Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Adirondack Family Activities: Champlain Valley Film Society

The Champlain Valley Film Society will be celebrating its 100th film with a free showing of classic Katharine Hepburn/Humphrey Bogart film The African Queen. In 1952, this film won Humphrey Bogart his only Oscar though he had been nominated for Casablanca and The Caine Mutiny.

This movie is based on the classic novel by C.S. Forester of the same name. Set during World War I, disgruntled trader Charlie Allnutt and an English missionary Rose Sayer find themselves thrown together aboard the steamboat, The African Queen, in the heart of the African jungle. As in the book, the audience will find themselves immersed in suspense, military maneuvers, and narrow escapes.

One of the CVF Society’s Founding Member David Reuther, says, “The Society started with a group of four friends coming up with the same idea at the same time. We were not able to see the type of movies that we wanted to see.”

So in 2003, Larry Barns, Thurston Clarke, Bill James and David Reuther pooled resources to pull together a showing of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind at the Willsboro School theatre. They attempted to show the films in summer and outside but really hit their mark in the winter of 2006. By showing critically acclaimed films indoors the crowds grew in size. With the support of a developing and enthusiastic audience the group was able to garner such films as the Oscar-winning Capote and the classic foreign thriller Z.

Reuther says, “This started because we felt there is something quite different about seeing a movie on a big screen and seeing it with an audience. It is like seeing a concert rather than listening to a CD or the radio. Movies are made for the big screen. We wanted to create that opportunity for people to have a conversation about film.”

The Champlain Valley film Society now has a working board of 15 people and a 30-member advisory board that helps select the films. The organization shows films year-round with an average audience of 100 people a show. With a diverse schedule so far the 2010 schedule includes Julie & Julia, District 9, (500) Days of Summer, the Hurt Locker, the Cove and An Education. The spring shows are still being arranged.

In addition to showing films the CVF Society looks for guest speakers to sometimes introduce the films. In 2008, author Russell Banks introduced the movie Affliction based on his book by the same name and writer/director Courtney Hunt was on hand to answer questions and introduce her Oscar nominated film, Frozen River. This January 16th retired chef John ferry will open up about his long-standing friendship with Julia Child as he presents the film Julie and Julia.

There is no membership available for the Champlain Valley Film Society. Each film is $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children. Consider the free showing of The African Queen as an early gift!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Warren County 4-H Shooting Sports Program Announced

FROM A WARREN COUNTY 4-H PRESS RELEASE:

Ever wonder what 4-H Shooting Sports is all about? Do you want to find out? Then mark your calendars! 4-H Shooting Sports will be hosting a general interest meeting on Thursday, December 3rd at the Dunham’s Bay Fish and Game Club. The meeting will start at 6pm and cover the basics of 4-H Shooting Sports as well as offer Laser Shot and Archery activities that evening. Any interested youth over the age of nine is welcome.

4-H Shooting Sports fosters responsibility and helps youth acquire knowledge, skills, abilities related to firearms safety, and sound decision making. Shooting sports helps develop social skills, leadership techniques, and provides opportunities for community service.

There are, however, some limitations to participation due to New York State policy. They are as follows: youth age 12 and up can participate in all disciplines which include archery, air rifle, and conventional firearms. Ages 10-12 can participate in archery, living history, and air rifle only. Ages 9-10 can participate in archery and living history only. All youth are able and encouraged to participate in the different projects that enhance 4-H Shooting Sports. These policies are in line with the NYS 4-H Shooting Sports guidelines and are designated based on the “Ages and Stages” curriculum outline.

All participants must be fully enrolled in 4-H prior to participation in any shooting activities. Enrollment will be available the night of the event. Registration is required and can be done by calling Cornell Cooperative Extension at 668-4881 or 623-3291.

Photo: Archery program participant Caroline Lomnitzer of Indian Lake.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hyde Exhibition of Modern Art to Open Today

FROM A HYDE COLLECTION PRESS RELEASE:

On Saturday, November 28, The Hyde Collection will open Divided by a common language? British and American Works from The Murray Collection. The exhibition of approximately twenty works of Modern art from the twentieth century are part of a larger collection donated to the Museum by the late Jane Murray.

Between 1991 and 1996, Murray gave nearly sixty works of Modern art to the Museum, the first significant donation of twentieth-century art received by The Hyde. An additional group of works was bequeathed by Murray upon her death earlier this year. This donation helped to form the foundation of the Museum’s Modernist holdings.

The exhibit, curated by The Hyde’s Executive Director David F. Setford, celebrates the works donated by Murray and reflects the breadth of her collection, while looking at differences and similarities between British and American Modernism. Artists represented in the exhibition include Britain’s Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, John Piper, Howard Hodgkin, and Paul Mount. American artists include Gregory Amenoff, Betty Parsons, Stuart Davis, and Ellsworth Kelly.

“This exhibition was organized as a tribute to Jane Murray’s legacy,” said Setford, “Her generosity to our Museum is only surpassed by the attention she paid in selecting works for her impressive Modern art collection.“

According to Setford, the exhibition pieces were selected to help visitors examine the similarities and differences between American and British works of the period, as both are areas of particular strength in the Murray Collection.

The exhibition in Hoopes Gallery will be open through Sunday, February 28, 2010. Admission to the Museum complex is free for members. Voluntary suggested donation for non-members is five dollars. For more information, contact The Hyde Collection at 518-792-1761 or visit www.hydecollection.org.

Photo: Betty Parsons, American, 1900-1982, Guardian, 1980.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Phish, Bluegrass and Jazz

The big event this weekend will be in Albany where Phish is playing two shows at the Knickerbocker Arena (Times Union Center). I’ll be attending at least Friday night. Raisinhead is playing a post-Phish show at Jillian’s downtown Saturday night. Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 27

Phish at the Knickerbocker Arena (Times Union Center) in Albany. Doors at 7pm.
http://www.phish.com
http://www.timesunioncenter-albany.com

The Stony Creek Band will be playing at the Stony Creek Inn at 5pm. Mexican Menu starts at 4pm. One month left at The Inn until they close for the winter.
http://www.stonycreekband.com
http://www.stonycreekinn.net

Saturday, November 28

Phish at the Knickerbocker Arena (Times Union Center) in Albany. Doors at 7pm.
http://www.phish.com
http://www.timesunioncenter-albany.com

Dreaded Wheat is at Laura’s Tavern downtown North Creek at 9pm.
http://www.myspace.com/dreadedwheat
http://www.laurastavern.com

Wednesday, December 2

Tony Jenkins Jazz Trip plays barVino in North Creek from 8-10pm.
http://www.myspace.com/thetonyjenkinsjazztrip
http://www.barvino.net


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adk Museum Announces 2010 Cabin Fever Sunday Programs

The Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake has announced its 2010 Cabin Fever Sunday schedule. Complete information about all of the Cabin Fever Sunday programs can be found on the Adirondack Museum’s web site at www.adirondackmuseum.org
.
In addition to the cabin fever programs, the museum will introduce a program in North Creek, on January 10th, entitled “North Creek Songs and Stories – Working for the Man.” The special presentation will feature folktales and music from the region’s mining and logging industries with Lee Knight and Christine Campeau.

Here’s what’s on the Cabin Fever Sunday schedule:

Jan. 17, “19th Century Magic and Beyond,” a magic show featuring Tom Verner

Feb. 14, “Passion in the Park,” Valentine’s Day presentation with Curator Hallie Bond

Feb. 28, “Rosin & Rhyme” with Bill Smith and Don Woodcock, at Saranac Village at Will Rogers

Mar. 14, “Epic Stories of the Iroquois,” by Darren Bonaparte

Mar. 28, “Moose on the Loose in the Adirondacks,” with Ed Reed

Apr. 11, “An Armchair Paddlers’ Guide to the Schroon River” by Mike Prescott

Photo: A vintage valentine from the collection of the Adirondack Museum.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

John Brown 150th Commemoration Event

Margaret Gibbs, Director of the Essex County Historical Society / Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown has sent along the following notice of the 150th Commemoration of John Brown scheduled for December 6th. Regular Adirondack Almanack readers know that I have been writing a series of posts on John Brown, his anti-slavery raid on Harpers Ferry Virginia, subsequent capture, trial, and execution. You can read the entire series here.

Here is the press release outlining the commemoration events:

On Sunday, December 6, 2009 the Adirondack History Center Museum is commemorating John Brown on the 150th anniversary of his death and the return of his body to Essex County. Events are scheduled in Westport and Elizabethtown in recognition of the role Essex County citizens played at the time of the return of John Brown’s body to his final resting place in North Elba. In the cause of abolition, John Brown raided the U. S. arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia on the night of October 16, 1859. The raid resulted in the capture of John Brown and the deaths of his sons Oliver & Watson and his sons-in-law William and Dauphin Watson. John Brown was tried in Charles Town, Virginia on charges of treason and inciting slaves to rebellion and murder. He was found guilty and hanged on December 2, 1859.

John Brown’s body was transported from Harper’s Ferry to Vergennes, VT, accompanied by his widow, Mary Brown. From Vermont the body was taken across Lake Champlain by sail ferry to Barber’s Point in Westport, and the journey continued through the Town of Westport and on to Elizabethtown. The funeral cortege arrived in Elizabethtown at 6 o’clock on the evening of December 6th 1859. The body of John Brown was taken to the Essex County Court House and “watched” through the night by four local young men. Mary Brown and her companions spent the night across the street at the Mansion House, now known as the Deer’s Head Inn. On the morning of December 7th the party continued on to North Elba. The burial of John Brown was on December 8th attended by many residents of Essex County.

The commemorative program on December 6th begins at 1:00 pm at the Westport Heritage House with award-winning author Russell Banks reading from his national bestselling novel, Cloudsplitter, about John Brown, his character and his part in the abolitionist movement. The program continues with a lecture by Don Papson, John Brown and the Underground Railroad, on whether or not Brown sheltered runaway slaves at his North Elba farm. Don Papson is the founding President of the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association. The program continues in Elizabethtown at 3:30 pm at the United Church of Christ with The Language that Shaped the World, a tapestry of sounds, stories and characters portraying the human spirit and the fight for freedom. At 4:30 pm a procession follows John Brown’s coffin from the United Church of Christ to the Old Essex County Courthouse. At 5:00 pm the public may pay their respects at the Old Essex County Courthouse with the coffin lying in state. The program concludes at 5:30 PM with a reception held at the Deer’s Head Inn.

The cost for all events of the day including the Deer’s Head Inn reception is $40 ticket, or a $15 donation covers the programs at the Westport Heritage House and The Language that Shaped the World only. Reservations are requested. The procession and Courthouse are free and open to the public. The Westport Heritage House is located at 6459 Main Street, Westport, NY. The United Church of Christ, is located beside the museum on Court Street, Elizabethtown, NY. For more information, please contact the museum at 518-873-6466 or email echs@adkhistorycenter.org.

The December 6th program is part of a series of events from December 4-8, 2009 presented for the John Brown Coming Home Commemoration through the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau. For a complete schedule of events go to www.johnbrowncominghome.com.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

No Adirondack Park Agency Meeting in December

The Adirondack Park Agency will not hold its December 10-11, 2009 regularly scheduled board meeting. According to an APA press release, “No agency proceedings requiring Board action are necessary before the regularly scheduled January 2010 meeting.” APA Chairman Curtis F. Stiles stated (in the release) that “Due to a lack of actionable content for our December meeting, it is in the best economic interest of the Agency and New York State to cancel our meeting originally scheduled for December 10 and 11, 2009.”

The Agency will resume its monthly meeting schedule January 14 and 15, 2010.

For informtaion about the agency’s meetings, public hearings and other activities visit http://www.apa.state.ny.us/.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and More

Saturday night I will be checking out Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad at The Red Square in downtown Albany. I never considered myself a big reggae fan until I met these guys. It was at The Red Square in 2005. A band called Mountain Mojo Authority was playing and the percussionist (Buddy Honeycutt) and keyboard player (Aaron Lipp) were in both bands, both reggae bands from Rochester. Mountain Mojo broke up soon after, and Giant Panda’s lineup swelled to seven members. In 2007, Honeycutt left the band leaving two guitars, bass, drums, and two keyboard players.

The band recently downsized to just 4 players. Vocalist / Guitar Player Matt O’Brian and Keyboardist Rachel Orke (a couple) have moved on to pursue other interests. While this would appear to leave a gaping hole in the sound, I have complete faith that these guys have already filled the void and that this will open new possibilities. Giant Panda now consists of James Searl on bass and vocals, Chris O’Brian (Matt’s brother) on drums, Dylan Savage on guitar and vocals, and Aaron Lipp on keyboards.
Giant Panda has played several shows in the Adirondacks. They played the Songs at the lake Concert Series in Lake Placid in 2008, The Music by the River Concert Series in North Creek in 2008 and 2009, a few shows at the Waterhole in 2008 and 2009, and I think they played in 2006 and 2007 at ‘the other place’ in Saranac Lake. The first time I saw them live, I hired them for our annual raft guide party in North Creek in 2007.

The Red Square is on Broadway in Albany, 2 blocks closer to the river than the Knick (Times Union Center). Doors are at 8pm, but they don’t usually take the stage until after 10pm.

Thursday, November 19

Power Duo Sirsy is at Gaffney’s in Saratoga at 10pm. Looks interesting with a female drummer/vocalist and a guitar player.
Band: http://www.sirsy.com
Venue: http://www.gaffneysrestaurant.com

Friday, November 20

The Rubblebucket Orchestra is at The Putnam Den in Saratoga at 10pm. I first saw these guys open for Giant Panda in Rochester. They are a wild collection of percussion and horns.
Band: http://www.rubblebucket.com
Venue: http://www.putnamden.com

Saturday, November 21

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad will be playing The Red Square in Albany at 10pm.
Official Band Site: http://www.giantpandadub.com
Band MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/giantpandadub
Live Music Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/GiantPandaGuerillaDubSquad
Venue: http://www.redsquarealbany.com

Plattsburgh area band Lucid will be playing the Putnam Den on Saturday night. Opening the show will be a band called Dirty Little Boogie Band. Lucid headlined this year’s Backwoods Pondfest in Peru, NY.
Band: http://www.myspace.com/rulucid
Venue: http://www.putnamden.com

Capital Zen is at LaCasbah in Potsdam. It looks like they have great Mediterranean menu and live music every Friday night at 9pm.
Band: http://www.myspace.com/capitalzenmusic
Venue: http://www.lacasbahny.com

Sunday, November 22

Two Kribs (John & Orion) will be playing the Stony Creek Inn at 5pm and their weekly Mexican Night starts at 4pm. Only a couple weeks left until these guys close down for the winter.
Venue: http://www.stonycreek.net

Wednesday, November 25

The Blonde Roots at barVino in North Creek from 8-10pm. No Cover.
Venue: http://www.barvino.net

Grateful Dead cover band Half Step will be playing a mid-week show at The Putnam Den in Saratoga at 10pm. These guys have been playing shows since 1991, one memorable one being 12-31-99 at The Glens Falls Civic Center with The South Catherine Street Jug Band.
Band: http://www.halfstep.org
Venue: http://www.putnamden.com

Photo: Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad playing at The Music by the River Concert Series in North Creek, 08-15-09, photo by Nate Pelton


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Moby Dick and the Adirondacks

Long ago there were whales at the edge of the Adirondacks, but it wasn’t till last year that I saw one myself—the same day our trail was blocked by a bull moose, another creature I’ve yet to see here. This wild kingdom was on Gaspe peninsula, Quebec. The whale left a huge impression, as did Moby Dick. I can’t pretend to have read this engrossing however longass 1851 book, but I listened to it on tape during that trip, and it took another week to finish it. So it was as unexpected as a water spout to spy a poster announcing that Pendragon Theatre, in Saranac Lake, is staging the story this weekend.

Pendragon’s Web site has an explanation. “Moby Dick Rehearsed is a play that attempts to turn the 800-page novel into a two-hour play,” says director Karen Kirkham of Dickinson College. “That in itself is a feat to admire. Orson Welles’s 1955 play is little known. Even less known is Welles’s repeated opinion in interviews later in life that the play ‘is my finest work—in any form.’”

The show is at 7:30 Friday and Saturday, November 20 and 21, at and 2 p.m. Sunday, November 22. Tentative performances in December are Dec. 4 at 7:30 and Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. The production will tour schools and arts centers around the region until March. Tickets are $20 for adults and $16 for seniors and students; $10 for age 17 and under. Pendragon is at 15 Brandy Brook Avenue. For information and reservations, contact Pendragon Theatre (518) 891-1854 or pdragon@northnet.org.

A 1930 edition of Moby Dick illustrated by Rockwell Kent, who lived in Ausable Forks, is credited as a factor in the novel’s rediscovery. You can see Kent’s powerful pen and ink drawings at this link to the Plattsburgh College Foundation and Art Museum, to whom many of Kent’s works were bequeathed by his widow, Sally Kent Gorton. The 1930 printing was first offered as a limited edition of 1,000 copies in three volumes held in metal slipcases. AntiQbook is offering a set for $9,500—something for the Christmas list.

Cover of the 1930 Chicago, Lakeside Press edition of Moby Dick, illustrated by Rockwell Kent


Sunday, November 15, 2009

World Cup Bobsled, Skeleton Returns to Lake Placid

The 2009-10 FIBT World Cup bobsled and skeleton season is underway and some of world’s best bobsledders and skeleton athletes will be coming to the Olympic Sports Complex track in Lake Placid, during the second stop of the seven-race tour November 20-22. Here are the details supplied by the Olympic Regional Development Authority, who manages the Lake Placid Olympic venues:

While in Lake Placid, the U.S. squad will try to match the same success it enjoyed last season when driver Steve Holcomb helped lead the team to four world championship medals on the 1,455-meter long course. The “Night Train” stood on three medal podiums, winning bronze in the two-man man race, bronze in the team competition and gold in the four-man event. That victory allowed him to become the first American pilot to claim a World title in 50 years.

Fellow American Shauna Robuck is also looking forward to being back in Lake Placid. Last season, the 32-year-old won a pair of world championship medals, piloting her sled to silver in the women’s two-man event, before helping the squad nab bronze in the team competition.

The U.S. skeleton team should be just as strong. The women’s line up is led by two-time World Cup Champion Katie Uhlaender and 2007 World Champion Noelle Pikus-Pace, while Zach Lund, the 2007 World Champion, and Eric Bernotas, a winner of several World Championship and World Cup medals during his career, headline the men’s roster.

Other sleds to watch include German Andre Lange, who won the four-man silver medal, and Latvia’s Janis Minins, the 2009 four-man World Championship bronze medalist. Other athletes to keep an eye out for include Switzerland’s Gregor Staehli, the reigning men’s skeleton World Champion, and Germany’s Marion Trott, the defending women’s skeleton World Champion.

Racing begins Friday, Nov. 20, at 9:30 a.m. with the women’s skeleton event, followed by the men’s skeleton race at 1 p.m. The men’s two-man bobsled race is slated for Saturday, Nov. 21, also beginning at 9:30 a.m., while the women’s two-man bobsled race is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Both the four-man bobsled race and the team competition are set for Sunday, Nov. 22. The four-man race begins at 9:30 a.m. and the team event caps off the three days of racing at 1 p.m.

Daily Tickets are available for $8.00 for adults and $6.00 juniors and senior citizens. Anyone who brings a non-perishable food item for the Lake Placid Ecumenical food pantry will receive free entry. For tickets call the Olympic Sports Complex at 518-523-4436 or pick them up at the gate on event days. For more information on the Nov. 20-22 FIBT World Cup bobsled and skeleton race in Lake Placid, log on to www.whiteface.com.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lecture: The Klan, Vigilantism in the Adirondacks

Writer and social historian Amy Godine will be giving a talk about vigilantes and the Ku Klux Klan on Sunday, November 22, at 3 p.m., at 511 Gallery on Main Street in Lake Placid. The lecture, entitled “Have You Seen That Vigilante Man?”, is being sponsored by The Lake Placid Institute.

Those interested in local history should be familiar with Godine’s work on social and ethnic history of the Adirondacks. Her stories, which have appeared a number of times in Adirondack Life magazine, take on the usually ignored aspects of Adirondack history. Spanish road workers, Italian miners, black homesteaders, Jewish peddlers and Chinese immigrants have all been brought to life through Godine’s meticulous research and writing. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Blues, Bluegrass, Heavy Metal and Jazz

Quite a variety this week. Country Legend in Glens Falls, Heavy Metal Nightmare in Albany, Bluegrass in Peru, and Jazz in North Creek. Whatever your musical taste, come out and support live music.

Thursday, November 12
Tonight in Glens Falls, country music great George Jones will perform at the Glens Falls Civic Center. This show is part of a Thanksgiving canned food drive, so bring non-perishable food items to donate. George Jones has been recording music for 55 years. Tickets are $35 at the show starts at 7pm.

If heavy metal is more your style, Metallica is playing the Times Union Center in Albany tonight at 7pm. Ticket prices range from $51.50 to $71.50.
http://www.metallica.com
http://timesunioncenter-albany.com

Friday, November 13

On Friday night, acoustic bluegrass group Bear Tracks will perform at the Peru Community Church at 7pm. Some of you might be familiar with the band from the Upper Hudson Bluegrass Festival in North Creek.
http://www.beartracksband.com
http://www.perucommunitychurch.com

Dreaded Wheat will be at Hotshots Bar in Glens Falls playing a regular bar-time show from 10pm-2am. Dreaded Wheat is a partying duo playing all your favorites since 1999.
http://www.myspace.com/dreadedwheat
http://www.myspace.com/clubhotshots

Matt & Shannon Heaton are a husband and wife duo playing traditional Irish music. They will be at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 7pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 at the door.
http://www.mattandshannonheaton.com
http://www.caffelena.org

Saturday, November 14

North Country favorites Raisinhead will be at the Putnam Den in Saratoga from 9pm-1am. Raisinhead has played many shows in North Creek, Lake Placid and Saranac Lake in recent years and has developed quite a following. They have become the official band of the Hudson River Whitewater Derby and are already scheduled for next year’s event.
http://www.raisinhead.com
http://www.putnamden.com

Blues guitarist and singer Christine Santelli is playing upstairs at the Waterhole #3 in Saranac Lake at 9pm. Christine is originally from Albany and has toured the US and Europe.
http://www.christinesantelli.com
http://www.myspace.com/saranacwaterhole

Also Saturday Night, Dreaded Wheat is playing J&J’s Foxx Lair Tavern in Baker’s Mills. This place has a great setup for bands and dancing, and a sweet shuffleboard table. Show is from 9pm-1am.
http://www.myspace.com/dreadedwheat

Sunday, November 15

Traditional Bluegrass Legend Del McCoury is playing at The Egg in Albany at 7:30pm. Tickets are $28. Contemporary Bluegrass Band, The Infamous Stringdusters will open the show.
http://www.delmccouryband.com
http://www.thestringdusters.com
http://www.theegg.org

The Greene Brothers are at the Stony Creek Inn at 5pm. Their Mexican Night starts at4pm, so get there early.
http://www.stonycreekinn.net

Wednesday, November 18

Tony Jenkins Jazz Trip playing at barVino on Main Street in North Creek from 8-10pm. Tony is an exceptional jazz guitarist and is accompanied by bass, drums, and local legend Frank Conti on the saxophone. barVino has music every Wednesday night from 8-10pm with no cover. barVino offers the best beer and wine selection in the Adirondacks. They also serve the tastiest and most creative food inside the Blue Line.
http://www.myspace.com/thetonyjenkinsjazztrip
http://www.barvino.net

Photo: Philly Music Guide


Monday, November 9, 2009

Reminder: Local Journalism Conference Tuesday

Just a short reminder that the Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) is hosting a journalism conference at the Blue Mountain Center, in Blue Mountain Lake, tomorrow (November 10th).

The keynote speaker will be environmental journalist Jeff Goodell, author of Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future (Houghton Mifflin, 2007). I will participate as a panelist in a discussion on blogs. Will Doolittle of the Glens Falls Post-Star, Mike Hill of the Associated Press and Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio will also be there.

The conference is open to all. For more information contact the Adirondack Center for Writing, at (518) 327-6278 or acw@paulsmiths.edu.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

4th Annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest

It’s time to haul that albino jack-a-lope out of the attic; time to dust off that high quality deer butt door bell, or other animal rump art, and head down to the big city to show ’em how its done. Yes – it’s strange taxidermy time and “Science Geeks, Nature Freaks, and Rogue Geniuses” will be gathering Sunday, November 15th at the 4th Annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest at the Bell House, a 1920’s warehouse converted into a music and events venue in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The event is hosted by the Secret Science Club, which bills itself as a “lecture, arts, and performance series.”

“Show off your beloved moose head, stuffed albino squirrel, sinuous snake skeletons, jarred sea slugs, and other specimens,” the event announcement reads, “Compete for prizes and glory!” There will be a “feral taxidermy talk by beast mistress Melissa Milgrom,” author of the forth-coming book, Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy and an appearance by the Grand Master of Taxidermy, Takeshi Yamada. But the highlight of the event will be a juried taxidermy show judged by a panel of “savage taxidermy enthusiasts” that includes Robert Marbury, co-founder of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists, and Secret Science Club co-curator Dorian Devins.

The contest is open to any and all taxidermy (homemade, purchased, and found), preserved and jarred specimens, skeletons, skulls, and gaffs and beyond. The organizers are quick to point out this year that wet specimens must remain in their jars. Prizes will be awarded for categories that include best stuffed creature, most interesting biological oddity, and more.

Entrants need only contact secretscienceclub@gmail.com to pre-register, and arrive at 7 pm on the night of the contest.

The contest was begun in 2005 by Secret Science Club co-curators Margaret Mittelbach and Michael Crewdson as a promotion for this taxidermy-inspired book Carnivorous Nights: On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger. “The event has since taken on a life of its own,” the organizers tell us, after first-year winners Andrew Templar and Jim Carden (co-owners of the Bell House) began providing a permanent home for what has been dubbed a “beastly annual smack-down.”

Photo: Mike Zohn of Obscura Antiques received the 2008 Order of Carnivorous Knights Grand Prize for his “shadowbox mise en scene” of albino weasels posing as miniature polar bears.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Lowville Fond Farewell, Potsdam A Cappella, Reggae By The Rez

Music can be heard this week in Lowville, Potsdam, Saratoga, Thurman, and Saranac Lake (of course). Everything from a cappella to reggae to bluegrass. Quite a few events for the slowest month in the Adirondacks.

Thursday, November 5

There is a big show tonight in Lowville. The Lewis County Historical Society is hosting the last scheduled US performance of Tanglefoot,a Folk Roots Band from Ontario that has been performing together for 25 years. They have quite a following, so get there early if you don’t already have tickets. This concert is part of the Black River Valley Concert Series and starts at 8pm. Call 315-376-8957 to reserve tickets or for more info. http://www.tanglefootmusic.com

Friday, November 6

In Jay, the Jay Entertainment & Music Society (JEMS) is hosting Ballroom Dancing Instruction from 7-9pm. Cost is $5 per person or $8 per couple.
JEMS website: http://www.jemsgroup.com

The Putnam Den in Saratoga has The Breakfast playing from 10pm-2am. The Breakfast used to be called Psychedelic Breakfast and have played in the Adirondacks several times. We had them at Wiseguy’s in Lake Placid back in 2004 and they more recently headlined a night at The Backwoods Pondfest in Peru. They are a combination of Jazz and Rock. The Putnam Den is a relatively new venue and they have quite a few bigger bands on their schedule. I wish them luck, Saratoga has been in need of a good bar venue since Aiko’s closed down a few years ago. http://www.putnamden.com

Saturday, November 7

Potsdam area residents have some choices Saturday night. The band Shwa is playing at Clarkson University in The Cheel Commons at 8pm. Folk, Pop, and Rock influences can be heard here: http://www.shwamusic.com

Sweet Honey in the Rock will be performing in the Helen Hosmer Concert Hall at SUNY Potsdam. They are an a cappella group that has been performing together for 36 years. Show starts at 7:30pm. Listen here: http://www.sweethoney.com

Also at SUNY Potsdam, Ithaca-based Funk-Rock band Revision will play Hurley’s Nightclub at 7:30pm. This venue is operated by SUNY Potsdam students. The show is free for students and only $3 for the general public. http://www.revisionmusic.com

In Saranac Lake, Reggae band Spiritual Rez is playing my favorite Adirondack venue – The Waterhole #3 – at 10pm. These guys are a national act on their way to WV, NC and FL after this show. Spiritual Rez also played the Songs by the Lake Concert Series in Lake Placid this past summer. Band website: http://www.myspace.com/spiritualrez
Venue: http://saranaclakewaterhole.com or http://www.myspace.com/saranacwaterhole

Sunday, November 8

Sunday the party moves to Thurman. Hickory Ski Center is reopening this winter and Sunday is their Open House. The Stony Creek Band will be playing in their Base Lodge from 1-4pm, there will be food on site, and there will be a job fair. The Stony Creek Band is a group of very talented musicians playing mostly bluegrass originals and covers. I especially enjoy the mandolin and sometimes dobro.
Band website: http://www.stonycreekband.com
Hickory Ski Center: http://www.hickoryskicenter.com

Just a few miles away at The Stony Creek Inn, The Rock Brothers are playing at 7pm. They have live music every Sunday and it is very popular. People usually show up for dinner around 4-6pm and stick around for some dance music. This is also the home of The Stony Creek Band, who plays here about once per month.

If I were going to travel out of the area for a show this week it would be to Ithaca to see Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. http://www.giantpandadub.com

Please also check out http://www.adkmusic.com for more music related stuff.

Photo: Tanglefoot Website