Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. A gift from Marylou to Saratoga.

The Marylou Whitney Rose unveiled (with video)
Published: Friday, December 24, 2010

0diggsdigg ShareThis3More Photos
Click thumbnails to enlarge

Longtime friend Marlene Okby greets Marylou Whitney at her birthday luncheon at the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club Thursday. The Saratoga Springs philanthropist has been honored with the commission of a rose in her name. The first crop of the Marylou Whitney rose is being grown now. (ERICA MILLER, The Saratogian)

Click to enlarge

Marylou Whitney, at a birthday luncheon held in her honor Thursday, holds a bouquet of roses similar to the new rose in her name that was commissioned as a gift from her husband, John Hendrickson. Her friends have arranged with the city to donate a Marylou Whitney rose garden outside the Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs’ Congress Park. (ERICA MILLER, The Saratogian)

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A rose garden honoring Marylou Whitney will be created in Congress Park near the entrance where the local philanthropist and horse owner traditionally enters the Canfield Casino for her annual black-tie gala celebrating the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.

The garden will feature a new specially bred, long-stem pink tea rose named in her honor, an 85th birthday gift from her husband, John Hendrickson, who commissioned it as "an endearing legacy."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A great opportunity to meet a Saratoga Icon, Minnie Bolster and buy her wonderful book and great Saratoga vintage photos, Sat.,12/18-10-1,Casino.

Bolster Collection Day and Meet the Authors
December 18, 10-1
'Have you ever been in a home, shop or business in Saratoga Springs that had old time photos of Saratoga Springs displayed and you wondered where they came from? Chances are they are copies of images from the George S. Bolster Collection of the Saratoga Springs History Museum.

On Saturday, December 18 from 10-1, the museum will hold Bolster Collection Day and a local author book signing in the History Museum. If you haven't heard of the Bolster Collection, now is your chance to get acquainted. The Bolster Collection is an archive of over 300,000 negatives of Saratoga Springs, 1855 to the 1980's. This major photographic collection is one of the largest of its type in the country and is filled with striking and important images from Saratoga Springs past.

In this fundraising event, the History Museum will have hundreds of different images copied from the collection on display and available for purchase at discounted rates. Visitors can also check to see if we have an historic image of their own home on the spot with a museum curator.

The Museum will also feature four local authors selling and signing their recent books in the Museum's Holiday Shop. Minnie Clark Bolster will sign her latest book: The Way We Were and What They Said About us 1822 - 1896. This book tells a fascinating story of early Saratoga Springs through the eyes of visitors and the media. Journalist Paul Post's Soldiers of Saratoga County: From Concord to Kabul looks deeply into contributions Saratoga County residents have made in defense of our country. Thomas Wood III's latest book Saratoga is a post card view of the Town of Saratoga. This book includes many rare and recently discovered images of Schuylerville, Victory, and Saratoga Lake. Hollis Palmer's most recent book, See and Be Seen Saratoga in the Victoria Era is a look at Saratoga Springs in the gilded age when grand hotels lined Broadway and visitors came to take the water .

These books and photographs of Saratoga Springs make perfect gifts.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More money needed to complete main Geyser restoration in Saratoga Spa State Park.

Crosswalk to state park mulled
Thursday, December 9, 2010

By Tatiana Zarnowski (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Text Size: A | A | A
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Try to walk across Route 50 near Saratoga Spa State Park now and you may risk your life.

But sometime in the future, you may be able to make that crossing from the Railroad Run Trail to the state park without fear.

The city, the Railroad Run Trail Committee and the state park system want to finish the trail connection and build a safe crosswalk after the Route 50 Southern Gateway Study recommended such a crossing just north of the intersection with West Avenue.

The parties plan to meet with the state Department of Transportation soon for guidance, said Alane Ball Chinian, regional director for the Saratoga/Capital District Region of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

“I think we need to turn to DOT to say, ‘What do we do next?’ ” Chinian said after a meeting of the regional park commission Wednesday.

The city still has some grant money to extend the Railroad Run Trail to Route 50, which was always planned but not finished because crossing the state highway is too unsafe, said Barbara L. Glaser, chairwoman of the trail committee.

“We’ve been waiting and waiting to complete it,” Glaser said.

Officials hope to install a HAWK, or high-intensity activated crosswalk system, which Glaser said may be the first in the state.

Pedestrians press a button, which starts overhead lights flashing yellow and then red to motorists, at which point the pedestrians are given a walk signal. After pedestrians cross, the signal goes dark and motorists move again.

The HAWK systems are installed away from intersections on busy highways where pedestrians may need to cross.

The system is expected to cost about $100,000, Chinian said. While there’s currently no money budgeted for the crosswalk, she said she is hopeful that the parties involved could collectively come up with that much.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has applied for a federal recreational trail grant to finish a trail on the park end, past the former railroad building known as the Restoration Building on the northwest end of the park. The new trail would link with sidewalks installed by Springwood Apartments on Ballston Avenue.

Chinian expects grant winners to be announced soon.

Also at the Wednesday meeting, commissioners noted that they don’t have enough money to construct a second pavilion near the spouting geyser at the state park as part of a reconstruction there.

Commission chairwoman Heather Mabee said it would cost somewhere between $25,000 and $35,000 to build a pavilion near the Orenda Spring overlooking Geyser Creek and the mineral deposits built up around the spring.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Part of World Trade Center coming to Saratoga for sculpture.

Officials at Saratoga Arts announced today that they plan to commission a large-scale public sculpture made of steel from the World Trade Center.

The piece, to be called Tempered By Memory, is described as a “progressive piece of contemporary art that is reflective of the past, the historical global events of September 11, 2001, yet forward looking.”

Officials said they would like to finish the project by September 2001 and donate the sculpture to the city, which they hope will put it outside the newly expanded Saratoga Springs City Center. Two local sculptors, John Van Alstine and Noah Savett, will put the piece together.

Steel for the project was given to Saratoga Arts by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It comes from both the World Trade Centers’ North and South towers.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Wendy Whelan, New York City Ballet, reviews new Black Swan movie. Wendy has been very beloved at SPAC and Saratoga for the past 20 years.

The Ballerina's Curse
by Wendy Whelan Info
At the age of three, Wendy Whelan began taking dance classes in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. She went on to train at the School of American Ballet, the official institute of the New York City Ballet and eventually worked her way up the ranks, from the corps de ballet to principal dancer. Whelan has been featured in many ballets, including The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, and has toured extensively throughout the world. In 2007, she also received a Dance Magazine Award.
X Close

- +
print TwitterEmailShare A principal dancer at the New York City Ballet reviews Black Swan and Natalie Portman's stunning performance—and says the movie captures the head trips that every great dancer faces.

For the past 20 years, I have been a ballerina with the New York City Ballet, and I was asked to offer my thoughts on the new Darren Aronofsky film, Black Swan. I first heard about the idea for this new ballet film some years ago when Aronofsky contacted me for his research. Some time later, as I began to get wind that it would be based on Swan Lake (not my favorite ballet), my hopes weren't high, but I became enticed again when I heard it would be a psychological thriller. Since that first phone call, the presence of this film in the background of my life has continued to grow as a great many friends and colleagues became involved in the production.

Natalie Portman is fantastic as Nina, a corps dancer struggling to rise to the challenge of dancing the principal role of the Swan Queen. The actress poured herself into serious ballet training to be able to embody the look of a professional dancer and she did a magnificent job of it. No real dancer I can imagine could have portrayed the depth of emotion this role required, it needed a great actress. But without the degree of devotion and discipline that she applied to the dance, Black Swan would never have achieved the heights that it does.

In his film, Aronofsky layers Nina's challenge to break free from her childlike, sheltered world with a parallel story that exists within the ballet itself. Black Swan explores the grueling physical and mental anguish of an aspiring ballerina as she faces the challenges of dancing the most famous dual role in all of ballet, that of Odette/Odile (the swan queen and her evil black twin). While the White Swan comes easily to Nina, the dark mysteries of the Black Swan evade her. This is paralleled in her own life as she struggles to hold her own against a mother (Barbara Hershey) who would keep her a perpetual child, a sexually aggressive boss (Vincent Cassel), and a rival dancer (Mila Kunis) who embodies the sensuality/sexuality, abandonment/freedom, self-confidence and strength that Nina must grasp in order to fully portray Odile, the Black Swan. All of this points to the larger issue of the true self-possession that any artist needs in order to be great and fully realized.

As a ballerina, to embody the duality of the Swan Queen and the black swan can be a fiendishly difficult task. It's a role that requires the true balance of opposition in a dancer; both technical command and poetic lyricism need to be cultivated. It requires a full spectrum of artistry. I have played the dual roles and understand firsthand the intense physical drain and the nervous energy that gets stirred up in both body and mind while preparing for it. When the body gets exhausted the mind can become fragile. It requires a particular strength and confidence in one's emotional core unlike anything else in classical ballet. As Nina engages in these intense (and intensely linked) personal, professional, and artistic struggles, she begins to hallucinate and become obsessive and paranoid. At one level, one could look at this film as a portrayal of the beginnings of full-blown neurosis and mental illness. But this would, of course, miss the larger truth that dancers learn to take on these subtle head-trips every day. Going to those depths is a unique part of our job as performing artists. Sometimes these head-trips are empowering at other times, terrifying and debilitating, but there is no question that they are part of the game, part of our art, and those that cannot learn to live with them, and work with their power, will be weeded out weaker artists.

Dancers learn to take on these subtle head-trips every day. Going to those depths is a unique part of our job as performing artists.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Saratoga's Victorian Streetwalk, 12/2/10. Kim,our favorite waitress/friend dressed in her grandmother's clothes and shoes handing out goodies.

Ah, summer, SPAC announces dates for 2011.

Several program dates were announced for 2011, including a June 9 performance by Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and an Aug. 16 show featuring the Trish Brown Dance Company; the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival on June 25 and 26; the New York City Ballet, July 5 -- 16; the Philadelphia Orchestra, July 27 -- Aug. 13; the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, July 26 -- August 9; and the first cabaret-style program in the Little Theatre from Aug. 18 -- Aug. 27.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Downtown Saratoga Victorian Stroll tonight, 12/2/10.

Celebrate the magic of an old-fashioned Victorian Streetwalk and Christmas in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, December 2, 2010!

Photo Credit: Stacy Lynn Baum

Downtown Saratoga closes to traffic and all of Broadway is blanketed in Victorian holiday magic each year the Thursday after Thanksgiving for the annual Saratoga Springs Victorian Streetwalk. Witness the fun this year as the Spa City is transformed into a Victorian winter wonderland on December 2nd, from 6-10 pm.