Posts Tagged ‘Arts’

Monday, January 10, 2011

Whitehall Movie: The Girl on the Barge

As a follow-up to last week’s piece on the late Mary Barber (Aunt Mary), below is the story of the movie that was filmed long ago on the barge canal in Whitehall. It was researched and written by my partner, Jill McKee, and is now part of an exhibit in Whitehall’s Skenesborough Museum.

In 1929, Universal Pictures released a film called The Girl on the Barge. The movie was about Erie McCadden, the illiterate daughter of a crusty, alcoholic barge captain. Erie falls in love with Fogarty, the pilot of the tugboat that is towing her father’s barge from New York to Buffalo on the Erie Canal. Captain McCadden is not at all pleased when he discovers the romance, and his anger is escalated further by the fact that Fogarty is teaching Erie to read.

Happily, in the end the captain comes to his senses, likely due in no small part to Fogarty’s rescuing of McCadden’s barge when it is accidently set adrift. Erie marries her love and the two present McCadden with a grandson.

The Erie Canal proved too difficult a setting for the Universal production department to create on or near the studio’s lot. However, the Erie Canal itself was not deemed suitable either. At least that was the opinion of the movie’s director, Edward Sloman, who came to New York State with two veteran cameramen, Jack Voshell and Jackson Rose, to find the right filming location.

Such location trips were rare at that time in the movie industry, but Universal was willing to invest the added time and money necessary to film the movie in the correct setting. After scouting the entire modern, commercialized Erie Barge Canal from Albany to Buffalo, Sloman felt it would not be believable to audiences. “They would swear we faked it in California,” he said.

Enter a contractor from Waterford, NY, named John E. Matton. He believed the Champlain Canal was just what Universal was looking for. After seeing it, Sloman agreed and chose Whitehall as the filming location.

In May, 1928, Sloman and rest of the film’s cast and crew set up their headquarters at Glens Falls and took up temporary residence at the Queensbury Hotel in order to begin making the movie. The silent era was giving way to “talkies,” and The Girl on the Barge was a hybrid between the two—a silent film with talking sequences.

The film’s cast was made up of some notable stars. The title role of Erie was played by Sally O’Neil, who had found stardom in 1925 when she appeared along with Constance Bennett and Joan Crawford in Sally, Irene, and Mary. Erie’s father, the barge captain, was played by Jean Hersholt, who appeared in 140 films from 1906–1955, and served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1945–1949.

Malcolm MacGregor (or McGregor), who appeared in over 50 films during his career, played Erie’s love interest, Fogarty. Erie’s sister, Superior McCadden, was played by Nancy Kelly, whose career spanned from the 1920s to the 1970s, during which time she received nominations for an Emmy and an Oscar, and also won a Tony Award. Both Ms. Kelly and Mr. Hersholt have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The movie’s director, Edward Sloman, was no slouch either. He directed nearly 100 films and acted in over 30, with some producing and writing thrown in for good measure. The story on which the movie was based was originally written by Rupert Hughes for Cosmopolitan magazine. Mr. Hughes was a prolific writer who saw more than 50 of his stories and plays made into movies.

The entire episode apparently caused quite a stir in the Whitehall/Glens Falls area. Several Whitehall residents took part in various scenes in the movie, and a humorous incident at the Queensbury Hotel was reported in the Syracuse Herald on June 11, 1928.

It seems that Mr. Hersholt arrived at the hotel after a day of filming. He was still dressed as his drunken barge captain character and asked for his room number without giving his name. The desk clerk not so politely informed Mr. Hersholt that the hotel was filled with “those motion picture people,” and there were no rooms available. In order to gain access to his room, Mr. Hersholt had to call upon director Edward Sloman to vouch for him.

Universal had a three-tiered rating system for its motion picture productions at the time Girl on the Barge was filmed. Low-budget flicks were dubbed Red Feather, and mainstream productions were labeled as Bluebird. Girl on the Barge was categorized as one of Universal’s most prestigious films, called Jewel. Jewel productions were expected to draw the highest ticket sales.

The movie was released on February 3, 1929. Various newspaper ads and articles have been found showing the movie still playing in theatres around the country into the following fall. The movie also received many favorable reviews. The Chronicle Telegram of Elyria, Ohio, complimented the “realistic and picturesque scenes” of “the barge canals of Upper New York State” (May 20, 1929).

The New York Times reviewer, Mordaunt Hall, raved about Mr. Hersholt’s make-up and costume, and stated, “The scenes are admirably pictured.” The Sheboygan Press of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, called the film “an exceptional picture,” and went on to report, “The picture actually was photographed along the picturesque Champlain Ship Canal in Upper New York State.”

Photo Top: Movie Poster now on exhibit in the Whitehall Museum.

Photo Middle: Sally O’Neil and Malcolm MacGregor in a scene near the canal.

Photo Bottom: Movie advertisement in the Ticonderoga Sentinel, 1929.

Lawrence Gooley has authored nine books and many articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. He took over in 2010 and began expanding the company’s publishing services. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

DEC’s Great Stories from the Great Outdoors Contest

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is calling for writers to share inspirational stories of experiences in New York’s great outdoors by entering the “Great Stories from the Great Outdoors” contest. Stories can range from the simplest walk through the woods to meeting a challenge through an outdoor activity. The contest is open to all and runs through February 2011.

Each month, DEC will select stories and post them on the DEC website (www.dec.ny.gov). A prize will be awarded for the top story each month. Complete contest rules are available online.

Through the Great Outdoor Stories contest, students, sportsmen and women, outdoor enthusiasts, campers and hikers can reflect and share the importance of the natural environment in their lives.

Entries can range from a few sentences to a maximum 650 words. All story entries must be received by February 28, 2011. Submit stories online at GreatOutdoorStories@gw.dec.state.ny.us or by mail to:

Carole Fraser
NYS DEC Universal Access Program
625 Broadway, 5th floor
Albany, NY 12233-4255

Illustration: The Great Adirondack Pass 1837 by Charles Ingham.


Friday, January 7, 2011

50 Year Old Opera Festival Severs Links to Lake George

“Lake George is rich in musical history, having been home to Marcella Sembrich, Louise and Sidney Homer, among others, and by the late 1950s, people wanted to bring the magic back,” says Tom Lloyd, recounting the origins of the Lake George Opera.

Lloyd, the owner of Adirondack Studios, is the son of the Lake George Opera’s legendary director David Lloyd, and was himself a technical director, artistic director and acting managing director when he was still in his 20s.

Earlier this fall, Lloyd addressed a gathering of Lake George Opera supporters in Clifton Park, a kick-off to the organization’s celebrations of its 50th anniversary.

Two weeks later, the company announced that it was changing its name to Opera Saratoga, severing its links to its origins on the shores of Lake George.

“For several years, the Company has considered a name change to reflect its permanent residency in Saratoga Springs. The Company has been producing opera at the Spa Little Theater for the past fourteen seasons and considers the lovely, intimate theater to be its home. The time has come, as the Opera celebrates the accomplishments of its history, to fully embrace its home and increase the public commitment to its community and surroundings,” a statement from the company said.

Lloyd acknowledged that he has mixed feelings about the change in names, but he concluded, “the organization should probably be named for the community that embraces it, and that seems to be Saratoga. Let’s hope it will lead to increased funding.”

For those who hoped that some way would be found to bring the Lake George Opera back to Lake George, its 50th anniversary was to have been an occasion to re-affirm its historic links to the lake. Instead, it’s an occasion to reflect upon the past.

Tom Lloyd provided that retrospective in his talk to the Friends of the Lake George Opera in November.

In 1962, tenor David Lloyd was in Colorado, performing with soprano Jeanette Scovotti, both names huge in the world of opera.

“Jeanette had to leave Colorado and go back to New York, where she and her husband Fred Patrick were starting the Lake George Opera,” said Lloyd. “She said something to David, David spoke to Fred, and by the next summer David had signed on as artistic director.”

Fred Patrick, born Frederick Susselman, was a baritone who had graduated from Julliard, where he had met Scovotti.

He was also a friend of Armand McLane, a singer who was familiar with Lake George and its musical associations, who believed that there was still an audience on the lake for opera.

Patrick may also have been familiar with Donald W. Johnston, who had started the Studio of Song in 1951.

“The Studio of Song didn’t make it, but Fred Patrick saw its amphitheatre in Diamond Point, and saw its possibilities,” said Lloyd.

Legend has it that the theatre, at the corner of Rt. 9N and Coolidge Hill Road, was a building in total disrepair. Patrick rebuilt it himself on summer weekends, when he wasn’t on tour or singing in New York.

Among the new company’s first productions was an English version of “Carmen,” with a libretto by Patrick himself.

In fact, when the singer scheduled to perform the role of Escamillo fell ill, Patrick sang the role.

Reporting on the Lake George Opera’s first season, the New York Times called Patrick “a jack of all trades.”

“Mr. Patrick keeps his budget down by doing the chores himself. He feels that his company must be versatile. He plans an apprentice program, which should help out backstage,” the reporter noted.

According to Tom Lloyd, the Lake George Opera’s versatility was its defining characteristic, and made membership in the company the valuable experience it was.

“The singers didn’t just sing, they did everything, including costuming, lighting and set design,” said Lloyd. “Fred always had a handful of bus tickets, and if you weren’t willing to work, he’d hand you one and put you on a bus back to New York. He was so committed, and he expected you to be, too.”

That collective spirit informed the apprentice program envisioned by Patrick. By 1967, a young singer would be taking classes in the morning, painting sets in the afternoon, and applying her own make-up in the evening in preparation for a stage appearance. The program is now the second oldest of its kind in the country, and one of the most selective.

Equally important to the future of the company was Patrick’s vision of an American company performing operas in English.

David Lloyd and many others associated with the Lake George Opera had studied with Russian-born pianist, conductor, and stage director Boris Goldovsky at Tanglwood.

Goldovsky, explains Tom Lloyd, trained artists to be actors as well as singers.

“Like stage actors, opera singers needed motivation and characterization if they were to become good performers,” said Lloyd.

Singing in English made singers better actors, David Lloyd said in 1967.

When a singer knows that his words are understood, David Lloyd said, he works harder to make his gestures and expressions suit his language.

Fred Patrick died at the age of 37 in 1965. By then, David Lloyd was the company’s managing director. Under his tenure, the Company gave its first contemporary and American operas, Menotti’s The Telephone in 1965 and Robert Ward’s The Crucible in 1966, and four world premiere productions: David Amram’s Twelfth Night and Robert Baksa’s Aria da Capo, both in 1968, The Child by Jose Bernardo in 1974, and Alva Henderson’s The Last of the Mohicans in 1977.

In 1964, the company moved to the Queensbury High School.

“The disadvantages were that it was a high school, with all the stigma attached to that,” said Lloyd. “The advantages were that it was enormously accessible, classrooms could be used as rehearsal halls, there was plenty of parking and it had an 876 seat theater.”

Unlike today’s three week season, when two operas will be performed, Lake George Opera seasons in the 1960s extended for an entire summer and featured more than fifty performances of at least seven operas.

The Queensbury High School was meant to be a temporary home. Fred Patrick had dreamed of building a theater on Lake George, and working with officials in the administration of Governor Hugh Carey, David Lloyd nearly accomplished that feat.

“My Dad’s effort with Hugh Carey was inspired. He almost had the State ready to donate Green Island to the Opera when the Sagamore was in disarray. It would have become a real destination festival like Santa Fe if that would have happened,” said Tom Lloyd.

It has been said that the Opera’s board of directors, then dominated by Glens Falls residents, vetoed the idea on the grounds that Bolton Landing was too remote to attract an audience.

In 1998, the company moved to the Spa Little Theater in the Saratoga State Park.

This summer, the newly-renamed company will celebrate its 50th anniversary with performances of two operas staged in Diamond Point in 1962.

And that, so far as we know, will be the last of the Lake George Opera Festival.

Photos: Lake George Opera production of The Bartered Bride, 1996; Lake George Opera Festival founders Jeanette Scovotti and Fred Patrick (photo taken at Chalet Suisse, Warrensburg).

For more news from Lake George, subscribe to the Lake George Mirror


Monday, December 13, 2010

Adirondack Celebrity: Centenarian Charles Jennette

In 1936, at a birthday party in the Adirondacks, the honoree said he would be married within two years. He died six years later, but in that short time he made headlines across the state and the country on several occasions. During that span, he received more than 100 letters and 9 personal visits from female suitors; became engaged; was dumped the day before the wedding; was the guest of honor at several dinners, birthday parties, and parades; regularly mowed his lawn with a scythe; joined a ski club; and received the Purple Heart for war injuries.

Those are interesting, but relatively normal life events. Unless, of course, at that party in 1936, the birthday boy was turning 99 years old. Review it all from that perspective, and now you’ve got something.

Meet Charles Jennette, for a time the most famous man in the Adirondacks. His greatest notoriety came in his 100th year when he became engaged to Ella Blanch Manning, a New York City woman who had attended his 99th birthday party several weeks earlier. Days before the wedding, the Albany headline read “100 Called Too Old to Marry; Man Will Take 3d Wife at 99.”

But just 24 hours before the wedding, and after a visit with her daughters, Ella changed her mind. Already a media sensation, and despite being left high and dry, Charles continued with his post-wedding plans of a boat ride and dinner, remaining hopeful of marriage in the near future. After many interviews, he was only too happy to return to an otherwise, quiet, humble life.

Jennette was born in Maine in 1837. The family moved to Canada when he was five, and returned to the US when the Civil War began. At Malone, Charles enlisted for three years with Company A, 95th NY Volunteers, but served only nine months. His time was cut short in 1865 when he was wounded in the Battle of Hatcher’s Run (also known as Dabney’s Mills) in Virginia. He was still in the hospital when the war ended.

In 1866, he married Emily Proulx in Ottawa, a union that would endure for 57 years. When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, Charles tried to enlist at the age of 61 but was refused. He lived much of his life in the St. Regis Falls area as a lumberman, toiling in partnership for many years with his son, John.

They ended the business relationship in December 1915 when Charles was 78, and in the following year he built a cottage at Old Forge. In 1921, the 84-year-old was one of only 6 attendees at the final meeting of the Durkee Post GAR in St. Regis Falls. GAR represents Grand Army of the Republic, the title given to Union forces in the Civil War. Few veterans survived, so the local group was discontinued.

His wife, Emily, died in the mid-1920s. Charles soon began spending summers in Old Forge and winters in Ilion (near Herkimer), while making regular visits to family in Tupper Lake. He married for a second time (January 1935, in Montreal), but his new bride died just two months later.

He was generally known as a remarkable old-timer until fame arrived in 1936 when, at his 98th birthday party, Charles announced he expected to wed again before he reached 100 (because “over 100 is too old”). Several hundred people attended the festivities.

After addressing more than a hundred female suitors (ages 42 to 72), he made plans to marry Ella Manning. Instead, at 99, he became America’s most famous groom to be jilted at the altar.

After that, it seemed anything he did was remarkable, and at such an advanced age, it certainly was. In 1937 (age 100) he rode in a Memorial Day parade as guest of honor. Shortly after his 101st birthday, he attended the Gettysburg Annual GAR Convention 72 years after his combat days had ended.

In 1940, on his 103rd birthday, he used a scythe to mow the lawn, and otherwise continued his daily ritual—trekking nearly two miles to retrieve the mail, and taking time to read the daily newspapers (and he didn’t need glasses!). Yearly, he made maple syrup in the spring and tended a garden each summer.

In August 1940 at Oneida Square in Utica, Charles was honored in a ceremony at the Soldiers’ Monument, which was built in 1891 to memorialize the Utica men who “risked their lives to save the Union.” Seventy-five years after suffering wounds in battle, Charles Jennette became a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (formed during WW I).

At age 104, perhaps still holding a marriage possibility in the back of his mind, Charles became the first male allowed to join the Old Forge Sno-Flakes, an all-girls’ ski club. He soon expressed regret at not having taken up skiing “when I was young, say 70 or so.”

In mid-1942, in support of the WW II effort, a photo of Charles purchasing war bonds was widely distributed among newspapers. He continued to attend American Legion rallies and make other appearances. Finally, in December of that year, he passed away at the age of 105.

Photo Top: At age 99, Charles Jennette with his fiancé, Ella Manning.

Photo Bottom: One of many headlines generated by Jennette’s story.

Lawrence Gooley has authored nine books and many articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004 and have recently begun to expand their services and publishing work. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gary Randorf: Photographer, Teacher

Few people combine so much heart, artistry and teachable strategy as Gary Randorf. This influential, heroic Adirondack photographer and conservation advocate is about 73 now, but he will always be a young man at heart, and he’s still keeping in touch with his many Adirondack friends. I feel fortunate to have interacted with him over the years.

Gary has influenced so many people to look not once, not twice but again and again at the Adirondacks, or any landscape that has such arresting wilderness beauty, subtlety, inhabited by people feeling a deep sense of place. Actually, Gary was teaching when you didn’t realize it.

Early in my time with the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, Gary led a lobbying trip to Albany for the Adirondack Council. He never explicitly taught me how to lobby. He simply took me from office to office, talking as we went. As I recall, Gary was pushing the Legislature to increase funds for land acquisition in the State, and for Park planning at the Adirondack Park Agency.

The Senate Finance committee, chaired By Senator Ron Stafford, was a tough nut to crack. Gary always took the time to sit down with even the most hostile, or seemingly hostile, staff member. On this occasion, a very senior staff member of the Senate Finance Committee started to lecture Gary. Our cause that day was not very important, he said. We were a very small fish swimming in a very large ocean called the NYS budget. Furthermore, people in the Adirondacks were not interested in more land acquisition.

I thought he was brusk and rude to someone of Gary’s stature and experience. Yet, Gary calmly persisted, giving him pertinent information, asking the committee for its consideration, showing him photographs of the areas he was talking about, and hoping the staffer will join Gary in the Adirondacks at his next opportunity to see what was at risk. The staffer ended up smiling at the thought of a field trip. I have never forgotten that effective style.

A few months later, in August 1987, Gary was working for the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) for a second stint (he and Clarence Petty worked for the APA in the ‘70s, documenting and field checking the Park’s Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers). On this occasion, Gary was photo documenting the development of the Visitor Interpretive Centers (VICs).

I met Gary at the recently cut-over lands destined to be the footprint of the VIC at Paul Smith’s. Gary was giving suggestions to a crew of Camp Gabriels prisoners on how to build boardwalks through the wetlands below the VIC site. He was also taking lots of photographs. Gary has such an eye for scenery, lighting and mood. Two years later, the VIC opened, with Gary’s photographic talents on display, including his photographic exhibit of the marsh as it changed its appearance over the course of a full year.

I enjoyed other rare, precious days with Gary and friends over the years. He left notes on his door – “make yourself at home” – and he always made you feel exactly that way, as he took us to places he had been many times before, but was seeing with fresh eyes. Along the way, the book he had worked on for so long, The Adirondacks: Wild Island of Hope, was finally published. His inscription of my copy meant a lot to me: “Long-time fighter in the trenches for the Forest Preserve.”

In the book’s foreword, Gary writes: “I will share with you how I enjoy the park and introduce you to its natural history because I believe that you must know and understand a place before you can be talked into saving it.” That is so characteristic of Gary’s teaching method. He continues, “The world is watching. We are and will continue to set an example of how to do it – that is, saving a wilderness that includes people. If we fail, we fail not only our state, our country, and ourselves, but also the world.” Wild Island of Hope is no mere picture book. It seeks to teach how we only understand what we appreciate, and only seek to protect what we understand.

I last saw Gary in 2009 thanks to his friends Dan Plumley and John Davis, who brought Gary to a training seminar designed for college students to apply their academic curriculum to real-world challenges of wilderness preservation in the Park. Dan opened the training and invited Gary to follow.

With disarming frankness, Gary talked about his Parkinson’s disease, and how he believed he was afflicted because of the years of exposure to pesticides as a young man earning a living in western New York. He then reminded the students how close the Park had come to widespread, unregulated aerial spraying to kill black flies in the 1980s, and recounted the difficult but rewarding work to stop this aerial assault.

Several students were amazed that spraying for black flies had been practiced, or even been considered in the protected Adirondack Park, which led to an excellent discussion about gaps in legal protection at the state and federal levels, and how current generations must build on the work of their predecessors. The job is never done.

Photos: Gary Randorf speaking to students at a 2009 Adirondack Park Stewardship Training seminar, and in a group photo after the session.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Holiday Craft Shows

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

I can’t be the only person that hasn’t completed her holiday shopping. Otherwise there would be no need for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Right? I did not venture into the Black Friday madness. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted enough to camp in a parking lot or be part of a stampede. My nieces and nephews are of an age when only a gift card will do while my in-laws appreciate something a bit more edible.

My children pick apart the daily influx of catalogs, circling a wish list that would put the greediest to shame. Through out the gimme-gimmes of the holiday season, I weave in as many opportunities to remind my kids that it is not the price of the gift that makes it special.

I do my best to give them chances to make gifts for their grandparents or earn a bit of money to be able to go pick up something unique. Luckily there are many bazaars, craft fairs and town celebrations that allow just that.

This weekend, events are happening all over the Adirondack Park as towns start stringing twinkle lights and bows in anticipation of the holiday season. There are tree lightings and caroling, craft shows and ranging from Northern Lights Winter Faire (where children can hand-dip a candle or make a gift) to the 23rd annual Sparkle Village weekend craft fair at Saranac Lake’s Harrietstown Town Hall. Wilmington and Keene Valley and AuSable Forks presents “Christmas at the Forks.”

On Saturday, December 4, Long Lake will have various workshops and artist open houses along with a free holiday movie, candy cane hunt and story time. North Creek will have a weekend of events for their annual “Lights One Holiday Celebration.” Eagle Bay (near Old Forge) will host an old-fashioned tree lighting, caroling and gifts for kids on Sunday followed by refreshments at the Eagle Bay Fire Hall.

Ticonderoga has its 5th annual Museum Christmas Store where all area museums gather a sampling of their goods at the Hancock House.

Warrensburg has a town-wide celebration on Saturday from tree lighting to church bazaars and plenty of children’s activities throughout. From 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Thurman Town Hall, help trim the community tree and catch a visiting Santa. If you are in Bolton Landing, Santa will be offering hay rides at Rogers’ Memorial Park at 2:00 p.m., though it will be up to you to explain the numerous Santa sightings around the park this weekend.

This hardly touches on the range of hand-crafted items or activities that will allow children of all ages to participate in a community kick-off to the holiday season.

All in all there are so many happenings that can continue to show all of us that the gift doesn’t have to be made in China or always be the “must have” toy of the year, it can be made by a neighbor or even by our own hands. Enjoy the start of the Adirondack Holiday Season.

photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Saranac Lake Photographer Mark Kurtz Celebrates Milestone

Saranac Lake photographer Mark Kurtz will be marking the 10th anniversary of opening his gallery on 36 Broadway in downtown Saranac Lake on Friday with a celebration (5:30 to 8 pm) and a weekend long open house next weekend, November 20th and 21st.

Ten years ago this fall Kurtz opened his gallery after three years with the Adirondack Artists Guild. “That gave me the courage to try something on my own, Kurtz says, noting that he wasn’t sure what to expect from his new space, which also houses his commercial photography business. Since he first entered a darkroom in the eighth grade, Kurtz has been honing his craft, largely in black and white. His gallery boasts hundreds of hand-made prints. Kurtz was a founding member of the Adirondack Artist’s Guild, and is widely recognized as one of the Adirondack region’s preeminent photographers. He is a regular contributing photographer to Adirondack Life magazine and his work has been featured in Skiing magazine.

Kurtz will be showing some new things at his gallery for his tenth anniversary – color for one. Along with his black and white, and sepia work he has also expanded his offerings to include digital prints. “No, I have not gone completely digital” Kurtz said emphatically, “I will never give up the traditional process of shooting with film and working in the darkroom. But the quality of digital has progressed to a level that I can now offer my images as digital prints and at a lower price than the labor intensive silver print process.”

Hours for next weekend’s open house will be Saturday, 10 to 7, and Sunday 10 to 4.

Photo: Mark Kurtz, Self Portrait, Courtesy Mark Kurtz Photography.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Woodstock of the North: The 1970 Churubusco Live-In

1970 Churubusco Live-In posterWe’ve all heard of Woodstock at one time or another—that famous (or infamous) concert held in August 1969. It was scheduled at different venues, but the final location was actually in Bethel, New York, about 60 miles from Woodstock. For many who lived through three major homeland assassinations, the Vietnam War, and the racial riots of the turbulent 1960s, Woodstock was an event representing peace, love, and freedom. It’s considered a defining moment of that generation, and a great memory for those who attended (estimated at 400,000). » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Peoples Pixel Project: Short Video Fesitval

The Lake George Arts Project is seeking submissions for its Peoples Pixel Project – 2011: A Festival of Short Videos which will be held on January 22, 2011 at the Charles Wood Theater in Glens Falls. The festival is open to everyone living within 100 mile radius of Lake George. The deadline for all entries is November 20, 2010.

Entries may originate in any format, however:

One video per disk. Video disks with more than one film will be rejected.

Entries MUST be submitted for playback in two formats – one disk per format
FORMAT 1: DVD in NTSC format (common to most DVD players). DVD must NOT include menus or any formatting which does allow direct playback upon disk load.

FORMAT 2: AVI PC file.

All videos must be labeled with title, producer(s) name, category and total running time.

Entrants may submit up to 3 individual works in any category for which they are qualified. Please complete one form for each submission [pdf].

Entries deemed not suitable for a general audience will not be selected for screening.

Three awards will be presented in each of the following categories:

1. Tunes: Music related video where the primary focus is the music. Music MUST be original work for which the entrant owns the copyright.

2. U14: Work by artists 14 years old and younger in any category.

3. Get Reel: Documentary video.

4. Animated: Stop action, table-top animation, computer generated, hand-drawn, slideshow, etc., as long as it is not PRIMARILY live action.

5. Experimental: Experimental work, not necessarily narrative.

6. Narrative: Tell a story, but make it quick!

7. Short Shorts: Less than 60 seconds!(*new this year)


Saturday, October 16, 2010

18th Annual Conference on the Adirondacks

The Adirondack Research Consortium is seeking abstracts for panel or poster presentations at the 18th Annual Conference on the Adirondacks to be held May 18th and 19th, 2011 in Lake Placid. Research presentations can involve any topic of relevance to the Adirondack region including the natural sciences, economic and community issues, social sciences, arts and the humanities.

For more information and a 2011 Abstract Submission Form go to the Consortium’s webpage or call Dan Fitts on the Paul Smith’s College Campus at 518-327-6276. The Consortium will review all submissions to determine acceptance for presentation at the conference and scheduling. The Consortium expects that presenters will register for the conference.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Adirondack Center for Writing Upcoming Programs

The Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) is offering some interesting programs in the coming month. A memoir conference, a high school writing retreat, and two performance poetry events are on the schedule.

For workshop descriptions, and author bios, go to their web site, www.adirondackcenterforwriting.org or call the office at 518-327-6278.

Saturday, October 16th – Memoir Conference

ACW is presenting “Out of the Dark and onto the Page: an Intensive Daylong MEMOIR Writing Workshop,” at the Northwoods Inn in Lake Placid. You need to register today (Thursday). The day includes workshops such as “Memoir as Mystery: A Workshop and Discussion with Paul Pines”, “Open the Door and Invite the Reader In with Bibi Wein”, and “Life Lines – Writing Memoir with Mary Sanders Shartle.” The cost is $59 for ACW members and $69 for nonmembers (lunch is included).

October 28-29- High School Writing Retreat

The Adirondack Center for Writing is offering its 6th Annual High School Writing Retreat to be held October 28-29 at Paul Smith’s College. The retreat, open to students in grades 9-12 from school districts (or home schooled kids) in the Adirondacks and surrounding regions, features workshops and presentations with three acclaimed performance poets. There is space for a total of 90 students in the program.

The event consists of two days of poetry and writing, with workshops conducted by three of the nation’s top performance poets. This year we feature Roger Bonair-Agard, Rachel McKibbens, and Samantha Thornhill. The program will include a seminar on how to present and perform one’s writing in front of an audience, concluding in a performance by the three teaching poets. The cost of the entire two days, lunch included both days, is only $50 per student. Register by contacting the Adirondack Center for Writing 518-327-6278 or email info@adirondackcenterforwriting.org. There are very few spaces left, contact ACW immediately if you would like to participate.

Thursday, October 28, 2010- ACW Presents Performance Poetry

The Adirondack Center for Writing is bringing the best performance poets of Brooklyn and Chicago to your doorstep. A performance by three spoken word poets on Thursday, October 28 at 7 p.m. will push and blur boundaries between music, art, theatre and literature. The Adirondack Center for Writing and Bluseed Studios present Word!, a night with Roger Bonair-Agard, Rachel Mckibbens, and Samantha Thornhill.

The trio will take the stage at 7:00 P.m. at Bluseed Studios, 24 Cedar Street (next to Aubuchon Hardware) in Saranac Lake. The event is free and open to the public (although donations are appreciated). In short, these three are to poetry what hip hop is to music: cutting edge, full of rhythm and style and bound to smash stereotypes.

Thursday, November 18th — ACW Presents Performance Poetry at Paul Smith’s College

The Adirondack Center for Writing and Paul Smith’s College are presenting Adam Falkner, John Sands, and Mahogany L. Brown at the College, considered “the freshest voices in the spoken word scene.” Free and open to the public. Freer Hall.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You might be an Adirondacker if . . .

Jeff Foxworthy has made millions making fun of rednecks. He’s famous for one-liners that start off, “You might be a redneck if …”

Example: “You might be a redneck if you ever lost a tooth opening a beer bottle.”

The other day my son and I were wondering if we could come up with similar one-liners for Adirondackers. So I made a list of ten below.

I’m no Jeff Foxworthy, but you might be. I’m hoping my ten will inspire you to come up with your own one-liners. Please add them in the comments section.

You might be an Adirondacker if …

1. Your all-season tires are snow tires.

2. When your marriage goes bad, you blame the APA.

3. You think Glens Falls is downstate.

4. Your snowmobile cost more than your truck.

5. You’ve seen a mountain lion.

6. The family car has a plow.

7. Your kid has a firewood stand.

8. You’ve tasted bear.

9. You create art with a chainsaw.

10. Your ice shanty is better furnished than your living room.

Photo of Jeff Foxworthy from Wikipedia.

Phil Brown is editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

4th Artist at Work Studio Tour This Weekend

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.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

ANCA Meeting to Consider Arts and Culture

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 nkorths@adirondack.org.

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.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet At Depot Theatre

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.