Posts Tagged ‘Arts’

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub, Zydeco Moshers, Blues, and Irish

Shamim is away this week, so I’ll be offering up some tips to the great music events to be found in the Adirondacks this weekend. If you’ve only got time for a few shows check out Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers tonight in Luzerne, The Spirit of Degas opening on Friday, or Saturday’s Bert Phillips Memorial Chamber Music Concert in Luzerne. Here are the details for those and other great upcoming musically opportunities:

Tonight (Thursday, Aug 13) at 7 pm in the Town Park in Lake Luzerne you can check out (for free) Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers.

Also tonight you can check out the popular local rhythm and blues based Stone Man Blues Band at the Wilmington Beach in Wilmington. The show starts at 7 pm, and is free.

The Lake Placid Sinfonietta will perform this Friday August 14th, 2009 at 7:00pm at the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre in Jay, NY at the junction of 9N and 86. Robert Franz will be conducting. The Program will include Mozart “Symphony No.29 in “A” and “Overture to Figaro” also works by Grainger, Offenbach, and Strauss. Tickets are $20.00 and available at the Jay Craft Center or at 6:15pm on the day of the performance.

Somewhat musically related is the exhibit “In the Spirit of Degas: Art Inspired by Music” which opens with a reception on Friday (August 14) 5-7 pm at the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council’s Lapham Gallery in Glens Falls. The exhibit, which runs to October 4th, features the artwork of 49 artists who work was selected based on these instructions: “The artwork need not emulate Degas’ work or thematic content but should be the individual artist’s own interpretation of, emotional response to, inspiration from, conceptualization and influence by any musical genre, theme, or performance.” This exhibition is in conjunction with The Hyde Collection’s “Degas & Music” exhibit running through October 18. On September 17th Dr. Sheldon Hurst of Adirondack Community College will give a free talk on Degas in America within the context of Degas’ stay in New Orleans.

The Music By The River series is continuing in North Creek on Saturday (Aug. 15) with Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad. This Rochester based roots and dub band promises to be the highlight of the By The River Series; the free show starts at 7 pm.

Saturday August 15 at 6:30 PM: Celia Evans and Bruce Brough and Co. An ecologist by profession, Celia’s folk music is inspired by the natural world of the Adirondacks. This event will be held at the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre in Jay, NY at the junction of 9N and 86.

On Monday, August 17, the Bert Phillips Memorial Concert will be held at the Lake Luzerne Chamber Music Festival. Members of the Phildelphia Orchestra’s Cello Section, the Luzerne Chamber Players, and special guests will perform works by Schubert, Mahler, Brahms, and Martinu. Bert Phillips was the Founder and Director of the Luzerne Music Center and founder of the Luzerne Festival who passed away last year. For information contact www.luzernemusic.org or call 1-800-874-3202.

Wednesday, August 19, the great Irish party band Hair of the Dog will be at Shepherds Park in Lake George Village for a free show starting at 7 pm.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Rock and Roll, Classical, Celtic, and Folk

It’s incredible, wherever you go during the summer music fills the air. Like today, if you were lucky enough to get to the Saranac Lake Block Party early you’d have heard a number of live acts in Berkley Square. Last night at the Shamrock out in Gabriels there was a wonderful jam with contributions from three musicians who are normally too busy to make it out to a jam like that. We regulars were treated to beautiful harmonies and some of the best fiddle playing I’ve heard all year. For this non-scheduled stuff all you can do is show up and be happily surprised. However, this week there are some scheduled shows worth putting in your planners.

Starting tonight on the Waterhole patio in Saranac Lake at 6 p.m. the band Ironwood will be playing. I found myself singing along to a few of their songs after just one listen. Bouncy perfect patio rock and roll.

Possible new hot spot every Friday in North Creek: Cafe Sarah is encouraging musicians to show up starting around 5:30 until 9 pm. There is no formal set-up just now but it may evolve into a regular open mic. Thus far a few different musicians have shown up and had an impromptu jam. So, get the word out. You can call (518) 251-5959 for more details if their website is down.

Friday, as usual there is almost too much going on. First at the Waterhole starting at 6 pm there will be some version of The Dust Bunnies opening for Rich Merritt and Matt Russell who used to play in my living room 20 years ago! These guys are excellent musicians and fun entertainers.

Also on Friday starting at 7 pm in Blue Mountain Lake, the Lake Placid Sinfonietta will be performing “Rhapsodies in Blue” at the Adirondack Museum. The grounds open at 5:15 pm so guests can picnic. Bring blankets, lawn chairs, and food (beer and wine will be available for sale) to enjoy this gorgeous setting before the evening of Strauss, Bach, Grieg and Beethoven, just to name a few, begins. They do have an alternate venue in case it rains. There is a $20 general admission charge and, if you’re really into it, a pre-concert reception with the conductor for $75.

Also in Saranac Lake at O’Reilly’s Pub located below Morgan’s 11 on Main St. a group of very talented musicians will be performing at 8 pm. They are calling themselves “Lap The Dasher” and I have no doubt they will be gathering fans of Irish music for a long time to come.

Saturday JEMS Day on the Village Green in Jay: There will be performers all day starting at 10 am and then to cap it all off Sven Curth will be performing his fantastic combination of funkabilly and blues starting at 6:30 pm.

Saturday one of the best singers around, Martin Sexton, is giving a solo performance at LPCA in Lake PLacid at 8 pm. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Sexton a few times now and I am thoroughly amazed by his voice. He’s been very generous with his time to help out great venues such as The Wild Center in Tupper Lake and BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake. Now he’s giving a full concert and I truly hope the community goes out to support his talent. Tickets are $23 in advance and $25 on the day of the show.

Also on Saturday in Saranac Lake Lucid is playing at the Waterhole. They are supposed to start around 9:30 pm. What I’ve been hearing online sounds like great rock/blues with the sax and keys giving them a funk/jazzy sound as well. If you miss them on Saturday you can catch them at the Essex County Fairgrounds in Westport on Wednesday the 12th.

On Sunday in Schroon Lake The Adirondack Folk Festival starts at noon and goes until 5 pm. Many excellent folk musicians are participating this year — people like Roy Hurd, Sara Milonovich, Joan Crane, Jamcrackers, Frank Orsini, John Kirk, Trish Miller and Ed Lowman.

Tuesday the 11th in Lake Placid, Porter Batiste Stoltz will be performing at Mid’s Park on Main Street. This band is from New Orleans and tours nationally. This is part of The Pines Inn – Songs At Mirror Lake and it’s free!

Drawing of the band Lucid at Mezzanotte in Syracuse. Wish I could tell you who the artist is but… well, looks like Lou something to me – if you know please drop me a line. Thanks!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

An Abundance of Art in the Adirondacks

There’s a lot going on in the visual arts in the Adirondacks, and we have only been able to cover a fraction of it, so a quick callout here to check in with your local gallery. Shows change fast in summer. It’s amazing what creative people are doing in these woods, most of it not very woodsy.

One of the cool little galleries in Saranac Lake is 7444, in a former railroad siding building on Depot Street. Next week 7444 hosts Aaron Hobson’s Barkeater Photography Workshop. Hobson’s beautiful, dark, cinematic work has been shown around the world, and photographers come from around the world to work with him in Saranac Lake. There are still a few slots left to sign up for the workshop.

At 6 p.m. today 7444 will host an opening of “paintings and thoughts” by Ursula Wyatt Trudeau and Margo Fish, residents of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid respectively, and two creative women who do a lot more than art to liven up their towns. See the gallery’s blog for 7444’s schedule of events.

Worth going out of your way for is a show hanging in the gallery at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Photographer Todd R. Lockwood’s arresting large-format black-and-white portraits of Adirondackers, Vermonters and others make you want to learn each subject’s life story. Lockwood lives in South Burlington and has been taking pictures since he was a student at Northwood School in Lake Placid in the 1960s.

Lake Placid also has an interesting art space with a numeric name: 511 Gallery, on Main Street. Keep an eye on its Web site for upcoming artists.

Bluseed Studios in Saranac Lake always has something new on its walls or in progress in its printmaking, ceramics and artists’ studios. And the Adirondack Artists Guild on Main Street in Saranac Lake is featuring a different artist every month. Nancy Brossard of Childwold will have an opening reception for a show of landscape paintings 5-7 p.m. this Friday, August 7.

Those are just a few places near me. Every town has something arts-related in August. Feel free to post events in Comments, or see these links for more shows.

Arts Council of the Northern Adirondacks

The Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts

Lower Adirondack Region Arts Council

Arts Center Old Forge

Lake George Arts Project

Photograph courtesy of Aaron Hobson and 7444 Gallery


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

All Quiet on The ORDA Concert Front

Sorry, spin dancers, Phish will not be playing the Olympic Center, according to the Olympic Regional Development Authority. When contacted by the Almanack last week, the state agency harshed rumors that the reunited Vermont jam band would return to Lake Placid this year.

Actually no arena concerts are coming to Lake Placid, and none have for two and a half years. In the now-distant past Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Blues Traveler, New Kids on the Block, a bunch of country singers, Cher and many others have rocked the ’80 Rink. The last to do so was Buffalo jam-band moe., which packed the place in March 2007.

The local police didn’t like moe.’s winter festival, snoe.down, citing a few dozen arrests on minor drug-possession charges. When moe. announced that it would not return with its multiband roster for a third season, the Lake Placid police chief said he was “glad.”

It’s not by design that there have been no big shows lately, ORDA says. It’s just the way it is. “We still do concerts, but obviously with other venues in the area — in Montreal, Burlington and Albany — not as many groups come through Lake Placid,” says ORDA spokeswoman Stephanie Ryan.

ORDA does book small-stage music to complement events such as world championship competitions, Oktoberfest and the Flaming Leaves Festival. “But there are no plans for any [major shows] right now, to my knowledge,” Ryan says.

The Olympic Center is slated to begin renovations this week, so it’s a moot topic for a while. Still, one Main Street business owner remembers fondly the thousands of dollars snoe.down brought to her business at a pretty slow time of year. “More concerts would be nice,” she says.

Logo from 2007 snoe.down


Thursday, July 30, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Classical, Country, Blues and Reggae

Tonight at St. Bernards Church in Saranac Lake the Elegua Duo performs from 8 – 9:30 pm. Classical musicians, Claire Black and Ginevra Ventre, pianist and cellist respectively, will be recording for NCPR. Some of the composers they embrace are Beethoven, Chopin and Britten. They will then be in Westport on Friday from 7:30 – 9 pm for the Essex Community Concert Series and Blue Mountain Lake for an interactive children’s workshop. The workshop will be held at The Adirondack Center for The Arts from 3:30 – 5 pm.

Also tonight in Saranac Lake at 6:30 pm, pianist and accordionist Radoslav Lorkovic is going to be in Berkley Square. He is so accomplished – throwing different styles of music into his original compositions; classical, blues, swing and zydeco to name a few. I’m excited that he’s in town and changed my plans to be at his concert.

Tonight in Westport at Ballard Park, Meadowmount Classical presents an evening of Chamber music at 7 pm. As a child my folks used to take me to Meadowmount concerts and despite being antsy on occasion, I loved going. They gave me a deep appreciation and understanding of classical music even though I haven’t studied it formally. I also think those concerts helped teach patience and respect for the silent moments in music and therefore in life.

Tonight, last but not least, at the Elizabethtown gazebo; Larry Stone, Julie Robards and Max Van Wie will be playing at 7 pm. Julie is a great bluegrass musician, you can catch her with the band Stacked Deck (which Larry is also part of) and Larry plays some great blues/swing/country with his band Stoneman Blues Band. They’re so talented individually that as a duo they must put on a good show. If you miss them tonight, catch them tomorrow from 7 – 9 pm at the Deers Head Inn also in Elizabethtown.

In Saranac Lake on Friday at the Waterhole Pie Boys Flat begins at 10 pm. It’s Rugby Weekend so you know it’s going to be crazy. I listened to these guys online and I think they’ll do a fine job keeping everyone pumped and jumping with their blend of reggae, funk and rock.

Also on Friday in Plattsburgh Crow Party is playing at the Monopole at 10 pm. A great hard-hitting blues band as far as I’m concerned – my only complaint with these guys is that even though they purposely compose short songs, I sometimes wish they’d just keep playing. When the groove is really working and people are up and dancing more of the same is better than fine, it’s fantastic. Russ Bailey, Franz Pope and Matt Rabideau are all excellent musicians! Call 563-2222 for more information.

On Saturday Blues For Breakfast is playing at North Creek Station and is a Jerry Garcia tribute band. August 1st also happens to be Jerry Garcia’s birthday. I found out about this show from Nate Pelton’s website adkmusic.com. Thanks, Nate!

Looking into next week: On Monday, August 3rd at 11 am, Earthtunes will put on a interactive performance for children and adults at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Playing mandolin, viola and guitars, Steve Mayone and Barb Herson use different musical styles to teach their audiences about the environment and how to care for it.

On Tuesday, August 4th, The Pines Inn Songs at Mirror Lake series continues with Spiritual Rez. A 7-piece funky reggae band is giving a free 7 pm concert a Mid’s Park in Lake Placid. These concert are usually of a very high quality and excellent. I like what i’ve been listening to online of these guys.

photo: Russ Bailey of Crow Party


Saturday, July 25, 2009

An Adirondack Cocktail

Adkforum has an interesting thread going about a bride’s search for an authentic Adirondack cocktail to serve at a Keene Valley wedding. So far the consensus seems to be Genny, though the western New York beer is being edged out by Lake Placid’s Ubu Ale.

Joe Conto teaches a class at Paul Smith’s College called “Beverages: Six Glasses that Changed the World.” Last summer his students invented Toni Basil Lemonade (“oh, basil, you’re so fine, etc.” ), a vodka and lemon cooler garnished with basil, for Lisa G’s restaurant in Lake Placid.

As for a drink with Adirondack ingredients, Professor Conto offers, “I make this one cocktail with:
1.5 oz Makers Mark
1/2 oz maple syrup (good stuff)
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain into martini glass, Garnish with lemon twist (not wedge). The bourbon and the maple taste gooood together.”

He adds, “One time in New York City I had a drink with dark rum, maple syrup and lime juice (I assume the same proportions, maybe a little more syrup) served on the rocks with a lime wedge garnish. Also good. Actually, I might add a splash of club soda to this one.”

Potatoes are the region’s cash crop, so vodka would seem a possibility, but locally distilled P3 Placid Vodka is actually made with grain. Its Adirondack cred comes from Lake Placid water and filtration through Gore Mountain-area garnet. Whatever—this drink recipe from P3’s Web site sounds pretty good:
“The Miracle on Ice”
The Red – cranberry juice
The White – ice and a splash of Sprite
The Blue – muddled (mashed) blueberries
The Miracle – P3 Placid Vodka

There is a cocktail called an Algonquin, but it originated at the New York City hotel, not on the mountain or the lake. It calls for 1.5 oz Old Thompson Blended Whiskey, 1 oz dry vermouth, and 1 oz pineapple juice. Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Enjoy.

Photograph: left to right, Wood, Earth, Metal, Water and Fire: drinks invented by the bartender at Reflections, High Peaks Resort, Lake Placid.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Swing, Rock and Roll, Irish, Classical

Early Friday afternoon at LPCA a performance will be given by the Lake Placid Sinfonietta at 2 pm. For a mere $5 it’s the only opportunity to see this wonderful group of classical musicians in the afternoon this season.

Friday in Westport from 6 to 10 pm the Geo-Electrics will be playing rock and roll and country swing – perfect for dancing. The musicians; Curt Stager, George Bailey, Kary Johnson and Kyle Murray have lots of fun playing together and are super talented. I personally can’t wait to hear them even though I have to be back in Saranac Lake early to back up Aiseiri. The Westport event is free and takes place at The Heritage House (6459 Main St.) since it is now the new home for The Arts Council and NCPR’s new Champlain Valley radio signal.

Also on Friday night in Saranac Lake at O’Reilly’s Pub below Morgan’s 11 on Broadway there will be live Irish music starting at 8 pm. Aiseiri will be playing a couple sets until 10 pm. Aiseiri has a rotating line-up, this time it’s just three; John Joe Reilly on uillean pipes, Shane O’Neil on bodhran and yours truly on rhythm guitar. These guys are the folks who put on the Annual Irish Festival held in Lake Placid on Labor Day weekend. Sometimes great musicians stop in late and continue the music into the wee hours. It’s a great place to have a pint and a listen.

On Saturday in Saranac Lake at The Waterhole, Los Blancos are back. I had a blast dancing to these guys during Winter Carnival. I know many people who will be going again because they too had such a good time back in February. The band even has a clip from that Carnival scene. Check it out and you might see your friends having a ball.

Every Sunday through August 16th at 7:30 pm, The Lake Placid Sinfonietta is at LPCA. They are also playing a number of venues on Wednesdays and the occasional Friday. A full calender is located on their home page.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Childstock Festival, Bluegrass and the Sinfonietta

This week I’m posting from The Catskill Irish Arts Week in East Durham, NY. in a few moments I’ll be taking a class in beginner Irish guitar accompaniment. That may seem funny because I already accompany some Irish musicians but the truth is I need the fundamentals. Despite internet connection issues and cell phone service sparsity I’m attempting to give you a good overview of the activities I’ll be missing this weekend in the Adirondacks while attending this great week of all Irish music and bluegrass at Grey Fox.

You have two chances to catch a band called Jatoba. On Friday they are going to be at the Monopole starting at 10 pm in Plattsburgh. Then on Saturday they’ll be at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake; a free show starts at 7pm and it’s outside on the patio. Later that night stick around for The Hospice Benefit which aside from being for a phenomenal cause will offer a variety of bands to listen and dance to. I wish I could tell you more but the bands are a mystery as of Wednesday night, however, I’m sure it’ll be worthwhile night.

The big event this weekend is Childstock in Malone. With music from Kim and Eddy Lawrence to Raisinhead it looks to be a great day. Check out my previous write-up for more details.

In Lake Placid at Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA) on Saturday, the Claire Lynch Band will be giving an outdoor concert. The show should be wonderful as they’ll be sharing their Grammy-nominated bluegrass music with the audience.

Also at LPCA on Sunday The Lake Placid Sinfonietta will be performing at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $22 and include meeting the artists plus wine and cheese after the concert.

photo: Eddy and Kim Lawrence


Thursday, July 9, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Bluegrass Festival, Hip Hop and A New Open Mic

Some very different styles of music are flowing through the North Country this weekend. Seems like everyone ought to find something that will feed their musical soul and give us something to smile about despite all the wet weather. I find that dancing in the rain is a lot more fun than camping in the rain.

On Friday in Saranac Lake Penny Kings Productions is doing their thing at The Waterhole starting at 9 pm. I’ve only experienced the show twice and it was a while back but I have fond memories of the energy these guys create. They get the whole room jumping up and down at the same time – quite impressive as well as fun. It’s loud, it’s Adirondack-grown and it’s hip hop!

Also on Friday in North Creek there is a new regular Friday open mic happening at Cafe Sarah. Acts will be performing from 5 to 8:30 pm. Check out the Cafe Sarah website for more information.

On Saturday also at The Waterhole, Greg Merritts Heavy Road will be jamming at 9 pm. This is the kind of band that will hit a groove and not stop until everyone in the room has rotated, at least once, all the parts of their body.

The big festival this weekend is in Chateaugay. The Gibson Brothers and Chateaugay Rotary are hosting the Second Annual Adirondacks Unplugged Music Festival from 1 until 8 pm Saturday. Four other local folk and bluegrass acts besides the Gibson Brothers will be performing. They are; Caroline O’Connor, Crossing North, John and Orion Kribs with Gwen Tracy and in the 4:30pm slot Beartracks. The Gibsons go on at 6 pm. The festival will be held at the Chateaugay Recreation Park on Route 374 – Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door – the gates open at noon.

Photo: The Penny Kings


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Biomimicry, Nature’s Solutions Focus at Wild Center

A new exhibition at The Wild Center looks at how humans are tackling problems by uncoding natural solutions to problems in the wild. From MIT to the University of Tokyo scientists equipped with new tools that let them look into the nano structure of nature are discovering the secrets to some of the most elusive tricks in the world. Their sights are aimed at everything from making energy from sunlight to replicating the way spiders forge a material stronger than steel at room temperature.

David Gross, head curator at The Wild Center, which will showcase some of the breakthroughs this summer, has spent more than a year researching where the new science is headed. Gross is a biologist, and his lifetime of observing animal behavior turned him on to the bio-based discoveries. “Most of these new breakthroughs are happening because people saw something in nature, and were curious about how it happened. How do spiders make silk? How does a burr stick to a dog’s fur? In the last decade we have developed the tools to see and work at tiny scales, where nature works, so we can start to build things in a revolutionary new way.”

This relatively new science, coined biomimicry, (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. The core idea is that nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Basically, after 3.8 billion years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us are the secrets to survival.

Biomimicry is gaining in recognition throughout the world. A recent article in the United Kingdom’s Daily Telegraph highlighted this truly international movement. A fast, ultra-broadband, low-power radio chip, modeled on the human inner ear that could enable wireless devices capable of receiving cell phone, internet, radio and television signals has recently been developed by scientists at MIT. A National Geographic article highlighted biomimetics in April 2008.

Here are some examples of how looking at nature can help solve some of the problems of humanity.

Locusts Don’t Crash
Locusts fly in swarms but never crash. How do they avoid having multi-locust pile-ups? Car manufacturers like Volvo and Nissan are studying locusts, and other insects like bees, to discover their crash-avoidance systems to see how they can be incorporated into our vehicles, making our roads safer.

Frozen Frog Hearts
Organs used for transplants can last as little as five hours. Keeping hearts and other organs on ice can significantly damage the tissue making the organs not viable. So how does the wood frog manage to freeze in the winter and thaw itself in the spring with no damage to its internal organs? Scientists are working on ways to mimic their non-toxic antifreeze to prolong the life of transplant organs.

Shine a Light on Moths and Butterflies
Moths, unlike cats, have very non-reflective eyes, a trait that protects them against nocturnal predators and helps them see at night. Their eyes have a series of bumps that help keep the light from reflecting. Using a silicon coating on solar panels that resembles the texture of moths’ eyes improves the solar collecting efficiency of solar panels by as much as 40 percent, bringing the price of solar down.

Scientists recently discovered that butterflies harvest the warmth of the sun through small solar collectors on their wings. Their wings are covered with an intricate array of scales, arranged in such a way that the light reflects off of other scales rather than bouncing off the wing where the warmth would be lost. Chinese and Japanese researchers designed a solar cell based on the butterfly’s intricate design and converted more light to energy than any existing solar cell at a lower fabrication cost.

The Whale’s a Fan of the Owl
Plane’s wings have streamlined edges so they can cut through air more efficiently, right? One of the biggest animals in the world, the humpback whale has extremely unstreamlined edges and can still fly through the water. Scientists have determined that the tubercles, or bumps, on the edge of the flippers produce more lift and less drag than sleek flippers. This discovery has implications for wind power and ceiling fans. Owls fly silently through the night, stealthily approaching their prey before capturing their next meal. Would mimicking the design of owl’s wings silence the noise of the fan in your computer? Engineers are studying the tips and curvature of owl’s wings and have created a quieter and more efficient fan blade design.

Gross says the promise of this kind of science is huge. “I’ll use the spider example. They can make seven different kinds of thread, do it all at room temperature, and it’s not just stronger than steel, it’s stronger than anything we have invented. And at the end of the day the spider can eat its own web and recycle the material. Imagine if we could make buildings out of tiny beams that required no mining, no smelting, and minimal energy, and could be entirely recycled again at room temperature? Or if we could figure out how plants photosynthesize, we could solve all of our energy needs.”

Why the Adirondacks? “One thing about these inventions is that you need to be able to watch nature to see what it’s up to, and it makes the Adirondacks a living lab. You can see the wood frogs that freeze solid and thaw, right here at The Wild Center. If you pay attention at The Wild Center you can begin to look at things differently when you’re outside and learn from them.” Gross says the inventions are everywhere. “The real breakthrough is that we can start to see the molecular structure and even the chemistry lab inside a spider, that’s what is fueling the breakthroughs.”

On a walk at The Wild Center Gross points out subjects under study. A bee buzzes by. “We know they vote. They can come into a hive and present a case for a new hive location, and elect which option to choose, and the bees all head to the new location. Computer companies are trying to figure out how so much information is shared and acted on so accurately and quickly.”

The Wild Center’s exhibit, throughout the 31 acre campus, is the first of its kind in the world. It will feature 51 stories of how humans are studying nature and discovering a better way to do things. How does nature make colors without using toxins? How do loons desalinate salt water? How can dogs detect cancer cells just from sniffing a person? A trained sniffing dog, a robot that can scurry over almost any object based on a cockroach and a silent fan modeled on an owl’s quiet flight will be on display. From the moment visitors enter the parking lot, until they leave, they will discover amazing ways that nature has solved its own challenges without using high heats, harmful chemicals or overusing its own resources.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Fourth of July Fix

Shamim Allen is away this week, at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, so I offered to cover for her and she e-mailed me some live music suggestions.

If Shamim is there, the Jazz Fest is obviously the place to be, only about two hours from the northern Adirondacks and featuring a 12-day schedule so ridiculously packed it might be easier to list who’s not playing. The price of entry to various venues ranges from free to about $80. On the Fourth of July Dave Brubeck, who is 88, will perform “Take Five,” which is 50.

Closer to home, there’s an open mic tonight at Grizzle T’s in Saranac Lake. It starts at 7:30 p.m.

On Friday, July 3, the holiday weekend gets rolling with Lake Placid’s annual I Love Barbecue festival, featuring amazing local musicians all weekend, including Stoneman Blues Band, Sven Curth and Lowell Bailey. If you like the Ramones, you’ll especially appreciate Loud and Stupid, which takes the stage at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The first concert of the season at Meadowmount School of Music will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Meadowmount is boot camp for classical music’s future string stars, and the location is remote, pastoral and camplike, complete with screens and mosquitoes. The summer school is located at 1424 County Route 10, in the town of Lewis. There’ll be another concert Sunday July 5. $7 adults, $4 seniors/students. See www.meadowmount.com for a full schedule.

Also Friday a trio from the Celtic band Inisheer will be playing at O’Reilly’s Pub in Saranac Lake 8-10 p.m.

SATURDAY, July 4

There’s free music pretty much anywhere you can find a parade or fireworks. Here are just a few suggestions:

From 1-3 p.m. Inisheer plays the bandshell at Mid’s Park on Mirror Lake, in Lake Placid.

Long Lake will be hosting an open acoustic jam at the town beach at 2 p.m. (The North Country Preservation Jazz Band will play in the evening.)

Atlantic Crossing, a Vermont-based band playing Celtic roots music of New England, Canada and the British Isles, will perform at Bolton Landing’s Rogers Park at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Puttin’ on the Ritz plays pre-fireworks in Raquette Lake, at the school.

Shamim will return to play with the Dust Bunnies in Saranac Lake’s Riverside Bandshell at 7 p.m., before the fireworks. The Bunnies’ friends Big Slyde are playing the Waterhole patio, about 100 yards away, at the same time.

There’ll be square dancing in the North Country Squares Building of the Clinton County Fairgrounds at 7 p.m. in Morrisonville.

If you like your Fourth of July fix of patriotic marches, the 45-piece Floyd Community Band will be playing at the waterfront park in Old Forge at 7 p.m. Saturday, before the fireworks.

The heavy (in a good way) blues trio Crow Party will rock the annual boogie fest at the Recovery Lounge in Upper Jay, starting at 8 p.m.

Mathematicians, a band with a strong Adirondack following, will be playing at HOTSHOTS on South Street in Glens Falls on the Fourth of July with Beware the Other Head of Science. It’s an 18+ show, doors open at 9 p.m., and show starts at 10 p.m.

Aiseiri is playing at O’Reilly’s Pub after the fireworks over Lake Flower, in Saranac Lake.

SUNDAY, July 5

Inisheer plays at 6 p.m. on the Peru Village Green.

Artwork: Mathemeticians


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"In Search of the Picturesque" at Adirondack Museum

Nineteenth century armchair travelers and well-to-do American tourists eagerly read published travel guides and narratives, which often featured paintings reproduced as engravings. These images helped advance an artist’s reputation and marketability, and also shaped travelers’ expectations of the Adirondack wilderness. The Adirondack Museum‘s Chief Curator Laura Rice will lead visitors in search of the picturesque through the museum’s paintings, prints, rare maps, and photographs, many of which have never been exhibited during an illustrated program entitled “In Search of the Picturesque: Landscape and Tourism in the Adirondacks, 1820-1880” at the Adirondack Museum on Monday, July 6, 2009.

The first offering of the season in the Adirondack Museum’s Monday Evening Lecture series, the presentation will be held in the Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for museum members. Admission is $5.00 for non-members.

Rice will discuss how guidebook authors reinforced visual messages by using painterly language to describe scenes travelers would encounter along a given route. The visual and descriptive imagery promoted the Adirondacks as a public treasure, contributed to a national understanding of wilderness as evidence of God’s hand in creation, and fostered the development of wilderness as a national icon and reflection of the American character.

The Adirondack Museum introduced a new exhibit in 2009, “A ‘Wild, Unsettled Country’: Early Reflections of the Adirondacks,” that showcases paintings, maps, prints, and photographs illustrating the untamed Adirondack wilderness discovered by early cartographers, artists, and photographers.

Laura Rice joined the staff of the Adirondack Museum in 2003. She had previously served as a Curator, Museum Educator, and Consultant at a number of other museums. Ms. Rice holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in American Civilization with an emphasis on Museum Studies. She is the author of the award-winning book Maryland History in Prints: 1752 – 1900, a history of the state of Maryland based on selected images in the Maryland Historical Society Print Collection.

Photo: Untitled: Wolf Jaw Mountain, by Horace Wolcott Robbins, Jr., 1863.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shamim Allen’s Brush with the King of Pop

Our own Shamim Allen – that’s her at left while attending an all-girls high school in Dobbs Ferry, circa Bad – reports here every Thursday afternoon on the unique and eclectic Adirondack music scene. Last week she took the occasion of Michael Jackson’s death to relate the story of her poignant parlay with the mainstream pop presence, even though she was (and still is) way more into Rush.

The Ten Dollar Radio Show scooped the Almanack’s backyard, so now dutifully we bow our heads and click our mouses over to www.tendollarradioshow.com (“sounds like a million bucks and plays for free”). The site is the work of Peter Crowley and Ned Rauch, two North Country newsmen, musicians and music geeks.

If you are within range of WLPW/WRGR (105.5 or 102.3) in the Tri-Lakes, tune in 6-8 p.m. every Sunday evening. If you’re not, visit Ten Dollar’s Web site for the podcast.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Groovin’ with Natty B to Stony Creek Bluegrassin’

Tonight, at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake – Jamie Notarthomas is playing the patio party at 7 pm. A prolific songwriter, with strong voice who backs himself up with acoustic guitar and harmonica. He put on a very good one man show that I caught at the Hole last year – not only is he extremely talented, he’s also a super nice fellow. Check out his videos and decide for yourself. He is also playing Zig Zags (518-523-8221) tomorrow in Lake Placid at 10 pm.

This Saturday at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake, Natural Breakdown is playing at 9:30 pm. Natty B, as they are sometimes called, sounds great on their myspace site – a song of theirs called “Hallellujah” had me bobbing up and down in my chair while I was writing. Another song with an Indian influence made me want to close my eyes, sway and groove – counterproductive given what I’m doing right now (I can’t type without looking) but tempting. These guys are tight and yet between guitars, bass, drums and excellent vocals they leave plenty of room to let loose and jam.

Also on Saturday in North Creek from 7 -10 pm you have a free concert by Jamie Notarthomas. This is part of the Concert Series on the River, call (800)989-7238 for more information. A prolific songwriter, with strong voice who backs himself up with acoustic guitar and harmonica. Check him out on youtube.

On Sunday at The Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage in Saranac Lake there will be a benefit from 1 – 6 pm. Music will be provided by a Pennsylvania band Celtic Cats they start at 2:30 pm. This is a free event, however, donations are accepted and encouraged throughout the day.

On Sunday in at the Stony Creek Inn in Stony Creek the five piece bluegrass band Stony Creek Band is performing at 7 pm.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Diz in North Creek, Jamming Etiquette

Tonight in North Creek at barVino, Diz is playing at 8 pm! Diz is a multi instrumentalist singer. On his website there is a nice example of his voice. He sings poignant love songs and tells a great joke – it should be a fun show.

Also tonight there is a regular Wednesday jam at The Shamrock in Gabriels. Located at the end of Split Rock Road coming from Saranac Lake and on the left on the road that runs between Gabriels and Bloomingdale coming from Paul Smiths. It’s a fantastic place, excellent food and all round great scene. There is a core group and always folks who stop in at different times during the night. It seems to get going around 8 pm but can start on either side of that – sometimes it runs as late as midnight and sometimes it’s over by 10 pm. » Continue Reading.