Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

Guitarist performs his original score to Japanese silent film

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

Once upon a time, movies and live music went hand in hand.

Guitarist Alex de Grassi revives that tradition, performing his original score for the classic Japanese film “A Story of Floating Weeds” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, in SUNY Oswego’s Waterman Theatre.

At the height of the silent film era, movies provided one of the largest sources of employment for musicians — including pianists, organists and orchestra players. That changed rapidly with the introduction of “talkies” in the 1920s.

Live music at the cinema languished from that period until a recent revival of interest.

In 2006, the New York Guitar Festival commissioned de Grassi to create and perform an original score for one of the best-known works of Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu. Further work on the score preceded its presentation at the 2009 Guitar Festival at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois.

In Oswego, de Grassi will perform his entire 90-minute score onstage as the black and white film plays on-screen.

“While some scenes are tightly scored, others are based on a rhythm or a short melodic fragment that allows improvisation,” de Grassi said. As a result, each performance of the interdisciplinary project is unique, he explained.

 Critically acclaimed

“A Story of Floating Weeds” is among the most successful and critically acclaimed films by the legendary Ozu, whose work was honored with a major retrospective at Film Forum in New York City this summer.

“Floating Weeds” is a familiar metaphor in Japanese prose and poetry and, in this 1934 film, it refers to a group of traveling actors who seem to drift aimlessly, carried by currents beyond their control.

The story revolves around the lovable ne’er-do-well character Kihachi, head of an itinerant Kabuki troupe visiting a small town where he had fathered a son years before. The son does not know that Kihachi is his father, but the leading lady of the troupe — Kihachi’s mistress — finds out and plots revenge.

The film comes to life with de Grassi’s score, based on a pentatonic — a scale of five notes — blues motif that suggests the sound of the koto, a Japanese harp-like instrument. Separate musical themes assigned to five central characters combine and clash as the drama unfolds and the characters’ lives intertwine.

The Wall Street Journal has called de Grassi’s playing “flawless,” and DownBeat magazine says, “His touch is as exquisite as his lyricism …” His solo recordings for the iconic Windham Hill label and his Grammy-nominated recording “The Water Garden” are considered classics of the solo steel-string guitar genre.

Detailed program information, video clips and ticket links for this and other performances of the Artswego Performing Arts Series are available online at www.oswego.edu/arts.

Tickets, priced at $18 ($5 for SUNY Oswego students), may be purchased at any SUNY Oswego box office, online at tickets.oswego.edu or by calling 315-312-2141.

Parking for this performance is included in the price of the ticket, and is available in the employee and commuter lots in front of and to the east of Culkin Hall.

This presentation is made possible by a grant from the Japan Foundation New York.

‘Curtain Up on Murder’ comes to Fulton Community Theatre Nov. 9, 10, 16 and 17

The topic is murder most foul and funny this November as Fulton Community Theatre presents Bettine Manktelow’s comic mystery “Curtain Up On Murder”.

The comedy runs weekends, Nov. 9, 10, 16, and 17 on the Jubilee Hall stage of Holy Trinity Church, 309 Buffalo St., Fulton.

Curtain time for the Saturday performances are 8 p.m. while the Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors. Reservations may be made by calling Fulton Community Theatre at 598-7840.

For more information, check out FCT’s website at http://www.fultoncommunitytheatre.org, or the theatre Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/fultoncommunitytheatre.

Manktelow’s play tells the story of an amateur drama company rehearsing in the theatre at the end of a pier. Storms rage overhead and the doors are locked – they are trapped!

Events take a sinister turn when a mysterious, ghostly presence passes across the stage, and when the Assistant Stage Manager falls to certain death through a trapdoor, the remaining actors are thrown into disarray. Their panic increases when one of the actresses is poisoned and it becomes evident that a murderer is in their midst, who will not stop until they are all dead

The play features the talents of: Kathryn Elizabeth as Sandra, Marlina Marie Beebe as Ginny, Adam William Schmidtmann as Harry, Derek Potoki as Alex, Brenda Brown as Sylvia, Donald Crowe as Martin, and Beverly Cooney Poznoski as Moppet.

The production is under the direction of M. Marie Beebe, with Jaiden Beebe assistant director.

 

G. Ray Bodley’s Quirk’s Players present ‘What the Bellhop Saw’

What do you get when you combine a bumbling CIA agent, a wanted author, a wife from hell, an innocent accountant, a young girl looking for her father, a maid with high aspirations, a happy-go-lucky bellman, a notorious assassin, a hotel manager who is all business and a naïve secretary?

You get the fast-paced comedy, “What the Bellhop Saw.” The farce, by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore, will be presented by Quirk’s Players of G. Ray Bodley High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Oct. 26, in the Bodley Auditorium.

Cast members are: Kaitlyn Kinney, Jeremy Herlowski, Katie Salmonsen,  Michael Mankiewicz, Jacob Strauss, David Houck, Kennedie Coyne, Brad Crofoot and Grace Trepasso. Tickets are available at the door.

Holiday writing class offered

The river’s end bookstore is offering the next in its series of programs for writers and those interested in becoming writers.

“Gift-Wrapped: Capturing Our Holiday Memories” will offer a relaxed and reflective writing experience during the often-hectic holiday season.

Writing instructor Jim Farfaglia will provide activities to encourage creative writing and to enjoy the quieter aspects of the holiday.

The class will be held at the bookstore, located on West Second and Bridge Street in Oswego, and will run for six Thursdays, beginning Nov. 7 and continuing through Dec. 19.

There will be no class the week of Thanksgiving. Classes will run from 6 to 7:45 p.m.

“The holidays can be a highly emotional time,” said Farfaglia. “I wanted to present a class that could provide participants with an opportunity to create a unique holiday gift, as well as to provide an ‘escape’ from the season’s pressure. The staff at river’s end were very welcoming to this idea.”

Class time will include instructor-led activities concerning holiday memories, time for participants to share  ideas for possible gifts of writing and time spent sharing our work with each other.

No previous writing experience is necessary.

There is a fee for the class. For more information, or to register, contact the river’s end bookstore at 342-0077, or visit Farfaglia’s website at jimfarfaglia.weebly.com and click on “Writing Classes.”

Louise Mosrie performs Nov. 2 at Oswego Music Hall

Singer-songwriter Louise Mosrie is coming to the Oswego Music Hall stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2.

She’s been described as “basically William Faulkner with a guitar” because of her talent for telling vivid stories drawn from the South where she grew up.

Louise Mosrie’s melodies blend elements of Americana, folk and bluegrass in fresh and charming ways, singing with a voice that’s been called “soulful” and “crystal like.”

Her voice “is a lot like Harriet Wheeler’s from the British dream pop group The Sundays, but her music is far more grounded and gutsy … [including] jazz and folk into her catchy sound” — Monica Arrington, Southeast Performer Magazine.

Nashville-based Mosrie plays some 60 performances a year around the country and has placed in many contests at venues such as the Telluride Bluegrass Troubadour Festival, the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, and Kerrville Folks Festival.

When her CD “Home” was released three years ago, the title song as well as the album went to No. 1 on the Folk DJ charts. Mosrie is appreciated for her eclectic, expressive sound as her glowing voice becomes entangled intimately with her acoustic guitar.

She began writing pop/folk songs in her early 20s while living in Knoxville, Tenn. after college. She produced two independent albums before moving to Nashville almost 10 years ago to work on her songs and compositions.

There she connected with the Americana and bluegrass side of that music hub, playing the rounds and writing with artists like Donna Ulisse and Rick Stanley, Diana Jones and producer Ray Kennedy. The images and melodies that have emerged in Mosrie’s songs come, ironically, from the southern culture that she had dismissed earlier.

Influenced by artists like Nanci Griffith, Alison Krauss and Lucinda Williams, her songs tell stories of joy, struggle, love and heartbreak through vivid characters and gothic scenes of southern life.

Listen to Louise Mosrie’s music at louisemosrie.com and check out some of her posted music reviews. Then come to sit back and enjoy her special music and ambiance at Oswego’s Music Hall on Nov. 2.

The venue is the McCrobie Civic Center, 41 Lake St., Oswego. Tickets can be purchased online at oswegomusichall.org or at the river’s end bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St., Oswego.

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

What’s Happening at the CNY Arts Center?

A new class with Kristin Nilsen leads our week with Intro to Collage Art from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23.

Learn how to create interesting themes and compositions in collage. Parents: Have a little one? Sign them up for Story Time Art on Oct. 23 for ages 4 to 7 to keep them occupied while you learn about collage.

Each Story Time Art class we’ll listen to a story, then create an art project inspired by the stories and illustrations.

Digital Photography 101 wraps up from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24. You can learn Composition Tips about composing good photos and improving your basic snap shots.

The popular cake decorating is returning from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 26.  Learn basic cake decorating techniques, making borders, writing, color transfer, flowers and more … use all the techniques learned and decorate a Halloween cake.

All materials are provided and students will need a box to take home their goodies. Students must preregister for this class at CNYArtsCenter.com.

Everybody has a story to tell! Capturing Our Memories with Jim Farfaglia from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 26 is for beginner and intermediate writers who know what those stories are, but not sure how to get them down on paper.

The class will include a selection of writing exercises and prompts to help participants access their memories. We’ll share our writing and get feedback from our fellow writers to help us create the best story possible.

SEW YOU CAN, our newest class for kids, offers a special Halloween themed class Oct. 26 just in time for the spooky holiday.

Any child having completed Sew You Can training can participate in this fun class. Level 1 (ages 6-8) will meet from 1 to 2 p.m., Level 2 (ages 9-12) from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., and Level 3 (ages 13-18) from 4 to 6 p.m.

The next SEW YOU CAN training session, which will certify a child to properly use a sewing machine, will be offered in early November. Check the website at CNYArtsCenter.com for dates and times.

Artist Meet-up at the Arts in the Heart Gallery wraps our month from 6 to 8 p.m.  Tuesday, Oct. 29. Join the growing community of visual artists of all skill levels, mediums and interests to exchange ideas, feedback and materials.

We will meet at our NEW Gallery, ARTs in the HeART; 47 S. 1st St, Fulton. Critique “In Progress” Work, Share your Portfolio or Finished Pieces, Exchange Materials, Brainstorm Ideas, Mingle and Have Fun!

Students are reminded to pre-register for all classes and workshops to avoid missing out. Classes and workshops charge a modest fee.

Visit CNYArtsCenter.com for all the latest details and updates or call 592-3373. All classes are held in CNY Arts Center located in the lower level of State Street Methodist Church, 357 State St, Fulton unless otherwise noted.

‘War of the Worlds’ put on by Fulton Community Theatre

The infamous October night in 1938 that panicked millions of American radio listeners who were convinced that a vanguard of Martians had invaded Earth, will come alive again as Fulton Community Theatre proudly presents Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre On the Air’s adaptation of “The War of the Worlds”.

The staged recreation of the “panic broadcast” about an invasion from the planet Mars will run as a one night only event Wednesday, Oct. 30 – the 75th anniversary of the original CBS radio broadcast.

Curtain time is 8 p.m. on the Jubilee Hall stage of Holy Trinity Church, 309 Buffalo Street, Fulton. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors. Reservations may be made by calling FCT at 598-7840.

The Mercury Theatre script, adapted from H.G. Wells’ original 1898 novel, was penned by Howard Koch, who penned many of The Mercury Theatre’s weekly radio plays.

Under the direction of Orson Welles, the director of the Mercury Theatre, the play was written and performed so that it would sound like a live news broadcast.

As the play unfolded, dance music was interrupted a number of times by fake news bulletins reporting that a “huge flaming object” had dropped on a farm near Grovers Mill, N.J.

The results were legendary. News reports of the time estimated that more than 6 million people heard the broadcast, with up to 3 million people believing that it was real.

Fulton Community Theatre’s production is presented by special arrangement from Koch’s estate.

“The War of the Worlds” is part of a pre-Halloween double-feature that includes another Mercury Theatre script, John Houseman’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, which debuted the weekly CBS radio series on July 19, 1938.

Both plays feature an ensemble cast, which include the talents of: Marlina Beebe, Michael A. Bolio, Zoe Bolio, Doug Carver, Kennith Johnson, Rita LaPage, Michael Otis, Brian Pringle, Derek Potocki, Abel Searor, Adam Schmidtmann and Sabrina Woodward.

The production is under the direction of William Edward White, who will also be playing the iconic Orson Welles.

For White, who is the artistic director of Fulton Community Theatre, bringing a fully-staged recreation of the Mercury Theatre broadcast – which includes live music and sound effects backing actors at microphones – is the realization of a 35-year-old dream.

He was first introduced to the radio script in high school broadcast communications class taught out of the studios of WCSQ FM, the student-run radio station that was located in Central Square.

“We did a studio recreation of the script as a class project. Never intended for air, but I’ve held onto a copy of the tape all these years. Sort as a reminder that someday I need to do this for real,” White commented, adding, “with the 75th anniversary coming up, well, someday is here.”

Oswego High School Drama Club presents Lizzie Borden play

“Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done she gave her father 41!”

This morbid old schoolyard tune may be familiar to most, but the true legend of Lizzie Borden is largely unknown to many. The Oswego High School Drama Club aims to set the record straight with the award-winning original play “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe,” written and directed by Garrett Heater, music teacher at Fitzhugh Park Elementary in Oswego.

The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 and 16 in the Robinson-Faust Theatre for the Performing Arts at Oswego High School. Tickets are $10 at the door; reservations may be made by calling the box office at 341-2270.

“I feel the play comes closer to the truth than any play or movie that has come before it,” said Heater. “The text of the play is derived from court transcripts and inquest testimonies, which brings the audience extremely close to the actual events.”

The play recreates scenes leading up to and immediately after the 1892 double-murder of wealthy businessman Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby Durfee Gray Borden. Both were found mutilated in their home in Fall River, Mass., by hatchet or axe.

Andrew’s 32-year-old daughter Lizzie (step-daughter of Abby) was indicted and stood trial for the crime. She was acquitted of the gruesome homicides and the crime has remained unsolved for more than 120 years.

Following her acquittal, Lizzie Borden remained in Fall River. Her friends and neighbors, once staunch supporters of her innocence, quickly left her side after the trial and she became a social pariah.

“Once she received her father’s money, which was millions, she spent it on everything she felt she had been denied while living in the small house on Second Street,” said Heater. “People in Fall River found that suspicious.”

But Lizzie (played by Rachael Leotta) isn’t the only suspect in today’s world of armchair sleuths. Some feel that the Irish maid Bridget “Maggie” Sullivan (Sarah Lamb) had been pushed to the limit of servitude by her employers and killed them.

Others suspect Lizzie’s older sister Emma (Natalie Griffin), who may have planned the murders with their uncle John Morse (Mark Forger) in order to prevent a new will from being drawn up, giving most of the Borden fortune to their step-mother Abby (Gabriela Castiglia).

Dr. Seabury Bowen (Ryan Smith) is often viewed as being complicit in the murders, perhaps feeling sorry for possible abuse Lizzie suffered at the hands of her father Andrew (Stephen Mahan). Nosy neighbor Adelaide Churchill (Jordan Oatman) was on hand to comfort Lizzie after the murders were discovered, while Lizzie’s dear friend Alice Russell (Keelan McGreevey) eventually found herself testifying at the trial one year later.

“We may never know who committed the crime,” said Heater, “but our talented cast will present the event with exceptional skill and the audience must determine who had the motivation to wield the axe.”