My other life…

January 11th, 2010

I don’t go on about this much but for the past 27 years,  I have run a business as a specialist in antique map and print pigment reconstruction/restoration.  This field was a direct result of having studied printmaking with master woodcut artist Antonio Frasconi at SUNY Purchase, a life-long fascination with visual history, and the good fortune of meeting a veteran mentor, Maria Barnett, with whom I apprenticed for 5 years.  I also received a grant from the Rotary Foundation which sent me to study old master techniques in Perugia, Italy for a year.  I love this job, I’m very good at it but restoration is a discreet line of work and I do it best if I don’t focus on it too much.  However, I do come across some amazing imagery and fortunately, I was able to share this with the festival organizers for the New York City Village Halloween Parade and they made some very cool puppets with copies of  antique print details that I sent them over the summer.  If I hadn’t been immersed in the Walkway Over the Hudson Parade, organized by the same crew at Superior Concept Monsters, I would have thrown myself into helping with the 2009 NYC Halloween Parade!  Click here to see more images (and a brief film!)

Denizen from Terra Incognita by Hermann Schedel

Denizen from Terra Incognita by Hermann Schedel

Puppets by Superior Monster Concepts for the NYC Village Halloween Parade

Puppets by Superior Concept Monsters for the NYC Village Halloween Parade

Abraham Ortelius Sea Monsters from "Islandia"

Abraham Ortelius Sea Monsters from "Islandia"

Ortelius Sea Horse from "Islandia" by Superior Monster Concepts for NYC Village Halloween Parade 2009

Ortelius Sea Horse from "Islandia" by Superior Concept Monsters for NYC Village Halloween Parade 2009

District 7230 Rotary Club Video

January 6th, 2010
You Tube Video about Rotary District 7230

You Tube Video about Rotary District 7230

Helen Reisler, past District Governor of Rotary Club 7230 (which includes Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Westchester and Bermuda) and Andrew Stein have produced a lively video about that Club’s activities.  The film highlights the extensive charitable work of its members as well as some benefits for joining (”a networking sandbox!”).  A 100 foot long mural I painted for District 7230 has a cameo in the film at about 4:54 mark and the mural in its entirety can be seen here (don’t forget to use the navigation tools to zoom in and pan around).  7230 is a remarkable district and thanks to Rotary, I was able to study abroad and was introduced to the spirit of community service.

Tom Jones at Belleayre July 17th!

January 3rd, 2010

Call me a square but I think Tom is one of the most underappreciated legends of contemporary music  (apparently, Tim Burton agrees which is why Tom features as a hero in his thriller “Mars Attacks“).  I was doing a little research for the company I work for, Dragon Search Marketing about music offerings in the area and was exhilarated to discover that Tom Jones is coming to my mountain town of Shandaken on July 17th as part of the Belleayre Music Festival.  A few years back, I saw Ray Charles there about a month before he passed away.  It was magical to share a picnic under the stars with friends and listen to Ray singing “Georgia” in the summer mountain evening air.  So can you imagine how cool it will be to bopping to Tom and “Its Not Unusual”?

Tom was the first singer I was really aware of as a media star (followed by Jim Morrison).  In 1969, my family was on the lam from back to back tragedies and took a break  in Florida.  I was watching some variety show like Ed Sullivan on the motel black and white TVand there was Tom, slouching in front of a faux sunset on a styrofoam pier singing “Dock of the Bay”.  He had taken the most cheesy situation and made it moving and started for me a long love affair with that whistful song (although I think that Otis Redding does it better, Tom still comes in as a close second).

New Year’s Reading: A Book Review of Julie Powell’s “Cleaving”

January 2nd, 2010
Cleaving by Julie Powell

Cleaving by Julie Powell

So I got the book “Cleaving” by Julie (”Julie and Julia”) Powell for Christmas and I was stoked to read it to see what she had to say about Kingston, NY. I work there almost everyday ( I work part-time  for 2 new media companies: Oxclove Workshop and Dragon Search Marketing) located on the third floor overlooking all of historic Uptown Kingston. Julie Powell apprenticed for about 6 months at Fleishers, a remarkable meat shop on the same street and wrote about her experience learning the art of butchery in “Cleaving”. At first, it was exciting to see that her first impression of Fleisher’s was just like mine: I was entranced by the quaintness of the place, the black and white euro vibe, the charming butchers with their leather knife holding belts and the sheer variety and beauty of the cuts of meat. But as the tale wove on, I became uncomfortable with the obsessiveness of the narrative- (I don’t like personal, confessional stories from people I don’t know very well, I guess)- but furthermore, I was disappointed in the portrait Ms. Powell painted of Kingston. For some odd reason, she mentioned at least 3 different times where she parked her car but nothing about the iconoclastic Bourbon Street-esque arcades that shelter the massive bluestone sidewalks or the majesty of the Old Dutch Church and its hourly ringing bells or the mix of lawyers on break from the Georgian-style stone courthouse mingling with the small shopkeepers tidying the entrance ways to their businesses. Its as if Ms. Powell missed a great opportunity to paint a portrait of a small Hudson Valley city straddling three centuries- still mingling the Dutch with the Victorian, the Industrial Revolution with the emerging Digital Age. But it is the same issue I have with the rest of the book: the unhappiness that propels Julie through life is fueled by her myopia in only perceiving a small radius of what is around her, the missed opportunity to be a part of a community rather than consciously detaching herself from her surroundings. If she looked up from her blackberry (or her laptop, or cooking pots, or cutting knife) and really opened her eyes, she would see a vast theater cast with infinite characters, which is scary as it makes one feel very small and insignificant but is much better than living under one’s own miserable microscope. Its not that “Cleaving” is not good writing, its just that I would have written a very different book. Certainly with a different take on Kingston!

View down Wall Street in Uptown Kingston

View down Wall Street in Uptown Kingston


Emblem Show at G.A.S. Visual Arts Space in Poughkeepsie

November 24th, 2009

The Emblem Show opened at G.A.S. Visual Arts Space and it was the first time I got to study the Emblems up close and personal.  Franc did a wonderful job hanging them all plus he had a movie of the Walkway on a continual loop throughout the evening.  It was fun to browse and think “Oh yes! That is SO Hurley!” and even nicer was to connect with the other Walkway artists and recap what we went through to mobilize our towns for the event.  Consider a visit to the Walkway and then, make a trip to 196 Main Street to see the show.  They say over 100,000 visiters have made the crossing since the opening this past October 3!

Emblems and the Walkway….

November 16th, 2009

Before I  arrived at the Emblem Show opening at G.A.S. gallery, I made time to cross the Walkway Over the Hudson at sunset.  I hadn’t been there since the opening parade about a month ago so I was curious to see what it would be like on an ordinary day.   The weather was lovely, hovering around 60 degrees, and although  I started out from foggy Phoenicia, once I hit the valley, the sun was out and the clouds were confined to the mountains.  I didn’t know where the trail head was on the Poughkeepsie side but I figured if I kept close to the water, it shouldn’t be hard to find. Wandering the tree-lined streets of a quaint Hudson River town with clapboard houses and corner grocery stores, I was startled to see a huge 19th century trestle bridge looming over the skyline and filled, absolutely filled with people! Walking, riding, running, strolling…

Walkway from Water Street Video

Walkway from Water Street Video

Walkway Entrance from Poughkeepsie Side (near Water Street)

Walkway Entrance from Poughkeepsie Side (near Water Street)

It isn’t easy finding the path (let alone any kind of parking) but I improvised and in about 5 minutes, I was with the crowd…
and slowly, like an ambulatory airplane, I strode through the trees, past the last of the fall leaves, past the second story windows of the clapboard houses, over the streets below, the rooftops and finally, above the City of Poughkeepsie and towards the great river ahead!
poughkeepsie walkway view

Poughkeepsie Walkway Video

Over the river:

Emblem Show!

November 9th, 2009
Shandaken Emblem for the Walkway

Shandaken Emblem for the Walkway

On Sunday, November 15th, G.A.S. Visual Art & Performance Space will have an opening of the Emblem exhibit from 3-5 PM.  That means one can hike the Walkway and then come down from the 212 foot high span and join us at 196 Main St. Poughkeepsie about 6 blocks south.  Phone: 845-486-4592.

Halloween Haunted House- The Movie!!!!

November 1st, 2009

This is an amazing annual effort by the Phoenicia PTA for the community children! The Haunted House, now completing its 4th year, is a series of dark “rooms” containing mysteriously themed tableaux complete with scary crafts made by the elementary school children in workshops leading up to the event. The event starts with a costumed parade through the center of town and ending at the Parish Hall where the House is set up. In houses past, we have seen an Egyptian tomb, a gypsy fortune teller’s tent, a ghost and bones corner, a bat cave, a haunted king and queen and their court to name but a few. What brings the Haunted House to life are the parent volunteers who inhabit it and interact with the visitors! This year’s construction started with an outerspace theme complete with flying saucers, planets and stars, a multi-eyed alien and the Silver Surfer. The participants then encountered the Woodstock “Hippy Zombies” (with an authentic mexican “Day of the Dead” musician!) then on to the boneyard inhabitad by a mad scientist. Past the Haunted Garden with tombstones, rats, and a smoking Chinese dragon, there are two exits: one full of Monarch butterflies for the easily frightened who were rewarded for their bravery with candy from a good fairy and the other for the cynical: a room of horrors where dwelled an evil troll! Click below and see for yourself and make a plan to join us next year….

A weekend in Shandaken…

October 26th, 2009
The Phoenicia PTA Haunted House

The Phoenicia PTA Haunted House

I don’t know where to start! Only that “all’s well, ends well” and I am yet again touched by my community…I will post more once I unload my car of all the Halloween bins!  What a remarkable outpouring of community love and support- from the Phoenicia Rotary Club’s free donuts and cider to the fire trucks parading with our neighborhood children- what other town does this?

Halloween Parade and Haunted House

October 20th, 2009

2009 Haunted House adThe Annual Phoenicia Halloweeen parade is almost upon us! The kids have been working on “creepies” at the after-school workshops being held (the last one is this Wednesday). Adult volunteers/actors are needed to man the different stations and judiciously scare our young goblins after the parade through the town.  We could use a couple of witches, a mad scientist, an alien, a couple of hippy/zombies, a fairy princess and a really scary dude.  Please apply via  a comment to this site! Thanks all! Oh yes, lest I forget, if you have a nice prize to donate, or know of a shopkeeper willing to offer up a product  or even a book to promote, please make a donation to our raffle.  Tickets are 1 dollar and all items are welcome.

Children's Halloween parade
Children’s Halloween parade

UPDATE: We have some wonderful raffle donations! The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame anniversary book is up for grabs, as well as an Original Marquee from the movie “Taking Woodstock” -comes complete with black lights!  Other raffle items to be announced…in the Haunted House this year, we have the Silver Surfer defending our planet from an evil alien, and a beautiful autumn princess handing out candy in the Monarch Butterfly exit.  Keep those volunteers coming!