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September 16, 2014
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Photos by Anya Tikka

NORTH BRANCH, NY — Cigar box guitars—made from cigar boxes, as the name suggests, or almost any other kind of box that serves as a resonator— have served generations of musicians. Some of them simply couldn’t afford to buy a regular guitar and some went on to become famous, including music legends Jimmy Hendrix and Paul McCartney, said Mike “Katfish” Karash at his recent workshops at the Old North Branch Inn. Most folks who play them don’t make it that far but simply enjoy playing or making the instruments.

When the water started to fall, my first thought was that it was raining. But the downpour seemed much closer and not muffled by the windows of our apartment.

My second thought was that I...

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Many people who venture outdoors will recognize the red-winged blackbird for what it is; a black bird with red or yellow shoulder patches. However, if the same people see a streaky brown bird...

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I got some shocked questions recently from friends horrified by gruesome reports of birds fatally burned mid-air at a solar energy facility in the Mohave Desert. Buried in the news coverage was...

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Yes, it’s here. Actually, by the time this column hits the stands, September’s full moon will have come and gone, but still… even if I wanted to stop the seasons from changing I cannot. Autumn has...

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I remember a very early morning when the Great South Bay where I grew up was smooth as glass. I had just gotten back from college, and I was very happy to be home. I stood on the beach and looked...

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Fifty years ago, on September 3, 1964, the Wilderness Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, following 60 drafts authored primarily by Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society...

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‘That perfect town’

Milford readies for 13th Black Bear Film Festival
MILFORD, PA — For more than a decade, Milford has proven to be an ideal place for a film festival. That’s what Jerry Beaver, founding president of the 13th annual Black Bear Film Festival (BBFF) thought 12 years ago when he dubbed Milford the “perfect town.”  Read more

The nightmare before Christmas

It’s no secret that winter is on the horizon. I don’t know about city folk, but here in the Upper Delaware River valley, we see the telltale signs everywhere. There has already been frost on the pumpkins, and squirrels are madly foraging for the abundance of acorns dotting the landscape this year—a sure sign that we had all better prepare to hunker down. Knowing the answer, I still visited the “country bible” at www.farmersalmanac.com, which did not allay my fears.  Read more

Music video post

A few weeks ago I wrote about my adventures of heading up to Scranton, PA and filming a music video for a friend’s local band, The Great Party. I finished the video yesterday and so this week I wanted to take you behind the scenes on the post-production process. A warning for the faint of heart, this is about to get real nerdy and technical.  Read more

Narrowsburg Music Day: From blues band to chamber music to jazz

NARROWSBURG, NY — Saturday, October 13 is Music Day and the highlight this year is a performance of “Green Sneakers,” written for string quartet and baritone. Composer Ricky Ian Gordon of Wurtsboro and New York City will attend the concert, which begins at 5 p.m. at the Tusten Theatre in Narrowsburg. The Voxare String Quartet performs along with baritone Jesse Blumberg.
Music Day is sponsored by the Delaware Valley Chamber Orchestra in partnership with the Tusten Historical Society and local businesses with additional support from a Sullivan County Arts and Heritage Grant.  Read more

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ comes to Milford Theater

MILFORD, PA — The classic comic musical “Little Shop of Horrors” will be performed at the Milford Theater on October 25, 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m., and October 28 at 2 p.m.

This production is a family affair, with husband and wife Bill and Melissa Thomas of City Stage serving as director and choreographer. Local teacher and performer Noreen Hanson appears as Ronette, with daughter Naomi Hanson in the ensemble cast. Musical director/pianist Sandy Stalter is joined by husband George on the drums, and daughter Kelsey who will appear onstage as Audrey.  Read more

Children’s pumpkin party

LIBERTY, NY — The Sullivan County Master Gardener Program is sponsoring a pumpkin decorating party for children 12 years and younger on Friday, October 19 at 5:30 p.m. There will be Halloween stories and games, cider and donuts and supplies to design a pumpkin for youth to take home. All must pre-register by calling 845/292-6180 or emailing cn55@cornell.edu. Cost is $5 per child. The party will be held at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County’s Gerald J. Skoda Extension Education Center on 64 Ferndale-Loomis Rd. Direct any questions to smd243@cornell.edu.

Dessin Animal Shelter benefit walk

LAKE ARIEL, PA — Dessin Animal Shelter’s “Walk n’ Wag” pet hike is on Sunday, October 14 at the Varden Conservation Area. Registration begins at 11 a.m. in the teaching pavilion and the hike begins at noon. Visit www.dessinshelter.com/resources/Pet+Hike+Pledge+Form.pdf to print out a pledge form. For more information call 570/253-4037.

Sunday Night Cinema film series

HONESDALE, PA — The Wayne County Arts Alliance’s (WCAA) Sunday Night Cinema series, “Sailing the Silver Screen,” continues with “Master and Commander” on October 14 at 8:15 p.m. at the Cinema 6 movie theater.

A donation of $5 per person is suggested, to help support the activities of the WCAA. The film will be preceded by a short introduction and followed by a discussion. Visit www.waynecountyartsalliance.org or call 570/390-4420.

Stand-up comedy at The Nutshell

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Standup comic Dan St. Germain, seen on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” will headline “The Laugh Tour” at The Nutshell on State Rt. 52 on October 13 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Featured comedian Joe Larson, known for appearances with the “Tonight Show’s” Laugh Squad, will also appear.

Tickets are available online for $15 at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/278313 until noon on the day of the show, or for $20 at the door.

Red-tailed hawk: a raptor aptly named

For several weeks in late August, I had the pleasure of observing a young red-tailed hawk almost daily along Route 97 near Ten Mile River. The bird was usually perched on a wire with its back to the road as it steadily observed a meadow for potential meals—a practice known as still-hunting. One day I found it facing the road and managed to take several photos before it took flight.  Read more

Haunted house Halloween party

HASBROUCK, NY — A community Halloween party will be thrown October 31 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the temporarily renamed Old Stone “Haunted” House of Hasbrouck at 282 Hasbrouck Rd.

Kids and their families are welcomed under the rain-or-shine pavilion and on walking (or perhaps crawling) tours through the historic building itself. There, visitors will come face to face with witches, goblins, ghouls and zombies. It’s even possible that a genuine ghost haunts the structure, since this was the site of a mysterious murder back in 1840, after which unexplained events continued to occur for decades.  Read more

Catskill Art Society new exhibition: ‘Seven Printmakers’

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — Catskill Art Society (CAS) presents “Seven Printmakers,” a guest-curated show by Joan O’Connor with the work of Michael Arike, Carla Bauer, Martha Hayden, Rosalee O. Isaly, Adrienne Lederman and Emily Trueblood at CAS Arts Center, 48 Main St. Running October 13 to November 18, the show begins with an artist talk on October 13 at 3 p.m. and an opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m.  Read more

Pet bird show at Liberty firehouse

LIBERTY, NY — The Catskill Exotic Bird Club will hold its 21st annual Pet Bird Show on Sunday, October 14 at the Liberty firehouse from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bird-owners are encouraged to enter their pets. There will be a separate youth division. Any child 12 or under may enter his or her pet bird in a 4-H style judging.

Bird registration begins at 8 a.m. Every bird will be checked by a veterinarian before being admitted to the show. The entry fee is $1 per bird.

Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children under 12. All children entering birds will be admitted to the show for free.  Read more

Charles Mingus Quartet plays ‘Jazz by the Master’

SOUTH FALLSBURG, NY — On October 20 at 8 p.m., for the final free concert of its 11th season, Chamber Music at St. Andrew’s presents Charles Mingus Quartet playing “Jazz by the Master” at 5277 Rt. 42. Charles Mingus (1922-1979) was a virtuoso bass player and composer, who said that his abilities were the result of hard work, but that his talent for composition came from God.

Reservations are required; only two seats per person. Email pcfriedman27@gmail.com or call 845/292-8967. The concert is free and open to the public. Visit www.standrewsepiscopalmission.org.

Rarely performed comedy to play in Liberty

LIBERTY, NY — The Liberty Free Theatre will present the area debut of “Charlie” by the celebrated poet, humorist and playwright, Slawomir Mrozek, October 18 to 21 and 25 to 28. This rarely performed subversive comedy is playing Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Michael Frizalone, Valerie Mansi and James Sullivan are the featured performers.  Read more

New exhibit at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance

NARROWSBURG, NY — “The Continuing Line,” an exhibit of paintings and works on paper by Elise Freda, opens with a reception on Friday, October 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Delaware Arts Center’s Alliance Gallery at 37 Main St. The exhibit will be on view through October 27.

Admission is free. Call 845/ 252-7576 or visit www.ArtsAllianceSite.org.  Read more

Fall spiders

The leaves are changing color, and many insects are easier to find; they have reached full size and some species have just completed, or are in the midst of, breeding. For many insects and other arthropods, the fall season signals the end; they die after breeding or with the first hard frost.  Read more

The Icky Mouse Club

I know, I know...they come callin’ every year when the leaves begin to turn and there’s frost on the pumpkin. Mice. With apologies to Santa, autumn is (IMHO) “the most wonderful time of the year” and I spent the last week attending events throughout the Upper Delaware Valley, basking in the explosion of fall foliage that helps define life in the Catskills and the incredible bounty that Mother Nature provides.  Read more

A secular ceremony

When you’re short on religion, as is my family, you have to make your own ceremonies for important occasions. It helps if you have good planning skills. We don’t. In spite of all our shortcomings and recent obstacles, like my aunt’s stroke, we wanted to have a family memorial for my uncle at the place he loved best, on Fire Island. His cremains had been languishing since May on a marble mantelpiece in the townhouse he shared with his wife for the last 40 years of his life.  Read more

First Zane Grey Challenge

A field trip with a future

LACKAWAXEN, PA — “Is this the Hudson River?” asked one student, gesturing at the Delaware River as it flowed past the Zane Grey Museum in Lackawaxen. That’s exactly why Port Jervis Middle School science teacher Paddy McCarthy decided to resurrect and reconfigure an academic competition that he participated in while growing up in Narrowsburg, NY and still values highly today. “These are the kids that need to get out and be challenged and recognize what we have here,” he said.  Read more

Tue., Sep. 16 Cub Scout Pack 71 Recruitment Event
Wed., Sep. 17 YEL! FEST #6
Thu., Sep. 18 Pork dinner
Fri., Sep. 19 Silverstein: A Theatrical Reading