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December 11, 2016
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I got ‘shushed’ at a Lard Dog show!

Dancers Jenny Emerson and Donlin Foreman added another classical layer to the Weekend of Chamber Music’s Music Talks concert series held at the Old North Branch Inn.
TRR photos by Jonathan Charles Fox

Was I talking during the show? Yes. Amidst the flurry of activity surrounding the Celebrate Callicoon Street Fair, ( and surrounded by scores of kids who were shrieking with glee, I stopped taking photos for a moment to greet pal Cooper Boone (, while dodging flying pretzels, beach balls and balloons being flung at the crowd by the Lard Dog himself. As the confetti of rolled oats rained down on the audience, I dared to speak. It wasn’t easy to be heard above the din, since the “Human Lard Dog and the Band of Shy” ( pride themselves on a reputation of “blowing the roof off the place” and being called “Pee Wee’s Playhouse on a salty, sugary high.” (Hmm—would love to know who said that.) True, there was one woman (just the one) who felt it necessary to shush me as she closed her eyes and reverently mouthed the words to the House of Lard’s memorable lyric: “He’s Ploop, not Plop, Hoo-La-Lee.” I was stunned. “Really?” I asked the cool, icy blonde who admonished me. “Really?” Clearly hoping that looks can kill, she responded coldly, “Yes, really.” Holding a finger to her lips (I won’t say which one), “Be quiet!” she whispered.

Properly chastised, I completely ignored her and joined in the fun that was (as always) infectious during a performance of the wild and wacky group known for the pandemonium that they encourage. The street fair itself was thrumming with activity, and as I strolled the booths with the Wonder Dog at my side, it was difficult to understand why my decorum was in question, as pop-up performances took place throughout the day with multiple bands, painting demonstrations and members of the Delaware Valley Opera (DVO, regaling the crowd with selected songs. As the talented troupe sang “Over the Rainbow” in unison, while promoting the upcoming presentation of “La Traviata,” DVO rep Carol Diefenbach encouraged the revelers to join in, with nary a wagging finger in sight.

Two nights earlier, I was on my best behavior (IMHO) while observing classically trained dancers Jenny Emerson and Donlin Forman ( enchant the SRO audience as they clamored for more during the Music Talks performance presented by Andrew Waggoner (violin) and Caroline Stinson (cello) as part of the Weekend of Chamber Music Summer Music Festival ( held at The Old North Branch Inn. Yes, I’ve mentioned the place ( a few times lately, but that’s because proprietor Victoria Lesser has booked a slew of great events that will continue to draw folks to her corner of Sullivan County as the summer progresses. Since there were no flying pretzels in the air, I kept my mouth shut and listened attentively. “Hearing my music while seeing the choreography is exquisite,” Waggoner shared with the crowd. “A part of my soul inhabits the space, which the music alone cannot do.” Hoo-La-Lee.

In an attempt to pace myself, (while keeping my mouth shut) I sneaked out (quietly) during intermission and made my way home with Dharma, who didn’t make a peep at either event. I made a mental note to be on my best behavior the next day, since we all know that the annual party in Narrowsburg, NY ( known as Riverfest, calls for a sedate and reverential stance. Regardless of the dog parade, stilt walkers, ( and raucous auction that draws a huge, boisterous crowd, I thought of that lady and stayed silent for the four hours of picture-taking and shaking hands that ensued. “What’s wrong?” asked sports guru Richard Ross, as he petted the dog and posed for a pic. “Why so quiet?” As I held a finger to my lips (I won’t say which one), I shushed him. “Have a little respect,” I suggested. “It’s a summer festival. Don’t have fun, that’s just crazy-talk.”

Later that same day, I continued my self-imposed silence while making my way to Bethel, NY ( and the hushed tones of country superstar Toby Keith, whose concerts always demand peace and quiet. After all, his newest show is titled "Shut Up and Hold On." Openers Krystal Keith and Colt Ford were quick to advise the audience members to keep their seats and not sing along. Keith (Red Solo Cup) knows very little about having a good ole’ time, so his show was a calm, soothing homage to all things relaxing, and there was definitely no hooting, hollering, foot-stomping stampede of fans demanding that the music continue all night long. Or was there? Reflecting on the sage words of the Lard Dog himself, I became introspective. “Do you have toes for tapping?” he asks. “Do you like to sing and dance? Do you like pie?” The Band of Shy chimed in with, “Do you like to boogie?” Furiously shaking my head, I looked at the pup. “Better not,” I thought. Wouldn’t want to get shushed.

[Editor’s note: Find three separate photo albums for the Celebrate Callicoon and Riverfest street fairs and for the Toby Keith concert at Bethel Woods at]