This weekend: Mount Tremper Arts Festival

There's something about Shandaken and A-list performing arts talent -- the town is home not only to the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice, but also the Mount Tremper Arts Festival, a magnet for expert dancers from New York City who come up to perform for a Catskills audience on weekends throughout the summer. In May, the New York Times praised the festival as a must-see:

If your summer has room for only one quick dance getaway, you won’t do better than this interdisciplinary, artist-run festival in the Catskills, where the atmosphere is decidedly low key, and sumptuous food offerings are paired with sophisticated contemporary dance. This year’s lineup includes previews by Tere O’Connor, Brian Rogers and Young Jean Lee.

The Mount Tremper Festival opens its season this Saturday with a pig roast and a difficult-to-describe visual and performance arts piece called "Productive Steps," which the festival press release depicts like this:

Productive Steps brings together artworks that highlight their own production, and, in so doing, engage the viewer in the performance of making itself. Through a diverse set of strategies, the works enable us to see both the finished pieces and their evidenced history. Retracing the steps of their construction, we are drawn to examine our own relationship to these works, as well as those of the artists to their materials and making processes.

Productive Steps opens on Saturday with a performance by Nicholas Buffon and Dynasty Handbag and music by Oldd News and Big French. Judging from the photo that accompanied the release, a tangled, yarn-like piece of art will appear. (See below.)

Mount Tremper Arts Festival, Saturday, July 9. Pig Roast 5pm, $10. Productive Steps performance 7pm, free. (845) 688-9893. More info about weekly events during the festival at

Top photo of Mount Tremper Arts by Mathew Pokoik. Bottom image by James Hyde.