“It’s not where you take things from; it’s where you take them to.”
– Jean-Luc Godard
Mucilage glue, with its crackled rubber applicator tip; Chinese jumprope; Lolly’s adverbs: Every so often, life will trigger a fantastically ordinary childhood memory. Details that dotted the background when I was growing up suddenly seem special, even delightful, like direct connections to my previous younger self.
Dean Jones, one of my favorite musicians, takes that sense of time travel to a whole new level. The music that he creates – both as a solo artist as well as in his band Dog on Fleas, with John Hughes and Chris Cullo – is so true to the energy of childhood because he still really gets the mind and the world of a child. And they do it in such a fun, playful and honest way: “Actually, the only agenda the Fleas have is to make good music for decent people. And for you, too.”
Their music sounds terrific to both kids and adults. They had three Number One hit songs on SiriusXM radio’s KiDS Place Live last year. Dean’s collaborations touch local and international communities, from his songwriting workshops in area schools to the Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti CD he produced, which has raised almost $50,000 toward relief efforts. You can buy their albums, including the upcoming release Invisible Friends, at area stores or online. Dog on Fleas will be performing on Saturday, February 11 at 11 a.m. in Woodstock as part of WDST’s “Kidtopia” concert series at Utopia Soundstage in the Bearsville Theater complex. Tickets are $7 for kids, $9 for adults; a four-pack goes for $25. For more info visit www.dogonfleas.com.
Black Violin is another group whose fresh, real and contemporary mix of music thrills me. As a violinist and violist myself, this duo – Kev Marcus on violin and Wil B on viola – really got my attention, and their performance is sure to attract both classical and hip-hop enthusiasts alike. “To most people, jazz, hip-hop, funk and classical are musical genres. But to revolutionary music group Black Violin, they’re nothing but ingredients.” Tickets are available for the show at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston on Monday, February 13 at 10 a.m., and may be purchased at the door. For more info visit www.bardavon.org and www.blackviolin.net.
For a hands-on musical experience that honors the folk tradition, children and adults are invited to an All-Level Autoharp & Mountain Dulcimer Workshop, followed by a Benefit Concert and Jam. Participants will experience the joy of playing music together by learning simple tunes on these instruments. It takes place on Saturday, February 11 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills at 320 Sawkill Road in Kingston. Tickets go for $10 for the workshop, $5 for the benefit concert and jam. For details visit www.diatoddnics.com.
Notice any rockpiles on your hikes lately? You might view them with new eyes of understanding and awareness after Glenn Kreisberg’s presentation, “Mysteries in Stone: A Survey of Lithic Sites in the Hudson Valley, Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains.” It takes place on Friday, February 10 from 7 to 8:15 p.m. at the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center and is open to adults and kids aged 12 and up with a parent. Admission is free. For reservations visit www.mohonkpreserve.org.
For a fascinating look at the Revolutionary War, make your way over to “Black Patriots Revealed: African Americans in the Continental Army,” a presentation about the vital role that African Americans played in securing our independence. It was here, at the New Windsor Cantonment, that the ceasefire orders were issued by Washington ending the eight-year War of Independence in 1783. The historic site is located at 374 Temple Hill Road in New Windsor. The event takes place on Sunday, February 12 from 2 to 2:30 p.m. For more info call (845) 561-1765, extension 22.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
The teens of the Elting Library have cooked up a Mardi Gras party, and committee member Augie Scoppa says, “It’s going to be fantastic for everyone. (Watch out for the ‘fish!’)” The event will feature traditional New Orleans fare, music, a costume contest, make-your-own mask craft and of course, a bead-throw. It ends with an Abbot & Costello Mardi Gras movie. It’s free, with all ages welcome, and takes place at the Elting Memorial Library at the corner of Main Street and Plattekill Avenue in New Paltz on Saturday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m. For details visit www.eltinglibrary.org.
Erica Chase-Salerno lives, loves and laughs in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind hudsonvalleyparents.com. She can be reached at [email protected]