Local Connections Festival in Rosendale

Robert Clem’s documentary on the history of gospel music, How They Got Over, features The Blind Boys of Alabama. It will be screened on May 13 as part of the Rosendale Theatre’s Local Connections Festival.

Taking a leap beyond its regular film programming schedule and irregular special events calendar, the Rosendale Theatre is programming a full week this month, May 11 to 17, jam-packed with one-offs, collectively called the Local Connections Festival. Consisting of screenings of four documentary films and a movie-in-progress, a live tribute concert and a lecture-and-film-clips combo, all but one of the offerings are loosely united under the rubric of “art made in the Hudson Valley.”

At 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, May 11 and 12, the stage will be set for Fragile Explosion: Nina Simone, a Celebration of a Life of Genius, described as a “play-within-a-concert” honoring the late singer/songwriter/arranger/Civil Rights activist. The dramatic core is written by Michael Monasterial and directed by Richard Rizzo; a five-piece ensemble of local jazz stars will perform 11 songs closely associated with Nina Simone. Tickets cost $20 in advance at https://ninasimone.brownpapertickets.com or $25 at the door.


At 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 13, two Ulster County-based choreographers, Livia Drapkin Vanaver and Linda Diamond, will present The Divine Miss St. Denis, a lecture with film footage on the life and work of American modern dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis, co-founder of the Denishawn Dance Company. Tickets cost $10 for members of the Rosendale Theatre Collective, $12 for non-members, $6 for students aged 12 years and under. That same evening at 7:15 p.m., the Theatre will screen How They Got Over, an award-winning documentary about the history of gospel music produced by Stone Ridge resident Robert Clem. It features the Dixie Hummingbirds, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Blind Boys of Alabama and more. Tickets cost $6 for members, $8 for non-members.

In the 1930s, the charismatic black preacher known as Father Divine established a number of communal settlements in Ulster County. A documentary about the movement titled Father’s Kingdom will screen at 7:15 p.m. on Monday, May 14, with producer/director Lenny Feinberg on hand for a question-and-answer session. Tickets cost $6 for members, $8 for non-members. At 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15, Pam Kray will present a preview screening of Waiting for Godard, her work-in-progress being produced under the aegis of the Rosendale Theatre’s Artists’ New Work Forum program. The suggested admission price is $5.

The one event in the festival with no apparent “Local Connection” is the concert film Carole King at Hyde Park, shot live in London in 2016. It screens at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16. Tickets cost $8 and $6. Also on Wednesday, at 1 p.m., and again at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, the director/producer Stephen Blauweiss will return to the Theatre for two screenings of his documentary about Kingston’s historic waterfront, Lost Rondout: A Story of Urban Renewal. Tickets cost $8 for members, $10 for non-members for the evening showing and $6 for the matinée.

The Local Connections Festival is made possible through sponsorship from the 1850 House, the Hudson Valley Film Commission, the Ulster County Office of Economic Development and a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. The Rosendale Theatre is located at 408 Main Street (Route 213) in Rosendale. For more info, visit www.rosendaletheatre.org.