This year's field for the $2,500 AOA Startup Grant was very strong. There were a bunch of interesting, compelling projects.
But through crowd voting -- and an AOA editors' pick -- we narrowed the list of finalists to three.
And now we find out who's won the prize. Without further ado...
LarkFest was this past Saturday in Albany -- as you know. And a few bits/perspectives about the street festival are circulating today on the Monday after.
First, from the Times Union, word from that the Lark Street BID could make LarkFest alcohol-free in the future in order to cut down on the costs and complications related to the fest.
And from August Rosa -- a co-owner of the Lark Street beverage shop Brew, and a Lark Street BID board member -- a call to not change the festival. A clip:
... Albany events are so important, especially when surrounding towns (you know where I am talking about) are getting lots of buzz. They take chances. They have nothing to lose.
In fact, Brew might not have existed in the first place if LarkFest didn't exist. In 2004 as a freshmen at St. Rose I came down to see LarkFest on a whim and The Dandy Warhols were playing. I couldn't believe that one of the recent bands I downloaded from LimeWire was playing on the block! This was the first thing that established Lark Street as the cool place to be. From there I came down every week to grab a bite or pop into shops. I ended up living on the block in a few apartments. I ultimately opened up a shop here because I really do think that Lark Street can be what it was 10 years ago.
People just have to let it be. Lark Street is not a suburb. If certain individuals want to dilute Albany's culture then the businesses will move. ...
The topic of what the Lark Street commercial corridor is, and should be, has come up a lot in the last year or so as some people have said the stretch is in decline and others say it's just going through some cyclical change. The question of what LarkFest should be in the future fits right in with all that.
So, we're curious about your take on the future of LarkFest -- whether it should change, and if so, in what ways?
Noted: You can now be buried with the cremated remains of your pet in New York State. The Cuomo administration announced Monday the governor had signed legislation allowing such burials at not-for-profit cemeteries. (Cemeteries aren't required to offer this... accommodation... and the law doesn't apply to cemeteries run by religious organizations.)
The popular Capitol Hauntings tours at the New York State Capitol start back up again next Monday, October 3 and run (weekdays) through Halloween. And registration is now open. The tours are free.
Does the night watchman who died in the Capitol fire of 1911 still make his rounds?
Which two United States Presidents visited the Capitol after they died?
What happened to the "lost" Capitol murals and their eccentric artist?
Does the secret demon carved in stone hold a Capitol curse?
Come to the New York State Capitol for a special tour that explores these questions and other legends connected with this historic building.
There are two tours each day, at 12:30 pm and 5:30 pm. These tours are very popular and fill up quickly -- especially the 5:30 pm slots. So if you'd like to go, grab your spots soon.
image: NYS Office of General Services
The annual FilmColumbia film fest returns October 22-30. And again the festival will be showing films in both Chatham and Hudson.
As usual, the festival schedule includes a bunch of films that are already getting attention because of screenings at other festivals and/or they're eagerly awaited because of stars or directors involved.
This year's festival starts with a "James Ivory Tribute and Kickoff Celebration" screening of Howard's End, introduced by Ivory. There will also be a cocktail party with hosts that include Julianna Margulies, Parker Posey, Richard Dreyfuss, Lauren Ambrose, Gaby Hoffman and many other actors. (Tickets for that event are $150 each.)
There's also the annual unnamed "sneak preview" screening that's a surprise until it's screened. (Last year's surprise film was Spotlight.)
A few of this year's selections that caught our eye are after the jump.
Tickets for the general public go on sale October 15 at 10 am. They're $12 for day films, $16 for evening films. There are also festival passes for all films ($225) and all films + events ($250).
Many of these screenings do sell out, so if you spot a film on the schedule you'd like to see, it's worth getting tickets sooner rather than later.
You might remember that recent appeal from the state Department of Enivoronmental Conservation for people to consider some of the less-popular hikes in the Adirondacks this fall because of increased hiking traffic on some of the High Peaks... Over at the Times Union, Rick Karlin looks at the big increase in the number people using the trails and the question of how to handle the crowds. [TU]
The Capital Craft Beverage Trail is bringing back the Drink Albany event October 15 at Quackenbush Square in Albany. It's a celebration of the growing local craft beverage scene, with drinks, food, entertainment, and games.
We have a pair of VIP tickets for the event and we're giving them away. To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:
If you could make up your own Capital Region-theme beer/cider/spirt, what it would and what would you name it?
It could be something that's actually possible -- like, say, cider from the tree in your backyard -- or something more fanciful and out there. We'll draw one winner a random. That person gets the pair of tickets.
Drink Albany is Saturday October 15 from 2-6 pm at Quackenbush Square. Tickets are available online. General admission tickets are currently $15 until September 30, after that they're $20. There's also a $5 designated driver ticket.
VIP tickets are $50 each. And they include a special cocktail session with open bar from noon-2 pm that day in the Albany Visitors Center courtyard.
Important: All comments must be submitted by 5 pm on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon am on Thursday and must respond by noon on Friday, September 30.
Cuomo comments on string of corruption charges, rally against violence on Schenectady street, next LarkFest to be alcohol free?
Cuomo on allegations against Percoco, Howe, Kaloyeros, developers
Said Andrew Cuomo of the string of charges filed last week alleging corruption tied to his administration during a public appearance in Buffalo Friday: "I had no idea about anything that was contained in that complaint." He also said the RFP process mentioned in the allegations was "tainted" and called it a "systemic issue." [TU] [Politico NY]
Cuomo also said he's looking to push ahead with a second phase of the Buffalo Billion initiative. [TWCN]
Columbia Development CEO Joe Nicolla pleaded not guilty Monday morning to the charge against him in the allegations made by the state Attorney General's office regarding alleged rigging of the request for proposals process for student housing near SUNY Poly's Albany campus. [TWCN]
Here's a rundown of the many recent tax breaks and incentives Columbia Development has gotten from Capital Region economic development agencies in recent years. [TU]
SUNY Poly president Alain Kaloyeros -- who's been suspended without pay -- pleaded not guilty Friday to the state charges against him. [Biz Review]
The Cuomo admin says the state economic development projects Kaloyeros was overseeing have been shifted to Empire State Development. [TU]
Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (it's fall), to drama, to politics, to science, to cooking, to music...
Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ Here's the full music schedule for this weekend's LarkFest.
+ A map of a bunch of hikes suggested by DEC that are not the High Peaks. (DEC is concerned about overcrowding on trails during the fall.)
+ The schedule for the upcoming season of the Palace movie series is out.
+ Deanna pointed the cider donuts at Indian Ladder Farms as an exemplar of the category. And you can have them with beer or cider that's made there.
+ Say hello to our new area code.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: Henry Hudson, fur, Albany aviation, the hall of fame, splendor, Lake George, the Saratoga Palio, Szechuan food and karaoke, garlic knots, nachos, shiso, and a goodbye to summer.
+ What if there were mountain lions here...
+ A quick overview of the criminal charges and allegations involving SUNY Poly, Alain Kaloyeros, and a prominent Albany developer.
+ A (growing) list of movies filmed in, or set in, the Capital Region.
+ And the finalists in the AOA Startup Grant contest presented this week -- we'll announce the winner on Monday.
Here's the whole week in one place.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!
In a comment earlier this week, s asked about list of movies that have been filmed in -- or set in -- the Capital Region.
This topic has come up a few times before, so we figured we'd pull together a list (because Friday afternoon). It's not comprehensive, and we're hoping you'll have suggestions to add. We'll continue adding to the list.
Let's have a look.
Here's the list or parking restrictions and road closures from the Albany Police Department for LarkFest this weekend. (There's also some info about residents of Center Square and Hudson/Park using the interior roadways of Washington Park for parking this weekend.) (more)
Best-selling, award-winning cartoonist/author Raina Telgemeier will be in Saratoga Springs for an illustrated talk and Q&A October 21. The Northshire Bookstore-organized event is at the Bethesda Episcopal Church (41 Washington Street).
Telgemeier won the 2015 Eisner Award -- it's like the Oscars of comics -- for best writer/artist for her graphic novel Sisters. Her latest work -- Ghosts -- was released earlier this month and is already a best seller. As she told NPR this month about how the book deals with the subject of death:
I think most kids -- most people probably -- have some sort of fear of death. Including myself. And the idea of making it not scary but something jovial has always appealed to me. And so in depicting the ghosts in this book, and the skeletons in this book, I wanted them to be friendly. I wanted them to feel like they were friends. And it really spoke to me. And I've been in a position in the past few years where I've dealt with a lot of loss and a lot of people exiting my life in various ways. And so it was kind of also just an opportunity for me to kind of make peace with that, I suppose.
The Saratoga Springs event is Friday, October 21 at 6 pm. Admission is $17 for one seat and one book / $22 for two seats and one book / $27 for three seats and one book.
Welcome to the first weekend of autumn and a fall bounty of stuff to do.
It's a busy weekend, with Larkfest, Balloon Fest, the Collar City Ramble and all kinds of other good stuff. After the jump, a few things we thought might interest you.
Doing something you don't see here? Drop it in the comments so we an all see.
And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!
Reviewing the state and federal charges against Alain Kaloyeros, no allegations against Andrew Cuomo but there are questions, what do the charges mean for projects in Albany?
The big news is, of course, the announcement of charges against Joe Percoco (a former top aide to Andrew Cuomo), Todd Howe (another longtime Cuomo associate), Alain Kalaoyeros (the president of SUNY Poly), and a string of prominent developers across the state (including Columbia Development's Joe Nicolla).
+ The feds allege Kaloyeros tailored the request for proposals process for SUNY Poly administered projects in the Syracuse area and in Buffalo (the much-touted Solar City factory that's part of the Buffalo Billion) to favor specific developers. Here's an overview of the allegations. [US DOJ] [Post-Standard] [Buffalo News] [AOA]
+ Kaloyeros is facing charges from the state Attorney General's office that he was engaged in a similar RFP-tailoring scheme involving a proposed dorm project on the Loughlin Street land in Albany and Columbia Development. The state AG's office also alleges Kaloyeros was involved in two other schemes, one involving the selection of a contractor for the construction of a research building at the Albany campus and the other involving the an arrangement in which SUNY Poly work would allegedly be funneled to a prominent architecture firm renting space on the SUNY Poly campus. [NYS OAG] [TU]
+ State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called Kaloyeros's alleged actions "stupid" and "brazen." [State of Politics]
+ SUNY announced that Kaloyeros has been suspended without pay and SUNY Poly will under the direction of SUNY system executive staff. [SUNY]
+ Said an attorney for Kaloyeros in a statement: "Dr. Kaloyeros is innocent of the charges filed against him, and very much looks forward to being exonerated." [Biz Review]
+ Kaloyeros has been the key figure in many large tech/economic development projects both in Albany and across the state in recent years. And profile of Kaloyeros and his efforts at SUNY Poly from the NYT describes him as "a geek with big goals." [TU+] [NYT]
There's a trailer out for As You Are -- the movie that filmed in/around Albany last year, and was directed by Albany Free School grad Miles Joris-Peyrafitte. It's embedded above, have a look.
The film debuted at Sundance this past January and got good reviews.
It's set for a release next year, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The upcoming fall season of events at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy includes art openings, community festivals, talks, film, and concerts.
Here's a look at the schedule...
A timely Politifact New York article looking into which state has had the most corruption cases involving state-level public officials -- and guess which state came out on top. (Or is it the bottom?) There's also an interesting bit about how corruption grows out of culture. [Politifact NY]
Updated with details from the charges filed by the state Attorney General's office.
As you've probably heard by now, the office of US Attorney Preet Bharara announced public corruption charges against a group of people that includes Joe Percoco, a former top Andrew Cuomo aide, and Alain Kaloyeros, the head of SUNY Poly.
The charges cover allegations that broadly fall into two overlapping categories -- one focused on allegations that Percoco traded his influence inside in the Cuomo admin for bribes (or "ziti" as the money was allegedly referred to), and the other on allegations that Kaloyeros and Todd Howe, another longtime associate of the Cuomos, rigged the application process for large construction projects in Buffalo and Syracuse.
Bharara emphasized Thursday that the complaint includes no allegations against Andrew Cuomo.
The allegations against Kaloyeros are, of course, of great interest in this area because of the huge presence of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. So let's look at some of the bits related to those accusations.
Two Hamilton-themed events coming up that might interest you (because Hamilton):
September 29: History Happy Hour at Schuyler Mansion
As you know by now, Alexander Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler at the Schuyler Mansion in Albany. On Thursday, September 29 the historic site is hosting Hamilton-themed history happy hour. "Enjoy a selection of local beer, wine, and tempting hors d'oeuvres, while hobnobbing with friends and taking part in Hamilton-themed activities that can only be experienced at Schuyler Mansion!" $20 ahead / $25 at the door
October 17: Preview screening of Hamilton's America at State Museum
In October PBS will be showing a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of the Lin-Manuel Miranda Broadway musical Hamilton. Before that, on Monday, October 17, WMHT will be showing a preview screening at the State Museum with a reception following. It's free, but WMHT asks that you RSVP by October 14.
And you can always try searching for it: