Alfredo Rodriguez to Perform at Barnes Hall


Alfredo Rodriguez speaks with WSKG’s Sarah Gager about working with Quincy Jones, and how the audience will mold his mostly improvised performance at Barnes Hall on the Cornell Campus. Cuban-born pianist Alfredo Rodriguez discovered jazz as a 15-year-old when he received a CD of music by Keith Jarrett. He was later mentored by Quincy Jones.

"Off The Page: The End"


One day, back before the turn of the century, I received a phone call from a noted academic who had just written another book, one he thought would be of general interest.  Might he be able to arrange an interview on WSKG?  The book was certainly well written and important, but a short interview would likely be too skimpy.  Certainly it would not give ample opportunity to discuss the subject matter and also learn a bit about the writer who, after all, was a neighbor to many of our listeners.  That phone call launched a new program we called OFF THE PAGE.  It premiered in January of 2000 with a panel discussion of science-fiction now that a new millennium was dawning.
Since then the fortnightly series has spent an hour with more than 300 writers (including the gentleman who made that initial phone call), discussing novels and history and society and science and music and zombies and baseball… About the only thing the programs had in common was that the author lived and wrote in the WSKG service area in New York and Pennsylvania. We also opened the phone lines and the e-mailbox and invited listeners to join in the discussions, and when we started live streaming on we began to hear from listeners across the nation and overseas.  The literary map of the Southern Tier/ Finger Lakes/ Western Catskills is certainly detailed with talent.  For the final program in the series I’ve excerpted a few programs that can serve as a sample of the range of topics and quality of guests over the past fourteen years. — Bill Jaker
“The Horse, the Wheel and Language” by David Anthony, professor of archeology at Hartwick College in Oneonta.  Dr. Anthony describes the research into the origins of Indo-European languages spoken from Iceland to Iran and even speaks a bit of Proto-Indo-European.  (15 April 2008)
“The Mighty Queens of Freeville”  Amy Dickinson pays tribute to her mother and all the women of her Tompkins County community whose wisdom and life experiences are reflected in Amy’s nationally-syndicated advice column.  (12 May 2009)
A special program for the 100th anniversary of the death of Mark Twain originated from the porch at Quarry Farm in Elmira, his in-laws’home where Twain spent many summers and did some of his best known writing.  Before a live audience, Twain experts Michael Kiskis of Elmira College (now deceased) and Ann Ryan of Lemoyne College debate Twain’s religiosity.

Tri-Cites Opera presents Mozart's "Don Giovanni"


Stage director Laura Alley and conductor Elaine Rinaldi speak to WSKG’s Bill Snyder about Tri-Cities Opera’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Lorenzo da Ponte’s  libretto about the famous libertine, sometimes serious and sometimes comic, has become the best-known telling of the story.  


Photograph courtesy garryknight via Flickr

Charlie Lawrisky & The Kickin' Polkas, Show One

Let’s Polka is honored to have legendary polka fiddler Charlie Lawrisky take the stage with the Kickin’ Polkas for this episode. Charlie has been playing music professionally for 70 years and he is still able to delight an audience with his charm and charisma. The Kickin’ Polkas feature John Stevens on accordion and vocals with Jeff Teufel and Chris Wanyo joining in on trumpet. The episode features the classic ‘Fiddler’s Polka’ as well as an interview with Charlie conducted by host Bill Flynn.

“Good Day Polka”
“My Shoes Keep Walking”
“Zielona Traweczka”
“Fiddler’s Polka”
“Blue Skirt Waltz”
“Tick Tock Polka”

"The End of Country" By Seamus McGraw


In the United States of America, a state line is an invisible border, often indicated by a welcome sign or a change in the pavement but usually no difference in the scenery and never by a border post. There may be tremendous distinctions between states in policies or interests, but normally neighboring states don’t appear much different than two hedges in a garden. However, right now the line between New York and Pennsylvania might signify a visible difference between past, present and future.
On the Pennsylvania side of the line it may be possible to spot drilling rigs, large water tanks, pipes extending into the ground, all the paraphernalia necessary to tap the earth for natural gas.  In New York such activity is still being debated.  New York and Pennsylvania find themselves atop of one of the world’s great sources of natural gas.  Pennsylvania, with its long experience with extractive industry, has adopted regulations that allowed drillers to move forward drawing natural gas by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of the Marcellus Shale formation.  For New York, this is a totally new experience. A new book by Seamus McGraw reviews the history, geological research, business decisions, economic and social pressures that have already turned part of the Keystone State into a rich gasland.  Not surprisingly, “The End of Country” is now being widely read in New York.  For people previously removed from the explotation of energy resources McGraw’s book is a good introduction, for it is basically a human story; and for anyone either pro or con in the debate over environmental and economic issues, the book (amazingly to some readers) offers a respectful view of all the players in this drama.

Les Miserables by SRO Theatre at the Firehouse


Sam Goodyear interviews two members of the cast of SRO Theatre’s production of Les Miserables opening January 17, 2014.  Director Scott Fisher is staging it in “immersive theatre” where the audience it seated within the action, as scenes take place throughout the theatre and actors interact with the audience.


Photograph Courtesy rawartistsmedia via Flickr

David Heiss, Alan Kay and Warren Jones

The Expressions Classical Series returns with a world class trio taking the stage. David Heiss is a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and principal cellist of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. Warren Jones is Principal Pianist for the exciting California-based chamber music group Camerata Pacifica. In the past he has partnered such great performers as Marilyn Horne, Håkan Hagegård, Kathleen Battle, Barbara Bonney, Carol Vaness, Judith Blegen, Tatiana Troyanos and Martti Talvela. The two are also joined by clarinetist Alan Kay.

Chinese Watercolorist Ruby Wang

Traditional Chinese Watercolorist painter, Ruby Wang works with traditional Chinese painting materials such as rice paper and pointed paint brushes. She loves to teach the importance of traditional Chinese painting strokes then setting her students free encouraging them to use their imagination to be original thinkers. Ruby has many ties to the Southern Tier beginning with a Artist-in-Residence at Johnson City High School in 1980 and having taught Oriental painting at Cornell University and SUNY Binghamton. Permanent collections of Ruby’s work can be found at the Roberson Museum & Science Center and at Security Mutual Insurance Company both in Binghamton, NY.