Ione’s Dream Festival in Kingston

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

What are dreams for, anyway? People have been wondering about that for…probably as long as there have been people, and we still don’t know. In centuries past dreams were thought to be messages from deities or dead ancestors, or perhaps prophecies of future events. Nowadays, post-Freud and Jung and modern neurological studies, we are more inclined to interpret them as the brain’s way of sorting and storing each day’s newly acquired information, or as reminders in symbolic language from the subconscious mind to its more analytical layers about issues that ought not to be forgotten. For all we know, dreams might just be the resting psyche’s deepest form of play.

For Ione, high priestess/artistic director of Kingston’s Deep Listening Institute, contemplation of the significance of dreams is a lifetime’s calling. Her annual Dream Festival, now in its 18th iteration, is already in progress at various venues and won’t officially wrap up until the end of 2013, with traveling exhibitions of its fruits continuing into the New Year. The theme of this year’s celebration of the dreaming mind is “Art & the Intuitive: Dissolving Obstacles,” reflecting Ione’s conviction that the commonality of the capacity to dream is a powerful tool for bringing diverse people together.

This year’s Dream Festival celebrates dreams with presentations of music, drumming, performance, international virtual residencies, art workshops for kids and adults and dream-telling events taking place in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, New York City, Canada and online. Taking a leaf from the successful concept of the AIDS Quilt, the Festival kicked off this year with the creation of a community art project called the Traveling Mural of Community Dreams, in which anyone interested is invited to participate in free art workshops around Kingston. Each “dreamer” creates a piece of art on a five-inch-square canvas panel, 50 or 60 or which will be assembled in mid-November into a large mural or “visual tapestry of dreams.” The finished product will be put on exhibit at Kingston City Hall on December 7, with a reception held from 4 to 6 p.m.

The first two panel-making workshops already took place on October 12, in conjunction with the 0+ Festival; but it’s not too late if you still want to weave a dream of your own into the mural. A final free workshop for artists of all ages will be offered at the Deep Listening Space in Suite 303 of the Shirt Factory at 77 Cornell Street in Midtown Kingston on Saturday, November 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Canvas panels, paints and other art materials will be provided, but space is limited, so early arrival is advised. Call (845) 338-5984 for more information about the workshop.

Meanwhile, the dream-inspired performance component of the Festival continues this weekend with its annual Dreamers’ Marathon plus two concerts in Kingston. This Saturday, October 19 from 2 to 6 p.m., the Deep Listening Space will host an afternoon of music, singing masks, readings, dream-tellings and a “dreamy potluck.” Each artist will present work inspired or created from his or her dreaming life in intervals of five to 30 minutes.

Performers this year will include David Arner, Kingston mayor Shayne Gallo, Gloria Waslyn and Parrots for Peace, Deborah Poe, Jonas Braasch, Pauline Oliveros, Rodney Bean, Ryan Ross Smith, Helen Bullard, Andrea Goodman, Miguel Frasconi and Norman Lowrey. Gallo and his late brother T. R. Gallo, who served as mayor of Kingston from 1993 to 2002, will both be awarded honorary Deep Listening Certificates during the marathon event in recognition of their support for arts initiatives in the city. Admission is by a suggested donation of $10, and the proceedings will be livestreamed online at

This Saturday evening at 7 p.m., the Deep Listening Space will be turned over to “An Evening of Music with Pril Smiley and Lisa B Kelley.” A pioneering, multiple-award-winning composer in the field of electronic music, Pril Smiley became involved with the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in 1963, where she went on to serve as associate director for 25 years. She has written more than 40 scores for theatre, film and dance productions, and was also electronic music consultant to the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center for six years. (And yes, she’s one of those redoubtable New Paltz Smileys, born at Lake Mohonk in 1943.) Smiley will play her electronic composition Forty-three on Saturday evening, talk about the process of composing the piece and demonstrate how its sound components and layers were constructed.

Self-described as a “vocalist, performance artist, actor, priestess of Maåt and student of Tao,” Lisa B Kelley will then present a performance piece called In Her (Head), a combination of vocal and movement improvisation with backing tracks prerecorded in such acoustically interesting locales as the Shirt Factory stairwell and Widow Jane Mine in Rosendale. Admission to the concert costs $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors.

This Sunday, October 20 at 3 p.m., the Uptown Gallery at 296 Wall Street in Uptown Kingston will host the next performance in the Dream Festival: a “wild and wonderful” afternoon of Afro-Cuban drumming with Ensemble Congeros. The Capital District-based group consists of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute alums and students inspired by the social and religious music of Cuban congeros and dedicated to the study of Afro-Cuban, African and New World percussion. Congeros are known for their commitment to rhythm and the drum as the central medium of communication, and Ensemble Congeros strives to be “a human manifestation of the synergy between the drum, science, technology and the arts.” Admission costs a suggested donation of $10.

Ione’s 18th annual Dream Festival is sponsored by R & F Paints, Catskill Art & Office Supply and the City of Kingston. For more information about any of the associated events, call (845) 338-5984 or visit

Ione’s Dream Festival, Dreamers’ Marathon, Saturday, October 19, 2 to 6 p.m., $10, Deep Listening Space, 77 Cornell Street, Kingston; Pril Smiley & Lisa B Kelley concert, Saturday, October 19, 7 p.m., $10/$8, Deep Listening Space; Ensemble Congeros concert, Sunday, October 20, 3 p.m., $10, Uptown Gallery, 296 Wall Street, Kingston; Mural of Community Dreams workshop, Saturday, November 2, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., free, Deep Listening Space; (845) 338-5984,

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