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September 15, 2014
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Everything happens for a reason?

Helen K. Garber’s photo-collage pieces, now on exhibit at The Stray Cat Gallery in Bethel, evoke “memories of her childhood summers in the Catskills.”


August 7, 2013

That’s what they say, whoever “they” are. Depending on my mood, there are times when even I think it’s true. The past week has been rife with coincidence and synchronicity, yet I can’t for the life of me figure out what it all means. I’d be forcing the issue to call seeing “Grease,” now playing in Forestburgh (www.FBplayhouse.org), a coincidence per se (I was in the national tour a hundred years ago), but seeing it at the playhouse brought back a flood of memories. There are plenty of reasons to experience this show live on stage, but one in particular stood out for me—Cassidy Stoner. As a member of the company this season, Stoner has been doing her part, but in “Grease,” she’s been given an opportunity to shine, portraying Frenchy, the “beauty school dropout” searching for her place in the world. There are a few other performances worth noting and I’m fond of the show, but this particular production was all about Frenchy as far as I’m concerned.

It was not by coincidence that I found myself at an art gallery in Bethel, NY over the weekend, (www.straycatgallery.com) for I had heard that one of my favorite artists, Ray Fiero, would be showing some new work. Along with some visually arresting photos and paintings by Todd C. Anderson (www.toddcanderson.com) and unusual photo-collages by Helen Garber (www.helengarber.com), Fiero’s work stimulates me in ways that linger, and I was most anxious to see his new pieces. All three artists were on hand to mingle with the glitterati, and there were jugglers (www.GrimmyFamilyCircus.com) and musicians (lusterjack@gmail.com) out back, where wood carver extraordinaire Paul Stark (www.oregonstudios.com) was creating yet another masterpiece before our eyes. A chat with Fiero emphasized his wacky view on himself—described in his bio as “practiced and entirely insincere.” Decidedly tongue-in-cheek, the description goes on to say that Fiero is a “cross between Picasso, Hemingway and Rasputin, looking instead like Bela Lugosi, pathetically faking Dracula power for an Ed Wood flick.” If that alone does not intrigue, the other artists’ works were equally interesting, but probably less startling.