Apr 21 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 7

Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
Lifts up his burning head, each under eye
Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,
Serving with looks his sacred majesty;
And having climbed the steep-up heavenly hill,
Resembling strong youth in his middle age,
Yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,
Attending on his golden pilgrimage:
But when from highmost pitch, with weary car,
Like feeble age, he reeleth from the day,
The eyes, ‘fore duteous, now converted are
From his low tract, and look another way:
     So thou, thyself outgoing in thy noon
     Unlooked on diest unless thou get a son.



Sonnet 7 draws a simile between the rising and setting sun and the human life cycle.

In the sunset of his days, the youth will no longer be surrounded by admirers. Unless he has children to carry on the line and reflect his former beauty, he will be forgotten by time. When the sun rises, everyone admires it, and pays homage to it, as if it were a king. As it climbs higher in the sky to reach its zenith, we admire it, but as it plunges towards evening, the gaze is averted, it is ignored. and other rising stars take precedence. So too, the youth will be nothing as he ages, unless he becomes the rising sun by having a son. (Wordplay!)

Will’s Wordplay

Helen Vendler notes that Willy utilizes simplistic word play and keywords to underline the thematic meaning. These words appear in root form or similar variations [1]. The poetic eye finds interest in the use of ‘looks’ (line 4), ‘looks’ (line 7), ‘look’ (line 12), and ‘unlook’d’ (line 14). A more thematic word play used is those words denoting ‘age’, but that are not explicitly identifiable.

Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,
Resembling strong youth in his middle age,
Attending on his golden pilgrimage;

By using words typical of expressing human features (e.g. youth), the reader begins to identify the sun as being representative of man. The sun does not assume an actual ‘age’, therefore we infer that the subject of the poem is man.

Scholar’s Corner

Thomas Greene believes the first clauses of early Shakespearean sonnets are haunted by ‘cosmic’ or ‘existential’ economics. The second clause issues hope for stability of beauty and immortality. The sun in sonnet 7 is an imperialistic empire that controls the world. The economic status of its governed is completely dependent upon the sun’s immortality. If the sun did not rise, there would be no harvest or profit. The youth also has an economic function in his humanity. His complete reliance on the sun for economic gain is slave-like. Man waits for the sun to rise in the morning, labors under its heat, then feebly ends his days work, ever closer to his mortality. This sonnet is epideictic rhetoric of both blame and praise: blaming the sun for reminding man of his immortality, and praising the sun for the vast pleasures it brings man in his short lifetime. [2].

1. Vendler, Helen (1997). The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 74-75.
2. Engle, Lars (October 1989). Afloat in Thick Deeps: Shakespeare’s Sonnets on Certainty. PMLA 104. pp. 832-843.


Pepsi Sign, Long Island City, Queens

A vintage classic and a beacon of Americana, the Pepsi-Cola sign stands opposite Gantry Plaza State park, on the East River in the Hunter’s Point section of Long Island City, in the New York City borough of Queens. Constructed in 1936 by Artkraft Strauss, the 120-foot long and 60-foot high neon Pepsi-Cola sign was located on top of the bottling plant before it was preserved and moved into a permanent location within the park

Throughout the twentieth century, Artkraft Strauss, located in Manhattan, New York, was the preeminent designer and creator of Times Square’s iconic signs and displays. These included the “smoking” Camel sign, which wafted giant smoke rings over the Square; the Bond Clothing Stores display, a block-long extravaganza with a perpetual waterfall; and the high-neon north-Square “spectaculars” created for Canadian Club and Admiral Television. For almost a century, Artkraft Strauss was also responsible for the annual midnight ball drop that signaled the new year’s arrival.


The Pepsi-Cola sign once crowned the Hunter’s Point Bottling Plant, which closed in 1999 and was later demolished. Due to strong interest from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the sign was relocated not far from the defunct plant, a temporary location while a new one was sought. It has remained under the stewardship of PepsiCo. [1]

In 2009, the sign was re-erected, letter by letter, in front of a 24-story apartment building, designed around the artwork.



1. Dunlap, David W. .”What Happened to the Queens Pepsi Sign”. The New York Times. December 10, 2008.


ACTOR – Brendan Ryan

After being honorably discharged from the U.S.M.C, Brendan returned to NYC to pursue a career acting. After drifting through poetry jams and monologue competitions he was invited to study at William Esper Studio. He has toured regionally and nationally, but always comes back to the Apple. He has performed in a number of television shows and pilots but prefers new works on stage. He can currently be seen at The Garage Theatre in the world premiere of, The Legacy.


DIRECTOR – Derek Schweickart

Schweickart grew up on the prep floor of Birns and Sawyer, a boutique camera rental company in Hollywood, and learned at a young age the technology involved in making films. After leaving Hollywood for school, Schweickart graduated with honors from University of California, San Diego, having studied with French “nouveau vague” filmmaker JP Gorin, a long-time collaborator with Jean Luc Goddard. After university, Schweickart returned to the camera world, and became an expert in digital cinema technology and post-production working with such filmmakers as David Fincher, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, and Ang Lee. While working and studying with such talented filmmakers, Derek spends his free time shooting music videos, and short films, where he practices his skills.
Schweickart is currently working with Vince Pace and James Cameron at the Cameron Pace Group on developing stereoscopic 3D cinematography and post-production tools. He is also in pre-production on his feature film directorial debut, entitled, Maxxed at Intermission.

Apr 21 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 14

Rockaway 1 rockaway2

Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck;
And yet methinks I have Astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons’ quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well
By oft predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself, to store thou wouldst convert;
     Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
     Thy end is truth’s and beauty’s doom and date.

Sonnet 14 varies the procreation theme, tying it in with predictions of the future made, not through tracking the stars in the heavens as would normally be expected, but through taking the youth’s eyes as stars which foretell the future.

Shakespeare implies here that the foreknowledge he has from the ‘stars’ of the youth’s eyes surpasses that derived from traditional astrology. The comparison of stars with eyes is traditional love lore in which the beloved assumes the qualities of everything that is angelic and heavenly. From the subject’s eyes, Will predicts that the young man’s death is in fact the death of Beauty itself. He asserts that truth and beauty will be doomed forever unless the young man chooses to perpetuate his line by having children.

Will’s Wordplay
References to “plagues” was loaded at the time of Will’s, as bubonic plague attacked the city of London many times in just the poet’s memory, necessitating the closure of theatres and the removal of the royal court to a safer district. Anyone who had sufficient means would leave the city for the country at such times.

“dearths” are famines, shortages. Not infrequent in those days, and would have had much resonance to the young man.

Rockaway Beach, Queens
“The origins of the name Rockaway Peninsula is closely related to the language of the Delaware and Chippewa Native Americans. Linguistic experts recognize both “Reckonwacky,” meaning “the place of our own people,” and “Reckanawahaha,” meaning “the place of laughing waters,” as the area’s indigenous names. Following the region’s European colonization during the seventeenth century, the present name was derived from these meanings. Other interpretations include “lekau,” meaning sand, and “lechauwaak,” for fork or branch. All interpretations reflect the historic and geographic traits of the peninsula.

The Canarsie Tribe, which originally inhabited the area, sold the mostly barren land to Captain Palmer, an Englishman, with a deed granted by then Governor Thomas Dongan in 1685. Disappointed with his purchase, Palmer sold the land in 1687 to a prominent iron master from Long Island, Richard Cornell, whose descendant, Ezra, founded Cornell University in 1865.

The Cornell family owned the land until 1808, when a partition suit divided the plot into 46 parcels, which were eventually sold to outsiders. The Rockaway Association, a group of wealthy New Yorkers, bought much of the property and began to build exclusive resorts in 1833. Within two years, James Remsen bought a large portion of the Peninsula. Remsen initiated a railroad project connecting the neighborhoods of Canarsie and East New York. The new railway was intended to greet steam ferries taking passengers to and from Rockaway. The Rockaway Peninsula remained a beachfront resort town, providing hotels, restaurants, and housing for those who could afford to pay for the trip. During the 1890s, a variety of amusement parks were built. In 1897, the Village of Rockaway Park was incorporated into New York City.

Improvements in transportation, under the direction of Parks Commissioner Robert Moses in the 1930’s, led to the growth of Rockaway. The completion of two bridges, the Marine Parkway Bridge in 1937 and the Cross Bay Bridge in 1939, connected Rockaway to mainland Queens and Brooklyn. Innovations in railroad service and the development of the elevated subway allowed popular access to the peninsula. Subway access stimulated Rockaway’s transition from a vacation area to neighborhoods with permanent residents.

This section of boardwalk, named Ocean Promenade, extends from Beach 110th to Beach 126th Streets and is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the boardwalk itself. The width of the beach averages 500 feet in this area. The boardwalk, measuring 30 feet in diameter, runs through the neighborhood of Rockaway Park. Parks acquired the ocean front area in 1911, as a gift from the Rockaway Park Improvement Company. Previously, Ocean Promenade was known as Triton Avenue. Between 1922 and 1923, the construction of the boardwalk took place and replaced Triton Avenue. The promenade continues to be considered a city street and ends at Beach 126th Street.

Lifeguards are stationed on the beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Beach-goers enjoy newly added spray showers and scenic dunes. This beach area is complemented by a variety of shops and restaurants on Beach 116th Street, which is also the final stop on the A train. In 1999, for the first time in 25 years, the entire boardwalk was open to the public following a multi-million dollar restoration project.” [1]

Sonnet Project
Rockaway Beach was the featured location for Sonnet 14, performed by Rochelle Slovin, directed by R.Jameson Smith. The video was released on May 20th, 2013

1. http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/rockawaybeach/history

ACTOR – Rochelle Slovin
The Sonnet Project marks Rochelle Slovin’s return to acting after a prestigious 40-year career in government and the arts. She was the Founding Director of Museum of the Moving Image, leading the Museum from its inception, and developing it into one of the most important institutions of its kind in the world. In the 1970s, she worked with Bella Abzug during her campaigns for the House of Representatives and the US Senate, served as a culture and education planner for the New York City Planning Commission, and was the director of the CETA Artists Project, which employed over 300 artists in all disciplines — the largest employment program for artists since President Roosevelt’s WPA. Slovin was performing for paying audiences by the age of eight, appearing in productions directed by the extraordinary theater artists and modern dance pioneers, Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis, at the Henry Street Playhouse on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In the 1960s, she studied with Frank Corsaro, one of America’s foremost stage directors and head of the Actors Studio. At this time, she was part of the exciting Off- Off-Broadway scene, performing in plays at La MaMa, American Theater for Poets and other cutting-edge venues.

DIRECTOR – R. Jameson Smith
R. Jameson Smith is the founder of Park Bench Pictures and a director and producer at Act Zero Films. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Jameson has produced and directed several films, music videos, and commercials. Recently, Jameson served as Associate Producer on Bluebird (starring John Slattery, and Amy Morton), and Co-Producer on the upcoming feature film Sweets (starring Katherine Kellner and Kevin Corrigan). Jameson has also produced countless short films, including Atlantic Avenue (starring Brady Corbet), which is currently proceeding on the festival circuit following a world premiere at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. In the past, Jameson has served as Field Producer on Counter Terror Intel and Sex in the Stone Age, specials for Discovery Channel and National Geographic, as well as having assisted Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese, and television host Jimmy Fallon.

Apr 21 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 44

Unisphere2  Unisphere

If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,
Injurious distance should not stop my way;
For then despite of space I would be brought,
From limits far remote, where thou dost stay.
No matter then although my foot did stand
Upon the farthest earth removed from thee;
For nimble thought can jump both sea and land
As soon as think the place where he would be.
But ah! thought kills me that I am not thought,
To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone,
But that, so much of earth and water wrought,
I must attend time’s leisure with my moan,
     Receiving nought by elements so slow
     But heavy tears, badges of either’s woe.

In Sonnet 44, the speaker wishes he could move with at the speed of thought to his lover’s side, but must content himself with waiting.

If Willy could travel with the ease and speed of thoughts, he and his love could always be together. But thinking of being a thought is, itself, a killing thought. No, a body composed of the two heavy elements, earth and water, must patiently wait for a reunion. The only profit from these two coarse elements is the heaviness of his tears, which bear witness to both parties’ sorrow.
Will’s Wordplay
The use of the word “heavy” throughout refers to heavy, or solid, elements of the body. Solid elements of the flesh cause heavy sorrow. Thought is light, immaterial, and brings happiness

Unisphere, World’s Fair Park
Visible from a distance and a known widely from its appearance in Men In Black, the Unisphere is a 12-story high, spherical stainless steel representation of the Earth. Located in Flushing Meadows – Corona Park in the borough of Queens. The Unisphere is one of the borough’s most iconic and enduring symbols.

Commissioned to celebrate the beginning of the space age, the Unisphere was conceived and constructed as the theme symbol of the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair. The theme of the World’s Fair was “Peace Through Understanding” and the Unisphere represented the theme of global interdependence. It was dedicated to “Man’s Achievements on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe”.
Designed by landscape architect Gilmore D. Clarke, the Unisphere was donated by the United States Steel Corporation and constructed by the American Bridge Company. It is the world’s largest global structure, rising 140 feet and weighing 700,000 pounds. Some sources say the Unisphere weighs 900,000 pounds, a figure which includes the additional weight of its 100-ton inverted tripod base. The diameter of the sphere itself is 120 feet. It is constructed of Type 304L stainless steel.

Built on the structural foundation that supported the Perisphere of the 1939–1940 New York World’s Fair, the Unisphere is centered in a large, circular reflecting pool and is surrounded by a series of water-jet fountains designed to obscure its tripod pedestal. The effect is meant to make Unisphere appear as if it is floating in space.

During the fair, dramatic lighting at night gave the effect of sunrise moving over the surface of the globe. Additionally, the capitals of nations were marked by lights. One of these lights is placed at the location of the Kahnawake Indian Reservation, which the Mohawk ironworkers requested to be placed there to honor their labor.[1]

Three large orbit rings of stainless steel encircle the Unisphere at various angles. These orbit rings are believed to represent the tracks of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, and Telstar, the first active communications satellite. In fact, the early design was to have a ring for each of a dozen satellites in place at the time of the Fair. This proved impractical not only in the number of satellites, but also in the height of their orbits and the fact that geostationary satellites had no orbit path. As a result a symbolic number of three was chosen for aesthetic reasons.
In 1989, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation announced a multi-million dollar rehabilitation of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Among the projects was a complete restoration of the Unisphere. Begun in late 1993 and completed on May 31, 1994, the project included numerous structural repairs and removal of years’ worth of grime which had accumulated on the steel. The fountains, shut off since the 1970s, were replaced, and new floodlighting installed.

On May 10, 1995, the Unisphere was given official landmark status by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Since September 2010, the New York State Pavilion has also received official landmark status.

The Unisphere’s fountain reopened on August 12, 2010, after a $2 million restoration of its pumps, valves and paintwork.[2]
Structural Foundation
The marshy soil of Flushing Meadows needed special consideration during the original 1937 Perisphere construction for the 1939 World’s Fair. The Perisphere, and subsequently the Unisphere, which used the same platform, employed a foundation of 528 pressure-creosoted Douglas fir piles of 95 to 100 feet in length. Before construction of the Unisphere, three piles were tested for structural integrity and all were found to be sound throughout their entire length.[3]
Sonnet Project
The Unisphere was the featured location for Sonnet 44, performed by Kevin Brewer, directed by Sean Gannett. The video was released on May 21, 2103.
1. http://www.placematters.net/node/1564
2. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/fountain-return-article-1.206293
3. http://www.slideruleera.net/CreosotePerformance.pdf

Kevin Brewer is an award-winning playwright and actor based in New York City. As resident playwright for NY Shakespeare Exchange, his 5-act Shakespearean comedy Island was given its NY premiere in 2012. Prior to its wildly successful NY run, Island received the Peterson Emerging Playwright Award at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C and was selected as Catawba’s American College Theatre Festival entry for 2003. In 2010 he collaborated with NY Shakespeare Exchange to bring his multi-media The One Man (Two Man (not quite)) Hamlet to the stage. His work has been showcased with Judith Shakespeare Company (Island, staged reading) and Sonnet Repertory Theatre (an evening of Kevin Brewer short plays). In 2004 his play Jinx, took first place at Riant Theatre’s 2004 Strawberry One-Act Festival. Acting credits include NYSX (Captain Mike, Island; and, Cardinal Pandulf, King John); N.C. Shakespeare Festival (Caliban, The Tempest), Great Lakes Theatre Festival (Rosencrantz, Hamlet), Cleveland Shakespeare (Brutus, Julius Caesar) and the Cleveland Play House (Angelo, Measure for Measure). Education: BFA (English), Michigan State University; MFA (acting), Case Western Reserve University.

SEAN GANNET – Director
Sean Gannet was born to drive slow, dance fast, and make movies. He is currently in post-production on his first feature film, Chasing Taste. He is also in post-production on two short films: The Poets written by Lori Fischer and starring Susan Louise O’Connor and Jeff Hiller, and 99¢ Tuxedo starring Ryan Good and Kate Holland.

Gannet also frequently works with the TED Conferences (www.ted.com) and recently produced and directed video content at TEDActive 2013 and was the the Technical Project Manager for the TED Worldwide Talent Search which featured TED events in 14 countries across 6 continents and resulted in the recording of 292 talks.

In directing, Gannet previously helmed two short films in NYC: Dottie’s Thanksgiving Pickle starring the Tony-Nominated Actress Nancy Opel and Academy Award-winner Olympia Dukakis and The One That I Want, a musical comedy made as a part of RIPFEST’s Collaborative Film Project.

Gannet has also facilitated the production of many projects in various producing capacities. He line-produced TEDx GreatPacificGarbagePatch, the TED Prize MissionBlue Conference in the Galapagos Islands and associate-produced Paramount’s The Love Guru, which was the culmination of three years of close work with Mike Myers and Myers’ production company Nomoneyfun Films. While there, Gannet helped develop several projects with Myers including extensive work on Dreamworks’ Shrek The Third and the ABC Christmas special Shrek the Halls.

Gannet graduated from Northwestern University’s Radio/Television/Film program with honors for Production Excellence.In addition to his propensity for writing and directing, Sean is a road-trip enthusiast, celebrated turkey chili chef, and lauded amateur dancer for whom crowds of strangers have oft circled-up to watch him shake it. Sean currently lives, works and plays in Brooklyn, the only city for which he has ever been homesick.

Apr 21 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 48

How careful was I when I took my way,
Each trifle under truest bars to thrust,
That to my use it might unused stay
From hands of falsehood, in sure wards of trust!
But thou, to whom my jewels trifles are,
Most worthy comfort, now my greatest grief,
Thou best of dearest, and mine only care,
Art left the prey of every vulgar thief.
Thee have I not locked up in any chest,
Save where thou art not, though I feel thou art,
Within the gentle closure of my breast,
From whence at pleasure thou mayst come and part;
     And even thence thou wilt be stol’n I fear,
     For truth proves thievish for a prize so dear.



Sonnet 48 explores the beloved as a possession thieves might pray upon while the poet is on a journey.

Willy must take a journey, and is packing all of his valuables away to guard against thieves. Though he has taken great care to protect his possessions, he cannot do the same for the one thing dearer to him than all others– his beloved. He cannot put the youth under lock and key while he is away, for he is free.But every passer by might be tempted by the youth’s beauty to steal him away. His beauty is such that it would tempt even honest men to theft.


Will’s Wordplay

“sure wards of trust” are secure storage places, safe from “hands of falsehood” or untrustowrthy people.

“chest” here means a trunk with a lock, “thee have I not locked up in any chest” but also alludes to the breast, where Billy has locked the youth in his heart.


Jamaica Bay Wildlife Reserve, Broad Channel, Queens

“The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge—part of Gateway National Recreation Area—is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Northeastern United States and one of the best places in New York City to observe migrating species. With more than 330 bird species—nearly half the species in the Northeast—sighted at the refuge over the last 25 years, it is a must-see for avian enthusiasts.

The park’s unique landscape contains a variety of rare native habitats including a salt marsh, upland field and woods, several fresh and brackish water ponds, and an open expanse of bay. There is a wide variety of ranger and partner-led programs offered year-round at the site, including presentations on seasonal wildlife, sunset tours, hikes, boat trips, family programs and an annual lecture series. Check out what’s happening at Jamaica Bay.

The Visitor Contact Station welcomes visitors and is the starting point for many guided programs. Free walking permits, necessary to hike the trails, are obtainable here as well. The Visitor Contact Station is also home to exhibits that highlight Jamaica Bay’s remarkable plant and animal life, history, and the continuing human impact on the nature of the bay.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, the only wildlife refuge in the National Park System, is also home to an impressive array of native reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, over 60 species of butterflies and one of the largest populations of horseshoe crabs in the Northeast. Numerous ranger-led nature hikes, bird watching sessions, and seining activities give visitors the chance to get up close to these incredible animals and learn about protecting them.

Originally managed by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the landscape of the Wildlife Refuge underwent a major change when then Park Commissioner Robert Moses ordered the creation of two large fresh water ponds, East Pond and West Pond, which are still major features of the park today. In 1972, the city transferred ownership of the Wildlife Refuge to the National Park Service, and the site became part of Gateway National Recreation Area.” [1]



1. http://www.nyharborparks.org/visit/jaba.html


ACTOR – Christopher Randolph

Christopher Randolph’s previous Shakespeare credits include appearing in Lincoln Center Theatre’s King Lear on Broadway in a production starring Christopher Plummer, directed by Sir Jonathan Miller; and touring the U.S. in the Theatre For A New Audience production of The Merchant Of Venice, starring F. Murray Abraham, directed by Tony winner Darko Tresnjek. Off-Broadway he has appeared in Dash at MCC; Hollywood Scheherezade at Primary Stages; Clocks & Whistles with Origin; The International (which he also directed) for The 1st Irish Festival; and The Survival of the Species at EST and The Becket. Extensive regional theatre work includes The Tempest at Hartford Stage (working again with Darko Tresnjek); Betrayal at The Old Globe; St. Joan at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; The Misanthrope at GeVa; as well as productions at Milwaukee Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Chatauqua Conservatory Theatre, and many others. At The Odyssey in Los Angeles he received a Dramalogue Award for his work in the world premiere of Angels Twice Descending, and was in the West Coast premiere of Terrence McNally’s A Perfect Ganesh, which garnered 8 LA DCC nominations. Film work includes Catherine Eaton’s Liv; Convention, directed by Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden; In Your Eyes, written and produced by Joss Whedon; two movies with Max Finneran: The Shells and Pumpkin Hell; and Renee Alberta’s Dream Date. Television appearances include Will & Grace; Mad About You; Newsradio; and Doogie Howser, MD. He is also the voice of the characters Otacon and Huey in the best selling Metal Gear Solid game series for Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo. He holds a BA in English Literature from Boston University, and an MFA in acting from UCSD.


DIRECTOR – Patrick Chen

Patrick Chen is a writer and self-taught filmmaker from Queens, New York. He’s a film enthusiast that tries to reinvent old styles while incorporating modern tactics making a picture that feels both nostalgic and refreshing.

His short film “Love Express” has recently screened at various festivals, and was awarded with the Community Award for his dedicated contribution at the Queens World Film Festival. The film was praised by the Chinese community and described as heartfelt, sentimental and a tribute to early Hong Kong cinema. Prior films, “Welcome Home” (2013) and “Underneath The Grey” (2014) were both appointed as top finalists by the Asian American Film Lab’s 72 Hours Shootout competition. They were showcased at AAIFF, AOFF, SAG-AFTRA Showcase and NYC Media. He is currently producing his Chinatown based feature-length project, which to be slated in mid-2016.

Website: www.facebook.com/chenxihaofilms



Li Zong is a composer, electronic music designer and keyboard performer. He holds Master’s degrees from both Shanghai Conservatory of Music (China) and New York University (USA). As a composer, He is involved in different music fields covering classical, pop, rock, jazz, film scoring and modern electronic music. His works have appeared in Lincoln Center, New York Fashion Week, Museum of Macao, China Got Talents, The Voice of China, and Shanghai Expo. As a performer of keyboard, Li has not only recorded for numerous released albums but also played live on lots of venues. He also had his voice heard in a wide range of music projects like 2011 NAMM Show, the Broadway show Rent, and Shanghai Jazz Festival.

Website: www.li-zong.com


RECORDING ENGINNER – Cristopher Rodriguez

Cristopher Rodriguez is a NYC music producer, audio engineer, DJ, and musician. From the age of 12 he started playing guitar and later bagpipes. His background in DJ’ing eventually led him to audio engineering, production, and arrangement. He has a strong background in electronic music, working with analog synthesizers and owns a good collection of synths, including the famous Minimoog and Roland TR-808. He also is the proprietor of Creepy Bird Studio in Queens. He has worked with a range of artists, from Jazz musicians, rappers, and even Bollywood. Some of the artists he has worked with include Jasmine Sandlas, Almamy, Burle Avant, and Principal Dean.

Website: www.creppybird.com

Apr 21 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 50


How heavy do I journey on the way,

When what I seek, my weary travel’s end,

Doth teach that ease and that repose to say,

’Thus far the miles are measured from thy friend!’

The beast that bears me, tired with my woe,
Plods dully on, to bear that weight in me,
As if by some instinct the wretch did know
His rider lov’d not speed being made from thee.
The bloody spur cannot provoke him on,
That sometimes anger thrusts into his hide,
Which heavily he answers with a groan,
More sharp to me than spurring to his side;
     For that same groan doth put this in my mind,
     My grief lies onward, and my joy behind.
Sonnet 50 has the speaker on a journey, parted from his love, and every step increases his sadness.

Will is on a journey, traveling on horseback. Every step takes him farther from his beloved friend, the horse grows tired as he grows sadder. Its as though the horse knows, and so it plods along, slowing the lovers’ parting. Kicking the horse with spurs does nothing but make him groan, which reminds Will of his own grief.
Will’s Wordplay
“tired” can also have the meaning “attired”, as though the beast had been clothed with the sorrow that afflicts the rider.
Groans were the traditional accompaniment to the lover’s pain; here the horse emulates its rider.

John F. Kennedy Airport
Now Boarding! John F. Kennedy International Airport is an international airport in the borough of Queens in New York City owned by the City of New York and leased to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, about 12 miles southeast of Lower Manhattan. In 2011 it was the busiest international air passenger gateway to the United States, handling more international traffic than any other airport in North America. [1] It is also the leading freight gateway to the country by value of shipments. [2]

In 2012, the airport handled 49,292,733 passengers [3] making it the 17th busiest airport in the world and sixth busiest in the United States in terms of passenger traffic. The New York City metropolitan area’s JFK International, LaGuardia, and Newark International airports, all operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, combine to create the largest airport system in the United States, second in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and first in the world in terms of total flight operations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy_International_Airport – cite_note-8
Over ninety airlines operate out of JFK. In the past, it has been a hub for Eastern Air Lines, Gemini Air Cargo, National Airlines, Pan American World Airways and Trans World Airlines. It is one of only two airports in North America, the other being Toronto Pearson International Airport, with scheduled flights to all six inhabited continents.[4]
John F. Kennedy International Airport was originally known as Idlewild Airport after the golfcourse it displaced. The airport was envisioned as a reliever for LaGuardia Airport, which had insufficient capacity in the late 1930s. Construction began in 1943; the airport opened with six runways and a seventh under construction. The project was renamed Major General Alexander E. Anderson Airport in 1943 after a Queens resident who had commanded a Federalized National Guard unit in the southern United States and who had died in late 1942. In March 1948 the New York City Council again changed the name to New York International Airport, Anderson Field, but the airport was commonly known as “Idlewild” until 1963.

The airport was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 24, 1963, one month after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.[5]
The Port of New York Authority originally envisioned a single 55-gate terminal for the airport, but the major airlines of the time argued that the terminal would be too small for future traffic. [6] Architect Wallace Harrison then designed a master plan under which each major airline at the airport would be given its own space to develop its own terminal design. This made construction more practical, made terminals more navigable and introduced incentives for airlines to compete with each other for the best design. The revised master plan met airline approval in 1955, with seven terminals initially planned—five for individual airlines, one developed for 3 airlines, and an international arrivals building. National Airlines and British Airways arrived later.
Sonnet Project
John F. Kennedy Airport was the featured location for Sonnet 50, performed by Cristina Lippollis, directed by Nicholas Biagetti. The video was released on June 24, 2013.
1. “U.S. International Travel and Transportation Trends, BTS02-03”. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation. 2006.
2.Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation (2004). “America’s Freight Transportation Gateways”
3.”2010 North American Final Rankings”. Airports Council International. May 28, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2011.
4. http://www.panynj.gov/airports/jfk-airlines.htm
5. Benjamin, Philip (December 25, 1963). “Idlewild Is Rededicated as John F. Kennedy Airport”. The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
6. Alastair Gordon, Naked Airport (U. of Chicago Press)

ACTOR – Cristina Lippolis
Cristina Lippolis is a New York-based actress, model and dancer (at times, she also likes to think of herself as a writer, but that is information she usually omits). Cristina was brought up between Los Angeles and Italy, before moving to New York to study acting at the Stella Adler Studio. Immediately after graduating, she took part in the LAByrinth Theater Company’s Intensive Ensemble and played Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in Italy. Cristina has worked on numerous short films and was recently cast to play the lead role in an indie feature film that will start shooting in September in New York City. Amongst her favorite theater roles, she’d like to include Blanche ( The French Waitress, by J.P. Shanley), Aelia ( A Theory of Perpetual Motion, The Tank Theater), Victoria ( The Motherfucker with the Hat, Stella Adler Studio). Her TV credits include the popular Italian TV series, Distretto di Polizia 10. She’d like to thank Nicholas Biagetti for the amazing time they had while “secretively” shooting this video. For the full story (and complete credits), check out www.cristinalippolis.com.

Your soul is the whole world – Herman Hesse-Siddharta

DIRECTOR – Nicholas Biagetti
Impassioned by the gun-slinging desperadoes of the Western genre, Nicholas Biagetti first found a spirit for filmmaking in his early attempts at creating his own backyard Westerns in the suburbs of Massachusetts. Deciding his future lay in film, he graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a focus in film editing, visual effects, and art history. As a managing partner of Park Bench Pictures, Nicholas works both commercially and independently as an animator, film editor, and graphic artist. www.nbiagetti.com



Apr 21 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 53

What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
Since every one hath, every one, one shade,
And you but one, can every shadow lend.
Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit
Is poorly imitated after you;
On Helen’s cheek all art of beauty set,
And you in Grecian tires are painted new:
Speak of the spring, and foison of the year,
The one doth shadow of your beauty show,
The other as your bounty doth appear;
And you in every blessed shape we know.
     In all external grace you have some part,
     But you like none, none you, for constant heart.

Sonnet 53 claims that all that is good in the world is just a reflection of the beloved’s wonderful qualities.

Willy wonders aloud what the young man is made of that allows his reflection to appear in myriad ways? Normal people have only one shadow, but this splendid young fellow is reflected in everything. Paintings of Adonis are only a faint imitation of him; and Helen of Troy is merely him in Greek dress. To talk of springtime or harvest time is to speak of mere shadows of his beauty and fruitfulness. He is in every beautiful thing Willy sees, but one way in which he is unique is in fidelity like none other.
Scholar’s Corner
Many scholars note the Platonic underpinnings of the poem. The theory is that most of our experience is merely a shadow of reality. Every ideal or form has its shadow in the material world, and all material things derive their shape and existence from these forms and therefore have something of the ideal in them, but it is only a severely restricted version of the ideal[1]. In Willy’s eye, the young man is this pure ideal that can barely be grasped.
1. Wikipedia – Allegory of the Cave

Isamu Noguchi Museum, Queens
The Noguchi Museum, chartered as The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, was designed and created by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Opening on a limited basis to the public in 1985 the purpose of the museum and foundation was and remains to preserve and display Noguchi’s sculptures, architectural models, stage designs, drawings, and furniture designs. The two story museum and adjacent sculpture garden, located in Long Island City section of Queens, one block from the Socrates Sculpture Park, underwent major renovations in 2004 allowing the museum to stay open year round.
To house the museum, in 1974 Noguchi purchased a photogravure plant and gas station located across the street from his New York studio, where he had worked and lived since 1961.[2] The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum opened to the public in 1985 on a seasonal basis. In 1999 the Foundation Board approved a $13.5 million Capital Master Plan to address structural concerns, ADA and NYC Building Code compliance and create a new public education facility. During renovation, the Museum relocated to a temporary space in Sunnyside, Queens, and held several thematic exhibitions of Noguchi’s work. In February 2004, the museum was formally chartered as a museum, and granted 501(c)(3) public charity status. The Noguchi Museum reopened to the public at its newly renovated space in June 2004. The museum building continued to suffer from structural issues into the early 2000s and a second $8 million stabilization project was begun in September of 2008. [1]
About the Museum
“The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum is devoted to the preservation, documentation, presentation, and interpretation of the work of Isamu Noguchi. The Museum, the first in America established by a living artist of his own work, contains the world’s richest holdings of Noguchi’s art.”

“The Museum seeks to honor and preserve the unique setting designed by Noguchi and to exhibit a core group of works for permanent viewing. Through changing exhibitions and educational programs the Museum aims to illuminate the interrelation of his sculpture, works on paper, architecture, and designs for furniture, lighting, landscapes, and theater, as well as the intellectual environment in which the works were shaped.” [2]
Tree of Heaven
Until March 26, 2008, a 60-foot (18 m)-tall 75 year old Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) was a prominent centerpiece of the sculpture garden at the museum. The tree was spared by Noguchi when in 1975 he bought the building which would become the museum and cleaned up its back lot. “[I]n a sense, the sculpture garden was designed around the tree”, said a former aide to Noguchi, Bonnie Rychlak, who later became the museum curator. By early 2008 the tree was found to be dying and might have crashed into the building, which was about to undergo an $8.2 million renovation. The museum hired the Detroit Tree of Heaven Woodshop, an artists’ collective, to use the wood to make benches, sculptures and other amenities in and around the building. [3]
1. Sinking Noguchi Museum gets $8M. New York Daily News. March 21, 2008.
2. http://www.noguchi.org/museum/mission
3. A Tree that Survived a Sculpor’s Chisel is Chopped Down Collins, Glen (March 27, 2008). New York Times

ACTOR – Nina Fleck
Originally from Germany, Fleck left Fashion to pursue acting and directing in NYC. Her love for theater, led her to direct her first play Gentrified Minds which premiered at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival in 2011.

As of 2012, Nina Fleck is working on her first feature film entitled Beyond the Ashes. The film focuses on one woman’s civil disobedience in an unjust system and the consequences that follow.

DIRECTOR – Sriya Sarkar
Sriya Sarkar is an NYC-based writer, director, editor, and producer. A recent graduate of the film program at NYU Tisch, she has worked at the BBC, Comedy Central, Discovery, and Upworthy, among others. She currently freelances in the ever lucrative and predictable production world. She is also a member of the improv and sketch comedy group, The Improvisation News Team, which boasts a surprising number of Shakespeare aficionados. Her short film, Rocket Man, is currently in post-production. More captivating details and links to her work can be found at www.about.me/sriyasarkar
CINEMATOGRAPHER – Olivia Divecchia
Olivia Divecchia graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2010 with a BFA in photography. She now resides in New York where she is pursuing fine art photography and cinematography. Her work can be viewed at www.oliviadivecchia.com
SOUND MIXER – Alexa Harris
Alexa A. Harris is a Washington,DC-based producer. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Masters degree in Documentary Film and History and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Spelman College. She also holds a doctorate in Communication from Howard University. Alexa also completed a certificate program in Producing for Television and Film from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has worked in television for nearly ten years, in the script department for an array of variety-genre shows. Most recently, she has conducted research, provided recommendations, and executed solutions to meet the needs of clients ranging from non-profit organizations to production companies at her own boutique consulting practice. She also facilitates media literacy, self esteem, and production workshops for middle and high school students. Through each of her projects, she hopes to educate, empower and inspire audiences to think critically and strive to be change agents.

Apr 21 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 59

If there be nothing new, but that which is
Hath been before, how are our brains beguil’d,
Which labouring for invention bear amiss
The second burthen of a former child.
Oh that record could with a backward look,
Even of five hundred courses of the sun,
Show me your image in some antique book,
Since mind at first in character was done,
That I might see what the old world could say
To this composed wonder of your frame;
Whether we are mended, or where better they,
Or whether revolution be the same.
Oh sure I am the wits of former days,
To subjects worse have given admiring praise.



Sonnet 59 questions if time is cyclical, and if so, is writing about the beloved something that you would find in the annals of history?

Will wonders aloud if there’s nothing new and everything that now exists existed in the past, then we must be fooling ourselves when we struggle to write something new, winding up, after much exhausting, painful labor, with only an imitation of an imitation! If he could look back a few hundred years he would find depiction of the young man written when writing was still being learned, and he would see praise of the youth’s beauty. he could also compare the writings on it to see if we’ve gotten better, worse, or whether things have stayed the same. Surely writers of the past devoted praise and admiration to worse subjects than this youth.


Will’s Wordplay

“If there be nothing new” hearkens to biblical Ecclesiastes 1.9: “The thing that hath been is that which shall be; and that which hath been done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.”

“five hundred courses of the sun” is five hundred years.


New York State Pavilion, Queens

No, those aren’t spaceships. They’re the Observation towers in the New York State Pavilion, one of the last vestiges of the 1964 World’s Fair.

“The New York State Pavilion was constructed for the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Designed by architect Philip Johnson (born 1906), the “Tent of Tomorrow” measures 350 feet by 250 feet, with sixteen 100-foot columns suspending a 50,000 square-foot roof of multi-colored panels. The popular exhibit for the state of New York also held three towers, measuring 60 feet, 150 feet, and 226 feet. The two shorter towers held cafeterias for the fair, and the tallest tower, as the highest point of the fair, held an observation deck. Fair visitors ascended the towers in the “Sky Streak” capsule elevators.

The pavilion included a display from the New York State Power Authority with a 26-foot scale replica of the St. Lawrence hydroelectric plant. The pavilion’s mezzanine featured art from local museums and information about the state’s industries along a path called “Highways through New York.” The Fine Arts Gallery showed pieces from the Hudson River School and portraits of New York State colonists. Approximately six million people visited the New York State Pavilion.

Perhaps the most spectacular feature of the exhibit was the Texaco Company’s map of New York State. The map was designed with 567 terrazzo mosaic panels, each weighing 400 pounds. Rand McNally & Company assisted in constructing the $1,000,000 map, which featured the 50,000 square miles of New York State in meticulous detail. The cities, towns, highways, roads, and Texaco stations were accurately mapped in the 9,000 square-foot design. After the fair, the space under the tent was used as a roller skating rink and as a performance space by the Council for International Recreation, Culture, and Lifelong Education. By 1976, the roof above the map became unstable and the tent was removed, exposing the map of New York State to the ravages of weather.

The New York State Pavilion also included the adjacent “Theaterama,” which exhibited pop art works by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) among others. The “Theaterama” also screened a 360-degree film about the wonders of New York State, from Jones Beach to Niagara Falls. The space was converted to the Queens Playhouse in 1972 with its first production, George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” opening in October of the same year. The theater continued to operate until 1985 and was renovated and reopened in 1994. Borough President Claire Shulman, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the City Council, and private donors funded the $4 million renovation.

Other improvements of the fairgrounds include a $24,000 partial reconstruction of the lower tower of the New York State Pavilion funded by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in 1998, and a $165,000 lighting installation for the Queens Theatre-In-The-Park funded by Borough President Claire Shulman in 1999. Visible from the Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway, and the Long Island Expressway, and located near the Unisphere and the New York City Building, the New York State Pavilion remains an important, historical landmark of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.” [1]



1. http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/flushing-meadows-corona-park/highlights/12632


ACTOR – Robert Gomes

Robert Gomes has acted on Broadway, Off Broadway, regionally, and in numerous film and television roles. His Shakespeare credits include Iachimo in Cymbeline and Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, both for New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre. He is a playwright, screenwriter, and is the producer of the award-winning short film Deflated. He is honored to be a part of The Sonnet Project.


DIRECTOR – Karla Braithwaite

Karla Braithwaite is a digital filmmaker who specializes in creating virtual realities for her films.


Prologue to Sonnet 59

My father was a professional photographer. He and my mother went to the 1964 World’s Fair in Corona Park, New York. My father walked those sidewalks. He breathed that air. He looked around, saw the buildings, saw the people, saw the life and captured those moments on film. I can no longer see him, or hear his voice, but now 50 years later, I had the opportunity to walk the same path and through my eyes and my craft, breath life back into images from those days of old.

Ecclesiastes 1:9
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Apr 21 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 69

Those parts of thee that the world’s eye doth view
Want nothing that the thought of hearts can mend;
All tongues, the voice of souls, give thee that due,
Uttering bare truth, even so as foes commend.
Thy outward thus with outward praise is crown’d;
But those same tongues, that give thee so thine own,
In other accents do this praise confound
By seeing farther than the eye hath shown.
They look into the beauty of thy mind,
And that in guess they measure by thy deeds;
Then, churls, their thoughts, although their eyes were kind,
To thy fair flower add the rank smell of weeds:
     But why thy odour matcheth not thy show,
     The soil is this, that thou dost common grow.



Sonnet 69 expresses extremes of feelings about the beloved subject, who is presented as at once superlative in every way and treacherous or disloyal.

Will admits that what the world can see of the youth is perfect. Everyone knows it. But the same people who praise his beauty reverse that praise when they examine you in other ways. These people, judging his mind and character by your actions, decide that he is as much foul as beautiful. The reason nobody can “smell” the internal foulness is that the young man surrounds himself with people who are even fouler by comparison.

Will’s Wordplay

A churl was a boorish peasant. By attributing the churlish thoughts of the youth’s moral perfection to churlish men, Will neatly avoids casting the first stone. Nice save!

The “odour” mentioned may be figurative, a reference to social reputation.


Hell Gate, Astoria, Queens

Dare you cross? Hell Gate is a narrow tidal strait in the East River in New York City in the United States. It separates Astoria, Queens from Randall’s and Wards Islands (formerly two separate islands, now joined by landfill).

The name “Hell Gate” is a corruption of the Dutch phrase Hellegat, which could mean either “hell’s hole” or “bright gate/passage”, which was originally applied to the entirety of the East River. The strait was described in the journals of Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, who is the first European known to have navigated the strait, during his 1614 voyage aboard the Onrust. Hellegat is a fairly common toponym for waterways in the Low Countries, with at least 20 separate examples.[1] Because explorers found navigation hazardous in this New World place of rocks and converging tide-driven currents (from the Long Island Sound, Harlem River strait, Upper Bay of New York Harbor and lesser channels, some of which have been filled), the Anglicization stuck.

In 1851 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began to clear obstacles from the strait with explosives; the process would last seventy years.[2] On September 24, 1876, the Corps used 50,000 pounds of explosives to blast the dangerous rocks, which was followed by further blasting work.[3] On October 10, 1885, the Corps carried out the largest explosion in this process, annihilating Flood Rock with 300,000 pounds of explosives. The explosion sent a geyser of water 250 feet in the air; the blast was felt as far away as Princeton, New Jersey. The explosion has been described as “the largest planned explosion before testing began for the atomic bomb”,[4] although the detonation at the Battle of Messines was larger. Rubble from the detonation was used in 1890 to fill the gap between Great Mill Rock and Little Mill Rock, merging the two islands into a single island, Mill Rock.

By the late 19th century, hundreds of ships including HMS Hussar had sunk in the strait. It was spanned in 1917 by the New York Connecting Railroad Bridge (now called the Hell Gate Bridge), which connects Wards Island and Queens. The bridge provides a direct rail link between New England and New York City. In 1936 it was spanned by the Triborough Bridge, allowing vehicular traffic to pass between Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens.


The Bridge

The Hell Gate Bridge (originally the New York Connecting Railroad Bridge or The East River Arch Bridge) is a 1,017-foot steel through arch railroad bridge in New York City. The bridge crosses the Hell Gate, a strait of the East River, between Astoria, Queens and Wards Island in Manhattan.

The bridge is the largest of three bridges that form the Hell Gate complex. An inverted bowstring truss bridge with four 300-foot spans crosses the Little Hell Gate (now filled in); and a 350-foot fixed truss bridge crosses the Bronx Kill (now narrowed by fill). Together with approaches, the bridges are more than 17,000 feet (3.2 mi) long.

This bridge was the inspiration for the design of Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia, which is about 60 percent bigger. It was conceived in the early 1900s to link New York and the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) with New England and the New Haven Railroad (NH).

Construction was overseen by Gustav Lindenthal, whose original design left a gap of 15 feet between the steel arch and the masonry towers. Fearing that the public assumed that the towers were structurally integral to the bridge, Lindenthal added aesthetic girders between the upper chord of the arch and the towers to make the structure appear more robust. The original plans for the piers on the long approach ramps called for a steel lattice structure. The design was changed to smooth concrete to soothe concerns that asylum inmates on Wards and Randall’s islands would climb the piers to escape.

The engineering was so precise that when the last section of the main span was lifted into place, the final adjustment needed to join everything together was just 1⁄2 inch! Construction of the Hell Gate Bridge began on March 1, 1912 and ended on September 30, 1916. It was the world’s longest steel arch bridge until the Bayonne Bridge opened in 1931, and was surpassed again by the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932.

In 1996, the bridge received a facelift, including its first comprehensive paint job in 80 years. It was painted “Hell Gate Red”, a dark, natural red. The bridge would be the last New York City bridge to collapse if humans disappeared, taking at least a millennium to do so, according to the February 2005 issue of Discover magazine. Most other bridges would fall in about 300 years.



1. Van Dyck, Vic. “Hellegat en Hellegat” (in Dutch).
2. “NOAA 200th Collections: Hell Gate and Its Approaches nautical chart from 1851”. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2009-04-12.
3. “Rendering Hell-Gate Rocks; The Submarine Mine Exploded”. The New York Times. September 25, 1876. p. 1. Retrieved 2011-11-19
4. Whitt, Toni (June 2, 2006). “The East River is Cleaner Now. The Water Birds Say So.”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-12.


ACTOR – Vince Gatton

Vince Gatton received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Play in David Johnston’s Candy and Dorothy, which he also performed at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors’ Theater in Cape Cod. He is a founding board member of the New York Shakespeare Exchange, and has appeared as an actor in NYSX’s The Life and Death of King John, Mucedorus, The Comedy of Errors, and ShakesBEER: The Original Shakespearian Pub Crawl. He was also the guy in the original pilot film for The Sonnet Project, which was widely seen via the project’s Kickstarter campaign and was featured on NPR’s Monkey See blog. Other notables: I Am My Own Wife and Fully Committed at Barrington Stage Company in the Berkshires (Metroland’s Critic’s Pick as Best Actor of 2008); Cock at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca; The Temperamentals at New World Stages, standing by for Michael Urie; The Turn of the Screw at the Merchant’s House in NYC and the Hennegar Center in Melbourne, Florida; Henry 4 parts 1 & 2, Henry 6 parts 1 & 2, and Love’s Labor’s Lost with Judith Shakespeare Company; Perspective Coward for The Fugitive Kind; To Fool the Eye and Taylor Mac’s The Hot Month with Boomerang Theater Company; and The Americans and Johnston’s Busted Jesus Comix with Blue Coyote Theater Group. He has worked with Tectonic Theater Project on the development of various projects, including Moisés Kaufman’s 33 Variations and Leigh Fondakowski’s Casa Cushman and SPILL. Vince is a native of Louisville, Kentucky and got his BFA in Acting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2012 he lived the trivia nerd’s dream by competing on Jeopardy. He didn’t win.



DIRECTOR – Emily Lyon

Emily Lyon is a NYC stage and film director. Her love of witty, thought-provoking, accessible stories has lead her to: become Literary Manager at Bedlam (theatrebedlam.org); direct Hamlet, Measure for Measure, and Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse; coach students in Detroit to present their own poetry; participate in a Royal Shakespeare Company residency; assist a series of readings for Julie Taymor at Theatre for a New Audience. With a thorough background in Shakespeare, she’s studied at Shakespeare’s Globe, Folger Shakespeare Library, and University of Michigan (BFA: Directing). She also co-founded an award-winning film production company, known for creative pieces for community impact. Her upcoming shows will be announced on her website (EmilyALyon.com).

Apr 21 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 97

How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness everywhere!
And yet this time removed was summer’s time;
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:
Yet this abundant issue seemed to me
But hope of orphans, and unfathered fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute:
     Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer,
     That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.



Billy’s separation from his love has plunged him into winter, since their love makes the year pleasurable. He’s felt cold, dark days, and the world seems as bare as trees in December. This is even more of a surprise because the time of year they’ve spent apart was actually summer, then fall, the most plentiful time of the year, and the fruit of a spring– like a widow giving birth after her husband has died. And these abundant fruits of nature seemed like hopeless orphans to him, because summer’s pleasures all depend on being with his beloved, and alone, even the birds are silent. Or if they sing, it is with a note that makes the leaves grow pale with fear, dreading winter’s approach.


Will’s Wordplay

Willy personifies the spring as a dead father because the season, like his lover, is gone while the crops planted during its duration remain.


Scholar’s Corner

In his book On the Literary Genetics of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, T. W. Baldwin notes a resemblance between this poem’s trope for the seasons and the “childing autumn” of A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2.1.112; he traces the figure to Ovid.


Francis Lewis Park, Queens

“American merchant, patriot, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Born in Llandaff, Wales, Lewis became an orphan at a young age. He completed a merchant apprenticeship in London and then traveled to America in 1738. The entrepreneur established a successful trading company in both New York City and Philadelphia, and grew rich by supplying goods to British troops during the French and Indian War (1755-1763). In 1745, Lewis married Elizabeth Annesley, the sister of a business partner. Having accumulated great wealth, Lewis retired from trade in 1765 and moved to Whitestone, New York.

Lewis’s political career began in 1774, when he served as a New York delegate to the Provincial Convention. The convention elected Lewis to the Continental Congress, where he served from 1775 to 1779. On July 4, 1776, Lewis signed the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed the colonies forever absolved from allegiance to the British crown. In the fall of 1776, the British destroyed Lewis’s Whitestone property and abducted his wife Elizabeth. After her release, Annesly died prematurely in 1779, perhaps due in part to the harsh conditions of her captivity. During the course of the Revolutionary War (1776-1781), Lewis served on two powerful committees: the Secret Committee, which imported munitions, and the Marine Committee, which administered naval affairs. Defeated for re-election to the Continental Congress in 1779, Lewis nevertheless was appointed to the Board of Admiralty, which replaced the Marine Committee. In the years before his death, Francis Lewis served as a vestryman for Trinity Church in New York City.

The Whitestone community that Lewis made his home has a long and rich history. Dutch farmers founded Whitestone in 1645, naming the area for a large white boulder that broke the tides along the shore. The Dutch purchased the land from the Matinecock Native Americans at the price of one ax per fifty acres. In 1735, the discovery of clay deposits stimulated the widespread growth of pottery manufacturing. During DeWitt Clinton’s tenure as New York State Governor (1817-23, 1825-8), the community referred to itself as Clintonville. The discovery of a hot spring on 14 Street and Old Whitestone Avenue during the mid-19th century brought the area renown as a sanctuary for anemic patients. During this period, New Yorkers referred to the town as Iron Springs.

Francis Lewis Park is bounded by Third Avenue, 147 Street, the East River, and Parsons Boulevard. In 1937, Parks acquired the property from the private estate of Edwin H. Brown. The park consists of 9.231 acres above water and 7.631 acres below water. The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge (1939) designed by Othmar H. Ammann crosses over the western side of the property. The park consists of winding paths that lead to two scenic overlooks equipped with benches and game tables. Both overlooks feature spectacular views of the bridge and the East River, while the lower overlook provides beach access.

In 1992, Francis Lewis Park received a $466,000 renovation. The project reconstructed the shoreline, overlook, and embankment areas of the park in order to correct a severe erosion problem, prevent future degradation, and improve views of the river. Additionally, the flagpole on the upper overlook received a decorative granite base. In 1999, through the efforts of former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, the park received the addition of a bocce court.” [1]



1. http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/francis-lewis-park/history


ACTOR – Robert Manning Jr.

Robert is a graduate of the University of Washington’s Professional Acting Training Program, MFA. Television: Southland, The Unit, Criminal Minds. Film: Frogtown, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. Theatre – Broadway: Magic/Bird. Regional: Sterling in Two Trains Running, Cassio in Othello, Banquo in Macbeth. 2008 NAACP Theatre Award Nomination: Defiance – Pasadena Playhouse. 2010 NAACP Theatre Award Nomination: Battle Hymn – Ford Theatre. 2012 NAACP Theatre Award Win: Blues for an Alabama Sky – Pasadena Playhouse. Robert recently completed the original production of How I Learned to Become a Superhero.
For more information and full credits, please visit robertmanningjr.com.


DIRECTOR – James Elliott

James Elliott: BA – Williams College, MFA – University of Texas at Austin.
Director, Teacher, Producer. Directing credits include Three Graces Theatre Co (His latest production, Dissonance, was just published by Applause in Best Short Plays of 2011-12), ABC-TV Diversity Showcase, off-off-Broadway, and regional theatres and colleges around the country. Instructor and Resident Director at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Also teaches at Cooper Union, NY Film Academy and Fairleigh Dickinson University. Was Producing Director for the NY Theater Co. Urban Empire where he helped premiere Evolution by Jonathan Marc Sherman. Founder of Cricket Pictures and co-producer of two films. Screenwriter and director of the award-nominated short film Helen at Risk with Didi Conn. He is the co-creator of the Podcast series The State of Shakespeare.