The annual Harvest Festival will be held at the Adirondack Museum, in Blue Mountain Lake, on Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3. Both days will feature activities for the entire family from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The Adirondack Museum offers free admission to year-round residents of the Adirondack Park in the month of October – making Harvest Festival an affordable and enjoyable fall getaway for every Adirondacker.
Circle B Ranch of Chestertown, N.Y. will provide leisurely rides through the museum’s beautiful grounds in a rustic wagon filled with hay bales. Youngsters can enjoy pony rides as well. On Saturday, October 2nd only, Chef Tom Morris of the Mirror Lake Inn will offer a demonstration entitled “Extending the Season” at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Chef Morris will discuss techniques for canning, jarring, pickling, and other methods of food preservation.
On Sunday, October 3rd only, Sally Longo of Aunt Sally’s Adirondack Catering will offer harvest related food demonstrations at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Visitors can relax in an Adirondack chair and enjoy guitar and banjo tunes played by musician Bill Hall. Hall’s love of music and the Adirondacks has inspired his original compositions about early Adirondack logging, mining, and railroading.
Bill studied guitar with the legendary Chet Atkins, and is self-taught in classical style guitar and banjo. He has merged classic style with nature to create a unique finger picking method he calls “pick-a-dilly.” Bill has performed in various venues throughout the region including Teddy Roosevelt celebrations in the towns of Newcomb, Minerva, and North Creek, N.Y.
Other Harvest Festival highlights include cider pressing, barn raising for young and old, as well as pumpkin painting and crafts inspired by nature. Kids can jump in a giant leaf pile on the museum’s center campus.
The museum will accept donations of food and winter clothing for a full month this fall, in collaboration with Hamilton County Community Action.
From September 20 through October 18, 2010, donations of dried or canned foods, winter outerwear to include coats, hats, scarves, mittens, or boots for adults and children, as well as warm blankets, comforters, or quilts will be collected in the museum’s Visitor Center.
The 19th annual Whiteface Oktoberfest, in Wilmington, is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2-3. During the two-day festival, the Olympic mountain dusts off its lederhosen, fires up the oompah band and enjoys a tall mug of German beer. But it’s more than that… it’s fun for the entire family with activities including original vendors, arts and crafts, children’s rides including the popular hayride and inflatables, Bavarian food, drink, entertainment.
New this year, volleyball, horseshoes and 60-second challenges for great prizes. Also get ready for the upcoming skiing and riding season at Whiteface with ski shop sales in the Ausable Room. Of course the Whiteface Oktoberfest offers great traditional German music from Die Schlauberger, performing under the entertainment tent outside the base lodge each day, the Lake Placid Bavarians, who have been performing traditional Bavarian music in the north country for the last 19 years, and Ed Schenk on the accordion. The Cloudspin Lounge will also feature music from Schachtelgebirger Musikanten (Scha-Musi) and performing at their second Oktoberfest will be Spitze and The Alpen Trio.
As America’s #1 German band die Schlauberger is a powerhouse of musical expertise. From the moment they step on stage until they have wrung the final note from their last song, die Schlauberger has the audience up and dancing to their powerful renditions of German favorites and other crowd pleasing tunes.
Spitze will also get the audience involved with their amazing alpine show which features cowbells, the alpine xylophone, and the alphorn and of course – yodeling, while the Alpen Trio will greet Cloudsplitter Gondola passengers at the summit of Little Whiteface with the alphorns.
Finally, Whiteface also welcomes back Schachtelgebirger Musikanten for the sixth year to our Oktoberfest. The lively duo will be performing in the Cloudspin Lounge on Saturday and on Sunday.
Other entertainment to be found during the festival include the Alpenland Taenzer, nominated and accepted as members of the “Gauverband Nordamerica,” a nationally and internationally known organization promoting German Heritage throughout the United States and Canada, and “Kindergruppe,” comprised of 8-10 couples ages 3-19. Older members of the Kindergruppe also dance in the adult group.
Guests can also drive the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway and enjoy spectacular 360-panaromic views of the region, spanning hundreds of square miles of wild land reaching out to Vermont and Canada from the top of the state’s fifth highest peak.
Oktoberfest will be held Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. A complimentary shuttle service will be provided both days. Departure from the Olympic Center Box Office in Lake Placid takes place at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Departure from Whiteface to Lake Placid takes place at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. (Sunday only), 6 p.m. (Saturday only), and 7:30 p.m. (Saturday only). From Wilmington pick-ups are at noon both days with the return shuttle leaving Whiteface at 5 p.m.
Admission is $15 for adults, $9 for juniors and seniors and gondola rides are $12. More information about ORDA’s 19th annual Oktoberfest can be found online.
In conjunction with the Seventh Annual Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution, Fort Ticonderoga will host a book signing on Saturday, September 25 at 1 p.m. at the Museum Store. Seven authors will be signing copies of their books and are among the speakers at the annual seminar running throughout the weekend.
According to Beth Hill, Executive Director, “The weekend event highlights the newest historiography on the American Revolution. Visitors and participants will be able to interact with the authors and learn more about the pivotal stories that shaped our nation.” The authors include:
Thomas Barker and Paul Huey, authors of German Maps and Myths about the War for Independence;
Steven Bullock, author of Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840;
Douglas Cubbison, author of The American Northern Theater Army in 1776: The Ruin and Reconstruction of the Continental Force;
Michael Gabriel, author of Quebec during the American Invasion, 1775-1776;
Nancy K. Loane, author of Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment;
Richard M. Strum, author of Henry Knox: Washington’s Artilleryman and Causes of the American Revolution;
Gavin K. Watt, author of A dirty, trifling, piece of Business: The Revolutionary War as Waged from Canada in 1781.
Copies of the books are available at Fort Ticonderoga’s Museum. No admission fee is required for the book signing.
This weekend the 4th Artist at Work Studio Tour takes place in the tri-lakes region of the northern Adirondacks: Jay, Wilmington, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Gabriels, Paul Smths, and Tupper Lake. 50 artists at 41 locations (21 of which are located in Saranac Lake) open their studios and galleries to the public. This event showcases the varied creative skills and media of the resident artists of the region and is free.
Booklets with maps, illustrations, and directions are available from most art venues in the area. The Adirondack Artists’ Guild, 52 Main St., Saranac Lake, is headquarters for the event and more information can be obtained through their web site, adirondackartistsguild.com or by calling 518-891-2615. The Studio Tour also provides a great opportunity to enjoy fall foliage and perhaps bring home an original work of art. Photo: Saranac Lake artist Tim Fortune at work.
Curious what your great-grand-mother’s shawl or old family Bible is worth? The Franklin County Historical and Museum Society will be holding an Antiques Appraisal fund-raising event on September 22, 2010, from 4:00-7:00pm at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 41 Elm St., Malone. Saranac Lake resident Ted Comstock, former curator at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, will be providing verbal appraisals of antiques for the community. Members of the public are encouraged to bring objects from their attics and display cases to the K of C to obtain an independent appraisal of the value of their family heirlooms. Unlike for-profit ventures which seek to purchase valuables for resale, this appraisal event is independent and for the benefit of the community. Attendees are encouraged to stay to hear Ted Comstock’s fascinating explanations of the objects and their history as it relates to the area. Ted graciously donated his time and expertise in September 2009 for a similar event, which drew a capacity crowd.
The cost to have your antiques appraised is $5 per object or 3 for $12 (limit 3 objects, please). All proceeds go to support the work of the Society. Please call the museum at: 518-483-2750 for more details or for directions to the Knights of Columbus building.
Please omit coins, stamps and jewelry.
The House of History museum is housed in an 1864 Italianate style building, most recently the home of the F. Roy and Elizabeth Crooks Kirk family. A museum since 1973, the House of History is home to the headquarters of the Franklin County Historical & Museum Society and its historic collections pertaining to the history of Franklin County. The recently renovated carriage house behind the museum is the beautiful Schryer Center for Historical & Genealogical Research, which opened in 2006. The Schryer Center contains archival materials and a library of family history information and is open to the public. FCHMS is supported by its members and donors and the generous support of Franklin County.
The House of History is open for tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-4pm through December 31, 2010; admission is $5/adults, $3/seniors, $2/children, and free for members. The Schryer Center for Historical & Genealogical Reseach is open for research Tuesday-Friday from 1-4pm through October 8, 2010 and Wednesday-Friday from 1-4pm October 13-May 1, weather permitting. The fee to use the research library is $10/day and free to members.
Information about Franklin County History, the collections of the museum and links to interesting historical information can be found at the Historical Society’s website.
Contact the Historical Society with questions at 518-483-2750 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Andean shaman who has addressed audiences on multiple continents will appear at Paul Smith’s College on Thursday, September 23th. Don Alverto Taxo will discuss a 500-year-old prophecy in which the eagle – the industrialized north – and the condor – the people of South America – will fly in harmony. That time, he urges, is now.
Taxo, a native of Ecuador who has been honored as a master wisdom teacher, or iachak, by the Shamanic Council of South America, has been speaking for 15 years on topics as diverse as globalization and the application of ancient Andean practices to Western medicine. In addition to his lectures at schools, universities, conferences and elsewhere, he has published three English-language books.
He says he shares ancient wisdom practices with people who seek happiness, balance and fulfillment to feel the sacredness of each moment and every place.
Taxo’s talk, “The Wisdom of the Condor,” will be held at 7 p.m. in the Adirondack Room of the Joan Weill Adirondack Library. It is free and open to the public.
His appearance has been coordinated by TRIO-Student Support Services; the School of Science, Liberal Arts, and Business; and the Office of Student Activities.
Visionary small business owners, community leaders, and regional arts and cultural non-profits will share how their work is building communities and local economies at the Adirondack North Country Association’s 55th annual meeting Sept. 23, 2010, at Great Camp Sagamore.
Locally as well as nationally, the arts mean business. The Adirondack North Country’s arts and culture nonprofits make up a $21 million industry – one that supports 506 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $2.4 million in local and state government revenue, according to a survey done by Americans for the Arts. Nonprofit arts and culture organizations leverage a remarkable $8.1 million in additional spending by arts and culture audiences — spending that pumps vital revenue into local restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and other businesses in the region. And this does not include the impact of for-profit craft and art businesses. In the 14-county Adirondack North Country region, the for-profit small business crafts industry generates an estimated additional $8 million in revenues every year, according to ANCA’s Artisan Program Coordinator Nadia Korths.
The panelists represent a variety of interests and come from all corners of the region: Mary Ann Evans, owner, Mare’s Wares, Ogdensburg; Lynn Mishalanie, creator of Utica Monday Nite; Alice Recore, president and CEO of Mountain Lake PBS, Plattsburgh Jesse Cottrell, Associate Director of Salem Art Works, and others will speak to making the arts an economic powerhouse.
ANCA’s upcoming book, “Experiencing Traditions, Foods and Cultures in the 14-County Adirondack North Country” will be highlighted as well. In conjunction with this exciting new project, ANCA asks participants to post photos, videos, statistics, and anecdotal stories describing how your business or organization harnesses the economic engine of culture, arts or history in your community. E-mail content to email@example.com.
The daylong meeting costs $22 to attend, which includes lunch and stunning scenic views in a historic retreat, designed and constructed by William West Durant in 1897. For more information about ANCA and to register for the meeting at Great Camp Sagamore, visit ANCA’s website at www.adirondack.org.
The Second Annual Great Adirondack Quilt Show will be held at the Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, New York on Saturday, September 25, 2010. Nearly fifty contemporary quilts will be displayed in the museum’s Roads and Rails building from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The show is part of the Adirondack Fabric and Fiber Arts Festival and is included in the price of general museum admission.
All of the quilts and wall hangings in the show were made after 1970; the natural beauty of the Adirondack region has inspired the design of each. This is truly an Adirondack quilt show. Communities from Piseco to Dickinson Center, Diamond Point to Watertown, N.Y., and many towns in between are represented. The show will include quilts made from published designs (three from one book alone), original compositions, those that are quilted by hand and others by machine, a few tied comforters, and wall hangings constructed using modern layered fabric techniques.
There are a profusion of appliquéd animals – bear and moose predominating! Visitors should look for the “red work” embroidered piece, the round quilt, and the wall hanging made from forty-two rhomboid-shaped “mini” quilts.
Some of the makers featured are truly “quilt artists” with resumes listing the prestigious shows that they have done, and others are Grandmas who have lovingly fashioned special quilts for their grandchildren.
In addition, there will be a mini-exhibit of the textile production of five generations of the Flachbarth family of Chestertown, N.Y. From an 1877 sampler made in Czechoslovakia by Julia Michler Flachbarth to a contemporary quilt representing Yankee Stadium, the exhibit is a fascinating tour of textile history as interpreted by a single family.
Museum curator Hallie E. Bond has organized the Great Adirondack Quilt Show. Bond also curated the exhibit “Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts and Comforters” which will be on display at the Adirondack Museum through October 2011.
The Adirondack Museum tells stories of the people – past and present — who have lived, worked, and played in the unique place that is the Adirondack Park. History is in our nature. The museum is supported in part by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency. For information about all that the museum has to offer, call (518) 352-7311, or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org. Photo: “Late Summer” by Joanna Monroe is one of the entries in the 2010 Great Adirondack Quilt Show.
Adirondack Almanack is pleased to offer this guest post by Fred Balzac of Jay, NY:
Until about midway through the play, William Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, has all the trappings of a comedy: two feuding families; two young lovers who meet and marry in secret; their hot-blooded, sword-wielding cousins and buffoonish elders whose rivalry is sure to be o’erthrown by the fecund love between two representatives of the next generation of fair Verona.
But then wily old Will throws a curve into the proceedings: during a swordfight between the best duelists among the Montagues and Capulets, the lovestruck Romeo intervenes, enabling Tybalt to fatally wound Romeo’s sharp-tongued cousin, Mercutio, who musters enough breath to utter the curse, “A plague on both your houses,” before succumbing. Dazed and confused, Romeo picks up his cousin’s sword and, before he realizes what he is doing, manages to run it through his new in-law Tybalt, killing him. » Continue Reading.
The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) is hosting an event for International Observe the Moon Night at its office in Bolton Landing, September 18, 2010, at 6 – 8 pm. LGLC is currently the only event host site in upstate New York.
International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) 2010 is hoped to be an annual public outreach event dedicated to engaging the lunar science and education community, amateur astronomers, space enthusiasts, and the general public in annual lunar observation campaigns that share the excitement of lunar science and exploration. Those joining LGLC in Bolton will hear from lunar scientist, Rosemary Millham, Ph.D., observe the Moon through telescopes, simulate their own lunar impacts, and more.
Dr. Millham is currently the science coordinator for the secondary science education program and assistant professor at SUNY New Paltz, and works part-time for NASA GSFC in science writing and curriculum development.
Participants should meet at the LGLC Macionis Family Center for Conservation, at 4905 Lake Shore Drive, for a lunar presentation and explanation of the project, from 6-7:00 pm. The group will then go outdoors (may be at the Center or a short distance down the street) to view the moon. Dr. Millham will lead the group in lunar observations and conduct activities from 7:30-8:00. Participants are then invited to return to the Center for light dessert refreshments.
Participants may wish to bring a camera and their own binoculars or a telescope, should wear sturdy shoes and dress for cool evening temperatures.
This is a free event and for all ages. Registration is not required but is appreciated. Please call 644-9673 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Talented artisans will make this year’s Adirondack Fabric and Fiber Arts Festival at the Adirondack Museum the premier needlework event of the season. The festival will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2010. Activities are planned from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All are included in the price of general museum admission.
The festival will include demonstrations of rug hooking, quilting, felting, spinning, and weaving, a regional quilt show, textile appraisals, an artisan marketplace, a “knit-in” for a good warm cause, hands-on activities, and the museum’s beautiful exhibit, “Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts and Comforters.” Demonstrations will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at locations throughout the museum campus. Returning participants include the Serendipity Spinners, members of the community-based needlework group Northern Needles, the Adirondack Regional Textile Artist’s Association, as well as felter Sandi Cirillo and mixed-media quilter Louisa Austin Woodworth.
Liz Alpert Fay will make her first appearance at the festival, demonstrating the art of rug hooking. Fay studied at Philadelphia College of Art, and then participated in the Program in Artisanry at Boston University, where she received a BAA in Textile Design in 1981.
Fay created art quilts for seventeen years, exhibiting nationally and in Japan. Her work was exhibited in shows such as “Quilt National” and at the American Craft Museum in New York City. In 1998 she became intrigued with the technique of traditional rug hooking. Since then she has created colorful hand hooked rugs of her own design. The rugs have been purchased for private collections, and many have been selected for juried shows and invitational museum exhibitions. In 2002, Fay’s rugs were featured in the October issue of Country Living magazine; in 2005 she was filmed in her studio and her rugs featured on HGTV (the Home and Garden Channel).
Thistle Hill Weavers, Cherry Valley, N.Y. will offer a weaving demonstration from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The company is a commercial weaving mill that produces reproduction historic textiles for museums, designers, private homeowners, and the film industry. Textiles created by Thistle Hill have appeared in more than thirty major motion pictures. The business was founded by Rabbit Goody, who is also the owner and current director. For more about Thistle Hill Weavers, visit www.rabbitgoody.com.
Museum visitors can learn more about personal antique and collectible fabrics with Ms. Goody who is a textile appraiser and historian. For a small donation to the Adirondack Museum, she will examine vintage textiles and evaluate them for historical importance and value. Appraisals will be held in Visitor Center from 9:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon.
The second annual “Great Adirondack Quilt Show” will feature a display of nearly three-dozen quilts inspired by or used in the Adirondack Mountains.
A presentation, “Knitting in the North Country: History and Folklore,” will be offered by Hallie Bond and Jill Breit at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. in the museum’s Auditorium. Bond, a museum curator and novice knitter, will share her ongoing research about the place of spinning and knitting in local history including traditional techniques and the wearing of knitted garments. Breit, Executive Director of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York and a superb knitter, will discuss the vital and vibrant knitting scene in the North Country today.
A special knit-in, “Warm Up America!” will create afghans that will be donated to Hamilton County Community action, an organization that helps people help themselves and others. The knit-in will be held in the Visitor Center from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Participants will knit or crochet 7″ by 9″ rectangles that will be joined together to make cozy afghans.
A dozen regional artisans will sell handmade fabrics and fiber specialty items in a day-long marketplace as part of the Adirondack Fabric and Fiber Arts Festival.
The Adirondack Museum tells stories of the people – past and present — who have lived, worked, and played in the unique place that is the Adirondack Park. History is in our nature. The museum is supported in part by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency. For information about all that the museum has to offer, call (518) 352-7311, or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.
The Great Adirondack Moose Festival will take place in Indian Lake this weekend, September 18-19. The idea was conceived when Event Chairperson Brenda Valentine read of the return of moose to the Adirondack Park.
Before retiring permanently to the Indian Lake area, Valentine organized fundraisers for Consolidated Edison (ConEd). Her experience with public relations and the support of the community has created a new event, she hopes, for all ages. She admits that she couldn’t just sit down and “be retired.” » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting, Thursday, September 16 and Friday Sept 17, 2010 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. On Thursday agency members and staff will participate in a field trip lead by Mr. Sean Ross, Director of Forestry Operations for Lyme Timber Company. Mr. Ross will discuss forest management and certification programs. On Friday the board will consider a setback variance requested by the YMCA for its Camp Chingachgook on Lake George, Blue Line Development Group’s 49 unit subdivision proposal in the Village of Tupper Lake, a subdivision proposal for land in the Village of Lake Pleasant, a proposed amendment to the Northville Boat Launch Unit Management Plan, and more. The Full Agency will convene on Friday morning at 9:00 for Executive Director Terry Martino’s report.
At 9:30 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider a shoreline structure setback variance requested by the YMCA for its Camp Chingachgook facility located on Lake George. The variance involves the replacement of a pre-existing one-story structure. The new structure will be used for camp operation purposes and to improve access to Lake George for participants in the Y-Knot Accessible Sailing Program. The project site is located in the Town of Fort Ann, Washington County.
The committee will consider Blue Line Development Group’s subdivision proposal for land in the Village of Tupper Lake, Franklin County. The project involves the subdivision of a 56±-acre parcel, involving class “1” wetlands and includes the construction of 13 townhouses with 49 total units. A dock would extend into Raquette Pond to accommodate 50 boats. The committee will also review a subdivision proposal for land in the Village of Lake Pleasant, Hamilton County owned by Agency Commissioner Frank Mezzano and consider accepting proposed General Permit Applications for installing new or replacement telecommunication towers at previously approved agency sites and change in use for existing commercial, public/semi-public or industrial buildings.
At 1:00 p.m., the State Land Committee will hear a presentation from Dr. Chad Dawson discussing roadside camping in the Adirondack Park. The committee will consider Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan compliance for a proposed amendment to the Northville Boat Launch Unit Management Plan. This unit is located in the Town of Northampton, Fulton County. The committee will then hear a first reading on reclassification proposals related to fire towers on St. Regis and Hurricane Mountains. The Board will take no action on the fire tower proposals this month.
At 2:30, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will consider approving a map amendment proposal for private lands located in the Town of Westport, Essex County. The proposal is for re-classifying approximately 25 acres of land from Resource Management to Hamlet.
At 4:00, the Full Agency will assemble to take action as necessary and conclude with committee reports, public and member comment.
Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website.
The next Agency meeting is October 14-15 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.
November Agency Meeting: November 18-19 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.
Vast British and American armies struggle for control of the Ticonderoga peninsula and the future of America at Fort Ticonderoga’s Revolutionary War Encampment, Saturday and Sunday, September 11th and 12th, from 9:30 am to 5 pm each day. More than 600 re-enactors bring the American Revolutionary War experience to life for visitors during the weekend, highlighting Fort Ticonderoga’s strategic role in the struggle for liberty. A battle takes place each day at 2 pm and is based on an encounter between advanced British and American forces during General John Burgoyne’s successful capture of the fort by the British in July 1777. Visitors will be able to purchase wares from period vendors, thrill at the pageantry of arms, enlist with the Continental soldiers for a bounty, and participate in a Sunday morning Anglican divine service in the fort at 10:30am. Beth Hill, Executive Director of Fort Ticonderoga, said this event “will bring to life the hardship, hope, and victory that defined Fort Ticonderoga’s history in the American Revolution.” Highlighted programs throughout the weekend will include Potent Potables: Drink and Sutling in the American Revolution presentations, cooper demonstrations, building field fortifications, daily life of camp followers, field surgery and much more! According to Hill, the weekend “will be an unparalleled opportunity for visitors to be immersed in a place and time that defined America.”
The historic capture of Fort Ticonderoga on May 10th, 1775, by Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold, and the Green Mountain Boys marked America’s first victory of the American Revolution. Fort Ticonderoga remained a strategic stronghold and key to the continent throughout the early years of the war. In 1777, British forces under General Burgoyne successfully recaptured Fort Ticonderoga, forcing American troops to abandon the fort and Mount Independence across Lake Champlain. During the 18th-century, Fort Ticonderoga was attacked six times in the span of twenty years, holding three times and falling three times.
Fort Ticonderoga is a private not-for-profit historical site that ensures that present and future generations learn from the struggle, sacrifices, and victories that shaped North America and changed world history. Fort Ticonderoga offers programs, tours, demonstrations and exhibits each day from 9:30am-5pm, May 20th- October 20th. A full schedule and information on events, including the upcoming Revolutionary War Encampment on September 11th and 12th, can be found at www.FortTiconderoga.org.
To live the life of a poet, says the actor Chris Noth, “is the ultimate political act, one of incredible bravery.”
At the very least, it’s an act of resistance or dissent, and one of last great dissenters, Peter Kane Dufault, will join Noth at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts on September 23 for a conversation, a poetry reading and a screening of a new film about Dufault, What I Meant to Tell You: An American Poet’s ‘State of the Union’.
Noth, best known for his roles in Law and Order, Sex and the City and The Good Wife, is the film’s associate producer. In the 1970s, he was a student at the Barlow School, a small, progressive boarding school in the Hudson Valley, where Peter Dufault was a teacher.
Dufault was the best teacher he ever had, said Noth, who later attended Marlborough College and the Yale School of Drama.
“He opened up a way of life to me, a life of the imagination; he showed us through his example how that life can be developed and explored through poetry,” said Noth.
What I Meant to Tell You: An American Poet’s ‘State of the Union’ was directed by Ethan Dufault, the poet’s son, and is based on Dufault’s conversations with his father.
The title of the film, What I Meant to Tell You refers not only to what a poet might tell his country, were it willing to listen to poets, but what a father might tell his son.
“The title suggests what it is we wish we had said and heard from the people we love,” said Dufault, whose parents separated when he was a child.
But according to Michael Thomas, the film’s producer, What I meant to Tell You transcends the merely personal.
“Peter Dufault is a World War II veteran, a boxer, a musician, an environmentalist and a political activist as well as a poet. You can chart our history through his life,” said Thomas.
For Peter Dufault, poetry is the constant in his life.
“Everything else is secondary to poetry; poetry is the touchstone for every move I make,” he said.
“I concluded early in life that time was of the essence; it’s a non-recouperable commodity; every job I took was something that gave me time to squeeze out whatever poetry was in me,” Dufault said. “To be a poet means to live my own life.”
“His embattled status as a poet and a political activist is part of his strength,” says Ethan Dufault.
But, he said, his father’s “contentiousness” has hurt him professionally.
“He’s refused to play the game, but his life has not been an easy one,” said Ethan Dufault.
(Or, as Peter Dufault himself says, “I ain’t venerated, I’m resented. In England, I’m considered a great American poet. The English like my politics.”)
In 1968, Dufault ran for Congress on an anti-war platform; shortly thereafter, he began teaching at Barlow, where he taught a course in American history.
“It was unlike any other history course they were likely to take,” recalls Dufault. “It was a matter of life and death for these kids, who were either going to be drafted or find some dodge to avoid the draft. How did this nation get to the point where we were incinerating villages in Southeast Asia? That’s what I wanted them to understand.”
Politics has never been far from the center of Dufault’s life, nor for that matter, from his poetry, which makes him a rarity among American poets.
“What’s bothered me most about the majority of American poets is that they are less and less engaged; while the United States, this great millenial experiment, is crumbling at the joints, they’re undisturbed,” said Dufault. “They seem to be suffering from an attention deficit disorder.”
Dufault was first exposed to left-wing politics as an undergraduate at Harvard, when a classmate took him to a meeting of the campus chapter of the John Reed Club, then dominated by party-line communists.
Not one to adopt any party’s line, Dufault never returned. Nevertheless, in the 1950s, he found himself blacklisted from New York newspapers. He headed north, becoming editor of the Catskill Daily Mail. He then found his way into teaching.
“For me, he was a sage,” said Chris Noth. “He was always interested in what you had to say. When you showed him a poem or an essay, you always went away with a kernel of something to work with. He didn’t treat us as school boys to be talked at.”
But Dufault’s “vivacity, his capacity for enjoying life, whether it was through a soccer game, chess or a conversation,” was also a lesson in living in the world, said Noth.
“Chris Noth has done more for this film than I could have asked,” said Ethan Dufault.
In addition to helping win attention for the film, Noth also played a role, albeit an indirect one, in its inception, said Dufault.
“My father and I are both birders, and we happened to run into one another on a bird walk,” said Dufault. “He mentioned that Chris Noth had approached him about making a film about Robert Frost, but some how that fell through. So I suggested that I make a film about him.”
Of the film, Peter Dufault says, “Film is not my medium; I don’t have any personal, aesthetic or political stake in it. When Ethan first asked me to look at the footage, I was astonished by how good it was. The piece of film that I saw was of a person reciting a poem; it didn’t register as me, it was just some agreeable old fart speaking poetry; it sounded good. It was a collaboration of film and poetry which I’d never seen before. I agreed to sign on but to back off; I’ve remained outside of it by choice. Ethan has his own agenda.”
The Lake Placid Center for the Arts is located at 17 Algonquin Drive in Lake Placid. The program, which is co-sponsored by the Lake Placid Institute, starts at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 per adult and $2 per student. People under 18 will be admitted at no cost.
The film makers are especially interested in attracting young people to the event, hence the low prices for tickets, said Michael Thomas.
“Peter Dufault is an 87 year old volcano,” said Thomas. “The kids are open to his message. They get it. We’ve held Question and Answer periods wherever we’ve screened the film, and the questions have been fantastic.”
Chris Noth will screen the film at NYU, Columbia, Yale, Middlebury and other schools.
“I talk to a lot of kids, and I’m chagrined when they say they want to study business or communications; those years of high school and college should be the time of intellectual awakening. My hope is that this film about Peter Dufault will have the same effect on them that he had on me,” said Noth.
“Today, poetry is an endangered species,” Noth said. “Peter made you feel that poetry was a noble and worthwhile endeavor, and I still feel that.”
For more information about the event , contact the Lake Placid Center for the Arts at 518-523-1312. Photos: Noth and Dufault in New York courtesy of Lake Placid Center for the Arts; Ethan and Peter Dufault courtesy of Ethan Dufault.
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