Items tagged with 'Columbia County'

Quick trip: Beebe Hill fire tower

Beebe Hill fire tower

Here's another quick trip that could be fun this time of year: Beebe Hill and its fire tower.

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Film Columbia 2014

birdman michael keaton screengrab

Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, is on this year's slate.

Film Columbia -- the annual autumn film festival in Chatham -- returns October 22-26. As in years past, the festival slate includes a bunch of films that are already getting attention because of screenings at other festivals and/or they're eagerly awaited because of stars or directors involved.

A few of this year's selections that caught our eye are after the the jump.

Tickets for the festival go on sale October 4 online, and October 3 in person . Individual screenings are $12 (day) and $16 (evening). An all-festival pass (screenings + events) is $250 / an all-screenings pass is $225.

Many of the screenings sell out, so if you'd like to attend, it's probably better to buy earlier rather than later.

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Behold! New Lebanon

behold new lebanon cynthia creechThe Columbia County town of New Lebanon -- it's just across the border with Rensselaer County -- is attempting to turn itself into "the nation's first living museum of contemporary rural American life" this fall. So what does that mean? Blurbage for Behold! New Lebanon:

We invite you to experience the joy of living seasonally and to fully engage with rural living. Have you wondered how volunteers fight fires? Come meet our firefighters in the firehouse. Have you ever heard of a heritage breed of cattle? We'll introduce you. Have you ever wondered if you could survive by eating what you find in the forest? We'll show you how. Want to make our New Lebanon Slab Pie? No problem. Wish you could give your grandchild a toy to cherish forever? We'll teach you how to make one. Curious about what goes on behind the scenes of a car racing track? We'll take you there and introduce you to our drivers. Do you wonder who lives in small towns and how we spend our time? We'll tell you. And along the way, we'll invite you to sing with us, dance with us, eat with us, learn with us, read with us, and chat with us.
Today, taking our cue from our forebears, the citizens of New Lebanon are again pioneering a new idea. Behold! New Lebanon is building the nation's first living museum of contemporary rural American life. Honoring the techniques and know how of generations past, we are updating them to forge a sustainable future ... You may have visited historic museums where costumed docents play characters from yesteryear and demonstrate skills of times long since past. But during "Behold! NewLebanon," we will introduce you to the way we live and work today and offer you an opportunity to learn, appreciate, and try our way of life.

Here's a recent NYT article about project, which includes some backstory -- the idea is an effort to draw tourists to the town, which as struggled for economic development.

The town-as-living-museum project will be running three more weekends this fall. Tickets start at $25 for a day.

photo: Uli Rose

The School

the school kinderhook

Still looks like a school from the outside.

How about this: A NYC-based gallerist has turned a 30,000 square foot former elementary school in Kinderhook into a gallery (yes, that Kinderhook). Its name: The School. (Because of course it is.)

From a NYT T Magazine recap of the opening (with slideshow) this past weekend of Jack Shainman Gallery's The School:

The last time artwork adorned the walls of the Martin Van Buren school in Kinderhook, N.Y., it had been commissioned at the request of elementary school teachers. On Saturday, however, both new and retrospective pieces by the artist Nick Cave were installed throughout the newly converted 30,000-square-foot building, while dancers costumed in Cave's idiosyncratic Soundsuits performed outside for a crowd of art-world cognoscenti and local residents. ...
Joining Dia Beacon, Storm King, the much-hyped forthcoming Marina Abramovic Institute and other new galleries that recently cropped up in the area, the reworked 1929 Federal Revival building and its five-acre property -- situated near the main square of the quaint, picturesque village -- offer yet another lure for art seekers heading north from the city.

Or, as Vogue would like you to know: "In case you hadn't heard, upstate New York is the art world's latest hotspot." (There's also video from the opening at that link.)

The School will be open to the public on Saturdays from 11 am-5 pm starting May 31, according to the gallery's website.

Also: The new season at the Art Omi's Fields Sculpture Park in nearby Ghent opens June 14.

(Thanks, Jamie)

photo via Jack Shainman Gallery FB

Suzanne and Erik's North Chatham homestead

open house Chatham Farmhouse composite

By Nicole Lemperle Correia / Photos by David Hopper

Suzanne and Erik's home story is one of transitioning from urban to rural, from a large house to a smaller one, from a life of convenience to a life of homesteading.

A year ago, the couple and their two young boys moved from their large home near Schenectady's Central Park to a smaller home on several acres in the northern Columbia County countryside.

I had a chance to visit with the family -- as well as their 19 chickens and 4 alpacas -- and hear about what it's meant for them to live in a rural part of the Capital Region, where their land is as important to them as their home itself. The family brings a unique perspective, with Suzanne's background as a biologist and Erik's background in engineering. They take a passionate, thoughtful, and intentional approach to their home and the land surrounding it.

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It's history. It's theater. It's film. It's all three.

actor stephen langThis Sunday, actor Stephen Lang -- you know, from Avatar -- will be at the Crandell Theater in Chatham for a one-man show and film about the Battle of Gettysburg, called The Wheatfield. Blurbage:

"The Wheatfield" is a swiftly moving and vastly entertaining 70 minutes of live theatre, film, music, and anecdotal history commemorating the most significant three days of the Civil War. It was conceived and constructed by renowned actor/playwright Stephen Lang (Avatar), a Kinderhook resident, and was originally performed last summer as part of the Gettysburg Foundation's "Salute to the States."
The afternoon program begins with Lang performing his solo piece "The Wheatfield," in which he portrays Union officer James Jackson Purman, a Lieutenant who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Battle of Gettysburg. In this live, testimonial theatre piece it is 50 years after the war and Purman is attending a gathering of former veterans where he vividly recalls the fateful encounters that took place on July 2nd and 3rd, 1863. Stephen Lang notes that "Purnam was wounded aiding a comrade and subsequently saved by a Confederate soldier. This is the story Gettysburg and indeed the entire war, through the experiences of one man."
Lang's live performance is followed by a short film, also called "The Wheatfield," that he wrote and in which he performs.

The program will be hosted by historian Harold Holzer. It starts at 4 pm on Sunday, December 15. Tickets at the door are $15 / $10 students.

In conversation: Zak Pelaccio and Ruth Reichl

zak pelaccio and ruth reichl

Pelaccio and Reichl

Could be interesting: Chef Zak Pelaccio -- from Food & Game in Hudson -- will be at the Spencertown Academy Arts Center this Saturday for a conversation with food writer Ruth Reichl. The topic: "Beyond Local: Taking Local Food to a New Level." Admission is $20 and "reservations strongly advised."

Pelaccio gained fame in NYC food circles for restaurants such as Fatty 'Cue and Fatty Crab, and he popped up in media such as the Food Network. He and his wife, Jori Jayne Emde, now live in Columbia County and this past summer they opened Fish & Game in Hudson -- the menu for which is very focused on locally-sourced products. It has gotten very positive reviews.

Ruth Reichl is, of course, the former editor of Gourmet Magazine. And before that, she was the restaurant critic for the New York Times. She's one of the nation's most famous food writers.

The event at the Spencertown Academy is at 4 pm on Saturday, December 14. A reception follows, but if we were in Columbia County around that time, we'd head to head to Hudson (or nearby) to get dinner at one of the many restaurants.

[via I Love Hudson]

photos via Zakary Pelaccia and Ruth Reichl websites

Apple pie from Green Acres Farm

Green Acres apple pie overhead

Alas, there is not yet an <aroma> tag for the web.

By Jeff Janssens

I know what you're thinking: "Apple pie? From a farm near Hudson?"

Apple pie is almost always at least good. And the best is inevitably made by your grandmother.

So why am I bothering?

Because I've come across a pie that is excellent in all regards. Every individual element -- the crust, the fruit, the filling -- is worth raving about.

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Film Columbia 2013

crandell theater chatham

Film Columbia -- the annual autumn film festival in Chatham -- returns October 22-27. As we've come to expect, the festival slate includes a bunch of films that are already getting attention because of screenings at other festivals and/or they're eagerly awaited because of stars or directors involved.

A few of this year's selections that caught our eye are after the the jump.

Tickets for the festival go on sale October 4. Individual screenings are $10 (day) and $15 (evening). An all-festival pass is $199. Many of the screenings sell out, so if you'd like to attend, it's probably better to buy earlier rather than later.

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Edgar Wright at The Crandell

Check it out: director Edgar Wright will be at The Crandell in Chatham this Sunday for a screening of his new movie The World's End. He'll introduce the movie and hold a Q&A afterward. The screening's at 4 pm and tickets are just $7.

The World's End is the third movie in Wright's "Cornetto trilogy" of comedies, which also includes Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (of course), along with Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, and Rosamund Pike. It's gotten very good reviews.

Wright also directed the adaptation of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and going way back, the British sitcom Spaced.

The Crandell screening is at 4 pm Sunday. And tickets are just $7.

Film Columbia: You might be thinking, "Shouldn't the slate for this year's Film Columbia be out soon?" The answer is yes, yes it should. Keep an eye out for next week.

Alligator on the loose

missing alligator kobeNot the typical lost pet story -- from a State Police press release:

State Police in New Lebanon are asking for the public's assistance in locating a missing alligator named Kobe. Kobe absconded from his cage last night in the Cemetery Road area of New Lebanon. Kobe's owner states he was last seen wearing a blue collar. If you see Kobe, please contact the State Police at (845) 677-7300. For safety reasons, do not approach Kobe.

New Lebanon is in northern Columbia County near the Rensselaer County line.

Apparently Kobe -- that's him in the pic -- is a 3.5-foot alligator from Rhonda's Reptiles, a reptile rescue/party rental ("Reptiles for Parties and Events"). The owner, Rhonda Leavitt, tells the TU she does "not consider [Kobe] to be a dangerous animal," and that he'll probably run away from people. [CBS6] [YNN] [TU]

Noted.

photo via NY State Police

Virtually on display at Art Omi

art omi augmented reality tourThis could be kind of interesting: Art Omi in Ghent is hosting augmented reality tours of its Fields sculpture park. From the blurbage for Augmented Reality: Peeling Layers of Space Out of Thin Air:

This 40 minute tour allows viewers to enter a virtual world and see pieces created by 8 architects for Architecture Omi. Using an app installed on your smartphone, these works are viewable in real time as spatial projections onto the landscape - marking a further integration of novel technology in our everyday experience. What we experience here is not fully virtual; what we see on our phone is what we see around us, eerily enhanced by the overlay of digital content.
*This exhibition is only viewable through an iPhone, iPad, or Android. An iPad is provided for shared viewing.

The tours start at dusk (they're aiming for 5:30 pm in August). They're free and open to the public. (Though, as it mentions, you'll need one of those mobile devices -- and it looks you'll need the Layar app, as well.)

It appears Omi has done this before, in 2011. A video clip of the exhibit (installation?) is after the jump.

Augmented reality is one of those things that gets hyped now and then -- and seems like it maybe, could be cool and useful eventually -- but often falls flat. It'd be interesting to see how it plays out in this setting.

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Helsinki Hudson

helsinki hudson dance class

By Casey Normile

The owners of Helsinki Hudson have a goal: to bring the community of Hudson together through food and music. And after only two and a half years, they say they're pretty happy with their progress.

The club moved to Hudson about two years ago after 15 years in Great Barrington. Owners Deborah McDowell and Marc Schafler say they wanted a bigger space that they could own themselves, and a spot closer to Shafler's home in Columbia County.

"But we also really wanted to be an integral part of the change in Hudson and help in their renewal," says McDowell.

"Let me tell you something," Schafler, "Hudson is happening."

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Film Columbia 2012

crandell theater chatham

Many of the screenings are at the Crandell.

Film Columbia -- the annual film festival in Chatham -- is October 17-21 this year. And the schedule is now out. As in years past, it includes upcoming films that you've probably heard about -- or will hear about -- as well as panels, discussions, and parties.

A few of the selections that caught our eye are after the jump.

Tickets go on sale to the general public this Sunday (September 30). The screenings often sell out.

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A home where you don't have to turn on the heat

Passive Solar -via Dennis Wedlick.jpg

The Capital Region's first Certified Passive home.

By Siobhan Connally

Writer Susan Guthridge-Gould and her husband, photographer Chris Gould are a little passive aggressive.

Which is to say they are aggressive about passive. Their passive home.

The Columbia County couple is building one of the first certified passive dwellings in the region. They're keeping a record of the process on their blog, Newhudsonvalley.com.

What is a passive house?

Lets start with what it's not. It's not to be confused with a solar house - or any other practice of green-construction that uses a complex equation of sustainability and technology to reduce its carbon footprint.

A passive house has only to meet two main requirements:

+ Use 90 percent less energy than a conventional home

+ Achieve that goal through its design and construction rather than mechanical technology.

In other words the house has to rely on its placement in the environment and an air-tight construction to keep it warm in winter and cool in summer.

So... does it work?

AOACrisbroSmallV2.jpg

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Peach Jack from Harvest Spirits

harvest spirits peach jack bottle

An experiment gone awry -- and then right.

By Daniel B.

Let's put the name aside for a moment.

What's important to know is that this is the essence of summertime in a glass. Because regardless of what anyone else says, nothing says summer as much as biting into a ripe and juicy peach as the nectar drips down your chin and arm. It's sweeter than the first sweet corn, it's juicier than even the ripest of strawberries, and it's more satisfying than the plumpest tomato. Nobody can be unhappy while eating a perfectly ripe peach.

This latest creation from Harvest Spirits in Valatie has been in the works for about a year, but was released just last week. Officially, it's a peach-flavored brandy, and it is indeed packed with the flavor of whole peaches. Calling it "peach flavored" however really does it a disservice, and actually it's not quite a brandy either. Technically, it's a peach infused applejack. But that too doesn't fully get to the heart of this spirit.

The story of how Peach Jack came into existence begins with an experiment gone awry.

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Truck Pizza in Hudson

truck pizza hudson exterior side

Shiny.

Hudson has become one of our favorite weekend trips for a few reasons:

1. It's not really a trip. It's a 45 minute drive from near Albany -- about the same distance to Saratoga.

2. It feels like somewhere different. Maybe it's the NYC influence.

3. We usually come across something new or interesting or fun.

The latest new/interesting/fun thing: this past weekend we noticed Truck Pizza -- a food truck serving pizzas from an onboard wood-fired oven.

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Dogs and their people

Dog Park 3 Siobhan Connallly.jpg

Dog parks -- great for making human friends

By Siobhan Connally

soapbox badgeI knew there had been an effort underway to get a dog park in our town -- on occasion I'd even dropped spare change into a dedicated collection jar at the counter of our beloved coffee joint. But somehow I'd missed the fact that it had actually gotten past the planning stage and into the oh-my-god-you-can-really-bring-your-pooch-there-and-play stage.

I suppose back then I was a little preoccupied. The children were younger. Jobs were hectic. Our dog - a centenarian in dog years - wasn't much interested in play. She was happy just to lay on the hardwood floor wherever the sun was keeping it warm. She had earned her retirement.

Then, one day last summer, she was gone.

It was a while before we were ready to think about dogs.

But recently, with a new puppy chewing on the furniture and the kids climbing the walls, I thought it was time to get a gander at the dog park.

Turns out dog parks -- they're not just parks for dogs.

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Inside Etsy Hudson

Etsy Hudson. Yep, you want to work there.

By Siobhan Connally

Inside a sprawling, former cannonball factory in Hudson, 17 deeply creative souls mill about quietly creating magic.

Their daily mission? To make Etsy safe for humanity. Well, that and hula-hooping.

Working at Etsy Hudson may be as close to internet superherodom as mere mortals can come.

It also might just be the best job on the planet.

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Yes, Virginia of Valatie, there is a Santa Claus

virginia o'hanlon as a childIn 1897, New York Sun editor Francis Pharcellus Church wrote a beautiful, now-famous editorial in answer to a letter from an 8-year-old girl named Virginia O'Hanlon.

As the story goes, O'Hanlon had asked her father, a Manhattan doctor, if Santa Claus was real. Thankfully, her dad passed the buck, suggesting little Virginia put the question to the editor of the Sun. Church took the ball and ran with it. His editorial takes the concept of Santa from the idea of getting to the idea of giving -- making it about the kindnesses we can all do for one another.

So if the whole thing took place in Manhattan, why are we writing about it? Well, we were looking for the letter this weekend and stumbled upon something that surprised us: it turns out the grown up Virgina lived in Valatie. And there's video to prove it.

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A wine tasting trip to Columbia County

columbia county wine trip composite

By Katherine Rasmussen

You've seen that I Love Lucy clip, the one where she stomps on the grapes at the winery? Back in college I got to try my hand -- OK, my feet -- at that. It's actually not as squishy as it looks. With all those stems, it's like a foot massage from someone with long fingernails.

Anyway, I love wine. And wineries. But I don't live in California anymore. These days I reside in Albany.

Still, wine, in my opinion, is best paired with good company and a tour of the surrounding farmland. So a few weeks ago I took a good friend to Columbia County to do a few winery visits and enjoy some great food and a little Columbia County history.

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Shaker Mountain Canning Co.

By Siobhan Connally

Kristen Greer wanted to to help increase access to fresh foods in New York City.

That's how it all began.

Greer, a New York City food policy advocate and part-time Rensselaer County resident also had a background in finance. She was volunteering with the board of Just Food to help bring more fresh foods into the city, when she discovered a need: a way for farmers and food entrepreneurs to turn their bounty into products that would last well past the growing season.

The idea for Shaker Mountain Canning Co. was born.

Today this small company near the Rensselaer County/Columbia County line cans everything from tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers to fruits, jams and butters and it's opened up a valuable conversation between farms and food producers.

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Film Columbia 2011

crandell theater chatham

The screenings are at The Crandell Theater in Chatham.

By Siobhan Connally

FilmColumbia -- the annual film festival in Chatham -- has become very popular.

So popular that the all-films pass for this year's festival, which starts next week, already sold out. But tickets are still available for most of the individual film screenings and events.

As in year's past, this year's lineup includes a handful of much-anticipated films.

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A concrete vision of the future for skateparks in the Capital Region?

skateboard Chatham

The Chatham Skatepark

By Siobhan Connally

A tiny modern cityscape is taking shape in the heart of Chatham's bucolic countryside. But you won't find buildings at the end of its sidewalks, and the only traffic will come by skateboard.

When it's finished in late October, Chatham Skatepark will join only a handful of outdoor skateparks in upstate New York including the skatepark at East Side Recreational Field in Saratoga Springs, Clifton Park Action Park, Blatnick in Niskayuna, Copake Skate Park, Oakdale in Hudson, and Saugerties skate park.

It will also be one of only two concrete skateparks between Montreal and New York City that offers bowl skating.

The $120,000 park is $20,000 from completion, and Chatham recreation director Shari Dixon Franks isn't confident they'll reach their goal.

"With the economy as bad as it is, how can you ask people for more money for a skatepark?"

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The Pondshiners

tobias seamon photoRecently over at The Morning News, Albany resident Tobias Seamon writes about the "lost Pondshiners" -- a reclusive clan of people who once lived in Columbia County:

New York's Hudson Valley abounds in spooks, from the wailing Maid of Kaaterskill Falls, to the dreaded Horseman of Leeds, to ongoing rumors of a poltergeist in the Education Building in Albany. These, along with more familiar specters like Rip Van Winkle and the Headless Horseman, prompted historian Maud Wilder Goodwin to write in 1919 that the Hudson River was "endowed [with] more of the supernatural...than haunts any other waterway in America." ...
But when it comes to aboriginal mysteries, the Hudson Valley has almost as many flesh-and-blood frights as it does phantoms. Strange backwoods clans have been found in hollows throughout the region, from the ornery so-called Jackson Whites in the Ramapo Mountains, to the Eagle Nesters--supposedly descended from Indians and escaped slaves--perched above Kingston, to the exceptionally blond-haired Van Guilders around Glens Falls. But maybe the most peculiar of these communities was the wild Pondshiners of the Taconic Hills in southern Columbia County.

The backstory is wild (in a few different ways). And highlights what a radically different place this area -- and the nation -- not even a century ago. (Here's the chapter about "The Frightened People" referenced from Grey Riders.)

Tobias Seamon will be at St. Rose October 27 as part of the Frequency North series. His latest book is The Emperor's Toy Chest, which "explores history, mythology, fantasy, and the magical borderlands between."

photo: Leif Zurmuhlen

Help the Crandell Theater raise money -- because Parker Posey needs to pee

The non-profit that runs the Crandell Theatre in Chatham is trying to raise money to make improvements on the building -- stuff like a new roof and windows.

Also, the theater currently only has one bathroom for women. That fact is made very clear in the video embedded above, which features Parker Posey.

Posey has a house in Columbia County (Ghent, we hear) and it's not uncommon to hear that people have seen her out and about. She was even spotted in Troy earlier this year.

By the way: Showing this weekend at the Crandell: Our Idiot Brother, starring Paul Rudd, Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, and Steve Coogan.

Signs of the times at the Columbia County Fair

CC_Fair_poultry_barn_Siobhan_Connally.jpg

The poultry barn at the Columbia County Fair

By Siobhan Connally

They hop-skipped through the entrance gate and high-tailed it to their favorite place at the fair, the 4-H Cloverbuds barn at the Columbia County Fair, where all life's questions boil down into one chirping, downy-fluff yellow argument:

Which came first the chicken or the egg?

But in place of the newborn chicks we expected to find huddling under heat lamps in the familiar plexiglas pen, there were only two tiny bantams strutting about in the diminutive exhibit space.

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5 reasons Golden Organics may be the best ice cream in the Capital Region

golden organics chocolate

Yum.

This summer we've paid a few visits to Chatham to indulge in what may be the best ice cream in the greater Capital Region: Golden Organics.

Why do we think it's so good? Here are five reasons. Plus one more.

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The Taghkanic House

taghkanic house exterior

"It is big and modern, but it is not precious at all."

Moyra Mulholland doesn't throw stones.

Mostly, that's because she's a nice person -- but there's also this: she lives in a glass house.

Moyra and her family live in the Taghkanic House, a more than a little awesome, award-winning, 8,800 square-foot glass and steel structure built into a hillside near Hudson.

On September 4, Moyra -- a makeup artist who's worked with stars such as Nicole Kidman and Ashley Judd -- will open part of her remarkable home for a garden party to benefit The Aids Council of Northeastern New York.

Last week she invited us in for a look.

(Many photos after the jump.)

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You should make the trip to Local 111

local 111 exterior

In an earlier life, it was an auto garage.

We made the short trip through Columbia County this past weekend to have dinner at Local 111.

And we're very happy that we did -- because it was very good.

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Daytrotter Barnstormer tour stopping in Ghent

daytrotter barnstormer poster ghentUpdate: This show has apparently been moved to Brooklyn.

If, for some odd reason, you're not planning to be at Rest Fest -- or, perhaps, you are just an ambitious consumer of live music -- here's a show coming up that could be good: Daytrotter is bringing its Barnstormer tour to Ghent on August 27.

Daytrotter has built up a remarkable collection of in-studio performances from indie bands that have stopped at the site's place in Illinois. The tour sort of takes the show on the road -- to actual barns (thus the name).

The lineup for the show at the Sunnyview Farm Barn in Ghent: White Rabbits, We Are Augustines, Blood Orange, Doug Paisley, Christopher Paul Stelling, and The Loom.

Tickets are $20 ahead / $25 at the door.

Earlier on AOA: Two national acts added to Rest Fest lineup

Yep, AOA is a media sponsor of Rest Fest.

Tierra Farm: Quality, in a nutshell

tierra chocolate

Chocolate, meet coffee beans. Coffee beans, meet chocolate.

By Akum Norder

Consider the aroma of slow-roasting cashews dusted in curry. Consider the chocolate-covered coffee beans. Or the maple-glazed pecans. Or -- woah, are those pistachios?

No contest: The prize for the Capital Region's best-smelling workplace goes to Tierra Farm, an organic nut-roasting company in Valatie.

The warm, spicy fragrance of roasted nuts is only part of what's appealing about Tierra Farm. The company is working hard to create a product, a business model and a work environment that's consistent with their values. And they look like they're having lots of fun while doing it.

And wait till you taste the chocolate-covered Cajun cashews. ...

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Baco Noir Reserve from Hudson-Chatham Winery

hudson-chatham reserve label closeup

The wine is made from a hybrid that traces its origins back to French viticulturist Fran├žois Baco (thus the "Baco") (there's a monument to the guy). The grapes are a very dark color (thus the "noir").

By Daniel B

Clearly there is something deeply flawed with the people involved with the Hudson-Chatham winery. Not only because they're making wine from grapes grown just an hour outside of Albany in the heart of apple country -- but they are making wines nobody has ever heard of.

Whatever they are afflicted with must be contagious, because I think that's a great idea.

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Chatham Brewing: Back-alley operation, big-time taste

chatham. top photo.

Beer me.

By Akum Norder

Pssst. Hey, buddy.

Wanna try some beer?

I'm gonna send you to a place that doesn't have a street address, and you can buy beer only on Saturdays from 11-2. And no bottles -- only growlers. But don't worry, they'll hook you up.

If you're looking for a brew pub or a fancy tasting room, you might be disappointed with Chatham Brewing. If you're looking for good beer, you won't be.

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Ordinary Things

sebastien carrie haddad wilks

Mother and son, over 20 years.

The new show at Carrie Haddad Photographs in Hudson -- "Ordinary Things: When artists make their private life public" -- caught our eye. So we were happy to see that Sebastien had a chance to check it out. He writes of a series of photos by photographer Harry Wilks around which the show formed:

This is one of the most interesting piece of the show in my opinion, as it spans more than two decades. It started in 1987 as a simple picture of the artist's wife and young son, leaning on the bumper of their first car, and turned into a photo ritual year after year. Watch his son age, turn into a teenager, his wife mature, gracefully. This series was never intended to be shown in a gallery - it was a personal project. [Curator] Melissa [Stafford] asked Harry if she could show them and from there the whole exhibit started to grow as more artists joined the project. I was impressed by the vision and the resolve of Wilks, the strong composition over 20 years, the attention to details. I wish I had started such a project already.

Many more thoughts and photos at Sebastien's site.

"Ordinary Things" runs at Carrie Haddad Photographs until December 12.

photo: Sebastien B

For sale: Kirsten Gillibrand's house

gillibrand house for saleKirsten Gillibrand's home in Hudson is up for sale -- the list price: $1.48 million. [NYT]

Check out this snip from the listing on the real estate agent's site, titled "Gatsby & Spectacular Hudson River Views":

Mesmerizing sunsets and all day long stunning views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains welcome you to a surreal magical landscape that you might think you once stumbled upon in a childhood dream ...this once in a lifetime slice of heaven is the perfect backdrop to make memories generation after generation. Beginning with the private drive guarded by towering shade trees through which the light bounces off Ol' Man River, informal and formal gardens, patios and porches greet you with each gentle rolling slope of the velvet lawn as it rolls down over the river.

There are a handful of photos on the listing page.

The house is listed as having 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, a "gracious" kitchen, a "delightful guest cottage," and a barn/4 car garage on 13 acres.

Here's the Zillow listing for the address, which appears to have incorrect info. (The "zestimate" is listed as $717,000.)

KG's office told NYT that the senator and her husband "plan to buy a house closer to family in the Capital Region." [NYT City Room]

Hmm... so what would be a good spot for the Gillibrands? We could see Slingerlands -- big houses, a bit rural, close to Albany and only about 20 minutes from ALB.

photo: Halstead

12 hours in Columbia County

columbia county composite

Enough for more than a day.

Columbia County is so close that... you might already be there. And if you're not, you should go -- unless you don't like food, art, shopping and beautiful scenery.

No, those things all sound pretty good? Well, here are some ideas on how to spend a day in Columbia County...

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Ichabod Crane: the Capital Region connection

The_Headless_Horseman_Pursuing_Ichabod_Crane.jpg

Ichabod Crane just sounds scarier than Jesse Merwin.

By Carl Johnson

Washington Irving, perhaps the first great American writer, is still well-remembered in his Hudson Valley haunts. Irving created Rip Van Winkle, the legend of the Headless Horseman and more. His home along the river in Tarrytown, "Sunnyside," is a tourist attraction, and in 1996, North Tarrytown decided to rename itself Sleepy Hollow.

It is said that it was among the old Dutch of Tarrytown that Irving first heard the tale of the ghost of a Hessian soldier who had lost his head to a cannonball during the Revolution. But it was in the Columbia County village of Kinderhook, that Irving found his model for Ichabod Crane, the timid schoolteacher who is frightened off by the headless apparition.

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FilmColumbia


The trailer for Tiny Furniture

The annual FilmColumbia festival in Chatham starts up this Wednesday and runs through Sunday. This year's slate of films looks very good.

Here's the full schedule. A bunch of films that caught our attention are after the jump.

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Tortillaville in Hudson

tortillaville hudson

Taco time.

We were strolling along Warren Street in Hudson this past weekend when we came upon this happy sight.

Generally speaking, we hold that taco trucks = good idea. But this stand -- all shiny and parked among the picnic tables -- gave off an especially happy vibe.

Had we already eaten dinner? Yes. Would this stop us from having a taco? No.

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Poking around at Harvest Spirits

harvest spirits

Good stuff in beautiful barrels.

By Nicole Karas

My friend Stephen, a cook for the Miss Albany Diner, and I originally went to Golden Harvest Farms in Valatie to see what fruits they were selling at the farm store, but we noticed this sign peeking out: Harvest Spirits.

And that's how we met Derek Grout. He makes wonderful things. From leftovers.

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Suspended Schenectady cop arrested again, Cuomo to declare in March?, man arrested for 65th time, local pilot flies supply missions to Haiti

Suspended Schenectady police officer John Lewis has been arrested. Again. It's his sixth arrest in the last two years. In this most recent case, he's accused of causing a car accident in the Ellis Hospital parking lot after he allegedly left the emergency department drunk. The SPD first tried to fire Lewis in 1998 for allegedly using a racial slur. The department's waiting for a decision on its most recent attempt to terminate him. [WNYT] [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Fox23] [CBS6]

A "source close to [Andrew] Cuomo" tells the Daily News that Andrew Cuomo will officially announce he's running for governor in March. David Paterson's campaign manager says "it's clear Mr. Cuomo is running for governor." [NYDN] [NYDN]

David Paterson is apparently going to try again to get the state worker unions to give up their raises this year. [TU]

Colonie assemblyman -- and outspoken MMA critic -- Bob Reilly says he's willing to support a compromise bill that would legalize ultimate fighting in the state if certain restrictions were placed on the sport. [TU]

UAlbany cancelled a cage fighting match scheduled for the SEFCU Arena this past weekend after a state commission said the event appeared to violate state law. [@albstudentpress] [Daily Gazette $]

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Hudson Under $100 2009

henry hudson maskSam Pratt has launched his "Hudson Under $100" guide for this year. As he did last year, Sam has explored Hudson many Warren Street shops for holiday gifts that cost $100 or less. He says he'll be adding items each day over the next few weeks (those are Henry Hudson masks, $5 each at MIX).

New this year: you can sort items by price and street block.

The site is great for virtual window shopping. We love gawking at all the photos of beautiful or odd objects.

photo: Sam Pratt

My birthday at Local 111

111 main.jpg

The makings of a happy birthday.

By Jessica Pasko

You only get one birthday a year -- so you want to celebrate someplace really special, right? If you're looking for someplace with really good food and ambiance -- and you don't mind a pretty drive toward the Catskills, then I have the perfect place for you.

This year marks the second birthday dinner I've had at Local 111 in Philmont, near Hudson, and once again I can't stop raving.

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Taking Woodstock

Taking Woodstock, the Ang Lee movie filmed in Columbia County, opens August 28 (August marks the 40th anniversary of the event). Here's the trailer (with a short intro by Demetri Martin, who plays one of the leads):

(The trailer's available in much higher quality at Apple's site.)

This film is a comedy -- and we gotta say the phrase "a comedy from Ang Lee" didn't exactly light us up. But the early reviews have been generally positive -- if anything, reviewers seem to think it actually is funny.

From what we hear, a bunch of local people were extras in the film. It'll be fun to see if we recognize anyone.

Earlier on AOA: A peek at the Taking Woodstock shoot

Dalai Lama in town today, Republican steps into Albany mayoral race, KG introduces first Senate bill, famous shotgun wielding-grandma dies

The Dalai Lama is appearing at the Palace Theater in Albany at 2 pm today. He's also scheduled to stop by the state Senate. A critic of the Clifton Park executive training program that's connected to the event's sponsor organization says Dalai Lama's association with the org is "a mistake." [Palace Theater] [Liz Benjamin] [CapNews9]

There's now a Republican in the race for Albany mayor. Nathan Lebron, an IT exec who lives in the Whitehall neighborhood, says the city's Democratic machine is broken and needs to be replaced. [TU]

Troy police say a man was shot and beaten in his home last night (map). His injuries aren't considered life-threatening. [TU]

David Paterson has ordered state agencies to stop buying bottled water for environmental reasons. The ban covers both indivdual bottles and the standup water cooler bottles. [NYT]

Paterson also announced that the state would be spending $25 million on battery research. The center for that research may not be located upstate, as had originally been announced. [TU] [Gannett/TU]

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Paterson under fire from every direction, Gillibrand says guns no longer under her bed, job cuts at GE Research, Rensselaer waterfront developer says if they come -- they will build it

David Paterson is catching criticism from what seems like every direction right now. State worker unions are wailing at the news that many aides in the Paterson administration have gotten pay raises since last summer's hiring freeze and spending cuts. The proposed "iTax" on digital downloads is being criticized by conservatives because it potentially could tax pornography downloads (they say taxing it legitimizes it). And in response to the barrage of TV ads criticizing his proposed healthcare cuts, Paterson said this past weekend: "I don't care how many blind people in wheelchairs you roll out. I'm going to get this budget balanced and I'm going to get it balanced by April 1." [NYP] [NYDN] [AP/TU] [Newsday]

A spokesperson for Kirsten Gillibrand says the senator has moved the guns out from underneath her bed now that everyone knows that's where she stored them (because, you know, she told everyone). Also: Gillibrand says her mom has eight guns. [TU] [AP/Daily Gazette] [AP/Troy Record]

Chuck Schumer endorsed Scott Murphy yesterday in the race to fill Gillibrand's former House seat. He and Murphy also made pretzels. [Saratogian]

Roy McDonald (the guy who replaced Joe Bruno in the state Senate) says Saratoga County's share of money from a state road maintenance fund could be cut more than 25 percent in the next state budget. Saratoga County got more than $2 million from the fund last year (as did Albany County). [Saratogian] [NYDOT]

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Peint o Gwrw Tafarn in Chatham

stuffed bear at Chatham pub

He's waiting to share a pint with you.

By Jessica Pasko

If you're headed to Chatham for the FilmColumbia film fest this weekend, be sure to stop in for a pint or two at Main Street's Peint o Gwrw Tafarn.

Where? The name is Welsh and it's pronounced "pint o ger-ROO" -- which means pint of ale -- but locals know it simply as "the pub." And not only is it the only Welsh-style pub in Chatham (or, as far as we can tell, the whole area), it may also represent your only opportunity to sip a pint in the middle of a taxidermied menagerie.

Yep. You read that correctly.

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FilmColumbia

Crandall Theater in Chatham

One of the sites for FilmColumbia screenings.

By Jessica Pasko

It might not be Cannes or Sundance, but the lineup at this week's Chatham's FilmColumbia is still pretty impressive.

The annual festival is bringing four days of films to this adorable Columbia County village, including the new Charlie Kaufman film Synechode, New York.

And there's a lot more to look forward to.

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A peek at the Taking Woodstock shoot

Taking Woodstock set 1

Where are the good drugs, man?

Look what showed up in our inbox today: pictures from the set of Taking Woodstock, the comedy (yes, comedy) Ang Lee has been shooting in Columbia County.

There are a few more pics after the jump. They appear to be from some kind of first aid or medical station set. Everyone seems sufficiently hippie-ish.

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Gambling joint knocked over, texting while driving ban proposed, MoveOn in town, nanoeconomics

A couple of things about the local gambling scene have to come to light over the past month. The first: people have been playing poker at illegal clubs around Albany, including a "members only" club on N. Allen. The second: it looks like a group is knocking over these clubs, in robberies like something out of a movie. [TU]

The state Senate has passed a bill that would make it illegal to text while driving. The bill now heads to the Assembly. [Daily Politics]

MoveOn will be in Albany and Saratoga Springs today campaigning in a somewhat unusual way against John McCain. [Saratogian]

A road reconstruction project has downtown Chatham closed to traffic, maybe for months. [TU]

RPI is moving toward letting students use their school IDs to spend their "Rensselaer Advantage Dollars" at off-campus businesses. UAlbany, Siena and St. Rose already such arrangements. [Troy Record]

UAlbany recently awarded the world's first PhD in "nanoeconomics." [Daily Gazette]

Clifton Park is looking at opening a second the dog park -- and hiking fines for not leashing dogs in its other parks. [Daily Gazette]

CORE Vodka

a still making CORE Vodka

This seems like a not-too-bad way to use leftover apples.

Check it out: two guys in Columbia County are launching a vodka made from apples. CORE Vodka is a collaboration between Tom Crowell, a brewery owner, and Derek Grout, a web designer (re)turned farmer.

OK, but why make vodka from apples? (Don't we have potatoes and wheat for that?) Here's the explanation from the CORE site:

We chose to use home-grown apples for our vodka because we happen to grow a lot of them. Almost too many. And what greater value can you place on apples than when used to make what the French call Eau de Vie, or "Water of Life"?

If you're curious, it looks like they'll give you a tour of the distillery. All you have to do is contact them to set up an appointment.

photo: Harvest Spirits

The Scoop

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