Photos and notes from Clearwater

June 22, 2008 at 10:06 pm 2 comments

a 4-year-old boy plays The Cow Game with PeaceSmiths volunteer Ian WilderPeaceSmiths had a wonderful weekend at the Clearwater Hudson River Revival Festival in Croton-on-the Hudson. Clearwater was Solstice weekend, instead of Father’s Day weekend this year. The festival was created to support the work of the Clearwater sloop, a boat with a mission to clean up the Hudson River, and teach people the value of working for the environment.

Many years ago, PeaceSmiths supported the Long Island Clearwater Chapter. PeaceSmiths has attended Clearwater for decades. We always have a booth at the Activist section, where we spread the good word about all our issues, and invite young and old alike to play “The Spin the Bottle Cow Game.”

[Photo above is of PeaceSmiths’ volunteer Ian Wilder (in cowboy hat), and the smartest 4-year-old who ever played the cow game. This young man could read the whole information sheet about organic milk and milk alternatives.]

PeaceSmiths’ friend and volunteer Priscilla came early Saturday and was a great help. She set up the cow game and a lot of the table. Priscilla is working on the Cuban 5 issue, so we had a big spread about that issue. Rich Holmes, who is from another state (have to fill that in when I remember) was there all day Saturday, too. Rich was a great help in covering the table, and also was a great leader of the Spin the Bottle Cow Game.

Lots of PeaceSmithies stopped by the table: Wendy D, Luna, Steve D, Jim K, Daniel K, one Ken who stopped by, one Ken who we saw at the campgrounds but never found our table before the storm, Sherry and Kim, The Sackets, Rose Z and Brian O, Albert from Brooklyn. Oh, and we got to babysit for the guitar of Mark Levy, a singer-songwriter from California who has played at the PeaceSmiths Coffeehouse. A lot of WBAI producers and activists who have worked with Susan and PeaceSmiths over the years came by to pay tribute.

Nancy Jane Blake was part of the Clearwater volunteer crew who comes before and leaves after the festival. We saw her riding around in her golf cart and she paid a visit to the table. Nancy enjoyed the PeaceSmiths presentation for her sister, Susan June Blake.

The entire Clearwater Activist Section was dedicated to Susan June Blake. There was a whole page in the program about Susan’s vision and contribution to activism. And, Roy Volpe from Clearwater lent us a beautiful, 8ft tall sign of a silhouette of a tree to make the announcement on. In addition, we brought the wonderful, wood, cut-out painting of Susan that artist Ron Thomson made for the Coffeehouse. It meant so much to so many people to have Susan’s image there. Priscilla brought flowers in tin cans, and placed them at the feet of the Susan painting, and it was very moving. Priscilla also brought her display board with Susan photos.

A small girl, probably 2 and 1/2 or 3 years old saw the cut-out doll painting of Susan Blake, which portrays Susan with her arms up in the lively and theatrical way she had. The little girl first waved at Susan, and then threw her arms up in the air just like her.

Many people checked in with us to tell stories of what Susan meant to them. And, unfortunately, we had to tell some people who had not heard the news that Susan passed. There were many teary eyes. We felt fortunate, at least, to have the cards with the Gary Ivan picture of Susan on her bicycle to give to people.

Some of the issues we featured were: Let Long Islanders know about the Summer Anti-War Mall Tour set up by the Suffolk Peace Network; A petition for asserting that nuclear is not the proper answer for global warming; and Cow Game information about the dangers of RBGH hormones used in milk, the value of organic milk, milk alternatives such as soy, rice, almond, potato and coconut milk, and one sheet about how open burning harms the milk supply. We got some signatures on some petitions, and a few new contacts.

One stroke of luck we had, was that Ken Gale of the WBAI show Eco-logic came by early Saturday to talk about Susan. Ken asked if I might consider going on air about PeaceSmiths. Well, a little while later, a golf cart with Ken and another man in it came zooming by, because WBAI needed someone fast to open up their broadcast of Clearwater. So, PeaceSmiths was the first “act” on the WBAI coverage of the Clearwater Festival this year. We spoke about issue first, and then the sad news about Susan Blake, but how fulfilling it was that the festival had honored Susan.

Ken Gale spoke again about the value of Susan and PeaceSmiths in showing the linkage of issues. Recently, another Long Island activist had articulate that one of the values of Susan’s mission was to show how all the issues are interconnected.

On the overall festival side: Saturday was beautiful. Sunday, there was an early warning of a hale storm, and things were hectic. Then, the storm passed, and there was a little bit of festivaling. But, it started to pour. Eventually, the festival was called off in the early afternoon on Sunday. Still a lot happened. I heard that Pete Seeger’s Circle of Song came off well. And, also, that the Pete Seeger concert was one of the best moments of the festival.

Oh! During the rain, we had to juggle a lot to protect the photo board, the Susan painting and the cow game. The photo board stayed up high. The Susan painting got wet a little on the back. Though, we were able to rescue her from rising waters, by gathering at the tent of some people in a peace group who loved Susan so much, they were happy to shelter the painting. They said Susan would have laughed at the scene, and they were so glad that she did not truly have to miss Clearwater. The Cow Game took some water. Though, it is okay, and it has taken water before.

It was wonderful, productive, and exhausting. Ian is in bed asleep, where he was since 5 minutes after we got home.

Some photos below. More will be added in next few days.


Sue Gamache shows the sign dedicated to Susan June Blake

Clearwater Festival 2008. Sue Gamache stands with the beautiful tree sign that the festival lent to PeaceSmiths to announce that the Activist Section of 2008 was dedicated to the memory of Susan June Blake.

Priscilla Fili in the green dress talks to a festival goer

Clearwater Hudson River Revival 2008. PeaceSmiths booth at the activist section. Volunteer Priscilla Fili (in the aqua swing shirt) explains an issue.

PeaceSmiths at Clearwater 2008

PeaceSmiths volunteers visit. Wendy and Steve (who were also very busy being Clearwater volunteers) and Rich, who worked the PeaceSmiths booth and the Cow Game most of the day Saturday.

View of the Hudson River and some displays from the Clearwater festival

View of the Hudson River. Clearwater Hudson River Revival Festival 2008.

Entry filed under: Peace, PeaceSmiths Calendar, Susan Blake. Tags: , , , , , , .

Looking forward: September 2008 Garden Party PeaceSmiths booth at Clearwater

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Fri. March 9, 2018
Art & Music
Robyn Bellospirito &
Jimi Durso
Bryan Gallo
Open Mic!

Fri. Feb. 2, 2018
Tom Ryan

Fri. Jan. 5, 2018
Eli Maniscalco


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John Myles
Zack Reyes

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8pm / Jazz & more
Coincidence Machine
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Rudel Drears, jazz piano
Open Mic!


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The PeaceSmiths Coffeehouse is the first Friday of the month, from October to June.

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Banner Photo

The banner photo is PeaceSmiths friends and banner in Washington, D.C. for a peace march on January 27, 2007. Susan is waving on the left, above the "e". Photo copyright Merly Thinanyi of Thihanyi Photography in Valley Stream.

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