Displaying items by tag: dimopoulos

Friday, Jan. 18 

The 4th Annual Dr. King Challenge, Win and Place Room, at The Holiday Inn, 232 Broadway.  7 p.m.
Opening Reception, light finger foods and cash bar.  8- 10 p.m. - Micro-performances in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., expressing the critical, "in-our-face" realities of our time - by regional performance artists, followed by dancing to the world jazz beat sound of Heard.

Saturday, Jan. 19

Caffé Lena, 47 Phila St. -   3 p.m. “Shout It Out!” with Garland Nelson. A historical, interactive African-American musical experience; 5 p.m.
Yaddo Presents: "Empowering Artists of Color" A Conversation with Kima Jones; 7:30 p.m. Creative Action Unlimited: a 40-minute staged reading performed by a cast of women who share their personal experience with issues of race, class and gender.  

Sunday, Jan. 20

Workshop:  Equity, Inclusion, and Understanding Implicit Bias with Ray Anderson, 2 -p.m. at Saratoga Springs Public Library, 49 Henry St.

Aretha Franklin Tribute and The Heavenly Echoes, 7 p.m. at The Parting Glass, 40 Lake Ave.

Monday, Jan. 21

Day of Service Volunteer Project, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Dutcher Community Room, Saratoga Springs Public Library.

CommUnity Celebration with Special Guest Artist/Activist Daryl Davis, 2 p.m. at Presbyterian New England Congregational Church, 24 Circular St.

An Evening of Music and Conversation with Daryl Davis, 7:30 p.m. at Caffe Lena. Tickets $15, to benefit MLK Saratoga. Advance purchase recommended for this event.

Events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. For more information, go to: https://www.mlksaratoga.org/celebration/

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Amanda Platt calls Asheville, North Carolina home these days, but a decade-and-a-half and six albums ago, the then-musical novice would drag her banjo to Caffè Lena on Open Mic night, building a foundation for her life in the arts. Platt, with her band the Honeycutters, returns to the stage of her formative years Jan. 19.

“Caffè Lena is where I first learned to perform, the first place I started playing my songs out,” recalls the singer-songwriter, who attended classes at Skidmore College, worked in Ballston Spa and took lessons on playing the banjo from local musicians Trish Miller and John Kirk.

“I started playing at the Thursday night Open Mic in the winter of 2005 and I found a real receptive community at Caffè Lena. All the regulars at the Open Mic were very welcoming and kind to me and made me feel that I wasn’t being totally ridiculous to want to write songs and sing them,” Platt says. “It’s really where I started everything, where I had my first real show and where I made a promise to myself that I was just going to keep going.” 

As a band, the Honeycutters – billed as a country roots group who blend Honky Tonk music with Appalachian folk – have released five albums. Platt also has a solo record to her credit and the band is readying a live album for release in June.

The date in Saratoga Springs is sandwiched between tour stops in New Haven, Connecticut and Washington, D.C., and just before the band crosses the Atlantic for shows in Germany and The Netherlands in March.   “People are really into American music over there,” says Platt, who grew up on Hastings-on-Hudson. her father has a musical background.

“My Dad used to make music professionally in his twenties. “After he got married, my mom said: you’re going to figure something else out,” says Platt, with a laugh. “He went to law school and became an attorney, but music has stayed in his life, playing weekends.”  Her dad lives in nearby Columbia County and may sit in with the band for a few songs at Caffè Lena. The show will also mark Platt’s first return since the café underwent renovations. “I am excited to come back and see it,” she says.

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters perform at Caffè Lena at 8 p.m. on Friday Jan 18. Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 café members, $10 students and kids.  

Published in Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS – What can one say about David Amram?

He’s played the French horn in the legendary jazz bands of Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie and Lionel Hampton. He created and performed in the first ever Jazz/Poetry readings in late 1950s New York with his friend Jack Kerouac. He worked with Allen Ginsberg in the film “Pull My Daisy,” composed the scores for “Splendor In The Grass,” and “The Manchurian Candidate,” served as the Composer and Music Director for the Lincoln Center Theatre, and was appointed by Leonard Bernstein as the first Composer In Residence for the New York Philharmonic.

Locals may recall his recent appearance at SPAC with Willie Nelson at Farm Aid, or his emotionally stirring performance at the Lake George Jazz Festival in September 2001, when in the immediate days following 9/11, Amram brought together the T.S. Monk Sextet and Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra for a musical collaboration in Shepard Park that marked, for many, the first public event they attended in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. 

Amram’s collaborations in a storied career have included the likes of Arthur Miller and Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson and Bob Dylan. And topping it off, he IS the nicest guy you could ever meet – a point punctuated by his late friend Jack Kerouac, who for his cheerful disposition. dubbed Amram “Sunny Dave.”

Amram will perform Friday, Feb. 1 at Caffe Lena. Tickets are $35 general public, $32 café members, $14.50 students and kids.

             

Published in Entertainment
Friday, 11 January 2019 11:32

City Investment in Arts Brings Economic Return

SARATOGA SPRINGS – In early 2018, the City Council authorized taking “a first step” to target the arts as a potential economic driver for the local community.  Early indications are that the plan is working.

“To me, the arts are a huge part of economic development,” said city Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan. “It’s untapped.”  To that point, the city in 2018 awarded $14,000 as a one-time economic development grant to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, which the organization put to use by retaining the New York City based Rebecca Davis Public Relations firm to market the arts and cultural offerings of Saratoga Springs to those living outside the region.   

The plan was to begin a campaign to reach the “cultural tourist” - explained SPAC President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol – “to market ourselves, to get the message out that Saratoga is one of the most extraordinary cultural destinations in the world.” The “cultural tourist” spends 60 percent more than the leisure tourist, Sobol added.

Bloggers and other travel writers were invited to Saratoga Springs, taken for tours of the Tang Museum and Caffe Lena, the Yaddo arts colony, and the mineral springs. They ate meals downtown and watched events at SPAC. Sobol pointed to a piece recently published in BBC magazine - “one of the most important international publications speaking to the cultural consumer,” she said, that showcased Saratoga Springs as a cultural destination and acted as a positive example of the marketing outreach.

Commissioner Madigan calls the investment in the arts as economic driver as “having some skin in the game,” and said that investment could play a role in the large upward trend of sale tax figures in the city in 2018.   

“We look at the sales tax for last 12 months – and we don’t have the full year of 2018 in yet – but the last 12 months, year-over-year, sales tax is up more than it’s ever been, it’s up 10.1 percent,” Madigan said.    

The commissioner credited Sobol for also doing a lot to bring SPAC as a collaborator into downtown Saratoga Springs year-round.  “There are multiple ways to gauge return on economic development, but it’s very significant, and this (return on investment on arts) is just one way we would measure economic success,” Madigan said.

Last month, SPAC announced it will spend $195,000 of a $1.695 million state it was awarded grant by the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative, on a multi-media marketing campaign slated to launch in 2020. That campaign will complement the public relations campaign that SPAC and the City of Saratoga Springs initiated in 2018 to promote Saratoga as a cultural destination.

Last year’s city investment was a one-time economic development grant based on city reserves and an analysis will need to be conducted to determine if an investment in the arts, whether it involves SPAC or another entity, will be made in 2019.    

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) announced its 2019 lineup which features the summertime return of the New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

The New York City Ballet residency (July 16 – 20) once again features four distinct programs including the story ballet Coppélia, which was premiered at SPAC, an evening dedicated to Balanchine and Tschaikovsky, and a program showcasing four SPAC Premieres by 21st century choreographers, highlighted by Kyle Abraham’s The Runaway, which fuses modern and classical technique and an eclectic soundtrack mixing composer Nico Muhly, singer James Blake, and hip-hop artists Jay-Z and Kanye West. The annual New York City Ballet Gala, on Saturday, July 20, will showcase George Balanchine’s Apollo, Christopher Wheeldon’s This Bitter Earth and a new piece by NYCB Resident Choreographer and Soloist Justin Peck.

New York City Ballet - Tschaikovsky and Balanchine - Tuesday, July 16 at 8 p.m. and Thursday, July 18 at 2 p.m..; SPAC Premieres by 21st Century Choreographers - Wednesday, July 17 at 8 p.m.; Coppélia - Thursday, July 18 at 8 p.m., Friday, July 19 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, July 20 at 2 p.m.

SPAC’s NYC Ballet Gala - Saturday, July 20 at 8 p.m. The finale to New York City Ballet’s 2019 residency will be highlighted by Balanchine's first collaboration with Stravinsky and one of his earliest international successes, Apollo. Also: This Bitter Earth (Richter, Otis/Wheeldon) and Justin Peck’s new work – his fourth collaboration with Oscar-nominated composer Sufjan Stevens. 

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s three-week residency (July 31 – Aug. 17) will be highlighted by 19 SPAC premieres. Back by popular demand will be SPAC’s “Cinema Series,” as the orchestra accompanies, live to picture, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Concert (Aug. 3); Disney Pixar’s Up in Concert (Aug. 10) and Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights in Concert (Aug. 14). The season will, once again, showcase two weeks under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra and of The Metropolitan Opera. Nézet-Séguin will conduct the closing night performance of Mozart’s Requiem.

The Orchestra’s 2019 season will also feature a line-up of acclaimed and emerging artists appearing at SPAC for the first time. Performing with The Philadelphia Orchestra is Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (Aug. 15) and classical pianist Christian Blackshaw (Aug. 17); making their SPAC debuts in 2019 are young, virtuosic pianists Janice Carissa (Aug. 2) and Jan Lisiecki (Aug. 16), Peruvian conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya (Aug. 9), and the dancers of PHILADANCO (July 31) in The Philadelphia Orchestra’s opening night performance.

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center returns, from Aug. 4-20, with a roster of internationally celebrated artists at the Spa Little Theatre featuring 23 works performed by CMS at SPAC for the first time. In addition to performances by David Finckel and Wu Han, co-artistic directors of CMS in residency for all three weekends, audiences can look forward to the return of the Escher Quartet, plus debut appearances by Chinese violinist Angelo Xiang Yu, British flutist Adam Walker, Bulgarian violinist Bella Hristova and renowned American cellist Keith Robinson.

Tickets available online at www.spac.org starting 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 14 to SPAC members and Thursday, Jan. 29 to the general public.

NYC Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra – (Matinee Performances) Front Orchestra: $53.00 - $63.00; Rear Orchestra: $43.00 - $53.00; Balcony: $28.00 - $63.00; Lawn: $18.00. (Evening Performances) Front Orchestra: $63.00 - $113.00; Rear Orchestra: $43.00 - $83.00; Balcony: $33.00 - $103.00; Lawn: $29.00 - $34.00. (NYC Ballet Gala) Front Orchestra: $98.00 - $128.00; Rear Orchestra: $68.00 - $98.00; Balcony: $58.00 - $108.00; Lawn: $58.00.        

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center – (Center Orchestra, Center Balcony: $53.00; Side Orchestra, Side Balcony: $48.00.

Children ages 15 and under are free on the lawn (excluding NYCB Gala & American Girl Night). Children 15 and under are $20 in the amphitheater. Individuals 29 and under are $29 in the amphitheater (day of show only); SPAC members receive a 15% discount on tickets purchased before the day of the show.

For more information, go to: SPAC.org.

Published in Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS – There are three Land Use boards in the city, its members comprised of local citizens, who are privy to and make recommendations regarding the architectural changes, designs and developments in Saratoga Springs.  As 2019 gets underway, city Mayor Meg Kelly is looking to appoint new members throughout the year to each of the three boards.

 “The Land Use boards are established by volunteer citizens - who are on each of the three boards. Their job is to review applications before them and make the best, most comprehensive decisions that progresses all the ideas the City Council has already adopted,” explains Saratoga Springs City Administrator Bradley Birge, who specifically advises the Design Review Commission. The DRC, Planning Board, and Zoning Board of Appeals make up the three boards.  

“So, how do we develop as a city? Large-scale that’s done through the Comprehensive Plan. You’ve got the larger objectives of wanting to encourage growth downtown, and we want to protect the natural resources in the outer areas. Applications come before the board for a project and they go through one, two, or sometimes all three of these Land Use boards,” Birge explains. “The Comprehensive Plan provides the policy goals, the objectives. The Zoning ordinance is the law that implements and causes the Comprehensive Plan goals to occur.”    

Planning BoardMeets 1st & 3rd Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. The Saratoga Springs Planning Board is a 7-member citizen board appointed by the Mayor to 7-year staggered terms. The City Council gives the Planning Board the following independent authorities to review development activities within city boundaries: Floodplain Variances, Site Plan Review, Soil Erosion and Sediment Control, Special Use Permits, Subdivision Review.

Kate Maynard, Saratoga Springs Principal Planner, advises the Planning Board: “Typically, the Planning Board will see almost any application of any development that is proposed. As a citizen it really gives you a central spot and view into what’s coming in as a proposed development in the community. It’s very diverse, and very busy in terms of volume with applications coming through. Private, residential, managing things such as Open Space conservation… You have goals such as how the lots are laid out, and a really important thing is the context: how it ties into the community as a whole. So, the Planning Board is very comprehensive in terms of what it looks at.  

“We’re seeing a lot of proposals for mixed-use, or commercial applications or concentrated residential. We’ve seen a lot of growth in our transect districts – areas the city has slated for special development, really where new neighborhoods are being formed. An example of that would be Weibel Avenue, another is Excelsior Avenue.”

Design Review Commission - Meets 1st and 3rd Wednesdays each month at 7 p.m. The Saratoga Springs Design Review Commission is a 7-member citizen board appointed by the Mayor to 5-year staggered terms. The City Council gives the Design Review Commission the following independent authorities to review development activities within city boundaries: Historic Review, Architectural Review. In general, their role pertains to building exterior.

Bradley Birge: “Good board members need to be analytical. They need to understand it’s not their personal preferences of whether they like or dislike a particular project or builder. They need to look and say: how does this application meet the zoning law. It’s the City Council who pass the zoning laws. It’s the zoning laws that indicate how you develop within the city of Saratoga Springs. They need to understand they’re not there on behalf of themselves. They’re there on behalf of the community and to ensure council-approved laws are followed. All board members get training. Our job is to get new members up to speed.”   

Zoning Board of Appeals – Meets 2nd and 4th Monday of every month at 7 p.m. The Saratoga Springs Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is a quasi-judicial 7-member citizen board appointed by the Mayor to 7-year staggered terms. State regulations require communities to have a Zoning Board of Appeals to review the following types of requests for waivers from any of the regulations in the zoning ordinance: Use Variances, Area Variances, Interpretations.

Susan Barden, Saratoga Springs Senior Planner, advises the ZBA: “We do have several attorneys on the board, or those who have been educated in law. That’s beneficial. It might be helpful to have some technical expertise: landscape engineers, architects. I think it’s helpful to understand how to read plans. Again, we do educate the board and have training opportunities, but that’s helpful knowledge.” 

In general, the boards also provide advisory services, or referrals for advisory opinions to the City Council as well as other boards, agencies and departments in the city. Experience-wise, a diverse representation of the city is key, Maynard says.

“In general, what we really stress is representation of the community - whether it’s age, whether it’s what part of the city you reside in, whether it’s expertise you may have regarding your personal background or skills.  So, generally speaking having that diversity and ensuring the representation of the community is one thing that’s very important. “

Residents interested in applying for either of the three city Land Use Boards may do so via an application forms posted on the city’s website. Go to www.saratoga-springs.org, and see section: Applications for Boards and Commissions.

Published in News

BETHEL –  The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts – located at the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival – will celebrate the golden anniversary of the historic music festival with a three-day event this summer.

The lineup of artists and tickets prices have yet to be announced, but the event is being billed as a “three-day festival of music, culture and community,” to feature “live music, TED-style talks and special exhibits.” Events will take place Aug. 16-18.

Joining forces to produce the Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival is INVNT – a brand communication agency, and Live Nation Concerts – the organization which books the pop music acts at Saratoga Performing Arts Center every summer.

The site is located approximately 150 miles southwest of Saratoga Springs and includes an 800-acre campus with a Pavilion Stage amphitheater with seating for 15,000, an intimate 440-seat indoor Event Gallery, the Museum at Bethel Woods, and a Conservatory for arts education programming. Since Bethel Woods announcement last week confirming a three-day event will take place in August, many hotels and other accommodations in Sullivan County have already sold out, according to CBS New York.

Meanwhile, Michael Lang, producer and co-creator of the original Woodstock Festival in 1969, issued a statement to announce he is producing the official anniversary, but not at Bethel Woods.

“While the original site in Bethel remains close to our hearts, it no longer has the capacity to hold a real Woodstock Festival. I’m delighted that Bethel Woods is doing events in the coming year to celebrate what we brought to life in 1969.”

Lang said he will be announcing his plans for the official Woodstock 50th Festival during the next few weeks.

Published in Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A concept presentation regarding a new five-story spa hotel on Washington Street is slated for discussion by the Design Review Commission, which meets 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9 at the Recreation Center, 15 Vanderbilt Ave.

Concept designs for The Spa Hotel at The Adelphi, a building proposed for development at 19 and 23 Washington St., include a total of 58 rooms which would be spread across floors two through five. The first-floor plan calls for a 3,900 square foot ballroom with a dance floor and table space for about 234 people, a 1,200 square foot lounge, and a spa.

The meeting is also anticipated to feature a discussion regarding the Townhouses for Ballston Ave – a proposal for the development of 18 townhouses at the intersection of Ballston Ave and Finley Street.

Published in News
Friday, 07 December 2018 09:51

Six-Story Condo Targets Putnam Street

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A plan to develop a new six-story, 40-unit condominium complex is moving through the city’s Land Use boards this month.

The “Five-Three,” located at 53 Putnam St., would be constructed opposite the Saratoga Springs Public Library and feature one-bedroom and two-bedroom units at a price range of $400,00 to $800,000, said Laura Manning, of First Fairfield Associates. 

First Fairfield Associates created Putnam Resources LLC - the applicant for the Putnam Street project - and first began negotiating with owners 53 Putnam St. Inc. in 2013 to purchase and redevelop the property. The initial intent was to develop a performance venue with a food service component. However, the site was revealed to be contaminated from its earlier use as a dry cleaning facility as well as sustaining oil contamination from an offsite source, according to a project narrative provided to the city by AND Architecture - a design practice located in Saratoga Springs.  Due to the contamination, it was determined the existing structure could not be salvaged for re-use, and a revised program submitted by Putnam Resources calls for the six-story mixed-use structure. 

The 40 condominiums would occupy space between the second and sixth floors, inclusively. The ground-level floor would feature a shared kitchen to be used as an incubator for restaurant start-ups, and a rooftop green space would feature a lounge area for residents. Parking would be provided for residents through an agreement with a nearby lot, Manning said.

According to sketch plans filed with the city for review, the roof deck would start at 69 feet above the sidewalk and be fitted with a pergola (the top of which would rise to 78-feet above the sidewalk), and a stair tower – which would top-off at 84 feet, above ground-level.

The purchase and subsequent development of the site by Putnam Resources would follow demolition of the existing building on the site and environmental remediation via the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program –an alternative to greenfield development and intended to remove some of the barriers to, and provide tax incentives for, the redevelopment of urban brownfields.

The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation - advocates for the preservation of Saratoga Springs’ architectural, cultural, and landscaped heritage - issued a statement to say that while it does not object to the demolition of the existing structure and supports a new use for the site, the Foundation has “significant concerns” about the project as it is currently proposed, specifically citing the proposed project height, scale, and mass, as well as claims that it is “not compatible with the neighboring structures and the character of the historic setting.”

The Five-Three project was placed on the respective agendas of both the Design Review Commission and the Planning Board this week regarding a sketch plan review for the mixed-use building proposal. 

Following all necessary approvals, the project would take about 14 months to develop at an estimated cost of as much as $30 million, Manning said.

In 2004, a six-level robotic parking garage and banquet facility to feature 189 vehicle spaces and street-level retail was targeted for the location. The proposal was created by Saratoga Parking and Banquet Inc., a group formed by Hank Kuczynski - who served as the deputy to former Mayor Kenneth Klotz, and John Franck, who is today the city's Finance Commissioner.

Published in News
Friday, 07 December 2018 09:48

Saratoga Springs City News

City Fire Chief Williams Announces Retirement

The city announced the retirement of Fire Department Chief Robert Williams, effective Feb. 28, 2019. Williams, a third-generation Saratoga Springs firefighter, was hired by the City of Saratoga Springs Fire Department on June 23, 1984 and has worked his way through the ranks and has served as Fire Chief since 2009.

“The City is going to miss the Chief tremendously,” Public Safety Commissioner Peter Martin said in a statement. “Bob has a tremendous ability to focus on details and develop broad ranging plans for improved fire and health safety in our city. Every Public Safety Commissioner who has served since Chief Williams joined the force has benefited from his knowledge and work ethic.”

“I have been honored to serve as member and most recently the Fire Chief for the Saratoga Springs Fire Department. It was my dream, as a child, to follow in the footsteps of my father, grandfather, and join the Saratoga Springs Fire Department,” Williams said.

Martin will conduct interviews of eligible candidates for the position of Fire Chief and announce the appointment at a future council meeting. The newly appointed Fire Chief will work alongside Chief Williams as the department transitions to a new leader until Williams’ departure. 

 

PILOT Plan for Proposed Affordable Housing Project on South Federal Street

The City Council proposed a resolution authorizing exemption and payment-in-lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement for the “Promenade” Saratoga Springs Affordable Housing Project, proposed for development on South Federal Street. The Saratoga Springs Housing Authority is the legal and record owner of the property. 

The proposed development calls for the construction of 63 affordable multi-family rental units - up to 18 units for citizens having household incomes less than or equal to 40 percent of AMI, up to 27 units for citizens having household incomes less than or equal to 60 percent of AMI, and up to 18 units for citizens having household incomes less than or equal to 80 percent of AMI.

AMI – or Area Median Income for Saratoga County is approximately $86,400. Forty percent of AMI or less for a family of four equates to having a household income of up to about $34,500; Up to about $51,800 for 60 percent or less AMI, and up to about $69,100 for 80 pe4rcent or less AMI.   

 

City Leaf Pick-Up Ongoing

In response to some residents’ concerns regarding leaf pick-ups in the city, DPW Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco said crews have already been through the city three or four times and do continue making the pick-ups.

Scirocco said residents with leaves should “containerize them” –  that is, place the leaves in a bag or put them in a container so that they’re not in the gutter, and that resident are free to call the DPW.  “We came through three or four times already and now as we get through the rest of the city, just call and we’ll put you on the list,” Scirocco said.

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