The 10 Biggest References to the Hudson Valley, NY, in Pop Culture, Music, and Movies in 2011

Poptional Reading delivers the biggest references to our region in 2011

(page 10 of 10)

martha marcy may marleneElizabeth Olsen photograph by Jody Lee Lipes © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved

1. The Hudson Valley’s Myriad Cults

The Hudson Valley is known for its apple-picking. And its beautiful scenery. And its... cults? If you’ve gone to the movies this year and spotted a reference to the Valley, it might have been in a fringe-religious context. Two movies are the major proponents of this theory: Higher Ground and Martha Marcy May Marlene. In the first, Ulster resident Vera Farmiga made her directorial debut telling the story of a woman who begins to question her devout Bible-studying community when her marriage begins to fail (read my thoughts on this movie here). Filming took place in many Valley locations — especially Kingston. The cult is less defined Martha Marcy May Marlene, but it’s clearly in the Catskills. Martha flees the community and heads to her sister’s more materialistic society, nestled on a lake in Connecticut. Both main characters have to discover their places in the world — and in the Valley (read my review here).

See you next year!

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Marisa LaScala

Marisa LaScala
Elmsford, NY

Associate Editor Marisa LaScala joined Westchester magazine in 2003, and ever since she's blown every paycheck at the Greenburgh Multiplex. She also staunchly defends Richard Kelly, doesn't mind spoiling the endings of trashy movies you're curious about but don't want to pay to see, wishes the Hold Steady would come back and rock out Westchester, misses Arrested Development more than anyone can imagine, and still watches cartoons and Saturday Night Live. You can find more of her cultural criticism at, where she is a staff writer.



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