Arts

This Weekend: 8th Annual Tannersville Crazy Race & Festival

Above: participants in the Tannersville Crazy Race & Festival make their own motor-less vehicles to race down Main Street. Photo courtesy of Karen Terns.

Crazies, start your engines! 

(Just, no motors, please!)

Purveyors of wacky and wild vehicles are invited to compete on Tannersville’s Main Street on Saturday, July 26 as part of the 8th Annual Tannersville Crazy Race & Festival.

Participants simply have to create their own motor-free cars — using anything from Santa sleighs, flower pots or garbage cans — and be ready to race starting at 2 p.m.  Read more

The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice celebrates Spain

Above: The tent housing the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice mainstage goes up in Phoenicia's Parish Field. Photo via the festival's Facebook page.

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Above: Camille Zamora performs zarzuela. 

Each year, Phoenicia’s International Festival of the Voice kicks off with something akin to a barn raising. Volunteers unload a massive 5,000-square-foot stage with large white tents flanking from its roost in a local barn and put it together in Parish Park in the tiny hamlet of Phoenicia in Ulster County. 

The tent is already up and ready for this year's festival, which kicks off next Wednesday, July 30, with a theme of “Celebrating Spain.” The five days of vocal events and lectures spread across eight local venues offer a wealth of flamenco and salsa-inspired numbers along with gospel, Jewish liturgical music, shape note singing, and the centerpiece performance of "The Barber of Seville."   Read more

This weekend: Hudson Valley Chalk Festival in New Paltz

Above: Mike La Casas' chalk piece from the 2013 Hudson Valley Chalk Festival. Photo via the Hudson Valley Chalk Festival's Facebook page.

This weekend, Mike La Casas will create an entire galaxy, complete with stars, planets, rings and meteors. And by Monday, it will most likely be gone.

La Casas, 53, has been composing chalk drawings of galaxies, animals and dinosaurs since he first heard about street art on a radio segment 20 years ago.

On an impulse, he picked up some chalk that day, and still hasn’t stopped.

He said the impermanence of chalk art is part of its allure — it’s what makes it a distinct medium.

And because these pieces of art are fleeting and temporary, unlike other visual artists, chalk artists craft their work for an audience.

“There’s no studio that will let you watch an artist paint,” La Casas said. “This is unique.”

La Casas said he likens street art to performance art, because watching someone create the piece, and the banter between audience and artist, are just as much a part of the experience as appreciating the finished product.  Read more

Mud and chaos mar Hudson Project music fest

 

Above: A Hudson Project festgoer earns her 15 minutes of Internet fame, as she shrieks at the river of trash and belongings running through her campsite. Source: The Festive Owl's Facebook page.  Read more

Catskills Irish Arts Week kicks off in East Durham

Above: Musicians performing at the Catskills Irish Arts Week. Photo by Timothy H. Raab, from the Catskills Irish Arts week Facebook page.

Fervid followers of traditional Irish music and dance descend on East Durham this week for the twentieth annual Catskills Irish Arts Week.

The week-long event, which started in 1995 with 10 instructors and 70 participants, has grown to include over 70 instructors of music, dance, art and writing who will lead workshops to hundreds of participants. In the evenings, local pubs and music venues host performances and more informal music sessions.

On Saturday, the week winds up with the East Durham Trad Fest, a day-long celebration of Irish music, dancing and storytelling. This year's Trad Fest will honor Felix Dolan, a longtime member of the Catskills Irish Arts Week teaching faculty who died in 2013.   Read more

More than a funny girl: "One Night With Fanny Brice" at the Open Eye Theater

Above: "One Night With Fanny Brice" musical director and accompanist Kent Brown, playwright Chip Deffaa, and Patricia Dell starring as Brice.

For a few days in July, the legendary Borscht Belt musical comedian and Ziegfeld Follies superstar Fanny Brice returns to the Catskills -- at least in spirit.

Actress and singer Patricia Dell stars in the upcoming one-woman show “One Night With Fanny Brice,” by playwright Chip Deffaa, staged by Margaretville's Open Eye Theater. In her role as Brice, Dell takes on the indomitable persona of the first female star of the Jewish entertainment circuit, and breathes fresh life into musical classics nearly a century old.

“‘Wow’ was my reaction reading the script,” said Dell. “My only exposure to her was the movie, ‘Funny Girl,’ starring Barbra Streisand. There’s a lot more to her.”  Read more

Preview: Mount Tremper Arts Summer Festival

Stills from Pam Tanowitz’s postmodern ballet. Photo by Christopher Duggan.

Mount Tremper Arts (MTA) has come of age. The cultural center, founded by photographer Mathew Poikok and choreographer Aynsley Vandenbroucke, has been slowly building in scope and reputation since its inception in 2008. Seven years down the line, MTA has appointed an executive director, Abigail Guay, to handle administration and development duties. The artist-run center has also received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts for the first time. 

The upshot? MTA’s annual Summer Festival will feature a whopping five world-premiere events. 

That, and Poikok, who’s been the only full-time staffer for most of MTA’s existence, can finally take a breather. 

“I recently smiled for the first time in four years,” he says. “What we’ve been really working on for the past few years is taking [MTA] from an all-volunteer mom-and-pop shop to a nationally significant arts nonprofit. It’s a really wonderful movement forward for the organization.”

Here’s a brief rundown of the music, dance and theater performances on the roster for this year’s Summer Fest:  Read more

This Weekend: The 2014 Upper Delaware BioBlitz

Above: The photo awarded "Best in Show" in the 2014 Upper BioBlitz Photo Contest, "Head in Clouds" by Todd Anderson. Photo courtesy of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Sullivan County.

Winners of the Upper Delaware BioBlitz photo contest will be recognized on Sunday at the Ten Mile River Camp in Tusten as part of the weekend-long event celebrating the biodiversity of the Upper Delaware watershed.

Out of a pool of 300 submitted photos, the judges selected 25 winners in landscape, people, art, plants and various animal categories — which they had to subdivide even further to include more winners. 

The “Best in Show” winner was Todd Anderson’s photo “Head in Clouds,” a scene depicting a Tusten sunset in a watery reflection.

Anderson’s prize is a Canon Powershot ELPH digital camera and a framed 11x14 print of his photograph. The other first place winners will also receive framed 8.5 x 11 prints of their pictures.

In addition to the awards, attendees of the BioBlitz can check out specimens from the area, meet various scientists and tour the Ten Mile River Camp site to find out more about the different species on the property.  Read more

This weekend: Taste of Country Festival returns to Hunter

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Above: A video of highlights from the 2013 Taste of Country Festival, which featured Lady Antebellum, Trace Adkins, Willie Nelson, Hunter Hayes, Billy Currington and more. Source: Taste of Country Festival's YouTube channel.

Ready your cowboy hats and Daisy Dukes for this weekend’s Taste of Country Music Festival, kicking off tonight at Hunter Mountain.

The four day, two-stage event is the only multi-day country music festival in the Northeast, offering country music lovers a star-studded line-up of performers, along with vendors, activities and food. Folks can take a break in between sets and check out some fireworks, frisbee and golf demos and even a live-action “Farmville 2” petting zoo. 

The lineup includes headlining crooners Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert and Hank Williams Jr. Also performing will be newcomers Chase Rice, Thomas Rhett and Jamie Lynn Spears (yes, Britney’s younger sister).  Read more

Green Door closes

Green Door, a Liberty-based quarterly magazine about Catskills life and culture, is shutting down.

It's been a good run; in their three years and 13 issues, Green Door's founders have launched a multi-use art space on Liberty's Main Street, popularized the word "hickster," gotten a nod from the New York Times for their "Narrowsburg Not Williamsburg" T-shirts, and earned plenty of love from the local arts and business community. But, as the sage says, sometimes love just ain't enough.

Founders Ellie and Akira Ohiso announced the news on the magazine's website and Facebook page on Tuesday:  Read more


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