the next service is in Los Angeles on June 11

Posts In Truth & Lies

Holly Shelowitz | Food Offering


For this Sunday’s service – Sunday, April 26th at Dixon Place – the theme is TRUTH AND LIES. it’s not the easiest theme to curate a food around – but never fear, we have our dear friend and food maven from upstate, Holly Shelowitz — nutritionist, chef, teacher and all around healthy living guru — to save the day. We met Holly shortly after moving to Woodstock, she did the food offering for our first Woodstock gathering last summer. I’m delighted she’s going to do the honors this weekend and can’t wait to see (and taste) what she’s come up with.

Here’s her bio:

Holly Shelowitz is a Culinary Nutrition Counselor and Real Food Educator. Since 1999 through her client sessions, cooking classes and educational events, Holly has been inspiring people to eat their greens and get into their kitchens and cook. She leads Workplace Wellness Workshops and is a keynote speaker throughout the tri state area, educating on site in corporations, educational institutions and community organizations. Holly’s newest project is her cooking school, sponsored by Warren Kitchen and Cutlery and Rhinebeck Kitchen and Bath. Check out the schedule of classes and events here. A regular guest on WDST Radio Woodstock’s morning show, Holly has taught nutrition and cooking classes at The Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health In Manhattan, The Bronx Botanical Gardens, and at numerous farmers markets, culinary stores, libraries, colleges and schools. A 2000 graduated from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Professional Training Program in Manhattan, Holly has studied herbal healing with Pam Montgomery, Dina Falconi, Deb Soule, Rosemary Gladstar and Susun Weed.


David Driver | Featured Performer


I first heard David Driver sing when we were on a shared bill at Joe’s Pub several years ago. It was a benefit put together by David Clement with a great group of performers – everyone had one song. David sang a song by The Carpenters…was it Superstar? Maybe…which is really a song by Leon Russell, but I digress. For those who don’t know me, The Carpenters are a really big part of my personal history – to hear one of their signature tunes by a fantastic male singer was HEAVEN. Instant fan. I’ve been eager to have him sing for us at The Secret City and this month, it’s happening. This Sunday, April 26th – the theme is TRUTH AND LIES. I can’t wait.

Here’s David’s bio:

DAVID DRIVER has been a fixture on the downtown NYC music scene for more than a decade. As a musician, he’s toured the US, Europe and the Middle East with luminaries like Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry, Richard Butler, and Roy Nathanson & The Jazz Passengers, and was in the original Broadway cast of the musical RENT. In 2010, under the aegis of The US State Department, he toured Iraq, Turkey and Jordan with fellow musician Mary McBride, performing for both civilians and troops and conducting immersive workshops on American Musical Idioms for teenagers and college students. He’s been featured on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and The Late Show with David Letterman, and has been the voice of commercial brands including Dunkin Donuts, Bridgestone Tires, and USA Network. His recorded work includes ‘Goalie For The Other Team’ (Meow), ‘Night Time’ (Driver Quartet), ‘Fire At Keaton’s Bar & Grill’ (Roy Nathanson & The Jazz Passengers), and ‘Togetherness’ (Phillips&Driver).


Charleigh Parker | Featured Performer


I first met Charleigh Parker when we were performing in Boys From Syracuse at Baltimore CenterStage. I was blown away by her talent and charms. She’s going to be part of the cast of our first short play – this Sunday, April 26th at Dixon Place, the theme is TRUTH AND LIES. Christina Anderson is finishing up the script and Charleigh will be part of the fantastic cast we’ve assembled. One of the great perks of my job is getting to invite wonderful artists and performers to take part. Can’t wait to see Charleigh Parker.

Here’s her bio:

Charleigh E. Parker’s career has crossed classical theatre, musical theatre, TV, film, improv, and Stand-Up Comedy. Favorite experiences include working with August Wilson on Seattle Repertory Theatre’s production of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, playing with Philadelphia’s Pig Iron theatre company to experiment on Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”, and touring Southeast Asia with Lea Salonga in Broadway Asia’s production of “Cinderella”. TV: “Blue Bloods”, “Unforgettable”, “Boardwalk Empire”, “The Good Wife”, “All My Children”, and the upcoming Netflix series, “AKA Jessica Jones”.


Cathy Richards | Featured Performer


CATHY RICHARDS For our service this Sunday, April 26th in NYC, the theme is TRUTH AND LIES and playwright Christina Anderson is writing a short play on the theme – the first of our new play initiative featuring The Secret City Players. I’m delighted to announce that Cathy Richards is going to be part of it. Cathy is a good, old-fashioned (altho no traditional by any means) triple threat – dancer, singer, actor. I know her from The Secret City Singers – she’s been singing with us for the past season. This Sunday, along with the rest of our amazing cast, she’ll be showing off her acting chops. So excited to see this – and to witness Cathy’s radiance in another medium.


Check out her bio: Cathy Verdicia Richards is a choreographer, dancer, actor, and writer who likes to experiment with numbers and shapes in an emotionally open space. She is co-founder of Movement in C and Artistic Director of CV Projects. Her most recent works include Two Peas in an Odd Pod, H.A.L.T., Satisfaction, and Liquid Candy. She studied at the Deena Levy Theatre Studio. Her choreography has been showcased at Five Myles Gallery, ad hoc Art Gallery, and Salmagundi art Club, Merce Cunningham Studio, Zone Chelsea Gallery, Panetta Movement Center, Bushwick Starr, Chez Bushwick, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Cool New York 2009 and 2007, Chashama’s OASIS 2007, 2006, and 2005 Festival, DUMBO 2007, 2006, and 2005 Festival, BAM Local Development/ Chashama’s 2005 Outside Art Festival, She is a performer with Salma Allam Dance Theater seen in Things My Mother Taught Me: a daughter’s journey, Bamboo Sticks, and Roses on the Floor. She has also performed with Stanley Love Performance Group, RMK Crew, Kelly Shroeder Dance, Magnetic Laboratorium, and Canta Theatre Group.


Yvette Ganier | Featured Performer


Yvette Ganier is going to be part of the cast of powerhouse women who are reading our first short play commission – this Sunday, April 26th at Dixon Place, the theme is TRUTH AND LIES. I met Yvette through New Dramatists, that wonderful temple of new play development and playwright support on W. 44th St. We’ve done a bunch of readings together over the years – the one I remember best was a workshop of a wonderful play by Lisa D’Amour called The Night Sky. Yvette was amazing in that! As she is always. I’m so happy she’s agreed to be a part of the inaugural piece in this new initiative. The Secret City Players!

Here’s her bio:

Yvette Ganier most recently appeared in NYC at The Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in Pitbulls by Keith Josef Adkins directed by Leah Gardiner. Yvette was also recently seen in the world premiere of Paula Vogel’s Don Juan Comes Home From Iraq at the Wilma Theater. Broadway: The Miracle Worker; King Hedley ll. London: Jitney (National Theatre – 2002 Olivier Award). Off-Broadway: includes Breath Boom (2002 OBIE – Playwrights Horizons) and Jitney (Second Stage). Regional: includes Steppenwolf, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Arden, PTC, Interact, Freedom Theatre, The Goodman (originated Black Mary in Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson), Mark Taper, The Intiman, Seattle Rep, Pittsburgh Public (originated Rena in Jitney by August Wilson), Baltimore Centerstage (US premiere of Elmina’s Kitchen by Kwame Kwei-Armah.) Film/TV: includes Evolution of a Criminal – Darius Monroe, director; Must Be The Music, Charles Dutton – director; Lifetime’s For One Night directed by Ernest Dickerson and ABC’s All My Children. Awards: OBIE, LA Ovations Award, Audelco, NAACP Image Award, The Bowden Award


Abigail Ramsay | Featured Artist



For this Sunday’s service – April 26th at Dixon Place – the theme is TRUTH AND LIES. And, we’ve got our first short play – an initiative I’ve been wanting to kick off for years. We have so many amazing playwrights and actors in our community – and, now, we’ve finally got a forum for their talents. Christina Anderson is writing a short play on the theme and we’re assembling a wonderful cast and crew to bring it to life. I’m thrilled to announce that Abigail Ramsay has agreed to direct. Abigail was brought to The Secret City by our board member, Kristin Marting, who runs HERE arts space in SOHO. Abigail is a dynamic performer and theater maker and we’re delighted to have her with us.

Here’s her bio:

New York-based actor, director, and theatre administrator committed to engaging audiences with innovative, adventurous, and culturally relevant work. A New York City native, born in London to Jamaican parents, Abigail Ramsay’s artistic perspective is as international as her background. She received a BA in English Literature from Brown University and a three-year professional actor training diploma from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Currently, she is Director of Global Partnerships at Girl Be Heard, a non-profit theatre company that brings global issues affecting girls center stage by empowering young women to tell their stories.


Christina Anderson | Featured Playwright

At last. PLAYS come to The Secret City – and I’m so excited! I’ve long wanted to present short plays as part of our events – we’ve presented nearly every other type of art and performance and finally, we’re starting to present theater.Christina Anderson is writing a short play on the theme of TRUTH AND LIES and we’re assembling a wonderful cast and we’ll be presenting it on Sunday, April 26th as part of the service.I first met Christina Anderson years ago at a young playwrights camp in Minnesota. She was 17, I think, and already had buzz about her. She performed a solo piece and blew us all away. Since then, she’s gone on to become a celebrated playwright with productions around the country. I’m so grateful that she’s agreed to kick off this whole new chapter in The Secret City’s development.

Here’s her bio:

Christina Anderson’s plays include pen/man/ship, Good Goods, Man in Love, BlackTop Sky, and Hollow Roots. Her work has appeared at Magic Theatre, CATF, Steppenwolf, Penumbra, Yale Rep, A.C.T.,The Public Theater, Crowded Fire, and other theaters all over the country. Awards and honors include Playwright-in-Residence at Magic Theater (National New Play Network), two PONY nominations, two Susan Smith Blackburn nominations, finalist Laurents Hatcher Award, and finalist Woursell Prize. She’s a resident member of New Dramatists. Commissions: Lincoln Center, Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep. American Theatre Magazine selected Anderson as one of fifteen up-and-coming artists “whose work will be transforming America’s stages for decades to come.” She obtained her B.A. from Brown University and an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama’s Playwriting Program. She teaches playwriting at Purchase College. Anderson was born and raised in Kansas City, KS.


Olivia Oguma | Featured Artist


For our next gathering in NYC – Sunday, April 26th at Dixon Place – we’ll be blessed with the charm and talents of Olivia Oguma, who’ll be reading the cultural calendar for us. I first met Olivia several years back at New Dramatists and then we were in a reading of a play for Red Bull Theater – she’s a riot and a triple threat and great shot of energy and I’m so excited she’s coming to be part of The Secret City.

Here’s her bio:

OLIVIA OGUMA is the daughter of a professional ballet dancer and a sushi chef born and raised in NYC. Broadway & National Tour: Mamma Mia!, Les Misérables, Disney’s High School Musical, A Christmas Carol. Off-Broadway: BFE (Playwrights Horizons), La Dispute (NAATCO), Luce (Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3), Emotional Creature (Signature) Regional: Snow Falling on Cedars (Portland Centerstage), …Spelling Bee (Paper Mill), Miss Saigon (NCTheater), Skin of Our Teeth (Bristol Riverside), BFE (Long Wharf), Emotional Creature (Berkeley Rep) TV: Ella on Odd Mom Out (a new scripted series premiering June 8th on Bravo), Younger, The Good Wife, The Big C, As the World Turns, All My Children,  Law & Order, The New Electric Company Film: This is Where I Leave You, Hallmark Hall of Fame’s The Flamingo Rising, Strangers with Candy. Olivia won the CT Critics Circle Award for her performance in BFE at the Long Wharf Theater. Most recently, she won Best Actress for her role in the Short Film “Take Out” in the 72 Hour Film Shoot Out as part of the Asian American Film Festival and her team’s film also placed in the top ten. She currently has two commercials running (NJ LOTTO and Hostels International) and is the voice of “Asian mom” in a current Gerber babies campaign. 
Olivia is also a video editor, bracelet designer and champion decoupager!



Boris Torres | Featured Artist

BORIS TORRES will share his work for our next NYC service, Sunday, April 26th at Dixon Place. The theme is TRUTH AND LIES.

The wonderful work of Boris Torres came to our attention a few years ago – he’s the husband of our pal, filmmaker Ira Sachs. Boris is a painter/watercolorist and collagist who’s focus is the figure – usually the male figure although this has changed a bit recently – he’s got a series of portraits of female stars like Liz Taylor. Boris’ work is pulpy, sensual and, often, sexual, drawing from men’s muscle magazines from the 50s and 60s as well as found images from gay dating and hook up sites. For this month’s NYC service on TRUTH AND LIES, he’ll be presenting paintings and collages that call into question what is true about the selves we present for consumption, what’s a lie and what’s a combination of the two…

Here’s his bio:

Boris Torres is originally from Ecuador and lives in New York City. His work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Veneklasen/Werner Gallery in Berlin, La Petit Mort Gallery Gallery in Canada, La Naranjilla Mecánica in Quito- Ecuador, Art in General, Center for Book Arts and Dumbo Arts Center in NYC.  His work will be included in the upcoming traveling exhibition Art Aids America. Boris’s work is published in the historical survey – Art and Queer Culture, edited by Catherine Lord and Richard Meyer, Phaidon Press, 2013. His work is featured in the critically acclaimed feature film Keep The Lights On. He received an MFA from Brooklyn College. 

You can see some of his work at