Fall Arts Preview

Here's the ticket: a sneak preview of the very best of the fall arts scene.


That’s Entertainment


Summer’s gone, and, with it, trashy beach reads and popcorn movies. It’s time to look ahead to this fall’s cultural highlights. Here’s our guide to the season’s top attractions in theater, fine art, music, dance, and film


When Joan Baez was still an unknown folk singer, her first gigs were at coffeehouses and colleges in Boston. One evening, a small group of students gathered in a dormitory lounge to hear the raven-haired young singer. “Relax,” she told the students. “Audiences get nervous.”


The perceptive Baez was already wise to a show business truism: the audience is a living, breathing organism. It must be fed, watered, stroked, and provoked. It has its moods, its good days and bad. It is fickle and unpredictable.


Arts groups in Westchester have wrestled with this protean creature for so long that by now the beast is mostly tamed. Arts providers are in tune with what their audiences want. Substance and quality are key. Neither the blatantly avant-garde nor the amateurish need apply (except for productions starring children). What sells are concerts, plays, and exhibitions that make people feel savvy about the art scene—and bullish about culture close to home.


Among the hundreds of listings on the calendar for fall are several world premieres, an abundance of fine museum shows, some new series, and a few new twists on old themes. (Baez herself will return to the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill on October 29 at 8 pm.) Here are some highlights of the upcoming season.    




Jim Dine was known as a leading pop artist before he turned to traditional painting techniques in the 1970s, gaining a new reputation as a consummate draftsman. The Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College will exhibit 85 of Dine’s drawings from September 18 to January 8. Photography is the medium at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers this fall, with three shows that run from October 1 to December 31. Each show reflects some aspect of television and the movies: stills of crime scenes from “Law and Order,” portraits of Hollywood’s early leading men by George Hurrell, and scenes shot on California movie sets before 1920, all culled from the museum’s own collection. The Katonah Museum of Art is taking on the topic of obsession, presenting “Over + Over: Passion for Process” from October 2 to December 31. The exacting hand-beading, sewing, quilting, silhouette-cutting, and collaging by the show’s 13 artists reflect a state of mind and raise questions about the line between art and insanity. In a catalog accompanying the exhibition, Dr. Judith L. Rapoport, a psychiatrist, says the line is crossed when obsessiveness serves no purpose, as these works, by definition, do.

The Armonk Outdoor Art Show, which is run by volunteers, lost one of its guiding lights when Steve Geffen died suddenly on the eve of last year’s exhibition. But the show is marching on with many new artists, says Marian Hamilton, one of this year’s four co-chairmen. Rated in the top 1 percent of the country’s 5,000 outdoor shows, it will take place on October 1 and 2.


“Karkhana: A Contemporary Collaboration” had its opening reception on August 21 at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT, where it can be seen through March 12. Karkhana is Urdu for workshop and applies in this case to a collaboration among six Pakistani artists, each of whom contributed a layer of imagery to 12 miniature paintings done on rag paper.    





For jazz lovers this fall, there’s the Hudson River Music Fest on September 18 in Ossining. The music—including Vic Juris and the Kate Baker Group, the Gerry and Adam Niewood Quintet, and the Richie Hart Trio—will play on shore, while the Hudson Ferry-Go-Round keeps summer alive with continuous ferries to a street fair in Haverstraw and an Afro-Caribbean festival in Peekskill. Fans of rock and roll can hear two lead singers from the Temptations, Glenn Leonard, a member of the group from 1975 to 1983, and Ray Davis, a member from 1995 to 1996, on October 2 at 7 pm at the Tarrytown Music Hall. Soprano Barbara Cook brings her artful blend of Broadway and the American song to the Performing Arts Center of Purchase College on October 9 at 3 pm. For aficionados of world music, the place to be is the Tarrytown Music Hall on November 13 at 3 pm for the Andalusian Music Festival, an afternoon of song, poetry, and history. New Rochelle Opera, an outlet for professional young singers for more than 20 years, will present “A Grand Afternoon of Grand Opera” on September 25 at 3 pm at Iona College in New Rochelle. The company will also present highlights from Madama Butterfly and Rigoletto at Westchester Community College in Valhalla on October 23 at 3 pm.


The New York Virtuoso Singers, directed by Harold Rosenbaum, will perform at Downtown Music at Grace Church on September 25 at 12:15 pm.




The Jacob Burns Film Center plans two special series this fall: Latin American films from September 14 to 29, including Holy Girl (September 16 and 19) and Los Olvidados (September 18 and 21) and the films of Louis Malle from October 7 to 27, including Pretty Baby with a very young Brooke Shields and Susan Sarandon (October 20) and Atlantic City with a mature Burt Lancaster and still sexy Susan Sarandon (October 21 and 24). Harlan Jacobson’s Talk Cinema series begins on September 27 at 7 pm at the Performing Arts Center in Purchase. Audiences enter not knowing what they’re going to see and exit feeling in the know. Meanwhile, the Paramount Center will present the films of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle with live music by Dave Douglas and the Keystone Project. The story reads like today’s headlines. In 1921, Arbuckle, one of the most successful—and physically enormous—figures in the movie business, went on trial for the rape and murder of a young woman. Arbuckle was exonerated, but his three trials, two of which ended in hung juries, tragically destroyed his prolific career as an actor, director, and scriptwriter. A $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts allowed the Paramount to commission Douglas, a Croton composer and trumpet player, to write original music to accompany four of Arbuckle’s early silent films. At the world premiere on October 1 at 8 pm, Douglas will play with his sextet and host a question-and-answer session.


New from the Emelin Theatre is the Emelin Film Club, hosted by Star Magazine film and TV critic Marshall Fine and screening new films before their theatrical release. The series starts on October 5 and continues on October 19, 26, November 2, 16, and 30. Also new is FLICs@New Roc which will showcase classic, independent, and foreign films at the 18-screen Regal Cinema in New Rochelle starting September 18. Two new films will be shown each Sunday at 1 pm and 4:30 pm.




Pilobolus arrives at the Performing Arts Center Purchase on October 29 at 8 pm, combining dancers’ limbs and torsos in ways you’ve never dreamed of. Companhia Portuguesa de Bailado Contemporaneo, a troupe of 16 dancers from Portugal, follows on November 12 at 8 pm, also at the Center. On November 19 at 2 pm, the White Plains-based Steffi Nossen School of Dance presents An Afternoon of Dance at the Purchase College Dance Theater Laboratory. This choreographers’ showcase will be followed by a Q&A session with the choreographers and dancers.




The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze debuts at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on Hudson. Don’t think pumpkins, think art installation. Or, as Michael Anthony Natiello, creative director of the project for Historic Hudson Valley, calls it, “land art.” This Halloween-oriented event, new this year, will feature 6,000 real pumpkins and 1,000 pumpkins made of styrofoam, all carved with various themes by professional artists and volunteers and set aglow on the grounds of Van Cortlandt Manor from October 13 to 16 and 20 to 23.  Summoning fractal geometry to describe the effect, in which the entire spectacle promises one show and the individual parts another, Natiello says he was striving for “a whole body experience,” with the smell of candles, the sound of music, and knockout treats for the eyes. “The real magic will be at night,” he says.



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