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Culturally Speaking

By Cornelia Seckel
ART TIMES online August 2010

As usual, the summer was long and short. I’ve managed to see several plays, exhibitions, but mostly I’ve been working on our website, getting it ready to accept more advertising at very reasonable prices. When you can, take a look at the homepages www.arttimesjournal.com. Along the Navigation bar to the left of our homepage www.arttimesjouranl.com, there is a list that includes the Table of Contents for ART TIMES. Each link goes to the “archive page” of Film, Theatre, Music, Art, Culturally Speaking, Travel and Culture, Art Books, Fiction and Poetry. We will soon be accepting banner advertising for each of these pages. ART TIMES online sees 450 to 650 visitors a day and is an excellent way to reach the creative community on a global scale.
If you are theatre-related than the Theater page is for you.
If you are Film-related than the Film page is for you.
And so forth. For more information about this inexpensive way to advertise: cs@arttimesjournal.com

Bernard MadoffHoward Green and Mark Margolis in Stageworks/Hudson's production of IMAGINING MADOFF. Photo: Rob Shannon.

Laura Margolis is the founder and Artistic Director of Stageworks/ Hudson (www.stageworkshudson.org) and for 16 years Laura has been presenting stimulating, adventurous and thought provoking productions, with many being world premieres. The show I saw, “Imagining Madoff”, written by Deborah Margolin who is also an author, performance artist and founding member of Split Britches Theater Company, was presented in spite of controversy and the threat of suit. She has written eight full-length solo performance pieces, which she has toured throughout the United States, and is the recipient of a 1999-2000 OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. The story is told by Bernard Madoff (Mark Margolis), with dialogue between Madoff and his friend, holocaust survivor and poet (Howard Green), and by Madoff’s secretary (Robin Leslie Brown) as she gives testimony before the courts. Each piece gives us a look into Madoff’s life, his beliefs and his humanity and lack of humanity. There is much to take in from the dialogues quoting Midrash, Torah and Jewish Parables — Madoff’s morality and the morality of the human race is called to question. Most strongly is the question of Faith in others as exemplified by the story of Abraham’s willingness to kill his son Isaac at God’s bidding. This is a play to see more than once and to read. Excellently done in all aspects: acting, staging, directing. On stage now is “The Amish Project” until Sept 5 and followed by the annual Play by Play Festival of New One-Acts from Sept 29-Oct 10.

Light in the PiazzaLight in the Piazza, Production by River Repertory Theatre.

River Repertory Theatre (www.rivervalleyrep.com) is a new production company in residence at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. This ambitious company is doing 3 plays this season and in the future may do more. The mission is to have an Actors Equity Association theater, build a strong mentorship between professionals and theatre students, and offer quality in all aspects of the productions. Equity actors are auditioned for the roles; interns from Marist are part of the production staff, and the community has been very supportive. The first production was Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, the play I saw was The Light in the Piazza and the current production (until Aug 15 is Fat Pig. The audience was enthusiastic, there was an excellent set that left you knowing that you were in Italy. The acting and quality of the voices as well as the directing left no doubt that this was a professional production. Nancy Auffarth, (main character- Margaret Johnson) and the company’s founding Artistic Director was particularly excellent. I liked and appreciated that there was a live orchestra but more work needs to be done to balance the music and voice levels.
There is so much more Summer Theater and I hope to get to some of them before the season is over.

Early in the summer I went to the National Arts Club to see the 79th Annual Hudson Valley Art Association (www.hvaaonline.org) Exhibition. What an excellent show; nearly 150 fine artists from across the country participated in this year’s show. The winner of the ART TIMES award was Keiko Nakamori for her graphics A Woman. Each year the association honors an artist; this year the Gold Medal of Honor was given to Michael Keropian; congratulations to all the participants.

The Salmagundi Club held their 33rd Annual Juried Painting and Sculpture Exhibit for Non-Members at the Salmagundi Club in NYC. (www.salmagundi.org). This annual exhibit is consistently very high quality with over 130 participants from all over the US. The Salmagundi Club is a very active organization and since 1871 has served the arts community with exhibitions, programs, classes, a fine dining room and gallery spaces available for rent.

Soon after the July/ August issue was in print I was at the Woodstock Artists Association Museum, (www.woodstockart.org) Woodstock, NY for the Collaborative exhibit and fundraiser 50 artists works causes coordinated by UlsterCorps (www.ulstercorps.org) and hosted by WAAM. 50 artists chose 50 causes that they wanted the auction sale of their work to be donated to. The auction evening began with music, food and then a quick moving auction led by James Cox. The monies raised went to Ulster County service agencies and not-for-profit organizations. UlsterCorps provides a centralized, easy to use and up-to-date clearinghouse of volunteer opportunities for interested individuals throughout Ulster County. It includes descriptions of skills, knowledge and time commitment needed; contact information; wish lists, and special events notifications. Postings for activities accommodate all interests, skill-sets, ages, and time availability. The clearinghouse receives over 11,000 visits per month and has over 2000 volunteers available to fill requests, sometimes for ongoing work and at other times for short-term events.

From the Auction I was headed towards Mezzaluna (www.cafemezzaluna.com)  to see if there was any music happening and enroute saw a group of shops where people were milling outside and I could see artwork through the windows. Of course I stopped and was glad I did. Ana Bergen (www.anabergen.com) had her photography at Thaddeus Kwiat Gallery on Rt 212 in Saugerties (www.thaddeuskwiat.com). Her photographs of very sensuous nudes draped with a gauzy material were mounted on hanging scrolls and were even more ethereal given that they would move from the slightest air current. As it turned out Ana was from Trier, Germany, and was so thrilled to see that I had written about it in my latest Travel and Culture piece www.arttimesjournal.com/Travel_and_Culture/Cologne_The_Mosel_River_Germany_Jul_Aug_10/ Cologne_The_Mosel.html

15 artists of the Saugerties Art Tour have mounted a special exhibition at the Kiersted-Dubois House in Saugerties, NY called the Palatine Spirit. Shadow boxes were created showing some aspect of the Palatines, natives of the Rheinland-Palatine region of German  who settled in Saugerties in 1710. Many of the boxes were intriguing, depicting the life of that time or some aspect of the struggle these people had to survive in this new world. On August 14th and 15th from 10am-6pm the Saugerties Art Tour will take place (www.saugertiesarttour.com) beginning with a reception at Opus 40 on Friday, August 13 from 5-7pm. The Kiersted-Dubois house was built about 1727 and is a source of local information, art, and memorabilia (www.saugertieshistoricalsociety.com). During the summer months it is open for tours, there are concerts and other programs.

That is it for now. See you all out and about.