Phil Memmer: Kicks off a new arts and culture interview series debuting this week on WCNY-FM 91.3.
Talk radio takes a permanent turn for the intellectual this week with the debut of Arts Talk on WCNY’s three radio stations. This interview program will focus on Central New York arts and culture, with information coming straight from the horses’ mouths: the artists themselves. Rush Limbaugh need not apply.
“Myself and two people at The Redhouse, Stephen Svoboda and Laura Austin, started talking last winter about creating a partnership where we could help facilitate bringing the arts and cultural community together,” said Peter Spartano, executive producer and vice president for broadcasting at WCNY. “We’re seeking people in Central New York who are artists and those who come to town for a performance or major event.”
Each interview, recorded at SubCat Studios, within the Redhouse complex, will air several times a week on WCNY-FM 91.3, as well as the public broadcaster’s streaming channels for oldies and jazz. Listeners can also go to www.
wcny.org or www.theredhouse.org to listen to a longer webcast of each conversation. During the webcast, if the subject is a visual artist, you can also peruse their artwork online while listening.
“With the Arts Talk page on the website we’ve created an events location, where we’re hoping to bring the arts and cultural community together,” Spartano added, “ a landing page that people can go to to find out everything that’s happening, focused on arts and culture.”
Arts Talk’s first interview subject is Phil Memmer, executive director of the Downtown Writer’s Center at the YMCA on Montgomery Street. While the program premiered Sunday, July 3, it will be rebroadcast several times each week, following NPR news updates, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 and 10 a.m., noon, 5 and 10 p.m. and midnight. Each Sunday’s broadcast is 6 p.m.
Memmer’s interview focuses on the variety of writers teaching and appearing at the DWC as well as how writers of the past affected culture differently than artists of today. Two subsequent shows feature Tina Zagyva, who will talk about her collaboration with the Redhouse and Lipe Art Park, and Syracuse Stage’s producing artistic director Timothy Bond on the company’s upcoming season.
“These interviews are more personality-driven than event-driven,” Spartano said, “focusing more about the process of creating art and the artist’s vision. At some point, we will add eventdriven interviews, if a major artist comes to town of if there is a major event, like last year’s Cezanne exhibit at the Everson.”
Spartano invites artists who would like to get the word out about their work to contact him about a possible interview slot. “The arts community is robust,” he said, “it’s growing and there is stuff going on that people don’t know about. Rather than have various venues competing for ticket sales, this is an opportunity for people to come together and support each other, and it’s part of our mission as a public broadcaster to inspire and educate and entertain.”
Interested artists can contact WCNY at 435- 2424 or The Redhouse at 425-0405.
The Lost Horizon, 5863 Thompson Road, hosts an afternoon of music, food, silent auctioning and fundraising for Steven Alexander, 33, a 1996 graduate of East Syracuse-Minoa High School and 2000 graduate of Le Moyne College. Called Steve-Stock, the event will help raise money to defray the costs of mounting medical expenses Alexander is facing. He has been suffering from kidney failure since he was 24 and is in need of a new kidney. He currently spends four hours per day on dialysis.
Lauren Kochian, who graduated from ESM with Alexander, was happy to organize the event. “It wasn’t my idea, but I have a lot of experience with events like this through my job at Syracuse Stage,” said Kochian, the company’s assistant director of development. “You know he would have done this for anybody. He’s a great guy.”
Kochian and her husband Ulf Oesterle, assistant professor in the Bandier Program for Music and the Entertainment Industries at Syracuse University, organized the details of the event as a team with Oesterle tackling the music and Kochian handling the auction, food, T-shirts and donations. Silent auction items were donated by the Buffalo Bills, Syracuse Crunch, Syracuse Stage, the Auburn Doubledays and more.
Alexander, a guitarist himself, picked the bands: The Failed States play at 2 p.m., Down to Funk at 3:15 p.m. and You and Yours at 4:30 p.m. Doors for the event open at 1 p.m.
Admission is $10 and food will be available from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Frank’s Franks, Karen’s Catering and Phoebe’s. Baked goods provided by Alexander’s family and friends will also be available and Alexander’s mother will be running a table with information about kidney disease and organ donation.
Kochian has many goals for the event including raising as much money as possible for Alexander and raising awareness of kidney disease and organ donation. But the largest goal is a little less serious.
“I just want to give Steve a great party,” she said. “We’ve got 200 to 300 people confirmed on Facebook and there are lots of ways to show your support: buy a T-shirt, buy a hot dog. It’s a great way to support Steve and have fun doing it.”
Donations to support Alexander may also be made via PayPal or on his blog: thekidney boy.blogspot.com.
Spokes People, Part 2
On the seemingly never-ending, yet still important, list of summertime charity bike rides is another, this one supporting Arise and its farm, 1972 New Boston Road, Chittenango. All proceeds from the ride support the inclusive recreation and education programs held throughout the year.
Arise & Ride at the Farm invites all to bring their helmets, their bikes and their families to come out to the farm. If you’d rather not cycle, families are invited to come out and enjoy several different programs offered at the concurrent Farm Festival, including an antique tractor show, arts and crafts, hayrides, games and a scavenger hunt.
Arise & Ride at the Farm takes place Saturday, July 30, although Arise is setting a registration deadline of Wednesday, July 13. Check-in on ride day begins at 8:30 a.m., and riders can embark between 9 and 10:30 a.m. Lunch and the festival begin at 11 a.m. Childcare is available for young children while their parents ride.
Registration costs $25 for a single rider; with family rates of $40 for two riders and $50 for three or more cyclists. The festival costs $5, or $25 for a family rate of five or more.
Arise is an independent living center formed in 1979 to create a just community in which all can fully participate, run by and for people with disabilities. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers, Arise serves more than 4,000 people yearly, offering services in Onondaga, Oswego and Madison counties. They are offered educational programs such as independent life skills training as well as several recreational activities.
Created in 1998, Arise at the Farm gives all people the opportunity to participate in activities that children and adults with disabilities usually cannot experience. The 77-acre working horse farm offers many different programs accessible for all people. Some include adaptive and therapeutic horseback riding, accessible gardening, petting zoos, and high and low rope courses. The farm is open for horseback riding lessons from April to mid-November.
Nancy Kronen, Arise public relations and development director, explained that the main goal is to allow every individual to participate. “We believe that people are differently abled, rather than disabled,” Kronen said. “Recreation is an important part of a full life experience, and everyone who comes to the farm has a chance to participate. You meet terrific people, and you really become a part of these people’s life stories.”
Laura Little, manager of Arise at the Farm since 1999, said the kids are the best part of the program. Little started as a volunteer and explained that help is always needed. “It takes a lot of people to run the farm,” she noted. “We always need more volunteers.” Further, there are many different ways to help.
“You don’t need to be a horse person,” Little said. “People come down and do side walking with the kids. Anyone over the age of 14 can volunteer, and it’s a great experience.” Little and the team at the farm hope this event will raise awareness to the public and let people know this outlet is available, whether they want to help or participate.
Ed Cook has been volunteering for a year, and began because he felt it was very important to raise awareness about Arise, located at 635 James St. He explained how the first time seeing the farm is eye-opening: “You’ll be there for five minutes and think, ‘Wow, this is just awesome.’” The things that are done for the children are really amazing, Cook noted. His wife, Svea, and two children, Emily and Teddy, also volunteer at the farm.
Tania Anderson, president of Arise’s board of directors, believes strongly in the mission of Arise, and is dedicated to furthering their philosophy of giving people with disabilities the same rights as those without. She can relate: Her 6-year-old daughter has been attending activities at the farm for three years now. “It’s a wonderful experience for any child. It’s an allaround warm and loving place,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s daughter enjoys many different programs at the farm, but the therapeutic horseback riding is her favorite. “She is learning and receiving therapy, but because she’s having fun, she doesn’t even know it. People at the farm couldn’t be more caring. They create a real bond with the children.” Anderson and her daughter plan on attending Arise & Ride at the Farm.
Barb Falkowski has volunteered at the farm for about five years. She suggested the idea of the bicycle ride. “I bike around here a lot, and I just thought it would be perfect,” Falkowski said. “Passionate” is the way she explained the program. “It’s just a wonderful group. The horses and the people, they all do so much for everyone, especially those with special needs.”
For volunteer, registration and additional information, visit www.ariseandride.org.