Art group builds ‘Thrust of Sorrows’ catapault to relieve burdens in new show

Perhaps it's a picture of your ex, a pile of bills or that pair of too-tight jeans that taunts you from your closet. Whatever the burden, the artists at the BroLab art collective want to lighten your figurative load - with a 12-foot medieval-style catapult. As part of the Bronx River Art Center's four-part "Shifting Communities" exhibition series, the artists have built a catapult on display in the BronxArtSpace gallery in Mott Haven. The idea is for people to bring in these unwanted objects - then launch them. Dubbed "Thrust of Sorrows," the catapult can hurl up to 50 pounds of "burden" as far as 200 yards in the spring event. Date and time aren't known yet. "People have a lot of stressers in their lives and need to be relieved of that," said BroLab artist Ryan Roa. "So we want people from the community to bring in objects we can actually throw." The current recession was the inspiration for the catapult, which is made of plywood and two-by-fours. "It feels like there's been general hardship in our communities for the almost past decade," said Roa. "These are troubling times. There's a need for this release." Curator Chad Stayrook invited artist collectives from across the city to show their works alongside borough artists. "We charged the artists to create a piece that responds to a community need or that has some dialogue with the South Bronx or the Bronx in general," he said. Artists must also host roundtable events for the community. In addition to the catapult, BroLab has a video installation piece on display and is rehabbing the courtyard at the Mott Haven library. The group has started a fund-raising drive at to raise money for the project. Also participating in this first exhibit is Bronx artist Nicky Enright, who created a free international calling card called the Glocal Card. Community members can use it in exchange for filling out an anonymous survey. In addition, Brooklyn artist collective J&J is Continue Reading

Thousands of officers pay final respects to fallen comrade in majestic yet sorrowful ritual

The funeral for Police Officer Alain Schaberger began at an hour when he should have been arriving home from another midnight tour of doing his best to keep the city safe while it slept. The 42-year-old cop should have been making breakfast for his fiancé and her two young children. He liked to end a night away from them by starting their day with love turned into a plate or a bowl of something good. Instead, breakfast time Friday found Schaberger lying in a flag-covered coffin, his family and comrades gathered around him in deepest grief. The loss was made all the more unreal by the circumstances. This noble champion of fairness was killed when he was pushed off a stoop by a bullying jailbird with a history of domestic violence who had threatened to kill his girlfriend.Fredrick J. Chapey & Sons Funeral Home in East Islip, L.I. Just as Schaberger's understated demeanor made his grace and devotion only more manifest, the simple surroundings had the effect of making the NYPD's sorrowful ritual all the more majestic. The spires here were made not of stone, but of soul. The chapel had room for little more than the family and the officers whose "84" collar brass signified they had served with Schaberger in the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn. Tears trickled down faces of cops who have to train themselves to be stoic on the street.Vietnam and died keeping the peace as Brooklyn slumbers otherwise defenseless. The Rev. Charles Froehlich presided. Mayor Bloomberg spoke, then Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. "It has been said that what we do for ourselves dies with us, but what we do for others and the world is immortal," Kelly said. Kelly recited some of the words Schaberger's grieving comrades used to describe this cop who had done so much for so many. Eyes that had seen Schaberger live those words welled and brimmed over. His living spirit, the sense of what he would want them to do, helped his comrades compose themselves as the service concluded Continue Reading

Henryk Gorecki dead at 76; Polish composer, Holocaust witness penned ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’

Composer Henryk Gorecki, whose haunting "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" became an unlikely hit record, died Friday at his home in Poland. He was 76.Inspired in part by a prayer scratched on the wall of a Nazi prison cell by a doomed Polish teenager, Gorecki composed the symphony in 1976.But Gorecki and his demanding work remained virtually unknown outside his country until 1992, when an Elektra Nonesuch recording of the symphony featuring American soprano Dawn Upshaw rocketed past Madonna and other pop artists to the number six spot on general album charts.It sold more than a million copies - a rare feat for a classical music record that was released to commemorate victims of the Holocaust.Born in the gritty Polish coal mining region of Silesia, Gorecki bore witness to his nation's tragic history as a child growing up during World War Two and embarked on his musical career when the communists ruled his country.Gorecki often clashed with the authorities and resigned from his teaching post at the music academy in the city of Katowice in the 1970s to concentrate on writing avant garde music and later religious music.The composer was suffering from a lung infection when he died. He is survived by his wife, Jadwiga, and two grown children. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Lindsay Lohan and Mischa Barton drown their sorrows in an all-night bash

Lindsay Lohan and Mischa Barton are apparently bonding over their respective woes: The wayward starlets partied the night (and perhaps what's left of their careers) away in L.A. on Wednesday night. Spies say LiLo — who is dealing with the news that her dad, Michael, is engaged to fame-chasing former reporter Kate Major — was "raging" at Nylon's 11th-anniversary bash with her gal pal Mischa, who got into an ugly (and rather public) fight with ex-boyfriend Brandon Davis at that very party. In fact, Davis took to his Twitter page to bash the former "O.C." starlet. "Omg. Just realized my ex turned in to 1 of the fattest people in the planet," he wrote in a particularly cruel post. "I'm gonna start dating plus size models. Not! Mischa the Hefer." Our spies at the fete say Barton was clearly trying to drown her sorrows over the jabs. "She was chain-smoking the entire night," says a partygoer, who adds that both she and Linds — who have both spent time in rehab — were drinking, too. "Mischa was never without a cigarette in her hand — and a puss on her face." Barton said goodbye to her gal pal and excused herself from the bash around midnight, but our source says La Lohan kept the party going all night long. "She was running around until 6 in the morning," the West Coast spy dished. "She was on a bad path as is, and her father's antics are only making things worse for her." Not that Mischa's friends are willing to accept excuses for Lindsay's behavior: in fact, one pal says they're all hoping Barton keeps her distance from Lohan. "Lindsay is not a good influence on her," the friend says. "They should not be hanging out. Lindsay is an enabler, and that's the last thing that Mischa needs right now." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Sorrow etched on his face, Obama honors fallen Afghanistan heroes

He stood ramrod straight on the tarmac, the sun yet to rise over Dover Air Force Base, his right hand raised to his forehead in a salute of honor and sorrow. It was in the dark hours after midnight Thursday when President Obama greeted the remains of 18 Americans killed near the end of a particularly bloody month in Afghanistan. The cost of the war was apparent in Obama's grim visage as the caskets - draped in red, white and blue U.S. flags - touched down aboard a cargo plane in Delaware's pre-dawn chill. The President first met in a chapel with family members of the victims - 15 soldiers and three Drug Enforcement Agency agents - brought home for the transfer of their remains. The grief of the families was still fresh, their relatives all killed in the last three days. Obama, in a dark suit and tie belying the early hour, eventually led a solemn team of dignitaries aboard the gray C-17 plane about 4 a.m. The first 17 caskets were removed, leaving just the last one with the body of Army Sgt. Dale Griffin, of Terre Haute, Ind. An Air Force chaplain led the group in a prayer. The President exited first, with the group following down the plane's ramp. They all snapped to attention and stood for several minutes as a six-soldier squad carried the casket off the plane. The President saluted in the morning silence as the soldiers - in camouflage and black berets - loaded Griffin's remains into a waiting white van. His family was the only one to agree to allow media coverage of the arrival. The dramatic image was made more riveting by the circumstances. The sight of a sitting President in such close proximity to U.S. war dead had become an anomaly, unseen by nearly a generation of Americans.A 1991 edict had banned coverage of the arriving military caskets until Obama relaxed the restriction earlier this year.And the spur-of-the-moment trip also came amid Obama's deliberations over whether to dispatch Continue Reading

Khmer Rouge defendant Kaing Guek Eav expresses ‘heartfelt sorrow’ to U.N.-backed genocide tribunal

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The man who ran the Khmer Rouge's most notorious prison accepted responsibility Tuesday for torturing and executing thousands of inmates and expressed "heartfelt sorrow" for his crimes. Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, told the U.N.-backed genocide tribunal that he wanted to apologize for the acts of the Khmer Rouge, whose genocidal rule of Cambodia from 1975-1979 left an estimated 1.7 million people dead. "I recognize that I am responsible for the crimes committed," Duch told the tribunal, standing in the dock as he read from a prepared statement. "I would like to express my regretfulness and heartfelt sorrow." Duch, now 66, commanded the group's main S-21 prison, also known as Tuol Sleng, where as many as 16,000 men women and children are believed to have been brutalized before being sent to their deaths. He is charged with committing crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as torture and homicide, and could face a maximum penalty of life in prison. Cambodia has no death penalty. He told the court he took responsibility "for crimes committed at S-21, especially torture and execution of people there." While Duch's statements amount to a confession of guilt, defendants at the tribunal do not enter pleas. The tribunal says its primary goal is to determine the facts of what happened three decades ago during Khmer Rouge rule. Co-prosecutor Chea Leang vowed to get justice for the 1.7 million victims of the country's radical communist regime. "For 30 years, one-and-a-half million victims of the Khmer Rouge have been demanding justice for their suffering. For 30 years, the survivors of Democratic Kampuchea have been waiting for accountability. For 30 years, a generation of Cambodians have been struggling to get answers for their fate," Chea Leang said, using the regime's name for Cambodia. "Justice will be done," she said. "History demands it." The long-awaited trial against Duch began Monday with a full reading Continue Reading

‘Deepest sorrow’ from slash killer’s family

The wealthy Long Island family of the man who murdered his Ivy League girlfriend and then killed himself expressed "deep, deep" sympathy for her relatives Monday. "Our deepest sorrow goes out to the Powers family; [we] just feel terrible for them," said Baldwin Smith, whose brother Jonathan Smith, 34, slashed Margaux Powers' throat and then plunged to his death from a lower Manhattan high-rise, cops said. Smith left an unsigned note in the Chelsea home the young couple shared - and which they had moved into just two months ago - about "wrongdoings" he committed against Powers and her family. "We're doing our best," said Baldwin Smith, 39, who would not comment on his brother's relationship with the 26-year-old Powers - or their families' close ties. "They have a wonderful family and she was a wonderful girl." Cops said Powers and Smith had broken up and the relationship had been abusive, but a friend said Powers' family was unaware of any threat against her. At Cafe Society, in the former Union Square location of Steak Frites where Jonathan Smith worked as a cook, co-workers described him as an unfriendly man - and a raging drunk. "He was a little weird," said one. "He would never smile back. He wouldn't say 'Hi' back." "He was always hating on the place," another co-worker said. "His heart wasn't in it." Powers, who grew up in Glen Cove, L.I., and her beau attended the exclusive Green Vale School in Old Brookville, L.I. They moved in the same elite social circles their whole lives, but there were problems. Police said Smith had no criminal record. "He went from zero to murder," a police source said. Smith leaped to his death Saturday night, four hours after Powers' younger sister Dana discovered her body in the bathtub of the doomed couple's home. It remained unclear when Powers, who had not been heard from by her family for several days, was slain.   Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

SORROW RUNS DEEP IN 2 HARD-HIT TOWNS. The pain never leaves Queens & N.J. nabes

The distance separating Middletown, N. J., from lower Manhattan, an easy 75-minute train ride, has become insurmountable for Barbara Minervino. The widow once made the trip regularly, leaving the serenity of her suburban home to meet her husband after his workday at the World Trade Center. But she can no longer bear to see the city. Slightly more than 50 miles from Minervino's front door, in the beachside hamlet of Breezy Point, Queens, RoseEllen Dowdell cries when she hears a traditional Irish song from the Chieftains - one of her slain husband's favorite bands. She often gives tours of Ground Zero to ensure her husband and his fellow firefighters are never forgotten. But she tries to prevent the past from consuming her. Five years after the twin towers' destruction, the sorrow of the 9/11 attacks still reverberates through Middletown and Breezy Point. The quiet communities, while divergent in many ways, are bound by a painful similarity. They both suffered unimaginably high death tolls at the World Trade Center. "The shock and the sorrow cut through the community," Middletown Committeewoman Rosemarie Peters said, while sitting at the town's train depot that connects it to Manhattan. "Everybody took it personally. " Her township, an affluent suburb, suffered 37 deaths in the terror attack, many of them businessmen and executives. Breezy Point, a gated working-class hamlet across the Raritan Bay in the Rockaways, lost 24 men and women, many of them firefighters and cops. "We took a big hit," said Msgr. Michael Curran, whose St. Thomas More Church rises near the gatehouse that protects the private community from intruders. "But, if there was a place that had the sense of community and the spiritual reserve to handle it, this is it. " U. S. flags line the main road into Breezy Point - an overwhelmingly Irish Catholic community of mostly firefighters, teachers, nurses and cops who raise families on the tip of a peninsula 21 miles southeast of Continue Reading

William Hurt on fatal ‘Midnight Rider’ accident: It’s ‘one of the great sorrows of my personal life’

William Hurt has described the death of “Midnight Rider” crew member Sarah Jones as one of the "great sorrows" of his life. The Oscar-winning actor gave his account of the tragedy to Toronto radio station 680 News on Thursday. Jones, a 27-year-old camera assistant, was killed and six others injured during a train accident at a Georgia railway trestle during the filming of the Gregg Allman biopic in in February 2014. “I just had an unsettled feeling from the very time I got there,” Hurt recalled about arriving on set the day of the incident. The scene required Hurt to lay down on a bed that had been placed on the tracks as part of a dream sequence, which led the actor to express his concerns. “I stopped everything and I said in front of everybody, I said, ‘Stop.’ And I asked (assistant director) Hillary (Schwartz) in front of the whole crowd, ‘Are we safe?’ Because it’s her job as the first AD to tell us that. She said, ‘Yes.'” When he asked if they had a spotter to warn them of any oncoming train traffic, and how much time they’d have to leave the railway, he was told “60 seconds.” “And I said in front of everybody, ‘Sixty seconds is not enough time to get these people and this equipment off this bridge. There’s just no way.’ And then I looked around, thinking that the rest of the crew, who had all worked with her before … would say something. And they didn’t. They just started shambling back to work. And I thought, ‘Well that’s their vote. They trust her.’ So we went to work.” After Hurt lay down on the bed placed on the tracks, he heard Schwartz warn there was a train approaching. “I was barefoot and I turned around, I twisted my head and I said, ‘Someone’s going to die now,'” the 65-year-old actor recalled. “I tried to yank the bed up, Continue Reading

Parents of 2-year-old ‘angel’ killed by falling bricks on Upper West Side flooded with sorrow and sympathy on social media

The heartbroken parents of a 2-year-old “angel” killed by falling bricks from a crumbling Upper West Side building were flooded Tuesday with sorrow and sympathy on social media. An outpouring of condolences and offers of help from New Yorkers and others greeted Stacy and Jayson Greene, a day after the Daily News revealed they made the agonizing decision to donate their daughter’s organs to save the lives of other children. Greta Greene died Monday, a day after she was hit in the head by bricks that rained down eight stories on her and her grandmother, Susan Frierson, 60, as they sat on a bench outside a building at 305 West End Ave. On Tuesday, people upset over the tragedy turned the bench into a makeshift memorial, attaching balloons and leaving flowers, stuffed animals and notes of condolences. Friends of the bereaved parents and even strangers posted notes of support and grief on social media. “Stacy, you and your family are in my thoughts and my prayers with this heartbreaking and unfathomable news. What a sweet life you gave to beautiful Greta. She was so lucky to have you for a mom,” Katy Shirey wrote on Greta’s mother’s Facebook wall. As city officials continued to investigate the tragedy, many posters on Twitter vowed to keep the Greene family in their thoughts and prayers. Others expressed shock over the way Greta died. A Twitter user with the handle @—hellobirdie, wrote, “rip #GretaGreene, so tragic... you were a beautiful baby girl.” Another poster, @GeoffRickly, wrote, “It's a terrible, tragic day in New York. Our hearts go out to you @Jayson_Greene and your family. If there's anything that we can do.” Other posters honored the adorable Greta by using the Twitter hashtags “GODSANGEL” and “Angel.” Greta’s parents, who live in Brooklyn, remained in seclusion Continue Reading