Lake Placid – While the snow arrived in force Saturday evening dozens attended the Lake Placid Center for the Arts first free show. Expressing a desire to make art more accessible regardless of socioeconomics, the program began with a short statement about the Center’s plan to hold at least one donation only show each season. A mixed crowd ranging from twenty somethings to the more distinguished applauded appreciatively before the house lights dimmed.
A trio of performers stepped from the wings. After meeting in 2006 at a TED conference in Monterey, California songwriter Jill Sobule and comedian Julia Sweeney decided to pair their diverse talents. Julia began speaking before Jill reminded her with a laugh that she’d skipped their opening. Jill’s guitar backed by a plucking stand up bass reached out to the half full audience.
Pairing Sweeney’s amusing anecdotes about everything from love and explaining reproduction to an inquisitive nine year old to a hilarious story about Harriet Beecher Stowe wandering around Mark Twain’s estate in her dotage (they live next door in Hartford, Connecticut) with Sobule’s homegrown song writing about life and the American experience, the pair kept the audience in stitches.
The power winked out momentarily before returning, emergency lights keeping the darkness at bay. One very active participant felt the need to share his opinion rather loudly every few moments. Everyone, performers included, did their best to remain polite. A straight set, the pair alternated takes, talking about one another and the stories behind their show.
Outside the heavy snow continued and the power disappeared once again, remaining out this time. Fortunately the show went on without amplified sound. A pair of Center employees appeared with flashlights to illuminate the pair. Stepping to the edge of the stage and raising the volume of their voices, Jill and Julia seemed to enjoy the disruption from practiced routine.
The gathered public rose in a standing ovation as the performance concluded. A short encore followed in the flashlit theater before they thanked the audience for taking the time to attend. Stepping back into the falling snow everyone wore smiles. Nearby a utility truck slowly ran a spotlight along the power lines, searching for the break that allowed a unique presentation for a small group that braved the weather.