Five Things Friday – October 17

5thingsfriday-logoREDHappy Friday! With only two weeks left until Halloween, and winter lingering somewhere around the corner, the north country has a few last fair weather hurrahs in store for us this weekend. If you’ve already had enough of the cool weather for the season (it’s OK to admit it – we already miss summer too!), we’ve got a handful of indoor happenings as well! There’s something for everyone this weekend. And don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the page and take a look at the map of what’s going on! Check it out… [Read more...]

Five Things Friday – Oct. 3

Happy Friday! Happy October! We’re more than a week into autumn, and it’s really starting to feel like it. The leaves are changing, and starting to fall. Pumpkin spice is everywhere. And people are starting to celebrate the season… [Read more...]

Saturday’s jazz concert to help fund Lyric Theater’s move

Hannah Bajakian paints a sign for the Witch’s Castle while doing set work for the Watertown Lyric Theater youth program’s production of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ Amanda Morrison / NNY Living

Hannah Bajakian paints a sign for the Witch’s Castle while doing set work for the Watertown Lyric Theater youth program’s production of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ Amanda Morrison / NNY Living

The show must go — somewhere.

Watertown Lyric Theater finds itself in the same situation as Little Theatre of Watertown: in a search for a place it can call home.

The popular local community theater group also must find a new venue to host performances after leaving the Black River Valley Club, whose Washington Street building downtown is expected to be sold to Purcell Construction Co.

Kevin R. Kitto, Lyric Theater’s business manager, said the group needs to find a place to call home. Like its counterpart, Lyric Theater — which specializes in musicals — no longer will be able to use the Black River Valley Club for smaller shows, rehearsals, a basement to build its stage sets and space for storage.

And Lyric Theater will need to finance the move.

That’s where Garrett L. McCarthy, who’s been involved in saving the old Masonic Temple on Washington Street, comes in. Mr. McCarthy, a Henderson muralist and artist, has organized a fundraising concert for Saturday.

“Garrett just came along and said he wanted to help,” Mr. Kitto said. “He’s a big supporter of the local arts.”

Billed as a “Night of Jazz,” the concert, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Asbury United Methodist Church, 327 Franklin St., will feature New York City jazz singer James Rich, a Syracuse University alumnus who has toured as a backup singer with Harry Belafonte and was a lead in the national touring company of “Rent.” [Read more...]

Capt. Honk breaks the ice Pillar Point resident finally gets to display his fish art at Florida museum

Thomas E. Bintz, aka Capt. Honk, stands in his sleeping cabin next to Lake Ontario on Pillar Point. Justin Sorensen / NNY Living

Thomas E. Bintz, aka Capt. Honk, stands in his sleeping cabin next to Lake Ontario on Pillar Point. Justin Sorensen / NNY Living

For many years, Thomas E. Bintz was told that the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) would not approve his ice fishing artworks for display at its museum in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Mr. Bintz — aka Capt. Honk — makes fish out of items he finds washed up along the many bodies of water he frequents. He lives on the Suwannee River in Flordia, enjoys the shores of Mexico and has also found plenty of inspiration and material on the water in his hometown of Watertown.

The 1969 graduate of Watertown High School and owner of a summer cottage at Pillar Point last exhibited his artwork at the IGFA museum over a decade ago. His “Lost and Found Fish” exhibit in 2003 featured dozens of fish.

The IGFA is the largest organization of game fishing records in the world, setting ethical angling rules and creating a consistency in game fishing.

Inspired by his hometown, plenty of Mr. Bintz’s artwork and paintings dipict ice fishing and Northern fish. But ice fishing is not sanctioned by the IGFA, which is why, according to Museum Manager Gail Morchower, the IGFA has not previously displayed Mr. Bintz’s ice fishing artwork.

“I’ve been trying for more than 10 years to get them to reconsider,” Mr. Bintz said. “A lot of people in Florida are from Michigan, Minnesota and New York, and would enjoy ice fishing artwork.”

Now, after years of fighting, Mr. Bintz has finally won over the IGFA, which agrees the ice fishing artwork will interest game fish enthusiasts from northern states. [Read more...]

Paintings of Viva Hoffmann on exhibit at Thousand Islands Arts Center

Viva Hoffmann works at an easel on the California coast. She has painted many scenes along the coast over the years. Another of her favorite locations is the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, Calif. COURTESY OF THOUSAND ISLANDS ART CENTER

Viva Hoffmann works at an easel on the California coast. She has painted many scenes along the coast over the years. Another of her favorite locations is the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, Calif. COURTESY OF THOUSAND ISLANDS ART CENTER

Whether it was as a member of Andy Warhol’s “Factory Gang,” making movies or writing books, Viva Hoffmannn has always savored a creative life.

An aspect of that creativity that she rediscovered as a young adult will be on display at the Thousand Islands Arts Center, 314 John St., beginning Thursday when the center hosts an opening reception for the exhibit “Viva, Viva! Landscapes and Seascapes East to West.”

Ms. Hoffmann, 75, was born in Syracuse and is noted for her landscape paintings, which can sell for several thousand dollars. Her family used to have an estate on Wellesley Island, where Ms. Hoffmann documented the natural world on and around the island with her vibrant paintings.That property was sold about seven years ago.

“It was the view from the dock, the reflections in the water, the trees like the white birch, the water lilies and the autumn leaves that helped to inspire me,” Ms. Hoffmann said last week in a phone interview from her Syracuse-area childhood home, now owned by one of her eight younger sisters.

Ms. Hoffmann now resides in Palm Springs, Calif., but is back in the area for the art exhibit and plans to be at Thursday’s opening reception.

She said she agreed to have her work exhibited at the arts center exhibit after several requests to do so were made by Steven Taylor, owner of Steve Taylor Builder Inc., Thousand Island Park. Mr. Taylor has been designing and building homes for nearly 40 years and owns several of Ms. Hoffmann’s paintings, which will be in the show.

“He kept begging me to do this, and I kept saying, ‘No, it’s too much of a hassle,’” Ms. Hoffmann said. “But finally, he hassled me into saying yes.”

“I pushed it because I felt that she was worthy of the attention the show will bring,” Mr. Taylor said. “And the larger community, not just a few collectors, should be aware of her talents as well.”

Nicole Heath, events coordinator at the arts center, said 30 pieces by Ms. Hoffmann have been loaned for the exhibit. It also will include a dozen of Ms. Hoffmann’s new paintings, which will be for sale.

Ms. Hoffmann said she has painted and drawn her entire life. She had an unconventional beginning in the craft at the age of 5 as a sketch artist.

“My father used to take me to the courthouse to draw everybody,” she said.

Her father, Wilfred E. Hoffmann, was a well-known criminal defense lawyer. She said he sent her to Everson Museum of Art School in Syracuse to study. She later studied art in New York City and Paris.

It was a passion that was sidelined for a while, due to Ms. Hoffmann’s association with artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol. His New York City studio, The Factory, became a hangout for artists interested in pushing creative boundaries. Ms. Hoffmann met Mr. Warhol in the mid-1960s and she performed in several of his movies.

She recalled a comment made to her by Paul Morrissey, a film director and another member of Mr. Warhol’s “Factory Gang,” that caused her to stop painting for years.

“He said, ‘Why are you painting? It’s a dead art. You are a performing genius.’ I was too dumb to say, ‘Why is Andy still painting if it’s so dead?”

Ms. Hoffmann, born Janet Susan Mary, credited Mr. Morrisey with dubbing her “Viva.”

“He said, ‘We’ve got to go to a party at Shelley Winters’s place and you need another name,” Ms. Hoffmann said. “So he came up with that name.”

Several years later, after she gave birth to two children and took up a writing career, she decided to return to painting when she saw someone exiting New York City’s Central Park.

“This guy was walking out of the park with one of those wooden easels on his back with a really nice painting of grass,” Ms. Hoffmann said. “I asked myself why I wasn’t painting; I can come right up here to the park. So I did.”

After moving to California, her favorite subjects were the coastline and the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in Lancaster.

But it’s her paintings of the St. Lawrence that hold appeal to local art lovers.

“I don’t know of another painter that paints water as well as she does,” Mr. Taylor said. “It’s sort of alive with a sort of a dancing to it. It’s magic what she can do.”

Mr. Taylor said the late Paul H. Malo, architect, author and educator who researched and documented the region for over 50 years, also thought highly of Ms. Hoffmann’s works.

In the September 2008 edition of the online Thousand Islands Life, Mr. Malo wrote: “She is inspired not merely by the visual scene, but by the whole environmental quality — breeze, smell, the total river ambiance. Viva’s paintings seem alive, pulsating with her jazzy brush strokes. They are not mere pictures of attractive subjects — they are live music.”

By Chris Brock, Times Staff Writer

 

The details

WHAT: “Viva, Viva! Landscapes, Seascapes East to West”

WHEN: Opening reception is 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Thousand Islands Arts Center, 314 John St., Clayton. The exhibit runs through Aug. 29 during museum hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

COST: $75 for the opening reception for Arts Center members and $100 for non-members. The reception will feature wine, and hors d’oeuvres by the Farm House Kitchen.

MORE INFO: Call the arts center at 686-4123 or visit its website at www.tiartscenter.org

 

Theatrical revival: Old Kallet movie house in Pulaski renovated and ready to rock

Kallet manager Steven J. York points out items in the theater’s history room. Justin Sorensen / NNY Living

Kallet manager Steven J. York points out items in the theater’s history room. Justin Sorensen / NNY Living

The Kallet Theater hopes to become a central attraction for tourists passing through the village.

The theater celebrated its grand opening in November after undergoing several months of renovations led by owners Vincent G. Lobdell Sr. and son Vincent Jr.

Mr. Lobdell Sr. is founder and president of HealthWay Home Products Inc., an air purification manufacturer based in Pulaski.

Karen R. Hurd, operations manager at the Kallet, said Mr. Lobdell has always been an active community member.

“He lives right here, and he wants to benefit and bring jobs to the community,” said Mrs. Hurd. “He and his son come to every show they can.”

With the support of many community members and local contractors, the father-son team brought the Kallet Theater back to life. Today, it sits revitalized — a reflection of 20th century charm. [Read more...]

Stained-glass work of master craftsman Harry Horwood restored for St. Philip’s Church in Norwood

Edward Dehors, Martville, stands Sunday in front of a Stained Glass Annunciation Window at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Norwood. Mr. Dehors is the artist responsible for the restoration of the historic window made up of thousands of pieces of glass that is now back at the church. Jason Hunter / NNY Living

Edward Dehors, Martville, stands Sunday in front of a Stained Glass Annunciation Window at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Norwood. Mr. Dehors is the artist responsible for the restoration of the historic window made up of thousands of pieces of glass that is now back at the church. Jason Hunter / NNY Living

Through the glow of the afternoon light, the history of generations can be seen in each piece of newly restored 118-year-old glass.

The Stained Glass Annunciation Window sits high above the doorway of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Norwood and is a one-of-a-kind work by master craftsman Harry Horwood, an English artist who settled in Ogdensburg in 1881.

During a rededication for the recently restored window, the Rev. Kathyrn M. Boswell, rector of the church, stood in front of her congregation and, as she held a service, looked up at the window depicting the day the angel Gabriel came down from Heaven to tell the Virgin Mary that she would give birth.

Installed in 1906, the Rev. Ms. Boswell said for the three and a half years she has been holding services at St. Philip’s she never noticed how much detail had been hidden behind the dirt and grime.

“Even before it was restored, it was beautiful,” the Rev. Ms. Boswell said. “I just love that window, it is just lovely, but there was so much detail I couldn’t even see that I didn’t realize how much was there. And just the late afternoon sun, the way it comes through is just beautiful.”

Restoration of the window began in May 2013 and the window was returned to its home above the church’s entrance way in December. [Read more...]

51 Things Every Northern New Yorker Should Do

No matter a native, a transplant, a seasonal resident or a year-rounder, there is an endless supply of fun to be found in the north country.
Here are some things to add to your bucket list. [Read more...]

Fifth annual KeithFest June 28 at Coyote Moon Vineyard in Clayton honors a musical legacy

In addition to a musician, Keith E. Brabant was an avid cyclist and hiker. This photo of him was taken in Arizona in 2010. He and his girlfriend took a cross-country driving vacation there and back, returning just about two weeks before he died. RACHEL BORAWSKI

In addition to a musician, Keith E. Brabant was an avid cyclist and hiker. This photo of him was taken in Arizona in 2010. He and his girlfriend took a cross-country driving vacation there and back, returning just about two weeks before he died. RACHEL BORAWSKI

When a group of musicians gathered to celebrate the life and music of Keith E. Brabant five years ago, his mother figured it would be a one-time event.

“It was such an outpouring of love and music,” said Melody A. Brabant, Keith’s mom. “People then kept saying, ‘Let’s keep doing it.’ So that’s what we did.”

The fifth annual KeithFest is from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28 at Coyote Moon Vineyards, 17371 County Route 3, Clayton.

Those who perform at KeithFest share his passion for music. In a letter he wrote to his mom in 2006 from Colorado, Mr. Brabant expressed his love of music and the path it was leading him on. “The only thing that I want to happen is for the music to get created,” he wrote. “And that’s been happening from day one. All small pieces of ‘fabric’ over the course of my life — that will be a ‘quilt.’”

Mr. Brabant was the victim of a shooting in April 2010 in the town of Alexandria. The Keith Brabant Music Scholarship Foundation was formed shortly after his death.

Mr. Brabant was a musician and composer who performed in numerous bands all over the country and in Seattle and Breckenridge, Colo. He also loved the outdoors and studying history, religion and government.

The music scholarship in his name, administered by the Northern New York Community Foundation, has awarded $8,000 to young north country musicians since 2010. Applications are reviewed each year by the KeithFest panel. Five scholarships to students in Jefferson County will be presented at this year’s festival.

Because the festival is on June 28, graduation day for several local schools, admission will be free for any 2014 graduating senior with school identification.

The music kicks off at noon with local musician Sarah Parker Ada playing ukulele. The scholarships will be presented at 12:20 p.m.

The music continues from 12:40 until 2:15 p.m. with Mark Mason and friends Gary Walts, Sam Hopkins, Jim Burr, Lisa Forshaw and Jim Wiley. Up next will be Dave Scanlon and the DTZs, followed at 2:45 by Coyote Moon’s own Foggy River Band.

At 3:30 p.m., the acoustic trio Define Normal will take the stage.

“The Keith Brabant Experience,” an annual tribute session to Mr. Brabant by Justin Reynolds and friends, takes the stage at at 3:50 p.m.

“That is very close to my heart,” Mrs. Brabant said of the annual session. “It’s Keith’s original music and a lot of the cover songs that he enjoyed playing. It takes a lot of devotion from the musicians to put it together. Musicians come from all over who get together and learn Keith’s music, which can be quite complex.”

The band Casey Street Shuffle will perform at 4:30 p.m. followed by The List at 4:50 p.m., Sonic Buzz at 5:35 p.m., Root Seller at 5:55 p.m. and Ian Wagner at 6:40. At 7:10 p.m., Minus Mike, the group Mr. Brabant started out with during his teen years, will wrap up the festival.

The festival also will offer activities for children throughout the day, including a bounce house, craft tent and an “instrument petting zoo.” The instrument zoo will include an acoustic guitar signed last year by KeithFest participants. In a new tradition, an acoustic guitar will be signed by participants of each KeithFest for display the following year.

An assortment of food, ranging from fried cheese curd to wine slushies, will be offered.

■       ■       ■

The 2014 Keith Brabant Music Scholarships honorees:

$600 to Sonja Lara-Gonzalez, Theresa, a student at Indian River Central High School. Funds will go toward music lessons and/or the purchase of a violin.

$600 to Trenton Service, LaFargeville, who attends Alexandria Central School. Funds will go to his attendance at the University of Massachusetts summer music camp.

$600 to Jahara Green, Calcium, a student at Indian River. Funds will go to the purchase of a violin, and/or to attend the Crane Youth Music Camp at SUNY Potsdam.

$400 to Rachelle Johnson, Alexandria Bay, a student at Alexandria Central. Funds will go toward Camp Electric in Cedarville, Ohio, and/or Orangehaus music camp in Anderson, Ind.

$400 to Brady Towne, Fort Drum, a student at Carthage Middle School. Funds will go toward Crane Youth Music Camp and/or purchase of a double bass.

 

The details

WHAT: Fifth annual KeithFest

WHEN/WHERE: Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28 at Coyote Moon Vineyards, 17371 County Route 3, Clayton.

COST: $10 for ages 12-65 and $5 for those under 12 and over 65. This year, the festival has been designated a Yellow Ribbon event. Soldiers and their family members will be admitted at half price with military ID. Free admission will be given to any graduating high school senior with school ID. There is a family rate of $25.

ON THE WEB: www.keithfest.com

 

By Chris Brock, Times Staff Writer

Book explores how an Adams native urged Lincoln to show empathy for condemned Indians

Gustav Niebuhr, author of ‘Lincoln’s Bishop: A President, A Priest, and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors.’  Norm Johnston / NNY Living

Gustav Niebuhr, author of ‘Lincoln’s Bishop: A President, A Priest, and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors.’ Norm Johnston / NNY Living

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln faced a decision: Should he allow his Army to carry out the deaths of 303 individuals?

At a time when the Civil War was raging and word of mass death came to doorsteps daily, a decision to send the condemned men to their deaths may have not raised many eyebrows. Indeed, public opinion favored death for the convicted and even the “extermination” of their kind.

But the president’s decision to spare all but 38 of the men — Dakota Indians in Minnesota — may have been influenced by the pleas of an Adams native who urged Lincoln to look at the big picture and not do something that would haunt the country and go against its better nature.

The episode is explored in the new book, “Lincoln’s Bishop: A President, a Priest, and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors” by Gustav Niebuhr, associate professor of newspaper and online journalism at Syracuse University. It’s published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Washington Post has called Mr. Niebuhr, a former reporter for the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, “one of the country’s most experienced religious commentators.”

The idea for his latest book was sparked during a 2009 visit by Mr. Niebuhr to Watertown when he spoke at Jefferson Community College about free speech and tolerance. He was invited to the area by Robert D. Gorman, who was then managing editor of the Watertown Daily Times and who now serves as chief executive officer of the United Way of Northern New York.

Mr. Gorman gave Mr. Niebuhr a tour of Watertown and mentioned some prominent people who were raised in the area.

“He named a couple of names I recognized and one I didn’t, which was Henry Whipple,” Mr. Niebuhr said recently during an interview at the Times. “He said, ‘This was the man who went to see Lincoln during the Civil War about the Dakota Indians.’ I thought this was really interesting. I had never heard of this before.”

Mr. Niebuhr’s research on Henry Whipple uncovered a gallant tale.

“What I would hope is that people would draw something from Whipple’s courage,” Mr. Niebuhr said. “I think he was courageous to stand up as a kind of a one-man movement. There was very little support that he got.”

inspiration

Henry Benjamin Whipple, born in Adams in 1822, was the son of John Hall and Elizabeth Wagner Whipple. Had it not been for another resident of Adams, Mr. Whipple might not have become an advocate of Native Americans.

In his book, Mr. Niebuhr writes that Peter Doxtater became a young Henry Whipple’s “moral tutor” on that subject. Mr. Doxtater, who’d served in the Continental Army and fought the British at the Battle of Oriskany, was taken captive as a child during an Indian raid at a Mohawk River settlement and taken to Canada.

“Doxtater forgot most of his English,” Mr. Niebuhr writes. “He became an Indian.”

He was freed in the 1760s when British soldiers came upon him and his siblings.

So after settling in Adams, old man Doxtater had many tales of adventures to share, and his home “became a magnet for Adams boys” Mr. Niebuhr writes. But Mr. Whipple would not actually meet an Indian until he was 37 years old.

After a year of study at Oberlin College in Ohio, Mr. Whipple went into business with his father, who owned a general store in Adams. He was raised Presbyterian but in 1842, he married Cornelia Wright, a “committed Episcopalian.” His early church affiliation then became Zion Church, Pierrepont Manor, and he was one of the founders of Emmanuel Church in Adams.

He was ordained a deacon in Trinity Church, Geneva, and elevated to the priesthood at Christ Church, Sackets Harbor.

After serving parishes in Rome and Chicago, he was elected the first Episcopal bishop of Minnesota in 1856. Three years later, the Right Rev. Henry Benjamin Whipple built a cathedral in Fairbault, Minn. The state was heavily populated by Dakota Indians, also referred to as Sioux.

Mr. Whipple empathized with them as a people under siege from corrupt government officials, unscrupulous merchants and frontiersmen.

“He takes his identity as a Christian missionary bishop very seriously,” Mr. Niebuhr said. “He believes he’s in Minnesota not just to serve whites, who are settling there, but the Indians as well.”

dakota war

Mr. Whipple wrote many letters to politicians in Washington, D.C., about what he saw as the poor treatment of Indians on the Minnesota frontier. He wrote several letters to President James Buchanan and his successor, Lincoln.

“Even when the Dakota War breaks out in August of 1862, and so many whites, including the governor of Minnesota, are totally alienated from the Indians and blame the entire war on them, Whipple has a way of fitting what’s happening to his view of how the Indians have been treated,” Mr. Niebuhr said.

About 500 white settlers lost their lives in the war, according to the Indian Affairs Council of Minnesota. The council said that hundreds of Indians also died, but many were credited with saving the lives of settlers.

President Lincoln dispatched Gen. John Pope, relieved of his duties in the Civil War after defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run, to end the war. More than 2,000 Indians were rounded up, and 303 were sentenced to death.

“The public, from the government on down, very quickly called for the extermination of the Dakotas,” Mr. Niebuhr said. “Whipple said, ‘No. You can’t do that. It’s not what we do in a Christian country. People who have committed crimes should be brought to justice, but you can’t bring the hammer down on the entire tribe, particularly when you mistreated them for so long.’”

The author said Mr. Whipple believed that the uprising was brought on by years of poor treatment of Indians.

“He doesn’t make any excuses for them, but he sees a bigger picture, and that’s what he takes to Lincoln,” Mr. Niebuhr said.

He met Lincoln in the early fall of 1862 in Washington when the president had a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation on his desk.

“What better time, with a revolutionary act at hand, than to argue for another change — not one so grand, but one that could curtail the duplicity and suffering to which another large segment of the population was subject?” Mr. Niebuhr wrote in “Lincoln’s Bishop.”

Later, Lincoln said he wanted to study the verdicts of the Indians who were sentenced to death. Mr. Whipple thought Mr. Lincoln would show empathy, even though Lincoln’s grandfather and namesake was killed by Indians before he was born.

“But he was never a man to think in terms of revenge,” Mr. Niebuhr said.

On Dec. 6, 1862, Lincoln ruled that 39 cases of the 303 Dakotas warranted capital punishment. He later commuted the death sentence of another person.

The 38 who were hanged in Mankato, Minn., on Dec. 26, 1862, comprised the largest mass execution in U.S. history. Bills were then introduced to exile Dakota Indians out of the state to reservations farther west. Mr. Whipple fought the bills but couldn’t prevent their passage.

Mr. Whipple died in 1901 and is buried in a crypt in his cathedral.

He left an important legacy, Mr. Niebuhr said. “When people become afraid and they want to point their finger at a particular group, it’s hard to know what’s going to happen,” he said. “That’s why it’s important to enforce the laws that we have and also to give people a fair hearing and trial.”

He added, “When we get scared, we may take it out on an entire people, and it’s something that comes to be regretted later on.”

The details

“Lincoln’s Bishop: A President, a Priest, and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors” by Gustav Niebuhr, published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins (hardcover, 210 pages, $26.99, illustrated with 16 photos)

By Chris Brock, Times Staff Writer

 

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