Thursday, February 8, 2018

Re-live your Olympic Memories!

"Mountain Lake PBS Celebrates Lake Placid and the Winter Games," an hour-long special, examines the history and culture of the Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.

For this presentation, Director of Programming Paul King searched the archives of Mountain Lake PBS to find programs the station has produced through the years, all remembering different facets of the Olympic Games in Lake Placid.

Viewers will get reacquainted with legendary figure skating coach Gustave Lussi, whose famous students included Dorothy Hamill and Dick Button.  They will also hear stories of Eric Heiden, who won five gold medals for speed skating, and the "Miracle on Ice," a surprise hockey victory for the United States against the former Soviet Union, the defending gold medalists.  Mountain Lake PBS producer Jack LaDuke will show the audience a permanent exhibit at the Lake Placid Olympic Center, commemorating Norwegian figure skater and movie star Sonja Henie.

Portions of the special come from a show produced by Tomeka Weatherspoon in 2014, which won a New York State Broadcasters Award that year in the "Outstanding Locally Produced Show" category.  These segments include an interview with the Communications Director for ORDA (New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority) Jon Lundin, and a look at the Memories and Memorabilia event at High Peaks Resort.

Throughout the special, Lake Placid residents, lawmakers, journalists and athletes relate their own personal memories of the 1980 Olympic Games.

Mountain Lake PBS producer Paul Larson hosts the special.  Donning ice skates for the occasion, Larson talks about the opportunity the public has to glide on Olympic ice at the Lake Placid Oval, to create one's own Olympic-sized memories.

 "Mountain Lake PBS Celebrates Lake Placid and the Winter Games" airs Saturday, February 10th at 4pm and Sunday the 11th at noon.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Whimsical lecture celebrates a literary treasure in upstate New York

After a journey through the blowing snow to Malone, New York, over the weekend, I found myself ready to address a group of 45 people about treks to sites made famous by children's literature.  This would be the second time I gave my "Pilgrimage" presentation, the first having been in an academic setting in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

What struck me this time was what a great match the audience was for the presentation, even outside of a university setting.  I'd been invited to the Malone Lodge of Elks to address board members, volunteers and other people who had a strong interest in the Wilder Homestead, a regional gem of literary heritage.  The Homestead is where Almanzo Wilder grew up in the 1860s, with his family who created a prosperous farm in Malone.  Almanzo not only married Laura Ingalls Wilder, who penned the "Little House" series of books, but his childhood also inspired the second book in the series, Farmer Boy (1933). The audience at the Elks was primed to hear stories from someone who enjoys visiting children's literary sites in Europe and in the Northeastern United States, because they are all interested in the success and growth of the Wilder farm as a tourist destination. 

Even though my prepared presentation had previously concluded with the Wilder farm, as an example of a literary site one can visit in the eastern United States, it was a pleasure for me to sprinkle in more facts about the lives of the Wilders, the Ingalls family, and the Wilder Homestead throughout the lecture.  When I am praising the authenticity of some German sites, versus others that are mere tourist traps, it was easy for me to add applause for the authenticity of the Wilder house, as it sits on its original foundation and is the actual house where Almanzo grew up and where many adventures in the book happen. 

It was a joy to hear laughter from the audience members as I related my quirky adventures of getting into private apartments once inhabited by famous authors, and making a Yorkshire hotel lobby so aware of its literary heritage that the architects credited my persistence when completely changing its decor to honor an author's work.  After the presentation, it was great to hear personal stories for audience members who spoke to me about travels they'd made to similar sites, such as the Prince Edward Island house associated with Anne of Green Gables, and the many homes of authors in Concord, Massachusetts.  

Ken Carre, president of the Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Association, had invited me to the annual meeting of the association.  He reminded the group how in 2015, the Wilder Homestead was dedicated a Literary Landmark.  The site stands with pride as the first Literary Landmark in northern New York and the sixteenth in New York State.  It is the only “Little House” site to receive this recognition from United for Libraries. My thanks go to Ken and Karen Carre, and to everyone who listened and laughed with me at the Elks Lodge.

Photos courtesy of Rick Auger.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

MEMORIES of 2017 - Film Festival

My film with Montreal artist Philippe Van Eetvelt hits the big screen!  What an honor to participate in the Lake Champlain International Film Festival for the fourth year in a row.  The film, from my "Spotlight" arts series, focused on the innovative artist who sometimes paints with doctors syringes and devised a machine to help him paint with a piano.  The short film premiered at the festival this year, and I am excited to share it with a wider audience in 2018.  Another highlight for  "Spotlight":  nursing students at Pace University in Manhattan this past semester were shown the interview I conducted with author Roger Noyes, who wrote the biography of his great-great aunt, the notable nurse Clara Noyes, who helped advance the career of nursing in the early 20th century.