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Paul Glover's "Message from Metropolis" ... Tiny Town's Most Ardent Greenie Savvy As He Ever Was

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Paul Glover: The Red Headed Barbarian Who Tried to Help Tiny Town Be More Than a Festivilla. He now performs his good work on the steets of Philadelphia where a man of his talent, vision and drive is truly appreciated.
By Paul Glover
I have been asked by Tiny Town's editor to offer reflections on a city I haven't visited for ten years. For thirty years I raised my voice in Ithaca, so many among the city's eldest already know what I think. But Mr. Crawford has offered to pay me a dozen biscuits, so I will say it again.

Certainly Ithaca has changed since I saw it last. The gorges have carved a millimeter deeper. I hear there's a Starbucks in Tiny Town, and even a bike lane. Like much of the rest of the nation, some of the valley's residents are richer than ever, and many more are poorer.

Probably Ithaca is still dominated by Cornell, whose jobs inspire loyalty and obedience. The University continues to export experts who manage the machinery of civilization. While some graduates seek to solve urgent problems like global warming and imperialism, others plug their heads into corporate sockets. As ever, professors carefully cite what professors write about what professors wrote. The old guard guards the old.

Long ago I imagined Ithaca transforming into a giant eco-village, leading America toward balance with nature, and peace among nations. Fantastic though this seems it will happen sooner or later, by design or by default because, unless Ithaca profoundly rebuilds itself, nature will intervene. Sooner or later the costs of fossil fuels and war will deflate America's top-heavy infrastructure, while global competition will shred our dollars. Congress will outsource corporate research from Cornell to Burma, at a fraction of the cost. Then ivy will devour the Arts Quad and cover the town. Ultimately, Route 13 will become a wildlife corridor and the last Volvo will be nothing but a stain of rust amid weeds.

Back in 2003 Ithaca's voters declined my offer to be their Green mayor, for which I am grateful. It would likely have become both public and personal tragedy to have been given significant authority to do what I intended to do, because I intended to push it knowing the extent of resistance. My campaign platform was the most detailed ever published by any candidate for mayor, distributed to every door (thanks David Galezo!). It introduced "12 WAYS TO CREATE JOBS," "8 WAYS TO REDUCE TRAFFIC," "4 WAYS TO LOWER HEALTH COSTS," and "11 WAYS TO LOWER HOUSING COSTS." http://www.paulglover.org/mayor.html Most of these initiatives invited citizens to take direct control of land, law and money. Which takes power from speculators, bankers and bureaucracies. Thus would profound change have begun.

But Tiny Town had become exhausted by loud controversy, and preferred more amiable caretakers. During the preceding thirty years, political combat blasted shale from our hills when Ithacans fought Cornell and developers to confront highway expansion, suburbanization, nuclear power, shopping malls on wetlands, a massive incinerator, racist banks and military industrialists. Today, far as I know, comfortable liberal consensus rules.

Have I slept through Ithaca's latest significant changes, like Rip Van Winkle, or has Ithaca itself? Would the next mayor and council embrace the next such challenge to community control? In some situations it can be rude to be polite.
Life in Philadelphia is comparatively relaxing, for two reasons. First, I've got no expectation here that most people are committed to building a far better world. Survival is their greater goal. Second, there is nothing in Philadelphia that I've cherished since childhood and want to protect. This Metropolis of Brotherly Love fell apart decades ago. Philadelphia's commercial banks, school board, major corporations, universities and city council manage decay for their profit.  Yet the city, with 40,000 vacant lots, 700 abandoned factories, 80,000 hungry children, 42 percent dropout rate, and the nation's highest incarceration rate, is a fertile field for dreams.

I've enjoyed introducing children to nature by planting orchards here, organizing green jobs, teaching urban studies at the university. I've met thousands of people dedicated to reviving this city. Fresh ideas from other cities, like Ithaca, are often welcomed.

We will be remembered by our offspring either as bold pioneers or as mere consumers. We will bequeath them either solar showers or cold showers. Whether we live in a big city or a little one, Americans can solve problems and set powerful examples. Tiny towns should raise loud voices.

Glover was founder of Ithaca HOURS local currency, the Ithaca Health Alliance, Philadelphia Orchard Project, Citizen Planners of Los Angeles, and a dozen more organizations. He taught urban studies at Temple University and has written six books on grassroots economies. http://paulglover.org
____ Paul Glover (215) 805-8330 http://www.paulglover.org Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/metroecoTwitter: https://twitter.com/metroecos

All images provided.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 January 2016 03:17

Paul Glover, Tiny Town Prophet once laughed out of town, now haunts this hurting place

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Editor's Note: The next few posts we will feature the work of Tiny Town's greatest advocate: Paul Glover. Glover was a workhorse for new ideas and instituting progressive concepts such as ITHACA HOURS and a private cooperative healthcare system that, for $100, got the unemployed as well as underpaid, actual basic health insurance. He insinuated himself into every aspect of true progressive living and wrote lively, coherent articles on why small growth was good growth, the need for small farms, alternative energy, alternative transportation -- there wasn't an area he didn't trove.  For his hard work he earned respect from insiders, but on the whole, he was labeled a heretic and a local whacko. That we should have such whackos here now! Glover was a radical but in our eyes, he represented the kind of Yankee ingenuity and genius that served this community well. You'd think such a person would flourish in Ithaca. You'd be wrong. Tiny Town at its core and even on a surface level, is a bastion of conservatism cloaked as "liberal progressive" ideology. Just look what's happening here and you'll see that it is not a shining example of new ideas, but a wasteland of the same tired re-treaded ideas as ever: Build higher, pack em' in  density (vertical sprawl), turning Tiny Town into a Destination Place by whoring it out as a Festivilla. This is not the stuff of one of "the smartest little cities" -- it is a cry for help from an animal trapped in a culture of "nice-nice" soft ideas and fast-buck fixes. Check out this 1977 bit of "artwork" by Glover's own hand. You'll see the issues have not changed much. But the city, in response to challenges, is changing fast.

Last Updated on Monday, 04 January 2016 00:49

Richie Berg, takes leaves with his Vaudevillian humor and great love of family and tiny town

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Editor's note: From the obituary posted in the Ithaca Journal with some edits. Photo provided.



Richard Berg - known to almost everyone as Richie - died on December 24, 2015, at his lovely home in Ithaca, N.Y. He was 61. A loving partner and devoted father first and foremost, Richie was likewise a successful local entrepreneur, activist, and enthusiastic participant in the local community. He will long remain a treasured friend of many.
Richie grew up on Long Island, NY. He attributed his commitment to family as well as his generosity and entrepreneurial spirit to his father, Sol. He credited his mother, Miriam, for his sense of humor and appreciation of the arts.
Richie landed in Ithaca when he attended Ithaca College in 1973. He became involved in the anti-nuclear movement and went on to become a core leader of Ecology Action and the Community Self-Reliance Center, which promoted sustainability long before it became fashionable. He was a tireless and skilled political strategist and loyal member of the County Democratic Committee, helping many others to run for office (usually successfully); he was elected to Common Council in 1989.
He also served on the Board of Public Works and the GreenStar Co-op Council. But his first job was as a teen-aged member of Fuller Brush sales tteam. He went on to work as a bagel baker, bookseller, bus driver, cook at Cabbagetown Café, and promoter of artists including Arlo Guthrie, Bruce Cockburn and Leo Kottke.
In 1982, Richie and Alex Skutt opened Ithaca’s first video store, Video Ithaca, a successful business model for anyone breaking into the field.
Most recently, he served as a mentor and teacher with the Ithaca City School District. The two most significant events in Richie’s life were meeting Lori Yelensky in 1980, and the birth of their daughter, Hanalei, 18 years later – the two loves of his life. Lori was his devoted partner with whom he shared the adventure of parenting, gardening, gourmet cooking, as well as  traveling. Richie was a proud father who boasted with joyful pride in Hanalei’s academic achievements, creative talents, and a precocious wisdom. Richie knew he had hit the jackpot with Lori and Hanalei–he recently quoted Lou Gehrig who said: “You have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.”
Friends and family recall Richie’s unbridled sense of fun and adventure, his passion for Bruce Springsteen, and his flair for hosting lavish, community events. His recovery from a near-fatal bicycle accident in 2005 and subsequent return to rigorous biking inspired everyone who knew him.
Richie is survived by his parents, Sol and Miriam Berg, his sister Diane, his brother David, his wife, daughter, and his three cats: Skye, Riley, and Sammy, as well as many dear nieces, nephews, and extended family. He was predeceased by his sister Linda. Richie will be remembered for his big heart, his relentless sense of humor and “his little nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love.” (Wordsworth) He has left this earth better than he found it, and has gifted the planet with a life of true love. There will be a private funeral and burial at Lakeview Cemetery and a public memorial service at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to the Friendship Donations Network http://friendshipdonations.org/donate/ or the Finger Lakes Land Trust http://fllt.org/donate/.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 December 2015 01:04

The Phenomenon of Composer Owen Lennon ... in his own words ...

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BLENDING OUT: Owen Lennon, 18, with preternatural fear of bicycles and little sense of the future aside, Mr. Lennon creates a wealth of music, from Indie to experimental electronic music, ambient soundscapes and dark explorations of a sublunary sonic subconscious;  all hint at a daunting precocity and the dreaded "G" word ...  His tunes can be found on bandcamp under a variety of heteronyms that are all fractures revealing veins of rich musical ore inside the corpus callosum of one of Tiny Town's promising free range composers. Photo credit: Frankie14850; Images below designed by Mr. Lennon taken  covers for two very different recordings.
Editor's note: A few weeks back The Admin wrote a piece about Owen Lennon's work to date with some backchat. It had a couple errors and so, we gave our Music Reporter, C. Penbroke Handy the rare opportunity to make it right. So here, essentially is a short take on Owen Lennon, 18, a notable Tiny Towner indeed, although he currently hails form the Ellis Hollow precincts. He is the son of  novelist John R. Lennon,  professor of creative writing at Cornell, who also writes short stories and book reviews. His mother, Rhian,is a novelist. Says Owen "They also do a bunch of other things that don't make any money."

1) Describe the arc of your discovering music to making music to making a lot of music to having some control over what you are doing so it's not all experimental, if that moment has come or not.

I discovered music at birth, because my father played music, and it was just everywhere all the time. I always listened to it. I became interested in making music when I was about 13 years old, and at first it was just strumming the guitar and whatnot, but eventually I discovered that I enjoyed producing recordings more than playing songs. It was just a song here and there until the age of 15, when I discovered ambient music, and got really into the conceptual element of putting together an album, and trying to create something emotionally poignant. That's when I really gained control of my music-making ability. I think taking yourself seriously is important. even if you believe your art is no good.
2) How do you work with lyrics? Tune, then lyrics, lyrics and tune, trial and error. Point to some of your favorite words.

I write lyrics after the musical structure of the song is already in place. By that time I already know what the themes of the song are, and I can just sit down and write all the lyrics in one sitting. It comes pretty naturally, and I've learned to editorialize while not being overly critical of the idea as a whole. I've got a bunch of techniques I use to structure lyrics that speed up the process somewhat. As for words, I tend to use a lot of words like "remember" and "maybe", and also imagery like "bird", and "moon".

Owen's cover for a piece about the lunar eclipse of April 2014.

3) Okay, for the uninitiated: Please provide an "Owen Lennon" discography ... A list of recordings compiled in compact disc form and what you consider albums -- and please describe why it is necessary these days to stop called collections of music "CDs" -- maybe I'm the only one who is doing it.
"Owen Lennon" is one name of several that I use when making music. Every name has a different style and sound associated with it. "Weeping Crone" is still my music, but it has a totally different sound. The pseudonyms are typically in place to distance the music from my identity.
Here is a look at several of the heteronyms Mr. Lennon employs in addition to his given name, when creating disrete packages of music:
Owen Lennon - Indie folk songs associated with my actual identity
Weeping Crone - Ambient music
Motorcyclez - Experimental pop music
Moon Factory - Dark music, collabortion with Jackson Quinn Gray

Here are his albums in chronological order, with the heteronyms they represent:
The Dawn's Chorus (Weeping Crone, 2012)
Ferroskeleton (Weeping Crone, 2013)
Oatmeal (Owen Lennon, 2013)
Grin! (Owen Lennon, 2013)
Spider Music (Owen Lennon, 2013)
Creation (Weeping Crone, 2014)
The Night Organ (Owen Lennon, 2014)
Dark Orange (Weeping Crone, 2014)
P&C Fresh (Motorcyclez, 2015)
Golden Deformity (Owen Lennon, 2015)
Tongue (Moon Factory, 2015)
You can call them CDs if you like, but it's not technically accurate because only two of them have had physical CD releases.
He currently perform with the punk band Anansi; Their next gig is on Sat., Oct. 17th at the Chanticleer loft.

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site

4) If you wish, talk about what it means, exactly, to have no sense of the future. I am very curious about whatever so-called "existential angst" or sense of dread experienced by younger people in the current state of the world.

There is no future because it hasn't been made yet. There isn't even any guarantee that it will be made - death is around every corner. My existential angst has less to do with the state of the world, and more with the ongoing patterns of suffering and desperation in the cosmic sphere as a whole. Not a physical problem, but the idea that every soul is under the control of an all powerful and malevolent demiurge. - we exist to suffer, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
5) Is music saving your butt right now? Is there a better way to describe a fear of bicycles or -- not the thing itself, but whatever preternatural experience that gives rise to a dissociative sense when observing a person on a bicycle.

Music isn't really saving me, but I suppose it's helping me cope with it all. The experience of seeing a bicycle in a synchronistic context is akin to seeing the cracks in everything, and becoming vaguely aware of the deeply sinister nature that underlies all of the conscious experience. It's enough to signal that something is deeply wrong, but not enough to inform me as to what the problem is or how to deal with it. It's a heartbreak - a betrayal of familiarity.

If that sounds bleak, consider that Mr. Lennon recently stated a website for post-post-modern jokes. It is called Hahagoodone.com ...
Here you will find an example from his Motorcyclez collection ...
-- C. Penbroke Handy
Last Updated on Sunday, 04 October 2015 04:04

Fundraiser for Eric Aceto brings Tiny Town familiars together this week, Aug. 27

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Musicians from near and far look out for their own with benefit for Eric Aceto and Bill King


Independent wage-earners are not embraced by any particular federal agency or political group.

Musicians, artists and artisans who follow their calling into the free enterprise system know that they lead precarious lives and hope for the best. Health insurance is often an after-thought.

And the best of these people are afflicted with the same setbacks as any working person. Eric Aceto, then, feels lucky to be living in a place and a time when such a tenuous lifestyle is respected by an extended family of people who know the drill when a health crisis strikes one of their own.

On Thursday, Aug. 27, a group of musicians, some local and a one or two not so local will perform “Music for Eric”, a benefit for Eric Aceto’s family as well as another area musician, Bill King, at the Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg. Donations of any size will be gladly accepted.

“Living in the Ithaca area and being involved with the local music scene has been a great thing for me,” says Aceto.  “The diversity and high-level of musicianship of so many in the area is always inspiring.”

Among the many music artists contributing to the evening performance are: Mac Benford, Danny Speer, Chris Broadwell, Richie Stearns & Rosie Newton, Tenzin Chopak,Mary Lorson, The Pelotones, Franklin Crawford’s tinytowntunes, and special guests including Cape Breton's own post apocalyptic balladeer Douglas September, from Toronto.

Ithaca's Cloud Chamber Orchestra will close the evening to  a short film “A Trip to the Planets.”

Proceeds will go to help Eric and other local musicians who have suffered serious and unexpected medical issues this past summer, including King who is going through a very difficult passage with health issues.

Last Eric Aceto “Having recently lost many important members like George Reed, Bernie Upson and now dear Eric Ott among others, brings our transient nature to mind. My own health problems have me thinking more about it I guess.”

He adds: The incredible outpouring of support for me in particular has been humbling and very much appreciated.”


Aceto is reminded that he has played in many benefits over the years which, the usually taciturn violinist and instrument-maker says “makes it a little easier to accept such an outpouring gracefully.”

Tiny Town Staff reports

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