Of all the suffering artists in our midst, feel most for the actors. The Hudson Valley’s painters, poets and novelists barely notice the difference. Alone is alone is alone. Even dancers can hope to develop their technique in quarantine, and to present online, though I have yet to see it myself. For photographers, it’s a feast of haunting ghost-town images, at the very least.
Congregation is an essential dimension of all the arts, but only in theater is it the art itself. Entire schools of modern acting are based on little more than glorified droplet exchange. The region’s professional and amateur theaters — Shadowland, Denizen, SUNY New Paltz, Center for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, County Players, Bridge Street in Catskill, the grand theaters in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and more — are all dark, its actors darker still. And strangely quiet.
My tribe — musicians, hurt by canceled shows, lost revenue and endangered venues — turn to the virtual modes of creation, collaboration and presentation that were already a large and growing part of their mode. The infrastructure for a relatively smooth adaptation was already pretty much at the ready.
Our social-media feeds are a proliferation of livestream and taped performances, some on specialized platforms such as Stageit, with purportedly higher sound quality, others on everyman’s Facebook Live. Many others are presented on YouTube, with creators acknowledging that the difference between “live” and “like, 20 minutes ago” is not enough to justify the low-bit-rate sound quality and seizing, halting video of the overtaxed Internet Now.
Emphasis is on solo, of course, but even there the resourceful find their workarounds. At least one of the livestream acts discussed below — the trio of pro songwriters Chris Maxwell, Ambrosia Parsley and Holly Miranda — prioritized music above, say, home, and sheltered together. And now every family is the makings of a band.
Look, musicians are making a lot of noise right now. They might in fact be the most strident and chirpy demographic in my feed. Can or will you attend them all? Of course not, especially since Spotify and Apple Music are as comprehensive and as on-tap as ever.
I find that a daily look in on and intimate performance by an artist I appreciate is a part of my sanity cocktail. We really cannot be sure what the next era of social life will look like. Will crowds return to the venues and theaters in force and as before? We sure hope so, but it seems likely that screen-based delivery is here to stay as well. So develop the habit and the taste. Here’s how, right now.
Bearsville Uncut, Saturdays, 8 p.m.
They were just reopening under new and committed ownership, and with Mike Amari — the man who built Kingston — booking and steering. Sigh. Patience. But in the meantime, Grossman’s holy theater offers Bearsville Uncut, a series of live concerts from the vaults. The last one was none other than NRBQ. Upcoming concerts include Orleans and Citizen Cope.
Radio Woodstock Sofa Sessions
The birthplace of the Adult Alternative format and a venerable institution in local music and culture, Radio Woodstock was quick to do its part to fill the gap. Radio Woodstock is uniquely positioned to combine local talent (Thursdays) with on-format nationals (Fridays and Saturdays). Streaming on Facebook on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7 p.m., the Sofa Sessions emphasize intimate performances, because that is what is left for us.
Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/RadioWoodstock/
Maxwell Miranda Parsley Live from Goathouse Studio
Chris Maxwell was one of several area musicians who released a spanking new record — the extraordinary New Store No. 2 — right into the COVID-19 mess. With all traditional live record support activities canceled and forbidden, Maxwell took quickly to online performance, enlisting his A-list singer songwriter buddies Holly Miranda and Ambrosia Parsley of Shivaree fame for a weekly live performance on Instagram from Maxwell’s Woodstock Goathouse Studio, Sundays at 3 p.m.
Tubby’s Kingston Instagram Live Living Room Shows
A still fairly recent add to the local venue scape, Tubby’s did not take long to establish itself as one of the hippest and best curated rooms around. Now they’re holding up their end in a big way, with a series of Instagram Live shows drawn from local and international talent pools. Upcoming shows include New haven’s Stefan Christensen on April 16, Georgia’s Michael Potter on April 17, Buck Gooter + Ships in the Night on April 19 and Milwaukee’s Kendra Amalie on April 20. Shows begins at 8 p.m. Tubby’s encourages viewer to tip the artists via the provided Paypal and Venmo links and also puts in a good word on behalf of its waylaid staff.
Online Rollick 2020,
The Ashokan Center
On the weekend of April 24 to 26, The Ashokan Center — site of the famous Hoots and a leading international curator of contemporary folk music — hosts the Online Rollick, a ticketed online event that, in true Hoot style, emphasizes audience interaction and participation to the extent that the delivery system can. These online workshops, jams and concerts will help participants deepen their playing, build their repertoire, make new friends and pass the time. The Online Rollick is open to all ages. The lineup of teachers and performers includes Debra Clifford, Becca Wintle, Emily Schaad, Jake Blount, Val Mindel, Rachel Eddy, WV fiddler, Maggie Shar, Joseph DeJarnette, A’yen Tran, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Max Rainwater, Nicole Ball, Monica-Lisa Mills, Michael J Merenda Jr., Ruth Ungar, Karen Loving. Events run all day, starting at 10 a.m. See the full schedule and ticketing options at the Ashokan Center Website.
Unison Live-ish Drag Performance Online Fundraiser
New Paltz’ long-running Unison Arts Center sped into the Covid age with Unison Live-ish, smartly (in this writer’s opinion) recognizing that the quality and stability of prerecorded performances offer some real advantages over live. The Live-ish series continues this Saturday, April 18 with the Drag Performance Online Fundraiser curated by Strawberry, noted member of the Hudson Valley’s Haus of Peculiar and producer of the drag show “Forbidden Fruit.” The evening features performances and pieces by Andramada, Cecilia Sin, Pinwheel Pinwheel and Show Ponii.
Live from Quarantine
One wouldn’t expect the good artists of Hudson to shelter too anonymously. Live from Quarantine describes itself as “a weekly experimental broadcast combining live + prerecorded media in response to social distancing caused by Covid 19.” Shows are on Fridays at 8 p.m., and sometimes feature more than a half-dozen performers. Learn more at the website https://fromquarantine.com
Lara Hope Live, Mondays at 7 p.m.
The region’s (the world’s?) hardest working roots rock artist Lara Hope was not likely to let a little ol’ global pandemic slow her down much. And she hasn’t. Up next is a live performance by the Gold Hope Duo, Lara’s duo project with her husband, Matt Goldpaugh. Get your dose here: https://www.facebook.com/LaraHopeandTheArkTones
Mike & Ruthy on Facebook Live, April 17
Yet more local luminaries releasing a new record into the uncertainties of the Covid and post-Covid worlds, Mike & Ruthy of the legendary folk-rock group The Mammals have taken their pre-release support activities virtual. Their next performance will be this Friday, April 17 at 8 p.m., a Facebook Live stream celebrating the release date of The Mammals’s third single, “East Side West Side,” from their forthcoming album, Nonet.
Gig Talk, WGXC 90.7-FM,
Thursdays 8 p.m.
Hosted by Matt Mottel and Kevin Shea, Gig Talk engages local musicians in a discussion of live music, royalties, unemployment, online performances, and more. Listeners call in questions, comments, rants, raves at (518) 622-2598.
Lick of the Day at Homespun Tapes
Happy Traum has lived through a few things. The legendary Greenwich Village folkie, songwriter, Leadbelly-inspired guitarist and dedicated folk-music educator pitches in with one of our more novel offerings: Lick of the Day instructional videos served from Traum’s Homespun Tapes Facebook page.https://www.facebook.com/homespun.music.instruction
El’s Kitchen Concert Series
The well-connected songwriter and acoustic blues guitarist extraordinaire Elly Wininger was signed — at the age of 70 — to the legendary label Adelphi records in 2019. She hosts live from El’s Kitchen, with performances by a variety of the area’s leading songwriter.
Robert Burke Warren, Bathrobe Sessions
The prolific songwriter, show curator, music critic and novelist Robert Burke Warren — yet another artist who tossed a brand-new record into the Co-void — performs now on the Stageit platform (https://www.stageit.com/RBW) and on Facebook with his Bathrobe Sessions — a series of casual videos of covers drawn from every corner of the rock, pop, country, and folk worlds, and performed in a bathrobe.
The Teters Family Band, Facebook/Instagram, April 17
The Teters Family Band is going live from its quarantine stronghold in New Paltz on April 17 at 8 p.m. Built from a family of uncommonly high musical aptitude, the band features Joanna Teters (Mad Satta), Joey Lopez, Jerry Teters, Betty Marton and Adam Teters. This is probably worth a look.