Daily Dose | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

Friday, October 17, 2014

Woodstock Film Festival: "East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem"

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 6:51 PM

At a dinner party last night I met Erez Miller, director of East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem. He's a young wide-eyed Israeli guy with a wispy beard and a self-deprecating air.

"I heard your movie was a hit!" I remarked.

"Yes," Erez replied, nodding. "I couldn't believe it. I got off the plane and they told me the movie was sold out, and I went there — it was the world premiere, the first time I had seen the movie with other people. And the audience laughed in the right places, they applauded after the songs! (There's a lot of songs in the movie.)"

Erez had the befuddled air of unexpected success. What next? Would he build a teepee the size of Mount McKinley? Drive two taxis at once? Suddenly, anything was possible.
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Woodstock Film Festival: "Why I'm Not on Facebook"

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 1:04 AM

I walked into the Bearsville Theatre and saw my friend Annie Nocenti. "I'm introducing the film," she explained to me. Then she turned to a boyish blond man and said, "This is Brant Pinvidic, the director of Why I'm Not on Facebook."

"This is Sparrow; he's a local legend," Annie told Brant.

"You look like a local legend," Brant told me.

"Really?" I responded.

"Oh, yeah," he went on. "If I was told to pick out a local legend in the room, I would choose you, no doubt."

Immediately I liked this fellow. Furthermore, perhaps Brant's talent for flattery works in his favor as a documentarian (or more precisely a "film essayist" — I believe low-budget projects like this are now called "essay films"). How else would he convince a mother who was unfriended (on Facebook) by her daughter to confide her pain in him? (Why did her daughter unfriend her mom? Because she told an off-color joke on her daughter's page. And what was the joke? A Chinese man and a Chinese woman go to bed for the first time. The man says, "Why don't we try 69?" and the woman replies, "Beef with broccoli?") Why else would an Irish ladies man reveal his methods of Facebook seduction? Or a burglar explain how easy it is to find victims through Facebook profiles? (The first question after the movie was over: "How did you find the burglar?" The answer: " Craigslist.")

This was the World Premiere of Why I'm Not on Facebook! And I was there!
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bishop Allen Headlines WGXC Benefit This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Justin Rice of Bishop Allen

Community-supported radio station WGXC is approaching its fourth year on the air. Beaming out across Greene and Columbia counties, and around the world via the Internet, WGXC has a dizzyingly diverse programming schedule that not only features dozens of great shows focusing on all varieties of music—my own, “The PA System,” is on first Wednesdays from 7-9:30pm—but also includes local news/events and talk shows, “Democracy Now!” and other syndicated programs, and incredible, revelatory transmission arts broadcasts. As the station is decidedly not funded by manipulating advertisers, it strives to cover its expenses via scheduled pledge drives and various station-sponsored events—such as "Lodge," a two-day happening this weekend, October 17-18, at Riedlbauer’s Resort in Round Top.

The panoply of events will include Saturday, October 18, musical performances from Bishop Allen, Palm, Dirty River, and Slow Collins (featuring Alexander Turnquist) starting at 7pm; evening and daytime live-broadcast sets from WGXC DJS, including DJ Effie, Chris Bishop, Spike Priggen, Tim Livingston, and Lunar Moss (spoiler alert: I’ll most likely spin some tunes as well); and a silent auction of artworks, goods, and services from regional artists, artisans, and businesses, with all ticket and auction proceeds to benefit WGXC 90.7-FM.

Here’s one from Bishop Allen, at the Chronogram 2015 Block Party in Kingston this past August:

Tickets for Saturday’s live music portion of WGXC’s "Lodge" events are $15 in advance and $20 day of show. To purchase tickets and learn more, visit www.wgxc.org.

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Zephyr Teachout in Kingston

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 12:14 AM

I saw Zephyr Teachout at Half Moon Books in Kingston last Thursday. She's a law professor at Fordham University, and recently wrote a book about American corruption entitled Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United. Her chief insight is this: at the Constitutional Convention in 1789, the founders of our nation agonized over "corruption." They knew rich and influential figures had corrupted the Roman Republic, and also the Constitutional monarchy of England. How could this subtle coercion be prevented? Teachout's point is: by "corruption" these brilliant lawmakers did not mean bribery; they meant the exact way all politics is currently conducted — lobbyists hired by the rich to seduce Congress.

Teachout's solution is the public funding of elections. She believes in working on a state-by-state basis. Right now there are seven close races for the New York State Senate. If the Democrats win, public funding is possible. If public funding occurs, candidates like Teachout have a much better chance to succeed. Zephyr ran a quixotic race against Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary for Governor in September; she won an astounding 34%. And that's with only $800,000, which she raised herself!

Zephyr Teachout has an intoxicating energy, a reckless optimism. "I met Pussy Riot the other day," she said in passing, as she made a point about Russia. The punk-anarchist singers came to her in admiration. It's easy to dismiss Zephyr Teachout as a dreamy liberal, but she reminds us that there are moments where liberals become revolutionaries — at the founding of our nation, for example, and in Russia today.

"What happened to the Occupy movement?" people ask. Occupy did not disappear; it transformed into 3000 different strategies. Zephyr Teachout "occupied" the race for Governor, with her anti-fracking fervor and hatred of "concentrated power." Like Occupy, she made a dazzling, brief statement. How will this statement evolve? The answer is up to you.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Passing Ellenville to Hold New York Premiere at the 15th Annual Woodstock Film Festival

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 11:56 AM

A still from Passing Ellenville.
  • A still from Passing Ellenville.

The documentary short film, Passing Ellenville makes its New York State premiere at the 15th Annual Woodstock Film Festival on October 15th, and continues screenings through the 19th. Co-directed by Gene Fischer and Samuel Centore, Passing Ellenville follows two transgender youths in Ellenville, NY as they journey through the gender transition process. The film serves as portrait of humanity visually presenting the daily challenges of transgender youth in a rural, conservative setting who are trying to survive on government assistance while facing transphobia, verbal abuse, and threats of violence.

Starting as a photographic essay in 2012 by photographer Gene Fischer, Passing Ellenville was filmed in the small economically-depressed town over an 18-month period. The film follows James, a female-to-male, coming from a history of abuse and a string of family problems and Ashlee, male-to-female, who struggles to align her orthodox Jewish faith with her transgender identity. The film simultaneously depicts the moments of happiness and joy found in James and Ashlee life as they make their life journey.

The film is joined with the inaugural LGBTQ Focus at the festival and will be presented at the Orpheum Theater in Saugerties on Saturday, October 18th at 7 pm and Sunday, October 19th at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock at 2:45 pm. Find tickets here.

Taking another look at the transgender community Hillary Harvey’s upcoming article “The Hudson Valley’s Transgender Families” investigates how a family, and how the members— parents, child, and sibling— struggle with communal acceptable while raising a transgender child. Along side the characters of Passing Ellenville, Harvey speaks to programs such as Choices Counseling and Consulting, and educates readers in the November issue of Chronogram on the belief that transgender is not phase or self expression, but primarily identity.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hugh Masekela Visits Woodstock Film Festival

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Hugh Masekela
  • Hugh Masekela

Although he’d released a clutch of fine LPs beforehand, Hugh Masekela put South African jazz at the top of the charts with his sunny 1968 pop smash “Grazing in the Grass.” But, as a native black musician who came of age during the apartheid era, the trumpeter experienced some dark times; the leader of his first band, Trevor Huddleston, an outspoken opponent of apartheid, was even deported by the government. Masekela contributed new, original music to filmmaker Michael Lessec’s documentary A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake, which premieres this weekend at the Woodstock Film Festival. Both Masekela and Lessec are set to take part in Q&A sessions following each of the two festival screenings.

A Snake Gives Birth to A Snake documents a diverse group of South African actors touring the war-torn regions of Northern Ireland, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia to share their country’s experiment with reconciliation. As they ignite a dialogue among people with raw memories of atrocity, the actors find they must once again confront their homeland's violent past, and question their own capacity for healing and forgiveness.

Here, actor Nick Boraine talks about the making of the documentary:

A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake will screen on October 17 at 5pm at the Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock, and on October 19 at 2pm at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck. Tickets will be available for purchase online on September 19. In addition to the film, Hugh Masekela along with director Michael Lessac, will participate in a special panel with BMI's Doreen Ringer-Ross, the panel "Music as the Unifying Force" on October 17 at 3pm at the Kleinart James Art Center in Woodstock. For tickets and information, visit www.woodstockfilmfestival.com.

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Songwriters Sing in Bearsville Tomorrow

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Dean Batstone
  • Dean Batstone

In what’s projected to be a new series of local singer-songwriter nights, the Bearsville Theater Autumn Songwriter Showcase begins tomorrow night at the so-named venue, which, if you’re new to the area, is located appropriately, so to speak, just about the length of a buckskin guitar strap from the center of Woodstock.

The bill features “an assortment of both local and national singer-songwriters who have been hand-selected from a pool of applicants for their impressive musicianship, songwriting, and composition skills.” Performers include Brian Mackey, Billy Rogan, the Whispering Tree, and Dean Batstone.

In this clip, the Whispering Tree plays the haunting “By the Side of the Road”:


The Bearsville Theater Autumn Songwriter Showcase takes place on October 10 at 8pm at the Bearsville Theater in Bearsville. Tickets are $10. For more information, call (845) 679-4406 or visit www.bearsvilletheater.com.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Green Materials & Services Expo at SUNY New Paltz on 10/14

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 4:43 PM

solar_panel.jpg

Green materials, services, and infrastructure surrounding the Hudson Valley return for the third annual showcase of the Green Materials and Services Expo (GMSE) on Tuesday October 14. Starting at 12 pm exhibits, tours, and green enthusiast speakers fill the Student Union Building at SUNY New Paltz to bring forth an expected audience of more than 250 designers, builders, homeowners, students, and people of green trades and businesses. The event hosted by the Center for Research, Regional Engagement and Outreach (CREEO) and the Hudson Valley Branch of the US Green Buildings Council (USGBC) New York Upstate Chapter is an opportunity to discuss how to decrease human's permanent footprint on the earth, and how make the environment more sustainable for future generations.

Mark Maddalina of SWBR architects will provide the workshop "LEED 4 in the Trenched", followed by Vivian Mandala presenting "Repurposing Material in Green Design." Ending the workshops with a bang Tom Kancades of SunUp Solar is expected to tackle the debate, "Free Solar:Fact or Fiction."

Continuing the event, tours of LEED buildings at the campus will be provided by Sustainability Coordinator Lisa Mitten and Emily Vail of the NYS DEC.

Closing out the day speakers such as Rick Alfandre, architect and board chair of USBGC's New York Upstate chapter, KT Tobin of CRREO, and Dan Lipson of SUNY New Paltz will deliver educational lectures for the audience.

Admission is free for USBGC's New York Upstate members and students who register in advance with current ID, cost for the general public is $10 for advance registration, and $20 at the door. To learn more about the event please visit www.greenupstateny.org/event-885312.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Darren Aronofsky To Receive Maverick Award at Woodstock Film Festival

Posted By on Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 4:00 AM

darren_aronofsky.jpg

Academy Award winning actresses Natalie Portman and Jennifer Connelly co-present the honorary Maverick Award to famed director Darren Aronofsky on October 18 at Backstage Studio Productions. Complimenting the Woodstock Film Festival the Maverick Award Ceremony honors individuals whose life is dedicated to, and driven by creativity, independent vision, and social activism. The ceremony will also feature presentations of winning filmmakers and honorary recipients.

Portman and Connelly have both been star actresses in Aronofsky’s films. Connelly played a role in Aronofsky’s in Requiem for a Dream and the recently released Noah. Requiem for a Dream was named in the Top Ten list in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Entertainment Weekly in 2000. Noah has grossed more than $343 world-wide. Connolly won the academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2012 for her role in A Beautiful Mind. Natalie Portman starred in Aronofsky’s 2010 thriller, Black Swan, in which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2011. Black Swan grossed $328 million worldwide and swept away the 2011 Independent Sprit Awards with wins for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Cinematography.

Aronofsky is applauded for his filmography work of Noah, Black Swan, The Wrestler, and The Fountain and living a life dedicated to creativity. During the ceremony Aronofsky will participate in a panel conversation with freelance film critic and journalist Logan Hill, who contributes to The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Glamour. The ceremony will also applaud Mark Durplass (Creep, The Puffy Chair, Jeff Who Lives at Home) as he will be the first to receive the annual Fiercely Independent Award. The ceremony will follow with a series of presentations of awards for Best Feature Narrative, Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Narrative, Best Short Documentary, Best Student Short, the Animation Award, the James Lyons Editing Award, the Diane Seligman Awards, the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography, the Tangerine Entertainment Juice Award for Best Female Director and newly added Ultra Indie Award.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

FODfest 2014 Kicks Off This Weekend

Posted By on Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 9:00 AM

FODfest.jpg

Musician and producer Todd Mack started FODfest in 2005 to unite people through music while simultaneously honoring the legacy of his late friend, musician and Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was murdered by terrorists in 2002 (FOD is an acronym for “Friends of Danny”). Unfortunately, as the recent, horribly similar killings of U.S. and British journalists and a French tourist have shown, the need for such goodwill-via-good-music-style events remains all too great.

This touring benefit concert is being presented locally by the Music in Common organization at Dewey Hall in Western Massachusetts. It starts at 3pm on Pearl’s birthday, October 10, and continues on October 11. The list of performers includes Chris Merenda & the Wheel, Rob Sanzone & Visceral Impact, the Joint Chiefs, Berkshire Mountain Rambler, Highland, Justin Hillman, JoAnne Spies, Todd Mack & His Band of Dreams, Katherine Winston, Abby Lappen, Jessica Roemischer, Madison & Raiche Wright, Lee Rogers, David Hodge, Aidan O'Brien, Graham & Barbara Dean, Steve Mole, Jaane Doe, and many more.

And here’s a short video that features Mack explaining the genesis of the concert and includes some moments from past FODfest events:

FODfest takes place on October 10 and 11 at Dewey Hall in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Admission is free, but donations for the cause are appreciated. For more information, call (413) 229-2357 or visit www.deweyhall.com.

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