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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Traditionally, on the Saturday of Mother’s Day Weekend the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation hosts its Historic Homes Tour, their largest fundraiser of the year, as a way to celebrate the history and architecture of Saratoga Springs. The event always kicks-off with a Porch Party.
However, since the Foundation cannot gather together because of social distancing guidelines, it invites you to join their Virtual Porch Party. The event will feature live music by popular local musician Rich Ortiz 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 9. People are encouraged to gather on your porch or in the comfort of your own home, order food out to support your favorite local restaurant or make your own, and share photos to win giveaways and contest prizes.
Post a picture/video of you toasting preservation during the Virtual Porch Party on Saturday, May 9 to have the opportunity to win gift cards to great local restaurants and stores that were purchased by the Board of Directors of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation as their way to support locally-owned businesses that over the years have given so much to the Foundation.
The Foundation wants to see your best Saratoga-themed porch decorations and decorations that reflect this moment in history. If you participate, you have the opportunity to win great porch packages from TOGA HERITAGE and Impressions of Saratoga. The Porch Decorating Contests are open to everyone, near and far. The person who participates from the farthest distance will win a prize.
Preserve your moment in history with a “Porch-trait” by Brian V Photography. This local professional photographer will take a family photo of you on your porch to capture this moment and preserve it for the future. For a $50 donation you can reserve one of the limited times available on Friday, May 8 or Saturday, May 9 in Saratoga Springs. Reservations must be secured by Thursday, May 7 at 5 p.m.
To donate, buy a ticket, participate in the porch decorating contest, reserve your “Porch-trait,” and to learn more about the various ways to be eligible for giveaways, please visit www.saratogapreservation.org or follow the event on Facebook.
Founded in 1977, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization that promotes preservation and enhancement of the architectural, cultural and landscaped heritage of Saratoga Springs. To learn more or to join please visit www.saratogapreservation.org.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Touching upon themes of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, her love of dogs, her disdain for pop culture and a human planetary existence altered in dramatic ways due to a changing climate, artist/composer/musician and film director addressed a large crowd gathered inside the Tang Museum’s Payne Room where she told them, apocalyptic visions aside, her focus is: How Best To Tell The Story.
“The world is made of stories. Our own stories. Other people’s stories, (so) how do you tell a story like that, where, you know, this is going end?” Anderson said. “We’re the first people in the history of the human race who can see our own extinction coming. The first ones. Stories are things that are told to others but in this case, this is a story that’s told to no one. The first story that is: Told. To. No one.”
Anderson’s appearance April 17 was the night two feature of the Tang Museum’s three-day Bardo Now series. George Saunders, author of the 2017 novel “Lincoln in the Bardo,” appeared via video chat on night one, in conversation with Donald S. Lopez, Jr., professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan and author of “The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography.”
The series’ closing night featured a concert by guitarist Tashi Dorji and percussionist Susie Ibarra, performing an experimental duet conceived for the event as a musical bardo exploration.
The 90-minute presentation showcasing Anderson, a practicing Buddhist, was staged as an “in conversation” event with Benjamin Bogin, the director of the Asian Studies Program at Skidmore College.
“It’s the living bardo that’s thrilling to me,” said Anderson, when asked to connect Tibetan Buddhist themes with her creativity. “As a musician, I think the way I can most experience what you would call a bardo is in just this moment - because you don’t know what you’re going to play next,” said Anderson, noting that she doesn’t subscribe to the standard narrative form of beginning, middle and end. “That seems artificial to me. The fractured story is what I do. I respond to work where we don’t really quite know what we’re doing and what will happen next. That’s also why I’m also drawn to virtual reality. You’re making it up as you go along.
“When I first began to (improvise), I felt this incredible sense of freedom in not knowing what was going to come next, in responding to another person in a way that was absolutely in that moment - not in some other moment that you thought might be interesting - but right now. That was a big, big thrill to me as a musician.”
Anderson screened an 11-minute segment from “Heart of a Dog,” her 2015 documentary which centers on Anderson's remembrances of her late beloved dog Lolabelle, and concludes with an image of husband Lou Reed, who died in 2013.
“It was a film where my dog died – that was the core of it – but it was really dedicated to my teacher, Mingyur Rinpoche. One of the things I treasure about his teachings is his clarity, things like: it’s really important to practice how to feel sad, without being sad - and that distinction is a very important one because there are many, many sad things in the world and if you try to push them away, or pretend they’re not there, you’re an idiot! They will find you and they will get you,” she explained. “So, (Rinpoche’s) idea is: do not become that yourself.”
Professor Bogin said he was struck by the film’s exploration “visually, sonically and poetically,” of bardo ideas, as Anderson narrated a series of paintings used in the film depicting Lolabelle’s journey through the 49 days of the bardo, “how memory starts flooding through the mind and you’re suddenly every single being that you’ve ever been in your life; the many beings that you are, simultaneously.
“I think for most people who experience death, what an incredible privilege it is that that door opens…you get this chance to really look at it and feel it,” Anderson said. “I think sometimes experiencing time and death and love is sometimes easier when you look at what happens with animals and what the effects have on those creatures. You get that in a more immediate way.”
Anderson became a reluctant musical hit-maker in the early 1980s when her song “O Superman” climbed to no. 2 in the UK Pop charts alongside the likes of Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello, and The Police. It was a record she made on a $500 NEA grant in 1980.
“Anytime somebody said, ‘I want a copy of your record,’ I would walk it over to the post office. One day someone called, they spoke with a British accent, and they said: we need some copies of your record. I said, ‘OK, how many?’ They said: 40,000. by Monday. And another 40,000 by Wednesday. I’ll. Get. Right. Back to you,” Anderson recalled.
“So, I called up Warner Bros. Records – they’d been coming to my shows and saying: don’t you want to make a record? I said, no, not really. But, I called them up and said: you know that record you wanted? Can you make a bunch of them really soon? And they said: well, that’s not the way we do things at Warner Bros Records and Tapes. We’ll sign an eight-record deal. What?
“I got a lot of criticism from artists, for ‘selling out.’ A couple of months later, it was called ‘Crossing Over.’ And everyone wanted to do it.”
The song, based on a prayer by French composer Jules Massenet is about the power of technology, and of loss, Anderson said. “Technology doesn’t save you. If you think technology is going to solve your problems, you don’t understand technology - and you don’t understand your problems,” she said.
“It was really about the moment when we were going to go in and rescue the hostages. And America was going to go in and pull them out and American technology was going to shine. Then the helicopters crashed and burned in the desert,” she said, regarding the ill-fated military rescue attempt in April, 1980.
While that international success of the record made it easier for Anderson to create other things, she warns there is also a danger
“Pop Culture,” she says with disdain. “What happened? Corporate America has entered culture. It’s disturbing to me, because it’s Culture Light. It’s America’s Got Talent culture. Nothing wrong with that except when they come into your neighborhood and go: we love the community you built and now we’re going to buy it, we’re going to brand it, and sell it back to you. And we’re going to curate it while we’re at it and say what’s important and what is not.
“We have to think about what we’re making. Now, often you see it’s just about the box office -how many people get through the doors – and it doesn’t really matter what the experience is. I do think that there’s art for everybody – but it’s a tricky thing, to make sure that it’s not just so watered down that it’s just feel-good stuff.”
The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery is located on the campus of Skidmore College On exhibit through May 19: The Second Buddha: Master of Time presents the story of the legendary Indian Buddhist master Padmasambhava - widely credited with bringing Buddhism to the Tibetan lands. The exhibit features Tibetan scroll paintings (thangkas), textiles, and manuscripts from the 13th through 19th centuries.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - Spring Street Gallery will host an opening of a new dual exhibition – “Catharsis,” featuring Rebecca Zeh, and “Concrete, Steel and Skin,” depicting the work of Matthew Grandy, 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, May 12.
The gallery is located at 110 Spring Street and is otherwise open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekdays.
Spring Street Gallery will also host a performance by musician Mike Donovan 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 17. Tickets, on a sliding scale, are $5-$10. Donovan is currently touring through the eastern states before heading to Europe.
The blurb: “Mike D takes busman's holiday on keyboards; the shards and trinkles from this brokedown music-box are slivers of aloneness, echoes of weird scenes and falsetto-hued odes all designed to break…” A music video sample of Donovan’s work may be viewed at: http://www.dragcity.com/artists/mike-donovan/videos/cold-shine.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A local memorial golf tourney returned to the McGregor Links Country Club to once again honor the memory of the late course superintendent, Mark Printsky.
The fourth annual Mark Printsky Memorial Golf Tourney took place at McGregor Links on July 15, with 40 local golfers taking part in the tourney itself, and around 75 people being in attendance overall. The tourney is held each year to raise money in honor of the late Mark Printsky, the longtime course superintendent for McGregor who passed away suddenly in 2014 after 32 years of service. Money raised at the event goes towards the Mark D. Printsky Memorial Scholarship fund at Mark’s Alma matter, SUNY Cobleskill.
In 2014, Mark’s wife Mary Beth Printsky found him passed on their bed. Despite her efforts with CPR, Mark tragically and suddenly passed away, leaving friends and family stunned and mourning. Around 6-8 weeks after his passing, those same friends and family came together to organize a memorial golf tourney in Mark’s name, and they were happily able to get it set up at his former place of employment, McGregor Links. Initially, the funds raised by the event went to Mary Beth herself, with subsequent annual tourneys raising money for the scholarship fund.
“I didn’t want him to be forgotten,” Mary Beth Printsky said about continuing the tourney and establishing the fund in the last few years.
As the course superintendent, Mark Printsky was responsible for managing all of the upkeep duties at McGregor Links. As his wife put it, his work keeping the greens in top condition was one of the main reasons that people remembered and returned to course over the years.
“In a way, he was the heart of the golf course,” Mary Beth Printsky said. “He was the reason people came to play.”
Over the course of three years, the tourney has raised around $6,000 for the scholarship fund. Funds were raised this year through entrance fees, raffles, mulligan sales, and other methods. Saratoga Eagle Sales & Services donated beverages to the event. A plaque dedicated to Mark and his time with the club was also set up at the event. Mary Beth Printsky herself designed the plaque.
“It just gave me so much joy,” Mary Beth Printsky said about this year’s event. “It was a real labor of love.”
This year’s event saw returning Cobleskill senior Patrick Murray of Buzzards Bay, Mass., graciously accept the fund’s first scholarship, valued at $500. Once over $10,000 is raised for the fund, the amounts granted to each student will increase, according to Mary Beth Printsky. To qualify for the Mark D. Printsky Memorial Scholarship, one must be a returning student in the Grass Management Studies Program.
Mary Beth Printsky expressed gratitude to many individuals involved in helping in the tourney come to fruition. This included the owners of McGregor Links, Blake Crocitto and Bill Ahl, for providing the venue for the event and giving her a lifetime membership to the club, and Annemarie Kissane, McGregor’s assistant pro who helped her improved her golf game.
All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A local college student and professor are showing young people the power of radio.
Skidmore College junior Adam Simon and professor Adam Tinkle introduced the Upstate Youth Radio & Podcast Project this summer, with the goal of showing Capital Region kids the inner workings of radio production and sound engineering. According to the project’s official website, the project teaches kids “everything you need to be a radio DJ, talk show host, audio documentarian, and podcaster.”
The kids involved with the program are mostly preteens, but the range of ages runs from as young as seven to as old as 20. Simon and Tinkle wanted to be sure that the program would show that kids of all ages could gain things from radio production. Two days out of the week, the program runs workshops for its participating kids in the C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios, one at the Saratoga Springs location and the other at the Schenectady venue. Another two days out of the week, they take what they have learned in the workshops and run actual broadcasts from WSPN. On these days, Mondays and Thursdays, from 4-6 p.m., Simon either broadcasts prerecorded material produced during the workshops, or he works with the kids live in the studio. Simon said that for some of the younger participants, the sense of planning something and seeing it play out for an audience is the most engaging part of the program.
The program was made possible via a grant as part of Skidmore’s Faculty/Student Summer Research program, which allows individuals with the school to have around 5-10 weeks of lab or classroom time on-campus during the summer for research purposes. Unlike the traditional research pursuits that this program allows for, the Upstate Youth Radio Project is acting as a sort of pilot program, providing a means for facilitating youth involvement in radio production and testing the waters for a potential network of youth radio programs in the Saratoga area and beyond.
“We are basically acting as if we could propose a sort of permanent installation of this project,” Simon said.
The inspiration for the project partly came from similar projects that Tinkle had run in the past focused on getting young kids involved in experimental and improvisational music. Simon also said that the school’s possession of its own radio station was a major inspiration for creating the program. Creating such a program also went a ways to fixing the situation whereby the station would have to rely on automated playlists in the summer when many of its student DJ’s would be back home.
Simon is a philosophy major at Skidmore College with a minor in media and film studies. He has been involved with Skidmore’s local radio station, WSPN, as a radio DJ since his freshman year. Tinkle is a visiting professor at the school, teaching film and media studies with the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative.
All photos courtesy of Adam Simon.
WILTON - Men and women of all ages gathered on July 15 for an all-day rugby tournament hosted by Saratoga Rugby Club (SRC) in Gavin Park. This tournament was a qualifier event for the national series. Teams from as far as Barbados and as close as Saratoga took part in the event.
Gavin Park was an excellent venue with the large open fields perfectly accommodating for the several matches happening at once. Spectators moved from field to field to take in all of the action involving several different teams. Between 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., there were approximately 90 matches on four different fields. Wilton was chosen to host this year because it is equal distance from New York City and Boston. Eric Huss is the original creator of the event and this time he handed the reigns over to his board of directors. Even though they were crunched for time this year, the club still managed to host approximately 40 teams equaling 500 players. Stephen Aguglia, Vice President of SRC, was proud of the event and stated that for the amount of people they had present and the short amount of coordination time they were working with, the tournament was only behind by a few minutes between different matches.
“We coordinated with two different leagues and the town of Wilton along with many volunteers. We knew that there would be a lot of potential pit-falls that we were anxious about but we managed to pull it off and the feedback we’ve received has been positive,” Aguglia noted.
Rugby, being the physical sport that it is, had already caused a few injuries just an hour after the tournament began. By 11 a.m. the EMT’s reported there had already been one broken nose and several scrapes and bruises. Coaches and EMT’s alike kept reminding the players to stay hydrated. Luckily, no ambulances were called.
“Small injuries and dehydration are the norm,” an EMT clarified.
Jamie Everett, a local graduate from St. Lawrence University, has played on the White Plains Team for five years. Everett commented on how his team “had a tough start,” but that they were happy to see how open the fields were, having plenty of room to move around and warm up before each match.
“This is a tourist destination for a lot of reasons,” Aguglia continued, “Saratoga is a great place to visit in the summer time and we are looking to partner with local businesses in the community moving forward into next year. The potential is there to create something even bigger now that we have more time on our side.”
The Barbados team has their own invitational that has packages in place for participants with the team’s local businesses and airlines to create a smooth journey. The Saratoga Rugby Club would like to expand their tournament in a similar way and reach out to Montreal and Ottawa teams. On the women’s side, New York Rugby Club, from NYC, took first place and Old Blue Women, also from NYC, took second. In the men’s bracket Old Blue, NYC, took first place and The Bulldogs from Connecticut, took second. All four teams will be moving forward to nationals.
Regardless of the overall division outcomes, the diversity on the field made for an entertaining tournament to watch. From the different coaching styles to the different playing techniques, the Saratoga Sevens Rugby Tournament was not an event to be missed.
All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga Little League’s All-Star season age-12 players dominated their way to a championship victory on Sunday.
Taking place on the league’s home field at West Side Rec on July 9, the age-12 team crushed their opponents from Schenectady 13-0 to take the District 11/12 championship. Despite initial nerves heading into the game, the team eventually proved how far ahead they were of Schenectady with an excellent overall performance, according to Coach Jeff Babcock. The team will next face the team from Plattsburgh for the Section 2 title.
“The boys went out there a little skeptical in the first inning,” Babcock said. “But after that we just started hitting the cover off the ball, and defensively we were great. Had some nice plays, and just had a great team effort for the win.”
Babcock mentioned that the team made use of the batting cages at Sluggers Den while practicing for this game. Hitting 70-mph balls in the cages rather than simply throwing back-and-forth between each other no doubt helped give them an edge heading into the game.
Speaking of specific standout players, Babcock highlighted starting pitcher Mateo Avila, whom he referred to as “untouchable.” While Schenectady managed a few hits off of Avila in the fourth inning, his performance overall was sterling, with seven strikeouts. In the tournament overall, Avila has pitched 17 innings and has given up only one run, according to Babcock. Additionally, Babcock also praised Joey Barreto, who managed an RBI double.
Saratoga Little League’s All-Stars season commences directly after the end of the standard little league season in early summer, with tryouts taking place on June 9 followed by the first practice on June 20. The three All-Star teams are roughly divided by age, with ages 10, 11, and 12 being the standards, although Babcock and league vice president David Karpinski noting that players can end up playing for teams that do not match their ages depending on their skill levels.
Around 30 young players are picked for the All-Star from the around 300 players that usually compete in the preceding season. According to Karpinski, all leagues choose their All-Star players differently, using whatever method they deem fit. Saratoga Little League’s method is to hold an “assessment night” for all interested little league players. At these nights, players run through routines that include fly balls, running, pitching, catching, and more activities that reflect the skills necessary to be a part of the team. Karpinski also stresses that their choices are not strictly based on performances during the assessment night, but also on each player’s body of work throughout the year.
The first match between Saratoga and Plattsburgh is scheduled for July 15.
Photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Children and families took an adventure through time and space in the fields near the Saratoga Casino Hotel as Circus Smirkus returned to town. The renowned Vermont-based youth circus promotion made its way back to Saratoga Springs from July 11-12, once again with the collaboration of the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs. This year marks the show’s 30th anniversary, and the wild theme this year was designed to evoke a sense of its history. While certainly a grand afternoon out for many families in the area, the event also serves as one of the school’s biggest yearly fundraising opportunities, bringing in a significant amount for the school’s general operating budget.
The theme of this year’s show is “Midnight at the Museum,” which sees three young performers staying the night at the otherworldly “Smirksonian” museum. After a bit of mischief results in “The Archives” being opened against the express warning of the museum’s curator, all of the exhibits spring to life and serve as the basis for the show’s various set pieces. The general feel of the story being told by Circus Smirkus is most similar to the “Night at the Museum” film series.
Some of the set pieces in this year’s show include ones themed around jungles, skeletons, pirates, astronauts, and one particular inventive sequence based around a museum heist. One of the more striking performances early on came from 16-year-old Isabella Majzun, who performed a mesmerizing juggling routine while also balancing herself on a large ball. Artistic director for the show and head clown Troy Wunderle said that the museum theme was chosen deliberately, as it allows them to pay homage to Circus Smirkus’s 30-year history. Many of the individual set pieces in the show are references to themes from previous years.
One thing that should immediately stand out to viewers is the youth of the performers in the show. According to Wunderle, the performers range in age from 12-18, and come from all over the country. One performer, 18-year-old Patrick Chikoloma, is from as far away Lusaka, Zambia. While the performers may be young, Wunderle said that they are entirely professional, as anyone who watches their polished and skillful performances can attest. The teens in the show are properly trained in a variety of different circus arts programs. Quite often, Circus Smirkus serves as a springboard for careers in the circus industry, as Wunderle noted that past performers have gone on to work in world-renowned promotions like Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
This year marks the 11th time that the Waldorf School has worked with Circus Smirkus to bring the show to Saratoga Springs. On a yearly basis, the show has been one of the school’s biggest fundraising opportunities, bringing in around $20,000-30,000, according to administrator Anne Maguire. Funds raised with Circus Smirkus go towards the school’s general operations budget, which includes salaries, building maintenance, and more.
Maguire also said that working with Circus Smirkus helps encourage students to pursue interests in circus arts, as the school itself offers a Juggling and Circus Arts Club, where students can learn to do all the various tricks and techniques they might have seen under the big top. Two Waldorf students have in the past performed with Circus Smirkus.
Photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Polo Association kicked off its 2017 Tournament season on July 7 with an exciting day of competition in front of a sell-out crowd. Alan Edstrom, director of sponsorship and events for Saratoga Polo, said that while there is not currently an exact attendance number, it must have been around 2,500-3,000 for it to be a sellout crowd. This was all followed by the second day of the season on July 9, which still drew a huge crowd, albeit one just short of another sellout.
The first day of competition notably featured National Interscholastic Polo champions Hannah and Olivia Reynolds, 17 and 14 years old respectively, in competition. On the second day, a team from downstate was bussed in from Pine Plains to compete. According to Edstrom, two of the players on this team were six-goal handicapped, a considerable ranking in polo. Edstrom further elaborated that polo players can be ranked as high as 10-goals, although players with the highest handicap are considered rare.
Moving forward, Saratoga Polo will feature a number of noteworthy events that fans should take note of. July 16 will feature the Bob Bullock “Voice of Saratoga Polo Association” Cup, a memorial event for the association’s veteran announcer to celebrate his now-30-year tenure. Later on, Aug. 4 and 6 will feature a tournament for the prestigious Whitney Cup.
Photos courtesy of Saratoga Polo.
BALLSTON SPA – Ankie Meuwissen, a science teacher from Ballston Spa High School, recently completed a special program that will help her to bring the stars to her students.
From June 15-19, Meuwissen took part in the Honeywell Educators in Space Academy (HESA) program in Huntsville, Ala. The program gives educators from across the country a chance to learn more about space and space-related technologies, so that they can ideally bring back the things they learned to share with their students. Meuwissen mentioned that there were also activities focused on incorporated engineering design, which she said would be “much needed from our graduates.”
The HESA program was created in 2004 by the Honeywell Company in conjunction with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center with the intention of helping math and science teachers become more effective STEM instructors. This year, Meuwissen was among over 200 other educators from 45 states and 33 countries. Over the years, 2,776 instructors have taken part in HESA, from 52 U.S. states and territories and 62 countries, with official estimates putting the numbers of students impacted by the program through their instructors at over 3 million.
At HESA, Meuwissen went through around 45 hours of classroom and laboratory instruction. Some of the activities that she took part in included a jet simulation, scenario-based space missions, land and water survival training, interactive flight dynamics programs, and more. Some of the activities that stood out to Meuwissen the most were mock water landing drills and a simulation of gravity on the Moon, which is about 1/6 the gravity found on Earth. Attendees were also able to hear from important pioneers in the realm of space travel, including space flight advocate Ed Buckbee, “Rocket Boys” author Homer Hickam, and astronaut Clayton Anderson.
Meuwissen said that she first heard about the program from “a friend of a friend,” and thought that it sounded both interesting and like something that would have meaningful benefits for her students.
“I learned sometime in the spring,” Meuwissen said about getting the opportunity to attend HESA. “I was really excited! What a wonderful opportunity!”
Meuwissen’s students were initially excited to hear about her involvement with the program, however, she said that the now-previous year’s students did not really see any benefit from it. Next year’s class will be the one to experience the significant changes in her curriculum.
“Currently I have plans to alter my bottle rocket project and incorporate better engineering practices into it,” Meuwissen said. “I also want to create a lesson around thermal heat shields into my physics class, and challenge students to keep an egg-stronaut safe as it re-enters Earth's atmosphere.”
Meuwissen has been with the Ballston Spa school district for five years and currently teaches astronomy, physics, and earth science.