We have a talented group of writers and artists who contribute on a regular basis but we also have a strong core group of dedicated professionals who ensure that each issue of Inside Chappaqua and Inside Armonk is chock full of local news that you won’t find in other news outlets. With the growth of online media, we ensure that each issue’s content is available online and we also love to share our stories via social media. All of this though would never happen though without the generous support of our sponsors so we are all grateful for the support. In keeping with this issue’s gratitude theme, please take a moment to ‘meet’ the Inside Press team. We also thank you, dear readers, for the intense interest in our pubs.
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
Following a career in newspaper and magazine journalism, and also raising two kids (Anna and Ari) to the first and fourth grades, I launched the Inside Press in 2003 and went live in 2009 with theinsidepress.com. I greatly enjoy the role of overseeing the editorial and working closely with so many generous sponsors in this incredibly beautiful and happening corner of Westchester. Long walks keep me centered through it all.
After working in public relations in NYC and London for more than a decade, I decided to switch to freelance writing after the birth of my first child. I have written for a variety of regional media outlets.For the past two years, I have also written numerous articles for Inside Chappaqua and Inside Armonk, before assuming the role of editor. I love highlighting local stories in our magazines and online that you won’t find anywhere else.
I’m the Inside Press Advertising Manager, which means that I communicate with advertisers all day long! I liaise with sponsors old and new alike to ensure their ads appear in the magazine exactly the way they expect. In the past, I managed national brands at ad agencies in NYC and San Francisco. I enjoy baking, walking with my husband and Ruby (our Golden Doodle) or reading books with my girls, Lucy (10) and Sadie (8).
I’m the company’s website developer who ensures the articles that go to print are available for consumption on The Inside Press website, theinsidepress.com, as well as in social media. I help keep the site fast, fresh, and secure!
I’ve previously served as the IT Director for a worldwide design agency and was in charge of development for a financial technology start-up. When I’m not taking things apart to figure out how they work, I enjoy hiking, ballroom dancing, and costume parties.
A year ago I joined the Inside Press team as art director. In my role, I redesigned our company logo complimenting it with a complete re-design of the magazines giving them a more modern look. As an independent graphic designer and consultant specializing in branding, logos and signage, I often work on packaging and website design as well. When I’m not working, I’m cooking, planting, crafting, or going to games with my friends and family.
I am responsible for making sure the articles and ads are neat and tidy for the Inside Press website. I transfer the Inside Press magazines into online articles and provide photo-resizing work. I also post various Inside Press articles throughout the year while optimizing photos and videos. When I’m not in the office, I am an avid cyclist, hiker and swimmer. I also enjoy cocktail parties and going on adventures with my dog.
Analia Boltuch (with her son Oliver)
I am the account manager for the Inside Press handling all bookkeeping needs. When not wearing my bookkeeping cape, I enjoy providing virtual assistant services to small businesses and entrepreneurs ranging from office management to social media. I’m also a wife and mom of three boys (one of them being of the four-legged variety!)
Six years ago this month we moved to Chappaqua from the city two days before school started. We had wanted to move in the summertime but the house closing and Hurricane Irene had other plans for us. I was nervous that my city born and bred son would have trouble acclimating to a new school and an actual house as opposed to an 800 square foot apartment but those fears quickly dissipated once we started school.We were welcome with open arms at my kid’s nursery school. So many parents had made the same journey just like us – from city parents to country transplants.
Yes my parents still consider this lovely part of Northern Westchester “upstate N.Y.” After all, I do have deer roaming my backyard. What drew us to our community was the excellent school system. This is one of the many reasons why I am so delighted to helm this “back to school” issue as the new editor of both Inside Chappaqua and Inside Armonk. There are so many great things happening in our schools and the wider community that I want to highlight.
First up, I had the pleasure of interviewing and writing the cover story on The Comedy Kids for Inside Chappaqua. These two Roaring Brook Elementary School students had an idea to raise money for pediatric brain cancer that germinated during rainy day recess. It all started with a simple idea that grew from a grassroots joke booth at the Chappaqua Farmers Market to a charity that has gained national attention.
Our cover story for Inside Armonk is also “back to school” themed and features the Byram Hills Preschool Association which plays a critical role in making sure Armonk’s preschoolers are ready to enter elementary school and helps parents and caregivers make connections in the community.
With the back to school season in full swing, there’s never been a better time to visit downtown Chappaqua on October 14th for the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival, an annual event that now draws more than 90 children’s authors and illustrators and thousands of attendees to the town. Be sure to read the profiles of three Chappaqua-based authors Matthew & Mara Van Fleet and Barbara Dee who will be meeting eager readers and signing books at the festival. Even if you don’t have children that are school age anymore, the Festival is a lot of fun and a book is a gift that you can open again and again. Plus what’s better than an autographed book for a beloved grandchild?
If you are hoping to savor the beautiful autumn weather, North Castle is chock full of events this fall such as the Armonk Outdoor Art Show, Jamie’s 5K Run and the Cider and Donut Festival. There’s something for everyone right at your doorsteps or in a neighboring town.
Finally if your kids need a break from hitting the books or you are too tired from figuring out after-school schedules, check out Jordan Stutts story on the best local biking trails and get a sneak peek of fall’s foliage. Yet another reason to love living in Northern Westchester.
Editor, Inside Press
When I started ballet in the 3rd grade, I was immediately thrust into the two worlds of dance: the world of practice and the world of performance. Practice consisted of endless classes and day long rehearsals where skills could be honed in the privacy of a studio. Mistakes were acceptable but promptly corrected and mastery of technique directly correlated with hours of hard work.
Performance, on the other hand, was different. The music enveloped you, bright lights illuminated you and as you look out on the dimly light audience between movements of carefully set choreography you realized there were hundreds if not thousands of eyes in the room…and they were all looking at you.
And while many people think dancers perform only for the applause, the truth is we perform for the intense, adrenaline-filled rush that accompanies successfully completing painstakingly practiced movements while under extreme pressure.
Although we practiced for months at a time leading up to our shows, inevitably every performance comes with its set of unforeseen errors. Props get dropped, people fall on stage, someone stands on the wrong mark, backstage lighting malfunctions, music starts too early or too late (or recently for our Snow Scene not at all!), but it is in those moments of chaos where true performers shine. Maintaining a calm demeanor when your heart is beating out of your chest, thinking up quick, effective solutions to unexpected snafus, and emotionally dealing with the embarrassment of a mistake cannot be learned in the ballet studio; it can only be learned on stage.
When I hung up my ballet slippers in 2011 after 13 years of dance, I felt a void in my life where performance had once lived; the adrenaline-filled moments I experienced on stage were gone. I resigned myself feeling this loss as the inevitable punishment for those who walked away from dance. But then, in my third year of medical school, I rediscovered the excitement in the most unexpected place: the operating room (OR).
In the OR for the first time, I felt an implacable but eerily familiar feeling. Scrub techs and circulating nurses were busy ensuring the surgeon had proper lighting and securing the patient to the OR table. After the patient was placed under anesthesia and covered with sterile drapes the room quieted as the surgeon and his residents entered. They gowned/ gloved up, the room lights were dimmed, the OR lights were turned on, and it hit me; I was at a performance! The OR had lights, cameras, a stage, and audience members. Principle, soloist, and corps dancers were replaced by surgeons, residents, and medical students. Each surgery had a carefully laid out choreography that required precise technique, impeccable timing, and hours of practice before show time.
In those early moments of my surgical training, I realized the gift ballet had given me–the gift of being able to perform. Thanks to years on the stage, it came naturally to me that I could think quickly while under the OR lights, improvise when something was going awry, and keep a calm demeanor when my heart was racing. In the Operating Room, confidence saves lives, and yet again, the confidence that my body would perform as I wanted it to under intense circumstances was there from day one.
To feel sure that you will actually help someone by cutting them open, inflicting wounds onto their bodies–which in any other setting is considered assault with a deadly weapon–and to believe after you have pieced them back together they will be better off (than if you had never touched them in the first place)…these are not convictions that can be learned in the library.
There are so many pieces of my life I am eternally grateful to dance for giving me: the best moments of my youth, great friends I still love seeing, a work ethic which got me through medical school, and the ability to thrive under the pressure of the OR.
Former dance students don’t say this enough to their instructors, and certainly not years later, but to Mr. Logrea, Mrs. Logrea, Nick and Carol, thank you for all the lessons and time you spent with me, I truly believe I am a better doctor and a better surgeon because of all of you.
From 1997-2007, Ari Bransdorfer, currently a first year Ophthalmology Resident at Montefiore Medical Center/Einstein College of Medicine, studied dance at Ossining’s Logrea Dance Academy www.logreadanceacademy.com He returned as a guest dancer in 2008 and 2010.
Now in its 18th season, The Hudson Stage Company of Armonk, founded and run by producers Denise Bessette, Olivia Sklar and Dan Foster, and operating as a professional non-profit since its inception, has been dedicated to presenting fresh, dynamic, original works since 1999.
With such a packed list of past heavy-hitters as Amy Herzog’s 4000 Miles, John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar, and Animals Out of Paper, by Rajiv Joseph, there’s no doubt they’ve got that goal well covered.
And they continued to play the field and open new doors with their latest smash, The Hound of the Baskervilles, which played Whippoorwill Hall Theater from April 28th to May 13th. “It was a complete departure from anything we’ve ever done,” says Bessette, with a laugh, citing the show’s specific aspects of quirky, physical comedy, as well as its aura of sheer and silly fun that differs greater from their previously darker work. “But in that way, it’s keeping with our mission, too. We’re all about trying new things, shaking things up, and presenting new works you’ll not see anywhere else.”
While it may have indeed been a new venture for the company, it hit all the right notes in keeping with the company’s mission. The show chronicled the renowned detective and his ragtag group of friends and colleagues as they collected clues to unveil the killer of Sir Charles Baskerville, and determine the true identity of the hound who lay beside him. But, as mentioned, with a dark plot, rooted mostly in that from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel of the same name, the brilliant presentation, helmed by Mark Shanahan, comes with an added (heaping) helping of sight gags, slapstick bits, and rapid-fire quick changes that make the stage show so thoroughly enjoyable and memorable.
To boot, it was all expertly executed by three actors of the highest Broadway caliber: Matt Ban, Joe Delafield, and Denis Lambert. Ban (who plays Watson, among others) effortlessly exhibits a mastery in physical comedy, down on the floor at the drop of a hat, exaggerating otherwise minuscule movement, and playing with props to humorous effect. Delafield, who portrays nearly all members of the Baskerville brood, revels in his cavalcade of facial expressions, while Lambert’s knack for accents (especially when portraying Latina bombshell, Cecile), is simply unmatched.
Again, a departure to say the least, but their decision to produce it–among all the other wildly exciting new works they’ve put out past and present–is what makes Hudson Stage Company such an enticing entity.
While their full slate of programming for the upcoming season is still in the works, Bessette advises those eager theatergoers to rest assured that “We’re narrowing down our selection [and] we’ve got a bunch of terrific new plays coming–all of which are new to Westchester County.”
It’s all in keeping with their aforementioned goal: to provide easy, local access to fantastic theatre productions (sans the expensive Broadway prices). Of note, their Armonk location is close enough to attract visitors from Fairfield, Putnam, and Rockland counties in addition to the devoted group of Westchester County regulars.
“We love our audiences, and we’re very proud of our fantastically diverse program,” Bessette concludes. “I mean, 18 years going strong in the county… we’ve got to be doing something right, right?!”
Hudson Stage Company holds its performances regularly at Whippoorwill Hall Theatre within North Castle Public Library at 19 Whippoorwill Road East in Armonk. For more information on upcoming performances, visit www.hudsonstage.com.