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News of Otsego County

Arts

‘Reefer Madness’ Goes Mainstream

EDITORIAL

‘Reefer Madness’

Goes Mainstream

The 1936 movie raised the alarm, and laughs.

Maybe when marijuana vendors appear at Disney World, or when the venerable theme park comes up with a Marijuana Mile theme ride, or maybe Marijuana Maelstrom.

Then, perhaps, the Village of Cooperstown – “the pinnacle” of youth baseball camps, according to Lunetta Swartout, Cooperstown Stays proprietor, (and she ought to know) – should approve pot shops, or a “recreational cannabis dispensary,” or whatever, along Main Street in Baseball’s Mecca.

Maybe then, but now the debate is more than theoretical.

Simmering, simmering for years, marijuana legalization moved to the front burner over the weekend, when Governor Cuomo and the leaders of the state Senate and Assembly agreed on legislation “to legalize adult-use cannabis.” The Assembly and Senate approved the bill Tuesday, and Cuomo was expected to sign it.

THE OTHER FENIMORE COOPER

THE OTHER FENIMORE COOPER

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Susan Fenimore Cooper’s “Rural Hours” (1850) was known to Henry David Thoreau and praised by Charles Darwin.

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.

THIS WEEK — April 1, 2021
Fenimore Exhibit Brings Mary Nolan’s Art Indoors
TRIPTYCH ANCHORS PLEIN AIR SHOW

Fenimore Exhibit Brings
Mary Nolan’s Art Indoors

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Artist Mary Nolan at the Railroad Avenue studio she shares with May-Britt Joyce and Maria Tripp. The dominant painting is “River Bend, Low Tide.” (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Some 25 years ago, when she was Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce executive director, Polly Renckens held a meeting of people with space to spare in their homes.

“We have tourists,” Polly told the gathering. “We need some place to put them. If you have space for a B&B, consider it.”

Mary Nolan, who had been doing art as long as she can remember, received a call from a friend whose mother had a farm in the countryside around Fly Creek. “Would you like to manage a B&B?”

Nolan, who had vacationed in Cooperstown and liked it here, said yes.

In B&Bs, there are busy times and less busy times, and in the less busy times Mary took her paints and easel behind the house and began to paint the nature she saw – plein air, out of doors.

“Around here, it’s beautiful,” she said in an interview after The Fenimore Art Museum announced that “Water As Muse: Paintings by Mary Nolan,” will be this summer’s local exhibition.

Nolan’s works will appear among that of such notables as photographer Ansel Adams and the featured show, “Keith Haring: Radiant Vision,” containing more than 100 works of the celebrated
pop artist.

Here’s Evidence That The ARts Can Be Entrepreneurial, Too
EDITORIAL

Here’s Evidence That The Arts
Can Be Entrepreneurial, Too

When the going gets tough, the entrepreneurs get going.

At the first “Coffee With Coop,” Glimmerglass Festival’s Francesca Zambello outlines plans for the Andrew J. Martin-Weber Lawn Stage, which will ensure a robust 2021 season, despite COVID.

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.

In Time Of Pandemic Hope Blooms
EDITORIAL

In Time Of Pandemic Hope Blooms

Master Gardeners: Our National Mission

‘Extension Master Gardener programs educate people, engaging them in learning to use unbiased, research-based horticulture and gardening practices through a network of trained volunteers directed and supported by land-grant university faculty and staff.”

This is the latest site plan for the Master Gardeners project at 123 Lake St., Cooperstown.

Underneath the quiet of pandemic strictures and social-distancing, the world hasn’t completely come to a stop. Just as, soon, crocuses (not, croci, we’re told) will begin poking through the snow, so will the Otsego County Master Gardeners’ exciting plan start to become a reality.

“The Grow With Cornell Cooperative Extension” fund drive has reached 70 percent of its $200,000 goal, Extension Director Don Smyers announced this week, and thus, with spring, an innovative redo of the organization’s parking lot at 123 Lake St., Cooperstown, (just before you get to The Farmers’ Museum), will get underway.

The Master Gardeners’ organization – its members instruct would-be gardeners in how-to and best practices, and its Memorial Day plant sale is an annual hit – is a low-key, but beloved entity, as underscored by how $140,000 was raised since October, in time of pandemic.

“Growth” Co-Chair Pati Grady of Cooperstown – the other co-chair is Jason Stone, who runs a Toddsville topiary business – is predicting the construction, overseen by McManus Construction of Fly Creek, will get underway this spring.

Oneonta Sculptors ‘Terrible Beauty’ Opens
With Airy Mesh, Richard Friedberg Captures…

Nature’s Might

Oneonta Sculptors ‘Terrible Beauty’ Opens At Munson-Williams-Proctor

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

(Jim Kevlin/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.

Richard Friedberg, above, discusses “Oil Fire,” inspired by Isis’ 2017 bombing of Iraqi oil wells. At right, he pauses in front of “Fire Storm.” Both are in “Terrible Beauty,” at the M-W-P.

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.

“Apocalyptic,” he said.

A New Years Poem

A New Year’s Poem

By DOREY MUNCH, Oneonta

The closing of the old year,

The dawning of the new

Have brought me to my cupboard

Armed with firm resolve

To rummage through the shelves within

And root out those inhabitants

Destined for the garbage bin.

What a sorry lot it is

It pains me to disclose,

For in enumerating,

My faults I must expose.

Here’s leftover grievances

All dried up in the box,

There’s a little bottled rage

Fizzled flat with age.

And over here, what’s this I see

Moldering in the corner?

A heap of judgments made in haste

That time has swiftly laid to waste.

And here, up front, in easy reach

For self-commiserating:

Old hurts, indignities and slights –

Spices that have lost their bite.

Next, what’s this my hand has touched,

Secreted on highest shelf?

A treasured grudge tucked away,

Keeping for another day.

Away with all that is here stored,

Unholy accumulation!

How good, how cleansing for the soul

To have these sins retired.

But not so fast – let’s not be rash,

For who would be offended

Or think me less than thrifty if

I put back on the shelf a few

Whose dates have not expired?

8-Year-Old Substitute Takes Team To Victory
Rotary Golf Tourney Highlight

8-Year-Old Substitute

Takes Team To Victory

A last-minute substitute, 8-year-old Mason Campbell helped take his team, from left, dad Rodney, Earl Hayford and Bob Schlather, to Captain & Crew high scores. (Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch photo)
A last-minute substitute, 8-year-old Mason Campbell helped take his team, from left, dad Rodney, Earl Hayford and Bob Schlather, to Captain & Crew high scores. (Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch photo)

SPRINGFIELD – With the help of an 8-year-old, Team Schlather & Birch took home first place honors at the 2016 Cooperstown Rotary Foundation’s  Lyn Edinger Memorial Golf Tournament, held Sunday September 18th at Meadow Links Golf Course.

At the last minute, team captain, Bob Schlather had a cancellation by one of his foursome.  But fortunately team member Rodney Campbell brought along his 8 year old son     Mason who more than held his own,  and along with Earle Hayford,  the foursome captured top honors in the  Captain & Crew format.  They each received a $50 gift certificate to local restaurants including Mel’s at 22, Bocca Osteria, New York Pizzeria and Alex’s Bistro.

McCurry Communicates Calm, Universal Joy
PHOTOGRAPHY REVIEW

McCurry Communicates

Calm, Universal Joy

Ian Austin examines "Mahout Reads with his Elephant," shot by Frank McCurry in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2010. (Libby Cudmore/AllOTSEGO.com)
Ian Austin examines “Mahout Reads with his Elephant,” shot by Frank McCurry in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2010. (Libby Cudmore/AllOTSEGO.com)

PHOTO EXHIBIT: “Reflections on The World Through His Lens: Steve McCurry Photographs,” Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute, Utica, through Dec. 31.

By IAN AUSTIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

"Sharbat Gula," McCurry's most icon portrait looks back at Austin, eye to eye.
“Sharbat Gula,” McCurry’s most icon portrait looks back at Austin, eye to eye.

UTICA – Even if his name doesn’t ring a bell, it is unlikely you have not seen McCurry’s work. Many of the 60 works, spanning three decades of work over six continents, will be easily recognized. Entering the exhibit you are met by the penetrating gaze of his most famous photo,  of Sharbat Gula, or, as the world first knew her, “Afghan Girl”.

After she appeared on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic, her photo became as iconic and recognizable as the Mona Lisa. It is considered the most famous portrait in the world, and with good reason. Standing before this piece, you feel like it is not only looking at you, it is looking into you.

Her eyes fixed in an expression that seems to change from fearful, to predatory, to vulnerable and beyond. The color of the eyes mirror the green of her shirt and the wall behind her is contrasted by her red shawl. It is a perfect photograph. It captures the moment that two cultures, alien and strange to each other, are locked in observing the other for the first time. And, like all great art, it makes us reflect and question ourselves and our place in the world.

Record Crowd Possible At NYSHA’s Art By Lake

Record Crowd Possible

At NYSHA’s Art By Lake

The environs of The Fenimore Art Museum is a busy place at this hour for Art by The Lake, an annual exhibit of plein air painting on the lawn behind the museum. Also featured is fine food, music – in top photo, Barbara Nark of Oneonta snaps an image of Sam Weedon & Friends – as well as art on display, and painting for kids.  Lower left, Maureen Murray of Cooperstown examines the offerings.  The NYSHA Library is also open, an added attraction that drew, lower right, Hernan Alvero and Jane Keane of Cooperstown.  The activities continue until 5 p.m. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
The environs of The Fenimore Art Museum are busy at this hour for Art by The Lake, the annual exhibit of plein air painting on the lawn behind the museum. Also featured are fine food, music – in top photo, Barbara Nark of Oneonta snaps an image of Sam Weedon & Friends – as well as art on display, and painting for kids. Lower left, Maureen Murray of Cooperstown examines the offerings. The NYSHA Library is also open, an added attraction that drew, lower right, Hernan Alvero and Jane Keane of Cooperstown. The activities continue until 5 p.m. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Great Score Overcomes Bland ‘Sweeney’ Setting
NIGHT AT THE OPERA

 Great Score Overcomes

Bland ‘Sweeney’ Setting

By PAT THORPE • Review for www.AllOTSEGO.com

A flat set disappointed some opera-goers, by Greer Grimsley's performance as "Sweeney" and Sondheim score offers compensation. (Karli Cadel/Glimmerglass Opera)
A flat set disappointed some opera-goers, by Greer Grimsley’s performance as “Sweeney” and Sondheim score offers compensation. (Karli Cadel/Glimmerglass Opera)

COOPERSTOWN – Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” has been described as “operatic” since its debut in 1979 and it didn’t take long for this musical thriller to move to the opera house.

John DeMain conducted Sweeney’s operatic debut in 1984 and has probably led more performances than anyone on Earth – very good reasons the Glimmerglass Festival orchestra sails with confidence and power through Sondheim’s complex rhythms and unexpected harmonies under his baton.

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