Marvin Hamlisch: An appreciation

Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch was scheduled to conduct a performance of his music with the Binghamton Philharmonic late last month.  The show would have taken place at the Anderson Center for the Performing Arts on the Binghamton University campus.  But about a week before the much-anticipated show, word came that Mr. Hamlisch could not travel due to a fall.  Today (August 7) came the news that Mr. Hamlisch has died.  He leaves a singular legacy of glorious music.  Read more and listen to NPR’s appreciation at:

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Feared, revered art critic Robert Hughes dies at 74

At some early point in his long career, more than three decades of it spent at TIME, Robert Hughes became the most famous art critic in the English-speaking world. This happened because he was also the best — the most eloquent, the most sharp-eyed and incisive, the most truculent and certainly the most robust. He was 74 when he died on Aug. 6, in New York City. As Auden put it after the death of Yeats: “Earth, receive an honoured guest.”    Read more at:

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Artist Elizabeth Catlett dies at 96

Sculptor and printmaker Elizabeth Catlett, who spent most of her career in Mexico, was one of the most renowned African American aritsts of the 20th century.  Read more.

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‘Writing’ a wrong for Dr. King

Words MEAN something. Ask a writer. And the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a genuine artist when it came to words.  It’s ironic then that a quotation carved into his new monument on the National Mall in Washington, D. C.  takes Dr. King’s words out of context and changes the meaning of what he actually said — essentially mis-quoting one of the world’s great orators.  Now, as the nation prepares to commemorate what would have been Dr. King’s 83rd birthday, we get word that a correction is in the works.  Read more. Read the rest of this entry »

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Silence that phone!

By now, everyone knows about the “I-Phone Marimba” moment that temporarily stopped the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony.  For the record and as continuing reminder to concert and theater goers everywhere, here’s the whole cringe-inducing story.

Local filmmaker mentioned in upbeat ‘NY Times’ review

Local filmmaker Nat Bouman was the lensman for a new indie film that received a great review in today’s (Jan. 6, 2012) New York Times. Nat is mentioned in this Times article about the film “Co-dependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same”. Nat is a member of the ART Mission & Theater and was born and raised in  nearby Brackney, Pa., where he lives with his wife, Katherine Bouman, and their daughter, Harper. Nat entered the film and television industry as a lowly production assistant after college. Since then, he has earned his M.F.A. in Film from Columbia University and worked on a wide variety of projects as both a director and cinematographer. Nat is currently an assistant professor at SUNY College at Oneonta, where he teaches courses in film studies and film production. Katherine Bouman, Nat’s wife, is on the board of directors for the ART Mission & Theater and formerly served as director of education at Roberson Museum & Science Center.

Dance Theater of Harlem to start auditions for revived troupe

BAM Note: There’s good news from the dance world in the following piece from the New York Times ArtsBeat blog.  Share and comment!


Dance companies are supposed to be shrinking, not starting up in these recessionary times. Not so at the Dance Theater of Harlem, which closed its company in 2004. Theater officials on Wednesday announced the start of auditions to create a new stripped down troupe of 18 dancers, which will begin rehearsing in August and touring in October and aims to return to a New York stage by April 2013.  Read more.

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Binghamton University Kafka expert links teaching and research

From our “Food for Thought” file comes the following article by Rachel Coker published Dec. 5 in the blog Discover-e, Insights & Innovations from  Binghamton University.

Kafka scholar Neil Christian Pages does more than encourage his undergraduate students to engage in research. He gives them the tools they need to demystify the literary academy.

A tiny figurine made out of thread — a former student’s representation of the character Odradek from Franz Kafka’s “The Cares of the Father of the Family” — hangs from one of Pages’ bookshelves. It’s material proof of the way Pages’ students engage with Kafka in his classroom and beyond it.   Read more.

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Why support non-profit arts and the United Cultural Fund

Broome County Arts Council’s United Cultural Fund opened its 2012 Campaign on November 3rd with “An Artful Evening with NPR’s Susan Stamberg, a fundraising event at the Binghamton Riverwalk Hotel, featuring National Public Radio’s premier arts correspondent. UCF 2012 is the only combined campaign for the arts in the region and seeks to raise $308,325 for competitive grants to non-profit arts and cultural organizations, community non-profits and individual artists in Broome County. In a speech to Binghamton Rotary #64 yesterday (December 13th), BCAC’s Executive Director Sharon Ball explained how the UCF helps sustain arts non-profits for the benefit of the entire community.

Thank you very much. I’m grateful for the invitation to speak to you this afternoon. I know the good work that Rotary does all over the world and I commend you for the good work that Rotary does here in this community.

What a year it’s been for our community! First the economy, then the economy, then the economy, and then the second 100 year flood in 5 years. Another hit, another blow to the body of this already challenged region and the people who are determined to stay here, to do business here, care for their families and friends here, and maintain their neighborhoods – right here in the once renowned “valley of opportunity”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Back injury forces James Levine out for Met’s fall season

The New York Times today (Sept. 6) is reporting that James Levine, the Metropolitan Opera’s music director, has withdrawn from all performances at the Met for the rest of the year after falling while on vacation in Vermont and damaging a vertebra. The injury, which required emergency surgery, comes on top of a series of back operations followed by periods of rehabilitation to correct a painful spinal condition called stenosis.

While the Met saidLevine would remain music director, it immediately elevated its principal guest conductor, Fabio Luisi, to the title of principal conductor and handed over to him most of Levine’s fall conducting assignments.

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In Memorium: Genevieve Cerwonka

The community has lost a great talent and a huge spirit with the passing of artist Genevieve Cerwonka.   Please take a moment to share your remembrances of her life and her work.

Issue in the arts: Reaction after Kansas kills state arts funding

State funding for the arts has been declining here in NYS and across the country since before the 2008 financial meltdown. But Kansas governor Sam Brownback recently went all the way, using a line-item veto to kill all funding to Kansas’ state-wide arts council. As NPR’s Elizabeth Blair recently reported on “Morning Edition”, non-profit arts leaders are already adopting new funding strategies. Check out the story at:

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Take no art for granted

You may have heard about the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra’s mid-season decision to suspend its operations.   The news from the north reminds me of a similar announcement in Binghamton about this time last year by Southern Tier Celebrates! I remember how strange it felt this past New Year Eve’s when STC!’s First Night Binghamton just wasn’t there anymore. Many folks in Syracuse are likely to feel the same way when the next concert date rolls around, and the SSO isn’t there, either.

Recently, a local professional told me that he thought the arts “were just there” when he was growing up in Binghamton. He says he went to the occasional concert and such, but until he retired and joined the board of a non-profit arts organization, he took it for granted that the arts would be there whenever he wanted them. He knows better now. He’s learning that, without intentional patronage, participation and support by people in the community, the arts won’t be there for him — or for any of us. Arts providers, meanwhile, are learning that, without responsible leadership, sound resource management and strategic partnerships, THEY won’t be around to sustain their chosen art forms.

None of us – from board member to performer, writer to reader, teacher to parent, painter to dancer, patron to staffer — can afford to take the arts for granted anymore and, perhaps, never again. A line from the film All That Jazz, comes to mind: “It’s show time, folks!” What part will you play?

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The passing of artist Armondo Dellasanta

A. Dellasanta 1998

Dellasanta at his easel in 1998

 It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved artist, Armondo Dellasanta, who died on Dec. 21, 2010 at the age of 94. He was a great friend who will be missed by family, his many friends and admirers. In his oil paintings, etchings and drawings, he captured the special places and history of Binghamton, New York City and Susquehanna, Pa., where he stood guard duty in 1941. He was deeply honored by the recognition he received during his lifetime, which included a star on Binghamton’s Walk of Fame and his Lifetime Achievement Award from our Broome County Arts Council. A very humble man, he nevertheless enjoyed watching his profile which aired frequently on public TV station WSKG in a program called “Expressions- – the Art and Soul of the Southern Tier.” He started to paint in the late 1950s and carried a sketch book with him in France during World War II.  As an infantryman, he fought in both France and Austria and received the Bronze Star. As an artist, he was influenced by the “Ashcan School” whose artists painted scenes of everyday life.  He developed his own unique Impressionistic style over the years and was referred to by admirers as “Binghamton’s Van Gogh” and an “urban Monet.” Read the rest of this entry »