Friday, September 12, 2008

Greene Tidings

NEWCOMERS. Recently added to GreeneLand’s talent pool is Sarah Gray Miller, editor in chief of O At Home magazine, a quarterly devoted to living stylishly (but frugally). A native of Natchez, Mississippi and a graduate of Vassar College, Ms Miller is a major player in the world of magazines aimed at women aspiring to be smart consumers. Back in 2002 she was founding editor of Budget Living, which soon became a big commercial success and won a National Magazine Award for General Excellence after its first year. She and her husband now have a home in Athens.

-----Soon to arrive, moreover, will be internationally eminent artist Kiki Smith. She is the new owner, by means of a seven-figure purchase price, of the historic stone Van Vechten house (circa 1680) in Catskill. According to knowledgeable local artists, sculptures and prints made by Ms Smith grace many of the world’s most prominent museums. An exhibition called Kiki Smith: Her Home is about to open in Kunsthalle N√ºrnberg . “Combining a number of genres and materials, from plaster and porcelain sculpture to drawing and photography,” according to the official description, it “develops a metaphor-rich spectrum of lifestyles for women beyond marriage.”

-----Also in prospect as new GreeneLanders are V I P’s in print journalism and documentary films.

FALLING ROOF TILES have necessitated transfer of services for St Patricks Church congregants in Catskill this summer to the annex basement (once the scene of bingo games). On the positive side, the new location brings worshippers closer together, the better to hear sermons delivered by their part-time priest, Rick Shaw (yes, that’s his real name), whose weekday work is in GreeneLand’s two State prisons.

“CATSKILL FEVER” is title of a song album/CD that was launched recently (Saturday, 8/30) by Kitty Kelly and her band at, appropriately, the Shamrock House in East Durham. The title track celebrates Irish culture as it flourishes in GreeneLand, as Ms Kelly knows from personal experience.

COOL TOWN? Catskill will soon be the setting for a CBS weekend television news show. The prospect stems from its inclusion in the recent Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel magazine article on America’s “coolest” small towns. Meanwhile, the head of the firm that supplies fiberglass figures for street art promotions all around the country dropped by recently, says Chamber of Commerce manager Linda Overbaugh, and rated Catskill’s Cat ‘n Around project as “most successful in the whole country since the original Cows On Parade in Chicago.”

“CAIRO,” says an exasperated native, echoing The Joker in the Batman movie, “needs an enema.” He was talking about the chronic in-fighting. The feuding firefighters. Town Council factionalism. Concerted attacks on reasonable school budget proposals. Bitter, deeply personal divisions over the Alden Terrace project. Devious, malicious, defamatory, dishonest treatment of the newcomers (hippies! freaks! a cult! druggies!) who propose to use their farm property to cultivate (danger! security risk!) a novel kind of art.

9/11. Some GreeneLand schools devoted a moment of silence in remembrance of victims of World Trade Center attack. Catskill’s schools, we understand, did not take part in that exercise.

NEW MALADY?. “Gregory J. Jerome, 22, of Hudson and formerly of Queens, died Monday, Sept. 8, 2008 at Columbia Memorial Hospital,” says The Daily Mail (9/9), “of an unexpected death.”

NEW OFFENSE? “On Sept. 7 the State police at Catskill charged Andrew W. Wolmy, 46, of Tannersville,” says the aforementioned organ (9/8), “with driving while ability involved by drugs and alcohol.”

EVENTS in Catskill this weekend (for example) are named in the Village web site --“Stomp & Tap,” “Guns vs. Hoses,” “Radio Disney,” “Bubba Bean BBQ”—but promised details are missing. In most cases the “address,” “e-mail” and “contact” lines are blank.

-----Anyhow, one of the more esoteric special events is a series of talks on Hudson River School of Art topics, as presented by student researchers who have been docents at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, with comments by experts. Tomorrow from 1pm. Details:

-----Also on Saturday, from 3pm, up at the Kaaterskill Fine Arts Gallery in Hunter, Don Mack, the artist and author, elucidates “How Objects Speak.” (518-263-2060)

-----For this coming Friday, the event of choice for GreeneLanders could well be the “Vocal Vixens” show, “a unique and intimate acoustic evening” starring dishy divas Lex Grey and Amy Serrago (backed by hubbies Victor Deuglio & Yves-Gerard Goldberg). Wine and dessert go with the music. Advance purchase of tickets—call 943-7465, extension 4--earns a discount. All the money goes to sustain a good cause: the Carol T. Savage Art Trail Docent Training Program, connected with the Thomas Cole National Historic Site.

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