Friday, September 19, 2008

September Mourn

RUDIE BERKHOUT, a master of what he called “painting with light,” died on Tuesday (9/16) of heart failure, at home in Cairo in the house that he had designed and constructed. He was 61 years of age and had appeared to be in good health.

------A native of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Mr Berkhout lived in Hong Kong for a year as an adult, traveled through South East Asia, lived in New York City, then settled, 22 years ago, in GreeneLand. His working life was devoted largely to the nascent art of holography and to his partner of 37 years, Hudson Talbott.

----- Mr Berkhout had been planning to show and explain his latest artistic efforts this Saturday, during the scheduled tour of artists’ studios, at his and Mr Talbott’s Play of Light gallery in Catskill. That space was the showplace not only for holographic pictures, but also for products of Novia Lighting Innovation. Utilizing low-voltage lasers and holographic diffraction, those products make it possible--as the company web site declares and as Seeing Greene’s staff can attest from direct experience--“with the flip of a switch” to “scatter jewels of light over any surface, turning your room into a dream palace or your backyard into a garden of delights.”

------Holographic creations by Mr Berkhout have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Japan, Italy, Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, Spain and Australia as well as in the United States. They have been exhibited, and in some cases they are installed permanently, in galleries, museums, and company headquarters in New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Alaska, California, Illinois, South Carolina, North Carolina, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota.

------A Spanish reviewer once credited Mr Berkhout with “a sensitivity of extremely sophisticated registers and a spirituality characteristic of an artist of the next century….” Berkhout’s “ludic approximation to a medium characterized by being immaterial,” Vicente Carreton continued, ”responds to an interior need to recognize himself, and perhaps in this way to situate himself in the what has been denominated the hologenic strength of his images is nothing but the conceptualization of genuine holographic aesthetics fascinated with the ideas of hyperspace, virtual and real space, parallel realities, and reverse time.” That poorly translated bafflegab does not represent Mr Berkhout. It does serve to remind his friends of his great enthusiasm for cutting-edge technologies and his daunting attempts at elucidation.

-------In a book about State birds that he wrote and illustrated, Mr Talbott hailed Rudie as “the wind beneath my wings.”

-------Surviving Mr Berkhout, in addition to Mr Talbott, are two brothers, Peter and Freddie; a sister, Henriette; and his mother, Helene. Memorial services are being planned.

SHOW TIME. Tonight’s the night of the “Vocal Vixens” show, when top pop singers Lex Grey and Amy Serrago battle and blend musically in a splendid new space: 361 Main Street, Catskill, in what formerly—before a transformative experience—was the Orens Furniture store. The ladies will be rocking the house starting at 8pm. Tickets cost $35 at the door. Advance purchase at $25 can be made at Hood & Co., City Lights and Mahalo on Main Street, or at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site’s visitor center, 218 Spring St, Catskill. A ticket earns wine and dessert along with great music. (Yes, this sound likes promotional advertising. The show is a fund-raiser for a good cause).

MORE SHOW. Commencing tomorrow, in and near downtown Catskill, from noon, is a tour not just of art galleries, but of artists’ studios as well. Among points of special interest will be famed artist Mark Beard’s sprawling work space, the former Christ Presbyterian Church, at 6 Franklin Street; the Thomas Cole National Historic Site off Spring Street; and the Village’s newest gallery, opened by Tom and D’Anne Gibson in their historic home at 42 Prospect Avenue and showcasing pictures by the eminent Lawrence Calcagno (1913-93). Sign-ups sheets for the tour, with maps, are available at the Arts Council headquarters on Main Street. Following the tour comes the monthly galleries exposition. The recently opened Day & Holt Gallery at 349 Main Street will be showing works by Rebecca Synan, Peggy Greason and Anne Dunne at 349 Main Street. Frank Cuthbert will reopen his BRIK gallery for the occasion, showing his personal collection of art works. At the All Arts Matter shop, at 347 Main Street, official historian Richard Philp will display and discuss historic images from his upcoming book on the Village of Catskill.

CONNECTIONS? A correspondent who chooses to be anonymous says, sarcastically, “how nice” it is that police officer Andrew Jones, a member of the Catskill district school board, “is now a school employee,” and that Dawn Scannapieco, “former board member” also “is now a school employee. It pays to have connections.” In the case of Officer Jones, the reference is to his reappointment by Village Police Chief Dave Darling as the school resource officer, with an increase in hours devoted to security and counseling. In the case of Ms Scannapieco, the reference is to her appointment by the school board as Principal of the elementary school, after which she resigned from the board. According to unconfirmed reports, Ms Scannapieco was chosen although the board’s own screening committee had recommended a different candidate. Incidentally, Daily Freeman correspondent William Kemble reported (9/17) that Officer Jones “declined to comment about [his] reappointment. He said he could not ‘talk to the papers’ either as a school board member without permission from the board president or as a village employee without approval from Darling.”

CRIME FRONT. Aaron Beojekian, 24, of Freehold, resigned recently from the Greene County Sheriff’s staff of jail guardians. He had been charged back in January with inflicting sexual abuse on a male inmate. After many adjournments at his request, the case came to Village Court in late June. Beojekian then accepted a plea bargain, we understand, in which the sexual abuse charge was dropped, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of official misconduct, he paid a fine of $655, and he resigned. According to a report that we have not confirmed, Beojekian’s victim has given notice of intention to bring a civil suit against the county, claiming that he incurred damage from the mishandling by Sheriff’s Department heads of his complaint. The mistreatment took place in 2007, before the new sheriff, Greg Seeley, took office and appointed Steve Worth to succeed Bill Fitzmaurice as undersheriff.

------*Michael Condine has been indicted by GreeneLand’s grand jurors in connection with the extraction from the trunk of Frank McDonald’s car of packets of greenbacks. He remains in the county jail. His initial arraignment on grand larceny charges was done by Village Justice William Wooton, not (as incorrectly reported here) by a County judge.

------*Travis Augustine, 23, has been indicted on four criminal counts in connection with the suspected murder of Catskillian Martha Conners and the slaughter of one of her dogs. That step, as recounted by District Attorney Terry Wilhelm, is reported in today’s (9/19) Daily Mail.

------*For “making two sales of crack cocaine to an undercover officer at the Budget Inn of Athens,” says a Greenville Press report (9/6), Darnell Fraser, 22, “was indicated.”

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