Looking forward . . .
I don’t care what all you Farmers’ Almanac loyalists say. We’re in a new decade as far as I’m concerned, and I can finally start referring to this time as “the ’20s.”
Know your onions, take a jorum of skee and let’s blouse, kid.
Roaring ’20s jokes aside, I wanna get real about the arts in the Tri-Lakes. It’s a damn fine area for expression and appreciation. I moved here only two years ago and quickly fell in love with all of the Adirondacks’ music, dance, theatre and visual art.
Looking ahead to the next 10 years, I have a few hopes and dreams for arts in the Adirondacks.
The Adirondacks are already a gorgeous sight to see, but I think it would be dope if we had more artistic expression publicly displayed in our communities.
Plattsburgh has been bolstering its level of street art over the past few years. There are the mandala and Platform 9 3/4 entrance on the side of Our House Bistro. On the side of the Cornerstone Bookshop, there’s a cute forest scene full of foxes, wolves, deer and skunks.
Saranac Lake does have those two mosaics near the Rusty Nail and behind the old Off-Track Betting, but those are in some need of a little TLC.
My hometown of Pearl River is kind of a boring place to look at, but the one piece of public art it has is at the high school. Every year the senior class paints a different mural on a giant handball wall. My class was 2012, so we painted this post-apocalyptic scene. Sometimes it rocks, and sometimes it sucks. But the fact that it changes on a yearly basis has always made me smile.
The Tri-Lakes is full of impressive visual artists, and Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake both host Plein Air festivals. A great project for a group of artists would be to paint a mural or landscape on downtown businesses. Get some kids involved, too, and put a paintbrush in a youngster’s hand.
A change in classic rock
I love radio, but I also kind of hate it.
Pretty much every region is going to have a classic rock station. It’s the frequency that you tune into and hear hits such as “Baba O’Reily,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Rock the Casbah.” However, that’s all these stations ever play. It gets boring and repetitive and makes me want to turn off the radio.
We’re talking about the Who, Queen and the Clash here, bands with a plethora of good songs to their names, yet we only hear a select few from each on our airwaves. Can these stations throw us something a little different every now and then? How ’bout the Who’s “I’m One” or the Clash’s “White Man in Hammersmith Palais?”
I’m not saying that classic rock stations need to get with the times and start adding bands like Weezer, Radiohead and Cage the Elephant to their playlists, but branch out a little more. Don’t just give us the Billboard tracks.
A movie theater in Saranac Lake
This might just be a pipe dream, a glimmer of hope for a beautiful mirage, a rallying cry that ultimately leads nowhere, but I would love to see a movie theater in Saranac Lake. The village has already had two in its history, first the Pontiac and then the Berkeley. Many folks have wished for another theater. Peter Wilson of Lake Clear has been trying to get one started for years, and Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau helped reignite a passion for a local movie house on Facebook recently.
Imagine a place that showcases the latest movies but also consistently offers classic screenings of films like “Casablanca,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “The Wizard of Oz.”
I’m a dreamer.
How’s it going to get built? I dunno.
Who’s gonna pay for it? Beats me.
Is it even sustainable? Heck if I know.
I’m just a lazy kid who wants to go see the next Batman movie down the block from his apartment.
Always support your local movie theaters — the Palace in Lake Placid and the State in Tupper Lake. There might come a day when movie theaters don’t exist, and film is something experienced solely on computer screens while we lie in bed. I hope that day never comes.
Rap and hip-hop
The Tri-Lakes often showcases plenty of different musical genres — folk, rock, jam, funk, Avant-garde, soul, blues, jazz, punk, alternative. The list goes on. But I don’t think I’ve ever once seen a rap or hip-hop show in the Adirondacks. We’re definitely missing out.
We might even have some local artists who just haven’t been highlighted yet.
I remember when Hobofest in Saranac Lake was transitioning to Northern Current, one of the music festival’s organizers, Chris Morris, said he would like to get some hip-hop in the Tri-Lakes. At first, I thought, “Would that fit?” but now I’m like, “Why wouldn’t that fit?” Bringing a generally urban music to the mountains sounds like a great experiment.
Getting rappers and hip-hop artists into our communities would diversify our offerings and expand the clientele going to live music events to younger generations.
Take a look at our student-athletes. What are they listening to as they get themselves pumped up before a big football or soccer game? It ain’t John Prine, it ain’t Phish and it ain’t the New York Philharmonic, not that there’s anything wrong with those artists. A lot of the time you might find someone like Kendrick Lamar or Kanye West blasting from kids’ headphones.
This is my vision for arts in the Adirondacks. I’m sure you all have a few things in mind as well. Write in and tell us about it. Send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. What’s your artistic vision?