Drawing: EMPAC (pick three) + Peck's Arcade or The Confectionery

empac fall 2015 drawing composite

Some of the performers set for EMPAC this fall (clockwise from top left): Silas Reiner, Oneohtrix Point Never, France Jobin, vhvl.

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The fall season at EMPAC started recently and it picks up speed this week with a two more events. As usual, the fall schedule is full of interesting, unusual, thought-provoking events and performances.

And you could have your pick of events to attend -- for free.

The prize for this drawing is three pairs of tickets for events at EMPAC this fall season -- and you get to pick the events. Maybe it's three music performances, maybe it's a concert and two dance/movement events, maybe it's two things you're sure you'll love plus one thing you'd never have thought to try. It's your choice.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: The prize also includes a $50 gift certificate to either The Confectionery or Peck's Arcade in downtown Troy -- winner's choice.

To enter this drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

Music, dance, film, and the arts often help us see the world in a different way. So, what's something local that's prompted you to see the world differently?

It could be something big and life changing, or it could be some little thing that's help you see one thing in a different light. We'll draw one winner at the random.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Thursday, September 10, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Friday and must respond by noon on Monday, September 14.


The 9/11 display at the New York State Museum - which is not only beautiful, but gets to the heart of what it means to be a New Yorker.

Mass MOCA - avant garde music, art, nature - less than an hour away from the Capital Region.

The Egg - one of a kind architecture. Weird, original, horrifying, amazing

The track and gambling!

The Albany Symphony Orchestra. They are a gem in our little city. Every time I attend I am awestruck and feel so fortunate that we have such amazing musicians here. They are creative, daring and talented.

Surprisingly my answer would be MopCo (Improv on Friday nights in the Proctor's basement). They do a great show and remind you to always support your partner and to find humor in every day life.

Residing in Center Square gave me my first experience of living in a city area where the arts are at your fingertips and usually a short walk away. This is access that I have never had before which exposed me to new music, art and film that I would not have ever experienced if not living here.

Conversation- It seems too simple but it's true.

The locally made documentary The Neighborhood That Disappeared. Not only did it open my eyes to the scale of urban renewal projects in Albany, but it created an interest in urban renewal projects in cities across the country.

Apple picking season as the transition from summer to fall

The culture around sustainability in Troy. Seeing group purchasing power helping city residents go solar, gorgeous urban farms either through Capital Roots or guerrilla style, backyard chickens, microenterprises, and food saved from the waste stream turned into beautiful dinners that feed 50+ for less than $150, has made me see that it is possible to live simply and sustainably even in a city.

doughboys at 3am

The Schenectady Farmer's Market

My children -- and their music, art, and dancing.

Music, especially at the Egg and Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. The small venue leads to a more personal experience and still manages to get big and small name acts from around the country that have different stories and experiences to share.

I've moved to upstate New York and Troy just over a year ago, and have been loving to learn about Troy's history. I wrote my dissertation about 19c American poetry, and was thrilled to see the historic plaque on downtown Troy building along the water: this is where the poem "Night Before Christmas" was written!

The Albany Barn. It's heartening to see a local non-profit formalize and promote what we already know - that the arts can provide a way forward for the evolution and growth of city neighborhoods.

In our region, which is rich in exquisite art and culture if you know where to look, I often find myself feeling that art is something most of us engage as passive observers. Enter the Arts Center of the Capital Region (Troy), which has, for me and my family and friends, democratized art and brought it, quite literally, to the street level by sharing the mysteries and joys of creating and curating with the people.

The diversity of free music, festivals, art, etc. in this area has really helped me expand my tastes and interests. Also the Honest Weight/Farmer's Market scene has helped me realize how much I appreciate fresh food.

My walking commute across the 112th Street Bridge in Troy. By walking, I get to see the Hudson River change through the seasons and appreciate it in a way that drivers don't have the time or opportunity to do. It offers the steady, ambling wisdom of rivers but doesn't shy away from surprises - an excellent model for living, I think!

Tourists! I live in Center Square and work at the Capitol, and sometimes it becomes easy to take both of those things for granted. It's great to show someone around the Plaza, or walk the neighborhoods, or give a Capitol tour and see things through fresh eyes every once in a while.

Seeing the transition of Troy over the last five years gives promise that cities can change for the better.

The Adirondacks!!

The Saratoga Race Course, where the best and worst of human nature are on display as well as a smattering of in-between.

the daks

Seems silly, but aging. Seeing the area as a child where everything felt so far apart and new, starting driving and seeing everything shrink and become accessible, going to college and feeling like I knew everything and it was all hollow and boring, becoming an adult and accepting the area for what it is, good and bad.

Quick and easy access to both nature and the city- you can have it all :)

Moving from Delmar to Troy. The shift from suburban to a small urban center was one of the best things we've done in the past year and have helped us meet a lot of great new people. It's fun being part of this little community that keeps growing in Troy.

The Pride Center in Albany, because of the outstanding level of support they offer to the Capital District.

Community: raising a child in the capital district. This area is rich in activities, culture and life. I know he is learning and experiencing something special when we go on trips to farmers market or MiSci or just the local parks

Definitely the historic architecture. Growing up on long island I didn't have much of that to see as a kid!

Volunteering at the Capital City Rescue Mission.

The Adirondacks, being on top of a high peak puts everything into perspective for me. I couldn't live without mountains.

the Troy Farmer's Market - it's amazing to see a small community that's so excited about eating food raised here and supporting local businesses, and always makes me try harder to focus on that!

the area has given me fresh appreciation for the value of community-building.

The Music Haven Concert series always brings the world locally

Rock n Roll brunch at The Low Beat - never understood the hype around going to brunch until I tried this one out!

Caffe Vero cappucino... sorely missed!

Talking with my neighbors and learning some of the history of the neighborhood. Apparently this area used to be a lot more exciting!

MassMOCA has fostered an appreciation of contemporary art and a desire to understand more about it.

The Washington County cheese tour- it's really great to the farms and animals that the cheese and yogurt comes from. Plus who doesn't love a baby goat?!

The Troy Farmer's Market - it's hard not to look at modern urban living in a new way!

The Writers Institute at U Albany. What a treasure, year after year.

Funcycled in Troy NY

The great community work done each day at The Unity House in Troy.

The Albany iSpy's scavenger hunts the past few years. It allowed me to take the time to see the details of Albany architecture that I'd past by for so long but never really saw.


The local farmers' markets have opened my eyes to the amazing products produced right here in our own backyard. Amazing produce, baked goods, peanut butter, beer and wine, pesto, cheese... the list goes on and on!

The newly expanded Clark combines art and nature unlike urban museums.

Troy Alley Action's recent project of creative crosswalks in downtown Troy!

The Troy Farmers Market: when I first went to it years ago I had no idea there were so many local farms growing food. Becoming familiar with the local food movement gave me a sense of community I'd never experienced before.

Lark Fest and North Albany's Oktoberfest...both fun and interesting events

Clark Museum. Excellent place for a day trip.

The Empire State plaza farmers market and made in the shade egg performances on Wednesday afternoons all summer. Fresh produce, music and experiencing all that down town Albany has to offer has enriched my life in many ways.

Many shows at Capital Rep over the years have changed my point of view. Some favorites that were personally meaningful and enjoyable were 33 Variations, Take Me Out, and The Seafarer. Such a gem!

The apples! I didn't know how many kinds existed. And the complexity of flavors!

The NYS Writer's Institute, specifically the visiting writers' series. Reading books with the added bonus of then hearing the author's perspective always opens the mind.

Attending Troy Farmer's Market - what a vibrant network and so good for the community

Occupy Albany was a big reveal, I really didn't expect that much opposition to it :(

Living between Saratoga Spa State Park and Downtown Saratoga. Living a mostly car-less existence.

Deadbeats shows at The Low Beat!

Definitely The Neighborhood That Disappeared. It made me really see the tension between State and Local and appreciate some of the challenges Albany faces in its urban planning. It was painful to watch but really changed my view of our city.

In our little slice of the world here, we are fortunate to have many neighbors of many different cultures. Last week I joined some kids in a pickup game of cricket, shared vegetables and cooking techniques with my next door neighbor and thanked a man standing with his grandson holding peace signs on Delaware Avenue.

Each one of those things adds dimension and positivity to my life and make me proud to call the capital region my home.

I think the Spectrum Theater deserves a lifetime achievement award for the amazing, high quality films it has brought to the area pre and post Netflix.

drone festival at Basilica Hudson.



The Adirondacks! Best place ever!

The CSA program we're enrolled in has opened my eyes to a variety of new produce and has made me think more about the origins of my food.

The great local restaurants that dare greatly and provide service beyond expectations. Makes me go out of my way to be a customer.

Although I've lived within an hour of my current home most of my life, I have recently met many people living in Albany who are not originally from here. Hearing their take on things we find normal and unremarkable has given me fresh insight on what is great, and not so great, about living here.

Being an urban planning student in Albany has opened up my eyes to how much the Capital Region has to offer and how lucky we are to be living in such a vibrant and exciting place. As someone who grew up in the region, it has been encouraging to see such significant change take place over the past couple of decades. I am inspired by the historic walkable neighborhoods in downtown Schenectady, Albany, and Troy; the robust transportation options and transition to more pedestrian-friendly modes; and the education and outreach on the availability of renewable energies.

Live at 5 and Rockin on the river have reminded me of the universality of music and the need to relax and have fun. Everyone from wildly diverse backgrounds is there enjoying themselves.

The Catskills and the Adirondacks - I was never an outdoor kid, but exploring local nature as a young adult changed the way I interact with the outdoors for the better.

The choir at Congregation Berith Sholom! A great group of musicians/mensches!!!

Fall things. All the NY fall things.

The Troy farmer's market was the first thing in the area that made me say "wow" -- all the people, the energy, the venue converging in one awesome place.

I love all the festivals, art events, and farmers markets we have going on this time of year and sometimes year round. It's a great opportunity to meet local vendors and find out all that goes into making their products/businesses and supporting their endeavors. i just love it!

Talking to the many people in the area and hearing all their stories and experiences.

Late night runs through the city.

Running through the various parks and wooded areas in this region. It's made me appreciate running in the shade and long for Fall!

A street memorial on display in tribute to a local criminal, has prompted me to see the world differently.

Exploring the region with my son -- Three Rivers, Thacher Park, and more.

The steps of the capital after dark are an absolute game changer! Beautiful architecture and the solidarity of standing there alone makes you appreciate what goes on during the day time in a whole new way!

Hudson Mohawk Bike-Hike Trail. We have such stunning natural resources that run through our bustling communities. It's nice to have a piece in walking/biking distance.

UAlbany aka "The World Within Reach"

The Opalka gallery. What an amazing local place to view quality exhibits.

George Rickey sculpture st Empire State plaza. Makes me look at wind, steel and stillness in a different light.

I grew up in Lansingburgh, and I always wanted to "get out" of Troy. I've traveled all over the United States, but in the end I couldn't resist coming back to Troy. The buildings, the people, the art, the Troy Pride, the colleges, the nature mixed in with the city. The parks, the activists, the restaurants bars and downtown shopping. The Ruck.

Actually, I think it was the world that helped me see Troy differently.

Living in the Capital Region, I've actually begun to look at commuter transportation differently. When I first moved here, I figured that most people spent their mornings and early evenings in bumper cars on the Northway. But living in Center Square, my co-workers and I traveled by foot to work. Now living in Troy, the bike path along the river makes bike-commuting terribly feasible.

A number of thought-provoking films at the Spectrum Theatre.

Watching Crank Sturgeon perform at the UAG was pretty mindblowing.

Hiking in the Adirondack wilderness. Everyday life just stops and something bigger and less cluttered emerges.

Washington Park! The landscape design, multiplicity of uses and users, and the ways it changes through the seasons always reminds me of all the different ways that life can intersect and overlap.

The transformation of the Troy region, and the smiling faces I see when I walk down the streets!

The canal locks in Waterford. They remind me of the beauty and power of nature.


The confluence of music with autobiographical memory, spirituality and emotion is something that I worked on as an undergrad in a lab looking to further understand these connections. I had plenty of Phish concerts under my belt and as such, lots of great spiritual experiences, but I knew it was more. My boss at that lab followed the Dead for 20 years and ended up leading the world in research alongside Oliver Sachs of course… But what changed the way I saw the world was seeing for myself a WHOLE BRAIN ACTIVATION when someone was listing to a salient piece. I have been witness to plenty of others having what looked like spiritual experiences, but actually seeing the electrical conductivity and BOLD imaging of participants' brought me to the point of realization that music can stimulate a person in such a way, that new connections, new neural associations and pathways can form and initiate learning ultimately and reform connections that were lost, initiating memory. I have moved through life with such a strong value on music that it has shaped the way I interact with my friends, my children and family. I can whole heartedly attend an event that I know is something wonderful, and at the same time, know that there are BILLIONS of neural circuits forming and that is a beautiful thing…

The metal sculptures in the empire state plaza always make me ponder life.

Living in Troy has made me see life differently. There is a crazy creative feel going on there right now. All of the owners of the businesses in troy are so reachable (social media, or in person) that you can't help but be inspired by their visions. There's also Friday Night Out that is always inspiring. Just moving to Troy has inspired me to be more social, and creative.

The birth of my son, which took place at St. Peter's so that's local - right?, made me see everything differently!

Volunteering at Joseph's House in Downtown Troy. RPI sits above Troy looking down. It was nice to connect with the locals while serving food to those in need. It made me have a new appreciation for Troy.

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