A J O U R N A L O F R E S P O N S I B L E L I V I N G I N T H E C AT S K I L L S A N D H U D S O N VA L L E Y
the Summer of the
VOL 4 No. 2 SUMMER 2014 $4.99 WWW.GREENDOORMAG.COM
DISPLAY UNTIL SEPT 10, 2014
NEWBURGH POUGHKEEPSIE PHOENICIA
THE PERFECT WEEKEND ACCESSORY , CAMPFIRE STORIES MUSIC FOOD FILM
HISTORY Another Time & Place: Fort Delaware
FASHION 10 Hickster: Mind Your Manor 16 Weekend Accessory: Utility Canvas POETRY 18 Portraits All In 19 Flood Thirst
INTERIORS A Simpler Way of Life The search for authenticity.
TRAVEL Newburgh Revisited
COVER PHOTO: KELLY MERCHANT
CLIPPINGS From Around the Region
ECO 28 Lessons from the Eagles 30 Hudson Valley Solar LOCAVORE 32 Phoenicia Diner Old school chrome, new school cuisine. 36 Vegan Catskills: The Green Palate 38 Agricultural Expansion 40 Food & Finds: Upcycled Herb Garden 42 Recipe: Well Dressed 44 Farm To Table Directory
WOODSHED 46 Phoenicia Festival of the Voice 48 Tin Roof Sessions 50 Slam Allen 52 A Weekend with the Catskills Jazz Factory
ART 54 Sullivan County Conceptualist 60 Public Art in Poughkeepsie 62 Candy Spilner 64 Edward Mullins 66 Rural Fellini The Weather Project, by NACL Theatre
PETS 67 Dogstar 68 Pet Project
69 70 72
CULTURE Country Manners INTO THE WOODS Artfully In Bloom ILLUSTRATION Catskill Campfire Stories You May Have Missed
EDITOR Akira Ohiso PUBLISHER Ellie Ohiso ADVERTISING SALES Sharon Reich email@example.com MARKETING DIRECTOR Aaron Fertig COPY EDITORS Donata C. Marcus Jay Blotcher LAYOUT & DESIGN Ellie Ohiso CONTRIBUTORS Vanessa Geneva Ahern Michael Bloom Jay Blotcher Cooper Boone Denny Brownell Lisa Caloro Lex Damico Siba Kumar Das Stephen Davis Alecia Eberhardt Jennifer Farley Jenna Flanagan Jonathan Charles Fox Bruce Janklow Bethany Keene Tannis Kowalchuk Erin Lindsey Bruce Littlefield Sophia Loch Lori Majewski Ann Manby Kelly Merchant Marc J. Osterweil Franc Palaia Cheryl Petersen Nick Piatek Rochelle Riservato Margaret Rizzuto John Rocklin Sharon Ruetenik Garan Santicola Catie Baumer Schwalb Thomas Smith Trevor Tondro Eric Townsend Carolin Walton-Brown Rachel Watson Steven Weinberg Tod Westlake CONTACT US Green Door Magazine Inc. 34 South Main Street / P.O. Box 143 / Liberty, NY 12754 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (845) 55-GD-MAG www.greendoormag.com facebook.com/greendoormag twitter.com/greendoormag pinterest.com/greendoormag instagram.com/green_door_magazine RECYCLE THIS, SHARE WITH A FRIEND! Green Door Magazine (ISSN # 2161-7465) is published quarterly - Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter - by Green Door Magazine Inc. All rights reserved. Subscription rate is $14.95 annually. U.S. subscriptions can be purchased online at www.greendoormag.com or by mail. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings, and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us. Address all letters to email@example.com. Postmaster: Address all inquiries to Circulation Department, Green Door Magazine, P.O. Box 143, Liberty, NY 12754. No part may be used without written permission of the publisher ÂŠ2014. Views expressed in Green Door & in advertising in the issue are those of their authors & do not necessarily reflect the opinion, policy, or endorsement of the publication.
GREETINGS | AKIRA OHISO
CLIPPINGS | AROUND THE REGION
In the summer of 2011, we published the first issue of Green Door. The idea behind the magazine was to create an arts & culture publication that spoke to transplants, weekenders and visitors. This has not changed, but we have, and the magazine reflects our continued evolution.
Artist Zac Shavrick, a metal sculptor, is creating a new form of currency called Gritcoin. It’s a spinoff of the popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer payment network that operates outside a centralized banking system. While the bitcoin is digital in nature, the gritcoin can be held, admired, saved or given away. Shavrick churns out gritcoins like a mini U.S. mint and hopes to create a localized barter system where gritcoins can be exchanged for goods and services in the community. The gritcoin’s current trade value is a beer or sandwich.
This summer marks our 13th issue and our three-year anniversary. Thinking back to 2011, my personal narrative was a bit elitist. I wanted my Main Street to look like Brooklyn. I missed Starbucks and artisanal amenities, convenience and distractions. There is something unforgiving about nature that heightens our existentialism - bleak winters, solitude, space, each of us faced with ourselves. Nausea can set in. Quickly, fill the void! Court delusion! I read Rumi: When you lose all sense of self the bonds of a thousand chains will vanish. Lose yourself completely, Return to the root of the root of your own soul. I often retreat to The Arati Store in South Fallsburg, a spiritual hangout for visitors connected with Gurumayi Chidvilasananda and Shree Muktananda Ashram. My daughter Cy rings the wind chimes, my two sons, Bo and Jude, love running on the wooden path, Ellie loves the ambiance, local artisan products and chai teas, I love the books. During our visits, the kids don’t fight. They feel the energy, I think. My three children are growing up before my eyes. Seasons pass. Recently, transplants we know moved back to metropolitan centers that offer more opportunities. New transplants head north for less. The ebb and flow of people to and from these parts is nothing new. I am not living in a state of exception; people have been coming to the region for centuries for the same reason I did - to escape city life for a healthier existence. Still, there’s something happening here and this is not summer talking. In the last year, there has been a growing influx of city folks - savvy entrepreneurs bringing their skills to the ‘skills. The meticulously curated Instagram feeds where hipsters choose to promote their wares are increasingly focusing on the #Catskills and #HudsonValley. A cottage industry continues to grow around agriculture, the food system, value-added products, a local economy and sustainability. The buzz is palpable. Natalie Merchant’s song “Giving Up Everything” haunts me: “Giving Up Everything, my hungry ghost of hopefulness.” The longer I live here, the more I like pancake breakfasts, tractor parades and fashion that protects me from the harsh elements. I want a red pickup truck for God’s sake to haul firewood, not baggage. It’s not easy living in the country at times, but I can’t ignore that I feel alive and engaged...and this is not summer talking. A friend once said, “Sullivan County is where hipsters go to die.” There are real social and economic problems here. Heroin use is on the rise and the media reports a growing epidemic in the region. Long-standing poverty has contributed to myriad social issues like addiction, hunger, homelessness and crime. Jobs are in short supply, vacancies are not and casinos are the panacea. This is not summer talking.
FOR MORE INFO www.gritcoin.com
Stagecoach Run Art Festival
Treadwell, New York is a sleepy little hamlet of less than 300 people situated on Delaware County’s Route 14. But it’s only “sleepy” on the surface. Treadwell is actually a thriving enclave of artists, writers and musicians. It is also home to The Treadwell Museum of Fine Art, the Bright Hill Literary Center and dozens of artists’ studios. On July 5 and 6, many of those studios will be open to the public for the 19th annual Stagecoach Run Art Festival. Over forty artists will be showing their work during the free two-day tour that runs along the Old Stagecoach Turnpike. FOR MORE INFO www.stagecoachrun.com
Lemon Ball Baseball
In the 19th century, baseball designs varied in shape and size. They were often made by cobblers who used discarded rubber from old shoes (so eco) to create a softer more reactive core than the modern baseball of today. In fact, in those days, runners could be thrown out by being hit directly with the ball. Many pitchers just made their own baseballs and rules were based on local regulations. With little oversight, guttural expectorating must have been common place. The core was surrounded by a single piece of leather called a “lemon peel”. So who would find an interest in crafting a throwback baseball? A native of Cooperstown, New York, of course. Paul Cunningham grew up in Cooperstown and became a photo editor for Major League Baseball before pursuing his passion to become a leather craftsman of fine sports equipment. The baseballs are utilitarian, but smaller than a regulation baseball. They are perfect for a game of pepper or the sandlot, but a first scruff may have you cringing. They are beautiful to hold and behold. FOR MORE INFO www.leatherheadsports.com 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 3
HISTORY | FORT DELAWARE
another time & place Transport yourself visiting Narrowsburgâ€™s Fort Delaware. PHOTOS BY NICK PIATEK
4 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
As tillable farmland became scarce in 1750â€™s Connecticut, a group of brave pioneers formed The Delaware Company. Traversing well established AmerindĂŹan trails to the Upper Delaware River Valley they settled a thirty-mile long section of the region the Native Americans called Cushetunk. Taming this howling wilderness frontier was a daunting task, complicated by the dangers of border disputes and the outbreak of the French and Indian (or Seven Years) War. This compelled the settlers to erect protective stockades around two sections of their community, one near the mouth of the Callicoon Creek called the Upper Fort and the other downriver at the mouth of Calkins Creek, called the Lower Fort. FOR MORE INFO www.fortdelawaremuseum.org 6 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
PHOTOS: NICK PIATEK
HISTORY | FORT DELAWARE
HISTORY | FORT DELAWARE
8 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
FASHION | HICKSTER
ON HER: Betsey Johnson vintage dress and vintage blanket.
10 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
PHOTOS BY KELLY MERCHANT | MAKEUP BY LEX DAMICO STYLED BY CAROLIN WALTON-BROWN | FLOWERS BY ANN MANBY PROPS BY KELLY & BILL MERCHANT MODELED BY MARC SWITKO & ADRIANNE PICCIANO STORY BY AKIRA OHISO
mind your manor Hicksters Marc and Adrianne love spending time in Livingston Manor or “the Manor” to local folks. Marc is a songwriter, musician, performing artist and psychotherapist who grew up in an old borscht belt hotel. Adrianne, aka Dirt Diva, is a transplant to the Catskills where her edible landscaping and design company has taken root. The Manor is literally a phoenix rising from the ashes after a fire in 2012 destroyed several small businesses as well as The Lazy Beagle, a popular eatery and gathering place. Two years later, Willow & Brown and The Arnold (formerly The Lazy Beagle) are there. Grassroots community efforts have attracted new businesses like Brandenburg Bakery, Sugar Blossom Flowers and Hello Bistro. Catskill Mountainkeeper just moved in and the Catskill Brewery up the road hops closer to completion. The Catskill Art Society, Morgan Outdoors, Main Street Farms and The Plunk Shop round out a bustling little Catskills town. With the Willowemoc Creek rumbling alongside Main Street, you can’t forget where you are: The Manor. The 11th Annual Trout Parade is not to be missed on June 14th as a town pays homage to the birth place of fly fishing.
CLOTHING & FLOWERS AVAILABLE AT Willow & Brown / Sugar Blossom Flowers 36A Main Street Livingston Manor, NY www.willowandbrown.com / www.sugarblossomflowers.com www.marcjswitko.com / www.gardensforeatin.com 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 11
ON HER: Vintage Betsey Johnson dress, Ilse Jabosen Boots. ON HIM: Paul and Joe shirt, Maker & Company khakis. Model’s own Tingley rubber boots. Vintage sun glasses, model’s own. FLOWERS: Vintage pottery with Red-Edge Peperomia and Echeveria.
12 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
FASHION | HICKSTER
Find this location in Livingston Manor and take a selfie against the flower mural. Use hashtag #selfiegreendoor #inthemanorgram and we will repost on Instagram.
ON HER: Vintage Dolce & Gabanna wrap skirt, vintage crochet top. ON HIM: Vintage Costume National shirt, modelâ€™s own jeans. Sterling silver necklace with vintage charms, pyrite necklace and sterling locket bracelet by Barbara Klar of clearmetals.com. FLOWERS: Scabiosa, Goldenrod and Queen Anneâ€™s Lace. 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 13
ON HER: Vintage Betsey Johnson dress. ON HIM: Paul and Joe shirt, Maker & Company khakis. Vintage sun glasses, modelâ€™s own. At Brandenburg Pastry Bakery.
14 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
ON HER: Alice + Olivia dress, Ilse Jacobsen boots.
FASHION | HICKSTER
ON HIM: Dee-Cee Western Wear shirt. Levi’s jeans. Vintage boots, model’s own. Cutler & Gross vintage sunglasses. FLOWERS: Vintage Japanese Vase with Goldenrod, Eucalyptus, Queen Anne’s Lace, Hydrangeas and Snapdragons.
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 15
FASHION | UTILITY CANVAS
WEEKEND ACCESSORY UTILITY CANVAS
Husband-and-wife enterprise Utility Canvas bags a sophisticated, understated niche. BY JENNIFER FARLEY
Twenty-five years ago, when canoeing instructor Hal Grano met aspiring fashion designer Jillian Kaufman at New York’s Tunnel nightclub, they quickly decided to ditch their jobs and travel through Central America together. The adventure cemented a relationship that became a marriage and later a family. The clan includes three kids plus one ridiculously photogenic dog named Scout, a pricey Lagotto Romagnolo imported from Italy.
The relationship eventually spawned an accessories business called Utility Canvas. This, too, is a family affair. Scout’s tousled visage appears prominently in Utility Canvas’s Internet marketing.
“We asked ourselves early on, what kind of life are we going to build together?,” recalls Hal, a hunky blue-eyed University of Vermont graduate. “I was going to be a painter, and Hal was going to edit books,” says Jillian, a calm, willowy brunette who hyphenates her maiden and married surnames. “But when we got back from Costa Rica, we couldn’t really afford to live in the city. I began attending art school in Philadelphia.”
The Utility Canvas business resulted from sheer practicality: Jillian couldn’t find the right bag to keep her art supplies. “So I designed one,” said Jillian, who is the company designer. “Hal made it. Our business just grew from there, creating high-quality, simple products that met our own needs.” “And then we made that happen,” Hal said of the swift growth of their business. “Not always perfectly smoothly, but we did it. ” Three years later, Barneys New York placed a big order; then came sizable sales to Bergdorf Goodman, plus customized wholesale corporate contracts. While the finer points of product lines come and go, just like the year’s best-selling colors, the business is built around enduring customer favorites such as the classic field bag, $94, which debuted in 1991 and is sewn on industrial machinery using a lock stitch. Lately popular: quilted floor pillows, $146. (They double as dog beds.)
ALL ABOUT CANVAS “We make what we like,” says Hal, but “it’s all about canvas.” Why canvas? “Well, for one thing, it’s extremely sturdy and as plain as you can get,” says Jillian. That helps to keep the costs down, she explains, but it’s also central to her design aesthetic. 16 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
1 Beach Jacket In Teal Dot $140 2 Bucket Tote In Natural $112
3 Classic Backpack In Tan $92 4 Utility Sac In Natural $30 5 Printed Quilted Throw In Raindrop $145 6 Washed Tote In Orange $98
“It’s just us. Canvas is our medium! As a brand, we’re very ‘un.’ As in, unobtrusive, unpretentious, uncomplicated, unaffected,” says Jillian. Heavy-duty canvas was traditionally used for making sails, tents, and military backpacks, items requiring extreme sturdiness. It’s also famously used as a painting surface, typically stretched across a wooden frame. There’s an element of that blank potential embedded in the Utility Canvas brand concept: the consumer is going to leave her own imprint, and imbue the bag or garment with her own style while also developing an attractive patina of age. Once again defying the conventions of commercial fashion, everything from Utility Canvas is created to really last. Almost all the durable products are made in the United States, currently at a factory in Baltimore. A $145 quilted throw blanket is sewn in China, but only because the Granos can’t find a competitive domestic fabricator.
A LIFESTYLE TO ENVY The Kaufman-Grano family lives in Manhattan during the week, where they operate two retail venues downtown. Every weekend during the school year is spent in the Hudson Valley. The Utility Canvas Warehouse and Outlet Store is located on Route 44 in Gardiner; the family home is nearby. They summer in Maine. There’s another store operating now in Tokyo, and they’ve been approached about opening a boutique in Europe; possibly France. Utility Canvas doesn’t advertise, nor do the Granos blast their own identities all over their products. This business philosophy creates a kind of contrarian status for Utility Canvas in an era lately dripping with one-percenter excess. The Granos won’t name names, but some of the entertainment industry’s most famous luminaries are aficionados of their product. It’s a lifestyle and a business ethos to envy. Everyday, Jillian wears, carries or personally uses myriad products made by Utility Canvas or Archerie, her affiliated dress-design business. (Archerie is a portmanteau of their firstborn’s moniker, Archer, and cherie, or darling, in French.) The family’s upholstered furniture is covered in Utility Canvas fabric; it’s also on their beds. “At first, of course, that’s what we could afford, because everything we had went into building the brand and the business,” says Jillian. “Our elder daughter, ironically, was never very excited about taking Utility Canvas products to school, for example. Although we make a very cool $92 backpack – the most popular color lately is orange – it’s our family business. I guess it was just too familiar.” Lately, her perspective has changed. She recently asked if she could give a friend a Utility Canvas product for his birthday,” Jillian said. “We said yes.” Archerie dresses are designed by Jillian and sewn in New York’s garment district. They average just under $300 and are made from a variety of fabrics. “Some are delicate, some are fairly sturdy. I wanted to answer the question: why can’t you wear a dress every day, why can’t you wear a dress when you garden?” “They are feminine shapes but don’t require a lot of jewelry or anything else to look great, so it’s simple.”
FOR MORE INFO
Utility Canvas will have its annual sample and overstock sale June 6-8 at the Gardiner warehouse; many prices will be below wholesale. www.utilitycanvas.com. 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 17
portraits BY SHARON RUETENIK
When light reigns most optimum, my friend comes to photograph our aging dog. He carries a real camera designed with devices I cannot identify. We herd the shepherd mix through the back gate, into the uneven yard. We wait for the perfect pose. My friend lies on the early evening grass, stands on our unsteady stone wall, sits on our rickety lawn chair all in patient service to capture a likeness of a creature close to death. The photographer cannot confess to himself that after those who love this dog die, who will care about this early August portrait? Or who will deem it important that my friend and I, task done, eat enchiladas at the local Latin bistro and laugh and laugh, embraced by brightly colored walls while the cookâ€™s children jump from steep cement steps into the busy parking lot.
all in BY LISA CALORO
We were suffocating near the water a rock beneath us when we first kissed, the moments beforehand awkward like bubbles painfully breathing from the bottom of the lake escaping the intense pressure of deepness. When you finally pressed your lips to mine, the relief was so furious the only way to absorb it was to grasp your hand, touch your face, sink into eyes that revealed you werenâ€™t anchored either. Even the solid surface beneath us was melting, and to net the slippery monsters swimming in the pool of our feelings, we pulled back hard. The only way to breathe underwater is to adapt. So there was only one thing to do: drown.
18 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
flood Thirst BY MARC J. OSTERWEIL
The first or third of my lifetime brought Smith’s garage down, floated-away, concrete block car wash standing in the back and a sign set immutably to a dollar thirty six. We pass that spot now turned empty to pavement and call it ‘one hundred year flood’, another hundred year event wiped the map in time for retirement, working there since boyhood, family business. Was it what the gods had in mind? Nature, nuisance, nightmare We must outwit Thee; Live to tell; rain fell all night, all next day without warning or intensity, persistent wet in less than a fifth of the time toward what should have been another hundred Went out to watch, walk in the rivulets newly feeding Catskill streams By lunch time water reached the school. At 3:00 bales of hay encased in white plastic, oily tanks, fence, furniture, contents of stores We watched coursing down Main Street, that now joined hundreds of yards to the West Branch. Sirens and “first responders” in yellow rubbery jackets, black boots, trucks, ropes, ladders stretching from one side of the street up apartments never before noticed, atop stores Smelled of gas, stink, brown water when it dried made my dogs sick, tainted what it touched, carried an 86 year old woman waiting in her motel room to her death, tires as tall as children, trees so old. It moved boulders, pipes, bridges, pavement Seeped in basements, rushed under doors. We had a visit from the governor as the first floor house on Dry Brook splayed open to the road showing antique furniture from grandma cast to just one side. He drove down road till he had to wade knee deep, forced to retreat. He saw enough what was to us an enigma of unknown proportion. My neighbor on her bike bringing food for firemen; I thought it ‘nice’. The after morning began a truth: Salvation Army meals, Walmart water, Red Cross census takers, no stores, no pantry, no more. Tropical storm come from a tropical wave. We forget where we are from.
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 19
INTERIORS | FARMHOUSES
A Simpler Way of Life
Orren Reynolds Homestead in Essex, NY (1820)
The new book explores old farmhouses of New York. PHOTOS BY TREVOR TONDRO 20 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
Star Route Farm in Charlotteville, NY (1830)
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 21
INTERIORS | FARMHOUSES
In Search of Authenticity â€œThe old farmhouses in New York and New England gathered in this book represent a search for authenticity in our lives. These farms, barns, and landscapes tell us something about agriculture, architecture, and life in the rural American northeast throughout much of our history. In so doing, this book offers a refreshing an optimistic antidote to the spirit-numbing superficiality of so many new houses: the tract house, the manufactured home, the McMansion. Unlike hobby farms or nearperfect restorations, these farmhouses ring true. They have a purity and simplicity that nurture an inner peace.â€? -William Morgan, author
FOR MORE INFO Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com A Simpler Way of Life: Old Farmhouses of New York & New England by William Morgan Photography by Trevor Tondro Published by Norfleet Press in Bovina, NY
22 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
Thomas McLean House in Battenville, NY (1795)
Johannes Cornelius Decker House in Walkill, NY (circa 1726)
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 23
INTERIORS | FARMHOUSES
Shaver Farm in Ghent, NY (1760)
Wilson Homestead in Hebron, NY (1786)
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 25
TRAVEL | NEWBURGH
Go to the Hudson Valley Craigslist and type “historic home” into the housing section. Go ahead, do it. Now, go to the Brooklyn Craigslist and enter the same criteria. Depending on the day, there’s probably a two-thousand dollar difference between the two locations. But the actual results may not be that different. Three years ago, my boyfriend and I moved to Crown Heights, a mostly Hasidic Jewish and West Indian populated neighborhood in Brooklyn. We hadn’t even heard of the neighborhood until our (no-fee!) broker became frustrated with our “impossible” criteria and suggested we look there. By the way, here was our impossible criteria: historic and affordable. In Brooklyn. Fast-forward three years and our “new” neighborhood has very quickly changed. Once boarded-up businesses on Nostrand Avenue are now re-opening as bike shops and ice cream parlors. After some big life changes, and exhausted by the pace of the city, we set our sights to the Hudson Valley and very seriously considered a move there. After visiting and falling in love with Beacon, but not being able to find historic and affordable housing, we set our sights across the river to Newburgh. And we felt as if we’d stumbled onto a gold mine. Much like Crown Heights, Newburgh is a beautiful place with a bad rap. It is rich with history, culture, and incredible architecture. But when I told friends that lived in the Hudson Valley that we were considering Newburgh, we got incredulous stares, some stern warnings, and a couple of casual mentions of a place called “murder alley.” Not terribly welcoming. But, we’d lived in dangerous neighborhoods before, and had heard from other friends and Newburgh residents that the violence there was very largely gang-related. Having no gang affiliations (!), we made the assumption we’d be fine. Plus, being mid-Hudson Valley and so close to the Catskills, the outdoor-focused business we’d been talking about opening seemed like a great fit there. It was perfect. We fell in love with every apartment and home rental we saw in Newburgh. And they all met our criteria: affordable and historic. I was in utter disbelief as we walked through an entire Victorian-style home with views overlooking the Hudson. The property, which had been split into apartments, was almost entirely empty. And the two-bedroom would’ve been half our Brooklyn rent!
Besides the amazing residential rentals, there’s also a great wealth of commercial spaces available. It seems entrepreneurs are getting hip to Newburgh, too; actually, five-newbusinesses-in-the-past-six-months’ worth. Besides those new businesses, also slated to open in the near future: a huge new music venue space and a folk music museum (possibly thanks to Pete Seeger). There have been some major pioneering businesses in the area too: Newburgh Brewing Company, a fantastic beer brewery, and Atlas Industries, a modern furniture producer and art gallery. Surprisingly, we didn’t end up moving. I felt as if our time in Brooklyn wasn’t up yet; besides writing, designing, and slanging vintage, we also run a travel website based out of Brooklyn. We felt as if we’d be discrediting our reputation for being “New Yorker” travelers if we left the city. Nonetheless, I’m still kicking myself for not renting out that studio on the top floor of the Victorian. I believe it’s a matter of time before Newburgh is as popular a tourist destination as Beacon. It already has all the ingredients for rapid change: start-up businesses popping up, scenic treelined streets, plenty of commercial and residential spaces, a generously wide Main Street, proximity to creative hubs like Beacon and even NYC, and access to public transit. There’s also the community, which is perhaps Newburgh’s strongest asset. To find such dedicated people, look no further than community websites Newburgh Restoration and Newburgh-on-the-Rise. Both are blogs that post almost daily about Newburgh and are deeply committed to the revitalization of their beloved city. Hudson Valley-ers can expect an influx of transplants as the middle class struggles to live in New York City. Though everyone loves to hate a “hipster” – and while I can’t speak for everyone – I do know that one common stereotype of New Yorkers (and Brooklynites) is true: they’re tough. Almost everyone living in the city is determined to “make it.” Perhaps an influx of city implants still determined to “make it” wouldn’t be totally unwelcome in Newburgh. After all it’s the tough, resilient spirit of the people in this community that has kept Newburgh alive and well. And though the city might change, the spirit of the people there is something I don’t expect to change for a long time. Newburgh is most definitely on the rise.
newburgh revisited A city on the rise.
STORY BY ERIN LINDSEY | PHOTOS BY DENNY BROWNELL of escapebrooklyn.com
26 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 27
ECO | EAGLES
Lessons from the
STORY BY BETHANY KEENE | PHOTO BY STEPHEN DAVIS
FOR MORE INFO www.delawarehighlands.org
In the winter months, our Upper Delaware River region becomes a temporary home to hundreds of bald eagles. Arriving from as far north as Labrador, 900 miles away, the eagles come in search of open water to fish and large stands of trees in which to perch and roost. The clean waters and protected lands of the Upper Delaware River provide the perfect winter habitat for these magnificent birds, and eagle-viewing has become a popular winter activity in our region. But what about the rest of the year? The Upper Delaware is also a year-round home to dozens of breeding pairs of bald eagles, supported by the same healthy habitat. It’s become more of a common occurrence to spot eagles soaring overhead while you are kayaking or canoeing down the Delaware on a warm summer day. It wasn’t always this way, however. The return of wintering and breeding bald eagles to our region is something to celebrate – and to never take for granted. In the 1800’s and 1900’s, the Upper Delaware was home to similar bald eagle populations as today – numerous year-round nesting pairs, with hundreds of wintering bald eagles arriving in January. But as human impact on bald eagle habitat increased – in particular by cutting down large trees the eagles used for nesting, and spraying harmful chemicals such as DDT – the bald eagle population dwindled until they were nearly eliminated from our region. The DDT made the bald eagle’s eggshells soft, making them unable to fledge young. By 1972, there was just one pair of bald eagles left in New York and one in Pennsylvania, and they were contaminated with DDT. Though DDT was banned in 1972, and the Endangered Species Act in 1973 made it illegal to kill bald eagles, it still took a great deal of concerted effort to bring the bald eagle back to the Upper Delaware River region. The Bald Eagle Restoration Project, an initiative in New York from 1976 to 1988, reintroduced young eagles to the region, primarily from Alaska. Biologists from the New York DEC hand-reared the eaglets until they could survive independently as part of a process called “hacking.” The project was ultimately successful. (To view the brief film about the bald eagle reintroduction project and the subsequent efforts to protect eagles and eagle habitat, visit www.DelawareHighlands.org.) But all these efforts to bring back the bald eagle would be pointless without a healthy habitat in which to survive. In fact, habitat loss is still the number one threat to breeding eagles, even today. All of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy’s initiatives are geared toward conserving healthy lands and waters that eagles – and people – need to thrive. With programs like Shop Local Save Land that support our working farms and forests, or the Green Lodging Partnership that connects local hotels and their guests to local conservation through a $2-per-stay donation to the Conservancy, residents and visitors to our region have the opportunity to protect eagles and eagle habitat through simple, everyday actions. Whether you’re just passing through the region or live here year-round, your choices make all the difference whether or not bald eagles have the habitat they need to survive. So even though you’ll spot the most eagles during the winter season, eagle-viewing is an activity you can try year–round. It’s important to practice ‘eagle etiquette’ when eagle-viewing to ensure you do not disturb the birds. If a nest is disturbed, the eagles may be forced to abandon it and begin construction elsewhere, which can be detrimental to the birds’ survival. Their breeding period begins at the end of February or early March, and most young fledge by the Fourth of July. Bald eagles are extremely sensitive to human disturbance, so it is important to remain inside viewing blinds when eagle-watching, and to avoid going near an eagle’s nest. Avoid loud noises, such as yelling, car door slamming, horn honking and unnecessary movement. Use binoculars and a spotting scope instead of trying to get closer, and don’t do anything to try to make the eagle fly. A dedicated and ongoing movement to take responsibility for the way we impact the lands and waters around us and the wildlife with whom we share our space are poignant reminders that we must not take this spectacular quality of life for granted. The clean waters of the Delaware River, the cool canopy provided by the healthy forests and the majesty of seeing a bald eagle soaring overhead keep us mindful to do our share to preserve this area. 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 29
ECO | SOLAR
HUDSON VALLEY SOLAR LET THE LIGHT SHINE BY VANESSA GENEVA AHERN of hudsonvalleygoodstuff.com
FOR MORE INFO www.hvce.com 13 Hook Rd, Rhinebeck,NY (866) 452-7652
30 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
John Wright, vice president of the family owned Hudson Valley Solar with offices in Albany and Rhinebeck, first became fascinated with solar energy in 2002. His sister and brother-in-law installed a solar system on their farm, and invited friends and family over for a show and tell. He remembers thinking, “That’s cool. I’d like to have this at my house! It could generate a portion of our electricity, and help us cut ties to the utilities.” His family sat down, and wrote out a business plan and started a business. “Our first real year, was (spent) installing other peoples systems and we installed about 10 systems that first year; then it grew from there,” says Wright. Hudson Valley Solar started the market for solar energy in the New York State the same year the state started a rebate program for solar systems.
back the excess power at the retail rate, which is now called the metering law. With all these factors coming into play, the timing was perfect, and since 2002 Hudson Solar has installed over 1,000 systems in all different sizes, large scale, commercial, agricultural, non-profit, residential all over the Hudson Valley, western Massachusetts, western Connecticut and Vermont. Sighting New York State’s tracking, Wright says there is a hotbed of solar installations in the Hudson Valley. “The Hudson Valley has by far the highest amount solar energy installations in NY. I attribute a lot of that to us,” says Wright.
Hudson Valley Solar offers Zero Net where the home or commercial building is going to use less energy than it produces. (Last fall the company, with the help of Greenhill Contracting, created and designed a Zero Then the state legislature Net Energy development of passed regulation that required 10 homes in New Paltz called the utility companies to buy The Preserve at Mountain
Vista.) “In our Zero Net Energy headquarters in Rhinebeck, we have a geo thermal heating/ cooling system that generates 100 percent of the heating and cooling for the building, and then we have solar electric system, which generates 110 percent of the electricity needed for the building so we have zero utility costs. If you amortize the installation, in which case we did, we rolled that into the mortgage, the monthly payment for the system is actually a lower monthly payment than if we did nothing and we had to pay for fuel costs, etc.,” explains Wright. Homeowners switch to solar for different reasons. Sometimes it’s the financial savings, energy independence, for the environmental benefits, or for bragging rights on the latest technology. The transition is seamless. “You are still connected to the grid in the event there is not enough sunlight. Some of our
customers generate 25 percent or 110 percent. Depends on the site and the system size. Some have a small utility bill, some don’t have a utility bill. They know that portion of power that they are creating is going to be cheaper than buying it from the grid,” explains Wright. Wright says one big misconception he hears about switching to solar energy is that it’s way too expensive to make it a worthwhile investment. Hogwash, Wright says. “It’s one of the safest most lucrative investments that a homeowner can make. Wright says that first year average return on investment is typically 12 to 14 percent with very low risk, and 90 percent of his clients take advantage of the financing options they offer. At the end of the loan you’re going to own something. It will be something tangible,” says Wright. Homeowners also benefit from the tax incentives under the NY Sun Initiative.
so he likes to remind people that the number one solar market in the world right now is Germany. We get 4 ½ sun hours per day 365 days a year. It’s not direct sunlight. It’s ambient light. Germany gets 3 hours of sunlight per day 365 days a year. “We have to guarantee to you the output of the system for the first 5 years because NY State is paying half the cost, so they want to make sure the system is going to produce what they say they are going to produce. We have to base our output on 30-year weather data on this climate in the Northeast,” says Wright.
Wright says he loves to educate people through science, facts, and data because so many people are misinformed. As a parent, Wright wants to leave a better planet for his kids. “It concerns me as a parent that cancer rates are increasing, and the frequency and intensity of our storms are increasing. So whether carbon emissions have anything to do Another myth is that the with that all, if I can help slow Northeast doesn’t get enough sun that down at all, and improve air to make solar energy worthwhile quality and that’s a win-win.”
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 31
LOCAVORE | PHOENICIA DINER
OLD SCHOOL CHROME NEW SCHOOL CUISINE BY ALECIA EBERHARDT | PHOTOS BY THOMAS SMITH of eberhardtsmith.com
Nothing about the Phoenicia Diner – not the sunny booths, not the four-and-a-half-star Yelp rating, and certainly not the droves of weekend brunchers – would indicate that owner Michael Cioffi has no experience in the restaurant industry. And yet, that’s the truth. “I’ve always loved to eat,” he laughs from behind the counter as he sips a cup of coffee. “I have no food background other than enjoying.” The Brooklyn native and long-time Margaretville weekender actually worked for 25 years in set design and construction in New York City, but after he sold his business in 2010, a non-compete agreement meant that he had to find a new venture. That’s when he began to think about the diner, which he’d been “passing forever,” from a business standpoint. 32 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 33
LOCAVORE | PHOENICIA DINER
34 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
“It was unique,” Cioffi recalls. “There’s nothing like this around here.” He’s right about that – perched along Route 28, a scenic stretch of road winding through the Catskill Mountains from Kingston to Oneonta, the diner is one of only a few options in the area. “The look of the place, the location, the scenery around it…everything was right about it,” he says. The timing proved to be right, as well. Although the diner wasn’t on the market, the former owner was thinking about retirement, and when Cioffi approached him, he agreed to sell. The first order of business was an aesthetic and functional renovation. Instead of modernizing the look of the diner, Cioffi wanted to give a “nod back to when it was built” – the early 60’s, in what he calls the “Mad Men era.” Since then, the space had accumulated some of the unfortunate trappings of 70’s and 80’s style, including heavy drapery and dark colors, all of which Cioffi eliminated in the renovation. The result is a clean, streamlined space that combines original detailing, like the colorful tile backsplash, with contemporary improvements, like the beautiful wooden ceiling. The one feature that Cioffi was adamant about keeping was the tabletops – as a result of years of use, the surfaces have visible wear in the exact spot that a coffee cup would be set down. “I love that,” he says. “I love the concept of it. If we changed them, it would look brand new, which I did not want.” Streamlining and subtracting was the key to the menu update, as well. “I wanted to distill all my favorites from a diner, make them a little more contemporary,” Cioffi explains. The small selection means the diner can avoid the frozen and canned foods commonly used at traditional “greasy
spoons.” Their ingredients aren’t all local – especially in the winter months – but they do try to strike a balance between utilizing the bounty of the region and offering the options that customers expect (like tomato slices, even in January). Cioffi works with local food purveyors to obtain produce, meats, eggs, and maple syrup. Desserts come from Me Oh My Pie Shop in Red Hook, the coffee is roasted by Java Love in Bethel, and the bread comes from Boiceville-based Bread Alone. Bread Alone also gave Cioffi the most important member of his team: his chef, Mel Rosas, a veteran of the bakery’s Woodstock outpost as well as fellow Phoenicia establishment Sweet Sue’s. From his first conversation with Rosas, Cioffi knew that he was “the one” – even his name was perfect for a diner chef. Since he got into the kitchen, Rosas has altered about 40% of the original menu, and he continues to experiment with new dishes, like the mouthwatering Southwestern-style grits with andouille sausage and shrimp that we sampled. Cioffi and Rosas also have plans to develop some original recipes for the basics, like pickles. “I don’t have a pickle, which is crazy!” Cioffi exclaims. “But my goal is to make a pickle here.” The duo also want to work on homemade jam, but that will have to wait until strawberry season. “A lot of it has to do with time,” Cioffi says. “There are only so many hours in the day.” The focus on locally sourced, homemade food means that the diner appeals to both the local clientele and the “foodie” crowd from far and wide, which Cioffi has been able to reach via social media. Recognizing that there’s “a very dedicated group of people that use social media to know where places are, what’s the latest trend,”
he hired marketing director Holly Atkinson to run the diner’s Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and Tumblr blog, all of which are quite active. Cioffi credits Atkinson’s “magic” work with much of the diner’s popularity. “Without social media I think we’d eventually get to this point,” he says. “But not for like, ten years.” The diner does have quite a following, despite the fact that it opened only a year and a half ago. Cioffi had originally planned to open Labor Day of 2012, but in retrospect, he’s glad he didn’t – a week later the public response was still overwhelming. “If we had opened on Labor Day weekend, I probably would not be here,” he jokes. “If Tom [the photographer] had walked by, I would’ve just thrown him the keys and said ‘See ya.’” The diner’s popularity is a natural result of the excellent food and smart marketing, but it’s also a product of the “vibe,” which is the greatest point of personal pride for Cioffi. One glance around the space reveals a diverse crowd of old and young, city slickers and locals, all chattering above a pleasant soundtrack of classic rock. “I had Tyra Banks in here one day,” he remembers, “sitting right next to a local guy who just came in from plowing snow.” The creation of this “social hub,” a space for genuine human connection, is Cioffi’s idea of success. “My goal from the first day was to make sure that, local or not, you feel comfortable here,” he says. As he says this, he pauses to shout greetings to customers he knows by name. “Jim, how are you?” “Have a good one, George!” Cioffi’s mission has certainly been accomplished. FOR MORE INFO 5681 New York Route 28 Phoenicia, NY 845-688-9957 www.phoeniciadiner.com 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 35
LOCAVORE | VEGAN
VEGAN CATSKILLS THE GREEN PALATE
BY LORI MAJEWSKI | PHOTOS BY MARGARET RIZZUTO
Lori Majewski’s regular column dedicated to the discovery of animal-friendly fare and the colorful folks who serve it up. I discovered the Green Palate’s VegeTerranean Grill, Giovanni Barbaro’s alfresco kitchen and dining room in the heart of Woodstock, one sunny afternoon last August. “Don’t panic – it’s organic!” he announced to no one in particular as he served up sliders, pizzas, and sausage-and-pepper sandwiches. With his Italianborn wife Benedetta and their toddler Valentina seated at one of the tented tables, and Andrea Bocelli singing out of portable speakers, one might’ve mistaken this for a sidewalk in Sicily rather than a corner in the Catskills. However, there are few Italian restaurants, in Europe or elsewhere, that eschew animal products. “We believe in healthy, handmade, crueltyfree cuisine,” Giovanni tells me a year later, as he prepares to open the Green Palate for the 2014 season. The plan, as usual, is to set up shop at the intersection of Rock City Road and Tinker Street from Memorial Day until Halloween, weather permitting. “Our food is simply 36 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
prepared using simple ingredients and is environmentally conscious. Everything is made in small batches, and we make every effort to locate organic ingredients from local farms. We make vegan food that’s delicious.” Read on, as Giovanni (Benedetta calls him John: “It’s an easier name to yell,” he jokes) talks about his inspired takes on the fare he grew up with and why he’ll never go back to making meatballs like his mamma’s. Five years ago you were a Wall Street-working carnivore. Now you’re a Woodstock-living vegan chef. How did you transition? In 2008 I was in a jet ski accident and had a bulging disc coming out of my back. I wasn’t able to move; even the vibration of my voice gave me pain. A traditional doctor told me it would take six months [to heal], and there was to be no golf, no physical activity. So I did a little research of homeopathic remedies, and one of the things that was suggested to fasttrack my healing was a vegan diet. I noticed the difference after three days; within
three weeks I was absolutely fine. Why do you think you healed so quickly? The presence of animal products in the immune system takes a real toll on the human body, and in the absence of that it was able to work more efficiently. How did you come to move upstate and open the Green Palate? We were working long hours, commuting [from Brooklyn to Manhattan]. We needed a fresh start. After we moved up here, we thought, What does this town need? Benedetta and I love being in the kitchen – cooking, preparing, experimenting – so I came up with a roadside, quick-serve, pop-up restaurant. We debuted on the corner during the Woodstock Film Festival in the fall of 2011. How did you manage the impossible: Italian food that’s vegan and healthy? You even have gluten-free options. Being from a traditional Italian family, obviously we love Italian food. I wanted to create something healthier, tastier,
FOR MORE INFO The Green Palate Corner of Rock City Road & Tinker Street Woodstock, NY 347.218.3692 www.thegreenpalate.com facebook.com/thegreenpalategrill
lighter. We follow the Mediterranean diet: olive oil, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds. I like working with grains – specifically oats – rather than soy. That’s the main ingredient of our meatballs and veggie burgers. For the sausages, I work with wheat protein, also known as seitan.
PHOTOS: MARGARET RIZZUTO
How did you manage to make such a tasty pizza without cheese? The Giovanni pie – which is named after myself, because it’s my favorite – it’s got slight bitter tones from the broccoli rabe, the sweetness of tomato sauce, and the saltiness from kalamata olives. People will bite into it and say, “Oh my god – what type of cheese is this?” Then they look down and are like, “ There is no cheese!” But you also offer a pie with cheese — well, “cheese” in quotes. The most popular pizza is the Meatball Margherita, which has dairy-free, soy-free mozzarella. It’s made from pea protein and tapioca, and very light on the stomach. That’s how pizza is in Italy. Here in America, we go very heavy on the cheese, heavy on the toppings, very large
slices. You want to sit down on a park bench and take a nap afterward. What’s it like raising a vegan child? By the time we had Valentina, we were married for five years and vegan for four. It was like breathing. There was no other choice. If you think about the long-term health benefits [of veganism], they’re absolutely amazing: lower intakes of fat, sugar, cholesterol. It lowers the chances of chronic diseases. Why wouldn’t a parent want to do that for their child? It’s basically inconvenience and a lack of information – or misinformation. So what’s next? Any plans on expanding the business? We have a yearround catering business. Some of our customers’ favorites are the stuffed peppers and the stuffed mushrooms, veggie lasagna, and mac n’ cheese. And we’d like to see our products in stores. That way everyone can have healthy and great-tasting food choices that are easily prepared and good for the planet.
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 37
Giovanni Pizza and Benedetta Pizza
The Green Palate’s Veggie Slider won BEST MAIN COURSE at this year’s Taste of Woodstock by the Woodstock Film Festival
Local Farm Fresh Corn on the Cob Famous Veggie Burger Slider
LOCAVORE | CATSKILL FOOD CO.
A G R I C U LT U R A L E X PA N S I O N BY BRUCE JANKLOW PHOTO BY RACHEL WATSON | FOOD STYLIST SOPHIA LOCH PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CATSKILL FOOD COMPANY
The Key to Sustainable Economic Growth
The Catskills are unquestionably a region of incredible beauty, unique natural resources, wonderful small towns, quaint traditions and unlimited recreational opportunities. Over time, large numbers of people have found the lure of our region irresistible and have relocated here on a full or part-time basis. Joining multigenerational Catskill residents, new arrivals have made significant personal, emotional and financial commitments to the region. But, despite the influx of new residents to this appealing area, the region is economically depressed. Unemployment is high and average income levels remain below national averages. Even though the region has a strong history of food production, it has been designated a food desert, meaning there is limited access to affordable and nutritious food, especially for lower-income residents. In order to preserve the character of the Catskills, to ensure that all our personal dreams and goals are achieved, and that our investments are protected, economic development is crucial to the future of our area. But what is most critical is that we focus on sustainable development to enhance the character of the Catskills and reliably increase our economic base. This will effectively boost economic development, in contrast to poorly conceived schemes such as fracking for natural gas or building casinos. Both would only bring environmental, social and health problems to the region, without delivering the long-term economic recovery so badly needed.
FOR MORE INFO catskillfoodcompany.com catskillmountainkeeper.org
38 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
Catskill Mountainkeeper is an organization that advocates for the Catskills by promoting sustainable development and fighting unwise propositions that will threaten, if not ruin, our region for generations to come. To help bring sustainable economic growth to the region, it has launched a strategic initiative to stimulate agricultural
production. Agriculture was selected as the target segment for initial support because it is the region’s second largest industry after tourism, has the smallest environmental footprint of any major industry, and a very high economic multiplier, meaning every dollar of agricultural volume contributes up to three dollars in regional economic activity. Because of its hilly and rocky topography, the Catskills does not lend itself to large corporate commodity farming. Instead the agricultural businesses that have been succeeding best in the Catskills are smaller, independent farmers. They understand the opportunities presented by the growing trend of consumers demanding high quality, fresh, locally-produced products. The biggest challenge that Catskill farmers face is access to capital to expand their businesses and establish economic stability. Regardless of their capabilities, ideas and potential for success, these businesses are frequently viewed in the eyes of traditional lenders as being over-leveraged, undercapitalized and without sufficient collateral. To respond to this challenge, Catskill Mountainkeeper created the “Capital Access Agricultural Loan Program,” providing promising farmers and food businesses with business planning consultation. For qualifying applicants, low-interest loans up to $50,000 are also available. To assist with due diligence and administer the loans, Catskill Mountainkeeper has developed a partnership with Jeff Bank, a leading regional commercial bank with a century of agricultural lending capabilities and experience. The first recipient of a Capital Access Loan is the Catskill Food Company, LLC, headed by Jonah Shaw, the owner and chef of the successful Quarter Moon Café, and founder of the Taste of the Catskills Festival, both in Delhi, NY. The Catskill Food Company
creates artisanal, handcrafted sausages from quality ingredients. The pork is sourced from farmers trained to raise heritage breed pigs, utilizing high standards for nutrition, care and humane conditions. The changing seasons inspire use of creative ingredients like ramp in the spring and local hops in autumn. Over the past several years, the Catskill Food Company has test-marketed their sausages at selected retailers in the Catskills and in New York City, as well as at food festivals and farmers markets throughout the region. The strong customer response and volume growth have placed Shaw on the road to expansion. But Catskill Food Company can’t scale up without a critical injection of capital investment for raw materials and finished inventory – and that is what their Capital Access Loan from Catskill Mountainkeeper will provide. The growth of the Catskill Food Company will have positive impact on multiple segments of the Catskill agricultural industry. Not only will local pork, beef, and vegetable farmers have a new customer for their products, but the company also plans to open a production facility in the Catskills. These will create jobs and generate an economic multiplier, keeping more dollars in our region. By investing in local food, we are also reducing the miles that food must travel to market, lowering the region’s carbon footprint. Bolstered by the Capital Access Loan, the Catskill Food Company currently offers six products, including Moroccan spiced sausage, maple date breakfast sausage, and beer bratwurst. They are sold at select regional artisanal food markets, or online. Catskill Mountainkeeper is actively looking for other agricultural businesses in the Catskills that need capital to help make them successful. They are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the application process.
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CATSKILL FOOD COMPANY. PHOTO BY RACHEL WATSON WITH FOOD STYLIST SOPHIA LOCH
Bruce Janklow is a long time resident of the Catskills and a retired management consultant. Bruce worked with Catskill Mountainkeeper in the development of the Capital Access Program as a volunteer adviser.
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 39
Cooper’s Table FOOD & FINDS STORY, PHOTOS & STYLING BY COOPER BOONE
PHOTOS: COOPER BOONE
herbs 40 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
LOCAVORE | COOPER’S TABLE
An Upcycled Summer Kitchen Herb Garden in 30! With twins on the way I am determined to start gardening and creating food and flavors grown on our farm. I decided to start with an easy peasy first project, a summer kitchen herb garden. Herbs require a lot of sun so I wanted to create a “mobile” garden based on sunshine needs as well as accessibility. As I looked around my OCD collections of beat up treasures in the barn, I eyed an old rusty wheelbarrow in the back corner that my friend Mary gave me last summer. This was my answer! From start to finish this project took me 30 minutes.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Old wheelbarrow from a tag sale Electric Drill FROM A LOCAL GARDEN CENTER: Coarse Stones Garden Sheeting Good Soil Herbs of Choice 1. Drill 10 medium sized holes in bottom of wheelbarrow. 2. Spread coarse stones one inch thick. 3. Cut sheeting to cover stones. 4. Add soil. Soil should not be in direct contact with stones (hence sheeting.) 5. Plants herbs 6 inches apart or as desired. 6. Water regularly.
FOR MORE INFO www.cooperstable.com
LOCAVORE | RECIPE
It is akin to a cautionary New Yorker cartoon: we make our weekly pilgrimage to the farmers’ market, cramming our reusable bags with the freshest, least carbon footprint creating produce. But then return home and drape our delicate young greens in something that has sat on the shelf of our refrigerator door long before the salad’s seeds were planted. And sat on the grocery shelf long before that.
STORY, PHOTOS & STYLING BY CATIE BAUMER SCHWALB of pitchforkdiaries.com 42 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
It is remarkable how much real estate the numerous shelves of dust broom-shaped commercial salad dressing bottles are afforded in nearly every grocery store. I’m imagining a very powerful Thousand Island lobby, punctuating its arguments with the thud of an oversized peppermill. In full glory are bottle after bottle of mediocre oil, weary herbs, corn syrup, water, and a multitude of stabilizing chemicals, ultimately offering a relatively narrow assortment of flavors with which to dress your laboriously homegrown heirlooms.
miso, maple syrup, soy sauce or chopped fresh herbs. I love giving a bottle each of sherry vinegar and hazelnut oil as a birthday gift, as that is a versatile vinaigrette I crave winter, spring, summer and fall.
The basic formula is: 1 part acid + 3-4 parts oil + seasonings
It goes like this: put the acid in a bowl with any seasonings. If you have time, allow that to sit for 5-10 minutes to infuse the vinegar and allow the crunchy salt to dissolve. Then, while whisking continually, pour the oil into the acid in a thin and steady stream. The mixture will gradually begin to come together and emulsify. You can also do the same, a bit quicker, with a fork for a “broken” vinaigrette. Or make things very easy and use a blender instead of a bowl, in the same order, streaming the oil in the top while the blade is going for a very creamy emulsification. This is also best if adding fruit or vegetables.
Most commonly extra virgin olive oil is used, but rich and complex hazelnut, pistachio, walnut, pumpkin seed, and avocado oils are also widely available. In addition, warm duck or bacon fat is a luxurious option, either on a classic wilted spinach salad or in something like a roasted cherry tomato vinaigrette. The acid can be citrus juice, vinegars (white or red wine, sherry, rice wine, cider, or balsamic) or a combination to really fine-tune the acidity. Season with salt and pepper, and flavor with shallot, garlic, mustard, pureed fruit or juice, honey, pureed roasted vegetables,
In my pantry I keep a moderate collection of oils and vinegars, treating myself to a new one when I spy something interesting. If my meal is somewhat Asian influenced I’ll reach for toasted sesame seed oil and delicate rice wine vinegar, or if Italian, I’ll grab my peppery spring green olive oil and Barolo red wine vinegar. The options and combinations are boundless and much more worthy of our beautiful fresh salads and vegetable dishes. Fearlessly experiment, taste, perfect and then devour. After all, there is no better way to cook in these abundant months of summer.
Making salad dressings from scratch is absurdly simple, often less expensive, and offers an opportunity for a huge range of much more healthy and intriguing options.
Carrot Pistachio Vinaigrette
Classic French Vinaigrette
Roasting the carrot in this recipe brings out its natural sugars and makes for a much deeper flavor. If already using the oven for another part of the meal this can be a convenient option. If not, sautéing the carrots on the stove or grill, until soft and slightly caramelized, is a good alternative.
This dressing is a classic and wonderful on a most salads and as a marinade. Try it with simple greens, a salad topped with a poached egg, a potato salad, steamed green beans, or grilled shrimp or chicken.
Makes approximately a half cup. 1 large carrot, roasted until soft, yielding about a ¼ cup of pureed carrot. 2 tablespoons of a delicate flavored vinegar, like rice wine, white wine, or coconut 6-7 tablespoons roasted pistachio oil (available locally at Catskill Harvest in Liberty, NY) a small pinch of salt
This dressing is full of flavor and holds up well to hearty sautéed greens, grilled steak, grilled asparagus, cucumbers and a cold Asian noodle salad. It too makes an outstanding marinade.
Makes approximately a half cup.
Makes approximately a half cup.
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon finely diced shallot a small pinch of salt 3 turns of ground black pepper 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 6-8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (Available at Asian specialty markets and online.) 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice ½ teaspoon soy sauce 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoons grapeseed, canola or peanut oil
Combine vinegar, shallot, and salt in a bowl for five to ten minutes. Stir in the black pepper and mustard. Slowly stream in six tablespoons of olive oil, while whisking. Taste and add more oil if too acidic.
Combine the vinegar, orange juice and soy sauce in a bowl. Slowly stream in the two oils while whisking continually.
PHOTOS: CATIE BAUMER SCHWALB
Puree the roasted carrot in a blender or food processor along with the vinegar and salt. While the blade is running, slowly stream in six tablespoons of the pistachio oil into the carrot vinegar puree, through the top of the machine. Taste and add an additional tablespoon of oil if it tastes too acidic. Serve immediately or keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Chinese Black Vinegar with Orange and Sesame
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 43
D I R E C TO RY
PHOTO BY NICK PIATEK TAKEN AT EARLY BIRD COOKERY 44 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
RSK Farm in Prattsville
Restaurants Ba & Me
Vietnamese take out. Callicoon, NY (845) 583-4031 www.baandme.com The Bees Knees Café
Lunch outside with views of the Catskill Mountains or inside our 1820s farmhouse. Serving our grassfed meats and pastured poultry. 989 Broome Center Road Preston Hollow, NY 12469 (518) 239-6234 www.heather-ridge-farm.com
and espresso. Local craft beer and kombucha on draft and Catskills artisan wine. Daily house made boxed sandwiches, salads, soups. Weekend evenings include seasonally inspired light plates of charcuterie, cheese, salads, and tapas dishes. Limited seating: indoor, outdoor, and river side. 36 Main Street Livingston Manor, NY (845) 439-4309 email@example.com www.mainstreetfarm.com Oakley’s Place
Seasonal offerings include sweet corn, pumpkins and potatoes. Plus maple products, hay and dairy products. 13255 Route 23A Prattsville, NY (518) 299-3198 Willow Wisp Organic Farm 25 Stonehouse Road Damascus, PA www.willowwisporganic.com
Chefs & Caterers Black-Eyed Suzie’s Upstate
Benji & Jake’s Wood fired, brick oven pizza that people travel miles for. 44681 New York 28, Arkville, NY 12406 (845) 586-3474 A unique restaurant/bar/music venue overlooking White Lake serving brick oven gourmet pizza. 5 Horseshoe Lake Road, Kauneonga, NY (845) 583-4031 www.benjiandjakes.com The Cheese Barrel & Gourmet Shop Serving you the best breakfast and lunch in town. Grab some cheese straight from the farm. 798 Main St, Margaretville, NY 12455 (845)586-4666 www.cheesebarrel.com Hello Bistro
Peekamoose Restaurant Supports local growers by changing their menu daily, to represent the freshest ingredients available. 8373 State Route 28 Big Indian, NY (845) 254-6500 www.peekamooserestaurant.com Phoenicia Diner Serving your favorite diner standbys based on locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients from nearby farms. 5681 New York 28 Phoenicia, NY (845) 688-9957 www.phoeniciadiner.com
Farms & Farmstands Dirty Girl Farm Hello Bistro offers casual dining in a two story farmhouse overlooking the Catskill Mountains. Our menu is French influenced,seasonally inspired, supporting local producers.Upstairs event space and catering available. 87 DeBruce Road Livingston Manor, NY (845) 439-1210 www.hellobistro.net The Heron
A historic riverside hotel with gastro pub restaurant and bar. 4 Grinnell Street Rhinecliff, NY (845) 876-0590 www.therhinecliff.com Main Street Farm Cafe features locally roasted coffee
Early Bird Cookery Farm-to-Table Catering & Meal Delivery in Cochecton, NY. Plucking from a mix of organic, seasonal and locally grown goods, Early Bird creates custom menus that reflect your vision and leave a lasting impression. Seamlessly catering large and small events—from intimate dinner parties to large farmstyle family weddings for hundreds— we will handle every detail and allow you to enjoy your event. firstname.lastname@example.org www.earlybirdcookery.com (845) 932-7994 | (718)208-0125 (cell) The Heron
Narrowsburg, NY (888) 551-8625 www.NaturalContents.com
Two Old Tarts Specializing in hand crafted desserts, sandwiches and coffee. 22 Lee Ln Andes, NY (845) 876-3300 www.twooldtarts.com
Farmers’ Markets Bethel Woods Harvest Festival
Join us for the Harvest Festival Sunday August 31, September 7, 14, 21 and 28, the Wine Festival on Saturday, October 4, and the Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, October 11. 200 Hurd Road Bethel, NY 12720 www.BethelWoodsCenter.org Main Street Farm
We sell pasteurized bottled goat milk in quarts and half gallons and soft goat cheese. 539 Perch Lake Road Andes, NY (845) 676-4000
Maple Shade Farm comes to town. Farm Markets open from May through October. Our markets feature a selection of produce and goods from over 35 farms and artisans. Local produce, meat, cheese, baked goods, apples, cider, syrup, honey and more. Now offering Maple Shade Farms own kielbasa, sausage and hotdogs just in time for BBQ season. www.mapleshadefarmny.com email@example.com Maple Shade Market at Margaretville 213 Fair Street (Corner of Rte 28 & Fair Street) Margaretville, NY 12455 (607) 435-1582 Maple Shade Market at Franklin 213 Fair Street (Crossroads of Rte 357 & 28) Margaretville, NY 12455 (607) 435-5508
Modern American cuisine that leverages the tremendous agricultural resources of the region and focuses on seasonal and sustainable provisions. 40 Main Street Narrowsburg,NY (845) 252-3333 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theheronrestaurant.com Mary’s Cookin Again Where nothing is impossible and the challenge is always accepted. From weddings and dinner parties to family reunions and corporate events, Mary’s Cookin’ Again always delivers the best. 160 Lake Street Roxbury, NY 12474 (607) 326-4191 www.maryscookin.com email@example.com The Natural Contents Kitchen Farm fresh real food and healthy indulgences delivered weekly. Supporting regional farms rooted in organic practice for an Eat Better Feel Better approach to living. Find us at area Farm Markets! Narrowsburg, NY (888) 551-8625 www.NaturalContents.com The Rhinecliff A boutique Hudson Valley historic riverside hotel with gastro pub restaurant and bar, luscious Jacuzzi bedrooms and banqueting facilities.
Pepacton Natural Foods 57 Stewart Ave, Roscoe, NY (607) 498-9909 www.pepactonnaturalfoods.com Red Tomato Righteous produce from Hudson Valley farms: right for you…right for the farmer…right for our planet. Pick Red Tomato for wholesale fruits and vegetables – build a sustainable food system! 76 Everett Skinner Road Plainville, MA (508) 316-3494 www.redtomato.org Roxbury Mountain Maple We sell maple syrup online, in NY, MA, & ME; our syrup is perfect for holidays, birthdays, and wedding gifts. 750 Roxbury Mountain Rd, Hobart, NY (607) 538-1500 www.roxburymountainmaple.com The Sheep’s Nest Let us help you “feather your nest.” A selection of farm to table products. 45 Main Street, Hobart, NY 13788 (607)214-0050 thesheepsnest.com Traveler’s Tea
Market and cafe featuring the best local seasonal organic produce, dairy, eggs, American farmstead cheese, fresh baked goods, meadow raised meats, free range poultry, general grocery and flowers. Livingston Manor, NY (845) 439-4309 firstname.lastname@example.org www.mainstreetfarm.com Sullivan County Area Farmers’ Markets (866) 270-2015 sullivancountyfarmersmarkets.org
Food Products Catskills Family Creameries
Maple Shade Market
Chef Paul Nanni leverages the tremendous agricultural resources of the region into his carefully prepared dishes. 40 Main Street Narrowsburg,NY (845) 252-3333 www.theheronrestaurant.com
Catering company and traveling food stand with a local, seasonal menu. Woodstock, NY (917) 692-1274 www.blackeyedsuziesupstate.com
4 Grinnell Street Rhinecliff, NY (845) 876-0590 www.therhinecliff.com
Leave an impression with your guests. Show your creative side. Express thanks and gratitude. Give a truly magical gift with customized teainspired keepsakes. Call today to set up a cost-free initial phone consultation. Halcottsville, NY (844) 878-3832 www.OrganicTravelersTea.com
Flowers Domesticities & The Cutting Garden
4055 State Route 52 Youngsville, NY (845) 482-3333 thecuttinggarden.org Earthgirl Flowers Callicoon Center, NY (845) 482-4976 www.earthgirlflowers.com
A group of farmstead dairy producers exploring collaborative marketing, distribution and educational activities. Family farms produce gelato, butter, yogurt, soft cow’s & goat’s milk cheeses, hard cow’s cheese and milk. www.catskillsfamilycreameries.com
Fox Hill Farm 297 Fox Hill Road, Honesdale, PA email@example.com 570-251-9334 www.FoxHillFarmExperience.com Sugar Blossom Flowers
Lazy Crazy Acres
All natural farmstead gelato. Available throughout the tri-state. We farm. We craft. You enjoy. Coming summer 2014: Farm fresh pizza, farm & creamery tours. 59 Rider Hollow Road Arkville NY 12406 www.LazyCrazyAcres.com facebook.com/lazycrazyacres (845) 802-4098 The Natural Contents Kitchen Farm fresh real food and healthy indulgences delivered weekly. Supporting regional farms rooted in organic practice for an Eat Better Feel Better approach to living.
Provides fresh flowers for events, holidays and special occasions. Summer Flower Share program features weekly bouquets of locally-grown flowers from multiple growers and with several pick up locations, including Callicoon, Livingston Manor and Roscoe. Stop by for cut flowers, potted plants, gifts and items for indoor and outdoor entertaining. Other services include Container Gardening, Event Planning and Living Wall displays. 36A Main Street Livingston Manor, NY www.sugarblossomflowers.com (845) 701-3565 Willow Wisp Organic Farm 25 Stonehouse Road Damascus, PA www.willowwisporganic.com
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 45
Julie Andrews knows a thing or two about singing in the mountains. So does composer Richard Wagner, whose operatic settings often include a dramatic vertical aspect. Thus, it’s fitting that the Catskills hamlet of Phoenicia should become the location of one of the top vocal festivals in the U.S. – and, arguably, the world. This year, the annual International Festival of the Voice returns from July 30 through August 3. Beginning in 2009, and growing steadily since, the festival now attracts more than 4,000 visitors to the tiny mountain town. This year’s program will include nearly two dozen performers. The festival is the brainchild of baritone Louis Otey and mezzo-soprano Maria Todaro, both with lengthy and successful careers as opera singers. Otey, the festival’s artistic director, has performed with the Met, at the Royal Opera Covent Garden, the Paris Opera, Rome Opera, Teatro Real Madrid, and the Geneva Opera. Todaro, the festival’s executive director, has performed throughout Europe, the United States, and South America. “Art, especially the vocal arts – because everybody sings, everybody has a voice – is what holds societies together. It holds peoples together. It’s historically one of the great ways human beings communicate,” says Otey, “It brings joy to people.” One of the main catalysts of the Phoenicia festival, Otey says, was the positive public reaction to the “Opera in the Park” event the duo hosted in 2009. This “simple little concert in the park,” as Todaro puts it, drew an impressive 800 people. It began when a group of residents were looking for a way to raise funds for new playground equipment. It has since taken on a life of its own. “We thought this little pocket of the Catskills was a perfect area to build something like this,” Otey says. “There was nothing quite like this around. And with the landscape of Phoenicia and the venues we have available to us here, it seemed like a great 46 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
spot.” Another factor in choosing Phoenicia for the festival is the area’s need for an economic boost. With little industry to speak of in the Catskills, and with the old Borscht Belt resorts having all but disappeared, Phoenicia was a good spot to create an event that would draw tourists and music lovers, thus providing a spur to local revitalization. “We knew this area needed help economically,” Otey says. “And, as we’re in the watershed, we can’t really build factories. So, we have tourism and the arts.” Todaro sees the festival as a boost for other economic activities in the region. When people visit the festival, they shop at local stores and they eat in local restaurants. This has a positive ripple effect that helps support a good deal of secondary economic activity. Everyone benefits in the long run. “There is an economic reality that we can actually contribute when it comes to reenergizing this area,” Todaro says. “We’ve seen it happen.” Another key festival organizer is pianist Justin Kolb, who also wears the hat of festival chairman. Kolb guarantees a festival of world-class performances from artists who are among the best in their respective fields. “A standard of performance is simply required,” Kolb says. “When we audition people, we don’t simply listen to CDs, or even DVDs. We have to see someone in-person; and, if they can’t be here in-person, they need to be in the headlines.” Kolb is also the director of one of the festival offshoots, the Catskills Academy of the Performing Arts, which now works to nurture the next generation of performing artists. As the festival grows, so too does its footprint in the community. FOR MORE INFO 90 Main Street Phoenicia, NY (845) 688-1344 www.phoeniciavoicefest.org
WOODSHED | PHOENICIA FESTIVAL OF THE VOICE
Phoenicia Festival of the Voice is Summer’s must-hear destination. STORY BY TOD WESTLAKE | PHOTO BY KELLY MERCHANT 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 47
WOODSHED | TIN ROOF SESSIONS
It’s dusk on a Sunday in New Paltz. This is usually a quiet time. But on a residential street in the heart of the village, a converted garage is about to play host to a unique house concert. It’s called the Tin Roof Sessions, named for the tin roof over the detached garage that plays triple duty as a recording studio, video production house and performance space. It is the brainchild of friends Taylor Davis, Nate Krenkel (owner of Team Love Records in New Paltz), and recording artists Conor Oberst and Mustafa Bhagat (coowner of production company Flicker Film Works LLC, also in New Paltz). The sessions started out as a way to showcase some of the group’s favorite local and independent artists, as they passed through the region between Montreal and New York City, Mustafa Bhagat said. “So often artists will come and they will just have recorded a record. And they’re about to go into the studio and they have a lot of material – a lot of new material they haven’t really tested. And what better way than to have a test audience for your new songs?” The Tin Roof Sessions offers an incredibly intimate experience; shows are capped at 50 people and the free tickets are by online invitation only. The garage is set up to look and feel like a living room, complete with faux fireplace, pictures on the wall and even a box window. Show attendees crowd into the garage’s open front door or 48 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
lounge in the garden by the garage and watch the show through the open window. Included in the experience are food and drink. Even kids are welcome; many of the organizers have youngsters of their own running in and out of the garage. Bhagat says the atmosphere is geared around putting the music front and center. “What artists look for is to be heard in an environment where there’s no clanging plates. You can listen to this music and not have too many extraneous noises getting in the way. I think artists really enjoy that.” Each show consists of performances by two artists. They are recorded and videotaped by media professionals who volunteer their time. “We’ve been able to put together such a successful production team using audio, video and photography. All the people involved really want to be here and want to be a part of something cool,” Bhagat said. Like the musicians performing, it’s an opportunity for volunteers to practice their craft and contribute to an artistic community endeavor. The recorded shows are uploaded to the web via YouTube and SoundCloud and shared via social media. This year’s inaugural show featured Capital Region native, Garrett Devoe, professionally known as Pure Horsehair. The singersongwriter relocated to Brooklyn and has been a touring musician for the past decade. Devoe found
SESSIONS Not your typical garage band.
BY JENNA FLANAGAN PHOTO BY ERIC TOWNSEND FOR TIN ROOF SESSIONS
out about the Tin Roof Sessions through a friend who played in a band with Sessions co-founder Taylor Davis. “The idea of playing for a group of people, that’s really good. You get a sense of how the songs effect actual people and how they respond to it,” Devoe said. Devoe’s acoustic set was filled mostly with new material he has been working on during the long cold winter. He hopes the intimate feel of the live show and recording session will allow all fans to understand his music better. “Sometimes a song will just have tons of words. And in an environment like this, I feel people can actually hear the songs. I’m gonna do some storytelling-type songs and take advantage of that.”
PHOTOS: ERIC TOWNSEND
Devoe said the Hudson Valley is a natural place for a lot of artists to gravitate to. “As New York gets more expensive to live in, increasing numbers of people are moving upstate. Even as far as Hudson, you have some really experimental stuff happening.” The second artist on this evening’s lineup was Anni Rossi, another Brooklyn-based artist connected to Taylor Davis. A musical jack-of-all-trades, she grew up playing classical violin and piano before turning her attention to songwriting. While she has almost a decade of performing under her belt, tonight’s event provides her with the opportunity to hone her skills on a new instrument, an
unnamed roughly-cut wooden plank with a bridge and guitar strings. “A big part of this performance tonight is that this is the first time I’m performing with my new instrument I built 3 weeks ago. So it’s a chance for me to have an endpoint or a goal to work towards.” She is also performing a song she wrote last night that she said she might not attempt in another setting. “I see it as kind of a workshopping opportunity. It’s small enough where I can make mistakes, be vulnerable, share new stuff that isn’t ready yet and still feel like I’m venting it in some way.” During her show, she also plays electric guitar and kick drum. The live recordings from tonight’s set, Rossi said, will serve as building blocks for the next studio album she’s recording in Utah. Artists who perform at the Tin Roof Sessions do get paid a small fee, but don’t pay for any of the recording services provided. Co-producer Bhagat says he expects their labor of love to grow in popularity and eventually profitability. “We know we’ve created something great in an intimate environment that people love. We haven’t figured out how to bring it to a wider audience. We’re working on that.” FOR MORE INFO www.tinroofsessions.com 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 49
One doesn’t simply sit down with blues legend Slam Allen and have lunch. It’s an event. Like everything else Allen does, what others might perceive as a simple meal transforms into a shared experience, one that charges the atmosphere with rarity, not unlike hearing this amazing, incredibly talented and soulful singer perform. When I met up with Allen and his manager Mike Moss in Liberty, NY, I was prepared to expect the unexpected, and Allen did not disappoint. This particular interview presented me with a challenge, since it wasn’t my first, and hopefully, far from the last. After exchanging handshakes, hugs and pleasantries, we ordered and got down to business. “Where have you been?” I asked “It’s been too long.” “I’ve been on the road” Slam answered “or rather…the sea.” Back in 2010, Allen began his partnership with Norwegian Cruise Lines, lining up a multi-year contract that no other performer has ever scored. Now in his fourth year with the luxury floating resort, Allen headlines on their newest flagship “The Breakaway” and tours six months out of every year playing six nights a week in the “Fat Cats” blues club, specifically built around his act and band. Manager Moss was quick to point out that Allen has been consistently voted “Best Entertainment” against monster hits like the “Blue Man Group” and “Cirque Dreams” by vacationers who can’t get enough of the “Blues Cruise” and return often to bask in his presence and have another opportunity to hear the self-proclaimed “Soul Working Man” belt out the blues, night after night. Japan, Argentina, Lebanon and Israel are but a few of the stops along the way for Slam and company, who often have the opportunity to perform on land as well. Norway, Tunisia, Africa and Spain have been highlights on his tour, but Slam looked me in the eye before earnestly sharing that “there’s no place I’d rather be than in Sullivan County - this place is my roots.” Born and raised in Monticello, NY, Allen attended school and had a family here, recently relocating to Liberty, NY to be closer to his son, who is still in high school. “My family comes first”, he said. “Family is the spiritual center of my being, and without that, there is no core from which to perform.” Being a hands-on dad is important, but Allen understands that providing for his family, both spiritually and economically comes at a price, which is why he tours. “Now that he is growing up” Slam shared “my son’s desire to be a part of the music business is cool. A few years ago, he wanted to be a professional skateboarder, and that was okay, too.” They talk frequently while Slam is away and with technology being what it is, they often converse face-toface, which lets the miles melt away, no matter how great the distance. Knowing that Allen has been widely regarded as a force to be reckoned with in the music world, the questions flowed. “Why stay in the Catskills?” I asked, “when you could easily be recording with major labels?” Not that the man doesn’t have music out there - he does. His albums “Soul and Blues” and “This World” are being enjoyed by his legions of fans the world over, but Slam believes that fame is “just a word.” His roots emerge again in conversation and Allen has a strong sense of community that he doesn’t want to leave behind. “My definition of fame” he says “is not wrapped around money or awards” but what others think of me. Am I a good father? Am I serving my community in the best way possible? These are the true 50 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
measures of success.” Not that he’s against notoriety or the trappings of adulation that can follow. “I’m on my own path,” he claims, “when it’s right, I’m ready for the Big Time!” In between cruises, Allen can be spotted at local venues scattered throughout the region, supporting his friends and playing sets that routinely bring the crowds to their collective feet. “Slam is very community-oriented” Moss interjects “always has been” and Allen heartily agrees. Sullivan County is going through a transition, from negative energy to positive… and I want to be a part of that.” Having spent years working with the legendary James Cotton Band, which is ongoing, Allen credits Cotton with being a source of inspiration. “It’s one of the privileges and highlights of my life to play with Cotton” he says, humbly concluding that “It’s a great honor.” Other influences abound and Slam is quick to point them out. B.B. King and Otis Redding are among them but it’s often difficult to discern where the “covers” end and the original tunes begin because at the end of the day, it’s the music that drives the man. Deeply committed to the genre, when Slam picks up his guitar, he comes alive. “My audience is everything to me,” Allen says, “and while I feel that I’m hopefully giving them something when I’m on stage, what they give back cannot be measured.” The energy in the room is electric and while the men nod, stomp, hoot and applaud, it’s the women who literally swoon. “I have a great love and respect for all human beings,” Allen informs but blushes a bit when stating that “Yes, I love the womenfolk.” That they adore him in return is evident at every show and Allen credits his years on the cruise ship with allowing him the opportunity to relax with the crowd, working his way into the audience and serenading the ladies from time to time. “Listen,” he says, “these hard working people are giving me their time. Many of them have scrimped and saved all year long to have a vacation opportunity like this. It’s the least I can do to give back. If I can add to their good time simply by singin’ the blues, then that is what I’m gonna do. Music is supposed to be a shared experience, and without the audience, why am I here?” Allen is slightly concerned that the younger generation will lose sight of the ‘Birth of the Blues’ with the constant onslaught of catchy, ephemeral pop music and attention spans that are often being compromised by the glut of “distractions out there today” so a part of his mission is “bringin’ back what was never gone.” Elucidating his point, Allen adds that “a huge part of the music world has always been Blues and Soul” and that it always will be. “If I can serve as an instrument of that, then I have done what I was put on earth to do. Yes, there are many other things that play an important role in my life, but music is my soul and soul is my world.” Sharing lunch with Slam is always a treat, but it was important to share some feelings as well. “I love being in the house when you play,” I said, “but don’t I have to be in a certain frame of mind to hear you sing the blues? I don’t always want to feel depressed and forlorn.” Allen laughed and gave me a soulful look. “You’re not alone my friend, but one of the reasons that I’m here is to clear up this point. Singing the blues is often misunderstood. We don’t do it to make you feel bad. The real definition of the blues is singing a sad song that makes you feel good.”
WOODSHED | SLAM ALLEN
slam allen Having the blues never felt so good. STORY BY JONATHAN CHARLES FOX PHOTO BY JOHN ROCKLIN
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 51
WOODSHED | CATSKILL JAZZ FACTORY
A WEEKEND WITH THE
C AT S K I L L J A Z Z FA C T O R Y STORY BY GARAN SANTICOLA PHOTOS BY TS’ELISO MONAHENG, MAX OPPEN, LUCY PLAYFAIR , JOHN DOUGLAS & DOUGLAS MOORE
It is a Saturday evening in late March. Uhadi – a group comprised of five of the best South African jazz musicians – takes the stage for its first-ever North American concert at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock to a sold-out crowd. The singular clarity of Paul Hanmer’s piano introduces his song “Same Old” and ushers in the full quintet, with saxophonist McCoy Mrubata, trumpeter Feya Faku, bassist Herbie Tsoaeli, and drummer Justin Badenhorst, presenting this mellow tune with the marabi beat common to their music. Next, Uhadi plays Faku’s “Hymn for All,” which builds on Hanmer’s melodious theme but adds joyful punctuations from Faku’s trumpet to illuminate the healing sound of South African jazz. Mrubata and Faku drive the group with the varied interplay of their horns and join with Tsoaeli to work in soulful Xhosa vocals. They proceed through a repertoire that includes compositions from each member of the band. Badenhorst’s drum rhythms span the gamut with a colorful array of percussion beats. Tsoaeli captivates on the upright bass with a solo that features a dazzling rapid groove. He plucks the strings and mugs for the audience, then grabs his bow and rips a few unconventional chords. Midway through, they begin to work in guest performers – Gary Wittner on the guitar, Chris Washburne on the trombone, and Etienne Charles on the trumpet. When Charles steps onto the stage, the group begins a composition by Hanmer, “The White Sands of the Flats.” He composed it in honor of Mrubata’s daughter, Nonceba Mzondo, who was murdered in 2007. It’s a melancholy tune that builds in complexity to a hopeful tone at the end, and Charles demonstrates his full range on the horn in an emotional rendition that seems to convey the depth of meaning contained within the very reason for Uhadi’s visit to the U.S. They crescendo for the final 30 minutes of their 90-minute performance, aided by the lively horn of Washburne and the intricate riffs of Wittner, and they close with Mrubata’s “Entlombeni,” a jazz driven composition with distinctive Xhosa rhythms that reflect the myriad influences that formed township music. The piece unfurls from a strong baseline melody on top of which Mrubata plays yet another melody to create momentum that begins to swing. It gains in force as each player adds his own improvisational flair, until the end, when the horns of Mrubata, Faku, Washburne, and Charles come together in a full harmonic convergence. So ends an impressive introduction of Uhadi to America. The next day, the core members of the group head up to Tannersville, home of the Jazz Factory, for an informal performance at Twin Peaks Coffee and Donuts. Twin Peaks is one of the vibrant establishments of this small town reflecting the cosmopolitan influence common to the ski area of Hunter Mountain. They arrive early to chat a bit about their collaboration. Hanmer credits Seton Hawkins of Jazz at Lincoln Center with bringing them together for this concert series that is a tribute to the late Nelson Mandela and 20 years of democracy in South Africa. He said “I’m speaking for myself here, but I think none of the members of Uhadi would have chosen to put quite this lineup together. Seton Hawkins handpicked us. And everyone is surprised by the lineup – how wonderful it seems.” Regarding the relation of their music to Mandela and democracy in South Africa, Mrubata said, “Freedom was also won by the arts. We sang a lot of protest songs, and our music is influenced by that.” He recalled their visit to Millbrook High School in Dutchess County the day before their Woodstock debut concert in Woodstock and said, “We performed a song called ‘Meadowlands,’ which was sung in the early 50’s when the government of the day started chasing people from cities downtown – when they created the townships.” He refers to this and many of the pieces they play as “healing songs.” Tsoaeli recalled the discrimination he personally experienced before the end of apartheid. Since then, he has had the opportunity to play with other great South African band leaders in celebration of Mandela and freedom, as has Badenhorst, the youngest and only white member of Uhadi.
Faku refers to Mandela as “the father of the universe” and recounted the days of turmoil in South Africa: “I come from the class of 1976. We lost one of my cousins, who went into exile. He never came back. We don’t know what happened to him. So, yeah, I come from struggles.” As Uhadi’s trumpeter, Faku commented on Charles’ contribution the previous night: “He’s very masterful. Sound is a deep thing. The minute you play a note, some of us can tell what kind of a person that is. When I talk about sound, I’m not talking about tone. There’s a difference. Sound is your soul. It’s who you are within, which I really liked from the first note he played. He’s beautiful.” Hawkins, who has accompanied Uhadi on their trip to the Catskills, then moved about the lounge area of the donut shop, rearranging furniture so the band has room to set up. Piers Playfair, founder of the Jazz Factory, greeted various members of the diverse crowd that had arrived for Sunday brunch. Soon the band began playing a shortened version of its repertoire. The pitchperfect arrangement from the night before (ordered by Hanmer, a master composer, at band leader Mrubata’s request), with pacing that built from a single instrument to a sustained crescendo, is absent from this routine; but it is replaced by the intimacy found in the kind of setting where great jazz thrives, filling the room with joyful horns, up-tempo beats and complex melodies. Uhadi is clearly at home in this venue. Hawkins finally encouraged Uhadi to wrap up so he can whisk them back to New York City for a week of engagements with Jazz at Lincoln Center. Playfair announced that pianist Marcus Roberts will be in town with a fourteen-piece band during the first week of August for a residency program that features performances at the Orpheum Theater down the road. He also reminded the audience to watch “60 Minutes” that evening because Wynton Marsalis will be presenting a feature about Roberts. Several hours later, Marsalis introduced the Jazz Factory’s summer guest at the beginning of his “60 Minutes” segment by saying, “Who’s the greatest American musician most people have never heard of? To me, it’s Marcus Roberts.” Marsalis told the story of how the pianist was blinded at the age of five yet persevered to become, as Marsalis says, “a fearsome and fearless player and a homegrown example of overcoming adversity with excellence.” The next day, in a phone conversation, Roberts expressed elation over the “60 Minutes” feature and the flood of enthusiastic responses he received since it aired. He says: “I’m honored. I feel blessed that was possible. I thought Wynton did a fantastic job of explaining a lot of what we’re up to and what we’re trying to do.” In August, one of their performances will be called ‘The Spirit of Louis,’ in honor of Louis Armstrong. Calling Armstrong “our first great jazz soloist,” Roberts explained that the band will perform Armstrong numbers, as well as music by Jelly Roll Morton, who was also from New Orleans. “And we’ll do some other things in the spirit of Louis Armstrong, because jazz kind of came from him, if you will,” he added. “And we’ll show some relationships of what later people came up with.” Though the residency program is designed for Roberts and his trio to hold a workshop with young professionals, he promises to make time to interact with students in the Jazz Factory’s educational network, as well. He says, “I know Piers is going to bring up some young folks, and we’ll have some young people there, and that’s really what it’s about. It’s about figuring out some strategies for these young musicians to learn about the music business and to learn about playing this music.” “Our goal is to provide something a little different, and it’s through the young people that a lot of the solutions to the future problems are going to be solved. So the more information we can give them, the better chance they’re going to have.”
UHADI QUINTET AND INDIVIDUAL SHOTS: TS’ELISO MONAHENG; PHOTOS OF MARCUS ROBERTS: JOHN DOUGLAS & DOUGLAS MOORE; OTHERS: MAX OPPEN & LUCY PLAYFAIR.
FOR MORE INFO The Catskill Jazz Factory features some of the best musicians in the world in performances at premier venues throughout the region, as well as educational outreach in schools. For further information, www.catskilljazzfactory.org. 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 53
ART | MIKE OSTERHOUT
Totem of Bruce Photo by David Markovitz 54 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
Foxy Boxing Photo by Samm Kunce
STORY BY AKIRA OHISO
CONCEPTUALIST Reverend Mike Osterhout requires congregants to burn a dollar bill upon entry to his pagan house of worship, Church of the Little Green Man, in the eastern hinterlands of Sullivan County. If you make a wrong turn, you may stumble upon his church, where a billboard reads “God Loves Fags” in Hebrew. A circus cage showcases decaying animal bones. A scrawled note on the front door to the church offers a suggestion: “Vote No!” Conceptual Artist Mike Osterhout has been making art since the late 70’s. On his blog “Hunting With Supermodels” his bio lists interests as “guns, girls, art, religion, politics.” Osterhout’s contradictions, juxtapositions and image making processes are not a delineated exhibition on white walls. To walk into Osterhout’s world is to become enveloped by his work where you often can’t tell where art ends and life begins. His new collection of photographs document this process over the last two years.
FOR MORE INFO Mike Osterhout / Church of the Little Green Man Get the book: blurb.com/b/5154737-mike-osterhout-2012-2013 Read the blog: huntingwithsupermodels.blogspot.com 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 55
Red KK Photo by Samm Kunce
56 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
ART | MIKE OSTERHOUT
Flat File Group Photo by Samm Kunce 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 57
58 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
TOP PHOTO OF MIKE OSTERHOUT & STAINED GLASS WINDOW: THEODORE KAYE
Photos by Theodore Kaye
2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 59
ART | PUBLIC ART
What is Public Art? Simple: “artworks that are made to be seen by the public in public places” (this includes, murals, sculpture, monuments, performances, installations, events, theater, etc.).
6 PUBLIC ART 1 Lorraine Kessler Sculpture Park 2 Wappingers Post Office Mural 3 Pok Journal Building Mural Photo by Spencer Ainsley 4 Chris Lesnewski Sculpture 5 Whale by Judy Sigunick 6 Burt Gold Sculpture Park 7 Olde Main Street Mural 8 C. Columbus Bronze 9 Soldiers Fountain
60 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
The Hudson Valley abounds in public art, although this heritage is not well known. In fact, the city and town of Poughkeepsie have more public art than any other municipality in the mid-Hudson Valley, over 100 works; 30 works are on the Vassar College campus, 35 works at Dutchess County Community College and 35 in downtown Poughkeepsie that include indoor and outdoor murals, sculptures, historical monuments, stained glass windows, fountains and bronze plaques. Public art reflects a community’s social and political culture, its development and history. The oldest public works are primarily monumental in scale, and made of durable materials such as stone or bronze. Typically, civic monuments commemorate founders, fallen heroes, politicians, statesmen and the like. Two examples in downtown Poughkeepsie commemorate the Civil War, “Soldier’s Memorial Fountain” and the “Civil War Memorial,” both installed in the late 1860’s. The bright white neo-classical fountain is functional and made of painted steel. The twenty-foot fountain is a grand centerpiece in a small lovely urban park surrounded by a civil war canon and is framed by apple blossom trees and reflective pools. An early 20th century work is the largest stained glass window in Poughkeepsie that dominates the rear wall of the city’s current TD Bank on Main Street, originally the Poughkeepsie Savings Bank. The magnificent 15’x16’ predominantly azure window depicts Henry Hudson’s Half Moon ship cruising up the Hudson River. It was designed by Nicola D’Ascenzio in 1911 for the valley’s Hudson-Fulton Tricentennial 1609-1909. A prolific period of public art occurred during the depression years of the 1930’s. President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program funded thousands of public works, which includes over 1200 murals nationally in transportation, construction and public art. We are fortunate that FDR was a supporter of the arts through the policies of the W.P.A., (Work Progress Agency) and he regularly stressed the important role of public art in society.
IN POUGHKEEPSIE STORY & PHOTOS BY FRANC PALAIA
He insisted that public art have three basic functions, to beautify the environment, and to inform and educate the general public; and his programs created needed employment for artists who were unemployed during the Great Depression. FDR’s WPA promoted and celebrated local history with murals. His New Deal program brought several worldclass, nationally important public murals to the main post office and the Poughkeepsie Journal building. The five large post office murals depict three centuries of Poughkeepsie history; one depicts the encounter of the Wappinger Indians and early Dutch settlers and another the ratification of the U.S. Constitution that took place in Poughkeepsie. The Journal’s colossal 30-foot high 360-degree rotunda mural celebrates significant American contributions to journalism, printing and the various forms of communication in Europe and the U.S. from the 1300s to the 1940s. Two traditional bronze works are figurative statues commemorating Matthew Vassar and Christopher Columbus. Mr. Vassar stands at the college center that he founded in 1860, depicted life size, (five feet three) and Columbus looms large in front of the Italian Center, at the edge of the city’s Little Italy. The ten-foot statue, cast in Italy was commissioned in 1992 to commemorate the Quadri-centennial of his historic voyage. The downtown district is also home to two sculpture parks, Kessler Sculpture Park at Main and Bridge streets and the private and intimate Burt Gold Park, 5 blocks east, on Main St. The larger Kessler Park was created over 25 years ago by then, Poughkeepsie art dealer, Lorraine Kessler. She organized a dozen regional sculptors and installed their massive forged steel abstract sculptures on an empty corner lot in order to prevent the city from building an unpopular parking lot on that grassy site. Poughkeepsie also boasts an impressive number and variety of murals, (approximately seventeen), that encompass many styles with the largest being the “Olde Main Street Mural“ by Franc Palaia, measuring 16’ high and 130 feet long. Located in an underused empty city lot it, which is now known as “Mural Park”, depicts an historic cityscape of seven famous Poughkeepsie businesses from 1900 to 2002. This mural was the beginning of a short -lived spurt of public murals painted in the early 2000’s in the city funded by Federal grants offered to challenged urban centers. Peruvian–American muralist, Nestor Madalengoitia (“Hudson River School, Then and Now”) has adorned many walls in the inner city over the last two decades. A large 1990 mural, standing incognito on Garden Street, was painted by Dutch artist Johan Bjurman transforming a bland four-story stucco building facade into a colorful Trompe L’oeil city-scape – its painted doors and windows indistinguishable from the real ones. Other murals depict Kipsy the Sea Serpent, the city’s Little Italy, Hudson Valley Olympics, and local historic luminaries. Public art adds vitality and unity to a community by celebrating its rich heritage and cultural spirit. It raises the city’s public profile and develops civic pride, stimulates business, reduces crime by discouraging graffiti, and creates jobs. A city that promotes public art and supports its civicminded creative citizens is rewarded with a thriving business community, a politically engaged public, cultural tourism and beautification with benefits that go beyond the artwork’s aesthetic appeal and physical boundaries. A guided walking tour of Public Art in Poughkeepsie is conducted by the author from April through October. For a tour brochure and information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-486-1378. 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 61
Candy Spilner was four years old when her mother first gave her paintbrushes and oil paint. This set Spilner on an artistic path that took her to the School of Art at Cooper Union in New York City. Emerging with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1972, she has been a painter for the past four decades. For many years, Spilner’s work was characterized by large, squareshaped figural paintings. These evolved into works that were at once abstract and representational. While over time, abstraction became more and more dominant in her output, vestigial influences arising from figural and landscape elements continue to shape the layered structures that are her paintings today, giving them life and movement. An intense and vivid use of color imparts even more vibrancy. When you view her paintings, you think of archipelagos seen from high in the sky – island formations seemingly powered by a biological force. She began summering on the banks of the Delaware starting in 1986. By 1989, she migrating from New York City permanently. Spilner became intrigued by driftwood thrown up by the river of her new home. She painted on their surfaces directly. And they also inspired freestanding paintings. She was further inspired by the rocks of Chinese scholars which she saw in a visit to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. These catalyzed painterly idea after idea. Nearly a hundred years ago – in 1917 to be exact – the great modernist collagist and sculptor Jean Arp was in Ascona, on the bank of a lake in Switzerland. Describing a breakthrough similar to Spilner’s epiphany, he wrote, “In Ascona, using brush and ink, I drew broken-off branches, roots, grasses and stones which the lake had washed up on its shore. I simplified these forms and unified their essence in fluid ovals, symbols of eternal mutability and of the becoming of bodies.” The forms Arp discovered in 1917 became for him “decisive forms” that in the world of
62 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
ART | CANDY SPILNER
C A N DY
SEKALA & NISKALA 2011 Oil, Sand and Photocopy on Board Construction 150 x 65 x 14” (variable)
SPILNER An Abstractionist Caught in Nature’s Lure.
art came to be known as biomorphic. A fascinating feature of classical Modernism was the inability of many of its pioneers to depart from representational and figurative art. As much as they wished, they could not do it. Not only Arp, but many others refrained from total abstraction. Waylaid by the lure of biomorphic shapes, they realized that the quest of pursuing pure fantasy was not as satisfying as it appeared. Think of Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, Kupka, Miro and the Armenian-American Arshile Gorky. Biomorphic and even figurative images so informed their visions on canvas, one concludes that nature bent these artists to its will, in spite of their wish to be totally original. Spilner, too, found this to be so in the course of her artistic journey. While she has left figural painting far behind, the things of this earth have continued to keep her spellbound. Their essential forms and shapes are still her basic inspiration. To this must be added another element of the artist’s life experience. Spilner and her partner, Allan Rubin, are world travelers. Having visited European and Latin American countries, they began to spend a lot of time in Asia, especially Bali in Indonesia. It is not only newfound colorful landscapes that influence her work; the spiritual and cultural life of Bali’s people have given her visual vocabulary a teeming vitality. Those scholars’ rocks Spilner saw in the Metropolitan Museum have been transformed by these influences into vivid, layered paintings that one can contemplate for hours. Consider “Sekala and Niskala”, an oil, sand, and photocopy-on-board construction Spilner made in 2011. What social drama is being enacted by the animal-like images this painting embodies? Is this a scene from a folk-art play? Or are the images pointers to a primordial natural force?
BY SIBA KUMAR DAS
Or regard “Sanggalangit”, which Spilner made in 2014 with oil, artificial flowers, gold leaf, and sand on board. Consider the Javanese-inspired motif Spilner embodied in this painting. Is she representing a social idea? Or has she created more of a biological or even geographical construct? Or are all these things conflated within a single, self-organizing ecology? Maybe the world of the painting contains all of these realities. An artist Spilner admires, Brice Marden, during his half-century career, has moved from a Minimalist kind of Abstract Expressionism to a form of abstraction, internalizing a biomorphic approach to imagery. Riffing upon Chinese calligraphy, he has begun painting circuitous, interloping bands that at once create balance, cohesion and an animating vitality. Spilner achieves a similar synthesis. In 2009, New York’s Guggenheim Museum mounted an eye-opening show called “The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 18601989”, which vividly illustrated the influence that Asian art, literature and philosophy have had on American artists from the late nineteenth century through the twentieth. Interaction between American and Asian art is still evolving – as a similar symbiosis unfolds with other parts of the world. A global art is coming into being. In 2013, a British Museum show tried to demonstrate a great artistic flowering occurred during the last Ice Age. Between 10,000 to 40,000 years ago, this output may have been a response to an existential challenge unleashed by a climate change crisis. Maybe today’s global challenges – arising from climate change, as well as other environmental and social stresses – are engendering a global art. Painting in a large, light-filled studio on a hillside overlooking a valley close to her beloved Delaware River, Candy Spilner, an abstract artist entrapped by nature, is acting locally but participating in a great global adventure.
FOR MORE INFO Candy Spilner welcomes visits to her studio. 845-932-8857 www.candyspilner.com 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 63
ART | FILMMAKER
eddie mullins BY JAY BLOTCHER
FOR MORE INFO doomsdaysmovie.com
Ulster County resident Eddie Mullins first made a name for himself in the film world as a critic, canonizing and eviscerating movies for Blackbook. When the reviewing gig ended after eight years, Mullins decided a change of life – and scenery – were in order. (He’d been living in the hipster-turned-nuclear family stroller-dominated neighborhood of Park Slope.) Having found his way to the Valley for weekends of manic fly-fishing, Mullins then convinced his Williamsburg-based girlfriend Janet Hicks that there was coolness beyond Brooklyn. The pair moved to Ulster County in 2009 and Hicks, who works at Artists Rights Society, opened One Mile Gallery in Kingston to showcase contemporary artists. (See profile in the Spring 2012 Green Door.) When not holding gallery openings with Hicks, jamming with neighbors, or drinking at the local watering hole, Mullins invests any remaining nervous energy into writing screenplays. Last year, he wrote and directed his feature debut, Doomsdays. On the surface, it’s a meandering slacker saga about two guys – Dirty Fred and Bruho – who squat in Ulster County weekender homes, gleefully trash the places and move on. But there is more to the tale than misanthropy. Mullins wrote the screenplay after being battered by headlines alerting him to global warming, oil slicks and one thousand other ways that earthlings are speeding the Apocalypse. Like Mullins himself, Doomsdays projects an acid-tongued, cooler-thanthou persona wrapped in deadpan black comedy. But dig beneath the theatrics and you’ll find an immense heart. Green Door recently asked Mullins if he would submit to an email interview about Doomsdays. He acquiesced, begrudgingly, like a grouchy bear in a cage submitting to a bratty boy with a pointed stick.
Here is how it all played out.
what inspired your screenplay? the media? personal observations? ongoing substance issues? YES.
64 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
With your debut film Doomsdays, you join a notable line of film reviewers – Truffaut, Ebert, Cocks – who made the transition to screenwriter. How long have you ached to leap into the void? Prior to Doomsdays, I’d written three feature-length screenplays, all of which I’d hoped to sell. When I finally realized no one was buying, I decided to go ahead and produce my own film. It was either that or lead one of those lives of quiet desperation. What inspired your screenplay? The media? Personal observations? Ongoing substance issues? Yes. Which stylistic shout-outs to your own cinematic gods are purposely in the film, so snarky cineastes know about these flourishes? I shy away from the kind of direct quotation you might find in a Wes Anderson or Tarantino picture, so there aren’t any specific moments where you can play “spot the influence.” That said, there are a lot filmmakers I’m leaning on in broader stylistic ways, chief among them Mizoguchi Kenji, Hou-Hsiao Hsien, William Wyler and Roy Andersson. How long did it take to write the screenplay? What was your go-to food and drink during the writing sessions? Why? It took a year. I mostly subsisted on Coke Zero at the time, but have since given it up because that shit’s poison. Any great coincidences that brought you your fearless cast? Justin Rice, who plays Dirty Fred in the picture, is my neighbor, so I didn’t have to go very far afield to find my leading man. In fact, I cast him before I’d finished the script, so I was able to tailor the role for him significantly. The remainder of the cast was found through conventional auditions, though it’s worth noting that neither Laura Campbell nor Brian Charles Johnson had ever appeared in a film before, and I was thrilled to be the first to give them the opportunity. You’ll be seeing more of both of them I’m certain. Brian even appears in The Wolf of Wall Street. Let’s talk numbers. How many shooting days? Was there a final destruction budget? We shot the picture in 18 days, which is fast for a feature-length production. Along the way we destroyed 2 cars, slashed 4 tires, smashed 2 windows and 2 full-sized sliding glass doors. Property destruction is a big part of my métier. Who was your greatest creative ally through this process? Two-part answer: 1) During the shoot, the most important person to me was the assistant cameraman, Mark Bain. I’ve known him since I was fourteen. He’s worked on three Terrence Malick pictures, plus a couple of seasons of Entourage, and was by far the most experienced person on the set. 2) Since the shoot, the most valuable asset has been my executive producer Janet Hicks. She’s not only helped oversee post-production, but has also been invaluable in promoting the picture on the festival circuit. I’m very fortunate to call her my girlfriend. Which were the most challenging days for you: on the set or in the editing room. And why? The challenging part for me is waiting to hear back from festivals and distributors once the film is done. The rest, even when it sucks, is beautiful. Pray tell how you also found the time to write music for Doomsdays. The entire score was done on autoharp, which is a thoroughly underappreciated instrument. It’s not unlike a zither, and it used to be played on tabletops until Maybelle Carter (mother of June) started playing it against her chest. Now everyone plays it that way, myself included, but it hasn’t made it any more popular. PJ Harvey uses it, I know, and John Sebastian from The Lovin’ Spoonful, but that’s about it outside of the old(e) school folk scene. I should also add that I’m not an especially good player, but fortunately it’s a very forgiving instrument. All the tracks for Doomsdays were done in a day and I haven’t played them since. When you unleashed Doomsdays on an unsuspecting world via the film festival circuit, who did you feel more like: Jennifer Beals in Flashdance or Albert Brooks in Defending Your Life? Or a third film analogy? I felt like Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon. You’ve screened everywhere from The Wodstock Film Festival to MoMA. How many film festivals thus far? Which ones lay ahead? I think by now we’ve played somewhere around 30 festivals in 6 countries. It’s a been a good run, and I expect I’ll be on the circuit for another six months. The upcoming fest I’m most jazzed about is the Friar’s Club Comedy Film Festival in NYC. Not only is the programming done by invitation only, but you get a complimentary steak dinner. Now that you have emerged from this first-time directorial experience, is there another screenplay in the pipeline…or still residing in your whiskey-soaked mind? I’m working on a new script called “Shooting the Pilot.” It’ll make Doomsdays look like the shy kid at the party. 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 65
ART | NACL
RURAL FELLINI BY TANNIS KOWALCHUK | PHOTO BY BRIAN CAIAZZA
What happens when you mix themes of climate change and weather with a gaggle of stilt walkers? What sort of performance emerges when professional actors from the USA, Canada, and Japan team up with a NASA climate scientist? What happens when residents aged 5-80 years old are invited into the play-making process as dancers, actors, singers, and musicians? The answer: The Weather Project – a community play by NACL Theatre about climate change. On August 9th in Yulan, New York, NACL Theatre and over 100 members of the community will break with tradition, bringing theatre out of the black box and into the streets (but in this case, it is in a ball field in rural Sullivan County). The Weather Project is all about community engagement through art in collaboration with the Town of Highland, a host of community organizations, and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant. Directed by NACL artistic director, Tannis Kowalchuk, the original play incorporates acting, playwriting, dancing, puppetry, singing, and stilt-walking to tell an epic and visually stunning story about climate change. A live band accompanies the players, and members of the NACL Young Company play the protagonists – science students on a journey to find the scientist Elaine Matthews. And the scientist is a real NASA climate scientist named Elaine Matthews, who is working closely with The Weather Project and who appears as herself in the performance. The Weather Project redefines the community as a co-creator, and puts the audience’s agency center stage. The open invitation asking a community to create erases the barrier between art and people and The Weather Project ushers in an important conversation about climate change and what we can do about it together. FOR MORE INFO www.nacl.org
PHOTO: BRIAN CAIAZZA
PETS | NATURAL TREATS
DOGSTAR Homemade Dog Treats made with Local Meats.
BY CHERYL PETERSEN
Born and raised in a small village in Colombia, South America, Queny Villanueva, now lives in Bloomville, NY. Decades ago, as an adventurous 15-years old, Queny (pronounced Kenny) moved to New York City. She successfully worked her way up in the fashion industry, and met and married her husband, Roger Sackett. Nine years ago, Queny and Roger purchased an old farmhouse and 119 acres in Bloomville. What was meant to be a weekend home, opened the road to yet another big life change that would allow Queny time to pursue her passion for quality pet food. The family is complete with their two happy Papillon dogs, Ruben and Sebastian. “Ruben and Sebastian love the outdoors,” said Queny, who along with Roger has cultivated a garden and planted a blueberry patch at the Bloomville homestead. “The last three years have been a transition from selecting fine fabrics and appropriate colors, to cutting fire wood, caring for chickens, and starting a new business involving healthy pet food,” added Queny. While growing up in Colombia, Queny was introduced only to healthy simple eating. Her family had a garden and what wasn’t grown in the garden, was purchased from local farmers and markets. She
remembers bringing home fresh meat, soy beans, and sugar cane. “I had not seen processed sugar until I moved to the United States as a teenager,” said Queny, adding with a smile, “I also had not seen snow until I moved north.” Queny got a job as a nanny and began attending college. Ironically, having to learn the English language and adapt to a new culture was less of a shock than discovering a majority of the available food in supermarkets was processed and full of preservatives and additives. The dynamics of living in the hustle and bustle of a big city did not uproot Queny from being grounded in healthy eating. She shopped for fresh food and took the time to cook her own meals. “I eventually became employed with the Ann Taylor Company and worked my way up before moving to work at Loro Piana as a fashion specialist,” said Villanueva. She developed her talent to raise the bar when it came to details, a skill appreciated by clients Robert De Niro, Catherine Reynold, Keanu Reeves, Eric Clapton, and so on. “I then wanted to use that talent in the pet care industry,” said Queny, a long-time dog owner and lover.
Queny began investigating pet foods and discovered pet food ingredients include wheat and meat by-products. Broadening her research three years ago, Villanueva contacted Drhyaneshwar (Danny) Chwan, Ph.D., President and founder of Srim Enterprises, a leading technical food and research service since 1997.
and space for pet food preparation and packaging. Back in the city, Queny put the final touch on her fashion job before moving full-time to Bloomville.
Dr. Chwan said, “Queny was interested in the science behind food nutrition and animals. We discussed the fact that the DNA of carnivores evolved to process protein exclusively and efficiently. Carnivores can tolerate carbohydrates, but may develop health disorders or intolerances.”
Organized to work efficiently, the production line makes the dough first. The recipe includes organic real meat from local farmers, certified organic chia seed, and herbs. The milled chia is 20% protein and has omega 3, 6, and 9, along with more vitamin A than milk and more potassium than broccoli. The treats are preserved with certified organic coconut oil.
Dr. Chwan continued, “Gluten intolerance is on the rise among humans and is creeping into domesticated animals. Queny captured the need for high protein and gluten-free ingredients in dog food.” Not afraid to experiment, Queny, along with Ruben and Sebastian serving as taste-testers, developed recipes for a healthy gluten-free dog treat. And, DogStars appeared in the sky of the future. Queny and Roger renovated the Bloomville farmhouse kitchen to accommodate a commercial oven
July 2012, Queny and Roger launched Savvy Beast Treats, a company that produces homemade healthy gluten-free DogStar treats.
The dough is then rolled out to a specific height and cut. “I use a cutter made out of copper,” said Villanueva. “The copper has no chemical reactions.” The cut stars are placed on commercial pans and baked in the oven. After cooling, a scale is used to measure and fill 6 ounce bags with DogStars. “All the bags have detailed labels,” said Villanueva. DogStars are available in chicken, turkey, beef and lamb flavor. Queny is currently developing a treat that includes buffalo meat.
FOR MORE INFO Most sales are transacted online at www.savvybeaststreats.com and at specialty pet stores around the nation 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 67
Artist Sharon Malloy Sharon Malloy started painting animal portraits many years ago when her beloved cat Henry passed and she spontaneously decided to paint him. It was a natural way for her to honor their years of companionship. A trained painter, Malloyâ€™s pet portraits are photo realistic. Artists have painted animals throughout history, but there is something uniquely modern about her work - animal portraits that capture the love and devotion people have for their pets. Somewhere between William Wegman and James Audubon, Malloyâ€™s paintings are kitschy and high art at the same time. FOR MORE INFO www.paintedpetportrait.com
68 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
COUNTRY MANNERS BY BRUCE LITTLEFIELD of brucelittlefield.com PHOTO BY ROCHELLE RISERVATO
When we first moved to our home, a local gave me advice to “use Scott’s toilet paper.” Considering my partner’s name is Scott, I thought that was disgusting. “Why in the heck would I want to use his toilet paper?” I asked, my jaw agape. “The brand, silly!” she told me. “It’s the best for your septic tank.” The only thing I knew about septic tanks was my high school friend’s dad owned a septic company and drove around in a truck that said, “Your number two is our number one.” But I do know when to take advice and thus began the stockpiling of Scott’s toilet paper. I’d not thought of our septic tank again until the location of the thing had to be included on our building permit application. We had no idea, and none of the countless people who had worked in our yard and around our house over the years had mentioned seeing or smelling it. Scott’s toilet paper was obviously working. “Look for the greenest spots,” I told Scott as we walked on the hunt around our yard. “The grass is always greener over the septic tank.” “How do you know that?” he asked. “Erma Bombeck.” “How’d she know?” “I have no idea. But it was a bestseller.” Scott and I spent the good part of a Saturday afternoon looking around in the yard for it – parting the pachysandra, digging into the mulched beds, peering into the bamboo – and found nothing, except for a…“Snake!” My spine-chilling scream could be heard over the river and through the woods, and announced that my part in the fruitless hunt was officially over. I later conducted an exhaustive search through every piece of paperwork that had come with our house. I’d forgotten our home inspection report, which warned us of a bad roof, outdated electrical system, sulfur-infused water, and “a medium sized animal living below the dining room.” I quietly re-hid that from Scott. Growing frustrated, I turned to the Internet. While researching online, I came across a dearth of septic related matters. I learned from one cheeky blogger that it’s a good idea to find out about such “messy matters” before one closes on a home. An attorney’s website kindly pointed out, “Buyer beware. It’s up to you to ask about the septic.” A realty website suggested the importance of “finding out when the last time it was pumped,” and that an average septic should be pumped every two years. We’d been living in the house for eleven past that window. I also discovered a “Poop Thesaurus” offering a lot of words for “human waste” that I never knew – brown trout, floaters and rectal feedback, to name a few – and my eyes were accidentally exposed to a NSFW picture that will clog the pipes of my mind well past senility. There is a “Magna-Trak” system that we could buy for $859, which would let us track a $224 transmitter ball as it made its journey from the aging bowels of our house until it found its resting place in our septic tank filled with thirteen years of Scott’s decomposing toilet paper. “No way!” Scott decided. “That’s like flushing money down the drain.” And that’s when the dowser showed up. 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 69
INTO THE WOODS | BETHEL WOODS
ARTFULLY IN BLOOM Bethel Woods’ Art-Based Programs Grow PHOTO BY MICHAEL BLOOM
FOR MORE INFO To learn more visit bethelwoodscenter.org/supportthearts or call 845-295-2501 to make a gift today.
70 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
As Bethel Woods Center for the Arts continues to grow, it remains committed to expanding programming that connects members of the community with the arts and humanities. Support from both individual and corporate donors and sponsors in 2013 allowed Bethel Woods to not only expand the number of arts-based education programs it offers, but also to increase access to them – a critical element of the organization’s mission. In an economic climate where the arts and humanities are often sacrificed, Bethel Woods stands firm in its belief that the arts are vital to the development and success of young people. As Chief Executive Officer, Darlene Fedun, explains, “We believe that frequent exposure to the arts helps to create positive changes within our community. Thanks to the continued support of donors who share this belief, Bethel Woods has been able to not only present diverse, culturally-rich programs but also to ensure that they are accessible to all.” Throughout the summer, Bethel Woods presents youth workshops that immerse participants in all aspects of the performing arts. The ‘Summer Stages’ series focuses on the exploration of topics like Jazz, Opera, and Broadway, with each workshop culminating in a live, public performance. Donor support made it possible for Bethel Woods to provide 42 students with full scholarships to these workshops in 2013. As arts education curriculum disappears from public schools, this may be the only exposure these children have to the transformative power of the arts. In addition to scholarships, donations also helped to fund free transportation and admission that enabled 25 school and community groups to visit the Museum at Bethel Woods, and learn about the transformative decade of the 60’s. Also in 2013, seven free live performances, showcasing everything from African Dance to Shakespeare, were presented to 5,000 school children. As the Center celebrates the 45th anniversary of Woodstock this season, it continues to ensure the preservation of the historic site, and helps to provide a growing number with arts experiences. This past spring, ‘Project Identity,’ a pilot initiative designed to engage teens was unveiled. The program provides an understanding of creative arts and a safe and encouraging environment where expression is able to thrive. ‘Arts Break,’ for youth in grades K-6, explored music, dance, theatre, visual arts and creative writing during Sullivan County schools’ spring break. This program provided structure and learning opportunities that are often missing for many students outside of the classroom. The ‘Summer Stages’ series also returns this summer, expanded to include children as young as four, who will join in the creative process via a workshop known as ‘First Bows.’ For young people, immersion in the arts is a powerful way to build confidence, creative thinking and self awareness. If you are interested in learning about the ways Bethel Woods is ensuring that the arts continue to thrive throughout our region, visit www.bethelwoodscenter.org/supportthearts 2014 SUMMER | GREEN DOOR 71
ILLUSTRATION: STEVEN WEINBERG
ENDPAPER | CAMPFIRE STORIES
72 GREEN DOOR | SUMMER 2014
It's the summer of the Hickster! From hickster fashion to the perfect weekend accessory. Travel through Livingston Manor, Newburgh, Poughke...
Published on May 19, 2014
It's the summer of the Hickster! From hickster fashion to the perfect weekend accessory. Travel through Livingston Manor, Newburgh, Poughke...