The Arts

Art Beat: ‘The North Fork is a photographer’s paradise’

• A few years ago, Riverhead resident Thomas Pfalzer, aka Freddy Topaz, found himself wondering about the use of the word Xmas in place of Christmas. He decided to write a song about it. The result was “Merry Crossmas” and an accompanying music video shot in Riverhead and Mattituck. 

Mr. Pfalzer writes, “X is not only used in place of ‘Christ,’ it’s also used as an abbreviation for ‘Cross’ … so the title ‘Merry Crossmas’ became the starting point of the song.”

He found out from Pastor Patrick Smith of Mattituck Presbyterian Church that the letter X is used as a replacement for the Greek letter chi.

For the video, he employed the help of singer Melissa Rachubka of Riverhead, videographer Rory MacNish of Mattituck and the Gardiner family of Mattituck —Matthew and Ivana and twins Ariel and Perry — who, along with Bob Harrington of East Marion, appear in the film. The song and video follow a family’s trip to get a Christmas tree.

A sampling from the song’s first verse:

A merry Christmas, merry Christmas, greetings unto you!

This carol comes across to say, “X marks the spot will never do.”

• Photographs of the North Fork by Jef Gamblee are on view through Jan. 1 at Fiedler Gallery in Greenport.

Mr. Gamblee is pastor of First Universalist Church of Southold as well as a hospice chaplain. He writes, “The North Fork is a photographer’s paradise … and ‘prowling for pictures’ gives me a chance to decompress from my pulpit and hospice challenges, as well as become familiar with the North Fork.”

His photography dates back to his days as a college student in the late 1960s, after which he worked as video director of photography and commercial producer for a television station in Cincinnati.

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