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From soup to nuts

Posted 2/22/17

Even though my pickup is still in the shop, I’ve managed to get by—with a little help from my friends. Mother Nature has been more than kind over the last week, and the early signs of …

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From soup to nuts

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Even though my pickup is still in the shop, I’ve managed to get by—with a little help from my friends. Mother Nature has been more than kind over the last week, and the early signs of spring in the air combined with temporary wheels found me hitting the road once again, in search of both arts and leisure. Leafing through The River Reporter (www.riv erreporter.com), I spied a press release from WJFF interim general manager Andrea Eddings, which read in part, “February marks 27 years that we are on the air, and we thought we’d break up everyone’s cabin fever and invite friends out of the cold and into a birthday celebration/fundraiser to mingle with fellow public radio fans.”

Along with the promise of music, some light fare and another opportunity to pop in to Callicoon’s Western Supper Club and Inn, I was reminded upon arrival that proprietor Irene Nikolai was also hosting a new art exhibit titled the “Queen of Romance,” created by local (and prolific) romance novel illustrator Sharon Spiak. The Victorian lobby setting was ideal to showcase Spiak’s sumptuous oil paintings, some of which feature famed model Fabio, and Nikolai gave me a brief tour of the exhibit, which is on view through March 13. She explained that Sharon not only painted the large masterpieces, but also that the artist held degrees from both New Paltz State University and the Fashion Institute of Technology, which enable her to create the staging and costuming for the hundreds of published book covers. I’ve never read a romance novel but always thought the covers alluring, and seeing them up close and personal is pretty cool. I wonder how many Fabio owns?

Upstairs, the WJFF party was in full swing, and board president Pat Pomeroy spoke briefly in between dance sets. “We are proud to have reached the 27-year mark” she said, addressing the large crowd, “and already making plans for the next 27.” Dr. James Lomax echoed her sentiments, while reminding us that “Congress is considering cutting funding for public radio (and television),” and suggested, “Talk to your legislator and make your feelings known.” I gathered that more than $4,000 was collected at the door, but there’s still time to donate to this worthy organization. Call 845/482-4141 to make your donation today. Dharma the Wonder Dog posed for photos with fans while I schmoozed with friends and although there was neither soup nor nuts, there was indeed some fine fare to sample, which we did, before bidding adieu and heading home in the unseasonably warm night air.

Still in the mood for soup, I remembered that I hadn’t been out to Parksville, NY to check out Cabernet Frank’s, hosted by two nuts: RJ Baker and Wade St. Germaine, one of whom is actually crazy—I’ll let you figure out which. Having heard raves about the décor, food and entertainment, I had simply been waiting to see a band with which I was not overly familiar, and the planets aligned on Sunday night in the form of the David Walton Band, featuring Carolin Walton-Brown. “I’m not ready for you to hear me sing!” Carolin had told me a few months back. “Wait a few months!”

“Time’s up!” I said to her with a wink, as the pup and I made our presence known. “Are we good?” Nodding in my general direction, Carolin suggested that we were, and I joined a mob of DWB fans who were already ordering from the eclectic menu, which offers “Borscht Belt Barbeque,” a term that had piqued my interest.

While the band performed a fantastic (IMHO) rendition of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” I soaked up the ambiance, enjoying the convivial atmosphere being enjoyed to the hilt by friends, families and once again, too many fans of my dog to count. St. Germaine and Baker repeatedly made the rounds ensuring everyone’s pleasure, and I ordered what turned out to be the best Buffalo wings that I’ve ever consumed, along with a few other scrumptious appetizers. Just sayin’.

As I stopped to chat with sound engineer/musician Devin Gee, he expressed sentiments regarding the band that I wish I had been recording. “The band is amazing,” he said, “and I’m honestly honored to be working with them. This is what great music is all about. Between the covers and original tunes [with lyrics by Walton-Brown], the music conveys genuine feeling and tells a story every time they tune up.” The crazy one informed me that the DWB performs regularly at Cabernet Frank’s in addition to the roster of other musical attractions, and I will be back. For the soup, the nuts and everything in-between.

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