Conversations Rooted in Past, Present and Future

Conversations Rooted in Past, Present and Future
Blue Mountain Center’s Community Newsletter
November 2016
Conversations Rooted in Past, Present and Future
a rare opportunity for incisive political discussions
Since its founding in 1982, Blue Mountain Center has edamong
a group of highly experienced women of color
worked to craft a program responsive to the dynamics
of the progressive movements that we exist to serve.
In an effort to make a permanent and consolidated record of this program, and the many conversations that
start and continue here, volunteers Kirila Cvestkovska
and Joy Strawbrige spent the past two years combing
through the archives of conferences, convenings, and
focus residencies.
The oft whispered “if walls could talk” is certainly applicable at BMC - at the kitchen and dining room
tables, up in the hayloft, on the porch. Do boats have
ears? Oh what we might hear…
Listen for snippets from a conversation in 1986
concerning the creation of a national institute for women of color. The archive notes “…the meeting provid-
activists from all over the country.”
Or one can learn about our most ambitious programming project, the Common Practice sessions of
the mid-80s. BMC brought together three hundred activists from across the country to discuss and explore
the history of progressive movements, where we stood
at that moment, and how to find and build upon our
commonalities. The relationships and understandings
forged during that process endure in the Commons
movements today.
In 1990, Jane Sapp organized BMC’s first focus residency. The residency brought together cultural
workers of color for a month-long session that sought
to build a network of artists “whose work
continued on page 2
Barrier-Free BMC!
We need your help! In the spring
of 2017 we will begin construction to add
a wheelchair accessible living space on our
117-year old property. The cottage attached
to Harriet’s cottage, called The Annex, will
be renovated inside and out. A porch will
be added with a ramped entrance for wheelchairs. The bedroom and bath will meet ADA
The renovation will cost $60,000. We
need donations from Residents and friends
of BMC to make this a reality. Will you consider giving an additional gift this year to help make BMC more inclusive? It’s a matter of fairness, equity, and the
right thing to do. Help extend BMC’s circle to people who, in the past, have been unable to join us.
If you know a family foundation or private donor who gives in the areas of accessibility and the arts, will
you help us reach out to them? Contact Ben at [email protected]
When this project is completed, there will be additional work to do: new pathways to the Club House, the
replacement of temporary ramps with permanent, accessible entryways, renovation of the living room bathroom
to make it wheelchair friendly, tackling the stubborn step between the living and dining spaces in the great room.
We’ll start with The Annex and move forward as funding becomes available. We’ve added a line on this year’s
remittance envelope to directly fund this work. As always, thank you in advance for your generous support!
November 2016 - Page 1
“Conversations...” continued from page 1
was created from and for their communities”.
After a rash of inner city library closures in 1997,
Harriet Barlow convened an emergency meeting that
led to the creation of Libraries for the Future, headed by BMC staff alum Laura Wolf-Powers. In 2000
BMC held the Single Mom Summit, focusing conversations on welfare reform and feminism.
BMC has hosted close to three hundred such
conversations in thirty-four years. And these snippets
represent only a drop in the bucket of the rich and varied history of conversation over the decades. Depending on who looks at the archive, and when, different
themes will emerge. This year, Buzz Alexander’s 1997 comments
feel particularly resonant. He spoke about incarceration during a gathering of prison art programs.
“We are the most incarcerating nation; over 50% of our
prisoners are black… prisons are being used to manage the poor
and put money in the pockets of companies. What strikes me is
how invisible all this is, how very few people are even seeing prisons, much less talking about prisons and prisoners in this light.”
Conversations about race, prison, and policing
have continued at BMC through the Prison Issues
Focus Residency in 2009 and this year’s convening
of artist-educators working in New York and California prisons organized
by Beth Theilen. It continued in the residencies
of individuals like Andrea
Ritchie, co-author of Say
Her Name; Resisting Police
Violence Against Black Women, Lisa Graves, featured
in Ava Duvernay’s new
film The 13th, and Paul
Rucker, whose multimedia work interrogates the
many issues accompanying
incarceration in its relationship to slavery.
As Harriet reminds
us, the politics of this electoral year have emphasized
that we are a nation whose
dialectics favor the excla-
mation point over the question mark. Yet question and listen we must if we are to quell the rising tides of racism, nationalism, misogyny, and a
tolerance for violence of thought and action that
defies rationality. Our small institution will continue to foster conversations that draw attention to
structural wrongs and to healing cultural divides.
At BMC, these conversations are also leading
to action. We are building our first accessible bedroom and living space next year, planning more
intentional programming for artists and writers
of color, and working with alumni and friends to
launch a resident-sponsored travel fund to support
residencies for artists and activists from diverse
We invite your input on these projects and
suggestions for convenings that can open our
minds and hearts. We will continue to strive for
the delicate balance between cravings for unity and
change. We will always have to call leaders, actions,
and elements out even as we try to draw them in.
We will always listen. We will always be in conversation.
November 2016 - Page 2
“Two Chairs” by Paol Morales, Session Two .
2016 Conferences
How Progressive Movements Govern & Build Power
This spring convening gave activists, philanthropists, and
elected officials the opportunity to spend three days in
focused discussion on governance and building political
power. An organizer said, “Our goal was to listen, reflect,
and debate on what is working, what is hard, what we need
to grapple with in the state of progressive governing and
building progressive political power.”
Building a Political Alignment with #AllofUs
BMC alum Jonathan Smucker, with his organization
Beyond the Choir, helped facilitate this training attended
by activists from the Working Families Foundation, the
Movement for Black Lives, Dreamers,, and others.
Strategic conversations about future alignments between
the individuals and organizations represented lead to
#AllofUs, a millennial-run organization that is actively
fighting conservative, right-wing, and establishment
Image curtosy of NAMA & Aaron Longton
Clean & Healthy New York
Ten years after its founding, Clean & Healthy NY,
(CHNY), brought together experts in the fields of health,
sustainability, and business in to participate in their
strategic planning. The staff and board of CHNY were
able to build relationships with movement partners as they discussed long-term vision in the fight for safer chemicals, a sustainable economy, and a healthier world.
NY and CA Arts in Prisons
Art and writing classes in prisons have long been seen as
an opportunity for both justice and rehabilitation work
with our country’s most vulnerable populations. Despite
this opportunity, artists and educators working in prisons
face isolation, funding challenges, and systemic efforts to
devalue their work. BMC Alum Beth Theilen has been
teaching in prisons and corrections for over 30 years. She
organized this spring retreat to bring together East and
West Coast educators to share challenges, best practices,
and begin conversations about how to build momentum
for prison art programming.
Fisheries and Farms For Food Justice
Family fishermen joined small-scale farmers and organizers
from the North Atlantic Marine Association, (NAMA), and
the National Family Farm Coalition, (NFFC), to discuss
common strategy in the fight for fair valuing and pricing
in our food system. Parallels were drawn between the
cooptation of seed stock and the privatization of sea rights.
NAMA and NFFC see these parallels as an opportunity
to come together and organize for broad systemic change
across traditional divisions among farm, sea and food
FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, Monument Quilt
Leadership Team
BMC alums Rebecca Nagle and Hannah Brancato
began collecting stories from survivors of rape and abuse in
2014. They wrote, stitched, and painted these stories onto
red fabric. The Quilt’s leadership team brought together
30 people from across the US to work on vision, values,
and strategy. and to talk about goals for building a culture
that supports survivors of rape and abuse. “BMC offered a
sanctuary for survivors and leaders to come together. The
healing water of the lake, the comfort of good food, and
the open space was the perfect setting for this intense and
transformative work,” said Nagle.
Adirondack Non-Profit Network
Members of the Adirondack Nonprofit Network, (ANN),
recognized a vacuum of facilitation and training skills in
the region and mobilized to fill this gap during their annual
retreat. The network invited Andy Robinson back to “Train
the Trainers”. The second day of the ANN retreat focused
on poverty in the Adirondack Park, marking the network’s
first major dive into a regional social issue and discussion
of collective action.
The Monument Quilt on display. Image from
November 2016 - Page 3
Jerilea Zempel was one of nine artists selected for “Up
in Arms: Taking Stock of Guns” at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, VT. Pete Wyer’s Song of the Human, featuring choir and birdsong over 18 independent
speakers, premiered at New York’s Winter Garden.
David Wright co-wrote Away Running, a semi-autobiographical novel about two North American footballers
playing in Paris. Gary J. Whitehead has new poems
forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review and Parnassus
and is seeking a publisher for his fourth collection,
Wild Columbine. Debra Weisberg’s one-person show,
“Cannot Be Determined in Advance,” will be on view
in 2017 at McIninch Art Gallery, Southern New Hampshire University. Rhona Weinstein’s Achieving College
Dreams: How a University-Charter District Partnership Created an Early College High School was published this spring.
Joyce Ellen Weinstein’s Paint By Numbers is on exhibit at the Hebrew Union College Institute of Religion
Museum through July 2017. Harvey Weinstein was
awarded a McGill Medicine Alumni Global Award for
“outstanding contributions to the betterment of our
local or global communities.” Activist-educator Hal Weaver
continued to challenge Cold War misinformation with presentations at Harvard University, in Dakar, Senegal, and at Paris’s
Quai Brany Museum on the 50th anniversary of the First World
Festival of Black Arts in Senegal. Jay Walljasper has been
hard at work on the new BMC Commons Magazine. Look for
it in your e-mail. Please let BMC know if you aren’t receiving
it! Davi Walders’s poem, “Michelangelo’s Moses,” won second place in the annual Anna Davidson Rosenberg Contest for
poems on the Jewish experience. Antonio Vega’s Abismo is
being performed in México. He is still working on his puppet show. Susan Varon facilitated an 11-week writing class
for woman survivors of hhysical or emotional trauma in Taos,
NM. Tom Varner is now an Associate Professor at Cornish
College of the Arts. His CD, “Nine Surprises,” was featured on
NPR’s Fresh Air. Paul VanDeCarr has two new podcast series in the works, one on the history of prisons and another on
encounters between very different people. John Trotter received a 2016 New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Fellowship Grant for Photography. Tenement Times, Meredith Trede’s poetry collection about her early NYC life, was published
by Main Street Rag Publications. Sheree Renée Thomas received a starred review from Publishers Weekly for her new book,
Sleeping Under the Tree of Life, and has new work appearing in
several anthologies. Daniel Terris says hello from Jerusalem,
where he is on a Fulbright until June 2017 teaching American
Studies at a Palestinian university. Composer Andy Teirstein
has initiated “Translucent Borders,” a NYU project that brings
composers and choreographers together across cultural and
geographic borders. Lisa Teasley is on a two-month writing
scholarship in China with the Shanghai Writers Association.
Her short story collection, Late Blooming, and her memoir, The
Book of Hours, will be published next year. Jonathan Tasini, author of the book, The Essential Bernie Sanders, recently launched a new podcast, The Working Life. Judith Tannenbaum finished Looking at Looking: 33 Glimpses, a work of
narrative nonfiction that uses memoir and essay to claim and
question what and how we see. Margaret Swedish has a
poem in the fall edition of Stoneboat Literary Journal and an
essay in Creative Wisconsin. She is finishing a manuscript from
her journey to the Alberta tar sands and works on ecology
and spirit, environmental justice, and racism. Naoe Suzuki
will be in Tokyo for a month as a research fellow at the Tokyo
Wonder Site Residency. Sarah Sutro had a solo show of
natural ink drawings at the Berkshire Artist Museum and a
poetry reading from her new book, Études, at Eclipse Mill Gallery, Adams, MA. Pireeni Sundaralingam has a fellowship
at the San Francisco Observatory where she’ll be exploring
the intersections of poetry and science. The University of
California Press published Eric Stover’s Hiding in Plain Sight:
The Pursuit of War Criminals from Nuremberg to the War on Terror.
Kirsten Stolle’s solo exhibition, “Conceal/Reveal,” debuted
at Roy G Biv Gallery, Columbus, Ohio. Martin Steingesser
and musicians performed a poem advocating support for the
monarch butterfly for the Portland, ME City Council followed
by a presentation against the use of Monsanto’s Roundup and
other toxic herbicides. Melissa Stein’s poems have recently appeared in Tin House, Beloit Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Yale
Review, 32 Poems, Spillway, Four Way Review, and The Literary Review. Judith Stein’s Eye of the Sixties, a biography of the Chi-
November 2016 - Page 4
Excerpt from Behind the Floodlines, a graphic novel by Danica Nvgorodoff, Session One.
nese American art dealer Richard Bellamy, was featured in The
Guardian, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New
Yorker, and Provincetown Arts. Miriam Klein Stahl illustrated a second New York Times bestseller, Rad Women Worldwide,
a follow-up to Rad American Women A-Z. Jenna Spevack’s
site-specific installation, “Treetones,” was on Governors Island this summer. Holly Wren Spaulding collaborated on
“Here Stands,” an installation involving poems and trees on
view in three natural areas around the Berkshires.
Jonathan Smucker’s book on social movement strategy, Hegemony
How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals, comes out in 2017. Marcia
Smith produced her husband Stanley Nelson’s film The Black
Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. It was shown on PBS and
in theaters across the country. Shelly Silver’s in complete world
screened at the Whitney this fall in conjunction with a conversation about the 2016 election.
We were saddened to hear of the death of the brilliant
poet, editor, humanitarian Michael Silverstein, (19412016), whose final book, the memoir Gorilla Warfare
Against the Bureaucratic State, Confessions of a Lefty Libertarian,
showcased Michael’s humor and heart. A beautifully
written celebration of Michael by his wife, Kay Wood,
can be found at
Leslie Sills’s painting, Dad - AIDS - Dad, was published in
Images of Grief & Healing, produced by Chandler Gallery at
Maud Morgan Arts, Cambridge, MA. Sarah Shourd’s play,
The BOX, about the experience of solitary confinement and
incarceration, had its world premier in San Francisco. Paul
Shore will have a 2017 solo exhibition of “Drawn Home” at
Vermont’s Brattleboro Museum. Sun Yung Shin’s third
book of poems and essays, Unbearable Splendor, was published
by Coffee House Press. Sejal Shah’s manuscript, How to
Make Your Mother Cry, was named a finalist for a number of
awards in. Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity, co-produced
by Tanya Selvaratnam, was nominated for an Emmy Award
for Best Arts & Culture Documentary. Tanya committed
much of her recent time to Filmmakers for Hillary. Bill
Schuck’s “Word” is currently at Hudson Valley Center for
Contemporary Art. A second large-scale installation will open
in 2017 at Long Island University. Nathan Schneider is
busy writing about platform co-operativism and recently proposed that Twitter users buy Twitter #WeAreTwitter. John
Schlesinger has an installation at UnSmoke in Braddock, PA
through February, 2017. Mark Schapiro wrote “The Unique
Burden of Covering Climate Change in the Middle East” for
Pacific Standard. Sam Sax’s book Madness, which won the National Poetry Series, was largely written at BMC. Catherine
Sasanov continues to work on her poetry manuscript, Markd
Y (Archives & Invocations). Alyce Santoro is employing skills
and inspiration derived from BMC to help drive Defend Big
Bend’s fight against Energy Transfer Partners 42-inches
Trans-Pecos Pipeline. She received guidance and support from
Andrew Boyd. Jon Sands is cohost of the number one
poetry podcast in all the land, The Poetry Gods. Madrid: Ediciones Endymion published Enrique Sacerio-Garí’s novel El
mercado de la memoria. Paul Rucker’s “Stories From the
Trees,” a project that features lynching postcards from the
1900s animated and set to live music, premiered in Seattle.
Robert Royhl showed new work at a gallery in Helena, Montana and participated in “Transformation,” at the Doris
Dominquez Gallery, Tuscon, AZ. John Poch has a new poetry film on YouTube. Tenzin Phuntsog is teaching fulltime in Montana State University’s Film Department. Camellia Phillips’s short fiction won first place in the 2016
PNWA Literary Contest. Micah Perks’s novel, What Becomes
Us, was published by Outpost19. Kathleen O’Toole has
poems forthcoming in Notre Dame Review. In The Margins, a
poetry collection with three other women, will be published in
2017. Bob Ostertag’s Sex Science Self; A Social History of Estrogen, Testosterone, and Identity was published by University of
Massachusetts Press. Leslie Nuchow released a new album,
“Balm for Gilead”. She’ll perform at Rockwood Music Hall,
NYC in December. Danica Novgorodoff was named Sarabande Books’ 2016 Writer-in-Residence at Bernheim Forest,
KY. Beverly Naidus is excited about a new collaboration
with a team of trans-disciplinary thinkers/creators/activists
that focuses on place, ecology, the memories of ancestors, and
future descendants. Priya Nadkarni’s exhibit, “Stones of
Emptiness,” was on view in Springfield, MA this fall. Carolyn Monastra brought the “Witness Tree Project” to this
November 2016 - Page 5
Session Two Resideent Brandon Kramer.
year’s Climate Week, the Society of Photographic Education,
and C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico City. Naeem Mohaiemen’s first three films in The Young Man Was series screened
together at ICA, London this fall and will be at Edith-RussHaus, Oldenburg, Germany through mid-January 2017.
Anais Mitchell’s folk opera, “Hadestown,” had an off-Broadway run at New York Theater Workshop. Her daughter is
three! A reading from Winter Miller’s play, Spare Rib, was
featured at a celebration hosted by Gloria Steinem and friends
to honor Dr. Willie Parker, an abortion provider in Mississippi
and Alabama. Philipp Meyer produced and adapted his
novel, The Son, into a television show for AMC, debuting in
2018. Holly Metz’s Killing the Poormaster will be out in paperback in 2017. Gary McLouth has published two short story
collections: Natural Causes and Do No Harm. Maureen N.
McLane published Mz N: the serial: a poem-in-episdoes. A poem-essay by her appears in Shimon Attie’s new monograph,
Facts on the Ground. Mary McDonnell’s Class Portrait showed
at New York’s Zürcher Gallery. “Vernal Moves,” a solo show,
was at Brooklyn’s Centotto. J McDonald’s “A Growing
Storage Problem” was on exhibit this summer at Local Project
Art Space, Long Island City, NY. Richard McCann was
elected president of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. The
movie version of his story collection, Mother of Sorrows, is under development with Blacklisted Films. Jane McAlevey’s
No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the new Gilded Age is now in
print. Composer Missy Mazzoli premiered her second opera, Breaking the Waves, at Opera Philadelphia. Zibuokle
Martinaitye premiered new compositions in New York and
Vilnius, Lithuania. Grace Markman’s collages were exhibited at Brooklyn’s FiveMyles. Sarah Manyika’s Like a Mule
Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun was shortlisted for the Goldsmith
Prize. Leonore Malen’s Scenes from Paradise premiered as a
one-act play on the grounds of Art Omi International Art and
will be shown in 2017 as a multi-channel film projection at
Studio 10, Brooklyn. With recent grants from the NEH and
MacArthur, Anne Makepeace plans to finish her Tribal Justice documentary this year and is looking forward to launching
it out into the world in 2017. Gregory Maguire has been
nominated by the Greek chapter of IBBY, (International
Board of Books for Young People), for the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. James Magruder’s third novel, Love
Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall, was published in May. Josh
MacPhee has been juggling the birth of his son, Asa, teaching a new class at Pratt Institute, and working with the Close
Rikers campaign in order to shut down this country’s most
notorious jail. Antonio David Lyons is moving to Los Angeles. His initiative, We Are Here, has been selected in partnership with SisterLove Inc. as a DREAMS Innovation Challenge
Winner. Erick Lyle recently completed a tour of the Midwest and Canada for his book, Streetopia. The latest issue of his
magazine, Scam, will be released at Wayfarer’s Gallery, Brooklyn. R.H. Lossin celebrated the publication of the fifth issue of Politics/Letters, a quarterly journal and webzine dedicated to the future of the non-hairshirt Left. David Lloyd read
at the Ecopoetics Conference in Perpignon, France and published poems in Red Poets, Comstock Review, Hartskill Review, and
Blueline. Brad Lichtenstein showed his feature film, There
Are Jews Here, to an enthusiastic audience at the Indian Lake
Theater this summer. It premiered in July at the San Francisco
Jewish Film Festival. David Licata is nearing the finish line
on A Life’s Work, a documentary film about people engaged
with projects that they may not complete in their lifetimes.
Jeffery Leppendorf’s Droppin Holar Augusteininn, (Water Drops
Hollow the Eyestone), a solo monodrama for soprano with piano,
will premiere in 2017 in Iceland. Sujin Lee’s first solo exhibition, “The Distance Between Worlds,” opened in Seoul, Korea at the Cake Gallery. Deborah Faye Lawrence’s solo
exhibit, “Open Carry,” is on display through December 1 at
4Culture Gallery, Seattle, WA. Eric Laursen’s bio on Alex
Comfort, the author of The Joy of Sex, has been shortlisted by
the Biographers’ Club for the 2016 Tony Lothian Award for
the best proposal for an uncommissioned first biography.
Orin Langelle’s photo exhibit, “If Voting Changed Things,”
was shown at Buffalo’s ¡Buen Vivir! in October. Ash Kyrie
is curating an exhibition of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s artwork at the
National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago. Heidi Kumao
has a solo show of photos and video about traumatic injury
and recovery at the University of Michigan’s Lane Hall Gallery. Hopper’s Wife, which Michael Korie co-wrote in 1997,
is back after 19 years as part of the inaugural season of the
newly reborn New York City Opera. In May, Ellen Kozak
presented “riverthatflowsbothways,” a 3-channel video installation with composer Scott D. Miller. Lisa Ko’s The Leavers
won the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fictio. It
will be published by Algonquin Books in 2017. One of her
short stories appeared in Best American Short Stories. Billy
Keniston is back to the academic grindstone, trying to infuse
radical thinking about the world amongst undergrads. He
November 2016 - Page 6
strains to remember how open and free it felt to swim across
Eagle Lake in the company of brilliant artists and activists.
Tatana Kellner is having a solo exhibit at the Garrison Arts
Center, Garrison, NY thru January 2017. Donna Kaz’s debut book, UN/MASKED, Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl On Tour,
has been published by Skyhorse. L.A. Kauffman’s history
of the American left since the 60s is at long last finished! Direct
Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism will be
published in 2017. Annetta Kapon’s group exhibition,
“LOVE, e-artis contemporary,” was shown in Chemnitz, Germany. John Kaplan’s Are We Human, a mash of 50s science
fiction, the Wizard of Oz, and the work of James Baldwin,
premiered at the New Ohio Theatre. Shalini Kantayya’s
documentary, Catching the Sun, was named a New York Times
Critic’s Pick and premiered globally on Netflix. Richard
Kamler’s “Drawings” were on exhibit at Far Out Gallery, San
Francisco. Si Kahn continues to organize in Alaska with
Musicians United To Protect Bristol Bay. Hillary Jordan’s
first novel, Mudbound, is being made into a major motion picture. Kristin Jones’s multidisciplinary cultural project “Tevereterno,” producing art around Rome’s Tiber River, secured a
19-year permit for public programming. Raina Joines has
poems forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Measure, and St.
Katharine Review. Simen Johan had a solo show at the Yossi
Milo Gallery, NYC. Dahr Jamail is working as a staff reporter for, whilst simultaneously working on a
book about human-caused climate disruption. Denise Iris’s
newest video projection, Lactoplié, was shown at the Lumen
Festival of New Media. Kayhan Irani is working with the
Anna Deavere Smith Pipeline Project. She was invited to the
White House to celebrate AAPI Artists and Storytellers, and
to Little Rock to co-lead the annual Civil Rights Educator Institute. Arlene Hutton received a NYFA 2016 Artist Fellowship for Playwriting/Screenwriting and participated in
FringeNYC. Kathleen Hulser is a curator at The Transit
Museum, Brooklyn. Come visit her to learn more about the
history of mass transit and green transportation. Aaron
Hughes is working in Chicago on the “Tea Project” and
teaching art with the Prison & Neighborhood Art Project at
Statesville Prison, Joliet, IL. Timothy Huang’s Costs of Living won the Richard Rodgers Award and will be read at Playwrights Horizons in February. Wayne Horvitz is a 2016
Recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Arlie
Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning
on the American Right is a finalist for the National Book Award.
Adam Hochschild published Spain in Our Hearts: Americans
in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939. Leslie Hirst presented a
solo exhibition, “Objectively Speaking,” at the Center for Visual Research, Cedar Crest College, PA. Marcy Hermansader’s “Darkness and Light” was exhibited at Luis Ross Gallery, NYC. Robbin Henderson was a featured artist at the
San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum’s exhibition
“Chasing Justice”. Her memoir, Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman,
will be published 2017 by Cornell University Press. Kylie
Heidenheimer had a solo show at Galerie Gris, Hudson, NY.
Billy Hayes’s Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me will be
released by Bloomsbury in 2017. James Hannaham’s second novel, Delicious Foods, won the PEN/Faulkner Award and
the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Lowell Handler is in Israel directing his first full-length documentary film. Miriam Bird
Greenberg’s In the Volcano’s Mouth won the 2015 Agnes Lynch
Starrett Prize. Lisa Graves’ research is featured in The 13th,
a new film by Ava DuVernay. Sam Graham-Felsen’s debut
novel, Green, is forthcoming from Random House in 2018.
Sam and his wife are proud to announce the arrival of their
first child, Lev! Alice Gordon’s recent editing work includes
words on the World Bank and early-20th-century fashion (not
in the same document). She also is writing an article about
Camp Shakespeare in Round Top, TX. Rory Golden presented “Duty Free Ranger: Coronado in Queens,” an action
piece hosted by HERE IN JAMAICA. Mike Glier’s “The
Alphabet of Lili,” paintings from 1984-2016, are exhibited
now through April 2017 at Philbrook Downtown, Tulsa, OK.
Joan Giannecchini and Stan Kaplan have sold their northern California farmhouse and are moving to Reno, NV to enjoy the casinos, dollar oysters, and cheap gin. Dylan Gauthier and Kendra Sullivan are artists-in-residence at the Lower
Manhattan Cultural Center on Governors Island, NY. They
participated in the exhibition “Radical Seafaring” at Parrish
Art Museum, Water Mill, NY with their collective Mare Liberum. Climbing poeTree, the dynamic duo Alixa Garcia and
Naima Penniman, are hard at work on their forthcoming
2017 album “Instrinsic”. Nick Gandiello’s play, The Blameless, will have a world premiere at San Diego’s The Old Globe
in 2017. Mia Gallagher’s most recent novel, Beautiful Pictures
of the Lost Homeland, launched this summer to much acclaim.
Volunteer Joy Strawbridge with Session Three Resident Brenda Cooley.
November 2016 - Page 7
“Hands in Moss” Paolo Morales, Session Two.
Mary Gallagher’s play, Bedtime, was translated into Spanish
and produced in Lima, Peru. Her novel, The Secrets of the House,
will be published in 2017. The Sleeping World, a first novel by
Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes, was released by Touchstone in
September. Leslie Fry has been creating new works on paper and wood that are documented on her blog,
Kermit Frazier’s play, Modern Minstrelsy, was a finalist for
the 2016 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.
His play, Firepower, will premiere in 2017 at Detroit Repertory
Theatre. Alex Forman and partner Octavio di Leo inaugurated the Urca Institute for Strategic Storytelling with a project on blind soccer. Regina Fitzsimmons is pursuing an
MFA in creative nonfiction writing at the University of Montana. Harper Collins published Boris Fishman’s second
novel, Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo. Mel Evans journeyed
through the U.S.’s capitals of oil, art, and power this fall on a
performance, lecture, and creative workshop tour with Liberate Tate. Kimi Eisele directed Standing with Saguaros, a 3-act
performance project celebrating the saguaro cactus and the
Sonoran Desert. Carmen Einfinger’s “Trees on Maple Avenue” was part of the public art installations in the district of
Xindian, Taipei, Taiwan. Ben Ehrenreich’s The Way to the
Spring: Life and Death in Palestine was published by Penguin
Press. Maggie Dubris completed the final draft of her new
book, BrokeDown Palace. Poems from the manuscript will be
published in Nine Mile and Local Knowledge. Sunny Drake is
creating a screenplay plus four new theatre works including a
verbatim theatre piece, a work with integrated video, a collective creation, and a satirical piece about male emotional illiteracy. Tamara Dragadze is working on a book about her accident in Southern France three years ago and has been
campaigning to keep the UK in the European Union. Emily Doolittle’s chamber opera, Jan Tait and the Bear, was awarded a 2016 Opera America Discovery Grant, and was premiered by Ensemble Thing at Glasgow’s Centre for
Contemporary Arts. Sandi Dollinger’s Under the Aguacate
Tree, a one-act play about the plight of maids in affluent Honduran households, was mounted by St. Rose Theatricals, College of St. Rose, Albany, NY. Stephanie Dinkins is a
2016/17 Resident Artist at NEW INC, an incubator program
of New York City’s New Museum. She is working on the intersection of art, design, and technology to experiment with
new models of cultural production. Shari Diamond spent
the spring in Japan working on “Out of the Blue,” a series of
cyanotypes inspired by a visit to Hiroshima and stories shared
about the 1,000 paper cranes. Tanya Dawkins has launched
her artist website,, featuring two
of her mixed media series: “Homage to Wangari Maathai”
and “Revolution: Darkness. Dawn. Repeat”. Beth Custer
scored Cathy Lee Crane’s film, Manhattan Front, and KQED’s
video series, Deep Look. She premiered songs with Mill Valley
Philharmonic and performed at the Maybeck Studio of Performing Arts and SFMusic Day. Neil Curry was invited to
read at the International Poetry Festival held in the Ducal Palace, Genoa, Italy. He had a lovely time! Janet Culbertson
has 33 ongoing exhibits all dealing with the environment.
Street Nurse Cathy Crowe continues to write for Canada’s
progressive media while she completes her memoir,
A Knapsack Full of Dreams. Neta Crawford’s work was highlighted in The Atlantic in an article on the cost of war in Iraq
and Afghanistan. She is putting together an international team
to reevaluate the Global War on Terror. Rosemary Covey
enjoyed visits from her 2015 co-residents Rick and Raina
Joines this summer. She is hard at work on her insect paintings. Cloee Cooper is working on a Masters in Journalism at
Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She
has an article in Ryder Cooley and Hazel released a new album with their band,
Dust Bowl Faeries. They continue their animal advocacy work
and are now living in Catskill, NY. Katharine Cook’s heart
is in the restoration of the coastal prairie of Marin County,
CA. She sows seed and plants and distributes seedlings to individuals and restoration organizations. Christopher Cook
is researching a major report for Oxfam America and consulting on projects for Friends of the Earth. He has the cover
story in the October issue of The Progressive. Kate Connell
and Oscar Melara’s “Moving Art House” project is featured
on the cover and in an article in the latest issue of Race, Poverty and the Environment. Andrea Clearfield was awarded a
2016 Pew Fellowship in the Arts. Her cantata on family premiered with the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Choir at the Denver
GALA Festival. Mia Chung is nearly finished with a draft
of Catch as Catch Can. It will be workshopped at NYC’s New
Dramatists in December. A short story by John Chavers
was published in the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library annual
literary journal. Thirty-eight of his photographs were published this year. Many were taken at BMC. Damiani published Kristin Capp’s BRASIL. The book launched in Seattle,
NYC, and Namibia, and was included in a photo book exhibition in Athens, Greece. Carla Cantrelle experienced an ex-
November 2016 - Page 8
BMC partners with Hamilton County Historian
BMC is a temporary home to Residents who come on several projects including two films and a public lecture.
from all over the world to work, rest, and play in our slice of
the Adirondack Park. Residents, staff, and friends have created
a far-reaching network of artists and activists, but BMC is also
part of another, more local network of nine towns that make
up Hamilton County— New York State’s most rural county.
The remoteness that makes BMC such a magical place,
inspiring creativity, conversation, and exploration for change,
also shapes the lives of Adirondack locals who live here yearround.
The rich rural culture, history, and future of Hamilton
County have been celebrated, explored, and questioned this
year through a series of events organized by Dr. Eliza Jane
Darling, Hamilton County Historian.
Propelled by the county’s Bicentennial, Darling
launched “The Arcadia Factory,” a project funded by the
National Endowment for the Humanities, (NEH), that
encourages public dialogue about changing demographics.
Hamilton County was the only rural county in the country to
receive funding for this project from NEH.
Events with schools, libraries, and other local nonprofits invited community members to share stories and think
critically about the history and future of the region. “Two
hundred years is a drop in the bucket for an anthropologist,
but for me, history isn’t dead in the past, it’s what got us here,”
Darling said on a recent visit to BMC.
The award allowed the county to partner with BMC
City of Trees, directed by BMC resident Brandon Kramer and
There Are Jews Here, directed by alum Brad Lichtentstein,
were shown this summer at the Indian Lake Theater. “Peeling
Back the Narrative: The Racialized Adirondacks,” a lecture
given by BMC alumnus, historian, and regular contributor to
Adirondack Life Amy Godine, took place in November.
Kramer’s documentary shared one vision: to put
people back to work by planting trees in Washington, D.C.
The film was followed by animated discussion that sought to
find parallels between D.C.’s green-jobs initiative and waning
employment opportunities in the central Adirondacks.
There are Jews Here highlighted stories of community
endurance despite declining population in small-towns in
Texas, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Alabama. The screening
attracted a diverse audience excited to see experiences similar
to their own on the big screen.
In the last fifteen years Hamilton County has lost
over ten percent of its total population and nearly thirty
percent of its residents under the age of nineteen. Darling
writes, “ The loss of our youth along with the aging of our
remaining population has resulted in school closures, stress on
vital services, and a general sense of anxiety about the future.
And we are not alone.” BMC is proud to support our local
community by sharing stories, and imagining a path forward
for our county and our neighbors.
traordinary moment during a singing gig at a Veterans Administration hospital when every man in the locked psych ward joined
her to sing a haunting version of Yesterday. Kelly Candaele is completing a documentary film on the workers who are building
Los Angeles’ Wilshire Grand Tower. Ellen Calmus reports that The Corner Institute is now working throughout their Central
Mexican region to provide new corruption-prevention methodology to a population of nearly 400,000. Katy Butler was
named a Marion Weber Healing Arts Fellow at Mesa Refuge. Brit Bunkley’s solo exhibition, “Ghost Shelter,” was presented
at Abteilung für Alles Andere, Berlin. George Brant’s new play, Marie and Rosetta, premiered at NYC’s Atlantic Theater. He
continues to work on the screenplay and opera version of
Grounded. Karen Branan published The Family Tree Lynching,
a book she started at BMC in the 1990s. Check out new
writing from Tom Boswell on his blog tomboswellblog. This summer, from the little phone booth
under the stairs at BMC, Katie Booth sold her first book, The
Performance of Miracles, to Simon & Schuster. Larry Bogad is
a Full Professor of Political Performance at UC Davis. He
performed Economusic: Keeping Score in Argentina and Chile,
and Cointelshow at the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s Studio.
Rosalyn Bodycomb’s solo exhibition “Trance” at Conduit
Gallery, Dallas, presented two paintings sponsored by a John
Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Inspired by the daylong canoe trips from Racquette Lake to Eagle Lake, the paintings are a close study of the glassy surface
Drawing by Antonio Vega, Session One
November 2016 - Page 9
of the Marion River. Pamela Blotner will travel to Rangoon in December to begin work on “Art Beyond Borders,” a shared
curation/workshop/installation project. Jennifer Block is at work on a book about women’s health and feminism to be published by St. Martin’s Press in 2018. Her son, Abe, will turn 3 in December. Tem Blessed has been writing a graphic novel
entitled Planeta Blu. He will soon release “Chain Breaker,” a socially conscious political Hip-Hop LP. Nina J. Berman continues to work on “An Autobiography of Miss Wish,” a collaborative project
told in photographs, drawings, videos, texts, and documents exploring the
life of a survivor of sex trafficking and child pornography. It was a finalist for
the Center for Documentary Studies’ Lange Taylor Prize. Helen Benedict’s novel, Wolf Season, will be published by Bellevue Literary Press in 2018.
Lance Belville’s play, Qaddafi’s Cook, came off a summer tour of Fringe
Theatre Festivals with a string of rave reviews. Anne Basting was awarded a 2016 MacArthur Fellowship. Her book, The Penelope Project: An Arts-based
Odyssey to Change Elder Care, was published by University of Iowa Press.
Sophie Barbasch’s solo show was featured at Galerie Bohai in Hannover,
Germany. Cynthia Back spent September and October in Norway working on woodcuts. She had an exhibition of prints at Washington Printmakers
Gallery in D.C. Olive Ayhens has been awarded the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Residency for 2016/17. Shimon Attie, currently ensconced in Saint
Louis, is making a new art work for the Saint Louis Art Museum. One of
Alice Attie’s portraits from “Harlem” is now on display in an exhibition
called “Portraits from the Whitney Collection”. Tom Athanasiou co-directs the Climate Equity Reference Project. Its new report, Setting the Path
Towards 1.5C, is available on The Amazing True Story of a
Shruti Swamy and Beth Theilen, September Session.
Teenage Single Mom, a graphic novel by Katherine Arnoldi, was released in
paperback by Graymalkin Press. Patrick Arden has received a 2016-17 Public Scholar award from the National Endowment
for the Humanities. Mia Alvar won the PEN/Bingham Prize for her debut story collection, In the Country, from Alfred A.
Knopf. Jonathan Allen has two projects in the “BRIC Biennial: Volume II, Bed Stuy / Crown Heights Edition,” a solo exhibition of new paintings at FiveMyles gallery and a performance at BRIC House. Ian Allen’s play, Laura Bush Killed a Guy, will
premiere in 2017 at The Klunch, Washington DC. Dorothy Albertini published Dorothy and Some Kittens. It is available at Please forgive us if we left you out, did not include one of your many accomplishments, or misspelled a name or title.
Thanks to everyone who sent us their newly published and recorded books, plays, poems, articles, CDs, videos, and DVDs. Keep us up to date on your accomplishments!
We will put them on display here at Blue Mountain Center.
Focus Residencies Bring New
team of contributing editors of Aster(ix), a journal
of literature, art, and criticism that centers the voices of women of color, joined us for a focus residency in early September. Editor-in-Chief, Angie Cruz was a first time BMC resident who came to us through the reccomendation of alumnus
Andrea Thome. We are excited to report that the partnership
was an inspiring and productive success. “That lake is medicinal and all the tears and laughter were great for recharging
my spirit. So many projects got started, seeds planted, and I
know for a fact everyone was impacted in a magical and necessary way,” wrote Angie. During the six days spent at BMC,
Aster(ix) residents balanced their individual writing projects
with conversations about the vision, direction, and future of
the journal, a few trips to the beaver hut between Eagle and
Blue Mountain Lakes, and a piñata on the front lawn.
Our Urban Commons Residency was organized by
BMC Alumni Dylan Gauthier and Kendra Sullivan, along
with first-time BMC resident Chloe Bass. Residents came together to confront the question: how do we who are engaged
in “producing and reproducing the city,” as David Harvey has
written, reinforce our “collective right not only to that which
they produce, but also to decide what kind of urbanism is to
be produced?” The cohort at BMC included writers, activists,
civic hackers, caregivers, scholars, choreographers, and teachers who incorporate mutual aid, commoning, place, urbanism,
and local politics into their practice. As writer Fred Moten
has said, “I don’t wanna represent anything and I don’t want
to repair anything but I do wanna be here more in another way.” During the ten day residency, co-organizers invited
participants to compare urban strategies for being here more
in another way; to building urban social spaces that strengthen the commons against gentrification and displacement, and
that embrace diverse identifications and possibilities.
November 2016 - Page 10
BMC Facilities Update
Several planned maintenance projects came to a satisfying conclusion
during the 2016 season. The large attics in the Club House have new insulation to
help the building stay cooler during the summer and warmer in the colder months.
New photovoltaic solar panels, (thanks to a generous donation from conferee Bill
Kelly and the efficient work of Patrick Dias and the Croton Energy Group), were
mounted on the Club House roof to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels. They
are now powering four new heat-pump hot water heaters, which are three times
more efficient than conventional units.
Of course, emergencies also happen and BMC’s maintenance and administrative staff acted fast to handle unanticipated projects this spring. The Grey
Cottage septic system needed a complete overhaul, and we had to install a pricey
two-pipe pump system with a built-in backup and alarm system. In order to keep
the walk-in refrigerator safe and efficient, a hygienic resin floor was poured and
the walls were repaired and re-paneled. Thanks to everyone who donated money
and to all of the volunteers who do so much to keep BMC in great shape. All of
your efforts help the staff find time for projects like the 2017 accesibility renovations.
We are grateful to our donors and volunteers:
Shigeki Yoshida Holly Wren Spaulding Judy Wolfe Laura & Josh Wolf-Powers Eric Wolf Jessica Wilson Antha
Williams Wild Finch Farm Dale Wiehoff Gary Whitehead Lawrence Weschler Daniel Wentworth Rhonda & Harvey
Weinstein Natalie Weill Jay Walljasper & Julie Ristau Jenelle Troxell Joe & Pauline Thome Andrea Thome & Eddie
Martinez Sara Sutro Kathleen Suitcliffe Scatassa Francine Streich Joy Strawbridge Candice Stover & Jeff Toman
Vincent Stanley & Nora Gallagher Guevara Soliman Mahara Sinclaire Sun Yung Shin Sejal Shah Neil & Laura Seldman
Bill Schuck Catherine Sasanov Enrique Sacerio-Gari Onnesha Roychoudhuri Loretta Ross Nelly Rosario Jean Rohe
Terry Rockefeller Andy Robinson & Jan Waterman Andrea Ritchie Bruce Reilly Mark Read Corinne Rafferty & Dale
Wiehoff Hoyt Purvis Molly Prentiss Pipeline Prevention Project Janie Paul Mita Patel Susan Parker David Parish
Larry Olds Susan Ochshorn Kathleen O’Toole Ivy Nyayieka Danica Novogorodoff Mindy Nierenberg Lynne
Nathan Luke Nathan Scott Moyer David Morse Paolo Morales Holly Metz Maureen McLane Heather McGhee
Anne McClintock & Rob Nixon Justine McCabe & John Battista Jesse Marshall Jan Mammey Lenore Malen Gregory
Maguire Anne Mackinnon Mark Limpan Brad Lichtenstein & Anne Basting Lisa Lerner Joan Larkin Ken Lang
Stephen Kuusisto Hugh Knox Patricia Kirshner Sheila Kinney & Chris Marzec Kristin Kimball Billy Keniston Bill
Kelly Tatana Kellner Sophie Kazis Rich Kazis & Jill Medvedow Donna Kaz Joel Katz Nancy Kates Stan Kaplan
Dolores Johnson Conrad Johnson Chris Jerome Denise Iris Tessa Huxley & Andy Reicher Wayne Horvitz Nica
Horvitz Janet Hively Lizzie Hessek Marcy Hermansander Marcia Henry & Gary Delgado Karin Hayes & Paul Rachman
Joel Harrison Andrea Hairston & Pan Morigan Liese Greensfelder Lisa Graves Amy Godine Vicki Gaubeca Joann
Gardner Kenneth Gangemi Susan Freireich Kermit Frazier Jonathan Flaccus Mark Fischer William Finnegan
Eric Enderlin John Dunne Barbara Dudley Carol Downs Laurel Doud James Dobner Shari Diamond Christina
Desser & Kirk Marckwald Beth Custer Janet Culbertson Neta Crawford Leslie Cooley Kevin Connor Dan Connell
Leslie Concannon Chuck Collins Carol Cohn Ama Codjoe Kate Chieco John Chavers John Cavanagh Katy Butler
Irene Buszko George Brant Andrew Boyd Jim Boorstien Ros & Michael Bodycomb Barbara Blatner Gerti Berg
Linda Bendorf Michael Bedford Jamie Barret Riley Peter Barnes Harriet Barlow & David Morris Allison Barlow
& David Ochschorn Ann Bailey Annie Aviles Tara Allison Robert & Virginia Allen Ian Allen Buzz Alexander
If we have accidentally omitted your name from this list, please let us know so we can thank you properly.
For what you’ve given us, for what you can give again, we thank you.
November 2016 - Page 11
Harriet Barlow & David Morris are spending much of
their winter in Point Reyes, CA. Drop a line if you are in the
Chloe Brown spent a wonderful weekend at BMC
this summer. Devin Cleary is excited to visit MN this
winter to see his brother and his one-year-old niece! Kirila
Cvetkovska is visiting Imagination Islands. Sis Eldridge
still looks forward to coming to BMC on Saturday mornings
and taunting vegetarians. Kristina Eldridge has the cutest
baby, Harper Rose, who likes to visit BMC and play with
screwdrivers. Zohar Gitlis is training for the next 90-miler
and is pickling everything she can get her hands on. As an
outlet for her humor, profanity, and baking, Lizzie Hessek
started, a life-style blog. She is about to launch
a DIY home improvement show on YouTube, Nuts & Knockers.
Nica Horvitz encountered her first bear at BMC this
summer. She still lives in Troy and is working at the Rensellaer
County Historical Society. Sophie Kazis is working as the
Radio Program Coordinator at ZUMIX, an arts-based youth
development organization in East Boston using music, audio
technology and radio to empower young people, ages 7-18.
Elise Kyllo built herself a house in the MN north country
with a deck for clogging that’s as big as the living area. Ken
Lang is happy to have moved back to Brooklyn. He is working
on a marine biology project to launch in early 2017. Beth
Lomnitzer is excited for her December trip to the Spanish
Bobby Eldridge
We suffered the loss of Robert “Bobby” Eldridge,
(1938-2016) this August. He was married to Helen
“Sis” Eldridge, who
has worked in the Blue
Mountain kitchen for
many years. We were always happy to see Bobby at annual staff dinners, or visit with him
and Sis, in rockers on
the screen porch, while
passing through Indian
Lake. Bobby was a gentel and thoughtful man,
an anchor in our town,
and part of the BMC family.
Bobby Eldrige, courtesy of Miller Funneral Home, Indian Lake, NY.
Devin and Zohar on a snowy afternoon walk, photo by Joy Strawbirdge.
Virgin Islands! Diane McCane’s sewing group is making
supportive apparel for cancer patients.
George McCane is
out hunting for the perfect tree to cut down and the perfect buck
to eat. Laurie Murdock’s son, Steven, has his first meeting
with Albany Medical Center for his kidney transplant. He has
many tests to be completed in order to qualify for a transplant.
Keeping fingers and toes crossed! Peggy Morrill’s daughter,
Molly, got hitched to Justin Baker in a beautiful ceremony, rich
in western apparel. Luke Nathan now lives in Troy, NY.
Suzy Parker trained for a month of hard labor at BMC by
hiking 180 miles of the John Muir Trail. Stuart Remick is still
living and working in Tokyo and happy to host any BMC people
who find themselves in Japan. In October, Matt Sautter, who
was an intern in 1988, married the charming and exquisite Sally
Shackleford in Boulder. Alan Stafford is doing a workshop
at King Arthur Flour this winter. Ben Strader is excited to
start work on the accesible annex this spring. Joy Strawbridge
is teaching the best 8th graders in the world in Lancaster, PA.
Daniel Wentworth has been keeping busy with work and
school and has a new life philosophy: honor the vibe. Jessie
Wick and her wife Dori Galvin are expecting a baby in January
2017! Jessie is excited to teach the baby how to sweep. Moriah
Williams just finished hiking the Appalachian Trail, spanning
from Maine to Georgia, and will be heading to Portland, ME for
her next adventure!
Thanks to all the former staff who put their shoulders to the
rakes and shovels at Work Weekend this year. We hope to see
Willing workers are welcome to join us for Work Weekend 2017, April 27th- May 30th.
To enter the lottery for the 2017 Memorial Day Alumni Residency, May 24th- 29th,
email Ben Strader at [email protected] The drawing will be on April 20th.
November 2016 - Page 12
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