Ithaca Heartbeats

Here’s the thing about falling in love with a city: it’s all about the complexity. The richness of a place lets the relationship linger and grow over time — people are myriad and varied, the food varieties are endless, the music is always bumpin’.
Sunday was the second of two days of co-sponsored events brought about by Dan Smalls Presents and funded by Ithaca Beer Co. While Brew Fest is widely lauded — if upstate New York constitutes “widely” — Positive Jam is an event that has yet to grow to full maturity. Although it’s less attended and less publicized, I felt on Sunday that I was at the beginning of something big whose potential had not yet been realized.

Fall's Biggest Jam Fest: The Positive Jam

Some of you may remember my column last Friday when I waxed eloquent about the myriad of musical big-wigs who are en route to our humble town. You may also recall that included in that extra-ordinary line-up were two bands known respectively as The Hold Steady and Deer Tick, and that I gave a shout out to man-of-the-hour Dan Smalls, founder of Dan Smalls Presents, Inc. Well, this weekend, Dan Small Presents … the Positive Jam. Drawing a blank? Please, allow me to explain.

Going Rogue

This past Saturday night, the Cornell Concert Commission welcomed both new and old students alike with a free concert at Barton Hall. The contenders were Ithaca’s own Hubcap and California based Rogue Wave. While the former tried to intrigue new and old students with their alternative rock music and mentions of the ever so fine tastes of Ithaca, such as the all day music festival in Stewart Park next Sunday, the latter spent the majority of their set trying to rouse the Cornell corpses from their zombie like trance, which could have been attributed to the bleak weather outside or a general dissatisfaction with entering into or coming back to Cornell life.

Student Artist Spotlight: Steady State

The members of Steady State are an eclectic group of Cornellians with majors ranging from communications to chemistry, and interests ranging from crew to chess. In fact, the band originally started up in the most unlikely of contexts — the crew team. Members play multiple instruments; one, Gretchen Craig ’11, even playing an instrument not typically found in most bands — the cello. Daisy Glazebrook ’11 is responsible for the lead vocals and also plays the guitar. Mike Meubusch ’11 does vocals as well and can be found on the drums, guitar or even the tambourine. Neal Murphey ’11 plays the piano. Deke Hill ’11 does vocals and plays the bass as well as guitar.

Enjoy Local Music, Local Food

A few months back a friend and I were walking through the farmer’s market and taking in the beautiful autumn weather. As we reached the end of the market near the Gimme! coffee shop, a guitar and cello-playing duo was performing Weezer’s “Holiday” with a folk twist. Aside from grabbing my attention by covering an unlikely Weezer song, the duo was singing with so much emotion and love in their voices that this version of “Holiday” was a completely new listening experience. Only the lyrics remained the same. In fact, having no thought that they were anything more than band mates, I mentioned to my friend ‘how in love’ the musicians acted. Much to my pleasure, at the conclusion of the song, the duo announced that they had just been married two days earlier.

Come Together, Right Now

Friday night, Cornell’s Southeast Asia and Music departments came together, sponsored by the Breaking Bread initiative, to put on Songs from 24,615 Islands, a night of Indonesian and Filipino music. The Breaking Bread initiative at Cornell focuses on bringing diverse peoples together to share culture and establish common ground. The Philippines and Indonesia are two incredibly ethnically diverse countries, and in the spirit of coming together, two musical groups – one Filipino/Western and one Indonesian Muslim – applied to Breaking Bread.

All You Soul Searching People C'mon!

Buzzing neon brewsky logos and a bouquet of pool cue chalk immediately propel the stuffy Castaways of Ithaca to the über-echelon of hipster credibility for folksy, soulful rockers Delta Spirit. Drawn to Ithaca by local promoter Dan Smalls, rising stars Delta Spirit treated the two hundred in attendance to a personal and intimate set of tight, relevant, lyrically rich indie rock. For those unable to brave the perilous weather, the concert was broadcast live on WICB 91.7 FM: “The Station For Innovation.”

A Fairy Tale Production: Opera at Ithaca College

Opera inhabits the larger-than-life world of illusion and fairy-tale; we go expecting sheer fantasias of darkling grandeurs and flights of lovelorn paroxysms. But like Freudian dreamwork, the experience of opera-going may not be to elude reality so much as to enable us to digest the unforetold consequences of a reality that has leached into the mythic shapes of our shadowy under-thoughts.
Ithaca College has chosen two early twentieth century operettas based on fairy-tales for its annual opera production, Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon and Maurice Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilges. The two productions on the bill, however, could not be more different.

Student Artist Spotlight: Eva Kestner '09

At just under five feet in height, Eva Kestner ’09 is one diminutive powder keg. A founding member and now music director of Yamatai, the Cornell taiko group, she not only plays the taiko, an instrument that demands immense strength and flexibility, but has also trained on the piano and timpani and is now teaching herself the guitar. Standing in the basement of her favourite haunt, Lincoln Hall, this soon to be professional taiko player (and member of the Japanese taiko group Bonten) talks about her journey as an artist, her influences and inspirations and the future of taiko music.

Sun: How did you get involved in Taiko?