Friday, January 11, 2019

Keep the doors open

My grandmother, Ann D'Addario: A woman who trail blazed her way through a time when it was almost unheard of to have a job let alone a career. She was a buyer for a children's clothing store. Clothing children in style was her passion. A woman whose education did not go beyond high school taught us that education is one of your best assets and to strive to go as far as your mind will take you. 
Mine took me to law school and she proudly attended my graduation. She was a woman of uncompromising values and strong opinions. She inspired me to always speak my mind and not to compromise my values or integrity. A world traveler into her 80s, she still had time to make me chicken soup when I was sick. 
As with most Italian grandmothers, she taught me to always keep the door to my home and heart opened.  
As I look back on her life, I am amazed at the strength and courage she had to live her life her way as I inspire to do the same.  
by Joanne D’Aurizio 

Ann D'Addario

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Justin and Mama Ie "Cook with Me!"

Hello everyone 
A few months ago I was lucky to be invited by Justin to the publishing party for his book "Cook With Me!" It was a lovely event and the variety of dishes prepared by Justin was delicious and looked magnificent. 

Here is his story.

My name is Justin Cassablanca, I am 13 years old, and the author of “Cook with Me!”, a book inspired by my Great-Grandmother, “Mama Ie”. In August 2018, she turned 92. For as long as I can remember, every year she has taught me a new recipe. One of the first recipes was a 100-year-old apple pie she knew from her mother. 

Mama Ie  made with me this summer an old recipe;  a Romanian classic, “plum dumplings” for which she let me climb her plum trees to harvest the plums. Her gift for the end of my summer vacation this year was a recipe book handwritten by her with some recipes from the turn of the century. Inspired by her legacy to cook,  I collected traditional recipes and put them together in my cookbook “Cook With Me!” which was published in August of 2018 in Timisoara, Romania.

A page of Mama Ie recipe book
photo by Justin Cassablanca

Romanian Sponge Cake

7 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup oil
1 small yogurt
14g baking powder
Pinch of salt
Lemon and orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Separate the egg whites from the yolks and put them in separate bowls. Beat the whites until become fluffy, then add the sugar slowly until you reach stiff peaks. In the yolks put the yogurt, oil, vanilla, and zest and mix together. Mix the baking powder, flour, and salt I another bowl. Over the yolk mixture add in 3 parts 1/3 of the flour, and 1/3 of the meringue folding well after each addition. Preheat oven to 360°F and place the batter into a rectangular baking pan lined with parchment paper, and over the top place pitted and halved sour cherries or regular cherries. Place in the oven and let bake for 25-30 min until golden brown and when you poke with a toothpick it comes out clean. Let cool and enjoy.

Mama Ie and Justin photo by Ian Cassablanca

Together making Cozonac, a traditional Christmas sweet bread Photo by Ian Cassablanca
Raspberry mousse cake made by Justin photo by Marie Christine Katz

Here below are some pages of Justin's book and a forward by Andrei Codrescu

I wish I had known so marvelous a passion when I was as young as Justin. This book is many things: it is, first of all, a collection of culinary delights, many of which I had the pleasure of tasting. I can attest to their terrific gustatory success. Secondly, Justin’s recipes are a family history told through the richness of the regional dishes of his Romanian heritage. Last but not least, the evident joy in creating his food is reflected in Justin’s stories and images of a traditional world whose flavors will survive through him.
Andrei Codrescu, author, NPR commentator

Please contact me if you wish to acquire Justin's book, it could be a lovely holiday season's gift,
Bon Appetite, Enjoy, Poftã Bunã  

Do you have a grandmother's story? I would love to include it in this ongoing project.
Happy Holliday Season Marie Christine 

Friday, November 30, 2018


Anita, the mother of my husband and a wonderful grandmother to my children, Taliana and Joris, has been enriching our lives and that of others for over 90 years.
During our trip in LA, Anita shared some of her philosophy for life. "Think Positive" is her motto. #AnitaThinkPositive

Here is Anita


Photo by Geoffrey Katz

Photos by Marie Christine Katz unless otherwised noted

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Gathering stories on 57 Street

It was a pleasure to be involved in Elana Langer's project "Lab test at the Self Explanatorium"
The cumulation of the week-long presentation leads to a participatory dance performance with Emily Faulkner.

Monday, June 2, 2014

My Writing Process' Blog Tour

Anne Flournoy, the wonderful writer, director & producer of The Louise Log web series invited me to be part of an on going blog tour. The idea being that each selected blogger introduce in turn three new bloggers as well as respond to four specific questions. I am very sorry to say that I can not fulfill the most important aspect of this project, that is to  present  to you three new bloggers. When asked by Anne I was immediately thinking of several people. A wondrous Bee Keeper, a world renowned author and couple therapist, a photographer that maintains a delectable last wish food blog and an artist who seems to want to box everything in; I am sure your are intrigued by now and yet, I can not reveal their names as they are so busy traveling the world, getting ready for a talk show, gathering honey and looking for new object to be boxed in, to participate. I then reached out to my friends to gather some blog recommendations and in the process discovered some interesting new writers yet I have received no response to my query so as it is now the day of my deadline all I can do is answer the following questions.   

What am I working on?

At this point I am further developing a performance based project titled "What’s my Worth?" an ongoing project that began as a reaction to the 2008 economic downturn. I keep track of my spending and savings in a journal, bringing into view the relationship of financial gain and identity, especially as an artist and a mother. This lead to a performance that addresses the questions: What is the value of our work? What are the costs of the choices that we must make? Which projects are viable and what it is all worth to us? What effect do our choices have on our environment?
I am also developing Matière Première” a series of sculptures created from remains of my work as a mother, including being a gardener and a laundress.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My blogs are an integral component of the remains of participatory performances and art projects that I have been conducting for the last few years. Either blog would be included as part of exhibitions featuring either project; “My Favorite Grandmother” or “Let’s Take a Walk”.

Why do I write what I do?

In the case of “My Favorite Grandmother,” I blog so as to convey all the stories that people have shared with me about their Favorite Grandmother. In “Let’s take a walk” I give a compte rendu of each of the 34 Twitter guided walk performances I conducted since 2009; both are text and images based. Aside from my blog, I write texts and monologues for my performances.

How does your writing process work?

My installation and performances includes text as well as a variety of media 
although I often work on  several projects and spend large amounts

of time developing ideas and in the creation of installations and sculptures. My writing has a very spontaneous element to it. Often ideas are formed through movements or during walks in the neighborhood; I jot down thoughts and sometimes send my self e-mails with a word or a sentence that is then included in stories in progress. I also use “note to self”, a recording app that allows me to “jot down” sound, tunes and sentences that are flittingly  going though my mind. My work has a strong element of public participation, story telling, sharing and appropriation; texts are formed from those exchanges. A fair amount of rewrites take place during rehearsals and as most of my performances are presented in several occasions they are in fact work in progress that have this process the chance to flesh out.

Marie Christine

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Marie by Marie Christine

My Grandmother Marie’s Stories
My favorite grandmother, Marie, was bedridden due to rheumatism. I often would climb up the stairs to the third floor apartment, we lived on the second floor of our house, and on the ground floor there was a café run by my parents. The house was a typical Swiss wooden cottage. Every steps marked by a cricking sound. Every hours marked by the sound of the clock. Lying beside Grand Maman Marie I would keep her company and be regaled by her stories. The two that I clearly remember are:
A woman and a man, they loved each other’s, they had no children. The man spent more and more time at the café drinking with his friends. The woman asked him that every time he came home late due to his drinking habit, he would have to give her a tenth of what he had spend that night at the café. Several years later they found themselves in a dire financial crisis, the woman pulled out a box from inside her closet, opened it to reveal all the monies that her husband after each outing had given her throughout the years.
During the war her young women friends and herself could not find, let alone afford to buy, the stocking that were so fashionable at the time. So they simply drew a line on the back of their legs.

And she always talked about the beautiful English Ladies who came to hike/vacation in our village smelling of soaps and perfume.

I'll Draw a Line, a performance/installation project was inspired by the above stories.To see images go to I'll Draw a Line 

Knitting... I need you at Figment Art Festival

Thank you so much for the wonderful stories and your participation in my project Knitting...I need you
that took place as part of the Figment Art Event on Governors Island.
I offered visitors some basic knitting lessons… Together we knitted and exchanged stories. 

At various moments throughout the days I performed shorts monologues, stories by themselves yet part of a complete tale...within each of the monologues I inserted elements of stories told to me by previous participants while unraveling the knitted elements, winding them up the trees in a pattern such as  climbing vines of morning glory does, twirling around the branches, hanging down, in a web like structure.

Sunday morning on the Ferry to Governors Island


Photo by Alisa J Liu
Friends knitting together

Monday, May 14, 2012

Valentina by Simone

This week end I had the chance to see the work of Simone Marinetto in his studio at ISCP
Here is one of his project, the story of Valentina, his grandmother. 
                               What would we be without our past?
How would our thoughts develop without any link to the previous ones?

                                   WITHOUT MEMORY 
by Simone Martinetto 

This is the story of Valentina, of her memory problems and of the thousand paper sheets scattered in her house.
Valentina lost her memory. The reason is unclear even to doctors: they believe it to be linked to her frequent taking of tranquillizers and to a nervous breakdown treated with electroshock.
Valentina's daughter loves her and refuses the fact that her mother does not remember events and persons for more than two minutes; most of all, Valentina's daughter cannot accept there are days when Valentina does not recognize her and mistakes her for her own mother.
Valentina goes out alone only to take a walk or to go to the parish church. She has a note with her name and address on it stapled in the pocket of her jackets.

Valentina is my grandmother and, although she does not remember my name, I love to hug her. Sometimes I take my guitar and play and she walks after me whistling and singing, following her great musical instinct.

Simone Martinetto was born 1980, Turin, Italy his practice consists of photography and installations. His work is an investigation on the
importance of memory, freedom, coincidences and dreams. 
Martinetto has created a new form of narrative, using an original photographiclanguage to tell small stories with symbolic meanings.
Using photography as a tool to examine the minds of others.
He began to practice photography when his grandfather, shortly before his death, passed on to him the camera he bought on the occasion of his birth. Martinetto works as an artist, cinematic still photographer and teacher.

Monday, November 7, 2011

She is keeping the 99% warm

Yesterday two of my on going project, Let's take a walk & My favorite Grandmother converged into one.
At the end of Let's take a walk #24, a friend who happen to be very familiar with Zuccotti Park, led me to
the knitting grandmother, Everyday for the last 39 days Marsha has been knitting for Occupy Wall Street. With the weather turning colder the people living in the park will be very happy to wear her knitted gloves, hats and leg warmers.
Marsha's grandmother taught her to knit, now she is teaching her craft to her 16 year old granddaughter as well as to the people in the OWS. Inspiring. Donation of yarn welcome. You know where to find her.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Camp Omi The children's stories

During my residency at Art Omi I had the opportunity to meet and work for a day with the children of Camp Omi
I told the children one of the many stories of my grand mother, then I invited the children to draw and write a story about or from their grand mother. Some were very eager to share and perform the tale they had written and so an impromptu show and tell took place. Some children chose to give me their drawings as a thank you gift.

Some children worked on their stories...

.... others took a break