Lev Shalem Opening

May 24, 2016

IMG_3841AS A MEMBER of the “Hudson Valley School of Sunday Afternoon Painters” I was pleased to see one of my plein air landscapes accepted and hung alongside so many professional artists when I attended the Opening Reception of “The Art of Summer” this Sunday (May 22) at the Gallery Lev Shalem, Woodstock Jewish Congregation, Woodstock, NY wjc.shul.org. Curated by Kim Borelli Butwell, former owner of The Connoisseur Gallery in Rhinebeck, NY, “The Art of Summer”, featuring a wide array of 40+ paintings, photographs, prints, paper and fiber art, mosaic, ceramic and mixed media, presented an eye-catching panorama of color and shape.

IMG_3842Tastefully spaced and hung by the WJC Art Committee, the potpourri of artwork was more than well-served in their bright, well-lit gallery…inviting to both the art and to the steady stream of viewers that kept the large hall buzzing with gazing, commentary and frequent visits to two large nosh-filled tables that were conveniently placed in the center of the room for easy reach. This was not the first exhibition that I visited at the Lev Shalom Gallery (and, in fact, was represented in a few of these earlier shows), but this was my first Opening Reception (as many know, I tend to avoid crowds) and, as I noted above, I was more than a bit puffed-up by rubbing space and elbows with so many ‘professionals’ — and honored that this old autodidact was so warmly accepted. You might want to stop in at the gallery on 1682 Glasco Tpk. In Woodstock, NY and take a look for yourself — the exhibition will be up until August 22. Gallery Lev Shalem Facebook Page


Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center

May 5, 2016

Fiery! Sexy! Soul-stirring! The Harlequin Cascade© dance floor at the Kaatsbaan International Center, Inc. at Tivoli, New York rang out in staccato vibrato as heel, toe and full foot stomps of steel striking wood beat out the rhythm streaming from strumming guitars, drums, wind instruments, voices — and yes, bodies — in full synch with the mood, the dynamics, and force of undiluted Andalusian passion that filled the packed auditorium. Although the stage, the hall, was filled with people, each stomp, each body thrust or graceful hand-movement seemed personally directed to me — meant specifically for my engagement, my eyes, my soul, my excitement (I couldn’t keep my feet still) — in short, the performance of Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana at Kaatsbaan was truly spectacular.

Frankly, I was probably as surprised at my reaction as I was delighted. I say “surprised” because I must confess that though I appreciate music and the visual arts, I rarely feel ‘moved’ by dance. I do enjoy classical ballet, but have little tolerance for watching people in long-johns flinging themselves across slippery dance floors or street ‘dancers’ spinning on heads or shoulders on sidewalks. So, not being a dance aficionado, I’m not exactly qualified or knowledgeable enough to critically assess the performance but I do know what it said to me! When the performers danced in unison, it was hard to focus on an individual — when solo, mesmerizing! The dancers — and musicians as well as singers — often engaged members of the audience with direct (almost confrontational) eye contact, as if inviting each one up onto the stage to dance — or challenge — them in performance. As comely (and sexy) as both the men and women were, it was hard to keep one’s seat. Carlota Santana and her troupe travel and perform around the world *— so if they are appearing in your area be sure not to miss seeing and hearing them.

Viva Carloto and her wonderful troupe of performers and viva Gregg Cary and Bentley Roton for their dedicated efforts to bring the culture of Dance to the Hudson Valley through Kaatsbaan!

*Performance at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) May 3-8