When you miss the arts

Another day, another lingering cough from “the thing that’s going around,” another missed opportunity to enjoy the arts. Sniffles and snowfalls seem to be getting in my way when I want to embrace the arts in Binghamton. Soooo … who would like to join the BAMirror conversation and tell me what I missed last weekend at the first First Friday of 2011? 

And speaking of missing out on something: How many of you felt a little less complete on Dec. 31, 2010, when you didn’t have a First Night celebration to attend? How about sharing your First Night memories and what you missed most now that Binghamton’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration has been disbanded?

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Suggestions for the post-STC! era

As you probably have heard, Southern Tier Celebrates! will be closing its office for day-to-day operations as of today (April 16), citing the loss of the state funding that had been a major source of income. Obviously, this leaves STC! programming , including First Night Binghamton, in limbo. (More details in STC!’s statement on the BCAC Web site.)

As audience members and/or performers, how does this make you feel? How will the closing affect you? What suggestions do you have to fill this hole in the local cultural landscape?

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First Night weathers all sorts of storms

Anyone who has ever organized or promoted an entertainment event knows how much of a crap shoot such an endeavor can be. Consider all the variables in the mix: choosing a venue and date, contracting for guest artists, maintaining delicate balances when determining programming and calculating a target audience. Also, in Broome County, of course, there’s always the weather.

L. Tillotson at FNB River Blessing

And I’m just talking about one play or one concert or one kid-friendly hands-on art activity. Multiply all that uncertainty by 30 or so, and you might get an idea what Lesley Tillotson and Southern Tier Celebrates! go through to present our  annual New Year’s Eve revels, First Night Binghamton.  Add in the vagaries of public funding, and you’ll understand the additional angst that went into the most recent celebration, First Night 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

Hoffman talks about managing Forum, Arena

After hearing Brian Hoffman’s speech, “A Delicate Balance,” on Tuesday, it is tempting to start referring to The Forum and the Broome County Arena — the facilities for which Hoffman is general manager – as “the little venues that could.” As Hoffman pointed out to members of the Communications Association of the Southern Tier, “shows keep getting bigger and bigger,” but Broome’s two county-run performing arts spaces remain the same. Read the rest of this entry »

Is First Night fading? There’s still good entertainment here

First Night Binghamton was missing some things this year. Several of our favorite entertainment groups were absent, such as Bronzissimo! select handbell choir, Svitanya (an Eastern European women’s ensemble from Philadelphia) and  — horrors! — Cobblestone Crossing wasn’t at the firehouse to give us our hootenanny fix. The number of classical music choices was less than half of last year. Then there was the parade, so desperately short of merry-makers (this, too, a sign of the economy?) that fewer than 50 of the 300 puppets in Southern Tier Celebrates!’ collection made the trip down Court Street. And is it a parade without a fire engine?

The turnout? We remember when you came early, so you didn’t have to stand six deep in the crowd to watch. No problem this year – no crowd, unless they were all at the starting point. The early snow had been cleared, and, though snow later in the evening made things slippery, the early evening was mercifully mild (compared with two years ago or the first First Night in 1996!). 

Nevertheless, for those who came, there were a number of good artists and activities to enjoy, including plenty for the kids.  Read the rest of this entry »

Are you starting 2010 in an art-full way?

Did you brave the snow for First Night? How about for the first First Friday of 2010? And what’s coming up for you? How are you warding off the January doldrums — in an art-filled way, of course?