Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy July

4 WOOD as musical instrument?  We saw it and heard it at the Catskill Point warehouse, during last Saturday’s (6/26) Bing Bang Boing Festival.  Ken Butler also played a electrified tennis racquet (electrified strings), a snow shovel and (with a violin bow) an umbrella.  Extracting sounds (music?) from other improvised, performance-based, sculptural instruments were Harry and Josh Matthews, Matt Bua, Ed Podokar, Peter Head, and cousins Brian and Leon Dewan (creators of the now-famous Dewanatron).  Their experiments in audibility were complemented in no small measure by the moving sculptures, the graceful swaying gestures of GreeneLand’s own Wild Rose Belly Dancing Troupe.

330=number of revelers at Sunday’s glorious fund-raiser for GreeneLand’s Thomas Cole National Historic Site.  It rained in the morning.  Rained again in the afternoon.  Then the clouds passed, and people converged on the designated Catskill party site.  Welcomed by Cole volunteers, by suitable libations, by photographer Rob Shannon (

and by soft music (the raucous stuff came later), they eventually strolled down to a giant tent that had been erected just above the majestic Hudson.
After (and while) dining,
they were jolted by the start of a spectacular fireworks show provided by Rich (Misbehaven) Pilatch.   
(To view full size display, click on the lower right corner of image)
(To return to text, hit ESC key, upper left of keyboard)

Then it was back up hill to dancing (luscious Lex Grey and the Urban Pioneers), to a laser light show that bathed trees and pool in dancing light (based on the ingenuity of the late Rudi Berkhout), to more camaraderie. 
     According to hostess Lisa Fox Martin, who presides over the Thomas Cole House board of trustees, the affair took in “a bit more than” $80,000.  That was a gain over the take in 2010.  The net return also was higher.  That gain was due in no small measure to donations of items and time as well as money. Cole House staff members and Fellows and volunteers handled multiple assignments.  Every table was graced by potted flowers loaned by Story Farms.  Welcoming libations were a gift from Ed Domaney of Great Barrington (  Memorable catering was provided by Shawn Hardy (  Geoff Howell ( designed the background for the photos taken by Mr Shannon (big white number 10, marking the tenth year since the restored Cole House opened to the public). And Mr Howell and his helpers gave the big tent the look that appears in our photo (by Shannon).  Pivotal too were the party’s sponsors.  These people, 52 in number this year, paid from $500 to $2500 for tickets they gave to chosen guests (some of whom made independent contributions).  Meanwhile, the other attendees paid $150 (as Cole House members) or $175 (as non-members).

LAST YEAR'S Cole House benefit, as it happens, has been memorialized in the July-August issue of Country Living, by way of a picture together with a note written by Sarah Gray Miller, editor of that magazine and (with husband Tony Stamolis) an Athens resident.  The family photo below was taken by Rob Shannon against another background designed by Geoff Howell.  

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