It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood
Well, it was anyhow. At the moment, it’s raining cats and dogs and what’s left of fall foliage is, well… falling. I did, however, spend the last week meandering through the mountains in search of leaf-peeping photo-ops and scored big time, although the explosions of color were at times difficult to find. Last year’s embarrassment of riches would have been difficult to top under the best of circumstances, since that autumnal display was beyond showy and hard (IMHO) to rival. That said, the muted red and orange tones this year have been special and rare, making the hunt that much more fun as the Wonder Dog and I traversed the Upper Delaware River region, seeking some “Kodak moments” for the scrapbook.
On Thursday, I stopped by the Forestburgh Playhouse to catch a rehearsal of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (see page 14) and chat with the cast, all of whom were excited to be spending some time here in the Catskills, where they were visiting pumpkin patches and snapping pics of the foliage themselves. When I informed the actors that the Orionid Meteor Shower was about to commence, their excitement grew as I explained how to observe the cascade of shooting stars, while giving them viewing tips for the annual star show. Fortunately, I had made plans to attend the Upper Delaware Community Network’s (UD network) 16th anniversary party, which UD network founder Beverly Sterner was hosting at the Western Hotel in Callicoon, NY. I intended to stay late, dancing the night away with scads of network supporters before finding a spot from which to observe the meteor shower.
The party was great fun, and DJ Nick Forte had the crowd on its feet for much of the night, as Beverly held court, honoring those around her who have helped to make the UDCN a rousing success, providing community members a space with which to share ideas and thoughts on a wide variety of topics. Folks traveled from far and wide to celebrate with Sterner, including friends Armando and Rodia Duchesne who drove in from New York City for the party. “I’ve known him for 46 years!” Beverly exclaimed while introducing her pals to the crowd. “And he brought his drums with him,” she exclaimed, pointing out the fact that Armando would be adding live percussion throughout the evening. Excited about the “shooting stars” overhead, I took my leave and headed home, determined to catch the nighttime extravaganza that Mother Nature had in store.
My first inclination was to scope out a spot down by the water in Kauneonga, but I hadn’t anticipated the light pollution cast by the picturesque lakeside cabins, so reconsidered my options. I chose instead to visit friends whose cabin lay deep in the woods. Pulling into their driveway, I was pleased to find no one at home, since it was already after midnight and I had not asked if I could visit (with a friend, no less!) into the wee hours. The stars twinkled above and the nighttime air was warm enough to spend a few hours scanning the heavens, oohing and ahhing as the meteors streaked across the velvety pitch-black skies. Beautiful.
Earlier in the week, while out and about, I took note of a posting on social media from musician Maxwell Carmack (www.earthto.space), who was seeking assistants to help shoot a music video here in the mountains, in an attempt to take advantage of the glorious weather and stunning vistas that abound at this time of year. I sent a note to Max asking if I might follow his crew around, and he immediately responded, asking for location suggestions. “You’re everywhere!” Max wrote. “I bet you have some good ideas, right?” I guess that I did, for after making a few notes while scouting for foliage, I contacted Max again and we made plans. “Glenn Wooddell contacted me, too,” Max wrote, “and hooked me up with Jack Eddings, a student from Tri-Valley. Where should we meet?”
After learning that WJFF radio host Wooddell has known Max since he was a student at Sullivan West, I asked him what the connection to Jack was. “Jack’s mom is interim station manager at Radio Catskill,” Glenn told me, “and I’ve spoken with him several times about his interest in film, since I have a degree in Cinema Studies from NYU. I knew they would be a perfect fit! Small world, isn’t it Jonathan?”
While Jack and Max were getting their first shots of the day, I threw some wood in the back of the truck and met them at the Stone Arch Bridge outside Jeffersonville prior to making a fire back home for another backdrop later that day. “Max is a wonderful guy to work with and such an inspiration,” Jack whispered during a break from filming. “His music is phenomenal and I can’t wait to see where it takes him. I hope that I’ll be along for the ride.”
The psychedelic folk-rock track (to be released in the coming weeks) is titled “No Harm” and is intended “to show how we are all more similar than different as a species,” Max told me while I set up the fire. “I chose to shoot this in the Catskills because it’s a place that has always represented peace to me,” he said, looking around my property. “Sure is a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”