Posts Tagged ‘Arts’

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Fall Festivals Offer Polka, Blues and Jazz

It appears that most towns in the Adirondacks like throwing Fall Festivals. Makes sense given how lovely trees look in all their colorful glory—the weather is usually pretty cooperative too. That said, I was still surprised to find out how many are on this weekend. Music and food—can’t beat that combination as far as I’m concerned.

It all starts today with the last Art Walk of the season in Saranac Lake, starting at 4:30 pm. Galleries will be open late. There will be music and artists on the street. The Stoneman Blues Band will be playing on The Waterhole patio from 6 pm until no one wants to hear ’em anymore—in other words, until quite late. With two very interesting guitarists, strong vocals and a solid rhythm section I find it hard to stay seated when they have the stage.

On Saturday there will be a Pig Roast, Apple Festival and Concert in Willsboro. What more could one want? It will be held at the 1812 Homestead Farm and Museum I don’t eat pig and I don’t even know anything about the concert but it still sounds like a good time. Try calling Jack Swan at 963-4071 for more information.

Inlet is having their annual Fall Festival. Saturday 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. It takes place in Fern Park and features crafts, food, with music provided by Dave Ruch and Fritz’s Polka Band. Any band with lyrics like “Grab my accordion and stretch it out” obviously knows how to party.

In Lake George from 1 to 6 pm on both Saturday and Sunday; Jazz At The Lake will be under way. With three groups a day I’m sure jazz fans will be satisfied. It’s going to be held at Shepherd Park and admission is free.

Also on Saturday the 19th in Saranac Lake, the popular Jamie Notarthomas returns. He starts at 7pm. He’s a one-man band with large repertoire of originals and covers. This also happens to be the last patio show of the season at the Waterhole, which pretty much guarantees a rockin’ party.

A quick mention goes out to Lowville – holding their Cream Cheese Festival on Saturday from 11 am – 6 pm. There will be live music all day and the “World’s Largest Cheesecake”! I checked out some tunes from the Bad Weather Blues Band, who play at 2:30 pm. Their lead singer, nicknamed “Hop”, is quite good and they sound super tight in their recordings.

On a sad note: The Ten Dollar Radio Show has been cancelled. Their blog will continue for now but this is truly a blow for our local listeners and even a few in NYC and LA. They weren’t even given a chance to have one last show. I don’t get it and will write more on this upsetting turn of events later. At least, for now, we have the archives.

Photo: Fritz from Fritz’s Polka Band


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

18th Annual Whiteface Oktoberfest, Flaming Leaves Announced

Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort will host its 18th Annual Oktoberfest on October 3-4 with vendors, arts and crafts, children’s rides, and Bavarian food, drink and entertainment by die Schlauberger, the Lake Placid Bavarians, and Ed Schenk on the accordion, Schachtelgebirger Musikanten (Scha-Musi is in their fifth year at the Whiteface Oktoberfest), Spitze, The Alpen Trio, and dancing by the Alpenland Taenzer.

Considered one of America’s best German bands, die Schlauberger plays German favorites with a mission of “Keeping the Traditionalists on their Feet and the New Generation Interested.” SPITZE! offers an alpine show that features cowbells, the alpine xylophone, the alphorn and yodeling. The band will host yodel and Schuhplattler (Bavarian Folk Dancing) contests. The Lake Placid Bavarians have been performing traditional Bavarian music in the north country for the last 18 years.

The Cloudsplitter Gondola will be operating for views of the Adirondack foliage as will the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway.

Oktoberfest will be held Saturday from 10 am – 7 pm and Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm. A complimentary shuttle service will be provided both days. Departure from the Olympic Center Box Office in Lake Placid takes place at 11 am, 1 pm and 2:30 pm. The bus will depart Whiteface and return to Lake Placid at 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm (Sat. only), 7:30 pm (Sat. only) and 5:30 pm (Sun. only). The shuttle will also service Wilmington with stops at the Candyman, located on the corner of Routes 86 and 431, at 12 pm and 5 pm.

Daily admission for adults is $15 for the festival; $25 for the festival and a scenic gondola ride. The junior and senior price is $8 for the festival and $18 for both. Children six years of age and under are admitted free of charge.

The following weekend (October 10-11) the 9th Annual Flaming Leaves Festival will feature the 2010 U.S. Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships along with live blues bands, barbeque and microbrews, kids’ activities, games, craft vendors and more The Flaming Leaves festival runs from 10 am – 5 pm both days. Admission is $14 for adults, and $8 for juniors/seniors and includes the chairlift and elevator ride to the Sky Deck atop the 120 meter ski jump tower.

Olympic Sites Passports are honored for admission at both the Oktoberfest and the Flaming Leaves Festival.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wild Center Program, Workshop Feature Wildlife Photography

Author and wildlife photographer Eric Dresser will present a wildlife photography program and workshop at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake on September 26th. From 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Dresser will offer Wild About the Adirondacks, a program of photos of Adirondack wildlife throughout the seasons. During the presentation, which is being offered in partnership with The Adirondack Photography Institute, Dresser will discuss his photography techniques. The program will run for about an hour and is free for members or with admission.

During a second event later that day (1-5 pm) Dresser will lead a Wild About the Adirondacks Photography Workshop and Tour from 1-5 pm, also at The Wild Center. This workshop will offer photography techniques to help participants capture unique moments through outdoor wildlife photography and indoors photography utilizing the museum’s exhibits. The field photography part of the program will provide a special focus on equipment. According to the Wild Center’s spokesperson “Eric enjoys working with all levels of photographers however having some familiarity with camera equipment as well as basic photo techniques will make the workshop more enjoyable.”

A biography of Dresser provided by the Wild Center notes that:

Eric Dresser is an internationally published photographer who specializes in wildlife and landscape photography from the northeastern United States and Canada. His credits include Adirondack Life Magazine, National Wildlife Magazine, The Nature Conservancy, US Forest Service, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, L.L. Bean Catalogues and many more. Eric is also an instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute. His first book “Adirondack Wildlife” will be available in the 2009. With over 35 years of experience in the field, Eric has developed many strategies for getting up close and personal with his wildlife subjects. His love and passion for our natural world can be seen in his photographs.

The Wild about the Adirondacks workshop cost $63.00 for Wild Center members ($70.00 for non-members). To register (which is both required and limited) for the workshop contact Sally Gross at 518-359-7800 x 116 or email sgross@wildcenter.org

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Kris Delmhorst, Backwoods PondFest, Fiddle Jamboree and Radio Show Anniversary

This weekend I have two “won’t miss” shows. First, is Kris Delmhorst at BluSeed, she has a gorgeous voice and just glows on stage. Second, is the 2nd anniversary of the Ten Dollar Radio Show, which has introduced me to many new artists and reminded me about some of the greatest songs in music history.

Friday and Saturday at the Twin Ponds Campground, 208 Fuller Road in Peru, the Backwoods Pondfest is happening. It begins Friday at 3 pm continues beyond 1 am. On Saturday it starts at noon and continues well past 1 am again. So many good bands—South Catherine Street Jug Band, Ryan Montbleau Band and Lucid among them—its a rock fest with lots of freestyle dancing to be had. They have a very very good website which I encourage you to check out. $60 will get you into both days of the festival, $40 just for Saturday.

Saturday at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake Kris Delmhorst is giving a concert. She is out supporting her most recent CD, Shotgun Singer. My first listen to her beautiful voice was on the Red Bird CD ( incidentally I first heard it on The Ten Dollar Radio Show) and then live at BluSeed. The show starts at 7:30 pm. $14/12 for members.

Saturday and Sunday in Athol at the Veterans Memorial Field the 13th Annual Fiddlers Jamboree is going on. It’s a rain or shine even—bring your lawn chairs, shades or galoshes depending. On Saturday there’s a $7 cover but Sunday is free. Here are some of the great musicians you’ll be treated to on Saturday: The Silver Family at 12 noon, Don’t Quit Your Day Job at 1 pm, Sara Milonovich and Greg Anderson at 6 pm and Cedar Ridge at 8 pm. Sunday is Jamboree Gospel Day—starts at 1 pm with Tom Vissler, The Hartley Family at 3 pm and ends with the Jim Davis Band at 7 pm.

Here is a great way to cap off your weekend: Sunday is the second anniversary of the Ten Dollar Radio Show and I will be tuned in to Rock 105 at 6 pm while I’m making dinner. I have to admit it’s been awhile since I’ve caught it at the designated time—not because I don’t love the music. It’s just that I, like most people in the Adirondacks, don’t like being inside when the weather is beautiful. Later in the week, I’ll post an article based on an interview done with one of the founders of the show, Ned P. Rauch. Until then I’d like to remind everyone that we can always tune into the podcast to keep up with all of the great music Pete Crowley and friends like Kelly Hofschneider and Brandy Hobson keep playing each week.

Photo: Kris Delmhorst


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Adirondack Harvest Celebration Events

Adirondack Harvest, the community-based farm and food development and promotion program, is welcoming the fall harvest season with a week-long Adirondack Harvest celebration. the events offer opportunities to meet farmers, visit farms, taste products from local farmers, chefs, and markets. Here is the complete list of events from Adirondack Harvest:

Farm Tours on Saturday, September 12:

Black Watch Farm. 9:00am to 4:00pm. 56 Elk Inn Rd., Port Henry. 546-3035. Come visit this 1860’s civil war era farm located on 60 acres. Primarily a horse farm offering riding lessons Black Watch features Connemara ponies originally from Ireland. Their vegetables garden is laden with pumpkins, gourds & cornstalks. Delicious homemade jam for sale as well. A walk through this farm will bring you many photographic opportunities.

Adirondack Heritage Hogs. 10:00am to 12:00pm. 26 Clark Lane, Lewis. Adirondack Heritage Hogs currently has 20 pigs of varying ages, sex and breed including a litter of 5 that will be two weeks old at the time of the tour. They also have some pigs on pasture, and some in the woods as well as free range turkeys, laying hens and meat chickens. In addition they are nearing completion on a custom butcher facility and operate a sawmill on the premises.

DaCy Meadow Farm. 10:00am to 2:00pm. 7103 Rte 9N, Westport. 962-2350. The Johnston family at DaCy Meadow Farm raises British heritage livestock, sells natural pork and beef, and has an agricultural themed art gallery. They also host special events, business meetings, educational groups, and serve farm to table meals.

Uihlein Maple Research Station. Tour at 1:00pm sharp until about 2:30pm. 157 Bear Cub Lane, Lake Placid. 523-9337. The core of the Cornell Sugar Maple Program, the Uihlein Field station’s sugar bush of 4000 taps is used to demonstrate the merits of new technology and proper forest stewardship to visiting maple producers and landowners.

Ben Wever Farm. 2:00pm to 4:00pm. 444 Mountain View Drive, Willsboro. 963-7447. Heart and Harvest of the Adirondacks. Working with previous owner and “senior agricultural consultant emeritus” Ben Wever, the Gillilland family has given new life to an old family farm creating a diversified operation specializing in grassfed beef, pork, chicken, and turkeys. They also sell eggs and honey and have a picturesque farmscape scattered with beautiful horses.

Crooked Brook Farm & Studios. 4:00pm to 8:00pm. 2364 Sayre Rd., Wadhams. 962-4386. Come experience the famous Mongolian barbeque! Bring your own veggies and meat to throw on an original hand-forged grill. View oil paintings and monumental sculpture by Edward Cornell.

Adirondack History Center Museum on September 12 & 13: Daily 10:00am to 5:00pm. Court Street, Elizabethtown. 873-6466. During a year filled with celebratory events, the 2009 Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission has inaugurated the state’s first Heritage Weekend on September 12 and 13. Visitors are welcomed free, or at a reduced rate, to many museums, historical societies, and heritage areas in the Champlain Valley, the Hudson River Valley, and New York City. The Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown is offering free admission on Sunday, September 13 for Heritage Weekend and in celebration of Harvest Festival week sponsored by Adirondack Harvest and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County. For further information on Heritage Weekend sites, visit the New York Heritage Weekend website www.heritageweekend.org.

Cornell E.V. Baker Research Farm Tour on Tuesday, September 15: 10:00am to 12:00pm. 38 Farrell Road, Willsboro. 963-7492. The Cornell University E.V. Baker Research Farm serves to connect Cornell University faculty with important agricultural issues facing northern NY farmers including best management practices for perennial forages, tillage and soil health interactions, wine grape variety evaluations, small grain variety trials and season extension using high tunnels and other studies.

“A Taste of Essex County History” on Saturday, September 19: Crown Point State Historic Site and Campground, Crown Point, NY. Part of a day-long celebration of the Crown Point Lake Champlain Quadricentennial event re-dedicating the Crown Point Monument & Rodin Sculpture. Adirondack Harvest will have an agricultural history display on site as well as a market devoted to serving local foods and offering farm fresh items for sale from Adirondack Harvest members.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Irish Fest, Hobo Fest, Rock and Roll Musical

The end of summer is arriving fast and the musicians are in tune to say farewell! With several festivals this weekend I don’t know how one can catch all of the other events but it’s always worth a try.

This weekend is the last chance to see Smokey Joe’s Cafe at The Depot Theater in Westport. Performances are tonight, tomorrow and Sunday starting at 8 pm. The show is all Stroller and Lieber songs which are rock and roll tunes such as “Jailhouse Rock” and “Yakety Yak.”

So, the first day of the Irish Festival gets into full swing starting Saturday at 11 am at the Ski Jumps in Lake Placid. On Saturday favorite piper Michael Cooney starts playing at 12:10 pm. Also in the lineup is P.V. O’Donnel,an Irish fiddler from Donegal. Martha Gallagher will be there too she’s our own skilled harpist with a strong voice. Mike McHale a wooden flute player will be up from the Catskills. He doesn’t have a website but his resume is extensive and he was inducted into the Traditional Irish Music Hall of Fame in 2000. There all sorts of other activities including irish dancing, contests and storytelling. It’s going to be a great 2 days.

Saturday in Bolton Landing pianist Eric Trudel will be giving a recital of the 24 Preludes of Rachmaninoff. The recital starts at 7:30 pm and tickets are $25. This is the season ender for The Sembrich concerts this summer. I wish I’d known of it earlier as the list of performances was impressive. Eric Trudel happens to have been the true pianist in the movie The Pianist.

Saturday night at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake Sven Curth is going to be performing. Sven writes very good songs and is one heck of a guitar player (and what a pretty guitar it is!). He’s appreciated around the park as a solo performer and singer/songwriter for the popular band Jim. The only thing I’d like to change about his performances is that sometimes they are too loud. He’s so good he doesn’t need too much volume.

Sunday: HoboFest is happening in Saranac Lake at 28 Depot Street (behind Stewarts) and 7444 Gallery.
So many great musicians all day for FREE!!!! One act that you can catch all day is the recycled drums drum corp – a group of cool people have made all of their own percussion instruments and will be welcoming incoming trains – these are very good drummers Kyle Murray,Colin Dehond, Eric Van Yserloo to name the ring leaders. Big Slyde is playing – I’m a huge fan of their sound which includes cellist Chris Grant, multi instrumentalist John Doan, fantastic guitarist Mikey Portal and the fabulous voice of John’s daughter, Hannah Doan. Another wonderful local musician is Steve Langdon playing his great versions of old blues songs mixed with a few originals – I hope. The Startlights sing oldies with great energy and beautiful harmonies. Their song choice often inspire audience participation. Also featured will be Just Jills a new all female band consisting of two very different voices, mandolin, and fiddle. These ladies are new to performing but have an excellent repertoire – I’m looking forward to whatever train hobo related songs they’ve come up with. Then you have the big acts: John Cohen , an original New Lost City Rambler, is a wonderful addition to the line up. A true legend, he was at Newport when Dylan went electric and ticked everyone off. Brian Dewan is fascinating. I’ve seen him a few times and he always comes up with the most interesting obscure songs. He plays the accordion, autoharp and sings. Last we will be treated to Frankenpine a very good band from Brooklyn. These folks do excellent covers of old time songs and have some very special originals as well. Former resident Ned P. Rauch wrote a beautiful fun tune for one of our newest locals – Lila – who’s proud parents are sure to have her there for the public debut of this happy sing-a-long. On top of all this planned music there will be open jam times so you may be hearing people who just pop in to sing a train song or two – maybe you’ll be one of them?

Also Sunday in Bolton Landing Mike and Ruthie are playing at 12 noon. They are part of the Fabulous Folk Festival happening at the Roger’s Memorial Park Bandstand. All you have to do is listen on their lovely website and you won’t want miss this wonderful duo. Dan Berggren will also be there. Amazingly all of this is free to all who show up.

photo: Michael Cooney playing the uilleann pipes


Monday, August 31, 2009

Hyde Museum Offfers ‘A Taste of Art’ Wine & Food Event

In conjunction with The Hyde Collection’s exhibition Degas & Music, the Museum (in Glens Falls) is hosting its 7th Annual A Taste of Art … A Wine and Food Experience on Friday, September 18 from 6:30 – 9:30 PM. In keeping with French Impressionist Edgar Degas’ lifelong interest in all things musical, the wine tasting décor will evoke the feeling of a 19th century ‘café concert’ – a popular form of musical entertainment of the period featured in the exhibition.

The evening offerings include a combination of various wines, complementary foods, and lively entertainment. Putnam Wine (Saratoga Springs) and Uncorked (Glens Falls) work together to bring in a wide selection of wines from New York and other US wine producing regions, as well as vintages from Europe, South America, and Australia. The wines are complemented by food samplings from a number of area restaurants including Adirondack Community College’s Culinary Program, The Anvil, Cherry Tomato, The Farmhouse Restaurant, Friends’ Lake Inn, Fifty South, GG Mama’s, Grist Mill, Luisa’s Italian Bistro, and The Sagamore. Davidson Brothers Restaurant and Brewery will host the beer garden in the Museum’s Hoopes Gallery.

Attendees will be entertained by two musical groups – The Dick Caselli Trio and Alambic, as well a silent auction featuring music, food, and art-related items.

Tickets for ‘A Taste of Art’ are $75 per person. Reservations are required and accepted on a first-come, first served basis. Those interested in attending should call 518-792-1761 ext. 23 or email bchildress@hydecollection.org. A special master class is open to Connoisseur Committee members (those contributing an additional $250 to the event). This year’s master class will focus on the wines which would have been familiar to Edgar Degas and his contemporaries. Because of the limited master class space, those wishing to join the Connoisseur Committee should contact the Museum at their earliest convenience.

All proceeds from the wine tasting event will benefit The Hyde Collection’s exhibitions and educational programs through the Museum’s Annual Fund.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fabric & Fiber Arts Festival at Adirondack Museum

Spinning, weaving, knitting, quilting, music, and North Country artisans will be featured at the Adirondack Museum‘s celebration of traditional and contemporary fiber arts, the Adirondack Fabric & Fiber Arts Festival, on Saturday, September 12, 2009. The event will run from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.; admission is included in the price of general museum admission.

The Festival will include demonstrations, textile appraisal, songs and stories about quilts, an artisan marketplace, a “knit-in” as well as the museum’s new exhibit, “Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts and Comforters.”

The celebration will also showcase a special display, “Artifacts of Almanzo Wilder’s Time,” featuring coverlets, linsey-woolseys, and hands-on activities. The presentation is made possible by the Wilder Homestead. The Homestead, located between Malone and Chateaugay, N.Y. was the boyhood home of Almanzo Wilder who was born and raised there from 1857-1875. Interpretation of the site is based on the classic book, Farmer Boy, written by Almanzo’s wife Laura Ingalls Wilder, as he described his recollections of his life at the farm to her.

Demonstrations will include the Serendipity Spinners, members of the community-based needlework group Northern Needles, the Adirondack Regional Textile Artist’s Association, as well as felt makers and fiber artists Sandy Cirillo and Robin Blakney Carlson.

Two sessions of a musical program will be offered at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Peggy Lynn and Dan Duggan will present “A Stitch in Time Songs Celebrating the Art and Heritage of Quilting.” The duo will be joined by museum Curator Hallie Bond.

Peggy Lynn has been featured at the Bluebird Café in Nashville, and in 1996, Peggy was named “Adirondack Woman of the Year.” Peggy’s song about Mary Brown, the wife of abolitionist John Brown, was selected as the cover piece in Songs for Peace Magazine and was also recorded by the folk duo Magpie on their Sword of the Spirit album. Peggy has co-authored a book with Sandra Weber titled Breaking Trail: Remarkable Women of the Adirondacks and released an album of new ballads about strong women called “Stand a Chance,” produced by Dan Duggan. In 2005, the
Adirondack Mountain Club honored Peggy with their Arthur E. Newkirk Education Award.

Dan Duggan is known nationally for his work on hammered dulcimer and flat-picking guitar, and is the recipient of the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship. Adding to his array of recordings, Dan has recently released a new album of original airs and waltzes called “Once in a Blue Moon.”

Dan and Peggy have released a trio album with Dan Berggren, called “Ten Miles to Saturday Night,” and as a duo have released two recordings: “Keeping Christmas,” and “A Stitch in Time: Songs Celebrating the Art and Heritage of Quilting.” Dan’s children’s album, “Pieces of Our Life,” earned a Parent’s Choice Award in 1998. His dulcimer work can also be heard on Paul Simon’s CD “You’re The One”, released in October of 2000.

Museum visitors can discover more about personal antique and collectible fabric pieces with textile appraiser and historian Rabbit Goody of Thistle Hill Weavers, Cherry Valley, N.Y. For a small donation to the Adirondack Museum ($5 is suggested) she will examine vintage textiles and evaluate them for historical importance and value in an “Antiques Roadshow” setting. Appraisals will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

Goody is a nationally recognized textile historian and expert in the identification of historic textiles. She is the founder, owner, and director of Thistle Hill Weavers, 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. For more about Thistle Hill Weavers, visit http://www.rabbitgoody.com/.

The Fabric and Fiber Festival will feature a “knit-in” in the Visitor Center from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Folklorist and knitter Jill Breit will host the activity. This will be an opportunity for knitters to work on a project in the company of other knitting enthusiasts, and to exchange tips with participants about how to tackle tricky techniques. Knitters are encouraged to bring finished projects to display, as well as works in progress. While the group knits, Jill will talk about popular styles of knitting in the Adirondacks, a resurgence of interest in handspun
yarn, and the role of knitting groups in this traditional fiber art.

Jill Breit is Executive Director of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, an organization devoted to documentation and presentation of folklife in the North Country. She is the curator of the exhibition “Repeat from Here: Knitting in the North Country” and author of an article Knitting It Together: A Case Study of a Sweater.

Regional artisans and crafters will offer handmade and specialty items for
sale in a day-long marketplace at the Adirondack Fabric and Fiber Arts Festival.

Visitors of all ages can use vintage treadle sewing machines to make souvenir balsam sachets in the Mark W. Potter Education Center from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Photo: Album quilt made by Huldah Harrington, near Wevertown, N.Y., 1868.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rustic Furniture Fair at the Adirondack Museum

The 22nd Annual Rustic Furniture Fair will be held at the Adirondack Museum on September 5, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on September 6, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. More than fifty-six artisans, including eight new craftsmen, will showcase their original furniture and accessories.

According to the a press release issued by the museum, the Adirondack Museum’s Rustic Furniture Fair is recognized as the premier “rustic” show in the country. This showcase of talented artisans includes both traditional and contemporary styles of furniture design. “You will not see mass produced pieces,” the museum says.

There will be entertainment all weekend with by the Lime Hollow Boys on Saturday. The band plays country and folk tunes combining bass, guitar, fiddle, and harmonica. Sunday will feature traditional fiddling by Frank Orsini. Orsini’s repertoire includes: Celtic music, Elizabethan or early music selections, old-time fiddle tunes from the Southern mountain tradition, New England and Canadian dance tunes, bluegrass and country classics, Cajun, and blues selections, as well as Urban and Western swing standards.

Demonstrations of furniture making, wood carving and painting will take place both days. Rustic furniture artist and painter, Barney Bellinger of Sampson Bog Studio, Mayfield, N.Y., will work on an original piece during the Preview & Benefit and Rustic Furniture Fair. Barney’s work will be sold in a silent auction; the winner to be announced at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 6.

All Rustic Fair activities and demonstrations are included in the price of regular museum admission. All museum exhibits will be open.

On Friday, September 4, the museum will host the Rustic Fair Preview Benefit, offering a special chance to meet the rustic artisans and shop for the perfect treasure for home or camp. The museum will be closed to the public on Friday, September 4, 2009 for the Preview. For more information, call (518) 352-7311 ext. 119.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Bagpipes and Folk to Rock, Blues, Jam Festival

As summer is winding down the music scene is still hopping. This weekend the big event is the Mountain Music Meltdown. However, there are bunches of good musical events taking place all over — everything from free outdoor concerts to a documentary about the origins of the banjo — starting tonight.

Tonight at LPCA the movie Throw Down your Heart will be shown at 7:30 pm. Banjo player extraordinaire Bela Fleck took a trip through Africa to explore the origins of the banjo. Director Sascha Paladino captured the journey.

Also tonight in Raquette Lake at 7 pm, Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen will be performing at St. Williams Church on Long Point. This is only accessible by boat so call (315) 354-4265 to find out how to get there. These two are wonderful musicians who’ve been performing together for years.

On Friday the 28th there will be a bagpipe and fiddle concert in Keene. This free concert will be held at The Keene Community Center Pavilion starting at 7 pm. Tim Cummings plays the pipes and Pete Sutherland plays the fiddle. Both are extremely accomplished and Keene is very lucky to have them. There will be hotdogs, hamburgers, soda and baked goods for sale starting at 6 pm. For more information about this and upcoming events check out East Branch Friends of The Arts.

So here we are, Saturday’s Mountain Music Meltdown day. The festival takes place near Saranac Lake off of Rt. 3 on the way to Bloomingdale. Featuring nine bands, this all-day event is sure to be worth the $25+ it’ll cost you to get in. Here are just a few of the acts that are going to be there; the day starts at 11 am with Roy Hurd, and ends with Leon Russell who takes the stage at 8 pm. In between you have Raisinhead and my favorite “not to be missed” act is Joe Costa and his band Kikazaru who will be playing at 2 pm. Joe is a resident of Rainbow Lake. He plays banjo and sings traditional songs with a contemporary flair. You can pick up their excellent CD at Ampersound in Saranac Lake, the only music store left in the Tri-Lakes region. If you buy the CD there not only are you giving yourself great music but you’re supporting a local business as well. Also a cool bit of local trivia is that the cover of the CD was created by resident photographer Aaron Hobson.

On Saturday at the Village Green in Jay locals Drew and Annie Sprague are giving a free concert with their friends Suave and Maddy from The Blindspots. It starts at 6:30 pm. Drew is a great guitarist and singer who’s been performing in and around the Adirondacks for years. He was with The South Catherine Street Jug Band and is now with The Stoneman Blues Band. Annie plays the violin beautifully and enhances any music project she participates in. This is a JEMS production.

Later, at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake, Mike Suave and The Blindspots ride again. Doors open at 9 pm for cocktails and the show usually starts at 10 pm. You might recognize Mike from The South Catherine Street Jug Band and The Nitecrawlers, both North Country favorites. Their female vocalist Maddy Walsh is a native of Ithaca, NY.

Open Mic at Quackenbush’s Long View Wilderness Lodge in Long Lake this Saturday starts around 8-8:30pm. This is a great opportunity to get together with musicians who live way out there and don’t usually make it in for the regular open mics in the larger towns.

Other open mic news: the open jam that I speak so highly of at The Shamrock is taking a break for the next two weeks as the Shamrock does some renovating to their kitchen. If all goes well the jam will resume on the 16th of September.


photo: Joe Costa’s CD Cover by Aaron Hobson


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Odd Outposts in the Forest

In keeping with yesterday’s noontime post on cairns, today a word on other random structures in the woods, what for lack of a better term I’ve come to call hider huts.

People who spend time off-trail in the Adirondacks occasionally stumble across signs that others have walked there before them: old bottles, fire rings, chewing gum wrappers. Maybe a hunter kept watch in that spot years ago or as recently as last fall. A few people I know have also found simple structures in the middle of nowhere, usually on Forest Preserve. Maybe some of these were left by hunters too and used as shelters or blinds. Some are clearly kids’ forts constructed of downed branches. But others have more permanence.

The cabin in this picture is on Blood Hill, within earshot of downtown Saranac Lake traffic. The ground is littered with beer cans and a mildewed old blanket. As hidden huts go, this is one is detailed, with planed floorboards and a glassed door, easily imported because of its proximity to town. Probably just a party spot, but a sturdy one and startling to come across on a bushwhack.

On nearby Dewey Mountain a freshly built cabana, I guess, appeared this spring, walled and camouflaged with logs and balsam. The door was a bedspring woven with evergreen branches. The structure was notable for its size (big enough to garage a truck) and for a David Lynchian sparsity of amenities: a blue tarp, two tubs of Vaseline, and a fire ring beneath a central ceiling hole. It’s falling down now.

Last summer between Blood and Dewey there was a bivouac next to a log in the forest where some poor guy (?) was sleeping out nightly. He kept his sleeping bag and clothes in a trash bag and hung other accessories on a tree. He got up early each morning, maybe to go to a job, and I never saw him. He’s not there this year.

Here is a Flickr photo album of the Blood Hill and Dewey Mountain huts, shot this summer.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Meaning of Cairns

Cairns, the rock pyramids that hikers amass to show the way across treeless summits, are turning up in other Adirondack settings — as memorials, as anonymous art, and as markers of unknown significance.

When Howard “Mac” Fish II died on a trail by Lake Placid on a summer day a few years ago, his family piled stones at the place where he fell. Today the mound stands taller than ever, thanks in part to the superstition that it’s bad luck for a hiker to pass a cairn without adding at least a pebble. Every time I set a new stone I remember the Reverend Fish, who married and blessed many friends in his lifetime and still seems to give guidance through this monument. Ancient cultures are said to have used cairns similarly, to mark burial sites.

At the Wild Center’s opening ceremony in Tupper Lake in 2006 the staff asked attendees each to bring a stone to start a cairn at the entrance to its trail system. “So many people helped make the Wild Center a reality and we want everyone to have a part in the monument,” then executive director Betsy Lowe said at the time. The Wild Center’s cairn is atypical in that it includes rocks not just from the immediate area (one came from the Great Wall of China), and the foundation was built by a stonesmith, Mike Donah of Tupper Lake. Most trail cairns are more haphazard and assembled by many hands over many years.

The cute stone statues that popped up beside Route 73 between the Ski Jumps and the Adirondak Loj Road this year are little more than sand paintings, sure to be knocked over by snowplows if they haven’t toppled already.

On a trip around Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula last fall we saw inunnguaqs: cairns in human form for miles along the coastline near the Irish Memorial national historic site. Adirondack granite breaks rounder than the rock up there and is not so well suited to simulating arms and legs, so our cairns are usually pyramidal.

This spring Adirondack Life ran a beautiful photo feature on summit cairns, by aptly named photographer Stewart Cairns, followed shortly by an essay on “Zen and the Art of Cairns” in the July Adirondack Explorer by publisher Tom Woodman. Woodman wonders about the unnamed makers of rock-piles in a field near his Keene home as well as the sculptors whose work guides the hiker: “Even the simple trail-marking cairns embody values worth reflecting on. We place our trust in them and whoever stacked them as we scramble from one to the other. Maybe we can feel a sense of community and solidarity with those who came before us. Surely, if through mistake or mischief, a set of cairns would lead us over a cliff, someone would have set things right by the time we got there. We look out for each other.”

Photograph of children adding stones to the Wild Center cairn in Tupper Lake.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Saranac Lake Artists as Art

Photographer and author Phil Gallos has a show of 120 portraits at BluSeed Studios, in Saranac Lake. Known for documenting various aspects of life in his community, Gallos photographed 25 local artists — visual, literary, performing, musical and other — over the past three years. The exhibition includes more than just faces; the artists are depicted at work, or fiddling while the sap boils or floating on their backs in crystal clear water. The show opened Thursday and runs until September 12. If you are curious to see some of the people making art in the area but can’t make it to BluSeed, visit Phil’s Web site here.

In the 1970s Phil shot some fascinating black & white street scenes in Saranac Lake, seen here. So many buildings, bars and people gone. It’s amazing how fast things go from contemporary to historical.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Bluegrass, Musicals, Folk and a Brass Quintet

Starting tonight at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake, The Route 73 Back Porch Society is playing. The show starts early during the Art Walk which runs from 4:30-7 pm. I’m sorry to say I haven’t heard these folks yet but from what I’ve been seeing they play around quite a bit. I love their name and I’m looking forward to the day I catch up with them.

The Horseshoe Lounge Playboys are doing a little Adirondack tour and you can see them in 3 separate locales. On Friday they will be in Elizabethtown at the Cobble Hill Inn. On Saturday they will be at The Waterhole and on Sunday they will be in Old Forge for The Lake Front Concert Series – the show starts at 7 pm.

On Friday in Essex, After Five Brass will be performing at 7:30 pm. This is part of the Essex Community Concert Series. These concerts are held in the Community Church and are followed by refreshment and a chance to meet with the performers. There is a $10 cover.

Also on Friday in Tupper Lake at P2’s Aiseiri is playing Irish music starting at 7:30 pm. It’s a good place to have a pint and enjoy some tunes. These are the folks who are putting on the Irish Festival Labor Day Weekend in Lake Placid.

Starting Friday, in North Creek on Route 28 the Upper Hudson Bluegrass Festival is on! There are so many acts that it’s important to check out the line up on their webpage, I’m listing just a few. It looks to be a pretty big deal with plenty of camping space. Starting at noon numerous bands play throughout the day including Don’t Quit Your Day Job and The Warren County Ramblers continuing until 10 pm. Saturday starts at 9 am. The White Mountain Bluegrass Band is in the line up of the day, the founders of that group have been dubbed “Pioneers of Bluegrass” by IBMM. The Seth Sawyer Band is also on deck this weekend and the few YouTube videos I checked out were pretty nice – I’d like to see this band. Saturday ends with Tim Graves Band and Cherokee who start at 10 pm. and Sunday starts nice and early with a gospel sing at 8:30 am and finishes up with Smokey Greene from 4:30 until 5:15 pm.

I also want to mention that a performance of Smokey Joe’s Cafe starts Friday at The Depot Theatre in Westport. It will run thru September 6th with some special ticket price evenings (this Monday for instance) look at their website for details. The revue consists entirely of Lieber and Stoller‘s music – approximately 35 pop standards. I saw it on Broadway many years ago and was amazed at how many of the songs I not only recognized but could sing a long with.

At noon on Saturday in Lake Placid the LPCA presents the musical The Princess and The Pea. 50 children form the area will be part of this Missoula Children’s Theatre.

On Saturday in Lake Clear at Charlies Inn, local favorite, Steve Borst will be playing starting at 6:30pm.

In Jay on the 23rd Roy Hurd, Frank Orsini and Meadow are going to be presented by JEMS. Roy and Frank are seasoned performers and true Adirondack favorites. Meadow is Roy’s daughter – they sing beautiful harmonies together.

Photo: Horseshoe Lounge Playboys


Monday, August 17, 2009

Commentary: Local Paper Returns to Paid Online Service

Schenectady’s Daily Gazette has told its online readers to find their news elsewhere. After a failed attempt to charge online readers ended in 2007, the Gazette‘s online traffic exploded to 1.5 million page views monthly (according to Managing Editor Judy Patrick). No matter, those in charge at the paper apparently think the future is in print media and charging people for what they can find elsewhere for free.

Just for fun, you can read the story at the still online Albany Times Union which reported that beginning last week “the Schenectady paper will reserve the free section of its Web site for blogs, breaking news and some other features. Only paying subscribers, meanwhile, will have access to expanded online content, including articles that appear in the print edition.”

The new pay plan is showing that those running the Gazette are confused and scared. Just ask Gazette reporter Jason Subik, who reported in January 2008, just after the paper went online for free, and in an article titled “Newspapers’ free online content gives readers what they want, brings needed revenue boost,” that “Today newspapers are finding new ways to compete and rethinking what it means to scoop the competition, as they publish online as well as in print….” – that’s all you get, because I’m not paying for a nearly two year old slanted piece of self-service “news.”

My guess is that the Gazette’s return to the pay model will mean fewer subscribers, fewer links to their web page, and less involvement of the local community in their news. The Gazette will lose its standing as Schenectady’s newspaper of record, at least online.

I suspect that tens of thousands of links to the Gazette will be broken across the internet. Dozens of links from Adirondack Almanack will be broken, and future readers of this site will be pointed to the reports from other places.

Those who rely on the online edition of the paper because their print edition (yesterday’s news anyway) wouldn’t arrive before they head off to work will find other news sources.

Those who place obituaries will think twice if loved ones across the country can’t read the obit online.

But the bottom line is the move to a pay site will do nothing to stem the tide of lost revenue, began with loss of print subscribers that followed the advent of widespread cable television and 24-hour news channels in the early 1990s – ten years before blogs and news aggregators came to the fore.

Newspapers get most of their revenue from advertising – when they produce quality content that people want to read they grow their audience and garner more advertising dollars. You’d think it would be obvious that cutting access to the paper doesn’t grow its audience. As one commenter to the paper put it simply – “That’s hilarious. Good luck with that.”

I expect they will come out of the woodwork now – the “nothing is free” crowd – to tell me how we shouldn’t expect news for free. That idea is laughable.

Radio news is free. Television news is free. Plenty of books, magazines, and newspapers are all free at the library, cafes, and a hundred other places, even the dentist office. They all carry news – local, national, and international.

In this day and age those who make money from subscribers for general news delivery are a dying breed.

Here’s the problem for the Gazette as it relates to just one subject – the Adirondacks. Many of the links to the paper over the years here at the Almanack were related to the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, which has been based (in part at least) in Niskayuna, just outside Schenectady. Now that we can no longer link to the Gazette, we’ll have to go here, or here. That’s what good online journals do best – they find the news at its source, not filtered through the biases of local reporters, editors, and publishers.

Soon enough, most municipalities in America will have at least two online writers reporting on what happens with their local politics from differing perspectives. Specific subjects, like the Supreme Court, New York Politics, and the Adirondacks, already have active online journals that cover their areas, often more thoroughly, or more widely, or with a more independent mind, then any local paper ever could or will.

When that trend – individual independent citizens reporting on their own from all walks of life – is finally entrenched, we’ll look back and laugh at how naive people were to think that it was “buy a newspaper, or don’t get news.”

Some think that site’s like the Adirodnack Almanack rely on free local news online, but they’re off the mark. We get our news just like everyone else in the media does – through investigative legwork, media releases, and research. We curate what’s happening in the Adirondacks and show people where to find it. Rarely does that require a local newspaper, which, after all, the Almanack is not.

I’m sorry to see the Gazette go – but go it will. The print newspaper era is waning, the monopoly of the old media is nearly over. As papers like the Gazette leave the online world – and make no mistake, that is what they are doing – others will take their place.



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