Interesting 2011

Interesting in 2011: Olivia Quillio

Olivia Quillio by Ashley Dzingle

Singer/songwriter Olivia Quillio.

All this week we're highlighting some of the interesting people we've gotten to know over the past year.

This spring Olivia Quillio won the Garage to Glory competition at the College of Saint Rose. Since then her music, songwriting and unique style have gained her a lot of attention in the Capital Region.

The Shaker High grad tried SUNY Potsdam for a while, where she was inspired by some of her literature classes, but unmotivated and anxious.

So she left school in her sophomore year to do what she's been doing in one way or another for most of her life -- write songs. She's been writing, playing and recording ever since.

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Interesting in 2011: Laura Glazer

Laura Glazer - Interesting 2011.jpg

"I can only really be myself..."

All this week we're highlighting some of the interesting people we've gotten to know over the past year.

Laura Glazer's voice has a breathy, tiny, childlike sweetness about it, but it's not the kind of voice you're used to hearing on the radio. Still, since 2003, she's been introducing the Capital Region to all kinds of fun and interesting music on her radio program Hello Pretty City.

A little over a year ago HPC moved from its morning slot on WRPI to Sunday nights at 8 on WEXT. With that move, Glazer pretty much doubled her audience, and in the last year we've noticed her hosting live shows, appearing with WEXT at shows like Larkfest and curating the music line-up for events like the Local Harvest Festival.

But we were first introduced to Laura through her wonderful photography. For the last few years she's been photographing Phillip Patterson's efforts to transcribe the entire King James Bible by hand -- a project that was featured in the The Wall Street Journal earlier this week.

In addition her fun pins and drawings, Albany wallpaper and other art projects help make the Capital Region a more fun place to live.

Laura came to the Capital Region about ten years ago after having lived in Virginia, New York City, Minneapolis, Texas and a number of other places, but she's made a home in Albany. As she preps for the first Hello Pretty City of 2012, we talked with her about music, art, Albany, pinball and the party at Sponge Bob's house.

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Interesting in 2011: Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian

harry tuntunjian with uncle sam statue

Outgoing Troy mayor Harry Tutunjian.

All this week we'll be highlighting some of the interesting people we've gotten to know over the past year.

After two terms, Harry Tutunjian steps down as the mayor of Troy this week. In his eight-year tenure as mayor, Tutunjian has overseen a lot of change in the Collar City: new development, the controversial demolition of the former city hall, and the plan for the new Riverfront Park which broke ground this week. Tutunjian's term was also marked by some rather public and acrimonious battles with the Troy city council.

One the things we've found interesting about Tutunjian is that he's made frequent use of Twitter -- to share news, answer questions from constituents, promote local businesses, make contacts, and jab political opponents. And while Twitter might not necessarily have always been the best venue, we think public officials communicating this way is generally a good thing. And we'd love to see more local officials follow Tutunjian's example.

So, as his last term as mayor comes to a close, we talked with @TroyMayor about his time in office, his leadership style, and the appeal of the Collar City.

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Interesting in 2011: Britin and Nick Foster

Nick and Britin Foster, with their daughter

Nick and Britin Foster, with their daughter Katie.

All this week we'll be highlighting some of the interesting people we've gotten to know over the past year.

Britin and Nick Foster took a big step this year when they opened a storefront for All Good Bakers, their organic bakery that had previously only sold at the Delmar Farmers' Market and via a community supported bakery arrangement. And they've seen success: the storefront on Quail Street in Albany has been one of the bright spots in a neighborhood that's needed a lift.

It's been interesting to watch Britin and Nick build their business -- both because of the way they seem to conscientiously make decisions about ingredients and operations, as well as their savvy use of social media to spread the word about their products.

And we get the sense they're baking up bigger things in 2012...

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Interesting in 2011: Samson Contompasis

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Living Walls Albany creator Samson Contompasis

All this week we'll be highlighting some of the interesting people we've gotten to know over the past year.

Drive around the city of Albany these days and you're likely to feel the influence of Samson Contompasis. He's the guy responsible for most of the large scale mural art that's been popping up on walls all over the city. He didn't paint it, but he made it happen.

It's likely you've heard of Samson before -- The Marketplace Gallery founder and operator is pretty well known on the Capital Region arts scene. But this past fall he brought the first Living Walls Conference to Albany. The event attracted internationally-renowned mural artists to Albany, and before they left, they transformed walls all over the city into public art. Some people like the work, others... not so much, but either way, it definitely got people talking. The conference also had workshops on sustainability and lectures, all of which Samson says were meant to create "an open dialogue between the people and city."

We caught up with Samson a few weeks ago while he was curating the mural art at Art Basel, an international art show in Miami.

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Interesting in 2011: Christian Noe

TOP2011 RD1 Troy christian noe

Christian Noe while judging the Troy bracket of this year's Tournament of Pizza. He was probably wondering what he'd gotten himself into.

All this week we'll be highlighting some of the interesting people we've gotten to know over the past year.

We got to meet Christian Noe from Nighthawk's Kitchen this year after inviting him to be a judge in the Troy bracket of the Tournament of Pizza. And we're glad we did. He was a great judge -- thoughtful, detail-oriented, and fun to hang out with it (always important in the TOP).

Christian started to make a name for himself on the local food scene when he won first place in the home-cooked category at this year's Mac 'n Cheese Bowl. Then he opened the Nighthawk's Kitchen stand at the Troy Farmers' Market, serving up some delicious -- and deliciously crazy -- comfort food. And then this fall he taught a series of popular cooking classes at the Arts Center.

So, Christian has had an interesting year. And it sounds like even bigger things could be ahead in 2012...

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Interesting in 2011: Mike Guidice & Jen Pursley Guidice

Mike & Jen Guidice (photo-Patrick Dodson).jpg

Hounds on the Hudson owners, and Albany chickens proponents, Mike and Jen.

All this week we'll be highlighting some of the interesting people we've gotten to know over the past year.

We've known about Hounds on the Hudson Mike and Jen for a while, but this year the owners of the local dog walking company became known more for chickens than for dogs.

When the city of Albany took away the chickens they'd been raising for years in the backyard of their Grand Street home, Mike and Jen, along with councilman Dominick Calsolaro and a group of dedicated volunteers, worked to amend a 10-year-old law that prohibits farm animals from being kept in Albany in order to allow for small urban chicken coops.

Word spread quickly through social media, and for a while it seemed that everywhere we went someone was talking about urban chickens. But the issue sparked other conversations about participation in local government and what it really means to be a progressive city. Regardless of the outcome, it was interesting to hear the various opinions.

The Albany chickens group campaigned, refined their ordinance and finally got it passed by the common council, but in the end Jerry Jennings vetoed the law and there were not enough votes on the council to override.

So after all of their efforts, Mike and Jen did not get their chickens back. We've been wondering what they did get out of the whole experience, and what, if anything, is next for Albany chickens.

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Interesting in 2011: Sarah Gordon

sarah gordon farmiemarket

Sarah Gordon and FarmieMarket's delivery van.

All this week we'll be highlighting some of the interesting people we've gotten to know over the past year.

We have a lot of respect for people who start something new from scratch. And that's just what Sarah Gordon did last year when she launched an online farmers' market connecting farms and customers in Albany County. Even more impressive: she's figured out how to grow it -- this year Sarah expanded the concept to become FarmieMarket, which includes farms and customers in all four of the Capital Region's core counties.

The idea for FarmieMarket comes from a very personal place for Sarah: her own family's farm in Knox. After using her digital savvy to help grow the family's grass-fed beef and hay farm, she realized she could also help other local family farms trying to carve out a spot in the market. This isn't just a business -- it's a cause. And a worthy one. Think about it: for every local family farm that's able to find its place in the modern world, there are ripple effects: open space preservation, economic development, better tasting food.

So, it's safe to say we're impressed. And we think after you hear a little bit from her, you will be, too.

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All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.


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