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Lucy in the sky (with diamonds!)

Rock band American Dreamer accompanied Marc Rubinstein’s live “Pig Light” show at Bethel Woods


November 10, 2011

As I prepare to write this column each week, I struggle with a title, hoping that I might be clever, while telegraphing information regarding what I’ve seen here in the Catskills. Not wishing to be trite (or corny) is often an exercise in futility, since I’ve been both many times. Usually I have a concept in mind but more often than not, it vanishes as I traipse around the countryside in search of adventure.

Laid up with a lousy cold for a good portion of last week, I was fully prepared to call this column, “Funny, you don’t look flu-ish,” until I Googled those words and discovered that literally hundreds of writers (far more clever than I) have used it to death. Almost sorry that I had checked and slightly demoralized, I decided to see what the weekend held in store in the world of arts and entertainment, praying for inspiration.

The newest exhibit to grace the museum at Bethel Woods (bethelwoodscenter.org/museum.aspx) is yet another fascinating peek into the Woodstock generation and ‘60s experience that helped make Sullivan County famous. Psychedelia “liquid light” pioneer Marc Rubinstein (www.piglightshow.com) was in the house last Friday for the opening of the installation “The Pig Light Show,” which celebrates his innovative contributions to the live overhead projection shows he created with legendary musical performers who rose to fame during the hippie hey day.

Still considering a title, I scribbled the words “Go toward the Light” and sat back to soak up Rubinsteins’ live demonstration of how the undulating, kaleidoscopic images are created in real time as he mixed the show (utilizing water, glycerin, inks and dyes) accompanied by five-piece rock and roll band American Dreamer (www.myspace.com/americandreamer23) performing a medley of ‘60s chart toppers.

Several of Rubinstein’s (dare I say trippy?) shows have been preserved, including concerts with Peter Gabriel, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Humble Pie and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and many of these full-length videos can be seen (and heard) while one strolls the exhibit, which runs through the end of December. More than a little curious to find out how “The Pig Light Show” became known as such (still thinking about my title... “What’s in a name?”) I discovered (via the internet) only that Rubinstein was nicknamed “pig” during a Mothers of Invention concert under “strange incident” circumstances. ‘Nuff said.