Corrections or additions?
These articles by Jamie Saxon were prepared for the April 7, 2004
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
U.S.1 Best Bets
Spanish tapas bar. French bistro. Italian trattoria. Organic meats,
breads, and cheeses sliced with the "Ferrari of slicers." Liqueur by
Frangelico. A Caribbean rum shack. Gelato by Ciao Bella. Coffee bar by
Lavazza. Sound like a wedding for an upper East Side "It" girl? Wrong.
We’re talking about a foodies’ mother lode – the annual Taste of the
Nation benefit at the Doral Forrestal, Monday, April 19, from 6:30 to
9:00 p.m. "You could spend $125 at Rat’s and have a great dinner,"
says event promoter Anne Sweeney, "or for $75, you can sample the
cuisine of Rat’s, the Ferry House, Tre Piani, the Frog and the Peach,
Gratella, and other top of the line restaurants in the area."
Last year, Virginia Lippincott, chairwoman of the Washington, DC-
based National Business Aviation Association, organized a group of
flight attendants – who also oversee catering on corporate jets – to
Taste of the Nation for culinary training purposes. "In corporate
aviation, you’re flying a group of extremely sophisticated executives,
people who have been exposed to the best restaurants in the world,"
says Lippincott, who lives in Bordentown. "Going to Taste of the
Nation is part of doing our homework – it gives us exposure to food
trends, presentation ideas, food and wine affinities – what food and
wines pair well together."
Emil Efthimides, a financial research manager at Bloomberg and
co-chair of the event with his wife, Diane, who works in marketing for
Merrill Lynch, notes the auction this year is "bigger and better" than
last year. Packages include dinner for eight at the chef’s table in
the state-of-the-art kitchen at Rat’s, a fully-stocked wine cooler
from national sponsor Jenn-Air, a golf foursome at Forsgate, a spa
trip courtesy of Southwest Airlines, and a wine tasting in your home
courtesy of Varsity Liquors.
Now in its 13th year, Taste of the Nation was started in 1988 by Share
Our Strength, one of the nation’s leading anti-hunger organizations.
One hundred percent of all ticket sales support organizations like
Mercer Street Friends and the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. Local
sponsors include American Express Financial, Bristol Myers Squibb,
Commerce Bank, Conair, Drinker Biddle, ETS, Janssen, RWJ Foundation,
Stark & Stark, and Tyco.
Efthimides described last year’s foodfest, which over 600 people
attended, as offering everything from "frogs legs to crab cakes. And
of course everybody’s favorite is coming back this year – the
chocolate-covered strawberries from Lahiere’s."
Taste of the Nation, Monday, April 19, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. $75 in
advance; $85 at the door. 609-924-FOOD (3663) or
When Stephen Zorochin was a landscaper for Princeton University –
where he worked for 20 years before starting his own business,
Z-scapes – he had the opportunity to apprentice from 1973 to 1975 with
the late Joe Brown, sculptor and professor emeritus. "He had vision in
only one eye, and I was always amazed that he could sculpt," says
Ironically, Zorochin, who was born and raised in Princeton,
encountered the same challenge when he developed macular degeneration
in his right eye two years ago. "I wasn’t too taken aback (with the
diagnosis)." Fortunately, his depth perception was not adversely
affected, and his attitude is admirably upbeat. "Artists by nature are
optimistic. My art has always been someplace I can go that is mine
and gives me peace of mind. I think art can do this for any
individual, not just artists – it’s a place people can go to be by
themselves, reflect, and get away from the chaos of daily life. I
think my creative instincts override my disability."
The work of Zorochin and 80 other professional artists with physical
and mental disbaliities comprise the second annual juried ArtFirst!
exhibit at the University Medical Center at Princeton, which benefits
the breast cancer unit and opens with a patrons’ preview party,
Sunday, April 18, from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets for $50, $100, or $150 are
available at 609-497-4211. The show runs through May 15.
Last year, the New York Times ran a piece in the Style section about
the most common feather in New York actors’ caps – a stint on "Law &
Order" or one of its two spinoffs, the only prime time dramas filmed
in New York. Well, add Joseph Halsey, right, of Robbinsville to the
Halsey split his high school years between St. Anthony’s Catholic
school in Trenton (where his mother worked, and still works, in the
complaints department at Sears), and Palm Bay High in Melbourne,
Florida, (where his father owned a deli). It was at Palm Bay High that
Halsey got bit by the drama bug: his first role was Guy Masterson in
"Guys and Dolls." Halsey will appear in the Wednesday, April 21
episode of "Law and Order," which airs on NBC at 10 p.m.
"I first auditioned for an Italian mafia guy, but they wanted someone
beefier," says Halsey, who admits that the typical reason an actor
doesn’t get a role is that, "after the talent portion, it all comes
down to looks." Two weeks later, he was called in for the role of
Bill, "a blue collar guy who’s hanging out in a scruffy bar with his
buddies when another guy gets whacked on the head."
Halsey, who holds an associates degree in drama from the Florida
School of the Arts and graduated from a two-year program at the Acting
Studio in New York in the early 1990s, has certainly paid his acting
dues, with stints on the Cosby Show, America’s Most Wanted, and One
Life to Live.
His path to Law & Order was paved by Breakthrough Studios in New
York, which hosts weekly sessions – part class/part audition with
different casting directors. At one session, Halsey auditioned for
Claire Trager, casting associate for Law & Order, who then brought him
in to see her boss, Suzanne Ryan, casting director for the show. After
more auditions with the producers; Lynn Cressel, who oversees casting
for every Law & Order show; and David Platt, the episode’s director,
he was in.
It took a 10-hour day to film Halsey’s five-minute scene on location
at the Village Idiot, a "very scary" bar on 14th Street. Two PAs
(that’s film talk for production assistant) were assigned to "babysit"
Halsey and the four other "day players."
First, the tech people lit and set up the scene. Then the director
blocked the scene with the actors, who then went into makeup and
costume. Since Law and Order is filmed with a hand-held camera, the
actors must do the scene dozens of times, so the cameraman can capture
it from various angles.
As for the opportunity to rub elbows with Jesse L. Martin, who plays
Detective Green, the character who interviews Halsey in the bar, or
Jerry Orbach (Detective Brisco), that was a no go. "They go right into
their trailers between takes," says Halsey. "The script is constantly
being rewritten and they have lots of lines to learn."
In the world of acting, a bit part on Law & Order is no mean feat.
Edie Falco, who plays Carmela on the Sopranos, got her first bit part
on Law & Order, and S. Epatha Merkerson, who plays Lieutenant Anita
van Buren, first appeared on the show in a bit part – a mother whose
son was murdered. "A lot of people get brought back in," says Halsey,
who says some other shows bar actors from repeat appearances.
A carpenter by day for the Belle Mead-based construction company
Tomlinson & Girt, Halsey is also the bassist and vocalist for Bigger
Than Plastic (www.biggerthanplastic.com), a popular local band that
has enjoyed its own share of fame – from the Howard Stern show to
airtime on New York’s K-Rock and Philly’s WMMR and WYSP. They appear
at Finnegan’s in East Windsor on Saturday, April 10.
Halsey, whose dream role is "to star in Sam Shepard’s next play,"
takes frequent acting classes in New York and has this advice to other
actors. "Believe in yourself and don’t stop studying to become better
at what you do. There’s a fine line between persistence and pain in
the ass. Find that line and walk it."
Inside scoop Halsey picked up on the set: There may be a fourth
iteration of Law & Order coming soon – this time from the jury’s
Corrections or additions?
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