Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Illegal? No. Rude? That depends

One time I offered to photograph an acquaintance's dog.  She said it would be OK only if the images were never posted on the Web.   Since I couldn't make such a promise, I kept my camera in the bag.

Maybe she thought dog-nappers might see her pet online and target it.  Good trick, considering that I wouldn't be including the owner's name and address.

Recently I was at a public event.  I took a few shots of the crowd.  One attendee waved her hand in my direction.  Waving at me or waving me off?

Later I had an opportunity to ask her about the gesture.  She said she was indicating she didn't want her photo taken and put online, that such an action was illegal.

I explained no, it was legal.  No different than a newspaper reporter or photojournalist taking her image and then publishing it afterwards.  Public event.

She frowned.  She said it was rude.  I replied that I was taking a shot of the crowd, not just her.  I should've added that rudeness is in the beholder's eye.  Also, I wasn't using a flash so no one could complained about that.

It's amazing how people sometimes react to my camera.  If someone is concerned about being imaged in public, I would advise them to look up when walking around downtown and many other places.

Maybe I'm not the problem.  At least with me you can see the person behind the camera.  You can even see me wave back.

PPL Directorship Candidate Stresses Interaction

Using the latest in communication technology candidate for the PPL Directorship Connie Dalrymple explains at a public forum what she thinks the future holds for libraries.

PLATTSBURGH CITY – June 26, 2012

For Connie Dalrymple it’s a matter of perspective when it comes to the future of libraries.  Less isolation, more collaboration and interaction with the public.

She spoke today as part of the ongoing process to find a new director of the Plattsburgh Public Library during a noontime forum held in the PPL second floor auditorium.

Backed up by a digitized slideshow, Connie discussed the evolution of the printed word from stone tablets to paper to electronic media.  She also discussed the history of libraries, how they evolved from institutions only accessed by the wealthy and the privileged to the more democratic ones of today open to the public at large.

Traditionally a library has been a quiet place where a patron would borrow a book and then go home and read it in isolation, she said.  With the impact of modern electronic communications there can be more isolation, a person staying at home in front of a computer.  She mentioned how her teenaged sons had become “internet waifs.”

Libraries have to deal with this isolation factor through programs such a pre-K storytelling events and book clubs.  When Connie made this point there was an image behind her on the movie screen of overlapping hands, a symbol of collaboration.

Connie is a middle school science teacher in Oneonta, NY with previous work experience at various libraries, including managerial duties.   She said she was interested in the PPL directorship because of her strong interest in libraries.

According to Library Board member Virginia Brady two additional candidates will be making presentations in July, dates and times to be announced.  She said that tentatively a new director will be chosen by the end of the summer.

Monday, June 25, 2012

ROTA Weekend Wrap-Up

And so ROTA Gallery And Studios finishes the first weekend at its new location -- 50 Margaret Street, downtown Plattsburgh -- with a successful opening on the main floor for the Global Art Project on Saturday evening and then a musical event the next evening in the basement, an all-ages show with LOUD rockers.

*  *  *

Opening for the Global Art Project, prints on display expressing the themes of peace and friendship.  The exhibit will be up for about a week.  Hours normally for the gallery are seven days a week, noon to 5 PM.  6/23/12.

*  *  *

Bands in the basement.  (Free earplugs were provided.)  6/24/12.

Mouthbreather from Saranac Lake, NY.

Left And Right from Charlottesville, VA.

More info on ROTA events: email rotagallery [at] gmail [dot] com or call (518) 314-9872 .

Friday, June 22, 2012

ROTA Scrambles: New Location, New Exhibit

Moving day for ROTA Studios and Gallery.  Volunteers work on the process of relocating the arts co-op from Clinton Street to a new location, 50 Margaret Street.


Changing horses in midstream ain't easy.  Especially when you have a herd of them.

As detailed in a previous post ROTA Studios And Gallery is leaving its Clinton Street location to a new spot on Margaret Street.  There is more to the move than transporting material objects: events and exhibits scheduled weeks in advance are also affected.

The global art exhibit sponsored by the Red Hummingbird Foundation is being relocated to the new ROTA HQ at 50 Margaret Street (formerly the home of My Cup Of Tea restaurant).  Then again, when you don't have any lights or working outlets, such a move is definitely necessitated.  Hard to appreciate art in dim lighting; kinda puts a gloomy pall over the works.

The global art project involves an exchange of art from the local area with the Box Hill Community Arts Centre in Box Hill, Victoria, Australia.  The theme is peace and friendship.

The opening -- barring anything like the power being shut off -- will be held Saturday, June 23, at 4:00 - 6:00 PM.

Kim Leclaire (left) and Meg Risley check out a wall for a display of global art that will be the first exhibit at the new space for ROTA.

Hell, How Hot Was It?

Downtown Plattsburgh City.  Clinton Street, 6/21/12, at 7:17 PM.  Officially the high for today was 97 degrees Fahrenheit but considering how old this analog thermometer is, close enough.  How old?  I don't know but notice the phone number listed on it has a JO1 prefix, back in the days when you had to remember letters with numbers.  I think JO was short for Jordan.

ROTA On The Move

The ROTA board discusses an option to move its arts co-op to a more spacious and well-lit location.

Plattsburgh City - 6/22/12

Wednesday evening the board of ROTA Studio and Gallery met on the back patio at Koffee Kat.  Normally its Wednesday meeting would be held at 19 Clinton Street but circumstances forced re-locating to the coffeehouse.

Did the hell-heat drive the board to meet elsewhere?  Not really.  Let's say it's hard to discuss issues in the dark.  Apparently some sort of communications problem with the landlord and the electric company resulted in a power shut-off.

Nick Dubay (center) shares his enthusiasm about a space open at 50 Margaret Street that would better serve ROTA.

The main topic of the meeting: a new HQ for the non-profit arts organization.  A chance to expand, more area for exhibitions and live music events.  Nick Dubay explained that there was a chance to move to 50 Margaret Street, a location that used to house My Cup Of Tea restaurant.

50 Margaret St.

Apparently Thunderbirds are go according to this post at the ROTA Facebook page:

"It is Official!
"50 Margaret St is our NEW and AMAZING location.
"come join us Friday [6/22/12 ] at 8pm and give us a had moving stuff around."

So there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Candidate For PPL Directorship Shares Views At Public Forum

Elaine Dunne-Thayer.

PLATTSBURGH CITY - June 19, 2012

It's refreshing to hear someone simply say "I don't know" instead of dancing around an issue or bloviating a pseudo-answer.

Today at a noontime public forum a candidate for the directorship of the Plattsburgh Public Library was asked by a certain blogger (ahem) about what she thought about PPL becoming a school district or special district library to deal with its budget problems.

The candidate, Elaine Dunne-Thayer, said she was aware of other libraries operating with such districts but she wasn't familiar enough with the local library to say whether or not such options would work for PPL.

Elaine did offer her own takes on the question of what the future holds for public libraries.  She stressed that community outreach was important and that all groups, from children to senior citizens, should be aware of the services a library offers.

One way to reach out to the community would be lending out e-book readers so that people would be given the opportunity to try out the new medium.  She stressed that both hardcopy books and e-publications could co-exist in a library setting.

Elaine is a youth services librarian at the Massena Public Library.  MPL has been in the news for some issues that recently flared up.  After everyone on the board resigned except one trustee, MPL had to close for three days last week.  Library Journal published an online article detailing the train wreck.

As the Library Journal and other news sources have reported, some were advocating for Elaine Dunne-Thayer to become the next director at the Massena Library.  My impression is that personalities clashed and she was simply caught in the middle.

When the question of the problems at MPL was raised, Elaine replied that it seemed the situation was improving and she was hoping for the best.

The forum was held in the Plattsburgh Public Library's second story auditorium  where next week another candidate, Connie Dalrymple, will be making her presentation.  That forum is scheduled for Tuesday, June 26, from noon to 12:45 PM.   The public is invited to attend.

PPL reference librarian Colleen Pellitier made her own presentation back in April and is still a candidate for the directorship.  New candidates are being considered after a finalist dropped out during the first round.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


When it comes to its weekly arts and events listing the Press-Republican couldn't care less about being accurate and timely.

Evidence?  Check out this listing that appeared today, 6/14/12, in the 8 Days A Week column under Art Exhibitions (page A9):

"Cafe Cumberland, 69 Margaret St., Plattsburgh.  Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday."

As comedian Johnny Carson would say: "Wrong, newsprint breath."

There is no art exhibit at Cafe Cumberland, 69 Margaret Street.  There will never be an art exhibit at Cafe Cumberland.  Why?  Because Cafe Cumberland closed down years ago.  I talked about this deadwood listing back in May, 2011.  At that time the space at 69 Margaret was empty.  It has been renovated and there is some sort of office in that location.

Let's take a look at another item under Miscellaneous:

"Life Drawing Classes.  6:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays.  North Country Cultural Center for the Arts, 30 Brinkerhoff St., Plattsburgh.  $5 per class.  563-1604."

Outside of the phone number for the NCCCA, everything else is wrong.  Here's the correct listing according to someone familiar with that event:

"Life Drawing Classes.  10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays.  North Country Cultural Center for the Arts, 23 Brinkerhoff St., Plattsburgh."

30 Brinkerhoff Street, the old Merchants Bank, was the former location of NCCCA.  As reported in the PR, the Arts Center moved to the old Federal Building across the street at 23 Brinkerhoff back in 2009.  Apparently no one at the PR reads its news.

I've mentioned before the best way to deal with the deadwood listings problem is to have organizations with ongoing events update every month.  That way if there's no new listing submitted from Cafe Cumberland for a couple of months -- or for a couple of years -- then it would be dropped.  A database program using a Date Submitted field would quickly take care of the problem.

Too much work for the PR?  Hey, according to a recent editorial, the paper is focused on the pursuit of journalistic excellence.  Maybe it should try just for mediocrity before revving up for excellence.

Do you subscribe to the Press-Republican?  Save a tree.  Stop the spread of misinformation.  Cancel your subscription today.

Less garbage in the garbage.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Welcome To The Loon City

Plattsburgh bills itself as The Lake City -- yes, it is right on Lake Champlain -- but may I suggest a more appropriate secondary name?

Noontime.  I'm walking about with my camera and notice an unusual object on the sidewalk.  The Blessed Virgin Mary.  Or to be precise, a large photo, a headshot of a BVM statue, still wet from the rain.

I have my back to the other side of the street.  My camera is aimed straight down at the sidewalk.  Suddenly some man yells at me: "Don't take any pictures of me or I'll break your friggin' ass!"

I turn around.  Across the street some shaggy, bearded weatherworn guy is walking along with a woman.  He glares at me.  Maybe he was trying to impress his girlfriend.  He's obviously out to pick a fight, probably still drunk from last night.  This doesn't surprise me because Plattsburgh is plagued by a plethora of pugnacious pudknockers.

As he storms down the other side of the street, he keeps looking back, daring me to photograph him.  Sorry, pal, you ain't a Kodak Moment.

Let's flash forward: later the same day, evening time.  I'm intrigued how plants, especially weeds, resist man's dominance.  They refuse to die off, growing up through cracks in concrete and tarmac.

I spot a rusty metal cap labeled WATER embedded in driveway asphalt near the sidewalk.  A tall weed protrudes from the edge of the heavy metal cap.  Once again my camera is aimed down to capture the image.

Out of the corner of my I notice someone walking my way.  Suddenly the woman ducks behind a tree next to the curb.  I ignore her, wondering why she is doing that since I'm not standing on the sidewalk.  Plenty of room to pass by.

Then she comes out from behind the tree and looks at me, scolding: "You know some people don't want their picture taken?"

I know my rights.  With a few exceptions, if it's in public view, I can photograph it.  And that includes people.   Don't like it?  Then stay home because downtown has police cameras watching your every move.  Visit most gas stations, stores, and public buildings and you're being recorded.

But in this case I'm photographing a damn stupid weed.  I look right at the woman who had been needlessly shielding herself with the tree, replying that my camera wasn't even aimed at her.  She scolds me some more as she walks by.

I take an image of the photo-paranoid woman as she leaves.

I also enjoy bird photography.  I also like to shoot loons.