Rent War is topic at Andes program


Andes — The Andes Sprouts Society will present an evening dedicated to exploring the lively history of the Catskills’ Down Rent War on Friday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

The program will take place at The Hunting Tavern where some of the actual events of the war took place.  The evening will include an informal reading of portions of “The Calico Indian Insurrection” a film script about the 19th-century rebellion written by Ernest Larsen. Larsen is the author of the Edgar-nominated novel Not a Through Street, a widely published media critic and the writer/producer of many award-winning experimental films and videos screened at international festivals and two Whitney Biennials.  Ulster County’s Academy Award winning actress, Melissa Leo will read one of the parts.

Larsen has said this about his film script, “fantasy, history, and the history of fantasy intertwine and strengthen one another in this story: the farmers, inspired by the Boston Tea Party and their own imagination, decide to organize anonymously and clandestinely in small tribes, a brilliant organizational move. They adopt Indian pseudonyms and dress up, disguising themselves in red-dyed sheepskin masks and women’s calico dresses and even adopt a fake-Indian patois so that no one should be able to identify their faces, their bodies, or their speech patterns.

As fantasy-Indians, in calico skirts, the anti renters let loose a playful and generalized spirit of unchecked transgression that influences even the Patroon van Rensselear’s family in the end, infecting Amy, the still young frustrated wife of the overly-formal new patroon, Stephen.
Included in the evening’s events will be tinhorn music and a recital of Down Rent songs.  The Down Rent War took place on both sides of the Hudson River.  The evening’s program will present short clips from a video by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor, Branda Miller, about Big Thunder and the Down Rent War east of the Hudson in Columbia County.

Andes Sprouts Society initiates programs for artists, farmers and the general public including new media art residency, bio-technology and farming workshops, eco-aware exhibitions, community radio programs, film screenings, public projects and performances, lectures and forums.  
For information about Andes Sprouts Society contact Madalyn Warren: 646 775-5055 or