Saturday, March 3, 2007

China's Harry Potter Teams Up with the Half-Human Monere at Catskill Mountain Foundation's Red Barn in Hunter, NY

HUNTER VILLAGE, NY--By night, he’s a mild-mannered dad, making peanut butter sandwiches for his young children, dropping them off at school and picking them up after practice. By day, he’s fantastic, epic, illuminating; some even think he’s China’s answer to Harry Potter.

By day, she’s a family practice physician. Quiet, sincere, proper, with nerdy glasses and white coat. By night, she’s daring, flamboyant, and erotic.

A distinctly literary and creative couple, Da and Sunny Chen dwell in reality half of each day and possibility in the other half. Both have had one foot in the working world—he at one time working for a Wall Street banking investment firm; she still practicing as a family physician. Both are acclaimed writers with several highly praised original works to their credit.

On Saturday, April 14, Da & Sunny Chen will appear together at the Catskill Mountain Foundation “Red Barn” performance space on Rte. 23A in the Village of Hunter, NY from 2-3 PM, to read from their work and discuss it with the community. Admission is FREE.

Da Chen grew up in the deep south of China, running barefoot in muddy fields and riding the backs of water buffaloes. As the grandson of a disgraced landowner, he was a victim of community political persecution and harrowing poverty during the Cultural Revolution. His family was beaten, his father thrown in reform camp, and young Chen, at the age of nine, was threatened with imprisonment. Unfailing family love helped him survive in a dysfunctional society and he found unexpected love and friendship with his four other hoodlum outcasts, but dreams made him soar above the poverty and persecution. He arrived in America at the age of 23 with $30 in his pocket, a bamboo flute, and a heart filled with hope. Years later, he is a distinguished, award-winning writer. The author of two highly acclaimed works, “Colors of the Mountain” (“A detailed and delightful account of one boy’s reaching for his dreams.”—Booklist) and “China’s Son,” Crown/Shaye Areheart Books has recently released Chen’s first major work of fiction, “Brothers,” a sweeping family saga of brother against brother, son against father.

Dr. Sunny Chen, a family practice physician, has described herself as “Quiet, sincere, proper, with nerdy glasses and white coat. Rigid…repressed. Always fearful of doing wrong.” Several years ago, she shed that image—along with her inhibitions—and became just “Sunny”. No last name. A writer. A romance writer. Well, okay, an erotic romance writer. While writing her debut novel, “Mona Lisa Awakening,” a novel that she says is not just about her heroine’s awakening, but hers as well, she admits it’s a “self” she’s having fun getting to know. “Mona Lisa Blossoming,” second in Sunny’s darkly erotic new series, will be published in February by Berkley.

To learn more about the authors, you may visit them at and/or To learn more about this event, visit
This reading is sponsored by Poets & Writers, Inc. and the Catskill Mountain Foundation.

Friday, March 2, 2007

High Peaks B&B Nominated for "Stars of Industry" Award

TANNERSVILLE,NY—For the second year in a row, the historic century-old Washington Irving Inn on Rte. 23A in Hunter, NY has been chosen as one of three finalists in the category of Bed & Breakfast of Distinction as part of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association’s (NYSH&TA) “Stars of the Industry” program. “I’m thrilled, excited, and thankful once again to be recognized by this important association,” said Innkeeper Stefania Jozic.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hues, Hews, Yews & You

HUNTER, NY—Elena Agostinis is known in and around Tannersville for her work in the Paint Project, which started in 2001 and which still continues. With the cooperation of town officials and the Hunter Foundation, more than 30 buildings have been repaired and painted to date, creating an environment in which local businesses thrive.
Not everyone knows of her successful career in Graphic Design and her lifelong love of painting and sculpture. Drawn to the familiar and the un-precious in her artwork, Elena uses color and texture to transform the ordinary, just as the village of Tannersville has been transformed.
Most of her sculptures and paintings are made from paper mache and/or wood and are painted with ordinary house paint. When painting on canvas or wood panels, she applies house paint using her fingers and hands, preferring not to use brushes. In her jewelry designs she uses items from the hardware store, combined with beads, semi-precious stones and non-precious objects.

Elena’s work has been cited in three books on interior and exterior design and an independent film company is currently making a short film about creative energy, focusing on her work and the Tannersville Paint Project. She was recently invited by NYU Stern Business School to address a group of students on the topic of Social Entrepreneurship, covering the Paint Project and its effects. She is also in the process of writing and illustrating a children’s book on the same topic.

Elena Agostinis’ art will be on exhibit at the Catskill Mountain Foundation Craft & Art Gallery at Hunter Village Square, Rte. 23A, Main Street, Hunter Village, NY from June 30 to August 12. Visit for more information.

EST/Lexington Center Founder Dies at Age 71

Those of you who live in the Catskill High Peaks may be shocked to learn of the untimely death of Ensemble Studio Theatre Founder Curt Dempster on January 19th. Curt was found dead in his New York City apartment after he hadn't shown up for several meetings that had been scheduled earlier in the day. Cause of death hasn't been determined yet although family members said that they thought Curt may have died of a heart attack. For those who didn't know Curt, he helped produce and develop over 6,000 new American plays including those by Arthur Miller, David Mmet, Tennessee Williams, Wendy Wasserstein and Christopher Durang. Curt was also the founder of the Lexington Center for the Arts here in the High Peaks. According to the EST website, development of the Center will continue despite the untimely death of the group's founder. We'll miss you, Curt.