17 Things to Do this May in the Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

17 Things to Do this May in the Hudson Valley

Live Shows, Theater Productions, Craft Fairs, and More Local Events

click to enlarge 17 Things to Do this May in the Hudson Valley
You Are Not Here: a Virtual Maze, an installation by Brooklyn artist collective TROUBLE, is part of Hudson Valley Maker Faire at Garner Arts Center.

Common Ground

May 4-7 at Fisher Center

Situated at the political crossroads of land and food, this year-long international program returns to Annandale-on-Hudson with four newly commissioned works. Kenyon Adams premiers Communion: A Ritual of Nourishment and Commemoration, inspired by the artist’s early experiences in the Black Protestant churches of his childhood; architect, activist, and farmer Tara Rodríguez Besosa introduces the audience to an off-grid DIY queer homestead in the rural mountains of Puerto Rico via Somos OtraCosa; Tania El Khoury’s interactive sound installation, Memory of Birds, explores political violence in contested lands; and Kite, an Ogala Lakota artist, rifs on the (delicious) tradition of sharing cakes at funeral wakes in “Aguyabskuyela.”

Reel Exposure

May 5-7 at Trolley Barn

For the first time in three years, the annual celebration of teenage creative expression and community art making is happening in-person at the Trolley Barn in Poughkeepsie. This international teen film and photography festival kicks off with a photography exhibit and 24-Hour Film Race followed by a full day of family-friendly media and art activities—including a screening of short films created by teen artists spanning the globe; food trucks and vendors; plus “Breaking into the Business: Insider Info Film and Media Professionals,” a panel packed with local industry pros. Presented by The Art Effect’s PKX Festival, a building block to developing the Youth Arts Empowerment Zone along Main Street.

Fred Hersch

May 6 at The Stissing Center

What could be better than a night of great jazz for a great cause? May starts off in style at the Stissing Center with this concert by 15-time Grammy nominated pianist Fred Hersch, the first artist to do a week-long solo residency at Manhattan’s legendary Village Vanguard. A music educator as well as an HIV/AIDS activist, Hersch is appearing to benefit the New Pine Plains Herald, a non-profit journalism startup serving Pine Plains and members of its school district, which includes Ancram, Gallatin, Milan, and Stanfordville. (Kaki King picks May 20; Twelfth Night Baroque Ensemble enchants June 2.) 6pm. $50-$100. Pine Plains.

Drive-By Truckers

May 6 at The Egg

Athens, Georgia, alt-country rockers the Drive-By Truckers roll up the New York State Thruway and ease off at the Albany exit for this show, part of the Egg’s ongoing American Roots and Branches series. The title track of the band’s 14th and newest album, Welcome to Club XIII, pays homage to the Alabama venue where cofounders Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley got their start. “There were no cool bars in town and Club XIII was the best we had—but it wasn’t all that good, and our band wasn’t particularly liked there,” says Hood. “It wasn’t very funny at the time, but it’s funny to us now.” Live, love, laugh. (Keb Mo’ comes by May 17; Richard Thompson returns May 20.) 7:30pm. $34.50-$49.50. Albany. 

Woodstock Rock Art & Poster Show

May 6-7 at Bearsville Theater

click to enlarge 17 Things to Do this May in the Hudson Valley
Photo by Neil Segal
A vendor at the 2022 Woodstock Rock Art & Poster Show.

Back in the (pre-digital) day, concert posters were second only to album covers considering covet-worthy collectibles. Take a tangible trip back in (music) time at the second annual Woodstock Rock Art & Poster Show — featuring a coming together of a multi-generational cross section of artists, photographers, and archivists committed to an enduring art form. From vintage psychedelia to modern screen prints, three dozen exhibitors pay homage to their favorite bands from bygone eras (in Woodstock, no less, a town literally steeped in music history). Plus live tunes from the Misty Mountain Ramblers, Sabrina and the Gems, Mr. Roper, One Eyed Jack, and Barely Lace.

Vieux Farka Toure

May 10 at Woodstock Playhouse

The son of the Malian musical legend Ali Farka Toure, guitarist and singer Vieux Farka, who visits the Woodstock Playhouse this month, actually rebelled against his father by following in his footsteps: He decided as a teenager that he, too, wanted to be a musician, even though his dad had actually wanted him to continue the tribal tradition by becoming a soldier. Only after he’d proven himself by studying with kora master Toumani Diabate did Ali Farka finally accept his son’s ambitions—much to the benefit of the music world at large. (The Woodstock Symphony Orchestra tunes up May 17; Rock Academy pays tribute to Fleetwood Mac May 19 and 20.) 7:30pm. $40 and up. Woodstock. 

Hari Kondabolu

May 11 at Colony

click to enlarge 17 Things to Do this May in the Hudson Valley
Photo by Antoine Didienne
Hari Kondabolu performs at Colony in Woodstock May 11.

Wait, wait; don’t tell me—the very Brooklyn-based comedian, writer, and podcaster (called “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today” by the New York Times) is coming to town? It’s no joke that Hari Kondabolu—of “Warn Your Relatives” on Netflix acclaim—will take to the Woodstock stage for a side splitting evening of stand up. After releasing a pair of albums (Waiting for 2042 and Mainstream American Comic) and graduating (from a gig with Chris Rock, as a writer and correspondent on “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,” his buddy), the NPR panelist and funny guy currently hosts the Netflix food competition series
“Snack vs Chef.”

Seth David Branitz

May 13 at Unison Arts

New Paltz singer-songwriter, artist, chef, and writer Seth David Branitz grew up in New York City’s tough housing projects, where he struggled with addiction and lost both of his parents and his brother within a few years of each other. Branitz has produced four collections of original music over the past two decades; is currently releasing a new single a month; and recently authored the memoir The Trouble with Kim, which boasts personal stories of despair, desperation, hope, and transcendence. “My main desire is that people hearing my music can relate it to some little piece of their own story,” he says. “It’s about unity, feeling like you’re not alone.” Here, he holds forth in this intimate evening at hometown venue Unison Arts. 6pm. $25. New Paltz.


May 13 at Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center

A scant year since cannabis blazed onto the adult-use recreational scene, it’s high time to celebrate the plant’s legalization in the Empire State. Dubbed New York’s premiere cannabis festival, Cannastock is an immersive experience for individuals aged 21 and older. Heavy hits abound including over 50 exhibitors and live music with DJ Max Glazer (co-founder of New York City’s Federation Sound), myriad games, and giveaways. Light up in the ultra-chill consumption lounge and snack on munchies galore. Valid identification required to enter. As per New York State law, cannabis will not be sold on site.

Acid Mothers Temple

May 13 at No Fun Troy

click to enlarge 17 Things to Do this May in the Hudson Valley
Acid Mothers Temple play No Fun in Troy on May 13.

Get set for some serious brain bending, Hudson Valley. Japanese space rock juggernaut Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso UFO—more commonly known as, simply, Acid Mothers Temple—takes a trip to Troy for this very rare regional touchdown at No Fun. Formed by leader and guitarist Kawabata Makoto in 1995, the large band operates around him as a collective, with members coming and going off to play in their own musical projects. Psychedelic freakouts are the order of the day. With My Education and Wax Shamu. (Pearl and the Oysters shine May 15; City of Caterpillar crawls in May 20.) 7pm. $14 advance, $18 day of show. Troy. 

Kingston Earth Fair

May 13 at T. R. Gallo Park and Kingston Waterfront

For the ninth year running, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater has returned to its roots—raising awareness about the Hudson River estuary under the unifying banner of song. This year, in partnership with the City of Kingston, Clearwater will produce two stages of live music to host the likes of Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Reggie Harris, Slambovian Circus of Dreams, Tom Chapin, Ulsterados, Piedmont Bluz, and more. This free event, suitable for all ages, will feature a full slate of attractions including food vendors and children’s games, river education and advocacy plus a pair of public sails aboard the Clearwater—aimed at igniting passengers’ passion for the Hudson.

“Freedom: The George Michael Experience”

May 20 at the Rosendale Theatre

From the moment Faith hit the charts in 1987 (and went on to sell 25 million copies), America believed in George Michael. This immersive musical event celebrates the pop star’s iconic career (cut short by his 2016 death) via 20 unforgettable hits performed live. The multimedia show, which traces Michael’s trailblazing music history, was conceived by and is performed by Todd Alsup—a queer New York pop singer/songwriter who, following his June 2022 debut, enjoyed an epic 15-week sold-out run in Provincetown. His return to the region kicks off Hudson Valley’s Pride season in style.

Willie Nile Band

May 20 at Towne Crier Cafe

Should-be-huge New York singer-songwriter Willie Nile has been blasting out his poetic street anthems to all who’ll listen since his arrival on the city’s folk and punk scenes in the late 1970s and counts comparable tunemeisters Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Hunter, and Lucinda Williams among his many admiring peers. Born and raised upstate, Nile has toured with the Who and the E Street Band and consistently releases excellent albums, the most recent being 2021’s The Day the Earth Stood Still. His rockin’ band takes the Towne Crier by storm for this infectious evening. (Tempest brings the Celtic rock May 5; Dar Williams sings May 12.) 8:30pm. $35 advance, $40 door. Beacon. 

Community Day at the David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center

May 20 at Pocantico Center

The Pocantico Center has designed a day of fun for the whole family—featuring hands-on art and activity stations with Westchester Children’s Museum and Katonah Museum of Art; face painting and family yoga; music with Folklore Urbano NYC’s Cumbia for Kids and Brooklyn Raga Massive; plus bilingual story time and eco-friendly activities (think pollinators and composting) throughout the day. Enjoy open studio hours with Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski or take a family-friendly tour of the gallery’s inaugural show, Inspired Encounters: Women Artists and the Legacies of Modern Art.

TAP New York Craft Beer and Music Festival

May 20-21 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Get up close and personal with barrels upon barrels of hand-crafted beer at this two-day festival showcasing some of New York State’s best brews. The event welcomes 100 breweries from across the state and features unlimited samples of more than 200 craft beers in eight styles—from lagers and ales to Belgians and barrel-aged. Enjoy live music from the Wailers (Saturday) and Blues Traveler (Sunday) plus a food court celebrating staple foods from the region—Buffalo wings, anyone? Become a VIP for added perks including same-day entry to the Museum at Bethel Woods. Prost!

“East of Berlin”

May 25-June 4 at Bridge Street Theatre

“East of Berlin”—a Nazi euphemism for the deportation of Jews to death camps—chronicles the son of an escaped Nazi war criminal named Rudi who, upon learning his Jewish lover is pregnant, returns to his native Paraguay to confront his father, a doctor known to have performed brutal “experiments” on Jews in concentration camps. Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch makes her regional premiere with a work that ultimately raises questions about myriad topics—chief among them culpability for crimes against humanity and their effect on posterity.


Hudson Valley Maker Faire

May 20-21 at Garner Arts Center

It’s full STEAM ahead for tinkerers across the region at this family-friendly festival of creative innovation. Dubbed the “Greatest Show (and Tell!) on Earth,” the HVMF will showcase invention, creativity, and resourcefulness at their best—via interactive demos and creative displays. Satiate your virtual curiosity via the VR-driven installation by Brooklyn-based artist collective TROUBLE, titled You Are Not Here: A Virtual Maze. Enjoy more than 40 open artist studios, live music, and performances, plus local craft food and beverages throughout the sprawling 1838 Garner Historic District.