“We haven’t really quit the board, you know. We simply have not run for reelection. We’ll continue to be still involved with the school.” Thus does Paula Nelson – one of the surviving founders of the Woodstock School of Art, and a mainstay of its operation for more than five decades – downplay the recent decision by herself and her husband, John Kleinhans, to step down from WSA’s Board of Directors. Nonetheless, it’s nice to pay tribute to people who have contributed a great deal to a community while they’re still alive and kicking. So, this action seems as good an excuse as any to remind readers how much work and commitment it took to keep this amazing cultural resource alive for all these years.
Woodstock area | Arts & Entertainment
The reopening of live theater perches anxiously on the cusp of a reintroduction of in-person performances in 2021, awaiting signals that audiences can feel safe sitting in the same indoor space. Long-suppressed desire for the collective experience of art remains at war with lingering fear of contracting an illness that can turn the lining of one’s lungs to the consistency of concrete. But spring is here, summer looms nearer and presenting venues need to make decisions, pronto.
For some venues, particularly those without outdoor space, the question of returning may be if, not when.
As with most other performing arts venues in our region, the flow of live concerts at Woodstock’s Kleinert-James Arts Center and stageworks at the Byrdcliffe Theater dried up more than a year ago, due to the pandemic. But the gradual arrival of the Covid vaccines has got hosts for such events thinking about their resumption. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on March 3 that theaters and concert halls could begin admitting audiences at 33 percent capacity effective April 2, with a limit of 100 people indoors or 200 outdoors. Not every venue will be able to break even presenting live performances under those limitations, but it’s clear that a process has begun that will make it possible for us all to see plays and hear music again, up close and personal, in the foreseeable future. Even for introverts and homebodies, that’s happy news.
On the morning of March 12, Sally Grossman, the widow of Bob Dylan’s foremost manager, Albert “the Baron of Bearsville” Grossman, failed to answer her locked front door. A spare key was fetched, and the baroness was found at peace in her bed. While cause of death has not been determined, Sally recently gave up cigarettes and — to one and all — seemed an unstoppable force at 81.
On For the Record, his first release in nearly two decades, the guitarist/songwriter, writer/journalist, and Woodstock historian Tad Wise presents a fully realized set of nine substantive, lyrically elaborative tunes, topical art songs disguised as sleek soul pop with an anchor in the sounds and dialects of ‘80s rock — the shimmery guitar, the super crisp and tight rhythm section. An elegant electric guitarist with a command of idiomatic harmony, texture and guitar arrangement, Wise did well to recruit these supra-A-list sidemen (as, I suppose, would we all), and also did well not to festoon too much else on top of this lithe and crisp trio sound — a harmonica here, a keyboard there, some vocal beds and not much else.
The February 28 Woodstock Roundtable promises to be an informative warm-up to the April 5 Album of the Week show, which will occur on the very date and hour of the original Save the Mountain release concert at Woodstock’s famed Joyous Lake.
On Saturday, February 13, Covid-19 added Joe Beesmer — beloved husband, guitar hero and band leader — to its gruesome toll.
As producer, keyboardist, composer, and—this most of all—arranger, David Baron’s pawprints are all over the music of this moment. If the Hudson Valley has a house style — organic, roots leaning rock, folk, blues and jazz — Baron is one of only a handful of locals who is working far outside that earthy sweet spot, out in the strata of big budget pop. And yet it is not that simple.
The 5,000-square-foot warehouse sharing the acreage at 881 Route 28 with Covert Excavating is a showcase for the works of Glen Mayo, a self-taught sculptor who works mainly in metal and often in large scale.