TRR photos by Jonathan Charles Fox

Performing mega-hit ‘Message in a Bottle’ at Bethel Woods last Friday night, chart-topper Sting proved that he’s still got it. IMHO.

So long, summer. Say hello to fall.

Believe me, I’m in no rush to see summer end—but fall is coming, whether I like it or not. Officially, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings, and that won’t occur until the 22nd of this month, but we all know that Labor Day is the beginning (insert frownie-face emoji here) of the end. Like all things, the yin/yang is in full swing, since autumn is my favorite time of year—and the most fleeting. For me, one of the many splendors of living in the Upper Delaware River region is the flora and fauna, and having the opportunity to capture the magnificent colors of fall foliage with my trusty camera is something I look forward to all year long. Therefore, I find myself happy and sad, excited and morose, and as mother would say, “perky and crazed.” It’s all in your point of view.

Still, it’s all but impossible to ignore the tell-tale signs, as I’m constantly out and about, where even the most subtle of changes (like that pesky first red leaf) do not escape my limited attention span. Another reminder is end-of-season events, like the last main-stage show at the theatre (, where a first-rate cast of “The Graduate” just took their final bow. The script, which was adapted from Buck Henry’s brilliant screenplay, is true to the original (which also credits writer Calder Willingham), but Henry’s “voice” is crystal clear throughout. The ensemble of actors retelling the coming-of-age story about Benjamin Braddock (Dan Maldonado), his oblivious parents, (James Patterson and Amy Griffin), mousy Elaine (Ella Mora) and seductress extraordinaire Mrs. Robinson (Gina Lamparella) was in top-notch form under Mark Hardy’s highly skilled direction. Rounding out the cast as the beleaguered Mr. Robinson, Michael Pollard was both funny and touching, but it’s Maldonado who (once again, with feeling!) carried the show, ably assisted by several supporting players, all of whom knocked it out of the park. And yes, even I fell under the spell of Mrs. Robinson—who not only tried, but succeeded, in seducing us all. The show was quite remarkable, rounding out a fine season, which has impressed me all summer long. While it’s not quite a wrap for the playhouse, (the Fall Tavern Series looks like great fun), the final curtain has fallen in the theatre itself.

While slightly saddened when I realized that concert season (in the Bethel Woods Pavilion) was drawing to a close (, knowing that the incomparable Sting would be doing his thing last Friday softened the blow. Sting’s son, Joe Sumner, served as the opening act, followed by The Last Bandoleros, all of whom shared the stage with the man who has had multiple hits for multiple decades while performing with The Police (from 1977-1984) and on his own.

It was downright chilly that evening (don’t make me say the “F” word), but listening to Sting (who sounded amazing) belt out tunes like “Synchronicity,” “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” “One Fine Day” and “Message in a Bottle” heated things up nicely. Of course, events are ongoing at Bethel Woods, so there are harvest festivals, Event Gallery concerts and holiday celebrations galore just around the corner. But I’m having a tough time letting go of summer fun.

It was only last year that we saw the debut of a new organization dubbed Bethel Council of the Arts (“like” them on Facebook!) and their Labor Day silent auction and cocktail reception featuring scads of local artists. With the promise of entertainment provided by Shlomo Franklin and Keith Newman, fabulous appetizers, and an opportunity to schmooze with friends, I decided to contribute a few photos to the auction, once again mixing business with pleasure. Based on past experience, I knew that the event would be a hit, so without hesitation, I committed to attending. 

“Will you be there as a ‘human being’—or is it work?” asked one of my pals. “Both!” I exclaimed. “It’s a fairly blurry line between the two, since I not only work to live, but live to work.” Suggesting that things will slow down a bit now that the seasons are about to change, my pal asked if there would be more “downtime” in the coming weeks. “Probably,” I replied, “but don’t tell my boss.” As always, I have plenty to do.” IMHO.


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