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I will post a much better recap later (probably sometime tomorrow), but, as usual, the weekend has been such a blast! And this year has been even more special because I (finally!) got to meet Brock and HC! Definitely two of the grooviest guys I've had the pleasure of meeting. :) I'm sorry I couldn't make it over to the Best Western last night, but I so enjoyed shooting the breeze with you two over delicious Taco Hut margaritas (thanks, HC!). :D Hopefully I'll see you both again before we have to go our separate ways. I'm not doing the boat cruise this morning, and I haven't had time to go through the Playhouse yet this weekend, so I'm going to do that before heading over to Celoron for the (fantastic) "Celoron through Lucy's Eyes" presentation. Aaaaaand, in case anyone's wondering, the final count for Maggie Money gone bye-bye at the Collector's Show...$420. :lucywow: Oooooopsies! :lucythrill:

 

 

Glad everyone is having fun and I'll look forward to seeing each of you still here at the Celoron event(s) - hope the rain holds off until after; but, cloudy and no rain, it won't be roasting us like the previous few days; again, I'll have my large pink and white horizontal stripes beach bag as i.d. - wish I had known about the upside-down rose on you Desiluforever; I'd have hailed you down.... And...Magster, Brock and I tried to find you on the Plaza yesterday; but, you had managed to disappear; perhaps we shall see each other today at Celoron....

 

See you all; it's always nice to see so many in downtown Jamestown, and so far, that all reviews seem pleasing to attendees.

 

Regards, Joyce

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The New York Times has an article about the festival. There's a photo slideshow and I've spotted a few familiar faces in the photos.

 

Seeking Economic Lift, Not Just Laughs, in Tie to ComedyBy PAUL POST

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — For those caught up in the Olympic spirit, there was the traditional grape-stomping competition. Or perhaps the test of chocolate-wrapping skills, even if some of the competitors just could not resist sticking a few candies from the fast-moving conveyor belt inside their blouses.

 

Then there was the look-alike contest: dozens of women, their hair teased in various degrees of shocking red, accentuated by polka-dot dresses and crimson lipstick. And if their inspiration was in any doubt, the women put that to rest by singing the “I Love Lucy” theme song.

 

Since 1991, the annual Lucy Fest has celebrated the life and career of Lucille Ball here in her hometown, allowing fans to immerse themselves in all things Lucy, like re-enacting some of Ms. Ball’s more famous scenes and paying homage at the Luci Desi Museum.

 

But beyond the inherent zaniness of the five-day event, which ended on Sunday, there was a more serious underpinning and ambition: Officials here are working to make Jamestown, 70 miles southwest of Buffalo, a year-round national comedic destination for performers, writers and fans alike.

 

“We want Jamestown to be the Cooperstown of comedy,” said Journey Gunderson, executive director of the Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy.

 

Without doubt, there is considerable catching up to do. The Lucy Desi Museum draws 20,000 visitors per year, a far cry from the 300,000 yearly visitors who pass through the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. But last year’s Lucy Fest, celebrating Ms. Ball’s 100th birthday, attracted 13,000 fans from around the world, a $3.6 million impact on the Chautauqua County economy.

 

“That’s what caught the attention of regional stakeholders,” Ms. Gunderson said. “It proves that Jamestown can be a destination for comedy. It’s about momentum.”

 

“Last year we had film crews from Japan, New Zealand and the BBC,” said Tom Benson, the comedy center’s board president. “This year ABC was here for ‘20/20.’ We’re trying to build a powerful, long-lasting, sustainable economic engine. We’re never going to be Texas during the oil boom. We just need something to get people excited. What better way to do it than comedy?”

 

Ms. Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, said her mother had always wanted to do something for Jamestown. But rather than statues and a parade, her vision was a place where future generations of comics would come to develop their skills. Jamestown officials agreed, but Ms. Arnaz said the promise was not kept.

 

A Lucille Ball New Comedy Festival was held, but quickly fizzled in the early 1990s. When reorganized, the event was focused on nostalgia, rather than developing future comics.

 

“It was kind of like a ‘Star Trek’ convention,” Ms. Arnaz said. “It was fun. But in reality, my mother wouldn’t have liked it.”

 

Since then, new leadership has taken over, and now Ms. Ball’s original mission appears back on track. On Friday, Ms. Arnaz — making her first visit to Lucy Fest in several years — toured Jamestown’s train station, where a $12 million renovation is taking place with state, federal and private money. That is where Ms. Arnaz would like to see a Hall of Fame of Comedy; it is also possible that the station, idle since 1970, might come back to life, giving comedy lovers another way to reach Jamestown.

 

The Jamestown area has a history of prosperity. It was once the “Furniture Capital of the World,” with 150 factories; Celoron Amusement Park on nearby Chautauqua Lake was called the “Coney Island of the Southern Tier,” where band leaders like Tommy Dorsey and John Philip Sousa performed.

 

The Jamestown resident and industrialist B. F. Goodrich, who, like Ms. Ball is buried in Jamestown’s Lake View Cemetery, often entertained his friends Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford on summer outings at the lake.

 

Like most of upstate New York, however, Jamestown has seen its population decline with the disappearance of manufacturing jobs. From 50,000 people shortly after World War II, the city now numbers about 29,000, a decline of roughly 40 percent.

 

Comedy is seen as a vehicle for bringing people back, even if just for a visit.

 

“It makes sense to me,” said T. Faye Griffin, an independent writer and producer based in Los Angeles. “They’re trying to create a place here where young performers can come to learn. What better place than Lucille Ball’s hometown? It’s a perfect fit.

 

“If anyone is serious about their craft, they’ll go wherever they need to go to learn.”

 

Ms. Griffin just finished teaching aspiring comedic writers the finer points of improv, standup, and sketch and sitcom writing at the nearby Chautauqua Institution, which hosts educational retreats each summer with guest speakers and instructors from around the world.

 

Upstate New York, in addition to Cooperstown, already has several sports halls of fame: boxing (Canastota), horse racing (Saratoga Springs), soccer (Oneonta) and harness racing (Goshen).

 

Last year, with a $50,000 private grant, the comedy center conducted a feasibility study for a hall of fame, which found that remote, small-town locations are not necessarily a hindrance to creating a national destination. In fact, it might be an asset.

 

“A lot of times it adds to the magic of a visit, being able to step back in time to a more serene, peaceful place,” said Jeff Idelson, the Baseball Hall of Fame president. “These days, so many Americans live in cities and suburbs; that’s what they’re looking for.”

 

Along with a reason to laugh and escape life’s pressures.

 

Ellie Wahl, 90, traveled all the way from Pinellas Park, Fla., for Lucy Fest.

 

“Besides being very funny, Lucy was very down to earth,” Mrs. Wahl said. “Her episodes were what could happen to anybody, any day. I identified with her. I was pregnant at the same time she was, and my son was born the same week as Desi Arnaz Jr.”

 

Naturally, Mrs. Wahl watched the episode when it came time for Lucy to deliver Little Ricky. All the characters, in their rush to get to the hospital, left Lucy home.

 

“I was laughing so hard I thought I’d have my baby that minute,” Mrs. Wahl said.

 

There are already plans to expand Lucy Fest; Mr. Benson, the board president of the Lucy-Desi Center, said the event next year would have a comedy film festival for the first time.

 

The appeal of “I Love Lucy,” Ms. Arnaz said, is rooted in the show’s inner story line.

 

“It’s really a show about unconditional love,” she said. “No matter how much trouble Lucy got into, people would always forgive her. I think that’s what we all want. At the end of the day, the people who really matter will give you a hug and say, ‘It’s O.K.’ Really, comedy is such a healing force.”

 

And for Jamestown, the hope is that comedy can also be an economic force.

 

 

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I will post a much better recap later (probably sometime tomorrow), but, as usual, the weekend has been such a blast! And this year has been even more special because I (finally!) got to meet Brock and HC! Definitely two of the grooviest guys I've had the pleasure of meeting. :) I'm sorry I couldn't make it over to the Best Western last night, but I so enjoyed shooting the breeze with you two over delicious Taco Hut margaritas (thanks, HC!). :D Hopefully I'll see you both again before we have to go our separate ways. I'm not doing the boat cruise this morning, and I haven't had time to go through the Playhouse yet this weekend, so I'm going to do that before heading over to Celoron for the (fantastic) "Celoron through Lucy's Eyes" presentation. Aaaaaand, in case anyone's wondering, the final count for Maggie Money gone bye-bye at the Collector's Show...$420. :lucywow: Oooooopsies! :lucythrill:

 

 

Jimminy is shouting (buying) rounds of margaritas? Awww! You weren't even old enough to drink last time we hung out, HC. You need to revisit LA I believe. Or I need to go back to NY or Jamestown. Probably the former will happen before the latter!

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Jimminy is shouting (buying) rounds of margaritas?

 

You should have seen him when he got into the Poot Frunch. ;)

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Thanks for the great reviews!! I was reading a few to Jimmy and remembering all the fun had back in 2005 when we (Brock & I) visited Jamestown for the festivities. What an incredible time that was, soooo many awesome people and fun memories. And even more fun at the after-hours soirees. I need to go back and look through photos. It's an era gone by though now, it seems, can't see anything similar ever being recreated but so nice to see the welcome reception that the new direction has been receiving. Brock, Jimminy, Shelly, Meg, if any of your have photos handy, I'd love to see a couple! I think most of mine pre-2007 are still in Oz.

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Anxious to hear how the Celeron presentation is.

 

 

WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH MORE EXCITING IF JOHN KEENEY, MAYOR/CELORON, HAD PRESENTED; HE IS AN EXPERT ON CELORON!!!!

 

I enjoyed it, however, and I'm a Celoron kid, with the other Celoron KID, LLOYD FAULKNER,, who was one of the 'big boys' in my 'growing-up neighborhood, with his scrapbook; picnic-catered luncheon was wonderfully presented. Rain wasn't as bad as it could have been; crowd was disappointingly small; but, an intimate gathering nonetheless.

 

Glad to have finally met up with you, as well, Magster. Hope you had a safe journey home, with your full bags and your empty pocketbook!!!! Regards, JK

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I wish the Center would spend some money and take care of the archives, which were in horrible shape last time I saw them. The archives are extremely important to preserve. I offered to take care of the archives. I would have paid for preserving everything in there, plus I would have created a data base to ensure that Lucy's items would have been accounted for! Journey never got back to me. In fact, after a little over a month of waiting for her to call, I moved on to another project. She then wished me luck in my new endeavor! The new direction the Center is heading in does not say a thing about Lucy's legacy. They just keep posting about the economic impact for comedy in Jamestown. Yeah, the economy here is important, but Lucy is the main "attraction"! Comedy happens in every town. All major cities have amazing comedy. Jamestown has Lucy! They should focus on that! Otherwise, what kind of museum are they?

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WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH MORE EXCITING IF JOHN KEENEY, MAYOR/CELORON, HAD PRESENTED; HE IS AN EXPERT ON CELORON!!!!

 

I enjoyed it, however, and I'm a Celoron kid, with the other Celoron KID, LLOYD FAULKNER,, who was one of the 'big boys' in my 'growing-up neighborhood, with his scrapbook; picnic-catered luncheon was wonderfully presented. Rain wasn't as bad as it could have been; crowd was disappointingly small; but, an intimate gathering nonetheless.

 

Glad to have finally met up with you, as well, Magster. Hope you had a safe journey home, with your full bags and your empty pocketbook!!!! Regards, JK

I agree about the mayor Joyce. He is amazing to listen to. He would have made the event special. More should be done in Celoron....Beautiful nights could have had something in the Band Shell!

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yes it is very clear after attending many of the festival events that the focus is now comedy and the hall of fame. Lucy and her fans are becoming an after thought. While it seems there was considerable time and effort put into organizing the comedy events the lucy events seemed to just be thrown together. They were often disorganized, tickets had incorrect or in complete information printed on them, and the food served at these events was terrible in many cases.

I heard complaints from many people saying that they could not find certain events (lucy tea). People at the chautaqua institute were directing people to go back to jamestown! They had no idea an event was taking place there. Everyone was also charged 8 dollars to park for the lucy tea. Tickets for the tea were

30 dollars and that basically included high tea and listening to a lucy radio show. Maybe the center should have arranged a shuttle or something from jamestown so people didn't have to pay the parking fee.

 

the impersonaters put on a great show but this time the food was the issue. At the dinner the only choice was baked fish! Many people don't even eat seafood or have an allergy that seemed like another big mistake.

 

summer wind boat cruise offered only bagels, danish and a fruit cup for the brunch.

 

the comedians during the lucie arnaz show were very funny and entertaining but it was clear lucie was only there to deliever a message the comedy hall of fame is what her mother wanted. Lucie had a full band but she only sang 3 songs!

 

in this economy the center is lucky they get people to spend their hard earned money to attend these events and it seems they could try to make a better effort to make sure people leave happy. I left with the feeling that this was all about making money for the comedy hall of fame....

 

it's also very sad to here about the conditions of the archives. I always assumed the money spent and the gift shop and attending festival events went to preserving lucy's legacy and the archives. I guess I was wrong about that!

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I've always thought the food was abhorrent at these events.

 

A shame Lucie only sang three songs. Was her speech really just about the comedy hall of fame? No stories about growing up with Lucy and Desi, working on Here's Lucy, working on Broadway...?

 

On an interesting sidenote, while recently looking through some of my old Jamestown stuff I noticed that, in the early days, the festival was called "The Lucille Ball Festival of New Comedy." Was Wyman running things then? What were the festivals like then? Who chose to shift the festivals focus to more Lucy-related events and when?

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yes her speech was all about the lucy desi center and their new direction. The only mention of her mother was that the festivals honoring her and the museum would not be what lucy wanted. That she wanted a festival supporting new comedy

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yes her speech was all about the lucy desi center and their new direction. The only mention of her mother was that the festivals honoring her and the museum would not be what lucy wanted. That she wanted a festival supporting new comedy

 

Really? :lucyblah:

 

Well...that's disappointing. I'd have wanted to hear more personal Lucy stories. Perhaps she's sick of telling stories about her parents or something, but that's what the fans want. Although it would've been cool to meet Lucie and all, kind of glad I didn't get to go this year. I would've been let down in a way.

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Really? :lucyblah:

 

Well...that's disappointing. I'd have wanted to hear more personal Lucy stories. Perhaps she's sick of telling stories about her parents or something, but that's what the fans want. Although it would've been cool to meet Lucie and all, kind of glad I didn't get to go this year. I would've been let down in a way.

 

I don't think she's tired of telling stories about her parents, but this wasn't her show. She was the host. One helluva host, but the show, as advertised, was a showcase for the three comics, not Lucie. Lucie is a phenomenal performer, but she was there to highlight and introduce the comedians - who were also great. I thought Lucie and the comics (especially Tony Dale and Tammy Pescatelli) were terrific and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Lucie. :)

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The food issue is not a new thing. I've never had a good meal at one of the events at the festival. It's not like they don't care about Lucy fans and are feeding them whatever. The food has always been like that.

 

None of the events were misleadingly advertised. The event Lucie hosted was correctly marketed as an evening of stand-up comedy hosted by Lucie Arnaz. It wasn't "I Remember Lucy by Lucie Arnaz." She's done that several times in the past. She has also done several full concerts in Jamestown. This was something different. Lucie was very approachable. I'm sure if anyone had a question for Lucie about her parents, she would have happily answered it. Lucie was very clearly having a wonderful time.

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The food issue is not a new thing. I've never had a good meal at one of the events at the festival. It's not like they don't care about Lucy fans and are feeding them whatever. The food has always been like that.

 

None of the events were misleadingly advertised. The event Lucie hosted was correctly marketed as an evening of stand-up comedy hosted by Lucie Arnaz. It wasn't "I Remember Lucy by Lucie Arnaz." She's done that several times in the past. She has also done several full concerts in Jamestown. This was something different. Lucie was very approachable. I'm sure if anyone had a question for Lucie about her parents, she would have happily answered it. Lucie was very clearly having a wonderful time.

 

I think she should've done a show like Carol Burnett's where she took questions from the audience about her parents, etc. But what do I know. I'm always in the minority when it comes to things like this.

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I think she should've done a show like Carol Burnett's where she took questions from the audience about her parents, etc. But what do I know. I'm always in the minority when it comes to things like this.

 

Lucie has done that in Jamestown though...many, many times.

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Lucie has done that in Jamestown though...many, many times.

 

Then why didn't she do it this year? Oh right, it's the Festival of Comedy now, not Lucy Fest. Pfft.

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Then why didn't she do it this year?

 

Probably because she's done it many, many times before.

 

Gregg Oppenheimer did a Q&A show if anyone was interested in I Love Lucy.

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Jimminy is shouting (buying) rounds of margaritas? Awww! You weren't even old enough to drink last time we hung out, HC. You need to revisit LA I believe. Or I need to go back to NY or Jamestown. Probably the former will happen before the latter!

 

Yes! Both of us need to be on the same coast again. I have photos from the 2005 festival, but not they're not saved on this computer. I'll do some hunting and post some. Hopefully some of the others who were there can do the same!

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Probably because she's done it many, many times before.

 

Gregg Oppenheimer did a Q&A show if anyone was interested in I Love Lucy.

 

Well, she hasn't been to Jamestown in years, right? What's wrong with doing it again? A lot of newbies might be coming to the festival (like me) and haven't heard these stories before. I'm glad you all had a good time and enjoyed the comedy shows, but I have to say I would've been a bit miffed if that's basically all she did was introduce the comedians.

 

Good for Gregg and his Q&A sessions. At least someone remembered who/what the festival is really about instead of these new up-and-coming comics.

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Well, she hasn't been to Jamestown in years, right?

 

I think Lucie was last there officially in 2009.

 

Good for Gregg and his Q&A sessions. At least someone remembered who/what the festival is really about instead of these new up-and-coming comics.

 

Other Lucy events aside from the comedians -- who all made mention of Lucy, IIRC -- were the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Lucy Games, the Summer Wind cruise, which included a hilarious never-before-heard interview with Lucy, Celoron Through Lucy's Eyes, the My Favourite Husband recreation (which also included the debut of a new play focusing on Viv and Bill), and dinner performances featuring "The Ricardos and The Mertzes". I think they struck a very good baklance this year with keeping the Lucy fans happy with what they have come to expect and the Comedy events which Lucy wanted, and what Lucie and the Board want to attract new people. (Excuse any typos. Typing on a phone. <_< )

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Thanks for the great reviews!! I was reading a few to Jimmy and remembering all the fun had back in 2005 when we (Brock & I) visited Jamestown for the festivities. What an incredible time that was, soooo many awesome people and fun memories. And even more fun at the after-hours soirees. I need to go back and look through photos. It's an era gone by though now, it seems, can't see anything similar ever being recreated but so nice to see the welcome reception that the new direction has been receiving. Brock, Jimminy, Shelly, Meg, if any of your have photos handy, I'd love to see a couple! I think most of mine pre-2007 are still in Oz.

 

 

img0013.jpg

 

("Were we ever that young?")

 

Earth to Meredith...Earth to Meredith...

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