Emily Luchetti, Renowned California Pastry Chef, Appointed James Beard Foundation Chair

Emily Luchetti, two-time James Beard award winner and pastry chef at two San Francisco restaurants, will now find herself busier than ever.

Luchetti was recently appointed chair of the James Beard Foundation. Mitchell Davis, Vice President of the Foundation hoped that Luchetti’s appointment would inspire other female chefs. Luchetti said that she encourages all young chefs in the same way regardless of gender.

Emily Luchetti, two-time James Beard award-winning chef and new chair

Continue reading

Tribeca Film to Collaborate on Unique Outdoor Viewing Experience This Summer

Loew's Route 35 Drive-In, Hazlet, N.J., summer 1991.

When I was a kid growing up near Hazlet, N.J., where the state’s last drive-in movie theater once stood, one of the biggest goals of the summer was getting my parents to take me to a late-night double feature. When they were kids, going to the drive-in wasn’t such a big deal.

The 1991 season was the last for the Loews Route 35 Drive-In. The last double feature: “Drop Dead Fred” and “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead.” Since it would be the last opportunity to go, my parents took me. It’s one of my favorite summer memories.

Drive-in movie theater circa 1950s

For kids today, a drive-in movie is even more of an anomaly. In 1958, there were over 4,000 drive-in movie theaters in the United States. Now, there are less than 500. In many instances, the next best outdoor viewing option is often projecting films onto the side of a building, especially in urban communities. But that won’t be the case for movie buffs in lower Manhattan this summer.

Tribeca Film is partnering with an annual arts festival to host viewings of three of the distributor’s latest films at the Elevated Acre on Monday nights this summer. Located at 55 Water Street, the Elevated Acre offers views of the East River, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge, South Street Seaport and Brooklyn Heights.

The Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street, NYC.

Tribeca Enterprises has long been a proponent of the outdoor viewing experience, screening “drive-in” movies at the Tribeca Film Festival for years. Classics “Jaws” and “The Goonies” screened this year at the World Financial Center Plaza downtown. This year, the organization will extend the practice into the summer as part of the River to River Festival.

As part of the festival, Tribeca Film will present three screenings for free on a big outdoor screen on Monday nights (June 18, June 25 and July 9), giving young movie enthusiasts a chance to have a viewing experience similar to the one previous generations enjoyed at drive-in theaters. For more information about the films being shown, go here. Seating is first-come, first-served. Doors open at 6 p.m. and screenings begin at sunset or 8 p.m.

St. Vincent Thrills at Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

When St. Vincent, also known as Annie Clark, released her debut album Marry Me in 2007, much was made of the fact that she had gotten her start as member of the Polyphonic Spree and a touring musician for Sufjan Stevens. In 2012, she’s a genuine stalwart of indie rock in her own right, which she continued to prove as she headlined the second day of the Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 4.

Though Clark is fragile in appearance, her presence was powerful as she easily commanded BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House. Songs from Marry Me, 2009’s Actor and 2011’s Strange Mercy shone, from the haunting “Save Me From What I Want” to the pulsing “Dilettante,” which she dedicated to New York.

Clark was recently named one of Spin magazine’s top 100 guitarists of all time. With six strings, she makes statements that run from elegant to puncturing, though she turned shredding duties over to a member of her backing band for “Krokodil” in order to run through the crowd. The song, a special release for Record Store Day in April, showcases Clark at her most aggressive, a frenetic two and a half minutes that are impossible to forget.

Curated by Bryce and Aaron Dessner of the National, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry highlighted a variety of artists, including dream-poppers the Antlers and the up-and-coming Ava Luna. Other nights featured acts like Sharon Van Etten, Twin Shadow and Beirut. Additionally, short films were screened in BAM’s Rose Cinemas.

As Sam Edelman Expands, Harari Keeps it on Trend

American shoe designer Sam Edelman got his foot in the retail door. The brand opened a new shop in the Hamptons last week and announced plans for a SoHo location and a new outerwear line to launch this fall. As the company continues to grow, so do Laura Harari’s responsibilities.

Harari, 22, joined the Edelman team after graduating with a degree in fashion merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology last May. Her job as fashion director consists of shopping the market, analyzing trends and making sure that the products reflect the shapes, colors and silhouettes of the moment. If you see any oversized clutches on the shelves next spring, know that Harari pushed for it.

“I basically get to shop for a living,” she says.

Laura Harari, fashion director at Sam Edelman. Photo courtesy of Laura Harari, via Edgify Me.

With the company expanding, Harari now coordinates with different licenses—from handbags to outerwear—to make sure that the style and look stay consistent. To stay on trend, Harari checks trend forecasting websites and devours fashion magazines on the train ride home to Brooklyn, where she takes Hip-hop dance classes once a week. She writes about her favorite trends—often with references to Hip-hop music—on her blog, Edgify Me.

Harari first entered the profession two years ago as a Bloomingdale’s intern. The next semester, she interned with the Women’s Wear Daily accessories department.  She says these experiences helped her establish a valuable network.

“At my job now, I’ve bumped into so many people from my internships,” said Harari. “It gives me street cred.”

Penn State Subscribes to the Paley Center’s iCollection

A screen shot of the Paley Center's iCollection website, http://www.paleyicollection.org/

Students at Pennsylvania State University can now access the Paley Center for Media’s virtual collection without leaving the campus library.

The Internet database provides the library with more than 15,000 programs from the Paley Center’s collection. Students are able to search through these programs, create personalized collections and access special collections such as “The 9/11 Collection” and “The Johnny Carson Collection.” The school will provide students with individual login accounts to the database.

The Paterno Library officially purchased a year subscription of the Paley Center’s iCollection in May. Penn State is one of the first of the Big Ten universities to subscribe to the iCollection. Other universities testing out the services include the University of Michigan, the University of Chicago and the University of Washington.

The library first came across the Paley Center’s iCollection this winter when it received trial access.

“The iCollection was being offered to the Big Ten/CIC libraries to evaluate independently with the idea that we would receive a discount based on the number of committed–the more who licensed access, the greater the discount,” said Debora Cheny, the head of library services at Pennsylvania State University.

Cheny expects the iCollection to be used in a wide range of courses at Penn State in the next school year.

“Historical news and television is of interest in nearly every discipline in some way,” Cheny said.

The Paterno Library plans to continue subscribing to the database as long as it remains affordable to the school, according to Cheny.

The Paley Center for Media did not return calls for comment on the cost of the database subscription.

Mitchell Davis, VP of James Beard Foundation Talks Foundation and Awards Changes

This year, the James Beard awards celebrated 25 years at its annual gala on May 4 and 7, honoring the best of food writing, journalism, chefs and restaurants across the country. For Mitchell Davis, Vice President of the James Beard Foundation and cookbook author, this year’s anniversary celebration signifies a dramatic shift in both the foundation itself and the food world.

“25 years ago, the chefs were young and naive,” said Davis. “The winning chefs now have become so famous.”

At this year’s star-studded event, the big awards went to Christina Tosi of Momofuku in New York for the Rising Star award, David Humm of Eleven Madison in New York for Outstanding Chef, Boulevard in Dan Francisco for Outstanding Restaurant and Wolfgang Puck for the Lifetime Achievement award.

Christina Tosi, Rising Star winner, at the James Beard awards

The most notable change this year at the Beards was the creation of the “Outstanding Bar Program,” won this year by Please Don’t Tell, a speakeasy in the East Village. 

“Our committee had been aware of the emphasis on cocktails,” said Davis. “It’s amazing. It’s not just in urban areas. This trend has been happening across the country.”

Jim Meehan, general manager of Please Don't Tell, shows off his James Beard award

But Davis said that important changes in the James Beard Foundation and the culinary industry are still to come. He emphasized that the culinary world needs to become more diverse and include more minorities and women. Women only won one in five awards this year.

“The gender stigma hasn’t changed as much in the culinary world as it has in other industries,” said Davis.

Davis hopes that will change with the appointing of a new board chair Emily Luccheti this week, executive pastry chef at WaterBar in San Francisco. He believes that the new position will put her in a leadership role that will set the example for women in the industry for years to come.


New York Road Runners to Hold First Ever Race at Giants’ Stadium

Road race organizers have increasingly started teaming up with professional sports teams in event planning, and the New York Road Runners are jumping on board as well.

On Sunday, June 24, the NYRR will host its first ever New York Giants Run of Champions 5K at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The run will benefit the Giants Foundation, which assists various youth charities in the greater New York area such as My Sister’s Place, a domestic violence shelter, and Game On! which provides financial assistance to youth football teams. Participants will finish the run on the football field, and the NYRR is using this as a way to promote the event in its marketing materials:

“Runners of all ages and abilities get a chance to live every Giants fan’s dream: running full-speed into the end zone in MetLife Stadium—without getting tackled!”

Yankee Stadium (Photo courtesy of Joe Shlablotnik, Flickr).

Other New York organizations have incorporated stadiums into courses as creative ways to host runs. The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation holds an annual 5K at Yankee Stadium to raise money for cancer research. The entire course flows through the stadium, and participants run through the concourse and ramps, climb bleacher stairs, and circle the warning track along the field. This year’s race, which will be held on Sunday, Aug. 12, will be the fourth time Damon Runyon hosts the event.

Holding events at the stadiums of professional sports teams is an innovative approach to the traditional road race, as it allows for different obstacles along the course of the race and gives participants unique access to famous stadiums.

NYRR personnel did not respond to email or phone inquiries about the event.

Tribeca YouTube Channel to Help Indie Filmmakers Get Exposure

Tribeca Enterprises announced its partnership this week with a major online studio and distribution network to create its own YouTube channel, The Picture Show. In collaboration with Maker Studios, which specializes in building audiences for online video content, the channel’s will consist of short films and web series, which started broadcasting last week.

Although The Picture Show will feature the work of those already established in the industry, the major goal behind the two companies teaming up is to create a platform for emerging filmmakers to get their work seen by more people. Geoff Gilmore, the chief creative officer for Tribeca Enterprises, said the company is always looking for new ways to make films successful without the traditional distribution process. 

“The industry is changing,” Gilmore said. “We’re helping prove that an independent film now has the potential to reach a much wider audience than it used to. All these niche markets add up.”

Lisa Donovan, Maker Studios’ co-founder, told social media blog Mashable that she believes YouTube is an ideal partner for her company because it’s the future of entertainment.

“Our belief in the YouTube platform has only been strengthened and supported with technologies like connected TVs that further blur the lines between TV and the Internet,” Donovan says. “We see the devices as one in the same, as our content can be seen both online and through connected TVs.”

And because The Picture Show gives Maker Studios more access to traditional entertainment, the partnership is mutually beneficial.

“This partnership allows us to take the best of traditional film and television along with new age media to create new opportunities on YouTube for content creators,” Donovan says. “The Picture Show will act as an online community where directors, writers and actors from different platforms can creatively collaborate.”