October 2015

Vassar College: Hudson Valley artist Charles Geiger’s paintings on exhibit in “Quasibotanics: From Apocalypse to Now.” Through Monday, November 30. James W. Palmer Gallery, Main Building. 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie. (845) 437-5370; palmergallery.vassar.edu.    
Restaurant Week: Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, presented by The Valley Table. More than 200 Valley restaurants offer amazing prix-fixe menus at a discounted price (plus drinks, tax and tip): three-course lunch ($20.95) and dinner ($29.95) menus. Through November 15. Reservations strongly encouraged. Further information and chart of participating restaurants at: www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek.com/home.php.    

I was hoping to report some good news on the ozone hole, which appears each year over Antarctica early in October, the austral spring. After all, it’s been more than 25 years since the world’s nations signed the Montreal Protocol, limiting the production and emissions of ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that were widely used as refrigerants and propellants. By now, one might hope that the human impact on the stratosphere, first predicted in 1974 and documented in the early 1980s, might show some signs of recovery.

Mark Prezorski waxes enthusiastic when it comes to the Olana landscape. He not only lives in the shadow of Olana, but he is its landscape curator, a job as vital to the preservation of Frederic Church's legacy as the preservation of Church's house. As Mark points out, Church considered the Olana landscape the work of art of which he was most proud. Mark calls Church America's first landscape preservationist. Prezorski was giving us a private tour of the carriage roads in his new GEM, an electric golf cart that seats six. 
 Prezorski recalls how Church identified the hill across the river from Catskill where he studied landscape painting with Thomas Cole in the years 1844-46. The impression of that landscape stayed with him so when he looked for a place to build his house in 1860 he returned to that place on the Hudson, then called Sienghenburgh. He built Cozy Cottage on the first farm he acquired.

November 3, 2015 

"New England Asters add touches of blue and purple to the fall landscape, blooming until there's a hard freeze." -Dianne 

Dianne Engleke is an artist, photographer and naturalist living in beautiful Dutchess County. 



One of my first assignments as a cub reporter for my high school newspaper was to interview a history teacher who, my editor said, was head of the history department and someone who was interesting.  With little to go on I made the appointment and showed up in his office to find a scholarly but lively gentleman surrounded by papers, books, and shelves lined with more papers and books. He immediately assumed I knew more than I did and started talking about his government job as historian for the predecessor of the newly created CIA.  He wouldn’t let me use the term CIA or Central Intelligence Agency because the existence of that agency was supposed to be a secret.   He said he was writing a history of our intelligence service during WWII, the age of Wild Bill Donovan, and that was it.  I recall reporting that he was writing a history for an agency of the US government whose very existence was supposed to be a secret, even though by that time its name was already being circulated in the national press. 

November 2, 2015 

Three locations are being considered for new cell towers in Amenia.  The first monopole proposed is located at 67 Kent Road in South Amenia, by SBA Communications, and would provide reception for Verizon.  The company provided a visual “balloon test” for the approx. 167’ pole earlier this year, and is still apparently a work in progress despite opposition by neighboring residents, and their need for a variance from the Amenia Zoning Board of Appeals.  It was rejected by the MTA and the ZBA as it would need to be extraordinarily tall to get a signal over the high ridge to the west (RM) and fill the service gap in the hamlet of Wassaic."

 A second monopole is being proposed at the Wassaic Train Station (owned by MetroNorth) near the back of their parking lot and the old race track which was used for trotters in the ‘forties.  MTA needs to enhance MTA police communications and response to emergencies such as hurricane Sandy, which has been deemed inadequate by Homeland Security.  The proposed monopole will be appx. 170’ high and is slated to be constructed before year-end. 

Bard’s Conservatory Orchestra offered on November 1 a program focused on personal and historic transformation. The program began with contemporary composer Byron Adams’ Concerto for Violincello and Orchestra (2000, revised 2015). After the wonderfully melodic Allegro moderato that portrayed happiness, the piece became a resigned elegy for a mentor and friend of Adams. In the third movement, Soliloquy and Finale, cellist Raman Ramakrishna excelled in conjuring loss and mourning in the tragic Soliloquy, as dissonance invaded melody—Ramankrishna’s bow arcing in lightning whip-like strikes. The Finale rose to acceptance, intimating a new perspective on life that permitted melody to once more take its place. Adams came down the aisle to the stage amid loud applause, put his hand to his heart, and gestured outward to the audience with moving appreciation.


It was fitting that Canadian composer Tim Brady should have the premier of his Third Symphony in a new space in Williamsburg that itself premiered earlier this month.  National Sawdust opened with considerable publicity after a long period of gestation. We saw it for the first time Thursday with a performance curated by David T Little employing his own Newspeak ensemble of 11 musicians and the highly trained Choir of Trinity Wall Street with 16 singers. 

Brady’s symphony is based on “Symphony” a long poem by Chilean writer Elias Letelier that describes the terror of living under Pinochet.  It is an hour long piece, symphonic in concept, with the choir taking the role of a component of the orchestra.  I thought the piece sounded like a cross between Philip Glass and Nico Mulhy.  The choir sang tonalities while the instruments played dissonance.  Tonality clashed with atonality, reflecting political tensions, strife and tragedy. 

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