Deserted hotels, run down bungalows and garbage are all that remain to remind us of the Catskills of the 50s to the 70s. In those days, this region in Upstate New York was a holiday paradise offering vaudevilles, comedy shows and Broadway pre-releases. In Zintel’s experimental documentary, the Munich band Pollyester perform in those summer resorts, nowadays a mere shadow of their past selves.
Between musical performances and views of abandoned places, the inhabitants of the small artists’ colony talk about their lives in the Catskill Mountains. The Church of The Little Green Man, a deconsecrated church with a maypole, where Mike Osterhout celebrates anti-dogmatic performance masses with his community, is the central meeting point for several generations: with his photo series, Raymon Elouza documents the structural change and challenges the American dream as an anachronism. Al Defino, who accompanied Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and other stars on his guitar during the resort’s glory days. tells of better times. New York producer Josh Druckman, who moved there and turned an old farmhouse into a recording studio, is also portrayed. The former dancer Beverly Spiri contributes her voice to the Pollyester recordings made there.
Zintel’s work, named after Anthony Burgess’ novel Earthly Power, mixes documentary and incidental material, refers back to the visual language of music clips and explores the possibilities of artistic appropriation. (Larissa Berger)