Amy Krzanik reports from Spencertown.
“We don’t do this at home,” actress Linda Lavin
and husband Steve Bakunas assured the crowd at the Spencertown Academy Arts Center
on Saturday, April 28. They only perform “Portrait of an Artist” in public, on stage, as a fundraiser for non-profit organizations around the country. Partly planned and partly off-the-cuff (they’ve only performed the show a handful of times), Bakunas asks Lavin, his wife of 13 years, about her life and career while he paints her portrait. Their dog, Mickey, sits or snoozes nearby. The painting is then raffled off to support the cause, in this case the continued restoration of the Academy’s historic building. The restoration campaign is halfway to its $600,000 goal and work to shore up the landmark structure has already begun. Bakunas’ first question of the evening pertained to Lavin’s childhood, “What did you want to be when you grew up?” The six-time Tony Award nominee, who described herself as a poor student, couldn’t wait to become an adult, “wear high heels, and then die.” That was the extent of her plans until she enrolled at The College of William & Mary, where her talents as a singer, actress, comedian and pianist were fully appreciated. The 90-minute performance also included tales of Lavin’s post-college life in New York City in the 1960s and her foray into film and television in Los Angeles. Lavin considers these performances her way of writing a memoir without actually having to write a memoir. The couple, who moved to Columbia County five years ago, are putting the finishing touches on a Spencertown bed and breakfast.
Spencertown Academy supporters and Tannery Pond
board members Cindy Atkins
and Cindy Puccio
; Barbara Lax
, a member of Academy's curatorial committee, with photographer Gerald Seligman
and Lynn Rothenberg
. The three are part of Creative Columbia, a salon which meets at the Academy on the first Thursday of each month from 6-9 p.m.
Board member David Highfill
with Venetia Reece
and Mary Neufeld
; board member Jill Kalotay
and volunteer Susan Grybas
Chad and Jennifer Lindberg
; Telisport Putsavage
with volunteers Rochelle and Charles Bartolo
, Ellen and Alan Goldner
and Ken Kranz
; Mickey was so relaxed that he fell asleep.
Bakunas and Lavin hold hands in a touching on-stage moment. (Photo copyright by Gerald Seligman)