Kids’ Almanac: Express yourself (July 29-August 2)

To Kill a Mockingbird will be screened at the Rosendale Theatre, as part of its “Great Movies Come from Great Books” kids’ series, this Saturday, July 28 at 4 p.m.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.

– Martha Graham


One of our primary needs as humans is the need for self-expression (followed closely by the need for chocolate). Not only is self-expression critical to helping us understand the world both inside and outside of ourselves, but therapists from Freud to Pennebaker also believe that the lack of self-expression can lead to mental and physical health issues. This week there are several opportunities for you and your family to express yourselves.


Upcoming youth poetry slams in Ellenville & Poughkeepsie


The raw emotion of spoken-word poetry can be a powerful experience for both the poet and the audience. On Thursday, August 2 at 7 p.m., check out the Youth Spoken Word Poetry Performance hosted by the ReadNex Poetry Squad, a culmination of workshops in which teens worked with the artists over the past month. One of ReadNex’s mantras is “Learn, Educate, Repeat,” and the group tours, performs and gives workshops helping to empower youth and promoting unity among all people.

The ArtsWAVE Center is located at 12 Market Street in Ellenville. For more information, call (845) 210-4416 or visit To learn more about ReadNex Poetry Squad, visit

On Saturday, July 28 from 7 to 11 p.m., register for the Sleuth Pro Poetry Slam 2012, which will take place on September 8 at the Cunneen-Hackett Theater in Poughkeepsie. All ages can compete, and the cost is $5 per registrant. “This poetry slam will be a great place for young people to express themselves on a theater stage in front of a live audience,” says Neil “Sleuth Pro” Johnson, producer of the event.

Registration is located in the Sleuth Pro Art Studio, upstairs from the Cunneen-Hackett Theater at 12 Vassar Street. An open mic will be running during registration, so stick around to hear some local performers. For more information, call (845) 224-3461 or visit Neil Sleuth Pro Johnson on Facebook.



Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck stages You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown next two Saturdays


You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is an entire production based in self-expression. Part of the Kids Onstage series at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck, this piece is based on the popular comic strip Peanuts by Charles Schulz. Watch as the main character Charlie Brown and his pals explore what it means to find happiness and to be a good person.

Performances take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 28 and Saturday, August 4. Tickets cost $7 for children, $9 for adults and seniors. The Center is located at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck. For reservations or more information, call (845) 876-3080 or visit



Spiegeltent at Bard SummerScape presents Carnival of the Animals & Peter and the Wolf this weekend


Self-expression can be tricky sometimes. In 1886, when Camille Saint-Saëns composed The Carnival of the Animals, he wouldn’t allow it to be performed in his lifetime, except for the “Swan” portion, which was only played for close friends and small groups. He was afraid that the piece would be considered frivolous and ruin his reputation. After he died and the work was published, it turned out to be one of his most popular pieces.

Introduce your family to this great music, as well as Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, at the Spiegeltent at Bard College. These familiar classics will be performed with a unique twist: Pianist Frederic Chiu plays a brilliant transcription alongside David Gonzalez’s original, funky poetry. This concert takes place at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29, and is intended for children of ages 7 and up. Tickets cost $5 for children aged 3 years and older, $15 for adults.

Bard College is located at 60 Manor Avenue in Annandale-on-Hudson, at the intersection of Route 9G and Annandale Road. For tickets or more information, call (845) 758-7900 or visit


Storytime this Saturday morning at Morgan Lake in Poughkeepsie


Time spent in nature offers the chance to connect with plants, animals and the elements. It’s not only an opportunity to develop skills, but also to understand the world around us better, as well as where we fit in it.

Give your children a chance for self-expression at “Storytime by the Lake.” July begins this new storytime series with the theme “Stop those Litterbugs!” All ages are welcome at this free event, where children will hear three stories about littering and recycling, as well as participate in games and songs. Bring lawn chairs or blankets.

Storytime takes place at Morgan Lake on Saturday, July 28 from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. Morgan Lake is located at 17 Creek Road in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 418-0016 or visit



This Saturday is Family Fun and Fish Day at Kenneth Wilson State Park


Fishing can be another avenue of self-expression. There are so many types of fishing. As fly-fishing guide Chris Dembrowski explains, “The craft is catching fish, but the art is knowing the ecosystem and what makes them interconnected.” “Family Fun and Fish Day” at Kenneth Wilson State Park is a chance to do just that. Learn how to fish, identify fish and understand aquatic ecology. Families can also enjoy a barbecue and participate in youth crafts. Fishing supplies are provided, or you can bring your own.

The event takes place on Saturday, July 28 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wilson State Park is located at 859 Wittenberg Road in Mount Tremper. To enter the Park for free, you will need to preregister with Gretchen Rae by calling (845) 688-3047 or e-mail [email protected] For more information, visit



Nature walks at Staatsburgh Historic Site, Gardiner Library


Exploring history and the natural world can lead to all sorts of questions and realizations, two primary vehicles for self-expression. Have you been to Staatsburgh? What a treasure. Put it all together, and you get Staatsburgh Historic Site’s “Nature & History Walk for Families.” This is a guided one-hour walk intended for families with young children, ending at Mills Cove along the Hudson River. Children will make discoveries about animal habitats, ancient trees, a lost garden, Native Americans and early settlers, and be encouraged to share what they see. Bring a snack for the end of the walk and take in the lighthouse and Catskills views.

The walk takes place on Sunday, July 29 at 1 p.m. and begins at Staatsburgh’s museum shop. This event is free, and reservations are not necessary. For more information, call Don Fraser at (845) 889-8851, extension 338. To learn more about the historic site, visit

Another chance to reflect on nature as a means of self-expression is the “Kids’ Nature Walk” at the Gardiner Library, led by environmental educator Laura Conner and children’s librarian Kendra Aber-Ferri. Beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 31, kids will take a nature walk, create a nature journal, press plants, play games and go on a scavenger hunt. This event is free, but preregistration is required.

The Gardiner Library is located at 133 Farmers’ Turnpike in Gardiner. For more information or to register, call (845) 255-1255 or visit



Rosendale Theatre screens To Kill a Mockingbird this Saturday


Some books resonate so much with readers that they make the jump to the silver screen. The Rosendale Theatre is featuring some of these stories this summer. Susannah Appelbaum, popular Young Adult fiction author and a member of the Children’s Programming Committee, explains: “Great movies come from great books, and Rosendale Theatre is proud to celebrate a few of the best in our summer series. Come see Harper Lee’s Southern classic To Kill a Mockingbird come to life in the 1962 unforgettable film starring Gregory Peck and a young Robert Duvall on the big screen.”

Books will be available for purchase at the screening of each movie in the series; and at the end of the summer, a $100 donation will be given to the library that receives the most ticket stubs in its corresponding bucket at the Theatre. To Kill a Mockingbird will be screened on Saturday, July 28 at 4 p.m. The film is rated PG, and tickets cost $3.50. The Rosendale Theatre is located at 408 Main Street in Rosendale. For more information, call (845) 658-8989 or visit



La Guelaguetza Festival in Poughkeepsie this Sunday


Sometimes experiencing another culture’s self-expression can inspire our own. Attending Poughkeepsie’s fourth annual La Guelaguetza Festival is a chance to do that. The traditional celebration of the same name has taken place in Oaxaca (pronounced wah-HAH-ka), Mexico for hundreds of years. In case you were wondering, La Guelaguetza means “the offering,” as in a sharing or exchange. This is exactly how Felipe Santos, director of El Grupo Folklorico Poughkeepsie, sees this festive gathering: “This is for people of all backgrounds and cultures to celebrate how our diversity makes us a stronger and richer community.”

I asked Polly Adema, folklorist with the Dutchess County Arts Council, about the day’s activities. She shared, “Among the children’s activities will be face-painting, a bouncy house, balloons, a coloring station with Oaxacan images such as traditional costumes, food, guelaguetza, the park’s playground…and of course, the beautiful dances performed by youth and adult dancers. Many children delight in watching the procession of dancers as they enter the festival grounds, the colorful and lively dances and the playful rhythms of the music. La Guelaguetza is definitely a family event, and promises to be a wonderful afternoon.”

La Guelaguetza takes place at Waryas Park in Poughkeepsie on Sunday, July 29 from 1 to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Waryas Park is located at 1 Main Street, where it meets the Hudson River, in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 454-3222 or visit



Free Wednesday crafts workshops at A. C. Moore in Wappingers Falls


Fred Rogers said, “Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.” I think that one of my truths is that I get very inspired going into craft stores, but I kind of freeze up when I actually try to make a craft by myself. But I find that supervised or simple hands-on arts-and-crafts can be a marvelous tool for self-expression. Free arts-and-crafts are even better – and did I mention no cleanup?

Check out A. C. Moore’s free make-and-take Wednesday activities from August 1 through 15 from 1 to 3:00 p.m., beginning with a sticker photo-frame project. These crafts are geared for ages 4 and up, and reservations are not required; just walk in. A. C. Moore is located at 1404 Route 9 in Wappingers Falls. For more information, call (845) 297-4693 or visit


Erica Chase-Salerno lives, loves and laughs in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind She can be reached at [email protected]



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