Wednesday, January 4, 6:30 p.m. Herbal Study Group - focus is Valerian.

Do you have trouble getting to sleep?  Are you bothered by anxiety at work or at school?  Does anxiety affect your relationships? Would you prefer an alternative treatment to pharmaceuticals?
Come on the 4th and learn about Valerian with guest teacher Monica Reid.  Used as a mild sedative and sleep aid since ancient times and more recently often mistakenly confused with the addictive drug Valium, the history of its use, and some common and not-so-common uses will be explored in this class.  In addition, the class will cover Valerian's biological properties, why it is considered "mysterious," how to identify the plant and how to properly prepare and use the herb.  Bring a notebook.  For more information, contact Pete at

Friday, January 6, 5-8 pm  Veils of Nature.  An exhibition of works in mixed media by Leigh Yardley.  Join us for our first Opening Reception of the new year!

Gallery hours in January: Thursdays 5-7, Saturdays 11-2 (open 9-5, unstaffed, on all "Cheese man" Saturdays) 

Saturday, January 7, 7-9 pm  Dharma Bums.  One of the area's most popular groups, featuring great old tunes in new stylings, charmingly performed by members of one local family.  There will be a modest cover charge.

Coming Soon:

Wednesday, January 18, 7:30 p.m.  Physics and Art:Fractals & the Drip Paintings of Jackson Pollock.  "Hamilton College at The Other Side".  Join us for another stimulating talk on a fascinating topic with Katherine Brown, Assistant Professor of Physics. The talk is free to the public.
"In the late 1990s, a group of physicists conjectured that Jackson Pollock was able to create a unique fractal 'signature' in his famous drip paintings, and that fractal analysis could be used to help authenticate paintings of disputed origin. It turns out that this hypothesis of 'Fractal Expressionism' is flawed in several important ways. Prof. Brown will present the techniques used in fractal analysis and the pitfalls which ensue from applying them to Pollock's drip paintings.She will also discuss several new findings from the realm of fractal mathematics which were motivated by this work."

Jazz Fans Mark Your Calendars
Saturday, January 28, Jazz at The Other Side presents the Harry Allen Quartet.  Jazz programming resumes at The Other Side, beginning BIG with guest artist and major tenor saxophonist from NYC, Harry Allen.  Check him out online, listen to him play, and get enthusiastic for what promises to be an outstanding evening of jazz, in line with the quality jazz programming we've become noted for.  Musicians include Dino Losito on piano, Danny Ziemann on bass, and Jimmy Johns on drums.  To reserve your seat early, call 735-4825 or email to

New Year Message (s)
The prescient Russian science fiction writer, Yevgeny Zamyatin, author of We, wrote sometime before 1920, "True literature exists only where it is created, not by diligent and trustworthy functionaries, but by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels, skeptics."  This says to me something about the relation of art to what he calls "the entropy of human thought," that is, the natural and disastrous tendency of to become lulled into passivity and unconsciousness.
I'll keep this message brief, but as everyone knows, we face unprecedented changes in upcoming days, months and years, after many years of perhaps too many of us lapsing into that "entropy."  I want to be clear that The Other Side will continue to keep its emphasis on the arts and humanities as providing necessary food for the soul, encouraging our spirits in dark times.  The following phrase, as a way to identify TOS's unique place in the Utica community, occurred to me the other night:  The Other Side, Where Freedom Serves Love.  By love, I mean the real and existing inter-relatedness of all beings and the earth, and, I mean love in contrast to the hate we are now being encouraged to indulge in and which must be resisted by all decent people.  All of us, to one degree or another, have gone"entropic," in forgetting that freedom which serves nothing except our own right to enjoy our way of life, isn't freedom.  We need to bring our imaginations back to their proper role, which is why we need the arts and humanities tradition.   As well, we need to be practitioners of an art, which is to be people reliant on imagination and vision as much as on "facts," in Zamyatin's fully "madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels, and skeptics" sense of art.  Prophetic voices are now saying to us, addressing all of the looming disasters that threaten us, we must believe in and demand the impossible: sounds to me like time for us to restore the imagination to its proper place as partner to, not optional servant of the rationalism and scientific dogma we have preferred for a long time to put our total faith in. 

In keeping with the ideal of "freedom serving love,"  we look forward to launching our 2017 lecture series honoring Sunithi Bajekal, artist, poet, and tireless community activist in late March or early April.  Bill Ayers, author of Demand the Impossible, a book I encourage everyone to get hold of and read, has accepted Orin's invitation to come to Utica from Chicago to help us launch the series.  Through series consisting we hope of 4 talks per year, we hope to bring to our Utica public, fully consistent with the ideal of freedom, the "other side" of this corporate capitalist reality we are conditioned to see as if it were the only reality.  Look for series title, date for the first talk, etc., as the date gets closer.

, as the times ahead are likely to be extremely challenging to small local businesses, I ask, as we do from time to time, that you  support businesses such as Cafe Domenico, Green Onion Pub, Tramontane, Nail Creek, Utica Bread, Bagel Grove,Utica Coffee Roasters,  and many other farms, businesses and restaurants which mean so much to our community and to the character of our city and region

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