Posts Tagged ‘Performing Arts’

Thursday, August 5, 2010

North Creek Hosts Authors, Waynestock, Race the Train

North Creek will be busy this weekend with events for runners, music fans and book lovers. Hundreds of visitors will focus on the annual North Creek “Race The Train” event and later on “Waynestock,” hosted by a locally-based community group that raises funds for families suffering from tragedy or misfortune. A celebration of local authors will bring some twenty writers to town as well.

Race the Train is an 8.4 mile race from Riparius to North Creek. Runners board the tourist train of the Upper Hudson River Railroad in North Creek at 8 AM. The train transports the runners (and any family members with purchased tickets) along the Hudson River to Riparius. The train whistle will begin the race back to North Creek along a shady road that starts as pavement and changes to dirt from miles 3 to 7.5.

Waynestock III will feature music at the Pavilion at the North Creek Ski Bowl Park all afternoon. Billed as “BIGGER-BETTER-LOUDER” the event features auctions, raffles, food, and noon to midnight entertainment. Entertainment includes Vinnie Leddick, Blonde Roots, S.L. Smith Band, Phil Camp, Don’t Quit Your Day Jobbers, Donna Britton Band, Finger Diddle, Dogtown Cadillac, Hoffmeister and Keystone Band. A small price of admission supports the North Country Hardship Fund.

The Hudson River Trading Company, 292 Main Street, will host “Rhythm & Rhymes at the Hudson: A Celebration of Authors and Artists” on Saturday from 1pm-3pm. Twenty authors and artists from all over the Adirondacks and northern New York region will sign their books and CDs under the tents in front of the store. Guitarist Scott Adams will perform his Adirondack music.

Among the award-winning writers are Gary and Carol Vanriper, authors of the Adirondack Kids series; Ross Whaley, co-author of the The Great Experiment in Conservation: Voices from around the Adirondack Park; Jerry Jenkins, author of his latest, Climate Change in the Adirondacks; and Elizabeth Folwell, author of Short Carries: Essays from Adirondack Life and a co-author of the bestseller Dog Hikes in the Adirondacks.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Adk Theatre Fest Offers Comedy-Murder-Mystery

Murder, mystery, music and mayhem abound in the latest offering from Adirondack Theatre Festival. Murder for Two, the new musical comedy by Kellen Blair (lyrics/book) and Joe Kinosian (music/book) will receive its first full production as a part of ATF’s 16th season. The show will be performed at the Charles R. Wood Theater, 207 Glen Street in downtown Glens Falls. Performances run July 22 – July 31. Official opening night is Friday, July 9 at 8pm. Tickets and more information can be found by calling 518-874-0800 or visiting www.ATFestival.org.

This fast-paced musical comedy/mystery features two actors– one playing a detective and the other portraying all suspects in the murder of a well-known novelist – and one piano (on which they both share the piano playing duties). Along the way, audiences meet a distraught but ditzy widow, a comely ballerina, the town psychiatrist, a grad student aspiring to become a detective, a 12-member boys’ choir, a squabbling middle-aged couple, and more.

Under the direction of Scott Weinstein, the cast is composed of New York City stage actors Adam Overett as Officer Marcus and Joe Kinosian as the wacky suspects. The show’s design team includes Kina Park (sets); Jason Kantrowitz (lighting); Lydia Dawson (costumes); and Ken Goodwin (sound). The production is sponsored by Stewart’s Shops.

This will be the first full production of Murder for Two. ATF Producing Artistic Director, Mark Fleischer, first saw the show as a staged reading in New York City last year. “I was so impressed with the humor and versatility of this show. This writing team is exploring ways to present a full scale musical comedy with only two performers. Their talent as songwriters is very impressive and their comedy very sophisticated. Most importantly Murder for Two offers audiences a fun evening at the theatre.” Fleischer has followed the development of the piece by attending readings at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor NY and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. The production at ATF will be the first time the show is fully staged with actors not holding scripts and with the addition of sets, lights and sound design. The show has already caught the attention of theatres across the country and future productions are already in negotiation at theatres in large cities across the country. However, audiences in our area will be the first to see this musical. As Fleischer states, “ATF is reversing the trend of summer theatres producing NYC approved shows. ATF audiences in the Adirondacks give the approval before shows head to NYC.” ATF has a 16 year tradition of developing new works for the theatre. Last summer ATF produced Adam Gwon’s Ordinary Days. The show was then produced at NYC’s Roundabout Theatre. The creators and ATF hope that Murder for Two will follow in this tradition.

Photo: Adam Overett and Joe Kinosian in Murder for Two


Friday, July 23, 2010

Hague’s Rick Bolton: A Life in Music

“As a young man, I was chasing a dream. As I got older, I realized the ultimate gig was a mile down the road, playing with and for my friends and then going home to my wife and kids. That’s really making it.”

That’s local legend Rick Bolton’s idea of a successful career in music, and by that definition, he’s made it.

From playing in garage bands on northern Lake George, where he traveled to gigs by boat because he was too young to drive, to touring out west, only to return home and help launch a thriving music scene in Saratoga, Rick Bolton has led a life in music and found the music that reflects his life.

“I grew up in Hague,” he recounts. “When summer hit, we got some culture, but not not enough to hurt us. I buried myself in my room in winters and learned to play guitar. I listened to the Beatles and the Stones, and I worked backward toward the music’s roots. I got lucky. I was exposed to old time guitar players, banjo players and fiddlers, here and in northeastern Vermont where I went to college. That’s the music that makes sense to me.”

Those traditions have found their way into the music he’s been playing for the last forty years, with bands like the T-Bones, northern Lake George’s favorite dance band, Rick Bolton and the Dwyer Sisters (which includes his wife Sharon and her sister Molly) and Big Medicine, which will perform in Lake George Village’s Shepard Park on July 28.

“I’m a tavern singer, I make no bones about that, but I love playing town concert series,” said Bolton. “You have a chance to mix it up with towns people and tourists; they’re better venues than taverns for playing original tunes and trying different takes on cover material. They’re always a lot of fun.”

Bolton characterizes Big Medicine, which consists of Jeff and Becky Walton, Tim Wechgelaer, Arlin Greene, Mike Lomaestro and Bolton on guitar, as “classic Americana; we cover a lot of bases – swing, rhythm and blues, rock, folk.”

Musicians younger than Bolton and from such unlikely places as Brooklyn and Somerville have re-discovered the acoustic roots music that Bolton has been playing for most of his life. In fact, they’re popular draws at the concert series in Shepard Park.

Rather than disparaging the young bands’ grasp of the traditions or resenting their intrusion upon fields he’s tilled for decades, Bolton welcomes their enthusiasm.

“It’s awesome, they’re bringing they’re own influences to bear on the music, just as we did, and they’re taking the music back to the garage, where it started,” says Bolton.

Although Bolton still has his day job with Warren County, he’s performing nearly every night with one band or another.

“We had 27 or 28 gigs scheduled for July, and June was just as busy,” he said. Bolton has lived in Saratoga for the past twenty years. In the last six years, he says, “the music scene has just taken off.”

“Sooner or later, a place just gets touched,” he says. “It happened to Austin, Texas, it happened to San Francisco. I can envision the same thing happening to Saratoga. Within blocks, you can hear jazz, acoustic folk, blues or rock. There are a lot of influences, conducive to vibrant original music. There’s a definitive Saratoga style, and there’s an audience for it.”

A sampling of that Saratoga style can be heard soon on “Saratoga Pie,” a compilation of Saratoga bands that Bolton has helped produce as a benefit for the Saratoga Center for the Family.

“There’s a lot of money for the arts in Saratoga, but often places that serve people don’t get the attention they need. There are battered women and abused children in every town in the Adirondack Park, but people never talk about that,” he says, explaining the purpose of the album. “They need our help.”

As Bolton describes it, Saratoga’s music scene is not that different from Hague, where, he says, everyone knew everyone else’s business, but everyone looked out for one another.

That’s probably why Bolton’s happier there than if he had stayed out west. He may be “only in it for the beer,” as the title of a recent CD puts it, but he’s made a full, rich life out of it.

Photo: Rick Bolton (left) with Big Medicine.

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


Monday, July 19, 2010

Doris Kenyon: Ausable Forks Movie Star

Ausable Forks was once the favored respite of one of America’s most famed and beloved actresses of her time. During the prime of her career in the 1920s, to escape constant media scrutiny, this lady returned often to the Adirondacks, a quiet, peaceful place filled with the memories of childhood.

Doris Kenyon was born on September 5, 1897, the daughter of James and Margaret Kenyon. James, once a protégé of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was a person of some renown in his own right, achieving widespread fame and praise for his skills as a poet. Many of his works were featured in Harpers, the Atlantic, and other reputable magazines. After writing two books, James remained in the literary world and became a publisher. His position would help open doors for his talented daughter.

The family lived for a time in Chaumont, New York, northwest of Watertown, and then moved to Syracuse, where Doris was born. Her brother, Raymond, nineteen years older than Doris, was a dentist and oral surgeon in both Philadelphia and Syracuse. Health issues and a deep love of hunting and fishing prompted his move to the Adirondacks in pursuit of a less strenuous life.

Ray Kenyon chose Ausable Forks as his new home, immersing himself in local life, business, and politics. He served in several key positions, including many years as chairman of the Essex County Republican Party, and several more as state assemblyman. Due to his great skill as a dentist and his affable nature, Raymond became a fixture in the community.

Young Doris was a frequent visitor and guest at her brother’s home—so frequent, in fact, that she has sometimes been claimed as an Ausable Forks native. She spent many summers at Fern Lake and was well known in the village, particularly for her singing ability.

When Doris was in her teens, her father became head of the publishing department of the National Encyclopedia of Biography. It was a position of prominence and power, earning James close ties with luminaries from many venues, including show business.

By this time, Doris had sung with different choirs and had developed a reputation for the quality of her voice. At a meeting of the Authors Club, which she attended with her father, Doris was invited to sing, delivering a very impressive performance.

Among the attendees was the renowned Victor Herbert, who had been a superb cellist in Europe, having played in the orchestra of Johann Strauss. In America, he worked at the Metropolitan Opera and became a famed composer and conductor. Like many other stars, Victor maintained a home in Lake Placid.

Her performance before the Authors Club wowed Herbert, and though Doris was only sixteen years old, he decided to cast her in the stage musical Princess Pat. The show opened on Broadway in the Cort Theatre, and Doris’ stage debut as the character Coralee Bliss was a big success. The movie industry soon showed an interest in her. (Apparently for her acting skills, and not for her lovely voice. The silent film era wouldn’t give way to talkies for another 14 years.)

Doris couldn’t resist the opportunity. She left a promising stage career to appear as Effie MacKenzie in The Rack (Milton Sills was the leading star), which was released in December 1915. That performance earned her the lead role in Pawn of Fate, released in February 1916. Within a month, Worldwide Film Corporation signed Doris to an exclusive three-year contract at $50,000 a year ($1 million per year in today’s dollars) … and she was still a teenager!

Despite her youth, Doris displayed maturity with her newfound wealth, donating to projects like the Childrens’ Home in Plattsburgh. She supported the troops during World War I, subscribing to $50,000 worth of Liberty Bonds, the highest amount of any actress in show business.

Under her new contract, Doris played the leading role in many movies. In 1917, after making A Hidden Hand for Plathe Films, she formed her own company, De Luxe Pictures. The crew stayed at the Lake Placid Club while filming its first project, The Story of Seven Stars.

As life became more hectic, Doris returned frequently to her childhood roots in Ausable Forks, spending time with Raymond. She and her brother shared an affinity for fox hunting, a very popular pastime in those days. Raymond’s camp on Silver Lake was one of Doris’ favorite places, and there she hosted luminaries from show business and other industries.

Doris went on to star in nearly fifty silent films, including 1924’s Monsieur Bocaire with living legend Rudolph Valentino, and 1925’s A Thief in Paradise with Ronald Colman. During her long career, she played opposite all the great stars of the day, among them Loretta Young, Spencer Tracy, Ralph Bellamy, John Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas, Robert Young, and Adolph Menjou. Her fame was such that newborn Doris Kappelhoff (born in 1922) was named after Kenyon. Kappelhoff would gain great fame under her stage name, Doris Day.

One of the leading men in several of Kenyon’s movies became the leading man in her personal life. Milton Sills was a major star of the era, and he and Doris had performed together many times. In May 1926, Doris announced she had purchased her brother’s camp, and a few weeks later came an update—she and Milt Sills would soon marry … on the shores of Silver Lake!

The ceremony took place amidst the October splendor of the leaf color change, creating a sensational backdrop at the camp Doris called “Moose Missie.” And, as they honeymooned through the Adirondacks (two days in a suite of rooms in Agora at the Lake Placid Club), plus Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone Park, workmen were completing a beautiful mansion on their sixty-acre estate in Hollywood, California.

The wedding had been announced in May 1926, but was delayed until October due to Doris being ill. (Seven months after the ceremony, she gave birth to a son, Kenyon Clarence Sills.) Following the wedding and lengthy honeymoon, Doris took some time off from acting, but returned soon to star in several movies with her husband. In effect, they were the industry’s “power-couple” of the day, starring in movies and receiving constant media coverage.

In 1929, they passed the summer at Silver Lake, where Milton was recovering from illness. Doris spent several weeks at the camp, but she also did about a month of vaudeville performances before the two of them returned to making movies. And, upon special request, she served in August as a judge for the baby parade and pageant in Lake Placid’s summer carnival.

In 1929, Doris gave a concert performance in New York City, confirming that she still had a great singing voice. At the same time, unlike many other silent-film stars, she smoothly transitioned into the world of “talkies,” remaining one of Hollywood’s top stars.

In September 1930, tragedy struck Doris’ life. Shortly after playing tennis with his family, Milton Sills, 48, suddenly collapsed and died of a heart attack. Doris, just 33 at the time, was devastated by the loss, and buried herself in work to help ease the pain.

She had been recognized in the past for other skills—writing, poetry, and as a pianist—but it was singing that Doris really missed. Plans had already been made for a return to regular concert performances, and after the death of Sills, Doris went on a world tour. After many successful European shows, she returned to the United States with a renewed interest in her film career.

Through the 1930s, Doris remained a major movie star, appearing in at least fourteen more films. She was also quite busy on the marital front. First came Syracuse real estate broker Arthur Hopkins in 1933, a union that lasted only a few months (annulled). Next, Doris was married to Albert Lasker in 1938 for a year (divorced). Finally, she married Bronislav Mlynarski in 1947 (that one lasted twenty-four years, ending with Mlynarski’s death in 1971).

Through the WW II years, Doris again supported the troops by singing with the USO. In the 1950s, she acted in television shows, sang on the radio, and performed two roles in radio soap operas. From silent films to the advent of television, she had done it all.

It was an incredible career spanning the Metropolitan Opera, stage, screen, vaudeville, concerts, radio, poetry, television, and writing. She was a success at everything she tried (even marriage, in the end). One of Hollywood’s lasting stars, Doris Kenyon passed away from heart trouble in September 1979, just a few days shy of her 82nd birthday.

Top Photo: Poster from a Kenyon movie.

Middle Photo: Doris Kenyon in A Thief in Paradise.

Bottom Photo: Doris Kenyon collectible tobacco card.

Lawrence Gooley has authored eight books and several 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, July 13, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities with Diane Chase: Seagle Music Colony

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
Jack and the Beanstalk may be considered a children’s story but the undertones of the Seagle Music Colony’s operatic rendition leaves anyone with an appreciation for music with his/her own interpretation. The giant does get his in the end, but it is not the end one is expecting. For adults there is the rich performance of the four gifted students and children listen in awe to a magical story. The bonus is being able to meet the fairytale characters, come-to-life, after the show.

Founded in 1915 by world-renowned baritone Oscar Seagle, Seagle Music Colony draws the most talented singers from around the country for its summer training program. Open to only 32 individuals the auditions are rigorous.

Artist Director Darren Woods says,“ I was a child from a small town with no exposure to opera and went on to perform as a professional. When I started managing various companies it was important to me to incorporate some kind of free children’s offering.”

Woods, currently the General Director of Fort Worth Opera as well as Artistic Director of Seagle Music Colony understands that this select group of gifted singers attending the Seagle Music program will at some point in their careers perform operatic educational outreach.

“We have been doing free children’s operas at Seagle Music Colony for the past twelve years,” says Woods. “ The first year we did Little Red Riding Hood at the Boathouse Theatre (Schroon Lake) and couldn’t have squeezed another person in. We have now branched out to 10 performances around the North Country. Part of our mission is to provide quality entertainment to those living in the Adirondacks and that includes children.”

The children’s performance is not the only offering at Seagle. This year the schedule is full with the staged musical comedies of Hello Dolly and Carousel as well as The Marriage of Figaro performed in Italian with performances of Romeo and Juliet in French. There are also a “Salute to the Tony Awards” and “Vespers” concerts.

The next free performance of Jack in the Beanstalk is slated for July 16th in Bolton Landing. The tour continues to Glens Falls, July 17; North Creek, July 20; Ticonderoga, July 21; Chestertown, July 24; and Lake Placid on July 28.

The Children’s Opera is free but reservations are requested. Please call 518- 532-7875 for more information.

Photo of the Seagle Colony performance of Jack in the Beanstalk at the Boathouse Theatre 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, June 16, 2010

Lake Placid Institute Announces Roundtable Series

The Lake Placid Institute for the Arts and Humanities welcomes prominent professionals to speak at the annual Adirondack Roundtable series. Taking place on Saturday mornings, these breakfast lectures are open to the public and offer a diverse array of speakers. Throughout June, July, and August, the Roundtable takes place at 8:30am at the Crowne Plaza Lake Placid Resort.

On June 26th, Actor Chris Noth will begin the Roundtable series by discussing “An Actor’s Life.” A graduate from the Yale School of Drama, he has had a successful career in film, television, and on stage. Noth is most well-known for his role as Detective Mike Logan on Law and Order: Criminal Intent and as Mr. Big on HBO’s Sex and the Cityopposite Sarah Jessica Parker, a role for which he received a Golden Globe Nomination. He can currently be seen in the movie Sex and the City II, a movie based on the television series and also on CBS’ show The Good Wife.

July 10th, Jim Burrows, a successful director and producer, will discuss “Maintaining a Private Life in Show Business.” He has directed many successful shows includingThe Mary Tyler Moore Show, Cheers, Friends, Will & Grace, and Two and a Half Men. He has been nominated for an Emmy Award 24 times in 26 years, winning 5 times.

July 17th, John Cooney, a prominent writer, will discuss “News Without Newspapers.” A former reporter, editor, and foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal,Cooney has worked in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe and the Middle East. His work in Cuba was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He has also written non-fiction books, in particular, The Annenbergs, for which he received the University of Missouri Journalism School’s Research award and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. His fiction works include A Better Place to Die and Acts of Contrition.

August 14th, the Roundtable will conclude with Howard Stahl discussing “Saving Historic Properties: Economic, Aesthetic, & Practical Considerations.” A trial attorney and a partner in the law firm Steptoe & Johnson, he is a member of the Litigation, Business Solutions, and International Departments. His work led to his listing in Leading Lawyers 2007. In addition, Stahl has purchased, restored, opened for public viewing, and sold a number of historic homes. He also is knowledgeable about tax and easement incentives for preservation initiatives.

The Adirondack Roundtable begins at 8:30am, with registration starting at 8:00am at the Crowne Plaza Lake Placid Resort. Each event is $30 with a reservation or $35 at the door and includes a breakfast buffet. Please call the Lake Placid Institute at 518-523-1312 for advance registration.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities:Lake George Opera’s Three Little Pigs

This year Lake George Opera’s Opera-To-Go is performing another adaptation by John Davies of Opera Tales. Davies, a bass-baritone has performed with a variety of opera companies such as Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco and Philadelphia as well as many others. Then in the 1990s, as a means to entertain his own children, Davies hit on a combination that worked. He merged classic fairy tales with classic music in a way to engage and entertain children of all ages.

Each Davies children’s opera takes recognizable tunes and pairs them to a story with a lesson, similar to the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon that showcased The Barber of Seville. In this performance one little pig goes to the library as she researches how to build a house. The Three Little Pigs converges with Mozart’s Don Giovanni as the wolf pretends to be a statue and ends up being invited for dinner with a second little pig and trouble commences.

For Liz Giblin, Director of Marketing for the Lake George Opera, Davies’ children’s operas not only take classic operatic ideas and themes but have a strong educational element to them as well. Each year the company performs for schools throughout upstate New York, the Adirondacks and western New England as well as a series of free performances for families.

“The Opera-To-Go program has been going into communities and schools since 1985,” Giblin says. “Children aren’t only exposed to opera but to good lessons within each of the classic fairy tales. The Three Little Pigs shows how everything you need to know is in the library. Last year’s opera was about the danger of talking to strangers. Another opera was about the Golden Rule. Children are not only exposed to opera but also exposed to stories and music. Obviously we are an opera company so want people to know that opera is available to everyone not just an older generation.”

The 45-minute opera of The Three Little Pigs will be held at the Charles R. Wood Theatre in Glens Falls free of charge at 1:00 p.m. on March 27. According to Executive Director Bill Woodward seating for the operatic performance at the Wood Theatre is on a first-come, first-serve basis. The 299-seat theatre will be open a half-hour before show time.

“This a great opportunity for kids to come and see opera where it is reachable. It is a fairy tale and children are mesmerized with the singing. It’s a good way to assimilate them to opera,” says Woodward. “Parents will enjoy it just as much as the kids.”


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Moby Dick and the Adirondacks

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

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

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

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

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


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

Typhoid Mary in Saranac Lake Tonight

The Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) will end its annual Summer Program Series with the one-woman performance of Irish writer and actor Eithne McGuinnes as Typhoid Mary. The event, which will be held at Bluseed Studios in Saranac Lake tonight, August 31 at 7pm is free and open to the public.

About Typhoid Mary (from an AWC Press Release) – In 1907, Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant, who had, ‘worked her way up from nothing’, to cook for New York’s finest, was seized from her place of work by the NY Board of Health. Accused of being the carrier of typhoid fever, Mary was imprisoned without a trial on an island in the middle of the East River. Totally isolated, a mere ten minute ferry ride from her former home in the Bronx, Mary became a scapegoat; sacrificed to quell the rising public fear that a typhoid epidemic could spread beyond the poor. She became a pawn in the larger ambitions of George Soper; health official who was desperate to identify the first human typhoid carrier in North America. Was Mary maligned? Could she, as the authorities insisted, have carried typhoid, if she herself had never been ill with the disease? Here is the captivating story of a brave Irish peasant who fought tooth and nail for her freedom and took on the very powerful state of New York.

Eithne McGuinnes is an Irish writer and actor. Her plays include: Miss Delicious, workshopped at Abbey Theatre, Dublin 2007; Tin Cans, commissioned by Dublin City Council, 2006; Limbo, Dublin Fringe Festival, 2000 and 2001; A Glorious Day, public reading, Abbey Theatre, 2000; and Typhoid Mary, Dublin Fringe Festival, 1997, broadcast on RTE Radio, 1998 and revived in 2004. Published short stories: Feather Bed (Scéalta), Anthology of Irish Women Writers, Telegram Books, 2006. The Boat Train, Something Sensational to Read on the Train, Lemon Soap Press, 2005. Her favorite acting roles include: Mary Mallon, Typhoid Mary, 2004 and 1997; Sr.Clementine, The Magdalene Sisters (Golden Lion 2002), Gracie Tracy, Glenroe (RTE Television). Recent theatre: Meg, The Hostage, Wonderland, Dublin, 2009; Olive, Dirty Dusting, Tivoli Theatre, Dublin; and Earth Mother, Menopause the Musical, 2008. Recent TV: The Roaring Twenties, No Laughing Matter, 2008. Other theatre includes: The House of Bernarda Alba, 2002 and The Marriage of Figaro, 1997, at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Cell, best production, Dublin Theatre Festival 1999 and Dublin Trilogy, Passion Machine – best new play, DTF 1998.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Adirondack Family Activities: Long Lake Opera

We have no set standard for musical appreciation in our family. We have always run the gamut from Broadway soundtracks to jazz, classical to rock. We are (thankfully) well past the refrains that require an “oink, oink here and an oink, oink there.” Though each childlike step through those mind numbing repetitive refrains did serve its purpose whether to learn what happens as the wheels turn on a bus or learn all the sounds the animals at Old MacDonald’s Farm.

As parents of young children we do have ultimate control of the car stereo and able to intersperse nursery rhymes with an eclectic mix of music. From The Grateful Dead to Marcia Ball and Cole Porter to Pavarotti, our kids are being exposed to a variety of musical tastes. I’ve always used music as a means to set the mood whether we are dancing around the house, quietly working or keeping the peace.

My daughter knows our wedding song while I am, much to my chagrin, prolific at singing and performing the Hannah/Miley “Hoe-down/Throw-down.” Listening to classical music is one thing but going to the opera is not an everyday occurrence for this family. Perhaps it should be.

George Cordes, an operatic bass, has performed a variety of roles while with the New York City Opera, Metropolitan Opera and other operatic companies. He will be accompanied by his wife and pianist Elizabeth as they perform at the Long Lake Town Hall at 7:00 p.m. this Saturday. The husband and wife team are of the newly formed High Peaks Opera Studio of Tupper Lake. The Cordeses will perform musical cocktail ranging from the Great American Songbook to scores from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Operettas.

Admission for the event is only $5.00 while children 12 and under are free. If the low cost doesn’t get you to come then the offer of dessert and refreshments should. My children are excited to see someone who performed on stage. I’m glad to oblige.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Adirondack Center for Writing Announces Summer Series

The Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) has announced its annual Summer Program Series events which will showcase acclaimed authors and performers from around the Adirondacks and Vermont in a variety of venues throughout the North Country during the month of August. Programs and presenters are listed below.

Tom Lewis
Curator’s Tour of Lives of The Hudson Exhibition (from a North Country Perspective) and A Reading from The Hudson: A History
Friday, August 14, 7pm at the Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs.

Tom Lewis, professor of English at Skidmore College, celebrates publication of his fifth book, The Hudson: A History. Among his previous books are Divided Highways: The Interstate Highway System and the Transformation of American Life and Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio, both of which became award-winning documentaries. Lewis also co-curated with Ian Berry, Malloy Curator of the Tang, Lives of the Hudson, at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. The interdisciplinary exhibition celebrating the river’s significance to American art, architecture, history, and culture celebrates the observance of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage of discovery up the river bearing his name. The exhibition remains on view July 18, 2009 through March 14, 2010. Lewis will give a curator’s tour from a “North Country” perspective, including logging tales and history of the acclaimed photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard, followed by excerpts from his most recent book.

Joe Bruchac

Family Friendly Reading & Performance Including Native American Music, History, and A Reading from March Toward the Thunder
Tuesday, August 18, 7pm
Hancock House in Ticonderoga
Moses Circle, Ticonderoga, NY

Joe Bruchac, with his wife, Carol, is founder and co-director of The Greenfield Review Press. He has edited a number of highly praised anthologies of contemporary poetry, including Songs from this Earth on Turtle’s Back and Breaking Silence (winner of an American Book Award). His poems, articles and stories have appeared in over 500 publications, from American Poetry Review to National Geographic. He has authored more than 120 books for adults and children and his honors include a Rockefeller Humanities fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship for Poetry, the Hope S. Dean Award for Notable Achievement in Children’s Literature and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas. Although his American Indian heritage is only one part of an ethnic background, those Native roots are the ones by which he has been most nourished. He, his younger sister Margaret, and his two grown sons, James and Jesse, continue to work extensively in projects involving the understanding and preservation of the natural world, Abenaki culture, Abenaki language and traditional Native skills. They also perform traditional and contemporary Abenaki music together. He often works with his son James teaching wilderness survival and outdoor awareness at the Ndakinna Education Center, their 90-acre family nature preserve.

Paige Ackerson-Kiely & M. Dylan Raskin

Poetry & Memoir Reading
Thursday, August 20, 7pm
The Amos & Julia Ward Theatre
Route 9N, On the Village Green, Jay, NY

Paige Ackerson-Kiely is the author of In No One’s Land, judged by DA Powell as winner of the 2006 Sawtooth Poetry Prize. She has also received awards and fellowships from Poets & Writers, Vermont Community Foundation, The Willowell Foundation and The Jentel Artist Residency program, among others. Her second book of poems, The Misery Trail, is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press, and she has a novel, Place No Object Here, nearing completion. Paige lives with her family in rural Vermont, where she works at a Wine Store and edits the poetry magazine A Handsome Journal.

M. Dylan Raskin, called a strikingly original and unforgettable narrative voice by the Library Journal, is author of two memoirs, the celebrated Little New York Bastard and Bandanas And October Supplies. Equal parts road story, elegy, and hallucinatory bildungsroman, Bandanas and October Supplies is a bittersweet love story that is like no other book ever written about death, life, and the complex devotion between a mother and a son. The 31-year old author, said to dissect his generation with cool precision, is from Queens, NY.

Rob Cohen & Mary Kathryn Jablonski
Fiction & Poetry Reading
Thursday, August 27, 7pm
Saratoga Arts Center
320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY

Rob Cohen, author of the recently released Amateur Barbarians, is also the author of three previous novels, Inspired Sleep, The Here and Now, and The Organ Builder, and a collection of short stories, The Varieties of Romantic Experience. His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a Lila Wallace Writers’ Award. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Harper’s, the Atlantic, Paris Review, Ploughshares, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, and other magazines. Cohen has taught fiction writing at the Iowa Writers Workshop, the University of Houston, Harvard University, and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. He currently teaches at Middlebury College.

Mary Kathryn Jablonski is a visual artist/poet who has served as a gallerist at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY since 2002 and is programs consultant to the Adirondack Center for Writing. Her poems have appeared in the Beloit Poetry Journal, The Healing Muse, and Chronogram Magazine, among others. She is the author of the chapbook To the Husband I Have Not Yet Met, and is completing final edits on her first book-length collection of poems. Her poetry was also recently published in Germany by painter/publisher Christoph Ruckhäberle, as it related to a collection of his portraits, in a book coordinating with a January 2009 Berlin exhibition of his work.

Eithne McGuinnes

In A One Woman Performance of Typhoid Mary
Monday, August 31, 7pm
Bluseed Studio
24 Cedar Street, Saranac Lake, NY

Eithne McGuinnes is an Irish writer and actor. Her plays include: Miss Delicious, workshopped at Abbey Theatre, Dublin 2007; Tin Cans, commissioned by Dublin City Council, 2006; Limbo, Dublin Fringe Festival, 2000 and 2001; A Glorious Day, public reading, Abbey Theatre, 2000; and Typhoid Mary, Dublin Fringe Festival, 1997, broadcast on RTE Radio, 1998 and revived in 2004. Published short stories: Feather Bed (Scéalta), Anthology of Irish Women Writers, Telegram Books, 2006. The Boat Train, Something Sensational to Read on the Train, Lemon Soap Press, 2005. Her favorite acting roles include: Mary Mallon, Typhoid Mary, 2004 and 1997; Sr.Clementine, The Magdalene Sisters (Golden Lion 2002), Gracie Tracy, Glenroe (RTE Television). Recent theatre: Meg, The Hostage, Wonderland, Dublin, 2009; Olive, Dirty Dusting, Tivoli Theatre, Dublin; and Earth Mother, Menopause the Musical, 2008. Recent TV: The Roaring Twenties, No Laughing Matter, 2008. Other theatre includes: The House of Bernarda Alba, 2002 and The Marriage of Figaro, 1997, at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Cell, best production, Dublin Theatre Festival 1999 and Dublin Trilogy, Passion Machine – best new play, DTF 1998.

About Typhoid Mary – In 1907, Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant, who had, ‘worked her way up from nothing’, to cook for New York’s finest, was seized from her place of work by the NY Board of Health. Accused of being the carrier of typhoid fever, Mary was imprisoned without a trial on an island in the middle of the East River. Totally isolated, a mere ten minute ferry ride from her former home in the Bronx, Mary became a scapegoat; sacrificed to quell the rising public fear that a typhoid epidemic could spread beyond the poor. She became a pawn in the larger ambitions of George Soper; health official who was desperate to identify the first human typhoid carrier in North America. Was Mary maligned? Could she, as the authorities insisted, have carried typhoid, if she herself had never been ill with the disease? Here is the captivating story of a brave Irish peasant who fought tooth and nail for her freedom and took on the very powerful state of New York.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Performing Arts Return to Scaroon Manor Amphitheater

The Adirondack Shakespeare Company will celebrate its inception by presenting Hungry Will’s Variety Hour at the historical Scaroon Manor Amphitheater on the west shore of Schroon Lake at 3 PM this Saturday, August 1, 2009. The 500-seat outdoor Greek style amphitheater, which has been dormant for the past 50 years, is located on the grounds of the Scaroon Manor Day Use Area which reopened to the public in 2006. According to a DEC it’s the “first new recreational facility constructed in the Adirondack Forest Preserve since 1977.”

ADK Shakespeare is a company conceived by Patrick Siler and Tara Bradway to bring professional productions of classic plays to the Adirondack region. Hungry Will’s Variety Hour will feature a select group of actors drawn from across the country performing scenes, songs, and speeches from Shakespeare and other great dramatic authors.

ADK Shakespeare utilizes an approach to classical performance where all non-essentials are stripped away and the language of the playwright takes center-stage. Actors prepare their roles individually, and with only one day of rehearsal, present the full production. “Because even the company is unsure of exactly what will happen, the performances are authentic, dynamic, compelling, and unlike most anything you are used to seeing in the theater,” according to Siler. “Our goal is to discover the play for the first time with the audience present, and together create a world by mixing the raw materials of the author’s language with the catalyst of the audience’s imagination”.

There will be one performance only: Saturday, August 1 at 3:00 p.m. with a rain-date of Sunday, August 2. This event is FREE with paid admission to the Scaroon Manor Day Use Facility, although donations are appreciated. Reservations are not necessary, but can be made by emailing info@adkshakes.org.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Last Week of Adk Theatre Festival’s ‘Leaving Iowa’

This is the last week of the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s family road trip comedy Leaving Iowa by Tim Clue and Spike Manton at the Charles R. Wood Theater in downtown Glens Falls. The show runs through Saturday, August 1. All performances are at 8:00pm. Tickets are $29 plus applicable service fees and may be purchased online at www.ATFestival.org, over the phone at 518-874-0800, or in person at the Wood Theater Box Office.

Laughable memories of family road trips fill this sentimental comedy about a man returning home to find a final resting place for his father’s ashes. As he searches for the perfect spot to scatter the ashes, he relives the boyhood summer vacations he and his sister spent trapped in the family station wagon headed to uninteresting historical sites with their determined and well-meaning father.

The Chicago Sun-Times called the show “a comedy with a surprisingly deep soul.” Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune says Leaving Iowa has “genuine charm and humility. It knows what it is — a simply structured homegrown comedy and a celebration of the oft-unappreciated parenting skills of the so-called Greatest Generation.”

ATF Producing Artistic Director, Mark Fleischer, says he selected the script because of its universal appeal and connection to summer in our area. “Our region is a vacation destination and everyone has spent time as a kid trapped in the back seat of the family car wondering when they would reach their intended destination. Others have been the parents in the front seat answering that constant inquiry, ‘are we there yet?’

The cast includes: Martin LaPlatney (Dad), Dan Colman (Don), Susan Wands (Mom), Sarah Marcus (Sis), Bill Bowers (multiple character guy) and Stephanie Cozart (multiple character gal).

ATF’s production is headed by director Scott Illingworth. The design team includes Michael Locher (sets), Antonia Ford-Roberts (costumes), Ryan Gastelum (sound) and Jason Kantrowitz (lighting). Kantrowitz, a Broadway and international lighting designer originally from Glens Falls, has returned home for the third summer in a row to design lights for ATF.

Attached photos by James Shubinski featuring Dan Coleman (Don), Martin LaPlatney (Dad), Sarah Marcus (Sis) and Susan Wands (Mom)


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Adk Theatre Festival To Stage Readings of Adirondack Play

Adirondack Theatre Festival will present a staged reading of Hal Corley’s new play, Brush the Summer By on Sunday July 19 and Monday, July 20 at 8pm at the Charles R. Wood Theater, 207 Glen Street (Rte. 9) in downtown Glens Falls. Corley will actively solicit feedback from the audience during a post-show discussion moderated by ATF producing artistic director, Mark Fleischer. The public discussion will help shape the script as it moves towards a full production. Tickets are $20 plus service fees and may be purchased online at www.ATFestival.org or by calling the Wood Theater Box Office at 518-874-0800.

Producing Artistic Director Mark Fleischer will direct the reading. Featured in this two person script are the New York City actors Stephen Bradbury and Peggy Scott. Local audiences may remember Scott from her performance in ATF’s 2003 production of The Unexpected Man by Yazmina Reza.

In Corley’s play, a Southern divorcee on a leaf watching trip to the Adirondacks is shocked when she stumbles across a man sunbathing in the nude. Through subsequent encounters, she reluctantly succumbs to his charms. With equal parts comedy and drama, Corley explores the joy and danger of living in the moment, the challenges and rewards of forgiveness and the power and need of memory. The script addresses mature themes.

Hal Corley has developed his plays with major regional theaters, including Atlanta’s Alliance, the Dallas Theater Center, Seattle Rep, and in NYC with The Abingdon, Cherry Lane, Ensemble Studio Theater, and Urban Stages. Two plays, An Ounce of Prevention and Finding Donis Anne, have been widely performed (Syracuse Stage, Philadelphia’s Walnut Street, NYC’s Westbeth, and in LA, Boston and Charlotte, NC). Hal’s more recent productions include: Peoria, Theatre Artists Studio, Scottsdale, AZ, where he was guest-artist-in-residence in January 2009; ODD, winner of the 2007 Premiere Stages Competition, co-produced with NJ’s Kean University; The Death Bite, Theatre Artists Studio, AZ; Easter Monday, Pendragon, Saranac Lake, NY; Legion, San Francisco’s New Conservatory Theater Center; Mama and Jack Carew, Key West Theatre Festival, and In the Charge of an Angel, Stageworks, Hudson NY.

The “play-in-progress” slot has been a regular part of ATF’s summer seasons since its inception in 1995. Fostering new work is at the heart of ATF’s mission. According to Fleischer, “ATF has a long history of developing new works of theatre. While some view these projects as risky ventures with unknown titles and creators, I view this commitment to new work as a research and development. Some of our new shows have become hits, others haven’t. But no matter the success of the show at the box office, providing a stage and a forum for emerging writers and artists has helped to strengthen new voices of the American theatre.” Many of the shows ATF has helped to develop have gone on to perform in theatres not only across America, but across the globe. These shows have included Becky Mode’s Fully Committed, Bill Bower’s It Goes Without Saying and Deb Filler’s Filler Up!



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