The Arts section of Orient Lodge

At The Clark

Standing in the presence of great beauty
as portrayed by an artist in great pain
amidst a crowd of visitors,
driven up from the city.

What was his illness
and who were the people
he painted in the public gardens
of Arles?

How curious they are to me,
like the crowds of men and women
that caught Whitman’s attention
on the Brooklyn Ferry

Did any of them suspect
their place in history?
My great grandfather
was in the park in Arles
with Van Gogh.
My great aunt
rode the ferry
with Whitman
from Brooklyn.

Now, we stand in museums
looking at Van Gogh’s paintings
We go to special poetry events
where Whitman is read and discussed.
And somewhere,
young men are sitting in libraries
learning a quote
from Emerson
Cicero, Locke, and Bacon,
forgetting that Emerson also
was once a young man
sitting in the library
years before Van Gogh painted
or Whitman wrote.

#FringeNYC PreGame @TUMJ1701 @lousinesh @jonathanldent @IHoratioPlay

I have started making my list of shows that I hope to see at #FringeNYC. I was hoping to fit four or five plays in next Monday. The first on my list is The Universe Of Matt Jennings; the coming out of a black gay Christian in a Star Trek context. It sounds, as I imagine Spock would say, “Fascinating”.

Next on my list was Shake The Earth, another one person show at the same venue. The play asks, “Can this meek gay Armenian stand up for herself and recount her great-grandfather Georgi's remarkable story of survival during the Armenian Genocide?” Unfortunately, this performance has already sold out.

An alternative might be ‘The Princeton Seventh’. It starts at 3 PM at a venue not far from TUMJ, but I suspect TUMJ won’t be over in time to rush to The Princeton Seventh.

This show is followed, at the same venue, by ‘The Broken Record’ at 5:15. “The Broken Record examines the violence between black youth and police officers in the United States,”

For the final show on Monday, tickets permitting, I’m hoping to stay at the same venue for “I, Horatio”, a Shakespeare derivative.

Are you going to #FringeNYC? What plays are you excited to see?

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An Ode to Falcon Ridge

You cannot go to the same folk festival twice
The lineup of performers will have changed.
A longtime favorite performer isn’t there
a new favorite performer is emerging.
The performers themselves will have changed
with new experiences
new attitudes
new songs.
Their instruments will have changed as well
the strings will be more worn
or replaced
Their voices will have sung
that many more songs.

You cannot go to the same folk festival twice.
The weather will be different.
No matter how hot
or how much rain there is.
It is always a little different.
The moon will be in a different phase.
The stars and planets will be aligned a little differently.
The shooting stars, rainbows and other little bits
of festival magic
will come at different times.
Even the animals will be different
as the hawk circles above
the workshop stage
and the chipmunks
scurry for cover.

You cannot go to the same folk festival twice.
The crowds will be different.
Broken tents will have been replaced
and new tents pitched in different locations.
The car that broke down last year
won’t make the trip this year
The kids will be a year older.
“How much they’ve grown”
everyone will observe
at the campsites.

You cannot go to the same folk festival twice.
The kids that were at the family tent
will now be at the dance stage
and those that made that change
years ago
will be at the workshop stage
picking up tips
to help them achieve
their dream of being
an emerging artist
on the main stage.

You cannot go to the same folk festival twice.
Each one of us have changed.
We’ve heard new artists, new songs,
that we love.
We’ve experienced successes,
grief, and sadness.
We’ve grown, we’ve changed,
our hopes and expectations are different.

But underneath it all
the folk festival remains constant.
The food and friends
The peace and joy and mud.
and the volunteer at the gate
Welcome Home.

#FRFF Preview, Part 2

Last week, I posted #FRFF Preview, Part 1, providing links and some initial reactions to various Emerging Artists that will be performing at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival this year. This week, I return with the second half.

Camela Widad (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Camela is one of the performers I’m most excited about hearing at Falcon Ridge this year. I’ve referenced her song, “My Turn” in a previous blog post. Other songs that I really like by her include “Raging Water” and “Candle”. She sings powerful stories to help make this world a better place.

Dan Weber (Vancouver, WA)


Dan is another perform I’m really looking forward to. His song, “Sarah Ann” was one of the first ones I listened to when I set up my Spotify playlist of Emerging Artists. I listened to the song at the dining room table with my wife and youngest daughter. They laughed at the line “Can’t you see that you’re too young for me” and missed much of the poignancy of the song.

Another song, in a similar spirit is “Goodbye to Dad”. Maybe it says something that three of the first songs I mention are about death.

Jay Hitt (Butler, PA)


A song that includes a more complete view of life and death is “Love is…” I captures why Jay Hitt is another one of the performers I’m most excited to see this year at Falcon Ridge.

Neptune’s Car (Sutton, MA)


Songs that I really like are ones that tell stories, and Neptune’s Car has some great songs like this. At the top of the list, for me, is “The 43 (U.S.S. Tappahannock). A couple other songs that I’ve enjoyed of theirs include “One More Glass of Wine” and “Drinking to Distraction”.

Mare Wakefield & Nomad (Nashville, TN)


I’ve been listing to Mare’s album “Poet On The Moon”. It is a great title and some of her songs really caught my attention, particularly, Clementine and Rattlesnake. I also like the song she shared on Facebook “Take Down Your Flag”.

Liz and the Family Tree (New York, NY)


It took me a while to find that Liz and the Family Tree is Liz Queler, Seth Farber and Joey Farber. I’ve listened a little bit to “The Edna Project” and haven’t yet found a favorite.

Gina Forsyth (New Orleans, LA),


Gina’s songs that I like best are the ones that she plays fiddle on. In particular, “Sparrow” and “11 Days” often shows up in the Spotify shuffle of songs and they always catch my attention.

Bernice Lewis (Williamstown, MA)


I grew up in Williamstown, so Bernice jumped out at me. Probably the song that most catches my attention of hers is “Checks and Love Letters”.

Matt Harlan (Houston, TX)


“Old Spanish Moss” is the song that has jumped out to me most.

I’ve been listening to the remaining performers, a little bit while writing this post, and at other times shuffling through my Spotify playlist. I haven’t, yet, found songs to highlight for each of them, so I’ll just list their webpages, and where they have them, Facebook or Twitter pages. Perhaps, if I get more time, I’ll add some updates later on.

Teresa Storch (Longmont, CO)


Katrin (Brookline, MA)


Mason Porter (Honey Brook, PA)


Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers (Fayetteville, NY)


Skout (New York, NY)


Jessy Tomsko (Astoria, NY)


Scott Wolfson & Other Heroes (Jersey City, NJ)


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#FRFF Preview, Part 1

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been listening to a Spotify Playlist of the 2015 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artists. Here are some of my notes about the performers.

I’ve also set up a Facebook Interests Page and a Twitter list of social media accounts of the emerging artists, as I find their accounts.

I also want to highlight a blog post, with links to some of the emerging artists webpages.

With that, let me highlight some of the performers I’ve been listening to.

Meg Braun (Nashville, TN)


Meg’s bio includes: “Meg came to New York to pursue a career in community organizing” She is friends with a bunch Falcon Ridge Friends, politics friends, and old NYC friends. She has the plaintive voice of a community organizer influenced by Joni Mitchell, and sings songs that tell compelling stories.

Gypsy Moon keeps grabbing my attention as it pops up on the Spotify Playlist

Josh Brooks (Vergennes, VT)

His bio says, “Plain and simple, Josh Brooks knows how to write a song… Brooks has evolved into a craftsman and poet-philosopher in the spirit of his idols Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Johnny Cash and John Prine.”

It is the sort of music I really like and he writes, and sings it well. “Queen for a Day” catches my attention as it comes around on the playlist.

Katie Dahl (Baileys Harbor, WI)

Facebook page

There are quite a few songs of hers that jump out at me. Good storytelling songs: Pier 33, The World As I Found It, Ghosts of Sheboygan Town.

Meghan Cary with Analog Gypsies (Erdenheim, PA)

Facebook Page
Reverb Nation Page

Probably the song of hers that jumps out most at me is “Building This House”. Perhaps some of this is because it makes me think ofMiranda’s BIG Art; Tiny House project.

Mya Byrne (New York, NY)


I like her music, but have yet to find a favorite song by her.

Chasing June (Rockaway, NJ)

Facebook Page

Any band that record Wayfaring Stranger starts off on a good foot with me. Their song, The Magician catches my attention when it pops up on my playlist.

Annika (Blauvelt, NY)

Facebook Page
For my local friends, it is worth noting that she is Playing at The Space in Hamden on July 25th. She has a sweet voice, and often wins song writing competitions, but I haven’t yet been grabbed by any of her songs, yet.

Mark Allen Berube (Brooklyn, NY)

Facebook Page

Humorous songs about Vampire Women of Jersey City, Bride of Frankenstein Hair, and The Higgs Bosong.

These are my notes so far. There are several other emerging artists that I’m really looking forward to that I hope to write about in coming posts.

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