Today’s news:

Victorian Valentine at Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum; all-star doo-wop night

The month of February starts in the spirit of Valentine’s Day! On Sat., Feb. 7, stop by the Bartow-Pell Mansion from 11 am to 2 pm to make your own Victorian Valentine. Give one to your beloved or even keep one for yourself. With the beautiful, romantic L’Orangerie as your backdrop and music to set the mood, you’ll be inspired to spread the love! Find out why we celebrate Valentine’s Day and where the tradition originated. Light refreshments available. Appropriate for ages 3 and up.

Pricing: $5 per person and children 3 and up. Registration requested. Call (718) 885-1461.

Later in the month peak your historic interest as you learn about the infamous Robert Moses during a presentation on Sat., Feb. 21 at 1 pm on Robert Moses and Pelham Bay Park. Many know that Moses left his mark on New York City, including the creation of Orchard Beach. Bartow-Pell Mansion’s tour guide Tom Vasti and volunteer docent Doug Hearle will do a lecture/presentation on how Robert Moses, affected the Bartow-Pell historic site through demolitions and buildings in the surrounding areas of Pelham Bay Park. Hearle was fortunate to interview Moses in the early 1960s and will share his incite from this interview. Appropriate for ages 14 and up. Free with admission to the museum: $5/adult, $3 seniors/students. Children under 6 free. Registration requested. Call (718) 885-1461.

At the end of the month Bartow-Pell begins its annual Winter Lecture Series with the first of three talks. This year’s lecture series is focused on important women in American History. The first in this series will be held on Thurs., Feb. 26 at 7 pm and discusses Sojourner Truth with its title: A Geography of Slavery and Freedom: Isabella Van Wagenen (Sojourner Truth) and Her Family. Dr. Myra B. Young Armstead, Professor of History, Bard College, will examine Sojourner Truths’ experiences between 1797 and 1843 through four kinds of spaces important in her life and ideas: religious space, work space, residential space, and legal space. Lecture will be followed by light refreshments. The fee for the program is: $23 per person, $60 for all three dates, and $45 members for all three dates. Call (718) 885-1461 to register.

The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum is located in Pelham Bay Park at 895 Shore Road.

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The Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture will show Black Book on Sat., Jan. 17, at 7 pm at the Meeting House, 4450 Fieldston Road, corner of Manhattan College Parkway.

Black Book takes off in September 1944. A young Jewish woman has been squirreling herself away with a Christian farm family when an American bomber blows their house to smithereens.

Rachel picks herself up, dusts herself off and flings herself into the open arms of a passing swain, the first in a series of dashing rescuers who will accompany her through tangles of intrigue and steamy romances in a Holocaust story like few others.

Black Book is the first film Paul Verhoevess has shot in his native country Holland in more than 20 years. Black Book is a film in which a Jewish woman’s body is saved from the off-camera death camps, gas chambers and ovens to become a site of negotiation, a means of survival and an erotic spectacle. Abused and misused, stripped and stripped again, Rachel, named it’s worth noting, for the mother of Israel, survives by masking that body with a putatively Aryan disguise. She also falls for a Nazi.

Now working for the resistance, Rachel signs for the ultimate Mati Hari assignment and agrees to bed Ludwig Muntze so she can uncover Gestapo secrets. Rachel finds herself forced to navigate an increasingly ticklish line between duty and desire.

The running time is 175 minutes and there are adult situations in the film.

Movies begin with an introduction and are followed by discussion. A donation towards the Film Club of $3 to $5 per person will be accepted at the door. The society reserves the right to provide an alternative film if a video is unavailable.

For additional information call (718) 548-4445.

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Lehman Center for the Performing Arts presents an all-star night of Doo Wop performed by the original artists. Coast back in time with the timeless songs of The Drifters (This Magic Moment, Save the Last Dance for Me), The Teenagers (Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Please be Mine), The Shirelles (Soldier Boy, Dedicated to the One I Love), Bobby Lewis (Tossin’ and Turnin’) and Gene Chandler (Duke of Earl). The concert takes place on Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 8pm at Lehman Center’s state-of-the-art concert hall.

Doo Wop emerged from the streets of New York City and Philadelphia and rose as an African American vocal style. Doo Wop’s smooth harmonies were the closest rock style to mainstream pop in the mid-1950’s. The style spread to singing groups of other ethnicities, such as the Capris and the Bronx’s Dion and the Belmonts. The term “doo wop” was taken from the ad-lib syllables sung in harmony in doo wop songs. Two songs in particular may lay claim to being the “first” to contain the syllables “doo wop” in the refrain: the 1955 hit, When You Dance by The Turbans, in which the chant “doo wop” can be plainly heard; and the 1956 classic In the Still of the Night by The Five Satins, with the plaintive “doo wop, doo wah” refrain in the bridge.

Celebrated by people the world over, this distinctive American sound is performed by the original artists in this exciting concert. Generations past and present can enjoy the music and memories with future generations in “It’s All About Doo Wop.”

Lehman Center is located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West on the campus of Lehman College. Tickets cost $45, $35, $25 & $20 and can be purchased by calling (718) 960-8833.

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Center Stage Playhouse continues its 40th season with a production of Rabbit Hole, the award-winning drama written by David Lindsay-Abaire. The critically-acclaimed play will be directed by John T. Liszewski and performed at Center Stage Playhouse’s Foster Hall, located at 2474 Westchester Avenue, near St. Peter’s Church. Performance dates are scheduled for Feb. 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 15, with a discounted Preview Performance on Feb. 5. Performances start at 8 pm with Sunday matinees at 2 pm. General Admission is $18, Seniors and students $15, and $2 off with Bronx Cultural Card. All tickets for the Feb. 5 preview cost $10. Seating is limited. Call (718) 823-6434 for reservations.

The cast of RABBIT HOLE features Kerri Seymour as Becca, Nick Leshi as Howie, Maggie Alexander as Izzy, Ida Longarino as Nat, and Joe Fanelli as Jason. The story, about loss, heartbreak, and forgiveness, focuses on the aftermath of a family’s tragedy as they strive to move on with their lives. It is a sad, sweet, heartwarming tale that Variety described as “an intensely emotional examination of grief, laced with wit, insightfulness, compassion, and searing honesty.” Rather than dwell on the melodrama, the play is a life-affirming testimony to continuing bonds of family and the endurance of the human spirit. With realistic, light-hearted dialogue and all-too-believable characters, audiences will see why Lindsay-Abaire’s story about the capacity for survival won the Pulitzer Prize and many other awards.

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International performing artist Molly Morkoski, a new faculty member in Lehman College’s Department of Music, will join with two guest artists in a free piano trio concert on Sun., Jan. 18, at 2 pm in the Music Building Recital Hall. The public is invited to attend.

Joining Prof. Morkoski will be violinist Yonah Zur and cellist Raman Ramakrishnan. Together they will perform works ranging from Romanticism to Early Expressionism, including works by Claude Debussy, Arnold Schoenberg and Robert Schumann.

Prof. Morkoski is a noted pianist who has performed as a soloist and collaborative artist throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan. She has been a featured soloist on the “Making Music” series at Carnegie Hall and at the Tanglewood, Bang-on-a-Can and Pacific Rim festivals and has appeared as a soloist with the Raleigh, Asheville, and Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestras.

In 2006, she made her solo debut on Carnegie’s Stern Auditorium stage in a prelude concert for the Emerson String Quartet’s “Perspectives” series. She also was invited to work in Vienna with Peter Sellars on John Adams’s newest opera, A Flowering Tree, as part of a festival celebrating Mozart’s 250th birthday. Prof. Morkoski has taught at Nyack College, SUNY Stony Brook, Indiana University and the Church Street School for Music and Art.

Lehman is located at Goulden Avenue and Bedford Park Boulevard. For more information call (718) 960-8247.

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The Bruce Museum presents its Annual Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Mon., Jan. 19, 2009, and will be open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm. This year’s theme, Celebrating a Life of Love, features special performances by the Messiah Baptist Gospel Choir from Bridgeport, CT, at 11 am and again at 1 pm. From 10 am to 4 pm, students of all ages and abilities will have the opportunity to make “I have a dream …” buttons and add their self-portraits to the Circle of Friends mural, as well as explore the Museum’s galleries and exhibitions. All events are free with Museum admission.

In addition, Bruce Museum’s youth volunteers will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a part of the national “King Day of Service,” initiated by the U.S. Congress in 1994. This year, youth volunteers will assist with special activities to commemorate this national holiday. Those interested in volunteering should contact Bruce Museum Volunteer Program manager Mary Ann Lendenmann at (203) 413-6746.

The museum is located at 1 Museum Drive in Greenwich, CT. For information call (203) 869-0376.

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Lehman Center for the Performing Arts continues its exciting season with a concert featuring two Grammy Award0winning Latin jazz greats – Poncho Sanchez and Gato Barbieri, on Sat., Jan. 17, at 8 pm. Sanchez has led one of the most popular Latin jazz bands in the world for a quarter of a century, merging Afro-Cuban rhythms with the sounds of bebop. Saxophonist and composer Barbieri has joined a five-decade career navigating virtually the entire musical landscape with his instantly recognizable sound, from free jazz and avant garde to his ultimate embrace of Latin music throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Tickets are $45, $25 and $20 and can be purchased by calling (718) 960-8833.

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is located on the campus of Lehman College at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West.

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