Unpotable America: It's Not Just Flint Water the Public Must Worry About

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Demo Memo: The Taint of Time & Industry

Water You Wouldn't Use to Wash a Barnyard Animal

Long before Flint Michigan's water problems became a national news story, a substantial 9 million American households identified their primary source of water as unsafe to drink.

Even here in Ithaca, N.Y., news of tiny spheres of plastic, trace amounts of medical waste and, scariest to date, PCBs in the city's drinking water, are so routine the super intelligent citizens of the this top-rated tiny town barely take notice.

Thanks to the American Housing Survey, which asks respondents whether their primary source of water is safe for drinking. This is the percentage of households with water not safe to drink (excluding households whose primary source is commercial bottled water) ...
Primary source of water is unsafe to drink
Total households: 8%
Owners: 6%
Renters: 11%
Blacks: 10%
Hispanics: 20%
Below poverty: 12%
Northeast: 6%
Midwest: 4%
South: 8%
West: 12%
Central city: 9%
Suburb: 7%
Nonmetropolitan: 6%
Source: Census Bureau, 2013 American Housing Survey


Cheryl Russell is a nationally renowned demographer as well as editorial director of New Strategist Press. Russell also is the former editor-in-chief of American Demographics magazine and The Boomer Report. She has written numerous books about demographic trends. Ms. Russell is a professional demographer with a master's degree from Cornell University.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 February 2016 15:52
 

Tiny Town Teaser No. 26, Vol. 7

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Across

1. Patriots' org.
4. Scores in the 1 Across
5. Possessed

Down

1. Highest power?
2. Rx watchdog
3. Acid
>>><<<
Degree of Difficulty: It's Monday, Feb. 1 ... How hard can anything be?
>>><<<
IMAGE: Feb 1, 2016 sunset with woods and partially frozen lake ... Frankie14850
Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2016 19:18
 

Cuba Through the Lens: Local Photographers exhibit at Corners Gallery, Feb. 2 to March 5

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Tiny Town, USA – Three local photographers will be exhibiting their work in Cuba, Tuesday, Feb. 2, through Sat., March 5, at the Corners Gallery, 903 Hanshaw Road in Community Corners, Cayuga Heights. Lens craft by photographers Laura Kozlowski, Rachel

Philipson and Sheryl Sinkow with be on exhibit. An opening reception will be held Friday, Feb. 12, from 5-6 p.m., in the gallery; art lovers and the general public and those with an interest in current world events are welcome.

You can even be an ignoramus and show up, but you will probably feel underexposed.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2016 11:23
 

The Whitman Sampler: Fine Art, finally seen by Arthur Dubya

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Hurry Up To See Kari Krakow's Cafe Exhibit ASAP ... Then Go Slowly Through the Works

It’s always a joy to find good art in a coffee shop or similar informal venue.

And, while I’ve been accused of showing favoritism towards abstract painting, a visit to one of Ithaca’s less storied art venues more often turns up abstraction that’s mediocre at best (Of course we get bad art of all sorts. But abstract expressionism in particular seems to bring out the worst in some artists—because it’s hard to do well, but more particularly because it appeals to a sort of naïve romanticism that has a strong purchase in our local culture. Half a century from being cutting-edge, the style still attracts bohemian posturing).

Currently -- and through the end of the month -- Gimme! Coffee on State Street -- is showing a generous collection of abstract expressionist canvases by local painter Kari Krakow. Painted mostly in acrylic, nearly all of these are several feet tall, commanding their upright format.

Particularly striking is the way Krakow works the paint. Rather than building up the sort of exaggerated impasto one expects from this sort of painting, she uses thin background stains and pulverizes her thicker colors into a sort of unified surface that escapes being “muddy” in the pejorative sense.

One long wall in Gimme!’s main seating area features “pure” abstractions while the opposite one features paintings centering on a flower motif. I’ll focus on the former, which are generally more interesting.

Bent echoes the construction of her florals with clouds and flecks of bright green and red accenting a black base. As elsewhere, the “background” is painted thinly. Mardi Gras recalls the work of Willem De Kooning with it’s gravity defying explosion of white; pale blue and purple; turquoise; and thin, ink-like black and orange. For You is closer to Cy Twombly, a more contemporary painter who died a few years ago. It too feels floral, with blobs of purplish red punctuating a field of pink, Indian yellow—and hair-like strokes of silvery gray—seemingly growing from the flat white background. (The piece also suggests an affinity to drawing and to the work of great local abstractionist Syau-Cheng Lai.)

On a quick glance, Krakow’s flower paintings appear to flirt with a sort of ingratiating kitsch. Abstraction is tough, or so the reasoning goes—lets make it more accessible by giving the viewer something to hold on to. And what could be sweeter than a flower?

But a slower look reveals an intelligence behind their layering of paint and image. Pieces like her Bouquet canvases aim for a Matissean sensual rigor with flowers and vase standing out crisply, portrait-like, from intricately worked abstract backgrounds.

Ariel’s World, displayed alongside these, is less literal. The effusively colored piece suggests a merging of sky and earth with scattered red blossoms like those in For You—perhaps poppies.

Painted in oil and hung by itself, After the Rain is the closest here to a traditional landscape with two “trees” near the top forming a sort of sawtooth with the blue sky. Below the blossoms and leaves have been worked with a hallucinatory vigor. The color is less ingratiating, less clean—seemingly a result of change of medium.

I may be succumbing here to local boosterism, potentially a fatal disease for the serious art critic. But I find that the best of these canvases compare favorably with the most up-to-date recent paintings currently on-view at Cornell’s Johnson Museum. Which goes to show that some of Ithaca’s unsung artists have the means to trump what too often falls into the trendy and tendentious.

Barbs aside, this is a fine show in a sympathetic setting—among other things, these paintings look good hanging on the wall here.

Editor's Note: Arthur Whitman is one of the few brave souls with a refined sensibilite and an art background of high critical acumen willing enough to shill for pennies to have his raw thoughts about local art and exhibits expressed to the public. We applaud his courage, while, we put our best defenders on Orange Alert for attacks from the offended.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 January 2016 22:31
 


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