YA Author Comes to Hampton Library to Share Malala’s Story
By Gianna Volpe
Publication: The Sag Harbor ExpressPosted online 01 September 2014In Print 04 September 2014
Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai first began to receive books written by young adult author Patricia McCormick while the Pakistani teenager was recovering after she’d been shot in the head in October 2012 by a member of the Taliban, who boarded her school bus and tried to assassinate her for championing girls’ rights to education.
Following the release of her internationally best-selling memoir, “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban,” Ms. Yousafzai ultimately collaborated with Ms. McCormick—the critically-acclaimed author of such novels as “Never Fall Down,” “Purple Heart,” “Sold,” “My Brother’s Keeper” and “Cut”—to create a young reader’s edition that would make her memoir more accessible to her peers.
“Because of the types of books Patricia writes, it was a natural fit,” said Kim Zettwoch, young adult librarian at the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton. “She has this finesse for writing young adult books and can deal with this type of subject matter in a way that teens can get into it and get something out of it.”
This Saturday at 2 p.m., Ms. McCormick will speak at the library and sign copies of “I Am Malala,” which will be sold at the event.
Ms. McCormick “was so humble, saying, ‘I’m not Malala. I don’t know who will really be interested,” Ms. Zettwoch said of the response when she asked Ms. McCormick to appear at the library. “We had another young adult author here in the spring, so we’re going to continue to try to have young adult authors come here to speak.”
                                 
For Ms. McCormick, these type of events offer her the most rewarding experiences as a writer. “Whenever I give a speech, there’s always one girl who comes up and says, ‘You told my story’ and it’s so gratifying—I cry every time,” the author said. “When you’re writing, you’re lonely; you’re all by yourself, so you have no idea how your work is going to affect somebody…. you touch people you’ll never know.”
She said these type of experiences are common for someone who writes for developing minds.
“Young adult readers are terrific,” said Ms. McCormick. “They don’t put up with phonies, and they don’t put up with long, unnecessary passages, but if they connect with you, they read very deeply into the books.”
Ms. McCormick’s collaboration with Ms. Yousafzai is the author’s latest endeavor in telling stories of teenagers’ lives amid unspeakable tragedies. Her work has taken her as far as India, where she visited bordellos involved in child trafficking for her novel, “Sold,” which was recently adapted into a film that is being shown at national and international film festivals. “I had a sense that it was not an issue that was well or widely understood,” Ms. McCormick said. “There had been some journalism about it, but nobody had written about it from the girl’s point of view. So I did that and then I met this young man from Cambodia and I think that’s kinda what led to the Malala project.”
The young Cambodian man, Arn Chorn-Pond, a survivor of imprisonment by the Khmer Rouge, is the central figure in Ms. McCormick’s “Never Fall Down,” which tells the story of Cambodian genocide from the perspective of a child forced into slavery and military service after the invasion of his village.
Though he and Ms. Yousafzai are vastly different from one another, Ms. McCormick said she was struck by the commonality of their experiences.
Take Malala Yousafzai, for example. “She is exactly what she appears to be. She’s really bright, she’s very principled, she’s really fearless, and she’s also a regular 17-year-old girl,” said Ms. McCormick. “She cares if she’s in a fight with her best friend, she worries about how did she do on her physics test, she wonders if her glasses look funny; she’s this amazing combination of extraordinary and regular.”
“I Am Malala” is perhaps the ultimate embodiment of a message threaded throughout Ms. McCormick’s books: To persevere in the face of adversity.
According to Ms. McCormick, though Ms. Yousafzai has been shot in the head for what she believes in, the Pakistani youth forgives her aggressors, whose actions have only strengthened her dedication to the struggle to obtain educational rights for girls in Pakistan.
“She really does forgive them and only wants them to have the benefit of the education that she had,” said Ms. McCormick. “She thinks that will change everything. There’s a line in the book that says that if she met one of the Taliban—she had gotten a death threat—and she said, ‘What will I do if I see one? Oh, I’ll hit him with my shoe,’ and then she said, ‘No, no, that would make me aggressive. I’ll just tell him that all I want is the right to go to school and for your sister or your daughter to go to school.’ She said she thought [the Taliban] would silence her but they actually gave her the biggest megaphone imaginable.”
Ms. Zettwoch said she hopes Ms. McCormick’s visit to the Hampton Library this Saturday will open the eyes of young, local readers to issues other teenagers face that they needn’t, but added Saturday’s free event is not age-restricted.
“Anyone who is interested can come,” said Ms. Zettwoch. “All are welcome and can get something out of it.”

YA Author Comes to Hampton Library to Share Malala’s Story

By Gianna Volpe

Publication: The Sag Harbor Express
Posted online 01 September 2014
In Print 04 September 2014

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai first began to receive books written by young adult author Patricia McCormick while the Pakistani teenager was recovering after she’d been shot in the head in October 2012 by a member of the Taliban, who boarded her school bus and tried to assassinate her for championing girls’ rights to education.

Following the release of her internationally best-selling memoir, “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban,” Ms. Yousafzai ultimately collaborated with Ms. McCormick—the critically-acclaimed author of such novels as “Never Fall Down,” “Purple Heart,” “Sold,” “My Brother’s Keeper” and “Cut”—to create a young reader’s edition that would make her memoir more accessible to her peers.

“Because of the types of books Patricia writes, it was a natural fit,” said Kim Zettwoch, young adult librarian at the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton. “She has this finesse for writing young adult books and can deal with this type of subject matter in a way that teens can get into it and get something out of it.”

This Saturday at 2 p.m., Ms. McCormick will speak at the library and sign copies of “I Am Malala,” which will be sold at the event.

Ms. McCormick “was so humble, saying, ‘I’m not Malala. I don’t know who will really be interested,” Ms. Zettwoch said of the response when she asked Ms. McCormick to appear at the library. “We had another young adult author here in the spring, so we’re going to continue to try to have young adult authors come here to speak.”

                                 Yousafzai_IAmMalala

For Ms. McCormick, these type of events offer her the most rewarding experiences as a writer. “Whenever I give a speech, there’s always one girl who comes up and says, ‘You told my story’ and it’s so gratifying—I cry every time,” the author said. “When you’re writing, you’re lonely; you’re all by yourself, so you have no idea how your work is going to affect somebody…. you touch people you’ll never know.”

She said these type of experiences are common for someone who writes for developing minds.

“Young adult readers are terrific,” said Ms. McCormick. “They don’t put up with phonies, and they don’t put up with long, unnecessary passages, but if they connect with you, they read very deeply into the books.”

Ms. McCormick’s collaboration with Ms. Yousafzai is the author’s latest endeavor in telling stories of teenagers’ lives amid unspeakable tragedies. Her work has taken her as far as India, where she visited bordellos involved in child trafficking for her novel, “Sold,” which was recently adapted into a film that is being shown at national and international film festivals. “I had a sense that it was not an issue that was well or widely understood,” Ms. McCormick said. “There had been some journalism about it, but nobody had written about it from the girl’s point of view. So I did that and then I met this young man from Cambodia and I think that’s kinda what led to the Malala project.”

The young Cambodian man, Arn Chorn-Pond, a survivor of imprisonment by the Khmer Rouge, is the central figure in Ms. McCormick’s “Never Fall Down,” which tells the story of Cambodian genocide from the perspective of a child forced into slavery and military service after the invasion of his village.

Though he and Ms. Yousafzai are vastly different from one another, Ms. McCormick said she was struck by the commonality of their experiences.

Take Malala Yousafzai, for example. “She is exactly what she appears to be. She’s really bright, she’s very principled, she’s really fearless, and she’s also a regular 17-year-old girl,” said Ms. McCormick. “She cares if she’s in a fight with her best friend, she worries about how did she do on her physics test, she wonders if her glasses look funny; she’s this amazing combination of extraordinary and regular.”

“I Am Malala” is perhaps the ultimate embodiment of a message threaded throughout Ms. McCormick’s books: To persevere in the face of adversity.

According to Ms. McCormick, though Ms. Yousafzai has been shot in the head for what she believes in, the Pakistani youth forgives her aggressors, whose actions have only strengthened her dedication to the struggle to obtain educational rights for girls in Pakistan.

“She really does forgive them and only wants them to have the benefit of the education that she had,” said Ms. McCormick. “She thinks that will change everything. There’s a line in the book that says that if she met one of the Taliban—she had gotten a death threat—and she said, ‘What will I do if I see one? Oh, I’ll hit him with my shoe,’ and then she said, ‘No, no, that would make me aggressive. I’ll just tell him that all I want is the right to go to school and for your sister or your daughter to go to school.’ She said she thought [the Taliban] would silence her but they actually gave her the biggest megaphone imaginable.”

Ms. Zettwoch said she hopes Ms. McCormick’s visit to the Hampton Library this Saturday will open the eyes of young, local readers to issues other teenagers face that they needn’t, but added Saturday’s free event is not age-restricted.

“Anyone who is interested can come,” said Ms. Zettwoch. “All are welcome and can get something out of it.”

Hamptons Chocolate Is A Hot Pleasure

Publication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Online: May 12, 2014 10:47 PM
 
Updated May 13, 2014 12:14 PM
In Print: May 15th 2014


“Hamptons chic” just got a little more delicious.


Though Evan and Caroline Gappelberg began their journey to become the artisanal Willy Wonkas of the East End just over a month ago when they founded the Hampton Chocolate Factory line, the East Quogue couple have already thrice sold through their entire inventory.

“Chocolate is the new wine,” Mr. Gappelberg, a former Wall Street stockbroker, said of what he sees as a growing demand for the sweet stuff. “We realized there was no local chocolate brand out here, so we created one to fill that need and will be partnering with the world’s finest chocolatiers to create a quality artisanal product that matches the high-end nature of the region.”

If chocolate is the new wine, more than $10,000 in sales shows that the brand new Hampton Chocolate Factory, an online enterprise, is having a fairly phenomenal premiere vintage. The company’s line of bonbons and chocolate treats continue to sell out as quickly as they are delivered to local shelves.

Hampton House in Westhampton Beach, Sonny’s Prime Meats in East Quogue and Schmidt’s Market in Southampton are three of more than 10 East End locations that already carry the online luxury chocolate line, but those numbers are exponentially increasing, the couple reported. They are already eyeing the possibility of opening a “store within a store” at East Hampton’s Red Horse Market.

The Gappelbergs said the most popular of their products thus far is the ancho chile-infused Holy Molé Bar, which costs $8 and adds a dollop of spice to its dark chocolate taste, as well as an equally unique PB&J Bar for the same price.

“It’s like an adult version of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” Mr. Gappelberg laughed. “People absolutely love it.”

The Hampton Chocolate Factory currently sells five South Fork-inspired gift sets online starting at $80, which the Gappelbergs—East End residents of more than a decade—say reflect the characters of Westhampton, Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton and Montauk.

“Montauk is a cool little fishing village represented by our classic [set of 24 assorted bonbons and 10 chocolate treats],” Mr. Gappelberg said. “Westhampton is the closest hamlet to the city and has a little bit of everything in it, so we added in six assorted chocolate bars.”

The Southampton, Bridgehampton and East Hampton gift sets are the company’s three most incrementally luxurious—the latter of which contains the company’s entire collection and sells for $215.

Hampton Chocolate Factory’s gift sets all include boxes of colorful bonbons—from stripes to splatter paint—that come in exotic flavors, such as lime sesame, wildflower honey, matcha green tea, yogurt blackcurrant and lemon fig caramel.

Ms. Gappelberg, whose friends now call her “Lady Chocolatta,” contributed the success and popularity of her “chocolate parties”—similar to classic Tupperware or jewelry parties—to the Hampton Chocolate Factory line’s combination of taste and beauty.

“They’re like little jewelry boxes,” Ms. Gappelberg, a Fashion Institute of Technology graduate, said of the black box of bonbons. “Women have told me the design of the boxes even make them look like little purses without the straps.”

But her source of inspiration is unexpected. Ms. Gappelberg said she is passionate about making her line of chocolates appear as fabulous as they taste to honor the memory of her father.

“I was absolutely devastated by his loss and really just needed something to focus on and be passionate about,” she said of the recent loss of her father, Sidney Weber, which ultimately led to the company’s formation.

Ms. Gappelberg said her father is represented by the red diamond resting atop the Hampton Chocolate Factory logo, which includes a wave-like frame around a cocoa leaf and seagull with a Montauk Lighthouse centerpiece.

“His favorite color was red and he loved collecting diamonds,” she said of her father. “I miss him so much, so having this to focus on and put my energy into has been a blessing. I know he is with me every moment of this sweet venture.”

For more information about Hampton Chocolate Factory, visit hamptonchocolatefactory.com.

Mermaids discovered in Montauk 


Publication: The Sag Harbor Express

Posted online 12 August 2014
In Print 14 August 2014

By Gianna Volpe

Before in-water surf photographer James Katsipis had even arrived at the Montauk Beach house for last Friday’s opening of “Mermaids of Montauk,” one of the show’s 18 photographs had already been sold.

“Mermaids” is the babely black-and-white portrait series already barreling through East End’s social media waves this summer, even though its photographer—lifetime local Mr. Katsipis of Montauk—hasn’t yet finished shooting it.

“I made a Facebook artist page, an Instagram and a Twitter and as soon as I put up, ‘For booking and info, please contact montaukmermaids@gmail.com,’ my phone would not stop buzzing,” said Mr. Katsipis. “I can’t even go through all the messages because it would take too long, it’s crazy… Everywhere I go people are telling me they love the series. In fact, after Mike Williams—a huge fashion photographer—saw it, he personally called me and put it on his site, Imagista, so now you can go there to check out the updated ‘Mermaids’ works.”

The shots are dramatic – many a model immersed in murky waters—but that’s exactly how Mr. Katsipis likes it.

“These aren’t the Tahitian blue underwater shots you see of girls swimming,” he said. “This is real deal Montauk—cold, dark and moody.”

And though these gorgeous “Mermaids”—most of whom are nude or near so—may be splayed across Montauk’s rocks or appear at rest as they look coyly into the camera, they are by no means beach bunnies.

Mr. Katsipis, 31, said the series is an homage to the surfers he grew up surfing alongside, so when it comes to his subjects, these are generally women who know how to lean in.

“Growing up in Montauk all the guys would surf, but the girls were out there, too,” he said. “They were right there with us when the waves got big—taking off charging, getting their ass handed to them and going back for more. They’re not sitting on the beach going, ‘Oh my God the waves are too big.’ They’re watermen just like us—true mermaids—like Ariel Engstrom. She’s gorgeous and she surfs pipeline in Hawaii…. A lot of these girls are great swimmers, so it is really easy to shoot with them.”

Mr. Katsipis said he’s been shooting “Mermaids” nearly every afternoon this summer after his neighbor, hair and make-up artist Chris McCracken of Montauk’s C.M. Hair Studio, works his water-proofed magic on the models.

“We do the dry stuff first so their hair doesn’t get messed up, and then toward the end we’ll put them in some really sexy outfits that’s really just sheer cloth and we’ll get them wet so it’s pretty much see-through,” said Mr. Katsipis. “I like to make sure the girls are comfortable…. I’ll be talking to them because I want to know about my subject and I’m always asking them questions to get their mind off of the camera. Some girls are a little apprehensive at first, but once we start swimming, everyone loosens up.”

He said the awkward nature of aqueous photography makes breaking the ice all the easier.

“We’ll make a joke of it because water is going up our noses,” he said. “It’s not as glamorous as the photos might make it look sometimes. You can ask the girls—it is a lot of work and the water is unseasonably cold, so some of the girls are shivering, blue—you know—hypothermic… We had to start bringing robes to the shoot so we could get them in the robes, stick them in the car with the heat on and start again after they warm up.”

You can check out the series by searching @montaukmermaids on Twitter, or by searching “Mermaids of Montauk” on Facebook or Instagram.

More photos from “Mermaids of Montauk” by James Katsipis:

"Mermaids of Montauk" series by James Katsipis.

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Amanda Beckwith of East Hampton, as photographed for the "Mermaids of Montauk" series by James Katsipis.