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Bayou Blow-Out
by Haven James

Event: Spring Cajun Dance Festival
News: Joyous Lake Revival
News: Bob Berman

Now that the monsoons have passed we can get on with the oncoming summer season of entertainment that is bursting out along with the bugs and blossoms. Memorial Day weekend signals the return of the annual Spring Cajun Dance Festival to the Country Fare Antique and Arts Center in Stanfordville. Always a big-time dance event, promoter Bill Molloy brings three major acts from Louisiana and six more bands from throughout New England to this, the sixth annual sleep-over bayou ball.

New this year and making their debut appearance in the Northeast will be the Huval Family Cajun Band. Returning from Lafayette, Louisiana, the Creole Zydeco Farmers share the top spot on the bill with the Al Berard, Errol Verret Trio. Traveling from the Atchafalaya River Basin, these Basin Brothers (as they are also known) will conduct a special music workshop in addition to hosting a number of fais-dodos over the weekend.

North country entrants include Magnolia, the Bayou Brethren, Cajun Chaos, the Chanka Chank Zydeco Band, Hot House Zydeco, and the Allons Dansers.

Dance workshops for waltz, jitterbug, two-step and zydeco styes are part of the deal as are music workshops on playing the various forms. And food; food is a major draw at Molloy's yearly hoedowns. Bill is a serious cajun chef, and he and his associates will brew pots of gumbo, red bean cajun stews, jambalayas and some special festival recipes throughout the event. Both vegetarians and carnivores will be provided for.

There is a barn on the property for evening indoor dances and there's an outdoor stage and dance floor too for daytime. Rain or shine, they're prepared for another big year. Camping is included with the weekend fare and day tickets are available, as well. The site is located off Route 82N near Clinton Corners. Call (845) 724-5270 for details.

Stay tuned for news on the upcoming re-opening of the Joyous Lake. Currently, the target date is next Thursday night, May 22. Hopes run high that this rejuvenation of the Woodstock landmark will, in fact, be a joyous one and, so far, things are looking good. The interior has been brightened up with new peachish colored paint, the floors have been sanded and refinished, and the Tinker boys have purchased an awesome looking sound system as well as a full complement of stage lights. Plans are to bring in name talent as well provide a larger venue for local acts.

Big time media attention hit a Woodstock Times columnist this week! Yes kids, out of this quagmire of mud, slugs, and black flies we call home; an occasionally humble columnist from these pages made it to New York City and the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theater to talk star power with none other than late night TV magnate, David Letterman. Was it the glamorous Otto, who tracks the Nightlife with cunning innuendo and satire? Was it the illusive Werewolf, who stalks the dark passages of stage door entry ways and green rooms in search of the creative? Or, was it the guy who sits in a dark room all by himself gazing through a teeny little lens like a peeping Tom on the lives of the stars? You guessed it, in these times of social malaise where degradation of the fabric of the universe is the order of the day, it was the voyeur who made it to glory in pixeland promoting his new tell-all book, Secrets of the Night Sky.

Our astronomer in residence, Bob Berman, appeared Monday night on The Late Show and by all accounts, fared well with the often pesky host, David Letterman. Appearing to have actually cracked the cover, Letterman described Berman's work as "the perfect book for a dumb guy like me" and relished in the notion that the knowledge he'd picked up from reading it really made him "feel like a big shot." Citing tidbits like the difference between a meteor, a meteoroid and a meteorite and, news that Pluto has been "demoted" to non-planet status; the two talked space with abandon.

And, did you know that the satellites in polar orbits are the ones that are spying on you and that the man-made orbiters that blink on and off are actually broken satellites that are tumbling out of control? These galactic gems and many more await in Secrets of the Night Sky, though odds are that regular readers of Berman's Night Sky column published weekly in the Alm@nac section of Woodstock Times have gotten a pretty good head start on the contents of the book.

So, did Bob so much as mention his home town? Did he ever allude to his day job of writing our back pages? Did he give any clue that his little observatory is tucked away here in the mountains of Woodstock? No, not directly but, there was one give-a-way clue; Berman is the first non-musician guest in recent history to have appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman wearing blue jeans (and that, too, is a fact).

Haven James has been a consistent contributor to the Music & Arts scene around the Hudson Valley and beyond for almost a decade through his column, Werewolves of Woodstock, published weekly in the Woodstock Times

A writer, musician, philanthropist, and Mac addict; he lives reclusively, high atop Overlook Mountain with his son and a menagerie of animals, both wild and domesticated. Though currently unmarried, rumors abound as to his intimate relationships with Madonna, Sandra Bernhardt, and Eli Bach; though he insists these notions to be pure hearsay. His identity has remained a mystery to all but the closest of friends as he often travels in disguise and appears unannounced and undercover at concerts and venues in a dedicated effort to get the real story.

Go to the Werewolves of Woodstock page for more articles by Haven James.
Haven James can be contacted at

Posted on May 16, 1998

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