The week ahead

translucent stairway teju cole

A photo by author and photographer Teju Cole. He'll be at UAlbany this week to talk about his much praised novel Open City.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (better than a usual February), to spelling, to milk, to authors, to comedy, to wine, to music...

Weather

Here's the paraphrased forecast:

Monday: Sunny and 45.
Tuesday: Sunny and high 30s.
Wednesday: Repeat.
Thursday: Some sun. Chance of snow. Highs around 40.
Friday: Sun and 40.
Weekend: Cooler, highs in the low 30s.

Rather great for February.

The Last Five Years

This week at Caffe Lena: a production of The Last Five Years, starring Molly McGrath (recently on AOA) and Nick Abounader. It tells the story of a five-year relationship, from beginning to end -- and end to beginning. Monday, Tuesday at 7:30 pm / Saturday, Sunday at 2 pm - $15

S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G

The Greater Capital Region Spelling Bee is Tuesday evening at Proctors. More than a hundred students will be competing for the a spot in the National Spelling Bee in DC. 5 pm

Evolution, milk, cheese, cheesecake

The popular Cooking the Tree of Life series is back at the State Museum Wednesday with an evening about milk, cheese, and cheesecake. The program about the evolution of milk production will include a tasting of cheese from Honest Weight, cheesecake from Cheesecake Machismo, and milk from Meadowbrook. 7 pm - $5

Arts and Sciences

Better than a thousand words
Physicist John D. Barrow will be at EMPAC Wednesday evening for a talk about the way images have influenced the development of science, from Van Gogh's "Starry Night" to the Hubble Telescope. Barrow is the 2006 winner of the Templeton Prize. 6 pm - free

Personal Story, Historical Event
National Book Award author Ha Jin will be at Skidmore Thursday evening for a talk titled "Personal Story, Historical Event." His most recent book is Nanjing Requiem, which is set during the Japanese occupation of Nanjing, China (review). 8 pm - free

Teju Cole
Author and street photographer Teju Cole will be at UAlbany Friday evening as part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series. Cole's debut novel, 2011's Open City, was much praised. 8 pm, Performing Arts Center uptown campus - free

ransome words set me free frederick douglassYoung Frederick Douglass
Author Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrator James Ransome will be at the State Museum Saturday afternoon to talk about their new children's book Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass. The couple lives in the Hudson Valley and create books that highlight the stories of African-American champions and other historical figures. 1 pm - free

Laugh. It's funny.

National College Comedy Festival
The National College Comedy Festival is this weekend at Skidmore. The annual festival is a showcase for up-and-coming comedy writers, performers, and improv troupes -- and many past performers have gone on to great success (example: the festival's founder, David Miner, is a producer for 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation). Here's a good piece on the festival and its history over at Splitsider.

There are performances Friday and Saturday night featuring college (7 pm) and professional (10 pm) groups. $5 for college performances, $7 for professional, $20 for the whole weekend

John Pinette
Comedian John Pinette will be playing two shows at The Egg Saturday night. Noted: Pinette played the guy who was carjacked in the final episode of Seinfeld. 7 pm and 9:30 pm - $35.75

Wine

The Capital Region Wine Festival is this coming weekend at Proctors. It opens with a dinner featuring "The Singing Chef" Friday night ($75), continues with two free seminars on Saturday, and concludes with the grand tasting Saturday afternoon ($55 / $25 for designated drivers).

Valentine's Speakeasy

The Arts Center of the Capital Region is throwing a Valentine's Day-themed speakeasy party Saturday night. There are dance lessons at 7 pm. Music from Doc Scanlon's Deja VooDoo Boys starts at 8 pm. It includes a costume and dance contests. Cash bar, as well as desserts and coffee available from the Sunspot Cafe. 7 pm - $15

Music

Thursday: John Waite at Troy Music Hall
He had impressive hair during the Bad English days. 8 pm - $15 and up

Friday: Peter Frampton at the Palace
Playing Frampton Comes Alive! in its entirety. 7:30 pm - $39.50 and up

Friday: American Babies at Valentine's
Roots rock. With: Eastbound Jesus, The Red Lions. 8 pm - $9

Friday: Rustic Overtones at Jillian's
With: My Pet Dragon. 8 pm - $15

Friday: MIRK at Red Square
With: King Dreams, Iron Bar Collective. 8 pm - free

Saturday: Hyperion Quartet at the Massry Center
Playing works by Dvorak, Boccherini, and Mozart with the Saint Rose Camerata . 7:30 pm - free

Saturday: Rusko at Washington Ave Armory
Dubstep. With: Savoy 8:30 pm - $40

Saturday: Life Among the Trees & Lucky Jukebox Brigade at Hudson River
With: Rosary Beard, Friends of Yours. 8 pm

To-do list

1. If you're looking to go out somewhere for Valentine's Day, make a reservation now. There's only about a week to go, and spots will fill up fast.

The Troy Music Hall advertises on AOA, as does Proctors.

photo: Teju Cole

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