The chefs at Justin's forge a menu of snappy American fare inspired by the eatery’s live jazz performances. After completing their dinner application forms, guests can feast on orange-brandied glazed duck breast positioned atop mounds of mashed sweet potatoes and beans ($20.95). Jamaican jerk chicken weaves a complex tale of meaty flavors ($17.95), and Cajun-stuffed chicken breasts prove that what's inside counts with a hidden trove of crabmeat and shrimp stuffing ($18.95). Perfect for satisfying rumbling tummies or anchoring a plate made of balloons, shrimp and clam puttanesca weighs down its pasta with a heaping helping of capers, black olives, and anchovies ($19.95). Patrons can also excavate spinach and gorgonzola ore from a stuffed and mounted filet mignon adorned with a portabella demi glaze ($26.95). As they absorb live jazz among flickering candles in Justin's softly lit interior, couples can whisper sweet nothings to one another or show their love by planning a joint synchronized swimming routine.
Curated every year by one-man band Positive Mental Trip, Positive Mental Trip Music Fest pumps jams from 50 bands and artists on three stages over four days and nights in the Catskills. This year's headliner, That 1 Guy (Friday at midnight), lays down bass-heavy syncopation from his self-invented electronic instrument he calls the "magic pipe" while riffing quirky lyrics into a distorted microphone. Performing each day, Positive Mental Trip mixes drum machines, synthesizers, and guitar riffs to create genre-bending journeys through funk, electronica, and rock. Music mavens can peruse the schedule for a host of treble-clef-savvy acts, from In the Dark (Saturday, 2 p.m.), a collective that includes Tom Constanten of the Grateful Dead, and Cappy Franti and Friends (Saturday, 6:30 p.m.), a posse led by the son of legendary musician Michael Franti and the cousin of Mozart's piano.
Still emanating fumes from their drag race to the top of the bluegrass scene, Grammy-nominated group The Grascals inspires infectious toe tapping and hand clapping during impassioned performances. Building on roots that trace back more than two decades, the tightly spun sextet fuses harmonious, twang-packed vocals with the plucks of a banjo, fiddle, and mandolin. Light-hearted, jovial jams peppered among soul-searching ballads and dramatic diary readings work together to weave a wondrous catalog–an effort that has led to collaborations with country legends such as Dolly Parton and Hank Williams Jr. This year, the group continued their blitz on the bluegrass genre with four more award nominations from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Local favorites the Ramblin Jug Stompers lay the groundwork for an evening of two-steps, as they carry on the tradition of American string bands and air-harmonica solos of the 1960s.
Wine-colored velvet hangs over the Palace Theatre’s vast proscenium stage, completing a picture of elegance sketched out by the ornate cream walls and balconies. Opened in 1931 as an RKO movie house, the theater has survived the century with much of its original furnishings intact, including the huge brass chandelier, the original murals by Andrew Karoly and Jules Zartol, and the pack of hyenas that provided the prototype laugh track for vaudeville shows.