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April 15, 2018

A Rutgers Journalistic Journey to Women Awareness Events: What 15 Days in a Life Can Teach. By Calvin Schwartz April 16, 2018

A Rutgers Journalistic Journey to Women Awareness Events: What 15 Days in a Life Can Teach.  By Calvin Schwartz  April 16, 2018

 

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Panel discussion at Rutgers Hate Symposium

 

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with with Houshang Parsa, Allison Antwi (Douglas Residential College) Prof Deborah Shuford, Calvin Schwartz, Jac Toporek, Dr. Felicia McGinty, Vice Chancellor Rutgers Student Affairs at Symposium

I’ve had the hardest time (for the past two days) coming up with a title for this article. Usually titles are instantaneous for me. I need to make sure the title is understood. I’ve been privileged, with a little help from synchronicity, to have been present at special women’s events, which have fired my cerebral process, moved me up on the learning curves of awareness, sensitivity and knowledge.

Indeed, what an amazing 15 days; gifted to have absorbed, observed and learned. Cut to Tuesday March 27 at the Rutgers Business School for “A Presidential Symposium-Fighting Hate While Preserving Freedom: A Best Practices Forum.” The list of speakers beyond accomplished, from Jeh Johnson, Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Deborah Poritz, Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, Ronald K. Chen, Co-Dean Rutgers Law School, Mohammad Ali Chaudry, Co-Founder and President, Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, Rabbi Francine Roston, Kalispell, Montana, Imam Khalid Latif, Islamic Center at New York University, etc.

I sat for eight hours, taking notes, listening intently, dreaming of a time in the world, when hate is gone. We need to realize that we together are all that there is  to save our species. We’re all brothers and sisters on this insignificant speck of a planet in the middle of a complicated fragile universe and earth time is rapidly running out, passing the climatological and social tipping point.

“Mother, what did I learn in school today!” My NOTES from the symposium:  No one is born to hate. Love is natural. You can kill an enemy but not defeat an enemy. There is strength in diversity. New Jersey is the most diverse state; Rutgers the most diverse public university. Those who forget history are condemned to relive it. (I love that line from philosopher George Santayana).  Best weapons against hate is students and young people. Interfaith partnerships can help prevent expressions of hate. Why an uptake in hate? Is it because a decrease in funding for mental health? The opposite of hate is not love, but indifference.

I could fill several pages with my notes. Last paragraph was a brief extraction. What interested and annoyed, were two student hecklers, yelling and screaming just in front of me. I’m not even sure what they were protesting. A Rutgers official went over to talk to them. They continued their outbursts. At lunch break, I asked why they were not thrown out. An official replied, “First Amendment; they have a right to hate, protest and yell.” To which I smiled, replied, “La-di-dah.”

 

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Hillary with scheduling secretary Lona Valmoro & Eagleton moderator Ruth Mandel

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part of the audience for Conversation with Hillary Clinton

A few days later, on Thursday March 29th Hillary Clinton came to speak at Rutgers Athletic Center. The demand for tickets forced the change in venue from the old barn gym to the RAC. I love journalism, being with NJ Discover and wearing my press pass, sitting in the press box with a perfect view of the almost sold-out crowd, including gym floor seating. What I did notice right away was the demographics; it would appear in an unscientific visual appraisal that 80% of the audience were young women.

Hillary Clinton was there to empower young people, women, to go out, register, vote and change things. This was not a political conversation but charge to young people of all persuasions to be involved, vote and work to make a better world. “We all need to be talking about where the country is going.” She mentioned the challenge to convince women to get involved despite how hard it is but so well worth it. If you are new to politics, it’s easy to get discouraged. Biggest challenge is to keep momentum, build coalitions, but all for naught if you don’t show up and vote. She got a resounding applause when she said, “Missing John McCain’s voice which stands up for democracy.”

 

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from my vantage point in the Press box for Hillary Clinton

A bit of a redundant epiphany. When I captioned a picture that I took of the event, and placed it on social media, almost immediately, a woman harshly commented on Hillary Clinton and my being there. I never respond to comments or engage anyone on social media. Wasted energy. I know our political world is dramatically polarized along party lines. No earthly power is changing red to blue or vice versa. So, I broke my rule and commented on her comment. “I’m a journalist covering an event which fascinated sociologically.” To which she responded, “Oh!”

A few days later, on April 3rd, I attended ‘The Douglass Century Book Launch’ at Douglass College Student Center. “Douglass was founded in 1918 as the New Jersey College for Women with 54 students and 12 books in its library.”  Indeed, it has grown to 2600 undergraduate students and over 39,000 alumni. Three Rutgers faculty/professors collaborated on ‘The Douglass Century- Transformation of The Women’s College at Rutgers University,’ Kayo Denda, Mary Hawkesworth and Fernanda Perrone. The event consisted of an Author’s Panel and Alumni and Faculty Panel discussions.  What an absolutely wonderful book!

 

 

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The Douglass Century

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Douglass Panel Discussion

Some themes of the night were how important women’s education, the history of Douglass and the New Jersey College for Women; how in 1915, there was a door to door campaign for $1.00 to raise $100, 000 to establish the school; how the school was not born diverse, with no Catholics, Jews, African-Americans under founder Mabel Douglass; how in 1968, 4% of the students were of color; how arguments surfaced, with Harvard philosophers, on the inappropriateness of educating women because of lower marriage rates of college educated women-all arguments against educating women; how CAWP at Eagleton is the first research institution for women in politics; how in 2017, 67% of Douglass women are of color, 8 %  non-traditional age, 19% Latin, 23% Asian. What are challenges now? In 1930’s, there were 2000 Women’s Colleges; now there are 34.

In a panel with Maurice(Mo) Lee Jr. who came to Douglass in 1966 and retired in 1996, he mentioned Professor Genovese at Rutgers New Brunswick, welcoming the impending victory of North Vietnam and Rutgers President Mason Gross not firing him. I immediately thought back to the symposium on Hate, and the students yelling and protesting and not being thrown out. The same First Amendment issues; a fascinating tie-in to last week.

In 1965, I reminisced, that I had a date with a Douglass student. We were sitting downstairs in the lounge at Katzenbach dorm just past 10PM when a Rutgers police officer escorted me out. The curfew was 10 PM. I’d witnessed history and how far I’ve come.

At the conclusion, I waited in line for the authors to sign my copy of their book along with two hundred or so women at the lecture. Demographics were 90% women. While in line, a woman asked why I was here, to which I smiled, and said, “I’m a journalist covering, learning, experiencing, growing.” To which she said, “Oh.”

 

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with actor Armand Assante at Garden State Film Festival for Artist Nation TV and NJ Discover

 

 

 

 

 

Watch how this next part of the story develops. Back on Friday, March 23rd. I attended the Garden State Film Festival Cocktail Party and Opening night Gala. Two hundred people in Convention Hall; many filmmakers, actors, actresses, media. I was covering the event for Artist Nation TV and NJ Discover. I always wear my Rutgers hat; my personal branding.  A woman approached and asked if I was a Rutgers professor because of my hat. I responded immediately, “I wish and dream about that.” The woman was Dr. Gloria Bachmann, MD.

Dr. Bachmann is the Interim Chair in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a Professor of Medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), and the Obstetrics and Gynecology Service Chief at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Also, at RWJMS she is the Director of the Women’s Health Institute and the Associate Dean for Women’s Health. So, on Tuesday April 10th, I spent time at Dr. Bachmann’s Women’s Health Institute Meeting in New Brunswick with researchers and students. Again, in such short periods of interim time, my mind was expanded.

 

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At the Women’s Health Institute with research team, students nd Dr Gloria Bachmann on Tuesday

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with Dr Gloria Bachmann

I saw an animated film for children that they developed to explain, ever so gently, the topic of transgender. There were also discussions on female athletes (minimizing effects of injury), herbs and their mechanics, autism, One Health Initiative (Humans, Animals, Environment) cancer and aquariums. Of course, my passion in all of the above learning curves and observations is how much Rutgers is doing academically, clinically, sociologically and how NJ Discover’s platform can help tell their story, shout it out here in Central Jersey and beyond. On Monday April 16th I’ll be at a lecture on transgenders in the military. There are 1.4 million transgendered Americans.

It is a brave new synchronistic interconnected world. Best way to end this article, is who would have ever thought all this goes down in a couple of weeks of mind expansion.  The secret is to get off the sedentary sofa, explore and never stop. Wearing a hat helps too.

March 28, 2018

A Time Capsule Review: GARDEN STATE FILM FESTIVAL March 22nd to March 25th 2018 Asbury Park USA by Calvin Schwartz 3-28-18

A Time Capsule Review: GARDEN STATE FILM FESTIVAL  March 22nd to March 25th 2018  Asbury Park USA   by Calvin  Schwartz    3-28-18

 

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Pre show Interview with Artist Nation TV and Lauren Concar , GSFF Executive Director & Heather Brittain O’Scanlon, actress, Board Member.

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Friday night Convention Hall Gala cocktail party

 

The purpose of this capsule review is to light fires for planning next year to attend and perhaps some instillation of guilt, regrets, why you were not there this year. A wondrous event; New Jersey’s own film festival by the ocean, replete with pomp, excitement, energy, film makers, actors, actresses, industry insiders, deal makers.

Represented; the independent film industry. I love the word independent. It makes me think of 1776; spirit, original colonies, strong belief systems, New Jersey, expressing, declaring, creating, proudly showing, winning, competing, producing, directing and the togetherness, cohesiveness, knowledge of participants. Metaphors, verbs, visualizations; whatever, the Garden State Film Festival delivered a wonderful weekend.

 

 

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selfie with Ed Asner

 

Friday Night Gala Cocktail Party and First Screening brought hundreds to Convention Hall. My press credentials issued for my work with NJ Discover and Artist Nation TV headed by Noelle Ciumei, doing feature interviews capturing excitement and energy. To me, this party was like a boardwalk amusement park, some fantasy rides, adventure, future, past, present; and the props like people, electricity, business cards, appointments, promises, future think, projects, exigencies and realities. A great accessible party for pictures, selfies and red carpets.

Food, plentiful, imaginative and fun. I’m not a foodie person, but the pretzel, with perhaps the best brown spicy mustard ever, had me perseverating for days.

 

 

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with actor Xander Berkeley. Lifetime Achievement Award

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Screenplay Professional Reading

Accessibility evident. I stopped Xander Berkeley, who was honored with Lifetime Achievement, eating with chopsticks, and moments later, we were sitting, talking, about his prolific career, but with such ease, as if we’ve been friends for decades. He loves the notoriety aspect, lack there-of, so he can sit at a sidewalk café and draw/sketch people walking by. He called it flying under the radar. He talked about living in the now, his spiritual side. There is a power to living in the now, an inner peace. How delightful he was. Of course, it was time to get back to photo-ops and selfies.

Ed Asner, on the Honorary Board, Armand Assante, MVP, honored for his continuing support of the Festival, Christopher Lloyd, a Festival honoree with the Beacon Award, were all mixing in. Such graciousness, a particulate of the energy of this Festival.  Armand Assante, Christopher Lloyd and Xander Berkeley all premiered their films. Check out www.gsff.org.

On a lighter note, three women excitedly stopped me, “Wait, you’re an actor from Seinfeld. The raisin episode! Can we take a picture with you?” It took me a minute of convincing that it’s not me. But they still took a picture with me.

 

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with actor Garry Pastore

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Post Panel Actors on Acting with Diane Raver, Lauren Concar, Monica Henreid, Moderator, Gala Chair, Xander Berkeley, Gary Pastore, Chance Kelly &  Armand Assante & Oana Marcu

A young woman introduced herself. My projection of being a journalist; the blazer, Rutgers hat. Stephanie Angel, from Angelight  Films, recipient of the 2018 Garden State Film Festival’s Broader Vision Award for Filmmaking Dedicated to Greater Good told me about her work, which gives children with brain and spinal chord tumors a chance to express themselves on short films. This blew me away, such that I’ll do a special article on NJ Discover. People need to know. Part of the reason to believe in the Festival; to illuminate, share and learn.

Next up, the film premiere of Armand Assante’s riveting, powerful film, ‘The Wanderers-The Quest of the Demon Hunter’ in the Paramount Theater. Of course, I loved it, engrossed, carpeted to on site locations in Romania, loved the Q and A, honest, engrossing, revealing. Would love a sequel; I told that to Armand directly.

Saturday, with my Rutgers mentee student Marisa, and co-host of NJ Discover LIVE TV Show, Tara-Jean McDonald Vitale, we attended the showing of nine short film entries, animation, comedic, heavy, imaginative, sad, uplifting, but part of this brave new world of accomplished independent talent. Being a former salesman, the film ‘Death of an Umbrella Salesman,’ resonated with me as it conjured up Arthur Miller and Charlie Chaplin as the Tramp.  

 

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with actor Armand Assante. We talked about his film The Wanderers-The Quest of the Demon Hunter and my para-normal activity.

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Q and A post showing of The Wanderers-The Quest of Demon Hunter with Armand Assante, Oana Marcu and Lauren Concar

 

Next the anticipated Panel discussion, Actors on Acting with Monica Henreid, moderating. Her father, one of my all-time favorite actors played Victor Lazlo from ‘Casablanca.’ Present were Armand Assante, Xander Berkeley, Garry Pastore, Chance Kelly and Oana Marcu, who played the ‘heavy’ in ‘The Wanders-The Quest of the Demon Hunter.’  A great hour. I loved Monica’s question, “Who Inspired You?”  For the Q and A., I needed to know about their handling of rejection.

Later that night, Christopher Lloyd’s heavy, true story film, premiere, ‘Making A Killing,’ in the enchanting venue of Jersey Shore Arts Center, formerly Neptune High School, a long time ago, but renovated by the vision of Herb Herbst (an NJ Discover feature story)

 

 

 

 

 

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with actor Artie Pasquale

Yes, this capsule, a bit long, but needed for reality and enticement, memorization to get you down here next year. It’s “good stuff” being in Asbury Park, smelling ocean air, popcorn, seeing movies, dreams realized, partaking of all that Asbury offers, food, music, boardwalk, escapism. Actually, a capsule is something you take in the morning or at night, then call me next year, in the morning.  We’ll go to the Festival together.

www.gsff.org

February 14, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: From Astronomy, to Physics, Now Actress, SAG-AFTRA. Meet ANNEMARIE HAGENAARS by Calvin Schwartz February 14, 2018

 SPOTLIGHT: From Astronomy, to Physics, Now Actress, SAG-AFTRA. Meet ANNEMARIE HAGENAARS   by Calvin Schwartz  February 14, 2018

 

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ANNEMARIE HAGENAARS
photo credit Metin Oner
www.metinoner.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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at Garden State Film Festival reception in NYC June 2016 with Annemarie Hagenaars

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Annemarie role as Dr. Schmidt

When you least expect it, you meet someone who’ll impact your life, make a return engagement, and impress beyond. Two years ago, at a Garden State Film Festival promotional event at a midtown NYC hotel, I met Annemarie, actress and a relative newcomer to America. Somewhere in time, at the Film Festival in Atlantic City, Annemarie also met her fiancé, Paulo Coelho, an accomplished singer-songwriter.  Therefore, we love the Garden State Film Festival (March 22-25, 2018 Asbury Park)

Over the past two years, Annemarie stayed in touch with me at NJ Discover. She had quite the story to share which fascinated, as we’ve just finished sitting, talking, traveling around the world in 180 minutes. Sure, it took two years to implement, but worth the wait.

Annemarie grew up in the Netherlands and by eleven years old, hobbies had materialized; astronomy and acting. “I had the lead role in a school musical called “Ghosts at Griezelsteyn” and discovered I liked acting.”  With Astronomy, there was always an interest in how people (astronomers) got their ideas. We chatted about one of her life’s heroes, Albert Einstein.  Before she took off her coat, I whisked her into my writing office, and showed my picture of Einstein, one of my heroes too. We discovered our commonality which makes for a great interview.  “Einstein had that great imagination and visualization to understand things about the universe.”

 

 

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post performance
Photo Credit Paulo Coelho

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a great attachment to Albert Einstein

“At 14, I really started getting into acting. I’d play roles in school plays and at local theater companies. On top of my school, there was an observatory, where every Friday night during winter, I went up there to observe.” In the Netherlands, acting was not offered at the University level so she studied astronomy. “After my Bachelor’s degree, I went to acting school and eventually went back to university to get my Master’s degree in Foundations of Physics. Then I gave myself a gift in 2010, to study acting in New York City for one intensive month at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute (method acting).”

Back in the Netherlands, she started writing her one-woman show, ‘The Story of the Einstein Girl,’ a haunting supposition story relating to Einstein’s daughter.  In 2012, she was back in New York for a month, studied with Michael Luggio and worked in his classes on the American version of her one-woman show. Annemarie performed both the Dutch and American version of the play at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival. After that, in the Netherlands, “I worked my ass off to find a way to live and work as an actress in New York.”

She worked as a researcher in Rotterdam four days a week and also performed ‘The Story of The Einstein Girl.’  Annemarie explained that in 1986, letters were found mentioning Lieserl, Einstein’s daughter. A friend gave her the book ‘The Einstein Girl,’ written by Philip Sington, which deals with what could’ve happened to the daughter. It’s all fiction besides her actual existence, which is true. “The company in Rotterdam always supported me, by giving me flexibility to take time off to perform.” Interestingly, Annemarie downplayed the strict standards of her company, in that they only hired the top 5% of the country’s grads, of course putting her in such an elite category.

 

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readying for performance

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“Embers” credit montage

 

As a journalist, I thrive on jumping around, digressing, egressing, addressing. So, I asked Annemarie “What are the five things you can’t live without?” To which she thought for a very long second, “Intellectual challenges, chocolate (I saw evidences as she perseverated on my wife’s chocolate brownies), fiancé Paulo, to be on a set, and New York City.”  Spontaneously, the four of us, sitting at my kitchen table, started singing, Christopher Cross’ “Caught Between the Moon and New York City.”

I mentioned that it had to be so hard for her to come to New York, alone, not knowing anyone. “I came to New York with no expectations. I immediately loved it here. The acting community is different. American movies, which I grew up with, because my parents loved watching American movies, are different from Dutch movies. I love the energy of New York. Here the sky is the limit.”  Currently, Annemarie works with two managers, one for commercial and one for film and television, and is now in SAG-AFTRA.

 

 

 

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NYC caring for homeless

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photo credit Metin Oner
www.metinoner.com

Her first appearance in an off-Broadway show was in ‘Casablanca Box’, which is related to my all time favorite movie, ‘Casablanca.’  Speaking of favorite movies, I asked about hers. “Gladiator with Russell Crowe. Meryl Streep and Jessica Chastain, favorite actors, and if Elia Kazan, director was still alive I would have loved to get the opportunity to work with him.”

My research turned up her recent trip to the Hamptons. I knew why. Her face excitedly illuminated. “I did my first SAG feature three weeks ago, ‘The Artist’s Wife’ where I was on set for two days. It was an amazing opportunity to meet and exchange life stories with Bruce Dern. I was so thrilled. And I met Lena Olin too.”

“What is your greatest strength and weakness as an actor”? She drifted into introspective thought. “My strength is that I am very devoted to a part and I do a lot of research. My weakness goes hand in hand with my strength. Sometimes the hardest thing is when you’ve done your research that you need to let go of all the preparation. You need to be able to truly live in the moment and trust that all the homework will serve you, without consciously thinking about it when you’re performing.”

 

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Post interview in the Green Room

 

A natural progression of thought, I asked if she was ready to handle prospects of fame, which I strongly sensed was coming. “With this guy (Paulo) next to me, yes.”  My wife and I observed such a perfect magical couple.

Next, we talked about a recent project where she shared the lead. A hugely contemporary project, so news worthy, that it was actually rushed into post production to get it out. ‘Honeypot’ is a seven-minute film depicting how Harvey Weinstein went about harassing. It was written/directed by the successful photographer Jill Greenberg, based on NYPD files. Intellectually, we discussed the merits of the film in bringing more attention, reality and awareness to the Weinstein case. Annemarie played the part of the secretary, facilitator wonderfully. I noted her range of acting, then asked how she got this role. She was found by the casting director, Irene Stockton.

 

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a special couple, Annemarie and Paulo

Winding down, nearing the 180 minutes mark of our time together, on a lazy, rainy Saturday afternoon, now turning dusk, I asked her, “Living or Dead, someone you’d like to have dinner with.” Instantaneously, “Albert Einstein.” I said, “Me too and finally, before you leave this earth, I won’t be satisfied until I…………”  Her answer was rapid fire. “Until I do something meaningful for humanity.”

A perfect ending to a special afternoon. Annemarie has that quality, depth, cerebral connection, conviction, determination and talent to succeed beyond wildest dreams. My conviction is that it’s only a matter of time such that I asked when she’s getting a Golden Globe, Academy Award, Emmy, or whatever, do me a favor, since we’re now friends, get me backstage. It was a deal.

 

 

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Calvin Schwartz

 

 

 

 

FOR INFO ON ANNEMARIE HAGENAARS:

www.annemariehagenaars.com

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2703710/

http://www.annemariehagenaars.com/about/

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annemariehagenaarsactress/     

GARDEN STATE FILM FESTIVAL     http://www.gsff.org/Actress

 

 

 

November 17, 2017

A NIGHT OF AWARENESS & DISCOVERY; RUTGERS EQUINE SCIENCE CENTER 2017 EVENING OF SCIENCE AND CELEBRATION by Calvin Schwartz November 17th 2017 | Horse

A NIGHT OF AWARENESS & DISCOVERY; RUTGERS EQUINE SCIENCE CENTER 2017 EVENING OF SCIENCE AND CELEBRATION     by Calvin Schwartz  November 17th 2017

 

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The 45 year old horse at Funny Farm Rescue Animal Sanctuary

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with ‘Socks’ another friend from Funny Farm Rescue

One of the first reality TV shows was Candid Camera (for those of you who remember) and it actually began around 1948, before my viewing maturation. The point being, the tag line of the show was something akin to “when you least expect it.”  I’m about to segue the tag line to how I arrived at the Rutgers Equine Science Center Event on Thursday November 9th. The interconnectivity of the universe fascinates me.

I’ve known Warren Zimmerman, Co-Chair of Equine Science Center and Past Chair & CEO, State Theatre New Jersey, for the past six years of my journalism. Our paths have often crossed in varied venues of Rutgers participation, athletic viewings, football, men’s and women’s basketball and arts and culture.

Recently, I spent the day at Funny Farm Rescue-An Animal Sanctuary in deep South Jersey, where they nurture and care for 500 unwanted animals. One of the animals, a retired horse, was enjoying life at 45 years old. I wrote an article for NJ Discover on my time there. Warren read it and when we were together at an event in the foothills of Bedminster a few weeks ago, he asked if I’d be interested in learning about horses, and the Equine Science Center. My response was instant intent. I prefaced by reminding Warren of my commitment to animals, having stopped eating all animals with four legs in 1975.  So, when I least expected it, in Bedminster, sitting near a fire pit, I was on my way to a new world of Equine Science and a very special evening of learning about the science of horses.

 

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with Warren Zimmerman pre-event

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Physiology: Horse and the treadmill

How often have I randomly quoted Aldous Huxley, as it is a brave new world? At the VIP reception for the evening, I immediately met Dr. Karyn Malinowski, Director and Professor of Animal Sciences. We exchanged verbal credentials, mine paltry compared to hers. Later at the banquet dinner, attended by several hundred supporters, students and enthusiasts, Dr. Malinowski presented a scientific paper, “The Effect of EAAT on the Well-Being of Horses, and Veterans Diagnosed with PTSD.” EAAT is equine assisted activities therapy

Interestingly, I was quite absorbed with the science involved. Sitting next to Warren at the dinner, he repeatedly asked if I was enjoying the proceedings, meaning Dr. Malinowski’s discussion. Smiling broadly, I held up my yellow legal pad, filled with six pages of notes. What hooked me was the aspect of the study as to working with horses and with Veterans with PTSD. I’ve been writing about and interviewing for the past two years and had him as guest on my NJ Discover LIVE TV Show, a Marine Veteran, Robert Consulmagno, diagnosed with PTSD. He became a world ranked Jiu Jitsu fighter and PTSD advocate, working with the Veterans Administration.

 

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Dr Karyn Malinowski addressing event

It’s not within the scope of this article to go in depth scientifically but there is an exclamation point to Dr. Malinowski’s study. There was no change in physiological readings of the horses which means they were not stressed out working with Veterans. And now the best. There was a tremendous reduction in PTSD symptoms after five days!  In the study they used one woman and six men.  For me, this evening was the continuing discovery of what Rutgers University is all about. A singularity in purpose, accomplishment, research and practical betterment of life.

What is the Equine Science Center? Simply, “Better Horse Care through Research and Education.” It’s always best to go to the website and explore their initiatives, faculty, students, outreach, research and resources. There is a brave new world right here in Central Jersey.   http://esc.rutgers.edu/

The first part of the evening was a facility tour of the Equine Treadmill Demo, part of the Equine Exercise Physiology Lab on College Farm Road. Unfortunately, I missed that, networking, meeting and greeting at the opening reception. At the shank of the evening, I met with Kyle Hartmann, Public Relations Specialist, who mentioned another treadmill demo down the road. I was invited, so this story to be continued.

The banquet dinner was held at the Cook Student Center, an environment replete with airs of agriculture advancement and studies; the food was right up my flexitarian ‘alley.’ Somehow, thinking of the science of horses, you forget the cultural, practical, historical and business aspects of horses.

 

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Brittany Smith

Brittany Smith from the Warren County 4-H spoke about the Triple Crown with its storied history. Citation won in 1948 and was the first horse to win one million. Even as a student of sports history, I didn’t know that. A history of the Triple Crown is a history of America; the lyrics changed in the Kentucky Derby’s “My Old Kentucky Home.” Secretariat setting records in 1973. I remember where I was.

Later, PhD. Candidate Dylan Klein spoke on “Fit as a Horse: Body Composition and Aerobic Capacity During Training and Detraining.”  For me, very practical aspects cutting through the science. What happens to the body when you stop exercising. Training does improve oxygen uptake in horses. Hopefully, I can’t be far behind.  After the crowds had left, I spoke to Dylan (background in nutrition) on my nutritional pursuits since leaving Rutgers Pharmacy School in 1969. To be continued.

 

 

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Dylan Klein

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Warren Zimmerman & Amy Butewicz

Awards were presented. The 2018 Spirit of the Horse Award to Laurie Landy, who runs the Special Strides Therapeutic Riding Center. The film of her work with a special needs child was hugely emotional. The 2018 Gold Medal Horse Farm Recipient went to Dorsett Farms owned and operated by Larry and Ann Dorsett.

At the end of the night, the banquet room lights dimmed, I spoke to Amy Butewicz, Co-Chair, first introducing myself and mentioning how the universe and Warren Zimmerman had brought me here, when I least expected to be so captivated and moved. Then the nightcap of synchronicity in the universe; Amy and I both have the same animal activist friend, Amanda, in California, who has a farm for retired, unwanted horses. I knew it was all good about being here at the Equine Science Center, about things meant to be and continued.

 

 

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Calvin Schwartz

Calvin Schwartz graduated from Rutgers University with two science degrees and spent 12 years in retail Pharmacy and over 25 years in optical sales and management. Along the road of personal reinvention, there were several trips to Sedona, Arizona for barefoot red- mountain vortex climbing and decades of Jersey shore jetty sitting and Atlantic Ocean salt air inhalations. What followed was an evolution to a spiritualist, environmentalist, and trans-humanist (looking for ways to live to 150 years without overdosing on broccoli). Ten years ago, his first novel ‘Vichy Water’ was published and he subsequently morphed into a journalist, producer, co-host of NJ Discover LIVE TV and a ‘Jack of All Trades’ writer for NJ Discover where he covers music, environment, homelessness, animal causes and anything else relevant to Jersey’s molecular magic. A second novel is in the ‘reinvention’ works.   

Facebook:  Cal Schwartz    Instagram:  cal_schwartz       Twitter: Earthood      Novel Website:   www.vichywater.net      Email: calvinbarryschwartz@gmail.com

October 17, 2017

Meet Laurie Zaleski, Animal Activist, Owner, Funny Farm Rescue; an Animal Sanctuary; A Most Amazing Place and One of New Jersey’s Top Ten Family Places to Visit. By Calvin Schwartz October 17th 2017

Meet Laurie Zaleski, Animal Activist, Owner, Funny Farm Rescue; an Animal Sanctuary; A Most Amazing Place and One of New Jersey’s Top Ten Family Places to Visit.  By Calvin Schwartz 

Oct 17th 2017

 

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with Laurie Zaleski & George DuBois & canine company

 

This is a short story before my story. Cut to around thirty years ago. I was a regional manager/salesman for Luxottica Group, the world’s leading eyewear company. One of my favorite eyeglass accounts was George DuBois, optician extraordinaire and humanist. He employed a teenage student from across the street, Laurie Zaleski, as an optical technician. That’s the beginning of my story.

I left the optical business ten years ago and drifted out of touch with George and Laurie who was working with the FAA in graphic design. Over the years, an occasional email dealing with current events arrived from George. A few weeks ago, I saw the Funny Farm Rescue Facebook page. I mentioned to George in an email, that I haven’t eaten anything with four legs since 1975 and everything Laurie (and you) are doing to care for abandoned, sick animals is so meaningful.  It hit me; I needed to do an NJ Discover story on Laurie and the farm and get a chance to see them both after so many years.

 

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Laurie & friends

 

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George in the Club Car

Two weeks ago, I drove down to May’s Landing with two GPS systems to help my navigation. I was going to deep south Jersey where they still have general stores and on a relief map, it’s actually not that far from the Mason-Dixon Line.

It’s October and there is supposed to be a chill in the air. It was in the low eighties with a cloudless blue sky. One GPS told me to make a left, the Google Maps told me right turn. It was right as I pulled into the farm complex of 20 acres. I hugged George and Laurie while several dogs gathered around. We sat at a picnic bench; my yellow legal pad primed.

Many years ago, Laurie’s mother rented a house across the street from George’s optical store and when she was a young teenager, started working for him; filing and miscellany.  “My mom worked for animal control so we always had animals. She rented that house for 20 years and when she died, I bought this farm and moved here in 2000.” At the time, Laurie had a graphic design and photography business and works for the FAA as an outside contractor for the past 27 years. To add to her fascinating persona, she has a pilot license.

 

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with “Chuck”

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“Chuck” in the Bailey Chair

“When I moved here, I brought 30 animals with me and the numbers slowly grew. I met Dennis, my boyfriend, at the airfield. He’s a pilot too. Now we have 500 animals here. We spend $4000 per month just on feed which becomes $110,000 per year for everything. Five years ago, we started to get donations. Of course, we both work full time.”

The thought occurred to me, that a main thrust of this article should be reaching out to our NJ Discover audience and encourage you all to donate something, anything to help Laurie and company care for these precious 500 animals.

The farm is open for visitors two days a week, Tuesday and Sunday. “People drive from New York and even come from all over the world to see our farm and animals.  Sundays in the summer brings 2000 people to visit. We have a wish list, that people bring food and/or donate but only if they can…. It’s 20 acres so we do hayrides also.”

 

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The goat and my yellow legal pad

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Laurie & Goat

Next, Laurie introduced me to ‘Chuck,’ a beautiful German Shepard dog. She explained, with a distinct hint of emotion in her voice, that ‘Chuck’ has a mega-esophagus and has to sit up when he eats. “He can only drink a concoction of blended food as a liquid because the esophagus is blocking food from being absorbed in the GI tract. When I took him to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital, they told me it was the worst case they’ve ever seen. They didn’t give him long to live; maybe six months. But that was five years ago.”

There was a lot of love and devotion coming across; it’s so easy to see and feel. Laurie was replete with a refreshing genuineness. All of a sudden, a small black and white goat jumped onto the table top. She hugged him and in a flash the goat was munching on my yellow legal pad. It was a scene perhaps from the ‘Sound of Music.’  (The Lonely Goatherd).

 

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Feeding horse “Socks” with an onlooker

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feeding pig and looking for Charlotte’s web nearby

Laurie told me about how they feed ‘Chuck;’ in a Bailey Chair which you can even buy on Amazon. When they brought him home from the hospital, they taught him how to sit. The dog sits upright in this chair so the liquid can go straight down and get partially absorbed into the GI tract.  “Chuck even knows how to hold his own bowl. The hospital bill for ‘Chuck’ was $10,000. The power of Facebook brought 20,000 followers…. 100,000 people prayed for ‘Chuck’…. $7000 was raised in a few weeks.” She told me they don’t use Go Fund Me. “We don’t beg for money. We don’t put sad things up…. Our philosophy is live your life, be happy and give things a chance.”

I was in a tell me more place, totally enthralled/awestruck with her devotion and caring. I think she could tell. “I rehabbed a peacock who lived in my kitchen for three months.” I asked about her dreams for the farm. “I’ll leave the farm to be an animal rescue forever. I think this is the last animal rescue in New York, New Jersey and Delaware (as far as I know) We are one of the Top Ten places to go with a family in all of New Jersey.”

 

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with volunteer Jack & lonely goat

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the “cat house”

“How did this farm all happen?”  “This place took a life of its own when I came here with 30 animals. I met Dennis flying. He is the equipment guy and sees the big picture about making a difference. George is so devoted and incredibly handy with tools. We have 20 loyal volunteers and a pool of 100 more volunteers. Pete, over there, volunteers and is on oxygen…. Funny, we started with 30 animals, which became 300 and now 500.”

Laurie explained that there is no politics on the farm. “Just be kind to the animals.” She talked about some dealings with the local vegans, about their complaining that she had leather seats in her car. “I’m a vegetarian, different from being a vegan.”  I told her about my being a flexitarian since 1975. I eat nothing with four legs, but do eat chicken, turkey and fish. I’m not perfect yet. “My mission is not to change you into a vegan. Be kind to animals. She told me about a little girl who came to the farm, held a baby chick and then told her mother she’ll never eat chicken again.

 

 

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the horse is 45 years old and is loving life

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Laurie & happy donkey

My mind was swimming in thoughts about writing this article and continuing to spread the word about all the goodness and caring going on here. I’ve got ideas, I told Laurie and George. Next up, was the tour of the barns and stables in the Club Car (from a golf club) with George. He built many of the animal residences. I fed the pigs and looked all around for Charlotte’s web. George showed me the barn with the cat houses; I took a few pictures leaving the innuendo outside. There was probably a dozen cat sleeping quarters.

Later, Laurie and I took a walk past a barn and a horse grazing. The horse was 45 years old and was peacefully living out a life. This kind of sums the experience up for me. The love and caring everywhere. Earlier, I fed a white horse, ‘Socks’ some bread. When I was writing notes, I felt a warm moist sensation on my arm. It was ‘Socks’ thanking (kissing) my arm.

George, Laurie and I hugged again, vowing to get together much sooner than later. There is so much here that people need to know about. I love the mantra of NJ Discover; to elevate the people and places of New Jersey. And now we’ve done that to animals.  And please help out this non-profit. Everything, anything helps. And so it goes.

Website:   http://www.funnyfarmrescue.org/

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/FunnyFarmRescue/

DONATIONS:  can made by PayPal, or mailed to:  Funny Farm Rescue   6908 Railroad Boulevard.  Mays Landing, NJ 08330

For more information, please contact: laurie@funnyfarmrescue.org

MISSION: “The Funny Farm Rescue is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charity. We are personally and professionally committed to the well-being of abused and abandoned animals. We provide food, shelter, medical care, compassion and love for the rest of their natural lives in a permanent, safe and healthy environment.”

ABOUT US:

“The Funny Farm Rescue Animal Sanctuary takes in animals from the SPCA, the Pig Placement Network, Atlantic City Police, Atlantic County Wildlife Aid, Humane Society, as well as the public. By starting a non-profit 501 (c)(3), the help from donations, we can pay for food, veterinary expenses and improve facilities, aiding in the quality of life for the animals.”

 

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