Friday, February 09, 2007

Weekend Tips

TOMORROW is Saturday Stroll time again in downtown Catskill, with shops, cafes and galleries offering warm welcomes, afternoon and evening, to chilled pedestrians (but no snowfall, according to the Weather Bureau, is likely to occur. Among events along the boulevard: “Unconditional Love Abounds” in vintage pictures and illustrations of furry friends, at M gallery (350 Main; 943-0380), from 5 pm.; “Erotica” (it says here), a new group show at the Wilder (375 Main), also from 5 pm.; a special Valentines Day display along with romantic (romance-celebrating?) activities at Dream home furnishings (388 Main); special V D drinks next door at Verso; music emanating from Gallery 384 and from Hood & Co. At BRIK, invited sponsors and creators of designs for the Cat ‘n Around show will gather for a game of selecting and celebrating. Also, up at Cedar Grove (=the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, 218 Spring St), from 4 pm., film-maker Hart Perry will show and discuss “Imagining America,” his documentary about landscape painting as shaped initially by the Hudson River School. (Admission is free, and so is the popcorn). What is more, people who are still in a party mood could take in the live music (the Nina Sheldon trio) Saturday night at Stella's Lounge (Catskill Point; $10 cover). An active Sunday could begin with a pig-out, all-you-can eat, breakfast, from around 8 am., at the Athens firehouse or the Catskill firehouse. That could pave the way for choosing between not only churches but also such alternatives as “Attracting Your Soul Mate,” a visualization workshop conducted by Certified Hypnosis Therapist Barbara Steven, at Divine Enlightenment (25 West Bridge St., Catskill) from 11 am.; an African dance workshop at the Palenville public library, celebrating Black History Month, at 2 pm. (“hand-held instruments welcome”); and a further, deeper discussion, at Cedar Grove, from 2 pm., of “Imaging America,” conducted by art historian Jonathan Fineberg and media production expert John Carlin. The latter program is part of this year’s Sunday Salon series at Cedar Grove. Admission costs $8 for non-members, $5 for members, and covers a wine-fueled reception.


NEW ‘LOCAL’ CHANNEL. The mid-Hudson area now has a second ‘community’ television channel. It is WSSN, with studio in Germantown, and (as reported by Ellen Thurston, dominatrix of Hudson-area news) it’s a project of New York City enterpriser Sean Small. Some local interviews are screened from 6 to 7 pm. on week nights and at 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on weekends. Most of the screen time is devoted to TV series re- re-runs and old, really old, movies. It’s Channel 25 for Mid-Hudson Cable subscribers, a different number for others. (; billed as “the Hudson Valley’s only local channel”).

COMPANY ALTERATION. By-lines on local Daily Mail stories now identify authors as employees of “Hudson-Catskill Newspapers.” This marks change from last year when reporters were identified as “Hudson Valley Newspapers” employees. They still belong to the Johnson Newspapers chain based in Watertown NY.

NEW PARENT. GreeneLand’s shopper, The Mountain Pennysaver, now is a unit (along with the Saugerties Post-Star) of the massive GateHouse Media Inc. group (of Fairport NY) rather than of Liberty Group Publishing Inc. (of Northbrook IL). Liberty was sold in mid2005 by its parent, Leonard Greene & Partners, to Fortress Capital Group, self-billed as global alternative investment and asset management firm, with $15 billion in equity under management. GateHouse (GHS on the New York Stock Exchange) has been on a buying spree in the past 18 months, acquiring small papers in the Rochester area, in Rhode Island and in Massachusetts. It owns some 423 community publications (many of them news-less “newspapers”) in 18 States. Some of its recent acquisitions came from the financially ailing JournalRegister Company (of Yardley PA), parent of The Daily Freeman (Kingston-based, with a putative Greene County edition; circulation 21,500) and The Independent over in Hillsdale (6931 circulation).

SHOW PLACE. We missed Big Al’s Silver Bullet Premiere Gun and Knife Show last weekend at the Friar Tuck. We accordingly missed a big chance to buy, sell, swap, ogle old and new firearms and accessories, as well as to gather the latest gather valuations of GreeneLand’s foremost (as in biggest) resort. One participant did contribute to TripAdvisor the judgment that “the place is not as bad as others make it seem.” In his villa across from the main hotel, the furniture was “in nice condition” and the bathrooms were “very clean” and newly tiled.” And the restaurant and bar were “not half bad.” Having read other visitors’ comments, he had been “expecting the worst.“ His low expectation had been shaped by previous reviews, such as the comment (1/20/07) that while rooms in the hotel’s Camelot section “were perfectly fine,” “our room in the main building…was dump. We had one very squishy full-size bed for two adults, a small room with one nightstand, broken-down furniture, paper thin walls.” Another reviewer was more eloquent in denunciation. Having been given a week’s time-share stay as a wedding present, the author of “Honeymoon Nightmare” reflected that

Our first clue should have been [that] when we pulled up to the "resort" the F was out in the sign, that and the fact that for a mile before hand there was nothing but cars up on blocks and rusted out trailers along the side of the road. Anyway, the resort is completely out dated…. Our room was huge but reeked of mold and damp. One whole wall was paneled in mirror which is an interesting decorating choice. The finish was peeling off of the furniture, several of the drawers had lost handles which were replaced by twist ties. The bathroom was a brown nightmare and the so called jacuzzi tub a) didn't work and b) appeared to not have been used in several decades…. someone who looked at my pictures mistook the pond for a putting green because it was so overgrown with algae.… there was no sense of security since the door from our building to the outside not only didn't lock but didn't even close properly.

TOUTED, as “Mediterranean Bounty in Greene County,” in February issue of Chronogram: Bell’s Café in Catskill. “In a town which has been largely neglected over the past years,” says author Jennifer May (no kin to any Seeing Greenekeeper), Bell’s “is one of a kind. Catskill is building momentum, however, and the café is already surrounded by antique shops, art galleries, and boutique kitchen stores.”

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