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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

They're off and running ... for public office

Yes, the thoroughbreds begin their six-week season at Saratoga Race Course on Wednesday (July 29), but the other races already vying for attention are the ones up in the November local elections.
One city council member has declared his candidacy for mayor against the incumbent, the Saratoga County sheriff has a challenger, and more contested races are likely. In Saratoga Springs, citizens should be looking for candidates who, among other things, are willing to proceed with changing the form of government.
Former Mayor Val Keehn's unsuccessful charter vote failed in part because she proposed a radical rehab of the city after taking office instead of making it a campaign platform. I also think her goal to rid the council of then-DPW commissioner Tom McTygue became a distraction from the bigger plan to make city government more efficient.
Anyway, now's the time to start anew. So let's hear what the candidates have to say about charter change.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ballet at SPAC: Where were you?

Opening night of the New York City Ballet at SPAC was lovely. I'll leave the reviews to experts like Jay Rogoff, who will be giving one of the upcoming pre-performance talks. Suffice to say that a casual fan or ballet-impaired audience member can still enjoy the dances and the music. Having a live orchestra is part of what makes bringing the ballet so expensive, but it's worth it.
It rained during the last ballet, but no one on the lawn melted. Most were prepared with umbrellas. We've gotten used to carrying around umbrellas just about every day.
How many people were there tonight? Can't really say. On the lawn, maybe a couple hundred, tops. Best seats in the amphitheater were filled, but there were still plenty available. SPAC is, sorry to say, tight-lipped about attendance numbers. They should not act like the numbers are something to hide.
My suggestion is that SPAC talk about attendance. They should note how well turnout for the ballet at SPAC compares to average attendance at Lincoln Center. Talk about attendance, and let businesses and individuals know that the way to keep the ballet here is to buy tickets.
SPAC has been setting up programs to encourage families with young kids, date nights and girls' nights out. All good ideas.

Ballet in Saratoga

I plan to be relaxing in a lawn seat at SPAC tonight for the first performance of the New York City Ballet's two weeks in Saratoga.
I am not well-versed in dance, and I don't claim to understand or even love ballet. But I know enough to take advantage of an opportunity to see a world-class performance with a live orchestra right in my own back yard. It's a different experience in the amphitheater, but it's also great on the lawn, and the lawn fits the bill. Well worth the eighteen bucks for adults -- and kids are free every night except one.
People love the cachet that having the NYCB brings to Saratoga. But keeping the ballet here requires people filling the seats (or lawn chairs). Same goes for the Philadelphia Orchestra later this season.