City Beat and Arts & Entertainment Editor
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The city will host its annual 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 11 at the Tempered by Memory Sculpture at High Rock Park. The 25-foot-tall sculpture was commissioned by Saratoga Arts and created by artists Noah Savett and John Van Alstine from five twisted pieces of Trade Center steel. Four pieces came from the North Tower, one came from the South Tower.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — With the return of students for the fall semester, Skidmore College announced it has developed contingency plans should the transmission of COVID-19 spike among the college community.
As of this week, Skidmore reports 2 total positive tests to date – counting students and employees – and 6 people in quarantine. The dashboard may be viewed at: www.skidmore.edu/fall-planning/dashboard.php.
The college contingency plan is framed by five “alert levels” of increasing severity. They are:
Alert Level 1 - At this lowest level of alert, very few positive test results exist, and contact tracing shows a very limited number of employees and students on campus may have been exposed. Epidemiological analysis and contact tracing suggest that the situation can be contained, isolated and controlled. Affected students and employees are quarantined pursuant to DOH guidelines and this Plan. Affected areas are contained, isolated and decontaminated. Other campus operations or residential life activities are not affected.
Alert Level 2 - The number of positive test results and numbers of exposed individuals in quarantine are slightly higher than at the lowest level of alert, but Saratoga County Public Health is able to conduct effective and timely contact tracing and the college has been able to act swiftly to identify, isolate and contain transmission. There is no evidence of community transmission at this level. This level may require limiting operations in specific operations, areas or programs for a period of time to prevent ongoing exposure. A larger number of students, employees and/or facilities could be impacted but that impact is likely to remain time limited and is directly related to specific and already identified infections.
Alert Level 3 - A small outbreak has occurred on campus in a defined population, such as a building, department or residence hall. Confidence in the ability to accurately complete contact tracing in a timely way is moderate. It is also the case that it may be difficult to identify a specific area for containment, isolation and remediation. This level may require shutting down the areas impacted by the outbreak but does not require a campus-wide shutdown. Select programs may move back into an online-only environment with non-resident students staying off campus, resident students staying in their rooms and non-essential affected employees working from home. Individuals who test positive and who have been exposed are isolated and quarantined, potentially in bulk (e.g., entire building or more). The College may order shelter-in-place for students (stay and study in their rooms). Careful consideration will be given to whether on-campus services for employees, such those provided by the Greenberg Childcare Center, can be maintained.
Alert Level 4 - The College is experiencing a sizeable outbreak, as evidenced by numbers of current cases, increases in positive test rates or by multiple positive tests without clear sources of infection, and the College has clear evidence that contact tracing, containment, isolation and remediation efforts are not effective The College will “pause” and move to remote learning alternatives and remote work arrangements where possible. Non-resident students and employees whose presence on campus is not essential to the College’s daily operations will be restricted from coming on campus. Resident students will be required to shelter in place or return home for the pause. The “pause” is intended to be temporary (one to four weeks) and to control further transmission.
Alert Level 5 - The situation has escalated to the point where ongoing campus or community transmission is occurring at a significant rate. There is no realistic strategy to contain or control the situation. Given the timing in the academic calendar, the College has no other option than to shut down on-campus operations completely. All campus operations come to a halt, non-essential employees shift to remote work arrangements when possible, and students move to remote learning for the remainder of the semester. Campus will close for the rest of the semester and students will be moved out following the College’s protocol. Those unable to leave will appeal to remain on campus. Skidmore College will support any student who, for financial or other hardship reasons, cannot depart campus in response to a shutdown scenario.
If the College’s RO infection rate is < or = 1, meaning individuals who are infected infect no more than one other person, Skidmore says it will generally be able to continue in-person learning. Scenarios necessitating decreasing on-campus activities and operations or closing the campus will be communicated to all faculty, staff, students and parents by email and the College’s Fall Planning website.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — A sleek 1951 Nash-Healey Series 25 Roadster - the first post-war sports car from a major American manufacturer, a classy 1931 Ford Model A – which features a classic “Ah-Oo-Gah” horn, and a 1958 red-and-white body hardtop which famously performed on the silver screen will be among the hundreds of cars at the fourth annual Saratoga Auto Auction in mid-September.
Billed as “an auction experience unlike any other,” the 2020 Saratoga Motorcar Auction takes place the Saratoga Automobile Museum Sept. 19.
“We’re going to have between 250 and 300 cars, and there will be three different bidding platforms,” says Bill Windham, auction director for the museum.
Perhaps the most notable, if not the most outright notorious is the 1958 Red and white two-door Plymouth Fury hardtop with automatic transmission and red vinyl and cloth interiors.
“Christine. The movie car,” Windham says, simply.
Bearing “her” famous CQB 241 license plate, Christine is burned into the memory of millions of cinephiles and book-lovers alike - screaming across street corners, battering architecture to fiery structures of rubble, and coming back from the dead in the 1983 film directed by John Carpenter, and the Stephen King novel that bears her name. In both book and film, she is vengeful, doesn’t take kindly to being disrespected and in every way lives up to her “Fury” name.
“This here is the best car I ever owned. Bought her in September 1957,” says Roland D. LeBay, an old man with a bad back introducing himself as a character in King’s novel, while reminiscing about the first time he laid eyes on Christine. “Brand-new, she was…red as a fire-engine on the inside.”
When Carpenter set out to make the film and match the vehicle King had placed as the lead character of his book, he reportedly placed ads across California searching for models of the car, eventually securing more than a dozen.
“With a lot of movie cars, depending on the shot and how it’s being utilized in the movie, it may just give the appearance of being the same car,” Windham explains. “Depending on the stunt it may have roll bars in it, it may not even have an interior in it - but this car is, inside and out, the real car. It is thoroughly documented as being one of the movie cars. The director of the movie used this car to go back and forth to the set, and it was used in some of the shots.”
Previous auction years by the Saratoga Automobile Museum have featured two-day bidding events, with staging at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This year, vehicle check-in and on-site bidder registration begins Sept. 15. Preview day is Sept. 18, and the auction itself will take place during one, long, single-day event, which will run from 9:30 am until 6 or 7 p.m., and take place at the Saratoga Automobile Museum on Saturday, Sept. 19.
Bidding may be done in-person, by phone, or online.
The event will be streamed live so people may watch online via the Saratoga Automobile Museum website. All proceeds go to the museum in what is the largest generator of revenue the museum directs during the year.
For more information about the auction and how to register to bid go to: www.saratogaautomuseum.org.
BOLTON LANDING — The Sembrich has launched “Stravinsky and the Premiere of the Century,” the seventh presentation in its 20/20: Virtual Visionaries summer festival.
The latest installment of the Alfred Z. Solomon Innovator Series transports The Sembrich audience back to the night of May 29, 1913, the groundbreaking premiere of The Rite of Spring with vintage images, video clips, and an article on the auspicious night by distinguished Stravinsky scholar, Charles Joseph.
The program features an article adapted from a chapter of Joseph’s 2011 book Stravinsky’s Ballets. Charles M. Joseph is Professor Emeritus of Music and the former Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Skidmore College. He is the author of two other books, Stravinsky and Balanchine, the winner of an ASCAP Award in Biography, and Stravinsky Inside Out. He lives in Saratoga Springs.
The program also includes the eleven-minute opening segment of the 2009 film Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, which re-creates The Rite of Spring premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris.
“This re-enactment, with its sweeping camera angles and multiple perspectives from stage, audience and orchestra pit alike, conveys the energy and excitement of that first performance,” says The Sembrich’s Artistic Director Richard Wargo. “And is as close as we can come to imagining ourselves as eyewitness to the momentous event. We’re truly grateful to film producer Claudie Ossard and to author Charles Joseph for sharing this wealth of material with us, allowing for this latest exciting entry in our Alfred Z. Solomon Innovator Series.”
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
- 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women's Right to Vote (1920)
SARATOGA SPRINGS — A celebration marking Women’s Equality Day and the centennial of the formal certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was held across the country on Aug. 26.
In Saratoga Springs, a 12-hour gathering was staged at Palette, a female-focused coworking space and café on Broadway, where a full slate of events kicked-off with an 8 a.m. morning meditation, and featured a series of Q & A sessions and panel discussions with local political office-holders, healing energy practitioners, business leaders, and activist, among others.
The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote following several decades of struggle for women’s suffrage – a movement founded in the mid-19th century and spearheaded by people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
While certified as an amendment in 1920, historians also point to the 1965 Voting Rights Act some 45 years later as finally outlawing discriminatory voting practices that restricted black men and women from voting.
A new interactive website celebrating historic New York State suffragists was also launched in conjunction with Women’s Equality Day that includes historic and biographical information, and an interactive map with cemetery and gravesite locations about women and men who were active in the suffrage movement. That website can be found at: womenandthevotenys.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — A new audio play providing a portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven at a time of personal crisis will celebrate its world premiere on Aug. 22.
SPAC is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth with Beethoven 2020 and “Testament” - written by Damian Lanigan and co-produced with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center will have its World Premiere streaming on both SSC and SPACBeethoven.org from 8 p.m. Aug. 22 until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 23.
“Testament” is a portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven grappling with the loss of his hearing and emerging from his suffering to write one of the greatest symphonies of all time.
Directed by Marcus Dean Fuller and featuring recordings by The Philadelphia Orchestra, “Testament” had originally been planned as a live performance at SPAC’s Spa Little Theater as part of the SSC’s 2020 summer season, but in response to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, the company pivoted to an audio presentation that Fuller describes as a “musically driven audiobook.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Election Day, city residents will be asked to consider a change in the only form of governing that Saratoga Springs has known since its inception as a city in 1915.
In 2017, the last time a citizen-led City Charter referendum proposed change, the measure was defeated by a razor-thin margin of 4,458 - 4,448.
The current “Commission” form of governing features five council members – one mayor, plus four commissioners heading the departments of Public Safety, Public Works, Finance, and Accounts, respectively. Each council member is responsible for administering their own department as well as serving as legislators. In this council of five, each of whom is elected to two-year terms, decisions are made by majority rule.
The “Council-Manager” proposal calls for replacing that “Commission” form in favor of one that includes a mayor – elected by the voters of the city at large, and six members elected from city wards by the voters of those specific wards. Those six wards are to be comprised of equal voting population.
That city council of seven would then appoint, set the salary for, and hire a City Manager. The idea is that residents would be represented through the ward system, and the manager held to accountability via the city council.
A new group opposing the charter change proposal staged a gathering in Congress Park this week. They call themselves Saratoga Works and include co-chairs Connie Woytowich and Jane Weihe, and steering committee members Chris Obstarczyk, Courtney DeLeonardis, Janice Partridge, Jay Partridge, George Cain, and Joe Dalton.
Weihe said a change in Saratoga Springs’ current form of government would be risky during a time of a pandemic and subsequent economic crisis, and that this “expensive version of charter change” would politicize neighborhoods by dividing them into wards.
Those financial concerns are specifically related to what the overall costs could be should the plan be implemented; even though some city deputy or assistant salaries would be saved, new workers would still need to be hired to conduct the work the current city employees are doing, she argued.
“We don’t know what it will cost. This is more of a concept than a plan,” she said. A website, saratogaworks.org, was launched in conjunction with the group gathering.
Gordon Boyd is a member of the citizen group proposing the new charter for the city. Last summer, a group of 41 residents circulated the petitions necessary to place the proposition on this November’s ballot. A total of 1,565 registered voters signed the petition to put the proposal on the ballot.
“We’ve got a chance to start fresh coming out of this public health crisis,” said Boyd, adding that an information website is anticipated to be launched sometime around Labor Day, heading into the election season. If approved by voters, the measure is expected to take effect in January 2022.
The concept of a Commission form of government was founded in Galveston, Texas in 1901 after a storm ravaged the city, killing more than 5,000 people and creating the need for a useful way of post-disaster governing. It proved to be an efficient measure as well as a popular one. By 1912, 206 cities in 34 states had followed suit. Saratoga Springs adopted the commission form of governing shortly after it was incorporated as a city in 1915. Since its popularity in the early 20th century, however, many cities have since switched to other forms.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — In January, Robin Dalton took office as city Public Safety Commissioner – the first woman to hold the position which oversees, among other things, the overall operation of the police and fire departments.
She grew up in Manhattan “in a really loving, happy home, and attended classes at the Chapin School, an all-girls school on the Upper East Side that lists among its alumnae Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Vera Wang, and N.Y. Mets owner Joan Whitney Payson. “Ivanka Trump was two grades below me,” Dalton says. Shortly after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Cornell University, in 2007 Dalton relocated to Saratoga Springs where she lives with her husband and their four children.
FROM LOCAL RESIDENT TO CITY GOVERNMENT
In 2012, Dalton began digging into city politics and observing council meetings. “To me it was very important to have experience in Saratoga and get involved in the community in a way to really understand the spirit of the city so I can represent the people who live here to the best of my potential. So, I really waited until I was ready to take this on because I knew it would be challenging.
“One of the best things about it was I perceived partisanship as not being a factor in how the City Council was voting. It didn’t seem people were making politically based decisions. The decisions were being made as for what’s best for the city. And I think that’s also been my happiest revelation over these past seven months. I don’t think there’s been a single moment where anyone has invoked my party to persuade me to vote one way or another. It’s a non-issue,” Dalton says. “Partisanship doesn’t have any role in how the City Council votes. And to me that’s a really good thing. That’s been really awesome.” Seven months on the job, Dalton sat down this week to talk about the status of several pressing city issues in this most unusual year.
When the city declared a State of Emergency in March, the city’s Emergency Management Plan directed the public safety commissioner lead a team to address the emergency. “That was a moment when our form of government was at its best,” Dalton says. The city’s Commission form of governing – which charges each commissioner with different responsibilities, yet equal political power was born specifically from emergency when it was implemented in Texas, in 1901 as a reaction to the Galveston hurricane.
“I was also fortunate to have a City Council that was supportive of how I was sourcing and disseminating information, which was taking it from our governor. It was disappointing to me we didn’t have a leader of our country who led by example – handling it with science and data rather than partisanship, so I was going to stick to the guidelines laid out by Governor Cuomo. I would say I love what he’s doing right now. Will I love what he’s doing six months from now? A year from now? Probably not, but that’s not going to prevent me from saying he’s done a great job handling the virus.”
A member of the Republican Party, she is unafraid to step outside any pre-conceived limitations regarding party and is something she says she was upfront about when first interviewing with the city GOP Committee. “I went through a list of things I knew they weren’t necessarily going to be happy about: I’m pro-choice, I’m pro-immigrant – but I wanted to be clear upfront about what I stand for.”
POLITICIZING A VIRUS
“Unfortunately, everything has taken on a whole new meaning. It’s not about your health necessarily, it’s about what you stand for, what party you’re with. I think that’s really sad and destructive. It’s been divisive but at the end of the day all I care about is that the city is as healthy as possible and simultaneously that our economy is strong. There is an incredible importance in both and we’re not here to put one above the other.”
“We have models we look at and we’re working very closely with the hospital. We are expecting positive cases to go up because kids are coming back to school. We need to predict these things. I don’t think it’s going to take us back to where we were at our peak, which was about 10% positive cases. Right now, we’ve dropped to under 1% which is fantastic. There’s a huge mental health component and our children have suffered immensely. We’re trying to give kids a little bit of normalcy.”
ADDRESSING THE NEED FOR A FIRE/EMS STATION TO SERVE RESIDENTS OF THE EAST SIDE
“We have done a site plan and needs analysis of the Henning Road location and put out an RFP for a design firm. We had planned on moving on this aggressively, but when the pandemic hit everything got paused.” The question now is how best to move forward in a tough economic climate. To that end, the city is exploring state aid and grant possibilities to assist moving forward. “I think this is a smart way to handle it that doesn’t put us in a situation of it being a financial liability. But we’re setting ourselves up such that we can use money from the state to complete the project and deliver for our east side residents their emergency medical needs while also not putting the city in a precarious financial position.”
HOMELESSNESS AND THE NEED FOR A PERMANENT CODE BLUE EMERGENCY SHELTER
“With this pandemic and this ensuing financial collapse, we’re going to be seeing a lot of people who are in distress in terms of keeping a roof over their head. And (homelessness) is not a one-size-fits-all problem. There are some people who are drug-addicted, people who have mental issues, people who have no interest in finding or seeking shelter and have established a lifestyle outside, downtown. That works for them, but it’s not something that as a city the residents want to tolerate. If you go over to the Woodlawn parking lot you can see it almost every day; it’s almost an encampment and really a struggle for the neighbors there. So, we’re addressing that – but homelessness is not something that can be solved by law enforcement. It can be solved by having community partners working together in the spirit that the Saratoga Collaborative to End Homelessness is working in. You need the county on board, you need all the social services to be on board and everyone needs to come at this issue wanting to get rid of all the roadblocks and challenges that are in place, to get people into housing and work through them in difficult and sometimes scary ways. Without that, I don’t know that there is a fix for this issue.”
“We also have this enormous need for a year-round shelter, and we don’t have that place right now. We’re just pushing people from one area of the city to the other, going around and around and it’s an enormous waste of time, energy, resources and ultimately isn’t helping the people who we want to help. So, It’s incredibly frustrating and incredibly challenging. That’s really a critical part of this problem. We have to have this permanent, year-round facility, and then it comes down to whose responsibility is it to financially provide this. I am very committed to solving this problem, but I also know the roadblocks and challenges ahead of us are significant.
RALLIES AND PROTESTS AND ISSUES OF RACE
“Emotions have been running extremely high – not just about race but of all these contributing factors, all over America. I can’t recall a time when people have been this traumatized and have had such heightened emotions and reactions.
“For any kind of significant change to happen it needs to happen as a community, not just as law enforcement. This is a Saratoga Springs conversation. We all need to be addressing how the experience of being white in Saratoga is very different than being black in Saratoga. (Our officers) have reached out to Black Lives Matter protesters locally, taking a knee with protestors, walking arm-in-arm with them. They’ve exercised incredible professionalism and the only thing they want is for people to exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech and the right to gather and protest and to be able to do that in one piece. The absolutely last thing I wanted was for anyone to be arrested and any kind of violence to break out.
“I will be very candid and say I don’t think having a Back The Blue rally was an appropriate choice at this time. I thought it was a bit tone-deaf and likely to make the challenges of addressing Black Lives Matter and racism and bias larger and make people louder and angrier and divide people more than it would bring people together. I’m looking at this in a bigger picture context. Because of this moment of time that we’re in, I really do feel we need to be focusing on how being black in Saratoga is extremely different than being white in Saratoga, and that’s not something people are necessarily ready to acknowledge, to work toward something better.
“I believe in my department, I believe in our professionalism. I also understand the families who have someone working in law enforcement wanting to show their support for what these officers have been doing, but unfortunately in the national context that immediately gets misconstrued or associated with racism or fascism or all sorts of political extremism. I know locally that wasn’t the intention at all, but it all led up to this horrible, stressful, awful moment where these two groups of people are screaming at each other, (figuratively) ripping each other apart, and it was so sad to watch because there’s no reason why one group should be pitted against another group. I think we all want a lot of the same things. To see how both groups expressed how emotional and angry they were was just a sad state of affairs.
“Believe in law enforcement. Believe that black lives matter. I think it’s perfectly normal to have both those things live in the same person. But what I’m seeing is people thinking you can’t be both these things, and that’s disturbing and sad. I think we’ll get through it, but we have a lot of healing and work to do.
IN 12 MONTHS TIME
“I hope we return to some sense of normalcy in terms of our behavior and how we interact with one another. I’m hoping that our health is good and that our economy is recovered. Life as we knew it. But, with this new and real threat of a Pandemic it’s going to be a challenge. We still don’t know everything we need to know about it. We still don’t have a vaccine. There are all these variables that need to be answered before we can say with confidence that we’re good, we’re safe.”
LAKE GEORGE – Accomplished world soloists, graduates of Juilliard, Curtis, Yale, Rice University, Carnegie Mellon, and members of major orchestras such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic, and the Buffalo Philharmonic will perform at the Lake George Music Festival “Drive-In” Series Sept. 19-20.
Attendees are encouraged to watch the performance from their car/truck, or bring a chair to place within arm’s length of their vehicle. Performances will be visually enhanced with large screen video and audiences will have the option of listening to the amplified performance, or tuning into a high quality and synced audio feed (FM radio) to play through their car’s sound system.
The program will feature Beethoven Quintet for Piano and Winds, Schubert “Trout” Quintet, Rubinstein Octet Op.9, and more.
The event takes place at the Charles R. Wood Park - Lake George Festival Commons, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19 and Sunday, Sept. 20.
From organizers: We will begin parking cars at 6 p.m. Cars will be parked every other car and in single rows to comply with physical distancing recommendations. We encourage guests to arrive with members of your household. Early entry will not be permitted. We encourage attendees to use the restroom prior to arrival; however, we will have sanitized restrooms on site. The entire process will be “touchless.” Those who order their passes online will have no contact with festival staff or musicians. We will simply check you in and direct you where to park. Cars will be directed to vacate the premises immediately after curtain and will not be allowed to linger.
Passes for each concert sold at $25 per vehicle. Vehicles may contain the legal limit of individuals. Passes will be sold online in advance (recommended) or at the gate. Concert programs will be distributed digitally on the large screen or available to view on your Smartphone or Tablet.
For more information and to purchase passes, go to: lakegeorgemusicfestival.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) will host a re-imagined “TRF BBQ at the Barn” summer fundraiser 4 – 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. at The Saratoga Winery. This year’s BBQ will be carry-out with a twist.
Guests will drive thru the grounds to enjoy a TRF “Experience” with miniature ponies, racing celebrities, goodies for the kids, and a special appearance by Joey, the TRF Herd Ambassador, who will be returning to Saratoga from the TRF Second Chances Program at Wallkill. The event will feature BBQ from Barnsider BBQ in Lake George; a TRF Specialty cocktail created by the Winery; and locally made pies from Mourningkill Bake Shop. Items will be individually ordered online for carryout (only). Proceeds from the event will benefit the hundreds of TRF horses in the organization’s national herd.
The Saratoga Winery is located at 462 NY-29 in Saratoga Springs. Tickets and donation options available by visiting the TRF website at www.trfinc.org/event/bbq-at-the-barn-2020/ .
Founded in 1983, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is a national organization devoted to saving Thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete at the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse and slaughter. As the
oldest Thoroughbred rescue in the country, the TRF provides sanctuary to retired Thoroughbreds throughout their lifetime.
For more information visit: www.trfinc.org.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Local antiques specialist and auctioneer Mark Lawson secured an exceptional result in the sale of an antique Chinese bronze censer for his long-time client Jim Kambrich, the recently retired
anchor for WNYT Channel 13 News.
The bronze censer had come down through Kambrich’s family from his grandparents and was among the items Jim and his wife Susan sold through Mark Lawson Antiques in an effort to downsize and move after Jim’s retirement.
The censer was about 11 inches tall and took the form of a “foo dog,” the mythical Chinese guardian lion that typically stands in front of Imperial palaces. An initial sale price for this piece was $300 to $500. When the gavel finally fell, the sale price was $20,000. Remarkably, this kind of thing happens regularly with the sale of good quality Chinese antiques to a new and growing population of native Chinese collectors.
Mark Lawson Antiques is currently cataloguing its next sale, a live auction with online-only bidding scheduled for Aug. 1, 2020. Live previews will be held on July 30 and 31. Please see marklawsonantiques.com for details.