Stop. Look. Listen.
As the summer wanes and kids begin to tremble at the thought of back to school, the Upper Delaware Valley thrums with activity in an attempt to squeeze every last drop of entertainment, amusement and culture out of August. Traversing the countryside with the wonder dog in tow, we often hear the comment, “Why does everything seem to happen all in one weekend?” That, of course, isn’t the case, yet we still are forced to make choices as to where and when our leisure time is best spent.
I am often flummoxed myself over how to divide my time, and have been known to scribble the choices on scraps of paper and (throwing caution to the wind) fling them in the air like autumn leaves to see which ones flutter to the ground face up, letting the universe decide for me. With the week’s schedule chock-full of music, art and theatre, I broke out the old magic eight ball to assist in making decisions. “The future is cloudy,” it read. “Ask again later.” Confused about what to do, I decided to stop and examine the choices. I could go look at the new art show (www.artsalliancesite.org) in Narrowsburg, I mused, or check out the concert schedule (www.bethelwoodscenter.org) before making a decision.
Reading that The James Hunter Six (www.jameshuntermusic.com) was slated to open for blues legend Buddy Guy (www.buddyguy.net), who in turn was slated to appear with George (Bad to the Bone) Thorogood at Bethel Woods on Thursday, my decision was made. Critically acclaimed throughout the world, Guy has been performing and perfecting his Chicago blues sound that has influenced generations of musicians. At 77, Buddy brought the audience to its feet repeatedly, strutting, wailing and sharing colorful anecdotes about his career, peppered with salty language best fit for an adult crowd. At one point, Guy marched into the middle of the house, never missing a beat, singing, “While you were slipping out (someone else was slipping in),” and the place exploded. Thrilled to have had the opportunity to listen in, I slipped out before Thorogood hit the stage (at 10:30 on a Thursday night) because my dogs were barking and Dharma was tired, too.
Having stopped for a few hours to listen at Bethel Woods the night before, I decided to hit Main Street in Narrowsburg, NY on Saturday (www.artsalliancesite.org) and look at the new art show, “Half Hidden,” featuring the prints of Carol Radsprecher and E. Morisot’s exhibit of paintings, titled “Le dejeuner sur l’herbe” (the luncheon on the grass). Inclement weather prevented Radsprecher from attending the opening, but Morisot was at the DVAA, and I chatted with her briefly about her work. “Le dejeuner,” a painting by Edouard Manet, inspired Morisot to reinterpret the famous work featuring black and white cows, which appear in many of her paintings. “My cows (and bulls) are bold and playful, with a dynamic lightness in a more abstract way,” she said, “but everything has a match: the sun and moon, the mamelle and the couilles.” Some of Morisot’s canvasses are huge, covering entire walls in the Loft Gallery upstairs, and although she may not be around to interpret, the work speaks for itself and is on display through the end of the month.
Having stopped, (if only to catch my breath) listened and looked, the opportunity to do all three at once appeared in Eldred, NY as the North American Cultural Laboratory (NACL) kicked off its yearlong project-in-the-works (www.facebook.com/theweatherproject) with a festival, stilt walkers (www.ottawastiltunion.ca), musicians, art projects and plenty of audience-participation activities. The NACL has big plans for the year, culminating with a performance based on the community involvement that the company seeks, which (IMHO) should be an event to be reckoned with.
Before heading out to look at (and listen to) Blake Shelton’s Ten Times Crazier tour, also featuring country newcomer Jana Kramer and the sizzling (All Over the Road) Easton Corbin, I stopped for a moment, smelled a few summer roses and dropped the dog off at the groomer in Long Eddy, NY. “I’ll be back,” I called out to her as she slinked off into the tub. “No worries; you’ll be gorgeous.” The concert was epic and built in momentum until the sold-out crowd went wild. I shook hands with Corbin, climbed the New York National Guard rock wall and took enough photos (with The River Reporter’s Amanda Reed) to create an album, which will appear soon online. “Like” our page (www.facebook.com/theriverreporter) to find yours, tag your friends and capture the experience if you were unable to attend. I stopped, I looked, I listened.
“What’s next?” I asked the pooch, while admiring her new ‘do. Exhausted, she was catching a catnap. Think I’ll join her before starting a new to-do list.