMPASTOR; WHEN WE RISE; MIKE & MOLLY; GUIDANCE; SCANDAL; NCIS; SHAMELESS; THE 100; NEWSROOM; A GIFTED MAN; NURSE JACKIE; AUSTIN& ALLY; BLUE BLOODS; ROYAL PAINS; LAW & ORDER; LAW & ORDER SVU; THE SOPRANOS; HOPE & FAITH; QUEENS SUPREME; SEX & THE CITY; ALL MY CHILDREN and GENERAL HOSPITAL. Her film work includes HONEYGLUE; CHRISTIAN MINGLE; SAVING LINCOLN; THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID; RIGHTEOUS KILL; THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123; TWO LOVERS; THE REBOUND; THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS; UNCERTAINTY; HAPPY ACCIDENTS. Saidah received her BA from Albright College and her MFA from University of Minnesota. Member of SAG-AFTRA, Actor’s Equity Association, NYTW Usual Suspect.

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Food Offering | Brian Healey

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Our service this Sunday has the theme of FLIGHT–the perfect kick off to our TENTH SEASON, as we take off into the next decade. And, our food offering is going to be a sweet tasty treat–and our dear pal, the fabulous Brian Healey is making it for us. Brian is a member of our NYC community and, in addition to being a foodie, is a wonderful photographer who captures amazing street scenes everyday in his walks around NYC. I’m always delighted to have his participation–and excited to taste what he’s making for us. Join us Sunday, September 25th at 11:30 at Dixon Place for FLIGHT.

Here’s mini bio for Brian:

Brian is a lawyer and artist who just moved to Brooklyn. He really likes cake.
https://www.instagram.com/misterhealey/

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Featured Musician | Daniel Zaitchik

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For this Sunday’s service–the kick off of our TENTH SEASON–we have the theme of FLIGHT. And, we have a beautiful treat–the wonderful singer/songwriter and composer and crooner (!!) Daniel Zaitchik will be performing for us. Daniel has been part of community of artists for many years now–and we’ve had the great pleasure of having him perform at our NY and LA events. I’m delighted he’s coming back. Join us for FLIGHT, this Sunday, September 25th at 11:30 at Dixon Place.

Here’s his bio:

Daniel Zaitchik is a singer-songwriter, pianist, music-theatre writer, and sometimes-actor. His albums include Bad Dancer and Summer of the Soda Fountain Girls. His music-theatre projects include Darling Grenadine and Picnic at Hanging Rock. His plays have been developed and produced at Lincoln Center Theater, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, New Dramatists, Ars Nova, Goodspeed, and others. www.danielzaitchik.com

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FEATURED VISUAL ARTIST | Jane Huntington

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The first service of our tenth season is this Sunday, September 25th at Dixon Place. The theme is FLIGHT. And, I’m thrilled to share the news that Jane Huntington will be our featured visual artist. Jane is a gifted photographer with a rich career in a variety of media–for FLIGHT, she’ll be sharing photos and prints having to do with birds. Join us Sunday at 11:30 at Dixon Place–take off with us! And enjoy the thrilling work of Jane Huntington.

Here’s her bio:

Born in Washington, D.C., Jane Huntington grew up in New York and Connecticut. She attended the School of Visual Arts and Art Center College of Design as an undergraduate, and received her MFA from Pratt Institute.

Originally a painter and printmaker, she started taking photographs in the 90s. Her work has appeared in Vibe, Rolling Stone, Details, Blaze, Newsweek, Esquire, Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, Option, io Donna, Pulse, CMJ, Q, New Musical Express, Stress, and several other publications. Clients include SST and Shimmy Disk Records. In addition to photography, she also works on video, audio, and installation projects.

Currently living in Brooklyn, she has won numerous awards, and has shown her work at Hot Wood Arts, Harpers Books, Pratt Institute, Art Center College of Design, Hunter College, School of Visual Arts, Saint Joseph’s College, Supreme Trading, Tompkins Projects, and 200 Schermerhorn through the Downtown Brooklyn Development Corp.

For more information, please visit www.janehuntington.com.

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David Winograd | FEATURED PERFORMER

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For our service this Sunday in Woodstock, the theme is PLAY–and we have a wonderful group of musicians taking part, including David Winograd, who is, among other things, the man behind Saints of Swing, a great local swing band. He and the band’s singer, Rene Bailey, will be performing for us. David’s a bassist and tuba player who’s gigged all over the country with Nancy Wilson, Wynton Marsalis and more. I’m delighted David’s going to be part of this Sunday’s event. Join us for PLAY, 12 noon at Bearsville Theater in Woodstock.

David Winograd is the Principal Tubist with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra since 1973. His studies at New York University (B.S.) and the Manhattan School of Music (M.M.) included tuba lessons with Don Butterfield and Herb Wekselblatt. He has played with such notables and varied groups as the American Symphony Orchestra, the Barnum & Bailey Circus, Les and Larry Elgart Big Band, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Milton Berle, Robert Merrill, Wynton Marsalis, Van Cliburn, Nancy Wilson, Richie Havens, and Pincus Zuckerman. Additionally he is engaged in active program providing musical clinics for children with his Hudson Valley Brass Quintet and Hudson Valley Families Quintet, opening new vistas to young minds.

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Rene Bailey | FEATURED PERFORMER

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This Sunday, July 31st is our 3rd annual gathering in Woodstock and our final service of the season. The theme is PLAY–and, our musical guest is a wonderful talent. I’m thrilled to present Rene Bailey, gospel singer, blues belter and all around star. Rene’s resume stretches back into gigs with many of the greats of the 20th century–Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, BB King and more. For this Sunday, she’ll be singing a rousing number with her fellow band member, David Winograd, and showing us all how to PLAY with song. That’s this Sunday, July 31st at noon at Bearsville Theater.

Recording Artist, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, and Gospel

Known as “LADY SUNSHINE”

Music Director, Samsonville United Methodist Church

Formerly Featured Vocalist at the Peg Leg Bates Country Club for 20 years

Rene Bailey uses her vocal clarity to sell the blues with true feeling. Combining gospel, jazz, and rhythm/blues, she has performed with such great as Louis Armstrong, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Dave Brubeck, Ruth Brown, Paul Anka, Sam Cooke, and many more…

Rene Bailey started singing gospel as a young girl in her Georgia church. Moving north to Connecticut, she hit the New York City scene where she sang blues and jazz. The transition from gospel to nightclub work came naturally, and Rene became the featured vocalist at the Peg Leg Bates Country Club for over 20 years.

In church it’s called “shouting” – the gospel dance. “They get up and shout and shout and shout.” In a nightclub when Rene Bailey sings and “it” hits, you holler, “Yes, indeed!”

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