Category Archives: Current Events

Diana Jensen
World Traveller
Shelter at Home

Palette Online Gallery
February 2, – February 28, 2021

Link to show: Palette Gallery

Diana Jensen has shown at Palette and I’m glad to have her as part of this anti-covid solo series! Diana does a cool kind of appropriation thing by making her work from photos and slides she finds at thrift shops etc. This series is based on 27 boxes of vintage travel slides found in an Asbury Park thrift store that a friend gave her. She conceived this series while suffering through covid last year. You can read her words about this on the exhibit page.
– Joseph Borzotta
Gallery Director

More info about Diana Jensen

Imelda O Reilly Film
Tumbling Towards Home

The award winning film, Tumbling Towards Home is a coming of age story about Malcolm Adams, an Irish immigrant who moves to New York in 1989 to study acting under Alan Langdon. He works through the grief from the loss of his mother and his friend Philip Seymour Hoffman. This leads to his decision of where to place his hat down and call it home.

Watch film here: Tumbling Towards Home

Imelda O’Reilly is an award winning filmmaker. Her published works include plays, poems and a short story. As a filmmaker she has written and directed seven award winning films most recently, Tumbling Towards Home, Her feature screenplay titled We’re the Kids in America was an official selection for L’Atélier Cinéfondation, that is part of the Cannes International Film Festival in 2018.

O’Reilly is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Morocco in 2007. She has an MFA with honors in film from Columbia University. Imelda is an Associate Professor at JMU. Prior to JMU Imelda was an Assistant Professor at NYU’s Graduate Film Program TischAsia in Singapore.

Westbeth 50th
The Westbeth Chronicles Installation

While Covid 19 put a delay in celebrating Westbeth’s 50th Anniversary, it gave us time to think about the many ideas we wanted to share about this legendary artists’ community. This installation on the walls of the public spaces is the first in a series that will celebrate the past present and future of Westbeth.

The Westbeth Chronicles

was created by Terry Stoller who is a Westbeth resident and writer, as a way to document the experience of living here by former and current residents. The below excerpts which are featured on the walls are part of this continuing series of personal accounts. Click HERE to read more!

Bethune St Lobby – Installation of Chronicles

Michel Dobbs on Geeby Dajani

Christina Maile on Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective

Kanchana Ugbabe on Westbeth community

Eve Zanni on Madelaine Yayodele Nelson

Chronicles Installation at Project Room entrance to Inner Courtyard

Rachel Urkowitz on Vin Diesel part 1

Rachel Urkowitz on Vin Diesel part 2

Terence Burk on community activism

Denice Hurd on Westbeth playground

The Westbeth Chronicles Installation

was conceived by Ellen Salpeter, CEO and President of Westbeth in association with the Westbeth Board of Directors and the Westbeth Artists Residents Council. Designed by Tophos Graphics. Edited by Terry Stoller.

Karen Ludwig
Video Conversations


Over the course of 4 years, Karen Ludwig conducted a series of conversations with prominent actors, directors and writers under the auspices of the New School for Drama. Her interviews focused on the work of creating, influences, introspection and resulted in surprising and in-depth responses from her guests which include Cynthia Nixon, Jeremy Irons, John Guare, Josh Hamilton, Lucas Hedges, Ethan Hawke, Cherry Jones, Dale Soules, among many more.

Enjoy an hour or so of discovery and inspiration .
Click on: Karen Ludwig Interviews

Actor, director, writer and teacher.

Her Broadway credits include PRELUDE TO A KISS with Steve Guttenberg and John Randolph, BROADWAY BOUND with Joan Rivers, THE DEVILS with Anne Bancroft, THE BACCHAE with Irene Pappas and many plays at the Public Theater. She was a member of Andre Gregory’s Manhattan Project for two years and performed in THE SEAGULL and Wallace Shawn’s OUR LATE NIGHT with the Company throughout the United States and Europe. Her first film was Woody Allen’s MANHATTAN, (Meryl Streep’s lover and most recently THAT AWKWARD MOMENT with Zach Efron. She wrote WHERE WAS I?, a solo show that she performed at Joe’s Pub. She produced and directed UTA HAGEN’S ACTING CLASS with Pennie duPont; a two-part DVD of her incomparable teacher and friend. UTAHAGENVIDEO.COM . Ms. Ludwig has taught abroad including Amsterdam, Israel and Australia as well as USC Film School, UCLA, NYU and is currently on the faculty of The New School and HB Studio in NYC.

While shooting an episode of LAW AND ORDER, in which Jeremy Irons was starring, she asked him if he’d be willing to talk to her students at The New School. He did and that led to Karen asking more prominent actors she had worked with, like Cherry Jones and that was the beginning of Karen’s interview series, About the Work. All in all, 41 actors, directors, and writers were interviewed.

Photo: Frankie Alduino

Kate Walter
Buying Clothes in the Pandemic


The Pandemic Changed Me: I Learned to Like Clothes Shopping

Kate Walter
The Village Sun
January 20, 2021

….But there is no way I missed clothes shopping. My dislike dates back to my childhood when I was a girl and my mother dragged me with her from store to store on Main Street in downtown Paterson, New Jersey. Back in the ’50s and ’60s, before the suburban malls, my home city had a lively commercial area with department stores and specialty shops.

I felt trapped. I wanted to be playing basketball or roller skating, but I was forced to help my mother decide on patterns and material for dresses she would sew. (Not the least bit appealing to a tomboy.) I was bored after half an hour but my mother wanted to shop much longer. I couldn’t wait to get home. The only thing that kept me going was the reward.

When we finished, we went to the soda fountain at Woolworth’s and I ordered a hot fudge sundae with whipped cream and sprinkles. I plopped down on the spinning stools, trying to restrain myself from twirling while waiting. I was an energetic baby dyke in training.

Read the entire article HERE

Edward Field
A Minor Accident of War

Gay World War 2 Veteran Tells Harrowing Tale of Survival
in Animated Short

The Oscar 2020 nominated animated short, A Minor Accident of War, directed by Diane Weiss tells the gripping story of a gay man’s survival in World War 2.

That man is her uncle, Westbeth poet Edward Field, 96 who was a 21 year old navigator in the U.S. Air Force when his plane, part of a raid on Nazis, took fire over Germany during one of his 27 missions.

One of the reasons the film was made, Weiss explains in the 112 January 2021 article in The Advocate written by Daniel Reynolds, was in response to the Trump administrations attack on transgender troops.

Watch A MINOR ACCIDENT OF WAR on The Advocate website HERE.

Minor Accident of War is inspired by a 1967 poem written by Field, who also narrates the production. In addition to his military service, Field is a distinguished poet who has been honored with the Lamont Poetry Award, a Lambda Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Additionally, Field penned To Be Alive, a short documentary that won an Oscar in 1966.

Manhattan’s Last Home for Artists Weathers Another Storm

Wikimedia photo

Excerpts from the article in Bedford and Bowery
by Sarah Krolewski
January 12, 2021

…“Westbeth was very concerned about everything” related to COVID-19, said Walter, a sentiment echoed by many other residents. “People here are vulnerable, but I feel very taken care of.”

Residents still stop for conversations with each other, standing six feet apart, and banter with staff at the front desk. Younger Westbethers feel compassion for their older counterparts, and disputes have died down. Most of the building’s usual events have moved online, attracting a steady stream of participants. Cominskie says he feels optimistic about the current board’s ability to meet future challenges. Westbeth appointed a new CEO, Ellen Salpeter, in 2019, a change that even long-time residents, accustomed to administrative shuffling, find promising. These are hazy signs that Westbeth may continue to survive, not fade away, and that it may at last be doing something right.”

” Months into the pandemic, masks are now mandatory in every part of Westbeth, and volunteers have continued to help the building’s most vulnerable residents with errands. The work of people like Dowling and Cominskie—a coterie of advocates fiercely committed to Westbeth—has helped to bring this community back from the brink.

“The collective energy of the building has been phenomenal,” said Cominskie, reached over the phone in October. “You’re going through this horrible period, and then somebody does something incredibly sweet—and you want to cry, it’s that wonderful.”

Even in the midst of so much grief and fear, Westbeth’s artists are continuing to make art, channeling these emotions into new and compelling work.”

““Our artists are the most important thing,” said Cominskie. “Without them, it’s just another apartment complex.”

Read the entire article which features interviews with Charles Seplowin, Karen Santry, Kate Walter, and George Cominskie.

“Our artists are the most important thing,” said Cominskie. “Without them, it’s just another apartment complex.”

Read the entire article which features interviews with George Cominskie, Karen Santry, Jack Dowling, Kate Walter and Charles Seplowin.
Bedfordl and Bowery about Westbeth

Lucille Rhodes’ film on Alice Neel at Met Museum

Lucille Rhodes’ documentary on Alice Neel, portrait painter, owned by the Metropolitan Museum, is being featured online for the month of January as part of the Met 150 birthday celebration.

A written Q&A on Rhodes and Murphy’s experiences working with Alice Neel will be included in January 2021..

Watch free with the link below:

Lucille Rhodes on Alice Neel

A self-proclaimed “collector of souls,” the American painter Alice Neel (1900–1984) is known today for her powerful, psychologically rich portraiture. She depicted a wide range of subjects, from her family and friends to prominent critics, artists, activists, and strangers she met on the street. In this rarely seen documentary, Neel’s signature candor and wit are on full display. Providing a brief biographical sketch from her early marriage and the Great Depression through her later years in Spanish Harlem, the film also shows the artist at work on a portrait of Lucille Rhodes, who co-directed with Margaret Murphy. Excerpted from Rhodes and Murphy’s “They Are Their Own Gifts” (1978), a triptych of “film portraits” about women artists that also includes chapters on the poet and activist Muriel Rukeyser as well as the dancer and choreographer Anna Sokolow. Cinematography by the legendary Babette Mangolte.

Lucille Rhodes chaired and taught film at C.W Post College (LIU) for 25 years. She has won awards internationally for her independent documentaries and produced films for Sesame Street and Bravo. As a film editor, she worked with Norman Mailer on Maidstone and on Peter Gimbel’s Blue Water, White Death. Her screenplay Nealy Hollow was invited to Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute thanks to residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo .She has filmed/lectured in China, Turkey, Israel, Finland and Mexico and served as a Fulbright Media Specialist in Latvia.

Prior to her career in film, she was Assistant Director of Visual Arts at the New York State Council on the Arts and Assistant Director of the Kentucky Arts Commission which she helped found. She has served on numerous documentary film juries including the Emmys.

Currently she is a juror for the Guanajuato International Film Festival, and is working with Photoshop on her cellphone photo archives.

Bob Gruen
Right Place Right Time

Cameras, Chaos And Cognac: How Bob Gruen Photographed The Spirit Of Rock ‘N’ Roll

December 8, 202012:24 PM ET
Heard on Fresh Air

“Photographer Bob Gruen spent decades capturing the lives and performances of rock stars of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, including John Lennon, the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Tina Turner — and many more.

Gruen put in many hours backstage, in studios and on the road, sometimes doing drugs and drinking until dawn with his subjects.

“I carried a little flask of cognac in my camera case. It was part of my equipment. That’s the way it was in the ’70s,” he says. “I don’t know how I survived, because I crave peace and quiet — but I actually thrive in chaos.”

Gruen approached his subjects collaboratively, often soliciting their opinion about a photograph instead of trying to catch them off guard. He describes his work as an effort to capture the feeling and passion of music — not just the facts.

“For me, rock ‘n’ roll is all about freedom. It’s about the freedom to express your feelings very loudly in public,” he says. “I try to capture that moment of freedom, that moment when everybody’s yelling ‘Yay!’ and nobody’s thinking about paying the rent.”

-from Bob Gruen’s interview with David Davies
Transcript excerpt

For full transcript and to listen to broadcast, link to NPR Here

Bob Gruen interview