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Money

"Light in Winter" gets underway despite money woes

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Sheryl Sinkow Photography
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Courtesy Light in Winter
Chris Ganger talks about coffee at the 2009 Festival.

The eighth annual Light in Winter festival in Ithaca gets underway this week. The art and science event is designed to bring some cheer to a gloomy Ithaca winter (they said it, not us), attracting visitors from around the region to see lectures and performances.

But balancing the ambitions of the festival, which got started as an edu-tourism event, with its finances, presents a challenge.

Among the highlights this year is Tim Lee, a biology PhD who decided would rather do standup comedy, according to Barbara Mink, Light in Winter's director.

“He does something called off the charts, which is PowerPoint comedy, which I think is just perfect for our audience,” Mink says.

Lee is part of a line-up this year that has fewer big names than in the past. Avant garde musician Laurie Anderson and saxophonist Paul Winter have been on the bill previously, but Mink says the desire to make the festival self-supporting is butting up against the goal of keeping ticket prices accessible.

“It felt like a really good thing to do, but it meant we could never support ourselves,” explains Mink. “So it’s a problem, and we’re going to have to take stock after this year and see what happens in the future.”

The two dozen events that remain on stages around Ithaca still include a lecture on the science of the television show Star Trek, musical performances, and gallery shows of science-themed art.

The full listing of events is here.

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