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Friday, 22 August 2014 10:07

Richie Rocks SPAC…And Life Is Good!

SARATOGA SPRINGS— Andy Warhol once said: "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15

minutes." In the case of Rich Ortiz, he received a little over 20 – each of which was deserved.


One of the most talented, hard-working and likable musicians to ever perform in this market received a

singular honor on Tuesday, August 19 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), when Rich Ortiz

played a well-received opening set for national acts REO Speedwagon and Chicago.


This one-man band (in addition to guitar, harmonica and vocals, Rich brings his own rhythm section to

the party, accompanying himself with bass pedals that he plays with his feet) is always much in demand.


Consider his upcoming week. We reached him by phone in Boston following Tuesday’s set, where he

opened for the same groups at the Blue Hill Pavilion the next day. Following that, a typical week for Rich,

with six gigs in the next eight days:


Sunday, 8/24- The Horseshoe Inn – 6 p.m.


Tuesday, 8/26- Late Night Happy Hour at Caroline St. Pub – 10 p.m.


Thursday, 8/28- Prime at Saratoga National – 6:30 p.m.


Friday, 8/29 – A double shift in Trio mode with band mates Chris Kyle and Chris Carey:

- Afternoon: Saratoga Racecourse Gazebo

- Evening: Druthers, 9 p.m.


Saturday 8/30 and Sunday 8/31— Final Stretch Festival (Adirondack Trust Drive-Through) – 7 p.m.


So, suffice to say that if you are one of the, perhaps, three people left in this market who has yet to see

this remarkable songwriter perform, you certainly will have several opportunities in the near future.


Back at SPAC, it was obvious that there were several in the audience who arrived early just to root Richie

on, as people were already clapping and cheering during the first notes of some of his popular originals

such as "Summer Song" and "Face of a Lion." But there were several people next to me in Section 5 who

had a "where has this guy been hiding?" look on their faces, so Rich apparently picked up a few new fans

this evening.


"I was oddly surprised how comfortable it was," Rich said. "I really felt right at home. It was relaxed and

natural. A little bit different with such a distance between me and the audience. Usually, people are

dancing two feet in front of me."


Rich had opened for REO Speedwagon before, at the Glens Falls Civic Center, but this time it wa

s Chicago’s management that reached out to him for the SPAC gig. "I came away with an appreciation for

all the logistics that go into a tour. It’s impressive. Normally I’m carrying my own gear everywhere. But

they made me feel very welcome."


It says here that this idea of a local act getting a boost in his or her hometown is the sort of thing that

should happen more often, and big kudos to Chicago’s management, as well as SPAC and presumably

LiveNation for making this event – and it was an event – happen. Rich would probably be the first to say

that there are several other deserving candidates in our talent-laden market for this kind of lift.


But I say: there is no one more deserving than Rich Ortiz for this honor. Truly, an idea whose time has



Richie is a very easy person to root for. It has been my pleasure over the years to write about him, but

also, in a former life, to contract his services for various festivals and clubs. On one occasion, we traveled

to his gig in NYC and I had the pleasure to act as "Richie’s roadie," (with me on crutches in the snow –

another story for another time). Sometimes, we even just get to hang out and talk about fishing. In his

world, it may not always be a sunny day, but it always appears to be.


It’s nice when you can write a nice story about a nice thing happening to a nice person. When that

happens, life is good.


And life is very good today.



For more information, visit RichOrtiz.com


SARATOGA SPRINGS – This week, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) welcomed the debut performances of a new resident company: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) has a new summer home at the Spa Little Theater. Another jewel in the summer resident company “crown” which already includes iconic entities such as the New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra


The schedule of performances (see box – page 11) will continue over the next two weeks, through August 26. All the performances are hand-selected and unique, designed to give both the newly initiated as well as the connoisseur of chamber music a thorough introduction to CMS’s repertoire. 


But, by no means, an exhaustive one. 


“There are hundreds of pieces available by Mozart alone,” said Co-artistic director David Finckel on the afternoon following CMS’s debut on Monday, August 11. “Most companies will play the top ten or so. But we like to go deeper. I find that the brain works differently; it’s more stimulating when you are hearing new notes.” 


Indeed, I’ll go further and say that their debut performance was completely transformative. Every thing I thought I knew about Chamber music went out the window, along with my reporter’s objectivity. 


My mind soared while my eyes were mesmerized. It was stimulating, exciting and endearing. 


I became a fan for life. And it took just one performance – a performance that immediately became one of my most memorable live performances – of any genre – at any time.


“This first performance was designed to exhibit virtuosity,” said Wu Han, Co-Artistic Director, who plays the piano to Finckel’s cello. “At the same time, it is meant to be trust-building. There are misconceptions about chamber music; that it is only for a limited few. But it is extremely accessible.” 


And dramatic. And engaging. And dazzling. And every other emotional verb you can muster in your vocabulary. I have very little technical expertise to offer. With music, I’m all about the qualitative experience. 


My experience at Monday’s debut performance convinced me to advocate to everyone that you are cheating yourself if you don’t make it a point to see CMS while they are here. 


The company’s roster (a total of 160-180 performers; of which about 24 will perform at SPAC this month – A new roster each week joining Wu Han and David) comprises the best of the best, at the top of their game. 


One example among many that illustrates an incredible, incendiary aspect of Chamber music when it is performed at this high level is the interaction of all the performers. Wu Han and David have been married for 28 years. It is said that couples married that long anticipate and finish each other’s thoughts. Now apply that principle to every performer in CMS; in every combination; in every composition they play. 


A case in point was the playing of Samuel Berber’s Souvenirs for Piano, Four Hands. The picture of the sheet music helps to tell the tale: Wu Han played the left page (she called it the ‘bottom position’) and operated the pedals, while Anne-Marie McDermott played the right side (or upper) simultaneously. This led to a frenzy of interaction and trust, not to mention furiously page turning. 


Since both performers’ hands were otherwise occupied, Wu Han’s daughter Lillian turned the pages “She’s much in demand for this!” Wu Han said, smiling. “And a great piano performer in her own right.”


“We had such a warm welcome here,” Wu Han said, noting that it was her first time in Saratoga Springs. “The audience was accepting, and made us feel very comfortable, as did all of the SPAC staff. It made us want to play our best for everyone.”


Upcoming performances should be similarly stimulating, and SPAC has enhanced the experience by adding pre-performance talks one hour before each show, as well as post-performance gatherings at Putnam’s restaurant at the Gideon Putnam Hotel, and on closing night a reception outside the Spa Little Theater. 


There’s no doubt in my mind that I give my initial CMS at SPAC experience two thumbs up. My only regret is that I don’t have four hands.   

For more information, visit spac.org

- Work With Returning Veterans To Be Exalted By Mental Health Foundation


SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Mental Health Foundation will honor award-winning TV journalist Bob Woodruff at its annual ‘August Evening in Saratoga,’ on Monday, August 18 at the Saratoga National Golf Course.


Woodruff, whose miraculous recovery from traumatic brain injury suffered while on assignment for ABC-TV in Iraq in 2006, will be recognized for his outstanding work with the Bob Woodruff Foundation.  The Bob Woodruff Foundation   helps returning veterans address their life challenges, including mental health issues.


First Lady of Saratoga Marylou Whitney and former New York State First Lady Matilda Raffa Cuomo are the honorary co-Chairs of the event.


Reached by phone on vacation in the Adirondacks, Woodruff noted he and his wife, Lee, have visited Saratoga Springs often, but “… this actually be the first time that I will be meeting Ms. Whitney.” 


While reporting on U.S. and Iraqi security forces for ABC’s “World News Tonight,” on Jan. 29, 2006, Woodruff was seriously injured by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle near Taji, Iraq.  


He was entirely open to discussing the details of that day.


“I have scant memories,” he said. “I know I was completely out cold for at least a minute. My camera person (Doug Vogt, who also survived) and I said to each other ‘we are alive’ but we were both bleeding terribly – blood gushing out from my neck.” 


“Blacked out again. The next time I awoke I was in Bethesda Naval Hospital. Three weeks later.” He said. 


In a miraculous recovery, just 13 months later, he returned to ABC News with “To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports.” Since then, he has reported from around the globe on a variety of subjects for the network. He was honored with a Peabody Award for his reporting on traumatic brain injury.  


In his bestselling memoir, In an Instant, co-authored with Lee, Bob Woodruff shares stories about the fragility of life, the strength of family, and the bravery of those who helped save him. 


“I had turned the corner; certainly I felt lucky to be alive. But then the challenges of recovery take hold,” he said. “I had a ‘now what?’ moment.”


Now in its ninth year, The Bob Woodruff Foundation’s mission is to ensure injured veterans and their families are thriving long after their return home.  It finds and funds innovative programs in communities where veterans, their families and caregivers live and work.


“We are fortunate,” Woodruff noted, “to be able to have raised $20 million over the years. We have an annual fundraiser now – called ‘Stand Up For Heroes’ during comedy week in NYC (The next one is on November 5 at the Madison Square Theater.)”


Woodruff felt particularly gratified to be honored by the Mental Health Foundation.


“Our issues are parallel.” He said. “Mental illness in the civilian world is akin to the issues that arise out of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in the military. In both cases, there’s a huge stigma about mental illness; in the military, it is often considered ‘unmanly.’ No one wants to admit to it. So these are the great invisible wounds we face as a society.”


“I have seen estimates that in both the military and civilian sectors, perhaps 20 percent of these populations face some form of mental issues at one time or another.” Woodruff said. “I actually think it’s higher.”


“We all still have a lot of work to do.”


For more information, visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org


An August Evening In Saratoga 

Honoring Bob Woodruff and

The Bob Woodruff Foundation

Monday, August 18

6 to 8 p.m.

Saratoga National Golf Club

Tickets: $100 - RSVP By August 11



(518) 694-5364

BALLSTON SPA - Saratoga County Clerk, Craig A. Hayner, announced today that the new Saratoga County DMV office location in the Wilton Mall is scheduled to open on Tuesday, August 12th, 2014. The new DMV office will be located next to the Bon-Ton Store and will replace the current location next to Dick’s Sporting Goods. “We anticipate to be closed only one day as we move locations on Monday, August 11th” said Hayner. “We have worked closely with the Mall Management to make this happen in a timely and cost effective manner. We are very excited about the new look and the layout of this new location. The new site is right next to the mall entrance by the Bon-Ton and will provide easy access with convenient parking that sits along the CDTA bus route” Hayner added. Office hours for the Wilton Branch are Tuesdays 8am to 6pm and Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 8am to 4:45pm. 



The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors and County Clerk Hayner are responsible for providing these services to residents with three convenient Department of Motor Vehicle locations (Ballston Spa, Clifton Park and Wilton) and services all types of New York State Motor Vehicle transactions. The Ballston Spa branch is located at the Saratoga County Municipal Complex on 40 McMaster Street. The Clifton Park branch is located at the Clifton Park Center Mall on Clifton Country Road, and the Wilton branch (new location) is next to the Bon-Ton Store.


Friday, 08 August 2014 08:57

Keepin’ It Country

Kevin Richards Lands On His Feet—Like A Cat!


SARATOGA SPRINGS— This is a story with a happy ending. “I feel better now than when I won a CMA (Country Music Award),” said Kevin Richards, a pre-eminent radio personality, as juxtaposed to a Country music DJ, in this market for nearly two decades. 


What is not surprising is that a happy ending occurred for the likeable Mr. Richards, for talent eventually rises to the top. But the speed in which the happy ending occurred – and that it was able to happen in this market, was stunning to many, including Kevin himself. “I really was afraid that I was going to have to leave,” Kevin said. “But not 20 minutes after it was announced that I was let go, I was on the phone, and my first interview was about three hours later.”  


Well, you don’t have to be a Country music fan to pick up this buzz: Kevin Richards is staying home, moving only up the dial from the mammoth giant WGNA that he helped build over 19 years behind the mic and 19 years of appearances “a lot of church suppers,” he says with a smile, conveying the good will that the Country genre engenders, making friends all over this market – and all the way to Nashville and back. 


So the short course is that you can hear Kevin Richards and his music, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. live, and also his popular “Hall of Fame” Show, which airs Sunday from 6 to 9 a.m. on Albany Broadcasting’s 100.9 The Cat.


We grabbed a bite recently to chat about the whirlwind of activity that brought about this move, and the support he received; the outpouring of outrage from loyal fans starting the day he was downsized. Support came from all over the Country music world. One e-mail Kevin received reads:


Hi Kevin:

One of your listeners… just wrote and told me about your parting of the ways with WGNA.

I was surprised and saddened. But I guess in today¹s corporate world nothing should shock any of us.

Anyhow, I just wanted you to know I’m thinking of you and wishing you the best. You’ve always been a pleasure to work with, and I appreciate all you have done for my career and me down through the years. You’ll land on your feet, and I hope when you do that you’ll be in touch.

All my best,


(Whisperin’ Bill Anderson from the Grand Ole Opry.)


But even more impressive were the exactly 4,026 (as of Tuesday) ‘likes’ a page on Facebook called “Bring Back Kevin Richards” received in about a week that it took to iron out the Cat deal. During that time, the page was viewed over 60,000 times. 


“Kevin is an amazing local on-air personality and we are extremely lucky to have him on our brand. Kevin’s arrival at The New 100.9 The Cat has made an immediate impact!” 

Jon Reilly 

Program Director


That impact will take many forms. The biggest impact will be the next few quarterly ratings books. Prior to it’s downsizing and going to more syndicated (and less, live local) programming, Townsquare Media-owned (with headquarters in Greenwich, CT) WGNA had the overwhelming majority of the Country music market listenership and was often the highest-rated station in the entire Albany-Schenectady-Troy ADI (Area of Demographic Influence – which includes Saratoga County.)


One impact that has already been felt, however, is in the area of social media. For the first time in it’s history, Albany Broadcasting’s The Cat’s Facebook page ‘likes’ have eclipsed WGNA’s. As of Tuesday, they were ahead by nearly 10,000 – 72,614 to 63,281. 


Another impact that will be played out over the next few months is in the area of promotions and personal appearances – the ‘bread and butter’ of local radio stations. 


“I’m gratified to say that 2 major sponsors – Vapor Nite Club and Budweiser – have followed me over to The Cat.” Kevin said. “One of the questions I receive often is whether we will still be doing Country Nights at Vapor, and the answer is yes.” 


“And, in fact,” he continued, “beginning next month, we’ll be increasing them to three a month – our usual Thursday, but also for the first time, two Saturday nights. I’m real excited about that.”


Kevin and I became acquainted a few months ago (see Saratoga TODAY June 20, 2014) when he asked me to be a judge at this year’s finals of a popular Vapor event he MC/DJ’s: ‘Country Idol.’ So, naturally, I was wondering…


“That’s coming back, too!” He said. “Look for the prelim rounds to start back up in the winter.” 


For those who don’t want to wait that long, Kevin will be back at Vapor on Thursday, August 21, for an event to benefit the Saratoga County 4H. Several finalists from this year’s Country Idol have been invited back, as well as 2013 winner Kayla Sarro. 


Of course, those of you in the hinterlands are not forgotten. Next Saturday, August 15, the Corinth Barn will have its ‘Community Country’ night. Want to guess who’ll be the MC? 


“These are fun things to do.” Kevin says. “I cut my teeth on events like this.”


Kevin also solidifies a weekday lineup for The Cat that is rapidly becoming a rarity in the world of corporate radio: They are live and local from 5:30 a.m. to midnight. He is preceded by the Jake and Dana show. Following Kevin at 3 p.m. is Program Director John Reilly and then Ben Ryan takes over at 7 p.m. 


“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in radio going forward.” Kevin stated. “Sure, syndicated programming is cheaper to put on, but you can get that type of thing on Pandora and a million digital ways. I think people gravitate to local media because they can hear about themselves – their neighborhoods, their bake sales.” 


“I give all the credit in the world to Owner Jim Morrell and everyone at Albany Broadcasting for making that commitment. To me, but to more than me – to the community.”


The admiration is mutual. 

“Kevin is an exceptional individual! We couldn’t be happier to have him.” 

- Robert Furlong

  EVP Albany Broadcasting


SARATOGA SPRINGS — Prominent racehorse owner and noted philanthropist Gretchen S. Jackson has been named president of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame by the Museum’s Executive Committee. Jackson succeeds Stella F. Thayer, who has served as the Museum’s president since 2005. Thayer will continue as a member of the Museum’s Board of Trustees.


Jackson, along with her husband, Roy, owns a 190-acre farm in West Grove, Pa., and has raced and bred thoroughbreds since 1978. Racing as Lael Stables, Jackson campaigned 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Owner that year. Along with Barbaro, Lael’s Grade 1 winners include Check the Label, Precious Kitten and Showing Up. 


A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Jackson is actively involved in many thoroughbred racing and equine organizations. She has sat on the Board of Overseers at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center since 2002. Jackson is also a board member for the Thoroughbred Charities of America and an honorary board member for the Belmont Child Care Association. She has helped raise millions of dollars for equine research and has been an active voice in the fight against horse slaughter.  


“The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame represents so many positive aspects of thoroughbred racing,” Jackson said. “The great horses, jockeys and trainers in the Hall of Fame are all part of such a rich history and the Museum does a wonderful job of educating fans and promoting the sport. I am honored to be a part of that and I look forward to helping the Museum continue to grow and prosper.”


Thayer said Jackson is an ideal choice to lead the Museum.


“Gretchen Jackson has a tremendous passion for the sport of thoroughbred racing and she will be an outstanding leader for the Museum,” Thayer said. “Her intelligence and leadership ability will set a great tone and her work in the racing industry will give the Museum a visible and dignified presence in the sport.”


For more information visit www.racingmuseum.org


In Which The Medium And Milieu Combine For A Spectacular Message

SARATOGA SPRINGS – There are many facets of Lisa Miller’s photography to take note of and admire.


For instance - event photography. That is her work the Luzerne Music Center’s Red &Gold Gala in this week's issue. She is also a well-regarded fashion, wedding and newborn photographer.


But there is a particular offshoot of the concept of “newborn” photography that is Lisa Miller’s most striking specialty, and it says here that this aspect of her repertoire is poised to take this equine-loving market by storm.


Behold The Foal Project. Simply put, these are magnificent moments magnificently displayed. 


Ms. Miller describes her project; a labor of love as:


“…Images that capture the moment of connection between a mare and her foal at birth. I feel it’s the same type of connection that occurs between a human and a therapy horse.” Lisa continues, “I want everyone to feel this connection and to understand how these magnificent creatures are making such a positive impact and difference in the lives of so many.” She said.


The Foal Project is a traveling gallery show to raise awareness and funding for equine assisted therapies. 


The proceeds – 100 percent – all of it – from the sale of Lisa’s signed limited edition prints on metal go to the Foal Project Donor Advised Fund at Adirondack Trust’s Community Foundation, which then distributes the funds to qualified equine assisted therapy centers.


The presentation itself adds to the impact. Large photographs of mare and foal laid out on metal make them perfect for all weather display. Like on your front porch. “This used to be a big thing in Saratoga Springs, from what I understand – displaying artwork outside.” Lisa noted. “


Do yourself a favor and see them during racing season. Several of Lisa’s Foal Project’s pieces are currently displayed around the porch of Circular Manor, at 120 Circular Street (corner of Caroline Street) until the end of the race meet.  


“Dieter and I are thrilled and delighted to be showcasing some of Lisa Miller's beautiful work from The Foal Project,” said Innkeeper Michele Funiciello. “It’s truly an honor to have such lovely images gracing the walls of our porch and we welcome people to come, be inspired and learn more about this worthy cause!”


To learn more about The Foal Project, visit FoalProject.org. For information about other aspects of Lisa Miller’s photography, visit studiodiluce.com

BALLSTON SPA--The seventh annual Ballston Spa Short Film Festival will be held Friday and Saturday evenings, August 1 and 2 in Ballston Spa.  This free, family friendly event presents short films up to 15 minutes in length from local, national and international filmmakers.  

The Ballston Spa Film Festival is free to attend in order to enable families with children to have a fun night or two out with little expense.

Screenings will be held in the Ballston Spa High School auditorium (BSHS) at 7:00 pm Friday and Saturday, and outdoors in the Old Iron Spring Park, Front Street at 9 pm both evenings.  Fun pre-screening events will be held in Old Iron Spring Park 7 – 9 pm both evenings, and after parties follow the evening screenings both nights.  

For the showings in Old Iron Spring Park we encourage you to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy these films under the stars.  In the event of poor weather outdoor movies will be moved to the high school and will be announced on the BSFF web site; BSpaFilm.org.

This year's Festival will present 38 short films in four slates spread over Friday and Saturday evenings, August 1 & 2.  Each slate will run approximately one hour and each slates will present a different selection of films.  The full list of film selections is available on our website, www.BSpaFilm.org

Over fifty short films from around the world were submitted and reviewed for consideration in the Festival.  Half the films are from New York State, five are from elsewhere in the US, including Alaska, California and Florida. Ten films come from international filmmakers in eight other countries; Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico and Poland.

There will be four world premieres – short films which are making their first festival screening anywhere in the world right here in Ballston Spa.  Eighteen of the films are from young filmmakers, 21 or younger. 

Calendar of Events

The 2014 BSFF events will be held in downtown Ballston Spa in the Old Iron Spring Park on Front Street (at Fairground Avenue, across from the Brookside Museum) and in the Ballston Spa High School Auditorium.  Each evening we start at 7 pm with an indoor slate at the high school while we wait for it to get dark enough to begin the outdoor showings.


Activities at the Old Iron Spring Park kick off at 7 pm with pre-screening refreshments, food vendors, kettle corn, movie trivia and more!


Then at 9 pm the second slates of the evening begin.  Each of the four slates will present a different selection of films.


On both evenings we invite everyone to join us at the after parties which will be held at the Brookside Museum, across the street from the Old Iron Spring Park.  The after parties will feature light, complimentary refreshments, a cash bar, wonderful conversation about films & filmmaking, and on Saturday, the Festival awards.


Friday, August 1 

7 – 8 pmJuried slate at Ballston Spa High School

7 – 9 pmActivities in Old Iron Spring Park* prior to 9pm screening.  Includes refreshments, movie trivia, and more.

9 – 10 pmJuried slate in Old Iron Spring Park*

10 pm - ??After party at Brookside Museum (Fairground Avenue at Front Street) with movie trivia game and great conversation with filmmakers and film fans.

Saturday, August 2nd  

7 – 8pmJuried slate at Ballston Spa High School

7 – 9pmFun activities in Old Iron Spring Park* prior to 9pm screening.  Includes refreshments, movie trivia, and more!

9 – 10pmJuried slate in Old Iron Spring Park*

10pm - ??After party at Brookside Museum (Fairground Avenue at Front Street) with movie trivia game and great conversation with filmmakers and film fans and the Film Festival awards.

*For the showings in Old Iron Spring Park we encourage filmgoers to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy these films under the stars.  In the event of poor weather outdoor movies will be moved to the high school.  Check bspafilm.org for change of location.


Family Friendly Festival

Half of our screenings are held in an outdoor public park and we take our responsibility to the community seriously to make every effort to ensure offensive material is not screened in the park.  We program our Festival films so that those playing in the park would be best suited to audiences of all ages.

Other films while not visually explicit, may address themes of sex or violence. Films in this category may depict murder by guns, suggest sex, torture or drug use. Language sometimes includes words that would be bleeped on broadcast TV.  These films might earn a rating of PG-13 but not likely an R. They are similar to video games rated T for Teen. The visual depictions are in keeping with what you might see on broadcast TV but some of the language occasionally veers into the R rated realm.  We therefore screening these films at the 7 pm indoor slates.

(By their nature independent short films are rarely rated by the MPAA, so are not assigned a G, PG, PG-13 or R rating.)


Juried films will be eligible for the following awards, as selected by a panel of independent judges who themselves have extensive experience in films and filmmaking.

  • Best of the Fest
  • Best of the Fest – Youth Film
  • Best World Premier
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Editing
  • Best Editing – Youth Film
  • Best Screenplay
  • Best Screenplay – Youth Film

About The Ballston Spa Film Festival

The Ballston Spa Film Festival, Inc. (BSFF) was founded in 2013 as an independent not-for-profit corporation with the mission to promote an appreciation of films and filmmaking in the Ballston Spa and Greater Capital District communities of New York. We do this by presenting film festivals in which established, emerging and unknown filmmakers can display their films.  We also present free classic films to the public through our on-going Monthly Classic Film Series to maintain an appreciation of films throughout the year.


At the heart of the BSFF is a core of dedicated volunteers who are simultaneously preparing for our free events and operating the new not-for-profit organization.  Every dollar of financial support we receive goes into presenting the annual international short-film festival, the Monthly Classic Film Series, and the expenses such as film licensing, insurance, and equipment, necessary to run the organization.


The BSFF is committed to keeping our events free to the community because we want the films we present - from the award-winning classics, to the promising works of student filmmakers - available for all to enjoy… and perhaps to be inspired by them.


The 7th Annual Ballston Spa Film Festival receives support from Saratoga Arts through its Saratoga Program for Arts Funding, which is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Friday, 18 July 2014 10:33

Track Parking Made Easy

Space Derby is your Online Solution.

SARATOGA SPRINGS—For years, decades even - the real race has always preceded the races on the historic Saratoga Race Course oval.


The race for a decent parking space.


Where will I find one? Will I find one? And how much am I going to pay? The tension and uncertainty surrounding these questions have been as much a part of the Saratoga Race Course experience as the walking ring and the Big Red Spring.


Until today.


Thanks to Saratoga Springs native Hans Theisen, you now have a solution at your fingertips: on your smart phone or any computer device.


Behold SpaceDerby.com – an online solution that makes finding and securing parking around the track (and soon, downtown and other areas) as simple as ordering a pizza or as Hans puts it “Think of it like booking a hotel.” 


“Research has shown,” Theisen said, “that nearly two-thirds of same day hotel bookings are on a mobile device. We are just adapting it to parking.”


It really is so simple; your child could do it while you driving up the Northway. Once logged onto their site, you choose a date, and various options (locations and prices appear.) Click, book, pay online and receive an email or mobile receipt in seconds with your license plate number.


For instance, if you wanted to book a parking space for track opening day, July 18, you search on that date, and in this case, options ranging from $5 to $34 will appear. For Travers Day (August 23) the range is from $15 to $42, while a post-Travers weekday might be in the $5-$29 range. 

Each location has a little profile page, showing a map and picture of your destination, which could be very helpful for first-time visitors, as well as various amenities (such as available restroom facilities) and even, in some cases, promotional incentives. For instance, at the Mexican Connection, a complimentary “Park-a-Rita” (a $6 value) is waiting for you inside and for your $7 parking fee at the Horseshoe Inn on opening day, you also get a 15 percent discount off your food bill that night. 


Well, you do the math. Less stress and a more fulfilling experience. Sounds like a beginning of a winning day to me. You also have flexibility. You can reserve for any day of the meet, book a number of adjacent spaces (Tailgate!), pay for a client’s parking and even cancel with 24 hours notice. 


Theisen, an entrepreneur who has participated in five previous start-ups is launching this one solo. He has been talking to downtown entities, and has plans to expand this concept to major markets like NYC, Boston and Los Angeles, where the appeal would be obvious, though certainly the logistical challenges would be greater. 


“But I wanted to launch it here,” He said of his hometown. “I’m still here every August, and I am aware of the unique situation we have in this market every year.”  



Parking locations are still being added as of press time. If you have a location and want to be a part of the Space Derby, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information, or to book your next parking space at the track, visit SpaceDerby.com.

CHATHAM – Victoria McCullough, international equestrian, philanthropist and the owner of Chesapeake Petroleum and Team Valor’s Barry Irwin, owner of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, will be honored at Equine Advocates’ Thirteenth Annual Awards Dinner & Charity Auction on Friday, July 25. The event will be held at Fasig-Tipton in Saratoga Springs.


Ms. McCullough will receive the Safe Home Equine Protection Award for her work to end the slaughter of America’s horses.  Her meetings with Vice President Joe Biden and other members of the Executive Branch led to Vice President Biden adding language defunding horse slaughter in the United States to the 2014 Omnibus Bill which President Obama signed on January 17.


“If anyone deserves to be honored for outstanding achievements to protect horses, it is Victoria McCullough,” said Equine Advocates President, Susan Wagner. “She has accomplished what no one has ever done by gaining the support of the administration against horse slaughter which is opposed by the vast majority of Americans. Victoria gathered the science and the facts to prove how slaughtering horses for food is unethical because it is toxic and a serious threat to human health and food safety. Thanks to Victoria’s continuing dedication and generosity I believe we are now on our way to reaching the ultimate goal of a permanent federal ban of horse slaughter.”


Barry Irwin will receive the Ellen and Herbert Moelis Equine Savior Award for his work to ban the use of performance-enhancing drugs in racehorses on race day. He has been one of the most outspoken and eloquent voices in the nation calling for the end of this practice in horse racing.


 “Barry Irwin has been a positive force in our industry for many years,” said Ellen and Herb Moelis in a joint statement. “Team Valor, which Barry founded, has been at the pinnacle of our industry. He has managed the career of one of the most interesting horses of our time – Animal Kingdom. His passion for the integrity of our sport has been exemplary. We are proud that Barry will be the recipient of the 2014 Moelis Equine Savior Award by Equine Advocates.”  The Moelis’s co-founded the Thoroughbred Charities of America with the late Allaire du Pont and were honored by Equine Advocates in 2002 for their strong support of equine rescue.                         


General tickets are $250 per person and include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, live and silent auctions and dancing. For more information, call (518) 245-1599. All proceeds from this event will benefit Equine Advocates Horse Rescue, Sanctuary and Humane Education programs. 


Equine Advocates – P.O. Box 354 – Chatham, NY 12037


www.equineadvocates.org – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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