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Ballston Spa Wal-Mart Approved
BALLSTON SPA – On Thursday, September 3, the Ballston Town Planning Board gave the final approval for a Wal-Mart store to be built on Route 50, near Route 67. The decision was made unanimously, despite much controversy surrounding the building proposal.
The Wal-Mart was first proposed in May 2014. Since then, there have been two public hearings and numerous meetings where people expressed both positive and negative opinions about the construction. Many feared it would tarnish the small-town atmosphere of the area. Others had concerns about increased traffic and traffic safety.
“After review of all the traffic professionals’ estimations, there was adequate reason to approve,” said Tom Johnson, Town of Ballston building inspector, in regards to the in-depth traffic study conducted last year on Route 67 and Route 50. “After the study there were some changes in the layout as far as retaining vegetation and the look of the building. I’ll review the set of plans to make sure they confirm with NYS building code and required building inspections as it is being constructed.”
A spokesperson for Wal-Mart, William Wertz, discussed how the original design was for a larger store. They listened to the community in that regard and revised a plan for a smaller store, though it is still considered a “super center.” The store will feature a full line of groceries, along with general merchandise.
Wertz also addressed the concern that the Wal-Mart would detract from smaller, local businesses. In response, they agreed to place a kiosk at the main entrance to the store, which will be coordinated by the local chamber of commerce. Local business owners can put up fliers and business cards to advertise. This will allow shoppers to see what other local options are available.
“Ballston Spa is a thriving and vibrant community, making it a great place to do business and to reside,” said Michelle Burligame, Vice President of the Ballston Spa Business and Professionals Association (BSBPA), speaking on behalf of the entire board. “This is a testament to our local businesses, their owners and our residents. It is their hard work and pride in this community which will allow this area to continue to thrive in the years to come. We hope that Wal-Mart and the developers will become our partners in these efforts.”
The new Wal-Mart store will generate about 300 jobs, including 150 construction jobs. It will also give locals a new, affordable shopping option.
“It’s a combination of factors when we look for a new location, but the primary thing is allocation that makes shopping more convenient for our customers. Rather than having to drive too far, they can now shop closer to home,” Wertz continued.
Though the final approval was given for the building, the Wal-Mart sign has not yet been approved. It will take roughly a year to build the store once construction begins. The project is predicted to be completed by late 2016 or early 2017.
The Saratoga Native American Festival Returns
SARATOGA SPRINGS – On Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13, the Saratoga Native American Festival is returning to Saratoga State Park, at the Victoria Pool Mall, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For the second year in a row, the event is free and open to the public.
The Saratoga Native American Festival is a collaborative effort of the Ndakinna Education Center and the NYS Office of Parks and Recreation. The festival is part of a regional effort to educate people about the history, cultural traditions and continued active presence of the Native peoples of the northeast.
“The idea was to bring in representation, such as dancers and crafters, to educate in a bigger way about the Iroquois and Algonquin cultures. It’s a great way to gather people to learn from actual representatives, and on a bigger scale. We figured one big event a year would reach more people,” said Jim Bruchac, director of the Ndakinna Education Center. Bruchac, who is also an author, storyteller and wilderness expert, will be performing at the festival with his family.
Each morning at 10 a.m., the festival begins with a traditional opening address delivered in Mohawk and English by Tom Sakokwenionkwas Porter, who positions with the Mohawk National Council of Chiefs and is the spokesman and spiritual leader of the Mohawk community of Kanatsiohareke.
In the afternoon, there will be dozens of Native American dancers and drumming, featuring the drum group, Rez Dogs. The Native American dancers will compete for cash prizes offered each day in categories such as Smoke Dance, Men’s Traditional and Lady’s Shawl. There will also be Friendship Dances, where the public can join in.
The festival includes over forty vendors, who are from nearly all of the American Indian nations of the northeast. They will be selling their own traditional arts and crafts as well as modern forms. Past years have included bead work, tufting, silver work, leather work, oil painting, clothing, and carvings in wood, stone, antler and bone.
Native American food is a major part of the event. Half a dozen different Native American vendors will be offering a wide selection of foods, such as traditional corn bread, moose meat and strawberry drink, as well as Navajo tacos and buffalo burgers.
There is also a popular children’s area inside the Victoria Pool Building, sponsored by Stewart’s Shops. Native activities and crafts will be available for children, who must be accompanied by an adult.
The Ndakinna Education Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and charitable organization, based at the Marion F. Bowman Bruchac Memorial Nature Preserve in Greenfield Center. The organization offers programs, performances, camps, field trips and special events that focus on regional Native American understanding, Adirondack culture, martial arts, wilderness skills and awareness of the natural world. For more information, visit ndakinnacenter.org.
10 Hours, Barefoot, For Hurricane Katrina
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The last week in August marks the tenth anniversary of one of the deadliest storms in history, Hurricane Katrina. In memorial of the lives lost and the cities destroyed in this tragic hurricane, Mark Bertrand and his wife, Kelly, embarked on a ten hour walk through Saratoga Springs on August 29, the day of the Travers.
“The idea for the walk was the tenth anniversary of the storm. 900,000 homes were destroyed and 2,000 lives were lost. I didn’t want them to feel forgotten,” said Mark Bertrand, who walked barefoot, without eating or drinking for nearly 24 hours.
Mark and Kelly Bertrand are the founders of The Giving Circle, a non-profit organization based in Saratoga Springs. The Giving Circle was established in 2005, after the couple witnessed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on television, while visiting friends in Cape Cod. Moved by the destruction and death the storm caused, the Bertrands knew they had to take action to help those suffering on the Gulf. That winter, The Giving Circle began with “Cajun Christmas,” a project that brought Christmas gifts to 7,000 children whose lives, homes and families were affected by the hurricane.
The Giving Circle continued their aid after Hurricane Katrina by rebuilding homes in Waveland, Mississippi, a sister city to Saratoga Springs. Waveland is roughly the size of Ballston and was 95 percent destroyed after the eye of the hurricane passed through. Mark Bertrand recalls visiting the city, seeing trees down and mountainous piles of debris, but there being no sound, as no animals or birds had returned to the area yet. The Giving Circle not only rebuilt homes, but restored a local park and repaired its playground. They also built a community center with a computer lab and a stage.
In the last decade, The Giving Circle has expanded their efforts to all over the world. In Africa, the organization has helped orphanages, schools and prisons exponentially. In 2011, The Giving Circle was asked by the Ugandan government to help Uganda’s poorest village, Kagoma Gate. By providing education opportunities, a health center, playgrounds and access to clean water, Kagoma Gate is no longer Uganda’s poorest village.
“A third of the world suffers every day. That’s why I did the walk with no food or water, to represent what the world goes through daily, especially in Africa,” said Mark Bertrand. “There are people where pain is all they know.”
Locally, The Giving Circle has helped found the first Code Blue emergency shelter. The organization also helps the underserved, such as victims of abuse, the homeless and those who are ill, by repairing homes, providing tools for employment and even building wheelchair ramps.
The Giving Circle is run by all volunteers and 99.7 percent of all funds raised go directly to projects.
“We pride ourselves on being proof that work can be done with no overhead, just people helping other people. It can be done, both nationally and internationally,” said Mark Bertrand. “Everyone can do it in their own way. It’s the power of everyone doing what they can. It doesn’t have to be huge, just something.”
For more information, or to donate to The Giving Circle, visit TheGivingCircle.org.
“The Foal Project” Book Signing Event
SARATOGA SPRINGS – While everyone is focusing on the three-year olds this Saturday, it can’t be forgotten that every great horse has to begin somewhere. Lisa Miller documents these endearing beginnings in her book, “The Foal Project: Babies of Waldorf Farm,” which was released July 21. In this 48-page photography book, Miller captures the special connection a mare and her foal share at birth.
Saturday, August 29, Lisa Miller will be signing copies of “The Foal Project” at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, located at 191 Union Ave, Saratoga Springs, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be copies of the book to purchase at the event.
“The Foal Project” started as a traveling gallery show to raise awareness and funding for equine assisted therapies. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go directly to the Foal Project Donor Advised Fund to fill grant requests from qualified 501(c)(3) equine assisted therapy centers. Therapy horses provide comforting support for adults and children suffering from a wide range of disabilities, such as Autism and PTSD.
The original Foal Project Images are currently on display, and available for purchase, at Fortunes Restaurant, located at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway, until December 2015.
Though she has a soft spot in her heart for horses, Lisa Miller specializes in wedding and fashion photography and has recently opened a new art gallery in Saratoga, Studio di Luce. The studio is located at 480 Broadway, Suite B in Saratoga Springs.
For more information about Lisa Miller and “The Foal Project,” visit studiodiluce.com and thefoalproject.org.
Saratoga Arts Fest Announces Line Up for New “Arts Fest Fridays”
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga Arts Fest and Spring Street Gallery announce the lineup for the 2015 Arts Fest Friday Series, four entertainment-filled events set in a different venue each month. Arts Fest Fridays feature performances and offerings from a wide range of Saratoga arts organizations and businesses. The events, which are designed to appeal to multiple generations of interests, are presented free of charge and will take place on the first Friday of the month from September through December 2015. The new Arts Fest Fridays marks a change from previous Saratoga Arts Fest’s yearly festival model.
“The four day Arts Fest weekend event in June was much loved and attended by the community and we are grateful for the vision, support and enthusiasm of the leadership that was evident in this program,” says Dee Sarno, Chair of the Saratoga Arts Board of Directors and a long-time leader in the Capital Region’s arts community. “Through the years there were some challenges, and for the benefit of our arts partners and others, we felt it was appropriate to look at a different concept for Arts Fest. So after many months of meetings and input from our partner arts organizations, sponsors, and member artists, the Arts Fest Board of Directors is thrilled to debut a new monthly Arts Fest concept.”
The new Arts Fest events will be produced in partnership with Spring Street Gallery.
“The once-a-month Arts Fest Friday model helps us to really shine a spotlight on the featured venue and featured arts groups,” said Maureen Sager, Executive Producer of Arts Fest Fridays, and Executive Director of Spring Street Gallery, a not-for-profit arts and performance space in Saratoga Springs. “To keep things fresh and reflect multiple perspectives and tastes, we tapped a different production team for each event. We tasked them to create events that are suited to the venue and to their particular – and very interesting! – tastes and interests. We’re really thrilled with the variety of programming our producers have come up with!”
The Arts Fest Friday series debuts with a celebration of Saratoga Springs’ Beekman Street and its colorful and diverse ethnic and cultural history. Vintage Beekman Street is designed to transport visitors back to a time when change was in the air and the neighborhood was alive with an evolving and diverse tapestry of Irish, Italian and African American communities. Part street fair, part street performance, the event offers an energetic mix of period music, costumed performers, antique cars, and great ethnic food served up by Beekman Street restaurants.
The Vintage Beekman Street Fest will take place Friday, September 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. on Beekman Street in Saratoga Springs.
Future Arts Fest Fridays include:
Universal Preservation Hall Goes Avant Garde: Friday, October 2.
Tang Teaching Museum Vaudeville Circus: Friday, November 6.
Behind the Scenes at Home Made Theater: Friday, December 4.
For more information, visit saratogaartsfest.com
Camp Abilities Finishes Second Summer in Saratoga
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Last week, 25 ardent campers gathered at Skidmore College for the second year of Camp Abilities, a week-long overnight camp for children and teens who are blind, visually impaired or deaf blind. Their motto is “a loss of vision, never a loss of sight” and they live up to it by giving campers social and athletic opportunities that empower them long after camp is over.
Camp Abilities Saratoga is based on the first Camp Abilities started nearly 20 years ago at SUNY Brockport by Lauren Lieberman, Ph.D.
“[Campers] take what they need from this camp. Sometimes it’s their only opportunity to learn sports or to get to know other kids like them. This camp exposes kids to opportunities and teaches them how to advocate for themselves,” said Lieberman, who is currently a professor at SUNY Brockport. She previously taught at Perkins School for the Blind, known for famous student, Helen Keller.
At Camp Abilities, campers partake in events like “beep” baseball, swimming, track, tandem biking, gymnastics and even Judo. During special evening sessions off-campus, campers can enjoy paddle boarding, horseback riding, ice skating and bowling. This year the camp concluded with a talent show and a picnic at Spa State Park.
“Though I’ve done a lot of charity work, this has got to be the greatest thing I’ve ever been a part of. It’s unbelievable,” said Rick Reeves, one of the founders of Camp Abilities Saratoga and past president. “We do whatever is necessary.”
Camp Abilities Saratoga began when Reeves, a member of the Saratoga Springs’ Lions Club, took a trip to Brockport four years ago with several other members to see its Camp Abilities program.
“We thought ‘we’ve got to do this. We have to help these kids and bring this program to the Capital Region,’” Reeves added.
After three years of hard work fundraising, organizing and planning, last summer was the first year for Camp Abilities Saratoga, and it is already growing. The Lions Club continues to be a tremendous support to the camp through generous donations and volunteers. The NYS Commission for the Blind as well as many charitable organizations also provide donations and sponsor campers.
Camp Abilities is free for campers and their families. This ensures everyone has an equal opportunity to be a part of the camp without having to worry about money.
Another way that Camp Abilities is unique is that each student has a 1-on-1 counselor that assists them for the week. As there are kids with medical needs, there are three full time nurses also on staff.
“Every day is so uplifting, there’s a lot of positive energy here,” said Laura Shiel, one of the nurses. “To me, this is vacation.”
A popular sporting event at the camp that may come as a surprise is Judo, a modern martial art. Campers learn with instruction from Judo champion and 2016 Olympics hopeful, Nick Kosser.
“We decided to try Judo because it’s an athletic endeavor the kids normally wouldn’t have done. Trying different things helps give the kids a new experience and they really enjoy it,” Reeves said.
“This camp is where I discovered Judo. There’s such a big variety of things to do. I thought ‘I need to try this,’” said camper Paula Kissinger, 15, from Boulder, Colorado, who has grandparents in Ballston Spa. Kissinger became passionate about Judo after last year and went on to train in Colorado Springs’ U.S. Olympic Training Center and competed in the Junior Olympics. When asked if she’ll be returning to Camp Abilities Saratoga next year, she responded with an enthusiastic, “yes!”
Camp counselor Lizzie Weaver said, “Seeing what they do here and what they take back, it tells parents and teachers they can do it and make it happen. They come here not knowing how much is accessible to them. Here, they can be involved and included. It’s amazing to watch.”
In school, many vision-impaired students are left out from sports and games they could easily participate in as long as they were adapted for them. Often times, it’s as easy a modification as putting a bell in a soccer ball or providing a guide during track and field events. Each day at Camp Abilities, every child’s performance is assessed and they take home the assessment when camp is over. This allows them to show teachers and coaches exactly what they are capable of achieving.
One camper last year had never run before and Camp Abilities taught him that it was possible and showed him how. Seven returning campers had joined their school’s sports teams since last year. Many other campers are now set on the path for college after experiencing independence and gaining confidence from Camp Abilities.
Camper Christopher Nicolay, 14, was asked why he loves Camp Abilities Saratoga. His response was simple: “It’s where all the fun stuff is.”
Today, there are over 20 Camp Abilities programs all over the U.S. and the world, including Ireland, Brazil and Costa Rica. For more information or to donate to Camp Abilities visit campabilities.org or the Saratoga website campabilitiessaratoga.org.
The Magician That Stumped Penn and Teller: Meet Steven Brundage
SARATOGA SPRINGS –According to the official Rubik’s Cube website, it would take 1. 4 trillion years to go through all the possible combinations of a Rubik’s Cube. Steven Brundage can solve one in 14 seconds. He can also mix it up, throw it behind his back, and catch it completely solved, but that part requires a lot of practice and a bit of magic.
A local magician residing in Glenville, Brundage came into the Saratoga TODAY office recently to amaze us with his many tricks of the trade. After becoming famous for his viral video of using magic to get out of a speeding ticket, Brundage has turned his remarkable illusionist skills into a lucrative career.
This summer, that career has led to stumping two of the most incredulous magicians around: Penn Jillette and Raymond Teller.
Aired on July 6, “Penn and Teller: Fool Us” featured Brundage in the season two premiere. The goal of the show is for guests to perform magic tricks that baffle Penn and Teller as to how they’re done. Using his self-developed tricks with a Rubik’s Cube, he is one of the rare guests to actually fool these masters of magic.
“Just to be sitting up there, I had a huge grin on my face, just taking in the moment,” Brundage said. “I was really, really excited. Once I started doing magic, it was funny because you could just see Penn’s head tilt to the side, like, ‘what’s happening here?’”
His prize for puzzling Penn and Teller is to open for the magic duo in Las Vegas this September.
Only 24 years old, Brundage has been practicing magic for over half his life. His passion for magic began with his love of magic shows as a kid and when his mom bought him a book of how-to magic tricks when he was five. Since then, he has taught himself many sleight-of-hand illusions, all without a teacher or instructor. Though he’s also known for his card tricks and rope illusions, Brundage began combining his love of magic with his love of the Rubik’s Cube several years ago.
“When I started using the Rubik’s Cube in my show, it kind of separated myself from a lot of standard card magicians. Most of the Rubik’s Cube ideas I worked on and created myself since there wasn’t much out there. I knew I’d have to make it myself,” Brundage explained. “But, according to the research I’ve done, I’m the first person in the world to do that behind their back. No one else has done it the same way I do.”
Brundage has also drawn inspiration and motivation from illusionist David Blaine, feeling the need to learn his methods after seeing his specials on television. “He’s the reason I got started,” Brundage added.
The first taste of recognition and success came last December, when Brundage was driving home one night from a performance at a corporate event. After being stopped by police for speeding in Scotia, the officers asked Brundage why he had decks of playing cards scattered around his car. After explaining he was a magician, the police officers were eager to see a few tricks. Brundage asked if he could begin filming the impromptu performance and a viral internet video was created.
“As soon as I took the video, I called my girlfriend and said, ‘I have a viral video. It’s going to go viral, trust me,’” said Brundage. “Once that video exploded, it was pretty cool.”
Since going viral, he has been featured on “Good Morning America,” NBC’s “Today,” and the “Steve Harvey Show,” plus websites such as “The Daily News,” “Buzzfeed” and the “Huffington Post.”
Though he’ll be on the big stage with Penn and Teller in Vegas next month, Brundage also does private parties, corporate events, festivals, college events and street magic. He will travel anywhere in the United States for an event, though most are located in Saratoga, Westchester, Albany, New York City, Vermont, Connecticut and other areas in the northeast.
“I like [performing] because it’s a great way to interact with people. You go up to people and do a trick and they love you already. You’re the life of the party,” Brundage said. “I’m doing what I love. The fact that someone is willing to pay me to have fun is amazing.”
Brundage is currently considering getting into the college market, where he would be brought to schools for orientations and events. Right now his main goal however is to have a show he could tour with around the country.
Occasionally on weekends, Brundage performs street magic in front of the Washington building, located at 422 Broadway in Saratoga Springs, next to Northshire Bookstore.
Learn, Create and Taste at Serendipity
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Two of Saratoga’s biggest cultural staples, food and art, have been brought together in one place: the Serendipity Arts Studio. Offering unique culinary and art programs and parties for children, teens and adults, Serendipity is the newest place for a creative learning experience in Saratoga Springs. Located at 26D Congress Street, there was a soft opening last week. The grand opening is planned for August 18, with a ribbon cutting that begins at 4 p.m.
The owner, Patrice Mastrianni, has been teaching children and adults for nearly thirty-five years. Mastrianni has a B.S. in studio arts from The College of St. Rose and has previously worked for the Saratoga Senior Center as program director, marketing director and arts instructor. As the former owner of Creative Sparks Pottery in Saratoga, as well as being a past member of the Saratoga Downtown Business Association, Mastrianni has the perfect combination of art and business experience under her belt for Serendipity to flourish.
“I love teaching and I love working with kids and adults alike,” Mastrianni said. “Art is such a therapeutic, stimulating thing to do. It’s as restful as it is rewarding. When people create, they feel a sense of accomplishment.”
Serendipity has classes for all skill levels and for all ages. With art classes that cover how to make anything from fabric art to mosaics, there is something on Serendipity’s calendar for everyone’s artistic interest. Perhaps one of the most intriguing classes offered is glass fusion, where bits of glass are shaped into a design then put into a kiln that fuses them together into a striking piece of artwork. The result can be used for many things, such as jewelry or sun catchers. According to Mastrianni, there is nothing else like it offered in Saratoga.
When it comes to the culinary aspect, Serendipity’s kitchen is user-friendly, well-made and has a striking appearance. Designed by Lisa Bates, the combination of subtle wood details and clean stainless steel makes for a bright and inviting setting for sharpening culinary skills. “The whole point is that it is flexible for multi-use,” said Mastrianni. Concerned about allergies? Serendipity may not be allergen free, but menus can be tailored to fit anyone’s dietary restrictions and great care is taken to prevent allergen contamination.
Many guest artists and chefs will be coming to Serendipity to teach. If anyone has a special artistic or culinary skill, they are welcome to contact the studio to inquire about teaching a class.
With so many diverse programs offered at Serendipity, it’s difficult to list them all. There are nights out for kids and teens each week where they cook their own dinner based around a theme, such as Italian, Mexican or “Grandma’s cooking.” Serendipity makes a night out with peers a fun and safe experience. For preschoolers, there are the weekly classes titled “Little Artists” and “Little Chefs.” Small children learn art and food skills at their own pace with no stoves and no knives.
Etiquette classes are also offered for children, teens and young professionals entering the business world.
Mastrianni wants to develop day classes for stay-at-home moms and retired adults to share a common interest, socialize and learn something new. She also hopes to create classes centered on specific health concerns, such as gluten-free cooking and heart healthy foods, where a doctor and chef would collaborate on teaching a class.
When asked why she opened Serendipity Arts Studio, Mastrianni replied: “learning and sharing brings people together. [Serendipity] fills a need. The town needed it and I was that person.”
Serendipity Arts Studio is available for private parties, fundraising events and team building activities for office groups. Though it is not open unless there is an event going on, anyone can contact the studio for a tour or more information. To register for a class or book a party, visit serendipityartsstudio.com and click on “Calendar.” Gift certificates are also available for purchase online.
“Dracula’s Grandmother” Concludes at Fort Salem Theater
SALEM – This weekend is the last chance to see Fort Salem’s run of “Dracula’s Grandmother: A Musical Fable.” The final two performances are Saturday, August 15 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, August 16 at 2 p.m. at the Fort Salem Theater, located at 11 East Broadway in Salem.
Bram Stoker’s gothic vampire novel, “Dracula,” published in 1897, has fascinated audiences, playwrights, and movie makers alike. Shortly before publication, Stoker himself produced a one-time-and-one-time-only dramatic production of his story at London’s Lyceum Theatre. “Dracula’s Grandmother” takes off from that historical point. Stoker’s boss, Shakespearean actor Henry Irving, the first actor ever to be knighted, asks to play the title role and then starts demanding re-writes of the script. Mrs. Stoker, who hasn’t acted for years, insists on playing the female lead in order to keep the young girls away from her husband. The most celebrated actress of the era, Ellen Terry, not yet cast because the roles are for young women, begs Stoker to create a role for Dracula’s grandmother. The real dramatic debut of “Dracula” was a disaster. With mirth and melody, Jay Kerr presents this year’s world premiere musical as the fabulous explanation as to how such a sure-fire hit was dead on arrival.
“It’s hard to believe we did all this in nine days,” said Johnny Martinez, who plays Bram Stoker in the show. “I’m used to tours and community theatre. The tours rehearse for weeks, the community shows for months. It’s incredible how this came together so fast!”
Fort Salem changes its summer attractions every one or two weeks and is often rehearsing one show on the same day another one is playing.
“The trick is to find talented performers who can roll with the punches and thrive in a hectic environment. Everyone in the Dracula cast is magnificent; they work well with one another and deliver during performances,” said Jay Kerr, Fort Salem’s artistic director.
For tickets or more information, visit the theater online at fortsalemtheater.com or call the theater box office: (518) 854-9200.
Comedy Fest Expands to Two Days
ROUND LAKE – Round Lake is hosting two nights of hilarious comedy for the Round Lake Comedy Festival. For four years, the festival has been a single night, but this year there are so many acts it had to be expanded to two nights. The festival will take place in the Round Lake Auditorium on Friday, August 14 and Saturday August 15 starting at 8 p.m.
Each night includes performances by four comedians: one hosting, two features and a headliner. August 14 headliner Tim Wright is a comedian from South Carolina who won the 2010 Beach’s Best Comedian Award. His comedy focuses around dating, growing up and what it is like to be a single dad.
Recently named by the Huffington Post as “one of twelve new comedians to watch,” Vicky Kuperman is headlining on August 15. She performed her off-Broadway solo stand-up show to packed houses for five nights at the 2014 United Solo Theatre Festival, where she won “Best Stand-up of the Fest." She has published a novel, “The Russian Drop,” as well as a comedy album, “When I Could Feel,” which is currently on iTunes, Spotify and Pandora and will soon be coming to Sirius XM’s comedy channel.
Besides the headliners, all the other comedy acts are local. Comedian Ethan Ullman produces “Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show” series at Proctor’s in Schenectady. He has also worked with popular comedians such as Todd Barry, Doug Stanhope, Nick Vatterott, and Jeff "The Drunk" Curro from the Howard Stern Show. The host on Friday is Albany’s Jennifer McMullen, who is an HR professional by day and comedian by night. She has performed all over the Capital Region, including the EGG and The WAMC Linda Theater. On Saturday, FLY 92.3 radio personality Shawn Gillie takes the stage with his outrageous comedic commentary.
Dee Watson, the producer of the festival as well as a comedian performing for Saturday’s show, is looking forward to it. She recognizes that there are many talented but unfamiliar local comedians in the area and this festival could broaden their audiences.
“The comedians love this venue,” says Watson. “Each year, the comedians all leave saying it was a magical night.”
The Round Lake Comedy Festival is a fundraiser that goes toward the upkeep of the historic Round Lake Auditorium.
Host - Jennifer McMullen
Feature - Ethan Ullman
Feature - Mikael Gregg
Headliner - Tim Wright
Host - Max Cohen
Feature Dee Watson
Feature - Shawn Gillie
Headliner - Vicky Kuperman
Tickets for the Round Lake Comedy Festival are $15 for one night and $25 for a two-day pass. Tickets can purchased the nights of the festival or by going to deecomedyqueen.ticketleap.com/round-lake-comedy-festival-2015/.