Ithaca Blog

Monday, October 26, 2009

Angry Mom Records/Small World Music at the Social Soul of Town

Angry Mom Records/Small World Music is a new entity in town developing the reputation of a place that fun follows around.

Angry Mom and Small World share store space in the basement of Autumn Leaves Books on the Commons. Angry Mom sells choice old vinyl, and Small World sells CDs - the local, hip alternative to Borders, Barnes and Noble, et al.

Small World moved into the space with Angry Mom about two months ago, from an obscure but popular space up West State Street. Since then, it has been nothing but fun in a bustling bohemian scene in the heart of downtown.

In our previous posting here, we mentioned an informal Angry Mom/Small World Music movie night at Cinemapolis this weekend. Formal ones are now in the works, to promote convivial company pursuing the arts, and active social times.

A music series is also planned. The first installment is an "all-vinyl" DJ party at the Loft above the Chanticleer bar, this Friday night.

Vita brevis, ars longa - so plan to meet some fun-loving people through your friendly neighborhood music store this weekend, and beyond.

Steve Burke
for Small World Music
and Ithaca NY Blog

On Air Guitar, Jimmy Page: "It Might Get Loud" at Cinemapolis

A contingent of friends and acquaintances from Small World Music/Angry Mom Records enjoyed a foray to Cinemapolis this weekend for the new music movie, "It Might Get Loud".

It is, ostensibly, a documentary about the electric guitar. But it is more about three players: Jimmy Page, the Edge, and Jack White. And, beyond that, it is at heart an exposition of creativity: where it comes from, and how it is sustained.

You don't have to be a music lover to enjoy this film. We are not particularly big fans of any of the three subjects. We will admit to getting a kick out of the portrait of Jimmy Page - because he is presented not as 70's rock god, but 70ish rock fan. A scene of him playing an old 45 on his home record player, and air guitaring along with it, with a big boyish smile, said a lot about what inspired him to begin with, and through all the achievements since.

We will sustain some surprise, which we hope we haven't spoiled in discussing this scene, by declining to reveal the record he plays. (But it is a good one.)

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Suffer Jets Merchandise at Angry Mom Records/Small World Music

The season is over, but roller derby spirit rolls on in Ithaca.

Angry Mom Records/Small World Music has a big, new batch of great-looking, high-quality Suffer Jet merchandise.

T-shirts in different colors and styles are $20 - $25. Beanies are $20 and brimmed wool hats are $25. Bandanas are $6, 2-paks of lapel buttons are $3, 3-packs of tattoos are $2. There are lunch boxes, travel mugs, and more.

Angry Mom Records/Small World Music is in the basement of Autumn Leaves Used Books, 115 The Commons. Hours are 12 - 8 pm Monday through Saturday, 12 - 6 Sundays.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog and Small World Music

Friday, October 23, 2009

For the Fall Classic, Rooting Locally

By defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers and advancing to the World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies have done their part to make the Series an all-east coast classic.

Now it is the New York Yankees turn, as they battle the Anaheim Angels for a berth.

The Series would interest us no matter what, but the prospect of such an intensely regional contest as Philly-NY is especially tantalizing, to be sure.

Our friends include strong partisans of either squad. We are already planning where to watch games together, in an atmosphere as of camaraderie, cheer, and occasional slander.

Benchwarmers on the Commons is the favored spot, with multiple screens, comfortable space, good food, pleasant service, and reasonable prices.

Considering the difference a Yankee win should make in their business, we imagine bars throughout the east are making New York Novenas against the Angels this weekend.

may the best team win,
Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Rhythm and Reading": Poetry and Performance at Cornell Tonight

Ithacan music and literature meet tonight at Cornell in a free performance by some large local luminaries.

The music is provided by Richie Stearns and Johnny Dowd. Readings are offered by H.G. Carrillo, J. Robert Lennon, and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon.

H.G. Carrillo is a Cornell graduate and the author of popular, if complexly-structured, novels.

J. Robert Lennon lives in Ithaca. His novel, Castle, was favorably reviewed in the New York Times this year. He is also a musician, and his self-released CDs are available at Small World Music, 115 The Commons.

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon teaches at Cornell. Her most recent book of poems, "Open Interval", has been nominated for the 2009 National Book Award for poetry.

The event is at Barnes Hall at 7:30 pm.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Four Things Visitors Like About Ithaca (And One They Don't)

One of the rewarding experiences in our work for the Ithaca Hours currency system is meeting the many visitors who come to Ithaca to study the system.

As we have mentioned on these pages before, we particularly like seeing Ithaca from a visitor's view, and learning what we take for granted, as well as what could be better.

This past weekend, we had a visitor from Chapel Hill NC, and one from Brooklyn NY. Four things linger in short-term memory of what they really liked about Ithaca. And the one thing they found surprisingly bad.

The good things:
1. the Library Sale. It impressed in size, variety, and in physical quality of the books themselves.

2. the broad recycling and composting options in public places and businesses.

3. the buttered popcorn at Cinemapolis.

4. the little sushi place next door to Autumn Leaves Books. It was our personal first visit. Good quality food at very reasonable prices ($2 cup of miso, e.g.). Our NC visitor went back on her own on Monday.

Monday was also the day of the bad experience in Ithaca, which was: the post office. Our NC guest went there to mail back books she bought at the Library Sale. She stood in line 20 minutes.

It was after this that she went back to the sushi place, to boost herself up.

(Next time we are at the sushi place, which will be soon, we will try to catch the name, and mention same here. Maybe we'll also mention to the owners that they need to trumpet that name a bit more. Usually we notice and retain such critical info.)

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

American Electorate Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Barack Obama stood in for the American electorate as the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

The award goes to American voters for repudiating not just the war-mongering of the Bush adminstration, but politicians such as Hillary Clinton, who voted to wage war against Iraq because it was politically expedient.

Americans gave the world a chance for peace by electing someone as different as anyone could be from George Bush: articulate, intelligent, risen from single-parent poverty to the heights of achievement, a Harvard Law School graduate who rejected money for community organizing.

In 2008, Americans realized the opportunity Obama represented for growth and change. In 2009, the Nobel committee realized the same.

The prize is really for Americans, for making the opportunity a reality by electing Obama. For Obama, it's an encouragement- and a reminder, now, to walk the walk.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Friday, October 09, 2009

Suffer Jets Final Bout on Saturday, 10/10

The Suffer Jets, the female Roller Derby team who have taken Ithaca by storm, have their final bout of the season on Sat. 10 Oct at 7:30 at Cass Rink.

Doors open at 7 pm, and there figures to be a crowd. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Angry Mom Records/Small World Music (home of Ithaca Blog) are discussing marketing arrangements with the Suffer Jets for their stellar merchandise. We hope an in-store appearance by the team will be part of the fun. Check back for details.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Contamination of NY Water: Define, We Guess, Then Prohibit

On the Democracy Now news show today, a representative of the gas industry promoting drilling for natural gas in New York was asked about reports of contamination of water sources in Pennsylvania by the practice.

He said, it depends on your definition of contamination. Not very reassuring.

Maurice Hinchey, Ithaca's representative in Congress, is concerned. He has sponsored legislation, the Frac Act (Fracking Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act), to revoke the gas industry's exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Frac Act would repeal legislation that exempts the industry from disclosing what chemicals it uses in hydraulic fracturing.

That would make it easier to define contamination of the drinking water of millions of New Yorkers. And to prevent it.

In Ithaca, a grassroots group called Shaleshock is at the forefront of citizen activism on issues of chemical drilling of the Marcellus Shale in New York. Their office is on the third floor of Autumn Leaves Books on the Commons. Their website is

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Peter Stampfel at the Spot, 10:30 Thurs.

Late bulletin: Peter Stampfel will be guest performer at a "picking party" after his show at the State Theater tonight. The party is at the Spot coffee shop on E. Seneca St.

Other performers include Johnny Dowd, Richie Stearns, Pat Burke, Steve Selin, et al.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Peter Stampfel Update

Regarding our posting yesterday about Peter Stampfel in Ithaca:

It seems one promoter in town has found an outlet for Mr. Stampel: he will appear tonight with Zoe Stampfel at the State Theater, opening for They Might Be Giants.

We're not sure if another, subterranean gig is still in the offing, or if this appearance will be the only one. We are reasonably certain that another promoter is at least trying to set up something small and homey, as described yesterday.

We will stay on the case as best we can, and post new info if and when we get it.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog