Back to All Events

A Panel Discussion Erased Women of the Catskills

  • phoenicia, NY USA (map)

A Panel Discussion

Erased Women of the Catskills


Free! Tickets available at the entrance!

What if we heard their voices? What if we had their wisdom? What did they know that we need to know today?


Latte Lecture at The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice!

Sunday, August 4


At the VIP Tent at Phoenicia Park Main St., Phoenicia, N.Y.

This Event is presented by The 10th Annual Halloween Journey in Partnership with Cafe de la Culture and Phoenicia Festival of the Voice


Join us for coffee and a lively panel discussion exploring the lives of four extraordinary historic women of upstate N.Y.:

Sojourner Truth (1797 - 1883 ) Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826 - 1898) Lucy/Joseph Lobdell 1829 -1912) Grandmother Twylah (1913-2007)

The panel discussion features the types of historic luminaries that can be discovered in this October's 10th Annual Halloween Journey in Big Indian, N.Y., an immersive, wilderness theater experience which celebrates Catskill history, folklore, and ecology. Every October, visitors experience dream-like encounters with both real and fabled characters from Catskill past through scenes performed on a forest path, by candlelight. This year will mark the 10th Season of The Halloween Journey and will be held in Big Indian, NY, in partnership with Phoenicia Festival of the Voice, Cafe de la Culture, Catskill Center, Moe Lemire, (Executive Director of the Pine Hill Community Center), and the Woodstock Festival of Song.

The Halloween Journey is currently fundraising for its 10th Annual Season in the Hudson Valley. To be a sponsor or to make a tax-deductible donation, go to .


Violet Snow.jpg

Violet Snow

Violet Snow is a freelance journalist whose articles have appeared in the New York Times “Disunion” blog, Civil War Times, Woodstock Times , American Ancestors, and other periodicals. Her fiction and memoir have been published in Otter Magazine, Pilgrimage, Tinker Street , and the podcast series “The Strange Recital.” She is writing a historical novel about suffrage and the women's club movement, starring a character based on her great-grandmother.

Deborah Zuill.jpg

Deborah A. Zuill

Deborah is a member of the Hurley Reformed Church, in Hurley, NY where she was asked by a member of the church to portray one of the great African American luminaries, Sojourner Truth, for the Annual Stone House Day. This past July marked the 20 th Anniversary of that annual portrayal. The famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech is performed in the sanctuary of the Church where visitors are taken back in time to 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio where Sojourner addressed the convention. Deborah has been invited to portray this trailblazing woman of faith at such locations as: the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA., the Henry Sleight House of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Kingston, NY, SUNY in Middletown, NY, at the statue of Sojourner Truth in Port Ewen, NY for the Sankofa RCA Women’s Ministerial Organization, and more. Most recently in recognition of Black History Month, Deborah participated in the Annual Sojourner Truth Walk which starts in Port Ewen, NY and ends at the Ulster County Supreme Courthouse in Kingston, NY. Like Sojourner Truth, Deborah is a woman of faith and was recently ordained a Minister in April 2019.

White Feather.jpg

White Feather

WhiteFeather was initiated into the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge of the Seneca Indian Historical Society by her elder and mentor Grandmother Twylah Nitsch /Yehwehnode Two Wolves in 1985. A holistic nurse for 35 years, dancer/choreographer, Buddhist practitioner and herbalist in the Wise Woman Tradition. White Feather is certified by Grandmother Twylah to teach the Wisdom Wheel to those interested in learning about the Cycles of Truth and Earth Energy. She lives with her family in the Catskills.

Maryanne DiPalma.jpg

Maryanne DiPalma

Maryanne was one of the first Americans to vote at 18 years old in 1972, after the voting age dropped from 21 to 18. She voted for the progressive Senator George McGovern who unfortunately lost against then incumbent Richard Nixon in 1973. She was delegate to the Bucks County, PA Miss World pageant, where she discovered firsthand real oppression of women. She walked out of the pageant when she learned that it was fixed for her to win by a sleazy modeling agent who was already calling her “his girl”. Years of struggle against gender discrimination followed for Maryanne in both the business and academic worlds. She frequently spoke out against inequality, despite dire personal consequences such as losing her job and suffering serious physical abuse. She also witnessed the oppression of people she worked with in the performing arts due to race or gender identities and helped fight beside them for their equal rights. In 1991, Maryanne was the first woman ever to run for Mayor of her hometown. As the votes were being counted and her male opposition saw that she was winning, the inactive, non-voters were rounded up and fed drinks in the town bar in exchange for their votes against her. She then lost by a mere 48 votes. Most closely held to her heart are her experiences of living among and working with the Navajo and Hopi communities in Arizona, the “Mission Indians” in California and the Seminole in Florida. While studying and researching the role of her character Matilda Joselyn Gage in The Halloween Journey 2018, Maryanne’s deep resonance with the spirituality and philosophies of Native American cultures reemerged. She feels a deep kinship with Gage and her work with the Iroquois Confederacy and is honored to help give a voice to this important woman who has been written out of history.


Maria Todara.jpg

Maria Todaro, General Director

Born into a family of singers, Maria Todaro was, at a very young age, surrounded by music and arts. A versatile artist and art entrepreneur, Maria is not simply a stage director, but a fight choreographer, stunt artist, writer and conductor. She is also training a new generation of singers and serves as general director of The Phoenicia International Festival of Voice after being one of its founder in 2010. Maria Todaro made her US stage directing debut in 2015 with “Cavalleria Rusticana” for the Westfield Symphony Orchestra under the baton of British maestro David Wroe and was immediately invited back to direct “La Boheme” the next season. In past seasons she was an assistant director with Michigan Opera theater assisting Ron Daniels on ‘Carmen’ and serving as fight choreographer and was assistant director to Bernard Uzan on ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’’. In 2017, she staged “ Don Giovanni” for the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, “La Boheme” for NJFO and in August 2017 adapted her modern version of “ La Boheme “ for the Phoenicia Int. Festival of the Voice with a prestigious cast of the Metropolitan Opera (John Osborn, Lucas Meachem, Richard Bernstein, Mireille Asselin). The 2018 season brought her to the University of Miami to assist Jeffery Buchman on a new production of ‘Cendrillon’ and saw her own, stunning ‘Madama Butterfly’ at New Jersey Festival Orchestra. Maria then scored a huge success at the Phoenicia Int. Festival of the Voice with her unique production of ‘Carmen’ starring Ginger Costa-Jackson in the title role. The 2019 season has her back at NJFO for ‘Tosca’ with other projects in the works to be announced soon. A personal endeavor of Todaro was the creation of the opera ” Les Trois Mousquetaires“ inspired by Alexandre Dumas’s novel- she is the librettist and the music is by composer Mitchell Bach. Maria Todaro is one of the co-founders of The Phoenicia International Festival of The Voice, which was created in August 2010 in upstate New York in the Hamlet of Phoenicia in the beautiful Catskills mountains. MEET THE CURATOR


Cara Cruickshank

Cara Cruickshank is a Brazilian/American living in France. As a woman living in 3 cultures, she has a first-hand, intersectional view on cross-cultural themes relevant to modern women. She began her professional career at age 10 as Little Cosette and Little Eponine on Broadway in the musical Les Misérables, along with multiple singing performances at The United Nations General Assembly. Her experience in dance, classical voice and theater is extensive, encompassing a variety of disciplines, with training both in the U.S. and abroad. She has independently produced, directed and/or choreographed over 60 independent productions in the U.S. and abroad (including Turkey, France and Brazil), focused on diversity and women's empowerment. Her works have been consistently celebrated and media acclaimed. Cara founded Café de la Culture in 2011 to promote diversity, arts and community conversations. She recently showcased her original, ensemble theater play, The Alchemy of Imperfection, in Paris, France with standing ovations, encores and media acclaim. Since then, she has toured this multimedia production across the U.S., alongside a panel discussion on the topic: “Courageous Vulnerability: How Can Men Support Women to Speak Up and Be Seen?” in honor of #MeToo and #TimesUp . Each event is locally cast and curated with artists, activists, academics and experts from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. Launching with sold-out performances in Los Angeles and Boulder, the event has most recently been presented in Denver, San Francisco, Portland and most recently The Laguardia Performing Arts Center in N.Y.C., where it also sold out -with rave audience reviews. This October will mark her 10th Season directing and producing The Halloween Journey, an outdoor immersive theater experience in the Catskill Park.


Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice aims to elevate the human spirit and enhance community through the power of the voice in music . The festival seeks to expand the audience for the vocal arts through performances across a range of musical genres,and to discover and develop new vocal talent from around the corner and around the world. We also seek to be an economic engine for our region, adding to the recreational activities, the fine cuisine, and the alluring shops the possibility to perform and experience vocal music in the pure mountain air and exceptional natural beauty of the Catskills.

View Our Salon Teaser Cafe de la Culture Literary Salon Teaser

Café de la Culture is a grassroots nonprofit production company that brings meaningful conversations via literary salons, panel discussions, theater and live performances to audiences hungry to create and incubate vital ideas and new vision. Founded by Catskills local Cara Cruickshank, Cafe de la Culture promotes women’s advocacy, cultural diversity and community building, internationally.

Cafe de la culture offers salons and events in Paris, France and has toured to Los Angeles, N.Y.C., San Francisco, Portland, Denver, Boulder, and most recently to Woodstock, N.Y.. It comes to Phoenicia for the first time in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women's constitutional right to vote and in support of the 10th Season of the Halloween Journey, which will highlight luminary historic women of the Catskills this October 25 & 26.

OUR MISSION We bring multimedia performances, and powerful community conversations to diverse audiences hungry to create and incubate vital ideas and new vision. We work with luminary thinkers and creators, city by city, to help their communities become more informed on #MeToo topics, illuminate women's and minorities' voices, and to inspire and transform collaborative solutions into action.

For bookings and events or to sponsor or donate, please contact us at:

MAKE A DONATION To make a tax-deductible donation to The 10th Annual Halloween Journey, please go to: Thank you for helping us in fulfilling our mission to create more performances and public events that educate, entertain and inspire community building and action that honors our Catskill Region.

Earlier Event: June 28
Erased Women of the Catskills