Displaying items by tag: saratoga ny

Friday, 22 June 2018 11:51

Neighbors: Daniel Chessare

WHO: Daniel Chessare

WHERE: Just off Broadway,
here he plans on opening a Jewish deli next month.

Q. You’re a chef?
A. I am. I’ve been working in town for a very long time. I worked at Scallions for about nine years, I was a sous chef at the Wine Bar of about a year-and-a-half, and I was the head chef at Merry Monk for almost two years.

Q. Is opening your own business a goal you were always working towards?
A. I didn’t at first, but after working for other people for so long, I felt like I was ready to work for myself.

Q. When do you plan to open?
A. The first or second week of July, hopefully.

Q. Why a Jewish Deli?
A. Saratoga doesn’t have one. In a town that has so many restaurants you have to get super-specific with your business. You need to be very niche and a Jewish deli is something Saratoga doesn’t have.

Q. Are you Jewish?
A. On my mother’s side of the family.

Q. What are some things you’ll have on the menu?
A. Corned beef, pastrami, smoked salmon, potato pancakes, matzo ball soup, and then we’ll do the more obscure stuff like chopped liver and tongue, and knish and stuff like that. We’ll be doing breakfast and lunch, probably closing around five o’clock every day.

Q. Knish is obscure?
A. Around here it is. Where can you go downtown to get a knish?

Q. Where are you originally from?
A. Jersey. My family moved up here in ’97 or so, but my step-mother’s family is from up here.

Q. So, you’re pretty familiar with Saratoga?
A. Oh yes, I started washing tables and busing tables at Little India when they were on Broadway when I was 17, then I worked at Professor Moriarty’s when I was in high school and just worked my way up.  

Q. What’s the biggest change in the city you seen since that time?
A. Condos and offices everywhere.

Q. What do you do for fun?
A. I read a lot of books, and sometimes I make video games on the side. My college degree is in video game design.

Q. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
A. Jeffrey Goldblum.


Published in Neighborhood Buzz

West Side Affordable Housing Development Update

The Missouri-based Vecino Group seeks to develop one three-story building and three four-story buildings just east of the Saratoga train station and near the Washington Street post office.

The council last August unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a payment-in-lieu of taxes agreement regarding the Intrada Saratoga Springs Affordable Housing Project. The PILOT Agreement calls for the company to make annual payments in lieu of taxes to the city. The tax exemption will begin on the date when the city issues a final certificate of occupancy and extend for 31 years. The annual payment in lieu of taxes will start at approximately $84,000 and increase each year by two percent.

The development proposal calls for the construction of 158 “affordable” multi-family rental units. For renters, the one, two and three-bedroom apartment units break down in this way: 24 will be available for persons with an AMI of 50 percent or less, 109 will be available for persons with an AMI of 60 percent or less.

A change was unanimously approved by the City Council June 19 regarding the remaining 24 units. The 24 units were initially targeted to be made available for persons with an AMI of 80 percent or less. That top-tier threshold was adjusted to 90 percent.  

AMI, or the Area Median Income for a family of four in Saratoga County is approximately $84,000, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Proposed Bike Lanes on Lake Avenue

The City Council hosted a presentation June 19 regarding proposed bike lanes being added to Lake Avenue.

There are concept drawings available, however the exact location yet to be determined, although it is estimated Lake Avenue will be painted with five-foot-wide bicycle corridors on each side of the street, from Regent Street to Henning Road. The city may receive up to $50,000 via a state grand to prepare an engineering plan detailing the exact location, after which, with council approval, the striping of the lanes may begin. A vote to move forward with the proposal as well as a public hearing regarding the matter will take place July 3 at City Hall.

The 13-minute presentation on June 19 may be viewed on the city’s website at: http://saratogaspringsny.swagit.com/play/06192018-1988.


Sonic Reducer

A 10-minute Public Hearing will take place 6:40 p.m. on July 3 at City Hall regarding a proposal to amend the City Code regarding “noise” on Sunday through Thursday nights. The current maximum decibel level is 90 decibels – “as measured from any point along the boundary line of the real property on which the sound pressure is generated,” according to City Code definition. Public Safety Commissioner Peter Martin, who is proposing the change, is seeking a lower threshold for Sundays through Thursday nights by instilling a maximum volume ceiling of 85 decibels. Fridays and Saturdays will remain at 90 dbs.



The following streets are scheduled to be paved according to the following schedule:

Monday/June 25 - Mill Sherwood Trail from the eastern entrance off Grand Ave to 100 feet past Friar Tuck Way; Tuesday/June 26 - Prep Work Sherwood Trail from the eastern entrance off Grand Ave to 100 feet past Friar Tuck Way; Wednesday/June 27 - Pave Sherwood Trail from the eastern entrance off Grand Ave to 100 feet past Friar Tuck Way; Thursday/June 28 - Pave Sherwood Trail from the eastern entrance off Grand Ave to 100 feet past Friar Tuck Way.

Paving will begin at 6 a.m. and should be completed by 2 p.m. There is no parking of cars on the street during these hours, and driveway access/egress will be limited with potentially lengthy delays.



Published in News

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Performance artist. Writer. Poet. Experimental theatre maker. Penny Arcade has authored 10 scripted performance plays and hundreds of performance art pieces. Her work has been produced everywhere from London to Vienna.

Born Susana Ventura in the small factory town of New Britain, Connecticut, she named herself Penny Arcade at age 17 while living on her own in New York City, where her mentor, photographer/artist Jaimie Andrews, introduced her to legendary director John Vaccaro and The Playhouse of the Ridiculous. She was subsequently recruited, while still a teenager, by Andy Warhol to be a Factory Superstar.

Arcade and longtime collaborator Steve Zehentner are in Saratoga Springs this week on a 10-day residency for The Orchard Project – which supports artists’ new work and the development of shows in the theater world.

Arcade says she recalls visiting the city decades earlier with Louden Wainwright, who was performing at Caffe Lena. A clothesline of words and typed scenarios depicting their current work-in-progress, tentatively titled “Old Queen,” clings in blue painters’ tape to the walls of the apartment where she is housed – a converted apartment complex on the city’s east side which once staged major music concerts as the Great Saratoga Music Hall. Arcade, appropriately enough, wears a T-shirt that reads: Love Saves the East Village. Here is some of what was said:

“The first time I came to New York I landed right across the street from the Village Gate. I’m from a factory town, New Britain, Connecticut and I ran away when I was 16. I went to Provincetown, then to Boston.”

On her name: I had the name ‘Penny Arcade’ since I was 17 years old. I named myself and it was supposed to be a joke. I was saving Susana Ventura for when I did something good. Unfortunately, it’s taken so long, haha, I’ve gotten stuck with Penny Arcade.

On the ‘60s: I’m part of the original youth culture. it was a very philosophical time. That’s one of the things we want to bring into the show. While there was a lot of low energy in the sixties, there was also a lot of high-mindedness: Paul Krassner, Abbie Hoffman, Lenny Bruce, James Baldwin. I come from an era when Gore Vidal was on television. Maybe if you were a bright kid, you were tuned in to these kinds of things. Regardless of what brightness you had, the mentality that was being driven was that of a seeker. You talked about how you were going to change things. You were metaphysically connected to a group of people. It was about evolution.

On Performing: I work improvisationally. Steve and I have worked together for 26 years. I improvise directly to Steve, and Steve writes it down. I can go anywhere and improvise an hour show, just off the top of my head by drawing from different shows of mine. I have 12 full-length plays and hundreds and hundreds of hours of performances.

On Andy Warhol: It’s taken me years and years and years to understand Andy. He was a very complex figure. I kind of resented him because I viewed him as a user.  You have to remember Andy Warhol did not become famous until he became shot. He was not the most important Pop artist. He was not Claes Oldenburg, he was not seen at that level. He was seen more as a freak. And he was kind of a prankster. Andy’s greatest feat was convincing the art world that he was a painter, when what he actually was, was an art director. We see the results and high impact of Andy Warhol not in art, but in advertising. That’s where you can see his influence. Over time, I’ve come to appreciate him as a conceptualist.

When she was 17: I took a $25 shuttle from Boston to New York City. I met these very kind of bizarre drag queens who are in this play. In Provincetown they said: you belong in New York. Eventually I re-met Jamie Andrews, who’s also in this play and who I’d first met in Provincetown. With him, I met John Waters and all these people. When Jamie saw me in New York, I was living on the street. I was definitely an at-risk teenager, like many, many teenagers who were there. Jamie saw me one day on the street, quite by accident, and he said: you don’t look too good. He goes, ‘I think you should come live with me.’ And he took me in. And as I say in the show, show me the 27-year-old gay man who’s taking in the 17-year-old girl off the street. Jamie is a fascinating person in his own right. He was the person who first brought me to the Playhouse of the Ridiculous. 

The Playhouse of the Ridiculous: All the elements in my work come from the Playhouse of the Ridiculous, except I do costumes. (Playhouse founder) John Vaccaro’s work is still not understood. I am his protegee. Vaccaro’s work was political. He wasn’t interested in Man’s struggle against Man, he was interested in society.

On Patti Smith: I was very close to Patti in 1969- ‘70. When I met her she had just become a poet. But first, was her paintings. She used to write on her paintings which she’d show me, and they were extremely interesting. I was in the first play she was in, (Jackie Curtis’) “Femme Fatale.” There was something that was transferred between the two of us. Patti’s an interesting person. Recently I’ve come to realize that Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe kind of heralded, in 1969, the first wave of young people where fame was more important than accomplishment. Patti wanted to be famous. We had a joke at Max’s (Kansas City) one night which went on for several weeks that Patti and I were going to start a band. She and I really bonded at being working-class girls in a scene of debutants.

On Bowie: Angela Bowie, from what I heard back then, was really the interesting figure. David Bowie was this boring kind of folk singer and then they started dressing David like Angela – and the rest is history.

On Punk: Wayne County to me is the most important person in the punk scene and far more important than Patti, Richard Hell or any of them...rock and roll was our religion, and Wayne County was the person who took it to heart. What else can a poor boy do except play in a rock and roll band?

On The Orchard Project: “We like the way Orchard Project works. It has a core of 15 kids interested in theater, in performance, so we like having those conversations. We’ve worked a lot with young people in our video projects. Steve and I have a video project we’ve been doing for 19 years called Stemming the Tide of Cultural Amnesia: The Lower East Side Biography Project – which anyone can watch. (Website: http://pennyarcade.tv/) . This is my way of injecting inter-generational voices into the culture, because it’s not 1980 or 1990 or 1970 for that matter when young people move to New York and meet older artists. The whole idea of lineage has changed. The whole idea of what it means to be an artist has changed. Those ideas have been gentrified.

On Purpose: “I think we all glom onto whatever resonates with us personally on a spiritual level, on a metaphysical level. We come here with purpose. I believe that we are born with purpose. That we all have certain lessons we are here to learn. That’s the purpose of life: for evolution. And it’s not a complete evolution. Whatever my standards are of who I think I should be, I’m not attaining them in this lifetime, you know? I think evolution continues.”




Published in Entertainment

Paul Schrade stood atop the platform in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel. A few feet away, Bobby Kennedy delivered his speech.

A few hours earlier, the polls closed on the California Democratic presidential primary and the feeling of victory hung in the air. As Kennedy made his way off the stage to meet with the press, the ballroom filled with the exuberant chanting of his joy-filled supporters: RFK. RFK. RFK.

“As he walked off into the pantry area, heading for a press conference, Bobby said: ‘I want you with me,’” Schrade recalls. Once inside the hotel kitchen pantry area, he watched Kennedy extend his hand to greet workers. “Then I got hit,” Schrade says. “I started shaking violently. I didn’t even know that I’d been shot.”

Schrade was shot in the head and taken to Los Angeles’ Kaiser Hospital. Just over 24 hours later, at 1:44 a.m. on June 6, 1968, Kennedy was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital. After recovering from his injuries Shrade moved out of Los Angeles and into the desert. He set aside the memories of that tragic night for a long time.

Paul Schrade grew up in Saratoga Springs where as a young man he worked nights and weekends at the family floral business, the descendant of which maintains the Schrade name and today stands on West Avenue as the Posie Peddler. “Slave labor,” he says with a laugh. He had a busy scholastic career that included writing for the school newspaper, Oratoga, and being involved in the speech club and photo club, among other organizations. He graduated from Saratoga Springs High School in 1942 and studied at Yale College, later becoming a union organizer and getting involved in the nation’s political scene.

During John F. Kennedy’s election campaign in 1960, Schrade struck up a friendship with J.F.K.’s younger brother, Bobby. “We had a lot of great experiences together,” he says.

The year 1968 was one of conflict in America. “Bob was facing a lot of crises,” explains Schrade. “The anti-war movement, rebellion on campuses, rebellion in the black community; Dr. King had been shot and killed. The country was in horrible shape at the point and Bob provided some hope during this terrible time.”

Vice President Hubert Humphrey would later emerge from a turbulent Democratic National Convention in Chicago to represent his party. Republican candidate Richard Nixon would win the presidency in the general election.

Asked whether he can imagine how the world might be different had Kennedy survived and been elected president, Schrade says, “well he was against the war in Vietnam. He would have ended the war.” One person’s life making such a big difference. “One small bullet made a difference,” he replied.  

Sirhan Sirhan was convicted in 1969 of the assassination of Kennedy and sentenced to death in the gas chamber. The sentence was commuted three years later, when California abolished the death penalty. Sirhan became eligible for parole in 1986 but has been repeatedly rejected.

During the past several years, Schrade has re-focused his attentions on the assassination. Convinced there was a second gunman, he has been pushing for a thorough investigation. “There never was an investigation. They just grabbed Sirhan without evidence or witnesses and refused to go after the second gunman.

“I’m not going to get into conspiracy theories – whether he was programmed or not. Sirhan was there and fired (the first) two shots, missing Kennedy and shooting me. The gun was two to three feet in front of Robert Kennedy according to the prosecution’s own witnesses,” Schrade says. As he was being subdued, Sirhan wildly fired off a number of more shots. In all, six people were shot. The Los Angeles County coroner determined that three bullets struck Kennedy's body and a fourth passed harmlessly through his clothing, CNN reported in a 2012 story sub-titled, “There Was A Second Shooter,” following a 2012 interview with Nina Rhodes-Hughes, a witness to the murder. Rhodes-Hughes said she heard two guns firing during the shooting and that authorities altered her account of the crime.

“It was an eight-shot revolver and Kennedy got shot four times in the back. Sirhan didn’t have the bullets,” Schrade says. ”He was captured out of position. The gun was two to three feet in front of Kennedy and Kennedy got hit at point-blank range in the back. It couldn’t be Sirhan. It had to be a second gunman.

“The prosecution knew this, knew there was a second gunman and didn’t do anything to investigate it. They just did a quickie on Sirhan and sent him to the gas chamber. They were going to murder this guy,” Schrade says. “It was a well-planned investigation in order to convict Sirhan. They falsified the evidence right from the beginning.”

Asked for his thoughts on motivations behind the assassination, Schrade says, “we can only guess at the motivations because we never investigated the second gunman. And I don’t guess at things anymore, only facts and truth. They decided to go after Sirhan. I don’t know why. It could have been for political reasons, but ‘why’ has not been answered.

“I’m 93. The only thing I can do at this point is make a public declaration and try to get the people that have some influence involved,” Schrade says. “Hopefully it will move these organizations to do the right thing, by Kennedy, and by Sirhan.”

Published in News

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Several dozen David Cassidy fans – some of whom embarked on their journey from a few thousand miles away – descended on the Spa City last weekend to celebrate the life of the late singer who had inspired them with song and for some helped navigate a clear and hope-filled path through a troubled time of adolescence.

Robin Smith, who first watched Cassidy perform onstage in 1972 in Houston when she was a young teenager, came in from Texas. Michael Oliver and Denise Kirth made the trip to the Spa City from Ohio. Marlene Habib brought along copies of her recently penned a 42-page tribute booklet, “David Cassidy: Crazy Over You in Saratoga,” and Annette Trotta-Flynn arrived with an active social media campaign to get Cassidy inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “It’s a labor of love,” she said. “David cared about his fans. We’re continuing his legacy.”

One woman made the cross-Atlantic trip to Saratoga Springs from her home in Belgium. “I saw him in Antwerp in 1973 and it was an extreme experience for me,” related the woman, whose name is Veerle. “I was always a fan, but (as time went on) he wasn’t coming to my country anymore. I wanted to come to the U.S. to see him play, but then the bad news came that he was sick, and then he passed,” she lamented. “I made contact with some of his American fans and learned about this event, so that’s why I wanted to come.”

The event, billed as “A Celebration of David Cassidy’s Life,” was initiated by Samantha Cox from her home in Indiana. After the singer died in November 2017 at the age of 67, Cox said she took on as her New Year’s Resolution a mission to do something to honor Cassidy’s life.

“I chose Saratoga because he was into horse racing and he mentioned it as his favorite place in the world,” says Cox, who previously had never been to the Spa City. Her inquiries led her to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame opposite Saratoga Race Course which Cassidy frequented during the summer meet, and subsequently coordinated a successful social media effort that raised in excess of the $2,500 goal required to permanently place a memorial bench in Cassidy’s honor in the museum courtyard.

Cassidy, who appeared on several TV shows in a non-musical role, gained international stardom after he was cast as “Keith Partridge” on “Partridge Family” sitcom, which was broadcast from 1970 to 1974. He simultaneously launched a solo music career that saw him perform on some of the world’s biggest stages. His passion for equines dates back to the 1970s and frequent visits to Saratoga, where he bought his first yearling and where he eventually purchased a home.

At the same time Cox was mounting her Cassidy campaign, Columbia County based horse owner, breeder and veterinarian Dr. Jerry Bilinski and horse trainer Gary Contessa were also partnering on placing a bench in Cassidy’s honor in the newly named Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Courtyard. Last week, both benches were publicly unveiled, and many Cassidy fans made a long weekend of their visit to Saratoga Springs - visiting the museum and then staging a gathering at Spa City Tap and Barrel on Caroline Street Sunday night.    

On November 21, God called David home, but I like to believe he is looking down today on us and smiling,” Cox told the group of fans who gathered at the Celebration of Life event Sunday night.  

Fans shared reminiscences of long ago concerts punctuated by deafening screams and blinding flashbulbs, as Cassidy jumped and gyrated in a white jumpsuit across the stage. Members of his band offered pre-recorded commentary via an overhead screen and Cassidy’s music was piped into the venue at varied intervals.

An announcement was also made that a special David Cassidy Tribute Concert – featuring members of Cassidy’s band - will be staged at the Horseshoe Inn on Aug. 14. The concert will act as fundraiser for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s David Cassidy Sanctuary Fund. Cassidy was a supporter of the Saratoga Springs based organization, which was founded in 1983 with a mission to save Thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete on the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse and slaughter.

Dr. Bilinski, who first met Cassidy when the performer brought his horses to Bilinski’s farm, addressed the crowd and spoke of their longtime friendship.

“When David first visited with us, we went out on the veranda and had a cigar – which we did for many years after that. The next morning, I noticed that the cigar as well as the ashtray were confiscated by (my wife) Darlene. That happened to be among a long list of memorabilia that we collected,” he told the attentive crowd.

Bilinski would go on to purchase Cassidy’s Jaguar for his wife Darlene, swap his snowmobile for Cassidy’s jet boat, take up the singer’s invitation to travel overseas and watch him perform in London, as well as end up with a bounty of signed record albums.

“He came to our farm many times. We sat on the porch discussing life and discussing entertainers: The Stones, The Beatles – some of these were heroes of mine back in the day, and he knew most of these people,” Bilinski said. “We would watch the horses, coming in and out from the fields. It became an important friendship for Darlene and I.”

Darlene Bilinski shared her own memories, which spanned from her childhood to the present day. “When I was a little girl, my girlfriend and I had tea parties. One of us would be Mrs. Cassidy and one of us would be Mrs. Osmond. There was a Bobby Sherman in there once as well, I think, but we would usually fight over David,” she said, with a laugh. “He was a great friend, a great guy. I loved him and miss him. I talked to him just before he died. I asked him: Do you want me to come down? He said, ‘No, I’ll be there next summer.’ We know that didn’t happen, but I feel he is with us, this evening.”

“David just loved it here and I can see now why this was his favorite place,” Cox said. “He was an entertainer and performer, but he was so much more to us, like a friend, there at down moments of our lives with a caring heart…I had an extremely difficult childhood. David’s music lifted my spirits. It inspired me to not give up.”

It would be inaccurate to hear a fan’s appreciation for Cassidy and categorize it simply a walk down memory lane. Many who attended the weekend events in Cassidy’s honor spoke of the music as an inspiration that helped transcend awkward and often difficult times: an escape, perhaps, or a technique more likely to carve of their own a new reality. And it was to the person who had provided this hope, to whom they were paying tribute.

The May 20 event was initially intended to be a one-time gathering, but in its aftermath, Cox expressed the desire to turn May 20 in Saratoga Springs David Cassidy Day into an annual event.

The David Cassidy Tribute Concert concert, featuring members of Cassidy’s band, will be staged Aug. 14 at the Horseshoe Inn. Tickets are $50 and are being made available via the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s web site

Published in News
Thursday, 17 May 2018 16:59

David Cassidy Gets His Day

Susan Cox remembers those magical nights, eyes fixed on the television set in her grandparents living room in Indiana, waiting to see what kind of musical mayhem would ensue. On the screen, a single mother of five alternated sitting behind the wheel of the family’s multicolored school bus and “playing” the piano to lead her musically imbued children in song.

It was the eldest sibling, played David Cassidy, who most captured the attention of Cox, as well as millions of others across America.

“I had watched him on TV dramas like “The Mod Squad,” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.” and he was a dramatic actor of course, but from the first time I heard David Cassidy sing, I thought he was phenomenal. And ‘The Partridge Family’ I watched religiously, every Friday night, with my grandparents. My grandmother used to say: ‘He’s so nice-looking, but he needs a haircut,’” she says with a laugh.

“I was a fan since I was 11 years old. I had an extremely difficult childhood, and my grandparents raised me. David’s music lifted my spirits. It inspired me to not give up,” Cox says. “I’d sit in my room and listen to his music like every other teenage girl at the time. We were all David crazy.”

Cassidy launched a solo music career and following the “Partridge Family” sitcom TV show run, which concluded in 1974, Cassidy also resumed his acting career as well as following his love of horses. His passion for equines frequently brought him to Saratoga, where he bought his first yearling and where in 2001 he purchased a home.  

“When David passed away in 2017, I felt the need to do something,” says the 60-year-old Cox, who worked at Notre Dame for 12 years, a handful of them in a fundraising capacity. “He gave so much of his life to his fans. He talked about how he loved us, and he knew we loved him. I chose Saratoga because he was into horse racing and he mentioned it as his favorite place in the world, so I started calling places in Saratoga Springs looking for a place to put a (memorial) bench.”

Her inquiries led her to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, which sits on Union Avenue directly across Saratoga Race Course which Cassidy frequented during the summer meet. Honoring Cassidy with a bench – the singer died in November 2017 at the age of 67 - would require Cox raising $2,500.

“It was my New Year’s resolution to do something for David. I opened a public Facebook page on Jan. 15 – the David Cassidy Memorial Bench at The National Museum of Racing. I think the first day it had 300 people liking the page. And it just kept going. Donations have come in I had People from Germany, from Malta, South America – Mexico, Columbia and Brazil – I’ve made so many new friends,” Cox says. “By January 30, all the funds were raised. Donations were still coming as of late April and all the excess goes directly into the annual fund in memory of David. I’m hoping I raised a lot of money for the museum because they were so gracious.” Following Cassidy’s lead, Cox says she has also embraced the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, which provides sanctuary to hundreds of horses across the country.

The bench was unveiled Thursday night in the revitalized museum courtyard, which has undergone a winterlong renovation. And in recognition of a $250,000 gift from prominent racehorse owner, philanthropist and Saratoga icon Marylou Whitney, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame named its courtyard in honor of Marylou’s late husband, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney – who was among the museum’s founders in 1950 and served as the institution’s first president. The Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Courtyard will feature two benches honoring Cassidy. One is the result of a partnering between horse trainer Gary Contessa – who has more than 2,200 winning races under his belt - and Columbia County based horse owner, breeder and veterinarian Dr. Jerry Bilinski. The other Cassidy bench has been dedicated by singer’s fans, who will be flocking to the Spa City during the weekend.


David Cassidy Fans’ Day at Museum on Sunday

“Sunday, May 20 will be our day to see the bench and reflect on his life,” Cox says. The museum has set a 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. window on Sunday specifically to welcome Cassidy’s fans. The courtyard will be open to the public and admission is free.

“David has got fans worldwide and there are people from Germany, from Great Britain and from Canada who are coming to the event,” says Cox, who will be making the 730-mile trek from her home in Indiana. A private Celebration of Life Event, featuring guest speakers and fan reminiscences will take place later Sunday night.

“When I started the campaign, I hoped and prayed that we could get this for David, this permanent memorial tribute to him. He was more than an entertainer, he was a good person with a good heart,” Cox says. “From the moment I reached out to the museum, they have been so gracious. I know that we’ll have an awesome time in Saratoga Springs. Your people up there are really phenomenal.”

1,31-david cassidy bench.jpg

Published in News

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.

Published in Entertainment

ROCK CITY FALLS – Six miles from Broadway stands a grand 19th-century estate where a series of Broadway legends and Tony Award notables will soon be showcased in an intimate performance space. It is, says Mansion Inn co-owner Jeffrey Wodicka, one of the area’s best kept secrets.

“We thought it would be fun to bring some top Broadway New York City performers up to the area and have them in a small, intimate setting. So, we decided to put together a supper - where a three-course dinner is served – and have major talent for a 90-minute performance in an intimate room that seats 120 people,” he says.   

Wodicka and partner Neil Castro took over the historic Mansion Inn on Route 29 in 2001. Originally built in 1866 as a 23-room Venetian, villa-style estate and recognized by The National Register of Historic Places, the mansion was once the grand home of 19th Century industrialist George West - a renaissance man of sorts who established an art and archaeological museum in Round Lake, served as a member of the New York State Assembly and the House of Representatives, and owned as many as 10 paper mills, which earned him the nickname the “paper bag king.”

The inn has remained virtually unchanged during the past 150 years and hosts about 45 wedding celebrations annually as well as retreats and – for the past few years - a supper club theater.

The 801 Supper Club season opens May 24 with an appearance by Bobby Conte Thornton, who made his Broadway debut as Calogero, the leading role in Robert DeNiro's musical version of "A Bronx Tale.” Thorntown’s show, “Blame It On My Youth,” offers songs written by artists ranging from Irving Berlin to Sting.

TV actor Ryan Raftery performs “The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of Martha Stewart” on June 21. Andrea McArdle – who rocketed to stardom as Broadway’s original “Annie” – stages a brand-new show that celebrates The Great American Songbook, Broadway and contemporary music on July 26; Broadway Legend Lillias White, who secured a Tony Award for Cy Coleman and Ira Gasman’s “The Life,“ starred in 2010’s “Fela!,” and starred in "Dream Girls" on Broadway performs at The 801 Supper Club Aug. 23. Singer-songwriters and Carnegie Hall headliners Will and Anthony Nunziata stage their show Sept. 20, and Josh Young - nominated for a Tony Award for his performance as Judas in “Jesus Christ Superstar” presents an evening of showstoppers comprised of Andrew Lloyd Webber favorites on Oct. 18. The concert includes songs from “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Evita,” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

“These are top, top people – and they love coming here, because they’ll come up in jeans and a piano player for a very intimate performance you wouldn’t normally see,” says Wodicka, who grew up on Long Island and relocated to Saratoga after the completion of his college years.   

“A property like the Mansion Inn needs to be used, there are not many like it. In downtown Saratoga Springs there are quite a number of older homes and properties, but they’re not on any land – they’re on postage-stamp size lots and don’t have a lot of space. Here, we can accommodate a lot of people. We’re on acres with a pond and a carriage house and a barn, so we can do all kinds of things,” he says.

The atmosphere during the supper theater, he says, is something special. “It’s intimate. You sit around a table with people you’re probably meeting for the first time, you have the dinner conversation back-and-forth, then the show comes on and you know, it’s electric. There is no bad seat. You really get the effect.”  

Tickets are $75 and include a three-course meal and a 90-minute show. For more information about the 801 Supper Club at the Mansion of Saratoga, go to https://www.themansionsaratoga.com/

Published in Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A new free monthly music series kicks off May 15 with a performance by The Dylan Perrillo Orchestra at Saratoga Senior Center. The series schedule showcases performances through October.

The concept behind the new series is to provide cultural offerings during midday and mid-week, says series organizer Jonathan Greene.

The series, largely funded by a grant from Saratoga Arts, is free and open to the public. Concerts will start at 12:30 p.m. and are scheduled on the third Tuesday of each month.

May 15 - Dylan Perrillo Orchestra. Ten-piece band that celebrates the beginnings of jazz performing arrangements of tunes from the 1920s to the 1940s. Saratoga Senior Center.

June 19 - Orchard Project. A preeminent engine of new work in the theater world, helping over 200 shows develop and go on to stages as big as Broadway and as small as a basement in Sweden. Orchard Project has made Saratoga Springs their summer home. Ben and Jerry’s (rain location: Saratoga Senior Center).

July 17 - Girl Blue. Girl Blue is the pseudonym of singer and songwriter Arielle O'Keefe. Her first single "Fire Under Water" placed 7th on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist, with over 1 million hits the first month. Ben and Jerry’s (rain location: Saratoga Senior Center).

August 21 - Tame Pacific. Featuring members of internationally-noted but locally-based Wild Adriatic. Ben and Jerry’s (rain location: Saratoga Senior Center).

September 18 - Rodeo Barons. Roots rock band with modern alternative influences. Saratoga Senior Center.

October 16 - Heard. Original world music with jazz roots, influences from West Africa, Brazil, places in between and points beyond. Saratoga Senior Center.

For more information on the series, see the Lunchtime Concerts Facebook page: fb.com/lunchtimeconcerts.

Published in Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A charity organization founded by a local reporter to honor his wife has become a popular annual Mother’s Day event to aid families who have suffered a loss due to cancer, as well as those currently engaged in fighting the fight.

Kelly's Angels Incorporated, was conceived by WNYT-TV reporter, Mark Mulholland, in memory of his late wife, Kelly, who lost her battle with cancer in 2007 at the age of 37. On Sunday, May 13, the organization will stage Kelly’s Angels Mother-Lovin’ 5K in the Saratoga Spa State Park, which invites men, women and children of all ages and abilities to participate in the name of helping children who’ve lost a parent or sibling to cancer. The event - Kelly's Angels Inc. big fundraiser of the year -typically attracts hundreds of families and more than 1,000 people overall.

“Being a sole surviving parent, I can empathize with anyone who is going through this,” says Mulholland, whose son Connor just turned 18 and will be graduating from Saratoga Springs High School in June. Daughter McKenna is 16. “Knock on wood they’re good kids. I do feel like I have very special bond with the children, so I feel fortunate in that way. I don’t think there’s a day that they don’t miss their mom, but I think they’re gratified as I am that we’re helping other kids.”

The organization’s “Fun Grants” have helped more than 100 kids in the region under the age of 18 who have lost a parent or sibling to cancer. The donation allows children to do a fun activity of their choosing. Some have made a trip to a Major League Baseball game or had a backyard bouncy house party; others have enjoyed a day at an amusement park, a Rangers’ hockey game in New York City, a Broadway show. One young girl received a puppy that her dad always wanted her to have.

“Our original mission was to help children who have lost a parent or a sibling to cancer by providing ‘fun grants.’ We’ve expanded our mission to include scholarships for children who overcome adversity and were also going to help families who are in a current battle with cancer, who are devastated by an insidious disease,” Mulholland says.

A family in Queensbury were notified just before Christmas that the father was diagnosed with colon cancer and having a very difficult time. “We provided them $1,000 so they could provide Christmas for the kids. That sparked the whole idea of what we call ‘Angel Aid.’ And we’re finding a lot of people who need help,” Mulholland says. “We’re giving aid to families who are in the throes of the battle. Whether it’s because they can’t work, or because of costs associated with medical care, or in need transportation - those sorts of things. We decided not just help families who have suffered a loss, but also those who are fighting the fight.”

This year marks the third time the organization will give scholarships to a boy and a girl, who are graduating seniors at Saratoga Springs City Schools.

“Kelly taught third grade at Saratoga Springs City Schools before she passed. We started with that school and chose a boy and a girl who have overcome adversity, demonstrated a need and demonstrated a commitment to helping other kids and who are going to an institution of higher learning, so, those are our primary criteria. Now we’re expanding that. Our goal is to give scholarships throughout the Capital Region,” Mulholland explains. “It’s a pretty lofty goal, but people have been very generous and very giving to the organization, so maybe we can do it. This year, in addition to Saratoga Springs, we’re adding Queensbury – because Kelly taught there for a time, and Hoosic Valley in Schaghticoke.”

"The scholarship really means a lot specifically coming from his family and knowing what they’ve been through,” said Harry Lazar, a senior at Saratoga Springs High School, who this week was informed he is one of Kelly’s Angels 2018 scholarship recipients.

“Growing up, I lived with my mom. I never knew my dad. My mom, she had a lot of mental issues. She was a great person, but she had a lot of problems. She hit a breaking point and broke down. It made my life pretty difficult, but I always had my grandparents who helped me, and I always had my friends, which was nice, so I got through it because I had a good support group around me,” said Lazar, who will be heading to the University of Virginia where he’s anticipating study either economics or psychology.

“I needed to fix her. My childhood was slipping away… (but) It didn’t work. She was too far gone.” Harry’s mother died when he was in his sophomore year. His anguish, over time, has been transformed into something else. “When stripped at its core, what was once guilt revealed itself as the last gift my mother ever gave me: purpose.”  

“I’ve had to work for a lot that I have. I really think I’ve developed a good work ethic and a thick skin to face whatever life has to offer. I know from here on out, going to college, things are just going to get more challenging, but I feel I’ve been given an advantage to have a good shot of doing well.”    

What would Kelly Mulholland think?

“I think she would have a huge smile on her face because kids were her passion. The fact that we’re expanding now and giving out scholarships – I think she’d be thrilled,” Mark Mulholland says.  




The 6th Kelly’s Angels Mother-Lovin’ 5k Run/Walk takes place Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13, in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Race Day Registration/Packet Pickup: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Activities step off at 8:45 a.m. with a Kids’ Fun Run, where children under 9 years of age race toward the finish line with moms and dads rooting them on, or running alongside. Online registration is $30. Day of race registration is $35. Awards will be given to the first and second overall male and female winners as well as first, second and third place male and female winners across 8 different age groups. Register HERE. 

Donations may also be made and go directly to fund "Fun Grants" for children who have lost a parent or sibling to cancer. Online donations may be made at: http://www.kellysangelsinc.org/donate/. Checks may be sent to Kelly's Angels, Inc., P.O. Box 2034, Wilton, N.Y. 12831.


Published in Neighborhood Buzz
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