Field topography

Every season is beautiful in the Catskills, but winter is the best time to really see the structure of the landscape.

Photo of snow on a farmer's field in Andes, taken on Feb. 12 by photographer Mark Zilberman and posted to the Watershed Post Flickr group. For a larger view, check out the photo's Flickr page.

Hudson Valley Seeds celebrates the Art of the Heirloom

Illustration for the seed pack of heirloom tomato variety Cosmonaut Volkov. Art by cartoonist and graphic artist Will Sweeney, for the Hudson Valley Seed Library's "Art Pack" line of artist-designed seed packs.

This Friday, the Horticultural Society of New York fetes a local seed company, and the artists commissioned to design its signature line of seed packs, with an opening reception at their gallery in midtown Manhattan. Local stalwarts Brewery Ommegang and Tuthilltown Spirits will be on hand to provide libations. 

It's a grand event for the Hudson Valley Seed Library, a company that has grown quickly over the last few years from its humble origins as a seed-saving project in the Gardiner public library. Founders Ken Greene and Doug Muller now operate a small seed farm with an expanding line of heirloom varieties in the Ulster County hamlet of Accord, and run a seed-saving membership program for local gardeners.  Read more

Flick Book Studio: Teaching the art of stop-motion

Above: "Ella Underwater," a pixilation animation made at Flick Book Studios by student Ella Goldin.

In this week's Woodstock Times is a feature on local artist Keiko Sono, who teaches stop-motion animation to artists of all ages at Flick Book Studio on Route 212 in Saugerties.

Reporter Paul Smart writes:

Keiko Sono’s studio on Route 212, next to Jolly’s Market in the same complex that once housed Lucky Chocolates, is airy, light-drenched and fun. There’s a chalkboard, a light box, a number of white boards, a sand or paint box, and piles of art supplies…and Legos! Everything’s organized but loose. She says that it can hold up to four kids or adults at each of four or five “stations” around the space, although she finds it better to work with groups of three.  Read more

The real officers of Greene County

Looks like the Greene County village of Coxsackie is seeking a better claim to fame than "that place that got a nasty virus named after it": The village police force may soon be the subject of a reality show.

Last month, the Daily Mail reports, film crews were in Coxsackie to film the pilot for a show tentatively dubbed "Comedy Cops." Daily Mail reporter Melanie Lekocevic writes that the cameras are in town thanks to a fresh rookie on the village police force, 52-year-old John Mulrooney.

Producers Joel Raatz and Alex Landolina brought their crew to town to interview police officers and local officials. The idea for the show was inspired by the recent hire by the Coxsackie Police Department of 52-year-old rookie John Mulrooney, who also happens to be a veteran of another sort - Mulrooney is a nationally recognized comedian.  Read more

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Two Dark Birds hearts the Catskills, big time

Above: Black Blessed Night, by Two Dark Birds. Music video shot by Scott Kawczynski.

Two Dark Birds, the Pakatakan Mountain-based band that released its latest CD this fall, makes no bones about how much nicer it is in the Catskills than it is in New York City. Front man Steve Koester told us in an interview in November that the whole new album, Songs for the New, is an ode to escaping from the metropolis to the woods.   Read more

Catskills films make it to Sundance

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Catskills locals are makng a splash among the nation's most avid cinemaphiles at the Sundance Film Festival this week.

David France, the owner of Margareville's Galli-Curci building (appropriately, a former movie theater), is a festival darling with his documentary about AIDS in the 1980s, "How to Survive a Plague." Check out the Sundance Channel's interview with him about the flim above. More info in a Sundance Channel article here.

The Hudson Valley's own Oscar-winning Melissa Leo starred in Predisposed, another Sundance pick, which was produced by BCDF, a Hudson-Valley-based film studio. The Woodstock Film Festival has a full list of Sundance films with local connections, including two more films from BCDF and movie called Keep the Lights On, which was shot locally.  Read more

A tribute to a departed Andes resident, Catskills style

Above: Peter Ames posting with his memorial to late Andes resident Kevin Roney, which was installed in the Andes Hotel tavern on January 19, 2012. Photo by MJ Donnelly.

A year ago today, Kevin Roney died. Roney was a beloved fixture in the town of Andes -- his obituary in the Daily Star describes his distinguished military record, his passion for partying with his Andes friends, and his pet project, the construction of the "largest tool shed" in Delaware County.

In a small town, a man like Roney is remembered and celebrated for a long while. Yesterday, Peter Ames, an Andes resident who makes his living doing web design but has a well-developed artistic side, unveiled a memorial he made in Roney's honor on the wall of the Andes Hotel.  Read more

The Shandaken Pan-Arts Festival: Vaudeville, steampunk, and a virtuoso 7-year-old on guitar

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Last weekend, musicians, artists, and performers gathered in venues around Shandaken to perform during the Shandaken Pan Arts Festival. Here are a few highlights from the week-long artistic bacchanalia.

First, above, 7-year-old Noel Fletcher performs at The Arts Upstairs Gallery in Phoenicia on January 14, 2012. The song, "I'm From the Sun," is by Gustafer Yellowgold. Video shot by Karen Charman.

Below: Dave Channon, the coordinator of the Shandaken Pan Arts Festival, plays the kazoo at the feet of the Steam Punk altar as Mary Herrmann looks on during the Vaudeville Comes to Pine Hill event on January 15, 2012. Photo by Rusty Mae Moore.  Read more

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Fresh: liveLIVE! at Backstage Studio Productions

The liveLIVE! crew: Nate Roberts, Daniel Sternstein, Trevor Dunworth, Dan Votke. Photo courtesy of liveLIVE!

Backstage Studio Productions has been one of Uptown Kingston's coolest spots for years: an indoor space the size of a city block devoted to arts and entertainment. Lately, the Lounge at BSP, a performance space equipped with bar and wifi, has a fresh look and feel. The director of Loose Change came by to screen and discuss his latest film, there are Occupy Kingston meetings, and a Vaudeville Circus and Masquerade Ball is on tap for this weekend. Then there are the cutting-edge bands several nights a week. It's all the work of liveLIVE!, a foursome from Oneonta who've taken over the Lounge at BSP.

We spoke with liveLIVE!'s Daniel Sternstein about their vision for the space, and Kingston's burgeoning local music and culture scene.  Read more

Shandaken Pan Arts festival comes to a venue near you

Native Tongue Dance (Bill Barrett, lead singer, shown above with Maria Todaro at Mama's Boy in Phoenicia) headlines Saturday's Shandaken Pan Arts Festival kick-off. 

The Shandaken Pan Arts festival kicks off 10 days of music, art and writing in venues spread around the town of Shandaken with Native Tongue Dance getting things started this Saturday night at Phoenicia's The Arts Upstairs at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $5.

Highlights include studio visits, available by appointment all festival long (a complete list is available at the festival's website), a "bonfire rave" featuring a conch shell orchestra, and a performance by the Phoenicia choir to close the 10-day party, with events scattered in between that celebrate the area's history and prodigious creative output.

Correction: An earlier version of this story identified "Native Tongue" instead of "Native Tongue Dance" as the performers for Saturday night's festivities. Apologies for any confusion this may have caused.

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