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Catskills’ St. Patrick’s Day parade, brush fires & burn ban

Hard Hat Reporter, Small Town Catskills

Sunday, March 13th proved to be not only a gorgeous day for a small town parade, but also dangerously dry in the Catskills. (Scroll to end for parade slideshow)

Five days after the Hubbell Homestead Fire  in Delaware County, brush fires continue to pop up.

Roxbury Fire Department Fire Chief Ken Davie went on to explain the lack of snow load this year has left the ground unsaturated, and allowed for grasses to stand tall and dry out, instead of flattening down.

Sunday’s St. Paddy’s Day festivities were still underway when a 12:48 pm tone rang out at the Roxbury Fire Department.  With the majority of the firefighters and trucks at the parade in Halcottsville, it was a scramble to reach the Denver brush fire.

Roxbury Fire Dept Hville parade 2016

Roxbury Volunteer Fire Department in Halcottsville St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Den1ver brush fire

Smoke in the valley

Denver brush fire 3

Brush fire at 23 Slauson Hollow Rd. of Salley’s Alley, Denver NY

Denver brush fire 2

Extinguishing the flames

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According to  Chief Davie, fire took less then 20 minutes to put out completely

Chief Davie reported the resident of the house below the caught field had been burning a bit of brush in a barrel, and a spark flew.

“People need to be aware and pay attention…there is a brush fire in Davenport [Delaware County] right now…there could possibly be 1/2 a dozen fires by the end of today,” said Davie.

The NYDEC has issued a burn ban beginning March 16, 2016 and ending May 14, 2016.

According to the March 13 press release “all residential brush burning is prohibited in smaller communities during the state’s historically high fire-risk period from March 16 through May 14,” said  state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens.

“This time of year has the most risk of fires and the risk is even greater this year due to the extremely mild winter we’ve seen across the state,” Commissioner Martens said.

hville st p day parade mr saftey 2016

Ignoring the ban is a serious offense:

Violators of the open burning state regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. To report environmental law violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332), or report online on DEC’s website.

“It’s a danger zone right now,” said  Fire Chief Ken Davie.

Parade photos by Mark Andre  |  Fire photos by Rebecca Andre

 

Artie Martello – Man of magic and music

Catskills Interviews

Sometimes the secret is better than the trick itself.

Artie Martello at open eye

Martello at Open Eye Theatre

Artie Martello has been a magician for parts of five decades.  Martello is also the soothing voice and producer behind “Mostly Folk”, a regular podcast that showcases musical talent to the world over.

In his Halcottsville, Delaware County, NY community of the Catskills, Martello goes by “Artie”.  He is, of course, the go-to magic and music man of the area.

Sitting down for a chat with Martello at the Mostly Folk Studio, which is nestled in a private, wooded, mountain-top miniature paradise, is an experience all to its own.  Martello’s credentials are amazing, and weave themselves in and out of the narrative of how he came to be known as ‘Magic’.

“I’ve been an entertainer all my life.  Any teacher is an entertainer.”

Starting in 1967, Martello worked as Supervisor of Speech and Hearing at St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf .

“Deafness is probably one of the most severe handicaps,” says Martello.  “To be born deaf is probably the most debilitating.”

Yet this is the audience for which he first choose to perform his magic.  In the classroom, at school assemblies, etc, thusly dubbed ‘Magic’ by his students.

The deaf children were a tough audience.  They could not be distracted by vocal cues.  Martello honed his art before these good-natured critics resulting in the smooth slight-of-hand and manipulation we see in his acts today.

The Raising of  a Magician

Many people get into magic because they are shy.  Believe it or not, I’m an introvert.  But I can get on a stage and entertain and interact and act…and that is the essence.

In the early days of television, Ed Sullivan was the master of showcasing true talent.  Martello remembers watching Cardini (Richard Valentine Pitchford) stumble onto stage, seemingly inebriated, dressed to the hilt in a top hat and white gloves, wowing the audience with his never ending supply of cards and cigarettes that would disappear to, or appear from, thin air. 

“I saw that, I thought, I want to learn that.  And eventually, I did learn,” remembers Martello, as he names Cardini  one of his “greatest influences.”

At age 10, fate moved in and moved along the budding magician.  For right next door to the Martello’s new family home in Woodhaven, Queens, was a Navy magician.

“He would show me simple card tricks, and I would go out of my mind,” says Martello of the most magical influence of his young life.  This Navy magician kindled young Martello’s interest in magic by also giving him the magician’s Bible at the time, “The Modern Conjuror” by Charles Lang Neil.

From Martello's Magic Book Collection

From Martello’s Magic Book Collection

Life eventually got in the way of Martello’s interest in magic, until he reached his early 30’s, and Doug Henning started performing magic on TV.  This grabbed his interest, and Martello once again found his love for magic ignited. Purchasing magic tricks and practicing/performing on his students became the norm.  Eventually he  was doing library shows and stage performances.

Of the different branches of magic: stage (think Las Vegas), TV only (think David Blaine), birthday party  & educational (think traveling with lots of props), and parlor magic (think small private parties with fancy guests) Martello’s favorite became parlor magic.

But the real reason Martello became a magician is simple.  He explains in all sincerity, if the day were to come when a woman asked if he was a magician, he wanted to be able to answer truthfully: “Yes, because when I look at you, every one else disappears.”

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Artie Martello, photo by his son, Timothy

Magic moves to the Catskills

I love this area.  And I hate the beach.  This is the kind of environment I enjoy.

Performing professionally (for money) didn’t really happen until Martello’s full time move to the Catskills in 1999.  After teaching at NYU, Hunter College and St. Joseph’s, Martello decided he wanted to spend more then just summers in the Catskills.  He also served as the Chairperson of the Committee On Special Education in the Margaretville School District for 9 years.

While his friends fled to the Hampton’s in the summertime, Martello came to the Catskills, not because of Woodstock, but in spite of Woodstock, remembering instead the boarding houses his family rented in Cairo that he visited as a child.

Starting out in Pine Hill, and eventually locating to the paradisiacal property in Halcottsville, those first years found Martello staying in a tent, then the shell of his house, serviced by an outhouse and the water he carted up from Hubbell’s artesian well down the road.  The home that started out as a shell in 1972 slowly morphed into the residence of solitude he and his wife Rain now enjoy.

Magic for a Cause

For me, magic isn’t about big illusions, its about entertaining people, making them laugh.

Nowadays, most of Martello’s performances are geared towards charity and  fundraising, despite the fact that the New York State Council for the Arts does not consider magic a performing art.  This is contradiction  to the fact that the United States Congress has officially declared magic as a performing art.

What does this mean for Martello personally?  NYS funded art programs are not contributing to paying for his charity performances. 

Yes, he still is willing to perform for money, but most would find compensating a seasoned magician of his caliber for time, energy and experience just a bit out of their price range. 

“$500.00 for an hour and a half show is reasonable,” says Martello, uncomfortably shifting in his chair. “You get what you pay for.”

“I have a tremendous inventory of magic,” explains Martello.  For example, his snake basket is worth $300.00.  And the box of cards in a bottle made and sold by his friend Jaime Grant goes for $100.00. Good magic costs good money, for two main reasons.  First, the cost keeps the magic out of YouTube hobbyists and those that look to expose the tricks. Second, the time investment in practicing.   Six months of practice goes into just one show.

Artie Martello Wizard smaller

Props, props and more props…

Mostly Folk Studio puppet smaller

‘David’ carved by Martello himself, ala Michelangelo

Mostly Folk Studio puppet 1 smaller

Replica of ‘Jerry Mahoney’ who starred in his own TV show of the with owner Paul Winchell, circa 1960

“[The show] may seem extemporaneous.  Its not. It’s scripted and planned, and then I insert what is right for the moment.”  In fact, that audience interaction Martello sculpts so artfully is one of the things he loves most about magic.

Then there is the loading, hauling, unloading and back again of stage props.  At 72, or any age for that matter, this is a most arduous task.

So instead of using magic as a source of income, Martello uses it to give back to the community: an annual show for the Open Eye Theatre in Margaretville, along with a show he has done to support the Heart of the Catskills Humane Society are just two examples. 

This coming spring 2016, Martello plans to perform an adult-only magic show  to raise money for the Halcottsville Fire Department.  Keep an eye on the HFD facebook page for details!

The Magic of Mostly Folk

My friends wanted to hear this kind of music.  So that’s what I did.

Martello’s background of listening to early rock & roll and graduating to folk rock led to his love for folk music.  On the radio, he found a disconnect – no stations were playing this type of music.  When an opportunity presented itself to do a radio program at a local station, he decided folk would be his niche.

Well, Mostly Folk.  Mixed in with a bit of Indie Rock, Country and magic, of course.

'Mostly Folk' Studio

‘Mostly Folk’ Studio

After his almost four year stint with local radio, Mr. Martello moved toward an industrious undertaking: bringing Mostly Folk into the modern digital listening arena.  He is currently pulling off perhaps one of his greatest feats yet:  a world wide podcast broadcast from a little hamlet in the North Western Catskills.

About three times a week, the self-funded Mostly Folk studio puts out meticulously produced shows that showcase new, local, or little-heard artists in the folk and indie world.  Truly a gem, Mostly Folk has led to new friends and new fans in the music industry, connections crossing over distance and age.  Listeners in Australia, China, Alabama or the Catskills are treated to the smooth intros of Mr. Martello and the music he chooses to put together for each hour/hour and a half show he produces.

“The podcast has afforded me an opportunity to allow anybody who wants to listen to just click, and listen.  Anytime. It’s always there, it never goes away.”

If that isn’t magic, what is?

*******

List of Links:

Magic Website

Mostly Folk Website

Halcottsville Fire Department – Upcoming Fundraiser

Find Artie on:

Itunes

Mixcloud

Facebook

Twitter

All photos ©2016 Rebecca Andre

 

Wild Child in Woodstock 1.22.16

Catskills Music

Austin-based band Wild Child found their way to Woodstock  in the Catskills of New York for Radio Woodstock 100.1 Lunch Lounge.  Van break-downs and ice aside, on Friday, January 22, the Indie Rock band took over the stage with a plethora of instruments and a spirited energy.

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Wild Child, Left-Right: Evan Majers, Keyboard | Jay Goodman, Bass | Alexander Beggins, Ukulele & Lead Vocals | Kelsey Wilson, Lead Vocals & Violin | Alex Beckmann, Drums | Matt Bradshaw, Banjo & Trumpet | Sadie Wolfe, Cello

Promoting their third album ‘Fools‘ (Dualtone), they kicked off the mini-concert with Bullets, a song showcasing their ability to turn the saddest story into an upbeat lyrical therapy session.  Matt Bradshaw’s optimistic trumpet solo lifted the entire mood.

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Kelsey Wilson

Moving on to the title track, Fools, barefoot Kelsey Wilson’s repetition of “If you have to go, I’ll play the fool,” became a mantra of acceptance and positivity that accompanied Sadie Wolfe’s artful cello. Along with the chorus, bassist Jay Goodman mades sure this song stays in your head and in your heart. (Note: bass recorded by Chris D’Annunzio on the album itself).

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Jay Goodman | Alexander Beggins | Kelsey Wilson | Alex Beckmann

Their third song, Meadows, actually #5 on the new album, highlighted the incredible writing team that is  Kelsey Wilson and Alexander Beggins (uke & lead vocals).  Wilson and Beggins co-wrote every song on this album, with the exception of Fools and The Cracks, of which the entire band contributed.

Then came Break Bones, a “fight-fair” song with a dramatic introduction by keyboardist Evan Magers and Alex Beckmann on drums (note: Drew Brunetti recorded the drums for the album itself.)  Incredible lyrics with meaningful harmonies:  “There is more breaking here then we could ever mend.”  Just a stellar line, highlighting the power our words can have on our loved ones. This crew does not fear digging deep, and sharing their lessons.

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Sadie Wolfe

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Matt Bradshaw | Sadie Wolfe

Reno, mellow and reminiscent, pleases us with solid strings.  Towards the end of the song there was a dance between the purposeful picking of the ukulele and an almost melancholy cello.  A stunning juxtaposition.

Ending the concert with the  #4 track Stones, we were treated to the harmonious vocal duo of Wilson and Beggins.

All are encouraged to visit Wild Child’s website and get their hands and ears on this album. The listener will undeniably be reminded of the vocalizations that branded the Irish alternative rock band The Cranberries. Each track is a song-writing gem of its own merit, and each instrument finds a perfect home in this wild family of buoyant diversity.

-Rebecca Andre

2a_Wild_Child_Woodstock_1.22.16 MGPAD

Wild Child in Woodstock 1.22.16

 

Silent Night -Digital Holiday Card

Catskills Music

Update:

Sitting here

snowless,

January 25.

Just 2 hours south

are 30 plus inches in the city.

This mountain girl is baffled

by her snow-free surroundings,

and wondering why the 4

neighboring ski resorts

only boast man-made snow

after this historic weekend.

Life just is not fair.

So press play below,

it will cheer you up,

if you are pining for snow.

A sweet New York Catskill Mountain slideshow video highlights waterfalls,  moon-scapes and snow-scapes, set to Ben Rounds‘ rendition of ‘Silent Night’, for all the fans and supporters of Mountain Girl Photography & Design.

 with love, peace, joy! (& snow!)

WATER. FALLS.

Photo of the Week

A GUARANTEE

Some days, problems pile up like heavy drifts of snow against a fence line.  Through the help of friends, family, creative thinking and down right hard work and determination, we shovel our way out of the drift. Eventually, the snow melts…

Cross Mountain, Delaware County, NY

Cross Mountain, Delaware County, NY ©2014 Becca of MGP&D

…revealing the ground once again, as we witness the transformation of snow into water. It evaporates and falls back to earth as precip of one sort or another.  This incredible cycle, is highlighted here in this NOAA and NASA Science on a Sphere movie….  a project tirelessly worked on by my amazing twin sister of Verglas Media.

Water Falls Movie Trailer

Water Falls Movie Trailer ©2013 Verglas Media

Here in the CATSKILLS, NY, we are blessed with water in its most beauteous state (snow) on a regular basis.  We ski, we photograph, we relish inside by the fire when it snows.  When the inevitable melting happens, most of the time, we are sad to see it go.  Unless it is  February or March, when we are so over all the winter activities and we just want to get our hands in the earth and some sun on our skin.

A GIFT

What melting snow leaves behind is not just a muddy slush, but a torrent rush of water, quenching our thirsty streams, our rivers, our reservoirs.  Raging over rocks, this Water Falls, skimming the banks of engorged rivers, and eventually plummeting over the cliffs, filling our senses, forcing us to acknowledge the simple gifts in life.

Lower Mine Kill Falls  ©2014 Becca of MGP&D

Lower Mine Kill Falls ©2014 Becca of MGP&D

Joy Rushes Upon a Slick Ledge BW ©2014 Becca for MGP&D

Joy Rushes Upon a Slick Ledge BW ©2014 Becca for MGP&D

A GIG

Over the last year, I have been blessed with intriguing creative assignments from several clients. I call these “gigs”.  The latest gig is periodically documenting, through photos, the weather for an online magazine.  This week, beginning on the Twelfth day of Christmas, I took the assignment very seriously, and decided to showcase the amazing water in the region through “The Seven Days of Waterfalls”  We are at Day 5, and I am particularly in love with the image below that I captured today. Notice the slowed down, veil-like movement of the water.  Now take a moment to drink in the beauty of the mountains.

Un-named Falls around the Bend, ©2014 MGP&D for Upstate Dispatch.

Un-named Falls around the Bend, ©2014 MGP&D for UD.

To all my family, friends, and fellow bloggers, may you have a peace-filled, joyous year to come.

Snow Melts |  Water Falls | Writing Soothes | Photography Inspires