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WDIJW? Maestro

Maestro, by Bloom Pictures, directed by Illogic, is a short animated flick that contains some of the exact elements that inspired the… Keep Reading

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Food & Drink

Dr. Konstantin Frank vineyards overlooking Keuka Lake. Frank ignited the “Vinifera Revolution” in the FLX; photo by Nancy Koziol.
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The Finger Lakes: A Composition in Three Movements

The story—and experience—of Finger Lakes wine is no more perfectly analogized than with a nearly note-by-note match with Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C♯ Minor.
⠀ Dr. Konstantin Frank vineyards overlooking Keuka Lake. Frank ignited the “Vinifera Revolution” in the FLX; photo by Nancy Koziol. Keep Reading

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WDIJW? (What Did I Just Watch?)

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WDIJW? Maestro

Maestro, by Bloom Pictures, directed by Illogic, is a short animated flick that contains some of the exact elements that inspired the “What Did I Just Watch” series. It’s silly. It’s quirky. Its brilliant. Enjoy! Maestro from Bloom Pictures on Vimeo. Keep Reading

INDIEcent Exposure #33: INTERVIEW —Kevin Connelly of Iron Age Mystics

PLUS: Six other artists you should be listening to.  * EXPLICIT *

Welcome, my INDIEcent legions of new music addicts, to episode number 33 of INDIEcent Exposure. I am you host the mongrel — every bit as INDIEcent on the inside as I am on the out. You may be wondering, ”What the hell have I signed up for with this episode? Is the mongrel going to push some history lesson on us? Nahhh…well, actually yes and no.

What I really have in store for you is the long-awaited conversation with Kevin Connelly, lyricist and lead singer of the Iron Age Mystics — a band that perfectly personifies my own pissed-offedness with the system, except that they manage to channel my rage against the machina into coherent, harmonic anthems of resistance. Genuinely ass-kicking, politically aware Rock ’n’ Roll is so rare these days, you may feel subversive just humming the melodies once they get stuck in your head.

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Dance Review: Umanoove and The Happiness Project

Photo of dancer dancing in large clear plastic bag:The Happiness Project runs through July 21, at Jacob's Pillow; photo by Grace Kathryn Landefeld.
The Happiness Project runs through July 21, at Jacob's Pillow; photo by Grace Kathryn Landefeld.

By Robin Catalano

Happiness is tricky. It’s something we all want, but it often feels just out of reach—that if we do this, buy that, go there, we’ll find it, wrapped and waiting like a birthday gift. The fleeting, often elusive quality of happiness lies at the center of The Happiness Project, a 2016 work by Dutch-born choreographer Didy Veldman, whose company, Umanoove, makes its U.S. debut at Jacob’s Pillow this week.

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5 Wits before Wits’ End

My son is a slug. If he were left to forge his own life choices, I think many of those choices would involve reclining—specifically, reclining in front of a video game. Like a lot of kids, he rejects every alternative I throw at him: How about practicing karate in the living room? Taking the dog for a walk? Playing basketball in the schoolyard? Going for a bike ride? No, nope, no thanks, nuh-uh. Occasionally I can talk him into a stroll if I slap five dollars into his palm and tell him to treat himself to ice cream along the way, but my parental conscience tells me that negates the point of walking.

On the other hand, when I drag him away from the screen and insist that he do something that causes him to use a few voluntary muscles, he becomes a ball of kinetic energy. Everything is a party. It’s not unusual for him to have a fantastic and memorable time at the grocery store. The grocery store. He’s like a party waiting to happen.

But the reclining.

Recently on a quest to find a new and unusual activity that he would get excited about, I did a search on escape rooms, thinking that he might enjoy the challenge of using his noggin. I came across 5 Wits in Albany and read that it’s less of an escape room and more of an immersive experience. It seemed like the best of all worlds: high-tech video game appeal combined with the kid getting off his keister. His birthday was the perfect excuse for giving it a try.

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Cornbread Cafe #14: The Mammals

The Mammals appear Saturday, July 27 at Hancock Shaker Village as an installment in the Shaker Barn Music series, photo by Schnaidt.
The Mammals appear Saturday, July 27 at Hancock Shaker Village as an installment in the Shaker Barn Music series, photo by Schnaidt.

⬇️ Podcast Player ⬇️

Welcome brothers and sisters to episode #14 of the Cornbread Cafe. I am the mongrel, and I will be your grill master at this barbecue bonanza we’re firing up for you today. Cazh and cozy, we’re located at the five-corners of Blues, Americana, Folk, Country, and Gospel. And you can sometimes catch an express to Rock ’n’ Roll at the bus stop across the way.

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Climate Catastrophe: Why isn’t the poster child an actual child?

Mashup: Bangladeshi children; photo by Sadman Chowdhury; Antarctic Penguins on icefloe; photo by Jerzy Strzelecki, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Mashup: Bangladeshi children; photo by Sadman Chowdhury; "Antarctic, Penguins on Icefloe" photo by Jerzy Strzelecki [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

While the mainstream media feeds us a daily slop of pablum about the foibles of the president and the clown car of Democrat presidential candidates, the problem that won’t go away with an impeachment or an election is, for the most part, ignored. 

Very often, when you see a story about climate change/global warming, it is accompanied by a photo of a polar bear, an animal that most people have never even seen. By various estimates, the total world population of polar bears is between 20,000 and 30,000. This mammal has become the poster child of global warming, even though projections of their future are at this time, speculation. There is still insufficient evidence, no matter the huge sums spent on very expensive Arctic research, regarding the fate of these mammals.

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Weekend Travel Pick: Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

Image of Hot Air Balloon. Caption: Ever wonder what a hot air balloon ride feels like? Why not treat yourself to a tethered launch? You might get hooked on the feeling! Photo by Robin Catalano.
Ever wonder what a hot air balloon ride feels like? Why not treat yourself to a tethered launch? You might get hooked on the feeling! Photo by Robin Catalano.

A few facts you might not know about hot-air balloons: it’s hot—as in, skin-prickling hot—riding directly beneath their burners. Hot-air balloons also rise off the ground a lot faster than you’d think, and can vertically travel 10 feet or more per second. And once you’re up, you feel weightless and free-floating, as if you’re suspended over the landscape on the gentle breath of the breeze.

Another fact: the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival, now in its 28th year, returns—bigger and more aww-inspiring—to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York, this weekend. Dubbed “Little Albuquerque” by insiders (after the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the largest in the world), the Hudson Valley festival started out as a 10-balloon event with 3,000 spectators. Last year, 35,000 people came out to watch more than twice as many balloons. This year, with more than 100 morning and evening launches of 30 invitation-only balloons helmed by both national and international riders, attendance may tip the scale at closer to 50,000.

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Farmers market coupons distributed to Williamstown seniors

Franz Burnet-Gocht receives his farmers market coupons from Marion Quinn-Jowett; photo by Sheila Velazquez.
Franz Burnet-Gocht receives his farmers market coupons from Marion Quinn-Jowett; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

WILLIAMSTOWN — Elders lined up bright and early on the first day coupon books became available at the Williamstown Council on Aging’s Harper Center. Each book contains ten coupons valued at $2.50 each, which can be used to purchase fruits, vegetables, and honey in markets across Massachusetts.

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TLC#73: 2019 Sundance Film Festival
Short Film Tour

A poignant multi-generational slice of life film, The MINORS, written and directed by Robert Machoian, demonstrates how an immensely intimate and spare film can be a perfect selection for inclusion in the festival alongside shorts with wider focus; image courtesy Sundance Institute.

Hey, Greylock Nation!

This is TLC, Number 73, here at the Greylock Glass. I’m your host Jason Velazquez, and I hope your Independence Day week is shaping up nicely. I am very pleased to say that this episode is sponsored by the Hancock Shaker Village’s Shaker Barn Music Series, presenting The Mammals Saturday, July 27.

Sometimes fantastic interviews just sort of drop in my lap. Fascinating people I’d LOVE to hear from that I know you’ll enjoy hearing from to. Such is the case with Michael Plante, Senior Programmer for Short Films at the Sundance Film Festival. I had the good fortune of speaking with Doug Jones, Director of Images Cinema in Williamstown about the Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour which lands at Images Cinema for one day only — July 4 at 2:30 p.m. Turns out, Doug and Mike are friends from way back. Then Boom! I’ve got one of the countries foremost experts on short films on the line a few days later.

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Fiction: Keypads, Prologue

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
― Philip K. Dick

Prologue


The promenade took on a subtle, but detectable, shift in mood as the spectrum of dusk oscillated on the glossy, sullen surface of the Housatonic Seaway. Most of the street vendors tended to pack it in an hour or so before dark owing to infrequent foot patrols following recent budget cutbacks. Quite a few of the first floor shops, cafes, and clubs would be open until midnight, though. The brick and mortar establishments tended to have their own muscle at the door, or at least fairly competent security bots. The more committed buskers remained, serenading tourists in love from pools of lamplight just flickering to life on the cobblestones. As the stars winked into existence, so too did sketchier characters whose various trades have been at home on waterfronts everywhere since the invention of the dock.

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Review: Kenneth Lonergan’s ‘The Waverly Gallery’ With Annette Miller

Photo from the play, The Waverly Gallery, (Left to Right) Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Annette Miller, and David Gow; photo by Daniel Rader.
(Left to Right) Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Annette Miller, and David Gow; photo by Daniel Rader.

We’ve had a running joke in our house about much how we enjoy a production that’s “ultimately life-affirming” after seeing one billed that way years ago. The show was superb, and I wanted to scrub the depressing, kinda icky residue out of my memory with a pumice stone and some strong lye soap for a few days afterwards. The life-affirming part, I think, was that none of the lives portrayed was my own. So I’m going to be cautious in describing The Waverly Gallery, on stage now at Shakespeare & Company.

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Phoenix Rising — 48 Hours in Portland, Maine

The City of Portland, Maine rises above the waters of Portland Harbor, which is filled with sailing vessels and pleasure boats. The landmark Time and Temperature building can be seen, reading 5:39; photo by Benjamin Williamson.

By Robin Catalano

Even on a raw, rainy afternoon, with a uniform blanket of cinder-block gray settling over the sky, it’s easy to see why Portland, Maine, has smitten so many travelers. Raindrops the size of lima beans melt down the sides of buildings. The wind whooshes and gusts, cutting through coat sleeves and tossing hats. Atlantic waves wallop the jagged rocks in a spray of white foam. Still, the city seems just as beautiful, and possibly even more transfixing, as it does when there are blue skies for miles over Casco Bay.

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Water, water, everywhere
Nor any drop to drink

Photograph: Public water fountain. Newly installed public water fountains in high traffic/athletic areas grant near luxury-level access to the most basic of human needs; photo by Sheila Velazquez.
Newly installed public water fountains in high traffic/athletic areas grant near luxury-level access to the most basic of human needs; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

The title is a line from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, spoken by a sailor surrounded by a salty sea. The sailor had no choices, but we do. We have available fresh water, for now, and can choose to use tap water, filter it or not, and bypass the aisles of bottled water when we shop. We can choose to help ourselves and Mother Earth.

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