Out & About in June 2010

Animals invade Albany, Gatsby visits Red Hook, and Tom Rush slows down in Garrison

Animals on parade

More than 70 illustrators from 13 countries have contributed works to Focus on Nature XI: Natural History Illustration, now on view at the New York State Museum. While rarely exhibited, illustrations like these — of animals, birds, insects, and plants — “are still often the primary means used to give explanations of the natural world,” says exhibition curator Patricia Kernan. Besides common specimens (like elephants and sparrows) and less well-known animals like the platypus, the exhibit also showcases depictions of extinct creatures such as Titanoboa cerrejonensis (shown previous page), the largest snake ever known to exist — and recreated for the show by Rhinebeck artist James Gurney. Through Oct. 31. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Madison Ave., Albany. 518-474-5877 or www.nysm.nysed.gov

Book ’em

For two years, the Friends of the Red Hook Public Library have been planning the town’s Big Read — and it shows. The six-week celebration of literature focuses on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby; more than 20 different events, including film screenings, art exhibits, panel discussions, concerts — all of which have a 1920s theme — are part of the fun. Grab your flapper garb for “Gatsby and All that Jazz,” a dance and costume party (June 5). Or head to Clermont State Historic Site in Germantown for Family Day, with live music, lindy dance instruction, antique cars, family games, and other old-fashioned fun. Through June 19. Call for details on all events. 845-757-3031 or www.redhook.lib.ny.us

On the Waterfront

Summer just wouldn’t be summer without outdoor concerts — and here in the Valley, we have more than our fair share of them. This month, a new event makes its debut: Beacon Riverfest. Held in the city’s Riverfront Park, this daylong jam features three musical acts: The Fleshtones, who have been playing their mixture of garage rock, R&B, and dance music since 1976; Tracy Bonham, a classically trained singer/songwriter who’s garnered two Grammy nominations; and the country rock band Yarn. June 26 from 2 p.m.-dusk, rain or shine. For more information, visit www.beaconriverfest.com

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In the 1920s, three American women were instrumental in the creation of what we call modern dance. Isadora Duncan is the best known; her improvisational style and insistence on natural movement was in direct conflict with the formalism of classical ballet. Ruth St. Denis was inspired by mysticism and spirituality; choreographer Martha Graham was one of her pupils. And Loie Fuller — the first American modern dancer to perform in Europe — was a regular at the Folies Bergère. The Mythic Immortals: Muses of Modern Dance — a performance by Jeanne Bresciani, Livia Vanaver, and Jody Sperling — honors these dance pioneers. June 12-13. Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. $20-$25, reservations required. Kaatsbaan International Dance Center. 120 Broadway, Tivoli. 845-757-5106, ext. 2 or www.kaatsbaan.org

Small groups, big sound

Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle offers a series of three concerts headlined by world-renowned musicians. On June 12, Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin joins Brazilian percussionist Gaudencio Thiago de Mello in “Journey to the Amazon,” a program of works by Spanish and South American composers. The Dolce Suono Trio — a flute, cello, and piano ensemble — takes the stage on June 19, playing pieces by composers ranging from Joseph Haydn to Ned Rorem. The series wraps up on June 26 with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio along with the Miami String Quartet; on the bill is the local premiere of composer (and Valley resident) Joan Tower’s Quartet No. 4, “Angels.” All performances begin at 8 p.m. $28, $20 seniors, $5 students. Olin Hall, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson. 845-339-7907.

Rush hour

According to Rolling Stone, folk and blues veteran Tom Rush ushered in the era of the singer/songwriter. With more than 20 albums recorded over the last 45 years, Rush had a hand in shaping the folk music revival of the 1960s; he continues to influence the genre with his series of Club 47 shows, which combine well-established musicians with up-and-comers. Known for his wry humor and expressive singing voice, Rush performs solo under the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s state-of-the-art theater tent on the grounds of Boscobel House and Gardens. June 28 at 7 p.m. $35. Rte. 9D, Garrison. 845-265-3638, ext. 115 or www.boscobel.org

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