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September 01, 2014
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Fireworks, festivals and all that jazz

Maureen and Joe Telasco have lost count of the number of Dave Matthews Band shows they’ve attended.
TRR photos by Jonathan Fox


Even now, with the past week behind me, I get a little dizzy (hold the comments, please) just glancing at my schedule. With summer in full swing, my dance card is full and I’m running as fast as I can. For those of you holding events that I didn’t have the opportunity to attend, my apologies. In the past seven days, I managed to get out to nine different locations, which ran the gamut from concerts to galleries to the theatre (oy, I’m out of breath), with a visit to the vet (wasp sting, don’t ask) thrown in for good measure. Dharma and I have since recovered and we’re now looking ahead, while reviewing where we’ve already been.

Last Tuesday, I pulled into the crowded lot at Bethel Woods (www.bethelwood scenter.org) and found the pre-show festivities (aka tailgating parties) in full swing before the Dave Matthews Band (DMB) hit the stage. The DMB crowd is always an “experience” and I was more than curious to speak with some folks who looked ever so slightly out of place. Thinking of the band’s fan base as younger than myself, I found scores of people in attendance who remember JFK, which took me by surprise. With grown kids of their own, Laurie and Ira Kriegsman have attended more than 50 DMB concerts and showed no signs of slowing down. I also chatted with Maureen and Joe Telasco, who had driven from Hyde Park, NY for their “umpteenth” show, which seems to be the norm for the rabid fans who follow the tour from city to city, state to state. “We’ve lost count,” Joe told me. “DMB is not just for the younger set.”

As it happens, I loved the opening act, “Fitz and the Tantrums,” a band I was completely unaware of but will be keeping an eye on now. Described as an “American neo-soul/indie pop” band (okay, then) from Los Angeles, their lead vocalist, Noelle Scaggs, was on fire, and I found Fitz’s sound captivating. Most of the audience was still in the lot listening to DMB recordings, which was unfortunate, since it’s really ok to turn the dial once in a while. For photos and additional commentary, “like” us on Facebook and check out another cool (in reality, steaming hot) night at Bethel Woods.

On Wednesday night, I took my usual seat on the aisle for “9 to 5, the Musical” in Forestburgh (www.FBplayhouse.org) and have given it my full attention in the form of a formal review in the Arts and Leisure section of The River Reporter online (enter at your own risk.)

Independence Day dawned and although the heat was outta control, folks flocked to the many events and fireworks shows all around the Upper Delaware River Valley. I decided to check out the festival and parade in Liberty, NY, and (with the wonder dog in tow) spent hours perusing the booths, enjoying the entertainment and photographing kids, floats and (of course) fire engines and tractors, which I never seem to tire of. To tag your friends and share the pics of both the Liberty and Narrowsburg parades, go to (yep, you guessed it) www.facebook.com/theriverreporter.

On Friday, photographer extraordinaire Jerry Cohen welcomed guests to the opening of his new exhibit “Eagles of the Upper Delaware,” which runs through the 17th of the month in Bethel (www.straycatgallery.com) and exemplifies his lifelong love affair with imagery. I spoke with Cohen, who pointed me to his bio, which reads in part, “Whether it is the majestic nature of an eagle in flight or the haunting secrets held within an abandoned structure, there is beauty and intrigue everywhere I look.” My advice? Check out the show; this guy (and his skill at capturing his elusive subjects) is (IMHO) amazing.

Of course there’s more, including a trip to the “Chalk Walk” in Livingston Manor, which (for me) was a little too much walk and nowhere near enough chalk, but I chatted with friends, observed kids having a ball down at the swimming hole and took some fun pics of the various artists at work and the dog romping with pals. Want to see the photos? You know where to go.

The week’s pièce de résistance came with my visit to the Parksville USA Music Festival where founder and managing director Tom Caltabellotta (www.parksvilleusa.com) had to set up extra seats to accommodate the huge crowd that showed up to hear (U)nity, who (according to the program) “aspire to create a completely original sound, fusing their Afro-Cuban roots with modern Jazz and Hip Hop.”

“Original” doesn’t even begin to describe their sound, and the group’s claim that their music is “able to reach each listener… regardless of age or taste” really rang true for me. Normally I’m not a huge fan of improvisational Jazz, but the proclamation that “listeners feel enlightened, refreshed and inspired by music again” was right on the money, and I’m still on a natural high from being in their presence. The group’s website (www.iamunity.com) features “digital albums,” and founding member Axel Tosca (incredible, mesmerizing, astounding) informed that one can “pay what you can” to download tunes. I have so much more to say (big surprise there), but it would appear that I have run out of room.