‘Tell me about the War on Poverty,” Saddam Hussein asked Ramsey Clark when they met in Baghdad on Nov. 12, 1990 to negotiate a hostage release, Oneonta filmmaker Joe Stillman recalled in an interview this week.
In reply, Clark, who had been President Lyndon Johnson’s attorney general in the 1960s, told how one afternoon LBJ, “War on Poverty” creator, showed up in his Justice Department office “out of the blue.”
“Johnson started talking about Mexican-American children who would arrive at school with bloody feet,” having walked barefoot across sharp stones to get to class, Stillman reported.
As the president spoke, he began to cry, Clark told Stillman.
“You know,” Saddam replied, “that doesn’t seem quite right. How could he be concerned about children with bloody feet when 2 million people were dying in Vietnam because of U.S. bombing?”
“That was one of the lessons of Ramsey’s life,” said Stillman, who spent “hundreds of hours” with the former attorney general producing the prize-winning “Citizen Clark: A Life of Principle,” (2017). “We think we all have a strong allegiance to our country, but there are a lot of things being done that not everyone knows about.
Glimmer Globe Theatre announced it will return to staging live performances this summer at Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum.
Glimmer Globe founders Michael Henrici and Danielle Henrici and Fenimore/Farmers’ Performing Arts Manager Mike Tamburrino announced Saturday, April 3, that the company will stage outdoor theater this summer, following a year’s hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“If all the world’s a stage, for heaven sakes, let’s get back on it,” Danielle Henrici said.
The performances will include main-stage performances of “The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)” at the Lucy B. Hamilton Amphitheater at the Fenimore in the town of Otsego. The show will run from Wednesday, July 14, to Sunday, Aug. 22.
The play by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield was the first show performed by Glimmer Globe Theatre when it debuted a decade ago, the Henricis said.
“It means the world to us to return to this play as we return to the stage,” Danielle Henrici said.
“This is a show that appeals to everyone, even people who claim they don’t like Shakespeare,” she continued.
“It is also an incredible way to introduce children and teens to The Bard.”
About 15 years ago, after having read several of his books, I heard that Jim Harrison, the writer and poet, was giving a reading and a talk at Barnes & Noble on Union Square in Manhattan.
Several months before at a barbeque on Canadarago Lake outside of Richfield Springs, I had talked at length about Harrison’s “Legends of the Fall,” and several of his other works, with friend and artist Brendon Pulver who, like me, was an enthusiastic fan of the esteemed writer.
When I arrived at the lecture hall, to be sure I was in the right room, I asked a man who appeared to be surveying the seating arrangement, “Is this the Harrison reading?”
To my surprise, it was Brendan Pulver who had come, I thought, all the way from Richfield Springs. We found seats towards the front of an audience of about a hundred.
After reading “Rural Hours,” Charles Darwin, of all people, mentioned Susan Fenimore Cooper in a letter to Asa Gray, perhaps the most important American botanist of the 19th Century.
Struck by her understanding of the “battle” between Old and New World weeds, he asked, “Who is she?”
Nowadays, we know the “weeds” she was writing about were “invasive species,” a burning environ-mental issue in Glimmerglass’ environs even today, 125 years after James Fenimore Cooper’s daughter’s death, as we worry about the zebra mussel, the water chestnut and, heavens, the European frog bit.
If Charles Darwin knew her, “How do I know about Henry David Thoreau and not about this woman?” Professor Johnson asked herself when she first happened on “Rural Hours.” It was in the 1990s. She was a graduate student immersed in the Transcendentalists while seeking her masters and doctorate at Claremont Graduate University in California.
With a planned focus on Shakespeare or the British Modernists, “I was taken by surprise when I got scooped up in environmental writing, about the human relationship to the natural world,” she said.
If we cement relationships by giving, not getting, Bob Spadaccia’s relationship with Springbrook began in the 1960s when, then a Hartwick College freshman, he and two other new Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity brothers painted at the Upstate Home for Children three Saturdays in a row.
A couple of years later, while still at Hartwick, a deer jumped in front of his car.
“Any chance I can give it to the orphanage?” he asked the investigating trooper.
“Yeah, sure,” was the reply, and the youngsters at the Upstate Home, today greatly expanded into Springbrook, enjoyed stews, venison steaks and other goodies over the winter, thanks to Bob Spadaccia’s largesse.
Bob graduated from Hartwick in 1970, and went on to a successful insurance career, rising to CEO of Fairfield County Bank Insurance Services in Fairfield, Conn.
In the 1990s, he was recruited onto the Hartwick College Board of Trustees, and soon met Seth Haight, a Hartwick grad who had recently joined Springbrook as COO.
Now retiring, Spadaccia still remembers his Hartwick days fondly, and Oneonta. “I got to know a lot of people,” he said, “delivering sandwiches for Jet Subs and Jerry’s.”
When the going gets tough, the entrepreneurs get going.
A corollary: The entrepreneurial spirit isn’t limited to entrepreneurs. (Per Merriam-Webster: “A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater-than-normal financial risks in order to do so.”)
So it was telling to watch the Cooperstown Chamber’s first “Coffee With Coop” panel discussion via Zoom last Friday, March 19. Kudos to the Chamber, and Executive Director Tara Burke, who was also an adept emcee.
It was a little disheartening to hear a recitation of all the Hall of Fame cancellations, although the scope of its undertakings – an estimated 80,000 fans were expected at Derek Jeter’s Induction – make them particularly fraught, not to mention dangerous, in Time of COVID.
And yet, the entrepreneurial spirit lived in presentations by, first, Fenimore President/CEO Paul D’Ambrosio and then, in Glimmerglass Opera General & Artistic Director Francesca Zambello.
A few years ago, Angel Garcia had just completed what he described as an anti-racism mural, “balanced with positive imagery,” at New York City’s Dual Language Middle School on West 77th Street.
“The theme idea was to create a mural that would explore the topic of racism – and healing,” said the Brooklyn artist, who will be creating a mural in Pioneer Park this summer in connection with the Keith Haring exhibit that opens May 29, Memorial Day Weekend, at The Fenimore Art Museum.
He was leaving the school soon after it was completed, and there, in front of the mural, “was one student explaining the imagery to another. They were using the mural to educate each other.
“It was beautiful moment,” said Garcia, now 29, a prolific artist whose opus to date includes 10 public murals in New York City and many individual canvases.
The Fenimore’s president, Paul D’Ambrosio, said the idea of commissioning a mural downtown in connection with muralist Haring’s exhibit came out of staff brainstorming during the grant application process.
“Everybody loved the idea,” he said. “We couldn’t put the (Haring) artwork downtown. But we could create one.”
A wooden wall will be built in Pioneer Park’s left-hand corner. After the Haring exhibit closes, the mural will become part of The Fenimore’s permanent collection, D’Ambrosio said.
‘Though he died in 1990, in many ways Keith Haring is still alive. His art is everywhere. There are Haring T-shirts, Haring shoes, Haring chairs. You can buy Haring baseball hats and badges and baby-carriers and playing cards and stickers and keyrings.
“Keith Haring’s work pops up all over the place – his radiant baby, the barking dog, the dancer, the three-eyed smiling face. Simple, cheerful, upbeat, instantly recognisable …
“But Haring did much more than provide cute cartoons … His art faced outwards. He wanted to inform, to start a conversation, to question authority and convention, to represent the oppressed.”
The Guardian, June 2, 2019, on opening of major Haring exhibit at the Tate Liverpool
The Fenimore’s come a long way, baby, from “Grandma Moses: Grandmother to the Nation,” 15 years ago, to Keith Haring, the highlight of the museum’s 2021 season.
If Grandma Moses harkened back to simpler times, Haring’s concerns – though he died on Feb. 16, 1990 – are center stage in the 21st Century.
“It’s a whole new ballgame,” said Fenimore President/CEO Paul D’Ambrosio. “It’s very different from what you’d expect from The Fenimore.”
The Fenimore’s season begins April 1, but anticipation is centering on “Keith Haring: Radiant Vision,” which will open May 29, Memorial Day Weekend, and run through Sept. 6, Labor Day.
It will include more than 100 pieces, D’Ambrosio said.
If you haven’t heard, Dr. Seuss is being canceled.
The same boneheads who claim that the “mister” in Mr. Potato Head is overly “exclusive,” that Aunt Jemima syrup encouraged racial stereotyping, that math is a vestige of White supremacy and that gender reveal parties are “transphobic,” want you to find racism in the pages of “Hop on Pop.”
This is absurd, of course, and makes Democrats who applaud such virtue signaling look stupid. But the urge to condemn people who challenge the woke mob and cancel every icon of American life – the founders of our nation, the historical monuments that adorn our cities, the books we grew up reading – has reached a tipping point.
Even the famously left-wing Bill Maher is calling for an end to the excess, telling his TV audience, “Cancel culture is real, it’s insane and it’s growing exponentially.”
Oneonta Sculptors ‘Terrible Beauty’ Opens At Munson-Williams-Proctor
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
As 2010 arrived, Richard Friedberg was feeling “dispirited, unhappy that we did not have a great chance of solving our environmental problems, our climate problems.”
“I needed a change,” said Friedberg, who has a studio in a Harpersfield barn, halfway from Oneonta to Stamford.
Then, on April 20, change arrived: BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded; 11 workers died, 17 more were injured. After two days of billowing flames, the rig sank into the Gulf of Mexico, and oil – 60,000 barrels a day at the peak – began to pour through a ruptured riser.
What resulted was the largest oil spill in history.
The artist had found his muse.
Friedberg had watched “the incredible fire.” He was “compelled by the awesomeness of the catastrophe.”
In the Atrium of Utica’s Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute the other day, where his show, “Terrible Beauty,” will run from Saturday, Feb. 27, through May 30, he searched for the right word to describe the disaster.