Friday, June 22, 2007

Et tu, Dylan?

Some guy named Bob Dylan rehearsed with his band at the Bardavon this week.

(The Freeman will have the story Saturday).

Photos and recordings were NOT allowed.

And no photographers will be allowed next week at the concert at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, Bethel Woods, either.

Upon hearing about this, a coworker raised an interesting issue: Why this God-like status for a songwriter whose greatest times were more than three decades ago? (“‘Modern Times’ notwithstanding,” I would have added).

And how many times is “Bob Dylan rehearses at the Bardavon -- again” going to be a story?

In the trade, we like to call that concept “reader fatigue”: As something happens more often, it becomes less unusual and less interesting, and readers stop ... well, reading.

(How many stories or photos of Middle East violence — or a starving refugee from Darfur, etc. — do you have to see or read before you stop paying attention?)

So next time Dylan shows up at the Bardavon (and he’s said he will -- and you can't go to that one, either), will that be news?

Full Disclosure: Chris Silva, the executive director of the Bardavon, saw his idol close and personal (I told him -- for all of you readers -- that he sucks).

I said that to him (in a jovial manner, by the way) because I’m planning to go to the June 29 concert (lawn tickets are modestly priced). And I’m probably just going to see Dylan as a dot on a stage next to a big screen with a half-second delay.

We’ll see.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Book note

Some readers wanted to know how to get Shari Aber’s book, “A Kayaker’s Guide to the Hudson River Valley: The Quieter Waters, Rivers, Creeks, Lakes and Ponds.” The Freeman featured the New Paltz resident and her book in today’s Life section.
The publisher is Black Dome Press. You can order the book by calling (800) 513-9013 or online at
For more information, call (518) 734-6357.

The story that hasn't happened (yet)

A multi-media project was set to take over Kingston for 24 hours a few weeks from now. And the Freeman was going to cover it.

Called “Kingston 24,” the project set out to record the city in a variety of ways in a 24-hour period.

“Unfortunately, this project has been postponed indefinitely.”

That was Arthur Zaczkiewicz, one of the organizers.

“We're looking for a physical space that would accommodate the work, which would include photos, video and audio (oral histories) as well as someone kind enough to host a Web site for the project,” Zaczkiewicz said via e-mail.

As Pink Floyd used to say, “Is there anybody out there?”

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Payola pays off

A long time ago, in the far-away galaxy known as New York State, a whole bunch of record companies -- and later radio conglomerates -- settled lawsuits by then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (who now lives in a “green” mansion in Albany working as something else, I think).

The labels were paying the stations to get play for acts that apparently needed help — acts like Celine Dion, Green Day and U2, to name a few.

(Where’s Bono when you need him?)

From those settlements, a music fund was created. The music fund awarded $32 million to 371 music projects throughout the state, with more than a dozen area groups benefiting. Life had the skinny in January.

This week’s Preview showcases the Maverick season, which also received one such grant. If you’ve noticed, a great many Previews have featured acts that came to the area thanks to those grants. Black Mozart, Michelle Shocked and Ladysmith Black Mambazo are but a few that come to mind.

What follows is the area list of who received how much and for what. The complete one is available at

Grants List

June 2006
Deep Listening Institute (Kingston) $65,000
To support Deep Listening Convergence 2007 presenting workshops, open rehearsals and live performances for in-person and online audiences.
Dutchess County Arts Council (Poughkeepsie) $16,000
To support the Hudson River Arts Festival which includes a series of folk music performances featuring African-American gospel, Puerto Rican jibaro and salsa, and bluegrass at different venues in Hudson Valley.
Hudson Opera House (Hudson) $100,000
To support the 06/07 presentation series featuring Afro-Cuban, flamenco, Latin American, classical and jazz music, as well as educational and artist workshops related to the performances.
Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural and Sports Center (East Durham) $45,000
For Catskills Irish Arts Week featuring performances, singing and over 60 daily music classes in new and traditional Irish Folk music.
The Olana Partnership (Hudson) $16,000
For a series of performances from a variety of musicians and musical genres such as pop, soul, bluegrass and swing.
Potential Unlimited Productions (Poughkeepsie) $37,000
To support the Summer Music Institute and Fall Mini-Institute projects which allow adult, performing artists with developmental disabilities from throughout New York State to develop their natural talents, explore performance media, hone skills, perform and network with other performing artists with and without disabilities.
Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson) $100,000
For The Blackamoor Angel, a new opera in three acts written by Carl Hancock Rux with music by Nancy Zi and Grisha Coleman.
Unison Arts and Learning Center (New Paltz) $80,000
To support a series of live performances showcasing a variety of artists from genres such as hip-hop, electronic music, zydeco, Cajun, folk or hula-blues.

December 2006

Arm-of-the-Sea Theater (Malden on Hudson) $12,000
For a series of free public performances throughout the eastern half of New York State in collaboration with different local partners showcasing music by Dean Jones, Juan Basilio Sanchez and the Big Sky Ensemble in a number of shows of the company’s repertoire.
Bard College/Bard High School Early College (Annandale-on-Hudson) $100,000
To support the expansion of contemporary music education through artist residencies that will include performances, workshops and classes open to community residents and students; and for creating a new after-school music program.
Bardavon 1869 Opera House (Poughkeepsie) $195,000
To support 36 performances of contemporary music in Poughkeepsie and Kingston through the Bardavon/UPAC Mainstage Series, the Bardavon’s Hudson Valley Philharmonic Symphony Concert Series, and the free Hudson River Arts Festival.
Catskill Mountain Foundation (Hunter) $100,000
For the year-round Music on the Mountain, presenting an eclectic lineup of concerts in genres from classical to folk to jazz, in partnership with various local arts organizations.
Center for Creative Education (Stone Ridge) $130,000
For the collaboration with the Kingston City School District to utilize the Carnegie Library building for teaching music and music technology through training in digital composition, sound recording, podcasting, video music production, and acoustic instrumental music; and as a rehearsal space for music and dance ensembles.
Maverick Concerts (Woodstock) $44,000
To commission and premiere a chamber orchestra version of the opera Final Alice by David Del Tredici that will be professionally recorded for broadcast over public stations WMHT and WRHV to reach a wider audience throughout the region.
Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural and Sports Centre (East Durham) $63,000
For the Catskills Irish Arts Week 2007 presenting concerts, music activities and over 70 music classes in new and traditional Irish folk music.
Mount Saint Mary College (Newburgh) $58,000
For a series of free community education music classes and a free concert series, featuring genres such as African, Caribbean, klezmer, jazz and Brazilian music.
Planet Arts (Catskill) $30,000
For Jazz in the Hudson Valley, a comprehensive initiative that will provide jazz programming from New York City to Albany through performances, open rehearsals, student and adult workshops and lectures in Ulster, Greene and Columbia counties.
Soundscape Presents (Accord) $57,000
To present, record and distribute via CD and radio broadcast a public concert of the Trombone Shout Band, featuring trombonist Roswell Rudd and the Rondout Valley High School.
Unison Arts and Learning Center (New Paltz) $75,000
For Unison’s Performance Series, live concerts from a variety of musical genres including jazz, blues, folk, ‘new’ country, Tex-Mex, gospel, Latin, Cuban rumba, Parisian cafe tunes and retro-hip.
Woodstock Guild of Craftsmen (Woodstock) $75,000
For Roots and Traditional Music showcasing both emerging and established artists of the Hudson Valley playing American roots music, indie rock and folk; local bluegrass banjo greats; and women singer/songwriters who sing blues, jazz, folk and pop.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

Emma Roberts

The Associated Press talked to the actress, who was borned and raised in Rhinebeck, about her new movie, "Nancy Drew" (note that I'm going to hammer your head with the Rhinebeck hook as much as possible - 'tis my job, after all).

Check out the Freeman Saturday.

3-D Preview

Today’s Preview features Upstate Films, the independent movie house in Rhinebeck, which is celebrating 35 years (other independent houses around the area include Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock and the Rosendale Theater in ... duh!).

Grab a pair of 3-D glasses (or red and blue cellophane) and look at the cover.

Nice, isn’t it?

I love print.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Open letter to public relation agencies from New York City

Dear (public relation agency name):

The Freeman received your invitation for (name of tiny event plugging tiny product/artist) at (name of tiny club in Manhattan). Thanks.

Although the Freeman is only 100 MILES AWAY from New York City, we are a community newspaper and only cover local events and people. If far away, we only cover events that have a local angle.

Please be mindful that people using your (soup/soap/etc) in our area is not enough of a news hook for us to do a story.

But you are welcome to keep sending us your (soup/soap/etc). We’ll be happy to throw it away for you.


(Name of tiny -- and mean -- editor)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Nancy Drew is from Rhinebeck!

Emma Roberts, borned and raised in Rhinebeck, plays Nancy Drew in the film version inspired by the popular mystery stories from back in the day (full disclosure: I have read none of them).

I found this little tidbit via alert editor Dwayne Kroohs (I told you he was super), who left me a note in my desk. Roberts is Tinseltown royalty, the daughter of Oscar-nominated actor Eric Roberts and niece of Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts.

The movie opens June 15. Preview will have the review (full disclosure: I won't see the movie).

Friday, June 8, 2007

Caught by the Web

To google or not to google?

That is not the question. The answer, after all, is "to google" -- to search a name online. That's now common practice in newsrooms (or should be. After all, I can only speak for what we do here about one of the many tools we use to gather information).

In the BEFORE TIME, you had to go to the library. In the NOW TIME, the library can come to you (Check out the Mid-Hudson Library System).

Nobody can deny how easy is to gather information on anybody online. It's scary, I know.
It also is amazing, for the same reason (which actually makes it more frightening).

As a tool to gather information, the Web is good because it makes it easier for us to do our jobs (after all, all the reliable sources have gone online as well). It also is bad because there is a lot -- and I mean a lot -- of horribly unreliable information that many tend to believe as fact (Wikipedia, anyone?).

TANGENT ALERT: What? You didn't know Wikipedia's user-generated database is unreliable? The site, in fact, is as reliable as what you hear on the street. Granted, a lot of the information is correct. But a lot is not. Translation: unreliable.

I can go on and on about the whole online thing, which is freaking out and (at the same weird time) exciting newsrooms around the country.

So we write blogs now. But we also are concerned that many other blogs -- especially the anonymous ones coming from a guy in a basement (you know the one) -- are not only giving you bad information but misrepresenting what the press reports.

Because of that perspective, I had a blog before we started this little adventure. Its only entry said, "Friends don't let friends write blogs."

The irony has not escaped me, believe me.
At least you can say that statement comes from a reliable source.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Preview update

Rapper Q-tip got cold feet, apparently, and won't be at the Bardavon's Roy Hargrove Big Band concert in Poughkeepsie on Friday (official reason, of course, is scheduling conflicts).
Singer-songwriter Bilal will replace him (he's good too).

Want to know more?

Preview. Friday.


A slightly edited e-mail exchange:

“I am surprised that the Life section of the Freeman does not have a book review section. I believe it would be interest to your readers.”
— Joe Vadalma, Saugerties

I agree. But we don't have the manpower we'd like to in order to do that.
Instead, what we have is a book page every Thursday, featuring a book and its author.

We do write stories about area books and events, and we run the Top 10 Most Requested books at Mid-Hudson area libraries and the best-sellers from independent bookstores every Thursday as well — all new features within the last few years.

And the first Thursday of every month, we have Book Notes, featuring all area book events, who's getting published, getting awards, etc.

Having reviews would require us to use one of the two Life reporters reading the submissions — and we get dozens and dozens — and I just can't have her do that if she (Bonnie Langston) is to write other stories for the Life section.

“Curiously, how do you choose which authors you highlight in your Thursday feature?”

We put all book submissions together and, depending on newsworthiness, choose the ones that have more local hooks (author's town, relevance to the Hudson Valley, timeliness, etc).
Not every book makes it into a story, but all make it into book notes, if we get all the relevant information.

Send us the book, with a small bio and contact information, and we'll take it from there.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Good weekends are bad for Preview

Not really.

What I meant to write was that when there is a weekend full of huge events -- like the one coming up -- there are a great many things we’d like to write about.
And we simply don’t have the space.

The Cowboy Junkies are coming to Bearsville. A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip is the special guest at the Roy Hargrove Big Band concert at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie. There’s a kayak festival at the Rondout waterfront in Kingston. The Catskill Animal Sanctuary is having its "shindig" this weekend. This great, humoungous and diverse list goes on and on.

Any of these would make a great cover for Preview, our Friday entertainment magazine.
And none of them are.

The thing is, we’ve been working on the cover story for a while now (Classics on the Mountains). And it is not like I can just move a story up or down the section — there can be only one cover story, after all.

And that means that the more events we highlight in the rest of the section, the less space we have to highlight them.

It is a terrible joy.

See what happens in Preview.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

A global Freeman

Some of you may have noticed some strange Spanish comments on this blog.
That’s called global reach.

Those comments -- from a Spanish teacher and lifelong friend of mine -- are not from the valley, but from Texas. The blogs have had hits from all over the country. Many people with ties to the Hudson Valley still check us out online.

It is an amazing testament of this not-so-new-anymore wired era we live in today, a byproduct of the globalization wave which brings excitement and fear in many of us.

I can’t control what or how people post in this space. As I said before, this space also is yours.

So don’t be afraid to use it (until my job gets outsourced to India, at least).

Friday, June 1, 2007

No more cat hugs

A mean white car ran over my cat Lapiz shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday on Prince Street in Kingston.

He twitched wildly for two minutes and silently died in my arms while still warm and bleeding while the neighbors watched in a weird moment of anger and sadness.

The car never stopped.

But as sad as this is for me and those who knew Lapiz, this is not news. There’s no journalistic value in any of this and my pain is irrelevant. I am keenly aware of that.

But I had told you I was going to write about life.

And nobody said it was going to be pretty.