StreettalkHEARD OR SEEN: AddAWAW (Add a Word a Week): Jape, n. - jest; jape; v. - joke or mock. ...A POB to Barbara Cummings, honored by the Family-Friends Council for her dedication and commitment to residents of the Sweet Brook Care Center. ...And one to Williams College for considering a ban on hard liquor to discourage binge drinking. ...Pleased to hear but not surprised, that Pine Cobble School has been reaccredited for 10 years by the Association of Independent Schools of New England. ...The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation will host a Full Moon Snowshoe Hike at Sheep Hill tomorrow at 7 p.m. Details: 458-2494. ...Try to find time, also, for the solo exhibition of color photographs by Cheryl Sacks at the Harrison Gallery through March 3. ...Question for today: What is that robot doing on Mars — Looking for WMD? Or, as Groucho Marx was wont to say, “Truth goes out the window when rumor comes innuendo.”
AFRICAN PHOTOGRAPHY: Sunday’s New York Times carries an interesting review stating that “Photography from Africa is like no other photography, and we’ve only begun to become familiar with it. So far, West African studio portraiture has led the way in popularity, and this show introduces another artist in that tradition.” Holland Trotter then proceeded to single out the work of Philip Kwame Apagya, now on display at the Jack Shainman Gallery on 513 West 20th St., Chelsea. Jack’s parents live on Baxter Road. Cotter terms the photographs “scintillating,” adding, “In each case, the pictures do what most portraits in any medium are meant to do, present their subjects as they wish to be seen: industrious or casually prosperous or devout. Mr. Apagya’s pictures accomplish this with great inventiveness and wit and with a shrewd historical perspective that combines fantasies of Western-style wealth with references to the African past.”
CONSTRUCTION NEWS: Workers on the ’62 Center for Theater and Dance at Williams College have installed more than 90 percent of the structural steel, marked by a topping-off ceremony indicating placement of the highest point of steel on the structure. The first shipment of limestone for the exterior cladding has arrived from Germany, well in advance for completion of the structure, which is expected to open on spring 2005. ...Despite this region’s longest cold spell in many years and a delay caused by ground contamination issues, workers have almost finished framing the three-story structure on the college’s office and retail building which will replace the B & L Service Station on Spring Street. Completion date is June.
SEASON SADNESS: One learns to live with the cold weather of this time of year, but not with the spate of deaths that it seems to bring. The latest is Marshall Hannock, 84, of pneumonia, this past Sunday, in Boynton, Beach, Fla. No services are planned. Marsh, a 1942 alumnus of Williams, and I were teammates on Charlie Caldwell’s famous last football team, which was undefeated — until we met Amherst. Contributions to his memory may be sent to Williams College-Taconic Tree Fund. ...Stunned to hear about the death of Bill Lesser, 86, in an automobile accident last week in Naples, Fla. His wife, the former Barbara Berkman, initially survived the crash but was in a coma, and she died late last week. I never heard an unkind word about either of them — or from them. ...And then there was Anson C. Piper, 85, the linguist who mastered French, Spanish and Portuguese, whose services were held last Saturday. He was best described as “un real hombre.” ...Now add Joaquin Nin Culmell, 95, former pianist and composer on the Williams faculty, who died Jan. 14 at a nursing home in Berkeley, Calif. ...And what do you say to Libby and Tim Bartels, whose son Mathias, 16, died in his sleep over the weekend?
ACCIDENT REPORT: Friends of Bill and Barbara Lesser are disturbed by articles in a Naples, Fla., newspaper report — and repeated elsewhere — which indicated that Bill was solely responsible for the automobile accident, which took their lives while they were vacationing in Naples. According to sources familiar with the investigation, lack of skid marks indicate that the deputy sheriff’s car, which struck them broadside from the left, had been operating in excess of 45 mph when it passed a car containing two women who had stopped, safely, to allow the Lesser car to enter traffic. We’ll see what the investigation brings. In lieu of what would have been Bill’s 87th birthday, two days after the accident, a large turnout of friends attended a special memorial service in Naples.
BUSHWHACKED: Our peerless leader — and his cohorts — defend their elimination of the inheritance tax (which they deride as the “death tax”) by saying they want to help family farms and small businesses. Senator Russ Finegold of Wisconsin countered by suggesting an amendment that would exempt the first $10 million — voted down. Then he raised the exemption to $100 million for each farm and business. It was voted down 48-51. So, instead of protecting the “little man,” the Senate passed a measure that means $60 billion a year will be given to well-heeled heirs and heiresses. How small can one get?