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Encore! Encore!

More than 70 performers, including many young children, performed in the NACL's epic "Weather Project Community Play," a one-time-only presentation in Yulan, NY last weekend.

August 13, 2014

You know what they say: “everyone has an opinion….” and while that is certainly true, not everyone has a public forum with which to express theirs. I often feel like the luckiest guy in the world, since the powers that be at The River Reporter have given me a wide berth to do just that—offer my “humble opinion” on the world of arts and leisure here in the Upper Delaware River region, but rest assured, I don’t take the responsibility lightly. There is a big difference between “criticism” and “critique,” and I turned to my faithful dictionary ( to be sure that I understood the definition of each. The dictionary breakdown of critique says that it’s “a careful judgment in which you give your opinion about the good and bad parts of something, such as a piece of writing or work of art….” As for “criticism,” another favorite source claims that “one of life’s greatest pleasures is the opportunity to criticize others” (, but I humbly disagree. Oh, sure, there are hatchet men out there who get a thrill out of eviscerating folks in the public eye, but my “happy place” entails the opposite—loving what I see, hear and do out on the road—and I’d rather rave than pan. That said, the past few days were spilling over with pleasure as the Wonder Dog and I took in a couple of incredible shows.

Many of us have been keenly aware of the year-long progress of NACL founding artistic director Tannis Kowalchuk’s ( creation “The Weather Project,” and I joined more than 70 members of the community who participated in one form or another by taking a stab at a project myself. Kowalchuk’s efforts to incorporate art, music, dance and performance in what turned out to be an incredible theatrical spectacle worthy of P.T. Barnum, involved a call to multi-media artists to transform old panes of glass with their personal spin on the theme “The Weather Outside My Window.” Toiling away on mine, I felt intimidated knowing who some of the accomplished artists were, but I carried on, hoping that my own would not stand out like a sore thumb.