Photos at Opera House open window on city’s backstreets

HUDSON–The photographs of three artists–William Hellermann, Lisa Durfee and Peter Spear–who found inspiration in the semi-private, deserted, often dilapidated alleys of Hudson–are on the subject of exhibit at the Hudson Opera House. The photos, which range in date from 20 years ago to the present, can be viewed through February 19 at the Opera House, 327 Warren Street, in an exhibition curated by Ms. Durfee entitled No Parking: The Alleys and Garages of Hudson.

The Opera House announced Tuesday, February 7, that Mr. Hellermann had died. There is more information on the Hudson Opera House Facebook page.

Perhaps the fact that these relative newcomers to Hudson were seeing the alleys for the first time allowed them to sense a poetry in the back streets that many who grew up here may not recognize. The photos record the fragility of an environment in a state of deterioration. Read more…

Artist, impresario David Smith mounts 20th village concert

KINDERHOOK–On Sunday, February 12 at 2 p.m. Concerts in the Village will present its 20th performance in seven years. The program, held at The School on Broad Street (Route 9), is 20th Century Music for Strings and Women’s Voices and will feature works by Vaughan Williams, Britten, Saint-Saëns, Poulenc and Foote performed by sopranos Amanda Boyd and Caroline Dunigan, and flutist Elizabeth Chinery with the women of the Broad Street Chorale and strings of the Broad Street Orchestra.

The concert will highlight the orchestra’s string musicians and the group’s female vocalists as well as the acoustical environment of the former Martin Van Buren school, which was repurposed into an exhibition space for contemporary art and opened in 2014.

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis written and performed in 1910 at England’s Gloucester Cathedral will be a “sonic miracle,” David Smith, the group’s artistic director, conductor, manager and founder, said during a recent interview. Read more…

THEATER REVIEW: In Ghent, sour notes make for lumpy ‘Mattress’

Once Upon a Mattress / Ghent Playhouse

IT’S A MUSICAL. “Once Upon a Mattress,” which opened last Friday at the Ghent Playhouse, is a musical about a moat-swimming princess who must compete with a vain, Oedipal queen for the hand of the Prince. It’s based on the well-known “Princess and the Pea” story.

Did I mention that it is a musical?

At Ghent, the castle-interior set spills out along the side walls of the Playhouse, evoking a huge hall and large musical expectations. Read more…

Work of Leon Smith opens wide a world of wonder

WIT IS THE FIRST and lasting word that comes to mind about Leon Smith of Ancramdale, whether one’s viewing his sculptures large and small, or chatting with him while he works in his studio.

Smith has been a sculptor for more than 40 years, 20 of those years in Ancramdale. Born in 1933 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, which he describes as “tropical,” he started out in dentistry at Sydney University. Soon, however, he turned to art school in Sydney and then London. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: This local history is quite a plateful

“Cook and Chatter” by Jill Peck Vona

JILL PECK VONA, RAISED IN COPAKE, has written a fascinating piece of Roe Jan history. It’s a cookbook. How is it history? The answer is that there are various types of histories: political, economic, and social histories are three broad ones and culinary history is a type of social history.

“Cook and Chatter” is subtitled “A Trip down Memory Lane.” In that spirit, in addition to many old Roe Jan area families’ recipes, the book features relevant photos. They are of (and from) old familiar Roe Jan/Columbia County names like Albright, Ackley, Blass, Fuller, Hermans, Miller and Peck. Read more…