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December 15, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Author,Events,Features,Troy NY — duncan @ 5:27 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723

Jury: Moore Did Not Write Famous ‘Twas Christmas Poem

Courtroom Trial Verdict Challenges Holiday History in Troy, NY

HD Trial Footage & High Res Still Photos Available NOW

TROY, NY (Dec. 15, 2014) — A jury delivered a surprise verdict on Sunday that long-credited author Clement Clarke Moore did not write the most famous Christmas poem in history.

Trial Before Christmas Artwork by Ben Karis-NixThe holiday mock re-trial was held on Dec. 7, 2014 in the John T. Casey Ceremonial Courtroom at the Rensselaer County Courthouse in downtown Troy, the city where “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” was published anonymously, for the first time ever, in the Dec. 23, 1823 edition of the Troy Sentinel newspaper.

Six jurors, selected at random from the packed courthouse gallery, unanimously found that Major Henry Livingston Jr. of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. is the true author of those cherished verses that begin with the famous line “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

“The people of Troy do like to route for the upstate underdog,” said trial creator Duncan Crary. “But this verdict came completely by surprise for all involved.”


Now in its second year, “The Trial Before Christmas” is a full-blown mock trial to determine “Who Really Wrote ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” It is held in a real court, before a real (retired) judge, real attorneys, with real court guards and personnel.

The trial centers on a centuries-old authorship controversy between to old New York families.

Years after its un-credited publication in the Sentinel, in 1837, a wealthy Manhattan biblical scholar named Clement Clarke Moore claimed authorship and has been officially credited ever since. But descendants of Henry Livingston Jr., a gentleman farmer of the Hudson Valley, claim their ancestor was the true, unrecognized author. Backing their assertions is Vassar College professor and literary forensics expert Don Foster, whose 2000 book “Author Unknown” presented a strong case for Livingston. On the other hand, Dr. Joe Nickell thoroughly refuted those claims in his book “Pen, Ink and Evidence,” also published in 2000. Both works and other research serve as inspiration for the upcoming courtroom showdown.

“There’s no question that Santa is real — because children believe in him!” said event creator Duncan Crary. “The question is: who wrote this magical poem that first sparked our belief in a distinctly American Santa known and loved around the world?”

Attny. E. Stewart Jones during cross examination of Pamela McColl, publisher of best-selling book titled

Photo Caption: Attny. E. Stewart Jones Jr. during cross examination of Pamela McColl, publisher of best-selling book titled “Twas The Night Before Christmas: edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st century” (Grafton and Scratch Publishers). Court Stenographer Judy DelCogliano transcribes the proceedings. | Photo by Neil Grabowsky, Jersey Nerds.

After a hung jury on Dec. 18 2013, this year’s case of Livingston v. Moore was once again tried by E. Stewart Jones, Jr., upstate New York’s preeminent trial attorney, representing the interests of Moore. Reprising their roles for the Livingston claim were Troy novelist/sole practicing attorney Jack Casey, author of “The Trial of Bat Shea,” and his daughter, attorney Molly Casey of Albany law firm Thuillez, Ford, Gold, Butler & Monroe.

Retired New York State Supreme Court Justice Edward O. Spain presided over this year’s retrial.

Expert testimony was given by City of Troy and Rensselaer County Historian Kathryn Sheehan, as well as Canadian anti-smoking advocate Pamela McColl, who famously published a version of the poem with all references to smoking removed (during her testimony, McColl furbished a letter by Moore that deplored smoking, thus calling into question his authorship of a jolly, smoking elf).

Three ghosts took the stand to testify as well: Maj. Henry Livingston Jr. , played by Byron Nilsson; Sarah Sackett, played by Kathleen Carey; and Clement Clarke Moore, played by Patrick McKenna.

“If they can vote in Troy, they can testify,” said each of the Caseys at different points, in response to Jones objections to calling the dead to the stand — and in tongue-in-cheek reference to a long history of voter fraud involving deceased residents of that city.


The ghost of Sarah Sackett (played by Kathleen Carey) interrupts testimony by the ghost of Maj. Henry Livingston, Jr. (played by Byron Nilsson). Also shown are Rensselaer County Court Guards Colleen Casey and Brian Pettit, NYS Supreme Court Justice Edward O. Spain, Ret., Court Clerk Beth Muller and Court Stenographer Judy DelCogliano. | Photo by Neil Grabowsky, Jersey Nerds..

Photo Caption: The ghost of Sarah Sackett (played by Kathleen Carey) interrupts testimony by the ghost of Maj. Henry Livingston, Jr. (played by Byron Nilsson). Also shown are Rensselaer County Court Guards Colleen Casey and Brian Pettit, NYS Supreme Court Justice Edward O. Spain, ret., Court Clerk Beth Muller and Court Stenographer Judy DelCogliano. | Photo by Neil Grabowsky, Jersey Nerds.

Seated at Jones’ table was Chris Post, a descendant of Clement C. Moore. Joining the Caseys was Mary Van Deusen, a descendant of Henry Livingston Jr., who was responsible for bringing the authorship controversy to the world’s attention in 2000 by enlisting the help of literary forensics expert Don Foster.

“It shouldn’t be surprising that Troy adopted Henry Livingston so enthusiastically, since Henry’s authorship has been a matter of passionate belief by so many along the Hudson River for decades before I was ever born,” Van Deusen said after the verdict. “If Henry belongs to anyone, it’s to those people who grew up with Henry’s same love of this vital and energetic Hudson Valley region.”

Crary said he would not be surprised if this year’s re-trial were declared a mis-trial, and for the Moore party to come back ready to reclaim their ancestor’s author credit in the future.

“We may never know who the true author of this poem was,” Crary said. “But the controversy is nearly as old as the poem itself, and this mock trial is a fun way to keep interest in this literature alive for another generation.”

Friday Dec. 19, Noon Ceremony at Sentinel Bldg. Troy, NY

Proclamation: Henry Livingston Jr. DayTroy Mayor Lou Rosamilia issued a proclamation to honor the jury’s historic verdict, finding Maj. Henry Livingston Jr. as the true author of “The Night Before Christmas.”

The mayor will present the proclamation during a brief ceremony at noon, on Friday, Dec. 19 in front of the historic Sentinel newspaper building in Troy at 225 River Street in downtown Troy. The ceremony will be attended by both the Jones and Casey legal teams, as well as by event creator Duncan Crary, and members of Gramercy Communications, major sponsors of The Trial Before Christmas.

Also present will be Uncle Sam re-enactor Fred Polnisch and “Sax-O-Claus” Luke McNamee.

“Troy, New York is the place where two of our greatest American icons, ‘Uncle Sam’ and ‘Santa Claus,’ first took shape,” said Crary. “It only makes sense for them to attend our Friday ceremony to recognize our community’s role in the history of national symbolism and myth.”

Crary said a traditional St. Nicholas, or “Sinterklaas,” will attend to meet his successor, Santa Claus, and that the two figures will exchange special gifts. (Dec. 19 is celebrated ast “St. Nicholas Day” in orthodox countries.)


The Trial Before Christmas was filmed for a live simulcast and webcast by RPI TV. A special, edited and re-mixed video, featuring additional B-Roll footage, will be screened at Brown’s Revolution Hall on Sunday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. with suggested donation of $5.

Video editing and re-mixing is by Jersey Nerds. Revolution Hall is located at 425 River Street in Troy, NY. The edited video will be posted online at


High resolution stills from The Trial Before Christmas 2014, copies of the original hand-illustrated artwork for the Trial, a copy of the Mayor’s proclamation and much more can be downloaded for media reproduction at:

Note: Television producers may contact Duncan Crary for HD trial footage of the Trial for use in holiday news broadcast packages. (You can view a recording of the live RPI TV broadcast now at the link above, now).


For information about The Trial Before Christmas 2013 & Retrial 2014, visit:


For questions or to schedule interviews, contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723


December 9, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Business,Events,Features,Troy NY — duncan @ 12:26 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jim Lewis 518-429-3909

Dec. 11: Troy Open Studio Raises Icarus to the Pantheon

Furniture Maker Celebrates Name Change from “Icarus” to “Springwood” With Theatrical “Fractured Fairy Tale”

TROY, N.Y. (12/9/14) — An internationally acclaimed Troy furniture studio will celebrate its new name and ownership with a ceremony of mythological proportions.

Rosebud Snow, plywood dome by Jim LewisIcarus Furniture is now Springwood Studios, an artisanal woodworking shop specializing in high quality hand-made furniture and wood sculpture. To mark the change in name and focus, owner Jim Lewis, 63, will be “Releasing Icarus to the Pantheon” in what he calls a theatrical “Fractured Fairy Tale” in the streets.

“It’s a Greek tradition that if you live in a place that is sacred to a mythological figure, you get to tell the story however you want,” said Lewis. “Our workshop in Troy, N.Y. was originally named in honor of Icarus, so we get to tell our own myth about him. In our version, he finally retires from Troy and reaches the Gods.”

On Thursday, Dec. 11 at 3:30 p.m., Troy officials, neighbors and friends will congregate outside the studio at 154 Fourth St. Lewis will clip wings onto a toga-wearing Icarus idol (baby doll) and hoist it by pulley and line to the skies. A lightning bolt wielding Zeus (in the form of a Springwood intern) will receive Icarus at the top of his flight, and thus the boy who flew too close to the sun will finally enter the pantheon of Gods. If satisfied by the offerings presented to him, Zeus will then “magically” transform the studio sign from “Icarus Furniture” to “Springwood Studios.”

The ceremony is a playful nod to studio’s former name Icarus, inspired by the ancient mythological character. It is also the latest in a trend of increasingly theatrical alternative “ribbon cutting” ceremonies in Troy (including sausage links, quesadilla and board cuttings, as well as a miniature cannon blast ceremony).

An open studio at Springwood will follow, from 3:30 p.m. till 8 p.m. with catering by Carmen’s Cuban Cafe. The studio will showcase several pieces — some new, some old favorites — including a five-petal oak and wenge table in the form of a morning glory; a sculptural desk that looks decidedly like a jellyfish; and a model of Red Bud, a 12 foot-tall dome sculpture that was once in display in Albany’s Tricentenniel Park. Photos of Lewis’ architectural size plywood domes based on natural forms — seashells, mushrooms, fruit and flowers and even cabbages — will be on display during the open studio.


Rosebud Snow, plywood dome by Jim LewisIn 1977, Lewis co-founded Icarus Furniture in Troy. In 2010, he bought out his partner and officially changed the studio name. But a major five-year project to create furnishings and a carved mural for Sacred Heart Church in Edinburg, Texas took up most of his focus. After completing that commission, Lewis has been renovating his shop and working with Carmen Gonzalez on her restaurant, Carmen’s Cafe. Now, Lewis says, it’s time to formally “hang out a shingle” for Springwood Studios.

“One of the reasons for changing the studio name is that I’m slightly adjusting what I do,” Lewis said. “I still want to do liturgical and home furnishings, but my focus will be more on the sculptural. My work is furniture that shapes the space. I’m sort of straddling the line between furniture and sculpture, and sometimes touching on architecture.”

Lewis’ high quality, solid wood furniture has received multiple design awards from Modern Liturgy Magazine and praise from Architectural Digest. He has designed and built pieces for about 80 churches, chapels, synagogues and meditation spaces across the country — though many are located in the Capital Region.

Due to the large scope of his projects, most of his shows have been in his studio, where he exhibits projects before they are installed.


A native of Lancaster County, Pa., Lewis grew up on Springwood Farm where his family raised sheep and ducks. He moved to Troy in 1971 and fell in love with the historic architecture.

“There seems something wonderfully classic historic about Troy — living history. You can feel that it was founded on neoclassical idealism,” Lewis said. “It’s not just the Victorian but the earlier federal stuff, which seems to refer to an era when you could stop a man on the street and discuss the classics with him.”

One Troy figure inspires Lewis in particular: a cabinet maker named Elijah Galusha, who was one of the pioneers of plywood and veneer construction, whose work rivaled the best of his contemporary craftsmen in New York City.

“I like to think I channel Elisha and keep up his tradition,” Lewis said, noting that Galusha lived in a house four blocks from Springwood Studios.


For Information, visit: or


For photographs of Lewis’ work, visit:

For higher resolutions, contact Jim Lewis.

Contact: Jim Lewis 518-429-3909


October 8, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Events,Features,Troy NY — duncan @ 4:33 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Michael Ciaravella 518-217-8282

Evil Dead, The Musical Plays in Troy, Oct. 24 – Nov. 9

Singing Zombies and Gore Overrun Uncle Sam Atrium in Troy

TROY, N.Y. (10/08/14) — Zombies will sing and gore will splatter this Oct. 24 as Troy Civic Theatre stages the regional premiere of “Evil Dead, The Musical” at The Uncle Sam Atrium.

Evil Dead: The Musical, Troy Civic TheatreBased on Sam Raimi’s 1983 cult classic horror movie and its sequels starring Bruce Campbell, “Evil Dead, The Musical” has been called “The Next Rocky Horror Picture Show” by critics. The musical tells the tale of five college kids who travel to a cabin in the woods and accidentally unleash an evil force. As his friends turn into Candarian Demons, one boy fights until dawn to survive. True to the movies, the horror-comedy includes geysers of stage blood and as musical mayhem descends upon this sleepover in the woods, “camp” takes on a whole new meaning.

“It’s campy and gory, so the first few rows have their own splatter zone. This is not your traditional musical,” said Michael Ciaravella, Managing Artistic Director, of Troy Civic Theatre. “We’re thrilled to stage this in an actual shopping mall building, which will no doubt remind people of another famous zombie movie, Dawn of the Dead.”

The Uncle Sam Atrium Building was built in 1979 as an indoor urban shopping mall with retail, restaurants and a movie theater. Though no longer a shopping mall, the building is still occupied and provides a home to several offices, businesses, as well as the Winter Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.

Bringing culture into an non-traditional performance space in the heart of historic downtown Troy fits with the purpose of Troy Civic Theater, Ciaravella said. Earlier this year, the group staged a performance of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” in downtown Troy’s underutilized and somewhat troublesome Barker Park, at the intersection of two busy streets.

The Troy theater company secured the regional premiere for this production, which first appeared in Toronto. The group expects to attract fans – including “Zombie Squad” groups and college students — from as far away as Syracuse, New York City and Boston.

“Cult musicals have cult followings,” Ciaravella said. “So we strongly recommend purchasing tickets now before we sell out.”

The show was chosen by Troy Civic Theatre from among more than 40 submissions after director Erin Giacomino submitted it for consideration. Though the shift from Shakespeare to a horror comedy musical may seem incongruous at first, Ciaravella says that theater companies like to mix up their offerings with classics, pop culture hits and experimental works.

“I think everybody in theater wants to do something different, that you wouldn’t see otherwise,” Ciaravella said. “This might be a once-in-a-’lifetime’ experience.”

Evil Dead: The Musical, Troy Civic TheatreCAST

Ash – Conrad Browne Lorcher
Linda – Melinda Richner
Cheryl – Lauren Kerr
Scotty – Stephen McCauley Jr.
Shelly – Megan Morse
Annie – Krista David
Ed (Oct 24 & 25) – Brian McBride Land
Ed (Oct 31 – Nov 9) – Nick Casey
Jake – Ian M. Politis
Prof. Knowby/Ensemble – Scott Caldwell
Moose/Ensemble – Jack Shaefer
Ensemble – Megan Vallee


Performance dates for “Evil Dead, the Musical” are scheduled for Oct. 24, 25, 31, Nov. 1, 7 and 8 at 8 p.m; and on Nov. 2 & 9 at 2 p.m.

Location: The Uncle Sam Atrium, Troy NY 12180

Ticket Cost: $15 General Admission, $13 Student & Senior


Tickets are available for purchase the night of performances and in advance online here:


For information about this performance or the Troy Civic Theatre, call 518-217-TCTC (8282) or visit:


The Troy Civic Theatre Co. officially formed in October 2011. In March this year, the organization received its official 501(c)3 status as a public charity. All donations are tax-deductible.

Troy Civic’s budget is about $25,000 per year. The organization aims to own its own theater space somewhere in the next five to ten years.

Troy Civic is one among 72 community theater groups in the great Capital Region — excluding college theater — from Hudson to Glens Falls and from to Utica, to Pittsfield.


Evil Dead: The Musical, Troy Civic Theatre

For publicity images pertaining to Troy Civic Theatre’s productions, visit:

For information about Troy Civic Theatre, visit:

For information about “Evil Dead, The Musical,” visit:

Contact: Michael Ciaravella 518-217-8282


September 18, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Business,Events,Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 4:02 pm

For Immediate Release


Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274 2723

Mayor Proclaims: Troy NY is “Ginger City, USA” Oct. 1

League of Extraordinary Red Heads Summons All Carrot Tops to Upstate City

TROY, N.Y. (Sept. 18, 2014) — A small upstate city will have a new moniker this fall, by mayoral proclamation: on Oct. 1, Troy, NY shall be known as “Ginger City, USA.”

Night of the Walking Red 2 PosterThe date marks the second annual “Night of the Walking Red” event at Brown’s Brewing Co. designed by The League of Extraordinary Red Heads, a highly visible collective of red-haired denizens headquartered in the small Hudson River city.

“The City of Troy embraces its diverse population and fun-loving characters,” said Mayor Lou Rosamilia. “We do seem to have an unusually high number of red heads in our midst here, and they certainly brighten up the place.”

The fiery festivities of Oct. 1 feature an autumnal rite at Brown’s Brewing Company, known as the “Toast of Coppertops,” during which members of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads raise glasses of locally crafted Pumpkin Ale from the first batch of the season. As is their custom, the League will also discuss the items on their concise meeting agenda: “1) Us. 2) Them.”

Though the highly visible group assembles suddenly in public spaces, not much is known of the inner workings or its true purpose. It purports to be “a social get-together for those with reddish hair” and those who love them, but some suspect it may be a secret society with plans for world domination. These conspiracy theories are bolstered by the fact that red heads comprise only 2 percent of the human population, and yet — for scientifically unexplained reasons — their ranks include a disproportionally high number of prominent figures, including world leaders, famous authors and celebrity actors.

“Because we always stand out, red heads can never hide in a crowd or at the back of the classroom,” said Duncan Crary, founder of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads. “So we learn to have fun under scrutiny. Some people call that being ‘fiery,’ and we do tend to be an excitable bunch. That may be the reason why so many prominent figures in history have had crimson locks.”

The League of Extraordinary Red Heads formed in a flash in Troy on Jan. 30, 2013 and quickly earned the rank of No. 7 in the world for “Best Redheaded Gatherings of 2013″ according to social media website, BuzzFeed. Crary said each of the League’s previous three gatherings attracted more than 120 red-haired participants. Gatherings are always social, though one featured Scotland-based filmmaker Scott Harris for a screening of his smash hit documentary film “Being Ginger” in April, 2014.


Night of the Walking Red 2013This Oct. 1, The League hopes to attract the largest attendance yet.

“If a thousand gingers descend upon dear old Troy, we’ll be ready for them in ‘Ginger City, USA,’” Crary said.

One downtown hotel, Franklin Square Inn and Suites, is even offering a special $99 room rate for redheaded travelers on Oct. 1. (Ask for the Red Head Rate.) And participating local businesses will be offering “Ginger Discounts” for those brandishing League of Extraordinary Red Heads “Member” cards (which are distributed free during events). Brown’s Brewing Co. will be serving “Wholly Moses Pumpkin Ale” brewed locally with pumpkins from the Moses Farm (as in the family of the late American painter “Grandma Moses”) of Eagle Bridge, N.Y. There will be a special ginger and pumpkin themed menu. Other features will be added and announced on the fly.

Those planning to attend are encouraged to “join” the facebook event so organizers can better prepare for the expected crowd.


The League of Extraordinary Red Heads Presents:
“Night of the Walking Red” & “Toast of the Coppertops”
An Autumnal Rite with “Wholly Moses Pumpkin Ale”
Oct. 1, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. Start | Free Admission
Brown’s Brewing Co. 417 River Street, Troy NY


High resolution photo graphs, logos and League related publicity images can be downloaded here:



Proclamation Ginger City

WHEREAS The City of Troy embraces its diverse population, and the contributions of its characters; and

WHEREAS the City equally, and without grudging hesitation, embraces its red head denizens as among some of the most colorful characters in our midst — both in the hue of their fiery follicles as well as in their soulful personalities; and

WHEREAS, red hair can be found sprouting from the scalps and chins of folks around the globe, regardless of race, nationality or creed; and

WHEREAS only a mere 2 percent of the human population is naturally red haired, yet their gloriously blazing ranks include some of the greatest leaders in our history such as George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Kris Kringle, Lucy Ricardo (née Lucille Esmeralda McGillicuddy), Carol Burnett, Agent Dana Scully, Bozo the Clown, and, of course, Helen of Troy; and

WHEREAS, with their skin so fair and easily pinked by the sun, red heads have been fallaciously believed to be on the verge of extinction; though we all joyously know the contrary; and

WHEREAS the City of Troy is home to the esteemed international headquarters of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads, whose highly visible gatherings brighten our streets, public houses and retinas; and whose annual autumnal rites include a public Toast of Pumpkin Ale, locally crafted by Brown’s Brewing Company; and

WHEREAS said League embraces the terms “Ginger,” “Coppertop” and “Daywalker” with glowing pride and cites them as affectionate and favorable monikers befitting their illuminating personas;

Now, therefore, I, Lou Rosamilia, Mayor of the City of Troy, do hereby proclaim that, on Oct. 1, 2014, our fair city shall also be known on this day as GINGER CITY, USA, a Shangri-La or Brigadoon for red heads around the world to visit and “kick back in,” not be kicked.

Signed: Louis A Rosamilia
Date: Oct. 1, 2014

[ To view a scan of the original, visit: ]

Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723


July 20, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Author,Business,Events,Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 6:04 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723

The Legend of Major Duncan Campbell, “Ticonderoga” July 1758

A Spirited Re-Telling of New York’s First World-Famous Ghost Story, 7/24

TROY, N.Y. (7/21/14) — The Scottish spirits will haunt and flow in Brown’s Malt Room this Thursday night.

A Ghost Story With Whisky - Duncan Crary at Brown's Malt Room, July 24, 2014 - 6 p.m.On July 24, at 6 p.m., Troy storyteller Duncan Crary will spin a candle-lit account of the legend of Major Duncan Campbell of the Black Watch, a Scottish highlander who met his eerie fate during the failed British attack on Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) in upstate New York, July 1758.

According to legend, a ghost foretold of the major’s death many years prior at his home in Inverawe, Scotland.

“Robert Louis Stevenson made the story of Major Duncan Campbell world famous in his 1887 poem, ‘Ticonderoga,’” said Crary. “But it was already well-known in these parts, and in the west of Scotland, for more than a century before that.”

The evening will also feature:

  • Soothing tunes on the Scottish small pipes (what Crary calls “indoor bagpipes”), played by Alex Bartholomew of New Paltz;
  • A free tasting of single malt scotches, by West Highland distiller Jura;
  • Fine Scottish small plates prepared in-house.
  • Menu:

    Scotch Egg – $8

    Roast Cornish Hen with Scottish Black Pudding – $14

    Venison Pasties – $10

    Traditional Scottish Gladloch Sausage – $12

    Smoked Scottish King Salmon – $13

    Bread & Cheese: Scratch made bread with a selection of Windsor Red, Cahill Irish Porter, Cypress Grove Midnight Moon cheeses – $13

    (Sorry, no haggis).

    Admission and Scotch samples are free. The Malt Room opens at 5 p.m. Music will begin at 6 p.m. Crary will tell the story shortly after, when the crowd is ready.

    The Malt Room is located at 425 River Street in downtown Troy (in the basement of Revolution Hall). The entrance is in the rear, immediately north of the Brown’s Brewing Co. taproom deck.

    From the West Highlands to the Adirondacks

    Major Duncan Campbell was a real figure in both Scottish and North American history. Laird of the Scottish House of Inverawe, he served as an officer in the 42nd (Highland) Regiment — a famously fierce military unit in Scotland, known as the dreaded “Black Watch.”

    The Grave of Major Duncan Campbell, Union Cemetery.In 1756, the Black Watch was dispatched to North America, by the British crown, to fight in the French and Indian War. In the spring of 1758, Major Duncan Campbell and the Black Watch marched north from Albany to attack the French-controlled Fort Carillon (later named Fort Ticonderoga) on Lake Champlain.

    There, the battle that ensued on July 8 was the bloodiest and most dramatic of the war, with more than 3,000 total casualties estimated by historians. The Black Watch suffered the heaviest of all military units on either side, but the mounting deaths of their comrades only fueled their fury on the front lines.

    About half of the 1,000 Black Watch soldiers in action that day were killed, and many more were wounded — including Major Duncan Campbell who died 9 days later. He was buried in a relative’s plot at Fort Edward. Later, Campbell’s remains were moved to Union Cemetery between Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, where they are now located in the Jane McCrea lot.

    One year after the battle, the British finally captured Fort Carillon and renamed it “Ticonderoga,” an anglicized Iroquois word meaning “it is at the junction of two waterways.”

    Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

    “No ghost story is more widely known or better authenticated than that of Duncan Campbell of Inverawe,” writes Frederick B. Richards in his circa 1910 publication, “The Black Watch at Ticonderoga and Major Duncan Campbell of Inverawe.”

    The Grave of Major Duncan Campbell, Union Cemetery.The widely circulated legend of Major Duncan Campbell says a desperate man came knocking wildly on the doors of the house of Inverawe one night. He had blood on his hands and kilt, and begged for sanctuary — a sacred oath of protection granted in the Highlands of Scotland.

    Duncan vowed to shelter the man and swore on his dirk, a traditional and ceremonial dagger worn by Highland Scots.

    Soon after, a group of men arrived at Inverawe to inform Duncan Campbell that a highwayman had murdered his cousin, Donald Campbell. The men had last seen the murderer heading that way. But Duncan had already given his word that he would shelter the very same bandit, and so he concealed him from the gang.

    Twice, the ghost of Donald Campbell visited Duncan Campbell, and twice demanded that his death be avenged by his kin. But Duncan kept his oath, and on the third visit the apparition warned him: “Farewell Inverawe. Farewell till we meet again at TICONDEROGA.”

    At the time, neither Duncan nor any highland Scots he consulted had ever heard the strange word. From that day forth, it haunted and perplexed him — “Ticonderoga” — until many years later on the march north from Albany, New York to the French-controlled Fort Carillon. The British were joined during that campaign by their Iroquois — or Haudenosaunee — allies, whose name for that place was tekontaró:ken, which sounded very much like “Ticonderoga.”

    Sure enough, on the eve of battle the ghost of Donald Campbell visited the tent of a terrified Major Duncan Campbell to give one last word that Duncan would soon pay for his betrayal.

    The following day, as the battle raged in North America and the brave Black Watch soldiers were cut down by the French, it is said in Scotland that the clouds over the House of Inverawe took the form of the soldiers and re-enacted the futile assault … until the blow was delivered that would end the life of Major Duncan Campbell.

    “An old sailor friend of mine in Glasgow, Scotland once told me to ‘Never let the facts get in the way of a good story,’” Crary said. “I’ll give a proper history of the old Major and the Black Watch, but I won’t be letting those pesky facts get in the way of this ripping good yarn, either.”

    ** End Spoilers **


    The renowned Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson contracted tuberculosis in the late 19th century and headed to the Adirondacks of New York State to take the cure at the famous Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake. It’s there he first heard the tale of Major Duncan Campbell from the locals who knew it well. In December of 1887, Stevenson published the tale in Scribner’s Magazine as the poem: “Ticonderoga a Legend of the West Highlands.” It was an instant and global success.

    Illustration of Major Duncan Campbell, Scribner's 1887.“Stevenson made a few mistakes in his account — most notably, he named his character ‘Duncan Cameron,’” said Crary. “Sure, there were Camerons on the battle pitch that day, but this ghostly tale belongs to none other than Duncan Campbell of Inverawe, Major of the Black Watch.”

    This Thursday night, Crary will spin his own version of the tale, building upon Stevenson’s poem, historical accounts and his own family’s contributions. One element Crary will give more prominence to is the role of the Mohawk allies of the British and their special relationship to the Scots Highlanders they fought alongside.

    Crary’s full name is Duncan Campbell Crary. And while Duncan Campbell is one of the most common Scottish names, his parents named him after Major Duncan Campbell in particular. The family’s Scottish ancestors, both Crary and Campbell, settled upstate New York during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

    “What is a Scotsman without his word? Aye, but what is a Highlander without his kin and clan to count on?” Crary asked. “This is the predicament our hero found himself in, with no way out.”


    To download high-resolution publicity images, including an event poster, a recent photograph of Major Duncan Campbell’s grave and an image from Stevenson’s 1887 poem in Scribner’s magazine, visit:


    Brown’s basement Malt Room bar is a refined space offering 3 cask conditioned ales from its copper top bar as well as nearly 40 single malt scotches, 20 small batch bourbons and a variety of well crafted proper cocktails. A menu of light tapas changes weekly. Located beneath Brown’s Revolution Hall, the Malt Room is open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 pm until close.

    For information, visit:


    Storyteller Duncan Campbell Crary, pictured at Brown's Malt Room

    Duncan Crary is an author, storyteller, podcaster and events organizer in Troy, New York. He wandered the empty nesses of Scotland, alone, when his worldview was still forming. His website is:


    Duncan Crary, (518) 274-2723,
    Gregg Stacy, (518) 698-8330,

    enjoy mactroy. symbol


May 14, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Business,Events,Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 12:59 am

For Immediate Release

Contact: Terry O’Brien, 518-874-1734

Everyone to “Eat Crow” at Trojan Hotel Opening Party, May 20

Internet Restaurant Doubter Foots Bill for O’Briens Public House Celebration

TROY, N.Y. (5/14/14) — The new owners of a historic downtown hotel will serve up a special treat this May 20: crow.

Technically, a crow-shaped cake. The special confection is a playful wink and nod to those who doubted they would succeed in their restoration efforts. The party is being paid for by one of their harshest online critics.

Local Facebook Loudmouth“It’s been a lot of work, but it was worth all the blood, sweat and tears to get this beautiful old building back open,” said Terry O’Brien, who purchased the 19,269 square-foot building last fall with her husband, Donald O’Brien.

“Some people didn’t believe we’d be able to do it. The Internet comments got pretty nasty for a while, but those only motivated us even more to see this through.”

The family team did much of the restoration work themselves on the 19th century building and its circa 1901 hotel addition.

This March, they opened a first-floor barroom and dining area called O’Briens Public House at the Historic Trojan Hotel. In April, they began kitchen service, and work is already underway to restore and re-open the spacious ballroom in the hotel’s rear annex.

Complimentary Drink to the First 40 Party Patrons

Although the Trojan Hotel is one among many historic building rehabilitations underway in the celebrated revival of downtown Troy, this restoration effort was not without its doubters along the way.

But one of the harshest online critics of the effort has kept good on his public offers to buy a round of drinks for the house if the family succeeded in opening. The skeptic, who wishes to be identified as a “local facebook loudmouth,” has paid the bar $200 to help provide one complimentary drink (beer, wine or regular drink) to the first 40 people who attend the Tuesday, May 20 opening party, starting at 5 p.m.

So, in the spirit of fun and redemption, the O’Briens will serve up slices from a lifelike crow-shaped cake, made by Troy confectionery artist Susan Dunkel of Sweet Sue’s, 203 River St.


“Eat Crow” is an American idiom that gained wide-usage after it appeared in an 1850 issue of the Saturday Evening Post. The story, which is set in the Hudson Valley, ends with a farmer reluctantly eating a cooked crow after boasting that he “kin eat anything.” The flesh of crow is considered to be foul tasting, hence “eating crow” is used figuratively when one is proved wrong after taking a strong position (because admitting being wrong is equally as “hard to swallow”).

“Everyone can relate to having to put their foot in their mouth or ‘eat crow’ at some point in their life,” said Donald O’Brien. “This isn’t about sticking it to those who didn’t believe in us — it’s all in good fun after a lot of hard work.”

The O’Briens say they are grateful to all those who helped and supported them during their restoration work, including city officials, their construction crew and personal friends.

The drink specials during the evening will also include a “Humble Pie” cocktail special, which is another British idiom of similar meaning.


Trojan Hotel (early)O’Briens Public House is open seven days a week, during the following hours:

Monday through Wednesday, 4 p.m. till close (kitchen 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.); Thursday through Saturday, noon until close (kitchen noon until 9 p.m.); Sunday, noon until close (kitchen noon until 8 p.m.).

The menu features pub fare and entrees, ranging from $8 to $16, including: Shepherd’s Pie; Crab Cakes; burger; Reuben; spinach dip; potato cakes with smoked salmon; and salads.

Revolving specials include: Corned Beef and Cabbage; Sausage and Mash; Smothered Pork Chop; and Rasher, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches — an Irish “BLT” (price). All items are made from scratch.

For weekly menus, visit: or


The O’Brien family — Donald, Terry, Ali and DJ — ran O’Briens Public House for 20 months at 443 Fifth Ave. in Lansingburgh until closing last June. The family now works together to operate their newest business, O’Briens Public House at the Historic Trojan Hotel, at 43 Third St. in downtown Troy.


This summer, the O’Briens plan to re-open the first floor ballroom, which is located in the hotel annex and is accessible from the first floor bar area. The 1,200 square-foot ballroom will be used as a dining room and multipurpose events space for music, theater, lectures, movie screenings private parties, weddings and showers. It features a stage area, an original maple floor, the original molding, wainscoting, and lathe and plaster walls. It will also feature a display of historic memorabilia from the various businesses to occupy the building — some of which was discovered during the restoration and some of it donated by Troy residents.

After that, the O’Briens will begin work to reopen the Trojan Taproom, a rathskeller in the building’s lower level that was once popular among city leaders.

They also intend to restore the upper floors of the front building as a private residence.


Built in the 19th century, the building originally served as a bar, ballroom and residence. In the late 1800s, it was opened as a hotel. The name was changed to the Trojan Hotel in the early 20th century, when a 5-story addition was built in the rear, facing Franklin Alley. The building and popular taproom have changed hands several times throughout its history.

The DeGiorgio family ran the taproom from 1969 until 2003, when the city foreclosed on the building. They had stopped renting rooms several years earlier.

In 2004, Anthony Prezio, a relative of the DeGiorgios, wrote and performed and recorded an original musical, “An Evening at the Trojan Hotel.”


For a screenshot of the online comments that inspired the “Eat Crow” party and historic photos of the Trojan Hotel and what it looked like before rehab, visit:

For information, call the restaurant at 518-874-1734 or visit: or


May 5, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Business,Events,Features,Troy NY — duncan @ 1:40 pm

For Immediate Release

Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723

Troy Puts on the Red Light – May 5

“Cinco de Mame” is tongue-in-cheek tribute to Troy Madam

TROY, N.Y. (5/5/14) – May 5 is best known as Cinco de Mayo. But tonight’s festivities in Troy will have an added local twist: a tribute to Collar City Madam Mame Faye, who died on May 5, 1943.

Newspaper Ad for Troy's Red Light DistrictSeveral “watering holes” in that city will be giving a nod to its seedier past tonight by turning on red lights. Until the 1940s, Troy’s “Famous Red Light District” was known far and wide for its look-the-other way attitude towards the “oldest profession.”

Though brothels were technically illegal, there were once five “houses of ill repute” on 6th Ave. in Troy along the train tracks. Several police officers from the nearby police station are said to have worked there as bouncers when off duty. And a newspaper advertisement from the 1930s advertised:

Red Light District
Known Coast to Coast Satisfaction Guaranteed – $2.00

Catering to Your Every Whim
Do it or Have it Done
Pitch ‘Til You Win for a Duce

Special Attention Given to High School Boys and Traveling Salesmen


1721 – 6th Ave. — FRANKIE MASON’S 3 Ring Circus
1723 – 6th Ave. – MADAM LOUISE’S Crab Orchard
1725 – 6th Ave. – MAME FAY’S Notchery
1733 – 6th Ave. – LOTTIE DENVER’S Cupcake Revue
1737 – 6th Ave. – MIDRED HAMILTON’S Sandwich Shoppe

(Note: Mame Faye’s name was often spelled with variations.)

For one night only, the following Troy bars will be displaying red lights and serving up naughty-named cocktails in memory of Faye:

Lucas Confectionery,* 12 Second Street
Bootlegger’s on Broadway, 200 Broadway
Finnbar’s Irish Pub, 452 Broadway
Ryan’s Wake Public House, 403 River Street
Brown’s Brewing Co., 417 River Street
The Ruck, 104 3rd Street

O’Briens at The Trojan Hotel and Trojan Taproom will be closed tonight but will display two red light bulbs as part of the tribute.

* Lucas Confectionery will offer half-price bottles of Red Wine during “Cino de Wino” and will screen the documentary film about Faye, “Sittin’ on a Million,” by Penny Lane and Annmarie Lanesey in the rear patio area.

Local author and history buff Duncan Crary arranged the low-key tribute after other residents of Troy expressed interest.

“We’re not advocating for illicit activities tonight,” Crary said. “The infamous red light districts in Troy, Albany and Saratoga were shut down long ago, and probably for good reason. But they are a real chapter in our history. And it’s interesting to remember the shadier episodes and figures from our past.”

Like other figures of questionable character in this region — i.e. Jack “Legs” Diamond, Bartholomew “Bat” Shea, John “Old Smoke” Morrissey — Faye had some redeeming qualities, Crary said, noting her reputation for donating some of her ill-gotten funds to charity.

“Lots of Trojans still have stories to share about Faye, either from direct experience or through their parents or relatives,” Crary said. “Be sure to ask around about her.”

Mame Faye is buried at Saint Joseph’s Cemetery in South Troy (her tombstone reads: Mary A. Fahey Bonter “Mame Fay” 1866 – 1943). An operating Troy-based tugboat is named in Mame Faye’s honor.

For information about Faye, visit:


* Best interview opportunities with locals will be at Ryan’s Wake Pub at 5:30 p.m. Best bet for photo ops will be outside Bootlegger’s on Broadway or in the rear patio of Lucas Confectionery. Finnbar’s Pub is located the closest to the former Red Light District.

CONTACT: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723

March 15, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Events,Features,Troy NY — duncan @ 4:39 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723

“Being Ginger” Documentary to Show in Troy

League of Extraordinary Red Heads Hosts Filmmaker Scott Harris

April 2, 6:20 p.m. to 7:40 p.m.
@ The Arts Center of the Capital Region

TROY, N.Y. (03/14/14) — Filmmaker Scott Harris will present his documentary about life as a red head looking for love this April 2 in Troy.

'Being Ginger' Movie PosterHumorous and heartfelt, “Being Ginger” follows the trials and tribulations that Harris, 33, has endured in the dating world as a red haired American living in Edinburgh, Scotland, “the redhead capital of the world.”

“Having bright orange hair makes you stick out, and when you are a kid the last thing you want is to stick out,” said Harris. “I’m fairly well adjusted now that I’m an adult, but people still say random things to me about my hair all the time, and some of it’s shocking.”

One of Harris’ personal challenges is overcoming a general perception that fair skinned red haired males are less attractive than other types of men. During one of the more outrageous scenes in his film, Harris interviews a young Scottish woman on the street who openly shares her unflattering thoughts about red haired men. “You’re like an orangutan,” says the woman, who has dyed blond hair. “You’re not just ginger, you’re like the joke ginger.”

To attract a woman, she advises him to remove as much of his red hair as possible to “try and limit the ginger to be as ginger-less as possible.” She also recommends he stick to dating red haired women to “keep the genetics together …just keep ginger on ginger and not on other people.” The cavalier exchange is as funny as it is shocking. Harris handles it with calm bemusement on camera.


Though the movie offers many rarely seen glimpses into the peculiarities of life as a redhead — one of the smallest segments of the human population, at around 2 percent — its true intent is to speak to a universal audience.

“I’ve used dating as a subject in the film because the quest for love is something that everyone can relate to,” Harris said. “It might be more accurate to say that the film is about the quest to be accepted. This is a film for anyone who has ever felt different, for any reason. In my case, it just happens to be the color of my hair that sets me apart, and the way people treat me because of it.”

The 69-minute film will be screened in the black box theater at The Arts Center of the Capital Region, located at 265 River St, in downtown Troy, N.Y. Afterwards, Harris will answer questions from the audience before joining The League of Extraordinary Red Heads for a free after party open to the public, 21 and over, at Lucas Confectionery wine bar, located at 12 Second Street. The post screening party will feature a red wine special and a hard apple cider seasoned with ginger, made by Albany-based Nine Pin Cider Works (“Jonagold Ginger” made by fermenting Jonagold apples with ginger).


Tickets are $10 ($11.34 w/service fee) and can be purchased online at: or at the Arts Center just prior to the screening. One hundred tickets will be available for the 6:20 p.m. showing.

For information call Duncan Crary at 518-274-2723 or


League of Extraordinary Red Heads LogoHarris, an Austin Texas native now living in Scotland, has shown the film at the “Irish Redhead Convention” and “The Redhead Days” in the Netherlands, which are the two largest redheaded gatherings in the world with about 5,000 redheads in attendance. Now on a 30-city tour in the U.S., his film screenings are creating min-gatherings of redheads wherever he goes.

“After spending my whole life as the only ginger I knew, I can’t explain how nice it is to sit down for a drink and swap stories with a bunch of other redheads,” said Harris.

The April 2 screening and after party are hosted by The League of Extraordinary Red Heads, a social club for red haired people and those who love them. Founded in Troy, N.Y. in January 2013, The League of Extraordinary Red Heads attracts about 100 people at its semi-regular gatherings.

“Contrary to urban legend, red heads are definitely not going extinct,” said LoERH Founder Duncan Crary, 35. “And after watching this movie, it’s clear to me that we never will never go extinct, because you can’t help but love gingers and our special brand of humanity.”


Following the screening in Troy, the film will open for a week long run in New York City at the Quad Cinema at 34 W 13th St., and the film will be available to purchase and download.


For information about “Being Ginger” and to watch a trailer, visit:


Publicity images:

For information about the League of Extraordinary Red Heads, see: League of Extraordinary Red Heads Forms in Troy, NY, Jan. 30 (01/11/13) and visit:

**Media can request a special password to preview the film online in advance of the screening. **


Find The League of Extraordinary Red Heads online at:


Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723, | Scott Harris,


August 29, 2013


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Business,Events,Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 10:20 am

For Immediate Release

Contact: Duncan Crary 274-2723

Tugboat Hauls Wisconsin Cheese to Troy N.Y. Wine Bar

Cheddar Travels 1,100 Miles via Water to Lucas Confectionery

TROY, N.Y. (08/29/13) — This Friday, a Troy wine bar will serve cheddar cheese that was literally shipped by water from Kewaunee, Wisc. to the small Hudson River city.

Tugboat Margot, photo by Neil Grabowsky“A lot of cheese used to move by barge on the Erie Canal between Buffalo and Troy, but that was a long time ago. And I don’t know if Wisconsin cheese has ever been shipped to Troy by tugboat,” said Troy-based author Duncan Crary. “We may have made history here.”

For one night only, Lucas Confectionery will serve a “Margot Flight” of the 2-year, 6-year and 10-year Wisconsin cheddar cheese. The “vertical flight” of cheese is named after the Tugboat Margot that transported this edible cargo from the Great Lakes to the Hudson River (the name is also a nod to the “Waterford Flight” of locks on the Erie Canal, which connects the Hudson River to the Great Lakes).

The Margot, a 90 ft. “super canaller,” is one in a fleet of four tug boats that belong to the New York State Marine Highway Transportation Co., a commercial shipping outfit based in Troy, N.Y.

When Crary first learned that that the Troy tugboat would be sailing to Wisconsin, he convinced the owners of Lucas Confectionery and Marine Highway to ship back some of the cheese that the state is known for.

As an author, Crary is profiling Marine Highway for a book about the present and future of canal shipping. He also works as a media consultant for Lucas Confectionery.

“This was a fun way to team up two Troy-based businesses to show what we can accomplish in our spunky little Hudson River city,” Crary said of shipping the cheese to his hometown. “I hope this historic food adventure will inspire people to learn more about the potential for inland water shipping in New York State.”

The Margot made the approx. 2,200-mile roundtrip journey to transport a barge carrying 880 tons of concrete castings to Kewaunee. Tugboats and barges specialize in moving this type of industrial cargo, called “heavy lift,” because it weighs too much and is often too large to transport by tractor-trailer or train.

Though the small shipment of cheese on the return trip was a fun favor among local businesses, Marine Highway does ship large quantities of food by canal. The company frequently tugs barges of corn and soy from the Toronto area across Lake Ontario to Oswego. Later this season, the company may transport barges of Canadian wheat from Ontario to the Hudson Valley.

This Friday, schedule permitting, the Margot will be moored along the seawall at Monument Square, just a half block from Lucas Confectionery. Members of the Marine Highway team plan to be at Lucas Confectionery to sample the Wisconsin cheddar and speak with interested patrons about how they brought it here.

“We had really good lake weather,” said Tim Dufel, who served as engineer on the Margot during its trip to Wisconsin. “There were a couple half days with three to five footers” (i.e. waves).

Dufel is co-owner of Marine Highway and plans to be at the Confectionery this Friday during Troy Night Out. But in tug boating, the schedule is always subject to change, he said.

Tugboat Cheddar Night concludes a weeklong celebration of Made-in-the U.S.A. cheese at Lucas Confectionery. Also on the menu are locally made artisanal cow, goat and sheep cheeses from neighboring Washington County and Vermont farms.

“Some of the best cheese in the world is made in America,” said Confectionery Co-owner Vic Christopher. “This is our tribute to all the hard working cheese makers in our country.”


Who: Troy Tugboaters & Author Duncan Crary
What: “Margot Flight,” special menu item feat. Wisconsin cheese
Where: Lucas Confectionery, 12 Second St., Troy, N.Y.
When: 5 p.m. till 8 p.m., Friday Aug. 30
Why: Kick off Labor Day Weekend with tribute to American sailors and cheesemakers.


The Tugboat Margot sailed the following route from Troy, N.Y. to Kewaunee, Wisc.:

(click to enlarge)

Hudson River to Erie Canal to Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario to Welland Canal to
Lake Erie to Detroit River to Lake St. Clair to St. Clair River to Lake Huron to Lake Michigan.

The entire roundtrip took 13 days. A crew of five-sailors worked around the clock in six-hour shifts. The average speed was eight miles per hour. Top speed was 14 miles per hour.


For photos of the Margot’s voyage to Wisconsin, and a map of the route, visit:


New York State Marine Highway Transportation Co.:

Lucas Confectionery:

Crary’s multimedia canal project:

**Extra Notes**

The 2013 Waterford Tugboat Roundup is Sept. 6, 7, 8

The Vermont Sail Freight Project plans to transport Vermont foodstuffs to Troy, N.Y. and the Hudson Valley via Champlain Canal this September.


Contact Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723, for additional information and to schedule interviews.


January 11, 2013


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Events,Features,Troy NY — duncan @ 5:39 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723

League of Extraordinary Red Heads Forms in Troy, NY, Jan 30

Group orchestrating social “ginger” flash mobs.

TROY, N.Y. (Jan. 11, 2013) — The League of Extraordinary Red Heads is hosting its first biannual meeting in a Troy bar on the last Wednesday of this month.

“Carrot tops, orangies, strawberry blondes, auburn-types, distinguished white heads … all gingers are welcome in the League of Extraordinary Red Heads,” said founder Duncan Crary, 34.

League of Extraordinary Red Heads PosterOn Wednesday, Jan. 30, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Crary will host a gathering of the fair-haired at Bootlegger’s on Broadway in downtown Troy (200 Broadway). The evening will feature drink specials and free pub snacks for red heads, and a brief discussion of “official” League business. Kenneth “Kenny Red” DuBois, of Bootleggers, will be tending bar. The event is for ages 21 and over. There is no admission fee.

“Our formal agenda is concise: 1) Us. 2) Them,” said Crary, who jokingly refers to the non-red-haired population as The 98 Percent. “Basically it’s just going to be a bunch of red heads in the same place, all drinking and yawping at happy hour.”

Though the League is one of the most exclusive – only one to two percent of the world has red hair – the meeting will be held in the main barroom, where all shades of hair color are welcome to join in the fun and observe the spectacle of the “Red Tide.”

“But these gingers kick back,” Crary warned, in tongue-in-cheek reference to the recent South Park-inspired school bully practice of kicking red-haired children (and also in reference to stereotypes, which may or may not be true, about the propensity of the red-haired types to imbibe). “So keep your feet on the floor.”

Though Crary expects the League will quickly sprout chapters around the world, the Troy-based author believes his hometown is the right place for the movement to be headquartered.

“We’re crawling with gingers here in the Collar City,” he said. “And contrary to urban legend and pseudo science, we are definitely not going extinct. Though I don’t say that to discourage those who wish to further propagate our species.”

In addition to bi-annual meetings of the League, Crary plans to orchestrate semi-surprise congregations of red heads at various locations throughout the year. He calls these gatherings “Red Tides,” and likens them to flash mobs without the choreographed dancing.

“Not since age of the Vikings have roving bands of red heads posed more of a threat to world order,” Crary joked. “But we’ll gladly forgo sacking cities for drink specials and free pub grub.”

The true purpose of the League, Crary says, is just for people to have a little fun with being a little different from the norm. Not everyone will get the joke, he said, but it’s all in good fun.

“Because we always stand out, red heads can never hide in a crowd or at the back of the classroom,” Crary said. “So we learn to have fun under scrutiny. Some people call that being ‘fiery,’ and we do tend to be an excitable bunch. But that’s also the reason why so many prominent figures in history have had crimson locks.”

Crary also notes that the League of Extraordinary Red Heads is not to be confused with the Red-Headed League of Sherlock Holmes fame. “We’re far more extraordinary than those gingers.”


Find the League online at:


High resolution publicity images can be downloaded at

Photo ops with red heads for preview media coverage can be arranged.


Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723