Saturday, August 30, 2008

October Concert at Opus 40

Front Line Productions is presenting a really big show at Opus 40 on October 4th, featuring former Styx lead singer Dennis deYoung. It will be a gala evening, including an auction and a cocktail hour featuring local legends the Big Smoothies. This will be a very special evening here -- our big concert of the year (though it's not really ours). But the people at Front Line are good folks, and professionals, and we're looking forward to a long relationshipwith them.

For ticket information, 866-525-9190, or www,

Yes, it really is a fund raiser. For the Make-a-Wish Foundation and St. Mary's of the Snow School, right here in Saugerties.

Hope to see you at the concert!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Film Noir

I'm self-publishing my collection of Film Noir drawings, featuring three stories -- The Lineup, Kiss Me Deadly, and The Big Heat. I've posted some of the drawings here in the past, but I think this is a very good looking collection. You can order it here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Woodstock Museum's Free Festival

The 9th annual Woodstock Museum Free Fim Festival gets underway August 29, at Woodstock's Town Hall. That first Friday night, at 10 pm. there'll be a showing of Woodstock: Can't Get There From Here, David McDonald's excellent documentary, which features me talking about Opus 4o, and about the death of Dick Stillwell.

Much else of interest, including a film by WM's Nathan Koenig and Shelli Lipton, Woodstock Downunder, about Nimbin, Australia, "the village that was founded on the values of Woodstock Nation" -- Saturday, August 30, at 9 pm.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Battle of the Decades

THE 40s
Rendition Quartet
Eagles Medley

THE 50s
Malcolm Yelvington
Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee

THE 60s
Tom Jones
It's Not Unusual

THE 70s
Heart of Glass

THE 80s

THE 90s
Corona & Ice Mc
The Rhythm Of The Night

This one skews heavily toward the whippersnappers (sorry, fogeys!), starting with a fast elimination of the Rendition Quartet, whose number had already finished by the time I got the 40s channel. Could they really have been singing an Eagles medley in the 40s? Does H. G. Wells know about this? By they time I got to the 40s channel they were playing a barbershop harmony quartet, so I'm guessing the Rendition Quartet was more of the same, and maybe so retro that they sounded retro even singing Hotel California. Or maybe "Eagles Medley" means something totally different. Maybe I don't care.

I keep waiting for that 90s song that will blow me away and convert me to whippersnapperdom. This isn't it. Corona - nice voice. Song...if I had to listen to her sing "this is the rhythm of the night...night...night..." once more.....

In spite of someone commenting on Squeeze's video "people who like this song are gay,queer, geekish and dorkish and lesbian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! " I like this song. But I don't love it. And I'm sure Malcolm Yelvington was a fire-breathing young rockabilly when he first recorded this song, but age has lost him his edge. It's still one of the all-time great songs.

Tom Jones in second place? Well, I really liked this song when it first came out, before Tom Jones became...well, Tom Jones. (To my credit, I never liked Engelbert Humperdinck.) Listening to it now, he sounds like...well, Tom Jones.

Blondie's far and away the best of a weak field, but she might have been first in a strong one, too. Well, not a really strong one. But she's smart, cool, self-possessed, and hip. She's probably the template for the emotion-dead singers who came after whom Alex keeps voting for her, but that's not her fault. And a good song, probably her best.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Countdown to Saugerties Artists Studio Tour

Pick up a map around town, and make plans to see what Saugerties has to offer in a wide variety of art forms. Here are a few more reasons to take the tour:

Allen Bryan
's unsettling photographs capture the world you're afraid may be out there, or the world that you wish was out there.

Leslie Bryce
's sculptures make ordinary spaces less ordinary.

Steve Crohn's abstractions bend space.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Countdown to Saugerties Artists Studio Tour

The high point of Saugerties' art season -- the Saugerties Artists' Studio Tour. It's this Saturday and Sunday, August 16th and 17th, from 10-5. On Friday the 15th, from 5-7, the opening of the group show at the Opus 40 Gallery.

Already, you can see several artists' work on display at the Shelley K. Gallery and the Michael Nelson Gallery, both on Partition Street in Saugerties, and in store windows throughout town (I'm in the Muddy Cup/Inquiring Mind window, otherwise known as the Muddy Mind).

So to count down to the tour, I'm going to preview a few of the tour artists here, starting with Barbara Bravo, the guiding and inspiring spirit without whom there'd be no tour.

From her web page:

The concept for my signature work emerged when I realized how much pleasure I get from surrounding myself with flowers. In combining my two passions, pottery and flowers, I have been able to create a variety of styles and forms that are both functional and decorative. Often the forms are altered, added-to or cut-away from and when I'm satisfied with the basic form, hand sculpted flowers, leaves or other design elements are added. We are pleased to offer a variety of items in 13 categories for use in home decor and as gifts.

Barbara's images are protected, so you'll have to go to her web site to see them, but they're well worth it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vanaver Caravan at Opus 40

Vanaver Caravan performed at Opus 40 yesterday (Saturday, Sept. 9) in a program partly on the sculpture, partly on the lawn. For the first part, the audience followed the performers around the sculpture, I came up from getting the parking lot organized and joined the throng a few minutes late, so it took a minute or so after that to get my bearings, but then I began to realize just how beautiful and exquisitely choreographed the program was. Three instrumentalists, led by Bill Vanaver and Fode Sissoko, led the gathering, and dancers with white banners directed the movement and attention of the audience to one soloist or ensemble after another, all at different points on the quarry. The dancers, and especially the choreography, captured and unlocked the rhythm in the stones, and the result was a wonderful artistic enhancement of the sculpture. I have some photos here, and will post more when I get them from the Vanavers.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Opus 40 on the web, starring...


On Metafilter, a thread discussing Opus 40, with some very nice notes --

Yay opus 40! I grew up near there, what a great place. Lotta mosquitos in the summer though.
And a little fan letter for...

They have some really gorgeous, friendly dogs that hang out in the visitor center too.

Followed by:

Yes, I saw this one when I was there.

Followed by:

YES! So friendly. I love that dog

Friday, August 01, 2008

Battle of the Decades

Since my blogging has dwindled recently, I figured I could at least start posting BOTD here. This is the game I started for my family, but it keeps expanding and taking on new players.

The rules are simple. Every so often, when the spirit moves me, I'll put om XM Radio online, C&P whatever happens to be playing on their decade channels at that moment, and send out the list, with my commentary. Players have to vote for one song . If there are a couple of great ones, you have to choose between greatness. If they're all wretched, you still have to choose between wretchedness. Or sometimes, as is the case this week, one song distances itself from the pack

THE 40s
Perry Como
I'm Always Chasing Rainbows

THE 50s
Bristol Stomp

THE 60s
The Syndicate of Sound
Little Girl

THE 70s
Elton John
Philadelphia Freedom

THE 80s
Bruce Springsteen
Glory Days

THE 90s
Eve 6
Inside Out

OK, I'm willing to drop Perry Como pretty quickly, Not only was he a boring singer, and not only is this a dumb song, but I also associate it with Tuesday evening singalongs at the Millbrook School for Boys, and however ghastly that may sound to you in the abstract, in the reality it was much, much worse. And no YouTube for Perry...sorry.

And we can scratch off the Syndicate of Sound, who managed to combine a pseudo-70s-funk-sounding group name (before there even was any pseudo 70s funk, or even real 70s funk) with a pseudo Dylan vocal, and I figure if the little girl slept with these guys, she probably was doing something wrong.

Elton John is one of the most brilliant pop music composers of our time. So why can't I ever remember which song is which? However, dig those crazy Soul Train dancers.

What is "Bristol Stomp" doing in the 50s? XM playing fast and loose again. No 50s group ever had a name like the Dovells. This is a dumb song that I can't help loving. Eve 6, on the other hand, are a very good group whom I could really grow to like if I listened to 90s music more than I do, which is basically the YouTube videos for BOTD. But they still tie for runner-up, with their sound that encapsulates the heart of white American music in the last quarter of the 20th century, the music pushed to its highest peaks by Bob Dylan and...

Here's a guy who dresses like a working man, acts like a working class guy, sings working class songs, and what do they call him? The Boss! That anomaly aside, no one wrote songs like Springsteen. He had the kind of power and compression and allusion that poets get, and songwriters generally don't. But he was writing, and singing, songs, real songs, with a beat and hooks and hot riffs and everything that needs to come together to make a great song. "Glory Days" is muscular and poignant. It nails its characters with vicious accuracy and deepest sympathy. And it rocks. It gets my vote.

The videos are, in order, live on Letterman with Paul Shaeffer, on tour with the "Other Band" that everyone hated because they weren't the E Street Band, but they were damn good, live with the E Street Band featuring Silvio Dante, and the video released with the song. Just be grateful I didn't also include the duet with Jon Bon Jovi.

My own Glory Days included playing softball -- with the Crawdaddy team -- on a road trip to Asbury Park, against Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. I got two hits off Bruce.