Head injury can't stop Woodstock artist Lenny Kislin

Above: Lenny Kislin. Photos courtesy of the Orphic Gallery and Lenny Kislin.

After falling and hitting his head on the ice in February, Woodstock artist Lenny Kislin has recently returned to his passion: making sculptures from primitive early American antiques. 

Last week, despite the fog of anti-seizure medication, Kislin started making sculptures again. This Saturday, he'll make an in-person appearance at a new gallery show featuring his sculptures alongside the photography of Catherine Sebastian in Roxbury on Saturday.

Left: "Weather-Beaten, Angry And Disillusioned, Blitzen Flies No More," by Lenny Kislin.

Kislin is a longtime fixture on the Woodstock art scene. On February 9, he slipped on the ice and hit his head outside of his Woodstock home. Kislin was on his way to a gallery opening and didn't immediately notice that he was injured, until he found himself behind the wheel in the middle of an intersection with no idea where he was.   Read more

This weekend: Hunter hosts 10th annual Mountain Jam

Photo courtesy of Hunter Mountain.

The tenth annual Mountain Jam Music Festival, produced by Radio Woodstock WDST and hosted by Hunter Mountain, kicks off on Thursday, June 5 and continues through Sunday, June 8 featuring a line-up of 40 musical acts across three stages.

Jimmy Buff, program director at Radio Woodstock WDST, said booking acts for the Mountain Jam Music Festival is always a bit of a “juggling act.” It takes the perfect storm of luck, album releases and tour schedules to assemble the diverse line-up of new and old favorites.

“Sure, you’ve got your wish list every year,” Buff said. “But schedules have to match up with the dates. Work on this year’s Mountain Jam began when last year’s finished.”  Read more

This weekend: Rails to the Catskills premiere

Engine number 49 on the New York Ontario and Western Railway, taken around 1872. Photo courtesy of the Cornell University Library.
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Forgotten history is what interests filmmaker Tobe Carey most. His latest film, the documentary Rails to the Catskills, is an attempt to encapsulate the history of the railroad lines that abounded in the Catskills area for much of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

"I had been asked for years to make a film about the railroads," Carey said. “Many people don’t have a sense of the vibrant railroad industry.”  

The 95-minute film, which will premiere on Sunday, June 1 at 4 p.m. at the Mountain Cinema, Doctorow Center for the Arts in Hunter, highlights the cultural and economic impact the railroads had on the area.

According to Carey, the film tells the story of the railroads in chronological order — beginning with its predecessor, the Delaware and Hudson Canal — and its original intent to “connect waterways.”  Read more

Parksville music fest breathes new life into the Dead End Cafe

The Lyric Quartet takes a bow at the 2013 Parksville USA Music Festival. Left to right: Mariano Vidal, Evgeniya Krachmarova, Tom Caltabellotta, Leslie Swanson.

Music lovers of all ages can come out to hear local groups perform opera, jazz, Broadway and more once a month at the Dead End Café in Parksville as part of the Parksville USA Music Festival.

Performances are held on the first or second Sundays of each month, and feature a variety of local artists: the Coyote Anderson Quartet, the Hudson Valley String Quartet, Lydia Adams Davis and the Lyric Quartet. The festival line-up includes a few special themed shows, including a November tribute to the late Pete Seeger called “Folk and Country Music That Made a Difference.” 

The next performance in the lineup will be on Saturday, June 7, and will feature the Lyric Quartet -- now with a few new members -- singing Viennese operetta and Broadway musical numbers.   Read more

Celebrating the trout

The 25-foot-long Giant Brook Trout, a creation of local artist Bud Wertheim, is a regular at Livingston Manor’s annual Trout Parade. Photo by Tyler Young; courtesy of Manor Ink (

The Catskills region is renowned as the cradle of American dry fly-fishing. It’s the place where, in the 1800s, local anglers first began to alter English flies into shapes and patterns that mimic our own native insects.

Today, the fly-tier’s art thrives in the Catskills. Roscoe, known as “Trout Town, USA,” boasts several excellent fly-fishing shops and many local fishing guides. Phoenicia, where an important angling history collection was gutted by a 2011 fire at the local library, is now home to a digital trove of local fly-fishing lore, with a detailed hatch chart that tracks the dates of local hatches and the flies used to mimic them (

But in the Catskills, it’s not just fly-fishers who revere the trout. The native brook trout and stocked browns and rainbows that run through the cold, clear waters of the Catskills’ many creeks are part of the soul of the community — and when fishing season rolls around, everyone celebrates.  Read more

The girl within: The real story behind Harvey Fierstein's 'Casa Valentina'

Above: Larry Pine and Patrick Page in Harvey Fierstein's 'Casa Valentina.'

History has a way of revealing itself by accident. In the 1990s, antique-furniture dealer Robert Swope was browsing a flea market in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood when he stumbled upon a treasure trove—a collection of photographs taken in the ’50s and ’60s of men wearing women’s clothing, beaming beneath neatly coiffed wigs and dressed to Eisenhower-era perfection. This cache of snapshots turned out to be a visual record of life at Casa Susanna, a midcentury resort outside of Hunter, New York that catered to a very specific clientele: heterosexual male transvestites.  Read more

The winners of the 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest

Each year, we ask readers of the Watershed Post and our Catskills Outdoor Guide to send us their best photos of the Catskills great outdoors. This year, 68 talented photographers from around the Catskills region entered our 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest

Thanks to our contest sponsor, Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room in Big Indian, who generously offered a dinner for two to our grand prize winner. 

Grand Prize Winner

"Eagle Landing," taken in Narrowsburg by Harry Rampe (shown above). 

Second Place

"Kids and Kids," taken at the West Branch Creamery in Delaware County by Dave Turan.

Third Place

“Mt. Utsayantha,” taken from the top of the Mt. Utsayantha Fire Tower in Stamford by Christopher Mooney.

Fourth Place

“Big Indian Leaves,” taken in Big Indian by Michael LoBianco.

Editor's Prize

A special Editor’s Prize goes to Susan Sainsbury, whose photo “Canoeing at the Roxbury Swamp” appears on the 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide cover.

Honorable Mentions

Honorable mentions go to the following photos, which appear in this year’s print Catskills Outdoor Guide: “World Cup Mountain Bike Races at Windham” by Karl Anshanslin, “Newman’s Ledge on the Escarpment Trail” by Jessica Wilson, “Canoe On The Lake” by Courtney Ross, “Kayak Fishing on the West Branch” by Ryan Brown, “Delaware River, July 2013” by Jody Bryan and “Diane ‘n Fish” by Sonny Somelofski.

This article originally appeared in the print version of the 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide, our annual publication covering recreation in the Catskills great outdoors. The Catskills Outdoor Guide is distributed across the Catskills region and at select locations in the NYC metropolitan area. Find a copy near you here. 

Below: A Flickr slideshow of all of the entries in the 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest.

  Read more

Our guide to a Catskills Memorial Day Weekend

In Tannersville, Memorial Day means it's time once more for rubber ducks and crazy boats. Photo from the Great Northern Catskills website.

Everybody knows when summer really starts: this weekend. Monday will be marked by official Memorial Day observances in many towns, but all weekend long, there’s plenty of unofficial fun to be had, from music fests to boat races to town-wide yard sales. Here’s our five-county guide to the good times.


The five restored fire towers of the Catskill Park open for the season this weekend: Balsam Lake Mountain in Hardenburgh, Red Hill in Denning, Tremper Mountain in Shandaken, Overlook Mountain in Woodstock and Hunter Mountain in Hunter. Volunteer staffers will be at the towers every weekend from now through Columbus Day, to help fill you in on fire tower history, mountain know-how and more. Lace up your hiking boots and dust off the binoculars for those 100-mile views.  Read more

Letter to the Editor: Working in The Catskills, Chapter One

Dear Editor:

Working in the Catskills
chapter one

Life in the 19th century in the Catskill mountains
was mostly poor and primitive.
Beside farming and a small amount of trade,
there was very little industrial activity,
mostly Quarrying and Logging,
followed later by Trapping,Tanning,
Sawmills and construction.

Bluestone was beginning to be used for sidewalks.
but stone is very heavy
and wagon transport was difficult and expensive,
but Ulster County had the Hudson river,
and ships could deliver the bluestone to cities
in the eastern US and Cuba.

Soon the ships brought animal hides,
and, using the bark of hemlock trees,
tanning leather began, slowly at first,
and by 1840  Prattsville had
the largest tannery in the world!

  Read more

Catskill Mountains Film Festival rolls out the red carpet

Who needs an Oscar? The first place winners at the Catskill Mountains Film Festival take home a home-grown version of the iconic golden statuette: the "Catty," a cat hand-carved by a Catskills woodworker out of foraged mountain birch.

Left: A "Catty," the official award of the Catskill Mountains Film Festival. Contributed photo.  

One hundred films hand-picked films from New York State and beyond will screen at three local venues during the 2014 festival, which runs from Friday, May 2 through Sunday, May 4.

Adult, high school and college-aged filmmakers will vie to win the coveted Catty in each of six categories, from narrative and documentary features and shorts to music videos and animation.  Read more

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