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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Blog post written by Colleen Ryan, Television-Radio '12, Anthropology Minor, Lansing, NY
Toivo (pronounced Toy-vo) is back for their third performance at FLEFF!
Toivo is a six piece band, originating from just up the lake in Trumansburg. They play Finnish, Tex-Mex, and original music suited to the traditional dances of the Finger Lakes Region - waltzes, schottisches, polkas, mazurkas, two-steps, hambos and reels.
The band consists of Richard Koski, button accordion; Jason Koski, mandolin; Stefan Senders, banjo; Jim Reidy, guitar; Harley Campbell, upright bass; and Annie Campbell, snare drum.
I spoke with Richard this afternoon, who told me a little bit more about Toivo.
Meaning "hope" in Finnish, Toivo has been together as a unit for almost seven years, but some of the members have been playing and jamming together much, (almost thirty years), much longer. Their main desire is to have a friendly band, concentrated in the Ithaca area.
"Toivo is down-home music at heart. Good for dancing; good for listening; good for love," their website says.
On their website, you can check out their music, learn more about their group, and catch their upcoming performances.
This local gem will be playing at the Finger Lakes Wine Center on Saturday, March 31st, 9 p.m. at the FLEFF after party.
Monday, March 26, 2012
The Bernie Upson Quartet is an Ithaca staple, consisting of: Bernie Upson on bass, Dino Losito on piano, Chuck Leo on sax, and Al Harland on drums.
I went to Maxie’s Supper Club for one of Bernie’s gigs (he plays there the third Sunday of every month.) Bernie’s passion and aptitude for his trade were evident with the first pluck of his bass string. His soulful style brought the audience back to the height of the jazz age. Check out this awesome video of Bernie playing alongside Buddy Tate in 1982 at a concert Berlin to get an idea what i'm talking about.
During a break I got a chance to sit down with Bernie and his wife Deb Clover, to learn about his long and distinguished jazz career and what advice he has for music students and aspiring musicians.
Q: What is your background?
A. I grew up in Harlem surrounded by music. I worked at the Apollo for a few years. I played with Diana Ross & the Supremes when they first came in from Detroit. I played bass for the shows at the Apollo, including Patty Labelle.
Deb on Bernie- He’s been doing this since he was 18. Ithaca’s lucky he decided to settle here.
He lived around the corner from Count Basie when he was a kid. Growing up in Harlem he was around a lot of great musicians. When he was an older teenager, he moved to Queens where he was also surrounded by a lot of jazz musicians. If you wanted to be a jazz musician it was the right time and the right place.
When he was playing in the Catskills at the Concord, he was playing in a lounge and Frank Sinatra was performing on the other stage. Then Frank came and sat down with them.
He made friends with Joe Henderson in service and they formed an army jazz band. They traveled all over the South where they were stationed. It was still so segregated. They would play in a club where they couldn’t walk in the front door.
Q: What was it that got him to where he is?
Deb on Bernie- Talent and passion for it. You can tell just by listening or looking at him. There are a lot of good players around, but there are few players who have the soul that Bernie has. I mean you can see it and hear it.
He was also in the right place at the right time. He was studying bass with Wendell Marshall (bass player for Duke Ellington). Someone offered Wendell to go on tour, but he couldn’t go, so he said, “I have a student who can go.” He sent Bernie instead. The other musicians really looked out for him. They would take his money on payday and hold on to it for him. You know as a musician there are a lot of temptations; it’s a hard life.
Q: What are you looking most forward to at FLEFF?
A. I look forward to playing for you folks.
Q: What advice would you give to music students or aspiring musicians about the music world?
A. If you’re serious about it, put your whole self into it. Never quit. Never give up. Always have something in the background in case you’re starving. Make sure it’s something you really want to do- it’s a hard life. If you chose to be an artist, make sure you want to be an artist. I would tell all young students to be an artist. Love music and if that’s your goal, pursue it. There’s definitely a chance to make it.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Blog Post by Sarah Lockwood, Cinema & Photography '15, FLEFF Intern, Blairstown, NJ
I have chosen to continue the journey to FLEFF week with a 'virtual tour' of some of the hottest places in Ithaca, NY to be during the week of March 25th, 2012!
This is a photo-journey, with all original photography taken myself. Shall we begin?
Just down the hill from Ithaca College, where TCAT's and bicyclists and artists and shoppers can convene, lies the downtown area - "a wide variety of shops, restaurants, theaters, and historic architecture" that is not to be missed any day of the year, but especially not during FLEFF.
Cinemapolis is an independent, not-for-profit art theatre in operation since 1986. It is located at 120 East Green Street in the Commons of Ithaca, NY. It will host many of FLEFF's screenings, and is an active partner that has ensured the success of FLEFF for many years.
The Ithaca College campus is not only beautiful when not being dumped upon by Ithaca's often-nasty weather, but also is the site for two very important aspects of FLEFF: a host large portion of the festival's film screenings, home of Ford Hall (hosting the Concert for Microtopias), as well as the site of a three-dimensional, all-recyclable display of the letters "Microtopias" in front of the library.
The Wine Center is a gorgeous tasting bar, wine store, tourism, and event center which will be hosting FLEFF's after-parties, a location for intellectual debates and creative folk to mingle about, post-screenings.
No matter where you find yourself FLEFF week, the importance is that you are in your own Microtopia. Will you find it in in the dark community of a movie theatre, the lawns of a college campus, or perhaps the solace of your own mind? That is up to you.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Blog posting written by Chloe Wilson, Television-Radio ’14, FLEFF Intern, Ashland, Massachusetts.
My name is Chloe. I am a sophomore Television-Radio major with a concentration in scriptwriting. I have a triple minor in Legal Studies, History, and the Humanities and Sciences Honors Program.
I grew up in Ashland, Massachusetts (the original home of the Boston Marathon!) and was determined to spend my college years in New York City. I ended up not in New York City, and I couldn’t be happier. Ithaca is the place that I’m supposed to be.
As introductions go, I don’t do labels. I find it impossible to identify myself without elaborating on why I used the words I did. And yet, blog posts can only take so much space, so I’m going to do my best to introduce myself. (Concisely, of course.)
I love telling stories. I love discovering characters in real life and I love creating them in my screenplays. I believe that everyone and everything has an enthralling story. It just may have not been found yet.
I love working with people. I have a strong passion for peer advising, which rose out of my desire to discover the stories of others. I also love helping people and enjoy working to make a difference.
I believe that we can learn from people just as much as we can help them. This is why I was attracted to FLEFF. It’s unique position as a curated and interdisciplinary film festival lets me partake in the dynamic intellectual engagement that no other festival offers.
I can’t wait for FLEFF 2012! I’m excited to become more active with downtown Ithaca through FLEFF. This year, The Finger Lakes Wine Center will host all of our after-event parties. Try to tell me that that’s not awesome. Go on. I dare you!
As they did last year, Cinemapolis will host our film screenings. The official film schedule for FLEFF is TBD, but Cinemapolis is screening OKA! at 4:30 PM on Sunday, Febuary 12th. FLEFF is co-sponsoring the event and a Q&A with director Lavinia Currier.
Again: it's going to be awesome.
FLEFF 2012 is going to be the opportunity of a lifetime. FLEFF challenges us to broaden what we know and immerse ourselves in what we don't, and this year's theme of microtopias only furthers that.
Personally, I'm really excited in learning about new media technologies through FLEFF. What about you FLEFFers" What are you most excited for in FLEFF 2012?
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Blog posting written by Brian McCormick, Film, Photo & Visual Arts '12, FLEFF Intern, Wilbraham, MA
What an exciting (and warm!) day to kick off FLEFF 2011!
Today was the premiere of the Uncorked! webisodes at Cinemapolis and the Opening Gala for FLEFF at the Fingers Lakes Wine Center.
I showed up at Cinemapolis around 6:40PM and the theater was PACKED (the premiere scheduled for 7:00PM). There were students, faculty, actors and actresses, members of the community -- a fantastic turn out.
Once there was a "seat" in every seat of the theater, the webseries kicked off with a bang -- the audience was rolling with laughter within a minute. Having personally worked as crew on these webisodes, I was very ecstatic with the warm reception it received. The webseries is certainly a great visual example of the beauty and allure of the Finger Lakes.
After the first five episodes were screened, the cast and crew stood up to do a Q and A with audience, followed by a screening of the remaining four episodes.
I got a real taste of the unique FLEFF experience when supervising director of Uncorked! and Park Productions Carol Jennings announced to the crowd: "This is the only time someone will tell you to do this, but please, take out your cell phones!" By this she meant to get online and go to the webseries' website, and to send that link out to people -- a certain kind of viral, social media approach that we will keep on seeing variants of during this festival.
Following the Uncorked! screening was the FLEFF Opening Gala at the new Wine Center. This was a great hour or two for people to mingle, eat food and drink fine wine. Meanwhile, a large HD monitor set up in the corner of the room projected the number of hits the Finger Lakes Uncorked! website was receiving. I watched as a few children sitting by the screen yelled out the numbers "998 ... 999...1,000!"
Can't wait for tomorrow's events!