Catskills Corner: Spring Fever

Spring is blooming all over and with it, a mega weekend of social activity.
Phoenicians (the modern day type) are especially spoiled for choice. They can start at 6pm on Friday evening, May 15, at Phoenicia Elementary School, for the school’s annual Western Day and Square Dance, a fun throw back to the days of Camp Woodland, the folk music stronhold a few miles down Woodland Valley Road. The spirit of Camp Woodland was resurrected last summer by long-term local resident and childrens’ arts director Cara Cruickshank, who, also on Friday May 15, at the Phoenicia Parish Hall, will be launching her latest kids’ production: The Listen To Me Youth Theater’s Best of Monty Python Dinner Theater Extravaganza! Starring students from Phoenicia Elementary, Woodstock Elementary, The Sudbury School, Onteora Central School, and Kingston High School, the Dinner also includes menu items from the Peekamoose Restaurant, Cafe Mezzaluna, and Lucky Chocolates. Spam may or may not be on the menu. Admission is $10 adults, $7 children. The dinner performance repeats on Saturday May 16 at 8pm, and again on Sunday May 17 at 1pm and 6pm. I can’t wait to see this.

Sandwiched in between these two events, at 7pm, the STS Theater on Church Street will be presenting its monthly movie: this Friday May 15, it’s Adam’s Rib, starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Admission is only $5 and all snacks are but a buck.

And that’s not all. Henry Rollins (shown above) is at the Bearsville Theater, also on Friday May 15, for a night of spoken word. It’s about 15 years since I saw him do one of these at Irving Plaza in the City and it was a memorable occasion. Glad to know he’s still at it, and hoping he can pack the hall. Admission is $15, which seems reasonable.

Come back to Phoenicia Saturday evening and be ready to party at Main Street’s monthly art openings. The theme for the new Arts Upstairs exhibition is “Botanical”; the solo show features Deborah Joyce. Down the street at Cabane Studios, there’s a solo exhibition entitled Take Me To The River: Photographs of The Hudson by Tom Sobolik, and if the picture on the web site is anything to go by (see below), it should be beautiful.


If you’d prefer to hang out in Woodstock Saturday, the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony – the place that started the whole Woodstock phenomena – is hosting its annual Volunteer’s Day at its Guild on Upper Byrdcliffe Road. “Special projects for the whole family, from raking to roofs. Includes lunch and a brief walking tour. Learn about the Colony’s history and preservation standards.” And stick around in the evening when Happy Traum hosts The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild’s Bob Dylan Birthday Celebration. (Dylan turns 68 on May 24.) Happy Traum is fully qualified to lead the occasion: his group the New World Singers, which also featured Gil Turner, were the first to record “Blowin’ In The Wind,” in early 1963. Rumors that the occasion will feature all the usual Woodstock suspects, including the ever-cheerful John Sebastian, are surely well-founded.

And if you want to get all the way over to Kingston, Stages In The Arts, the theater company component of Backstage Productions, on Wall Street, is presenting a second weekend of Mean Girls: The Musical. Performances May 15-16 @ 7:30pm, and Sun 17th @ 3pm. And yes, I do believe it’s an adaptation of the movie that made Lindsay Lohan what she is today. (Famous!) If this is the same team that put on The Nightmare Before Christmas then it promises to be something special.


And finally, looking ahead, it seems as if booking agents have finally caught on to what I’ve been preaching since moving up here: that the Bearsville Theater is one of the greatest little venues in the country. Upcoming shows include the Dirty Dozen Brass Band on Friday May 22nd (they’re playing in Burlington, VT, the next night, where I’ll be staying for my marathon on Sunday; I may go check them out there), the World Piano Summit over the weekend of May 30-31, featuring Natalia Kazaryan, Emilio Solla Tango Jazz Fusion, Gabriel Luce Quartet, Elio Villafranca and the new Chuchito Valdes Cuban Quartet, Jean-Michel Pilc, Frank Kimbrough and John Kamitsuka; reggae legends Culture on June 12; Junior Brown on the 13th; Conor Oberst Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band on July 2nd (this one through an outside promoters; tickets, through dreaded Ticketmaster, are selling fast); Fountains of Wayne with Special Guest Mike Viola on July 5th; and former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor on July 22nd. Can anyone say eclectic?

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November 2021