Art and culture in the Salt City

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					                                       The Post-Standard / Advertising Supplement




Art and culture in the Salt City




  “Second Life,” ethnic markets, local architecture & more.
  A publication of the Goldring Arts Journalism Program. A special supplement from The Post-Standard. September 5, 2008
THE MIX
                                                                                                                                             Table of Contents
                                                                                                                                  Syracuse Artists Go Global                              4

                                                                                                                                  The Michelangelo Challenge                              5

                       has become a tradition...
      Each September for the past four years, the Goldring       his rigor and expertise in shaping these stories. Jon Glass
                                                                                                                                  Songwriter in the Round                                 6

arts journalists conceive, research, write, design and edit      devoted extra hours teaching and facilitating online             More Than Just Ramen                                    7
this publication that explores the culture of our region.        features. Emilie Davis and her team of newswriting faculty
This year, we changed the tradition to include new online        took these writers through their paces during boot camp          Art Deco Downtown                                       8
elements. For the first time, the stories are posted on          and awarded dogtags on the final day of class. Lindsey
Syracuse.com and linked to related audio slide shows.            Wilson, who graduated from the program in June, was an
      “The Mix” is the final project of the Newhouse             exemplary teaching assistant and fully professional editor,
                                                                                                                                  The Gear Factory                                        9
boot camp, an essential part of the school’s education.          and fellow alumna Harper Lee lent her imaginative artistry
For six weeks in summer, graduate students undergo               in designing this publication. Finally, if the devil is in the   To the Downtown Writer’s Center                         10
intensive newswriting training with daily assignments and        details, program coordinator Janet Anthony is some kind
deadlines. They learn the traditional skills of interviewing,    of angel, keeping us all in order.                               The Kuumba Effect                                       11
reporting and writing, as well as how to tell stories online          This year at Newhouse, we welcome our new leader,
through images and sound. For the arts journalists, boot         Dean Lorraine Branham. She brings her extraordinary
camp also entails an immersion in Central New York,              experience as a newspaper professional and academic to
                                                                                                                                  Coping with Stage Fright                                12
interacting with artists and cultural leaders, attending         shape the future of Newhouse, which promises to be an
performances and exploring issues of economics,                  exciting mixture of tradition and change.                        Buried Treasures                                        13
aesthetics and diversity.
      A publication such as this is a group effort. This year,        Johanna Keller                                              Stories from the Salt City                              14
David M. Rubin, former Newhouse dean, contributed                     Director, Goldring Arts Journalism Program
                                                                                                                                  Roll Out the Orange Carpet                              15
Very special thanks to...                                                                                                                         On the Cover
                      Lola Goldring, SU Trustee and arts patron, for making this program possible                                 The exterior of Jazz Central (Photo by Laura Massey);
                          Chancellor Nancy Cantor, for her inspiring community engagement                                         Bottles from market (Photo by Amanda J. Hartman);
                              Enitiative, made possible by the Ewing Marion Foundation, for reaching out beyond                   Prescription pills and classical sheet music (Photo by
                              the campus to revitalize Central New York through entrepreneurship and innovation                   Amanda J. Hartman); The Downtown Writer’s Center
                                   Goldring alumni Trey Wydysh & Samantha Ragland, for generous & expert editing                  2005 Cultural Resources Council Horizon Award
                                                                                                                                  (Photo by Michael LoPresti); The “Spirit of Light” outside


                                                                 2008-2009
                                                                                                                                  the NiMo Building (Photo by Bruce Tidwell); Graffiti
                                                                                                                                  decorates the inside of the Gear Factory (Photo by
                                                                                                                                  Christian Barclay); The “Pieta” coming to Syracuse

                                                                 Goldring Arts Journalists                                        (Photo by Daniel J. Kushner); Devin Robinson (front)
                                                                                                                                  and Akim Cotton rehearse a duet they choreographed
                                                                 S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications                    (Photo by Penny Jackson); Spradlin’s avatar looks out
                                                                                                                                  the window of Standing Stone Gallery on “Second
                                                                 Christian Barclay               Michael LoPresti                 Life” (Photo by J. Isaac Spradlin); A mural on the door of
                                                                 Film                            Film
                                                                                                                                  Syracuse Stage (Photo by Jenni M. Loer); A 78-rpm re-
                                                                                                                                  cord of Jo Stafford singing “I’m in the Mood for Love,”
                                                                 Jennifer Davis                  Laura Massey                     discovered in the collection of Morton Savada (Photo
                                                                 Popular Music                   Music                            by Jennifer Davis)

                                                                 Amanda Hartman                  Patricio Maya Solis                                   The Staff
                                                                 Film                            Film                                                  Editor-in-Chief
                                                                                                                                                           Lindsey Wilson
                                                                 Penny Jackson                   Tony Phillips
                                                                 Theater                         Theater                                                Chief Designer
                                                                                                                                                            Harper Lee

                                                                 Daniel J. Kushner               J. Isaac Spradlin
                                                                 Classical Music                 Literature                            Staff Photographer                Senior Editors
                                                                                                                                       Amanda J. Hartman                Trey Wydysh
                                                                                                                                                                      Samantha Ragland
                                                                 Jenni M. Loer                   Bruce Tidwell                            Style Editor
                                                                 Theater                         Design                                   Laura Massey                   Copy Editors
                                                                                                                                                                       Penny Jackson
                                                                              Lindsey Wilson (AJ ‘08)                                     Fact Checker                Daniel J. Kushner
                                                                              Teaching Assistant                                          Jenni. M. Loer               Bruce Tidwell
Syracuse Artists Go Global
Standing Stone Gallery opens online in “Second Life”
By J. ISAAC SPRADLIN                                            “And we’re starting to do it.”



S
                                                                     Standing Stone’s opening
        tanding Stone Gallery welcomed more than                drew 260 avatars from across
        200 gallery-hoppers to its opening on July 12.          the globe. Colley said that
        Photographs hung on the walls and bands played          behind many avatars were
on the stage. Visitors chatted with each other and walked       real-life artists from countries
around the new building. But there were no real walls and       such as Turkey, Australia
there was no real stage. There wasn’t even a real building.     and Bahrain, an island in the
       Standing Stone Gallery is virtual.                       Persian Gulf.
       At the opening, it exhibited photos by the real Bob           “We got a bigger crowd
Gates, a photographer who lives in Jamesville. Though           than we anticipated,” Colley
the gallery only exists in cyberspace, anyone can visit the     said. “It was so chaotic, I
gallery with a computer program called “Second Life.”           probably missed a lot of
       “Second Life” (which users call “SL”) is just one of     opportunities to socialize.”
several recently developed interactive worlds. Anyone                Absent from the opening
with a computer and high-speed Internet can go online           was Colley’s Standing Stone          A welcome sign for the exhibition
and move around in 3-D.                                                                                                       Pascal gets arts content to attract visitors to his sims, while
It’s like a flight simulator,                                                                                                 Colley gets free rent on Da Vinci Isle to promote upstate
but instead of piloting                                                                                                       New York artists in Standing Stone.
an aircraft, users guide a                                                                                                          The virtual gallery held 66 photographic images by
virtual person (called an                                                                                                     photographer Gates.
“avatar”) through simulated                                                                                                         He regularly exhibits in real regional galleries,
landscapes and buildings                                                                                                      including the Delavan Art Gallery for the release of Stone
(called “sims”). The avatar                                                                                                   Canoe’s first issue in 2007. He decided to collaborate
navigates SL by walking,                                                                                                      with the virtual gallery to get more exposure. Visitors to
running, flying or even                                                                                                       Standing Stone can zoom in just as they would in a real
teleporting.                                                                                                                  gallery: by moving closer to the art.
       This virtual experience                                                                                                      “I just like to have my work out there,” Gates said.
differs from viewing gallery                                                                                                  “I’ve always had a techie side.”
                            Photos by J. Isaac Spradlin




Web sites that allow visitors                                                                                                       While visitors looked at artwork by Gates, they could
to browse collections                                                                                                         also hear music on the gallery’s second floor. Dennis
or read reviews. On SL,                                                                                                       Kinsey, who established the real-life, Syracuse-based
visitors can communicate                                                                                                      music label Hondo Mesa Records four years ago, was the
and interact with one                                                                                                         first to play on the virtual stage.
another in real time while                                                                                                          Kinsey set up microphones for vocals and guitar and
viewing the artworks.                                                                                                         ran them to his computer. After connecting to Standing
        Robert Colley,                                                                                                        Stone Gallery, his playing streamed to the gallery and
associate dean of University                                                                                                  other users were able to hear what he played from his
College at Syracuse                                                                                                           computerized studio.
                                  The author’s avatar visits the Standing Stone Gallery
University, is Standing                                                                                                             Kinsey said that virtual live music has grown popular
                                                                                                                              on SL. “That’s what people come out for,” he said. On stage,
                                     Stone Gallery’s founder.    Gallery partner, Philippe Pascal. Pascal is a Dutch online  the musician’s avatar makes guitar-appropriate motions as
                                        Colley also edits        marketing and business consultant in real-life Amsterdam, the real musician plays into a computer. There are even tip
                                        “Stone Canoe,”           and he manages an SL property called Da Vinci Isle, where jars where listeners can leave SL money for the artists they
                                        an annual journal        Standing Stone Gallery is located. Pascal could not attend, like (SL money is convertible to actual cash.)
                                         publishing artists      but he recorded a welcome message that played for guests           “The only trouble is the art gallery crowd,” Kinsey
                                          and writers            at the opening.                                             said. “They aren’t good tippers.”
                                          connected to                Pascal said in an e-mail that he met Colley after             Between art and music, Standing Stone Gallery
                                         upstate New York.       posting a notice on SL about starting his Da Vinci Isle sim attracted a good crowd for the opening. Despite the
                                       For Colley, the virtual   and a virtual magazine for the arts.                        challenge of working such a large room with his avatar,
                                      gallery is a new way to         Pascal wanted to find ways for art and audiences to    Colley expressed pleasure at this early success.
                                     promote regional artists. connect. “I want my sims to be about art,” he said. “Not             He compared the virtual opening to a real event held
                                          “The objective is      about shopping.” It costs real money to maintain a sim      last winter. “It reminded me of the last opening at the
                                           disseminating the     in SL, but Da Vinci Isle is dedicated to arts and culture   Delavan,” Colley said with a grin. “Too many people.”
                                                 arts of the     instead of profit.
                                                   region to
                                                    the world,”
                                                                      Virtual reality is still in the early stages of
                                                                 development, but both men are experimenting on SL with
                                                                                                                                Visit www.syracuse.com to watch
                                                    Colley said. new ways to reach an audience. Through their partnership,      related slideshows
Photo courtesy of SUArt Galleries




SUArt Galleries director Domenic Iacono (right) and staff transport a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s “Pieta” into the Shaffer Art Building



The Michelangelo Challenge
Behind-the-scenes obstacles in presenting a master
By DANIEL J. KUSHNER                                          to get a number from me. I’m not able to give it to you         gallery visitors. According to Iacono, this included large



W
             hen Syracuse University opened “Michelangelo:    for contractual reasons, and also because it would be           pathways and accessibility to fire doors. The security needs
             The Man and the Myth” at SUArt Galleries         a violation of museum practice. First, there’s no need          were addressed with art industry standards such as live
             on Aug. 12, it brought several Renaissance       to know. As far as the public is concerned, these are           guards and electronic surveillance.
masterpieces to the U.S. for the first time. The challenges   exceptionally valuable works of art, and some might even              Getting these Michelangelo works to the U.S. was
were daunting. Works by Michelangelo Buonarroti are           say that they’re priceless. So to me, that suffices for most    another challenge. Borghi International, an Italian firm
among the most highly valued and irreplaceable objects in     everything.”                                                    specializing in artwork transport, supervised the trip. The
the world.                                                         But some sense of the monetary value is reflected          works were crated and escorted by two couriers from the
     Michelangelo’s work, which includes the painting of      in auction prices. For instance, at a 2000 auction held by      Casa Buonarroti.
the Sistine Chapel and his statue of “David,” has become      Christie’s in London, a Michelangelo drawing called “The              The risk is that these irreplaceable works could be
synonymous with the Italian Renaissance. The show offers      Risen Christ” sold for $12.3 million, said Rick Pike, a         damaged in transit or during an exhibition. Radke stressed
a glimpse of Michelangelo as the artist-at-work, with 12 of   U.S. spokesman for the auction house. In a recent phone         the importance of the condition of the art: “Conservation
his drawings and three of his manuscripts, which include a    conversation, Pike explained that such drawings by the          is really, really crucial because some drawings are just too
study for the Sistine Chapel ceiling.                         great artist have been “extremely sought after.”                fragile to travel.” He also said that most drawings need at
     The host of difficulties in bringing the exhibition to        Aside from the challenges of insuring the works, there     least one year “to rest” from exposure to light.
Syracuse included issues of security, transportation and      were also complicated international negotiations. Gary                While there are challenges involved in mounting any
conservation. And then there seemed to be a million miles     Radke, scholarly advisor to the exhibition and professor of     art exhibition, the reputation and value of Michelangelo’s
of red tape.                                                  fine arts at SU, noted that bringing these Italian treasures    work raised the stakes and complicated the project for its
     “It’s almost as if every aspect of the show became       to the U.S. meant meeting the standards of Italian              organizers. Mounting an exhibition on an international
as large as Michelangelo himself,” said Domenic Iacono,       bureaucracy. “Italian society is very stratified in terms of    scale has required a major investment from the university.
director of the SUArt Galleries.                              authority,” Radke said.                                         The question remains: what will its impact be? For Radke,
     The 27 total works in this exhibition, not all of             First, the Casa Buonarroti, which maintains and            it seems to point to a kind of local Renaissance.
which were by Michelangelo, are considered national           houses the works, had to sign off on the university’s ability         “There’s a new climate on this campus,” Radke said,
treasures and were valued and assessed by the Italian         to host the exhibition with the resources it had. Then          “where there is a real belief in major initiatives in the arts,
government, Iacono said. Syracuse University had to           SUArt Galleries had to send detailed facility reports, which    a major commitment to doing things that are going to have
insure the works for those values by enlisting American       pertained to lighting, climate control and security. The        a broad significance for the community.”
insurance companies to calculate the risks associated with    artistic heritage office in Florence reviewed these reports.          The exhibition will run in Syracuse through Oct. 19.
transporting, housing and presenting them. The university     Finally, the Italian Cultural Ministry in Rome had to
paid a premium based on those risks.                          approve the plans. The ministry’s chief goal is to ensure
      In discussing the value of the Michelangelo objects,    that the exhibition is beneficial for the Italian people,
university officials were reluctant to go on record. When     Radke said.                                                     Visit www.syracuse.com to watch
                                                                   Once the Italian government approved, the city of
asked about the monetary amount the works were
appraised and insured for, Iacono said, “You’re not going     Syracuse had specific mandates concerning the safety of         related slideshows
Songwriter in the Round
A showcase of composing in action
By LAURA MASSEY                                                      He moved to the Central New York area in 2003               The 63 fixed, red, theater-style seats are set up in



  O
                                                                and was impressed by the talent and accessibility of        four rows facing the small 27 foot by 13 foot-8-inch
            n Sept. 26, the “Words and Music Songwriter
                                                                the local musicians. But Rodgers noticed there wasn’t       stage. Cabaret tables can be set up in front of the stage
            Showcase” launches its fall season of four
                                                                enough opportunity to play original music in a quiet        or even, for very intimate shows, on the stage for a
            monthly performances. The series has an
                                                                setting.                                                    total capacity of 99, including musicians.
  unusual format. While the second half of each show is
                                                                     Rodgers partnered with the Folkus Project, a                The atmosphere at Jazz Central allows for a
  a standard concert, the first half is called “songwriter in
                                                                community arts organization that supports folk music        different kind of audience than a club or a bar, where
  the round.”
                                                                in Syracuse, to create this showcase. Launched in           a musician is competing against distractions and
       The format brings four songwriters together on
                                                                January of this year, the “Words and Music Songwriter       background noise.
  stage. As they go around the circle, each performs his
                                                                Showcase” is meant to be a “celebration of original               “This setting is definitely more intimate,” Colton
  or her music. The format is informal, spontaneous
                                                                music,” according to the Folkus Project Web site.           said. “Here you aren’t playing to people coming to
  and interactive, prompting discussion among the
                                                                     “Our audience tends to be dissatisfied with            hook up or get loaded, it’s about the music.”
  performers about the songs. Some songwriters tell the
                                                                marketed popular music,” said Joe Cleveland, music               Rodgers’s list of possible performers is getting
  stories behind the music or lyrics. Others react to a
                                                                director of the Folkus Project. “They want more             longer rather than shorter since he began working on
  performance by playing along or reflecting those ideas
                                                                honest, handmade stuff.” The series is supported by a       the series, he said. The showcase is expanding its reach
  into their own music.
                                                                grant from the Cultural Resources Council and media         to Auburn with a monthly “Songwriter Woodshed”, a
       “The audience gets to see that mysterious thing:
                                                                sponsorship from radio station WAER.                        musicians-only gathering where songwriters can share
  where songs come from,” said Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers,
                                                                     For the second half of the season’s opening            a work in progress and get feedback from their peers.
  the host and co-founder of the series. Rodgers,
                                                                concert, Donna Colton and the Troublemakers will                 Not only are audiences able to enjoy peering into
  a singer-songwriter himself, is always the fourth
                                                                headline. The band’s three members, Colton on vocals        the songwriting process, the songwriters themselves
  participant in the songwriter in the round.
                                                                and guitar, Sam Patterelli on bass and guitar and Dave      are given a stage and an opportunity to keep creating.
       The other songwriters for the opening show are
                                                                Salce on drums, will perform some original work.            Original music showcases are “an inspiration and
  Mike Gibson, Len Widdekind and Laura Courtwright.
                                                                      “It’s nice to be able to sit down and write           instigation to write,” Rodgers said. “Knowing that you
       “The music world is more separate than maybe
                                                                something and have people respond to it,” said Colton,      have an opportunity to perform nudges you to write.”
  it should be, between subgenres like folk and rock,”
                                                                “after years and years of reinterpreting other people’s
  Rodgers said. Here, those worlds fuse to make new
                                                                songs.”
  combinations when musicians chime in on one
                                                                     The series takes place at Jazz Central, 441 E.
  another’s songs.
       Rodgers has been a music journalist for 20 years;
                                                                Washington St. Opened in 2005, Jazz Central is
                                                                the only freestanding building in the nation that is
                                                                                                                            Visit www.syracuse.com to watch
  he is the founding editor of Acoustic Guitar magazine
  and continues to contribute to NPR’s “All Things
                                                                “dedicated entirely to the pursuit of jazz performance      related slideshows
                                                                and education aside from Wynton Marsalis’s Jazz at
  Considered.” In his work, he has caught glimpses of his
                                                                Lincoln Center,” according to its Web site.
  favorite artists’ creative process, he said.
Photo by Laryy Hoyt




                                                                                                                          For tickets email
                                                                                                                          jpr@wordsandmusic.com

                                                                                                                          Tickets are $10 at the door.

                                                                                                                          For more information myspace.
                                                                                                                          com/wordsandmusicshowcase


                        Friday, Sept.26 DONNA COLTON AND THE TROUBLEMAKERS
                                          Thursday, Oct. 23 BOB HALLIGAN JR. OF CEILI RAIN
                                                              Friday, Nov. 14 JAMIE NOTARTHOMAS
                                                                           Thursday, Dec. 11 JOE CROOKSTON
More than just Ramen
Ethnic markets provide a taste of home
By PATRICIO MAYA SOLIS                                              “Thai basil,” he says, sounding pleased.                      Inside, Basmati rice from Pakistan, dumpling mix
                                                                    With its dark stems and purple flower buds, the basil   from Beirut and canned meat products from Brazil are
      According to the Multi-Ethnic Resource Directory of      exudes a fresh scent that is slightly sweeter than regular   displayed alongside colorful robes and hats, plates carved
Syracuse and Onondaga County, there are five Asian, one        basil. Tavanh says it is used in curries and spicy salads.   with Arabic writing and hookahs with flower designs.
Hispanic, one Vietnamese, one European, one Bosnian,                The back of the store becomes more chaotic, more              The packaging on the cans is itself a visual feast.
one German and three Middle Eastern/Mediterranean              intimate. There are advertisements tacked on the walls, a    On one label, two roosters pose against a canary yellow
grocery stores in the Greater Syracuse area.                   desk and two small freezers.                                 background. A photograph of meat under a small drawing
      These mostly family-owned grocery stores sell                 Tavanh talks of pork blood and black tofu soup as he    of the Taj Mahal decorates another can, and next to that
imported goods to immigrant communities. The smells,           looks for something in a freezer. Suddenly, he holds up a    sits a cartoon-like black and white cow on a bright green
colors and flavors can be overwhelming to newcomers, but       bag with translucent yellowish nubs.                         background and a proud Sultan wearing a white robe.
that’s where friendly store owners step in.                         “Boneless chicken feet,” he says, smiling.              Little waves of Arabic writing splash over every product.
      Champa Market,                                                                                                                                               As enticing as the
located at 317 Butternut                                                                                                                                      canned meats are, fresh
St., is a family enterprise                                                                                                                                   meat is the priority to
founded in 1991. At the                                                                                                                                       owner Munir Khatib. A
store, which serves Thai,                                                                                                                                     hidden butcher shop is
Laotian, Vietnamese and                                                                                                                                       situated on the right side
Cambodian customers,                                                                                                                                          of the store where Khatib
Sysom Nuk manages the                                                                                                                                         prepares beef, veal, lamb
shop whenever her sons                                                                                                                                        and goat meat. The café,
are on vacation. She is                                                                                                                                       which focuses mainly on
happy to show a visitor                                                                                                                                       catering, is on the opposite
around, explaining the                                                                                                                                        side. As Khatib enters
uses for the various curry                                                                                                                                    the café, he punches a
pastes (in soups or with                                                                                                                                      button on his gray desktop
noodles) and describing                                                                                                                                       computer and a sung
how to prepare curry                                                                                                                                          version of the Holy Qur’an
dishes at home. For                                                                                                                                           starts to play.
children, she says, always                                                                                                                                         “I’m the only one
make food less spicy, but                                                                                                                                     so far in Syracuse with
for adults, there is no limit                                                                                                                                 USDA- certified Halal
to the heat.                                                                                                                                                  meat,” he says, puffing
                            Photos by Amanda J. Hartman




      “Asian food you have                                                                                                                                    on a cigarette.
to eat hot, spicy,” Nuk                                                                                                                                            Halal is food
insists. “But it’s too hot for                                                                                                                                permissible under
you, it’s too hot for you,”                                                                                                                                   Islamic law. In order
she adds several times                                                                                                                                        for the meat to be
with a giggle.                                                                                                                                                considered Halal,
      The store is long and                                                                                                                                   the animal must be
narrow. Colorful cans                                                                                                                                         treated mercifully, fed
and glass containers of                                                                                                                                       only certain products
fish sauce, dried shrimp,                                                                                                                                     and slaughtered
and curry paste cram                Global groceries: Items such as Asian noodles, sardines and beef broth from Champa Market according to
the shelves. Bags of fried          add international flavor to your kitchen                                                                                  tradition.
onions hang on the walls                                                                                                                                           Madina Halal
above bottles of coconut soda. Mountains of Thai rice bags          He grabs a bag of cow stomach lining—rolled,            also has an extensive selection of imported food, such
line the lower shelves.                                        textured, sponge-like.                                       as roasted Chivda (a kind of trail mix from India),
      There’s a familial feeling in the place. Two young girls      “You got to wash it really well,” he says, “and cook it Tandoori paste, durum flour for chapati bread and
play behind the front counter. Donald Tavanh, whose            for a long time.”                                            Shan spices for curry. With a menu that features
brother Souky started the business, is shelving cans. He            Customers who don’t have the time to cook stomach       Pakistani, Indian and Asian food, Khatib encourages
points to steamed buns, sweet sausage, and frozen cassava      lining for hours can start with simpler dishes, like rice    people to be gastronomically diverse. “I never liked
vegetables. Everything is good in Champa Market, but he        noodles. “You can mix rice noodles with Karee [yellow]       Pakistani food, but I gave it a chance. Now I cook it
says fresh vegetables are the store’s specialty. Watercress    Curry Paste or you can make soup with Sour Curry Paste,”     myself,” he says, smiling.
is the most popular fresh vegetable. He recommends it be       says Nuk. “It’s really sour.”
prepared with minced garlic, shredded ginger and black              At 1758 Erie Blvd. E., a sign for fresh goat meat marks
bean sauce; adding duck or chicken is optional.
      Tavanh looks for something. He holds up a plastic
                                                               another purveyor of international food. Madina Halal           Visit www.syracuse.com to watch
                                                               Meat & Grocery, known for its fresh meats, is a café and
bag, and sticks his nose in it.                                grocery store that caters to Muslims of many nationalities.    related slideshows
Art Deco Downtown
Exploring three buildings of the jazz age
By BRUCE TIDWELL

T
         he NiMo building, with its soaring silver tower that
         is lit at night, is unquestionably the most dramatic
         and celebrated Art Deco building in Syracuse.
But it is not the only example in town of this distinctive
architectural style. Art Deco defined the jazz age of the
1920s and ‘30s, when the Salt City was in its heyday. The
State Tower, the Hills Building and the New York Central
Railroad Terminal (now Channel 10 Studios) are three
notable examples of Art Deco in the city.
     “The jazz age was the age of aspirin,” said John
Tauranac, author of “The Empire State Building: The
Making of a Landmark,” in a recent phone conversation, in       Photos by Amanda J. Hartman
reference to the age of flappers and fast fortunes. “And Art
Deco architecture was the gin that caused the hangover.”
     Characteristics of Art Deco include simple modern
lines with geometric and streamlined decoration.
Elements can be borrowed from Egyptian, North
African, Japanese and Aztec sources, and combinations
of innovative materials, including chrome, polished metal
and stone, glass blocks and glass veneers, are common.
The internationally popular style influenced not only
architecture, but furniture, fashion and graphic design.                                      Can you spot the gargoyle on the Hills Building?.
     The tallest building in Syracuse, the State Tower at 109
Warren St., is a fine example of Art Deco. Built in 1928, it
soars 23 stories high. An unusual feature is that the brown                                    The parapet walls along the roof line are decorated              “When you think of Fred and Ginger having a dance
brick exterior gradually lightens toward the top of the                                  with stepped shapes called ziggurats. The entrances are           on a rooftop,” Tauranac said, “the excitement of what
building. For Sean Kirst, a columnist for this newspaper,                                fashioned of black granite and brass trim. Heavy bronze           you’re seeing in the background—those geometric forms
this detail makes it his favorite building in town.                                      doors with etched glass panels open into a lobby with             and the ziggurats—are part of the excitement of Art Deco.”
     “Even on cloudy days,” Kirst said, “the building seems                              travertine marble walls punctuated by fluted black marble              Surely this dancing duo would have felt right at home
                   to catch sunlight on its upper floors.”                               pilasters, painted panels in earthy reds and greens and a         stepping down off a first class coach onto the platform of
                                                                                         pressed tin ceiling. The bronze letter box and two bronze         the New York Central Railroad terminal in Syracuse, built
                                                                                         plaques (which say NEWS—CIGARS and THIS CAR UP)                   in 1936. Passengers disembarked from the elevated tracks
                                                                                         are quaint reminders of the past.                                 that ran along what is now Interstate 690, and descend a
                                                                                               “When people say less is more, my visceral response         flight of stairs into the main lounge.
                                                                                         is, more is not enough,” Tauranac said about this historic             While the interior now houses offices and a television
                                                                                         style. “An Art Deco building is far more exciting than a          studio, the exterior still gives a sense of its lost grandeur.
                                                                                         blank box.” He might have been talking about Syracuse’s           The central section of the building rises four stories in an
                                                                                         Hills Building at 217 Montgomery St., built in 1928.              imposing gray limestone block accented with a band of
                                                                                               One surprising aspect of the Hills Building that is         geometric carving. A stone panel over the front entrance
                                                                                         easy to overlook is the gargoyle. Perched on the corner           depicts two trains, an original Mohawk Rail Lines engine
                                                                                         of the ninth floor, the stone gargoyle peers down at the          with the date 1831, and a modern New York Central
                                                                                         intersection of Montgomery and Fayette Streets. Gothic            Railroad engine, dated 1936, providing an echo of what
                                                                                         and Moorish details, often incorporated into Art Deco             was then called the machine age. Anyone interested in a
                                                                                         style, ornament the 12-story building. Hand-carved                free tour can call Sarah Butler at (315) 634-2360.
                                                                                         moldings and pilasters surround the front entrance. A                  Unlike the NiMo building, these three buildings—the
                                                                                         series of medallions on an ornamental ledge at the top of         State and Hills Buildings, along with a railroad terminal—
                                                                                             the ground floor depict signs of the zodiac.                  are not nationally known as examples of Art Deco style.
                                                                                                    In the small lobby, a jewel box of Art Deco            Nevertheless, their ornamentation and design are worth
                                                                                                detail, the terrazzo floor is patterned in black and       appreciating and are reminiscent of Salt City’s jazz age.
                                                                                                                      white checks with gold accents.
                                                                                                                       Elevator doors framed in black
                                                                                                                       marble, veined red and white,
                                                                                                                        are set against beige marble
                                                                                                                         walls. The ornate ceiling of
                                                                                                                           gothic arches with gilded       Visit www.syracuse.com to watch
                                                                                                                           accents is set off by a crown
                                                                                                                          molding of grape vines.          related slideshows
          The Gear                                                                              Factory
                                     Creating                                                   community
By CHRISTIAN BARCLAY                                                                            incorporation of green technology and social interaction



F
                                                                                                by design. His detailed plans for each of the five floors in
        rom the outside, the Gear Factory looks like just any
                                                                                                the warehouse are on display in the building.
        other warehouse in downtown Syracuse. There is no
                                                                                                      The first floor, which now includes work studios, a
        grand, artistic mural that hints at what is inside. But
                                                                                                large common area and a small stage, will be transformed
to walk into the Gear Factory on West Fayette Street and
                                                                                                into a flexible event and gallery space. Future plans
South Geddes Street is like entering a creative forcefield.
                                                                                                also include a coffee shop. The remaining floors will be
Art is everywhere. Pictures and texts are splashed on the
                                                                                                refashioned into live-in work studios.
wall in bright colors in the large concrete room. Upstairs,
                                                                                                      For the roof, Destito has special plans. He wants to
printmakers and painters are working in studios and a
                                                                                                create a public community garden. The panoramic view
goth band is rehearsing. Ideas and inspiration abound
                                                                                                is spectacular, and the addition of flowers and grass could
inside these concrete walls.
                                                                                                transform it into a little patch of urban utopia.
      On the wall near the door there is a large bulletin
                                                                                                      Artist Raishad Glover, 28, has had a studio at the
board with announcements of open mic nights, gallery
                                                                                                Gear Factory for a year. He moved here after completing
shows and concerts. These are the things that matter most
                                                                                                his Master of Fine Arts in Painting/Printmaking at Yale
to the people who work here. This is not only a colony of
                                                                                                in 2007. He’s stimulated by the atmosphere at the Gear
artists, but of cultural advocates.
                                                                                                Factory and proud to be part of Syracuse’s burgeoning art
      “I bought the building in October 2005, but I’d been
                                                                                                scene. “I see this growth spurt,” Glover said, “and I haven’t
looking at it for a while,” said Rick Destito, the owner and
                                                                                                really seen that in a lot of areas. I see Syracuse taking
founder of the Gear Factory, a nonprofit organization
                                                                                                risks.”
dedicated to helping artists in Syracuse. In 2006, he began
                                                                                                      Glover also enjoys the diversity of artists within the
renting out studios to artists and musicians for work only,
                                                                                                building. “They all range from different ages and I really
but future plans for the building include live-in studios.
                                                                                                like that,” said Glover. “They all come from different
      Creating the Gear Factory is Destito’s first step in
                                                                                                             cultures, different environments.” Some of the
creating the community that he has always
                                                                                                             artists working in the factory include a graphic
wished for. “It’s not just about the building,
                                                                                                             designer, a seamstress and a music group that
but how we build a community,” Destito
                                                                                                             reminds Glover of the O’Jays.
said. He sees the warehouse as a “physical
                                                                                                                   The atmosphere of the Gear Factory is
creation of space that fosters ideas,” and
                                                                                                             similar to that of a college dorm. The studio
hopes to bring artistic people together to
                                                                                                             doors are usually open and there’s always
share ideas and inspire one another.
                                                                                                             something going on in the common area.
      Destito, 31, was born and raised in
                                                                                                             “It’s almost like being back in school,” Glover
Oneida and attended college at SUNY
                                                                                                             said. “Late-night work at 3 or 4 o’ clock in the
Canton. After graduation, he traveled
                                                                                                             morning, blasting music.” There is a sense of
around the country for three years until he
                                                                                                             community within the building, Glover says,
realized that Syracuse was where he wanted
                                                                                                             and it’s beginning to spread outside of the walls
to be.
                                                                                                             as well.
      “It dawned on me how much I love
                                                                  Photos by Christian Barclay




                                                                                                                   Elizabeth Slate-Rutledge serves on the
the people here,” Destito said. “Syracuse
                                                                                                Gear Factory’s sustainability crew, which is working to
is so on the verge of becoming artistically and culturally
                                                                                                get the warehouse certified as a green building. She is the
infused.” He envisions the Gear Factory as a way for
                                                                                                founder and president of Alchemical Nursery Project
community members to create and participate in a
                                                                                                Inc., an organization that promotes the development of
thriving local cultural scene.
                                                                                                sustainable urban lifestyles. “What Rick is doing is very
      Destito has done extensive historical research on
                                                                                                much grassroots,” Slate-Rutledge said. “We’re all in this
the building and its surrounding neighborhood. In 1906,
                                                                                                together.”
the Gear Factory building was the home of the Brown-
                                                                                                      Glover shares that sentiment. “I feel like there’s a
Lipe Gear Company, one of the largest gear distributors
                                                                                                responsibility in being an artist in this space,” Glover said.
in the world. It was known as a “cradle of invention
                                                                                                “It’s a good feeling.”
and history” and it produced over 360 patents. The area
surrounding the factory was a popular hangout for artists
and bohemians.
      In redesigning the warehouse, Destito has three main
                                                                                                Visit www.syracuse.com to watch
design themes: the history of the surrounding area, the                                         related slideshows
When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go
to the Downtown Writer’s Center
By MICHAEL LOPRESTI                                           through the doorway of Memmer’s office and asks, “Can



A
                                                              you tell me how to find the room where they hold the
         n iconic image: a writer sits alone in a room,       yoga classes?” After graciously providing directions to the
         hunched over a desk, oblivious to the outside        disoriented yoga practitioner, Memmer describes how the
         world. But no writer is an island. Active            YMCA came to be the home of a writer’s center.
membership in a literary community—attending readings,              “Everyone thinks of the YMCA as ‘gym and swim,’
participating in workshops and interacting with fellow        but when it started, it was a place for merchant marines
writers—is as important to a writer as pens and paper.        to come when they were ashore that wasn’t a brothel,”
      The Downtown Writer’s Center (DWC), located at          Memmer said. “It’s a community center first and
the YMCA at 340 Montgomery St. and founded in 2001,           foremost.” The Arts Branch of the YMCA offers a number
is the hub of Central New York’s literary community.          of programs designed to provide artistic opportunities to
The center gives area writers a common physical place         residents of the Syracuse area.
to meet, interact, learn from one another, celebrate their          The DWC isn’t the only writer’s center in a YMCA.
work and stave off that sense of isolation. Writers hone      It is part of a national network of more than 25 literary
their skills in fiction and poetry workshops. They can        centers located in YMCAs from Alabama to Wyoming.
find a quiet corner of the DWC’s Poet’s Room to sit and       The network, known as the National Writer’s Voice, was
leaf through the center’s extensive collection of regional    founded in 1990 by the poet Jason Shinder, who died
and national poetry journals. Or they seek inspiration by     in April, to promote community-driven literary arts                                  The Downtown YMCA welcomes creative
established poets and fiction writers: one of this season’s   programming in cities across the country.
most prominent guests will be outgoing U.S. Poet Laureate           Elinor Cramer has been taking poetry classes and
                                                                                                                                                   minds and athletic bodies
Charles Simic, who will give a reading Oct. 3 in Storer       attending readings at the DWC for the past five years. She                           they’ll decide to sign up for a workshop. Once they see
Auditorium at Onondaga Community College.                     said that public readings are an essential component of                              how accepting and supportive the community is, they get
      Philip Memmer is sitting at his cluttered desk on the   developing a literary community.                                                     drawn in.”
second floor of the YMCA downtown. He is the director               “Readings tend to draw people in who might                                          This fall, the DWC is launching its DWC PRO
of the DWC and the Arts Branch of the YMCA of Greater         otherwise be on the periphery,” Cramer said. “They might                             program, an intensive certificate program for poets
Syracuse. He is also a poet—his second book of poems,         not have the courage to discuss their work in public, but                            and fiction writers. The 12 members of the inaugural
“Threat of Pleasure,” was published in July. A middle-aged    they will come out to hear a poet give a reading. After                              class—eight fiction writers and four poets—will take three
man in a tank top and a pair of nylon running shorts leans    they’ve attended a few events and met a few people,                                  classes every fall, winter and spring over the course of two
                                                                                                                                                   years. The classes are taught by DWC faculty, including
                                                                                                                                                   Memmer; Jennifer Pashley, an author from Syracuse whose
                                                                                                                                                   most recent book of stories is called “States”; and poet
                                                                                                                                                   Elizabeth Twiddy, a winner of Syracuse University’s Joyce
                                                                                                                                                   Carol Oates poetry award.
                                                                                                                                                        The cost for the entire program is $2,300, which is less
                                                                                                                                                   than the cost of a single semester course in most accredited
                                                                                                                                                   creative writing MFA programs. Memmer said that DWC
                                                                                                                                                   PRO is designed to capitalize on the DWC’s resources
                                                                                                                                                   in order to give developing writers in Syracuse access to
                                                                                                                                                   quality, structured writing instruction. “If you’re interested
                                                                                                                                                   in an experience similar to an MFA but aren’t in a position
                                                                                                                                                   to quit your day job, this is a remarkable substitution,”
                                                                                                                                                   Memmer said.
                                                                                                                                                        Peter McShane, a business consultant from Syracuse
                                                                                                                                                   who has taken numerous writing courses at the DWC, will
                                                                                                                                                   be among the first class of fiction writers in the DWC PRO
                                                                                                                                                   program. McShane is writing his first novel, based on his
                                                                                                                                                   experiences in the Vietnam War, and he hopes to have it
                                                                                                                      Photos by Michael LoPresti




                                                                                                                                                   nearly completed by the end of the program.
                                                                                                                                                        “I’m not a joiner, but I’ve gotten to know a lot of
                                                                                                                                                   other writers here,” McShane said. “It’s been a tremendous
                                                                                                                                                   experience. I can’t imagine trying to write a piece without
                                                                                                                                                   feedback from other writers. The more courses I’ve taken,
                                                                                                                                                   and the more I’ve written, the more I’ve come to appreciate
                                                                                                                                                   that sense of community.”




   Back issues of journals such as “Parnassus: Poetry in Review” line a shelf in the Poet’s
                                                                                                                                                   Visit www.syracuse.com to watch
   Room at the Downtown Writer’s Center                                                                                                            related slideshows
The Kuumba Effect
After school arts program opens doors to higher education
By PENNY JACKSON                                              heavier meals such as chicken and macaroni and cheese.         how talented you are,” Suratt said. “If you can’t pass the



F
                                                              When the students needed rides, a van was purchased            SAT, how are you going to get into college?”
       ifteen-year-old dancer Akeem Cotton lifted his         to pick them up from school and drop them off at home.               College may seem like a far reach to the children in
       arms high above his head while performing to           When students needed supplies, such as tights or art           the program who can’t complete their homework without
       the soundtrack of the film “Hotel Rwanda” at           smocks, staff members also found the resources to get the      assistance and whose grades suffered from incomplete
the Archbold Theatre at Syracuse Stage on an August           items they needed.                                             assignments.
afternoon. His dance was a part of the Syracuse University         “We work together as a community to provide what                “I had bad grades before, I had really bad grades,”
Summer Dance Intensive. He was performing a duet with         the children need,” Surratt said.                              Cotton said in a conversation after he finished his
his 18-year-old friend, Devin Robinson, which the two had          Kuumba received a two year grant from Syracuse            performance. “Dance class alone took time out of
choreographed.                                                University’s South Side Initiative through Chancellor          homework. [Now] I can dance and do homework, nothing
     “I never would’ve done the SU Summer Dance if it         Nancy Cantor. The grant was enough to cover startup costs      falls out of place.”
wasn’t for Kuumba,” Cotton said. “Kuumba really opens         to begin the four year pilot program that is open to all             Kuumba staff tries to ensure a successful future for
your eyes to a lot of different things. It’s like my second   middle school students in Syracuse, according to Margie        each student in the program. The academic turnaround
home.”                                                        Gantt, director of the South Side Initiative.                  and growth in performance skills in students like Cotton
     Kuumba, which means “creativity” in Swahili, is               The Kuumba program includes performance, visual,          are evidence that teachers are on the right track. During
an after-school pre-professional arts program currently       and literary art disciplines. Students study dance, theater,   the second half of the four-year pilot program, Kuumba




                                                                                          Photos by Penny Jackson




At the Community Folk Art Center, take your pick: dance, music, theater, writing, film and visual arts
housed in the Community Folk Art Center on East               music, drawing, painting, ceramics, mixed media, film          directors plan to expand the program to include high
Genesee Street. The program is in session every weekday       and creative writing. Students are required to audition        school students and bring in tutors who are experienced in
after school from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.                            or submit a portfolio in order to be accepted into the         teaching several subjects during homework sessions.
     Kuumba’s mission is to help middle school students       program. Between 30 and 40 students participated in                 “It’s those life skills,” said Wilkins-Mitchell. “Hard
choose a career path in the arts. While the majority of the   Kuumba last year.                                              work ethic, dedication, commitment, good time
students attend Danforth Magnet Middle School, others              In addition to arts training, the teachers prepare the    management, learning quickly and accurately to be
go to schools such as Bellevue Middle School Academy,         students for college. Kuumba’s teachers said they want         prepared and focused. You can’t be successful in any career
Lincoln Middle School and Levy Middle School. But             to produce college-bound arts majors and help students         if you don’t have focus so [Kuumba] is already nurturing
since it was founded last year, the organizers and teachers   build their résumés with extensive training to compete for     that aspect.”
of Kuumba discovered that students needed more than           admission to programs like SU’s Summer Dance Intensive.
training in the arts.                                              “We’re giving them solid professional training to
     “Last year was our pilot year and right now we’re        get them to that pre-professional level so they can go to
retooling it, figuring out what works, what doesn’t work,”    colleges that have conservatories for dance,” said Kuumba
said Kuumba theater instructor Cjala Surratt. The staff had   dance instructor Cheryl Wilkins-Mitchell.
to confront unexpected issues during Kuumba’s first year,          Last fall during the homework session, Kuumba
but the teachers met every challenge that came their way.     teachers realized that some of the students required extra
     When teachers found out that the students were
hungry after a long day at school, staff members served
                                                              help. The staff members stepped in and tutored those
                                                              students. Staff members said they realized students must
                                                                                                                             Visit www.syracuse.com to watch
light meals such as peanut butter sandwiches, as well as      be well-rounded to make it far in life. “It doesn’t matter     related slideshows
Coping with Stage Fright
Drugs, drink and dread
By TONY PHILLIPS

“E
             verything all around us is about being the best,”
             Dr. Christopher Barley said. “You turn on the
             TV at night and there’s a reality show about
trying to outperform everyone else.”
     This culture of competition can result in performance
anxiety—known as stage fright—causing nausea, sweating
and panic attacks. Dr. Barley, a Canastota-born physician
who practices internal medicine in New York City, treats
these symptoms in his general practice on a daily basis.
“I take care of an enormous number of performers:

                                                                 Photo by Amanda J. Hartman
musicians, singers, dancers,” he said, “so I see it a lot.”
     In 1971, “The Book of Lists” published a survey of the
greatest human fears. Performing in front of an audience
outranked even the fear of death. Celebrities such as
Barbra Streisand and Carly Simon have suffered from the
syndrome.
     “When I first started singing, I had stage fright
regularly,” said Hanna Richardson, the Syracuse-based
jazz singer who records and tours internationally. “My
heart was pounding. I spent 45 minutes in the ladies’ room
before every performance, asking myself why I was going                                  Many performers use beta-blockers to fight pre-show nerves
onstage. It was a kind of tension throughout my body and
of course you can’t sing well when you are not relaxed.”                                 performance as their greatest fear.                                means to calm their nerves. “A lot of people take both
     For Richardson, the answer was to self-medicate.                                           “I have used beta-blockers when I had to perform            beta-blockers and Xanax or Valium before they perform,”
     “I used to have a drink,” she said, “because I was                                  as a pianist,” conductor and composer Jonathan Sheffer             Dr. Barley said. “Others do a shot or two of alcohol. A lot
singing in a lot of bars. And if I could remember the lyrics,                            admitted, “but never as a conductor. At the piano I really         of performers are drunk when they perform.”
I was in pretty good shape. But these days, I don’t do that                              required some assistance, so I was prescribed a beta-                    Barley finds the use of alcohol combined with drugs
anymore; in fact, I forget the lyrics if I have one strong                               blocker and it worked very well.”                                  a less effective way of dealing with stage fright. But beta-
drink.”                                                                                        Sheffer, a Manhattan native who founded the                  blockers are another matter. Aside from the occasional
     For performers looking for relief, alcohol has been                                 esteemed Eos Orchestra and is composing the Broadway-              rock star becoming psychologically reliant, he doesn’t see
replaced by pills. In 1976, British medical journal “The                                 bound musical “Going Hollywood,” developed stage fright            the downside.
Lancet” published a study on beta-blockers and their                                     late in life. When performing a Mozart concerto as part of               “They’re a mechanism to blunt the reaction to an
use in overcoming performance anxiety. Since that time,                                  a trio of pianists at Carnegie Hall, he said he felt “out of his   adrenaline surge,” Barley said. “They keep the heart rate
performers have quietly adopted this steroid that blocks                                 comfort zone.”                                                     stable and the blood pressure from rising. They do all the
adrenal uptake, thereby inhibiting the physical symptoms                                       “The enterol really helped,” he said. “In my case it was     beneficial things without altering one’s mental capacity,
of stage fright.                                                                         like adding a rudder to a ship. I did the concerto twice,          which unfortunately happens with tranquilizers.” Barley
     The classical music field seems to be ground zero.                                  the first time without and the second time with, so I had a        pointed out that tranquilizers can be a very ineffective
A 1987 survey of 51 U.S. orchestras revealed that 27                                     really controlled experiment. The second time I was able           method of coping because they can cause sleepiness and
percent of classical musicians had tried beta-blockers.                                  to enjoy the experience. I listened to the recording and I         forgetfulness.
Today, psychiatrists estimate the number of performers                                   played better.”                                                          For Richardson, years of experience performing with
using medical means to control stage fright is close to 41                                     Substance use at the symphony is nothing new. Before         other musicians have changed her feelings of stage fright
percent, around the same percentage as those who list                                    the advent of beta-blockers, musicians relied on other             into anticipation.
                                                                                                                                                                  “The only time I get stage fright anymore,” she said,
                                                                                                                                                            “is if I’m in a new venue with another level of importance.

        “When I first started singing, I had                                                                                                                But it’s no longer debilitating. Instead, it’s just a kind of
                                                                                                                                                            excitement because, really, I love being in front of people.”

        stage fright regularly. My heart was
                                                                                                                                                                  Barley seems to have heard similar stories from his
                                                                                                                                                            patients who spend their professional lives onstage.
                                                                                                                                                                  “The majority of performers get a rush off

        pounding, I spent 45 minutes in the ladies’                                                                                                         performing,” Barley said. “It is a high. They don’t get
                                                                                                                                                            sweaty and forget their words. They live off it, which is why

        room before every performance, asking
                                                                                                                                                            they go into performing in the first place.”


                                                                                                                                                            Visit www.syracuse.com to watch
        myself why I was going onstage.”                                                                                                                    related slideshows
                       Buried                                                               Treasures
              A sea of donated                                                              records overflows SU
By JENNIFER DAVIS                                                                           ancestor of the modern LP. The records, ranging from 10



T
                                                                                            to 16 inches in diameter, are made out of various materials
         hey say never look a gift horse in the mouth. But                                  such as shellac, lacquer, vinyl or even aluminum. Thick
         what if that horse is hauling three truck loads of                                 and heavy, each disk weighs nearly one-half pound, and
         free, rare and historic 78-rpm records to your door?                               the entire Savada collection weighs in at about 50 tons. By
      In July, when Syracuse University received a gift of                                  the mid-1950s, the 78 record was replaced by the LP which
about 200,000 78-rpm records from the family of the                                         plays at 33-rpm.
late Morton Savada, the library’s holdings doubled in                                             Library staff members are not quite sure what they
size, making it the largest collection of antique 78-rpm                                    will find in the boxes, as Savada never cataloged his store.
records in the world outside the Library of Congress. The                                   However, the majority of the 78s are thought to have been
donation, consisting of Savada’s entire inventory from his                                  produced between 1930 and 1950.
famed “Records Revisited” store in Manhattan, garnered                                            “I think that the context of these recordings are
national attention after the story was picked up by The                                     important in the teaching world,” Thorin said. “Because,
Associated Press and The New York Times. As university                                      yes, there are Duke Ellington recordings, and yes, the
officials basked in the glow of good publicity, the anxious                                 music industry can use them, but there are also speeches,
library staff faced the task of unloading and cataloging                                    spoken word, recordings sent overseas during World War
1,300 boxes of records.                                                                     II. These are ways for the social history of the country to
      “The biggest challenge is to catalog the recordings,”                                 come alive for students.”
said Suzanne Thorin, dean of the libraries at SU, “so                                             The donation from Savada re-establishes the Belfer
that they can be found by scholars and others who want                                      Archive and Syracuse University as one of the core audio
to listen to or study them. The size of the collection is                                   collections in the United States, along with Yale, Stanford,
daunting, yet the collection is so rich in history that we                                  the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress,
believe it must be available.”                                                              according to Thorin. SU’s status as a top audio archive and
      The painstaking job of cataloging the collection must                                 research laboratory slipped in the late 80s due to budget
be broken down into manageable steps. According to                                          cuts. Thorin, a former opera singer and music lover,
Melinda Dermody, head of arts and humanities services                                       began the process of reviving and restructuring the Belfer
for the SU library, the first stage is determining which                                    Archive two years ago. The university won a $250,000
records are duplicated within the collection. Because                                       grant last year from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to
Savada ran a record store, he had multiple copies of                                        catalog its existing collection of 78s recorded on the Decca
albums. Next, the audio archive research specialist                                         label.
will compare the Savada collection with the current 78                                            Thorin estimates that the process of cataloging
collection at SU. If the library already owns a copy of a                                   the Savada collection will take several years. “Trying to
particular record, the specialist will decide which copy is                                 prioritize to get the hottest stuff out first is the way libraries
in better condition. As for the extra copies, “there are other                              do it,” she said. “We hope we will get another Mellon grant
archives that might want donations of the ones we aren’t                                    to continue the work.
able to use,” said Dermody. Selling the extras, possibly                                          “If we hadn’t started (restructuring) and we hadn’t
through auctioneers, is also an option.                                                     received the grant, I don’t think I would have taken the
      Absorbing the collection will be SU’s Belfer Audio                                    Savada collection,” Thorin said. “We’re experiencing a
Laboratory and Archive, commonly known as the Belfer                                        kind of ressurection. I think Belfer is the crown jewel of
Archive. Located in a small stone building next to E.S. Bird                                Syracuse University.”
Library on the SU campus, the Belfer’s storage is already at
maximum capacity. Meanwhile, the Savada collection sits
in the basement of the Warehouse, SU’s satellite building
near Armory Square, where it will remain until a new off-
site storage facility is built.
      Constructed in 1982, the Belfer Archive was the first
building in the world specially designed to house audio
collections. Savada, familiar with the Belfer Archive and its
staff from his meetings with the Association for Recorded
Sound Collections (ARSC), bestowed his legacy to SU
upon his death in February 2008.
                                                                 Photos by Jennifer Davis




      But users can’t just waltz into the Belfer, grab a stack
of 78s, and play them on one of the Archive’s many antique
turntables. Whereas Savada’s store was made for browsing,
at SU the collection will be made available in a digital
format on special request, to protect these fragile records
from unnecessary wear and tear.
                                                                                            Visit www.syracuse.com to watch
      Developed at the turn of the century, the 78 disk is the                              related slideshows
                      “Tales from the Salt City”
                                                                                    ...adding flavor to Syracuse
By JENNI M. LOER                                                      Chong conducted



A
                                                                 hour-long interviews
           udiences will get a taste of their own culture this   with each of the cast
           season when Syracuse residents take the stage.        members to learn their
           Tim Bond, the new producing artistic director at      stories from which
Syracuse Stage, couldn’t imagine his first season without        he compiled a script.
his long-time colleague and mentor Ping Chong, a well-           The script format is
established New York City artist who travels around the          chronological and
world creating, among other directing projects, new              often includes artistic
theater productions titled “Undesirable Elements.”               elements from the cast’s
      Ping Chong calls his productions “reality theater.”        cultures, such as poetry,
In these productions, community members, often non-              dance and music.
professional performers, tell their own stories.                      Typically the
      After only two days of researching the history of          cast meets on the first




                                                                                         Photo courtesy of Syracuse Stage
Syracuse and meeting different people in the community,          day of rehearsal and
Ping Chong’s team decided to present “Don’t Look Back:           scripts are handed out.
Tales from the Salt City,” which opens Oct. 14.                  The revision process
      “The beauty of Ping’s piece is that it takes you           primarily takes place
through an understanding and being in the shoes of               within the first week
somebody from a different culture,” Bond said. “Really           since one person’s
digging into what their history has been and what their          story might trigger the
journey has been to bring them to where they are now             memory of another.
in this particular place that we call Syracuse. But it also,     Sometimes, Chong said,
through that journey, puts us in our own shoes of really         the new story “really
looking back at our own family history and what steps            resonates with the rest        Tim Bond (left) and Ping Chong collaborated on Syracuse Stage’s
have brought us to be here as well.”                             of the show.
      “Undesirable Elements” is one facet of Ping Chong               “You walk into a
                                                                                                “Don’t Look Back: Tales from the Salt City”
& Company, which was established in 1975. It was during          room and you don’t                                          think the audiences that come to see shows in the various
Chong’s residency at Artists Space in New York City in           know who the person across the room is. By the end of the venues in Syracuse are necessarily representative of the
1992 that he started “Undesirable Elements.” Since then, it      day you’ve heard their story and that’s the same experience entire range of people in the community.”
has premiered over 30 international productions featuring        the audience has,” Chong said.                                    Bond says he built Syracuse Stage’s season around
multicultural residents, often immigrants, of the city                While some theatrical conventions, such as lighting,   “Tales from the Salt City.” The year will introduce
where it is performed.                                           may be familiar, other elements look less like an ordinary  audiences to other characters they may not be familiar
      “It’s an opportunity to see different worlds because       production. The cast, for the most part, will be stationary with: a struggling young musician in “Ma Rainey’s Black
we all live in our narrow worlds, and that’s a problem,”         while reading from scripts. The show will also feature      Bottom,” opening Sept. 9; an endearingly clueless opera
Chong said. “I think as citizens we ought to learn more          1,000 pounds of salt and projected images of past and       singer in “Souvenir,” opening Jan. 27; airborne dreamers
                                                                                                                             in “Up,” opening Feb. 25; a persecuted young Jewish girl

“It’s an opportunity to see different worlds                                                                                 in “The Diary of Anne Frank,” opening March 31; and
                                                                                                                             Southern church women in “Crowns,” opening May 13.

because we all live in our narrow worlds, and
                                                                                                                                   An advocate of multicultural theatre, Bond is
                                                                                                                             nationally recognized for co-founding and directing
                                                                                                                             Seattle’s Multicultural Playwrights’ Festival, which staged

that’s a problem. I think as citizens we ought to                                                                            readings and workshopped productions of more than 50
                                                                                                                             plays by American playwrights of color.
                                                                                                                                   Will audiences welcome this change of direction?
learn more about each other...”                                                                                              “All it will take is that the audience take a leap of faith
                                                                                                                             that Syracuse Stage is going to continue to present the
                                                                                                                             high quality work they’ve come to know with an artistic
about each other so that we can move past stereotypes that       present Syracuse, the cast’s personal histories and their   director that is going to give them some flavors in their
we might have about difference and also learn about who          native countries.                                           diet,” Bond said.
lives here.”                                                          “The world’s a big place, just as there are many
      The Syracuse cast includes a Sudanese “lost boy,” a        different ways to see theater,” Chong said. “It’s an
Cuban immigrant who is active in politics and the arts,          opportunity to see a different way, a different language of
a Macedonian woman who came to America for love,                 theater.”
a Mexican-American who grew up on the California                      Bond hopes Syracuse will become fluent in the
border, a Muslim refugee from Buddhist Cambodia and a
Syracuse native who is a labor leader in a local steel plant.
                                                                 languages of theater and diversity.                          Visit www.syracuse.com to watch
                                                                      “A lot of people get left out of the party sometimes
A seventh member may be added.                                   in what happens here artistically,” Bond said. “I don’t      related slideshows
Roll Out the Orange Carpet
New film office founded to lure filmmakers to the ‘Cuse
By AMANDA J. HARTMAN

W
             hen Dennis Quaid, star of the Hollywood film
             “The Express: The Ernie Davis Story,” walks the
             orange carpet at the Landmark Theatre on Sept.
12, for one evening Syracuse will seem like a filmmaking
center.
     Syracuse was the right location for a film about Davis,
a Syracuse University legend, which was shot on the SU




                                                             Photo by Amanda J. Hartman
campus last year. But is it the perfect location for other
films without local heroes?
     To attract filmmakers to this area, the Syracuse Film
Office (SFO) opened Sept. 1, and its activities will be made
more effective by a new tax credit signed into law in New
York state in April.
     The dream behind SFO is to make filming in Syracuse
easier by providing professional consultants, a database of
locations, crew, talent and any other resources interested
filmmakers could possibly need while shooting in Central
New York.                                                                            The Syracuse Film Office will reside in the Hotel Syracuse until another location is found
       The goal is to attract four to six international and
independent films a year, according to Owen Shapiro,
                                                  approved before filming begins. When filming is finished,                                 more attention to the cost effectiveness of shooting here.
artistic director of the Syracuse International Film Festival
                                                  New York state will credit 30 percent of a filmmaker’s                                    We have had an upsurge in interest in the area.”
(SIFF).                                           budget, excluding salaries, to any taxes owed, according                                       Although the SFO is just getting started, two films
     “The film festival has been drawing a lot of to Pat Swinney Kaufman, executive director of the NYS                                     are already in place to shoot in Syracuse next spring and
filmmakers here for the last five years,” Shapiro said. “A lot
                                                  Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television                                       summer. Haim Bouzaglo, an Israeli filmmaker, is on board
of those filmmakers really fall in love and see the potential
                                                  Development.                                                                              to shoot “Hotel Syracuse” in May, according to Craddock.
in the city. Many of them talk to us about the possibility
                                                       “If there’s anything left over, either they didn’t owe                               Bouzaglo worked with Craddock on “Session,” and
of shooting a film here. Syracuse could really be a location
                                                  any taxes or whatever they owed, there’s still more credit,”                              entered two films into the SIFF, “Distortion” in 2005 and
where foreign filmmakers make their first English language
                                                  Kaufman said. “Then they get a tax refund check for the                                   “Janem Janem” in 2006. Next summer, Craddock will be
film.”                                            amount that they haven’t already recovered by paying off                                  directing and producing his next film, “Germ.”
     Shapiro; John Craddock, assistant artistic director of
                                                  taxes they owe.”                                                                               Along with the economic boost filmmaking will
SIFF; Dennis Brogan, the city’s director of public affairs;
                                                       New York had been losing film and television                                         generate, it will also create a more diverse and “can-do
Ron Bonk, a local filmmaker; and Jim Loperfido, member
                                                  production to neighboring states before its tax credit was                                community,” Shapiro said. He also believes that Syracuse
of the SIFF board and owner of Emerald City Video,increased, according to a press release from the governor’s                               will become more cosmopolitan once foreign and
developed the office as a project of SIFF.        office. Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts and                                      independent films are made here on a regular basis.
     And the new tax credit will make filmmaking in New
                                                  Rhode Island all have similar tax credits ranging from 25                                      Dan Campis is a 2008 graduate of the Syracuse
York state more affordable. On April 23 of this year, Gov.
                                                  to 30 percent.                                                                            University Film Program and knows firsthand the benefits
David Paterson signed an expansion of the Empire State Craddock, who has also shot two films in Syracuse                                    of working on professional films. He worked on crew as a
film production tax credit. Filmmakers can now apply for a
                                                  (“Lonely Joe” and “Session”) said he had received inquiries.                              best boy grip and assistant editor for “Session” during his
30 percent tax credit, increased from 10 percent.      “As soon as this tax credit went into place,” Craddock                               senior year.
     The filmmaker must apply for the credit and be
                                                  said, “we already had location scouts calling us looking for                                   “The community itself will pretty soon recognize the
                                                                                    locations. They want places                             gigantic benefit of having this sort of economic stimulus,”
A scene from “Lonely Joe,” an independent film shot in Syracuse last year
                                                                                    that are convenient to the                              Campis said, “as well as access to the different types of
                                                                                    city, because now they can                              people who haven’t been here before.”
                                                                                                          Photo courtesy of John Craddock




                                                                                    afford to shoot in New York                                  Syracuse has many qualities that could make it
                                                                                    state.”                                                 a regional center for filmmaking in the future. The
                                                                                          Other cities in New                               professional connections that Shapiro, Craddock and
                                                                                    York state have begun to                                Campis have in the filmmaking world are beneficial, and
                                                                                    see the effects of the credit,                          the Syracuse International Film Festival and Syracuse
                                                                                    including the Rochester/                                Film Office are also helpful to filmmakers. With these
                                                                                    Finger Lakes Film & Video                               advantages, perhaps more films will continue to roll out
                                                                                    Office, according to June                               the orange carpet and make Syracuse a filmmaking center
                                                                                    Foster, executive director of                           for more than just one evening.
                                                                                    the office.
                                                                                          “[Filmmakers] have
                                                                                    always looked here,” Foster                             Visit www.syracuse.com to watch
                                                                                    said. “But it’s especially
                                                                                    enticing for them to pay                                related slideshows

				
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