The Earlville Opera House, Still Standing After All These Years

In 1971, Joey Skaggs saved a derelict opera house that was about to be torn down in Earlville New York. Today, 50+ years later, it is a thriving cultural centerpiece for Central New York. WBNG Channel 12 News covers its remarkable journey.

Earlville Opera House brings arts and culture to Chenango County for past 50 years, by Autriya Maneshni, WBNG Channel 12 News, November 20, 2023

The Earlville Opera House brings about 15 performers to Chenango County every year

EARLVILLE, NY (WBNG) — The tale of the Earlville Opera House is one of perseverance. It’s about how a group of volunteers came together to save an abandoned building from the wrecking ball.

In 1887, the opera house was housed in an old Baptist church. That structure burned down. After a second structure was built, half of that building also burned down a couple of years after it was built. The third reconstructed opera house was beloved in the community and this one felt indestructible. However, the building closed its doors in the 1950s due to the evolution of technology.

In 1971, the opera house was threatened to be demolished. With this threat looming on the horizon, it felt as though the opera house would disappear from Earlville for good. A young artist and social activist named Joey Skaggs decided this wasn’t going to happen. “If I hadn’t come along and decided to save it, it wouldn’t be there. It would be a parking lot,” said Skaggs. Read the rest of the article and watch the video here.

The High Cost of Dissent in Russia

Droplifting–adding objects or messages to store shelves to make a political statement–is treated as a minor irritant in the United States. Placing 5 labels protesting Russia’s war against Ukraine on grocery store items has yielded 7 years in a penal colony for artist Aleksandra Skochilenko.

If we take our freedoms for granted, we might lose them.

Russian artist jailed for seven years over Ukraine war price tag protest, by Andrew Roth, The Guardian, November 16, 2023

Aleksandra Skochilenko replaced five supermarket price tags with pieces of paper urging shoppers to stop the war

…“How fragile must the prosecutor’s belief in our state and society be, if he thinks that our statehood and public safety can be brought down by five small pieces of paper?” said Skochilenko, 33, in a final statement in court on Thursday.

“Despite being behind bars, I am freer than you,” she said. “I’m not afraid to be different from others. Perhaps that’s why my state is so afraid of me and others like me and keeps me caged like a dangerous animal.” Read the whole article here.

Encouraging Bad Behavior

A Paris retail store challenged people to try to steal their shoes. Thing is, you had to run faster than their world-class sprinter, Méba-Mickaël Zeze. Only two out of 74 people got away with the goods.

This Paris store lets customers steal shoes – but there’s one catch, by Marchelle Abrahams,

Click to watch the video:

Who Are You Kidding?

Fox News reported on October 16, 2023: Bigfoot and Sasquatch: Longtime resident reveals legends, pranks after latest ‘proof’, By Chris Eberhart, October 16, 2023.

Whoa! This doesn’t hold a candle to the escape of Big Foot from Peppe Scaggolini’s (a.k.a. Joey Skaggs’) Tiny Top Circus in 2014. Hailed as the world’s only pataphysical circus, Big Foot was caged and on exhibition in Washington Square Park when it escaped and unfortunately got lost in the New York City subway system. Scaggolini is still offering a $1,000,000 reward for its capture and return.

A Home for the Distasteful

The Museu de l’Art Prohibit opened to the public on October 26, 2023.

Barcelona Museum Gives Censored Art a Permanent Home, by Maya Pontone,, October 10, 2023

The new Museu de l’Art Prohibit will house a collection of more than 200 artworks that have been removed, banned, or denounced.

Where does art deemed controversial go after it’s been removed, banned, or denounced? One possible destination: the Museu de l’Art Prohibit, opening later this month in Barcelona to house a wide assortment of censored artworks.

Spanning two floors with over 200 paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, and more by mostly modern and contemporary artists including Gustav Klimt, Ai Wei Wei, Tania Bruguera, and Banksy, the museum’s diverse collection explores the censorship of art due to “political, social or religious reasons.” Read more here.