ISSUE 1 // MAY 2011
Roll with the Punches New Coach Whips Assault City Derby Girls into Shape
4 Summer Thrill Sports to Boost Your Adrenaline
School Kids Turn Off the Lights and Reduce the Cityâ€™s Energy Use
Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band Sets off for Pivotal Second Tour
Craft Chemistry // Owner Briana Kohlbrenner and co fuse art and merchandise at her shop
58 // Hell on Wheels
34 // ARTS Rhythm in the Barn
46 // DRINKS Craft on Tap
From folk to open-mic nights, Kellish Hill provides a stage for CNY
Empire brewmaster infuses local flavors to create unique beers
38 // VENTURES No Limits to Business
50 // OUTDOORS Thrill Ride
Local program helps disabled entrepreneurs start their own companies
Unleash your wild side with these four high-energy adventure sports
Assault City derby girls toughen up for their fourth season with a new coach, lots of face paint, and a power-packed crop of “fresh meat.”
64 // Faces of the Future Local entrepreneurs take innovative ideas and turn them into creative businesses.
68 // Energy Evolution School kids learn green living, starting with the transformation of their classrooms.
42 // TRAVEL Treasure Island
72 // Not Your Typical Jug Band
There’s 1,000 reasons to visit this hidden New York gem
Before kicking off their second tour, the Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band finds a new sound, adding folk to their signature blend of rock and bluegrass. Cover Image // reddleman01 via flickr
SHAKE IT UP
15 // Happy Birthday, SyracuseFirst 17 // Craft Chemistry Locals find art and merch in shop’s creative space
PULSE // 19 // Up, Up, and Away Hot-air ballooning takes off in CNY
8 // Letter from the Editor 11 // Calendar 27 // 5 Items Not to Wear to Work This Summer 27 // Here’s to You, Beautiful Stylist Claudia Kieffer gives the scoop on body image
27 // Flattering Frames How to find the perfect pair of sunglasses for your face shape
19 // Happy Trails
3 hikes less than 3 hours away that’ll get you out of the city and into the woods
20 // Band Spotlight Rule of 17
20 // Dine-In + Drive-In 22 // Your Twitter Questions Answered
4 things you didn’t know about creating a successful Twitter handle
22 // Family Portrait Art Rage displays photos of LGBT relatives this month
STRUT // 25 // Shop 'til you Drop Local vendors sell goods and food at regional market
25 // Renew, Reuse, Recycle 5 ways to transform your household items
CRAVE // 29 // 7 Whites for Spring CNY grape growers reveal their top-choice bottles
29 // Fiddling with Fiddleheads The springtime crop that’s got flavor and aesthetics on its side
31 // Caffeine Crawl 31 // Spring Seating 5 picks for outdoor dining
32 // Diamond Delish Chocolate jewelry makes for a tasty status symbol
32 // Sweet Treats Find an edible gift for mom this Mother’s Day
ON THE WEB // saltcitymag.tumblr.com
Executive Editor Daniel Bortz Managing Editor Kathleen Corlett
Advisor Jim Shahin
Senior Writers Patty Hodapp Kate Morin Katherine Salisbury Carine Umuhumuza
For the active, hip and aware. Salt City taps into the cultural pulse of young adult life in greater Syracuse.
Contributors Emmett Baggett Rachel A. Dobken Mary Ann Durantini Shaun Janis
Art Director Lauren Harms
Senior Editors Carolyn J. Clark Stacie Foster Alyssa Grossman Kaitlin Pitsker
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR //
llow me to introduce you to the premiere issue of your cool new friend, the monthly magazine Salt City. We named it after Syracuse’s long history with the vital seasoning. We hope Salt City becomes just as vital to your everyday life. Each month, we will bring you stories on crucial issues and on people making a difference in the life of the city. This month, in our features we explore an upand-coming band, environmentally-conscious schools, a new wave of entrepreneurs, and some hard-hitting roller derby girls. The cover story, “Hell on Wheels,” brings you face to face with some of the toughest girls in town: the Assault City Roller Derby team. These girls aren’t afraid to hit — and they hit hard. Writer Alyssa Grossman caught up with the squad before the start of their new season to talk derby nicknames, proper derby attire — think polka-dot booty shorts and shredded leggings — and the occasional derby wedding (pg. 58). By the time Alyssa finished interviewing the girls, they were already thinking up derby names for her: Control Alt DeletHer, ErasHer Mate, and Ghost WritHer. In Carine Umuhumuza’s feature, we take you into the living room of the Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band, a group that melds a clever blend of bluegrass and rock (pg. 72). “A lot of people think of us as this folky band,” says guitarist Adam Cohen. “And then they come to the show and I have my guitar amp turned up, then I turn on the wah pedal, and the tube screamer. That’s not folky at all.” We also delve into a city schools project that teaches students how to conserve energy. Writer Katherine Salisbury guides you through these newly green classrooms and how students are trying to reduce their school’s carbon footprint (pg. 68). Meet four entrepreneurs in our “Faces of the Future” piece who are creating everything from a straw that changes colors when it comes into contact with date rape drugs, to manufacturing fine-crafted rings that symbolize female empowerment (pg. 64). Our front-of-the-book provides sweet ideas for celebrating your mom on her big day, from chocolate jewelry to the city’s best bakeries. We also take you to America’s bestkept-secret getaway, the 1,000 Islands, less than a two-hour drive away. Salt City is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a dedicated and plugged-in staff. It celebrates life in and around Syracuse, and we look forward to bringing you the best of the area in the months to come. So go ahead, savor our first issue. We’re sure it’ll leave a good taste in your mouth. Cheers,
compiled by Kaitlin Pitsker and Katherine Salisbury
SPOTLIGHT: Sterling Stage Folkfest 274 Kent Road // Sterling // sterlingstage.com/Folkfest.html
In its seventh year, the Sterling Stage Kampitheater brings folk music to an audience in this campy experience. Bands range from the local Mike Bogan Band and the Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band to national bands, such as The Bridge. The crowd gathers for the weekend at the Kampitheater camping grounds, where the evergreen trees and the nearby Lake Ontario reflect the spirit of the earthy music. Tickets from $60 to $75. – KS
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Mountain Goat Run Syracuse City Hall Commons // 201 East Washington St. // 10 a.m. mountaingoatrun.com
Syracuse Chiefs vs. Rochester Red Wings,
Salsa/Merengue Class Series Academy of
Alliance Bank Stadium
Performing Arts // 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays through June 1 // $100/couple // meetup.com/cnydance
Beauty and the Beast
Crouse-Hinds Theater // Mulroy Civic Center at On-Center // $85 to $105
Celebration of the Arts St. David’s Church // Jamar Drive, Syracuse // 7:30 p.m. // Free
Modern rock by Ten Year Vamp McGillicuddy’s Pub // 5863 Scenic Ave // Mexico
8 9 10 11 12 13 14 New York Times best-seller David Baldacci speaks Mulroy
Civic Center Theater // 411 Montgomery St. // $30
39 Steps, a play that’s part thriller, part comedy
Mark Doyle and the Maniacs concert The
Stanley Theatre // Syracuse // $17.50 to $60
Redhouse // 201 S. West St.
17 18 19 20 21
Go Radio with Sparks the Rescue & This Century The
Lost Horizon // 5863 Thompson Rd. // $10
James Taylor in concert
Open Mic with Shocker
Turning Stone Resort and Casino // Verona // 8 p.m. // $85 to $120
Station // 58 Brewerton Rd. // 10 p.m. // Free
Cazenovia Farmers Market Cannon Park //
Albany St. // Cazenovia // 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pirate Festival and Classic Boat Show Long Island Maritime Museum, West Sayville
22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Converge with Burning Love & Trap Them The Lost Horizon // 5863 Thompson Rd. // $14.99
I am the Avalance The Lost Horizon // 5863 Thompson Rd. // 6 p.m. // $10
King of Trucks: All Truck Super Show Empire Expo Center // NYS Fairgrounds // 581 State Fair Blvd. // $12
James Taylor photo from pennlive.com baseball photo from blog.syracuse.com by Gary Waltz running photo uploaded to beginnertriathlete.com by cusetri truck photo from rightcoastcars.com/blog
29 30 31 TK 99’s Blues Brews & Barbecue Empire
Expo Center // NYS Fairgrounds // 3 p.m.
Sterling Stage Festival of Arts June 16-19 // 274 Kent Road // Sterling // sterlingstage.com/Festival_of_Arts.html
This four-day festival explores every aspect of the arts: music, paintings, sculptures, short and feature films, and storys. On June 18, Caravan of Thieves will take center stage as the festival’s main attraction, while vendors sell henna tattoos, and local food to attendees. Weekend passes from $50 to $75. – KS
Happy Birthday, SYRACUSEFIRST
by Lauren Harms
Think Local First syracusefirst.org dinelocal
ext month, the buy-local nonprofit organization SyracuseFirst celebrates its second anniversary. Committed to empowering the local economy, SF is making an impressive impact on our community. In Onondaga County, “buying local” – purchasing locally owned and independently operated businesses – could mean $130 million in new economic activity, the creation of nearly 200 new jobs, and a reduced impact on natural resources. Salt City sat down with founder and executive director Chris Fowler to hear his thoughts on the buy-local movement and where SF is headed. SC: How does it feel for SF to turn two years old? What do you feel you have accomplished in two years? CF: SF has begun to tell the story of how we can transform this community one purchase and decision at a time. Before our existence, there was not a public conversation about what kind of impact buying local and thinking local first can have. The ability that we have to create a conversation about how we change the health of our community, from an economic, cultural, and environmental way, has been incredibly rewarding. SC: What kind of a turning point do you think SF is at?
CF: Although we are still a very new organization, we have started to create a brand for local. Now we have to continue to develop ways to connect citizens, businesses, and the community to our efforts. This is a real challenge, but people are thirsty for ways to improve where they live. SC: What have you seen as SF’s biggest impact? CF: I have people comment to me that they now “think local first.” The number of businesses who have joined and want to be ahead of the curve really get me excited. SC: Have you seen an increase in local businesses getting started now that SF is here for support? CF: I do, and the data seems to back that up. A survey of the 2010 holiday season gathered data from 2,768 independent businesses. It found that those in places with a “buy-local” initiative reported revenue growth of 5.6 percent on average. SC: What are your hopes for the future of SF and the buy-local movement in Syracuse? CF: That 85 percent of all residents know what SF is and what our mission is. If this happens, the decisions made by municipalities, businesses, and citizens will be impacted and the transformation will be underway.
Strong Hearts 719 East Genesee Street Syracuse, NY // 315-478-0000
Empire Brewing Company 120 Walton Street Syracuse, NY // 315-475-2337
Isadora 191 Walton Street Syracuse, NY // 315-474-1006
SHAKE IT UP // GO SEE...
Locals find art and merch in shop’s creative space by Alyssa Grossman Science-averse patrons needn’t worry: The only chemistry you’ll find at this art boutique/gallery hybrid is the fusion of art and community. Briana Kohlbrenner, a Brooklyn native who fell in love with Syracuse culture, opened the Salina Street nook back in November 2009. This small shop features crafts and wearables in the front and a more open floor plan in the back, leaving plenty of room for art displays and creative gatherings.
But locally made prints, kitchenware, and accessories weren’t enough for the eccentric owner. That’s why she created Craft Chemistry’s artist of the month. “I was in a lull with my career and knew I could spark other people to make things happen,” Kohlbrenner says. Showing off his artwork this month is Cayetano Valenzuela, who creates paintings and line drawings on wood by rearranging and meshing his personal ex-
Shadows That Stir periences into colorful creations. Everything from skaters and punk rockers to family members and other artists is fair game for inspiration. Stop by this month for a dose of Kohlbrenner’s retail therapy and Syracuse’s local culture.
Craft Chemistry // 745 N. Salina Street // Syracuse // 315-424-1474 // craftchemistry.com Open Wed.-Thurs. 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Fri. 1 p.m. - 9 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
PULSE »19 entertainment
STRUT » 25 fashion + style
CRAVE » 29 food + drink
Up, Up, and Away
Hot air ballooning takes off in CNY by Patty Hodapp
A 105,000 cubic foot hot air balloon floats over Central New York’s green and blue patchwork quilt of vineyards, rolling hills, and the Finger Lakes. The air sits still, apart from the occasional release of fire and gas into the 70-foot canvas bubble that keeps the wicker basket dangling hundreds of feet above ground. “When you get into a balloon you’re part of the wind,” says Bob Grandinetti, owner of LTA Aviation, a CNY hot air balloon company with a seven-balloon fleet. “It’s peaceful,” and a hot spot for marriage proposals (the ring stays tied to the outside of the basket until the perfect moment). Just bring an extra jacket for chilly high-altitude temps. Gradinetti says you don’t have to be rich or adventurous to appreciate hot air balloons. He plans to host 20 balloons from across the eastern United States at the 32nd annual Jamesville Balloon Fest from June 10 to 12. The festival, which features a palette of local vendors, music, art, entertainment, and a nightly balloon glow, makes an ideal alternative for those who’d rather stay grounded. syracuseballoonfest.com
When You Can Fly:
Who to Fly With:
Flights take off from sunrise up to two hours before sunset and run May to October, weather permitting.
Balloon Rides Over Syracuse // 315-7279000 // balloonridesoversyracuse.com
How Much It Costs:
Liberty Balloon // 585-243-3178 // libetryballoon.com Airborne Adventures Ballooning Inc. //
Hour-long rides run about $225 per person 315-495-6544 // flyairborne.com — an adventurous activity for young LTA Aviation // 315-637-0730 // professionals committed to their desks. ltaaviation.com
by Carine Umuhumuza
Lush forests, mountain air, and breathtaking views are just a few perks of Upstate New York’s woodlands. With an abundance of hiking trails, the region offers nature-lovers plenty to explore. Here are three hikes with different personalities and skill levels to jumpstart your adventures.
Breakneck Ridge Loop Go Big or Go Home Drive Time: Three hours from Syracuse The name says it all — a challenging course for those seeking a physically demanding hike and an adrenaline rush. Known for its rocky cliffs, the 5.5-mile trail takes you through steep ascents and
descents. Some portions of the climb will have you rock-scaling, using both your hands and feet to make it to the top. With a vantage point of 1,260 feet, the views are well worth the strenuous climb. Views include Storm King Mountain, the Hudson River, and West Point Academy. Hudson Highlands State Park // Beacon // 845225-7207 // nysparks.state.ny.us/parks
Overlook Trail Beginners Welcome Drive Time: Two hours from Syracuse A fairly easy and short path, Overlook Trail is perfect for novice hikers. Colorcoded posts on trees throughout the path help hikers stay on track. With gentle rolling hills, the path provides a nice up–anddown tempo for first-time climbers. The path — a favorite trail for park regulars — offers three lookouts ideal for a picnic lunch and snapping photos of the view.
On the way down, be sure to check out the geologic rock layers and wild plants native only to upstate New York. Baltimore Woods Nature Center // Marcellus // 315673-1350 // baltimorewoods.org
Gorge Trail Couples Retreat Drive Time: Two hours from Syracuse Nestled in New York’s “Grand Canyon of the East,” this trail is perfect for a date. The Genesee River cascades down both sides of the trail, creating a serene setting. The path’s winding route under, over, and through the gorge gives hikers spectacular vantage points of the park’s three waterfalls. The trail runs east to west, so be sure to park a car on both sides of the path if you don’t want to make the trek back by foot. Letchworth State Park // Castile // 585-493-3600 // nysparks.state.ny.us/parks
Band Spotlight: Rule of 17 Two years ago, Alex Amadeo, Josh Barrow, Eric Anderson, and Will Anderson were just four college kids who could play instruments. They jammed once in awhile, but nothing serious. Barrow strummed the guitar—throwing in a little sax whenever he could—with Eric on the bass, Will keeping the beat, and Amadeo’s smooth voice leading the vocals while his fingers tickled the ivories. Soon enough, their jam sessions turned into band practices. When the four friends began writing their own music and lyrics, they decided it was time to form a legit band. They named themselves Rule of 17—a play on a guitar tuning technique called “the rule of 18.” Together, they approached their
Dine -In +
Drive-In by Kate Morin
get them into the studio, and fast. Jenna Loadman, the other co-general manager of Marshall Street Records, says the label is planning for a June EP release.
It’s a sticky summer Saturday night, 1953. You and your sweetheart are cuddled in the front seat of a classic T-bird, watching the latest film projected on a big screen — classic Americana. A set of speakers perch on your car window. Today, the screens are still big, but drive-in moviegoers tune their radios to hear the movie in stereo-quality sound. Though the technology has improved, the basic idea remains unchanged. Step back into the golden age of film and spend a warm night at one of three nearby drive-in theaters for some classic American nostalgia.
West Rome Drive-In
Finger Lakes Drive-In
About 39 minutes from Syracuse Perfect for: The classic drive-in experience, complete with the best modern amenities, like the full snack bar that stocks any candy imaginable. Plus, they’ve got plenty of bug spray handy. Shows: First-run films Open: Late April to mid-November. Shows start at dusk; gates open at 7 p.m. Price: Regular admission: $6; children 7-11: $2. Where to eat: Check out Fulton’s Red Brick Pub (224 West Fulton St South // Fulton // 315-592-9797). You’ll find delicious sandwiches and burgers, salads, and wings, all at reasonable prices. Texmex cravers should stop by local chain Fajita Grill (451 South 2nd St // Fulton // 315-598-5760) — it’s fast, filling, and perfect for munching at the movie.
About 55 minutes from Syracuse Perfect for: High-quality picture and sound on double screens. Last summer’s equipment upgrade does wonders for our eyes and ears. Shows: First-run films. First show, 9 p.m., second show 11 p.m. Open: Late April/early May – Early November Price: Adults: $7.50; children: 5-11 $3, under 4 free Where to Eat: It’s a bit longer of a trek out to Rome, so stop in South Bay on the way and eat an early dinner at one of the lake-front eateries. You’ll love Pier-31 (3653 New York 31 // Canasota // 315697-7007), offering classic fresh seafood dishes and other American favorites.
About 42 minutes from Syracuse Perfect for: Small-town charm. Shows: Triple-feature, first-run films. Family-friendly choices for the first showing each night. Open: Mid-to-late April through Labor Day; weekends at first, seven nights a week starting Memorial Day. Price: Ages 12+: $7.50; ages 5-11: $3 Where to Eat: Stop in Auburn center on your way to the theatre and choose from one of the dozens of classic pizza joints. A favorite is Avicolli’s (2000 Clark Street Rd. // Auburn // 315-255-1073), where you can choose from basic pizza pies and elaborate Italian pasta dishes.
Midway Drive-In // 2475 Route 48 // Fulton // 315-593-0699 // midwaydrivein.com
friend, fellow Syracuse University student Ryan Whitman, about getting a record deal. Whitman studies music industry in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at SU and co-manages a university-funded record label called Marshall Street Records. Whitman asked label execs to listen to Rule of 17, whose sound he describes as “up-beat alternative with a splash of jazz.” As soon as the band played, Marshall Street Records signed them. Rule of 17’s first gig, a performance at SU’s Jerk Magazine launch party in November, convinced the record label to
by Stacie Foster
The West Rome Drive-In // 5945 Route 69 // Rome // 315-336-9440 // westromedrivein.com
The Finger Lakes Drive-In // 1064 Clark Street Rd. // Aurelius // 315-252-3969 // fingerlakesdrivein.com
Your Questions Answered
by Kathleen Corlett
4 Things You Didn’t Know About Creating A Successful Twitter Handle In late January, @SyracuseU, Syracuse University’s Twitter handle, ranked second on Klout’s list of most influential colleges on Twitter — in line with the Ivy-Leaguers like Stanford (#1) and Harvard (#3). The Twitter analyzer, Klout, defines “influential” as more than size of audience — it also includes factors such as the number of retweets and unique tweets and how often an account’s
content is retweeted. As the university’s tweets may dwindle after graduation, media gurus come to town to see that yours don’t. On May 4, the BizBuzz Social Media Conference connects Syracuse small businesses with techsavvy professionals to discuss branding via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and blogs at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Liverpool. One of
Engage, don’t broadcast. Sending promotional headlines and advertising through your Twitter account doesn’t work. Frankly, it gets old. Ask open-ended questions about what interests your audience, and be aware when they respond @reply. Chen’s rule of thumb: 80 percent of your tweets should be business, the other 20 percent about more personable chit-chat. Reach 1,000 tweeps. Take 15 minutes each day to find and follow people who share your interests via Twitter’s search feature. They’ll often return the favor. By the end of a week, you have a sizable base of followers to receive your tweets.
Update at different times throughout the day. Not all of your followers go online precisely at 10 a.m., so mix it up. Tweeting around the clock reaches a larger audience. HootSuite, a tool for scheduling tweets, helps out the busybody by posting when away from the computer, but it’s less conversational. Don’t fall into the trap of excessive broadcasting, Chen warns. Be unique. Come up with an excuse to keep tweeting. This keeps you on your followers’ radar without making you sound like a broken record. For example, a quote a day from a local coffeehouse puts it on its followers’ feed, Chen says, and thus in their subconscious when they’re considering a drink downtown.
Family Portrait by Kathleen Corlett
Art Rage displays photos of LGBT relatives this month In one portrait, an adopted child sandwiches herself between two dads; in another, a mom stands hugging her son. ArtRage Gallery, an art house dedicated to social change, continues breaking boundaries with provocative programming like May’s feature exhibit, CNY Pride Families. This round of photos captures family moments in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, asserting that the family model is not cookie-cutter and challenging damaging stereotypes about LGBT unions and families. Each family portrait will be displayed with a personal statement from the subjects. The exhibit features family portraits
last year’s speakers, 20-year newspaper veteran and self-proclaimed “Twitter evangelist” Gina M. Chen, boasts even more followers than The Post-Standard (her former employer). Her blog, Save the Media, discusses how Twitter and other social media affect journalists. Now she dishes on how Syracuse venues should build a social media presence:
by Ellen M. Blalock, who began this project as a collaboration with Light Work (a Syracuse artist-run, non-profit photography and digital media center) and the LGBT Resource Center at Syracuse University in 2007. This exhibit runs from May 7 to June 18.
Local vendors sell goods and food at regional market by Kaitlin Pitsker
Bins and baskets overflowing with brightly colored produce are stacked on rows of tables. The following morning every square inch has been taken over by an eclectic assortment of household goods, DVDs, jewelry, and furniture. There are oddities to be found, but for Geno Elmos, manager of the Central New York Regional Market since 2002, and the hundreds of vendors, it’s just another day at the market. The market, which began in 1938, functions as both a farmers’ market and a flea market. Saturday farmers’ markets and Sunday flea markets take place throughout the year, but from May through October, the farmers’ market is also open on Thursdays.
“The nicer weather allows us to make use of our two outside tents again and welcome even more vendors to both flea and farmers’ markets,” Elmos says. With this additional space the market welcomes more than 450 vendors from May to October and 300 more vendors than space permits during the winter months. “Some of the best produce reappears in May, so there’s a wider selection,” Elmos says. “Some markets only allow one tomato vendor, one organic vendor, one of everything. We don’t do that, which means we have a wider selection and more competition.” The selection of produce, including local and organic goods, draws nearly 7,000 customers on Thursdays and
Shop ’til You Drop
26,000 visitors on Saturdays. Another 14,000 shoppers typically visit the flea market on Sundays. “Markets on Sundays have pretty much everything that’s legal to sell. Everything in the kitchen cabinets, household items, game. You name it, it’s probably here,” Elmos says. In addition to the small food court area, selling beverages and other refreshments, the market plans to begin providing free wireless Internet to customers by the end of the month. Central New York Regional Market Authority // 2100 Park St. // 315-422-8647 // Farmers’ Markets: Thursday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (May through October only), Saturday 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. // Flea Market: Sunday 7am-2pm
Renew, Reuse, Recycle
by Daniel Bortz
5 ways to transform your household items
For many people, spring cleaning feels like a daunting task, especially for the pack rats who hoard things well past their expiration date. Instead of throwing out everything that’s sitting in your basement this year, think of the environment and find ways to repurpose your items. According to Chris McCray, a design professor at Syracuse University, “upcycling,” is the latest trend. It involves taking something outdated and reinventing it, without spending a lot of money. Using some bare aesthetic essentials, McCray says you can make upcycling part of your vocabulary for this year’s spring cleaning.
Here’s how: Records: With a little heat, old vinyl can make for a great decorative bowl. Using a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, warm the record in the oven at 480 F° until it softens. Put on a pair of oven mitts and manipulate the plastic to form the bowl. Chairs: Before you throw out that battered chair, think about reupholstering the seat cushion with a cost-friendly piece of fabric from T.J.Maxx or Michaels. This will give the chair a revitalized look, blending old and new. Wine Bottles: Turn glass bottles into a series of flower vases. You can use the corks, too. Gather about 15, tightly arrange them in a circle, hot glue them together, and you have a clever drink coaster. Books: Tear out some pages and cut them into slivers. Glue the edges together and tape them to a lampshade. This will create an airy look that shows your appreciation for literature and the environment. Fabrics: Purchase a small wooden frame and arrange a variety of old fabrics in whatever pattern you like. Then use a staple gun to attach the fabric to the frame. When you’re finished, you’ll have a new piece of wall art ready to mount.
by Stacie Foster
When it’s 6 a.m. and you’re headed to work instead of the beach, summer seems more bitter than sweet. Instead of indifferently throwing on random clothes to get the day over with, keep this don’t-wear list handy to make choosing summer office attire easier:
Here’s to you, beautiful
Stylist Claudia Kieffer gives the scoop on body image by Kaitlin Pitsker Claudia Kieffer knows beauty. A fashion consultant and personal stylist who grew up in Camillus, she spent the last decade styling country stars in Nashville,Tenn. In 2006, Kieffer was diagnosed with breast cancer. The subsequent treatments caused her to reevaluate her life’s work and the ideas that came with it. She considered leaving the beauty industry for good but felt compelled to help women with their self-image. Kieffer recently sat down with Salt City to offer her thoughts for handling body hang-ups this season. On Self-Esteem: Being beautiful is not just about clothing. I don’t care what you look like. Everybody has body and self-esteem issues. Everybody thinks the worst of themselves sometimes and puts themselves down. We’re supposed to make ourselves feel beautiful, no matter what our bodies look like.
On Size: If you know what you look like naked, it’s easier to know your size and to know what you look like with clothes on. Sometimes that can be tough. I forget all the time that I’m not a small. Then I go into the fitting room and clothes are too tight. Size isn’t the issue, fit is. On Working With Celebrities: I’ve worked with some of the most stunning women in the world. Physically they can be perfect specimens of beauty, but what comes out of some of these women is ugly. That’s most of the reason I got out of the business of working with celebrities. On Real Women: When I work with real women it’s about helping them bring out their inner beauty. Finding the loveliness in someone is about how they talk, who they are, and what's important to them; not if they look runway ready.
How to find the perfect pair of summer sunglasses for your face shape
by Katherine Salisbury
For the heart-shaped face The Good Thing: Everyone loves a heart shaped face, although it can be challenging to find the perfect sunglasses. Experimentation is key, and don’t get frustrated trying on a few different pairs before finding “the one.” Celeb Twin: Jennifer Garner, Rihanna Shopping Hint: Look for bottom-heavy frames, such as glasses with lower set arms, to add width and bring attention to the lower half of your face.
For the round face The Good Thing: Your soft face allows you to wear geometric, bold frames that many other face shapes can’t pull off. Celeb Twin: Kirsten Dunst, Mila Kunis Shopping Hint: Look for upswept frames that draw attention to the top of your face, or try glasses with angular frames to sharpen soft facial features. The most flattering frames are slightly wider than the broadest part of your face.
Flip-Flops. Sure, everyone loves flip-flops. They’re comfortable, come in colors, and are easy to put on. But there’s a reason why you can buy five pairs of flip-flops for $10 at Old Navy: they’re cheap. Here's the flip-flop golden rule: If you’d wear them in the shower, you shouldn’t wear them to work.
Items Not to Wear to Work This Summer
Sunglasses. Lose the shades at the door. You need to greet and make eye contact with people when you walk in. Shades make you seem unapproachable. Statement T-shirts. Even if Obama really does “Barack Your World,” letting the entire office know your political ideology isn’t a great idea. The same goes for funny T-shirts. Most of the time they’re inappropriate, and when they are appropriate, they’re usually not funny. Save the jokes for happy hour. Hawaiian print. Unless you’re prepared to wear a grass skirt and hula your way into the office, leave the Hawaiian shirt safely tucked away in the closet. Better yet, burn it. Tank tops. Sleeveless tops might keep you cool in the heat, but they show too much skin. For the ladies, it’s almost impossible to hide bra straps and flabby arms. And men, you don't want to look like Kevin Federline.
Spring’s hottest item is sunglasses, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between dazzling and disaster. There are hundreds of sunglass options, and different frames flatter different face shapes. It can be frustrating to try on pair after pair, so it is crucial to know the type of glasses you want before walking into any local store. Here is the lowdown on what you should know about sunglasses and your face shape to find the perfect summer shade.
For the oval face The Good Thing: Lucky for you, the balanced proportions of your face mean you have a variety of sunglass options to choose from. Most frames tend to be a good fit on oval faces. Celeb Twin: Beyoncé, Jessica Alba Shopping Hint: Try square, rectangular, or other geometric shapes, which add angles to the soft curves of your face.
For the square face The Good Thing: Your strong facial shape is bold and unique, allowing you to choose smoother frames to compliment your face. Celeb Twin: Megan Fox, Demi Moore Shopping Hint: Try oval and round frames to soften your otherwise angular jawline. Glasses with temples set at the middle or top of the lens will help create balance.
by Patty Hodapp
CNY grape-growers reveal their top-choice bottles Come spring, wine lovers store heavier
reds back on the rack to uncork lighter whites. And since vineyards stir from their winter’s sleep in early May, you should do the same. We uncover spring’s vino favorites from local vineyards to get your list started. These seven dry, sweet, or crisp white wines pair perfectly with favorite warm-weather dishes. To satisfy guests at a backyard potluck, pull out these regional white wines that please all manners of taste. Swirl, smell, and sip — tastes refreshing, doesn’t it?
#2 Arbor Hill Chardonnay, $10.95 A dry, complex blend of 100 percent Chardonnay grapes aged in French Oak. This chardonnay pairs well with the lightly charred taste of grilled fish. Arbor Hill Grapery & Winery // Naples // 800-554-7553 // info@ arborhill.com // thegrapery.com
#4 2006 Traminette Classic, $14.95 Dry and spicy. Combines a fruity bouquet with a classic taste that complements all flavors. Wilhelmus Estate Winery // Canandiagua // 585-394-2860 // firstname.lastname@example.org // wilhelmusestate.com
#6 2008 Heron Hill Eclipse, $11.99 A fruit-driven wine. Blended varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc aged in oak. This wine pairs well with an appetizer of grilled shrimp drizzled in cocktail sauce.Heron Hill // Seneca, Canandaigua, and Keuka Lakes locations // 607868-4241 // email@example.com // heronhill.com
Fiddleheads The springtime crop that’s got flavor and aesthetics on its side by Alyssa Grossman
#1 Caywood Dry Reisling, $12.99 A dry wine with a subtle bouquet of peach and apricot. Pair this reisling with the smoky, tangy taste of barbecue chicken. Caywood Vineyards // Caywood // 607-582-7230 // info@ caywoodvineyards.com // caywoodvineyards.com
#3 Gelnora Barrel Fermented Pinot Blanc, $14.99 Delicate pear and citrus flavors complements a soft oak and vanilla bouquet. This wine enhances dessert like tiramisu. Gelnora Wine Cellars, Inc. // Dundee // 607-243-9500 // firstname.lastname@example.org // glenora.com
#5 2008 Casa Larga Gewurztraminer, $9.99 Dry, lightly acidic, fruity, and ideal with lightly seasoned or spicy foods. Try alongside a dish of curry-spiced baked chicken. Casa Larga Vineyards // Fairport // 585-223-4210 // info@ casalarga.com // casalarga.com
#7 2008 Shaw Vineyard Pinot Grigio (Li Bella) $14.95 Light, crisp, and dry with an acidic punch that leaves a fruity tingle on the tongue. Try alongside a light seafood pasta dish. Shaw Vineyard // Seneca Lake // 607-481-0089 // email@example.com // shawvineyard.com
To add a punch of character to your springtime meals, try fiddleheads – the green, coiled crop that sounds as intriguing as it looks. These crisp veggies taste a bit like asparagus and typically make an appearance on the farmers market scene. Pick ones with a tiny, leafy pattern along the sides of the coil and make sure that spiral part is 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. When you get your fiddleheads home, chop off the stem if it’s more than 2 inches long. Rinse them in cold water a few times to remove any dirt and cook as soon as possible. Need an idea for fiddlehead prep? Try out this recipe from Emeril Lagasse: Fiddlehead Fern Ragout We suggest pairing this springtime recipe with grilled salmon or steak to get the most of the seasonal flavor. Ingredients: 1 1/2 pounds fiddlehead ferns 2 shallots, minced 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 sprigs fresh thyme 2 cloves garlic, minced ¾ cup chicken stock 1 tablespoon chopped chives 1 tablespoon chopped parsley Salt and pepper
Directions: Grab your saucepan and bring 1½ quarts of salted water to a boil. Throw in the fiddleheads and return to a boil. Use a slotted spoon to transfer fiddleheads to an ice bath and chill them. Drain and pat dry, removing as much of the outer brown, tissue-like membrane as possible. Take a skillet and sauté the shallots in butter until they’re soft, about 2 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Once all the liquid is evaporated, add the chicken stock and cook until reduced by half. Add the fiddleheads and cook 2 minutes. Add the chives, parsley, and a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.
Caffeine Crawl by Kate Morin
For something that we drink every day, too many brewers don’t take coffee beans seriously. When you’re looking for an afternoon pick-meup this spring, grab a good book or friend and take a trip to one of the city’s best coffee houses, where the bean reigns supreme.
1 + 2 + 3 +
Café Kubal This best-kept secret of Syracuse’s coffee scene caters mostly to the locals of the Eastwood neighborhood. Café Kubal roasts its own coffee a few doors down from the eight-seat, counter-service café. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and passionate about coffee. Grab a shaken iced rosemary latte — made with fresh rosemary simple syrup — and take a seat at one of the patio tables. 3530 James St. // Syracuse // 315-299-8300 // cafekubal.com
Freedom of Espresso–Fayetteville The Fayetteville location of this local chain makes the list for two reasons: ample outdoor seating and the intoxicating smell of fresh roasting beans. A clean and modern atmosphere with comfortable seating, space to plug in your laptop, and free parking add to the appeal. Try the Ice Mocha Slush, made with frozen espresso cubes, chocolate, caramel syrup, and milk. 128 W. Genesee St. // Fayetteville // 315-637-1511
Recess Coffee Owned by Syracuse natives Adam Williams and Jessie Daino, Recess is a staple in the Syracuse University neighborhood. What started as a punk coffee-and-skateboard shop has transformed into a popular quasai-vegan hangout for hipsters. A mish-mash of tables, chairs, and lamps make for an eclectic feel. Order a large Iced Red Eye for your afternoon caffeine fix and watch students enjoy the springtime from the café’s front porch. 110 Harvard Pl. // Syracuse // 315-410-0090
Strong Hearts Cafe This environmentally-conscious coffee-lovers paradise offers an entirely vegan — and almost 100 percent organic — selection. The large windows, bright wall colors, and dark wood tables make it the perfect place to relax any time of day. In addition to espresso drinks and killer milkshakes, Strong Hearts’ menu boasts breakfast, lunch, and pizza (on Friday nights). Try the Sacco & Vanzetti vanilla and espresso milkshake or a Thai Iced Tea. 719 E. Genesee St. // Syracuse // 315-478-0000 //
Second Story Books Second Story Books, tucked above a Spanish restaurant in the Westcott neighborhood, offers high-quality coffee, espresso, teas, and a small-but-delicious menu. The soups, salads, and paninis change with the season, and usually more often than that. Order a classic macchiato and perch yourself at one of the tall tables in the center of the store, where you are surrounded by bookshelves lined with poetry collections, eclectic novels, and literary classics. 550 Westcott St., 2nd Floor // Syracuse // 315-299-6021 // secondstorysyracuse.com
Five picks for outdoor dining by Katherine Salisbury
Asti Caffe Outdoor seating opens in April, and Asti Caffe offers the option to enjoy an Italian spring meal overlooking Salina Street. Tables seat two to four people, offering an intimate experience where you can share a close conversation with anyone from business to romantic partners.
411 North Salina St. // Syracuse // asticaffe.com
This Liverpool restaurant, with a variety of menu options, holds more than 45 people on its back patio — a perfect spring spot to enjoy a sunny lunch. The opened umbrellas keep its green plastic and straw chairs in the shade, while giving the place a casual, yet fun, vibe. 302 Vine St. // Liverpool // retreatrestaurant.com
L’Adour Petite tables sit underneath a red, white, and blue overhang that shadows the windows of this French restaurant. L’Adour connects to a small brick patio, with wooden benches perched under tall trees to allow a serene escape from the city hustle and bustle. 110 Montgomery St. // Syracuse // ladour-com.wildtex.net/
PJ’s Pub and Grill Located in Armory Square, PJ’s Pub and Grill provides an elevated view of the downtown scene. The steakhouse’s green decor complements the brick of the surrounding buildings, and allows its patrons to enjoy a lively lunch amidst the bustle of the city. 116 Walton St. // Syracuse // pjspubandgrill.com
Blue Tusk This beer pub in downtown Syracuse lines the side of the restaurant with metal grated tables, allowing any sized group to enjoy the spring sunshine. A blue overhang with the words “white beer” printed on it and neon LED beer signs in the windows set the tone at Blue Tusk, where patrons can pair meat, cheese, and sandwich menu options with a wide variety of beer and wine choices. 165 Walton St. // Syracuse // bluetusk.com
Diamond Delish Chocolate jewelry makes for a tasty status symbol by Kathleen Corlett
For the mom that owns more necklaces than she has occasions to wear them, consider a sweeter alternative. The phrase “rich chocolate” takes on a whole new meaning with gem truffles, part of the edible jewelry line available through Promise Me Chocolate. This online business began in the studio space of Syracuse University’s Comstock Art Facility by Stacey VanWaldick, a jewelry and metalsmithing teacher at Oswego High School. Now, she creates rubies, diamonds, and rings from her favorite dessert — a gift attracting the attention of celebrities like Martha Stewart, who recently purchased 500 gem truffles for guests at a New York City event. Dusted with jewel-tone pigments, the gems range from solid bite-size jewels to larger charms containing ganache flavors of mocha, raspberry, hazelnut, and chocolate. VanWaldick’s pick for mom: the Promise Me Pendant. Picture a metallic heart the size of a half-dollar made from your pick of milk or dark chocolate dangles on two strings of licorice in bright color combinations. Customize it as a silver heart on red and blue licorice or silver on strings of yellow and green. It’s the newest addition in the line by Promise Me Chocolate, and mom won’t have anything like it in her jewelry box. Starts at $8.95 for a necklace and ships in two weeks’ time. Order online at promisemechocolate.com
by Carolyn Clark
Find an edible gift for mom this Mother’s Day
What better way to treat your mom this Mother’s Day than with some succulent treats from the area’s specialty bakeries. But every mom is different. Is yours a chocolate fanatic? Or is she more of a cookie monster? We clue you in on Salt City’s best pastry shops and help you make the right choice for your mom. We’ve found the best that Salt City’s bakeries have to offer. Biscotti Café and Gelataria For the true Italian mom Situated in the Little Italy of Syracuse, Biscotti’s serves up the best cannoli in the city. At $2 per creamfilled delight, you can buy enough for mom to try one of each flavor — vanilla, chocolate, and ricotta — or enough for her to share with you and the rest of the family. They also serve gelato and Italian pastries sure to make any Roma Mama’s sweet tooth satisfied. 741 North Salina St. //
Pastisserie For the chocoholic mom Skaneateles offers a lot of great food, but when looking for a chocolate indulgence for your mom, look no further than Patisserie. Sure, its artisan breads, muffins, and cupcakes look and taste great, but the chocolate croissants will please your chocolate fiend of a mother. At $1.75 each, these flaky, soft, yet decadent, croissants will solidify your spot as mom’s favorite. 4 Hannum St. // Skaneateles //
Syracuse // 315-478-9583 // biscotticafe.com
315- 685-2433 // thesherwoodinn.com/Patisserie
Nino’s Italian Bakery For the traditional — but nutty — mom Moms who love to bake and cook will tell you the way to make the best treats is to use the best ingredients. That’s why Nino’s uses only real almond paste for its almond paste cookies. No almond extract for these addicting morsels. Buy two pounds ($10 per pound) of the sweets when you go because mom won’t want to share hers. 1421 Lodi St. // Syracuse // 315- 422-8892 // ninositalianbakeryofsyracuse.com
Provisions Bakery For the classic mom with an urge to do good Some just love to have a few classic cookies to nibble on throughout their special day. Provisions offers such delicious staples as chocolate chip and half-moon cookies for $1 to $1.50. Looking for something a little richer for mom’s special treat? The Chocolate Ultimate cookie ($1.75), with rich chocolate and pecans, will do the trick. And because Provisions benefits Transitional Living Services, you’ll be showing mom you learned from her how to help and care for others. That’s sure to earn some brownie points. 216 Walton St // Syracuse // 315-472-3475
Geddes Bakery & Pastry Shop For the mom who likes to try new things As a Greek bakery, Geddes still delivers delicious Italian cookies, but also caters to different tastes. Its baklava ($1.50 per triangle) strikes the perfect balance between sweet honey and nuts. And the tomato pie can help your mom broaden her tastebud horizons. If you think she’d prefer something on the safer side, pick up a few of the cherry or apple turnovers (also $1.50 each) to brighten mom’s morning. 421-423 S. Main St. // North Syracuse // 315-437-8084 // geddesbakery.com
photography by Kaitlin Pitsker
Rhythm in the Barn
by Kaitlin Pitsker
From folk to open-mic nights, Kellish Hill provides a stage for CNY
riving through the outskirts of Manlius, there’s no shortage of barns. Old-time red, wooden barns with horses’heads protruding through stall windows, abandoned barns made of rotten brown wood, and the modern sheet-metal structures built to replace them, speckle the miles of land. Kellish Hill Farm stands out, not only for the two bright- yellow wheels that line the driveway leading to the 152-acre farm, but also for its blend of agriculture and music. Six years ago, Kathy Kellish and her husband Rick Harding began inviting bluegrass and old-time musicians to the operational farm owned by her family since 1948. Since then, the music hasn’t stopped. The music has, however, diversified. Kellish Hill’s bluegrass roots are now peppered with other musical flavorings, like the Native American drumming of Cornbread and Battle of the Bands competitions. “I like to think of it as a sanctuary for all types of music,” Kellish says. The sheet-metal building is classic barnyard red, with room for 100 people. Its main floor features barn doors that open wide into the parking lot, which allows for use of a tent to expand the performance space if necessary. A 30-foot flatbed trailer serves as the
Barnyard Beat // Kathy Kellish shows off the stage in her family’s barn that often doubles as a dancefloor during lively shows.
stage and rows of chairs easily give way to dance space. The farm’s Sunday afternoon jams stick to the classic mix of country and bluegrass that includes well known tunes and original creations, but anything goes during open-mic night on Thursdays. A monetary donation and a dish to share for dinner cover admission, while a "cuss jar" sits on a table collecting $0.25 a curse word to raise funds. “We have our weekly events, but we’re always trying to run workshops and bring in something new, especially local musicians and ethnic groups,” Kellish says. Come July, the venue will host the first annual American Music Festival, bringing the natural amphitheater on the property back into use. Held in the second week of July, the event will feature medieval instruments and music that highlights the relationship between French and American influences. “People will try different types of music, but they’ll always go back to what they’re comfortable with,” Kellish says. “This is especially true during economic times like these, when people stay closer to home and tend to go back to their roots.” She recalls listening to nearly every specialty hour on the radio while growing up in the house across the street. “My parents were very open-minded to all sorts
of music,” she says. “It was just second nature to bring music back to the farm.” Playing music is what farmers do after the day’s work is through, says Harding, the primary caretaker of crops as well as the Irish Dexter cattle, miniature and draft horses, llamas, goats, and other livestock.
Afternoon Duet // Kellish kicks back with longtime friend Mark Matthews as the two perform for a small audience on autoharp and guitar. The pair plays their own tunes as well as renditions of other favorites. Smaller gatherings generally move to the 1800s farmhouse, complete with an extensive and assorted collection of Americana décor. The smaller performance space, often including a ring of chairs that stretches through the living room and
into the open kitchen, frequently provides lodging for wayfaring musicians. “We like to think of ourselves as the island of misfit musicians,” Kellish says. “Everyone has a home here. We’ve got young farts here. We’ve got old farts here. Music bridges the gap.” John Wolford, owner of Wolf Tracks and the man behind the sound technology at Kellish Hill, sees the farm as a unique music venue. “It really cultivates an environment for people to come up here and experience playing their music,” he says. “It’s an awesome opportunity to hone your skills in front of a friendly audience and learn from others.” Kellish taps into that friendly audience to keep the farm operating. “Everybody pitches in, and we rub our pennies together to make this work. There’s been times that I take the money at the gate, be the emcee, and refill the toilet paper, too. I couldn’t do it without all the help,” she says, gesturing to the half dozen friends-turned-family in the farmhouse. Mark Matthews, who began frequenting the farm four years ago, has watched the farm progress and its musical family grow. “Kellish Hill is no longer the bestkept secret in Manlius,” he says. “People come here through word of mouth, but you come through the door once, and you’re a member of the family forever.”
photography by Shaun Janis
No Limits to Business
by Carolyn Clark
Local program helps disabled entrepreneurs start their own companies
ella Brown sits behind the counter of her taco eatery, going through papers and making sure her two employees complete their tasks. Her small counter-service restaurant, Tacolicious, decorated with brightly painted walls and Mexican-themed banners, is the fulfillment of a long-held dream. Brown didn’t have the resources to start her own business. So, in February 2008, she turned to the South Side Innovation Center, a Syracuse University-run center that helps entrepreneurs launch businesses. Because Brown is a disabled Onondaga County resident, she worked with the center’s Inclusive Entrepreneurship program, which helps people with disabilities in Onondaga develop and sustain small businesses. Through the program, Brown met with an advisor, developed a business plan, and took classes on entrepreneurship. Co-founder and senior vice president Gary Shaheen started the program seven years ago as Start-Up NY, which began as a grant program through the Office of Disability Employment Policy. That office is a faction of the federal Department of Labor that caters specifically to those with employment-affecting disabilities.
Open for Business // With help from Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Della Brown overcame her disability and opened her dream taco store.
Shaheen helped battle unemployment among people with disabilities, which, he says, reaches more than 65 percent of the population. The number of self-employed people with disabilities, Shaheen says, is less than 1 percent. Start-Up NY aimed to train 150 people with disabilities in business planning and to assist 30 in business start-ups. In his first year, Shaheen worked on developing the program. He wanted to carefully build a comprehensive and integrated program that involved everyone from business consultants and doctors to family members and friends. Enrollment started in the second grant year and, by the third and final year, Start-Up NY served 150 disabled persons and helped start 50 businesses. Although the grant ended, the program continued — and so did its success. To date, 220 people have been trained and nearly 60 businesses started. Shaheen estimates there are approximately 68,000 people with disabilities in Onondaga County. “How many of those people are working?” he asks. “Roughly 35,000 people. Or more. Some of those people may want to start their own business — certainly more than the 220 people that we’re serving now.” Part of the project includes involvement from Syracuse University students. In spring 2011, 30 students enrolled in Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises, taught by Shaheen in the Martin J. Whitman School of Manage-
All Smiles // Brown works alongside one of her employees. In addition to the Tacolicious staff, she works with six SU students as part of the Inclusive Entrepreneurship program.
ment. Students form teams based on interests, majors, and strengths. They play the role of business consultants, assisting Syracuse entrepreneurs from the Inclusive Entrepreneurship program and receive college credit for their efforts. The students meet with the entrepreneurs on a weekly basis to familiarize themselves with the businesses, the owners, and their strengths and weaknesses. They then develop and implement new business ideas. Brown works with six students who call themselves The Big and Cheesy. “They’re awesome,” she says. “They’re bright, creative, and know more about business than I do.” She’s implemented one of their ideas: Tacolicious now uses white slips of paper with a list of the taco toppings available and employees are required to fill one out according to customers orders. This helps Brown keep better track of inventory and food needs. Steven Noles, one member of The Big and Cheesy, enrolled in the class to get hands-on experience working as a consultant with a small-business owner. “We get to help these entrepreneurs develop their businesses, so they can improve and make a profit even after our work with them is done,” Noles says. At the end of the course, Shaheen surveys his students to find out how they’ve changed from the experience. “Most of these students don’t really have much experience working with people with disabilities,” he says. “Maybe they have a relative or a friend, but most students report that this was one of the first times that they’ve dealt with the barriers and obstacles associated with disabilities.” Brown, who has had debilitating problems with her feet and legs, thinks the driving force behind Inclusive Entrepreneurship is not the disabilities people have, but rather their ideas and business goals. She tucks herself behind the counter and watches her employees pile tacos and nachos with cheese, lettuce, jalepeños, and other toppings. She makes calls to payroll services; she’s recently hired someone and wants to get them started right away. “My husband was always bugging me to start my own business,” Brown says. “I knew how to cook, but I didn’t know how to run a business. They gave me the training and the tools. And now I’m looking forward to more marketing and getting my name and business out there.”
aerial islands photo from warrior481.blogspot.com Boldt castle photo uploaded to flickr.com by Robert Scott Photography.ca
TRAVEL // Treasure Island
by Kate Morin
There’s 1,000 reasons to visit this hidden New York gem
peedboats zip through channels. Scuba divers explore 100-year-old wrecks. Fishing boats unload the daily catch. Welcome to the 1,000 Islands, one of the nation’s best kept vacation secrets. Situated 90 miles northeast of Syracuse, between the United States and Canadian borders, the islands — 1,864 of them to be exact — speckle a 100-mile stretch of the pristinely blue St. Lawrence River. The area was made famous by the salad dressing, which wealthy hotelier George C. Boldt started serving in his hotels after tasting it aboard his yacht. But the islands have more to offer than condiments. Once home to the summer cottages of New York City’s richest socialites, the 1,000 Islands has changed a lot over the years. Even though gigantic mansions line the shores, local towns have budget-friendly accommodations, restaurants, and shopping areas. You can make the two-hour trek for a weekend getaway without breaking the bank. Here’s how.
View from Above // To be considered a part of the 1,864, each island needs to be above water year round and have at least two living trees.
When to go: Warmer summer months are a safe bet, but prep yourself to battle large crowds for beach space and restaurant seating. In late May the throngs of summer tourists haven’t invaded yet and temperatures hover in the low 60s. How to go: Save and go by car, riding I-81 North for about two hours until you hit the river. Have a boating license handy? Splurge on a yacht rental on Lake Ontario and motor your way from Oswego up the river to your first 1,000 Islands stop. Opt for a waterfront hotel or cottage site that offers space to dock your boat, but plan ahead — spots fill up fast. Where to Go: Alexandria Bay, N.Y. is a quaint waterfront village famous for its rich history — literally. A-bay, as locals call it, is just a short boat ride to Millionaire’s Row, where 19thcentury socialites built their grandiose summer homes. Visit landmarks like the 120-room Boldt Castle on Heart Island, which George C. Boldt, owner of the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, built for his wife as a summer home. Wine lovers can save by visiting the 1,000 Islands Winery in Alexandria Bay (thousandislandswinery.com). Save on six free samples or splurge on 14 samples and a souvenier glass for $5. Or, splurge on a romantic hot air balloon ride, with Champagne Balloon Adventures — the best way to see the landscape (balloonadventures.com). Splurge on a weekend at The Captain Visger House, an elegant bed and breakfast with just four rooms and
stellar hospitality, at $189 to 199/night (captainvisger.com). Save and stay at the Otter Creek Inn, a short walk from the main drag in town (ottercreekinnabay.com). For dinner, save by grabbing a cheap slice of pie at Cavallario’s Bayside Pizza (315-482-4438) and take a seat at one of the porch tables for a great open view of the river. For something more substantial, splurge at Das Village Haus (dasvillagehaus. com), where a main course runs from $9 to $24 and includes international favorites from French Provincial to classic Italian. After dinner, move bar-to-bar for a few drinks. Don’t miss the ship-shaped bar at The RiverBoat Bar (riverboatriverhouse. com), and the live music at Pirate’s Pub (315-482-3607). Gananoque, Ont. a picturesque Canadian town, is perfect for any adventurer. The town is small, but the surrounding landscape draws tourists for the boating, diving, walking, and biking. Splurge on a guided kayak tour of nearby islands in Canada’s Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve with 1,000 Islands Kayaking (1000ikc.com), which offers programs of every level and length. Save and stay on dry land by taking advantage of the walking or biking trails in and around town. For chic, modern amenities on a budget, save on a weekend in an Absolute 1,000 Islands Suite (absolutelocations.net) at about $130 per night. For more upscale accommodations, splurge on a suite at the Gananoque Inn (gananoqueinn.com), $195 to $295 per night. Save by eating at Maple Leaf Restaurant, (mapleleafrestaurant.ca) where you can enjoy classic Canadian fare on a European-esque
patio for $6 to $14. Splurge on a gourmet dinner at The Athlone Inn (athloneinn. ca), where the executive chef prepares contemporary French cuisine, with main courses ranging from $26 to $32. Kingston, Ont. is the city slicker’s 1,000 Islands paradise. Its bustling restaurant scene and Queens University make Kingston a popular getaway for Toronto natives. The city’s lakeside parks bring nature to the metropolis. Save and rent bikes for a ride around the city for the perfect blend of sightseeing and waterfront hospitality in an urban setting. Follow the waterfront trail from Portsmouth Olympic Park to City Park, about 1.5 miles (waterfronttrail.org). To extend your trip, take the free Wolfe Island Ferry across the harbor to hit some more rural trails. Feel like a splurge? 1,000 Island Cruises offers great lunch, dinner, and cocktail cruises to get out on the water and see the scenery up close (1000islandscruises.on.ca). Save and stay at Jean’s Guest House, a classic home style bed and breakfast in the heart of Kingston. At just $85 a night for a double, it’s a steal (613-546-5247 // pnworks.com/guesthouse). For something more extravagant, splurge on a suite at the Confederation Place Hotel right on Kingston Harbor and a short walking distance from bustling nightlife. Save on a moderately-priced light lunch or dinner ($9 to $18) at Atomica for gourmet pizza, great wine, and inventive cocktails (atomica.ca). For a dinner on the water, splurge at Aqua Terra (aquaterrabyclark.com), which costs from $20 to $36. Get a table by the wraparound windows for a great view.
Heartbroken Building // George C. Boldt built Boldt Castle on Heart Island for his wife. When she died suddenly, he ceased construction, and it remains unfinished to this day.
photo by Carolyn Clark
Craft On Tap
by Patty Hodapp
Empire brewmaster infuses local flavors to create unique beers
im Butler’s thick, tattooed forearms barely strain as he opens the heavy glass door to Empire Brewery, which lies in full view of the bar’s customers. He jokes that it feels like a dry aquarium where he and his assistant, John Sullivan, brew on display behind the large glass windows. In the brewery, stacks of kegs line the walls of a cooling room. Multi-colored beer tubes weave together overhead. Pungent air trapped inside smells of stale beer, wet cement, baking bread, and the unlikey scent of cinnamon and lavender. Empire’s brewmaster stops next to an empty keg and puts his foot up on the rim, his hands on his hips. He pushes reddish shoulder-length hair off his neck, strokes his beard, and turns his gaze to the massive barrels. “So this is pretty much it,” he says, gesturing to seven large copper and stainless steel barrels, each six to eight feet tall. Even by craft brewing standards, Empire is small. While craft brewers can produce up to 60,000 barrels, or 120,000 kegs annually, Empire brews 1,100 barrels, or 2,200 kegs. That’s about to change. David Katleski, Empire’s owner, plans to break ground on a 22-acre property in Cazanovia by 2013. Butler will oversee the plans for a 30-barrel brewery, more than four times the size of Empire’s current brewpub. It will also include
Brewed to perfection // Tim Butler, Empire’s brewmaster, started crafting beer with a homebrew kit he unwrapped at Christmas in 1997.
DRINKS // 48
garden patches to grow fresh, organic food used in recipes for both the restaurant and the beer. To satisfy the demand for his brews from New York City until he can make larger batches, Butler contracts with Kelso Brewery in Brooklyn. Kelso’s brewers use his recipes and distribute to taps in restaurants and bars around the city. In addition, Butler was one of only five New York brewers invited to an exclusive dinner at the renowned Blue Hill Farm restaurant in NYC in January. Dan Barber, executive chef, assigned each brewer one ingredient to create a beer that would complement a dish on the menu. He assigned wheat, to pair with the sausage main course, to Butler, who brewed a wheat wine. Butler loves pairing food with beers, pulling from his previous experience as a chef. “I dig the culinary aspect of life,” Butler says. “I translated that love for flavor and creation into the brewing business.” Butler attributes the start of his brewing career to his wife, Lisa, who demanded he find a new hobby. Butler started brewing the Christmas of 1997 when Lisa bought him a $100 homebrew kit. He brewed his first pale ale on top of their old electric stove. While Lisa said the ale wasn’t perfect, to their surprise, it came out infection-free. Difficult to clean, homebrew kits are likely to input chemical impurities in the beer. “You can taste infections instantly,” Lisa says. “It tastes like moldy, musky bread, but his first batch had none of that.” Perhaps a good omen. Shortly after, Butler started bottling at The Towpath Brewing Co. in Syracuse and moved up to assistant brewer before the brewhouse closed. Fast forward 10 years and Butler oversees Empire’s brewing operations, where he brews beer recipes made from local ingredients. On Butler’s workbench rests a Dell laptop, a gray sweatshirt, a paintbrush, a can of WD-40, allspice, a brewing calendar, and Empire’s holy grail: five 6-inch binders containing records of every batch of beer Bulter has ever brewed. “It’s hard to know what people like because taste is so particular, so I brew for myself,” Butler says. “I know that whatever I produce will be drinkable and customers tend to like it. If not, I listen.” He brews Deep Purple with Concord grapes from the Finger Lakes Organic Growers Cooperative. He picks, hand-mashes, and roasts local
photo by Carolyn Clark
photo by Carolyn Clark
pumpkins for his Autumn Pumpkin Ale, and spices the White Afro Belgian with ginger and lavender, drawing inspiration from fruits, spices, and vegetables he finds at regional farmers markets. Most of all, craft beer caters to customers’ increasing demand for unique flavor. “Craft beer was pioneered by people who said, 'Hey, I like this beer, so there must be other people who will like it too. I’m going to make the kind of beer I like and find other people who like it, too,’” says Ray Daniels, president of the Craft Beer Institute.
On Friday night, Butler stands at the corner of Empire’s long mahogany bar, arms crossed. Bartenders manipulate taps of flowing beer, playing their own sort of musical instrument in unison with the blaring rock music. They pass the beer across the bar. Customers sip and smile — Butler’s favorite part about the whole brewing process. “The look on their faces is what it comes down to,” Butler says. “It means something when people spend their hard-earned money on something you create.”
hang glide photo uploaded to panoramio.com by flyhigh013 rafting photo uploaded to picasaweb.google.com by anoop g
OUTDOORS // Thrill Ride
by Stacie Foster
Unleash your wild side with these four high-energy adventure sports
alling all daredevils: Get your adrenaline pumping this summer with extreme sports. These activities aren’t for the faint of heart — they’re for the thrill seekers and adventure lovers. They might seem dangerous, but they’ll satisfy the kind of rush all adrenalinejunkies crave. Here are the most enticing adventures Central New York has to offer: Hang Gliding: For a long-lasting thrill, hang gliding provides a great option. Mountain Wings Hang Gliding, located in Ellenville’s hilly terrain at the base of the Catskill Mountains, is considered the hang gliding capital of the northeast. “Hang Gliding is a sport that is easy to pick up,” says Mountain Wings owner Greg Black. “A lot of times, people come and get lessons with the intention of going once or twice and then end up purchasing their own gliders.” Mountain Wings offers flight lessons Monday through Friday at $140 per two-hour session. Weekend sessions are $40 extra per lesson, but last two hours longer. Earning a pilot's license is the ultimate goal for anyone who chooses to stick with hang gliding. A pilot glider can spend hours in the air, depending on her jumping point. Moun-
Bird’s-eye View // A hang glider soaks in the sights as he soars peacefully over the Catskills.
tain Wings record glide clocked in at 11.5 hours. The center also trains pilots through its “Eagle 1” package, which costs $1,895. The price includes full use of Mountain Wings’ equipment and unlimited gliding until you reach a “hang 3” rating, and can glide by yourself. When making hang gliding plans, be sure to check the weather. Any sign of rain, high winds, or other potentially hazardous conditons will cancel the lesson. Mountain Wings Hang Gliding // 77 Hang Glider Rd // Ellenville // 845-647-3377
cuse, experience the excitement of jumping out of a moving plane. It’s the ultimate feat for adrenaline seekers with their sights set on the skies. Divers experience up to 30 seconds of freefall, followed by nearly eight minutes soaring to the ground in a parachute. Jumpers have the option of diving “in tandem,” where a skydiving professional accompanies the jumper on the fall, or riding alone with in-ear radio guidance from an instructor. For an extra $325, a videographer will record your dive in an 8-minute video or
White Waters on Black River // Rafters navigate seven miles of rough water on Black River, where the rapids are strongest in May and June. Paddling will be tough but worth the challenge. Whitewater Rafting: Imagine navigating down the Black River in northern New York with your closest friends. You’re fighting the current — the weight of your body and strength of your paddle the only tools you have to stay afloat. The river moves fast, but if you think you’re up for the challenge, grab a few buddies and head to Whitewater Challengers in Watertown. Since safety is a concern, each participant jumps into the boat with a life jacket, helmet, and certified rafting intstructor to lead the way down the river. For a real challenge, sign up for the Lehigh Marathon, an all-day whitewater experience that includes travelling through class-three rapids from dawn to dusk. The course runs 25 miles long and is offered on weekends for $76.95. Whitewater Challengers // Foster Park Road // Dexter // 800-443-7238
Skydiving: There’s no air fresher than the O2 available at an altitude of 9,000 feet. At Duanesburg Skydiving Club, Inc., located about two hours from the center of Syra-
in a series of 24 still images. The video captures the plane ride, the actual jump, and your entire ride to the ground. The funny faces you’ll make during the freefall are reason enough to have permanent documentation of your skydiving trip. Duanesburg Skydiving // 5065 Western Turnpike // Duanesburg // 518-895-8140
Motocross: Add some speed to your summer fun and check out motocross racing at Frozen Ocean Motorsports Complex in Auburn. You don’t have to be an expert to try out the track. For people interested in testing out the sport, Frozen Ocean offers lessons and rentals during the week. They even have a practice track for beginners to use, so they’re not intimidated by veterans. If you’re still wary of the idea, head to the complex to check out a race. Admission to the event is $8, and you’ll get to see the competitive nature and skill of motocross drivers firsthand. The track opened the beginning of April and operates through the first week of September. Frozen Ocean Motorsports Complex // 4415 Vanderstouw Rd // Auburn // 315-592-4807
NORTHBOUND TRAVELING MINSTREL JUG BAND » 72 Not Your Typical Jug Band photograph by Rachel A. Dobken
SKATE OFF » 58 Hell on Wheels
LOCAL BIZ » 64 Faces of the Future
REDUCE » 68 Energy Evolution
photograph via flickr
Hell on Wheels Assault City derby girls toughen up for their fourth season with a new coach, lots of face paint, and a power-packed crop of "fresh meat." by Alyssa Grossman
on’t tell the women of Assault City Roller Derby it’s not polite to hit. Then again, they probably don’t care what you think. These fiercely competitive ladies, banging each other around in their mismatched socks, polka-dot booty shorts, and shredded leggings, aren’t afraid to “derby it up.” They love hitting. At least when they’re here, at the Great Northern Mall in Clay, where they gather for practice. Excited and maybe a little apprehensive, they stretch with skates on, some concentrating solely on themselves, others eyeing one another. They pull on their knee pads, strap on their elbow pads, tighten their helmets. Like two gangs about to rumble, the veterans and the “fresh meat,” as the newbies are called, prepare to bang each other silly as they speed skate around on the beat-up wooden floor. In other words, they’re about to have some fun.
The veterans are dressed in black and white, the rookies in pink and red. They huddle in a mass at the starting line, hunched over, then anxiously start skating around the makeshift track, designated by red tape on the floor. A whistle blows. The hive is off in a blur of elbows and knees. One woman, protecting herself from the mayhem, covers her head as she gets knocked to her knees. Another takes a spill and rubs her ankle in pain. “Stay together!” the coach commands. “Stay together.” If they remain bunched up, there is less of a chance for a player from the opposing team to break through. That’s how you score, by dodging and pushing until you get ahead and lap opposing players. Most of the time, players are so engrossed in their rock’em-sock’em they
1 // The whistle blows once and the pack takes off. 2 // When the last blocker crosses the pivot line, the whistle blows twice, and the jammers take off. 3 // The jammers work to get through the pack. The first time through, the jammers try to beat each other through the pack to become the ‘lead jammer.’ Jammers don’t score on the first pass. On subsequent passes, the jammers can score points. 4 // The blockers block the opposing jammer while simultaneously trying to get their jammer through.
don’t even notice the groups of families looking through the small glass window of their practice space, stealing a peek at the hits and bruises being dealt. With names like “Thunderlicious” and “Chainsaw Mama,” roller derby sounds more like a monster-truck battle than a female-powered sport. But these women love it. As the players skate in circles, trying to hold position, they yell. Constantly. They yell each other’s names. They yell signals. They yell for the sake of yelling. The din ricochets off the floor and the walls, creating the perfect soundtrack for the mayhem. It’s music to these ladies ears. Kristie Moore, a 43-year-old insurance trust company employee, wears a makeup-less face, dark clothes, and dirtyblonde, wavy hair. Moore never expected
she’d become a derby addict. She tagged along with a friend to practice to give her a ride home afterward. She only intended to watch, but another player brought an extra pair of gear with Moore’s name on it. That was four years ago. “I hit that night,” Moore says of knocking into another player during her first attempt at derby. “I could’ve run for president. I felt invigorated, liberated, stress-free. I had no idea making contact with somebody on that level would feel so good.” Since then, Moore’s packed on 30 pounds to improve her hitting, changed her persona from Kristie to “Krispy Kremya,” and hasn’t looked back.
ay 14 marks the start of the new season, and Assault City is skating with more confidence than ever. This year, the previously self-coached team adds a secret weapon to its arsenal: Pat Russo, a strict, yet compassionate coach who transformed the team from a ragtag group to a well-oiled machine in a matter of months. When Russo first set foot on the wood-floored practice space, she found a group in need of camaraderie, direction, and a team chant. With derby knowledge limited to her days spent watching matches on television in the ’60s and ’70s, Russo learned as she coached. Her effectiveness already shows: Under Russo’s direction, Assault City celebrated its first off-season scrimmage win against Ithaca in early March. After 13 attempts, it was the first time they beat Ithaca. A week later, during another exhibition bout against Connecticut, the team captured a 141-49 win. The girls anticipate an action-packed season, with match-ups against teams from Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, and across New York. But success doesn’t come without sacrifices. Players call their spouses and boyfriends “widows” for a reason. Between charity events, practices, scrimmages, meetings, and games, life outside the rink can get shoved down on the priority list. Such strains, coupled with injuries and longer-than-normal days, attest to the high level of dedication each player brings to the team. “We’re all volunteers,” Moore says. “Anybody can walk away from this at any time. Nobody gets paid, and nobody’s under any type of contract.” Learning to work around these strains requires a bit of creativity. When Moore fell in love with derby, her husband Kevin took up refereeing to partially minimize his widower status. Kevin promptly declared his derby name “Otto
photograph via flickr
Alignment,” referencing his job as an auto mechanic in Brewerton. It didn’t take long before the derby girls adopted Kevin as one of their own. “It’s family for me,” he says. “When they do good, you feel good.” Last year, the two renewed their vows during a match’s halftime. They had eloped five years earlier, after a spur-of-
Fast Track // In the heat of a match, an Assault City skater speeds by her opponent. The team’s first four seasons were a mix of wins and losses, with surprisingly only one broken bone. Roller Bride // Kristie and Kevin Moore renew their wedding vows at halftime to celebrate five years of marriage. Kevin became a referee to spend more time with his wife and fell in love with the sport, too. promised he would sleep on the couch if he threw me in a penalty box at a bout,” Moore says. “I promised not to complain about the oil stains from his classic cars on the driveway.” Later, Moore’s teammates forced her to wear the tutu out. This sense of humor plays a crucial role in such a demanding atmosphere.
“You don't mess with a derby girl at a bar when she's with her derby sisters.” - Kristie Moore the-moment decision that resulted in a private Lake Tahoe marriage. This time, Kristie and Kevin’s families got to watch. An employee from Moore’s office played wedding planner, which, in derby world, meant bringing to the bout a tutu, veil, and double-stick tape — to attach the veil to Krispy’s helmet. Each derby girl held a bouquet and took a knee to show respect, as Crazy Diamond, who gave Kristie her first taste of derby, walked Krispy toward Otto. Their vows showed an acquired knowledge of what it takes to keep a derby marriage going strong. “Kevin
Even their nicknames strike a balance between serious and fun. The girls register each name, from “Arizona Lightning” to “The Grouchy Lady Thug,” on Two Evils, a roller girls website with more than 28,200 crafty callouts from across the country. Earning one’s derby name marks a crucial part of initiation into the roller derby realm. But it takes more than a clever nickname to earn a spot on Assault City. The training process lasts three months, explains Becky Firman, better known as the aforementioned Crazy Diamond. After that, the fresh-meat girls take
skills and written tests. These measure endurance, hitting, jumping, falls, and a fundamental understanding of derby rules. Generally, no player gets turned away, but not everyone makes it on a game-time roster. Those who do get to play need to adhere to a strict and complex set of rules. Each match consists of two 30-minute halves. Jammers, one from each team, start skating 20 feet behind a pack of players, four from each side. The whistle blows and the jammers race to the front of the pack. Whoever gets there first earns the title of “lead jammer,” meaning they hold the privilege of calling off the two-minute set at any time. A new lead jammer is established every two minutes. After this, jammers race to break through again. Once they lap the pack, they score one point for each opposing player passed. And while the mattress-lined walls of Assault City’s practice space indicate hitting is a crucial part of the sport, even derby has its illegal moves. Players cannot grab with their hands, trip, kick, shove, punch, jab with elbows, or use their head to hit an opponent. If they do, they earn a penalty and sit out for 60 seconds. With such a high level of demand, some derby players are forced to live a
“If someone hits you, you want to hit back. But when the whistle blows, that feeling goes away.” - Kristie Moore
double life. “We’ve got social workers [on the team] and they have to counsel all day, be supportive of other people, be more reserved,” Moore says. “For some people, it’s their outlet.” Moore, on the other hand, embraces the overlap. She arrives at work covered in bruises from a match. She doesn’t believe in hiding her passion from coworkers, and her colleagues have responded well. For her first bout, her fellow trust company employees and their families showed up to cheer on their friend. Since then, they’ve shown nothing but support. This means the world to Moore, who has a difficult time disguising her love for derby. Moore’s derby sisters come from diverse backgrounds, from morticians to chemists, but a common love of derby brings them together. This sisterhood stays strong, no matter what. “A derby girl has another derby girl’s back, regardless of any type of personality conflict off the track,” Moore says, warning it isn’t wise to test the support system. “You don’t mess with a derby girl at a bar when she’s with her derby sisters. It doesn’t normally get physical, but you’re not gonna win.”
Rolling Throuh History:
A live telecast of a New York game sparks national recognition and sold-out arenas.
Debuts in Chicago as a marathon race around a circular track. The traveling entertainment provides skaters with jobs and food during the depression.
A team sport is born when the group divides into two teams of five players, creating the format we have today.
Derby fever spreads and Fireball, Mickey Rooney and Marilyn Monroe’s movie about the sport, debuts.
ith help from Kevin and Coach Russo the team is improving both mentally and physically. Playing the game requires a level of self-awareness and mental stability that’s often difficult to come by. For this reason, Russo dubs herself part anthropologist and part psychoanalyst, constantly shifting the focus from individual players to group impact. “I say what they can’t say to each other,” she says. If one player isn’t aggressive enough or keeps committing penalties, it’s Russo’s job to call her on it. Still, in an environment that requires and praises hitting your friends, aggression runs high. “If someone hits you, you get up and try to see who it was because you want to hit them back,” Moore says. “But when the whistle blows, that feeling goes away. As long as you can separate it, it’s okay. If you can’t, you probably won’t stick around long.” The Moores initially let their game-time disagreements seep into home life. They learned the hard way to keep it on the track and no longer ride to practice together, allotting ample debriefing time to calm any hurt feelings. Assault City’s first four years were filled with plenty of struggles and
Celebrate // The Assault City girls pile on top of each other after a big win. They will compete in the season opener on May 14.
double-header against Hackettstown, New Jersey’s Skyland Roller Girls and Ottawa’s Capital City Derby Dolls — will test how much progress Russo’s made. “I don’t know if some of these plays are the things we should be doing,” she says. “[I’ll get to] see them work together and see what we can accomplish when we really understand the plays.” Fans should expect a season filled with energy, power-packed hits, and bold personality. After all, that’s what being a derby girl is all about. “We’ll sit on the couch and snuggle with ya,” Moore says. “And then we’ll kick your butt.”
Television stops showing derby and the sport goes bankrupt, leaving skaters jobless.
photograph via flickr
Derby comes back to life as a part-time sport, providing an after-work outlet.
Women create flat-track leagues, solidifying the sport’s current structure.
TV producer Stephen Land gathers $10 million and launches RollerJam, a weekly derby broadcast on what is now SpikeTV.
San Francisco becomes a derby hub, and syndicated games increase player fame.
learning — and surprisingly, only one broken bone. Moore will never forget the team’s first win. She sat anxiously on the sidelines, recovering from a recent knee surgery, wishing she could roll onto the track and take a jab at the opposing team. “I was so happy for them, but I thought, ‘Why couldn’t I have been out there?’” she says. “The minute I was cleared to skate, I skated. The minute I felt I could do contact, I did. It’s addictive.” Coach Russo knows she has a talented group of skaters, but her true success as their leader is yet to be determined. Assault City’s May 14 season opener — a
Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore star in Whip It, bringing derby further into the public eye.
The Ring Bearer by Carine Umuhumuza Evin F. Robinson has three women in his life to thank for his success: an inspiring mother, an encouraging mentor, and one nagging teacher. Raised by his single mother, Robinson remembers watching her struggle to balance school and work. She eventually dropped out of college to spend more time with Robinson and his younger brother. “Growing up, my mother always allowed me to see that there was more in the surrounding areas,” says Robinson, who remembers going to the movies, museums, and vacations — things that were not common in his Brooklyn neighborhood. Robinson, 20, is the founder of
InspiRING, a company that creates righthanded rings for women. The rings, crafted with gold-filled wire, hand-blown glass beads, and Swarovski crystals, symbolize female empowerment. Robinson caught the entrepreneurship bug in 10th grade. That summer, he won the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship business plan competition through an after-school program. Looking to honor his mother’s hard work, Robinson collaborated with three classmates in the program to create a product that would encourage others to be role models. He first learned to make rings through a jewelry-making class he took with his mother while in high school. The team’s idea, first named “Seek Within,” advanced them to the competition’s regional level. His partners did not want to continue on, so Robinson carried the company forward. After the NFTE win, Robinson renamed the company InspiRING and continued entering competitions. In 2008, he won the Growing CEO award from Merrill Lynch and Global Entrepreneur of the Year from Goldman Sachs. “That’s when I knew that InsipRING was starting to have the impact that I initially had for it,” he says. With prize money from competitions,
Robinson improved the quality of his product. “When we first started, the rings were really cheesy," he says. "We had this wire that turned your fingers green and the beads were really small.” Schools, community centers, and media outlets also became interested in the face behind InspiRING. Robinson, with his clean-cut look and friendly demeanor, used the opportunity to tap into New York City are high schools and talked to students about the importance of education. Working solo, Robinson spent his time trying to keep up with ring orders and speaking engagements. Robinson currently works with Syracuse University law students to tie up loose ends of the InspiRING business, including creating a trademark, signing releases, and writing legal documents for past and future promotional campaigns. InspiRING has sold 247 handcrafted rings. He plans to manufacture the rings and projects sales of 2,000 rings in 2012. “Everything I do in life, I try to connect it back to me,” Robinson says. “The most successful businesses are ones that you can connect back to something that is meaningful to you and that will have a larger impact on society.”
FUTURE Local entrepreneurs take four innovative ideas and turn them into creative businesses edited by Kaitlin Pitsker
The Pattern Maker by Kathleen Corlett Whitney Daniels’ design has been known to follow her to bed when the day’s work is done, or show up while she’s out shopping. Daniels, 25, creates surface designs, or patterns that repeat, in her homebased Syracuse studio and office space to sell at trade shows in New York City two to three times per year. The simple 2-inch and 4-inch square designs are some of her favorite projects because of the artistic freedom that comes with making them, says Daniels, who regularly updates her business’ blog with three to five designs weekly. Her surface designs have graced button pins, notebook covers, and a pair of pajamas by Soma Intimates.
What she called her small claim to fame was a pastel geometric packaging design for Crabtree & Evelyn lotions. “It’s not like it has my name on it,” she says, “but when I saw it in stores, I knew it was mine.” She recently sold a floral design to Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and hopes a duvet will soon be covered in her black-and-white roses. A year and a half after Daniels graduated from Syracuse University in 2009 with a degree in communications design, she paid the $32 fee to register a new business at the Onondaga County Clerk’s office: WRKDesigns. Nine months later, surface design makes up only half of her work and she spends the rest of her time creating business cards, brochures, website designs, and logos. The average project lasts three weeks, from the time she begins researching other designs to when her client chooses his favorite from a selection of prototypes, and the two work together to make tweaks. She also joined the Near Westside Initiative Business Association, a support organization created last July for small businesses and entrepreneurial development in Syracuse. “[Whitney] really represents the type of people we’re trying to support
in the neighborhood,” says Michael Short, the association’s deputy director. “[They are] young, creative people invested in the community who are looking to expand businesses, build skills, and possibly hire more within Syracuse.” The group gave her the opportunity to redesign its logo and network with other small businesses, and she’s still building her client list. As the group’s resident designer, she has picked up small jobs for business logos and brochures and spread her name through word of mouth. Keeping a steady stream of clients poses one of her toughest challenges: “It’s a difficult market out there for anybody, but especially [for] design, which isn’t always top priority for businesses on a budget,” Daniels says. Currently, this design multitasker makes postcards and trade show displays for Green Cleaning Technologies, a local eco-friendly cleaning supply company on Teall Avenue, while designing business cards for the Landscape Elf, and working on a book design for a Post-Standard photographer. Meanwhile, she is preparing to showcase her freelance design work at the next New York City trade show.
The Local Foodie by Kate Morin In Circa’s tiny open kitchen, Alicyn Hart checks her bread dough working in a stand mixer. The flour she uses comes from an artisanal company in Vermont. She would prefer to use local flour, but hasn’t found one that meets her standards. Her focus on finding the perfect ingredient underlies the philosophy behind her Cazenovia bistro: Use only the best. When possible, Hart does use local products. She works with a number of area farmers and artisans to source meats, organic vegetables, cheeses, and coffee, and also produces some of it herself. She and husband Eric Woodworth have a one-acre garden where they grow tomatoes, corn, peas, beans, herbs, and winter squash to freeze and use throughout the winter. Eventually, they hope to run a more selfsustainable operation, integrating renewable energy sources like the bio-diesel car Woodworth converted a few years ago. It’s this chef’s simplistic approach that has turned Circa into a success since opening the eight-table restaurant with Woodworth in 2006. It received a rave review last December from the Post-Standard. And noted local food blog “Cookin’ in the 'Cuse” called it “top notch.”
Three years working in European countryside bed and breakfasts, two seasons in Colorado, and short stints in Alaska, Mexico, Australia, and Southeast Asia taught Hart to appreciate local food. When she opened Circa five years ago, she wouldn’t have done it any other way. “I came back from my travels with knowledge of how to live a better lifestyle," Hart says. Spreading that lifestyle is what Circa is all about. After witnessing the 2002 terrorist bombings in Bali, Hart returned home to CNY. She got a “real job” teaching culinary arts at a BOCES, a professional development program, and married. A few years later, Woodworth saw space on Albany Street in Cazenovia for sale and thought it would be perfect for a restaurant. Hart met a few people who tried to start a fresh and local movement in the area, but had given up, frustrated over the challenges posed by a region and a clientele more accustomed to what she calls "pretentious" cuisine. An experience from her first job in a restaurant helped Hart push past this hurdle. “My first boss told me I couldn’t work in the kitchen because I was a girl, that I couldn’t handle it,” she says. “That made me want to open this restaurant.” Hart and Woodworth turned the small corner storefront in a sleepy upstate town into a model for the fresh-and-local movement. The menu, which changes regularly, features such daring fare as butternut squash gnocchi with roasted oyster mushrooms and rosemary ricotta, pork raised on Hart’s farm, and sustainable-accredited black sea bass. The famous $10 burger — made from a choice of beef, elk, turkey, veggie, or lamb — pairs fabulously with hand-cut chips and local salad greens. Through Circa, Hart educates the community on the value of local and sustainable eating. “This is how we live,” Hart explains. “It’s not just following a trend, this is what we believe in.”
The Safe Sipper by Katherine Salisbury Colby Morgan was watching The Hangover when she came up with the idea for SafeSips, a company aimed at creating a safer drinking atmosphere. “I was watching the part where he roofies his friends and thought to myself, ‘There should really be something to combat things like that," Morgan says. “Even though it’s a joke in the movie, it’s a very serious offense in real life.” Morgan, a 22-year-old Syracuse University graduate student, began working on the company in a startup ideas class in Spring 2010. SafeSips planned to produce a technologically-advanced straw that would be used to expose date rape drugs in drinks by changing colors if a drug is detected. In addition, Morgan wants to develop a lid to put on cups, which she calls a “condom for alcohol drinks," focusing on preventative measures to avoid drug dropping in drinks. “One is a date rape detector,” Morgan says, “and the other is a date rape deflector.” In April 2010, SafeSips’ plans won $4,000 from The Orange Tree fund, which helps launch startup companies. The team used the funds to create prototypes of the cup condoms. Since the original business
started a year ago, the team has begun work on other date rape deflection ideas. SafeSips is now focused on creating a phone app to monitor drinking behavior. Morgan says the app will send questions throughout the night to access how drunk the person is. If the questions are answered wrong, a text is sent to a friend, alerting them of the user’s drunken state and your location according to the GPS in your phone. John Liddy, director of the Syracuse Student Sandbox summer program that Morgan attended, praises the perseverance of the young student. “She wants to solve this problem of date rape, and when one idea doesn’t work out, she comes up with a different way to approach it,” Liddy says. Eventually, Morgan hopes to connect the app to cab companies, allowing people to prepay for rides. When questions are answered wrong, the phone will automatically call a cab company that can find your location and home address. “Apps are flying off the shelves every day,” Liddy says. “As long as she can get it out quickly, it has a high chance for success. The lid is more of a challenge, because you are changing user behavior to put a lid on their cup in a bar, where they normally wouldn’t. The straw would not be such a big change and could be used in mixed drinks.” With the straw and lid still in production, and the app on the verge of release, SafeSips is a young company that wants to change the game of drinking, and decrease the risks that accompany it. “SafeSips will have a large positive impact on college drinking,” Morgan says. “It will not only help to reduce the incidents of drug facilitated sexual assault on college campuses; it will also serve as a method of spreading awareness. If our products succeed in helping one person, it will be a victory.”
illustration by Kathleen Corlett and Lauren Harms
Energy Evolution by Katherine Salisbury
School kids learn green living, starting with the transformation of their classrooms.
evin Woods, an eighth grade student at Lincoln Middle School in Syracuse’s Eastwood neighborhood, shuffles into a science classroom and takes his seat at a makeshift conference room table made of five smaller tables pushed together. He sits down, looks around the room, and fiddles with the sleeve of his sweatshirt. He is the first of six students present to speak. He mumbles that he found a lot of school appliances, such as little freezers and microwaves, still plugged in even when people weren’t in the classrooms. It only takes a few seconds for his shyness to wear off and his voice and opinions to take on a stronger tone: “Sometimes they’ll have the lights on and a lamp on, even though there is only one person in there.” Heidi Feyl-Crane, the school’s science teacher, has asked each student to walk through assigned classrooms and look at the energy usage in each room. “Can you guys
all speak up a little bit more about your first project and tell everyone what your findings were?” she asks. Amongst the students sit the head custodian Brian McGann; a special education teacher, Kelly Abt; a volunteer student from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Jennifer Spoor; and Todd Rogers, the northeast coordinator from the
ber 2009, which took effect this spring. The grant’s emphasis on helping lowincome students enabled Syracuse to get the support, which will assist the district’s focus on going green. In the grant’s first year, seven schools will participate in the program: Clary, Ed Smith, Lincoln, Blodgett, Nottingham, Expeditionary Learning School, and
tion between their own personal energy use and its global impact. To test students’ knowledge of global energy emissions, they are asked at the beginning of the project to estimate how much the levels of carbon dioxide have increased since the industrial revolution. The answer: 40 percent. Understanding the history of energy usage will allow students to apply it to current-day usage, and help them understand how much energy usage has increased. Once they grasp the impact of turning off the lights or lowering the heat, they will ideally start to implement these actions in their everyday lives, including their time at home. “It provides teachers with training and classroom resources,
A powerful presentation // Students and staff at Lincoln Middle School join for a middle-of-the-day meeting to discuss the upcoming year of green initiatives. After students completed their investigative work of the school’s carbon footprint, they formed plans to decrease Lincoln’s energy use. National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project team. Each student offers his or her observation, noting computer monitors left on when not in use and soda machines running despite rules against buying soda during school hours. Their input is part of a nationwide program targeted toward making students, faculty, and staff aware of ways to reduce energy use. Lincoln is one of seven Syracuse schools participating in the NEED project. Founded in 1980, NEED funds selected schools for two years. In addition to city schools, the NEED committee funds educational programs in museums, environmental education centers, and other education institutions. Money from NEED covers the cost of supplies and materials — teacher and student guides, thermometers, light meters, and radiation cans — to help students and teachers properly assess the carbon footprint of their respective schools. The goal is to show that a carbon footprint isn’t simply a numerical figure, but the sum of thousands of everyday decisions made by each person who uses the building, and that these decisions can decrease their footprint. Bill Ottman, science and technology coordinator for the Syracuse City School District, applied for the grant in Novem-
Danforth, comprising a total of 1,440 participating students. In the second year, the program will expand to include six additional city schools. And while the NEED funding only covers a span of two years, city officials plan to continue the project even after the grant expires, eventually involving all 36 schools in the district. Experimentation and documentation of the schools’ energy usage through the NEED project will allow the district to implement energy saving techniques. Lincoln Middle School launched its program March 1, around the same time as the six other participating schools. During the first week, Lincoln students measured the energy usage in each room of the school. They then made suggestions on how to decrease their energy usage. Their first experiment involved light bulbs throughout the school, in which students used instruments provided by NEED to test if the bulbs actually emitted the amount of watts they claimed to emit. As students turned on the bulbs, they discovered that each one did have the correct wattage. To assess each school’s carbon footprint, students look at their everyday decisions regarding lighting, heating, cooling, food preparation, transportation, and ventilation. NEED officials hope the program will help students understand the connec-
and it provides students with an opportunity to affect change in their buildings while studying energy and environmental issues in a hands-on, meaningful way,” says Daniel Lowengard, superintendent of the Syracuse City School District. The NEED project furthers the district’s sustainability efforts. Its recycling and composting program received state recognition in 2007, when the Syracuse City School District received the Big City of the Year award from the Go Green Initiatives and the Environmental Excellence award from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In 2010, the district won the Green of the Crop award for outstanding green efforts in Central New York. Between 2007 and 2010, the schools energy cost-persquare-foot has dropped 30 cents. While the NEED project does not require any reconstruction of the school buildings, this green initiative comes at a time when the district plans to reconstruct all of its school buildings within the next 10 years. The Environmental Protection Agency says that buildings in the U.S. usually use 30 percent more energy than they need. This project gives Syracuse the opportunity to identify wasteful usage and construct more efficient buildings. The six students sitting at the confer-
Lincoln Middle School has saved 30 cents per-square-foot on energy over the past three years. ence table in the green team meeting act as representatives for the Lincoln Middle School student body. Responsible for monthly meetings, the representatives each have a section of the school to pay attention to, and they are taking their job at the school seriously. The team enacted a monthly plan, giving everyone weekly goals to focus on. Week one consisted of teachers and students turning off lights as they exit classrooms. Week two made sure teachers switched off their computer monitors at the end of the day. Crane makes it fun, calling the students the spies of Lincoln Middle School, as they keep an eye out to make sure everybody is doing their green part. “Don’t tell the teachers we are going to be spying on them!” exclaims Emma Abt, an eighth grade student who practically jumps out of her chair with excitement every time she gets to speak about the project. Crane promises not to. The curriculum aims to get more youth involved beyond the team of student representatives. Crane and Kelly Abt, Lincoln’s special education teacher, create
daily lesson plans that follow the general guidelines of the NEED Project. Every student takes part in the hands-on experiments, and the teachers create an atmosphere where everyone feels involved. “Every student learns how to conduct the experiments and use the equipment, so that they can take that into the future,” Crane says. Everyday lesson plans give students the idea that they can make a difference and allow them to get excited about science and the work they are doing around the school. The Environmental Protection Agency work grant plan also predicts the project will decrease the number of students academically at risk for not finishing school. The curriculum, according to the work plan, focuses on engaging students in decision making and problem solving, allowing them to become involved and invested in their workload. The NEED committee hopes that having students take action based on their findings will make them more excited about coming to school every day and stimulate their desire to learn, decreasing Syracuse’s dropout rate. The learning continues at home. Along with the help of their parents students will score their own household energy efficiency. Throughout the course of the project, they can improve their score by implementing energy saving techniques as they continue to learn about them and see their impact.
Just the Beginning // Students get excited at the kickoff assembly, learning about the green initiatives taking place in the upcoming year. Crane wants her students to focus on energy reduction in all aspects of their lives, including at home, at school, and in the wider community. “It is important to continue doing it in the future, so we can sustain what we have here, and to really make a difference,” Crane says. “We want them to share with everybody really because the more people know about it, the better off we’ll be.” As the meeting concludes, the teachers ask for any last thoughts on things the team can work on. The team decides that turning off lights is one easy step everyone in the school can take. “They need to turn off their lights, or they’ll get a ticket from the green team!” Kevin says. His classmates and teachers laugh and look around at one another, beaming over their chance to make a difference.
Not Your Typical
Jug Band by Carine Umuhumuza
Before kicking off their second tour, the Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band finds a new sound, adding folk to their signature blend of rock and bluegrass.
photo by Lauren Harms
n a snowy Monday night, the members of Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jug Band hang out in an apartment a few blocks from the Syracuse University campus. Aaron Gittleman, 20, and Adam Cohen, 21, lounge on an orange futon by the window while Lucas Sacks and Dan DiPasquale, both 21, sit on an old '70s-style couch. A quick sweep of the apartment that Gittleman, Sacks, and DiPasquale share proves two things: Musicians live here, and they’re boys. Guitar cases lean against one wall. To the left of the TV, more than 30 records fill four metal cases. Music festival posters are taped to another wall. Beer bottles line the top of the window ledge, each carefully placed like trophies on a mantelpiece. A blue Nintendo set sits in front of the TV, the attached cords leading to a crate of games under the coffee table. The boys discuss their band name. “I made it up off the top of my head at an open mic,” says Cohen, the shaggy-haired and talkative guitarist. “I just pulled together some of my favorite silly words.” “We tried to change it,” he adds. “For like a day,” interjects Sacks for clarification. The proposed replacement,
Homebrewed, was short-lived, and they changed it back to the original name. The members of Northbound think it shows that they don’t take themselves too seriously. On this evening, they tease each other constantly, often interrupting to complete someone else’s thought. “It’s a long, ridiculous name for a bunch of ridiculous people,” Sacks says. Ridiculous or not, the band is on the rise in the rock ’n’ roll and bluegrass scene. This month, Northbound celebrates the one-year anniversary of its self-titled EP by kicking off its second tour. Loaded with a demo of new songs, the band will perform throughout the Northeast. It’s a far cry from their start four years ago as a group of guys just playing for the love of it. The four original members met in fall 2008. DiPasquale, Gittleman, and Sacks met through the Bandier program, a selective music industry and business major at Syracuse University. The three also lived in the same residence hall. Cohen, who lived in an adjoining hall, found his way to the group one October weekend at 4 a.m. Sherman, a high school friend of Sacks, is the latest addition to the band, joining in the summer of 2010 while the group was on tour. He played keyboard for the band’s shows in New Jersey and New York. Sherman’s involvement exemplifies the band’s free-spirited attitude and typifies the modern-day, location-is-no-object way of doing things. During the school year, Sherman lives in Washington, D.C., where he attends George Washington University. He corresponds regularly with the band members through calls and emails, imparting his opinion on all band decisions. He will record his portion of the songs on the demo after he wraps up his semester in D.C. Northbound got its start playing at campus spots, like the popular eatery Funk ‘N’ Waffles and house parties. The band’s exposure expanded when it signed with O, Morning Records, a label run by Bandier students, in October 2009. Northbound was under O, Morning management until their tour ended in June 2010. Sam Mason, a member of O, Morning, remembers being initially drawn to Northbound’s bluegrass sound and impressed by their hard work and knowledge of the music business — two qualities he believes will take the band far. “All the members are really smart when it comes to how they work, how they manage themselves, and how they function as a band and as a business,” Mason says. Following the EP’s release, Northbound hit the road for a two-and-a-half-
week tour, performing in New York, Vermont, and New Jersey. Equipped with instruments, sleeping bags, and a U-Haul trailer, the band piled into Sacks’ Jeep to perform 15 days straight. Their first show was in a nearly empty bar called Gonzo’s in Lockport, N.Y. “It was cool because it was the first show, and it was safe to say that every show was getting better and better,” says Gittleman, the group’s lead vocalist and guitarist. The group slept on apartment floors, drove over the Canadian border without passports, and performed night after sleep-deprived night. “It was a big learning experience,” Sacks says. They were based out of Syracuse for the first leg of the tour, bouncing between cities in central New York. When they performed in Burlington,VT, they crashed at a friend of a friend’s place after the first show, but when they didn’t have a place to stay the second night, they packed up and drove back to Syracuse at 12:30 a.m. “I like to say I got five minutes of sleep during the five and a half hours, just from being half-asleep while driving,” Sacks says. “Then I got up two hours later to return the U-Haul.” O, Morning helped Northbound gain momentum as a band by spearheading marketing and promotion, funding the recording of the EP, and booking live shows off campus. Northbound soon began playing at bigger venues, such as Al’s Wine and Whiskey Lounge and other downtown bars. The label, which dismantled this past summer, had the initial goal of helping bands until they could sustain themselves, and Northbound proved successful.
photo by Lauren Harms
Sacks now handles the business aspect of Northbound. He has that boy-nextdoor charm: a quick smile and friendly demeanor. He is approachable and likeable. These attributes, along with being a music industry business major, make him an ideal manager. He books shows, makes contacts, and balances the band checkbook. “He keeps up with the Kardashians,” jokes Cohen about Sacks’ organizational skills. Through O, Morning, Northbound formed solid relationships with venues and bands, so the transition to self-management was fairly effortless. “It always started with meeting one person and remembering them, talking with them again,” Sacks explains. Other band members also have distinct roles. Cohen is the master of set lists, a task he usually does on his cellphone before each show. “We tried to do it once without Adam there, and we just started bickering about it,” Sacks recalls. Drummer DiPisquale, who has an easy-going mannerism and boyish charm, is the self-declared band morale booster. “Being in a band, there’s a lot of ups and downs,” he says. “You’re riding the wave. I always try and make sure everyone is on their ‘A’ game, doing well, having a good time.” Bonded by a love for performing music, the five members also played in bands during high school. Sacks and Sherman attended the same New Jersey high school and performed classic rock covers at Sherman’s family’s restaurant during the summer. Gittleman, also a New Jersey native, played in a jam band throughout high school, boasting a “Battle of the Bands” title his junior year. DiPasquale still plays with the indie/alternative band he formed
photo by Emmett Baggett
photo by Rachel A. Dobken
with his Long Island high school friends. On DiPasquale’s musical roots: “We’re all jam band kids, and Dan doesn’t come from that at all,” Cohen says. “His opinions and influences keep us away from being another annoying jam band.” Despite coming from different musical backgrounds, the band members skillfully combined their tastes and styles to form Northbound. The band cites the Grateful Dead, Little Feat, and other classic rock bands as their biggest influences. The mixture of influences makes Northbound’s sound both fresh and new. Its seven-track EP showcases a medley of different sounds, including tracks that blend rock, bluegrass, and folk. But the band doesn’t want to be boxed into one genre. “A lot people think of us as this folky band,” Cohen says. “And then they come to the show and I have my guitar amp turned up, then I turn on the wah pedal, and the tube screamer. That’s not folky at all.” Sacks adds that it’s hard to clearly define the band’s genre, especially since most of its songs are a blend of different influences and styles. The variety of instruments, including the mandolin, banjo, and harmonica, adds to the band’s unique sound. The group doesn’t want to be called just a jug band or bluegrass folk band. Musically, they’re doing a lot more than that. The track “Two Things” on the EP showcases the band’s ability to seamlessly blend blues and rock elements. Starting with a sharp harmonica; the song also incorporates skillful guitar solos and ends with a folky upbeat blend of both instruments. Sherman says the recent addition of the keyboards also gives the band an edge. “The sound of the band has changed a little bit since I’ve joined,” he says. “It’s been elevated to a more pluggedin, kind of rock sound, but keeping to the bluegrass roots.” “What we released in the past, and what we will be releasing, you can definitely start seeing that our sound and style, and what we want to do, is different,” adds DiPasquale. Yet even as their sound transforms, the core of Northbound remains intact. Gittleman, the primary songwriter, draws inspiration from his personal life. He’s not
interested in sending a particular message with his songs, but hopes fans can connect to the stories and experiences in the music. “The song-writing process starts with the skeleton of the song,” he says. “Basically I’ll just have a verse, chorus, something like that, and then as we play together, everyone pitches in on what works, what doesn’t work.” Cohen, who does a lot of arranging, says good music is best when kept simple. “It doesn’t have to be complicated as long as it sounds good to us. We try to have songs that people can have a good time to,” Cohen says. “We have the philosophy [that] every show should be a party, [and that] the music should be organic.” DiPasquale adds that danceability is key. “I’m big about the snap, lots of snap,” he says. On a rainy Thursday night in March, Northbound gets ready to take the stage at the Westcott Theater in Syracuse. Cohen arrives to the theater last. It’s midterm week, and he had a karate exam just hours before. He rushes to write the set list, scrawling the eight songs on a piece of scrap paper in permanent marker. The crowd is small tonight, but that doesn’t stop Northbound from having a good time. They kick off with “Devil Child,” an original song from their EP. Gittleman straps on the harmonica rack and riffs loudly as the song climaxes. The small cluster of concertgoers raise their beers. Back in the small living room, Northbound plays its ballad “Lorax’s Lament.” Gittleman and Sacks play their guitars. Cohen strums the mandolin and DiPasquale keeps the beat with a small drum. Gittleman leads the vocals. The ballad is based on Lorax, Dr. Seuss’s fictional character who’s concerned about the environment in The Lorax. The “silly” song, as Gittleman describes it, is lyrically sweet, and the band captures a loveliness. Later, with their instruments put aside, the conversation turns to the future of the band. All the members will graduate next spring. Northbound plans to stay together and make things work, even if it means juggling part-time jobs during the day. Says Cohen: “Sort of a Hannah Montanta/ Miley Cyrus thing…normal, happy-golucky kids during the day and rockstars at night.”
Drum Roll // DiPasquale pounds out a beat during a show at Westcott Theater. Delicate Mix // Northbound’s sound can't be categorized into one genre or another — it’s their own. Sweet Sound // Gittleman sings to the crowd during a gig in Syracuse. Long-Distance Friend // Northbound’s fifth member, Sam Sherman, attends George Washington University in Washington, D.C., but keeps in touch with his bandmates through phone calls and email. photo by Emmett Baggett
We raise (and lower) our salt shakers to this month’s noteworthy events, places, and people. SALTY
Nothing says the start of summer like a picnic in the park. Take the afternoon to relax and enjoy some of the city’s best murals in Lipe Art Park.
Eighty years ago, Syracuse’s Merchants Bank installed the country’s first drive-in window — a precursor to all things we love about fast food.
JUST A PINCH
Syracuse University ranks #55 among the nation's best colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The spring thaw reveals Syracuse’s garbagecovered streets, making parts of the city resemble a giant dumpster.
Syracuse claims the Golden Snowball Award for a sixth consecutive year, beating out other upstate cities for heaviest winter snowfall. Now that’s an honor we’d gladly give up. – Daniel Bortz