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Bard’s Spiegeltent is Back by Popular Demand for Its Third Colorful Season at SummerScape 2008, July 5–August 17


Mark Primoff

“At Bard SummerScape, you can picnic at tables in or outside the Belgian Spiegeltent, a mirrored cabaret with tasty, reasonably priced salads, sandwiches, and local wines. Add to that the ingenious, themed programming of Leon Botstein, and there is guaranteed to be something appealing.” 
American Record Guide
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY – The opening of the 2008 SummerScape festival signals the return of Bard’s luxurious “tent of mirrors” opening to the public on July 5. The authentic, one-of-a-kind Belgian Spiegeltent caused such a sensation in 2006 when introduced at Bard as the first of these fabled old-world structures to appear in America, that its return has become an annual event each summer. The New York Times called Bard’s Spiegeltent “agreeably funky,” with the Village Voice noting the appeal of its “wooden floors, mirrored walls, stained-glass panels, and red velvet ceiling.” For families or couples the Spiegeltent affords a sumptuous and magical environment to enjoy dance, comedy, or cabaret along with tasty refreshments through the end of SummerScape on August 17. In recent years, Bard and other ambitious producers in the United States and Australia have welcomed the edgier generation of sexy neo-cabaret stars and wildly irreverent acrobats, jugglers, and performance artists to their Spiegeltents.

SpiegelMaestro Nik Quaife reigns over Bard’s Spiegeltent fresh from promoting Ireland’s Festival of World Cultures, introducing, overseeing, and emceeing every event. The Spiegeltent’s inviting velvet canopies, ornate bars, teak dance floors, and
intimate booths (all offering equal access to the action), introduce patrons to a dazzling array of entertainment throughout the festival, and the tent is a perfect meeting place for beverages, food, and celebration.
Just a few steps away from the Fisher Center, the Spiegeltent offers an exciting variety of events from July 5 through August 17, two of which are major reimaginings of Sergey Prokofiev’s work: eight family-priced performances of Peter and the Wolf illustrated by U2’s Bono and his children in a newly orchestrated version based on the original, and Prokofiev’s lost ballet Trapèze re-created especially for Bard’s Spiegeltent by choreographer Christopher Williams. Also new this year is the New Albion Festival – a nine-program celebration of a West Coast record label that has long been at the vanguard in bringing new American music to the public – plus return engagements by the wacky Bindlestiff Family Cirkus; the popular Wau Wau Sisters, and the fabulous Slavic Soul Party!

Bard also presents two weekends of Radio Archaeology – including the Blue Ribbon Boys, Howard Fishman, and the Roswell Rudd/Lafayette Harris Duo. Ben Neill and Bill Jones will present a set of new music and interactive video for Neill’s newly designed electro-acoustic mutantrumpet. There will be a one-man buffoon-show by Red Bastard, a Joni Mitchell homage by performance artist John Kelly, and the popular “Spooky Ghost,” aka Gerry Leonard, a guitarist, songwriter, and producer who spends his free time performing with some of pop music’s top stars.
Spiegeltent food and beverages
In addition to its own remarkable schedule of shows during SummerScape, the Spiegeltent is also the place for audiences and artists to meet over a drink or a casual bite before performances, and serves as a late-night club for dancing to music by house DJ James Mongan and special guest artists. Open Thursday-Sunday, with dining from 5:30-7:30 pm and cabaret from 8:30 pm. Late Friday and Saturday nights from 10 pm, the SpiegelClub features guest DJs and dancing.

Peter and the Wolf – a NEW version!
A sly retelling of Prokofiev’s beloved children’s classic. Brave young Peter deals with a wily wolf determined to gobble up some ducks. The score, inspired by Prokofiev’s original, has been orchestrated for a distinctly folk sound, performed by the Seezer Ensemble, narrated by Fergus O’Farrell and illustrated by U2’s Bono and his children. All proceeds to benefit the Irish Hospice Foundation.
July 5, 6, 10, 11, 12 at 8:30 pm, $25
July 6, 12, 13 at 3:30 pm, $15 ($5 children)

Slavic Soul Party!
A special one-night-only return to SummerScape, the boisterous Slavic Soul Party! celebrates Israel’s 60th birthday. Presented in association with the Jewish Federation of Ulster County, this romp through Balkan folk music explores Eastern European, Gypsy, and klezmer sounds fused into an intoxicating, danceable mix. The nine musicians are joined by Israeli saxophonist Harel Shachal.
July 13 at 7:30 pm, $25

Ben Neill and Bill Jones
Neill and Jones present a set of new music and interactive video for Neill’s newly designed electro-acoustic mutantrumpet. The composer/performer crosses the boundaries between experimental music, popular culture and jazz. Video artist Jones has created new interactive material for Neill’s set of future-dub jazz, inspired by sci-fi and noir film combining video and music in one hybrid form of expression, seamlessly integrated in real time by Neill’s performance on his one-of-a-kind mutantrumpet.
July 17 at 8:30 pm, $25

Music by Sergey Prokofiev
Choreography by Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams, known for his wild and theatrical imagination, hyper-flexible athleticism, and inventive use of staging, reimagines the historic American premiere of Prokofiev’s lost ballet about the denizens of a circus. Cocreated in 1924–25 with Russian choreographer Boris Romanov, the expressionistic tale involves a ballerina, acrobats, tightrope walkers, sailors, clowns, and Chinese tumblers. Romanov originally envisioned a set made of interwoven ropes against which the dancers could leap and bounce. Unfortunately, artistic disagreements between the choreographer and the composer overshadowed the work. For the Spiegeltent, Christopher Williams Dance presents a new vision of this forgotten treasure, which premiered in 1925 in the tiny town of Gotha, Germany.
July 18 and 19 at 8:30 pm, $25
July 19 and 20 at 3:30 pm, $15 ($5 children)

Radio Archaeology
On July 20, Sunday 8:30 pm the Blue Ribbon Boys will open for Howard Fishman
On July 27, Sunday 8:30 pm Roswell Rudd/ Lafayette Harris Duo
In the spirit of her radio program on WKZE in Red Hook, New York, Bard alumna Raissa St. Pierre presents two shows of excitingly eclectic music. The July 20 double bill features guitarist Howard Fishman, who mines gems from the American songbook and makes them unmistakably his own, and the Blue Ribbon Boys, a string swing band from the Berkshires. Perennially avant trombonist Roswell Rudd teams up on July 27 with pianist Lafayette Harris. Listen for a mix of jazz, French rock and roll, gospel, Italian twist, ’60s soul, and African and Latin dance music between live music sets. For more info on Radio Archaeology, visit
July 20 and 27 at 8:30 pm, $25

Wau Wau Sisters
“Irreverent, sacrilegious, lascivious!”— New York Times
Tanya Gagné and Adrienne Truscott, the eye-popping Wau Wau Sisters, return to charm and scandalize Spiegeltent audiences with their sassy, witty burlesque routines. Combining sexy allure and drop-dead comic timing, these ladies are equal parts seduction and slapstick.
July 24 and 25 at 8:30 pm, $25
Paved Paradise
Conceived and performed by John Kelly
“Worshipful and uproarious! Lovingly devastating.”—New York Times
A poignant homage to folk-rock diva Joni Mitchell, lovingly performed by one of New York’s most talented multimedia artists. Award-winning John Kelly masterfully inhabits Joni’s persona and sings with an uncanny likeness to the smoky soprano herself. Too exquisite to be camp, too improbable to be anything else.
July 26 at 8:30 pm and 10:00 pm, $25

Red Bastard
This one-man bouffon show stars critically acclaimed cult icon Red Bastard. Highly interactive, Red Bastard’s performances are a dialogue with the audience in which anything might happen. The impish ton of fun mocks the institutions of theater, education, American pop culture, and politics. “Very, very funny” (The New York Times).
July 31 at 8:30 pm, $25


08/08 New Albion at SummerScape
A Festival Within A Festival – August 1-3 and 7-10
Support for the New Albion festival has been provided by the Thendara Foundation.
Named for a beer that was itself named after the original term for California, New Albion has been the voice of West Coast new music since its founding 25 years ago. New Albion has created its own American aesthetic devoted to beauty, thoughtfulness, intensity of feeling, and wide open spaces.

Program One - August 1 at 8:30 pm, $25
Lou Harrison, Daniel Lentz, Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel

Program Two - August 2 at 3:30 pm, $15 ($5 children)
John Cage’s Suite for Toy Piano, improviser Miguel Frasconi, Ge Gan-ru

Program Three - August 2 at 8:30 pm, $25
Pianist Sarah Cahill plays Henry Cowell, Virgil Thomson, Peter Garland, Kyle Gann, Ingram Marshall, Terry Riley, and Evan Ziporyn

Program Four - August 3 at 8:30 pm, $25
Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated

Program Five - August 7 at 5:30 pm, $25
Electronic music by Turkish composer Erdem Helvacioglu, Brooklyn-based group Slow Six, Carl Stone, and Richard Teitelbaum in a six-hour marathon of the best new electronic work.

Program Six - August 8 at 8:30 pm, $25
Ingram Marshall’s Fog Tropes; John Adams’s Shaker Loops, and works by Paul Dresher

Program Seven - August 9 at 8:30 pm, $25
Ge Gan-ru’s Yi Feng, for solo detuned cello; miniature works for electric bass by Jeffrey Roden; and Stefano Scodanibbio’s concert length Journey that Never Ends for solo bass

Program Eight - August 10 at 3:30 pm, $15 ($5 children)
Stephen Scott’s melodious music for bowed piano

Program Nine - August 10 at 8:30 pm, $25
The Deep Listening Band, with David Gamper, Stuart Dempster, and Pauline Oliveros, perform in the Spiegeltent. At 5:30 pm, in the LUMA Theater lobby, Ellen Fullman performs a free concert on a unique instrument of long, long strings

Gerry Leonard: Spooky Ghost
Behind the unassuming name of Gerry Leonard lies the musical secret weapon of such artists as David Bowie and Rufus Wainwright. Leonard, a Dublin born guitarist, songwriter, and producer, spends his free time performing with music’s top creative forces. But on his own he is “Spooky Ghost,” a solo musician whose most recent album was described by Bowie as “quite the most beautiful and moving pieces of work I have possessed in a long time.” This summer he is taking time off from world tours to perform his ethereal guitar wizardry at Bard SummerScape’s Spiegeltent. It’s an opportunity no self-respecting music lover will want to miss.
Thursday, August 14 at 8:30 pm, $25

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus - Evening Cabaret Performances
Hudson Valley’s beloved Bindlestiff presents a louche cabaret informed by passionate embraces, a hair’s breadth, silken acrobatics, unequivocal equipoise, sophisticated manipulation, and physical poetry. Its galaxy of luminaries includes Ariele Ebacher, Adam Kuchler, Ringmistress Philomena, and Mr. Pennygaff ... with special guest stars, including a visit from the dark horse Presidential Candidate.
Friday and Saturday, August 15 and 16 at 8:30 pm (rated PG13), $25

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Family Fare
A frolicsome folly for families and children of all ages. Join Ringmistress Philomena to witness the balletic beauty of Miss Ariele as she dances upon the tightwire. Marvel at the dazzling dexterity of Adam Kuchler and his cigar box manipulations. Guffaw at Kinko’s sad-sack misadventures. Gasp as Mr. Pennygaff swallows blades of steel. And shimmy in your seats to live circus tunes.
Saturday, August 16 at 3:30 pm (rated G), $15 ($5 children)
Sunday, August 17 at 1 and 3:30 pm (rated G), $15 ($5 children)

Bard Music Festival and SummerScape Closing Night Party
Bard Music Festival and SummerScape celebrate the end of summer with performers, participants, supporters and staff. Dance music by special guest artists and DJs.
Sunday, August 17 at 8 pm, free!
Thursday–Sunday at 10 pmNo cover charge!
The SpiegelClub’s late-night bar, with SpiegelMaestro Nik Quaife and DJ James Mongan presiding, with music and dancing make it the area’s most exhilarating summer gathering place. Have a drink or a casual bite and enjoy SummerScape evenings at Bard.
For tickets and further information on all Bard SummerScape 2008 and Bard Music Festival events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit
Seating for all Spiegeltent events is general admission.
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This event was last updated on 07-11-2008