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August 2nd, 2007

DAMN RIGHT, IT’S A LOVE SHACK.

by John Coakley

KITSCH IN THE CATSKILLS AND A FEW QUESTIONS FOR KATE.

Technically, our first date was on June 11th, 2004. But this year that date fell on a Monday, and celebrating by spending a Saturday night in the Catskills just held more appeal. This was our third anniversary and I wanted to spend it somewhere special. Really special. A-place-worthy- of -a-proposal-special. Yeah. Hoo boy.

I’d first heard about Kate’s Lazy Meadow-nestled in the heart of the Catskills, near Woodstock–a couple of years ago and immediately filed it away in a mental folder labeled, ‘Things to Do/Places to Go that Will Become Increasingly Unlikely to Be Done/Gone to as Time Passes.’ The website did a great job of displaying the outre funkiness that one would expect from a place owned and co-designed by Kate Pierson of the B-52s: 50’s furniture, garden gnomes, tchotchkes galore, and little soaps and shampoos collected from years of touring. I never thought I’d get off of my ass and make it up there, but now I had a mission, a purpose. Dee (Not her real name – she’s a spy. Oops. She’s shy, I meant. Yeah. Shy) was looking forward to the trip, happy that we’d be spending our anniversary somewhere other than our couch, watching “Six Feet Under” DVDs.

We arrived at the Annie Oakley Room around four o’clock. It was one half of a rectangular cabin that was separate from the more traditional roadside motel strip that housed most of the rooms. Our place was painted in greens and browns, with a cozy kitchenette off to the side. Cowgirl pin-up images graced the lampshades and a portrait of Annie herself graced the wall over what turned out to be a very comfortable bed.We later learned that the water had that weird sulphur smell that one sometimes finds in the country, but otherwise the room was lovely. So far, so good.

Dee was in the bathroom. The ring was in my bag. I stuffed it in my coat pocket. When she came out, I suggested we check out the patio.We did. It gave a gorgeous view of Mt. Tremper, and a copse of trees partially obscured the two Airstream trailers that were set up by the river. The scene was set – time to ‘man-up.’ I said, “Dee, I have a question for you.” Dee said, “What?” “Will you marry me?” I asked as I presented the inscribed platinum band. Dee doesn’t like diamonds, which is only one of a million reasons why I was now doing something I had once thought impossible. Dee replied with an enthusiastic, “Are you fucking KIDDING me?!?!” and a giant hug that, thankfully, put her answer in the ‘Duh! Of course!’ category rather than the ‘You are gross and insane. Ew.’ category. And that was that. We were engaged.

Not only is Kate responsible for the place of my betrothal, she was also kind enough to answer a few questions about her motel.

SJ: Kate, is Lazy Meadow’s retro style influenced by any particular places that you may have stayed in as a kid during family vacations?

KP: Actually, I never stayed at any hotel as a kid. My grandmother had a “camp”/ cabin at Lake Erskine, N.J. It was small, with pine siding painted green and a front porch– very rustic, no insulation– and it was on a dirt lane called Pequot Road. Wildflowers and dogwoods grew like crazy in the surrounding woods, while Grandma grew phlox and sweet williams and other fragrant perennials. She also had a creative streak and painted all the furniture yellow and green! Hmmmm. I loved it there and I think that was my mental template for Lazy Meadow. I really wanted to maintain that rustic “camp” feel that it originally had when it was built in 1952.

SJ: How about places you stayed in during the early B-52’s tours?

KP: OH yes! Then I became the hotel Queen…from 5 stars to low bars. But I’ve always had a weakness for those small roadside motels with the groovy neon signs, like the “Peter Pan Motels”, although I’ve never given that particular chain a try.We did stay in some low-down “court” motels with funny fenced-in pools. Once, in a hotel in Florida, I found a giant flying cockroach in my room and didn’t want to kill it, so I called the front desk…she just said, “honey, you’re in the South now” and that was it.

SJ: Do you think it is possible for American roadside culture to recover from the current state of chain-store mediocrity?

KP:Well, everything is certainly getting more and more generic. The mystery of discovery is hard to recover. Once I followed a sign that said “Cadillac Motel this way” and I thought I was onto something special but instead was lured for 2 miles to a Norman Bates type motel. I had to run for the Holiday Inn. I think people need to get political about urban planning, not only in their immediate neighborhoods, but in the areas surrounding towns…having green spaces and parks without a bunch of trashy stores, car dealerships and strip malls leading into town can make a huge difference in quality of life. My friend Barry says in the future there will be fewer and fewer chain stores…it will boil down to only one giant store owned by one person. And then that person will be the only one with decent health care.

SJ: Can you recommend any resources for people looking for places like Kate’s Lazy Meadow when they travel beyond the Catskills?

KP: Don’t leave the Catskills.

SJ: When is the new album scheduled for release and what can we look forward to?

KP: We are currently finishing recording the CD in Athens, Ga. It’s gonna be a hot hot dance groove thing and should be out in the fall of this year.

Kate’s Lazy Meadow
5191 Route 28
Mt. Tremper, NY 12457
(845)688-7200
WWW.LAZYMEADOW.COM

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