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They can’t all be winners

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The words above can be attributed to any number of things in my world. Photos I’ve taken, concerts I’ve attended, plays that I’ve seen… even columns that I have written, and with nearly 500 of those under my belt for The River Reporter alone, well—they can’t all be winners. It should come as no surprise, then, that the past week has left me a little bit empty-handed, even though I’ve been racing around “like a headless chicken” as my mother would say.

Traditionally, Thursday is my day off, although it always begins with me rising at 5:30 a.m. and driving to the studio (www.thunder102.com) in order to chat on-air for a couple of hours and deliver my “River Reporter Update” to devoted listeners. In point of fact, it’s Dharma the Wonder Dog who is the radio personality, and I’m just along for the ride. Story of my life.

Usually, I drive her highness back to the house, and we take a mid-morning nap, but last week the Sullivan County Visitors Association (www.sullivancatskills.com) was hosting their annual literature exchange on the grounds of the Forestburgh Playhouse, where local business owners schmooze, swap brochures to be displayed at their various locales and sample some of the fantastic food provided by Hog Heaven Bar-B-Que (like ‘em on Facebook). After I asked playhouse producer Franklin Trapp for permission to unleash the hound, Dharma made a beeline for Hog Heaven, where Sullivan County Legislator Scott Samuelson was heaping food onto plates, and plunked herself down where scraps might fall for the remainder of the afternoon. “Can Dharma have a hot dog?” Scott asked when he saw me. “Oh, and hello to you,” he interjected. “Sorry,” he laughed, “by now you must be used to it, Dharma comes first.” Story of my life.

Later that same day, I made my way to Kauneonga Lake and the Past Perfect bookstore, located on the grounds of the old Duggan school, for “An evening of Words and Music” benefitting the Literacy Volunteers of Sullivan County (www.literacysullivan.org). “Oh, look! Pigs in a blanket!” I cried, once again letting Dharma loose to check out the books. As she eyed me quizzically, I explained. “Teeny hot dogs, wrapped in a bun. This time, I go first.” In between checking out the raffle prizes and chatting with friends, I sat for a while to enjoy the music provided by Debbie Fisher Palmarini, David Rosenberg and Alan Sorensen, all of whom sounded great entertaining the crowd. Of course, I snapped some photos, but truth be told—none of them are winners. The Literacy Center volunteers are all winners though, and that’s what counts. To become involved, call 845/794-0017. Tell ‘em Dharma sent you, since my name will not ring a bell. Story of my life.

The torrential rains kept me close to home on Saturday, but by Sunday I was back on the road, headed for South Fallsburg (www.scdw.net) and the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop’s One Act Festival of plays, running through the 21st of this month. The first half of the program consisted of five plays presented over a staggering two-and-one half-hour period (before intermission!), and was a mixed bag. I’m loath to single anyone out, and with more than 30 individuals involved—it would hardly be fair—but with gun to head, I’d have to say that Wendy Wasserstein’s play “Bette and Me” was a highlight—of sorts.

That said, I have no clue why she wrote the darn thing. For reasons unknown to me, Wasserstein, best known for her Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning “The Heidi Chronicles,” penned this little play chronicling her friendship with Bette Midler. And while Terri Paris (as Bette) Lori Schneider (as Wasserstein) and the supporting cast all did credible jobs under Fran Schiff’s direction, the play itself is perplexing. While it’s clear that Wasserstein adores “The Divine Miss M,” the one-act is a mish-mash of anecdotal references to their friendship, including a trip to a department store (where Wasserstein purchases 100 tubes of lip liner?) an impromptu sing-along in the elevator, a visit to the beauty parlor and a rowing excursion (?) on the Hudson River, replete with back-up singers, chorus boys and costume changes, little of which made sense to me. Is it a dream? Is it a fantasy? If so, it’s unclear. Frankly, days later, I’m still flummoxed by what should have been an essay or short story or I-don’t-know-what, but a play?  They can’t all be winners. IMHO.

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