February 5, 2014 —
Every great once in a while William Shakespeare comes to mind, and the past week was no exception. Those famous words, “what’s in a name,” were originally spoken by the lovely Juliet, but have been heard around the world countless times since then. Often, a simple name can conjure up vivid emotions, which in turn, evoke sentiment recalling special times—past, present, or future. At the risk of being called a “name dropper,” I’ve already made plans to sit down this summer with some of country’s biggest stars, and last Friday I took my seat with Paul Ciliberto and Michelle Semerano (www.thunder102.com ) in Bethel, NY (www.bethelwoodscenter.org ) to welcome fans to the box office opening salvo with the 2014 M&M Auto Group Country Megaticket, featuring Lady Antebellum, Toby Keith, Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert. I had the pleasure of drawing a name from the hat, and Kiamesha Lake’s Ira Rudick was the lucky recipient of a complimentary pair of lawn tickets for M&M’s series. Excitement? You bet.
Dharma (www.facebook.com/DharmaTheWonderDog ) and I schmoozed with folks streaming in to be the first on line to take advantage of the pre-sale, and I had an opportunity to chat with Bethel Woods Museum Director Wade Lawrence and site interpreter Duke Devlin. While Duke played with the pooch, Lawrence took time out of his busy schedule to give us a preview of “America Meets the Beatles”—a special exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America, featuring the images captured by LIFE photographer Bill Eppridge. “While the magazine published a few photos,” Lawrence explained, “Bill snapped hundreds, many of which have never been seen until now.” Clearly excited about the upcoming exhibit (April 5 through August 17), Wade’s enthusiasm was contagious, and I know that I’m not alone in anticipating this “Fab Four” retrospective.
When I hear the name Allyson Whitney, powerful words resonate: strength, courage, heroic and inspirational among them. On Saturday, Dharma and I joined a packed house in Monticello (www.mrwillys.com ) with the board of directors, (www.allysonwhitney.org ) supporters, friends and family as plans for the 2014 calendar and annual 5k run (May 10) were laid out by Gabrielle Scott Ingber and Barbara Strong.
Town of Bethel Supervisor Daniel Sturm was in attendance and expressed the board’s sentiments by saying, “We’re so excited to be supporters of the [upcoming] third annual Allyson Whitney 5k Run and Walk. Allyson’s story needs to be shared with the world and this organization does so much for so many.” To date, the foundation has granted more than $50,000 to young adults battling rare cancers, and the organization, run solely by volunteers, deserves credit for doing their part and keeping Allyson’s memory alive.
What’s in a name? With the question still fresh in my mind, I made my way to Callicoon, NY (www.callicoonbrewing.com ) later that same day and posed it to musician Doug Rogers (formerly of the Hoy Polloy) whose band is “in transition.”
For more than a year, I’d been hearing a rumor that Rogers was less than satisfied with the group’s moniker and (apparently) unable to make a decision himself, posed the query to fellow band members, seizing the opportunity to welcome newest addition Shawn Caden (guitar and sax), while still waffling. “The guys have been giving me a hard time about the name,” Rogers told the crowd. “The ‘Doug Rogers’ part isn’t going to change anytime soon, but starting tonight, we’re Doug Rogers and the Backseat Drivers. Let’s play!”
After suggesting that Doug update their Facebook page, (“like” them to get alerts on future shows), I sat back to enjoy the band’s eclectic sound, enhanced by musicians Caden, Mark Switko and Chip Forelli, whose showmanship and patter is (IMHO) as much a part of the show as Rogers’ signature accordion and fun twist on classic tunes. Following a rollicking (and unique) rendition of “Just One of Those Things,” Doug quipped that his spin was “cowboy Cole Porter,” and the audience was on its feet, dancing, clapping and singing along.
The group sounded great, and it was fun to get out of the house after the last few weeks of frozen pipes and slippery roads. Once again, I’m reminded of the good times rolling throughout the Upper Delaware River Valley and look forward to the slew of concerts, shows, and gallery openings coming down the pike. While the names might change, that which we call a rose would smell as sweet.