Thursday, January 31, 2008

Richard Thompson

British singer-songwriter and amazing guitarist Richard Thompson is coming to the Bardavon, 35 Market St., Poughkeepsie, on April 17 at 8 p.m. for an acoustic evening.

Tickets range from $40 to $50, depending on location.

Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. Friday (members have been able to buy them since 11 a.m. today)

You can buy them at the Bardavon Box Office, 35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie or by calling (845) 473-2072; at the Ulster Performing Arts Center , 601 Broadway Kingston or by calling (845) 339-6088; and online at or by calling (845) 454-3388.

You might remember him from his time with Fairport Convention.

And, as you know, he never stopped.
Check this out:

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine listed Thompson as 19 on its list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time (the winner was Jimmy Hendrix).

His work includes more than 40 albums and some of his songs have been recorded by his fans, like Bonnie Raitt, David Byrne and Elvis Costello.

He scored Werner Hertzog's 2005 documentary, "Grizzly Man."

His Web site,, has tons of stuff you'll love.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Leggo my Lego!

The Lego League Tournament takes place at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in Falcon Hall at Dutchess Community College on Pendell Road in Poughkeepsie. The competition is focusing on robotics, showing how far the blocks have come in 50 years. The tournament is for children ages 6 to 14. Call (845) 431-8421.

Why am I telling you this? So I can unabashedly post this:

A history lesson that will make you dance

As you know, during the 16th Century, Peru was a colony (a "Viceroyalty" to be precise).

The Spanish Inquisition, which nobody expects, didn't feel it had oppressed and beaten people enough. So it placed a ban on drums for slaves, who were brougth to the country from many different parts of Africa to prevent them from developing a culture or identity.

Unfortunately for the culturally-challenged colonizers, the slaves would have none of it. Forced to work in farms, slaves used fruit crates, Catholic collection boxes and even the lower jawbone of donkeys to create a remarkable and infectious sound, as culture and identity was forming anew.

This tradition is alive and well today (the music, not the slavery!) thanks to the late Ronaldo Campos de la Colina. In his succesful effort to preserve black Peruvian tradition more than 30 years ago, Colina and his family fused the percussion, acoustic guitars, vocals and dances like "zapateo" (a funky and fun tap dance) into a company.

The result was Peru Negro ("Perú" to be precise), now "Cultural Ambassadors" — officially — for the South American country. The Grammy-nominated group performed in 1995 with Carlos Santana in his triumphal return to Lima, the Peruvian capital where the group is from.

TANGENT: Santana was kicked out of the country by a whacky military government in 1971 for being an "alineating" force. Because, you know, when you think of "gringos" and "yankis," you think of Carlos Santana.
Here is a video of the ensemble, now comprised of a score of singers, dancers and musicians.

Peru Negro has embarked on a tour of 45 U.S. cities to promote its new album, "Zamba Malató," released a week ago. The company is stopping Tuesday at 10 a.m. and noon at the Bardavon, 35 Market St., Poughkeepsie, and at 10 p.m. Wednesday at the Ulster Performing Arts Center, 601 Broadway, Kingston.

Tickets are a modest $10. For more information call Kay Churchill at (845) 473-5288, extension 106 or send an e-mail to

Full disclosure: I'm from Peru, I've seen the group and I love them.
I can guarantee you that if you see them, you'll love them too (but I can't help you with the "being from Peru" part).

Here's another video that'll make you dance (see if you spot the jawbone):

Monday, January 28, 2008

Potty humor and UPAC, part II

George Carlin's March 16 performance at 7 p.m. at the Ulster Performing Arts Center has been confirmed.

For more information, visit UPAC's Web site, which will send you to George Carlin's Web site, which will send you to Ticketmaster's Web site, which won't have any information available until Friday at 11 p.m., when tickets go on sale.

Bardavon/UPAC members get to buy their tickets Thursday at 11 a.m.

Bathrooms are important?

"Public amenities are extremely important to the customer," said Bardavon executive director Chris Silva, who runs the Ulster Performing Arts Center on Broadway in Kingston.

You would think that would go without saying. But that is actually one of the reasons UPAC will close for the summer, as reported by Paul Kirby in today's Freeman.

Here's an interesting line from that story:

"The rest room plans first must meet the approval of the city Planning Board."

Since Silva has to ask for permission to have a bathroom, one wonders if there is an anti-bathroom lobby out there or if you have to ask for permission to use it.

Remeber, this is Kingston, land of the boots. So who knows?

I know. the plan is an expansion, so the Planning Board has to be involved (to plan, see?)
The board is set to discuss the proposal at 6 p.m. Feb. 11 at City Hall.

Building unintended consequences

The Lego building block turns 50 today.

Below is a witty (and rated R) misuse of Lego's blocks and characters.

Hudson Valley rocks Utah

Big time.

The Sundance Film Festival ended Sunday, and local filmmakers and actors were honored.

You wouldn't know that from the Sundance site, but the Freeman and the Woodstock Film Festival have the skinny.

And yes, Sundance also is on MySpace and on YouTube.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How do you like them apples?

"New Paltz schools buying apples from out of state," even though the school district is surrounded by apple farms and Ulster County is the second largest apple-producing county in the state.

You truly can't make this stuff up.

And there actually is an explanation for all of this.

It's the transportation, stupid.

Something is rotten at the core of this whole thing, pun fully intended.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oscar time

If you feel like watching an Oscar-nominated movie this weekend, you're lucky.
What follows are the nominated flicks and what theater is screening them:

"No Country for Old Men":
* Roosevelt Cinemas, Route 9, Hyde Park. (845) 229-2000.

"There Will be Blood":
* Lyceum Six, Route 9, Red Hook. (845) 758-3311.
* Orpheum, Saugerties (845) 246-6551.

* Rosendale Theatre, Main Street, Rosendale. (845) 658-8989.
* Regal Cinemas at the Hudson Valley Mall, town of Ulster. Visit

* New Paltz Cinemas, New Paltz Plaza, Route 299. (845) 255-0420.
* Roosevelt Cinemas, Route 9, Hyde Park. (845) 229-2000.
* Regal Cinemas at the Hudson Valley Mall, town of Ulster.

"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly":
* Upstate Films, Route 9, Rhinebeck. (845) 876-2515.

"The Savages"
* Upstate Films.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blind Boys of Alabama in Bearsville

The legendary group The Blind Boys of Alabama is coming to the Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker St., Bearsville, Saturday at 9 p.m.

Tickets are $48 reserved, $33 at the door.

Check out some sounds from the Boys at their Web site, which includes tracks from their upcoming album, "Down in New Orleans."
The album, which hits stores Jan. 29, gets a review in Preview on Friday.
Opening for them is Bret Mosley, whose latest album, "Light & Blood," was released by the label Woodstock MusicWorks in December. Freeman reviewer David Malachowski said "the whole album is like a hot summer night."

Hot, indeed.

As always, all the parties involved in this post -- The Blind Boys of Alabama, Bret Mosley, David Malachowski, yours truly and even the Bearsville Theater -- are on MySpace.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger is dead

A New York Police Department spokesman says the actor Heath Ledger ("Brokeback Mountain") has been found dead at a downtown Manhattan residence, the Associated Press reported.

Here's the story.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Holy xxxx!

The man whose comedy routine somehow ended up in the Supreme Court (FCC v. Pacifica Foundation) because of "seven dirty words" -- sxxx, pxxx, fxxx, cxxx, cxxxxxxxxx, mxxxxxxxxxxx and txxx -- is coming to Kingston.

George Carlin will perform at the Ulster Performing Arts Center on Broadway in Kingston on March 16 at 7 p.m., according to his Web site.

I have no idea where you can get tickets at this point. UPAC has not announced it yet, though I received the tip from Chris Silva, executive director of the Bardavon, which runs the Broadway venue. So information will be surfacing soon.

Call UPAC, (845) 339-6088 and ask them what's up.

We certainly will do that, and will keep you posted.

Must see TV

And as relevant as ever.

More, more, MORE

Judging from this site's hits, it seems your pets are way, way more popular than any of my words.

No surprise there.

So I'll shut up and give you some more.

There are more to come.

Friday, January 18, 2008

More pets

What follows are some of the entries from last year's Freeman Pets Best Looks Category.

Don't forget to send your submission for this year's contest.

Joe Jackson!

Salivating (his word) city editor Jeremy "I'm going to have a heart attack!" Schiffres pointed out to me today that Joe Jackson is coming to the Ulster Performing Arts Center on April 12 at 8 p.m.

Tickets range from $35 to $60 and are available through Ticketmaster.

See? Good news. Over and over (see posts below).


Jackon's new album, "Rain," is coming out Jan. 29.

Visit for more information.

Below is a video of Jackson's "Steppin' Out."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The return of the King

Legend B.B. King is playing the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie on March 7 at 8 p.m.

Tickets, via Ticketmaster, range from $42.50 to $47.50.

Readers may remember that in 1998, when B. B. King was scheduled to perform at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston, the bluesman refused to get off his tour bus.

"Lucille," King's guitar, was on a different bus and was yet to arrive. The mayor of the city, the late T.R. Gallo, sent city police officers to find the bus, whose driver was going around town trying to find UPAC.

(Which begs the question, how do you get lost trying to find UPAC?)

Gallo set up a police escort to find the guitar and bring it to the Broadway venue (and nowadays people complain about overtime!)

''Well, the police come tearing up Broadway with this bus that had nothing on it but a guitar and the crowd roars and then B.B. runs on stage, holding the guitar above his head and says, 'I want to thank the mayor of Kingston for saving my Lucille,' '' said a laughing Ron Marquette, UPAC's then executive director, in an interview with the New York Times.

Kingston Mayor James Sottile should make note of that. If he were to go to Poughkeepsie and Lucille gets lost again, the mayor could go outside and save the day himself.

After all, he's got boots.


The Hudson Valley's Murali Coryell is opening for King.
Coryell - whom you can spot at different area venues periodically - has toured with King before.

Since you won't find the Freeman's story online (our Web archives go back to 1999) I'm posting the Freeman's own story from October 20, 1998:

Gallo helps B.B. King find lost love


Freeman staff

KINGSTON - As master bluesman B.B. King hunkered down in his tour bus, it was clear that the 73-year-old guitarist wasn't moving until Lucille - the cherished love of his life - was found.

“He wasn't coming out without her," said Ron Marquette, artistic director for the Ulster Performing Arts Center.

To King, Lucille is everything.

On Sunday night, she'd taken a wrong turn on a bus, led astray, nearly alone, somewhere in Kingston, people guessed.

About 1,500 people were waiting for King to perform his classic blues-style play at the Broadway theater, but Lucille - King's signature model semi- hollow Gibson guitar - was lost. The concert would not begin until Lucille, packed on a second bus, was put squarely into his hands.

"The place was packed and I had to tell them something," Marquette said Monday. "I just got on the microphone and I said we have a bit of a problem. Lucille is lost on a bus."

Enter Mayor T.R Gallo and the Kingston Police Department.

"I talked with (Marquette) and he told me Lucille was on the bus and it was lost," Gallo said.

Undaunted, Gallo lumbered onto King's bus and told the bluesman not be blue. King's performance was to start at 8:10 p.m.

"I assured him that we would do everything we could do," Gallo said.

Gallo's call went out to police with a, well, obvious clue. The missing bus had "B.B. King written all over it," the mayor said.

Sgt. James Brophy took the call. He dispatched a couple patrol cars, out to the Thruway circle and Uptown.

Meanwhile, concert-goers ventured outside the arts center, to take in warm air. Others waited for King to emerge from the tour bus, Marquette said.

"There was quite a gathering on the street," Marquette said. "There was a kind of community friendliness."

Marquette knew, though, that geniality might turn to hostility if Lucille weren't found soon. Concert-goers paid between $30 and $50 a ticket.

But about 15 minutes after Gallo made his call to police, Officer Patrick Scanlon found it on Washington Avenue, near Greenkill Avenue.

Two flashing-light patrol cars - one in front, one in back – escorted Lucille's bus to her destination.

Marquette said the guitar was delivered to King, a rousing cheer rose up from onlookers, and he started his show 40 minutes late.

"He walked on stage and comes out holding Lucille over his head and there was just a major standing ovation," Marquette said.

At the concert's end, Gallo was brought on stage by King and thanked for his effort in finding the guitar, an instrument with a body of laminated maple and an ebony fingerboard.

Gallo rallied the crowd: "Does Kingston love B.B. King?" The audience roared.

Sidney Seidenberg, King's manager, said the guitarist's ardor for the Gibson is, to say the least, intense. The guitar was named after a woman two men fought over in an Arkansas club that caught fire in the mid-1950s while he performed. King rescued his Gibson from the inferno and ever since each Gibson he plays is named Lucille.

Seidenberg said King had returned to the United States Saturday night from England, after playing alongside another blues perfectionist, Eric Clapton, during a concert in that country.

"B.B. says Lucille is his only love," Seidenberg said. "It is because it is the only girl that he knows that doesn't talk back to him.

When he puts her to sleep, she goes to sleep."

Tater Salad!

Comedian Ron White is coming to Kingston's Ulster Performing Arts Center in early May.
Tickets go on sale Jan. 25.
The Freeman has the details.

More information is NOT available on White's Web site,, which is totally outdated.

For instance, in "What's New," White touts the time he spent with troops in Germany and Belgium.

On Thanksgiving.
In 2005.

But that's OK. He's probably drunk.

"In public."

Here's a clip of White talking abour hurricanes and the death penalty.

Give us your pets!

We have to make room for the flood of pet photo submissions for the Freeman's upcoming pet contest.

So I have to get rid of last year's images.

Instead of going to the virtual trash bin, I thought it would be cool to upload your photos into slide shows.

The following are but some of the photos for last year's best composition category.

Enjoy (we sure did).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More funny stuff

Saturday Night Live's "Goat Boy" ("Remember the '80s?") comedian Jim Breuer, known in New Paltz as a character in Dave Chappelle's "Half Baked," is coming to (where else?) SUNY New Paltz on April 13 at 8 p.m.

He's asking college students to send him pictures, since he's documenting the whole tour.

Details are available at

He's also on MySpace:

Funny stuff

Raunchy comedian Jim Norton is coming to Bananas Comedy Club in Poughkeepsie in early February for four shows.
He has appeared on his own Comedy Central special, HBO’s “Monster Rain”, and in radio's Opie & Anthony (you get the idea).

He's playing the venue at the Holiday Inn on Route 9 on Feb. 8 at 8 and 11 p.m. and Feb. 9 at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Tickets are hot and $25.

If you dare, here's a clip.

Norton also was a character on HBO's "Lucky Louie," the network's first traditional sitcom (with cursing, since it's HBO).
Useless trivia: The main character of the defunct sitcom is comedian and writer Louis C.K., who hides in Hudson.

Oh, yeah. Norton's Web site, appropriately, is
More goodies are available on his page on MySpace:

Monday, January 14, 2008

And the award for most award shows goes to ...

Did you see the Golden Globes Awards?

I didn’t either.

There was no ceremony, after all.

So if you did see anything at all, it was probably the “news” conference on NBC or E! with an entertainer reading quickly from a list.

You might also have been fortunate enough to recently miss the New York Film Critics Circle Awards (Jan. 7), the Critic’s Choice Awards (Jan 7) and the People’s Choice Awards (Jan. 8)

And the We-Can-Still-Make-More-Money-If-We-Make-Another-Awards-Show Awards.

Coming up:

* The Directors Guild of America Awards (Jan. 26)
* The Screen Actors Guild Awards (Jan. 27)
* The Grammy Awards (Feb. 10)
* The Cinema Audio Society Awards (Feb. 16)
* The Academy Awards (Feb. 24)

That's just what's coming up through February, and I'm pretty sure I missed at least a dozen other shows.
I used to joke that with so many awards shows, one of them was going to end up with an award.

Alas, that actually happens every year.

Case in point, The 79th Annual Academy Awards was nominated for seven Emmys last year.


At the end, The Oscars received two Emmys (as weird as that sounds), for Outstanding Art Direction For A Variety, Music Or Nonfiction Programming and Outstanding Music Direction.

And that's not the only weird thing.
I mean, if there are some many "outstanding" shows out there, how come there's nothing good to see on TV? (HBO doesn't qualify since "it's not TV").

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Meat pies!

"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" jumps from the big screen to the stage.
Begining Friday night, The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck on Route 308 is staging the bloody musical about the 19th Century London barber whose customers end up in pies.

There will be no blood on the stage (maybe), but there are assurances that there will be pies made with 100-percent pasture-raised, grass feed meat.

The Freeman's Bonnie Langston reports on the musical (and reveals if the pies have human parts.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


The American Dialect Society (yes, there is such a thing) voted "Subprime" as 2007's Word of the Year last week.

If you are a homeowner, you probably know why.

"Subprime" is an adjective used to describe a risky or less than ideal loan, mortgage, or investment. The housing crisis in the country raised the new word's profile last year.

The choice makes sense.

What doesn't, however, is "lolcat," a term I'm still trying to come to grips with. It was made infamous by Time Magazine, that bastion of hard news.

But what does "lolcat" mean?

A combination of "LOL" (laugh out loud) and, well, "cat," it refers to an odd or funny picture of a cat with a humorous and intentionally ungrammatical caption in large block letters. The pervasive cats are all over the Web with their grammatically incorrect musings. The dialect makes text messaging look like Shakespeare.

Exhibit A:

funny pictures
This image was taken from, which has hundreds of awfully spelled messages from very cute cats.
It's ridiculously funny and worrisome. And it's spreading.


Not only are there tons of sites dedicated to this disease, there's even a lolcat translator and the LOLCat Bible Translation Project, because, apparently, you can never offend Christians enough.

You can google it, but you'll have to live with the consequences.

Other words for 2007 were:

Green-: (prefix/compounding form) - Designates environmental concern, as in "greenwashing."
Surge: An increase in troops in a war zone.
Waterboarding an interrogation technique in which the subject is immobilized and doused with water to simulate drowning.
Googlegänger: A person with your name who shows up when you google yourself.

The full release can be found on the American Dialect Society's Web site (PDF).
Tangent: David K. Barnhardt of Hyde Park, by the way, is a member of the society.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Unfunny business

The following was made possible by the writers' strike.

* The Golden Globes Awards ceremony has been cancelled, the Associated Press reported today. It will be replaced by a news conference, which promises to be as unfunny as a White House Press briefing (although those can be amusing).

* "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" return tonight to Comedy Central, without their writers. Stewart and Colbert cannot write their own jokes, either. Here's a guess tonight's show is going to be unfunny and a ratings hit because people want to see what will happen.

Regardless of where one stands on this issue (and most are with the writers), this whole situation is becoming increasingly annoying. And it won't be long before the public starts blaming both sides. If they don't settle, Hollywood is going to be filled with even more reality shows.

"The Horror. The Horror," someone would write if they could.

Friday, January 4, 2008

YouTubing and other ways to waste your time

Now that we can finally ignore Iowa for another four years, we can focus on Iowa on YouTube, starting with the reason why Hussein toppled Clinton in the primary.

I'm referring, of course, to Barack (yes, Hussein) Obama and Hillary (apparently-no-longer Rodham) Clinton.

And the reason is none other than Obama Girl (according to Obama Girl):

Mike Huckabee fans can rejoice in the fact that his message was approved by Chuck Norris. No joke.

On to New Hampshire, where another small bunch of white people will set the tone for the rest of the presidential campaign.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

How crude!

Congratulations to dead dinosaurs!

Their oily remains, when put in a barrel, reached $100 for the first time ever today.

I believe the industry term for the fuel is "light, sweet crude." So light, sweet crude for February delivery ended up closing at $99.62 a barrel today, still a record that, surely, will soon be broken.

Again and again.

Curiously, I don't see anything light or sweet here.

Happy New Year!