Light Attraction for Wilco Fans & Residents
Main Street looked like a small-town version of the City of Lights on Saturday night as the downtown did its best to attract at least the fringe of the 5,000 or so expected at the Solid Sound Festival at MoCA. (What's Solid Sound? It's right here.)
Some 1,000 feet of twinkle lights criss-crossed over the sidewalk on the sunny side of the street, augmented by theater lights shining on two of the city's more elegant structures, the Dowlin Block and the Hoosac Bank Building. Matthew Adelson, lighting designer at both the Mahaiwe and the Williams College '62 Center, set up the display.
The evening, much like the Wilco-curated festival, was a laidback affair, although there was brisk business at many of the local eateries and steady draw into the galleries, if not much art being purchased.
The theater lights were a nice touch.
"We smoked! This morning we had a line at the door ... This was just amazing," Mark Petrino, owner of Petrino's Cafe, told us in the wee hours of Sunday morning after a marathon day. The cafe started with a waiting line for breakfast; it was ending past 1 a.m., with a dozen or so patrons chilling to the sounds of 8 Foot River, a Great Barrington band.
There was music up and down Main Street and on Eagle. The night was mild, the sidewalks busy but not packed, and people clustered around the street musicians, sat on the new benches or strolled into open galleries. Not everyone stayed open to the advertised 2 a.m., but most kept their doors open to at least midnight.
Keith Bona, owner of Creations and a city councilor, said it wasn't a record day, but a very good day. He didn't get the sales predicted by Jonathan Secor of MCLA Gallery 51, who'd bet him $20, but he must of been close. Neither would state the figure, but Secor said he'd considered spending $100 "to get his dignity and his $20 back."
We hear the galleries didn't sell much on Saturday, but didn't really expect to. Brian Handspicker at the Berkshire Arts Colony did note a significant increase in foot traffic into the gallery at 107 Main St. on both Friday and Saturday. When we wandered over about 9:30 on Saturday night, there were a half-dozen people in the gallery — all local. Handspicker said quite a few city residents had stopped by on Saturday evening, while out-of-towners had visited during the day.
This festival crowd was mostly middle-aged, and many brought their children along. Joe Thompson, MoCA's executive director, described them as "rock daddies," with a strong streak of social responsibility. "They don't like waste," he told us last week. "They don't like to see overflowing trash cans." That's why we think the Smart Car we saw with a New York plate on Main Street belonged to Wilco fan; we don't see too many of those models around here.
These fans are also pretty hungry, if Saturday was any indication.
Seriously Supreme Pizza salesmen
Over on Marshall Street, the guys of Guys and Dogs were crowded with customers. Jack's Hot Dog Stand at the other end of Main Street was open to midnight and reportedly packed most of the night; another street vendor on the other side of Marshall had a waiting line, too. We also heard The Hub, which closed by 11, did a boffo 400 covers on Saturday. Supreme Pizza was covering both ends of the street, with a pair of fast-talking salesmen reinforced with Red Bull wheeling and dealing on single slices near the old Moulton's General Store.
Supreme's general manager Spencer Leonard said the proof was in the piled and empty pizza boxes behind their table. "We couldn't keep up with them," he said.
Vinnie Melito and David Lewis of Guys and Dogs, said they'd spoken to people from as far away as California and the feedback had been positive about the city and the Berkshires. "One guy said 'this place is jewel,'" said Lewis.
It wasn't just the out-of-towners impressed on Saturday. We met a young resident named Paul Oparowski who was chatting up pretty much anyone to find out where they were from and what they thought. "Everyone's been so friendly," he said, adding he hoped more events like this would continue. "It was awesome."
Our reporter Patrick on the job at MoCA
For all the focus on Solid Sound, the real drivers of the early evening were people from right here. They were on the street and in the shops and resaturants. "It proved we could do it ourselves," said Secor.
We know lots of other places were open — Christo's, Village, Red Sauce and the Richmond Grille among them — but didn't make it that far. There was a farmers' market on Eagle Street in the morning we missed because we were busy chasing some great deals at the townwide tag sale in Adams. If any readers have info on how other venues did, tell us about them.
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DNA Launches Website for Solid Sound Fest
Nearly 8,000 people are arriving in two weeks for the Solid Sound Festival at Mass MoCA and the city is putting its best foot forward to help those visitors leave as much of their spending money behind as possible.
Develop North Adams has just launched a website with everything North Adams to direct the thousands of concertgoers to restaurants, shops and alternative entertainment (you have to give your ears a rest sometime).
We're excited about the idea of the midnight madness on Aug. 14. The downtown will reopen at 9 and go until 2 a.m.! Joe Thompson had expressed his hope that city would take advantage of the festival and, in the process, help slow the traffic heading out of the city on the Saturday night after Wilco plays. The idea is to get the concertgoers to linger, drop some cash, and then leave, mitigating any traffic jams.
Check oout the full website here.
history, things to do, shopping, eat & stay, entertainment, nature
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Tangiers: Going, Going, Gone
Customers thought the little boats in the windows of Tangiers meant owner Barbara May was going vacation.
Barbara May had to change the signs in the window of Tangiers Boutique the other day. She'd put some little sailboats in the window of the Main Street store with signs saying "going, going, gone" and a final note telling customers the shop would close on June 30.
"People were coming in and asking when we were going to reopen," she said on Tuesday. "[Because of the boats] they thought we were going on vacation."
If it's a vacation, it's a permanent one. The tanning salon and gift shop is over and done on June 30 and a new sign makes it quite clear it's not a vacation: "Finished, closing for good, over & done, kaput."
"Our cookie has crumbled," May repeated. "And our ship has sailed."
The salon's struggled to stay open over the past few years. May nearly called it quits in fall 2008, but a last-minute lease renegotiation and an outpouring of support kept the doors open. She'd considered a move to Eagle Street — but the building burned down.
"We tried to be optimistic," she said, but the economic downturn over the past year was too much. "We can't outlast it.
"We tried to donate to the community and we tried to be there creating jobs and supporting things that's why owning a small business is so much fun," she continued. "We just hope that everybody that came here enjoyed it. We had wonderful time and we'll miss it."
The boutique is having a going out-of-business sale; May said the fixtures are also for sale. Its closure leaves yet another empty storefront on Main Street.
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Antiques Shop to Open on Main
Crafty Creations was closed last week while the wall between 68 and 63 Main St. was opened up.
Wondering about that working going on at 63 Main St. in the Empire Building? That's the preparation for Empire Antiques, which is opening in the former Suncatcher Glass studio. We hear the opening could be this week.
The antique shop's a bit of a collaborative venture. It's going to be owned by James Montepare (who was issued a antiques dealer license from the City Council last month) but share an accessway with Crafty Creations.
A doorway's been opened up between the adjoining spaces. Creations, now in its sixth year, will help manage sales for the antiques side for Montepare, who's the city superintendent of schools. Montepare has been selling his pieces at a couple other locations.
The two spaces combined will come to about 4,000 square feet, making the two shops the largest retail space on the sunny side of the street.
Suncatcher was operated by Anna Kronick for several years. Kronick's known for her beautiful stained-glass and papercut work. We hear she's planning a career change by will still be creating beautiful items at home.
Oops, Creations is the name of the store. I just can't get that old Crafty part out of my head.
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