Arts

Hobart Book Village hosts jazz weekend; mulls festival

Above: Victor Mullen and John Mahoney install the art for their Jazz Soiree exhibit weekend at Liberty Rock Books. Photo via the Hobart Book Village Facebook page.

The Hobart Book Village will hold a Jazz Soiree and Sale from Friday, July 31 to Sunday, August 2, featuring live jazz music, jazz workshops, a free screening of Ken Burns' film "Jazz" and the sale of a private collection of over 2,000 Jazz LP and 400 plus CD's. All events are free, and all are welcomed.   Read more

This Weekend: Our guide to the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice

Above: Sila, an Inuit throat singing duo, will perform at the festival on Aug. 1. Photo via the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice website. 

Over the past few summers, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice has traveled (musically, at least) all over the world. 2013’s fest focused on Italy and Germany with works by Verdi and Wagner, and last year’s covered the music of Spain. But this year the annual event, now in its sixth year, is bringing it all back home with a program devoted to American melodic traditions. And luckily, we’ve got a lot of ’em.  Read more

Phoenicia Voice Festival grows “five times bigger” for its sixth season

Above: Maria Todaro, center, at a choir rehearsal for the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, which opens today. Photo by Paula Ann Mitchell.

It takes luck, miracles and a hero or two to make a music festival happen. That’s how Maria Todaro sees the sequence of events leading up to the annual Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, which begins today, Wednesday, July 29.

In mid-July, the festival’s 28-piece orchestra suddenly lost its rehearsal space in New York City, and Todaro was frantic. She rallied the support of festival patron and fellow musician Mark Holland, who happened to call her about getting tickets.

“I said, ‘Can I ask you a favor? Can you go look at some rooms for me?’ He went to visit 20 churches in the city,” Todaro said. “He called me at midnight and said he found the Riverside Church. That was incredible. Every day, there’s a miracle like that.”

Todaro, the festival co-founder and executive director, is exhaling this week now that some of the last-minute problems of finding housing for 69 of the 132 guests artists and tapping the generosity of local restaurants and volunteers to feed them have been solved.

There have been other last-minute strokes of luck.  Read more

This weekend: The Catskills Forest Festival

Above: A rough beginning of a wood sculpture of a bear made by Samsonville wood artist Hoppy Quick. Quick will be at the Catskill Forest Festival this weekend. Photo via Hoppy Quick's Facebook page

Woodchips will fly in Margaretville's village park on Saturday during the Catskill Forest Festival, an annual showcase of forestry and woodsmen skills and products.

This year, the organizers at the Catskill Forest Association promise that lumberjacks will compete to show off their cutting skills, a sawmill will turn logs into usable boards and craftsmen will turn trees into sculptures. (Ulster County artisan Hoppy Quick is planning to create a few bear sculptures on the spot during the festival -- see his photos above.)   Read more

Steve Earle hosts Catskills songwriting camp

Above: Steve Earle at the 2014 season of Camp Copperhead at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian. Photo by Michael Bloom via the Camp Copperhead website.

Steve Earle fans are eagerly awaiting the second edition of Camp Copperhead, a four-day songwriting intensive led by the renaissance man and songwriter’s songwriter at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian next week.

Ever since his “Guitar Town” hit the top of the country charts in 1986, Earle’s been writing protest tunes and love songs, transcending genre and medium; along the way he’s become an actor and a novelist.

Camp Copperhead, according to a video interview Earle with American Songwriter magazine, will feature morning master classes with Earle followed by small group poetry and guitar workshops with guest artists.

“We’ll have an open mic every night, and we won’t rest until everybody’s played a song,” he says.   Read more

This weekend: A shrinking town turns to puppets

Above: Can puppets save a small town from depopulation? Photo from a blog post by Shannon Hayes about the West Fulton Puppet Festival. 

Puppets: They're mightier than you think. Though made of fragile substances like felt, sticks and paper, their delicate frames could have the power to boost up an entire town.

At least that's the hope of the founders of the West Fulton Puppet Festival, a weekend of free, community-minded puppetry designed to bolster the artistic spirits of its namesake Schoharie County hamlet.

"It’s a community that’s filled with artists and musicians, and we all just want to make it back into the artistic enclave that it used to be," said Ruth Sternberg, one of four co-producers of the festival. "It was once a very active town in the county, and there aren't that many people here anymore. But it's an absolutely magical place to be."  Read more

This weekend: Fourth of July in the Catskills

Above: Margaretville's Fire Department Field Days and Carnival comes to a grand finale this weekend, July 3 and July 4. Photo by Joe Damone Photography.

We're already written about where to find fireworks on this Fourth of July in the Catskills. But there’s lots of other things going on across the region as well. Here are a few of our favorites, county by county.

DELAWARE COUNTY

On Friday, July 3, the West Kortright Centre in East Meredith celebrates its 40th birthday with a gala dance under the stars with Hazmat Modine, a pan-ethnic roots and blues band. Chicken dinner at 7 p.m.; music begins at 8 p.m. If you were born in 1975 or are driving a 1975 car, you get in free.   Read more

The Calico Indian Dance Showdown brings back the Catskills Anti-Rent Wars

Above: A Calico Indians mask designed by Angelo Vizcarrondo for the Calico Indian Dance Showdown. Photo via Todd Whitley.

During the 19th-century Anti-Rent Wars, poor tenant farmers rebelled against their rich patrician landlords across the Catskills, relying a mix of politics, armed uprisings and subterfuge to dismantle the semi-feudal system that remained in the region. 

In the 1830s and 1840s, rebel farmers disguised themselves in calico dresses and faux-"Indian" masks and roamed the countryside, organizing rebellion. 

Left: Awake! Arouse! Dance! An 1839 poster supporting the Anti-Rent movement in Nassau, New York. From Wikimedia Commons.

The story is like something out of the musicals “Oklahoma” or “West Side Story.” Just replace farmers versus cowboys or Sharks versus Jets with “Calico Indians” versus wealthy aristocratic “patroons.”

This summer, a coalition of Greene County arts organizations is doing just that. 

“As soon as the director of the Zadock Pratt Museum said, ‘There’s this story about poor farmers with their backs to the wall dressing up in calico and sheepskin masks,’ I was in,” said Fawn Potash, the director of Masters on Main Street at the Greene County Council of the Arts. “It’s just too crazy. We had to do something with it.”

Thus was born the Calico Indian Dance Showdown, which may sound like an odd indie band name but is actually a festive historical reenactment coming to three Catskills towns this summer thanks to Mainly Greene, a coalition of Greene County arts organizations that includes the Catskill Mountain Foundation, the Greene County Council on the Arts, the Prattsville Art Center and Zadock Pratt Museum.

  Read more

Chamber music kicks off summer of concerts in Tannersville

Above: The Helena Baillie String Trio performs Bach's Goldberg Variations at All Souls Church in August 2014. Photo via the 23Arts Initiative.

The 23Arts Initiative, a Greene County arts organization that launched last year, is bringing rockstar chamber music to Tannersville in a series of free summer concerts in the imposing and intimate All Souls Church. 

The series, which features artists from London and Denmark, begins this weekend on Sunday, July 5 with a performance of Franz Schubert’s “Trout Quintet” led by the Initiative’s summer artist-in-residence, pianist Tanya Gabrielian. Gabrielian’s piano will be joined by the violin, viola, cello and double bass played by Areta Zhulla, Mark Holloway, Paul Wiancko and Tony Flynt.

All Souls Church, perched at the intersection of County Roads 25 and 23C in Tannersville, is an excellent setting for chamber music. A miniature Gothic cathedral incongruously located at a quiet crossroads outside of the village, its vaulted wooden gives performers perfect acoustics and audience members close-up views of the musicians.   Read more

New summer, new antlers

John of Catskills Photography captured this young buck posing with some velvety new antlers in the Sullivan County hamlet of Rock Hill on June 2 and shared it in the Watershed Post Flickr pool.

Correction: An alert reader points out that deer have antlers, not horns. Forgive me -- I wasn't on my fact-checking game this morning. For more on the difference between antlers and horns, check out the National Park Service's helpful fact sheet. - Julia


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