Enjoy Haudenosaunee artistry online
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VICTOR — As July approached, Friends of Ganondagan knew they wouldn’t be able to hold the Indigenous Music & Arts Festival on site at the national historic landmark in Victor, site of a 17th-century Seneca town. The social distancing required due to the coronavirus wouldn’t allow for crowds to come and experience the artistry of Haudenosaunee dancers, musicians and other artists, and take part in interactive workshops with Native American artisans.
And while moving the event online would not be a replacement for the annual event, formerly known as the Native American Dance & Music Festival, it would allow the public a taste of the flavor of the festival, noted Ganondagan spokesperson Amy Blum — while also providing an outlet for Haudenosaunee artists who’ve seen events canceled this year.
“When the decision came not to do the festival, there was discussion of, what can we offer?” Blum said Monday. “Not intending to replace the festival, but to reinvent some of the programs that people would expect at the festival, in the context of the natural world.”
And so this weekend will see Ganondagan presenting the “Virtual Ganondagan Summer Experience” on July 23-25 — the original dates of the festival — featuring Native American dancing, storytelling and artisan demonstrations via Facebook Live and YouTube. Most of the performances and demonstrations will be pre-recorded — except for Friday’s performance by Bill Crouse and the Allegany River Dancers, which will stream live — and all will be outdoors. It will all be available for free, as well.
Programming starts at 11 a.m. Friday, July 24, with the performance by Crouse (Seneca) and the Allegany River Dancers, performing in their traditional regalia in front of the Bark Longhouse. It will be streamed on Ganondagan’s Facebook Live, and then can be viewed after the fact.
Crouse is a member of the Hawk Clan and a faith keeper of the Coldspring Longhouse on the Onondaga Territory, and a visual artist (acrylics, watercolors, sketches, sculpture) as well as a singer, musician and dancer. The Allegany River Dancers showcase traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) songs and dances, sharing their origins and occasions.
“Bill always does a great job explaining the dances and what they mean, and the regalia and what they are wearing,” Blum said.
During the weekend, the following programming will be available on YouTube:
• Storyteller Perry Ground (Onondaga, Turtle Clan) telling traditional water being stories by Ganondagan’s Trout Brook. “So there’s really going to be a sense of place and context to what he’s doing,” said Blum.
• Lacrosse stickmaker (and player) William “Snooky” Brooks (Seneca), joined by Ganondagan Site Manager G. Peter Jemison, will discuss lacrosse stick-making, in a segment filmed in the site’s woods.
• Artisan Ronnie Reitter (Seneca) will demonstrate the making of traditional corn husk dolls, in a segment filmed at the Three Sisters Garden.
• Crouse will demonstrate the making of water drums and gustoweh, a traditional Haudenosaunee men’s headdress.
Blum said they’re thinking about holding some sort of YouTube watch party so people can watch the segments as a group if they wish.
“It’s a way of really offering a sampling of some of the best and most popular festival elements — and giving people an opportunity to support some of the Haudenosaunee artists and artisans, because most festivals and powwows have been canceled, and they’re losing an opportunity to display their talents and make some money,” she said.
And of course, going online exposes the artists, and Ganondagan itself, to people potentially from all over, not just those who may have been able to trek to Victor in a given year.
While the festival has moved online this year, Ganondagan’s Seneca Art & Cultural Center and the bark longhouse are now open to the public, having reopened just after the July 4 weekend. It’s slightly different — some of the interactive elements are limited, and certain items can’t be touched; and masks are, of course, required — but “everything is still there to see and experience,” Blum said.
And the outdoor aspect of Ganondagan never did close, she noted: “That has been just wonderful — all the trails have been open and folks have been coming out to enjoy them. They are thematic and marked, so you can give yourself a self-guided tour.”
Local live music
A sampling of live music performances scheduled for the near future around the region:
• July 23: The Boyd Parker Ambush duo featuring Nick Young and Jeff Simpson — Thursday, July 23, at 6:30 p.m. on the outside patio at Abilene Bar & Lounge, 153 Liberty Pole Way, Rochester.
• July 23: Meyer & McGuire (acoustic duo), with Perry Cleaveland on mandolins and fiddle, 6-9 p.m. Thursday, July 23, at Zugibe Vineyards, 4248 East Lake Road, Geneva.
• July 24: Luca Foresta and the Electro Kings (blues, swing, rock) — Friday, July 24, at 6:30 p.m. on the outside patio at Abilene Bar & Lounge, 153 Liberty Pole Way, Rochester.
• July 24: BONFIRE (AC/DC tribute) — Friday, July 24, 6:30-9 p.m., Roseland Drive-In at Roseland Waterpark, 250 Eastern Boulevard, Canandaigua. Tickets are $45 or $60 depending on tier. Buy tickets at roselanddrivein.com or call 585-396-2000.
• July 24: Retrospect — Friday, July 24, 9 p.m. to midnight at Nashvilles, 4553 West Henrietta Road, Henrietta.
• July 24: Rocko Dorsey — Friday, July 24, 5-8 p.m. at ReInvention Brewing Co. (on porch), 9 N. Main St., Manchester.
• July 24: White Woods Duo — Friday, July 24, 5-7:30 p.m. on the patio at The Lovin’ Cup, 300 Park Point, Henrietta.
• July 25: Bach to Rock student performance — Saturday, July 25, at I-Square in Irondequoit, presented by House of Guitars.
• July 25: Latin Day Festival — Saturday, July 25, 1-9 p.m., Roseland Drive-In at Roseland Waterpark, 250 Eastern Blvd., Canandaigua. Tickets are $45, $60 or $75, depending on tier. Buy tickets at roselanddrivein.com or call 585-396-2000.
• July 25: Mike Brown — Saturday, July 25, 6-8 p.m., at Noble Shepherd Craft Brewery, 7853 Route 20A, Bristol.
• July 25: Mike and Mel Muscarella (of Violet Mary), 6-8:30 p.m.. on the patio at The Lovin’ Cup, 300 Park Point, Henrietta.
• July 25: Paulsen, Baker & Chaapel (acoustic) — Saturday, July 25, at 6 p.m., at Brew & Brats at Arbor Hill, 6461 BB State Route 64, Naples.
• July 25: Tom Chamberlain — Saturday, July 25, 3-5 p.m. at ReInvention Brewing Co. (on porch), 9 N. Main St., Manchester.
• July 25: Rayanna Chambers — Saturday, July 25, 6-8 p.m. at ReInvention Brewing Co. (on porch), 9 N. Main St., Manchester.
• July 30: Davy Knowles, with Griffith & Martino — Thursday, July 30, at 7 p.m., in the parking lot at Fanatics Pub & Pizza, 7281 W. Main St., Lima. Tickets: $25 general, 585-624-2080 or 315-473-2411.
• July 31: Scott Guest — Friday, July 31, 6-8 p.m., at Noble Shepherd Craft Brewery, 7853 Route 20A, Bristol.
• Aug. 1: Breakfast Club (80s tribute band), with opening act Tyler Nortan — Saturday, Aug. 1, 6:30-9 p.m., Roseland Drive-In at Roseland Waterpark, 250 Eastern Boulevard, Canandaigua. Tickets are $45 or $60 depending on tier. Buy tickets at roselanddrivein.com or call 585-396-2000.
• Aug. 1: Brian Crawford — Saturday, Aug. 1, 6-8 p.m., at Noble Shepherd Craft Brewery, 7853 Route 20A, Bristol.
• Aug. 1: Meyer & McGuire (acoustic) — Saturday, Aug. 1, at 6 p.m., at Brew & Brats at Arbor Hill, 6461 BB State Route 64, Naples
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FRONT-ROW SEAT is a column that showcases the area’s art, music, theater, film and general all-around creative scene. If you’re a musician (or venue) with an upcoming live (or online) performance or album release, or if you have any information in the arts/entertainment sphere to report, please send your information to L. David Wheeler at email@example.com.