Reporter’s Notebook: The Art of Arts

Talk about a daunting task.

For the paper’s anniversary issue, I was asked to list a few of the memorable events that I have covered as arts editor over the past 10 years. I began flipping through back issues to jog my memory, but it was taking forever because there are hundreds of them and I stopped to read everything.

So, instead, a few thoughts off the top of my head, in no particular order:

■ The opening of Magazzino Italian Art in Philipstown in 2017. The changing of the guard at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in 2014, from founder Terry O’Brien to Davis McCallum. The Made in Philipstown celebration in 2015 at Garrison’s Landing. This list could go on for a while.

■ The beyond-the-page/stage role that Thornton Wilder’s Our Town has played in Philipstown: The Haldane High School production coming on the heels of the death of Philipstown resident Jim Lovell in the December 2013 Metro-North derailment — members of the audience sobbed, but it filled a deep community need to grieve together. Not that long afterward, HVSF made it the first of its community productions. Seeing the mix of professional actors, local actors and lots of people up there with no experience, under the tent, was moving in a different way.

■ Some favorite interview subjects: artist Brian Nice (three times); children’s book author Jean Marzollo; any group of young kids backstage in a Philipstown Depot Show; members of the clergy: Rabbi Brent Spodek of the Beacon Hebrew Alliance and the Rev. Frank Geer of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Garrison, both of whom were expansive and honest; and Kristen Spooner, with whom I spent quite a few hours in the classroom and wrote stories at the beginning, middle and end of her first year teaching fifth grade at Haldane.

■ Something that intimidated me when I first started in this job in 2010 was interviewing conceptual visual artists. Now, they’re pretty much my favorite, because there’s that moment when they see that you, the interviewer, have grasped what they’re trying to convey, which is sometimes obscure. It’s the “I get it!/She gets it!” moment.

■ Six months after the launch of Philipstown Dot Info on July 4, 2010, founder Gordon Stewart asked each member of the staff to write their impressions. I wrote, in part:

When I was shown the nascent website for the first time, a day or two before it was revealed to the public, my reaction was immediate: finally, a reflection of the place I live in and the people who choose to make it home…. What constantly amazes me, but not really, is how such a small little patch of geography can yield so many interesting things to cover. Running out of ideas is emphatically not an occupational hazard as the Arts/Leisure/People editor.

That was nine-and-a-half years ago, and it’s still not!


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