4/30/16

Regina Opera Presents Puccini's "Manon Lescault" at OLPH


Zhanna Alkhazova
At 3 PM on Saturdays May 14 and 21, and Sundays May 15 and 22, Brooklyn's Regina Opera Company will present a fully-staged production of Giacomo Puccini's “Manon Lescaut" at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, at 5902 6th Avenue (at 60th Street) in Sunset Park. (N/R/B-9/B-63/B-70 to 59th Street, or click here for driving directions.)

The production, directed by Linda Lehr and conducted by Gregory Ortega, features Regina soloists Zhanna Alkhazova and Sabrina Palladino as Manon; Percy Martinez and Benjamin Sloman as Des Grieux: Andrew Cummings and Mathan Matticks as Lescaut, and Isaac Grier and John Schenkel as Geronte.

Performed in Italian with English super-titles and full orchestral accompaniment.

Libretto: Puccini's 4-act tragic opera is adapted from the popular Abbé Prévost novel about a poor-but-beautiful young woman who runs off to live with her upper-class lover, Chavalier Des Grieux. Manon, the original "Material Girl," soon chooses a life of luxury over her love for Des Grieux. 

General admission tickets are $25; seniors/college students under age 25 are $20; teens are $5, and children are admitted free.

Click here to buy tickets online

For more information, email Regina Opera at info@reginaopera.org or call 718-259-2772.

Supported in part by by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Affordable and free performances of operas and concerts are made possible with public funds from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered in Kings County by Brooklyn Arts Council.


Other major support from New York City Council Members Carlos Menchaca and Vincent Gentile; Brooklyn Community Foundation; Seijo Corporation, Con Edison, Investors Foundation, Raymour and Flanigan, Peter and Gail Salvatore Foundation, Weichert Realtors - The Franzese Group, The Law Office of Robert L. Howe, Esq., and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.

City Council Due to Vote on Plastic Bag Tax Next Week

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's endorsement last Thursday of a bill that would impose a 5 cent surcharge on those free bags supermarkets and shops give out, as a way to both reduce consumer reliance and the city's waste stream by incentivizing the use of reusables, will come up for a vote next week.

Council Member Brad Lander, the progressive Brooklyn Democrat who introduced the bill (Intro. No. 209-A) hopes to shepherd it through a tight vote, saying it costs the city more than $12 million a year to ship 91,000 pounds of those "free" plastic grocery bags to out-of-state landfills,

Mark-Viverito, whose backing all but guarantees the bill's passage, characterized it as a step toward a cleaner, more sustainable city by reducing plastic bag street trash.

The bill is modeled after policies adopted by other cities across the country and the world to cut waste and incentivize re-usables.

Retailers who comply with the surcharge would be allowed to keep the 5 cent per-bag fee, except on Food Stamp purchases, takeout, meat and prescription medications.

Council Member Rafael Espinal, who formerly opposed the bill, told the Daily News that, over the past year, he had changed his mind.  During an overseas tour, Espinal said, he saw first-hand the "devastating effect" that plastic bags and other non-degradables have on the environment, and listened to "countless stories" about how plastic bag litter impacts the environment.

As a result, Espinal said, he feels conscience-bound to support the legislation.

As a guest on Conservative radio host Curtis Sliwa's "Drive at Five" show on Friday, would-be 43rd District City Council candidate Bob Capano, who manages a Gristedes supermarket in Staten Island, scored Lander's "far left" bill, complaining that cashiers would have to separately total up the cost of each customer's plastic bags, resulting in longer lines at the supermarket.

According to Capano, 90% of people reuse free plastic bags for household purposes.

Capano also noted that the Lander bill, if passed, would fine stores that continue offering free plastic bags to customers, at $250 for the first violation and $500 for each subsequent violation.

But what part of pocketing that 5 cent surcharge is bad for retailers?

4/29/16

Rhapsody Players at Holy Angels Catholic Academy

At 7:30 PM on Saturday, May 21, Holy Angels Catholic Academy will present The Rhapsody Players, under the direction of John Heffernan, performing the greatest hits of the 60s through the 80s in a cabaret-style setting at Our Lady of Angels Gymnasium, at 337 74th Street (at 4th Avenue) in Bay Ridge.

Tickets are $25.00 per person, and include dessert and coffee.

Beer and wine will be available for purchase.

For reservations, call Holy Angels at 718-238-5045.

Annual Spring Bazaar at Christ Church

From 11 AM to 4 PM on Saturday, May 7, Christ Church Bay Ridge will host its Annual Spring Bazaar / Flea Market / Rummage Sale at 7301 Ridge Boulevard (between 73rd and 74th Streets) in Bay Ridge.

Find hand-crafted Mother's Day gifts, antiques and collectables, hand knit and crocheted items, and houseplants from the Guild for Exceptional Children nursery.

This is a rain-or-shine event.

Interested vendors can get further details through the Christ Church facebook page. Contacts for the event are Grace and Mary Jane.

Rates are $35 for a single table and $30 each for multiple tables.

4/28/16

DeBlasio: City's Public Hospitals Going Broke

Mayor Bill de Blasio told New Yorkers, in his budget presentation this week, that the city's public hospital system is in critical condition.

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, now re-branded as "New York City Health + Hospitals", could face a $1.8 billion deficit by FY 2020, due to a "perfect storm" of declining federal reimbursement  -- largely as a result of the Affordable Care Act --  and the rising treatment costs.

DeBlasio plans to increase revenues at public hospitals, which go deeper into the red each year.

His Executive Budget Proposal allocates $160 million just to get Health + Hospitals through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, on top of January's $331 million cash infusion.

In what it calls "an investment in transformation", the city plans to forgive the ailing system $180 million in debt service.

One of the "unintended consequences" of the Affordable Care Act, deBlasio said, is lower reimbursement levels for caring for the uninsured, based on the assumption that the ACA would reduce the number of patients without health insurance.

But a lot of eligible patients have not, for whatever reason, applied for ACA coverage, and one large group of uninsured patients -- undocumented immigrants -- is ineligible for coverage under the ACA. 

The uncovered costs of providing medical treatment to undocumented immigrants fall to the City of New York.

Of the Health + Hospitals patients who have health insurance, many rely on Medicaid, which can take years to process reimbursement requests.

Other insured patients are no longer coming to public hospitals for care, opting instead for the increasingly more available walk-in clinics, or private hospitals.

The former HHC hopes that, by dropping the word "corporation" from its title and commissioning a $3 million study by consulting firm Manatt Health, it will become more competitive in this changing market. 

Republican Insiders Blame Voter Purge on Golden

Last Tuesday, it was discovered that the Brooklyn Board of Elections, in the runup to the New York Presidential Primary, had purged more than 120,000 Brooklyn Democratic voters.

Now, according to Brooklyn Daily, some Republican insiders have claimed that Conservative/Republican State Senator Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) would have known about the purge.

After the news broke, BOE chief clerk Diane Haslett-Rudiano, a Republican, was suspended from her job -- the only official disciplined in the aftermath of the event.

But a Brooklyn Daily source implicates both Golden and BOE Republican Commissioner Simon Shamoun, Haslett-Rudiano’s boss, in what happened.

Republican County Committee Member Russell Gallo told Brooklyn Daily that Golden "should have known", through Shamoun, his former aide, what was going on Downtown.  If investigators look deeply enough, Gallo said, they will find a link to Golden.

Gallo reasoned that Shamoun, a mere patronage hire, would never have been delegated the decision to purge over 100,000 Democratic voters on the eve of a high-profile Presidential Primary.

Back in 2012, when the Kings County Republican Committee missed the deadline to appoint a Republican Board of Elections commissioner, the decision was automatically thrown to the City Council, said Gallo.

According to multiple Brooklyn Daily sources, Golden exploited the default to put his man Shamoun into a four-year BOE appointment, through a back room deal with now-disgraced Republican Council Member Dan Halloran and then-Council Member Jimmy Oddo, now Staten Island Borough president.

Sources say that Golden even offered, as part of the deal, to support re-drawing City Council district lines. Coincidentally, both Halloran and Oddo emerged from re-apportionment with their dream districts.

According to Republican insiders, Shamoun has since repaid Golden's favor.  In 2013, a group of Brooklyn election workers that Shamoun supervised shredded 20 pages of signed petitions submitted by Golden nemesis Craig Eaton, without penalty.

Since 2011, Shamoun has been on the masthead of Kampessis and Shamoun, a law firm at 8418 Third Avenue in Bay Ridge.

The Brooklyn Daily post.

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