Monday, July 30, 2012

Truth In Advertising

In the ad game you always lead with your weakest claim.

Basement Blast

PLATTSBURGH CITY -- July 26, 2012

Location: ROTA basement.

Band: Hey Sugar (Montreal)

Review:  For its lighting system Hey Sugar used halogen construction lamps, two on each side, about waist height, near-blinding brilliance.  Sound came from huge amps/speakers meant for a sports arena.  Bass pressure pounded against my legs.  Overall experience: A prolonged nuclear explosion right inside a bomb shelter.  Pass the earplugs and say a prayer.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hooray For Hooping


A Summer Afternoon With Paws, Pottery And Prints

MORRISONVILLE, NY - July 22, 2012

Horse, goat, chickens, dogs, jazz band and art.  A good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The Stonybrook Gallery is located along the rural end of Mason Street, 72 Mason to be exact, just south of the Route 22B and Salmon River Road intersection. The gallery proper is housed in a one-story storage shed on a farm.  

With the sunny (but hot) weather the yard adjacent to the shed was used to extend the gallery's walls.  Prints and sculptures were lined up next to a white wooden fence.  On the other side a horse grazed in the field, swatting away flies with his flexible tail flipping in all directions.

Offering an array of handmade local gifts, the Gallery is a cooperative of artists who create paintings, jewelry, cards, pottery, scarves, photography, sculptures, and more.  It used to have regular hours for customers but the traffic to the spot didn't justify it.  Instead, the Gallery is open by appointment and features events to promote some of its artists.  Today the spotlighted artists were Penny Clute, Wendy Patunoff and Les Cosgrove.

With a jazz band playing under a shady tent patrons of the arts and their kids walked around and checked out the creative works and also petted the horse, dogs and goat.   

The next show is scheduled for August 19, 1 - 4 PM.  For more info: or call 518-563-0689.

A dog day afternoon can be ruff.  This cat decided to hang out in the shade and listen to the cool jazz.

"Man, abstract art makes me scratch my head."

Monday, July 23, 2012

No Money In The Hedge Fund?

Wasn't there something in the Press-Republican about property owners keeping public sidewalks clear of overgrown hedges and shrubbery?  Proper trimming makes it easier for pedestrians to pedestrate.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Have You Walked Through Dogtown Lately?

If you haven't, check out the latest posts for July: Signs Of Ignorance, Durkee Street July 4th Decorations, and Outer Space Glop.  Before you visit, remember: Viewer Discretion Is Advised.

ROTA: Objet Trouve And Kitsch-In Creations

PLATTSBURGH CITY - July 21, 2012

Today visitors to the ROTA Studios and Gallery at 50 Margaret Street were treated to a display of found objects, either the objects themselves or artwork inspired by them.  The Treasure Hunt Challenge also included people and places in Plattsburgh as subject matter.  The exhibit will be up for two weeks.

Previously ROTA presented the whimsical children's art of Tamia Gastio.  One feature that was popular during that exhibit was a table where kids of all ages could create art with provided supplies: paper, glue, cardboard, magic markers, etc.  Public Relations Guy Matt Hall said that the art table -- or what I call the kitsch-in table -- might return and be available for anyone who was in a creative mood.

Looks like some artists take a beating when it comes to their work.

Calling in the kitsch.

Some bugs lead an eggasperating existence, finding themselves underfoot.  If not careful they will be killed and carton away with a broom and dustpan.

For more info on ROTA: rotagallery (at) gmail (dot) com or call (518) 314-9872.

Friday, July 20, 2012

PPL: The New Village Green?


So what does the future hold for public libraries, especially the one in Plattsburgh?

Due to changing technology and budget concerns Russell Puschak thinks that one option that would help the Plattsburgh Public Library to survive is for the institution to become more of a community gathering place.

Russell spoke during the fourth public forum as part of the search for a new director for PPL.  The forum was held noontime in the library's second floor auditorium.

He talked about how libraries were morphing from the image of Marian the Librarian to Marian the Cybrarian, contrasting the images of the stereotypical old shushing spinster with a young computer-savvy version.

Employed at the Stafford Middle School as a librarian, Russell is presently serving as the interim director of PPL.  He mentioned how this role as interim director has helped him in understanding the dynamics of the library.

He discussed how the local shopping mall has become like a community center and that by working with the city and other local organizations PPL could become part of a new village green.  Russell mentioned visiting the Princeton Public Library, sharing PowerPoint images of that institution which features a cafĂ© and a nearby farmers market.  Giving people reasons to linger and socialize could be one way to draw more patrons to the library and the city’s downtown area.

Russell Puschak

Regarding PPL dealing with its budget concerns by becoming a special tax district, he said that at this time it was doubtful that such a proposal would fly.  When asked to expand on that point, he said that Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls had great success with changing to such a district but this meant the budget each year had to be approved by voters.  A couple of times the vote had been close.

Changing PPL to a special tax district status would take a lot of work, he added, and the fact that PPL is chartered by the city might be problematic when seeking such a new status.

Instead, PPL should seek more support from other communities that don’t contribute towards the library’s services, having patrons from those communities ask their local officials to help support the library’s operations.  He mentioned that around 40 per cent of library users are from municipalities and entities that contribute little or nothing towards PPL's funding.

Russell was asked why he was interested in the PPL directorship position, moving from a school setting to a public library.

He explained that there are changes going on in the education system, many good teachers have retired, and also there are new requirements from the state including the testing of kindergarten children.  The changes occurring in the school system were not like those at public libraries.  The PPL directorship would give him the opportunity to be creative in dealing with the challenges faced by the library.

Russell is one of four candidates being considered for the PPL directorship.  Each candidate has participated in a public forum where the future of public libraries was discussed followed by Q&A.

Nothing Beats The Punctual Drummer

Man, drummers can be a drag.  Your gig is about to start but you have to wait for your procrastinating percussionist.  How can you find one who'll be on time?

Meet the Punctual Drummer, pictured above in action.  A wiry guy fashionably dressed with bottlecaps and beercan tabs who is willing to shake a leg.

Here's the Punctual Drummer and his bandmates recently performing at ROTA in downtown Plattsburgh.  The Galt Line also features Willie on guitar and Blythe on uke and vocals.  I found no fault with the Line and its earthshaking music.  Highly recommended if you're into to swing or just good old dancing music.  The Galt Line's motto: "We'll Make You Move."

So if your drummer is a bummer, give him the boot and pick up the beat with the Punctual Drummer.  Inquire about the Punctual Drummer at .  You can also learn how to book the trio for a stompin' good time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bearcat Ramblers Jazz Up Mayors Cup


Lead by Rick Davies, a professional musican and music professor at Plattsburgh State, the Bearcat Ramblers pressed on with their selection of Dixieland tunes, undaunted by the evening heat.  With the stage facing west at the low sun, most members wore sunglasses, not to look cool but for more pragmatic reason.  The band featured this scheduled line-up of perfomers: Davies, trombone; Jeff Rendinaro, guitar and vocals; Herm Matlock, horns; Wayne Davidson, saxophone; Chris Dalnador, bass; and Mike Lewandowski backing it all up on drums.

Gibson Brothers Return To Mayor's Cup

PLATTSBURGH CITY - Saturday, July 14

The Gibson Brothers treated a sun-beaten but still enthusiastic audience sitting along the terraced hillside below Macdonough Monument to a full evening of bluegrass.  Lead by Eric and Leigh Gibson, the GB's won two major awards in 2011 from the International Bluegrass Music Association: Album of the Year Award ("Help My Brother") and Vocal Group of the Year.

The brothers grew up on a dairy farm near Ellenberg Depot, NY and took their first music lessons at the three-in-one establishment called Dick's Country Store, Music Oasis & Gun City (your one stop in Churubusco, NY for groceries, guitars and guns).  

Mayor's Cup 2012: Works Of Fire


Saturday night saw the traditional fireworks being launched right next to the sewage treatment plant, colors reflecting on the water.  The area near the new boat launch was surprisingly odor-free.  Maybe a clean breeze off Lake Champlain was keeping the miasma at bay.

The pyrotechnical action was impressive, sky-filling bursts of color.  The explosive material wasn't spared this time.  Minutes after the last burst I was walking through the parking lot and a gritty fog drifted through, engulfing me, the acrid taste of powder in the air.

See the entire set of images as a slideshow here.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Glengarry Bhoys Give Celtic Kick To Mayor's Cup Festival

PLATTSBURGH CITY - July 13, 2012

OK, it was Friday the 13th but the sounds of the Glengarry Bhoys drove away any thoughts of friggatriskaidekaphobia.  Hailing from Glengarry County, Ontario, Canada, the foursome provided lively tunes to a receptive crowd down by the river at the Macdonough Monument park.  The band creates a bright blend from Irish-Scottish-French Canadian musical sources.  Listeners young and old couldn't resist shouting, clapping, and dancing along with the Bhoys.

Great concert.  My head is still reeling.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Democracy On Parade

Clowns and cops, freaks and firefighters, a motley stream made its way through downtown Plattsburgh on July 4th.  Sights to delight, distract and maybe even disturb.  (What's that skeleton doing sitting in that car?  Did it wave at me?)

A cross section of America on the march.  A man dressed as a woman, camping it up, followed later by a float sponsored by a church that might believe in the "literal truth" of the Bible (including Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13).  Clean cut kids displaying their dance steps, precision pacing.  And here comes a psychedelic school bus for a laid-back rock band, complete with a long-hair playing his electric guitar on the roof.  (Hey, aren't hippies dead?)

Freedom for everyone in all forms.

And plenty of candy for the kids.

More images from the event can be seen here as a slideshow.