CONNECT 4 Ideas Festival

This summer's CONNECT 4 at Guild Hall: connecting people and ideas.

COME TO AN INSPIRING, MAGICAL 2 DAYS OF TALKS! We all crave connection to each other, and PURIST’s CONNECT 4 brings people and ideas together with 2 days of inspirational speakers. For tickets to Wednesday + Thursday’s (August 14+15, 2019) special talks symposium at the classic Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York, please click here.

Touted as a mini “next TED”, CONNECT 4 programming brings fresh ideas to intellectual, curious Hamptons audiences through its unique blend of live talks, award-winning original films, and music, all while exploring what matters most in our noisy, messy world.

This year, wellness advocate, Donna D’Cruz returns to lead the audience in meditation; author Amanda Little will explore The Fate of Food with her new best-seller; CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo will speak truth to power; former Calvin Klein Creative Director-turned environmental activist Francisco Costa will take us on a climate exploration with Conservation International’s Daniela Raik; David Lynch Foundation head and Transcendental Meditation master Bob Roth will be in conversation with David Lynch; nutritional guru Dr. Frank Lipman is speaking with holistic nutritionist Tapp Francke; musical guests including G.E. Smith and acclaimed violinist Junko Ohtsu; and more!

Buy a Single Day Pass for August 14 ($150)

12:30pm 10min Guided Meditation with Donna D’Cruz
12:45–2pm Survivor and Storyteller Kevin Hines and Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber
2–2:15pm BREAK
2:30– 3:30pm Transcendental Meditation with New York Times bestselling author and meditation expert Bob Roth and film director David Lynch from Los Angeles
3:30–3:45pm Acclaimed violinist Junko Ohtsu
3:45–5pm The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World author Amanda Little

Buy a Single Day Pass for August 15 ($150)

12:45pm 10min Guided Meditation with Donna D’Cruz
1–2:30pm Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon
2:30–2:45pm Guitarist G.E. Smith
2:45pm BREAK
3–4pm Conservation International’s Daniela Raik and Costa Brazil founder Francisco Costa
4–4:15pm BREAK
4:15–5:30pm Dr. Frank Lipman and holistic nutritionist Tapp Francke, moderated by Cristina Cuomo
Cocktails immediately following in the Guild Hall-Sotheby’s garden.

Chris Cuomo anchors CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, a 9pm nightly news program where Cuomo tests power with newsmakers and politicians from both sides of the aisle, and reports on the latest breaking news from Washington and around the world. Launched in June 2018, Cuomo Prime Timefeatures in-depth interviews with newsmakers on the day’s top headlines along with spirited political and legal debates and is among CNN’s top-rated shows. Since its debut, Cuomo has had several high-profile moments and interviews, including the exclusive release of the Michael Cohen-Donald Trump tape discussing payment to an ex-model.

Prior to Cuomo Prime Time, Cuomo was host of ABC’s 20/20, then co-host of CNN’s morning show New Day with Alisyn Camerota where he started with the network in February 2013. On New Day, Cuomo covered Hurricane Irma, the Paris terror attacks, protests in Ferguson, MO, Pulse nightclub massacre, the Boston Marathon bombing, 2013 State of the Union, papal resignation and conclave and Christopher Dorner manhunt. Cuomo has won several awards including at Emmy for his coverage of peacemaker Mattie Stepanek, and has been nominated for several News & Documentary Emmy Awards in the categories of Outstanding Breaking News Coverage, for his reporting on hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria; Outstanding Live Interview, for his interviews with Last Vegas massacre survivors; Outstanding Breaking News Coverage, for the Battle for Mosul; Best Story in a Newscast, for his reporting on Undercover in Syria, and more.

Cuomo will be in conversation with Don Lemon about the political climate today and speaking truth to power.

Don Lemon anchors CNN Tonight with Don Lemon airing weeknights at 10pm. He also serves as a correspondent across CNN/U.S. programming. Based out of the network’s New York bureau, Lemon joined CNN in September 2006.

A news veteran of Chicago, Lemon reported from Chicago in the days leading up to the 2008 presidential election, including an interview with then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel on the day he accepted the position of Chief of Staff for President-elect Barack Obama. He also interviewed Anne Cooper, the 106-year old voter President-elect Obama highlighted in his election night acceptance speech after he had seen Lemon’s interview with Cooper on CNN.

Lemon has reported and anchored on-the-scene for CNN from many breaking news stories, including Hurricane Florence (2018), Las Vegas shooting (2017), the Orlando shooting at Pulse Nightclub (2016), Charleston church shooting (2015), death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO (2014), the George Zimmerman trial (2013), the Boston marathon bombing (2013), the Philadelphia building collapse (2013),the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (2012), the Colorado Theater Shooting (2012), the death of Whitney Houston, the Inaugural of the 44th President in Washington, D.C., the death of Michael Jackson (2009), Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana (2008) and the Minneapolis bridge collapse (2007).

Lemon will be in conversation with Cuomo on the current political climate and speaking truth to power. 

Amanda Little is an award winning environmental journalist who writes about innovations in the environment. She is also a professor of investigative journalism and science writing at Vanderbilt University, and has a particular fondness for far-flung and hard-to-stomach reporting that takes her to ultradeep oil rigs, down manholes, into sewage plants, and inside monsoon clouds.

She is the author of the new book The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World (Random House: Crown/Harmony). In this fascinating look at the race to secure the global food supply, the environmental journalist investigates how we’ll feed humanity sustainably in the coming decades. She weaves together stories from the world’s most creative and controversial innovators on the front lines of food science, agriculture, and climate change.

She also wrote Power Trip: The Story of America’s Love Affair With Energy (HarperCollins). Amanda has published her writing in the New York Times Magazine, Vanity FairRolling StoneWiredNew York Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, and elsewhere. A former columnist for Outside magazine and, she is a recipient of the Jane Bagley Lehman Award for excellence in environmental journalism.

Little has interviewed figures ranging from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, and National Public Radio. A graduate of Brown University, she serves on the Board of Trustees at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and kids.

Little will be discussing how climate models show that global crop production will decline every decade for the rest of this century due to drought, heat, and flooding. Water supplies are in jeopardy. Meanwhile, the world’s population is expected to grow another 30 percent by midcentury. So how, really, will we feed nine billion people sustainably in the coming decades?

Francisco Costa is a Brazilian-born innovator who has left an indelible mark on American design. One of the most celebrated fashion designers of our time, Costa spent 13-years as the creative director of the womenswear division for Calvin Klein Collection, Costa introduced sculptural sensuality and minimalist architectural codes to one of the most iconic American brands of the past century. Costa was awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Womenswear Designer of the Year in 2006 and 2008. In 2009, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum honored him with the Fashion Design Award for excellence and innovation. His designs have been worn by some of the most admired women in the world, including Lupita Nyong’o, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lawrence and Julianne Moore. Over the years, Costa has collaborated with artist Ellsworth Kelly, international contemporary ballet choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, and architect John Pawson. 

Costa is a perfectionist with an exacting passion for precision and craftsmanship. Speaking of his work in the New York Times, the fashion critic Suzy Menkes declared him “an expert on the subject of minimalism as an art form.” After the untimely passing of his mother, Costa left his native Brazil for New York City in 1985. He worked as a designer for Oscar De La Renta and later was appointed the chief womenswear designer at Gucci under the direction of Tom Ford. He joined Calvin Klein in 2003 and became the brand’s creative director of womenswear the year after. Following his departure from his post at Calvin Klein in 2016, Costa returned to his mother country to explore the natural splendor of the Amazon rainforest. It would be the first of his three immersive trips to the deep inlands of the jungle. The results of his wanderlust became Costa Brazil, a project that combines the raw power of the natural world with Francisco’s unparalleled eye for beauty. Translated from his native Portuguese,  Costa literally means “coast” – the meeting point between land and sea.

Costa will be in conversation with Conservation International’s Senior Vice President of Americas Field Division Daniela Raik, discussing his experience and journey and the untapped wealth of curative properties from native ingredients as well as the urgent need for conservation.

Daniela Raik is senior vice president of Conservation International’s Americas Field Division, overseeing 10 country offices, and is a member of the Global Field Leadership Team. Most recently, as the senior vice president and managing director for the Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science, Raik spearheaded CI’s science agenda, which is focused on understanding the relationship between people and nature, including mapping and accounting for nature’s benefits to people; advancing nature-based solutions to climate change; pioneering tools and technologies to monitor nature; and designing new pathways toward sustainability. In March 2016, she returned to CI after leading the Climate Change, Natural Resources and Biodiversity department at International Resources Group. Previously, she worked at CI for 10 years, most recently as vice president of Field Program Management, guiding the work of CI’s field division in nearly 30 countries. She was instrumental in developing the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa, an African-led initiative that provides a new model for sustainable development on the continent. Raik has spent two decades in natural resource management and sustainable development. She has a PhD and an MS in Natural Resources from Cornell University, and a BA in Biology from New York University.

Raik will be in conversation with Francisco Costa, discussing the urgent need for conservation of our rainforests and the Amazon, and what we can do to stem the tide.

Kevin Hines is a storyteller at heart. He is a best-selling author, global public speaker, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. In 2000, Kevin attempted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Many factors contributed to his miraculous survival, including a sea lion that kept him afloat until the Coast Guard arrived. Kevin now travels the world sharing his story of hope, healing and recovery while teaching people of all ages the art of wellness and how to survive pain with true resilience. Currently, Kevin is in preproduction of his new docuseries The Journey and is working on a comic book version of his life in cosmic and supernatural form called Hope Dealers. His fight has been long and arduous, but he is determined to remain committed to life until its natural end. His motto: #BeHereTomorrow and every day after that.

Hines will be in conversation with Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber and talk about his experiences and the need for greater mental health awareness in suicide prevention.

Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber, PhD, is a professor of psychiatry in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and the founder and director of The Columbia Lighthouse Project, where she worked on the Columbia Protocol (C-SSRS), an assessment tool for risk of suicide.  For this work, Dr. Posner Gerstenhaber has been awarded with the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service. The U.S. Department of Defense said her work is “nothing short of a miracle,” central to their national strategy, and “will help propel us closer to a world without suicide.” Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, the former president of the American Psychiatric Association, noted the C-SSRS and its dissemination could be “like the introduction of antibiotics” and could help us “make a dent in the rates of suicide that have existed in our population and have remained constant over time.” Dr. Posner Gerstenhaber’s work with the Columbia Protocol has been noted in a keynote speech at the White House and in Congressional hearings, and she presented them in a forum on school safety at the U.S. Senate. Jim Shelton, former deputy education secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, says her work “has the potential to keep the 64 million children in our schools safe physically and mentally by helping prevent school violence.” Through her advocacy, she has changed local, national and international policy, which in turn has helped achieve reductions in suicide across all types of public health settings. Her policy work helped the state of Utah achieve its first decrease in suicides in a decade and helped the U.S. Marine Corps achieve a 22 percent reduction in its suicide rate. Israeli officials said her work “is not only saving millions of lives, but in Israel it is literally changing the way we live our lives.” Dr. Posner Gerstenhaber gave the invited presentation on tackling depression and suicide at the first European Union high level conference on mental health; was recognized as the most distinguished alumna of her graduate school in the past 50 years; and received the New York State Suicide Prevention Award. She was named one of New York Magazine’s “Most Influential,” received the Angel Award of New York’s “100 Socially Responsible,” and the Anne Vanderbilt Award from the Partnership for Children.

Posner Gerstenhaber will be in conversation with Kevin Hines about the need for change in policy to reduce the suicide rate across all socioeconomic lines by identifying, treating and preventing its cause, mental illness.

Born in India and raised in Australia, Donna D’Cruz produced music with the native peoples of Australia and learned about their “dreamtime.” She went on to found Rasa Music, a woman-owned record company that released world music and produced the music of Deepak Chopra and other recordings for meditation. She travels the world as a Celebrity DJ and leads people to ecstatic, profound experiences as they celebrate the biggest moments in their lives. D’Cruz has been teaching and guiding meditations with music for years. She combined her love of music with her passion for awakening consciousness. Named the “Rockstar Teacher of Meditation” by Well+Good, D’Cruz presents her signature “Dip into Bliss” experience globally and as part of PTTOW, Worldz Summit and weekly for eight years at Phoenix House, America’s oldest Drug and Alcohol Recovery Institution. Donna has recently launched Sleep Beditations: A Modern Sleep Solution.

D’Cruz will lead the audience in 10-minute meditations.

Dr. Frank Lipman is a New York Times best-selling author of five books. After medical training in his native South Africa, Dr. Lipman worked at clinics in the bush, where he became familiar with the local traditional healers, called sangomas, which kindled his interest in non-Western healing modalities. As chief medical resident at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, he found himself treating symptoms, rather than the root causes of illness. Frustrated by the limitations in helping his patients regain true health, he began a journey of discovery to meaningful long-term health and wellness. He studied nutrition, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, functional medicine, biofeedback, meditation and yoga. Dr. Lipman founded the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center Center in 1992, where he combines the best of Western medicine and cutting-edge nutritional science with age-old healing techniques from the East. He is also the creator of Be Well, an expanding lifestyle wellness brand to help people create, sustain and lead healthier lives. 

Dr. Lipman will be in conversation with Tapp Francke about the life-changing benefits of nutrition.

STANDwellness founder Tapp Francke has first-hand experience in the challenges, hard work and patience it takes to achieve optimal body health.

She was able to navigate her struggles with chronic Lyme disease through diet, infrared sauna, and PEMF therapy, and is now a thriving, healthier person. She wants to share the knowledge gained through this journey, combined with her extensive education, with her clients.

As an Institute for Integrative Nutrition-Certified Health Coach, a student of Clinical Nutrition and Naturopathy, and a Pulse-Certified PEMF practitioner, Tapp’s focus is to educate her clients on how to eat properly for their respective conditions, to make informed health choices, and to trust therapies that can enhance their body’s ability to heal itself.

Tapp opened the Aegle Healing Center in 2013, an alternative and holistic help center where she focuses on addressing digestive issues, microbial imbalance, chronic disease, inflammation, and general fatigue for her clients.

In July 2017, Tapp established STANDwellness to offer additional products, supplements, practitioners, services, and the XL Pro, a PEMF machine which helps to optimize the body’s cells, to her clients.

Francke will be in conversation with Dr. Frank Lipman about the life-changing benefits of nutrition.

Bob Roth is one of the most experienced and sought-after meditation teachers in the world. Over the past 45 years, he has taught Transcendental Meditation to thousands of people, including billionaire CEOs, Hollywood celebrities, combat-scarred veterans and inner-city youth. He currently serves as the CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, and also directs the Center for Leadership Performance. Bob is the host of the SiriusXM radio show Success Without Stress and speaks frequently about the science of meditation. He is the author of Strength in Stillness, a simple, practical and straightforward guide to Transcendental Meditation. 

Roth will be in conversation with David Lynch about the life-changing benefits of meditation and mindfulness.

David Lynch, founder and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, is an award-winning director, writer and producer. His work includesEraserhead, Elephant Man, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Straight Story, Mulholland Drive and INLAND EMPIRE.

Lynch will be in conversation with Bob Roth about the life-changing benefits of meditation and mindfulness.

Junko Ohtsu is a Japanese violinist whose works have been hailed as “superior” with “rhapsodic and delicate coloration” by The New York Times. Ohtsu is the producer and director of several chamber music concert series in her native country, including Junko’s Heart-to-Heart Concert, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2015, and Junko’s music mini Caravan, an educational program designed to spread the joy of music to young children and adults. After making her critically acclaimed New York debut at the invitation of Jeunesses Musicales International and the Carnegie Hall Corporation, Ohtsu has been featured as a soloist with the St. Louis Symphony, the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra, the Simon Bolivar National Orchestra of Venezuela and others, and in solo recitals worldwide. As an artist selected by the Japan Foundation, she has toured Central Latin America, Russia, the Czech Republic, the Philippines, Vietnam and Australia under the auspices of the Japanese government to promote cultural exchange. Most recently, she has performed at the Marchesi Ginori Lisci’s palace in Florence, Italy. Her numerous media appearances include The Artistry of Junko Ohtsu on National Public Television, which was broadcast in the United States, and on Asahi Television’s CNN Daywatch program in Tokyo. Her highly acclaimed CD Belle Epoque was followed by five more albums. In 2011, she produced and released the DVD Ai no Kaze: Wind from Northeast, arrangements of traditional folk tunes from northeastern Japan; all proceeds from the DVD are to be contributed to aid victims of March 2011’s Great East Japan Earthquake. She received two consecutive John D. Rockefeller 3rd grants and was awarded a special grant by the Flagler-Matthews Foundation as outstanding young artist of the year. She is a graduate of the Juilliard School and the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.  

Ohtsu will be performing “Nocturne” by Chopin at Connect 4.

One of the most in-demand blues/rock guitarists in the world is a mysterious character who goes by the name of G.E. Smith. Millions of TV viewers know his face-and the shock of unruly blond ponytail that was always falling across it-from his tenure stint of fronting the Saturday Night Live band. For G.E. (George Edward) Smith, a soulful guitarist, composer, singer, and bandleader, it all began in rural Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, where he was just about born with a guitar in his hand.

Smith’s hard work earned him a commanding position in the music industry as a first call blues/rock guitarist, sought out by major recording artists like Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Peter Wolfe, among other notables, and Bob Dylan, whom he toured with. He led the SNL band for 10 years (1985 – 1995) – it was arguably the best late-night band on television at the time – and G.E. won an Emmy. He was honored to be the musical director for special events such as the 1988 Emmy Awards, the 1993 Rhythm and Blues Foundation Awards and the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden. Smith acted as musical director at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum Concert in Cleveland. Following his departure from Saturday Night Live in ’95, Smith and his wife, singer/songwriter Taylor Barton created a critically acclaimed boutique label called Green Mirror Music. They are in their ninth year, releasing rootsy blues, neo-pop. He joined Roger Waters 2010 WALL LIVE toured the world three times and toured with him for seven years. In 2015, GE returned to SNL where he received an EMMY award as bandleader, for the 40th SNL anniversary special. In 2015, GE and wife, Taylor Barton, started an exciting project called PORTRAITS, which hosts a rotating roster of acclaimed musicians and artists from all realms for a deeper look at what drives them creatively. Now in its fourth series, they have hosted creative legends from Billy Squier to Ethan Hawke and from the Bacon Brothers to the Avett Brothers. Never one to stay idle, GE can often be seen playing with Jim Weider and others as “The Masters of the Telecaster,” popping in as a guest with the Craig Thatcher Band, Hot Tuna, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes among others, performing for charity, and teaching at the Fur Peace Ranch. Smith has played with the broadest possible spectrum of artists, from Red Buttons to Allen Ginsberg, from Desmond Child to Bob Dylan and Roger Waters; all points in between. “I’ve had an incredible ride in the world of Rock N’ Roll and American music,” says Smith, looking back over his career. GE Smith is one of the most brilliant guitarists out there.

Smith will be performing at Connect 4.