Arts

$15 million in grants go to Catskills organizations

Above: Americorps team members work on the storefront of Catskill Mountainkeeper in Livingston Manor in June 2014. Mountainkeeper received a $1.8 million grant from the state of New York on Dec. 11, 2014.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo handed out early Christmas presents on Thursday, Dec. 11 in the form of $709.2 million in economic and community development funding to hundreds of organizations across New York state. Several Catskills organizations, including MTC Cable, Catskill Mountainkeeper and the village of Sidney, received over a million dollars each. 

Through the program, called the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, New York State issues grants to businesses, community groups, nonprofits, and municipalities. The Catskills did well this year, picking up over $15 million overall, according to our back-of-the-envelope math.   Read more

This Weekend: Catskills holiday shopping guide

Above: A window display at Ragtime Clothing Exchange in Callicoon, which hosts its first Dickens on the Delaware event this weekend. Photo via the Dickens on the Delaware Facebook page. 

The snow is on the ground, just in time for the fourth installment of our holiday shopping guide. (Want even more things to do? Check out our ever-updating Catskills events calendar.) 

Here's what's happening over the weekend of Dec. 13 and 14: 

Delaware County

Santa comes to the town square in Delhi on Saturday, Dec. 13 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., along with horse and wagon rides and hot cocoa. The town's holiday lights contest ends the next day  Read more

Shop Catskills: Post-turkey edition

Above: Sparky the Fire Dog, Santa and Frosty the Snowman will be guests at the Tannersville Annual Holiday Craft Fair and Spirits of the Holidays on Saturday, Nov. 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Photo via the Great Northern Catskills website.

It's holiday shopping season in earnest, now that Thanksgiving is over. You can spend all your gift-giving dollars this year with Catskills merchants and businesses, and maybe see a few Christmas trees and even Santa himself while you're at it. To help you shop local, here's the second installment of our holiday shopping guide

Want even more things to do? Check out our ever-updating Catskills events calendar

Here's what's happening over the weekend of Nov. 28 to 30: 

DELAWARE COUNTY

Margaretville hosts its annual holiday celebration on Saturday, Nov. 29. Shops will be decked to the nines, lots of kids’ activities will distract your little ones, and Santa will show up late in the afternoon on a fire truck. Hot cocoa and doughnuts will keep you fortified, and you can grab a hayride when your feet get tired.  Read more

This Weekend: Christopher Williams Open Studio

Above: "Wolf-in-Skins," a work-in-progress dance-opera by Christopher Williams and Gregory Spears. Photo by Andrew Jordan.

By the time audiences usually see a dance, it’s the final, perfected product—the polished result of months of work. But New York City-based choreographer Christopher Williams is giving viewers a chance to see what a movement piece looks like at the very beginning of its lifespan, in a free open studio on Sunday, Nov. 23 at Mount Tremper Arts. 

Left: Christopher Williams. Photo via his website. 

Williams has been commissioned to create a series of dances for "Dardanus," a Baroque opera by 18th-century French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau. In those days, dance was an integral part of operatic structure; minuets and gavottes popped up in interludes between arias. This new production of the rarely-seen opera, directed by Michel Fau and in collaboration with the musical group Ensemble Pygmalion, is set to begin performances at the Opéra National de Bordeaux next April.

But Williams’s contribution has to start somewhere, and he’s making his first moves during a weeklong residency in Mount Tremper. Armed with a recording of Ensemble Pygmalion’s arrangements for "Dardanus," he and six dancers have come up from the city to work out the beginnings of what will become the final pieces.

“What the audience will see are very rough attempts at dance material that in some way relates to the music,” Williams said. “I think it will help demystify the process of dance-making. By inviting people in at this stage, people can get a taste of what it’s like to be in the studio as a dancer, having to deal with the material that’s given to you by a choreographer.”

  Read more

This weekend: Shop local, shop the Catskills

Above: The Hudson Valley Hullabaloo features indie crafters and makers selling their wares in Kingston. One of the many vendors that will be there this weekend is Wishbone Letterpress, which is run by the Hullabaloo's founder and co-organizer Danielle Bliss and her husband Joe Venditti. They make snazzy cards like the one you see above. Photo via the Hullabaloo blog. 

Giving gifts to loved ones is great fun. Getting those gifts is great fun too, when you stay clear of the mass markets and head instead to the local merchants and makers. Supporting those folks makes our communities better all year long.

Here, then, is the first installment of our Catskills holiday season shopping guide to where and when you’ll find the good fresh local stuff among smiling faces. We'll be posting each week with events to check out around the region. Want even more things to do? Check out our ever-updating Catskills events calendar  Read more

This Weekend: WaterMusic

Above: Michael Pinciotti's neon water installation. Pinciotti is one of 18 artists featuring work in the Catskill Art Society's "River and Biota" exhibit, which has its final weekend on Nov. 15 and 16.

Water is an ever-present fact of life in the Catskills--especially in the small towns that have seen frequent flooding in the last few decades.

It's also an ever-renewing source of inspiration for artists and musicians, from 18th-century German composer George Frideric Handel to local artists like painter Kathe Frantz and composer Andrew Waggoner, the artistic co-director of the Jeffersonville based Weekend of Chamber Music.

On Nov. 15, the Catskill Art Society is hosting a multi-media arts event featuring music, video, and art installations, all inspired by water.

Left: Weekend of Chamber Music's Andrew Waggoner. Photo by Tom Bushey.

It's the last weekend of the gallery's "River and Biota" exhibit, curated by Naomi Teppich and featuring water-inspired works by 18 local artists, including Michael Pinciotti (above), and Kathe Frantz (below).   Read more

A Catskills rhapsody: "To Be Forever Wild"

David Becker released "To Be Forever Wild," a documentary film about the Catskills, in the summer of 2014. The project has been four years in the making—we interviewed Becker back in 2012 about his plans for the film, which was shot and edited collaboratively with the help of a large crew of volunteers. This fall, Jenna Scherer, our arts correspondent, got to watch the finished product. Here's her review. - Ed. 

The Catskill Mountains are hundreds of millions of years old, formed by eons of sedimentary accumulation, continental collision, glacial erosion and deforestation. But for every new generation that claps eyes on the region, it’s something brand new.

That sense of novelty and aw-shucks wonder is the engine that fuels "To Be Forever Wild," filmmaker David Becker’s new documentary about the Catskills and the way they make people feel.

Left: Director David Becker, photographed at Dibble's Quarry in the Catskill Mountains.

The film covers 12 days in the lives of Becker his crew, a group of young artists, filmmakers and musicians—mostly from New York City—as they head north to do the mountain thing. Along the way, they rub elbows with knowledgeable locals versed in everything from geology to fly-fishing—and, of course, Sullivan County homeowner and movie star Mark Ruffalo.

As a director, Becker goes out of his way to capture a sense of motion and life, taking the camera on cliff jumps off the edge of waterfalls, on zip-line rides through the tree canopy, and careening down scenic sunlit highways.

The in-between moments in this movie are about the crew finding creative inspiration in their surroundings: folky jam sessions around a campfire, sketches at Artist Rock in Greene County, and antique-camera photos of swimmin’ holes.

This can all feel a little precious at times, but fortunately, that’s not the meat and potatoes of the film. That would be Becker’s motley mix of interview subjects, who all get jazzed about the Catskills in different ways.

Among them are natural historian Michael Kudish, who leads the film crew into the woods as he cores a bog; Ellen Kalish of the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, who rehabilitates injured owls and hawks; and Lama Karma, a monk from Woodstock’s Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery, who emigrated to the region from Tibet. The diversity of perspectives gives you an appreciation of just how many different ways there are to look at a place like this.

Becker's muse is 19th-century naturalist John Burroughs, the Catskills’ own famous essayist and conservationist. But "Forever Wild’s" spirit is closer to that of a group of little kids who appear early in the film, waxing rhapsodic about sticks.

  Read more

This Weekend: Simi Stone and other "Ladies of the Valley"

Above: Simi Stone. Photo via her Facebook page

Simi Stone, a Woodstock-based music phenom who blows audiences away with her huge voice and stage presence, will be playing the Bearsville Theater on Sunday, Nov. 9. alongside a phalanx of other female musicians from the Hudson Valley and the Catskills.

They'll be performing their own songs as well as songs by legendary female performers, including Carole King, Carly Simon, and Aretha Franklin. 

Stone, who has toured with Simone Felice and Natalie Merchant and who also plays violin, guitar, and piano, has a new album of what she calls "Mountain Motown" music. She's helping to produce Sunday's show, which is a benefit for the Family of Woodstock’s Crisis Hotline and Walk-In Center.  Read more

Phillip Lenihan, 1953-2014: Gallery owner, punk impresario, and classics scholar

Above: Phil Lenihan in front of the Orphic Gallery. Photo by Stephen Thomas Ray.

Phil Lenihan, the 61-year-old owner of an eclectic series of businesses that were revitalizing the town Roxbury in Delaware County, died suddenly on Friday, Oct. 31.

Phil Lenihan had various careers as a punk band manager, classics scholar, and paralegal before he founded the Orphic Gallery, the Eight Track Museum, and the Roxbury Corner Store in 2010.

"I would call Phillip the quintessential bon vivant," said Megan McManemin, one of his younger sisters who lives in Dallas, Texas.

"He always tried to go out and have a party," said Reginald Oberlag, a friend from Lenihan's punk days in the 1980s who followed Lenihan's lead and moved up to the Catskills. "He was irrepressible."

According to Oberlag and to Lenihan's family, Lenihan died on Halloween night, in costume, on his way to a Halloween party in the Ulster County town of Woodstock. He was found near the village green in the evening, unresponsive. The cause of death was apparently a heart attack.

"Full regalia"  Read more

Halloween in the Catskills: Part 2

Above: A ghoulish performance of dancing skeletons, ghouls and pumpkins is slated for 6 p.m. at the Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock on Friday, Oct. 31.

Halloween is a whole week of festivities this year. The fearsome fun began last weekend and continues through the big day itself on Friday, Oct. 31 and beyond.

Here's our guide to Catskills Halloween events for Oct. 30 - Nov. 2.

DELAWARE COUNTY

Left: A demon wolf is ready to scare visitors to a haunted house in Hancock. 

On Friday, Oct. 31, come out to Walton for the 3rd Annual Knight in the Castle Halloween Party and Dance at the Castle on the Delaware. It’s an atmospheric night of dancing to Blues Maneuver, and there’s a buffet.  Read more


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