Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hitting That Joint Is Better Than Hitting Your Spouse, Isn't It?

Some believe that marijuana use can have an adverse effect on fertility. Archive image.

TAKE a drag off of this: There is less domestic violence among couples who smoke dope.

No, I'm not high, I have not been smoking anything. A group of researchers at University at Buffalo School of Public Health and the Health Professions and Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) discovered as much. They published an article about it in the August online edition of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Can't you just hear the cheers from Camp pro-marijuana camp and the jeers from Camp anti-marijuana. Of course, this study is totally set apart from the medical marijuana debate. Incidentally, marijuana use is legal and regulated in 23 states and D.C. Just this year Maryland, Minnesota and New York legalized marijuana. But – this study – talk about stirring the pot!

Led by Dr. Kenneth Leonard, director of the UB Research Institute on Addictions, researchers studied 634 couples in hopes of clarifying inconsistent findings of previous studies looking at domestic violence among couples that smoke pot. Researchers followed couples over the first nine years of marriage.

One of the key findings: There was the least incidence of what researchers term intimate partner violence (IPV) among couples in which both spouses smoked marijuana.

No doubt, naysayers are thinking about the addictive nature of marijuana and the evil it does to the brain, fertility, lungs and so forth. Meanwhile, cheerleaders are recounting marijuana's good work through the ages and what it has done and can do and is doing for those who suffer from glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. (See Nicky Taylor's eye-opening documentary, "Should I Smoke Dope" below.)

All sides should bear in mind several important points about these discoveries. “These findings suggest that marijuana use is predictive of lower levels of aggression towards one’s partner in the following year,” lead researcher KL cautions.

“As in other survey studies of marijuana and partner violence, our study examines patterns of marijuana use and the occurrence of violence within a year period.

One other key finding: When both spouses used marijuana at least two to three times a month, there were fewer incidences of IPV initiated by husbands.

The study does not address likelihood of violence in real time. “It does not,” KL points out “examine whether using marijuana on a given day reduces the likelihood of violence at that time.

A third key finding: Wives were less likely to initiate IPV if their husbands used marijuana.

Another caveat: The researchers are circumspect about their findings and are eager for others to address this topic. “Although this study supports the perspective that marijuana does not increase, and may decrease, aggressive conflict,” KL says, “we would like to see research replicating these findings, and research examining day-to-day marijuana and alcohol use and the likelihood to IPV on the same day before
drawing stronger conclusions.”

Obviously, one should not infer from these findings an endorsement for or against marijuana use for recreational or medicinal purposes (though some will).

Yet, there is some suggestion that if you take a hit off of a joint with some regularity, you may be less likely to hit your partner.

Visit http://www.medicalmarijuana.procon.org/ to learn more about the medical marijuana debate.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mazzini Dance Collective and Dances Patrelle Make It Short and (Hopefully) Sweet

Chloé Sherman and Alexander Castillo as the title characters in Dance Patrelle's "Romeo & Juliet. Photo by Eduardo Patino.


tends to assume that the season of a production will be at least a few months.

Occasionally, however, it can pass as quickly as a schoolboy's summer. Such will be the case next month when two dance companies will showcase blink-of-an eye seasons, condensed into just a few days.

The Mazzini Dance Collective (MDC), founded by former Paul Taylor Dance Company principal, Annmaria Mazzini, is an interdisciplinary, multi-generational troupe. It defines itself as a family collaborative of young dancers inspired by veterans to reach new levels of excellence in technique and choreography.

MDC's goal is to integrate visual and performing arts in emotionally accessible productions,

Several premieres will be presented during the inaugural season on 6 and 7 Sept. One of note is "Playing with Angels," a reflection on the relationship between mothers and sons, choreographed by AM with music by MDC composer-in-residence Robert Paterson.

Performing the score live are members of AME: Billy Hestand and Billy Short on bassoon and Bryan Wagorn on piano.

"When We Rise," a piece choreographed by longtime MDC collaborator Orion Duckstein with music by Zoe Keating and performed by OD and AM, premieres as well. Another new creation from AM is "Criminal Commoners." It is set to music by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, St. Vincent, Phantogram, Cold War Kids, Pulp and Goldfrapp.

Anna Maria Mazzini Photo by Sarah Sterner.

The venue for the two-day program is the Ailey Citigroup Theater in the Joan Weill Center for Dance.

Elsewhere, Francis Patrelle of the eponymous Dances Patrelle (dP), home to the FP-choreographed annual "Yorkville Nutcracker," presents a season in honor of dP's 25th anniversary.
He offers his take on the immortal story of young love. His "Romeo & Juliet" is set to Prokofiev's score. Unlike Baz Luhrmann, FP doesn't modernize it. This is a classicist version in celebration of Shakespeare's 450th birthday. (See video above of dP 1993 "Romeo & Juliet" revival)

Mazzini Dance Collective will perform several new works in its inaugural season. Photo from Mazzini Dance Collective Web site.

The featured performers in this evening-length revival are Alexander Castillo, a transplant from New York to the West Coast, and Chloé Sherman, journeying from Los Angeles especially to dance with dP.

The performances, 11-14 Sept., are planned for Hunter College's Kaye Playhouse.

Visit http://www.mazzinidancecollective.org to learn more about the Mazzini Dance Collective.; visit http://www.dancespatrelle.org to learn more about Dances Patrelle.

Friday, August 29, 2014

'Here Comes the Sun The Remixes': Sir Ivan Lets His Little Light Shine

Sir Ivan Wilzig emerges from his Peacemobile right before his performance of a single from "Here Comes the Sun The Remixes." Photos from Getty Images.

IT is a really dark late August night. But the sun is shining.

Caught in the sun's rays is a gothic-style castle and grounds situated along a heavily treed winding road in the Hamptons. It is the compound of Sir Ivan Wilzig, businessman, philanthropist, bon vivant, entertainer and recording artist.

Visitors who are admitted through the massive gates are swept into a sunny paradise, greeted by a stand of sunflowers and other bright sights. It is a happy place.

The occasion, the official record release party for Sir Ivan's latest, the EP “Here Comes the Sun The Remixes.” Here are five different versions of The Beatles' popular ditty recast in the techno style with various riffs from other genres, including disco and sundry instrumental, or rather, computer-generated flourishes.

If nothing else, Sir Ivan is a showman. Why have a record release party in a dingy, dark, dank nightclub or nondescript event space when you have sprawling digs on which there is a bridge, moat and arresting views? And so he has not. In keeping with the theme of “Here Comes the Sun,” the host strongly urged guests to dress in colors of the sun.

To that end, yellow, red and orange abound. This being New York – even in the Hamptons part of it – a few settled for black. Young, hot things in five-inch dresses are navigating five-inch heels, oblivious to the reality that they will come to regret their decision, through the prism of back and foot complaints, before they are out of their 30s. For the most part, though, revelers have adhered to the theme, which even extends to the food.

Sunflowers, a welcome sight at Chez Sir Ivan's.

Breakfast comes in the form of eggs sunny-side up. Awaiting the famished set for brunch is a wonderful poached salmon. The accompanying dill sauce is a bit difficult to explain away but pairs perfectly with the fish, as does a green salad. A body can take a theme only so far, reason enough to make a case for a green salad with slices of chicken, though even in the dark a sun-dried tomato can be glimpsed.

Until Sir Ivan makes his appearance sometime near midnight guests can dance, mingle and praise and/or pillory outfits. If overtaken by thirst, whistles can be whet/wet with a passable rose sparkling wine and sun-colored Slovenia Vodka cocktails.

Later, Sir Ivan's imminent arrival is heralded by several events. The drone that has been hovering for a couple of hours is behaving like a swerving dervish. Lights on the grounds and some inside are furiously blinking. And faint strains of “Here Comes the Sun” are wafting out into the sunny night.

"Here Comes the Sun The Remixes': Five different versions of one song.

His familiar stretch limousine, the psychedelic-colored Peacemobile, is turning a bend in the drive, destination poolside, across the path from the concert stage on the ground floor of the castle, where it comes to a stop. A lackey opens the door to reveal Sir Ivan, stepping out like a conquering hero, got up in a yellow suit with matching cape and red silk shirt. His eyes are wide and he's singing or lip-syncing to a techno mix of “Here Comes the Sun.”

The crowd closes in around the man of the hour as he makes for the stage. It's another light show, as flashes from cameras wink in a fury; videos are recording … It's a spectacle, a little corny. Diverting and mildly amusing. And it is rather … brief.

A big buildup to a little event, that is until one does the very basic journalistic research to discover that there is more than one remix of the song. Sir Ivan does tend toward the grand gesture, after all.

In New York, wags like to make a bit of fun of this congenial man, invariably referencing his rumored wild parties (orgies) and general wild lifestyle. This is certainly not the place or the time to attempt to distill truth from hearsay, gossip and … frankly, a bit of envy.

Sun worshippers at Sir Ivan's record release party.

Call the man what you will, he does take his music seriously, though his music may not be considered serious. The rows he hoes are “remixes of '60s love songs.” That's his schtick, his music branding message, his hook.

Judging “Here Comes the Sun The Remixes” by that yardstick, one has to concede that it is a professional affair. Here is a man with the means to make it so. This is not amateur hour, and lest one forget, Sir Ivan has several hits and records under his belt.

“Here Comes the Sun The Remixes” is not for music purists. Here is not high or deep art, grave meditations and serious contemplation. Yet one will be challenged not to walk away feeling a little better after listening to all five versions. Publicly anyway, Sir Ivan embraces peace and love and positivity.

Lovebirds attracted to the sun?

Indeed, he uses the party as the occasion to disclose that he will take a roadtrip to Los Angeles in the Peacemobile to publicize his new anti-bullying campaign. In LA, the plan is to film a video for his song, “Kiss All the Bullies Goodbye.” Co-written by Sir Ivan and produced by DJ Paul Oakenfold, the single features Taylor Dayne on vocals.

Royalties from remixes of “Kiss All The Bullies Goodbye” are to be donated to various LGBT anti-bullying organizations, including The Trevor Project, one that has already benefited from Sir Ivan's goodwill. (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/)

Peace and love and positivity, they're all in there on “Here Comes the Sun The Remixes.” Mixers include DJ Escape, Tony Caluccio and Josh Harris. The EP is catchy, dancey, thoroughly techno and engaging. Feel good music. No crying in your beer on this one. Granted, nothing new or earth-shattering but charming. And utterly optimistic.

“Here Comes the Sun The Remixes” … and I say it's all right.

Visit http://www.sirivan.com/ to learn more about “Here Comes the Sun The Remixes”; visit http://www.bit.ly/VVlLCQ preview, buy and download any part of the EP at iTunes.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Victorinox I.N.O.X.: Despite Near Herculean Efforts to Kill It, the Watch Just Won't Die

The Victorinox I.N.O.X. watches tick away ensconced in a week-old block of ice. Photos by Yours Truly.

IN boiling water, it keeps its cool. Trapped in a block of ice, it is unfazed (and unfrozen) – not even shivering.

The Victorinox I.N.O.X. watch is no wimp. Indeed, it is an iron man. The new ticker made its North American debut last night at the Sir Stage 37 event hall in Manhattan's Midtown West.

Introducing the Victorinox I.N.O.X. suite.

Before unveiling the I.N.O.X. suite, timed to coincide with the 130th anniversary of Victorinox, the marketing folks talked it up with a video, featuring firefighters from Switzerland and members of the NYFD (New York Fire Department).

In attendance were NYFD firefighters, fire engines – in the house and curbside – and New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. The crowd listened somewhat inattentively as the virtues of this three-watch series were ticked off.

The Victorinox I.N.O.X. watches may need washing from time to time, but perhaps not in the washing machine.

However, in the moment that video footage showing a tank running over the unbowed watch, a chorus of oohs and aahs swept across the showroom. It was rather incredible, reminiscent of years ago when a Mack truck ultimately – after a Herculean effort – destroyed a Volvo.

Two of the watches have a Monobloc Dial feature and one has a Signal Mode feature. All have a Quartz movement and are 43 millimeters in diameter. Their leather wrist bands come in black, muted green and muted blue.

Why are those I.N.O.X. watches in hot water? Because it is time for a coffee break, of course.

The I.N.O.X. family has more brawn than beauty, but this is a product from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, therefore more consideration and technology have been allocated for durability. Simply put, the watches have been designed to take their licks. As the Victorinox pr says, “(nearly) indestructible.”

It is no surprise, then, that an I.N.O.X. can weather the sustained turbulence of a mere washing machine.

Visit http://www.bit.ly/1sJWZjP to learn more about I.N.O.X.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Not so Short '...Shorts' From Throughline Artists

Henny Russell and Will Dagger in "Napoleon in Exile," one of six plays in the "Summer Shorts" festival presented by Throughline Artists at 59E59 Theaters. Photos by Carol Rosegg.


change, but as the song says, "We wear short shorts." Covering everything with a tight little pair is a challenge.

The challenge is mostly met in the 2014 "Summer Shorts" festival, currently playing at 59E59 Theaters through 29 and 30 Aug. There was a time not so long ago when the Throughline Artists-produced series featured truly pithy plays. (http://www.summershortsfestival.com/throughline-artists.php)

This season, some are more a Bermuda shorts length. Only one is of a below-the-knee style. None would be considered really short shorts, which is not to suggest that most of the "Summer Shorts" in repertory on two bills – Series A and Series B – are anything but crisp and stylish.

The set design by Rebecca Lord-Surratt is all-purpose clever. It serves for the six plays with only minor alterations made by stagehands between playlets.

"Sec 310. Row D, Seats 5 and 6," written by Warren Leight, is of the comfortable, if casual style. Over many painful seasons watching the New York Knicks, three become friends, framing the story in "Sec 310..."

Miriam Silverman and Adam Green in "The Riverbed."

It's funny and extremely well-played by Peter Jacobson, Geoffrey Cantor and Cezar Williams under the direction of Fred Berner. This one is a genuine crowd-pleaser.

Neil LaBute's "The Mulberry Bush" captures the spirit of less is more. It is a neat and well-orchestrated one-act drama directed by Maria Mileaf. Victor Slezak and J.J. Kandel (also executive producer of " Summer Shorts") unravel a fascinating tale with finesse and understated daring.

Another highlight is "Riverbed,” written by Eric Lane and directed by Matthew Rauch. It uses alternating monologues to give witness to tragedy. Adam Green and Miriam Silverman imbue the story with life in admirable performances.

Peter Jacobson and Geoffrey Cantor in "Sec. 310, Row D, Seats 5 and 6."

This reviewer's favorite is "Napoleon in Exile,” written by Daniel Rietz and directed by Paul Schnee. The drama is a moving exchange between Henny Russell and Will Dagger as mother and son at a crisis crossroad.

Visit http://www.59e59.org/moreinfo.php?showid=180 to learn more about "Summer Shorts.”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Erickson Beamon and LeSportsac Want to Be Wherever You Are

Pieces from the Winter 2014 Collection of Erickson Beamon and LeSportsac. Photos by Yours Truly.

HEADS UP: Here we are, negotiating summer. What does this signify? Too many things to name. In the rag trade, however, one aspect of the season is the round of press previews of designer and brand fall-winter collections that end some time in August. Team VEVLYN'S PEN has not had much to say of late about fashion. We take this time, however, through late August to break our silence to jaw about what select brands and/or designers will have in store (literally) beginning in a matter of a few weeks through to the end of the year. Do bear with us, this is our maiden voyage into these waters outside of fashion weeks. Anchors aweigh!

WHAT happens in a mashup of Erickson Beamon and LeSportsac? An easy moniker along the lines of Urbo (Urban Bohemian) or Kimye(Kim Kanye) does not immediately emerge.

This bag has a message for you.

But what does materialize from this first-time collaboration is a 36-piece bejeweled (actual and print) travel accessories collection that is utterly fashionable and functional. The Winter 2014 collection, available beginning in October, has an answer for just about every occasion. Repurposing opportunities abound … More shortly

Visit http://www.ericksonbeamon.com to learn more about Erickson Beamon; visit https://www.lesportsac.com/ to learn more about LeSportsac/.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

PURE Study on Salt Has Critics All Shook Up

According to some, salt is at the root of many evils. Archive photo.

TALK about stirring the pot!

It's a four-letter word. Salt.

The medical community and the food community have doubleteamed over the last 30 years or so, damning salt, pillorying salt at every turn and telling everybody who has ears that too much salt is bad – very bad; very, very bad. Too much salt can make you ill. Too much salt can kill. Talk about character assassination!

Seemingly, everybody with ears got the memo: High-salt intake has been implicated in just about every ailment known to humanity with the possible exception of athlete's foot.

But imagine that the world is so consumed with avoiding salt that it is now consuming too little salt. And if that is the case, what are the consequences, particularly if high blood pressure is not involved?

Salt intake is intertwined with high blood pressure. Photo courtesy of WebMB Web site.

According to new thinking – published in no less a rag than “The New England Journal of Medicine” – that is not a good thing. Too little salt, like its polar opposite, can also cause problems.

In an article title, Urinary Sodium and Potassium Excretion, Mortality, and Cardiovascular Events, a group of researcher suggests that consuming too little sodium can also cause “cardiovascular events.”

What's that noise? The hue and cry. Talk about stirring the pot! … More shortly

Visit http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1311889 to read “Urinary Sodium and Potassium Excretion, Mortality, and Cardiovascular Events.”
Creative Commons License
VEVLYN'S PEN: The Wright take on life by Vevlyn Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at vevlynspen.blogspot.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at vevlyn@yahoo.com.