Ithaca Blog

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ithaca New Years Eve, 2009

We know two things about New Years Eve in Ithaca.

One is that Ithacans, inveterate socializers, keen on celebration, love New Years Eve.

Two is that bars and clubs don't do much special for NYE, probably because they don't have to.

Some striving exceptions:

Felicia's has live vocal and piano music, early, from 6:30 - 8:30. After that, it is drink specials, and whatever comes with that. No cover.

Castaways hosts a bona fide concert, with local (and international) favorites The Sim Redmond Band, and opening act the Gunpoets. Doors open at 8 for the 9 pm start. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, if any remain.

WildFire Lounge hosts popular rockers Revision and Solstice, starting at 10 .

Don't get drunk and lose all your money -
& Happy 20/10 -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Small World Music: No Place Like (Our New) Home for the Holidays

This morning we met yet another old customer of Small World Music who didn't know that our music emporium (physical home of Ithaca Blog) has moved to the basement of Autumn Leaves Books, on the Commons. And so she hasn't got that new Karan Casey CD she wanted to buy for her sister. Well, she will have it later today.

It is the busy season for buying music, so we would be derelict, not to mention meshuga, not to mention with special yuletide emphasis that Small World Music is at your service.

New CDs include Beatles reissues (and box set), Bob Dylan, Fela, David Gray, Norah Jones, Rickie Lee Jones, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, Monsters of Folk, Pete Seeger, Sting, Streisand, Swell Season, and Tom Waits. And Karan Casey.

Small World Music shares space in the basement of Autumn Leaves with Angry Mom Records. We're open seven days a week.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog and Small World Music

Bumper Sticker Urges: No Barking

Not that we would ever put a bumper sticker on our car, any more than we would our shoes, but we saw one today we liked.

"Wag More, Bark Less," it said.

We imagine it came from a dog owner, but of course here it was meant for the reading, i.e. strictly non-dog, population.

It seemed to us a particularly good message as people are racing around anxiously with errands to do for the holidays, and possibly feeling a bit barky. But remember, really, if the holidays are not a time for wagging, when is?

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ithaca Music Scene Somewhat Short-changed by "Cafe"

Yesterday we got a press release about the World Cafe radio program broadcasting, today, a performance by Lyle Lovett at Ithaca's State Theater. The show was also supposed to offer discussion of and selections from the Ithaca music scene.

The former was fine. The latter was missing.

To tell the truth, we had a feeling from the start that the promise of Ithaca-centrism was maybe a little played up. We reported it anyway. Oh, well.

One out of two isn't bad, we guess. Or is the proper response, "That's show biz"?

In any event, we were disappointed by that, but enjoyed the broadcast anyway, and appreciated the visit last month and the effort by both Mr. Lovett and the World Cafe.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ithaca Music Goes National, Thurs. 17 Dec., on NPR's "World Cafe"

National Public Radio's "World Cafe" program will spotlight Ithaca in its broadcast on Thursday, 17 December.

The show will feature excerpts from a concert by Lyle Lovett taped at the State Theater in Ithaca, along with discussion of and selections by local musicians.

World Cafe is carried by 185 NPR affiliates nationally. In Ithaca it is broadcast on WEOS, 88.5 on the FM dial.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Big Money Comes To Fracking, With Exxon Purchase

Exxon Mobil has spent $31 billion to buy XTO Energy, a leading speculator in shale gas drilling.

Exxon Mobil brings considerable resources to promote shale gas drilling in U.S. fields discovered by smaller companies such as XTO in the past decade.

The smaller companies have indicated they might not have the resources to meet legal and environmental challenges when controversial drilling practices (known as hydrofracturing, or "fracking") come to populated areas, such as central New York, where citizen groups have formed to protest degradation of local landscapes, infrastructure, and water supplies.

Exxon Mobil's buyout certainly changes the political landscape. The company is the second-largest (behind General Electric) corporate spender in federal lobbying. It has recently come under fire for its efforts to discredit global climate change science, which it considers harmful to its financial interests.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No Dime Dropped Yet On Ithaca Restaurants With Labor Violations

A press conference held by the Tompkins County Workers Center and the New York State Department of Labor finished minutes ago, with the revelation that 17 area restaurants have been found in violation of labor laws.

The violations include failure to pay minimum wage and overtime, and misclassification of workers as general contractors, thus denying them workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, and other rights.

22 restaurants were investigated. State officials said that finding violations among 17 of 22 is a higher than average rate, though perhaps not a large enough sampling to be statistically significant.

The press conference brought much media to the Workers Center on the Commons, and scores of spectators. Those hoping for resolution to the political drama, in the form of names, were disappointed. The identities of the implicated businesses were not disclosed.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Ithaca Gives 10% Off, On Dec. 10th

Dozens of businesses in Ithaca participating in the "Local First" campaign are offering 10% off all purchases on the 10th of December.

The "10 off on the 10th" promotion started at GreenStar Co-op earlier this year. If you have been at GreenStar on the 10th of a month, you know it is a big deal. GreenStar does Thanksgiving-week type business every 10th. They have to put someone in the parking lot to direct traffic.

The list of participating businesses can be found at, or at Local First Ithaca's page on Facebook.

Small World Music/Angry Mom Records, physical home of Ithaca Blog, is among them. In fact, loyal reader, come in today and mention this and we will give you the jump by giving you 10% off on the 9th.

SWM/A. Mom is in the basement of Autumn Leaves Books at 115 the Commons. We're open til 8 pm tonight; from noon til 9 tomorrow.

Steve Burke
for SWM/Ithaca NY Blog

Friday, December 04, 2009

"Local First Ithaca" Builds Area Economy

It is a little disconcerting to see the word "only" in the headlines alongside " 11,000 U.S. jobs lost in November."

But the reality is that this is - only - 10%of the number of jobs lost in either October or September.

President Obama is supposedly rolling up his sleeves now to create a jobs program.

We like the guy; but his record so far, on war and Wall Street, is weak, to say the least.

Maybe on jobs, the one-time community organizer will finally hit his stride.

In the meantime, in Ithaca, we have our own model for helping ourselves and one another: the Local First Ithaca campaign is in its second season of promoting local businesses at holiday time.

Take a look at their web site ( and Facebook page for all their activities and promotions. Among them is "10 % on the Tenth," where many participating businesses (there are over 100) offer 10% off all purchases on December 10th. There is also a drawing, at the end of the month, for gift cards, for the proverbial lucky winners, of $50, $100, and $250.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Anti-Fracking Effort Needs You: Big Benefit Concert, Sat. 5 Dec.

Judging by Ithaca, the campaign against "fracking" - that is, hydrofracturing, a toxic chemical drilling procedure proposed for natural gas extraction in our region - seems a sure winner. A thousand people turned out at a hearing at the State Theater last month, on a weeknight, to speak against the dangerously unregulated practice.

Remember, though: Ithaca is different. In 2000, more Ithacans voted for Ralph Nader for president than for George Bush. In 2008, Tompkins County was the only county outside of New York City to vote for Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

When a group of Ithacans left the county last week for a public hearing on fracking, they were the only voices in opposition. The others were for taking the money the gas companies are offering, and worrying about poisoned water later.

So: it will be an uphill fight. Whatever support you can give is crucial.

On Saturday 5 December, the three leading bands from Ithaca play a benefit for the effort. Donna the Buffalo, the Horseflies, and the Sim Redmond Band unite for "Life Is Water: A Concert to Defend the Finger Lakes Against Unsafe Gas Drilling" at the State Theater.

Show time is 8 pm. Reserved seating is $12.50 - $24.50.

Proceeds benefit the Shaleshock Citizens Action Alliance:

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog