Ben Neill's Manitoga

Sep 28, 2016

  Ben Neill has been called a “creative composer and genius performer” by Time Out NY and a “musical powerhouse, a serious and individual talent” by Time Out London. Neill’s music blends influences from electronica, jazz, and minimalism.

In 2014 the Hudson Valley resident received a New York State Council on the Arts Individual Artist grant to compose Manitoga - a piece named for, inspired by, and performed at Manitoga - the estate and modernist home of industrial designer Russel Wright in Garrison, NY.

Ben Neill, Mark Boulanger, Jason Covey, James O'Connor, John Charles Thomas, and Peter Zummo will play Neill’s Manitoga with his mutantrumpet and Phonemophone Alphabet Horns by artist Carol Szymanski in Manitoga’s Annual Open Air Performance on October 30th at 3pm.

  Obie-Award winning performance group, The Secret City, will be playing their third annual gathering in Woodstock, NY this Sunday - July 31st at 12 noon. The theme will be PLAY.

The Secret City is the brainchild of impresario and Byrdcliffe Resident, Chris Wells, who moved to Woodstock three years ago and felt the small town with its cultural history, inclusiveness and love of community were a perfect setting for this tribal art gathering.

The Secret City combines art, food, music, storytelling, meditation, singing, performance and community interaction in an event that is part tent revival, part ceremony, part salon.

For their Woodstock gathering they’ll present musical guest Eric Redd, visual art by Jacinta Bunnell, roller derby troupe The Hudson Valley Horrors, food offering by LaGusta of New Paltz, a performance by Percussion Orchestra of Kingston and Energy Dance Company, a reading by Martha Frankel, songs by The Secret City Singers and The Secret City Band and a story by Chris Wells. We welcome Chris and artist Jacinta Bunnell.

  Local author/storytellers Courtney Maum and Hallie Goodman will lead a performance-based workshop where live reading is used as a revision tool.

Reading work out loud is a stupendous way to identify the trouble spots in a piece of writing. With the creative input of other participants, the workshop will help fiction and non-fiction writers understand where the work shines and where it can be tightened.

The workshop is presented by the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers and will take place this Saturday, May 7th at the Sandisfield Arts Center in Sandisfield, MA.


The “fourth wall” is the imaginary barrier that separates the actors from the audience in a traditional theater production. When it’s broken, the audience is shocked into an awareness of the role they play in supporting the spectacle at hand.

In British artist Ant Hampton’s new production, The Extra People, the fourth wall is so thin as to be nearly imperceptible, with the line between performer and audience equally unclear. The Extra People was commissioned by EMPAC and will premiere in the space where it was developed via the artist-in-residence program.

The piece will begin at 7 pm tomorrow and cycle on the half hour until 10 pm. Ant Hampton joins us to tell us more.

  The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice promotes the human voice as an instrument of healing, peace and artistic expression through presenting world class performances in Phoenicia, New York and surrounding areas.

This year’s festival - running July 29-August 2 - will be a Celebration of the Diverse Voices of America. We are joined by world renowned opera singers, Executive Director Maria Todaro and Artistic Director Louis Otey. 

  As immigration policy is hotly debated around the country in terms of national and cultural security Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America presents the human stories of why immigrants and refugees have migrated to the US and what their experiences have been since they came here pre- and post- 9/11.

Based on Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan’s critically acclaimed book, actor/writer Judith Sloan channels many of the people that the couple interviewed on their three-year journey around the world through the borough of Queens, New York.

Crossing the BLVD will open The Ko Festival of Performance in Amherst, MA on Friday, July 10th.

Judith Sloan joins us now to tell us more.

    La Soirée is a theatrical phenomenon currently running at the Union Square Theatre on East 17th Street in New York City. Part cabaret, part circus, part cirque and part side-show - part vaudeville, part burlesque - all astounding.

  La Siorée’s international acts include balancing duos, high-flying feats, song - and so much more. Marawa the Amazing and Mooky join us to tell us more.

    Inspired by meditations on horror films, the work of Antonin Artaud, and Ardunio open-source electronics, Radiohole’s Inflatable Frankenstein is a visually and sonically driven performance based on Mary Shelley’s early life and her novel Frankenstein.

Arising from a world of gods and monsters (and thousands of Walmart and Price Chopper grocery bags) is a desecration too terrible to behold and too beautiful to turn away from, leading to an improbable question: what is it like to be a metaphor for everything?

The project was supported by a 2012 EMPAC production residency.

Mary Anne Lee, Executive Director and Lydia Kukoff, board member and co-chair of Hidden Gardens, join us to talk about all of the excellent events coming up at the Spencertown Academy Arts Center.

Stephanie Berger

We welcome Bill T. Jones back to the show to talk about the program his company is presenting at SPAC on June 7th.

The Apprenticeship Project, a collectively-created performance installation, takes place on Wednesday in North Adams. The performance features 34 performers engaged in a variety of activities. We learn more from Arthur Levitt '52 Artist-in-Residence at Williams College, Hana van der Kolk.

There will be a staged reading of War Stories, a performance about the effect of war based on writings from the Empire State College community on April 24 in the Proctors GE Theater in Schenectady, NY. Elaine Handley, Cindy Bates, and Claudia Hough join us to tell us more.