a Thursday afternoon at Elissa Halloran Designs on Lark Street
and proprietor Elissa Halloran is sitting on the floor of
her back room. It is packed with boxes, materials, and various
kinds of art supplies: evidence of creations in the works.
She seems very content with her recent success. In front of
her first-floor shop, several customers peruse the artsy necklaces,
earrings, accessories, funky lamps and artwork that pack the
store, which opened last March. It’s become a very popular,
acclaimed boutique—and recently, Halloran and her shop were
even discovered by a national celebrity.
Today Show anchor Soledad O’Brien recently noticed an
NBC producer (a regular Halloran customer) wearing one of
Halloran’s necklaces and asked to see more of her work. The
producer brought in several pieces to show O’Brien, who was
instantly sold. O’ Brien loved what she saw and bought all
of the pieces; she also invited Halloran to come to her apartment
in New York City to show her some more. “It was pretty amazing
that someone of that stature was interested in my jewelry.
I was definitely nervous,” says Halloran, when asked how she
felt watching O’ Brien look at her jewelry. “But she made
me feel pretty comfortable. . . . She’s very sweet.”
Halloran says she hopes to continue her interactions with
O’Brien in the future. “I keep saying in my head, ‘This is
so cool,’ ” says Halloran.
Fans of Halloran’s jewelry design needn’t worry that she will
pick up and move her shop, however. Halloran, who has lived
in the area for most of her life, doesn’t plan on leaving
the region anytime soon. “I would love to possibly have a
line and possibly a store in New York. But right now, I like
living in Albany,” says Halloran. “It’s really a great feeling
to see people walking down Lark Street wearing my jewelry.”
Let Your Freak Flag Fly
artist Luke Williamson has a bone to pick with the city of
Albany—particularly the Lark Street Business Improvement District.
The Lark Street BID hired him to paint a banner advertising
Art on Lark, an event which took place in Albany’s Lark Street
neighborhood two Saturdays ago. The banner was to hang from
a trolley which would drive through downtown Albany offering
free rides. The banner Williamson submitted was mildly risqué,
displaying four bare-chested men and women with “ART ON LARK”
written across their hats and chests. Saturday morning, when
he looked for the banner on the trolley, it was nowhere to
be found. “I have to admit, I kind of knew they might take
issue with it, because it was a family event,” says Williamson.
“[But] I was really disappointed. . . . I think that that
kind of thing should be something that could be seen.”
From the time Williamson submitted the banner, it was the
subject of debate. Initially, the BID rejected it. However,
after several people involved with the BID and Art on Lark
argued in Williamson’s favor, he was told that they would
use it after all. Shortly before the Saturday morning when
Art on Lark was held, it was decided that the banner would
not be displayed on the trolley. “We wanted to be fair
to the artist,” says Joe Cunin, executive director of the
BID. He says that much discussion went into deciding whether
or not the banner was appropriate to display on the trolley.
initially thought it was kind of fun and an interesting take
on Art and Lark . . . [but] since the event has a fairly significant
family component with a kids’ area, we thought we’d err on
the side of being more conservative,” Cunin says. Cunin also
points out that the banner was, in fact, displayed at the
Art on Lark festival outside Web of Threads clothing store.
“But not in such a public forum,” he notes.
Williamson says he understands the BID’s point of view, but
believes that the situation reflects something inherently
“backwards” regarding our society’s view of nudity and sexuality.
“I always turn on the TV and see people being shot and beat
up, but they’ll never show nudity or sex,” he comments. “If
you could have one of those things happen to you—being shot,
being beat up or being nude—which one would you pick?” Williamson
also believes that the situation goes against downtown Albany’s
generally liberal attitude. “I take it personally, but it
affects everyone in the city,” Williamson says. “Downtown
Albany likes to promote itself as liberal and open-minded.
. . . If it’s so great, this shouldn’t even be an issue. I
would hope that people in Albany would be upset by this.”
was an exciting night for the Trink Gallery on Remsen Street
Upstairs at Trink, a hip, little retro store that recently
movedto a larger location on Remsen Street, up the block from
its former location, owner Nadia Trinkala (pictured) was celebrating
the opening of a new art gallery with a group show by 12 artists.
A crowd of more than 400 people passed through the three large
gallery spaces, quickly using up the 300 blank name tags available
for gallery goers. Cohoes police had to direct traffic, as
so many members of the Capital Region art scene descended
on the opening.
Champagne flowed, munchies were devoured and hundreds of well-wishers,
including Assemblyman Ron Canestrari, took in artwork and
live harpsichord and guitar music.
The opening exhibit, which contains paintings, photographs,
video, sculpture and mixed-media works of art, runs through
With the New
Mayor Jerry Jennings and many others gathered to celebrate
the opening of Park Playhouses new headquarters at a
ribbon-cutting ceremony/sign unveiling on June 11. Park Playhouses
offices and technical shops have relocated from 60 Orange
St. to the former No. 3 Fire House at 895 Broadway. The two-floor,
6,000-square-foot building will house offices, a small rehearsal
room, a new costume-construction shop, and an extensive costume-storage
area. The garage space in the rear of the building will be
converted into a new scenic-construction shop. The move was
conceived after Capital Repertory Theater purchased the former
City Arts Building at 60 Orange St.
celebrate Jacob’s Pillow’s 70th anniversary season, a revised
edition of the book A Certain Place: The Jacob’s Pillow
Story has been released, which includes new pages of updated
history, new photos and a new foreword by executive director
Ella Baff. A Certain Place traces the Pillow’s history
from its beginnings as an 18th-century farm, through its role
as a station on the Underground Railroad, to its current status
as the United States’ oldest-running dance festival. Originally
published in 1997, the revised edition includes a new chapter
“Dance for a New Century” which extends the historical narrative
from 1997 through the present. Also included are new appendices
of the artists, teachers, premieres and works created at the
Pillow. It also boasts a new cover with an illustration of
Jacob’s Pillow founder Ted Shawn by artist Al Hirschfeld.
A Certain Place: The Jacob’s Pillow Story by Norton
Owen, the Pillow’s director of preservation, is available
at www.jacobspillow. org and select outlets. . . . The Sisters
of St. Joseph Swamp White Oak tree in Latham has recently
been nominated to the National Register of Historic Trees.
The 350-year-old white oak, which stands on the grounds of
Provincial House, the home of the Sisters of St. Joseph, has
witnessed the American Revolution, nobles seeking refuge from
the French Revolution and the building of Provincial House
in the late 1960s. The tree will be featured in a soon-to-be-published
volume produced by American Forests, an organization dedicated
to conservation and environmental restoration. American Forests
maintains the National Register of Historic Trees, the first
comprehensive reference of trees with historic significance.
The book will be published by Crown Publishing (a division
of Random House) in 2004. . . . Got Art Beat items? Send them