Art Scene TV
Each month, filmmaker Stephen Blauweiss produces "ArtScene," a monthly video web series with short segments on artists, galleries, and museums in the Hudson Valley. Stephen previews November's episode below. Check it out at Chronogram.com/TV.
Gene Dauner spent 25 years documenting what was about to be lost in the Catskills and Hudson Valley region, by taking over 10,000 photographs in slide film from 1965 to 1980. Good thing he did, because just about everything he covered has disappeared from the scene. Thinking back, Gene noted that, although he had a lot of fun, he was always broke from buying and processing film. In this segment, he discusses his philosophy of documenting the history of the area, knowing that the only way to save these scenes was with photography. He has often said, "I was always one step ahead of the wrecking ball," though at the same time, he would always take care to wait for good light, or would come back when the light could be better, possibly at a different time of day.
Gene felt so much was about to be lost at the same time, that he followed several interests simultaneously, from the Rondout neighborhood of Kingston, mostly torn down during urban renewal, the dwindling Ulster & Delaware railroad, historic barns, 19th-century iron truss bridges, and more. Many of the shots range from the classic to the unusual, to even painterly. Gene laments that, "For every great thing we lost, we seem to get a chintzy thing to replace it," referring to the gas station that replaced a magnificent church and the Jack in the Box restaurant that replaced the Beaux Arts post office in Kingston.
Lost Rondout Project—Film and Multimedia Exhibition
Here I've included the trailer to Lost Rondout: A Story of Urban Removal, a soon the be completed feature length documentary I am coproducing with journalist Lynn Woods. Gene Dauner's photographs also play an intricate part in the movie—in fact if Gene hadn't gifted us access to his over 900 photographs on the subject, I don't think we would, or even could have taken the project on. The film incorporates over 40 interviews with many residents who were there, and takes an in-depth look at the downtown neighborhood of Kingston through the lens of 1960s urban renewal, and discusses the ramifications for the city today.
The film also touches on the industrial origins of the area while placing the whole redevelopment scheme into a national context. The film is saturated with rare vintage photographs that go back to the 19th century and film footage of Rondout from the early 1930s and mid-1960s, including some of the demolition. As a work-in-progress, the film has played to standing room only crowds over the past year. A screening this month of the nearly completed film on November 21 at 7:30pm at the Arts Society of Kingston will have an original score by composer Peter Wetzler, whole new sections, newly added photographs, and vintage footage.
On The Cover—Giselle Potter
Included as usual is a short film about this month's Chronogram cover artist, Rosendale illustrator Giselle Potter.