Ithaca Blog

Friday, October 31, 2008

Weekend Music, Oct. 31 - Nov. 2

Fri. 10/31: CD release event by UpSouth at Felicia's happy hour, 5:30. No cover.

Rottweiler Nation at happy hour at the Haunt, 6 - 9 pm. No cover. Followed at 9 pm by a "Halloween Bash" with 12 Oz. Muzzle and Ayurveda.

"Monsterfest" at the Rongo, with Mudbone, 9 pm, $5 cover.

The Family Knife, featuring members of Plastic Nebraska and the Horseflies, at the Chapter House, in a free show, 10 pm. Chad Crumm and Friends open.

The TalkToMes at Maxie's, 10 pm.

* * *

Sat. 11/1: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings at the State Theater, 8 pm.

The Small Kings at the ABC, 10 pm. Their new, debut CD is available at Small World Music.

* * *

Sun. 11/2: Black Eyed Susies at Felicia's, 7 pm. With Wayward Girls, and Pearly Snaps.

Phil Shapiro and Carrie Shore on Bound For Glory, in Anabel Taylor Hall, Cornell. So who's hosting the show? First set, 8:30 pm.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Night of the Living Dead" at State Theater on Halloween

Ithaca has always been big on Halloween. Maybe, as a place based on serious schooling, we appreciate a holiday of costumes, fake fright, and silliness.

Halloween this year should be a bigger party than usual, falling on a Friday, with good weather in the forecast.

The State Theater is holding a perfect event for the een: a showing of the classic 1968 horror film, "Night of the Living Dead."

The show marks the first screening of a film in the full State Theater since 1976, when the balcony was walled off to form a duplex. The wall was removed a decade ago, when the theater became a live performance theater.

"Night of the Living Dead" was produced in Pittsburgh, for a little over $100,000, by unknown director George Romero. It has since become a cult favorite. It has been called "the progenitor of the contemporary 'zombie apocolypse' sub-genre of horror film," and "an influence on the modern pop-culture zombie archetype."

If that won't get you out and into the movies, on Halloween, we don't know what would.

Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for children under 12, but we don't know about bringing children under 12, sophisticated as modern children may be. We first saw this picture on TV at age 14, and stayed awake all night staring at the closet door, waiting for it to move.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shared Money (and Prizes!) At Ithaca Hours Meeting Tonight, 10/29

Ithaca Hours, the local currency system, has its annual membership meeting tonight, Wed. 29 October.

People and businesses who earn and spend Hours can sign up tonight for 2009 membership and get $40 worth of the local cash as their annual benefit. Membership costs one Ithaca Hour, or $10. It provides a listing in Hours' on-line Directory - the "Yellow Pages" for members.

The normal benefit is $20 in Hours. The special offer is to encourage new and renewing members to meet, and generate business for themselves and the system.

Some participating businesses have donated gift certificate door prizes. ABC Cafe is offering two free desserts; Macro Mama is offering two dinners; McLallen House B & B in Trumansburg is offering a free night; Stellar Directions Astrology is offering a free reading; and more.

The meeting is open to everyone. It is open-ended, so you don't have to stay for it all to participate in as much as you want, if you are pressed for time; but the meeting goes from 6:30- 8 pm, in the Borg-Warner Room at the Public Library.

See for other details.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Hobo's Lullaby" On WICB: Ithaca's Sonic Calendar

It's Tuesday morning and the sound on our radio is Gene Endres' program, "Hobo's Lullaby", on WICB-FM.

Gene's show has been the sound of Tuesday mornings in Ithaca for many years. It began as a fairly straightforward American folk music show, as its name would indicate, coming from a Woody Guthrie song.

Over the years, the show evolved, as a good show will. The music expanded from traditional American folk to almost every genre of music you can think of - or, more precisely, that Gene can think of, which is a lot.

Gene's playlist is not limited to music. He likes speeches, poetry and essays. He likes the sounds of nature. He likes the sound of trains. He likes both narratives and collages.

It is a gentle program, but also bold. Gene believes in his listeners' intelligence and openness. He will play the sounds of a pond at summer sunset. He will broadcast from his bike as he tours town and extols clean transportation. He will play political music, though usually it is less the politics of polemics than of common sense.

At Halloween, he will play the song "69 Hillbillies In A Haunted House". (He did that today.)

Gene's show is, loosely, a calendar of the year. He plays music to note seasonal changes. To highlight election issues. To promote local events such as GrassRoots Festival, Ithaca Festival, and other performances and events, and to note broader events: Mardi Gras, Earth Day, May Day, Labor Day.

"Hobo's Lullaby" is progressive and sometimes experimental, but fundamentally, it is basic, old-fashioned radio from the days before structured programming and playlists. It sounds like the town that it comes from, and like the week it was created.

Like a good poem, the show sounds different upon different listenings. One has the chance to experience this with the show's rebroadcast on the Sunday afternoon after its Tuesday genesis.

Not many communities are so lucky as to have a show so dedicated to both custom and creativity, to both the world at large and (foremost) to its home town. We're grateful to WICB and especially, of course, to Gene, for doing it so well so long.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekend Music, Oct. 24 - 26

Friday 10/24: Toivo, toe-tapping Tex-Mex-Finnish, at Felicia's happy hour. The Ithaca Times did a nice write-up of the band this week. Their new, debut CD is available at Small World Music.

The Legendary Mad Professor at ABC Cafe, 10 pm. No, not a lecturer from Cornell. A toaster from Jamaica, and a famous one. Call the ABC for ticket information: 277-4770.

* * *

Sat. 10/25: GrassRoots Festival fave Eilen Jewell at Castaways, 8:30 pm. Ms. Jewell's new CD is available at Small World Music.

* * *

Sun. 10/26: Urban Horse Thieves at Maxie's, 6 pm. UHT's CDs are available at Small World Music.

Michael Stark & Zuan Marshburn at Felicia's, 7 pm. Mike's solo CD & CDs with Wingnut are available around here, someplace.

have fun -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

McCain Campaign: Wardrobe and Makeup, But No Script

In the home stretch of an election where the McCain campaign has struggled to find a message, perhaps its priorities can be determined by its spending.

According to a filing yesterday with the Federal Election Commission, the highest-paid person in the McCain campaign in the first half of October was not the senior staff member, nor the chief foreign policy adviser, but Sarah Palin's traveling makeup stylist.

The salaries for those three individuals, respectively, were $12,000 (senior staff member); $12,500 (chief foreign policy adviser); and $22,800 (makeup stylist).

It will be interesting to see what happens with contributions to the McCain campaign in these final days. It's hard to imagine much coming in except from, say, the Lauder corporation.

Steve Burke
fotr Ithaca Blog

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Greenspan: The Only Thing I Didn't Understand

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan went before Congress today and said there was just one thing he didn't understand in his tenure, which has lead to an economic crisis "much broader than anything I could have imagined."

That one thing, Greenspan said, was "the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works."

In other words, "human nature."

Or in one word, "anything."

Remember how, in his 18 years on the job, the press would make light of Mr. Greenspan's public pronouncements, which bordered on the unintelligible? It meant he had to be a genius, because otherwise you would think he was an imbecile, or at least didn't know what he was talking about, himself.

As in so many other cases, the truth comes to light now, not because of the press, but despite it.

What was Greenspan supposed to do, tell on himself? The Wizard of Oz didn't do that. Why should he? He had a pretty good job going, as long as no one asked too many questions.

It is an important lesson to learn when pondering other things experts say.

For instance, that you must trust them with your personal liberties for national security. That our energy needs require nuclear power, which is easy for them to control and clean up after. That digging shale gas wells here in central New York will be economically equitable and will not affect drinking water. That the personal and financial information on your computer is secure.

Skepticism is required. Alan Greenspan has at least helped us with that lesson.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If You Can't Tease David Crosby...

...who can you tease?

Luke Fenchel wrote a glowing review of last night's sell-out concert at the State Theater by David Crosby and Graham Nash.

We didn't go. We did consider walking over to see what kind of fleet of trucks and buses these big stars might have had.

Particularly, we were interested in the performers' bus, figuring that Crosby must reside in it, rather than chance hotel rooms, after that episode a few years back, when his check-out at a hotel turned out a little embarrassing for him, having left behind a bag of marijuana and a handgun. Leading Jon Stewart (we think it was) to inquire, "What did he remember to take?"

Catch us sometime here at Small World Music and we'll tell you about the practical joke that, at age 20, we pulled on Mr. Crosby in an empty, midnight San Francisco airport, and he called us a bad name.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Rachael Maddow Show Breaking TV Records

The Rachael Maddow Show on MSNBC, a left-leaning program of news and commentary, is breaking records for popularity in its first month on television.

The show has doubled MSNBC's audience in its time slot, and is approaching the ratings level of its veteran competition, CNN's Larry King Show.

Ms. Maddow broadcast one of the first segments of her show here in Ithaca last month, after a broadcast of her Air America radio show before an audience at the State Theater.

Ms. Maddow's regular criticism of Bush and McCain policies seems to have found the same kind of fervent audience nationwide as in Ithaca.

Ms. Maddow exposure to Ithacans might be stronger on her radio show than on MSNBC. Ithaca is a notoriously untelevision-centric place.

It's a trait that Ithaca and Ms. Maddow have in common. Despite her new stardom, Ms. Maddow reports that she does not own a television set.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Free Local Money For You From Ithaca Hours, Wed. 29 Oct.

Ten dollars gets you forty's worth at the annual membership meeting of Ithaca Hours, the local currency system, on Wednesday 29 Oct., 6:30 - 8 p.m., in the Borg-Warner Room of the Public Library.

New and renewing members pay ten dollars (or its equivalent, one Ithaca Hour). For this annual fee, members recieve a listing in the on-line Hours Directory, and four Ithaca Hours, worth $40.

The Hours Directory lists businesses and individuals with goods and services to offer for some combination of dollars and Hours.

Ithaca Hours, started in 1991, is a local currency - in denominations, like U.S. currency - which stimulates trade for local businesses, helps moonlighters profit from their work, and keeps money in the local economy.

There are over $100,000 in Hours in circulation, and a membership base in the hundreds, from craftspeople, massage therapists, bookkeepers, and manual laborers, to food stores, book stores, and a credit union.

At a time of vanishing dollars, local currency provides a stimulus package for working people and small businesses - a system serving and controlled by local people, with with no downturns nor bailouts in sight.

For more information, see Hours' website,

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekend Music, Oct. 17 - 19

Friday 10/17:

Common Railers at Felicia's happy hour, 5:30.

Becky Chace at the ABC Cafe. Chace has opened shows for both Judy Collins and Joan Jett, which sure sounds like an able folk-rocker. She has been compared to Melissa Etheridge and Bonnie Raitt, and counts among her heroes Lucinda Williams and Bruce Springsteen. 308 Stewart Ave., 10 pm.

* * *

Sat. 10/18:

Eric Aceto at the Farmers Market, 11 am.

Uniit Carruyo and Friends at the Pourhouse in Trumansburg, 7 pm.

The Cornell Folk Song Society presents Greg Greenway at McGraw Hall, Cornell. 8 pm. Tickets $17 at the door, $15 in advance from Small World Music.

Billy Bragg at the State Theater. Opening act, The Watson Twins. 8 pm.

Drummer Brain "Willie B" Wilson left Ithaca, and Johnny Dowd's band, for a while to go on the road with rising star Jamie Liddell, opening shows for Elton John. (Liddell's latest CD, "Jim", is available here at Small World Music.) Tonight, Wilson and Dowd are reunited as members of Black Elastic, at the Lost Dog Lounge, 10 pm.

Kevin Kinsella and Food, Clothes & Shelter at the Chapter House, 10 pm.

* * *

Sun. 10/19:

Kelley Birtch at the ABC for brunch.

Jen Cork at Felicia's. 7 pm.

Northwest indy rocker Mirah is at Castaways, in the first show by indy producer, ex-director of State Theater, Dan Smalls. With openers No Kids, and Jennie Stearns. 8 pm.

Pierce Pettis at Bound For Glory, Anabel Taylor Hall, 8:30 pm.

* * *

have fun -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

White Voters Not Biting Race Bait, Poll Shows

The McCain campaign seems hopeful of a reservoir of racism among Americans that might give McCain the election. Thus their attacks on Senator Obama, not so gently veiled, as a man to be "fearful" of, in Sarah Palin's words:

"I am just so fearful," Palin has said, "that this is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America."

A New York Times/CBS News poll reports a better sentiment. The poll shows that 45% of white voters support Obama - a higher percentage than voted for the Democratic candidate in 2004 or 2000.

If there is anything to fear in this campaign, it is the howling cries of "terrorist" and "kill him" toward Senator Obama from McCain audiences. But they won't make the election. Instead, it seems, the vote will be carried by those who heed not Sarah Palin, but Martin Luther King.

45 years ago in Washington, Dr. King spoke of a dream of a nation where people are judged "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

First in the Democratic primaries, now in the general vote, this election year holds promise for that dream.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

T-burg Farmers Market Winding Down With A Bash

The working-person friendly Trumansburg Farmers Market, with its workday commuter-time hours of 4 - 7 p.m. Wednesdays, turns into a party this week, at its penultimate session, with a performance by the Evil City String Band.

The Market will also feature chef Samantha Izzo, of the Simply Red Bistro at Sheldrake Winery. Ms. Izzo will be vending her signature comfort foods, and promoting her new cookbook, which includes a CD by Evil City, who regularly play at her restaurant.

The T-burg Farmers Market is at routes 96 & 227, just north of downtown T-burg.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, October 10, 2008

Weekend Fun, October 10 - 12

Fri. 10/10: The Chicken Tractor Band at Felicia's happy hour, 5:30 pm.

Bert Scholl CD release party at Castaways, 9 pm. The evening also includes benefit performances for Bert's cancer treatments. Performers include Kevin Kinsella, Sim Redmond Band, and Hank Roberts.

* * *

Sat. 10/11: Friends of the Library Book Sale, 8 am. See Small World Music's sale offer in yesterday's Ithaca Blog posting.

Americana Music Jubilee, at Castaways. An almost-all day affair to benefit the "Healthy Food For All" program of the Full Plate Farm Collective. One acoustic and one electric stage. Performers include the Small Kings, Michael Hansen, Uniit Carruyo, Who You Are, Urban Horse Thieves, and the MacGuillicuddies. 3 pm - on.

The SufferJets roller derby team has their last home bout, vs. the Hellions of Troy. Cass Park Rink, 6 pm.

* * *

Sun. 10/12: Colleen Kattau and the Night Skies Band at the Common Ground, 7 pm.

Have fun -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Nudge (And Sale Offer) To Book Sale Go-ers, From Small World Music

The nudge is pretty straightforward. If you're going to the big Friends of the Library Sale this weekend looking for music, you should also come 4 blocks south of Esty St., to Small World Music.

We have a couple thousand excellent LP records here, with prices to rival the Book Sale's, and (we think) a finer selection. From Abba to Zappa, as they say, with not so much Boots Randolph to wade through.

We have reggae records (including Bob Marley, and Burning Spear), African (Sounds of Soweto, Miriam Makeba, Malathini, et al.), blues (Muddy Waters, Bill Broonzy, Little Brother Montgomery), bluegrass, folk, jazz, and various world.

We also have 1,000 records of good quality priced at $1 each.

Almost forgot: new & used CDs, too. Hundreds of CDs at $5 and less. New releases include the brand new Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg, Randy Newman, Emmylou Harris, Charlie Haden, and the Evil City String Band (stand-alone CD, as well as CD/cookbook combo).

Mention this promo and we will take 10% off all your purchases.

Small World Music is at 614 W. State St, across State St. from Kinko's, down the driveway. We're open 11-6 Tuesday through Saturday. We might keep some hours this Sunday, too, for Sale-goers. Phone us at 256-0428.

Steve Burke
for Small World Music and Ithaca Blog

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ithaca Journal's Credo: We Know Better, But We Care Less

If you are the even-tempered sort, today you might have had to try to calm some less-so friends, upset about the headline story in the Ithaca Journal, of the McCain campaign's warnings about Barack Obama's "terrorist pal."

Those were the Journal's front page, above the fold, headline words.

The terrorist pal in question is not the bearded, turbaned type most modern fear-mongers try to conjure, but William Ayres, who was a member of the Weather Underground in the Vietnam era, and a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago today.

Obama was 8 years old at the time of Ayres' antiwar activity, so it is unlikely Ayres looked to him for guidance. Apparently, however, in the 40 years since, at one function or another in Chicago academics or politics, the two have been in the same place at the same time.

No doubt the McCain campaign would prefer to pin a guy in a turban to Obama, but for now, this college protester turned Chicago professor will have to do, in a campaign marked increasingly by a lack of responsibility.

It's a shame, but in Ithaca, the shame is on the Ithaca Journal, for presenting this contorted drivel as news, at all. The shame is compounded by the blaring sensationalism.

What is their purpose? To scare people away from Obama? Or just to sell papers?

That first possible purpose, of course, is the worse of the two. But the second is bad enough, on its own.

Every once in a while, the Journal writes an opinion piece about cynicism among the American electorate, and our growing distrust of newspapers. And then, one imagines, the editor takes a long stare out the office window. Not into the office mirror.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, October 03, 2008

Weekend Entertainment, October 3 - 5

Fri. 10/3: The Hogwashers, old-time tunes, at Felicia's happy hour, 5:30.

Gadje, gypsy jazz, at the Lost Dog, 8 pm.

The venerable Second City comedy troupe returns to the State Theater, 8 pm.

* * *

Sat. 10/4: Andrew Bird at the State Theater, 8 pm.

The Black Eyed Susies, old-timey trio, with Steve Gollnick, alt-country guy of renown, at the Chapter House, 10 pm.

* * *

Sun. 10/5: Ithaca ex-pat Kathy Ziegler visits (from new home, Holland) for a reunion, with Mary Lorson and Billy Cote, of the Piano Creeps, playing some innovative and challenging but, essentially, very pleasing collaborative music. Lost Dog Cafe, 8 pm.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Forgetting Sarah Palin

We still think, as we wrote here as soon as McCain picked her, that Sarah Palin will not be on the Republican ticket on election day.

Her selection, in the first place, was a typical "maverick" move by McCain. For McCain, the word "maverick" means "kiss my ass."

McCain chose Palin because she is a woman. This would be his way of telling the Democrats, who did not select a woman, to kiss his ass.

So what if there were hundreds of other, better, candidates for the vice presidency? So what if Sarah Palin is completely unqualified? Sarah Palin has the attribute of being an ex-beauty queen. That's the qualification for McCain. Thus says McCain, kiss my ass, all you Hillary Clinton supporters, feminists, women in general, and anyone else who might like to see a qualified woman as a candidate.

But the beauty queen allure has worn thin. Sarah Palin can't talk to the press because, unfortunately, she is unfamiliar with most things they are apt to mention. Her sole area of expertise seems to be the exploitation of natural resources in extreme northern climes, which has limited pertinence.

It would have been McCain's ultimate KMA dream to foist someone like Sarah Palin on the American electorate. Well, technically, he has. But now she is being unfoisted. Recent polls show a tailspin for McCain in the crucial swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Palin's approval rating is in the 30th percentile, and falling.

So, we think, McCain's final KMA move will be to dump her. It might happen sooner, it might happen later. Think of whichever makes the least sense, what will confuse and upset the most people, and that's what McCain figures to do.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Workers Center Rally For "New Economy" Today

The Workers' Center of Tompkins County is rallying today on the Commons in response to the national financial crises.

The Center cites "failed policies of deregulation, and taxation that benefits only the rich," and calls for "a new politics and new economy that works for everyone, not just the few."

Carl Feuer of the Center spoke on the radio this morning about the core problem of insufficient wages for workers. Working people who can't make ends meet become reliant on credit and mortgages which lending institutions extend, though they don't really have the security to offer. When the whole thing crashes, people have debts they can't pay, own houses worth less than what is owed on them, and it is the lenders who seek relief.

The rally begins at 5:30 today at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the Commons.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog