Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

RPR performs Jan. 11 at Oswego Music Hall

Stylish songs, stunning arrangements, great musicianship – and those massive vocal harmonies – all delivered with good humor and a sense of fun.

That’s what former Tanglefoot–and now R-P-R — fans look forward to when this re-connected Canadian band comes to the Oswego Music Hall stage at 8 p.m. Saturday Jan. 11.

Rob Ritchie, Al Parrish and Steve Ritchie rocked the folk/roots music scene as the rhythm section of Tanglefoot until a few years back.

They developed a remarkable presence with their bold sound and hard-working tour schedule and earned a loyal following throughout Canada, the United States and Great Britain.

After the iconic Canadian “superband” TANGLEFOOT retired in 2009, Steve Ritchie, Al Parrish and Rob Ritchie branched out in different directions, writing, broadcasting and solo performing.

Now, as veteran musicians in their new band configuration — RPR — they, along with their master percussionist Beaker Granger, are stretching their wings musically.

Together they create a memorable experience for their audiences with arresting music, stories, laughter and reminiscence. Their shows are studies in contrast: light and shade, irreverent and poignant, music that’s gentle as a whisper and then rampantly energetic.

Whether it’s an original country song of Al’s, Steve’s recollection of a Robert Plant version of an old Dylan tune, or Rob’s incisive musical humor, the trademark harmony, chemistry, and impact . . . are all there, according to reviews of the band’s concerts.

The Beat Magazine (March 2013) wrote “They sing raucously and passionately with big stirring harmonies. . . . at times with roaring vigour, at other [times]  with sparse intensity, creating many moods. . . songs full of humour, pathos and love.”  R-P-R’s song subjects derive largely from history, especially Canadian history.

Check out R-P-R’s music at http://www.ritchie-parrish-ritchie.com/ Then come to enjoy a live musical treat at the Oswego Music Hall Jan. 11.

The venue is the McCrobie Civic Center, 41 Lake St., Oswego. The atmosphere is intimate with candlelit tables surrounding a small stage.

Desserts, snacks, popcorn and beverages are available for purchase.

Tickets can be purchased on line at http://oswegomusichall.org/ or at the river’s end bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St., Oswego.

Holders of tickets purchased before 1 p.m. the day of the concert will have preferred seating. After 1 p.m., seating will be general admission.

Ticket prices for this event are $14 if purchased in advance and $16 at the door.   Children 12 and under are half-price; under 5 is free.

Season Passes and All-Season Passes also are available and may be purchased at any show. For information contact membership secretary Carol Forrest at 343-2988.

The Music Hall’s next concert Jan. 25 will be a double billing, featuring singer/songwriters Honor Finnegan and Anna Dagmar, two New York city talents who will complement each other in fascinating ways.

The Music Hall has been run entirely by volunteers from its inception, for more than 36 years. Music Hall concerts are made possible in part with funding by the NYS Council on the Arts.

For more information call 342-1733 or visit the Music Hall website: http://oswegomusichall.org/

New restaurant opens on Oswego Harbor

Alex’s on the Water, a new restaurant and bar located at 24 E. First St., Oswego, is open for business.

The restaurant is adjacent to the Best Western Plus Captain’s Quarters on the lower level of the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center.

It is owned and operated by the Broadwell Hospitality Group, an Oswego-based hospitality company.

“We are very pleased to introduce Alex’s on the Water to the Central New York restaurant and dining scene,” said Alex Broadwell, Broadwell Hospitality Group’s director of marketing and accounts. “Alex’s truly offers amazing food with an incredible view.”

“We could not be happier with the tremendous feedback we have received about the restaurant, menu, and our waterfront setting,” she added.

Alex’s on the Water is located along the Oswego River overlooking the Historic Oswego Harbor on Lake Ontario.

An expansive exterior patio with seating, a full bar, fireplace and docking accommodations is also available.

Alex’s on the Water is open Monday through Sunday at 4 p.m., and Executive Chef Thomas Waite presents a diverse and expansive menu of starters, small plates, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, seafood, chicken, steak vegetarian and gluten-free entrees.

In addition, the restaurant also has a large specialty drink menu, wine and beer list, as well as dessert menu available for their patrons.

For additional information on Alex’s on the Water, visit its website at AlexsontheWater.com or like the restaurant at Facebook/Alexsonthewater.

Alex’s on the Water is available for walk-in dining or by reservations at 343-7700.

Broadwell Hospitality Group also oversees the management and operations of the Best Western Plus Captain’s Quarters Hotel, Quality Inn & Suites Riverfront Hotel, Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, Alexandria’s Premier Lakeview Weddings, Bayshore, GS Steamers and the Captain’s Club.

Another chance to learn about Oswego County’s muck farms Jan. 6

The Oswego County Farm Bureau will be hosting a series of Coffeecake Meetings on the first Monday of the winter months at 1 p.m. at the Mexico branch of the Oswego County Federal Credit Union on Route 3 (5828 Scenic Avenue).

The first will take place at 1 p.m. Jan. 6 with special guest speaker, Jim Farfaglia, author of “Of the Earth — Stories from Oswego County Muck Farms.”

Farfaglia also has agreed to do a book signing and will have books available for purchase.

These meetings are free and will be open to the public as well as Farm Bureau members. As the name implies, light refreshments will be served.

Future meeting speakers will include Josh Hornesky, a resource conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.

CNY Arts Center offering a variety of classes in January, February

By Ashley M. Casey

Those who are interested in dabbling in different forms of art are in luck in January and February.

CNY Arts Center is holding a class series called “The Art of Self-Expression,” featuring writing, cooking and studio art.

Local author and CNY Arts Center Writing Coordinator Jim Farfaglia will be teaching the writing portion. Culinary Arts Coordinator Diane Sokolowski will be teaching cooking and Studio Arts Coordinator Kendra Matott will lead the studio art section.

The first session, to be held Jan. 4, will present a 40-minute introduction to each section. After that, participants may choose one or two of the three sections to pursue for the next three sessions.

“We’re looking at this as a way to build their artistic muscle,” Farfaglia said. He likened the program to New Year’s resolutions, a way to delve into something new.

“A lot of people say they want to try art, but they’re unsure of what genre to try,” he said. “We’re trying to get them to at least try it and see if they like it.”

Farfaglia said his writing assignments would include a short story based on a picture and memories of school and vacations.

Matott said her studio art sessions would include a mix of traditional and unconventional techniques. She said she would teach still-life drawing basics, but her students will also draw with their feet and their non-dominant hands.

There also will be a basic Photoshop demonstration.

“It’s a really great opportunity for people to dabble in different types of art,” Matott said. “This is a great opportunity for someone who’s interested in trying a whole bunch of things in a welcoming environment.”

The Art of Self-Expression will be held 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 4, 8, 11 and 25 at CNY Arts Center, 357 State St., Fulton. There will be a February session as well. The class costs $40 per person.

“Gift bags” for the class series are available for sale at the ARTs in the HeART Gallery at 47 S. First St., Fulton. You may also sign up at cnyartscenter.com or call 592-3373.

Showcase your work

The next CNY Open Mic Night will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, at the ARTs in the HeART Gallery. Artists of all genres are welcome to display their talents for the community.

“We hope that the people who take our classes will decide to share at that event,” Jim Farfaglia said of the event.

Want to make your own maple syrup? Here’s how!

By Ashley M. Casey

As a child, Rich Finzer hated maple syrup.

His grandfather in Tupper Lake used to send Rich’s parents a gallon of “Fancy” grade each Christmas. After just a taste, Finzer swore off the stuff until adulthood, when he stopped by a roadside stand in New Hampshire and picked up a bottle on a whim.

“There had been a total change,” recalled Finzer, “and I loved the stuff.”

Although he once turned his nose up at the sticky-sweet amber breakfast condiment, Finzer is now the award-winning author of a book on how to produce maple syrup.

“Maple on Tap: Making Your Own Maple Syrup” was released Dec. 15, 2012, by Acres USA, a publisher that mainly focuses on organic and sustainable farming.

Finzer’s sugaring journey began a little more than two decades ago, when he bought a farm in Ira, where he now lives (just over the border of Oswego County). He decided to try his hand at his grandfather’s pastime.

“The first year went very badly,” he said.

But Finzer and his friend and sugaring partner, the late Paulie Bartkowiak, didn’t give up. Their persistence paid off in 1995, when they won a blue ribbon at the New York State Fair for their medium amber maple syrup.

More than 20 years after that first botched attempt at making syrup, Finzer has snagged the Independent Book Publishers Association’s 2013 Benjamin Franklin Award Gold Medal in the Crafts/Hobby/How-To category. “Maple on Tap” is the first Acres USA book to win an IBPA award.

“In the 25 years that Acres USA has been in business as a publisher, none of their books had ever won an award,” Finzer said. “The greatest kick is they initially rejected it.”

Finzer, who is a retired technical writer for firms such as IBM and Bristol-Myers Squibb, began his writing career as a cub reporter at a weekly newspaper in Cortland, in 1970. In 2007, he branched out into freelance writing. More than 1,100 of his pieces have appeared in print and on the Web.

He is also the author of two novels, “Taking the Tracks” and “Julie & Me.”

Finzer said his book offers a variety of methods for tapping trees, and offers superior — and cheaper — sap collection and storage methods.

“What sets it apart from other books about sugaring (is that they) don’t have my credentials. They don’t have a blue ribbon,” he said.

The book’s path to publication was a rocky one. His sugaring partner passed away in 2011, the first graphic designer and editor quit, and Acres USA had to print the book in China because of overbooked printing schedules.

Finzer recalled his new Texas-based editor, Fred Walter, told him, “Rich, I have never seen a book as snake-bit as this.”

Despite all the bumps along the way, “Maple on Tap” was ready for sale just before last Christmas. Sales have been trickling in since then, and Finzer has been featured in The Post-Standard, The Palladium Times and The Nashua Telegraph (of Nashua, N.H.).

For now, Finzer is taking a break from writing, though he said he is considering writing a screenplay in the future.

“I’m resting on my laurels,” he said.

 Where to buy the book

For a signed copy of “Maple on Tap,” write to Rich Finzer at 13070 White Cemetery Road, Hannibal, NY 13074. The price of the book is $15.95, plus $5.90 for priority mail shipping.

“Maple on Tap” is also available at the river’s end bookstore in Oswego, Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Auditions Dec. 17 and 18 for first play in Fulton Community Theatre 2014 season

Fulton Community Theatre will open auditions for the first production of its 2014 season, the romantic comedy “2 Across” by Jerry Mayer.

Auditions will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 17 and 18 at Holy Trinity Church, 309 Buffalo St., Fulton.

The production will be directed by Michael A. Bolio. No preparation is necessary; auditioners will read scenes from the script. The production will run weekends, Feb. 15-16 and Feb. 22-23.

The comedy tells the tale of two strangers, Josh and Jane, who meet on a commuter train. They are alone in the car, each is married, and both are doing the New York Times crossword.

She’s an organized, sensible, psychologist. He’s a free spirited, unemployed ad exec. She is a crossword pro, he always quits. They learn from each other, argue, laugh, reveal big problems, they kiss.  Will they meet again?

The character descriptions are as follows (Please note, both characters are in their late 40s to mid 50s): Janet is Catholic, structured, responsible, a good mother and usually right. She’s an achiever whose standards are high and her patience is low.

As a psychologist, she’s blunt and honest. She’s a law abider and a rule follower. Everything she attempts, she does well, except for one thing — she has got to learn to have fun.

Josh is Jewish and a paradox. He’s part free spirit, part executive, part dreamer, part good son, part Peter Pan. During the trip, each time Janet decides Josh is a flake, he does or says something that wins her total admiration, or he makes her laugh, which she’s not used to.

About two thirds through their journey, Josh decides that he and Janet might be meant for each other. Now all he’s got to do is convince Janet of that.

For more information, including upcoming auditions for the season, please contact FCT at its website, www.fultoncommunitytheatre.org, or by emailing at fultoncommunitytheatre@gmail.com

Photographer featured at Fulton gallery

Martha Lanctot is the featured artist for December at the CNY Arts in the heART Gallery in Fulton.

Lanctot’s work is affordable and so very versatile and she is a great addition to the gallery, officials say. The world of photography has evolved and so much has changed but Lanctot has changed along with it.

Here is how she describes her foray into photography:

“My fascination with photography began when I was five, which was 1947. My father was an electrical engineer for Alcoa. His job was to analyze how well various alloys of aluminum wire conducted electricity.

“The analysis required miles of photographic film. At the end of each of these gigantic rolls was a trailer of nearly 3 feet which would only be discarded. Dad would rescue the trailer.

“Later he would have mom lock him in the pitch dark of the car trunk so that he could fit that piece of film into his camera. ..  Then on a given magic night a bedroom would be turned into a darkroom.

“Dad, ever the engineer, rigged a tuna fish can, and tomato juice can, a length of pipe, and his camera to project an image on to the piece of photo sensitive paper.  The paper went through various Pyrex dishes of chemicals and finally into the bathtub for rinsing.  We had photos! It was magic in black and white.

“One Christmas in the early 1950s I received my very own box camera. Each roll of film had only eight precious frames.  The roll had to be mailed away for developing, and it took forever for the prints to be returned.

“I think Dad had as much fun teaching me to take pictures as I had being with him. Once, early on, he showed me how to take a picture of myself pouring a basin of water on myself by taking a carefully arranged double exposure. Oh, how I wish I had that picture today.

“My mother was a quilter and as such she was a wonderful fabric artist. She had a strong sense of color and composition for her quilts. I spent long hours watching her put her designs together, and hopefully some of her talent has seeped into me.

“She is 98 now and nearly blind, but her quilts are still known and sought in St. Lawrence County.

“Over the next 60 years, I went through a number of cameras. One drowned off the coast of Nova Scotia when I was helping put out lobster pots. Another died on safari in Kenya while “shooting” lions.

One was smashed to smithereens in a horrible car accident. One was ruined by sand and suntan lotion in Florida. Just recently my newest and best went over a cliff and bounced into a stream of water. The telephoto lens now has a visible curve, but remarkably still works.

“With my retirement has come time to explore the process of putting together the thousand piece jigsaw puzzle of technology and art that is photography.  And still the surprises keep coming.”

Lanctot is one of the many photographers with work on display.  Work by Judy Campany showing her treasure chest of beautiful Oswego County, Roxanne Butler with her many facets of photographs, William Grace Jr. with his very contemporary line, and Kendra Matott with her magical, fantasy line of prints can all be seen at the Arts in the heART Gallery.