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.

Say it with fungus

Above: "Fungus documenting a 1924 climb to the top of the Hunter Mountain Observatory," from the Mystery Spot's website.

Laura Levine, the proprietress of Phoenicia's Homer & Langley's Mystery Spot Antiques, finds all sorts of treasures in attics, basements, and auctions around the Catskills.

Today she sent us a gem: a fungus that commemorates a family's hike up Hunter Mountain in 1924.

Apparently, scratching a record of the hike into the soft skin of an artists' fungus was an excellent way of memorializing an outing -- the words can still be read 85 years later. Levine has a full transcription of what the fungus says on the Mystery Spot blog.


Fokine Ballet performs the Nutcracker in Oneonta

Wherever in the world you find ballet, you'll find the Nutcracker -- and the wilds of upstate New York are no exception. This Friday and Saturday, the Fokine Ballet Company performs Tchaikovsky's most popular ballet at the Goodrich Theater at SUNY Oneonta.

The Fokine Ballet Company features professional dancers from Poland, Russia, and the NYC metropolitan area as well as local students at the Decker School of Ballet. For a glimpse of what Oneonta theatergoers are in for this weekend, check out the video below: A clip from a 2008 Fokine Ballet production of the Nutcracker, featuring Russian dancer Eugene Petrov as a soloist in the Russian Variation.

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Fun at Cabaradio

Local videographer Jessica Vecchione shot this video at Catskill Cabaradio at the Pine Hill Community Center on Saturday and shared it with us. Center and right are Laurie and Ira McIntosh.

November's Art Safari: Courage and Energy

Above: Justin Nikles, "The Incredible Eye."

The November show at The Arts Upstairs gallery in Phoenicia ends this weekend. Here's a portion of Dave Channon's review of the show in his November edition of Art Safari, his monthly column. Channon is an environmental art activist specializing in welded steel sculptures, oil paintings and all manner of digital graphics, video and animation. You can see his work at To see the full safari, click here. -- Julia Reischel  Read more

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