Items tagged with 'stuff to do'

Stuff to do this weekend -- and the next, and the one after that, and the one after that...

stuff to do forever composite

More than 500 weekends worth of proof that the Capital Region is anything but dull.

One of the perks of producing AOA has been that it was our job to know about interesting events happening in and around the Capital Region. And there's a lot.

In fact, most weeks we were overwhelmed with the amount and the variety of things to do around the area. And for roughly 545 posts over the years, it has been our pleasure to share all the music, art, theater, tours, talks, films, fundraisers, festivals and more that go on each weekend. (And ,for that matter, also during the week.)

Many of you have told us that you looked forward to these posts, that they've helped you make plans and create memories. That makes us so happy. But it also makes us sad that we won't be around to help.

So here's a kit -- a sort of DIY guide -- for finding fun stuff to do on your Capital Region weekends.

We hope you find it useful. And, as always, if there's something you like to do that didn't make our list, please add to it in the comment section so everyone can benefit.

Thanks for trusting us to help with your plans, and may all of your weekends be fantastic weekends!

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Stuff to do this weekend

It's a Wonderful Life -still.jpeg

"Every time a bell rings..."

This weekend starts off with the winter solstice. Yes, the daylight will be short -- but there are twinkle lights and hot cocoa and a whole weekend of fun stuff to do on the horizon.

After the jump, we've put together a list of goings-on to help make your weekend merry and bright. Planning something you don't see here? It's the season of sharing, so drop it in the comment section and let the rest of us know about it.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!

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The week ahead

WVL Radio It's A Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life: Live From WVL Radio Theatre -- a stage adaptation/radio play of It's a Wonderful Life -- is at Proctors this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (wintry and then not), to holiday movies, to stories, to the stage, to hoops, to skating, to music...

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Heavy Metal: Cast Iron Stoves from the Capital Region at the Albany Institute

Albany Institute stoves

A peek at some of the stoves in the institute's collection from a bunch of years ago when we got a behind-the-scenes tour.

As you'd expect, the collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art has its fair share of art.

But it also has all sorts of other items -- clothing, furniture, documents, various local objects, even stoves. Yep, stoves.

Well, they're not just any stoves. They're intricately-designed and decorated cast iron stoves from the time when Albany and Troy were manufacturing centers for the hot items. And the institute is putting a bunch of them on display.

The exhibit Heavy Metal: Cast Iron Stoves from the Capital Region opens this Saturday. Blurbage:

During the nineteenth century, Albany and Troy, New York, manufacturers were considered to be among the largest producers of cast-iron stoves in the world. Stoves made in these cities were renowned for their fine-quality castings and innovations in technology and design. The strategic location of Albany and Troy, located nine miles apart on opposite banks of the Hudson River, afforded easy and inexpensive transportation of raw materials to the foundries, and finished stoves to worldwide markets.
Cast-iron stove making reached its highest artistic achievement and technological advancement between 1840 and 1870. Flask casting and the advent of the cupola furnace permitted more elaborate designs and finer-quality castings. Stove designers borrowed freely from architectural and cabinetmakers' design books, a process that resulted in the use of Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Rococo revival motifs, patriotic symbols, and lavish floral designs, all reflecting current taste and sentiment. Stoves were given romantic names like "Venetian Parlor," "Gothic Parlor," and "The Temple" to enhance their allure and help the buyer identify them when ordering from a catalogue.

The exhibit will be on display until next August. And the Albany Institute's Tammis Groft will be giving a talk about the exhibit February 24.

The Swinburne Skating Rink is open for the winter

Swinburne skating rink ice

The city of Albany's Swinburne Skating Rink is now open for the winter season.

The rink is in Swinburne Park (surprise) and it's covered, so it can operate in all weather. It's open for ice skating Monday-Sunday (see the schedule below), and it also offers learn-to-skate, stick-and-puck, and hockey sessions.

Admission is $1 / 50 for under 18 / 25 cents for seniors. Skate rental is $3. Skate sharpening is $5. And the rink is available to rent for parties.

If you haven't been to the rink before, it's located just to the west of Bleecker Stadium. And if you're looking for a place park, there's a lot off 2nd Street. (That street runs one-way west, so the the closest cross to head up that block is Ontario.)

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Stuff to do this weekend

Santa Speedo Sprint

The Santa Speedo Sprint returns to Lark Street this weekend.

Thanks for tuning in. Cue the theme music for Stuff to Do This Weekend.

Coming up: Holiday music, scantily-clad Santas, Elf with all the popcorn you can eat, and much more. But first, a word from our sponsors.

And remember, if you're doing something exciting that's missing from our list, be sure to add it in the comment section. It's the season of sharing.

Whatever you're doing, be sure to bundle up, drink something warm, and have a fantastic weekend.

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First Day Hikes

One of the best ways to make winter more enjoyable is to actually get outside for some sort of activity. And here's an opportunity to do so...

A bunch of New York State parks, wildlife areas, and historic sites are hosting "First Day Hikes" on January 1. "Staff from State Parks and DEC, along with volunteers at many sites, will lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which range from one to five miles depending on the location and conditions."

That's a State Parks map of the various sites offering First Day Hikes. They activities are free, but some of them require pre-registration.

Here's a quick overview of the hikes at sites around the immediate Capital Region...

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Trey Anastasio's new band Ghosts of the Forest is playing The Palace

trey anastasio 2018

A new band headed up by Trey Anastasio -- Ghosts of the Forest -- is set to play The Palace April 9. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, December 15 -- they're $45 and up. (There's also a presale that starts December 12.)

Ghosts of the Forest includes Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Jennifer Hartswick, Celisse Henderson, Tony Markellis, and Ray Paczkowski. The Palace show is one of seven the band is group in April.

And, of course, Anastasio was just recently in town for two shows at TU Center with Phish.

photo via Trey Anastasio's website

Tedeschi Trucks Band back at SPAC

tedeschi trucks band

The Tedeschi Trucks Band will be back at SPAC July 14. Tickets go on sale this Friday, December 14 -- they're $19.50 and up. (There's also a lawn seat four pack for $60.)

The lineup also includes Blackberry Smoke and Shovels & Rope.

This will be four summers in a row that Tedeschi Trucks Band is playing at SPAC. So, presumably, people keep showing up and in not-small numbers. That's another way of saying that if you want your pick of tickets, it's probably not a bad idea to get them sooner rather than later.

SPAC lawn season pass
A reminder that Live Nation's SPAC lawn seat season passes for pop shows are now on sale for the upcoming season. The passes include access to shows, including sold-out shows, as well priority entry and complimentary lawn chair rental. The passes are $299 (plus fees) and will be on sale from December 4-December 18.

Lawn tickets at SPAC tend to be in the $25-$35 range (with some exceptions, see above). So if you think you might go to 10 (or so) shows next season, it could be worth it.

photo: Mark Seliger

The week ahead

The Rep Miss Bennet Christmas at Pemberley

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley continues at The Rep. / phot via Capital Repertory Theatre Facebook

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (sunny ), to Muppets, to the stage, to marijuana, to stories, to skating, to music...

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Albany Archives at APL: Local history of Christmas cards and Santa

Pease Christmas Card

That first printed Christmas card. / image courtesy of Manchester Metropolitan University

The first Christmas card printed in the United State was printed in Albany.

It's true. It was printed at 516 Broadway -- "The Temple of Fancy" -- in 1851.

Matt Malette -- Mr. Albany Archives -- will be at the Albany Public Library's Washington Ave Branch December 19 talk to talk about that bit of local holiday history. He'll also be taking up the Troy roots of the famous poem "A Visit From Saint Nicholas," which was first published in the Troy Sentinel, and other other local Santa historical whatnot.

The talk is Wednesday, December 19 at 6:30 pm in the branch's large auditorium (if you enter through the front door, keep walking toward the back of the library). It's free.

The 2019 MLK Day celebration at the ESP will include Rashad Jennings and Lillias White


Martin Luther King Jr. delivering a speech in New York City in 1962 commemorate the 100th anniversary of the issuance of Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. The State Museum has the audio of the speech -- the only known copy -- posted online. / photo: NYS Archives

The Empire State Plaza will again host a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is January 21 this time around.

The 2019 event will include a keynote speech by Rashad Jennings, the former NFL running back and Dancing With the Stars winner who's become a motivational speaker, author, and philanthropist. And it will feature a performance by Tony-winning Broadway vocalist Lillias White.

The celebration is Monday, January 21 in the ESP Convention Center. A volunteer fair starts at 9 am that day, and the program begins at 10 am. It's free.

Following the event at the ESP, the annual city of Albany Beloved Community March will stretch from the concourse entrance on Madison Ave to the King Monument in Lincoln Park for a wreath-laying ceremony. (There will also be a CDTA bus to transport people.) And the Albany City Hall carillon will play a concert at noon.

Dr. King Children's Essay & Fine Arts Exhibit
The state Education Department is again sponsoring an exhibition of student art inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. (Maybe you remember seeing the exhibit in the ESP concourse.) It's open to students enrolled in any K-12 program. And the deadline to enter is December 17.

AOA is a sponsor of events at the ESP.

Marijuana: Justice, Equity, Reinvestment at Albany Capital Center

drug policy alliance marijuana conference Albany Capital Center logo

A conference called Marijuana: Justice, Equity, Reinvestment will be at the Albany Capital Center December 11 and 12. It's backed by the New York office of the Drug Policy Alliance. Conference blurbage:

Creating a system to tax and regulate marijuana use by adults over the age of 21 is a sound economic investment for the state of New York. In the states with existing regulated markets, previously static economies have experienced a new small business boom coupled with technological advances that benefit a variety of industries. Additionally, legalization presents an opportunity for New York's agrarian community to foster the development of a new crop that is sustainable, resilient, and widely consumed. Similar to the rise of New York's craft wine and beer industries, a regulated marijuana market could also provide opportunities for small businesses in small towns across the state to cultivate a business model that is not reliant on access to large amounts of capital but is instead dependent on local resources as well as their own ingenuity and creativity.
The state of New York is well positioned to make a significant impact on the developmental trajectory of the nascent legal industry in a way that strongly favors diversity and inclusion. The history of marijuana prohibition in New York and lessons learned from other states have produced a wealth of information that can be used to preemptively address potential barriers to progress as the state transitions away from the failed experiment of prohibition.

That link above includes the conference schedule. The lineup includes all sorts of speakers: elected officials, advocates, academics, business owners, doctors.

It's free to attend, but registration is required.

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Stuff to do this weekend

How The Grinch Stole Christmas Musical on stage

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical is at Proctors. / photo:

Welcome to the weekend.

There's a lot going on and we know you're busy, so here's a list of events we thought you might like to check out.

Planning something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comment section of this post.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon

Hilton Barn by rail trail 2018-October  v2

The first Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon is Saturday, April 13. The race is from Voorheesville to the riverfront in the city of Albany. Course blurbage:

The course is point-to-point, starting at Stephen P. Wallace (New Scotland Town) Park and finishing at Jennings Landing on the Hudson River. The first 2 miles are on the streets of Voorheesville. The next 9 miles are on the gently descending newly paved path of the Albany County Rail Trail. The final 2.1 miles follows the route of the soon to be completed rail trail connector to the Hudson River bike path.

The race is organized ARE Event Productions, which is involved with a bunch of other running events around the area.

Registration is open for the half marathon. The base level entry fee is currently $60 through December 31 and includes a t-shirt and post-race meal. (There are also "premium" and "VIP" registration levels that include more amenities.)

Mohawk Hudson River Marathon
While we're on the topic... Next year's Mohawk Hudson River Marathon is October 13 (corrected) The race starts in Schenectady and largely follows the Mohawk-Hudson bike path to Jennings Landing in Albany. (There's also a half marathon that starts in Colonie and finishes in the same spot.)

Registration is open for both the full ($95) and half marathons ($70).

The Albany Patroons return for another season

Albany Patroons dunk photo by Relentless Awareness

The new-again Albany Patroons will be back for a second season and the 2019 schedule is now out. Their home season at the Washington Ave Armory opens January 12. (The full home schedule is below.)

The Patroons play in a basketball league that's now know as... The Basketball League (TBL). Its inaugural season was last year as the North American Premier Basketball. And, as is typical for many minor leagues, the makeup of the league continues to shuffle. This year's league includes 10 teams spread around the country.

Last year the Patroons were runners up for the league championship to the venerable Yakima SunKings (CBA throwback).

The Patroons are coached by Derrick Rowland, who was a player for the team during its CBA heyday. And they're returning Edwin Ubiles, the former Siena star who was the TBL MVP last year.

Tickets for Patroons games this season are $15 for adults / $5 for kids. Season tickets are $95.

The regular season runs through April.

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Hootie & The Blowfish + Barenaked Ladies at SPAC (also there's a season lawn pass)

Hootie and the Blowfish

Hootie & The Blowfish. / photo: Todd and Chris Owyoung

The 90s live: Hootie & The Blowfish are set to play a show at SPAC August 4. And the opener is Barenaked Ladies. Tickets go on sale this Friday, December 7 -- they're $29.50 and up.

The band has a new album coming out -- its first studio album in almost 15 years -- and this will be its first tour in more than a decade. In that time frontman Darius Rucker has been pursuing a popular country music career.

And the Barenaked Ladies continue on. (Though without Steven Page.) They alsa have a new album planned for 2019.

SPAC Season Lawn Pass
Speaking of SPAC: Live Nation is offering a season pass for lawn seats at its pop music shows at SPAC for the upcoming season. The passes will access to shows, including sold-out shows, as well priority entry and complimentary lawn chair rental.

The passes are $299 (plus fees) and will be on sale from December 4-December 18.

Flipping through last season's shows, it looks like lawn tickets at SPAC tend to be about $25-$35. So if you think you might go to 10 (or so) shows next season, it could be worth it.

The week ahead

Aly Raisman Rio Olympics 2016 Agencia Brasil Fotografias CC

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman will be at UAlbany's SEFCU Arena for a talk about her career. / photo: Agência Brasil Fotografias via Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (not bad), to Hanukkah, to the Grinch, to the Nutcracker, to Kirsten Gillibrand, to comedy, to skating, to music...

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The skating rink at the ESP is open for the season

Empire State Plaza ice rink opening day 2018-11-30

It's true: The ice skating rink at the Empire State Plaza is now open for the season.

The rink -- located near The Egg on the Capitol end of the plaza -- opened late Friday afternoon, and there were a bunch of people taking a few spins. There's free skate rental through this whole opening weekend.

The operating schedule is seven days a week (weather permitting) from noon-8 pm, closed daily from 3:30-4:30 pm for maintenance.

Skate rental is $4 for adults / $3 for kids 12 and under. A photo ID is required to rent skates. And this season free skate rental day is Saturday (it's been Friday in the past).

There's no fee to skate.

The rink also hosts a series of free learn-to-skate clinics. They usually fill up fast, so register for a spot early if you're interested.

One of favorite times to skate is mid week in the evenings, when the crowds tend to be smaller. Heading over to skate for a half hour or so and then going for dinner someplace downtown makes for a better-than-average Tuesday or Wednesday.

AOA is a sponsor of the ESP ice skating rink.

Youth FX has an event coming up to celebrate its 10th anniversary

The award-winning Youth FX program in Albany has a 10th anniversary party/fundraiser December 14 at the Opalka Gallery on the Sage Albany campus. Blurbage:

As we chart a course for the next decade, we need YOUR support. Please join us on Friday December 14th at Opalka Gallery** for a festive evening as we celebrate the young people in our community who have found or amplified their voices through Youth FX programs. This celebration will feature food and drinks from local restaurants, special exclusive screenings of new work by Youth FX filmmakers, speakers and music by DJ Trumaster and DJ Intell Hayesfield.
All proceeds from this fundraiser will go directly to supporting our FREE programming that reaches over 500 young people each year in the City of Albany.

YouthFX helps young people in Albany learn digital media skills and tell stories. And they've produced some impressive work which has screened at film festivals and won awards. And 10 years on, some of the alumni of the program have become media professionals and are working in the industry.

Earlier this year Youth FX got a space of its own on Warren Street, with room for production, equipment, instruction, and events.

The Youth FX fundraiser is Friday, December 14 from 7-10 pm at the Opalka Gallery. Tickets are $75 / $35 for people 35 years old and younger -- and available online (see the link at the top).

Earlier: Hey there, Bhawin Suchak, YouthFX program director (2014)

Capital Hills in the winter

Capital Hills tree late day sun

We stopped by Capital Hills in Albany to walk for a few minutes today.

The city's municipal golf course is closed for golf for the season -- which means it's now open for walking, dogs, sledding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and other winter outdoor fun.

The course is a beautiful tract of hilly acres alongside the Normans Kill on the city's southwest edge. And it's fun to explore the various trails during the winter months. Be sure sometime to check out the old course that sits in the center of the front nine -- it's so serene after a blanket of snow.

Capital Hills is a dog wonderland during the winter, where they can trot around off leash and play with other dogs. It's a wonderful amenity, but please be responsible about it. That means making sure your pup will be polite with other dogs and people. And, yep, you've gotta pick the up the poop.

See also: It's winter. Your dog has pooped. What now?

Winter cornhole league at Fort Orange Brewing

Fort Orange Brewing cornhole

Fort Orange Brewing in Albany is continuing its popular cornhole league this winter, and registration is now open.

It's $25 per team for the 10-week season. The league plays Wednesday nights starting December 5. And there's a tournament to end the season. The top teams get a cash prize.

January and February can be rough because of the weather here. So having a good excuse to get out of the house, meet up with friends, and do something can be a big help.

Fort Orange Brewing advertises on AOA.

Stuff to do this weekend

snowman costume Troy Victorian stroll

'Tis the season to go strolling -- there are holiday strolls in Saratoga Springs, Troy, and Hudson the next few days.

And just like that, we're in the midst of the holiday season -- when people start to use words like 'tis and mirth and deck is something you do to halls.

On this weekend's list of stuff to do: tree lightings, Victorian strolls, enchanted nutcrackers, and more.

We've pulled together a few holiday and non-holiday type happenings we thought you might enjoy. Doing something you don't see here? It's the season of sharing, so tell us about your plans in the comment section of this post.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!

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Dead & Company is back at SPAC next summer

Dead and Company 2018 by Danny Clinch

They're already decorating for summer concert season and it's not even Christmas, yet...

Dead & Company is returning for another show at SPAC June 18. Tickets go on sale December 8 -- they're $49.50 and up.

There's also some sort of fan pre-registration that's supposed to make it easier for real people -- instead of ticket-buying bots -- to score tickets. (Because the modern world.) Registration for that closes this Saturday, December 1.

Dead & Company is the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Bob Weir, joined by John Mayer, and with Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti. They've made stops in this area each year since getting together in 2015, including the last three summers at SPAC.

Also already announced for next summer at SPAC
+ July 26: Train / The Goo Goo Dolls (on sale now)

+ August 24: KISS (on sale December 3)

photo: Danny Clinch

DIY photography, and documenting Troy

Talented local photographer Patrick Dodson has two different classes coming up at the Arts Center of the Capital Region that could be interesting and fun -- and registration is now open:

March 3: DIY Photography
"Have you ever wanted to take on photography but don't have the budget for the latest and greatest gear? Learn some easy do-it-yourself tips and tricks to give your images a more professional look. This class will use supplies easily purchased from your local crafts store to modify light and add artistic elements to your photos. A DSLR camera is encouraged but this class can be taken using only a smartphone camera."

March 16-30: Explore Troy: Documentary Photography
"Explore and enjoy Troy! You will learn the basics of documentary photography and building a story. You will learn from award winning examples of visual storytelling and then work together to create a 'zine' of downtown Troy, telling the story of the people and shops that make the city unique." (It's three sessions on Saturdays.)

See the links for registration info.

More classes
As you probably know, the Arts Center offers all sorts of classes -- from dance to digital art to jewelry making to painting to pottery to writing (and many things in between).

"Fake News, Real Teens: Problems & Possibilities" at the Albany Public Library

fake news real teens event posterThe Albany Public Library and YouthFX have teamed up for a community forum called "Fake News, Real Teens: Problems & Possibilities" this Sunday at the Washington Ave Branch. Blurbage:

[All ages] For this community forum we will take a closer look at how fake news impacts young people, trends in youth access and interaction with news media, and what possibilities can be used or created to help teens better use and influence local media. Through focused breakout sessions and panel discussions led by young people and activists currently working in journalism, we will explore current examples of teens interacting with new media in new and positive ways, closing with an open discussion of concrete next steps we can take here in our community.
This forum will be led by youth journalist Muna Mire and independent journalist and community organizer Rosa Clemente. The discussion will be facilitated by Youth FX Assistant Director and co-founder Darian Henry.

The event poster mentions that Mire and Clemente will be offering examples of "communities taking on news gathering themselves and creating new and positive ways of reporting on current events." And that -- with or without teens (but hopefully with them) -- is an important topic all on its own, especially as traditional news org continue to retract.

There's a lot of information about neighborhoods and communities that circulates now in the form of newsletters, Facebook groups, public meetings, and other outlets that fills some of the information gaps -- for better and, occasionally, for worse. These haven't necessarily always been tagged as "journalism" in the past, but they very often serve a similar function. So maybe we need to change the collective way we think about all this sort of stuff -- and give some thought to how we can all be better listeners, creators, and sharers of information about the places we live.

The forum at the APL is Sunday, December 2 at 1 pm. It's free.

Maybe this is the year you sprint down Lark Street while scantily clad (for charity, of course)

Santa Speedo Sprint 2017 v2

The Albany Santa Speedo Sprint is Saturday, December 15 this year. And registration is open.

The sprint -- organized by Albany Society for the Advancement of Philanthropy in association with the Albany All-Star Roller Derby -- is now its 13th year. It is one of the goofiest, happiest events of the year as people sprint down Lark Street in all sorts of swimwear, pajamas, holiday wear, and costumes all while people line the street cheering them on.

Here are photos from last year's sprint.

Over the years the sprint has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Albany Damien Center and the HIV/AIDS program at Albany Medical Center.

It's $25 to take part in the sprint, though additional donations are accepted (of course) -- some people gather pledges. And the first 175 people to register get t-shirts.

Schenectady Ale Trail

Great Flats Brewing

Great Flats Brewing in downtown Schenectady.

There is now a Schenectady Ale Trail and -- as you might guess from the name -- it's a collection of craft brewers in Schenectady County that are already operating or will be soon:

+ Frog Alley Brewery - opening soon in the new Mill Artisan District development in downtown Schenectady
+ Wolf Hollow Brewery - Glenville
+ Great Flats Brewery - downtown Schenectady
+ Mad Jack Brewery - in the Stockade in Schenectady
+ Druthers Brewery - Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady
+ Back Barn Brewery - opening in 2019 in Duanesburg

The marketing effort is offering a digital passport program for $40, which includes a free beer flight at each of the breweries. And if you go to all stops, you can get a free t-shirt.

The announcement of the Schenectady Ale Trail from Discover Schenectady also included some bits about the various brewing system capacities and production at the participating breweries that might be interesting to beer nerds. They're below.

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Capital Region holiday events 2018

reindeer at Troy Victorian stroll v2

Do reindeer get overtime pay? (We hope so.)

Thanksgiving is already past us, December starts later this week, the Capital Region's schedule of holiday-themed events is now full of tree lightings, Victorian strolls, Nutcrackers, concerts, displays, screenings of Christmas movies, and a bunch of other holiday this and that.

And here's a very large list of that stuff...

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Sketching winter scenes

Kevin Kuhne New York State Capitol watercolor

One of Kuhne's works.

This sounds like it could be relaxing: Artist Kevin Kuhne has an urban winter sketching class at Arlene's Artist Materials this Saturday. Blurbage:

Kevin's friends, family, and associates look forward each year to his holiday card depicting a winter urban or suburban scene in the Capital District. Learn how he goes about creating this images, usually sitting in his car, through a process of rough sketches, value and color studies, and finished watercolors. We'll cover the logistics of drawing and painting in your car, looking out of a window in your house or a cafe, or working completely outdoors during the winter months, including choosing and carrying supplies, setting up comfortably, etc. We'll also discuss design, composing, perspective, drawing basics and different media conducive to sketching on the go.

You might have seen Kuhne's work before -- he's painted many local scenes, and some of his watercolors were on display at the First Presbyterian Church of Albany this past spring.

The class at Arlene's on Fuller Road is this Saturday, December 1 from 11 am to 4 pm. The class fee is $60.

More art classes and workshops
By the way: Arlene's frequently has all sorts of art classes, from block printing to paper wreath making to oil painting to color theory.

The week ahead

jazz musician Stefon Harris credit Elizabeth Leitzell

Acclaimed jazz vibraphonist -- and Albany High School grad! -- Stefon Harris is playing a show at The Egg later this week. / photo: Elizabeth Leitzell

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (typical), to the stage, to journalism, to technology, to the holidays, to skating, to music...

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Stuff to do this weekend

capital lights washington park lakehouse

The holiday lights are on in Washington Park.

Once the parades are over, and the turkey and stuffing have trimmings have been devoured, there's something else to be thankful for -- the weekend. (OK, also family and friends.)

We've pulled together a few things we thought might interest you.

Doing something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comment section. It is, after all, the season of sharing.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.


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Capital Region holiday markets 2018

basilica farm flea photo

The Basilica Farm + Flea holiday market returns the weekend after Thanksgiving. / photo via Basilica Hudson

The unofficial holiday shopping season officially starts up Friday. (Or so they say.)

If you're looking for something a little bit different -- craftier, handmade, more independent, fair trade -- there are a bunch of local holiday markets around the region.

And here's a big list for this year...

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Got people in town a need to get 'em out of the house? Head for a museum.

Albany Institute Hudson River School exhibit

The large Hudson River School exhibit at the Albany Institute.

It can be great having friends and family around for the holidays. But sometimes after all that visiting people need to just get out of the house.

So... maybe take them to a museum, where people can spread out, have some time to their selves, and see some new things to talk about.

There are a bunch museums around this area, and handful make good day trips. Here are a few ideas...

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Harry Rosenfeld: Battling Editor

Battling Editor Harry Rosenfeld cover SUNY PressFormer Times Union editor Harry Rosenfeld has a new memoir coming out: Battling Editor: The Albany Years. Blurbage:

In 1978, Harry Rosenfeld left the Washington Post, where he oversaw the paper's standard-setting coverage of Watergate, to take charge of two daily papers under co-ownership in Albany, New York: the morning Times Union and the evening Knickerbocker News. It was a particularly challenging moment in newspaper history. While new technologies were reducing labor costs on the production side and providing ever more sophisticated tools for journalists to practice their craft, those very same technologies would soon turn a comparatively short-lived boom into a grave threat, as ever more digitally distracted readers turned to sources other than print and other legacy media for their news. Between these boundaries, Rosenfeld set about to do his work.

The memoir is a follow-up to Rosenfeld's previous work, From Kristallnacht to Watergate. (Harry Rosenfeld -- and the character Harry Rosenfeld -- appear in both the book and film version of All The President's Men.)

Battling Editor will officially be released by SUNY Press in January. But a handful of events -- readings and book signings -- connected to it start this month...

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The skating rink on the ESP opens for the season at the end of this month

Empire State Plaza ice skating rink overhead

The ice skating rink on the Empire State Plaza is scheduled to open November 30, the state Office of General Services announced today.

Opening day will start that Friday at 4:30 pm and run until 8 pm. There will be free skate rental throughout the weekend. And opening day will include live music. All that, of course, is weather permitting.

The ESP ice rink will then be open seven days a week (weather permitting). And this season's hours will be noon-8 pm, closed daily from 3:30-4:30 pm for maintenance.

Skate rental is $4 for adults / $3 for kids 12 and under. A photo ID is required to rent skates. And this season free skate rental day is Saturday (it's been Friday in the past).

There's no fee to skate.

The rink also hosts a series of learn-to-skate clinics. The first one is December 1. They usually fill up fast, so register for a spot if you're interested.

Tree lighting
By the way: The annual tree lighting / holiday festival activities on/near the ESP are December 2 this year.

The week ahead

Troy Turkey Troy 5k via Troy Turkey Trot / Rueckert

The Troy Turkey Trot returns for its 71st running Thursday morning. / photo via: Troy Turkey Trot

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (winter is here), to Thanksgiving, to words and stories, to basketball, to politics, to trotting, to music...

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Weekend Destination: Connecticut

weekend destination connecticut composite

By Julie Madsen

Connecticut is the third smallest state in the country -- but still has plenty of things to see and do during a quick weekend trip.

The northwestern corner of the state is rural and hilly, while the coastal portion is dotted with industrial cities. And though it borders New York, your best bet from Albany is probably to drive through
Massachusetts to get there. Head out on I-90 east, take a right turn at Springfield, and cross the border.

Here are a few ideas for weekend trip...

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A look at the 2019 Tanglewood schedule

musician Yo-Yo Ma 2018

Yo-Yo Ma is on the schedule, because of course. / photo via Yo-Yo Ma Facebook

Though winter just started, it's not too early to be thinking a little bit about summer.

To that end, the 2019 Tanglewood schedule is out. A few of the announced-so-far dates that caught our eye:

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Stuff to do this weekend

Double Dare stage show Pick It game

A live stage version of Double Dare is at Proctors Saturday.

Cold gray autumn weeks
can honestly suck sometimes.
But weekends are fun.

OK, so we're not much for haiku, but you know what we are good at? Finding stuff for you to do on the weekend. We've had a lot of practice at that. So take a look at what we've pulled together for this week and make a plan. Then write us a haiku about it. (Or maybe don't.)

Planning something that didn't make our list? Share it with us in the comment section.

Whatever you do,
have a really great weekend.
We'll stop now. Promise.


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Aly Raisman at UAlbany

Aly Raisman Rio Olympics 2016 Agencia Brasil Fotografias CC

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman will be at UAlbany's SEFCU Arena December 3. And ticketing for the event is now open; the tickets are free, but there's an online registration process -- see the link.

Raisman will be talking about her memoir Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything. She's won six Olympic medals, including the team gold at both the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. And Raisman has also been outspoken about the abuse perpetrated by the USA Gymnastics team doctor and the need for change within the organization and the sport.

The UAlbany event starts at 7:30 pm (doors at 6:30 pm) that Monday, December 3. Note: "No Cameras, flash photography or recording devices will be permitted. ... Bags are discouraged and subject to search."

It's sponsored by a bunch of UAlbany organizations, and is part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series.

photo: Agência Brasil Fotografias via Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)

A bunch of comedy shows coming up

comedian Joel McHale

Joel McHale will be at the Rivers Casino in December.

A series of people will be coming to the Capital Region over the next few months and they're hoping will you give them money. In return, you'll be hoping they make you laugh.

And here's a rundown of a bunch of those shows...

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An opportunity to talk about entrepreneurship, inclusion, and the local creative economy

ACE Entrepreneurship Inclusion panel poster image

The Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy has a discussion this Thursday evening in Albany about entrepreneurship and inclusion. Blurbage:

Entrepreneurship is a way that many young people of color are circumventing the gatekeepers and barriers-to-entry that exist within traditional companies -- no more HR departments, resumes, and college degrees are needed in order to enter a field.
Instead, entrepreneurs need smarts, training, hustle, dedication, stamina, networks and grit -- things that are available to a wider range of people from a wider range of backgrounds. In this discussion, entrepreneur Jamel Mosely of Collectiveffort and Mel eMedia will interview Rachelle Pean, LCSW, Founder of Chelle Marie Wellness LLC, Jinah Kim, Owner of Sunhee's Farm and Kitchen, and Patrick Harris Jr., President of Collectiveffort -- three Creative Economy entrepreneurs who are creating their own career tracks, without big companies or gatekeepers getting in the way.

The talk is this Thursday, November 15 from 6-8 pm at the YouthFX Studios (25 Warren Street). It's free, but registration is requested.

Punch Brothers at MASS MoCA

musicians Punch Brothers 2018 photo by Josh Goleman

The Punch Brothers are set to play a show at MASS MoCA March 16. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday, November 16 -- they're $39 ahead / $49 day of.

The group features a lineup of progressive bluegrass stars, including Chris Thile. (He's now the host of Live from Here, the reformulated and retitled A Prairie Home Companion. And he was a MacArthur "genius" grant winner.) They released a new album this past summer.

The opener for the MASS MoCA show is Gabriel Kahane.

photo: Josh Goleman

The week ahead

DESCENT Kinetic Light at EMPAC

A dance performance called DESCENT is at EMPAC later this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (November for real), to Veterans Day, to stories, to basketball, to history, to dance, to cooking, to all sorts of music...

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The Historic Woodstock Art Colony: The Arthur A. Anderson Collection at the State Museum

autumn hillside george ault new york state museum

"Autumn Hillside" by George Ault

The State Museum opens a new exhibit -- The Historic Woodstock Art Colony: The Arthur A. Anderson Collection -- this Saturday. It includes more more than 100 pieces from a donation of 1,500 works connected to the Woodstock Art Colony that were donated by Anderson last year.

Exhibit blurbage:

Long before the famous music festival in 1969, Woodstock, New York, was home to what is considered America's first intentionally created, year-round arts colony--founded in 1902 and still thriving over 100 years later. Collecting the remarkable range of work produced there was Anderson's focus for three decades, resulting in the largest comprehensive assemblage of its type. The artists represented in it reflect the diversity of those who came to Woodstock, including Birge Harrison, Konrad Cramer, George Bellows, Eugene Speicher, Peggy Bacon, Rolph Scarlett and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, among many others. Anderson donated his entire collection--some 1,500 objects by almost 200 artists--to the State Museum.

The new exhibit will be on display through the end of 2019.

There's an opening reception this Saturday, November 10 from 1-3 pm, with a historian/curator tour at 2 pm.

Stuff to do this weekend

musician Puddles Pity Party

Puddles -- the "sad clown with the golden voice" -- is at The Egg for a concert this weekend.

Guess what: We're two weeks away from Thanksgiving.

So before the holiday crazy sets in, you may want to chill this weekend and do a few things you want to do. We've pulled together a list of things we thought you might like to try. Doing something you don't see on our list? Tell us about it in the comment section.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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San Jose Taiko at UAlbany

The music group San Jose Taiko will be at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center this Saturday, November 10. The group touts itself as a pioneer in contemporary taiko -- Japanese drumming. That's a clip embedded above. Blurbage:

n 1973, San Jose Taiko was founded by young Asian Americans searching for an outlet to convey their experiences as third generation Japanese Americans. Looking to Japan for inspiration, they were drawn to the empowering sounds of the taiko - the Japanese drum - an instrument that embodies the spiritual essence and heartbeat of Japan.
Since then, the company has become a world-class ensemble, performing extensively both nationally and internationally, reaching more than 75,000 audience members each year. By studying with masters of other traditions and cultures, San Jose Taiko has broadened and embellished this historical art form into a distinct performance style that blends the traditional rhythms of Japanese drumming with the beat of world rhythms, including African, Brazilian, Filipino, Latin and Jazz.

We watched a few of their videos on YouTube and got some strong drumline flashbacks (in a good way).

The show at the UAlbany PAC is Saturday at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $15 / $10 for students ahead and $20 / $15 students day of.


MASS MoCA LeWitt Wall Drawing 999

"Wall Drawing 999"

It's been 10 years since the installation of the massive Sol LeWitt exhibit at MASS MoCA and on Saturday, November 17 the museum has a day of talks, performances, and other activities related to the display.

The daytime events -- including a panel discussion about some of the questions LeWitt's work prompts about art and collaboration, pop-up performances, and treasure hunts and art making -- are free with museum admission. There's also an evening dinner and performance with Quindar and Jason Moran that's ticketed separately.

The scale of Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective at MASS MoCA makes it a remarkable art experience. Blurbage:

Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective comprises 105 of LeWitt's large-scale wall drawings, spanning the artist's career from 1969 to 2007. These occupy nearly an acre of specially built interior walls that have been installed--per LeWitt's own specifications--over three stories of a historic mill building situated at the heart of MASS MoCA's campus.

The exhibit is on display for another 15 years. But if you've never seen it, don't wait -- go check it out sometime soon. (Or go see it again.) It's worth the trip over to North Adams.

(And, of course, MASS MoCA is huge, with many other exhibits.)

Drawing: Nine Pin Pressing Party 2018

nine pin cider works exterior

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

Nine Pin Cider's annual Pressing Party is this Saturday, November 10. And we have a pair of tickets to give away. Maybe to you.

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

What's something local you're looking forward to doing as the winter gets colder?

It could be sipping warm drinks by a fire. It could ice skating at the ESP. It could be all out hygge. It could be whatever. We'll draw one winner a random.

Pressing Party blurbage:

Join the Nine Pin crew as we once again press over 100 varieties of Samascott Orchards, Lindsey's Idyllwood Orchard, and wild foraged apples LIVE into one "MONSTER" cider blend and celebrate all things pressed. This year's party will also feature the release of the 2017 batch of The Cider Monster!
Nine Pin's PRESSING PARTY will include hand pressed burgers from Burger 21, french pressed coffee from Electric City Roasters, body presses through massages from Albany Massage, T-Shirt pressing from Compas Life, an apple jug bench press competition sponsored by North Albany's CrossFit Beyond, pressed quesadillas from Muddaddy Flats, tastings from Albany Distilling Company, pressed donut ice cream sliders from The Dutch Udder Craft Ice Cream, free temporary Nine Pin tattoo presses, pressed candle stacks with Collar City Candle, a pie eating contest where you can press your face into a delicious apple pie, fresh pressed mimosa bar, and more! Winner of the bench press competition (both men and women) will receive a Nine Pin gift basket and a 1 month free membership to Cross Fit Beyond. Winner of the pie eating contest will win an amazing cider gift basket as well.

The party is Saturday from 11 am-6 pm at the cidery in the Warehouse District (929 Broadway). Tickets are available online -- they're $15 (includes a pour of cider) / $30 (includes a pour of cider and 2017 bottle of Cider Monster) / $5 designated driver.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 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 5 pm on Wednesday and must respond by noon on Thursday.

Nine Pin advertises on AOA.

The week ahead

polling place general election sign

Election Day is Tuesday. You should vote.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (more autumn), to Election Day, to free speech, to histories, to silent film, to volunteering, to all sorts of music...

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The new Screenprint Biennial is on display

2018 Screenprint Biennial Opalka Gallery

That fun installation hanging from the ceiling is a work called "Sistema" by Sheila Goloborotko. It's screenprinted, hand-cut mylar.

We got a chance to stop by the 2018 Screenprint Biennial that just opened at the Opalka Gallery on the Sage Albany campus. Blurbage:

The 2018 Screenprint Biennial seeks to showcase a range of screenprint-based art applications, from framed editioned prints to installation, sculpture, video, ephemera, and posters. This exhibition will in no way seek to act as a survey or "who's-who" of screenprinting, but will assemble an exhibition that is consistent in highlighting artists who utilize adventurous, relevant, and passionate takes on the screenprinted medium.

The exhibit is curated by Nathan Meltz. It's on display through December 14.

The opening reception is today (Friday) from 6-8 pm.

And the Screenprint Symposium this Saturday, November 3. It includes a juror's tour, discussions, an open portfolio sessions. Tickets are $20 ahead, $25 day of, $10 for students with valid ID (that includes admission, morning snacks, and lunch).

Steamroller Print Day
To go along with the Screenprint Biennial, there's a "Streamroller Print Day" November 10 at the armory building next door. "Participants will ink and print oversized, hand-carved woodblocks under the drum of a 2-ton steamroller."

More Than Words: The Photography of Newsman Bob Paley

Bob Paley was an award-winning photographer for the Knickerbocker News for almost three decades, capturing both historical moments and the little details of everyday life.

There's a new documentary this year about his work: More Than Words: The Photography of Newsman Bob Paley. And the NYS Writers Institute will be showing it at UAlbany November 16. Blurbage:

For more than a decade [Paley] also earned national renown as a stringer for the Time-Life stable of magazines with Times Union colleague, John Maguire. Often with a single photo, he captured the mood, moment and meaning of the forces that rocked mid-20th century America.
In this new documentary, Paley's daughter Mary presents the startling and beautiful images of his singular career.
MORE THAN WORDS (co-directed by Mary Paley and Jon Russell Cring) tells the story of how a small city in upstate New York coped with the powerful forces that were unleashed as America came of age in the years following World War II. The film is truly a newspaper story; a tribute to the tireless crusaders of America's fact-based media.

Mary Paley will be at the screening for a panel discussion following. (You might remember that Mary Paley co-directed The Neighborhood That Disappeared, about the Empire State Plaza.)

It's Friday, November 16 in Page Hall on the downtown campus (135 Western Ave). It's free.

The old Knickerbocker News
The Fulton History trove of old upstate newspapers includes the Knickerbocker News, so you can browse through old pages of the paper and see some of Paley's work. (The image quality is, admittedly, not great.) In just a few minutes, you can come across photos of the Empire State Plaza construction, George Wallace's visit to Albany (and the resulting protests) in 1968, and fun photos of the day.

Stuff to do this weekend

cirque eloize hotel

Cirque Eloize is at Proctors this weekend with its Hotel show.

Fall back... into the weekend. There's an extra hour of sleep and a whole bunch of things to do.

We've pulled together some of the goings-on we thought you might like to checkout this gray autumn weekend. Planning something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comments. (And don't forget to set your clocks back Saturday night.)

And whatever you're up to, wear a raincoat and have a great weekend.

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Nightvale co-creator, Alice Isn't Dead author at Northshire Saratoga

Alice Isnt Dead logo

Author Joseph Fink -- one of the creators of the popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast -- will be at Northshire Saratoga December 1 to talk about his novel/podcast Alice Isn't Dead. Blurbage:

Keisha Taylor lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn't dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.

The Northshire event will be a conversation between Joseph Fink and AOA's Mary Darcy.

It's Saturday, December 1 at 7 pm in the bookstore at 424 Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs. Space is limited, so it's a ticketed event -- $5, which is good for admission and a $5 discount on the book.

Northshire advertises on AOA.

Here's a chance to look through the telescope at Siena's new observatory

Siena College Breyo Observatory

The grand opening for Siena College's new Breyo Observatory is Saturday, November 10. And the observatory will be open free to the public. Blurbage:

Enjoy the opportunity to view the moon, Mars and Saturn through the largest diameter telescope in New York's Capital Region. There will be activity tables for families hosted by Siena's Physics Club and Schenectady's Dudley Observatory, and a giveaway*. [*while supplies last]

That evening there will be a talk led by Fr. George V. Coyne, S.J., former director of the Vatican Observatory and head of the observatory's research group at the University of Arizona. The title: "The Dance of the Fertile Universe: A Meeting of Science and Religious Belief." That's at 6 pm, and viewing will follow.

Then from 8-10 pm, there will be viewing sessions members of the public blocked out in half-hour segments.

Registration is required for both the talk and the viewing sessions. See the link above.

(If it's cloudy that night the public viewing sessions will be moved to November 11.)

photo via Siena College

Daniel Libeskind at RPI

architect Daniel Libeskind

Daniel Libeskind. / photo: Stefan Ruiz

The RPI School of Architecture's fall lecture series has started up and it includes a talk by famed architect Daniel Libeskind November 12 at EMPAC.

The full lecture series schedule -- which started in September -- is listed below.

Daniel Libeskind's Studio Libeskind has designed notable buildings all around the world, many of them museums, including the Jewish Museum Berlin. Its most famous work might be the master plan for the World Trade Center site in Manhattan. That plan -- and the design of the Freedom Tower skyscraper, which Libeskind did not create -- ended up being a contentious process, prompting protests (and a lawsuit) by the Libeskind about how things played out. In recent years he has apparently come around on the experience and now sees it -- and the results -- more positively.

Liebskind's talk at RPI is titled "Edge of Order," the same name as a new book about his career that's being published in November.

The talk is Monday, November 12 at 6 pm at EMPAC. It's free.

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Drawing: Tickets for BUILT + and a gift card for BMT restaurants

BUILT 2018 postcard

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

Historic Albany Foundation's annual BUILT art event is this Saturday at the State Museum. And we have a pair of tickets to give away.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: The winner will also get a $50 gift card that can be used at any BMT restaurant.

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

What's your favorite building in the Capital Region?

It could be old. It could be new. It could be big. It could be small. It could be whatever. We'll draw one winner at random.

It's the 17th year for for BUILT. This year's event "will showcase more than 175 pieces of original artwork by over 90 regional artists, created with a wide range of materials, and all linked by the theme 'Albany's Built Environment.' This year, as HAF celebrates the 40th anniversary of its Architectural Parts Warehouse, artists are encouraged to create artworks using salvaged and recycled items." Half of the proceeds from the auctioned items go the artist, the other half to benefit Historic Albany Foundation's work.

BUILT is this Saturday, November 3 from 6:30-9:30 pm at the State Museum. In addition to the art, the event will also include food from BMT Hospitality and wine from Capital Wine and Spirits. Tickets are $95 / $55 for attendees under age 35 and available online.

BMT Hospitality's portfolio of restaurants includes Ama Cocina, Albany Ale and Oyster, Cafe Madison, The Point, The Madison Pour House, Junior's, Spinner's, and The Pub.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 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 5 pm on Wednesday and must respond by noon on Thursday.

The week ahead

author Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah will be at UAlbany this week as part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series. His new short story collection -- Friday Black -- has been getting glowing reviews. (Oh, and he's a UAlbany alum.) / photo: Limitless Imprint Entertainment

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (warmer), to Halloween, to the arts, to farming, to science fiction, to magic, to music...

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2018 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region

UAlbany Artists Mohawk Hudson Region 2018

We got a few minutes Friday afternoon to stop by the 2018 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region exhibit at UAlbany's University Art Museum. The annual exhibit is now in its 82nd year and it's said to be the longest running annual juried exhibition in the country. It's open to artists living within 100 miles of Albany and Glens Falls and rotates among a group of local institutions.

Blurbage for this year's exhibit:

Juried by sculptor and installation artist Jean Shin, the 2018 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region Exhibition features 78 works by 39 artists. Chosen from over 1,500 entries by 371 artists, the exhibition reflects the expansive range of issues and subject matter that contemporary artists are dealing with in the Capital Region and in the larger art world. Thirty area businesses, individuals, and organizations contributed exhibition support, juror and purchase awards, and gift certificates, demonstrating continued commitment to the exhibition, as well as an appreciation of the contribution artists make to life in our community.

One thing that immediately caught our eye about this year's exhibit was the prominence of colorful, geometric works.

To accompany the Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region the University Art Museum has also put together an exhibit called FLOW featuring works by UAlbany alumni that have appeared in previous Mohawk Hudson Region exhibitions. It's in an attached gallery upstairs.

The 2018 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region exhibit will be on display through December 8. The University Art Museum is on the uptown UAlbany campus in the Academic Podium, not far from the the fountain.

Jean Shin
Jean Shin -- a sculptor, and this year's Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region juror -- will be at UAlbany this Thursday, November 1 for a Creative Life discussion with WAMC's Joe Donahue. It's 7 pm in the Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus and it's free and open to the public.

Ariana Grande at the TU Center

musician Ariana Grande

Update November 1: Tickets go on sale November 5 -- they're $34.95 and up.
It's true: Ariana Grande is set play a show at the TU Center March 18. It's the first top on her upcoming Sweetener tour.

Word of the show popped up this week when her website posted tour dates. A little bit oddly, though, the typical venue and ticket sale info didn't immediately follow. (These announcements are usually coordinated.) But on Friday the Times Union Center confirmed the date and posted a note: "Ticket prices and onsale information coming soon."

This will be a popular show. Grande is a huge star whose fame transcends music. Keep an eye out for when tickets go on sale if you'd like to go.

More upcoming shows at the TU Center

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A handful of upcoming cooking classes to get tuned up for Thanksgiving

unbaked apple pie

It's apple pie season. / photo: Deanna Fox

This time of year is a good time to take a cooking class.

It's cozy to gather around a kitchen as the weather turns cold. A class can be fun to take with a friend. And, of course, the winter holidays are big cooking months for many people.

So here are a handful of upcoming cooking classes around the area -- to maybe learn something new or just get tuned up for Thanksgiving...

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Stuff to do this weekend

Bronx Tale Broadway show

A Bronx Tale continues this weekend at Proctors. / photo: Joan Marcus

It's going to be a soggy, chilly pre-Halloween weekend, but it's packed with stuff to do.

We've pulled together a few items we thought might interest you. Doing something you don't see in our trick-or-treat bag? Share it in the comment section so everyone can check it out.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Museum of Political Corruption honoring Pulitzer Prize winners Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey in Albany

journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey CC

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. / Kantor and Twohey photos: Wikipedia user Fuzheado (Andrew Lih) (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Museum of Political Corruption will be honoring Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey with this year's Nellie Bly Award November 29 at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany.

The two New York Times journalists won the Pulitzer Prize this year in the public service category, along with Ronan Farrow, for "impactful journalism that exposed powerful and wealthy sexual predators, including allegations against one of Hollywood's most influential producers, bringing them to account for long-suppressed allegations of coercion, brutality and victim silencing, thus spurring a worldwide reckoning about sexual abuse of women."

Kantor and Twohey will appear at the event via Skype and answer questions from the audience.

The evening will also include a roundtable discussion about the #MeToo movement. The lists of panelists is below.

The event is Thursday, November 29 starting at 6 pm at the the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany (405 Washington Ave). There will be a reception with light fare. Tickets are $40 / $15 for students (or $5 for students without the reception) and available online (see the link above).

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Young the Giant at The Palace

the band Young the Giant 2018

The pop rock band Young the Giant is set for a show at The Palace January 30. Tickets go on sale this Friday, October 26 -- they're $24.50 and up.

The band has a new album out this month and the tour that's stopping here is in support of it. Tour/album blurbage:

Describing the overall thesis for Mirror Master, vocalist Sameer Gadhia explains, "Within one single day, we're all so many different people. Especially with the use of social media, we're not just living in the now--we're living on several different timelines simultaneously. A lot of the album came from thinking about how we have all these separations within ourselves that allow us to go about our day. At a time when everyone wants to put each other in a box--culturally, socially, musically--we wanted to show that there are a multitude of reflections inside everything. We don't have to be a certain thing; we can contradict ourselves and show all these different sides of who we are."

This Young the Giant's second stop at the The Palace. They also played a show there in 2017.

The opener for this next show is Sure Sure.

Lewis Black at Troy Music Hall

Lewis Black angry photo

Comedian Lewis Black will be back in town for a stand-up show at the Troy Music Hall March 16. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday, October 26 -- they're $38 and up.

The promo blurbage for Black's tour -- "The Jokes On US Tour" -- touts "a cathartic release of anger and disillusionment for his audience."

Black has performed here a bunch of times, often at The Palace. This might be the first time his rants will enjoy the famed acoustics of the hall.

Troy Music Hall advertises on AOA.

Drawing: Tickets for Troy Prom -- a prom for adults -- at Takk House

Troy Prom balloon sign

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

Takk House is again hosting Troy Prom this November 24. It is "a grown-up themed dance party for anyone who might need to replace or re-live their prom memories." This year's theme is "Great Gatsby."

And we have a pair of tickets to give away -- maybe to you. To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

What's something in the Capital Region that's glamorous, elegant, or fancy?

It could be a building. It could be an event. It could be a season. It could whatever. We'll draw one winner at random and that person gets the pair of tickets.

Additional Troy Prom blurbage:

"This is a second chance at the prom," said Frank Sicari, who co-owns Takk House with his wife Heidi Sicari. "You can get a redo if it wasn't good the first time in High School. Or you can do it again if you had a great time. And now you can drink... legally."
"We just wanted to create a good reason to dress up and dance. There aren't really a lot of places to do that around here that aren't a club or a wedding, but there's added pressure and weirdness at weddings," said Heidi Sicari. "This is a no pressure event. Just a silly time in a safe place."

Troy Prom is Saturday, November 24 starting at 8 pm. Admission is includes live music, a snack buffet by Slidin' Dirty, open bar, a photo booth, and prizes. There's also an afterparty at Franklin Alley Social Club downstairs. It's 21+ event.

Tickets went on sale this past Friday. They're $80 per person ($70 per person for groups of six or more). In years past, tickets have sold out, usually in a few weeks.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) You must be age 21 or over. 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 5 pm on Wednesday and must respond by 5 pm on Thursday.

The week ahead

Sujatha Gidia Ants Among Elephants

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (chilly), to spooky tours, to films, to science, to politics, to music...

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A collection of castle day trips

castle day trip composite Julie Madsen

By Julie Madsen

This part of the country is dotted with castle-like structures, full of history, mystery, romance, and fairytale.

Here's a handful of castles that are within day trip from the Capital Region...

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Classics of Science Fiction at The Linda

UAlbany 2018 Classics of Science Fiction posterA multi-day get-together called Classics of Science Fiction will be at The Linda in Albany November 1-4. Blurbage:

Guests include authors, artists, podcasters, cosplayers, business owners, and professors. From November 2-4 at The Linda we will screen a diverse selection of international science fiction films, short lectures, open discussions, artistic creations, live music, a silent auction, live podcast tapings, and a Benefit Masquerade Ball.
Long before Le Voyage dans la Lune took early film goers to the moon, writers of science fiction created Hyde, Dr. Frankenstein, and Captain Nemo to captivate their audiences. Now there is no corner of the arts where science fiction does not reach, from painting, literature, and music to video games, television, and scientific innovation. Through science fiction we dream of the "what ifs" that drive society to create, to explore, and to render through artistic and scientific media the hopes, dreams, fears, and fantasies of a society. Come see and discus some of the diverse and influential science fiction films that have shaped the ways in which we dream as a culture, and celebrate Albany's own spirit of innovation and discovery.

There's a full schedule at the link above.

The lineup includes a talk with Eugene Lim, author of Dear Cyborgs, and screenings of films such as the 1902 Georges Méliès classic A Trip to the Moon, Fritz Lang's Metropolis with live score, Ridley Scott's Alien, Denis Villeneuve's Arrival, and the Alfonso Cuarón masterpiece Children of Men.

The event is organized by the Department of Writing and Critical Inquiry at UAlbany, and Eugene Lim talk is part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series.

Admission is $2 per screening / $5 for a day pass / $10 for a weekend pass / free for students with valid ID.

Queen Size Swap fall 2018

Queen Size Swap

The semin-annual Queen Size Swap returns to The Hangar in Troy this Sunday, October 21.

It's a clothing swap. About blurbage:

Queen Size Swap is a plus size clothing swap for folks in and around the 518. They are the perfect reason to clean out your closest and get rid of those clothes you no longer wear while going home with some great new-to-you items! QSS include sizes 10/12 and up. Clothing to swap should be clean with no rips or stains. All seasons welcome! Accessories also accepted and shoes of any size! ...
Queen Size Swaps are body and size-positive event! All genders welcome. The events are handicap friendly and 100% accessible. ...
The remaining clothing and shoes from events are donated to the Interfaith for the Homeless clothing pantry.

Here's how the swap works. It's not person to person -- items go on tables and then people take what they want, first come, first serve.

The swap is Sunday from 11 am to 2 pm. Admission is $10 ahead / $15 at the door.

photo via Queen Size Swap

Stuff to do this weekend

Justin Timberlake Man of the Woods

JT is at the TUC Saturday. / photo via Justin Timberlake Facebook

It's the weekend. Pass the cider donuts, grab a pumpkin spice something, and pick a few things to do from our list below.

Planning something you don't see here? Share it with the rest of the crowd in the comment section. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.


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Death and taxes... and Facebook?

aoa instagram account screengrab

Siena will be hosting a conference October 27 focused on "digital legacy" -- what happens to your online presence after you die. The Digital Legacy Conference is touted as the first of its kind in the United States: "the only conference that explores death, dying, bereavement and the internet"

Here are some of the scheduled speakers:

• Shelby Lindblad product designer, and Kim Malfacini, associate manager, Facebook: "Memorialization and Legacy Contacts on Facebook"
• Carla Sofka, Ph.D., MSW, professor of social work, Siena College: "Digital Legacy Social Media and Grief in Today's World"
• James Norris, founder of the Digital Legacy Association and DeadSocial: "Digital Asset Planning Included as a Holistic Approach to an Advance Healthcare Directive in the U.K"
• Stephen Hans, director of Hans Funeral Home in Albany: "The Impact of Online Technology and Social Media on the Funeral Industry"
• Lee Poskanzer, CEO of Directive Communication Systems: "Digital Assets Directives: The Law and the Online Behavior"
• Stacy Macleod, journalist: "Untangling Digital Legacy: Common Threads and Conversations"
• Antonio Estevan Huerta, musician: live performance of Dr. Mark Taubert's "A thank you letter to David Bowie from a palliative care doctor"
Jennifer Muldowney, author of "Say Farewell Your Way" and spokesperson on end-of-life planning, will offer the introduction and concluding remarks for the conference.

The conference is Saturday, October 27 from 11 am to 4 pm on Siena's campus in Loudonville. It's free to attend, but registrations is required.

On one hand this whole topic feels like an opportunity for whole new industries to sell us stuff or make money off us even after we're dead. On the other -- so much of our interaction with other people now occurs online or digitally that it's probably not a bad idea to be thinking about what happens to all that after we're gone.

Of course, in the future InstaFaceTube or whatever the all-enveloping social media platform is of the day will probably just mine all of our posts for content forever. Look, here's a selfie from the gates of heaven...

Albany Lantern Parade 2018

Albany Lantern Parade 2018 logo

The Albany Lantern Parade is returning for its third year in Washington Park on November 4. Event blurbage:

This free, family friendly event showcases community creativity, bringing neighbors together from across the Capital Region to celebrate the arts. At dusk, participants will gather at the Lake House to begin a stunning lantern lit parade around the lake. ...
"We're walking with lanterns to share some light as the days become shorter," said Sarah Read, the event's organizer. "This is about our Albany community coming together for a simple, free event to celebrate art, community and warmth on an evening few people look forward to - the night we have to turn back the clocks. If you come to a workshop, you'll meet new people, and the night of the walk you'll recognize these new friends - that's the community-building we're going for."

As mentioned above, there's a series of workshops at which you can make your own lantern. The list is below.

The Albany Lantern Parade is Sunday, November 4 from 4:45-6:30 pm. (Sunset is at 4:43 pm that day.)

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Dr. Dog at Upstate Concert Hall

the band Dr Dog photo by Ryan McMackin

Indie rock band Dr. Dog is set to play a show at Upstate Concert Hall February 13. Tickets go on sale this Friday, October 19 -- the first 300 are $20, then they're $25.

The Philly band released a new album this past spring. Here's them talking about it to NPR earlier this year.

The opener for the show is The Nude Party.

Flipping through old listings, it looks like it's been a while since Dr. Dog made its way through here -- a show at MASS MoCA in 2015, and one at UCH in 2013.

photo: Ryan McMackin

Talking about artificial intelligence at the Rockefeller Institute next month / Automating Inequality with NYS Writers Institute this week

HAL from 2001

Artificial intelligence makes for good stories because killer robots and all that. But the reality of its promise -- and potential threat -- is probably more subtle.

It's being able to search your photo library by type of dog. It's transcription services that work like magic. It's your newsfeed slowly adapting to only show you things that confirm your preconceptions. It's getting tagged as being unworthy for a job or service -- or even a threat -- by an inscrutable algorithm.

With that in mind, this looks like it could be an interesting event: The Rockefeller Institute is hosting a forum about artificial intelligence November 28 at its headquarters on State Street in Albany. Blurbage:

Join the Rockefeller Institute of Government and the SUNY Office of Research & Economic Development on November 28 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. for a comprehensive discussion of artificial intelligence's current and future effects on labor, the economy, ethics, and society with leading experts and practitioners in key fields.
The forum will feature senior officials from state government, industry leaders, and researchers. SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson will provide opening remarks.

See the info about RSVP'ing.

Automating Inequality
Speaking of this topic... UAlbany professor Virginia Eubanks will be at the University Club in Albany (141 Washington Avenue) this Friday to talk about her much-praised book Automating Inequality. It's part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series.

Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor was released in January, and it's gotten a string of high-profile coverage and strong reviews in outlets ranging from NPR to Wired to Vox to Boing Boing.

There's a reception at 6:30 pm. Talk starts at 7 pm. It's free and open to the public.

film still from 2001: A Space Odyssey via YouTube

Steve Martin + Martin Short at Proctors

steve martin and martin short photo by anna webber

Humorous people Steve Martin and Martin Short will be at Proctors February 17 for a show together. Tickets go on sale this Friday, October 19 -- they're $75.50 and up.

Show blurbage:

In Now You See Them, Soon You Won't, comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short present new material in a variety of musical sketches and conversations about their iconic careers, most memorable encounters, and, of course, their legendary lives in show business. Grammy Award®-winning bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers will join the duo on stage. The tour also features renowned pianist and Jimmy Kimmel Live band member Jeff Babko.

Martin and Short also teamed up for a Netflix special earlier this year, and also performed at Tanglewood in September.

Presumably Steve Martin's banjo will also be making an appearance.

photo: Anna Webber

Umphrey's McGee / Experience Hendrix at The Palace

Umphreys McGee photo by David Levene

Umphrey's McGee. / photo: David Levene

Two shows announced for The Palace today...

Umphrey's McGee
The jam / prog rock band Umphrey's McGee is set to play a show at The Palace February 1. Tickets go on sale this Friday (October 19) -- they're $25 and up.

The band released two albums this year: It's not us and it's you.

They played a show at The Palace last year with saxophonist Joshua Redman.

Experience Hendrix
Also announced for The Palace today: Experience Hendrix April 3. Tickets on sale Friday -- they're $43.75 and up.

Show blurbage: "This latest edition of the much anticipated tour once again emphasizes the influence Hendrix has made on a diverse group of artists. The concerts will bring together artists as disparate as guitar wizard Joe Satriani, blues great Taj Mahal, Ernie Isley and Dweezil Zappa. Megadeth's Dave Mustaine will make his Experience Hendrix Tour debut while mainstays such as Billy Cox, Jonny Lang, and Eric Johnson will also be on board for the expedition."

The week ahead

the band Phish 2018 credit Brantley Gutierrez

Phish is at the TU Center for two shows this week. / photo: Brantley Gutierrez

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (fall), to haunts, to stories, to all sorts of writers and thinkers, to film, to art, to chocolate, to music...

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Screenprint Biennial 2018

Screenprint Biennial 2018 poster

The 2018 Screeprint Biennial will be at the Opalka Gallery on the Sage Albany campus November 1-December 14. Event blurbage:

The Screenprint Biennial 2018 seeks to showcase a range of screenprint-based art applications, from framed, editioned prints to installation, sculpture, video, ephemera, and posters. This exhibition isn't meant to act as a survey or "who's who" of screenprinting, but to assemble artists who utilize adventurous, relevant, and passionate takes on the screenprinted medium. The works chosen are part of screenprint's rich lineage, drawing on the history of this versatile medium, while at the same time pointing to a future where technology, politics, and expression are pushed through mesh by a squeegee onto the world of ideas.
"The work in this year's biennial exhibition continually exceed my expectations in the way so many elements come together to create compelling, important, and timely narratives," says founder and juror Nathan Meltz. "These art pieces also draw upon a depth of expression, and open windows into creative worlds."
From large-scale installations from artists Sheila Goloborotko, Tonja Torgerson, Tatiana Potts, to smaller-scale three-dimensional works by Olivia Fredericks and experimentation with augmented reality from Mark Hosford, the show will expand the definition of the word "screenprint."

In addition to the Opalka Gallery showing off the works of art and design, there will also be a handful of events to go along with the Screeprint Biennial.

And, yep, one of them involves making prints with a two-ton steamroller...

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PechaKucha at Revolution Hall

PechaKucha Rev Hall 2018-10-24 poster

The next local PechaKucha night will be at Revolution Hall in Troy October 24. Tickets are $15 and available online.

The lineup of speakers and very short talks is below. Topics range from Schenectady, to hair, to life, to giving.

The night is being hosted by the Tech Valley Young Professionals Network. It starts at 5:30 pm that Wednesday.

It's a format in which the speaker gets to talk along with 20 slides, each slide only on display for 20 seconds. (Each talk is just short of 7 minutes total.) So, it moves quickly and it forces people to get right to the point. It can be a fun way to hear from a about a bunch of different people about a bunch of different ideas in one sitting.

(If this sounds familiar, the Opalka Gallery in Albany has been hosting PechaKucha nights a few times a year.)

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Stuff to do this weekend

half moon market washington park lakehouse

The Half Moon Market returns to the Washington Park Lakehouse this weekend.

You know how you tell people that you like living here because you can enjoy four seasons?

Wait, maybe that wasn't you. Maybe it was us. Or maybe it was someone who was talking to us.

Anyway, there are people who enjoy living here because they like to enjoy four seasons. We know you've met them. And this weekend is an example of why they live here. Mid-October kind of sums up autumn in the Capital Region. So take a walk through the leaves, pick a pumpkin and decorate it. Then try something from this list of stuff to do that we raked up for you.

If you're planning something that didn't make our list, share it with the rest of the group in the comment section. And whatever you're up to, wear a cozy sweater and have a fantastic weekend.


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Weezer + Pixies at Times Union Center


Weezer. / photo: Sean Murphy

Classic rock* acts Weezer and (the) Pixies are set play to the Times Union Center March 14. Tickets go on sale October 19 -- they're $25 and up.

Weezer's been riding the wave of renewed attention thanks to their popular cover of Toto's "Africa." (If you had that in the surprise hit cover pool, congrats.) They also have a new album coming out next year.

And, of course, Pixies are one of the most influential modern rock bands of all time.

The two bands toured together this past summer, including a stop Syracuse.

* We kid... sort of. It's been 22 years since Pinkerton was released and 30 years since Surfer Rosa.

By the way...
Because the 90s, because Pixies: A reminder that Kim Deal and The Breeders are playing Upstate Concert Hall October 28.

This year's Ignite volunteer festival is coming up

Ignite 2018 banner

The Ignite volunteer festival will return November 8, and this year it's at the Albany Capital Center.

Ignite is a kind of like a job fair but for volunteer opportunities. More than 30 orgs will there with info and reps ready to talk about how you can lend a hand. There's a list below.

The evening also includes speakers (including Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan), music, and food from local restaurants. And it's free.

Ignite is part of the Serve Albany campaign backed by Christ's Church Albany. It's Thursday, November 8 from 5:30-8 pm.

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There are two more Repair Cafes in the Capital Region this weekend

It feels good to fix things.

Toward that end, Repair Cafes will return to both Schenectady and Castleton this Saturday, October 13.

Repair Cafe? It basically an event at which community members help other community members repair household items. For free. The Repair Cafe idea started in the Netherlands and has since spread around the world.

Blurbage for the Repair Cafe at the Schenectady County Public Library:

Examples of some of the items you can bring to be fixed include: small electric appliances (especially lamps and vacuums,) furniture/wooden objects, clothing/textiles, dolls/toys, phones, computers, tablets, jewelry, watches/clocks, ceramics and general mechanical (small items only, no gas powered machines).
There is a limit of two items for repair per household.

The event at the SCPL Central Library is Saturday from 10 am-2 pm. And if you'd like to be a repair coach, contact coordinator Dave West (

The Castleton Repair Cafe is Saturday from 11 am-3 pm at Village Hall (85 South Main Street). "What do you do with a broken lamp? Or a sweater with a hole? Toss it? No way! ... People visiting the Repair Café bring along their broken but beloved items. Volunteers try their best to make repairs, and it's free of charge!" See the link for details about how to help be a repair coach.

Saratoga Springs
There's a regular Repair Cafe at the Saratoga Public Library. It looks like the last one was in late September. And it was popular -- 58 people brought in 102 items, according to Sustainable Saratoga. Keep an eye on the org's Facebook page for the next Repair Cafe.

Greensky Bluegrass at The Palace

the band Greensky Bluegrass 2018

The jamgrass band Greensky Bluegrass is set to play a show at The Palace January 10. Tickets go on sale this Friday, October 12 -- they're $33 ahead / $36 day of.

Greensky Bluegrass played The Egg this past January, and that show sold out well ahead. The Palace has a lot more seats, but if you want your pick it's not a bad idea to get tickets sooner rather than later.

The band has a new album coming out in January.

The opener is Circles Around the Sun.

Get The Led Out
Also announced for The Palace: Get The Led Out February 2. Tickets on sale Friday. They're $33.50 ahead / $35.50 day of.

Greenhouse, aquaponics, mircrolivestock, composting: here's a chance to check out the Radix Center in Albany

garden beds inside Radix Center greenhouse

Next up for the LocalxDesign series: a tour of the Radix Center in Albany's South End October 17. Blurbage:

The Radix Ecological Sustainability Center is a non profit organization located in the South End of Albany and operates a demonstration site of sustainable tools and technologies including a solar greenhouse, aquaponics, beehives, microlivestock, rainwater collection, renewable energy and composting. Their goal is to promote greater ecological literacy among area residents, demonstrating how it's possible to have greater local access and control over essential resources such as food and waste while simultaneously working for greater social justice and equity.

Following the tour, the group will head over to the City Beer Hall for a happy hour.

The tour meets up Wednesday, October 17 at 5:30 pm at the Radix Center (153 Grand Street). It's free and open to the public, though registration is requested.

LocalXDesign is a monthly series of events focused on design projects in this area. Previous events this year have included tours of downtown Albany murals, the Empire State Plaza, The Church artists/events space in Troy, and a bike tour of Albany's Corning Riverfront Park.

Its founders are Barbara Nazarewicz, a landscape architect, and Liz Podowski King, a landscape designer.

Earlier: Follow up: Radix Center

The week ahead

The Rep The Royale photo by Douglas C. Liebig

This is the last week for The Royale at The Rep. / photo: Douglas C. Liebig

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (a bit more warmth), to spooky stories, to the stage, to fame, to film, to all sorts of music...


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EMPAC exterior 2008-10-03

Standing outside EMPAC 10 years ago (almost to the day).

The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute -- EMPAC -- will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary next week with a multi-day series of events: concerts, dance, film, theater, talks. And two events -- one at the start, the other at the finish -- sound like they'll be good opportunities to experience what the venue can do:

October 11: Double Quartet: Strings and Spaces
"Double Quartet: Strings and Spaces will serve as an initiatory journey for guests of the 10YEARS event. Beginning and ending in the EMPAC Concert Hall, Taiwanese-American string quartet the Formosa Quartet will lead their audience through the EMPAC Theater and Studios 1 and 2, performing classical works specifically selected to complement the architectural acoustics of each space." 7 pm -- $18 / $13 students and seniors

October 13: Lost Highway Suite by Olga Neuwirth
"Performed by 25-members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), with conductor Timothy Weiss and live electronics by Gilbert Nouno, the Suite will be staged in the EMPAC Concert Hall with a 64-speaker Ambisonic dome surrounding the audience. Going beyond traditional surround sound, this audio system is capable of spatializing the music performed by the ensemble, moving sounds around the listening space, and expanding and altering the acoustics of the hall. Creating a sonic environment in which sound clouds and particles seem to come from beyond the walls of the space before retracting back to the performers onstage, the composition pursues a series of existential questions, including: How do we know what is real and what is imagined? How do we differentiate between what is inside of us and what is outside?" 8 pm -- $18 / $13 students and seniors

EMPAC is a remarkable venue -- in terms of its architecture, its technology, and its programming. It also might, at times, not exactly feel accessible to a general audience.

Probably the best way to think of it is not just as a performance venue, but as a flexible research space for artists that allows them to push the boundaries of technology and form and, through that work, create new experiences. That's a rare opportunity -- for artists and audiences -- and it's worth checking out.

Here are a few ideas for Adirondack autumn hikes that probably won't be so crowded

view from Spruce Mountain fire tower Cristin Steding

The view from the Spruce Mountain fire tower.

By Cristin Steding

It seems like each year more and more people are on the trails in the Adirondacks. And with peak foliage season quickly approaching, it's about to get a lot more crowded.

While the DEC grapples with how to handle the increased traffic -- a recent move included trying to drastically reduce the amount of parking at one of the most popular trailheads -- it's probably a good idea to check out some less crowded hikes in the meantime.

Scrolling through the #adirondacks hashtag on Instagram, you might think there were only a handful of hikes in the region. The familiar v-shaped vista of Indian Head, people holding up fingers for the number of High Peaks they've hiked, and the panoramic views from Cascade dominate.

But there are literally hundreds of other hikes in New York, many with views just as good -- and you don't have to leave your house at 4 am to get a parking spot.

Here are some hidden gem hikes in the Adirondacks that are likely to give you fall foliage views without the crowds...

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Stuff to do this weekend

Samascott apple orchard Kinderhook 2018-September

Also: It's a good weekend to spend some time in an apple orchard.

Hello, weekend. Hello, October. Hello, apples and pumpkins and cider and cider donuts.

We've raked together a whole pile of stuff to do this weekend, so jump in and pick some stuff you want to try. Doing something that didn't make our list? Share it with the rest of us in the comments.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.


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Pop-Up Adventure Playground in Albany's Washington Park

Washington Park Pop Up Adventure Playground

From September's pop-up adventure playground

This looks like it could be fun time for kids: There's a free Pop-Up Adventure Playground event planned for Albany's Washington Park October 14 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. It's in the section of the park near Madison and Willett.

What is an adventure playground? Well, it's basically of collection of all sorts of items -- cardboard boxes, tires, finger paint -- that kids are allowed to play with however they want.

We were curious about this idea -- because, let's face it, a good cardboard box is one of the best toys -- so we reached out to the organizers to find out a little bit more.

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Mumford & Sons at the Times Union Center

the band Mumford and Sons

The band Mumford & Sons is set to play a show at the Times Union Center March 2. Tickets go on sale to the general public October 12 -- they're $40.50 and up. (There's a fan pre-sale starting October 8 -- see the band's website for details.)

The alt rock / folk rock act has a new album -- Delta -- coming out in November, and the tour has the same name. Also: It sounds like the show will involve some sort of theater-in-the-round type of stage.

It looks like Maggie Rogers will be the opener for the TU Center show.

Mumford & Sons played a show at SPAC in the summer of 2016 and it sold out well ahead of time. So if you'd like to catch this show, it's not a bad idea to get tickets earlier rather than later.

photo: James Minchin

Melt N' Toast 2018

Melt N Toast logo 2018

The grilled cheese festival Melt N' Toast will be back at The Takk House in Troy November 17. Tickets are on sale now -- they're currently $30 general admission / $60 VIP. (Prices go up to $35 and $70 after November 2.)

This is the second year for the event and it's is pretty much what it sounds like -- an opportunity to taste a bunch of grilled cheese creations and wash them down craft beverages from regional producers.

The general admission ticket include entry to one session, ten samples of grilled cheese, one free beverage, and a souvenir glass. The VIP ticket includes entry, unlimited samples, unlimited drinks, and a souvenir glass.

There will also be music from DJ Trumastr and a photo booth.

The event has two sessions that Saturday: 11 am-2 pm and 3-6 pm. And tickets are sold per session, so if you're buying a ticket double check to make sure you're getting ticket for the session you want.

Silent films with live scores return to the Albany Public Library this month

He Who Gets Slapped still

A still from He Who Gets Slapped. / via

The Albany Public Library's Silent Film Spectacular returns next week. The series shows silent films along with live scores performed by local musicians at the Washington Ave Branch:

October 10: The Prolific Magic Egg and Sherlock Jr. - Psychedelic Snakeskin
"'The Prolific Magic Egg' is a 1903 short film directed by and starring Georges Méliès. 'Sherlock Jr.' is a 1924 film directed by and starring Buster Keaton. Psychedelic Snakeskin will provide the live accompaniment using analog and digital instrumentation to bring attendees sound-collage music from the outer edges."

October 17: The Three Ages - Ryan Devine and Friends
"This 1923 film stars Buster Keaton and showcases the wonder of love and romance through three historical periods. [Ryan] Devine plays keyboards for a number of local bands, is a member of Victory Soul Orchestra, and teaches piano."

October 24: He Who Gets Slapped - Raurri Jennings
"Lon Chaney plays a bitter clown in this 1924 film. Jennings is lead singer and guitarist for popular local band Front Business. He is new to the Silent Film Spectacular this year."

The films start 7 pm.

APL advertises on AOA.

Gary Shteyngart at the Spotty Dog in Hudson

Volume Reading Series Headley Shteyngart Seidlinger

Maria Dahvana Headley, Gary Shteyngart, Michael J Seidlinger

Author Gary Shteyngart will be at Spotty Dog Books and Ale in Hudson October 13 as part of the Volume Reading Series. It's a free event. ("Save your $$ for books and beer!")

Shteyngart is, of course, the bestselling author of novels such as Super Sad True Love Story and Absurdistan. His new novel -- Lake Success -- was released last month. Here's Shteyngart talking about the book with NPR's Scott Simon.

The Volume lineup for that night includes two more authors:

MARIA DAHVANA HEADLEY is a New York Times bestselling author, most recently of The Mere Wife, Magonia, Aerie, Queen of Kings, and The Year of Yes. She grew up in rural Idaho on a survivalist sled-dog ranch, and now lives in Brooklyn. Her work has been supported by the MacDowell Colony and Arte Studio Ginestrelle, among other organizations.

MICHAEL J SEIDLINGER is an Asian American author of a number of books including My Pet Serial Killer and Standard Loneliness Package. He's currently working on a novel, a nonfiction book about death, and a poetry collection. He serves as Library and Academic Marketing Manager at Melville House, Editor-at-Large for Electric Literature, and is a member of The Accomplices.

The event starts at 7 pm on Saturday, October 13. There will be a DJ set following the authors, along with a book signing.

Earlier: "The man does not remember telling his glasses about enjoying that restaurant, but somehow they know."

author composite image via Volume Reading Series

There's a free law clinic event coming up to assist small businesses

Legal Project small business legal clinic poster 2018-OctoberThis could be helpful if you're a business owner or starting a new project: A coalition of local groups are offing a clinic for small business law October 11. Event blurbage:

If you are an entrepreneur and have questions about what type of entity you should form for your business; what types of contracts you need for your business; what to look for in a commercial lease; or how to protect your ideas, products, and brands, consider signing up for a FREE brief legal consultation with an attorney. ...
We will have attorneys with experience in business, corporate, intellectual property, alcohol & beverage, and real estate law to provide free brief legal consultations.

The orgs backing the clinic are The Legal Project, the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region, the Community Development Clinic at Albany Law School, and the Institute of Nonprofit Leadership and Community Development at UAlbany.

Consultations are via appointment only -- call 518-435-1770 to claim a spot.

Film Columbia 2018

The lineup includes Shoplifters, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes this year.

The annual Film Columbia film festival returns October 20-28 in Chatham. And the lineup of films is out.

As in years past the schedule includes a bunch of films that are already getting attention because of screenings at other festivals and/or they're eagerly awaited because of stars or directors involved.

A few of this year's selections that caught our eye are after below.

This year's festival also will honor Brian Cox with four screenings of his films and a Q&A with the actor.

Tickets for the general public go on sale October 13.

Many of the screenings do sell out -- so if you're interested in attending, it's a good idea to grab tickets sooner rather than later.

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The Half Moon Market is back in Washington Park this month

half moon market washington park lakehouse

The Half Moon Market returns to the Washington Park Lakehouse October 12-14.

The popular twice-a-year event -- spring and fall -- features more than 50 handmade vendors and vintage pop-up shops selling jewelry, housewares, apparel, and more. Also: food vendors.

There's a kick-off party/night market that Friday from 5-9 pm with music, a beer/cider bar, and food trucks. And then the market is open Saturday 10 am-5 pm and Sunday 11 am-5 pm. Admission is free.

The Half Moon Market is organized by Adelia Sugarman and Caroline Corrigan.

"The Bandleader Who Changed America" at The Egg

That clip embedded above is a segment about James Reese Europe from (we think) the Jazz documentary by Ken Burns. It's a quick overview of Europe's life and his music.

The Egg is hosting a multimedia talk this Thursday, October 4 about the great jazz bandleader and composer James Reese Europe. It's connected to the Harlem Hellfighters exhibit that's on display in the Abrams Building at the ESP. Blurbage:

Through the use of photos, film, and live music, this multimedia presentation will focus on the life and music of James Reese Europe (1880-1919), an extraordinary individual who was not only instrumental in the success of the Harlem Hellfighters, an African-American military regiment from New York that was dispatched to fight for France in World War I, but had a major influence in the development of jazz, swing, and contemporary dance music.
Featuring special guests Michael Dinwiddie, associate professor at New York University's Gallatin School and William Meckley, founder and music director of the Empire Jazz Orchestra, this special evening will also include a musical demonstration and performance by jazz pianist and composer David Gleason, highlighting the history of early jazz music and Europe's profound impact as a bandleader.

The presentation starts at 6:30 pm Thursday and it's free.

The Glory Can Never Fade
There are still a few months to catch the The Glory Can Never Fade: The Legacy of the Harlem Hellfighters exhibit at the Empire State Plaza. It's in the Vietnam Memorial Gallery in the Abrams Building just off State Street.

The 369th Infantry Regiment -- "the Harlem Hellfighters" -- was the regiment in which Henry Johnson served. The exhibit covers of the history of the group and its impact. It's on display through next February.

(Also, while you're there, go around the corner and take a minute to see the Fritz Glarner mural.)

A new season of Brainfood for the Curious is starting up at the State Museum

NYS Museum mastodons State Education Building

One of the talks is about the history of the museum, which was once in the State Education Building. / photo: New York State Museum

The State Museum's Brainfood for the Curious series of short lunchtime talks returns for a new season next week.

The 20-minute talks feature a scientist, curator, or historian in the museum's Huxley Theater starting at 12:10 pm. Afterward the speaker sticks around for a short a Q&A period. You're welcome to bring your lunch.

Talk topics this time around range from auto racing to the Erie Canal to art to ethnography to history to ice age animals to snails.

Here's the quick-scan lineup for the new season...

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Susan Orlean at Northshire Saratoga

journalist Susan Orlean photo Noah Fecks

Journalist Susan Orlean will be at the Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs December 4 for a talk. Tickets are $5 and available online.

Orlean will be having a conversation with Issac Pulver, director of the Saratoga Springs Public Library. And they'll be talking about the upcoming The Library Book. Book blurbage:

Susan Orlean re-opens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling homage to a beloved institution - our libraries. On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. Raging through the stacks, the fire reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. It was the largest library fire in the history of the United States: it destroyed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more, and shut the library down for seven years. The mystery remains: did someone purposefully set fire to the library--and if so, who?
Weaving her life-long love of books and reading with the fascinating history of libraries and the sometimes-eccentric characters who run them, award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Orlean presents a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling story. With her signature wit, insight, compassion and talent for deep research, she investigates the legendary Los Angeles Public Library fire to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives, and reveals how these buildings provide much more than just books and are needed now more than ever.

Orlean is, of course, the journalist behind article/books such as The Orchid Thief. She is also an avid and popular Twitterist. (Is that a word? It is now, for better or worse.)

The Northshire event is Tuesday, December 4 at 6 pm. It wouldn't be surprising if it filled up.

Northshire advertises on AOA.

photo: Noah Fecks

Jim Gaffigan at The Palace

comedian Jim Gaffigan

Comedian Jim Gaffigan is set for a stand-up show at The Palace March 2. Tickets go on sale this Friday, October 5 -- they're $39.75 and up.

Gaffigan's comedy tends to be observational stuff about everyday things. He's appeared on pretty much every TV talk show, along with almost every other type of show. He's got a role in a dozen different shows or films this year and in the future, according to IMDB. And he released a new comedy special earlier this year.

Back in 2016 he played a show at TU Center, and a few years before that a sold-out show at Proctors. So it would be surprising if tickets for this Palace show sell out or come close.

The week ahead

author Tara Westover photo Paul Stuart

Tara Westover will be talking about her bestselling memoir Educated at UAlbany this week as the part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writer series.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (still Septemberish), to the stage, to authors, to history, to tattoos, to films, to all sorts of music...


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Schenectady Wing Walk 2018

Schenectady Wing Walk 2018 logoUpdate October 2: It's now sold out.
The Wing Walk returns to downtown Schenectady October 6. More than 20 restaurants will be offering their takes on the chicken wing, and tasters get to vote for their favorite. Blurbage:

On the day of the event, show up at the Proctors box office anytime after 10am to exchange your ticket receipt (if you pre-purchase online) for your Wing Walk map/ballot. Beginning at noon, stroll around to the various restaurants and sample one wing per location, making sure to get your map/ballot stamped by each restaurant. Once you sample at least 10 wings, you can vote for your favorite by marking your map/ballot and dropping it at one of several drop-box locations around downtown (locations will be noted on your map/ballot).

That link at the top includes a list of the participating restaurants and the wings they'll be making.

The Wing Walk is Saturday, October 6 from noon-5 pm. Tickets are $12 adults / $7 for kids and students -- and they're available online. The event is capped at 2,000 tickets and it's sold out in the past.

Child care
Here's something you don't see a lot for events: The Capital District YMCA - Schenectady Branch will be offering child care in conjunction with the Wing Walk. Pre-registration is required and it costs $5 per hour. See the bottom of the linked event page for details.

Stuff to do this weekend

albany book festival 2018 kearns-goodwin lam gordon-reed

The lineup for the first Albany Book Festival is stacked with famous authors, including Doris Kearns Goodwin, Francis Lam, and Annette Gordon-Reed.

Wiener dogs, famous authors, a story slam, haunted tours, and stand-up from an SNL alum -- just a few things that make up this weekend in the Capital Region.

We've compiled a list of stuff we thought might interest you. Doing something you don't see here? Drop it in the comments so we can all see.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Touring the place that (maybe) inspired Melville, and other literary stories of Albany

Herman Melville c 1846-1847 by Asa Weston Twitchell

A young Herman Melville, from a portrait by Asa Weston Twitchell. / image via Wikipedia

Bookmarked: Maeve McEneny Johnson will be leading a free literary history walk of Albany October 4. Blurbage:

The Capital Region is full of stories! ... Our guide Maeve McEneny Johnson brings us around the city of Albany and tells us about local literary connections including where Herman Melville may have come up with the idea of Moby Dick and local talks by Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde.
We'll admire the buildings, visit some Albany neighborhoods, but more importantly, Maeve will tell us the stories behind Albany's surprising literary history. Albany was the home to many literary legends, such as our own William Kennedy and Gregory Maguire.

The tour is co-organized by the Albany Institute and WMHT as part in conjunction with The Great American Read.

The tour meets at 6 pm on Thursday, October 4. And it's free.

Literary trivia
As part of same Great American Read collaboration, there's also a Trivia for Book Lovers night at the University Club tonight (September 27) at 7 pm. It's free -- there will be a cash bar and light fare available.

The club is at 141 Washington Ave, right Dove from the Albany Institute.

+ That time whales swam to Albany
+ The Karner Blue

Registration is open for both the Troy Turkey Trot and the Albany Last Run 5k

troy turkey trot 2014 pat hendrick photography

By the way: Registration is open for the Troy Turkey Trot.

The annual Thanksgiving morning race includes a 5k, 10k, walk, and grade school mile. You can register online -- it's currently $30 for the 5k and 10k (price increases after October 20). The walk and grade school mile are $10 (prices also increase after October 20).

There's also a training program get people ramped up for running either the 5k or 10k. It's already started, but you can still sign up through October 1. It's $40.

This will be the 71st running of the Troy Turkey Trot. The first race was all the way back in 1916 and it's said to be the 12th oldest road race in the nation. Last year's race had more than 7,000 participants.

Albany Last Run
Also by the way: The popular Last Run 5k is December 8 this year in downtown Albany. And registration is open -- it's $25 to enter.

The number of race participants is capped and often fills up.

photo: Pat Hendrick Photography / Troy Turkey Trot

The Pass It On Sale for kids stuff is back this weekend

Pass It On Sale high chairs

The popular Pass It On Sale for kids items returns to the SportsPlex of Halfmoon this weekend (September 28-30).

The consignment sale -- now in its 16th year -- is a twice-yearly event. (The October sale has fall and winter items, the May sale spring and summer.) And tens of thousands of "new and gently worn" children's items across 60,000 square feet. It's really big. Blurbage:

At Pass It On you will find clothing (sizes newborn to juniors) toys, books, videos, baby equipment (strollers, swings, etc.), sports equipment, children's furniture and more! Clothing is inspected to ensure the highest quality and our sales floor is extremely organized for the best shopping experience.

The sale is open to the general public from 8 am to 8 pm Saturday, and Sunday 8 am to 2 pm. (Sunday is half-price day.) Admission is free.

There's also an early session for new parents the Friday evening of each sale -- you have to sign-up for that ahead of time. It looks like it's already full this time around, but it's something to keep an eye on for the future. The new-parent sign-up is usually about a month before the sale.

Here's a chance to help map out the future of Albany's Lincoln Park

Albany Lincoln Park from Corning Tower

What should be the future of Albany's Lincoln Park?

That's the question at the center of a public meeting the city of Albany has lined up for October 9 as it works toward putting a master plan for the large park. Blurbage:

Mayor Kathy Sheehan, the City of Albany Department of Planning & Development, and STIMSON Studio Landscape Architects will host a public meeting to provide an overview and receive community input regarding the Lincoln Park Master Plan design project. This is an exciting opportunity for residents, visitors, and community organizations to learn about the original design intent of Lincoln Park, take part in shaping its future, and help to prioritize projects and initiatives within the Park.

The meeting is Tuesday, October 9 at 6:30 pm at Hackett Middle School (45 Delaware Ave). If you can't make it to the meeting and want to offer a comment -- or just feel comfortable submitting a prepared statement -- there's ran online comment form.

Lincoln Park occupied a big chunk of Albany's south side, almost 70 acres.* And in addition to figuring an overall plan for the future and potential upgrades, there are two important projects facing the city there:

+ The Albany Water Department is planning the Beaver Creek Clean River Project, a sewer facility that's part of an effort to reduce sewage overflows in the Hudson River. The largely underground facility would also add some park amenities and address a longstanding problem with a sewer line and a ravine.

+ The Lincoln Park Pool is leaking huge amounts of water and has probably reached the end of its life. The city needs map out a plan for the next version of the pool.

So there's a lot to talk about.

* Washington Park is a little more than 80 acres.

There's a modernist architecture tour of UAlbany's uptown campus coming up

University at Albany campus arches

This year's Historic Albany Foundation / Docomomo Tour Day is October 6 at the UAlbany uptown campus. Tour blurbage:

Join SUNY Albany architect Edward Durell Stone's son, Hicks Stone, and SUNY professor Ray Bromley for an architecture and history tour of the State University of New York at Albany campus, considered a signature work of E.D. Stone, and completed in 1964 on the western outskirts of Albany, NY.
We will also get an update on the renovations and additions to the campus since 2011, the last time we toured the campus for Docomomo tour day.

Edward Durell Stone was a prominent modernist architect whose works included Radio City Music Hall, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Kennedy Center in DC. He also designed the US embassy in New Delhi -- in which you might be able see some of the ideas that would later pop up in the design for the UAlbany campus.

There are two tours that Saturday, at noon and and 2 pm. Tickets are $10 and available online.

About blurbage for the org: "Docomomo US is dedicated to the preservation of modern architecture, landscape and design. Through advocacy, education and documentation, we provide leadership and knowledge by demonstrating the importance of modern design principles including the social context, technical merits, aesthetics and settings of these important pieces of American history."

Bobby Brown + Bell Biv Devoe at The Palace

Bobby Brown Bell Biv Devoe

Bobby Brown and Bell Biv Devoe are co-headlining a show at The Palace November 2. Tickets went on sale today (September 25) -- they're $39.50 and up.

The show will also feature Case and Kid Capri.

Brown and the members of Bell Biv Devoe -- Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe -- were, of course, members of the influential R&B group New Edition back in the day. Brown went on to stardom as a solo artist and Bell Biv Devoe had a bunch of hits, too. They were part of the new jack swing sound.

Old school.

Dave Matthews Band at TU Center

dave matthews band

The Dave Matthews Band is set to play a show at the Times Union Center December 5. Tickets go on sale to the general public October 5 -- they're $65 and up. (There's a pre-sale for the band's fan club September 25-29.)

DMB released a new studio album this past June, its first in six years. Come Tomorrow debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

And the band made its annual migration to SPAC this past summer. The TU Center show is part of 10-city fall tour along the East Coast.

Shows at the TU Center this fall and beyond

More concerts coming up at the TU Center:

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The Albany Book Festival is this coming weekend and it also includes a big list of local authors

UAlbany uptown campus center fountain

A reminder that the first Albany Book Festival is this Saturday, September 29 on UAlbany's uptown campus. The lineup is absolutely stacked with prominent authors, from Doris Kearns Goodwin to Walter Moseley to Annette Gordon-Reed to Mark Kurlansky to Michael W. Twitty and many others.

The festival will also be a featuring a big group of local authors -- really big, more than 75 authors from the Capital Region and Upstate New York. The full local author lineup with bios is now on the festival's website. The topics they represent range from fiction to non-fiction, romance to mystery, history to children's stories. You'll probably recognize at least a few of the names.

Also: The new New York State author and poet -- Colson Whitehead and Alicia Ostriker, respectively -- will be inaugurated that Friday night at free public event.

The festival website also now has a schedule for when various authors will be making appearances so you can plan out who you might like to see.

The Albany Book Festival is Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. And it's free.

Drawing: Oktoberfest Block Party VIP tickets

Wolffs Oktoberfest promo video aerial screengrab

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The annual Oktoberfest block party in North Albany organized by Wolff's is this Saturday, September 29. We have two VIP tickets for the festival to give away. Maybe to you.

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

What's something you're excited about doing this fall in the Capital Region?

Maybe it's picking apples. Maybe it's taking a walk in the fall foliage. Maybe it's just hygge-ing the heck out of things as the weather turns cool. It can be pretty much whatever. We'll draw one winner at random.

About those VIP tickets... They include a free commemorative stein, quick entry to the event, access to the VIP tent, complimentary hors d'oeuvres, private bathrooms, and a selection of wine.

The Oktoberfest block party is Saturday, September 29 from 11 am to 7 pm on Broadway in front of Wolff's Biergarten in the Warehouse District. General admission is $15 ahead / $20 day of.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 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 5 pm on Wednesday and must respond by 5 pm that Thursday.

photo via Wolff's Youtube

The week ahead

The Rep The Royale photo by Douglas C. Liebig

The Royale opens at The Rep this week. / photo: Douglas C. Liebig

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (autumn), to hauntings, to the stage, to science, to books, to all sorts of music...


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Stuff to do this weekend

LarkFest overhead by Sebastien Barre

LarkFest is one of many festivals this weekend.

Welcome to the first weekend of fall -- otherwise known as festival season in the Capital Region. This weekend's festivals include music, hot air balloons, Hispanic heritage, art, and more. We've complied a whole list stuff happening this weekend that we though might interest you.

Planning something you don't see here? Share it with us in the comment section.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Hudson Valley Gamer Con

Albany Capital Center exterior v2

Video games are now being treated like sports. Colleges are fielding teams. And some of those teams will be at the Albany Capital Center March 30-31 for a new event called the Hudson Valley Gamer Con, which is being billed as the "largest Northeast collegiate esports event to-date." Blurbage:

This event has plans to highlight the Capital Region as a destination for gamers, esport fans and software developers alike. The conference and expo will feature seating for more than 800 guests to watch the ECAC esports Championships featuring three popular game titles including League of Legends and Overwatch. A third title will be revealed in the coming months. ...
Additionally, there will be an expo that caters to the regional gaming and esports community, featuring up to 50 vendors. The expo has plans to showcase regional game development studios, Empire State Development's Digital Game Hubs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and New York University, college programs focused on games and esports, local artists, independent developers and other esports lifestyle brands. Portions of the expo will feature hands-on gameplay and retail vendors.

Sixteen colleges are currently set to compete at the event.

Esports -- essentially people playing video games in organized competitions -- have become big business and are drawing a huge amounts of attention. An event last year in Poland drew more than 170,000 people and 46 million unique online viewers. And many American colleges and universities field esports teams, some of them even offer scholarships.

A star Fortnite player who goes by the name Ninja is on the cover of ESPN The Magazine this month.

Tickets for Hudson Valley Gamer Con are $24 per day / $14 per day for students and available online.

Spooky, haunted, or creepy tours around the Capital Region this fall

spooky Ten Broeck Mansion

There's a claim that the Ten Broeck Mansion is "one of the most haunted public sites in Albany."

We're already into mid September and that means ghosts are migrating back to the Capital Region from their summer homes and punching back in at their regular haunts.

And just in time, because it's high season for haunting.

Here's a handful of spooky, haunted, creepy, or just generally atmospheric tours at spots around the area from now through Halloween...

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New Scotland Ave Restaurant Week

New Scotland Ave Helderberg commercial strip

The first New Scotland Ave Restaurant Week is September 24-30 in Albany's Helderberg Neighborhood.

Nine restaurants along the corridor from Quail to West Erie Street are participating: The Fountain, Graney's, Ragonese Imports, Sainato's, Capital City Gastropub, Albany Ale & Oyster, Kuma Ani, Restaurant Navona, and Sake Cafe. They'll be offering a range of discounts and special offers.

As we mentioned recently, this stretch is one of Albany's most vibrant neighborhood commercial strips, at the intersection of multiple walkable neighborhoods that include a mix of housing options. The city of Albany is planning a bunch of streetscape upgrades for the strip next year.

Neighborhood association meeting
By the way: The Helderberg Neighborhood Association has a meeting this Wednesday, Septembr 19 at 6:30 pm at the 1st Congregational Church of Albany at 405 Quail Street, about a block of New Scotland. It looks like stormwater will be a theme, with info about getting a rain barrel.

Albany has a bunch of neighborhood associations and it's worth stopping by a meeting for you neighborhood. They're often a good chance to hear about issues (and, uh, maybe some gossip) in the neighborhood, meet your neighbors, and talk about how to make things better

There's another PechaKucha night at the Opalka Gallery this week

PechaKucha Opalka Gallery promo photo

The local PechaKucha series returns to the Opalka Gallery on the Sage Albany campus this Friday. Here's the lineup of short talks:

+ Judith Braun: "What Good is my Cake if I Can't Eat It?"
+ Dr. David Green: "Hood Vestiges: A Southern Love Story"
+ David VanLuven: "Local Politics: The Good, Bad, and The What the Heck?"
+ Mark McCarty: "How I came to photograph my wife in the shower"
+ Chris Harrold: "Mom, I wanna be an artist OR Reclaiming my creative self"
+ Julie Casper Roth: "Ghosted in the Grave"
+ Daniel Nester: "God Save My Queen: One Bohemian's Rhapsody"
+ Susan Petrie: "100-Mile Home"
+ Maddi LaVallee: "Make Me a Sandwich"
+ Steve Lomnes: "smARTs: What is "Intelligence:" and how has this fundamental idea changed over time?"

PechaKucha? It's a format in which the speaker gets to talk along with 20 slides, each slide only on display for 20 seconds. (Each talk is just short of 7 minutes total.) So, it moves quickly and it forces people to get right to the point.

Snacks -- with drinks from Druthers -- start at 6:30 pm this Friday, September 21. The talks start at 7 pm. These events have been popular in the past, so it's worth showing up a little early to make sure you get a seat.

photo via Opalka Gallery Facebook

William Shatner is going to be at that Star Trek set tour in Ticonderoga

Star Trek set tour Ticonderoga captains chair

The Star Trek Original Series Set Tour in Ticonderoga will be hosting William Shatner for a series of events December 7 and 8. There are tickets available for all sorts of photo and autograph sessions, as well as Q&A.

It's part of "Christmas with the Captains" series of events. The original Kirk will be joined by Anson Mount, who's playing Captain Christopher Pike in the upcoming season of the Star Trek: Discovery. (insert explainer about Captain Pike and different Star Trek timelines and... yeah, set phasers to nerd)

It looks like Shatner and Mount will be appearing both separately and together.

And what of this "Star Trek Original Series Set Tour"? Blurbage:

When the STAR TREK television series was canceled in 1969, the original sets were dismantled and largely destroyed, only a few small items of the actual sets remain today, and those that have survived are in private collections. Trek superfan James Cawley began the process of rebuilding the sets just as they would have been seen 50 years ago when the series was being filmed, a 14 year journey has culminated in the most accurate rebuild of the original sets, and is now open and welcoming STAR TREK fans from all over the world!

The set is open for tours. Adult tickets are $22.50.

Ticonderoga is about an hour and 45 minutes north of Albany.

photo via Star Trek Original Series Set Tour Facebook

Moth StorySLAM at Skidmore

The Moth StorySLAM promo photo

The storytelling org The Moth will be at Skidmore later this month for a StorySLAM event at the Zankel Center September 30. It's free and open to the public, but you will need to claim a ticket ahead.


During the SLAM, 10 students will take to the microphone and tell a five-minute story about a personal transformation or metamorphosis. A Moth host will emcee the event, which will be recorded for possible broadcast on a future episode of The Moth Radio Hour--presented by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange, and airing on hundreds of radio stations--as well as on The Moth Podcast (free at

Instructors from the The Moth will be at Skidmore in the preceding week holding workshops for faculty and students. The storytellers for the Zankel event will be drawn from those workshops.

The Moth is very popular, and it packed The Egg a few years back. So if you'd like to check out this performance, it's not a bad idea to claim a spot earlier rather than later.

photo: Denise Ofelia Mangen / The Moth

The week ahead

the band The Infamous Stringdusters

The Grammy-winning Infamous Stringdusters are the music headliners for the Hops and Harvest Festival at the ESP Wednesday.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (sun and rain), to holy days, to stories, to authors, to woodworking, to all sorts of music...


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There are a bunch of chances to see the inside of the beautiful State Education Building this fall

State Education Building late sun

Also: The State Education Building has the habit of catching some excellent late day sun during September.

A new season of tours at the State Education Building in Albany started up this month, and continues on Saturdays through December. The building -- it's the one with the columns across from the Capitol -- is beautiful and very much worth a look.


The 45-minute Education Building tour will be led by New York State Museum staff and visitors will have the opportunity to explore the historic Chancellors Hall, Regents Room and the Rotunda adorned with murals by Albany native Will H. Low.

The tours are at 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm on Saturdays, and they're limited to 25 people. They're also free, but you must pre-register.

These tours hadn't been regularly offered for many years until they started up again during the last year or two. And they've been popular. But taking a look at the registration page, it looks like there are plenty of spots available for this fall (for the moment), including a handful this weekend.

Stuff to do this weekend

pearl palooza crowd

PearlPalooza is back in downtown Albany this Saturday.

Psst... it's the last weekend of summer -- savor it.

This is one of the best times of year to live in the Capital Region. September is overflowing with music festivals, farm festivals, food festivals, farmers markets -- and all that is on top of the regular bounty of stuff to do.

Pick a few things from our list and enjoy. Planning something you don't see here? Share it with everyone else in the comment section.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Massry Center 2018-2019 season

comedian Lea DeLaria credit Ricky Middleworth

The season opens with comedian/singer Lea DeLaria, most famous recently for playing Big Boo on Orange Is The New Black. / photo: Ricky Middleworth

The lineup for the upcoming 2018-2019 performance season at the Massry Center at Saint Rose is out. It includes a mix of comedy, roots, jazz, and soul music. And tickets for a handful of shows are on sale now via the Troy Music Hall box office.

Here's a quick scan...

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Outdoor concerts at Brown's Brewing this fall

band The Moth and The Flame

The Moth & The Flame. / photo: Marcello Ambriz

Brown's Brewing and WEQX are teaming up for another round of outdoor concerts behind the brewery on the waterfront in Troy with two Thursdays in October:

October 4: The Blue Stones, with The Late Shift

October 11: The Moth & The Flame, with The Parlor

Gate opens at 5 pm, shows start at 6 pm. Admission's free, and there will be food and drink available for purchase.

By the way: Brown's has also been hosting music shows on weekends at its Walloomsac Taproom in North Hoosick. That first link above has the lineup.

Sanctuary for Independent Media 2018 fall

music group Ladama

Ladama is playing a concert there in October. / photo: Kevin Bay

The upcoming fall season of events at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy starts up this month. And, as in past seasons, it includes concerts, talks, screenings, and workshops on topics ranging from Afro-Carribean jazz to biology to the environment to food to politics.

Here's a quick-scan look...

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Double Dare Live at Proctors

Double Dare stage show Pick It game

Slime is eternal.

The game show Double Dare -- yep, that Double Dare -- returned to Nickelodeon this past summer, and now a touring stage version of the revived show will be at Proctors November 17. Blurbage:

On your mark, get set, GO! The messiest game show on TV is now the messiest game show on the road. Double Dare Live is coming to your town and will bring all the action and excitement of Nickelodeon's hugely popular TV show to the stage. All the Slime soaking, pie plastering, and booger busting will be hosted by the Double Dare legend himself Marc Summers! Bring your whole family to the show you loved as a child. You might even get chosen to compete to win by answering brain-bending trivia questions, complete messy physical stunts and even run the legendary obstacle course!

Yes, the pick-the-giant-nose challenge is back. Nostalgia is a booger.

The show is on the main stage at Proctors. Tickets are $30 and up. (And here's info on potentially becoming a contestant.)

Wedding Flea Market at Takk House

Takk House wedding flea photo of space

The Takk House event space in Troy is hosting a Wedding Flea Market September 30.

Wedding flea market? Takk House is pitching it as an opportunity for people who have already had weddings to sell leftover wedding related stuff like decor, centerpieces, and table settings -- and for people who are planning weddings to pick up this sort of stuff at lower prices. ("Sorry, but no businesses, vendors or crafters of any kind are permitted. This is a bride-to-bride wedding resale only.")

The flea market is Sunday, September 30 from noon to 4 pm. Admission is $5.

And if you'd like to sell leftover items, tables are $30. See the link for details.

photo: Heidi Sicari

Walking tours of Schenectady (and beyond) this fall: treasures, The Plot, beer, Scotia secrets, rowing the river

lawrence statue Stockade Schenectady 2011 v2

The Schenectady County Historical Society and its partners has a round of walking (and rowing) tours coming up this fall.

The full schedule is below -- tour topics include treasures, the GE Realty Plot, beer, Scotia, and the haunting past of the Stockade. Also: There's a rowing tour on the Mohawk.

If you're interested in one (or more) of the tours it's a good idea to grab a spot ahead because they do often fill up.

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The week ahead

the band Superorganism

Superorganism headlines PearlPalooza later this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (return to summer), to restaurant and beer week, to primaries, to dance, to design, to music festivals...


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Alliance for the Creative Economy at The Lumberyard in Catskill

Lumberyard Catskill exterior

The new Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts in Catskill had its grand opening, hosted by Alan Cumming, the first weekend of September. And there's an opportunity coming up to get a better sense of what's going on there.

The Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy has a free mixer at the Lumberyard October 3 that will include a tour and discussion. Blurbage:

LUMBERYARD Contemporary Performing Arts is the only organization in the United States dedicated to providing technical residencies that culminate in out-of-town premieres.
At the campus in Catskill, NY and at partner venues in New York City, LUMBERYARD provides artists and their companies with at least one week of unrestricted theater access prior to a premiere. This includes a fee, dedicated use of our production staff, equipment, and production materials as well as photo/video documentation, housing and meals during the residency. Each residency concludes with a premiere of the artist's work.

The ACE event is Wednesday, October 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. As mentioned above, it's free, but registration is required.

By the way: Catskill is worth a visit sometime to just check it out. The drive down 9W from Albany to Greene County is beautiful in the late summer/early fall.

photo via Lumberyard Facebook

Library Expedition 36ers

Tiffany window in Troy Public Library

The Tiffany window in the Troy Public Library. / photo: Akum Norder

For peripatetic bibliophiles: The Upper Hudson Library System has a sort of library road trip going on this fall in which it's trying to get people to explore the system's 36 libraries in Albany and Rensselaer counties. Blurbage:

Did you know that Cohoes Public Library has a life-sized mastodon? Or that Troy Public Library has a Tiffany window and glass floors? Did you know that your library card lets you borrow an Amazon Echo Dot from Guilderland Public Library - or a fishing rod from Rensselaerville Library?
The 2018 Upper Hudson Library System Expedition will lead you to discovery of treasures both large and small in our 36 library locations. Open to explorers of all ages, this self-paced journey takes place through November 30. Participate as an individual, as a family, or as a group and earn prizes as you visit more libraries. Visit them all and become a 36er!
To get started, visit any local public library in Albany or Rensselaer Counties and pick up a map to guide you on your trek. Check out our Expedition web page for unique features and must-try local food spots, as well as library hours and directions. With each new library visit, get a stamp on your map and explore that library and all it has to offer (don't miss the civil war cannon at Robert A. Fahr Watevliet Public Library!). Be sure to post about your visit on Instagram (#Library36er) and Facebook. For more details visit, and get ready to hit the road!

As the blurbage alludes to, modern libraries have become interesting hubs for all sorts of services and media. So this could be a fun opportunity to see what's available.

Also: It's a good excuse to just get out and explore different places and neighborhoods.

+ Libraries are about books. And the internet. And technological change. And community. (2016)
+ The best bang for your library buck (2008)

Jackson Galaxy "Total Cat Mojo Live" at The Egg

cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy and poster

The host of Animal Planet's My Cat From Hell -- Jackson Galaxy -- will be at The Egg November 23 for what's billed as "Total Cat Mojo Live." Tickets go on sale this Saturday, September 8* -- they're $39.50 and up.

Show blurbage:

Popularly known as the "Cat Daddy," Jackson is on a mission to educate people about cats and deepen the human and cat bond, while reducing the number of animals that end up in shelters. Over time, Jackson has developed and honed his philosophy known as "Cat Mojo," which teaches cat guardians the skills to help their feline friends build confidence within their environment. Jackson has written extensively about his work and philosophy in his two New York Times best-selling books, "Catify to Satisfy" and "Catification."

He's also appeared on the Animal Planet show Cat vs. Dog.

The Business of Art at the Arts Center

arts center capital region troy exterior

This looks like a potentially helpful and interesting opportunity: The Arts Center of the Capital Region has organized a free course for artists to build their business and marketing skills. Blurbage for the "Business of Art":

Throughout this weekly, 7-month course, artists will learn the importance of developing their personal brand and managing their business in order to leave with the tools and confidence to turn their creative ventures into successful ones.
A cohort of 12 motivated artists from all disciplines will be selected for this program tailored to creatives in the business world. Throughout the course, you will learn how to talk about yourself as an artist and as a business, how to create and maintain a balanced budget, learn to use social media to its full potential, and identify and approach funders and mentors.
The course and cohort will challenge you to take chances and hold you accountable from beginning to end, and by the time you're finished, you will have the skills you need to run your business well.

See the link above details about eligibility and the application process. The course starts in November and runs in May of next year. The application deadline is September 16.

We The Animals at The Spectrum with special post-film Q&A

The Spectrum is hosting a special screening of the film We The Animals this Saturday, September 8 with a special post-show Q&A. Blurbage:

Youth FX will be hosting a screening of the critically acclaimed film, We The Animals, at the Landmark's Spectrum 8 Theatres in Albany with an exclusive Q & A following the screening with stars Evan Rosado, Isaiah Kristian, and Josiah Gabriel, along with Youth FX teaching artist and Albany High School dramatic arts teacher, Noelle Gentile, who served as their acting coach on the film for three years during the casting process and on set. The Q & A will be moderated by Youth FX director Bhawin Suchak and will be a fundraiser for the Albany-based youth film program. This special screening is sponsored by The Orchard Films, Public Record and Film Albany, who also lent lots of support to the film during production, which happened upstate in Utica, NY.
We The Animals has been selected to screen at dozens of film festivals around the world, winning awards at Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival & Outfest has been called one of the best films of 2018!

The film -- which is based on the novel by Justin Torres -- has gotten very good reviews.

The Spectrum screening is at 7:15 pm. And it wouldn't be surprising for something like this to fill up.

Earlier: Albany's award-winning Youth FX now has a home of its own

Drink Albany 2018

Drink Albany logo

The Drink Albany event returns to the State Museum October 5 this year. Tickets are on sale now -- the early bird price is $30 through September 21 / $35 after that / $5 for designated drivers.

Drink Albany is organized by the Capital Craft Beverage Trail. "General Admission tickets include a souvenir sample glass and the opportunity to sample the world class libations produced right here in the Capital Region and New York State. In addition, products will be available for purchase by the can, bottle and growler to take home."

Also: The carousel will be running and open for rides.

Last year's event sold out.

Checking out the Saratoga Ninja Lab

Saratoga Ninja Lab monkey bars

By Cristin Steding

If you've ever watched the television show American Ninja Warrior and thought "I could do that" -- -- here's your chance.

The show -- on which ultra-fit competitors run through a punishing obstacle course -- has inspired an entirely new type of workout, and now you can try it locally.

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The Disco Biscuits at The Palace

band The Disco Biscuits

The Disco Biscuits are lined up to play shows at The Palace November 23 and 24 (the two days after Thanksgiving). Tickets go on sale this Friday, September 7 -- they're $39.50 ahead / $42.50 day of / $75 for a two-show pass.

Show blurbage:

The Disco Biscuits are an entirely different band today than they were when they first broke out of Philadelphia in the mid-90s. That's not to say that they've abandoned their foundation, switched gears or set sail for distant shores. The Disco Biscuits are still very much the pioneers of "trancefusion," bridging the gap between electronic music and jam bands. They still remain rock pioneers whose soul belongs as much to marathon dance parties as it does to live improvisational journeys. They still employ emerging technologies to help them create music that is 100 percent human although, perhaps, not entirely of this earth.

Of course, for many years Mariaville in Schenectady County was the site of the Biscuits-backed Camp Bisco music festival. The last one was 2014 -- there had been complaints from neighbors and officials expressed concerns about safety. In 2015 the county denied a permit necessary for the festival. It's since moved on to a site in Pennsylvania.

Also announced Tuesday for The Palace: Jewel will be there December 14. It's her Handmade Holiday Tour, "performing Holiday classics, Holiday originals and classic Jewel songs alongside Special Guests and family members Atz, Atz Lee and Nikos Kilcher (Alaska: The Last Frontier)." Tickets go on sale Friday -- they're $39.50 and up.

That documentary about the heyday of the Albany Patroons premieres at The Palace this month

That documentary about the old Albany Patroons and the Continental Basketball Association -- now titled The Minor League Mecca -- is set to premiere at The Palace September 22. And it's free to attend.

The Albany-based Upside Collective agency produced the doc, which follows rise and fall of the team's heyday in 1980s Albany. Blurbage:

As the leading franchise in the Continental Basketball Association from 1982 to 1992, the Albany Patroons left an indelible mark on the city of Albany, the CBA and the NBA. From elite coaches like Phil Jackson, Bill Mussleman and George Karl to standout players like Michael Ray Richardson, Mario Ellie, Tony Campbell, Sidney Lowe, Rick Carlisle and Scott Brooks, the Patroons' legacy continues to shape the world of professional basketball. We are working to bring you the untold story of the Patroons' quick rise, championship success and ultimate downfall. Beyond the franchise's ups and downs, the stories of the individuals involved, from fans, to executives to coaches and players are implausible, hilarious and inspiring.

A lot of coaches and players who'd go on to have big NBA careers came through Albany as part of the Patroons. And it looks like the filmmakers were able to talk with with a bunch of them, including Phil Jackson, George Karl, Rick Carlisle, and Mario Elie.

The link at the top to the doc's website includes a handful of clips.

The screening on September 22 also has a VIP reception that "will allow fans to mingle and share memories with former Patroon notables while enjoying hors d'oeuvres and an open bar." It's a benefit for Capital District YMCA. Tickets for that are $125 and available online.

The week ahead

author Elizabeth Acevedo

The NYS Writers Institute starts a new season of its visiting writers series with best-selling YA author -- and national poetry slam champ -- Elizabeth Acevedo. / photo via Elizabeth Acevedo Twitter

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (still summer), to authors, to pottery, to startups, to playoff baseball, to music...


(there's more)

A bike ride and design tour around Albany's Corning Riverfront Park

Corning Riverfront Park bike path and pond

The LocalxDesign series has a bike tour of the Corning Riverfront Park September 12. Blurbage:

We are embarking on a 3 mile bike ride as we explore the park and discuss how the experience of the landscape has changed overtime. From the times of the Albany Basin, through creation of the Preserve, to recent cycling infrastructure improvements and possible future enhancements of the park we hope to learn about history of the space. We are informally partnering with the CDPHP Cycle! and attendees can either bring their own bikes or use the bikeshare. As of now we are not offering any special discounts on the bike rental, but CDTA will assist with making sure we have adequate number of the rental bikes at the Broadway docking station.
The tour will start from in front of the Stacks Espresso Bar at 488 Broadway, loop through the preserve, go by the USS Slater, and return to the starting point.

The meet-up time for the tour is 5:30 pm. It's free to attend, but registration is requested.

LocalXDesign is a monthly series of events focused on design projects in this area. Previous events this year have included tours of downtown Albany murals, the Empire State Plaza, and The Church artists/events space in Troy.

Its founders are Barbara Nazarewicz, a landscape architect, and Liz Podowski King, a landscape designer.

+ Walking the new (very, very, very green) multi-use path along Corning Riverfront Park
+ Connecting Albany's riverfront park

Stuff to do this weekend

capital district scottish games caber toss

It's Labor Day weekend, which means it's time to toss around the caber.

It's the last unofficial weekend of summer. Before the leaves begin to turn and the cider donuts begin appear, there is still some swimming to be done and ice cream stands to visit. Below you'll find a few ideas for squeezing the last drop from the season.

Doing something you don't see here? Share it with us in the comments.

And whatever you're doing, remember your sunscreen and have fantastic weekend.

SUMMER Theatresports AOA 525 x 80.jpg


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Monster makeup class at Spa Little Theater

makeup curio composite 2

Jenn Dugan and some of her creations.

With an eye toward Halloween... Jenn Dugan -- owner of The Makeup Curio -- has a monster makeup class at the Spa Little Theater September 22. Blurbage:

Join us on Saturday, September 22nd to learn how to transform into Frankenstein's monster with this hands-on makeup workshop. Learn how to build a cut (see Frank's forehead), paint your face and add highlights and shadows to create a realistic look straight from the laboratory. Not appropriate for those with skin sensitivities. ... All are welcome, ages 12 to 99+ • Pre-registration required • Space is limited.

Registration is $15 and available online.

Jenn Dugan opened The Makeup Curio last year in Schenectady. It specializes in both beauty makeup and special effects makeup. Dugan's a makeup artist and costume designer. We talked with her last October about makeup, theater, and... zombies.

The Spa Little Theater is in Saratoga Spa State Park. And this October Home Made Theater will be staging a production of Young Frankenstein there.

Day trip: The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss and the Springfield Museums

Springfield Museums Seuss exterior

By Danielle Sanzone

Oh, the places you'll go... Springfield, Massachusetts, for example.

The home of the Basketball Hall of Fame. The home of that new MGM casino. One of the country's many Springfields where The Simpsons might live in their fictional world.

And it's the home of a complex called the Springfield Museums.

It's an easy 1.5 hour drive to Springfield from Albany along I-90 and then I-91. Yet, somehow I had never really heard much about these museums until the relatively new Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum opened as part of the Springfield Museums.

Once you finish exploring the complex, you might find, as Dr. Seuss would say, "you're in pretty good shape for the shape that you are in!"

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"Influence of the Dutch on the American Kitchen" at Ten Broeck Mansion and Crailo

Ten Broeck Mansion Albany exterior 2018-June

Culinary historian Peter G. Rose will be at the Ten Broeck Mansion in Albany September 9 to talk about the influence of the Dutch on American cooking. The event will then head over to the Crailo State Historic Site in Rensselaer for a live historic cooking demonstrations.

Rose is a noted historian of the Dutch influence on the cooking and cuisine of this part of the world. Originally from The Netherlands, she's written books such as The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and the New World. And her latest book is Delicious December: How the Dutch Brought Us Santa, Presents, and Treats. She's given talks previously at a handful of spots in this area, including the State Museum.

Tickets for the two-site event are $20 and available online. Space is limited and "pre-registration is strongly encouraged."

Earlier: What did Albany eat in the 18th century?

Lift Off! workshop for video game development

Tech Valley Game Space Lift Off logo

The Tech Valley Game Space is starting up a new free program -- Lift Off! -- with the goal of keeping the field of video game creation open to a wide range of people. Blurbage:

Lift Off is a free, inclusive, six-week program for self-identified women and non-binary participants to make their first game; no coding or other game development experience needed! This diversity-focused workshop series invites selected applicants of varied backgrounds and interests to create their own game. Participants will learn and practice the skill sets involved in making a game, from design, art, coding, audio composition and more. ...
Have you ever wanted to make a game, but felt uncertain about how to get started? You're not alone. Lift Off is designed for people just like you, because the truth is that you absolutely can make a game! Apply today, and take the first step toward bringing your game idea to life with support from our team of experienced mentors and the friendly community at Tech Valley Game Space.

The workshop meets on a series of Saturday afternoons between September and November at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity in downtown Troy (30 3rd Street). That link above includes an application form and other details.

The deadline to apply is September 8 at midnight.

Earlier: The goal: For everyone in the Capital Region to make a video game

NYS Writers Institute visiting writers fall 2018

nyswi visiting writers 2018 covers

The fall lineup for the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series is out. And it is again full of high-profile authors, actors, artists, and other creators talking talking about all sorts of topics.

The visiting writers series is in addition to the Albany Book Festival September 28-29 at UAlbany, which has its own stacked lineup of authors.

Here's a scan of the upcoming visiting writers schedule, which starts off the first week of September...

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Michelle Wolf at Albany Funny Bone

comedian Michelle Wolf

Comedian Michelle Wolf will be at the Albany Funny Bone for a two stand-up shows this Sunday, September 2. The shows are at 7 pm (sold out) and 9:45 pm -- tickets are $35.

Wolf got a lot of attention earlier this year for her performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in which she set pretty much everyone on blast, especially the Trump administration.

The former Daily Show contributor also hosted a show at Netflix this year. And she has an HBO comedy special premiering in December.

Aziz Ansari
Aziz Ansari is also playing a handful of shows at the Albany Funny Bone Tuesday and Wednesday -- but they're all sold out.

photo: Mindy Tucker

Here's the fall season for the Arts Center's "Social Media" crafts-and-drinks series

arts center capital region troy exterior

The popular "Social Media" drinks-and-arts series at the Arts Center of the Capital Region is back for a new season starting next week. Blurbage:

Each event provides an opportunity to try something new in our state of the art studios. Etch prints, throw on the wheel, make sweet treats, and much more! Every event includes a complimentary cocktail, so come over, get creative, and get social!

A schedule is below. This season also includes a few classes at the University Club in Albany.

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Matisyahu at Troy Music Hall

musician Matisyahu 2018

Matsiyahu is set to play a show at the Troy Music Hall November 1. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Thursday, August 30 -- they're $29.50 and up.

Tour blurbage: "On this tour, he performs acoustic versions of his chart-topping songs, including two of his biggest hits, "King Without A Crown" and "One Day". ... Matisyahu presents his music in its most raw form, allowing his voice and beat-boxing, paired with inventive guitar arrangements, to expand through a lyrical intensity and musical improvisation. This format naturally digs deep into the meaning of the songs themselves, and lays Matisyahu's spiritual journey bare, fostering a closeness to the artist-fan relationship."

And, as you might remember, Matisyahu played Alive at Five this past June.

photo: Chris Townsend

The week ahead

tri-city valleycats night game at the joe

The ValleyCats wrap up their home regular season this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (sunny), to baseball, to county fairs, to outdoor movies, to nanotech, to swimming, to music...


(there's more)

Amy Schumer at The Palace

comedian Amy Schumer 2018

Amy Schumer will be at The Palace November 8 for a stand-up show. Tickets go on sale this Monday, August 27 -- they're $32.

The Palace stop is part of a fall tour that, according to the press materials, will include all new material.

Of course, Schumer made a pop-up appearance at MopCo in Schenectady earlier this summer where she worked some material. Maybe some of that will end up in the new tour.

Schumer has sold out shows here before, so if you'd like to go to this show and have your pick of seats, getting tickets sooner rather than later isn't a bad idea.

Stuff to do this weekend

Saratoga Race Course from clubhouse 2017

It's the biggest weekend of the season at the Saratoga Race Course.

We're running out of summer, so don't waste it. This weekend includes a county fair, baseball, festivals, music, summer stock and more.

Planning something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comments.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

SUMMER Theatresports AOA 525 x 80.jpg


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Basilica Hudson will be honoring Courtney Love this fall

The "Pioneering People" series at Basilica Hudson will be hosting Courtney Love October 27 -- and a whole bunch of other boldfaced names. Event blurbage:

Basilica Hudson's biennial Pioneering People fundraiser celebrates groundbreaking artists across a range of disciplines by hosting and honoring a one-of-a-kind person in our raw industrial church. This year's event will celebrate the achievements and legacy of musician, songwriter, actor, performer and incomparable cultural force Courtney Love.
Creative directed and produced by Basilica Hudson's Co-Founder and Director Melissa Auf der Maur (former bassist of Courtney Love's GRAMMY-nominated, certified multi-platinum, award-winning band Hole) and artist Joe Mama-Nitzberg, who was Creative Director of Hole's Celebrity Skin and is a longtime creative collaborator and comrade of both Love and Auf der Maur, the event will be hosted by a group of creative luminaries and friends, including Aaron Dessner, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, Ryan McGinley, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Elvis Perkins, Chloë Sevigny, Michael Stipe, Brandon Stosuy, Yelena Yemchuk, Jack Walls, and other special guests.

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Animals in art, pets in America at the Albany Institute

Blue Lemon Bantum Egg Layer Machine by William Benard Schade - Albany Institute

The Albany Institute currently has two exhibits with animal themes -- A Menagerie of Whimsey: The Art of William B. Schade and Birds & Beasts: The Scary, Magical, and Adorable Animals of the Albany Institute -- and to go along with them, it has a few upcoming animal-themed events:

September 7: History on Tap: Animals in Art
"Did you know Albany born illustrator Dorothy Lathrop won the inaugural Caldecott Medal in 1938? And that the owl has been a symbol of wisdom since ancient times? For this special tour we will be learning all about the animals in our collection and their fascinating stories! Enjoy a drink with the group at a local bar following the tour (21+)." Admission is $12 and registration's required, see the link for details. Friday, September 7 at 6 pm

September 30: Pets in America: The History of Our Four-Footed Family Members
A talk by Katherine Grier, a professor of history at the University of Delaware and author of Pets in America: A History. "Pet keeping occurs all over the world, in large and small societies, and has been practiced throughout history. European colonists brought animals to the New World as pets and soon made some local wild animals into pets. By the 1820s, pet keeping was regarded as an important part of happy family life and a way for children to learn "habits of kindness" to everyone. Letters, photographs, print media and artifacts all tell the story of the evolving American love affair with pets, including its growing importance to children. Today, over 65 percent of American households (about 85 million families) include pets." Free with museum admission, though note that seating for the talk is is first come, first serve. Sunday, September 30 at 2 pm

Dutch Heritage Day at Albany Rural Cemetery

Albany Rural Cemetery shade tree

The Albany Rural Cemetery has a Dutch Heritage Day September 15 that will include a tour. Blurbage:

As part of this year's Hudson River Valley Ramble weekend, Albany Rural Cemetery will be holding a walking tour to graves reflecting the area's Dutch heritage, including some of the Cemetery's oldest and most historic points of interests such as the Dutch Reformed lot with headstones dating back to the early 18th century. There will be refreshments and more in the Chapel as well.

The tour is at 10 am that day . Tickets are $15. If you're interested, keep an eye on that link for pre-registration details above because other Albany Rural events this year have filled up, some of them quickly.

By the way: Tour or no tour, the Albany Rural Cemetery is a beautiful spot for a walk, especially in the fall.

Capitol Hauntings 2018

New York State Capitol night noir filter

The annual Capitol Hauntings tours at the state Capitol building start up September 17 this year. That's two weeks earlier than in past years, an expanded scheduled the state Officer of General Services says was prompted by popular demand.

Blurbage for the free tours:

In tales that mix history with the macabre, tour guides will tell stories about the night watchman who died in the Capitol fire of 1911 and who some believe still makes his rounds today. They also recount tales of the two United States presidents who visited the Capitol after they died.
Find out where the Assembly Chamber's "lost" murals are located and what happened to the tormented artist who created them. Walking among the gargoyle-like carvings and strange carved faces, visitors will discover the location of the Capitol's "secret demon" and evidence of a curse the demon may hold on the Capitol will be revealed, along with other dark secrets.
The tour lasts about an hour, but the chilling, ghostly tales might haunt you forever.

The tours will be offered Monday-Friday at 1 pm and 5:30 pm and Saturdays at 1 pm. (No tours on Columbus Day.) The schedule runs through November 2.

Registration for the tours opens next Monday, August 27 (see the link above). And, as indicated, these tours do fill up very fast -- especially the 5:30 pm and Saturday slots. So if you interested in going, it's worth picking out a date and being ready to register for it next week.

Troy street painting competition 2018

Troy sidewalk art 2011 bluebird on The Egg

The street painting competition organized by the Arts Center of the Capital Region returns to downtown Troy September 22 and registration is now open. Participating artists will use chalk to turn sidewalk panels in art. Blurbage:

All regional artists are invited to participate in the fall Street Painting Competition for the best chalk design on the sidewalks of River Street. Registration fee is $20.00 and includes one set of colored chalk, and one pack of white chalk. Please note, artists are allowed to provide their own chalk based on their designs but the entry fee still applies.
Age categories: Adult, Grade 1-5, Grade 6-8, or Grade 9-12.

Registration is $20 and space is limited. See the link for details.

Also: The event has a different location this time around. It will still be on River Street, but it will be the block between 1st and State Street (it's the curved block by the Rice Building).

Upstate Crossword Championship

Times Union Upstate Crossword Championship logo

The Times Union is hosting the first Upstate Crossword Championship at the Hearst Media Center* Saturday, September 22. Online slang for an excerpt, eight letters:

[C]ontestants will compete in a multiple-round match to solve exclusive, themed puzzles provided by King Features. Participants will earn time and accuracy scores. Top finishers will compete in a final round, featuring a Capital Region-themed puzzle, for the day's biggest prize.
All participants will get light breakfast snacks during registration, a buffet lunch and afternoon snacks during the final judging. There will also be giveaways.

There's also a lunchtime keynote speaker: Selmer Bringsjord, a professor of logic, computer and cognitive science at RPI and director of the Rensselaer Artificial Intelligence & Reasoning (RAIR) Lab. (He appeared in the documentary Wordplay.) Talk topic: "Could an AI Ever Be The World's Best Crossword Puzzle Solver?"

Tickets are $30 and available online.

* It's the conference/event space in the Times Union building on Albany Shaker Road in Colonie.

The week ahead

musician Chris Stapleton v2

Chris Stapleton is one of a handful of shows at SPAC this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (not bad), to baseball, to the fair, to stories, to outdoor movies, to kayaking, to music...


(there's more)

BUILT 2018 call for entries

BUILT 2018 poster card

This year's Historic Albany Foundation BUILT event -- "Albany's Architecture through Artists' Eyes" -- will be at the State Museum November 3.

The annual fundraiser is showcase for work by local artists that's inspired by Albany's built environment. And there's a call for entries (link added):

For the past 17 years, HAF has used this annual art exhibit and silent auction to highlight the built environment of the Capital Region. A portion of the proceeds from the reception and art sales will benefit the Foundation's mission of programming, technical services, and, preservation efforts including the stabilization of 48 Hudson Avenue, Albany's oldest building. BUILT is unique in that it supports the local arts community and preservation initiatives throughout the year. This year's theme revolves around the 40th anniversary of the HAF Architectural Parts Warehouse. Artists are encouraged to submit art made from salvaged, reclaimed and recycled materials. For more information, a prospectus and entry form, artists can visit [the HAF BUILT website]. This year's judges are local artists Peter Leue and Mark Gregory.

This year's poster/card for the event (above) features an Albany mosaic by Karen Schupack.

BUILT is Saturday, November 3 from 6:30-9:30 pm, and will feature food from BMT Hospitality and wine from Capital Wine and Spirits. Tickets are $95 / $55 for attendees under 35 years old.

The Breeders at Upstate Concert Hall

the band The Breeders 2018

Catching up a bit: The Breeders are set to play Upstate Concert Hall October 28. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $30 ahead / $32 day of.

It's been 25 years since Last Splash, and the same band lineup behind that hit album is back recording and touring, including a new album out this past spring.

Of course, Kim Deal is one of the most influential figures in the history of alt rock. She wrote some of the best Pixies songs -- tracks that were, along with the first Breeders album, an inspiration to Kurt Cobain. And The Breeders would go on to be an acclaimed and popular 90s band. Even today you can hear the echoes of the sound Deal helped shape in newer acts.

Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show: Chris Lamberth

comedian Chris Lamberth

The Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show series is bringing Chris Lamberth back to Proctors August 25. Tickets are $15 ahead / $20 at the door and available now.

Lamberth was a previously a headliner for the series back in 2016. Bio blurbage:

[Lamberth] has toured nationally with Chris Hardwick and shared the stage with notable comedians Maria Bamford, Bill Burr, D.L. Hughley, Marc Maron, Trevor Noah and Craig Robinson. He has been featured on AXS TV's Gotham Comedy Live, the webseries Co-Operation, MTV's prank show Bugging Out and the critically acclaimed podcast 2 Dope Queens. ...
His other television and film credits include High Maintenance (HBO), Jessica Jones (Netflix), The Last O.G. (TBS), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix) and the upcoming film Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) starring Melissa McCarthy. He also serves as host of The Mundane Festival--a weekly podcast...

The show's at 8 pm. And with all Pretty Much shows, there will be a host and opener.

Four years of Pretty Much The Best Comedy Show
The show this August will mark the fourth-year anniversary of the Pretty Much The Best Comedy Show series, which has consistently brought interesting, rising comics through town, among them Aparna Nancherla and Josh Gondelman.

Forest walk for mushrooms, and a few other things do with the Rensselaer Land Trust

mushroom in forest Rensselaer Land Trust

This could be interesting: The Rensselaer Land Trust has a mushroom walk led by mycologist Sue Van Hook lined up for August 25. Blurbage:

Sue Van Hook, local mycologist, will lead us into the woods at one of our forests or preserves. Participants will have a chance to develop their ?eld skills in mushroom identi?cation. Bring a basket or bag with stiff sides, a ?eld knife or trowel, and a hand lens if you have one.

The walk is Saturday, August 25 at 10 am.

Registration is $10 per person (kids are free) and available online. It's limited to 25 people.

More land trust events
If you're looking to get outside and learn a little bit about the natural world around here, the Rensselaer Land Trust has a handful of upcoming events:
+ August 18: Celebrate Stephentown at Robert Ingalls Preserve Hike
+ August 19: Wilderness Ways for Families and Children
+ August 23: After Work Walk-Poestenkill Community Forest - Where is the water in the woods?
+ September 8: Bird Walk and Talk About bird Census at the Poestenkill Community Forest

See the links for the details and registration info.

photo via Rensselaer Land Trust Facebook

Stuff to do this weekend

Altamont Fair ferris wheel

It's Altamont Fair weekend. / photo: Kimberly Dunham

Gather your summer weekend fun while you can. This weekend is overflowing with music, summer theater festivals, fair food, Ferris wheels and more.

Here's our list of stuff we thought you might like to try this weekend. Doing something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comment section.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Colson Whitehead is the next New York State Author, Alicia Ostriker the next State Poet

novelist Colson Whitehead and poet Alicia Ostriker

Colson Whitehead and Alicia Ostriker

The next New York State Author will be Colson Whitehead, and the next State Poet will be Alicia Ostriker.

Their selection was announced this week -- and they'll be inaugurated at the opening of the Albany Book Festival at UAlbany Friday, September 28 at 7:30 pm. Both writers will be reading at the event, which is free and open to the public.

Colson Whitehead is, of course, a famous novelist whose most recent work -- The Underground Railroad -- won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Alicia Suskin Ostriker is a poet and poetry critic. Bio blurbage: "Alicia Ostriker, the author of sixteen volumes of poetry, is one of the most acclaimed poets, as well as one of the most influential poetry critics of her generation. Joyce Carol Oates asserts that her 'iconoclastic expression, whether in prose or poetry, is essential to understanding our American selves.' Ostriker's work explores motherhood, womanhood, social justice, Jewish identity and-- in the words of poet Joan Larkin-- 'takes on nothing less than what it feels like to be alive.'"

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It's outdoor movie season

outdoor movie Empire State Plaza 2012

The ESP outdoor movie series is now in West Capitol Park. (This is an old file photo from 2012.)

Well, presumably, all of summer should probably be considered outdoor movie season, but for whatever reason movie-outside events tend to happen in greater numbers around here in August. And so it is again.

A handful that are popping up, starting up, or continuing -- including three this week...

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Postmodern Jukebox back at Troy Music Hall

Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox is returning to the Troy Music Hall February 22. Tickets on on sale to the general public this Friday, August 17 -- they're $34.50 and up.

Postmodern Jukebox performs jazz/ragtime/swing covers of pop music. They've racked up about a billion views on Youtube, covering pop acts across all a bunch of genres.

The act has made multiple stops at the Troy Music Hall. That includes a show this past January ahead of which the group spent a few days rehearsing for a tour. And it was during that time the group recorded the video embedded above -- a jazzy cover of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up."

Troy Music Hall advertises on AOA.

Wye Oak at Helsinki Hudson

the band Wye Oak

Indie rock duo Wye Oak will be at Helsinki Hudson October 8 for a show. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $25 for general admission.

Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack released a new album this past spring, The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs, to positive reviews. Band blurbage: "In Wye Oak, Jenn Wasner's dreamy vocals float above Andy Stack's hip-hop and industrial-flavored electro-beats and New Wave keyboard parts, variously creating a fusion of singer-songwriter folk, dance-floor ecstasy, and ambient soundscapes. Stack has worked with members of the National, Sylvan Esso, T. Rex, and others. Jenn Wasner has worked with members of Dirty Projectors, Flock of Dimes, and the Decembrists."

The duo's played a handful of shows around this area over the last past decade so, including a stop at Helsinki Hudson last fall. (And maybe their first show around here was way back in 2008 at Valentine's with Sgt Dunbar.)

photo via Wye Oak Facebook

Opalka Gallery 2018 fall season

musician john vanderslice

The upcoming season at the gallery includes a "living room" concert with John Vanderslice.

The next season at the Opalka Gallery on the Sage Albany campus starts up at the end of August. And it includes all sorts of exhibits, talks, shows, and other experiences.

Here's a quick look at the schedule...

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The first Albany Book Festival will be at UAlbany this fall and the lineup is stacked with notable authors

albany book festival 2018 kearns-goodwin lam and gordon-reed

The lineup includes Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, food writer/Splendid Table host Francis Lam, and Harvard professor Annette Gordon-Reed who won the Pulitzer Prize (and a bunch of other awards) for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.

The New York State Writers Institute has the first Albany Book Festival set for September 29 on the UAlbany campus. And holy moly is the lineup stacked.

Among the authors who will be there: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Gregory Maguire, Mark Kurlansky, Francis Lam, Michael W. Twitty, Annette Gordon-Reed, Walter Mosley, Laura Lippman, Khizr Khan. (A fuller lineup is below.)

Festival blurbage:

A message from NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl:
"The Albany Book Festival is a new initiative for us and we ask you to join us in creating something truly amazing that elevates UAlbany and our capital city for years to come." ...
Bookstores, publishers, literary organizations, and vendors of book-related merchandise will fill numerous display tables and close to 100 local authors will also participate, signing and selling copies of their books.

The book festival will be Saturday, September 29 from 10 am to 4 pm in the new section of the UAlbany campus center on the uptown campus. It's free and open to the public.

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The week ahead

joshua bell

Star violinist Joshua Bell will be making two appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra this week at SPAC. / photo: Bill Phelps

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (more of the same), to the Track, to the fair, to baseball, to outdoor movies, to music...


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Music break: Bear Grass

Something to listen to, today or whenever: "Wash Over Me" by Bear Grass.

The song is off the local group's new album, LEFT, which will be released August 10. Album blurbage:

LEFT is the sophomore album of Troy, NY based indie rock band Bear Grass. Originally from Fox Island, Washington, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Katie Hammon, describes LEFT as a question of time and place. Having left her childhood home at age 17 to relocate to the right coast, Hammon has spent her adult life away from the people and places for which she holds great love and nostalgia. LEFT plays with the emotions of creating home while holding onto the past, recognizing that the people and places which once existed move along with time. ...
LEFT was created by Katie Hammon, bassist August Sagehorn, Tommy Krebs on vocals, keys and guitar, and drummer Ian White. The album was recorded and mixed by Hunter Davidsohn of Business District Recording in Johnson City, NY, and mastered by Josh Bonati of Bonati Mastering NYC.

Bear Grass has an album-release show lined up at the Post Contemporary - CAC Woodside in Troy August 10. Hunter Davidson will open. Admission includes a free copy of the album along with finger foods, and Rare Form will be there selling beer. Tickets are $20 and available online.

Five Kill Records
LEFT is being released by Five Kill Records, the new indie label that's a collaboration of handful of Albany/Troy collectives and labels: B3nson Recording Company, Swordpaw Collective, Collar City Records, The Rev Records, and Bee Side Cassettes.

(That's "kill" as in the Dutch word for stream/river.)

Stuff to do this weekend


The Bacon Brothers are at The Egg on Sunday. And as everyone knows, Bacons and Egg is the most important concert of the day. (Weekend, please.) / photo: Bacon Bros.

It's a sunscreen-and-umbrella kind of weekend, so be prepared and pack them both.

While you can't choose your weekend weather, you can choose what you're going to do -- and as always, we're here to help.

Below you'll find a list of weekend events we thought you might enjoy. Planning something that didn't make our list? Tell us about it in the comment section.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!

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There's another Capital Walls mural tour in downtown Albany coming up

Capital Walls mural Water Street Albany NY Rachel Baxter

A mural by Rachel Baxter along Water Street.

Albany Center Gallery has organized another Capital Walls mural tour in downtown Albany for August 4. Blurbage:

The guided tour, led by mural curator Tony Iadicicco, will stop at several public artworks around Albany. Mural artists Rachel Baxter, Michael Conlin, Cara Hanley and Sylvie Kantorovitz will join us on the tour, with each having a chance to talk about the inspiration for their mural as well as their artistic process.

The tour is that Saturday from 11 am to 1 pm. Tickets are $25 and include the tour, a beverage at Loch & Quay, refreshments at the Olde English, and a Capital Walls mural pin. You'll also be supporting a stipend for the artists.

+ Here's how those three new murals in downtown Albany turned out
+ Gawking at the newly finished mural on the Quackenbush Garage in downtown Albany
+ Flocking to downtown

"Art & Cosmos" talks at SPAC

astronaut Nicole Stott and her artwork

Astronaut Nicole Stott. She's standing in front of her artwork, which was inspired by a photo she took of Isla Los Roques, Venezuela from the International Space Station.

This August SPAC is bringing in a handful of speakers for talks about the intersections of art, science, and nature. And it's a solid lineup:

+ Astronaut/artist Nicole Stott

+ Science reporter/author Dava Sobel and essayist/naturalist Diane Ackerman

+ Physicist/cosmologist/musician/author Stephon Alexander

The schedule additional blurbage is below.

The talks will be on the SPAC main stage. The speaker will be at the conductor's podium and the audience will sit in the orchestra chairs. Tickets are $20 each.

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Capital Region county fairs 2018

Summer scene fair by Crystal Powell

photo: Crystal Capritta

We're heading into the second half of the summer and that means county fair season.

The Saratoga County Fair in Ballston Spa started Tuesday. And as August arrives, there will be a county fair somewhere around the region pretty much each week through Labor Day.

County fairs are remarkably long-recurring events -- some in this area are more than 170 years old, and one of them is approaching two centuries.

Here's a rundown of county fairs around the region, with dates, admission info, and whatnot.

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Black Violin at The Egg

music duo Black Violin

The duo Black Violin is set for a show at The Egg May 17, 2019. Tickets go on sale the general public this Thursday, July 26 -- they're $34.50 and up.

Band blurbage:

Black Violin - featuring Wil Baptiste and Kevin "Kev Marcus" Sylvester - blends classical, hip-hop, rock, R&B, and bluegrass with influences ranging from Shostakovich and Bach to Nas and Jay-Z. Their major label debut recording "Stereotypes" is anything but stereotypical as they break all the rules in creating their one-of-a-kind musical fusion that has rocked concert halls and festivals worldwide.

Black Violin is also lined up for a "SPAC on Stage" show at SPAC August 20, but it's been sold out for months. It's the second straight year the duo sold out their SPAC on Stage show. Black Violin also played Troy Musical Hall this past April.

Two more 2019 concerts announced for The Egg

January 11: "We Shall Overcome": A Musical Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr featuring The Damien Sneed Band

April 13: The Fab Faux - "From the Cavern to the Rooftop"

Fall Fermentation Festival at Common Roots

Common Roots Fall Fermentation Festival

From last year's festival. / photo via Common Roots

Common Roots Brewing has a Fall Fermentation Festival coming up September 15 at its South Glens Falls brewery that will feature breweries from around the Northeast and products made via wild fermentation. Blurbage:

This beer festival is centered around all things spontaneous and fermented, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and foods. It surrounds the fall release of Rooted: Our respectful interpretation of a spontaneously fermented Wild Ale, inoculated in our coolship and aged in oak barrels.
Common Roots Brewing Company is enthusiastic about exploring and experimenting with this traditional style of brewing and committed to bringing only the best beer from around the country to help us celebrate.
Festival guests have the opportunity to sample unique mixed fermented beers and we hope you will join us to share in the celebration of fermentation!

The list of participating breweries and beverage producers (so far) is below. There will also be food from the City Beer Hall.

General admission tickets are $65, and there's a designated driver tickets for $35.

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Wheels to Waterford History Ride

Mohawk Hudson bike trail sign

This could be fun: The Albany Bicycle Coalition is organizing a "Wheels to Waterford History Ride" between Albany and Wateford on Sunday, August 5. Blurbage:

Join with the Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center, the Albany Bicycle Coalition, and the Bike Barn Cycling and Fitness. for a sponsored ride from Albany to Waterford and return. The ride will feature an exclusive tour of the Waterford Museum, stops at some key canal and local features along the way, and a light lunch on the museum grounds.
The escorted ride will be on the very flat Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike and the Black Bridge trails to Waterford and is mostly "off road" with some quiet on-street sections in Watervliet, Green Island, and Waterford. In Waterford, we will follow the Old Champlain Canal towpath to Lock #4 and the Museum grounds.

The rain-or-shine ride is approximately 23 miles roundtrip. It leaves Albany at 10 am and will return around 2:30 pm. The fee is $20 (includes lunch, museum admission, and a donation to ABC). Registration is requested by July 31 -- see the link above for details.

WEXT Exit Dome show with Sean Rowe

Sean_Rowe 2018 photo credit Matt Dayak

WEXT is bringing back its Exit Dome benefit show September 7. And the headliner this time around is Sean Rowe. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $20.

The show's lineup also includes:

+ Super 400 playing acoustically

+ Darling Valley

+ Sorrow Estate

+ Motorbike

+ Troubadours Steve Candlen and Taylor Wing

The show is at the WMHT studios ("The Exit Dome") in the Rensselaer Tech Park in North Greenbush. It starts at 7 pm.

photo: Matt Dayak

Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show: Abbi Crutchfield + Luke Thayer

comedians Abbi Crutchfield and Luke Thayer

The Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show series will be back at Proctors this Saturday, July 28 with two headliners on the bill: Abbi Crutchfield and Luke Thayer.

Show blurbage:

Abbi Crutchfield - As seen on Comedy Central's "Broad City," NBC's "The Mysteries of Laura," and current co-host of TruTV's "You Can Do Better", Abbi Crutchfield is a comedian named one of the 18 Funny Women You Should Be Following on Twitter by Huffington Post Comedy. She is a UCB alum and is a longtime producer of the acclaimed live comedy show The Living Room Show.
Luke Thayer - luke was just names Sirius XM's "Comedian Of The Month"! Luke has appeared at comedy festivals, clubs, and colleges across the country and internationally. His TV appearances include Fox's "Laughs," "Brain Games" on Nat Geo, Tyra, Food Network, and "All Night with Joey Reynolds" on NBC. Luke's also been a guest in Funny Or Die Originals and College Humor videos and listed in the NY Post's Comics' Favorite Jokes.

And, as it happens, they're married. (To each other.)

Show's at 8 pm. Tickets are $15 ahead / $20 at the door.

photos: Abbi Crutchfield via her Twitter account | Luke Thayer via his Facebook

The week ahead

Janet Jackson 2018

Janet Jackson is at SPAC this week. / photo: Solamain Fazel

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (steamy), to the track, to bobblehead night, to writers, to history, to beer, to music...


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Exploring Washington County

Washington County composite

By Julie Madsen

The rural, rolling hills of Washington County are just about an hour northeast of Albany on a scenic ride along Route 40.

The county is bordered by the eastern shore of Lake George, Saratoga County, and the state of Vermont.

Some may overlook this area with larger attractions close by -- let them, and you can continue to enjoy the peace and quiet and beauty of the region.

Here are a few ideas for things to do while you're there...

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Stuff to do this weekend


It's opening weekend at the Saratoga Race Course.

We're in the thick of the summer now. Long days, lemonade, blueberries, ice cream, and a bounty of stuff to do.

We collected a few things we thought might interest you. Doing something that didn't make our list? Tell us about it in the comments.

And whatever you're up to, remember your sunscreen, and have a fantastic weekend.

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CapSci workshop on talking about science with the public

science march 2017 from behind speakers

At last year's science march in Albany.

The local org CapSci has a workshop August 25 at Siena that's focused on helping people become better communicators of science. Blurbage:

As scientists, how do we combat anti-science messaging?
How do we cultivate public trust in scientists and in scientific evidence?
We must communicate better!
Communicating is one of our highest responsibilities as scientists. Yet academics are trained to publish behind walls of jargon and subscription memberships, isolating ourselves and our findings from the very people we hope to serve and whose taxes support our work.
Breaking away from the world of reviewers and grant panels is not easy, but we can get there! Join CapSci for a master class on communicating with the general public, lead by expert science communicator Dr. Cara Ocobock (University at Albany). You'll learn to connect with a broad audience, hone your message, and engage more fully in your community. Participants will join a network of local scientists participating in regular public outreach opportunities.

We'd just add that knowing how to effectively explain something -- or, to put it another way, how you know what you know -- is an important and valuable skill for all sorts of professions, even those that you might not immediately think of as public-facing. If you ever end up speaking at a conference, or a public meeting, or a neighborhood group, or (gulp) the media (don't worry, we're not all that bad) these sorts of skills are helpful.

The class is Saturday, August 25 from 1-5 pm at Siena College. Registration is $40 / $25 for students. And space is limited.

Science on Tap
CapSci also has more Science on Tap events -- public talks by scientists in bars -- coming up...

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Old-school cooking and ice cream at Crailo

Crailo State Historic Site Rensselaer exterior

The Crailo State Historic Site in Rensselaer is hosting two food/cooking-themed events over the next two months:

July 21: Summer Seasonals: Dutch hearth cooking and tours
"What did early Dutch settlers eat? Where did their food come from? Why is it called a Dutch oven? Learn the answers to these and more questions at Crailo State Historic Site! On July 21st join us at Crailo for 'Summer Seasonals', a special educational program featuring Colonial Foods Focus tours at 11:00 and 1:00 followed by a hearth cooking demonstration. Using colonial era recipes and 17th century methods, an experienced hearth cook will demonstrate how early Dutch settlers prepared farm-to-table meals with summer vegetables, fruits, and other seasonal foods."

(Of course, back then people probably just a different term for farm-to-table dining: "dinner.")

The tours are at 11 am and 1 pm, and the cooking demonstrations will immediately follow in Crailo's cellar kitchen. It's $5 for adults / $4 for students and seniors / free for kids 12 and under.

August 18: Colonial Ice Cream Day
"Join interpreters in period dress to discover how colonists in the Hudson Valley would make ice cream in the middle of the summer without freezers and electricity. We will be using a reproduction sabotiere, ice cream molds and trying some period recipes. And learn a simple way to make your own ice cream!"

The event is from 11 am to 4 pm that Saturday. It's $3 for adults / free for kids 12 and under.

The Crailo State Historic Site is at 9 1/2 Riverside Avenue in Rensselaer, right across from the Hudson River (it's a beautiful block). It was once a home for the Van Rensselaer family and now serves as a museum of colonial Dutch history in the Hudson Valley. It was named after the Van Rensselaer's estate in the Netherlands -- Crayloo or Cralo -- which meant "crows' wood" in Dutch.

Repair Cafe Schenectady returns

The Schenectady County Public Library will again be hosting a Repair Café this Saturday. Repair Café? Blurbage:

Repair Café is a neighborhood initiative that promotes repair as an alternative to tossing things out. At a Repair Café, community members can bring their broken but cherished items to be fixed on the spot, for free, with the help of volunteer repair coaches.
Examples of some of the items you can bring to be fixed include: small electric appliances (especially lamps and vacuums,) furniture/wooden objects, clothing/textiles, Dolls/toys, jewelry, watches/clocks, ceramics and general mechanical (small items only, no gas powered machines.)
There is a limit of two items for repair per household.
At the library's first Repair Café over 80 beloved items were repaired. "Many of the things that are fixed have deep emotional meaning to the people who bring them in. We don't just fix treasures-- we sometimes mend broken hearts, too" says Repair Café Schenectady founder Dave West.

The Schenectady Repair Cafe is this Saturday, July 21 from 10 am-2 pm at the central library on Clinton Street in downtown Schenectady. It's free. (And if you'd like to volunteer as a repair coach, email Dave West: westfir50 |at|

The Repair Cafe idea started in the Netherlands and has since spread around the world. Including a few other spots around the Capital Region:

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Block party at Franklin Alley Social Club

Franklin Alley Social Club alley party credit Heidi Sicari

The Franklin Alley Social Club in Troy will be closing down its namesake alley this Friday, July 20 for luau-themed block party. Blurbage:

Come through after work and enjoy a beachy cocktail, cold beer and a seriously amazing menu curated by our friends at Lost & Found Albany!
The party will include live music, delicious food, and cold drinks inside a "bamboo alley oasis."
Surf Rock bands will include:
The Jagaloons (From Albany)
The Men In Gray Suits (from Canada)
Black Flamingos (From New Jersey)
Followed by a Silent Disco Afterparty hosted by Retold Dance Company.

Updated with info about pricing. The luau-themed block party is from 5-11 pm and is free admission. (It's a 21+ event after 8 pm.)

The silent disco afterparty starts at 11:30 pm. Tickets for that are $20 ahead / $25 at the door. "Admission includes 3-channel light-up headphones, 1 complimentary drink, and glow sticks."

photo: Franklin Alley Social Club / Heidi Sicari

Farming Man Fest at Indian Ladder Farms

Farming Man Fest 2018 logo

Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont has a new event -- Farming Man Fest -- coming up Saturday, August 18 that combines craft beverages and music. Blurbage:

Since adding a brewery and cidery to the farm several years ago, Indian Ladder has made a name for themselves in the farm brewing community. They've invited friends from over a dozen other breweries that will be bringing their own products for attendees to enjoy. This will be a great opportunity for beer and cider enthusiasts to not only try a wide range of new brews, but to also be able to meet and talk with the producers themselves. Taking that idea further, the farm is offering an educational aspect to the event with a hop picking demonstration earlier in the day at 11am. Indian Ladder Cidery and Brewery makes their products with hops, barley and apples grown on site.
Most people that visit Indian Ladder Farms are familiar with the orchards, the farm market, the brewery and its beer garden, but the festival itself will take place a few fields back in a beautiful setting nestled near the Helderberg escarpment. Gates will open at 2pm with live music from 3pm until 11pm. Food will be available for purchase

The list of producers and the music lineup are below.

Tickets are on sale now -- they're $25 ahead / $35 at the gate. "All ages are welcome, this is a family friendly event."

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The week ahead

NYCB at SPAC 2018

The New York City Ballet is at SPAC this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (very July), to movies, to the ballet, to authors, to the stage, to history, to the Track, to music...


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Stuff to do this weekend


10,000 Maniacs at Cohoes Music Hall this weekend. / photo: Don Hill

Another fun-filled summer weekend awaits the Capital Region with blueberry picking, roller derby, swimming, music festivals, comedy, the Pig Out, and a Chip Fest.

Here's our list. Pick your favorites and don't forget your sunscreen.

Doing something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comments. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Ludacris at the TU Center

rapper actor Ludacris

Ludacris is set to play a show at the Times Union Center August 11. Tickets go on sale this Friday, July 13 -- they're $50 and up.

Joining the rapper/actor as a headliner for the show: rapper/songwriter August Alsina.

And the lineup also includes DJ Nick Lake, DJ Ted Smooth, MC/Actor Lou Pizarro, MC/Actor Teddy G, MC/Actor Jeremy.

Pick-your-own blueberry season 2018

blueberries in box on grass

Mid summer is here, which means it's blueberry season around the greater Capital Region. And there are a bunch of places where you can pick your own.

Blueberries are are easy to pick (on bushes about waist high), relatively cheap (usually about $3 per pound), and they freeze beautifully, so you can stock up for later in the year. Picking them on a beautiful summer morning is almost meditative.

Here's a list of farms around the region for PYO blueberries, along with a few details.

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Two events talking about the Schuyler sisters

Schuyler Mansion Albany exterior

The Schuyler Mansion.

Two events coming up about the daughters of Philip Schuyler, their time growing up at the Schuyler Mansion in Albany, life beyond the mansion, and their modern Hamilton-related fame.

July 14: Schuyler Sisters Book Slam
The Schuyler Mansion in Albany is hosting a Schuyler sisters "book slam" event featuring authors/researchers talking about their work:

Author Danielle Funiciello will begin the slam, presenting her recent research on eldest daughter Angelica Schuyler Church, who is the subject of her PhD dissertation. Funiciello is a former staff member at Schuyler Mansion, and has done extensive research on Angelica in the last year.
Second author, Susan Holloway Scott, will discuss the research that led to her historical fiction novel, I, Eliza Hamilton, which follows Elizabeth from the time she met Hamilton until his death in 1804. Scott will discuss her research, which included multiple visits to Schuyler Mansion, and will read an excerpt from her novel.
Lastly, Margaret Schuyler Van Rensselaer will be highlighted by Laura Elliott, author of the young adult historical fiction novel Hamilton and Peggy!, which chronicles Peggy's coming -of- age in the shadow of her two elder sisters. Elliot will discuss the research she conducted for the novel and will also read an excerpt from her novel.

The house will be open from 3-4 pm that Saturday for self-guided tours, and the talks begin at 4 pm. Admission is a suggested $3 donation.

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JD McPherson at The Hangar

JD McPherson band 2018

Blues/rockabilly singer/songwriter/guitarist JD McPherson is set to play two shows at The Hangar on the Hudson in Troy July 21 and July 22. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $25.

He released a new record last fall. Here's a song off it: "Lucky Penny."

McPherson's made a handful of stops in Troy before. And the show he played at The Hangar last November sold out (as have previous shows he's played there). The venue says it expects this upcoming Saturday-Sunday set to also sell out.

Sam Lewis is the opener for the shows.

photo via JD McPherson website

"Wild Women" tour at Oakwood Cemetery

Oakwood Cemetery

The historic Oakwood Cemetery in Troy has a new tour coming up July 21 called "Wild Women of Oakwood" that's led by Rensselaer County and Troy city historian Kathy Sheehan. Blurbage:

She will lead us to the gravesites of some women who were movers and shakers in our county history. These women were a force to be reckoned with --- suffragists, philanthropists, even a clairvoyant physician!

The tour is Saturday, July 21 starting at 9 am. It's $15 per person (pay when you get there), kids under 12 are free. Call 518-328-0090 to register.

In related news, we would very much watch a TV series about a clairvoyant physician as she solves mysteries and medical cases in and around early 20th century Troy. (If PBS can have a show about a Cambridgeshire vicar solving murders, why not this.)

Gardner Earl Chapel
By the way: The Oakwood Cemetery's Gardner Earl Chapel -- "Troy's castle on the hill" -- will be open for tours every Tuesday in August at 1 pm and 2 pm. Tickets are $8.

The week ahead

musician Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett is playing a show at MASS MoCA this week. / photo: Danny Clinch

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (still hot), to movies, to authors, to the stage, to art, to music...


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"South End: Past and Future - The Journey to Rapp Road and Beyond" at APL

Rapp Road history augmented reality event at APL Howe 2018-July posterThis looks interesting -- a use of new tech to help tell an important local history story.

The Albany Public Library's Howe Branch will be hosting an event with the Rapp Road Historical Association called "South End: Past and Future - The Journey to Rapp Road and Beyond." Blurbage:

Come learn about the African-American history of Great Migration from Mississippi to Albany, New York, and its connection to the South End. Experts from the Rapp Road Historical Association will use Augmented Reality (AR) technology to bring pictures to life and show how African-Americans migrated from Mississippi to settle in the South End and Rapp Road. They will also share new opportunities for studying and sharing your own family histories. Light refreshments will be served.

The event is Wednesday July 25 at 6 pm at the beautiful Howe Branch (105 Schuyler Street). The event is free, but registration is requested (see the link for details).

Earlier: The Rapp Road Community Historic District

Art For Lunch at the Empire State Plaza

ESP art New Morning I by Alvin D Loving Jr

A portion of "New Morning I" by Alvin D. Loving Jr, which is on display in the concourse.

This could be interesting: The Empire State Plaza Visitor Center is offering "Art for Lunch" tours of the ESP's modern art collection this summer. Blurbage:

Jackson Pollock - Mark Rothko - Robert Motherwell - Helen Frankenthaler! Explore artwork by some of the most famous contemporary artists in the world! The Empire State Plaza Art Collection is one of the most impressive public collections of contemporary art in the country. Join us on a 30-minute lunchtime tour of selected works and learn about the New York School, Abstract Expressionism and other facts about this amazing collection. Each tour will focus on a different selection of artworks and on various themes including, sculpture in nature, women artists in the collection, art you can touch, creating the collection, artists who are World War II veterans, and art as propaganda in the Cold War. Weather permitting, tours will take place inside and out.

The upcoming tours are July 11 and 25, August 8 and 22 from noon to 12:30 pm. There's not reservation required, but groups of 10 or more should call ahead. (See the link for details.)

Stuff to do this weekend

musician Bombino

The Music Haven season opens this weekend with Bombino.

That feeling when the holiday comes mid-week and the weekend is just out of reach.

Well, the good news is it's getting closer every moment.

The better news: it's full of good stuff to do -- concerts, ball games, boats, theater, drive-ins, and more.

We've put together our weekly list of stuff we thought you might like. Doing something you don't see here? Let us know about it so everyone can see. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!

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Upbeat on the Roof 2018

musician Taina Asili and band

Taina Asili will be there in August. / photo: Kiki Vassiliakis

The Upbeat on the Roof series starts up a new season at The Tang Museum at Skidmore tonight (Thursday).

The free Thursday evening concerts are on the roof of the museum (thus the name), and the galleries are open late.

This year's lineup is below. As in years past, it includes local acts across a range of genres.

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NYS Summer Writers Institute 2018

actor writer Wallace Shawn credit Jared Rodriguez

Actor/playwright/essayist Wallace Shawn will be part of a panel discussion titled "Fears & Night Thoughts" with Francine Prose and Binnie Kirschenbaum. / photo: Jared Rodriguez

The New York State Summer Writers Institute has returned to Skidmore for the summer, and that means the a big slate of free public readings for the next the month.

As usual, the lineup is full of names you'll recognize, such as Russell Banks, Claire Messud, Mary Gaitskill, Rick Moody, Robert Pinsky, Joyce Carol Oates, and William Kennedy. The readings are on Skidmore's campus and are free and open to the public.

This year's schedule also includes two weekend panel discussions.

So, let's have a look...

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Jake Shimabukuro at Caffe Lena

Jake Shimabukuro 2018

Ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro is set to play a show at Caffe Lena July 30. Tickets are on sale -- they're $75.*

Shimabukuro, who's from Hawaii, first got widespread attention for a ukulele cover of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" that was posted on YouTube. He's gone on to make a bunch of records, tour around the world, and be featured in all sorts of media, including a documentary about him.

The Caffe Lena date includes show at 7 pm and 9 pm.

Among the other Caffe Lena shows in July

+ July 29: Joan Osborne Sings the Songs of Bob Dylan - $65

+ July 31: Jeff Daniels & The Ben Daniels Band - $40 (yep, the actor Jeff Daniels)

* This might take the top spot in our totally informal recollection of the highest starting ticket price for a general public concert in this area. Metallica and Garth Brooks have both charged $65.

photo via Jake Shimabukuro website

Where to see fireworks around the Capital Region this Fourth of July week

sparkler fireworks credit Crystal Capritta

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Wednesday is the Fourth of July -- the day when we celebrate our independence and contemplate what it means to be an American.

There will be picnics, fairs, music, and, of course, fireworks displays around the Capital Region this week.

We pulled together some info on a few places you can ooh and ahhh over colorful fireworks displays this season. Checking out the displays somewhere else? Tell us where in the comments.

And have a safe and happy 4th!

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The week ahead

tedeschi trucks band

The Tedeschi Trucks Band is at SPAC on Tuesday. / photo: Mark Seliger

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (scorching), to pools, to July 4th, to the stage, to baseball, to music...


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Going underground -- literally

capital region cave trips composite

By Julie Madsen

Caves are dark, damp, and dangerous -- yet they have always been an alluring mystery for people, filled with their otherworldly formations and maze-like passages.

Whether you are a novice to caving or more seasoned spelunker, here are a a few caverns within day trip distance to the Capital Region to discover.

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Stefon Harris at The Egg

jazz musician Stefon Harris credit Elizabeth Leitzell

Acclaimed jazz vibraphonist -- and Albany High School grad -- Stefon Harris is set to play a show at The Egg December 1. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $34.

This week Harris was named a winner of a Doris Duke Artist Award. Each artists receives $250k in flexible funding (along with as much as $35k for retirement savings). The awards are given to "exemplary individual artists in contemporary dance, jazz, theater and related interdisciplinary work who have demonstrated their artistic vitality and commitment to their field." Harris-specific blurbage:

With astonishing artistry and virtuosity, Stefon Harris has risen to become one of the most admired artists in jazz. He is a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center and has earned four Grammy nominations. He has also been named Best Mallet Player eight times by the Jazz Journalists Association and was chosen as Best Vibes in the 2018 and 2017 DownBeat Magazine critics polls, the 2016 Jazz Times Expanded Critics Poll, the 2014 Jazz Times Critics Poll and the 2013 DownBeat Critics Poll.
Harris' 11th album as a band leader, "Sonic Creed," recorded with his band Blackout, will be released in 2018. ...
Harris' venture into new technological advances led to the co-founding of The Melodic Progression Institute (MPI) in 2013 with partner Clif Swigget. MPI released its first app in 2016, Harmony Cloud, an ear-training learning tool now available on iTunes, with a focus on designing innovative ways to help musicians learn and grow.

And he's an Albany High School grad, class of 1991. While in school here he was also a member of the Empire State Youth Orchestra.

photo: Elizabeth Leitzell

Park Playhouse 2018

Park Playhouse 2018 promo image

The new season of Park Playhouse in Albany's Washington Park starts up this weekend with a production of Damn Yankees. It is, of course, the classic show in which the story of Faust is set within the world of 1950s baseball. The production runs June 29-July 28, Tuesday-Saturday at 8 pm.

The second show of the Park Playhouse season will be another classic show, the satire How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. It will run August 3-18, Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30 pm.

Amphitheater lawn seating for Park Playhouse shows is free. (It does tend to fill up, so grabbing a spot earlier rather than later is a good idea.) There's also reserved seating -- it's $14-$25 and available online.

Park Playhouse also has an event July 5 to celebrate its 30th anniversary. It will be a reception in a tent next to the amphitheater and will include food and drinks and entertainment, with dessert in the tent during intermission of that night's show. Tickets for the fundraiser are $150 / $75 for ages 35 and under.

West Fulton Puppet Festival 2018

West Fulton Puppet Festival Legume Perfume

From the shadow puppet show Legume Perfume. / photo via West Fulton Puppet Festival

The annual West Fulton Puppet Festival makes its return to the Schoharie County hamlet July 13-14.

The festival is now in its fourth year, and it includes performances of all sorts of puppetry. Blurbage for some of the offerings:

The 2018 West Fulton Puppet Festival will feature work from New York, Chicago, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Florida, playing in rotation throughout the two-day Festival. The lineup includes Morgan Kelly's Legume Perfume, a shadow puppet play for young audiences that follows the adventures of an ordinary Bean as he goes on a journey of self-discovery and includes a post-show workshop (Saturday, July 14 at 10am & 2pm); Big Nazo an international performance group of visual artists, puppet performers, and masked musicians who unite to create bizarre and hilarious larger-than-life sized characters, environments, and spectacles (Saturday, July 14 at 10.45am & 1pm); The Gottabee's Lollipops for Breakfast a marvelous confection of friendship, invention, and adventure as Sylvie and her pet bird search for the missing ingredients to make an amazingly perfect lollipop, wrestle with giant candy machines, and get lost in a magical pop-up cookbook (Saturday, July 14 at 11.45am & 5pm); Acme Miniature Flea Circus might cause you to itch your head a little as trained fleas Midge and Madge perform spectacular circus stunts as seen before (and on top of) the crowned heads of Europe (Saturday July 14 at 11.15am and 3pm); Christopher Durham will be talking about animal relationships and the sometimes unlikely bonds that have formed between animals in his care (both wild and domestic) during The Joy of Animal Relationships (Saturday, July 14 at 12.30pm & 4pm).

That Friday includes a community potluck and a screening of animated shorts created by students. The puppet performances are on Saturday. Here's the full schedule.

Admission to the performances is free, but it's ticketed -- you can get tickets day of at West Fulton Park.

West Fulton is a hamlet in the town of Fulton -- it's pretty much right in the center of Schoharie County, just about an hour from Albany.

Walking tour of Lincoln Park

Albany Lincoln Park from Corning Tower

The Historic Albany Foundation's Walkabout Wednesday series has a walking history tour of Lincoln Park lined up for July 18. Blurbage:

Before Lincoln Park became a park, it was full of breweries and brick factories, manicured country estates, and a notorious squatter's community. The Beaver Kill once ran through its steep ravine, cascading over the Buttermilk Falls. In 1890 the city purchased the area and began the slow process of transforming it into one of Albany's great outdoor spaces. The park includes a landscape designed by noted architect Charles Downing Lay, a stellar WPA-era bathhouse, and layer upon layer of Albany history.

Some of the brewery buildings still remain along the park. And the city is still contending with the history of the Beaver Kill. See also: this short history of the Lincoln Park pool by the Friends of Albany History.

The walking tour meets at the corner of Eagle and State streets (outside the Renaissance) at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, July 18. Tickets are $10 and available online.

HAF has a bunch of these sorts of walking tours coming up over the next few months...

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Crime fiction writing workshop at Albany Public Library with Frankie Bailey

author Frankie Bailey Red Queen What Fly Saw

This could be interesting and fun: Local author Frankie Y. Bailey will leading a crime fiction writing workshop at the Albany Public Library's Howe Branch in July. Blurbage:

Come learn the craft of crime fiction writing in this 4 part series! Local criminal justice professor and mystery writer Frankie Y. Bailey will lead this hands-on program for patrons of all experience levels. This program is designed as a four-part series, but participants who are unable to attend every module are still welcome to sign up.

The class is on Mondays at 6 pm starting July 9. It's free, but registration is required.

Bailey is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at UAlbany. And she's written a bunch of mystery / crime novels, including a near-future detective series set in Albany.

Bailey will be honored with Alice Green at the Albany Public Library Foundation's Literary Legends Gala October 20.

Frankie Bailey photo via author website

Live From Here at Tanglewood with Lake Street Dive, The Punch Brothers, Aoife O'Donovan

Live From Here Chris Thile credit Devin Pedde

Chris Thile. / photo: Devin Pedde

The public radio variety show Live From Here will be at Tanglewood this Saturday, June 30 and the lineup is pretty great. Host Chris Thile will be joined by Lake Street Dive, The Punch Brothers, and Aoife O'Donovan. Tickets are still available -- they're $21 and up.

Live From Here is the reborn and un-Keillor-ed Prairie Home Companion. Thile took over hosting the show back in the fall of 2016. And last winter it was renamed after the allegations against Garrison Keillor that surfaced last year.

Thile is, of course, a famous progressive bluegrass musician (and MacArthur fellow) who rose to prominence with Nickel Creek and the Punch Brothers. And it looks like the new crew has taken the show in some younger, more modern directions. Recent shows have featured Ben Folds, Wye Oak, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Father John Misty, Neko Case, and Sufjan Stevens.

We wouldn't be surprised if the show this Saturday at Tanglewood sells out. You know, Lake Street Dive sells out shows pretty much every time it rolls up around here.

(And if you're new to the area... Tanglewood is the music venue over the hill in Lenox, Massachusetts, about a 50-minute drive from Albany. It's the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.)

The week ahead

Albany Lincoln Park Pool

Swimming pools season is now in full swing around the area -- including the city of Albany pools and spray pads, which are now open.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (summer-y), to pools, to magic, to WTF, to murals, to baseball, to music...


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You can rent a kayak at the Corning Riverfront Park now

Upstate Kayak Rentals Corning Riverfront Park 2018-June

Look over by where the bike trail picks up again just past the boat launch.

You can now rent kayaks at the Corning Riverfront Park in Albany.

A company called Upstate Kayak Rentals has installed a self-serve kayak rental hub near the boat launch. As company states on its website, "It's similar to a bike share, only equipped with kayaks!" Further blurbage:

Renting kayaks from our Hubs are no different than renting a bike, car, or a kayak from a rental store and transporting it yourself. You are responsible for your own safety and decisions, we are simply providing the equipment in a more convenient manner at different locations for your use. If you do not feel safe paddling in a kayak, please do not rent our equipment. Our Kayak Hubs are meant for paddlers who are comfortable being on the water and familiar with boating safety. It is always recommended to start your excursion up stream if paddling in a current. And please paddle close to the shore lines, especially if you see large vessels approaching.
Each Hub consists of a rack of 6 locked kayaks which are available to rent to the public 7 days a week, in 1 1/2 hour intervals (plus an additional 15 minutes to clean and lock up equipment). In order to access our kayaks, renters will need a smart phone with Bluetooth and the ability to download a free App to unlock the equipment.

The kayaks are rented in pairs, the company says life jackets must be worn at all times. It's $50 for 1.5 hours (plus 15 minutes for cleaning up and locking up). The fee includes life jacket and paddle rental.

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Stuff to do this weekend

musician Herbie Hancock credit Douglas Kirkland

Herbie Hancock is one of the headliners of the Saratoga Jazz Festival this weekend at SPAC.

Welcome to summer.

Have a lemonade and some freshly-picked stuff to do. There's baseball, strawberries, jazz, wine ... all kinds of fun things to make your weekend delicious.

Doing something that didn't make our list? Drop it in the comments so we can all see.

And whatever you're doing, have a fantastic weekend.

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Bites Camera Action 2018

Times Union Center exterior video boards 2018-March

The Bites Camera Action series of free outdoor movies in downtown Albany returns in July. And there are a few changes this time around.

The biggest change is that the series, organized by the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District, will be showing movies on the giant LED video boards outside the Times Union Center. (It was in Tricentennial Park in previous years.)

South Pearl Street will be closed to cars from Beaver Street to Hudson Ave. The street space will be used for movie viewers, along with games like corn hole. Nearby restaurants will be open, and the TU Center concessions will also be selling food.

Also: The YouthFX program will be showing its award-winning shorts during the half hour leading up to the screening of the featured films.

And: There will be free parking in the TU Center garage and the nearby Green-Hudson garage.

Here's the schedule...

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Soweto Gospel Choir at Troy Music Hall

Soweto Gospel Choir

The Soweto Gospel Choir will be at the Troy Music Hall December 6 for a concert. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday (June 22) -- they're $25 and up. (There's also a $20 student ticket.)

Background on the group:

The multi Grammy Award winning Soweto Gospel Choir was formed in Soweto, South Africa, in 2002. The more than 30-member ensemble blends elements of African gospel, Negro spirituals, reggae and American popular music. The choir was formed to celebrate the unique and inspirational power of African Gospel music and draws on the best talent from the many churches in and around Soweto. The group sings in English and eight South African languages, including Xhosa, famous for its clicking sounds, and they are dedicated to sharing the joy of faith through music with audiences around the world.

Here's an NPR Tiny Desk concert with members of the choir from a few years back.

The show at the music hall is billed as "Songs of the Free - In Honor of Nelson Mandela's 100th Birthday."

Albany City Hall carillon concerts

Albany City Hall carillon bells

Inside the city hall carillon. / photo: Casey Normile

Albany City Hall has a carillon. (You've maybe heard it played during lunchtime.) And that carillon will be featured in a series of concerts this summer.

The concerts are Sundays at 1 pm during June and July (the first concert was this past Sunday). And different carillonneurs will be playing the massive instrument. The schedule is below.

Academy Park, across from city hall, would be a lovely place to listen.

Carillon? Casey wrote about the city hall carillon and the people who play it a few years back:

So what is a carillon? It's a bell instrument played by striking a keyboard of batons with one's hands and feet. The keys connect to wires, which pull at large clappers, striking the carefully tuned immobile bells. It's like a more physically demanding piano that can only be played in a tower.

It's a fun piece. You should read it. (And the two carillonneurs featured are part of the lineup for this summer's concerts.)

Albany's carillon dates back to 1927 when its installation was a big deal. Over at Hoxsie this past spring Carl recalled the drive to build the instrument and the grand inaugural concert.

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Drone classes at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity and HVCC

quad copter drone by Flickr user Peter Linehan CC

It seems like drones are popping up everywhere now, and they're getting used in all sorts of industries -- photography to real estate to farming. But if you're going to fly one for commercial purposes, you need a license.

The Tech Valley Center of Gravity in Troy has a course coming up intended to prep people for the Federal Aviation Administration's drone licensing written exam. Blurbage:

This three session course will prepare participants to successfully pass the FAA Part 107 written exam and provide information needed to safely operate a sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft System) vehicle. The course covers the topics outlined in the FAA's "Remote Pilot- Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide."
Your instructor, Dave Page, has Commercial Pilot and Flight Instructor ratings in single engine airplanes and gliders, as well as a Remote Pilot rating. With over twenty years' experience in aviation, Dave is intimately familiar with the aviation regulatory environment, and is well-positioned to instruct future commercial drone pilots to safely integrate with the FAA system.

The sessions are June 25, June 28, and July 2 from 6-9 pm. The fee is $250. See the link above for more details.

Hands-on drone flying classes
HVCC has also been offering training classes related to drones. And it has a hands-on, learn-to-fly class starting up again in July -- the fee is $995.

The college also has an FAA test prep class starting in July that's $495.

photo: Flickr user Peter Linehan (CC BY 2.0)

Freedom Park 2018 concert series lineup

Moriah Formica The Voice 2017

Moriah Formica will be there later in June.

The popular series of free concerts at Freedom Park in Scotia starts this Wednesday.

As usual, the season includes big lineup with multiple concerts each week from June through late August. And the lineup includes a bunch of different genres.

Freedom Park is on the Mohawk River, just over the Western Gateway Bridge from Schenectady, next to Jumpin' Jack's. (Sometimes you can catch a water ski show, too.)

Here's the schedule...

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There's a workshop coming up in Albany about how to apply for a slice of state grant money for your project

Albany City Hall from east Capitol lawn

For the last several years the state has distributed millions of dollars to projects around the state via the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) process -- it's the one with the vaguely-game-show-like ceremony each December.

So, how does your project get a slice of that money? Good question. And it's the topic of a Capitalize Albany event at Albany City Hall June 27 to explain the consolidated funding application (CFA). Blurbage:

The event provides an opportunity for business owners, community leaders and residents to come together and discuss how the CFA process can make an impact in your community. [Empire State Development] and Capitalize Albany will be available to answer any questions, explain the CFA process and will discuss available resources for those with project development ideas.

This whole process operates on cycles and the timeline for current one is heading toward some important deadlines this summer. So it pays (perhaps literally) to go through some of the details at the link above and starting preparing -- there's some important info about getting letters of support from the city.

The Capital Region got $85 million grant awards last year through the REDC process. That's public money that everyone should have a chance at landing, but you've gotta be able to figure out how to sort through all the jargon and acronyms. This might be a way to figure some of that out.

The workshop is Wednesday, June 27 from 5:30-6:30 pm in the city hall rotunda. It's free.

Summer in the City at the Palace 2018

Palace Theater Albany exterior

The Palace's Summer in the City movie series returns in July with a string free family-friendly movies on Tuesdays. The schedule is below.

The theater opens its doors for the screenings at noon for educational activities, and the movies start at 1 pm. There's free popcorn and drinks for kids 12 and under. And on August 28 there will be an ice cream social following the screening.

The free tickets are available from The Palace box office up to a day in advance. Groups, daycares, and camps can get reserve blocks of tickets through box office group sales.

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The Great Race: Troy

Great Race 2018 route map

The map for this year's road rally/race.

An event called The Great Race will be making a stop in downtown Troy this Sunday, June 24. It's a classic car competition that, this year, stretches from Buffalo to Halifax, Nova Scotia. FAQ blurbage:

The Great Race is an antique, vintage, and collector car competitive controlled-speed endurance road rally on public highways. It is not a test of top speed. It is a test of a driver/navigator team's ability to follow precise course instructions and the car's (and team's) ability to endure on a cross-country trip. The course instructions require the competing teams to drive at or below the posted speed limits at all times.

The rally/race includes cars up through the 1972 model year -- the rules give older cars an advantage. Previous races have include vehicles that date back as far as 1907.

Here's a highlight video from last year's rally.

Troy is the stopover point for the race on June 24. That afternoon there will be a free event downtown on River Street starting at 2 pm with activities, an extended Troy Flea, and a Brown's Brewing beer garden. The race participants will be arriving around 5 pm. updated

Jason Mraz at The Palace

musician Jason Mraz

Pop singer/songwriter Jason Mraz is set to play a show at The Palace November 30. Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 22 -- they're $49.50 and up.

Mraz has had a bunch of popular songs over the past decade plus, selling millions of records, and racking up zillions of plays on Youtube. He also recently had a run as one of the leads of the Broadway production of Waitress alongside Sara Bareilles. Mraz also appeared on the studio album Bareilles recorded for the hit show.

For the Palace show, Mraz will be joined by percussionist Toca Rivera as part an acoustic performance. The opener is Gregory Page.

photo: Justin Bettman

The week ahead

musician Matisyahu 2018

Matisyahu plays Alive at Five this week. / photo: Chris Townsend

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (SUMMER), to filling the blank space, walking and talking, to the creative economy, to baseball, to all sorts of music...


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Weekend Destination: Quebec City

weekend destination quebec city composite

By Julie Madsen

Why: Architecture, food, culture.

How far: Just about six hours.

If you found that you fell in love with the culture of Quebec in Montreal, why not visit the capital of the province...

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Stuff to do this weekend

musician Jack Johnson 2018

Jack Johnson headlines Mountain Jam this weekend.

Back by popular request: the weekend.

This time of year has the longest daylight, and the days this weekend are packed full of festivals, baseball, strawberries, and music. A big list is below.

Planning something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comments.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.


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"Writing Flash" at the Arts Center

section of laptop computer keyboardThis could be fun and interesting: The Arts Center is offering a "flash" writing course starting in July. Blurbage (link added):

For better or for worse, our culture is one with a short attention span. In this class, we will look at the shortest forms of writing, the micro-essay, flash fiction, or prose poetry. Writing flash can be a way to condense our experiences and ideas down to their most explicit core or their most delightful truth. We can only become better writers as we zoom in, learning to pay attention to each syllable and breath in our writing. By the end of the course, you'll have a series of flashes ready to send out for publication.

Maybe you can discover your own inner Lydia Davis.

The instructor for the class is Olivia Dunn, a writer and visiting assistant professor at Skidmore. (Here's a podcast interview with her from last fall about writing and micro essays.)

The first class is July 16 at 7 pm, and it meets Mondays for four sessions through August 6. The course fee is $125 for people who are not members of the Arts Center.

The ValleyCats open the 2018 season this weekend at The Joe

tri-city valleycats night game at the joe

The Tri-City ValleyCats open their 2018 season this Friday at The Joe against the Vermont Lake Monsters. It's schedule magnet night and there will be fireworks after the game. It's part of a three-game home stand that runs through Sunday.

The ValleyCats are a farm team for the Houston Astros in the New York-Penn League, which is the "short-season A" level. (Minor league baseball's levels go from rookie ball up to AAA.) And while that's a few steps from the majors, more than 30 one-time ValleyCats have ended up making appearances in MLB -- including Jose Altuve, George Springer, Dallas Keuchel, Hunter Pence, and Ben Zobrist.

Many of the Astros top draft picks -- especially older players out of college -- end up being assigned to the ValleyCats. So it's a chance to see players with a real chance of someday making the majors.

Tickets start as low as $6.50 the day of game (you can save a buck or so buying ahead). And the most expensive tickets are $12.50. So it can be relatively cheap night out. The 'Cats regular season home schedule stretches through the last week of August this year.

And The Joe -- the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College -- is a nice venue.

Also: It's minor minor league baseball, so there are a bunch of promotions, wacky theme nights, and in-game fun like the mayors race.

Tech and electronics flea market at TVCOG

Tech Valley Center of Gravity exterior 2016-JulyThe Tech Valley Center of Gravity is hosting a technology and electronics flea market June 24. Blurbage:

There will be a wide range of tech and electronics supplies: everything from PVC fittings and 3D printer components to model rocket parts and engines, all offered at steep discounts. Take a break from the crowds, peruse the market, and take a tour of our makerspace while you're here!

Tables are also available if you'd like to be a vendor -- they're $20. (See that link above for details.)

The market is Sunday, June 24 from 11 am to 5 pm.

The Tech Valley Center of Gravity is in the Quackenbush Building at 3rd Street and Broadway in downtown Troy.

Great Race
As it happens, that's the same day that the Great Race will be making a stop in Troy. It's "an antique, vintage, and collector car competitive controlled-speed endurance road rally on public highways."

Pick-your-own strawberry season 2018

strawberries in basket straw closeup

Strawberry season is here! A few farms opened their pick-your-own strawberry fields this past week, and a bunch of others will be doing so this week or next.

It seems like this year's season is more or less on schedule, though a few farms have noted that some cold and wet weather earlier this year delayed things a little bit.

A typical strawberry season at many farms in this area only lasts a few weeks, though some farms have strawberries for longer stretches -- even most of the summer -- because their fields include a range of varieties that produce at different times. When you're at the farm stand, ask about the varieties the farms are growing. In our experience people are happy to talk about what's available, for how long, and why. It's also a good idea to call ahead or check the website before heading out.

Here are a handful of places in the greater Capital Region that you can pick your own strawberries. Know of a good place not on this list? Please share!

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Tune-Yards + U.S. Girls at MASS MoCA

the band Tune-Yards

Tune-Yards. / photo: Eliot Lee Hazel

The art pop acts Tune-Yards and U.S. Girls are set to play a show at MASS MoCA October 30. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday, June 15 -- they're $25 ahead / $35 day of.

Both acts released new albums earlier this year to positive reviews. (And they're both on the same label -- 4AD -- which is backing the tour.)

By the way: Tune-Yards is also the opener for the David Byrne show at The Palace September 9.

The Decemberists
The sold-out Decemberists show scheduled for MASS MoCA this Friday, June 15 has been postponed to October 4 because Colin Meloy is suffering from vocal strain. (Their Mountain Jam appearance has been canceled.) Tickets will be honored for the new date, but if you can't make it, contact the box office.

Bonnie Prince Billy
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy is lined up to play a show at MASS MoCA October 13. Tickets are $30 ahead / $40 day of.

There's a free safe cycling / bike share class coming up in Albany

bike share bikes and rack Corning Riverfront Park 2018-June

A bike share hub at Corning Riverfront Park.

The CDPHP Cycle bike share and the New York Bicycling Coalition are offering a free safe cycling class at the Albany Jewish Community Center on June 23. You can register online -- sign-ups close June 21. (Updated. The old deadline had been a typo in the materials.)

Class blurbage:

Refresh your bike skills and get ready to Cycle! The New York Bicycling Coalition will be leading cycling classes to get you ready to ride safely. You'll learn the rules of the road, safety maneuvers, and become acquainted with the CDPHP Cycle! bike-sharing system. All participants will receive a free helmet and a free monthly membership to CDPHP Cycle! This program is brought to you by Capital Coexist.

(Capital Coexist is a local bike and pedestrian safety campaign from the Capital District Transportation Committee.)

It sounds like this class could be good if you're maybe a little uncertain about being on a bike around town and/or you're maybe a little hesitant about how the bike share works.

The class is Saturday, June 23 from 10 am-2 pm at the Sydney Albert Albany JCC (340 Whitehall Road).

Earlier: How I ended up riding a bike as one of my primary ways of getting around town -- and how that's gone

CDPHP advertises on AOA.

Tracy Morgan at Rivers Casino

tracy morgan 2015

Comedian Tracy Morgan is set play a stand-up show at the Rivers Casino event center in Schenectady November 9. Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 15 -- they're $55.

Of course, Morgan is famous for his role on 30 Rock and time on Saturday Night Live. He has a new show, The Last O.G..

Morgan's made a handful of stops here in recent years, including a string of warm-up shows at the Albany Funny Bone last summer.

photo: Paul Mobley

The week ahead

musician Vance Joy

Vance Joy opens the week at The Palace.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (pretty great), to stories, to scavenger hunting, to swimming, to Eid al-Fitr, to all sorts of music...


(there's more)

Science on Tap: Mars and influenza

science on tap capital region logo

The Science on Tap series of scientists-in-bars talks continues month with two events:

June 14: "Interplanetary Travel: do we have the heart for Mars?" at The Parting Glass
"Dr. Heidi DeBlock's Science on Tap talk in Albany was such a hit that she is taking it on the road to Saratoga Springs! Dr. DeBlock will discuss the physiological possibility of humans colonizing Mars as well as the health problems our astronauts face. If you are lucky, she may even talk about how astronauts use the bathroom on the International Space Station!" 7 pm

June 26: "Getting Centi-mental about the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic" at the Albany Pump Station
"Please join us for a fascinating Science on Tap with Dr. Eric Yager as he discusses the 1918 Spanish flu, the impact of virus biology, and if history could repeat itself." 7 pm

The talks are free and open to the public, though they are age 21 and up.

Science on Tap is part of the larger CapSci effort to advance scientist understanding in the Capital Region and connect people with scientists.

Stuff to do this weekend

rapper Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar is at SPAC Saturday.

Welcome to the weekend. Can we show you a little something in art walks? How about some pride? Need a laugh? A movie? A little jousting and a giant turkey leg? We promise that this weekend has something for you. Don't believe us? Take a look at our menu of stuff to do below. You're sure to find something you'll enjoy.

Planning something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comments.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.


Great Flats 525 x 80.jpg

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Los Lobos, 10,000 Maniacs, Holly Bowling, and more at Cohoes Music Hall

Catching up a bit on what the Cohoes Music Hall has going on this summer and into the fall...

The venue recently announced shows featuring Los Lobos, 10,000 Maniacs, and classical/jam pianist Holly Bowling. The schedule is below.

The Cohoes Music Hall has been operating on its own after a management arrangement with the Palace ended at the start of the year. Former Palace executive director Holly Brown is now heading things up as part of a management org called the Music Hall Arts Alliance.

The music hall is owned by the city of Cohoes, and stands on the north end of Remsen Street downtown. It's a beautiful, old venue dating back to 1874. It might even have a ghost.

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Farm Day in the City at Schuyler Mansion

Schuyler Mansion Albany exterior 2016-June

The Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site in Albany is hosting another Farm Day in the City this Saturday, June 9 from 11 am-4 pm. Blurbage:

Experience a farm market atmosphere in the city of Albany! Learn about the types of animals Philip Schuyler would have had on his farm and agricultural practices of the 18th century. There will be livestock on the grounds, while demonstrations, farm products and gardening techniques will be shared with visitors throughout the afternoon. Pony rides for children (noon to 3:00 p.m.).

Admission to the outdoors event is free. The house will also be open self-guided tours, which are $3 and free for ages 12 and under. (The rain date for the event is Sunday.)

Though the mansion site currently occupies a footprint of about 1 acre in the South End, the estate once covered as many as 80 acres and had an orchard, formal garden, and working farm. The family also had a number of enslaved people there -- even as late as 1804 -- as the Schuyler Mansion's history blog has been documenting.

The historic site also offers regular guided tours during the summer, at 11 am and 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday. There are also two topic-specific tours: "When Alexander Hamilton Called Albany Home" offered on Thursdays and Saturdays at 2:30 pm; and "The Women of Schuyler Mansion" on Sundays at 2:30 pm. Reservations are required for these "focus" tours (518-434-0834), and admission for them is $7 adults / $6 seniors and students / free for ages 12 and under.

Capital Region swimming pools 2018

Albany Lincoln Park Pool 2017-July

Albany's Lincoln Park


June has arrived, along with (mostly) warm weather. That means it's pool season.

Some of the Capital Region's municipal pools, beaches, and spray pads have already opened, and many more will be opening this month.

Here's a list of town/city swimming pools, spray pads, and state beaches around the Capital Region with info about when they open, hours, and admission fees.

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Downtown Albany mural walking tour

Quackenbush Parking Garage blue bird mural

There's a walking tour of downtown Albany's murals June 27. And it's free, though the organizers do ask that your RSVP.

The tour is a collaboration between LocalXDesign, Albany Center Gallery, Albany Barn, and ParkAlbany. Blurbage:

The event will begin at the Albany Center Gallery at 5:45PM. After a brief description of the #CapitalWalls program led by curator Tony Iadicicco, we will embark on a walking tour with the mural artists who will share their artwork, process, and perspective. The tour will end at the English Pub's outdoor patio, where we'll continue discussions inspired by the murals.

Downtown Albany has been the site a handful of new and engaging murals the last year or two:
+ The bluebirds on the side of the Quackenbush Parking Garage by Michael Conlin (above).
+ The colorful pattern mural on the other side of the Quackenbush by Hellbent.
+ Murals by Sylvie Kantorovitz and Cara Hanley on the Green-Hudson Parking Garage.
+ And the map-inspired mural by Rachel Baxter on a 787 support wall along Water Street.

The walking tour is Wednesday, June 27 starting at 5:45 pm.

4192 - An Evening with Pete Rose Live! at The Palace

Pete Rose credit John VanderHaagen CC

Photo: Flickr user John VanderHaagen (CC BY 2.0). His Flickr stream includes a handful of old snapshots of the Big Red Machine.

Further evidence we are living in the weird timeline...

A show called 4192 - An Evening with Pete Rose Live! will be at The Palace September 14. Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 8 -- they're $25 and up.

And, yep, that's Pete Rose as in the (in)famous baseball not-Hall of Famer. Blurbage:

Pete will share stories of his past in baseball in this Broadway style theatrical event that captures the golden years of America's pastime. Storytelling, enhanced with visuals, will make the audience laugh as well as be inspired by "Charlie Hustle." Pete Rose is an American icon and, in this show, he tells it all as he takes you inside the game of baseball as no other person can.
Using hi-tech multimedia that creates a game day atmosphere, the stage will be transformed into a field of memories and the audience will be transported to the golden era of baseball, complete with all the trappings of a World Series game including the first pitch, Star-Spangled Banner and of course, introductions.

We can only hope the production will capture the charm of the astroturfed concrete spaceship that was Riverfront Stadium. And maybe it'll feel like you're right there as bets are being placed on games. (But never against the Reds, right.)

Also: Is it possible to get Peter G. Rose involved in this show somehow? We'd kind of like to see them discuss Dutch cookery.

(He's a Cincinnati icon and should be in the Hall of Fame.)

Darci Lynne
The Palace also announced Monday that teen ventriloquist Darci Lynne -- from America's Got Talent -- will be there November 3. Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 8 -- they're $29.75.

Because... it's the weird timeline.

The week ahead

nathaniel rateliff the night sweats

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats will be at Brewery Ommegang this week with The Head and the Heart. / photo: Brantley Gutierrez

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (spring redux), to the stage, to trivia, to ballet, to authors, to music...


(there's more)

Aleda Or The Flight Of The Suff Bird Women

Musicians of Maalwyck Aleda historical photo

This is something a little different: the Musicians of Ma'alwyck is staging a production of a new one-act opera called Aleda Or The Flight Of The Suff Bird Women next weekend at the Glenville Business & Technology Park. Blurbage (link added):

Set in Staten Island in 1916, the opera tells the true story of a unique women's suffrage demonstration attempted by early female pilot Leda Richberg-Hornsby and the National American Woman Suffrage Association (N.A.W.S.A.). Equipped with a bi-plane, a cargo of votes-for-women petitions, and a huge banner reading "Women want liberty too," the suffragists endeavored to fly over New York Harbor during a national celebration at the Statue of Liberty in order to "bomb" President Woodrow Wilson with petitions. The elaborate plan ended in something of a fiasco as a gale of wind forced a premature crash-landing in a Staten Island swamp (luckily no one was hurt) - yet the attempt stands as a testimony to the courage and inventiveness (not to mention dramatic flare) of these women in their struggle for the right to vote. The presentation of the opera coincides with the 100th anniversary year of the passing of women suffrage in New York State.
The performance will open with "Burden of the Ballot," a one-act play taking place in May 1917 at Historic Cherry Hill in Albany. Hear both sides of the suffrage question through the hopes and fears of women living during this important movement in American history.

The performances are Friday-Sunday (June 8-10) at CLYNK in the business park. Tickets are $25 / $10 for students.

There's a free talk about the production, and a preview, this Sunday, June 3 at Siena's Sarazen Student Union at 5 pm.

Albany Archives talk: The Cohoes Mastodon and the Center Square neighborhood

Cohoes Mastodon at State Museum

Mr. Albany Archives -- Matt Malette -- will be at the Albany Public Library June 27 to talk about the history of the Cohoes Mastodon and the Center Square neighborhood. The talk starts at 6:30 pm and it's free.

One of Matt's recent Spectrum segments was about how the Cohoes Mastodon ended up at the State Museum. (Mike Allen contributed some crucial sound effects work to the segment.)

Speaking of homes for the Cohoes Mastodon...
The State Museum and the Cohoes Mastodon were once located in the State Education Building on Washington Ave -- which is a beautiful building. And there are public tours of the building on Saturdays this June and the first part of July. You must make reservations ahead of time (see the second link).

+ An ample amount of mastodon
+ Other Timelines: The Cohoes Mastodon Park

Stuff to do this weekend

Freihofers Run For Women start 2017

The Freihofer's Run for Women is in Albany Saturday. / photo courtesy of Freihofer's Run For Women

If you're bored this weekend...

You know what? There's really no way you should be bored this weekend. We almost ran out of pixels listing all of the stuff there is to do this weekend. You can run, you can swim, you can eat all sorts of foods, see shows, watch a ball game, listen to music, try drawing comics -- and that's really just the beginning.

Take a look at what we've pulled together for you and make your plan. And, as always, if you're doing something that didn't make our list, tell us about it in the comment section.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!


Great Flats 525 x 80.jpg

Troy Night Out

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Talking about Visionary Women at Northshire

Visionary Women by Andrea Barnet book coverAndrea Barnet will be at Nortshire Saratoga June 30 to talk about her new book Visionary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall and Alice Waters Changed Our World. Book blurbage:

Author Andrea Barnet will talk about four influential women we thought we knew well--Jane Jacobs, Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters--and how they spearheaded the modern progressive movement.
"Visionary Women" is the story of four women who profoundly shaped the world we live in today. Together, these women--linked not by friendship or field, but by their choice to break with convention--showed what one person speaking truth to power can do. Jane Jacobs fought for livable cities and strong communities; Rachel Carson warned us about poisoning the environment; Jane Goodall demonstrated the indelible kinship between humans and animals; and Alice Waters urged us to reconsider what and how we eat.

Visionary Women was published this past spring. Here's a largely positive review in the Washington Post. And here's Barnet talking about the book's subjects at the LA Times Book Festival in April.

The Northshire event is at the shop on Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs Saturday, June 30 at 7 pm. It's free.

Northshire advertises on AOA.

Proost: A Brewed and Boozy Sampling of Mid-19th Century Albany

Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence exterior closeup

The Myers Residence on Livingston Ave.

The Proost! series of beer/spirits/history events continues June 22 at the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence in Albany. Blurbage:

The Albany Distilling Company, C.H. Evans Brewery Company, The Albany Ale Project, and Discover Albany are teaming up with the The Underground Railroad History Project to present "Proost! A Brewed and Boozy Sampling of Mid-19th Century Albany." Moderated by culinary writer and historian Deanna Fox, 'Proost' celebrates the beer and spirits culture. Distiller Johnny Curtain, beer historian Craig Gravina, and C.H. Evan's brewer Sam Pagano will take you back in time with samples inspired by the beverages that early Americans in Albany drank. Learn how these types of alcohol were produced and how they influenced the city's culture and history.
Please join us from 5-6 pm for the open house where you will be able to experience a virtual reality tour of the residence, view the unveiling of new artwork, and participate in interactive theatre readings. There will also be a sampling of period food and nonalchoholic drink prepared by members of the Underground Railroad History Project.

The event will feature a 19th century version of Albany Ale brewed at C.H. Evans in Albany.

Tickets are $23 and available online. Previous events in this series have sold out.

+ Stephen & Harriet Myers, station agents for Albany's portion of the Underground Railroad
+ Resurrecting a beer, and part of Albany's history

AOA is a media sponsor of Proost.

Alive at Five 2018 lineup

musician Matisyahu 2018

Matisyahu will be there in June. / photo: Chris Townsend

The Alive at Five series starts up its new season next week. The free Thursday night concerts are at Jennings Landing in Corning Riverfront Park, and run into August. (With a week off around July 4.)

Without ado, further or otherwise, here's the lineup with a sample clip for each headliner...

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At The Plaza 2018

the band Smash Mouth

The series starts with the 4th of July Celebration -- and Smash Mouth is headlining. / photo via Smash Mouth Facebook

The schedule for this summer's lineup of events at/near the Empire State Plaza is out. It includes a mix of concerts, festivals, and outdoor movie screenings. All the events are free to attend.

The series stars July 4 and runs through September. This year's slate also includes a new event, the Hops and Harvest Festival, a celebration of "the best of what autumn has to offer in upstate New York and blue grass music."

On with the schedule...

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Albany Rural Cemetery women's history tour

Albany Rural Cemetery Society of Friends plot credit Paula Lemire

This plot includes the gravesite of abolitionist and women’s rights activist Lydia Mott. / photo: Paula Lemire

The Albany Rural Cemetery has another walking tour coming up June 16, and the theme is women's history. Tour blurbage:

The tour will make about a dozen stops featuring abolitionists, poets, Civil War nurses, the first woman admitted to the New York State Bar Association, and more.
Because the walk will include hills and unpaved paths, attendees are asked to wear sensible shoes and bring bug spray.

The tour is Saturday, June 16 at 10:30 am. Tickets are $15 and space is limited. Call 518-463-7017 to register.

The Albany Rural Cemetery is a beautiful place for a walk. The cemetery has been organizing a handful of these sorts of events lately and they are popular. A historic tour with re-enactors earlier this month filled almost up very quickly, and a Civil War-themed tour in August this summer filled up a few hours after we posted about it last week.

So if you'd like to take the tour, it's better to sign up earlier rather than later.

Tri-County Trivia tournament 2018

Tri-County Trivia 2018 posterThe historical societies of Albany, Rensselaer, and Schenectady counties are teaming up for a Tri-County Trivia tournament Tuesday, June 5 at the Zaloga American Legion Post on Everett Road.

The questions will touch on the histories of all three counties, along with more general New York State and United States history, Albany County Historical Association executive director Samantha Hall-Saladino said via email. Also: a few pop culture bonus questions. (There has to be a Triwizard Tournament question, right?)

There will prizes, along with a cash bar and food.

Teams can include up to six people. It's $25 to register as a individual, $125 for a team. (And $10 if you're a spectator.) All the proceeds will benefit the historical associations.

100 Mile Beer Fest 2018

100 Mile Beer Fest logo

The 100 Mile Beer Fest returns to Saratoga County July 7, this time at the Elks Lodge in Clifton Park. Blurbage:

We're a brewer-focused festival hand-selecting our favorite 30 friends. That's not even 20% of the 160 eligible breweries within a 100 mile radius of the property of the Clifton Park Elks Lodge #2466, located in Ballston Lake, NY. That radius spans 5 states: New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, & New Hampshire.
Some breweries may be behemoths of sales, others may be unheard of mysteries, but many you'll be familiar with their names, product, and reputation. Each year we'll have the brewers we hand-select, come and pour their own creations for you.

Tickets are currently $40 and available online -- the price increases to $50 on June 1 and $60 at the door. Sales are capped at 500 tickets, according to the festival website, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Friends of Clifton Park Open Space.

APL Foundation Literary Legends 2018: Alice Green and Frankie Bailey

Alice Green and Frankie Bailey

Alice Green and Frankie Bailey

The Albany Public Library Foundation will be honoring Alice P. Green and Frankie Y. Bailey at its Literary Legends ceremony this fall. But next week -- Thursday, June 7 -- the two authors/scholars will be at an-evening-with-the-authors event at the Albany Public Library to talk about their work. From Literary Legends blurbage:

Alice Green is an Albany giant--a notable activist and community leader. She has never ignored the importance of culture in her tireless work for justice. A champion of literature, she founded the Paden Institute, a residency for writers of color in the Adirondacks. She is also a founder of one of Albany's longest running black newspapers, The South End Scene.
Frankie Bailey is a distinguished scholar and professor of criminal justice at the University at Albany. She is also a mystery writer who has popularized the streets and places of Albany with mystery readers across the country through her Hannah McCabe novels, The Red Queen Dies and What the Fly Saw.
Together, Green and Bailey have written three books. Wicked Albany (2009) and Wicked Danville (2011) are popular nonfiction works that explore crime and justice in the Prohibition era. "Law Never Here": A Social History of African American Responses to Crime and Justice (1999) is a scholarly nonfiction work that traces the evolution of the criminal justice system from slavery through the 20th century.

The June 7 event is at the Albany Public Library Washington Ave Branch from 6-8 pm. Tickets are $25 and available online. There will be a reception with wine and dessert and tea and coffee, and then a conversation with the authors and audience Q&A.

Literary Legends 2018
This year's Literary Legends even is Saturday, October 20. Tickets go on sale May 30.

photos: Alice Green via Center for Law and Justice | Frankie Bailey via author website

The week ahead

On Your Feet touring production credit Matthew Murphy

A touring production of On Your Feet is at Proctors this week. / photo: Matthew Murphy

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (summer), to Memorial Day, to the stage, to crafts, to history, to music...


(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

comedian Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart opens the pop season at SPAC with a stand-up show this weekend.

It's Memorial Day weekend. The official unofficial kickoff to the summer season. There are plenty of picnics, barbecues, and just general hanging out to do, but there are also some more organized events happening around the region.

So take a look at the list we've compiled for you and start planning. Doing something you don't see on our list? Add it to the comment section so we can all see.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!


Great Flats 525 x 80.jpg

Troy Night Out

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Collar City Candle Craft + Draft BBQ at Lansing Farm

Collar City Candle Craft Draft candle example

This is something a little different and summery: Collar City Candle is hosting a Craft + Draft BBQ event at Lansing Farm in Colonie Sunday, June 10 from noon-4 pm. Event blurbage (links added):

We're so excited to join Field Notes NY & Rare Form Brewery at Lansing Farm for a special Craft + Draft BBQ to kick off the season! Ticket price includes materials to create & bring home your very own Collar City Candle & all you can eat BBQ featuring ingredients grown right on the farm. Rare Form will be on-site serving beers from their van & the farm will also have games & live music. (Beer sold separately.)

That link includes the menu. Tickets are $35 and available online.

More Craft + Draft: Collar Candle City has another Craft + Draft event at Nine Pin Cider in Albany Wednesday, May 30 from 5-8 pm. Tickets are $15.

Earlier: Follow up: Collar City Candle

photo via Collar City Candle Facebook

Civil War walking tour of Albany Rural Cemetery

Albany Rural Cemetery shade tree

Update Thursday morning: The tour is now sold out.
The Albany Rural Cemetery has a Civil War walking tour August 4. Tour blurbage:

Mark Bodnar, known as "The Civil War Guy" at Albany Rural, has documented over one thousand Civil War soldiers and sailors interred in the sacred ground of Albany Rural Cemetery.
As your Tour Guide, Mark will lead you on a tour of the graves of several of these Civil War soldiers and sailors, giving you biographical lectures at each stop. The tour will begin at Cypress Pond, where you will be given a brief history of Albany Rural Cemetery, then proceed to numerous grave sites to be introduced to Civil War physicians, Medal of Honor recipients, three brothers that served, politicians, a Confederate soldier, Union men who died in combat, and a soldier that rode in the company of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant AND Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day during the Civil War!

The tour will be off-road on grass and (maybe) mud. Also: "bug spray is a must."

It's Saturday, August 4 starting at 9:30 am. Tickets are $15 $25 (see the link above) and space limited. We would not be surprised if this filled. A history tour the cemetery had this past Friday filled up very quickly.

Toasting the Past and Present of Arbor Hill

Albany Barn exterior 2014 v2

The Albany Barn.

This Thursday is the 12th birthday party for the Albany Barn (with food, drinks, music, and art), and the Ten Broeck Mansion is also hosting a history happy hour. So they've teamed up for two events on one ticket. Blurbage:

Join the Albany Barn and Ten Broeck Mansion for an evening of celebration. Kick-off at the historic Ten Broeck Mansion for their History Happy Hour (5-7pm). Sip and schmooze with like-minded history lovers at one of the region's premier historic homes, constructed 220 years ago and once known as 'Arbour Hill'. Then, make your way around the corner to the Albany Barn, a creative arts incubator supporting the endeavors of contemporary creatives in the Arbor Hill neighborhood, to celebrate their 12th birthday at the Spring Fling Birthday Bash at The Barn! (6-10pm.)
Those who purchase combo tickets will receive a discount over the individual price as well as a complimentary combo Albany/Ten Broeck Mansion Swag Bag.

The combo ticket is $40. The Albany Barn party is $25 by itself as is the Ten Broeck Mansion event.

After Dark: Brains & Games at miSci

There's another adult night at miSci June 2. The theme this time around is "Brains & Games," in connection with the museum's BRAIN: The World Inside Your Head exhibit.

Pasttime Legends will be there will retro video games to play around the main gallery. There will also be yard games outside (weather permitting), planetarium shows, board games, and science demos. And attendees will also get to sample beverages from producers such as Artisanal Brew Works, Brown's, Chatham Brewing, Electric City Roasters, Fort Orange Brewing, and Shmaltz Brewing. A food truck be there sell food.

The event is Saturday, June 2 from 6-9:30 pm at miSci. It's 21 and over. Tickets are $12 ahead / $15 at the door. Planetarium shows are an additional $5.

Walking tour of Albany's Normanskill Farm

Normanskill Farm Albany barn

The Historic Albany Foundation's Walkabout Wednesday series has a tour at the Normanskill Farm June 20. It starts at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $10. (These tours often sell out.)

A few bits about the history of the farm, which is in the city of Albany...

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NY Capital District Renaissance Festival 2018

capital district renaissance festival joust knight

The NY Capital District Renaissance Festival returns to Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont June 9-10. Event blurbage:

+ 50-plus vendors, including food trucks (turkey drumsticks, BBQ Sundaes, deep fried Oreos, and more!) toys, pottery, leather goods, blacksmith goods, tarot readings, clothing, costume rentals, etc. fun for the whole family;
+ Live jousts and sword fighting twice a day;
+ A pub crawl for adults( 21 and over);
+ Vixens en Garde,The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told, roving minstrels, magicians, belly dancers, mermaids, the Queen's Menagerie, face painting, a costume contest, vow renewals for married couples, puppet shows, and activities for children all day;

Because, as is well established, in the days of yore knights would return from their gallivanting adventure to feast on deep-fried Oreos. (Perhaps that meal was the death of Arthur.)

Tickets are $15 for adults / $5 kids 12 and under / age 2 and under free. Two-day tickets are $20. They're available online.

photo: NY Capital District Renaissance Festival

Hidden City House & Garden Tour 2018

10 Thurlow exterior angle 2013 v2

10 Thurlow Terrace.

The annual Hidden City House & Garden Tour in Albany returns June 21. As the names implies it's a garden and house tour through the Center Square, Hudson/Park, and Washington Park neighborhoods.

Blurbage for this year's tour, which includes quite a house:

The main highlight of this year's tour is one of the most unique homes to ever be built in the city of Albany; "The Castle". The majestic Queen Anne style mansion, built in 1891 by noted local architect Ernest Hoffman, towers over Washington Park Lake at 10 Thurlow Terrace. It was the winter home to the prolific inventor, Charles La Dow, and his family, and features original, unique flooring in every room, beautiful interior hardware, and oddities only an inventor would truly appreciate, among many other things.
While this extravagant home may have been built for the La Dow family, the building's history extends well beyond the original owners. Albany Archives' Matt Malette will be on hand in the mansion giving informal tours throughout the evening. Generally closed to the public, this once-in-a-lifetime experience to finally see what the 8,500 square foot La Dow Mansion has been hiding on its four floors for almost 130 years is what you've been waiting for.

The Hidden City House & Garden Tour is Thursday, June 21 from 5-8 pm. It's self-guided and rain-or-shine. Tickets are currently $20 and available online. (The price increases to $25 starting June 16.)

It's a collaboration of the Center Square Association, Hudson/Park Neighborhood Association, and Historic Albany Foundation.

Historic brewing district tours of Albany

Craig Gravina at Great Flats closeup

Craig Gravina. (And his bowler hat.)

This looks fun and interesting: Local beer historian Craig Gravina will be leading tours of Albany neighborhoods that were once (and in some cases are again) brewing districts. Blurbage:

Did you know Albany was once at the center of the North American beer industry? Albany Beer Historian, Craig Gravina, is an author and co-founder of the Albany Ale Project. Craig will be leading tours through Albany's former brewing districts, discussing the impact beer and ale had on Albany. Tour is offered in four of Albany's Distinct Neighborhoods. Each pub will offer specials exclusive to tour attendees!

As you know, we are fans of Craig and he's been a part of a handful of AOA events. He's a co-creator of the Albany Ale Project. And he has extensive knowledge of local brewing history and the way it fits into wider historical contexts.

The first tour is June 20. It'll meet at the Excelsior Pub on Madison Ave and the tour will wind its way through the South End.

The other tours, offered in conjunction with the Discover Albany, on the schedule are:

+ July 25: Center Square (Pint Sized)

+ August 22: Warehouse District (Lost & Found)

The tours start at 6 pm. They're $10 and tickets are available online.

Rockin' on the River 2018

musician Meklit

Singer/songwriter/composer Meklit will be there in July. / photo: Marco Peris / via Meklit Facebook

The full schedule for the next season of the Rockin' on the River free concert series in downtown Troy is out.

The Wednesday night series starts June 6 in Riverfront Park and runs through August 8.

And here's the lineup...

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The week ahead

troy washington park looking out

The popular Troy Hidden Garden Tour is in the neighborhoods around Washington Park later this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (nice), to bigger boats, to wrestlin', to cities, to gardens, to music...


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The Movies Under the Stars series returns to Albany this summer

Movies Under the Stars 2018 movie poster composite

The Movies Under the Stars series of outdoor movie screenings is back in Albany this summer. Here's the lineup:

June 15: Black Panther in Washington Park
Update: The screening will be in the park's parade ground, the same spot as the main stage for events such as Tulip Fest (map).

June 22: The Lion King at the College of Saint Rose

July 20: Coco at the College of Saint Rose

August 17: The Last Jedi at Sage College of Albany

September 7: Wonder Woman in Washington Park

September 21: Beauty & the Beast (animated) at Sage College of Albany

Each event starts at 7:30 pm with live music, family activities, snacks, and drinks. Then the movie starts at 8:30 pm. Bring lawn chairs or a blanket.

Movies Under the Stars is a collaboration of the Albany Public Library, Christ's Church Albany, the Helderberg Neighborhood Association, the Lark Street BID, and the Pine Hills Improvement Group/Pine Hills Neighborhood Association.

Stuff to do this weekend

Albany All Stars at ACC

The Albany All Stars are back in action at the Albany Capital Center this weekend.

Somewhere between the Tulip Festival and the festivals and celebrations of summer are a few relaxing weekends. This could be one of them. Take a walk, grab some ice cream, plant some flowers -- or try something from our list below.

Planning something that isn't on our list? Tell us about it in the comment section of this post.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!


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Music Haven 2018 lineup

musician Bombino

Nigerien singer/songwriter/guitarist Bombino opens the series in July.

The lineup for this summer's Music Haven series in Schenectady's Central Park is out.

One of the things that distinguishes Music Haven among the free summer concert series is its focus on world, jazz, and roots music. And a bunch of upgrades to the venue itself are set to debut this season.

This venue's schedule also includes a handful of concerts beyond the typical Sunday evening Music Haven concerts.

The series starts July 8. Here's the lineup...

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Ja Rule + Ashanti + Lloyd at The Palace

ashanti ja rule lloyd

Together again: Ja Rule and Ashanti are set to play a show at The Palace June 22. Ticket are on sale now -- they're $38 and up.

Of course, the rapper and R&B singer collaborated on some big hits back in the day. And they've apparently been friends ever since (in that People article she even sticks up for him on the Fyre Festival). And more recently they teamed up a track on the Hamilton mixtape.

The bill for the Palace also features the R&B singer Lloyd, who returned in 2016 after a hiatus and even made an appearance on Atlanta.

Ja Rule and Ashanti have both made appearances locally in recent months, but we're guessing this show will be popular. So if you want tickets, sooner rather later isn't a bad idea.

Pinkster at Crailo State Historic Site 2018

Crailo State Historic Site Rensselaer exterior

The Crailo State Historic Site in Rensselaer is again hosting a Pinkster event, this year on May 26. A bit of historical background:

Once a Dutch holiday commemorating Pentecost, Pinkster became a distinctly African American holiday in the Hudson River Valley during the colonial era. During the 17th and 18th centuries, enslaved and free African Americans transformed Pinkster from a Dutch religious observance into a spring festival and a celebration of African cultural traditions. All along the Hudson River and on Albany's "Pinkster Hill" (the current site of the NYS Capitol), enslaved African Americans reunited with family and friends and celebrated Pinkster with storytelling, food, music, and dance. Other Pinkster traditions, like the selection of the Pinkster King, created opportunities for enslaved African Americans to honor respected members of the community and to subtly mock their white enslavers.

The Crailo celebration will include presentations about the experiences of enslaved Africans and African-Americans in colonial New York, traditional dancing and theatrical demos, storytelling, music, a culinary historian preparing food and interpreting historic African and African-American foodways, along with crafts, games, and refreshments.

The event is Saturday, May 26 from 11 am to 4 pm. It's free.

The Crailo site was once a home for the Van Rensselaer family and now serves as a museum of colonial Dutch history in the Hudson Valley. It was named after the Van Rensselaer's estate in the Netherlands -- Crayloo or Cralo -- which meant "crows' wood" in Dutch. It's on a beautiful block in the city of Rensselaer along the riverfront.

Scavenger hunt for adults at Oakwood Cemetery


The Oakwood Cemetery in Troy is hosting a scavenger hunt for adults June 14. Blurbage:

Pick up your hunt instructions between 5-6pm at the Earl Chapel, where your start time will be recorded. All entries must be turned in by 7:30. Hunt on your own or form a team of up to 4 people. Prizes will be given for the individual and team with the most correct answers with the quickest times and a drawing for most correct answers if more than one person has the same number of correct answers. Enjoy local craft beer samples provided by Rare Form Brewery. Your beer ticket includes several tastings and a full glass of your choice of beer.

June 14 is a Thursday. Tickets for the scavenger hunt are $15, and the beer tasting is $15. The cemetery says reservations are "strongly" recommended.

Also coming up at Oakwood: A tour of the cemetery's "opulent mausoleums" with historian Michael Barrett on Saturday, June 16. "He will tell us about the wealthy families that rest here and give us a rare look inside some of these beautiful memorials." Tickets are $15.

As you know, Oakwood Cemetery is located in the Lansingburgh section of Troy. It was founded in 1848 and includes the grave sites of "Uncle Sam" Wilson, Emma Willard, Russel Sage, and Abraham Lansing.

Modest Mouse at The Palace

the band Modest Mouse 2018

While we're on the subject, the members of Modest Mouse have apparently been inhabited by aliens. So, that's something.

The rock band Modest Mouse is set to play a show at The Palace October 14. Tickets go on sale this Friday, May 18 -- they're $49.50.

Back in 2014, Modest Mouse sold out two shows at Ommegang pretty much instantly. We're guessing this one fills up, too. So, you know what to do.

By the way: The band has released just two albums since 2004's Good News for People Who Love Bad News.

Wiz Khalifa + Rae Sremmurd at SPAC

rapper Wiz Khalifa 2018.jpg

Wiz Khalifa / photo via Wiz Khalifa Facebook

Rapper Wiz Khalifa is set to play a show at SPAC July 25. Tickets go on sale this Friday, May 18 at noon -- they're $25 and up. (There's a limited number of lawn tickets in four packs.)

Joining Khalifa as headliner is the duo Rae Sremmurd. Their new album, out this month, is in the Billboard 200 top 10. (Also: Their 2016 song "Black Beatles" has been everywhere and racked up more 600 million plays on Youtube.)

Wiz Khalifa has a new album out this July.

Openers for the SPAC show Lil Skies AND O.T. Genasis.

Archaeology day at Van Schaick Mansion

Van Schaick Mansion in Cohoes credit Ted Fischer via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

State Museum archaeologists will be at the Van Schaick Mansion this Saturday demonstrating, and talking about, their work there literally digging up the past. Blurbage:

In the fall of 2016, the State Museum began an archaeological survey of the Van Schaick Mansion in order to locate remnants of buildings and landscape features that no longer exist. Excavations at the Mansion uncovered artifacts dating to the nineteenth century that provide clues about the lives of the Van Schaick family and the many unidentified enslaved African Americans who maintained the property grounds. Completed archaeological excavations will be open, artifacts will be on display, and archaeologists will be available to discuss their findings.

The archaeology event is Saturday, May 19 from 11 am-2 pm. It's free.

The 280some-year-old Van Schaick Mansion is on Van Schaick Island in Cohoes. And it's just south of Peebles Island State Park -- which is beautiful spot and well worth a visit for walk.

photo: Ted Fischer via Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The week ahead

Moriah Formica The Voice 2017

Moriah Formica plays the 518 Songfest later this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (very May), to votes, to the Adirondacks, to history, to watercolors, to music...


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RPI Commencement Colloquy 2018

RPI commencement colloquy 2018 speakers

Herbie Hancock, Mary Jo White, Eric Lander, Alicia Boler Davis

RPI's commencement events this year will again include a colloquy -- a conversation -- with the people getting honorary degrees. The public event is next Friday, May 18. The lineup:

Herbie Hancock, the legendary jazz pianist and composer, has brought forth innovations in jazz and combined a passion for engineering and science with music.
Mary Jo White, former chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and senior chair at the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, oversaw major prosecutions of international terrorists and white-collar crime.
Dr. Eric Lander, president of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, is a leading authority on genomic science, which has opened the door for groundbreaking innovations in disease diagnosis and treatment.
Rensselaer alumna Alicia Boler Davis '98, executive vice president of General Motors Global Manufacturing, is one of the most powerful women in automotive manufacturing.

They'll be talking on stage with RPI president Shirley Ann Jackson.

The discussion is Friday, May 18 at 3:30 pm in the concert hall at EMPAC. It's free and open to the public, but RPI does ask that people pre-register (see the link above). It will also be live streamed

Cecile Richards
This year's Sage commencement speaker is Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood. And she'll be at Market Block Books in Troy this Saturday, May 12, for a book signing from 3:30-5:15 pm.

The Sage commencement will be live streamed.

Electric City Trucks, Taps, Corks and Forks

electric city trucks taps corks forks 2018 logoThe Electric City Trucks, Taps, Corks and Forks event will return May 19 in downtown Schenectady.

As the name implies, it's a food truck event in the Liberty-Broadway Parking Lot with vendors, craft beverages, music, kids activities, and a plant sale. It's a benefit for Schenectady ARC.

Here's the list of food trucks and vendors: Slidin' Dirty, Capital Q, Flavors of Lebanon, The Hungry Traveler, Dolan's Dogs, Pies on Wheels, Mad Jack Brewing, Sebastiano's Meatballs, Cooley's Ice Cream, 1857 Spirits, Hummingbird Hills Winery, Yankee Distillers, and Curvy Girls Food Truck & Catering.

The even is Saturday, May 19 from noon-4 pm. Admission is free.

There's another chance coming up to offer input on the Albany Skyway


A slide from the March meeting showing a rough idea of what the Albany Skyway could look like.

There's a public meeting May 22 at The Palace to talk about designs for the Albany Skyway project.

Blurbage: "Capitalize Albany Corporation is hosting a second public community event in order to generate ideas that will support the project's design and engineering. Initial Skyway design concepts will be previewed at this meeting. ... Learn more about the future potential of the Skyway and share your priorities and design ideas."

The Albany Skyway is a project to convert a relatively lightly-used off-ramp from I-787 to Clinton Ave in Albany into a pedestrian-bike connector/linear park between Broadway and the riverfront. The project got a big boost earlier this year when the Cuomo admin committed $3.1 million to it. Back in March there was a packed public meeting at which officials and the design firm Stantec outlined the project and gathered some initial input about what people would like to see happen with the project. This month the project team walked the ramp and surveyed views from it.

This next public meeting is Tuesday, May 22 from 5-7 pm at The Palace. Capitalize Albany is asking that people pre-register (see the first link above).

And Stantec, the engineering/design firm working on the project, is still gathering public input via an online survey.

+ Ideas for the Albany Skyway
+ 787 is sticking around for a long time, but if you want to change it the time to start is now

Stuff to do this weekend

Washington Park tulips 2017

You know what weekend it is.

Onto every Tulip Festival a little rain must fall.

Well, maybe not every one, but sometimes it seems that way. Don't let a little rain ruin your weekend. There's plenty to do. We've put together our list below. Feel free to add to it if you're doing something we missed.

And whatever you're up to, don't forget to do something special for your mom -- and have a fantastic weekend.


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Troy Hidden Garden Tour 2018

troy washington park looking out

The popular Troy Hidden Garden Tour returns Thursday, May 24. Tour blurbage:

The self-guided walking tour features approx. 30 private backyard gardens in the Historic Sage College, Washington Park and adjoining neighborhoods of downtown Troy.
While most of the gardens are approximately the same size, about 20 feet by 30 feet, they vary greatly in style. Some of the gardens feature charming pathways, fountains and pools. Some are filled with flowers, while others have more plants and vegetables -- all lovingly tended by gardeners of all skill levels.

The tour is from 4-7:30 pm (rain or shine). It is, in our experience, a nice evening and a different way to explore the neighborhoods just to the south of downtown Troy.

Tickets are $10 and available online. (They're also available day-of at the check-in table at Russel Sage.) The tour is a fundraiser for the Friends of Prospect Park.

Albany House and Garden Tour
Another popular event of this type -- the Hidden City House & Garden Tour in Albany -- is June 21 this year. It's a collaboration of the Center Square Association, Hudson/Park Neighborhood Association, and Historic Albany Foundation.

Tickets are currently $20 and available online. (The price increases $5 on June 16.)

Spin Doctors at Schenectady County SummerNight 2018

the band Spin Doctors

This year's Schenectady County SummerNight is July 13, and the headline is the band Spin Doctors.

Also part of the lineup: the bands Lucy and Bendt.

SummerNight is a free block party on State Street in downtown Schenectady from 5-10 pm. Shops will be open, and there are food vendors, kids activities, a sand sculpture, and fireworks at the end of the night. It's become a huge event -- last year's SummerNight drew an estimated 20,000 people.

By the way: It's been 27 years since Spin Doctors released Pocketful of Kryptonite, which sold more than 5 million copies in the US. And, according to the band's Wikipedia page, they've been together together and making albums ever since, except for a two-year hiatus around the early 2000s.

photo: Lucy Onions

Angelica, Eliza, Peggy, Cornelia, Catherine

Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton painted by Ralph Earl

A portrait of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, painted in 1786 by Ralph Earl. / via Wikipedia

The Schuyler Mansion in Albany has a talk on May 15 about the daughters of Philip and Catherine Schuyler. Blurbage:

The "Schuyler Sisters" have been causing quite a stir in the Broadway musical Hamilton: An American Musical, but did you know that there were really five Schuyler sisters? Jess Serflippi, Schuyler Mansion Site Interpreter, will present an in depth look at the history of the Schuyler women, their daily lives, and the impact they had in shaping their family's history.

The talk is part of the Friends of Schuyler Mansion annual meeting. It's Tuesday, May 15 at 5:30 pm. It's free and open to the public.

Open for the season
The 2018 season at the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site in Albany's South End opens Tuesday, May 16, which means the return of regularly scheduled public tours. The tours do tend to fill up, so keep an eye on the site's Facebook page for details about signing up ahead of time.

Earlier: "You maintain your empire in spite of all my efforts..."

There's a new round of Schenectady walking tours

lawrence statue Stockade Schenectady

A new round of walking tours organized by the Schenectady County Historical Society starts up this week, including the return of some popular tours. (One date is already sold out.)

The full schedule is below -- tour topics include scandal, beer, architecture, the Stockade, and Scotia. If you're interested in one (or more) of the tours it's a good idea to grab a spot ahead because they do often fill up.

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The week ahead

Dawson City Frozen In Time Mae Marsh in Polly v2

The highly-praised documentary Dawson City: Frozen Time is screening at the Opalka Gallery later this week and the director will be there for a Q&A.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (ahhh), to stories, to authors, to history, to film, to tulips, to music...


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Spring plant sales 2018

cce albany county plant sale

The garden education day/plant sale at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Voorheesville is always popular.

It's May! And it's finally warmed up! And it will soon be time to start planting tomatoes, peppers, and other warm-weather plants in the garden.

There are a bunch of plants sales around the Capital Region coming up over the next few weeks to help you fill out your garden -- or container on a deck, or window box, or wherever.

Here's a quick list of some upcoming plant sales...

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Capital Region Trails Summit

Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail 2017-July v2

The Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail.

There's a Capital Region Trails Summit at the Capitol May 10 to talk about a bunch of issues related to walking and bike trails. Event blurbage:

Panelists will include state and local leaders, and pedestrian and bike advocates highlighting walking and biking trail expansion and development across the region, including the Empire State Trail, Albany County Rail Trail and numerous on and off-road bike and pedestrian paths in between! Panelists will discuss the serious economic impact, tourism and health benefits of the present and future multi-use trails; share information on financial and regulatory barriers, and promote and coordinate the efforts underway.

The agenda topics include trail expansion, waterfront access, bike lanes, sidewalks, business growth and infrastructure. The event is being hosted by Assembly member Pat Fahy.

It's Thursday, May 10 from 8-10:30 am (program starts at 8:30 am) in the Assembly Parlor at the Capitol. It's free, but you must register because of limited seating.

+ High traffic spots on the area's walk/bike trails
+ Looking ahead on the future of the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail
+ The plan to connect two major bike paths at the Albany waterfront
+ The Albany-Hudson Electric Trail

Hudson Valley Hops 2018

Amsdell Brewery workers Albany 1910

Workers at the George I. Amsdell Brewery in Albany sometime around 1910. / via Albany Institute of History & Art, Main photo Collection

The Hudson Valley Hops beer event returns to the Albany Institute May 19. Event blurbage:

Enjoy a regional craft beer tasting as well as an exhibition of local brewing history and a special program about brewing history in Troy.
Hudson Valley Hops 2018 will feature a one-time blind taste test featuring session beers from craft brewers in the Hudson Valley. Hosted by Steve Barnes of Times Union Table Hopping, with Jess Briganti, Weekday AM Weather Anchor for News10 ABC; Spectrum News/AlbanyArchives' Matt Malette; and Deanna Fox, local food writer as judges.
Hear from David Mulholland, whose family helped shape brewing history in Troy as Stoll's brewing, during a program called Brewing Beer in a Melting Pot. You'll also have the chance to help choose the 2018 People's Choice, and we'll have food from BMT Hospitality.

Eleven breweries from around the region are lined up to participate.

Hudson Valley Hops is Saturday, May 19 from 4-7 pm. Tickets are $35 ahead / $40 at the door.

Stuff to do this weekend

musician Brandi Carlile 2017

Brandi Carlile plays The Palace on Sunday.

Ah, spring. The temperatures are rising, the birds are chirping, and the tulips are realizing that it is finally safe for them to come out and play.

So, on our list of things to do this weekend: check on tulip progress, take a walk, have an ice cream cone. But also: all the stuff you'll find below.

Doing something that didn't make our list? Tell us about it in the comment section, so everyone can see.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!


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GameFest 2018

One of the creators of the narrative game What Remains of Edith Finch will be giving this year's keynote.

The annual GameFest returns to downtown Troy and RPI this Saturday, May 5. It's a showcase of digital games and chance to talk about issues that intersect with the industry. Blurbage:

Organized by the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences Program in the School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, the event includes a student-designed games competition judged by industry professionals, music performances, and presentations by veteran game designers, critics, scholars, and indie developers. This year's keynote talk will be given by Chelsea Hash of Giant Sparrow, creators of the acclaimed indie game What Remains of Edith Finch. ...
Since 2003, GameFest has grown into a regional event that brings together game design students from schools throughout the Northeast. Talks and panels include topics from serious games and entrepreneurship to deep design questions and the democratization of independent game development. Music performances range from music made with repurposed game consoles to an orchestra performing classical arrangements of music from games.

There's a growing cluster of video game companies located in Troy, and developers from many of those studios will be at GameFest for short talks.

The student games showcase and series of short talks will be at the Atrium in downtown Troy on Saturday from 11 am-4 pm. Then things head up the hill to RPI for presentations, the keynote, and awards at 5 pm. (See the link above for details.)

GameFest is free and open to the public.

Drawing: Champagne on the Park 2018

Champagne on the Park 2018 logo

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The annual Champagne on the Park event will be back in Albany's Washington Park May 10. The party -- which is set up near the tulips beds in the park -- includes live music, a vintage photo booth, food from Lark Street-area businesses, drinks, and of course, champagne.

We have a pair of tickets to the event, and we're giving them away. To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

What's something around the Capital Region that you're looking forward to doing this summer?

Could be a place you want to go. Could be an activity. Could be ice cream from your favorite stand. Could be whatever. We'll draw one winner a random. That person will get the pair of tickets.

Champagne on the Park 2018 is Thursday, May 10 starting at 6 pm. This year's theme is "Pretty in Pink."

General admission tickets are currently $80 per person and available online. The event is a fundraiser for the Lark Street BID.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Friday, May 4, 2018 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 Monday and must respond by noon on Tuesday, May 8.

Basilica Soundscape 2018

musician Liz Harris Grouper

Liz Harris (Grouper) is part of this year's lineup of artists.

Basilica SoundScape returns to Basilica SoundScape September 14-16. Early bird tickets are on sale now -- they're $60.

And the initial lineup is out (listed in full below). It includes Haxan Cloak x Nick Zinner (from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Grouper, Spellling, Lightning Bolt, L'Rain, and Efrim Manuel Menuck (from Godspeed You! Black Emperor).

This year's fest will also include the US premiere of "Un Vide Dans Le Ciel," a work for large symphony orchestra written by Stephen O'Malley and orchestrated with Eyvind Kang. It'll be performed by the The Orchestra Now (T?N) from Bard College.

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The Queen Size Swap returns this weekend

Queen Size Swap 2015 fall v2

The Queen Size Swap returns to The Hangar in Troy this Sunday, May 6. How-it-works blurbage:

Swapping is not person to person. There is no buying or selling of clothing. The clothing is grouped by size: 12/14/16/18 table. 20/22/24 table. Etc. You drop off your clothes at the appropriate table then you can check out the other clothes. First come, first serve. Any new to you items you are interested in you take home. There is no limit to what you take home and you do not have to bring the same number of items you take. You take what you want! Nice and easy. There are also shoes, coats, accessories, etc.

That second link includes more details what sorts of items will be swapped. Any un-swapped clothing is donated to the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless clothing pantry.

Also: "The QSS is a body and size positive event! All genders welcome."

The Queen Size Swap is Sunday, May 6 from 11 am-2 pm. Tickets are $10 ahead / $15 at the door.

photo via Queen Size Swap

The AOA event with presidential historian Alexis Coe has a new date! And it's free! And it includes an after-party at Loch & Quay!

Alexis Coe and Fort Orange General Store

Update update: The event is now full. (We were able to open up a few more spots for people from the waitlist, but we're now completely out of room. Thank you for all the interest!)

UPDATE! AOA is bringing presidential historian Alexis Coe to the Fort Orange General Store, but on a new date -- Thursday, May 24. Here's how to register. Also...

It's now a free event
Wait, what? Yep. Thanks to additional sponsorship from CDPHP and an Amplify Albany grant from the City of Albany Capital Resource Corporation and Capitalize Albany, tickets to the event are now free -- but you'll still need to register for tickets because space is limited. Early birds that have already purchased tickets have been issued refunds and we'll hold your space. (If you can't make the new date, please let us know so someone else can have your spot.)

There's a party afterward
Following the event, the newly-opened Loch & Quay -- right next door to Fort Orange General Store -- will host an after-party for all of us. Your event ticket will get you a free beer or wine, appetizers, and good conversation with interesting people. (Again, because space is limited, you must pre-register. See the link above.)

And a tasting before
Broadway Plaza Liquors, just up the street from FOGS, will be hosting a pre-event wine tasting from 5-6:30 pm.

This will be a fun, interesting time
Alexis Coe has a new biography of George Washington -- You Never Forget Your First -- coming out next year from Viking (Penguin/Random House). She was recently part of a CNN series about the Kennedys, and she co-hosted the Audible series Presidents Are People, Too!

We'll be talking about all sorts of things related to presidential history -- the subject's been a bit dramatic lately, as you might have noticed -- along with New York State presidents specifically (Teddy! Chester!), as well as a few other topics like history photo accounts on Twitter, and what it's like working as a historian right now. There will also be Q&A with the crowd.

And to go along with the conversation: coffee from Stacks and donuts from Cider Belly.

So we'd love to see you there! This AOA-organized event is Thursday, May 24 starting at 6:30 pm Fort Orange General Store in downtown Albany (conversation starts at 7 pm). It's free -- but you must pre-register.

This event is made possible in part thanks to the sponsorship of CDPHP, the City of Albany Capital Resource Corporation and Capitalize Albany O'Connell and Aronowitz, Beahive Albany, Broadway Plaza Liquors, the Hilton Albany, and the the Mop and Bucket Improv Theater.

Angel Olsen at MASS MoCA

musician Angel Olsen

Indie rock singer/songwriter Angel Olsen is set to play a show at MASS MoCA September 29. Tickets go on sale this Friday, May 4 -- they're $30 ahead / $40 day of.

Olsen's 2016 album, My Women, got strong reviews -- it that includes that song "Shut Up Kiss Me". And she followed it up with a collection of B-sides, demos, and covers last year that was also well received. From a Village Voice profile last November: "Olsen has that rare gift -- perhaps the gift that matters most in popular music -- that only the truly profound talents do, of writing songs that are both specific enough to feel personal to her but general enough that almost anyone listening can sing along and think, 'This happened to me.'"

The opener for the MASS MoCA show is Julianna Barwick

Eastbound Throwdown 2018

Eastbound Throwdown 2018 logo

The Eastbound Throwdown music fest returns to Irwin Farm in Salem September 7-8. Early bird passes are on sale now -- they're $50. Camping is included.

The fest is a joint production of the band Eastbound Jesus and the promoter Guthrie/Bell Productions. Blurbage:

This year's lineup includes a mix of artists that have played the festival in previous years, and ones that while have never played the Throwdown stage, are acts that Eastbound Jesus has grown to be friends with and fans of over the years while performing in the region.
This will be the festival's third year at Irwin Farm. With local vendors, two stages built by the band themselves, and friends and family as volunteers to staff the event, it is truly a grassroots festival with a hometown feel.

The full festival lineup will be out June 1.

Salem is in Washington County, about an hour's drive northeast of Albany and about 40 minutes east of Saratoga Springs.

A Taste of Albany 2018

A Taste of Albany beer station v2

A Taste of Albany returns to the State Museum this Thursday, May 3. The popular annual event is a fundraiser for the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless.

It includes more than 30 local restaurants offering samples, along with a bar stocked with beers from local breweries. There are also raffles, an auction, a wine pull, music, and the museum's carousel is open for rides.

The event starts Thursday at 5 pm. General admission tickets are $75 and available online.

photo via A Taste of Albany

Amanda Shires at The Egg

musician Amanda Shires

Americana/roots singer/songwriter Amanda Shires is set to play a show at The Egg July 25. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $29.50.

Shires will be touring this summer as the lead up to a new album in August. Album blurbage:

To The Sunset is a compelling collection of narratives often told from a female perspective. The themes range from grappling with self-esteem in "Mirror, Mirror" to mental illness and addiction in standout track "Wasn't I Paying Attention?" and the power of a changed perspective with a dash of her signature wit in "Break Out The Champagne". Shires has a penchant for delivering her stories in ways that are intelligent and poetic yet thoughtful and warm, feeling as if coming from a good friend.

Shires also performs with Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, which won the Grammy for Best Americana Album this year. And, as it happens, she and Isbell are married. Here's a NPR interview with them both from this past December about their music and all sorts of stuff.

The opener for the show at The Egg: The one and only Sean Rowe.

The week ahead

Lincoln Center Theater The King and I

The King and I is at Proctors this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (warm return), to playoff basketball, to setting the stage, to history, to startups, to music...


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Two new downtown Albany walking tours

looking up at Nipper 991 Broadway

The Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center at Quackenbush Square has two new walking tour queued up for this summer:

Wild Tails of Albany Animals: The City of Albany is WILD! Wild Tails of Albany Animals is a first of its kind. The guided walking tour leads your family on a safari through downtown Albany. Together with your guide, you will uncover many creatures in the form of carvings and statues hidden in plain sight. Your guide will regale you with historic tails of Albany's long-time love of furry and feathered friends, big and small, including Owney the Railway Mail Dog and our beloved Nipper!
Going Dutch!: The Albany Dutch are more than just tulips and wooden shoes! Echoes of Albany's Dutch roots can be felt throughout the City, from our street names to our architectural gems. Going Dutch is a guided walking tour within the original perimeter of Beverwyck. Learn how the tenacious Dutch adapted to the New World, formed relationships with the Native Americans and adjusted to English rule before the Revolution.

The tours will be offered once a month starting in May and running through October -- Wild Tails on a Saturday, Going Dutch on a Thursday. Tickets are $3 (Wild Tails is free for kids).

History walking tour through Pine Hills

Madison Ave commercial strip near Allen Street maybe 1930s

This should be fun and interesting: Akum Norder will be leading a history walking tour through Pine Hills May 9. Blurbage:

Join Akum Norder, author of The History of Here: A House, the Pine Hills Neighborhood, and the City of Albany, on a walking tour through the historic Pine Hills neighborhood. Whether you're a longtime resident, newcomer, or visitor, enjoy learning about the landmarks and history of this beautiful area.

The tour starts at 6:30 pm at the Pine Hills branch of the Albany Public Library (517 Western Ave). It's free. You can claim at spot via that link above.

Pine Hills is an old streetcar suburb. And though it's changed in a lot of ways, it's kind of fascinating how it's held a lot of that format through today.

The photo above is from the Albany Public Library History Collection -- it shows the commercial strip on the south side of Madison Ave near Allen Street in (we're guessing) the 1930s (the photo is undated). The buildings have changed (though some are still there), as have the businesses, but that strip still serves a similar role today, with places to eat, neighborhood services, and a grocery store.

Stuff to do this weekend

half moon market washington park lake house

The Half Moon Market returns to the Washington Park Lake House this weekend.

The weekend is around the corner, and spring is making an effort -- so we're good. How about you?

We've got your list of stuff to do this weekend all ready to go. You'll find it below.

Planning something that didn't make our list? Tell us about it in the comment section.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!


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"Race, Place, Power & Privilege" at Albany Roundtable

Arsenal of Exclusion and Inclusion illustration

An illustration from The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion.

This looks interesting: The Albany Roundtable's annual meeting on May 23 at the Albany Institute will feature a talk by urban planner Daniel D'Oca titled "Race, Place, Power & Privilege" -- about "tactics to make cities more equitable and inclusive."

D'Oca is a principal and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based architecture, planning, and research firm Interboro Partners. The firm published the book The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion last year. Book blurbage:

Urban History 101 teaches us that the built environment is not the product of invisible, uncontrollable market forces, but of human-made tools that could have been used differently (or not at all). The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion is an encyclopedia of 202 tools--or what we call "weapons"--used by architects, planners, policy-makers, developers, real estate brokers, activists, and other urban actors in the United States use to restrict or increase access to urban space. The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion inventories these weapons, examines how they have been used, and speculates about how they might be deployed (or retired) to make more open cities in which more people feel welcome in more spaces.

Here's a review at Architect magazine.

The Albany Roundtable event is Wednesday, May 23 starting at 6 pm at the Albany Institute. Tickets are $40 and must be purchased by May 18. They include light fare and open bar.

Katherine Applegate at Skidmore

Katherine Applegate Endling book cover

Newbery Medal-winning author Katherine Applegate will be at Skidmore May 8 for an event organized by Northshire Bookstore. She'll be talking about her new book, Endling: The Last, with author Steve Sheinkin.

Book/event blurbage:

First Katherine Applegate thrilled readers with the action-packed Animorphs series. Then she stole our hearts with the award-winning The One and Only Ivan. Now she takes us on an unforgettable journey in this first book of an epic middle grade series.
Byx is the youngest member of her dairne pack. Believed to possess remarkable abilities, her mythical doglike species has been hunted to near extinction in the war-torn kingdom of Nedarra. After her pack is hunted down and killed, Byx fears she may be the last of her species. The Endling. So Byx sets out to find safe haven, and to see if the legends of other hidden dairnes are true. Along the way, she meets new allies--both animals and humans alike--who each have their own motivations for joining her quest. And although they begin as strangers, they become their own kind of family--one that will ultimately uncover a secret that may threaten every creature in their world.

Applegate won the Newbery Medal -- one of the most prestigious awards in the US children's literature -- for The One and Only Ivan in 2013.

The event at Skidmore is Tuesday, May 8 at 5:30 pm. Tickets are required ($5) and they're available online.

author photo via Katherine Applegate's Facebook page

Northshire advertises on AOA.

School House Rock Live! at The Palace

A touring production of School House Rock Live! will be at The Palace this Sunday, April 29. Tickets are $20 for adults / free for kids 12 and under.

The show is a stage production of the great old Saturday morning cartoon shorts. Show blurbage:

Schoolhouse Rock Live! follows Tom, a nerve-wracked school teacher who is nervous about his first day of teaching. He tries to relax by watching TV, when various characters representing facets of his personality emerge from the set and show him how to win his students over with imagination and music, through such songs as "Just a Bill," "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly" and "Conjunction Junction."

As it happens, the the writer of those catchy educational songs -- Bob Dorough -- died this week at age 94.

The Palace show starts at 2 pm Sunday.

Screening of The Place Beyond the Pines at Proctors with director Derek Cianfrance

place beyond the pines gosling still

Proctors is hosting a screening of The Place Beyond The Pines May 5 -- and the movie's director, Derek Cianfrance, will be there to talk about the experience of making the film.

As you know, The Place Beyond The Pines -- starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, and many other notable actors -- was largely shot in and around Schenectady. The production used a bunch of local homes and businesses for scenes. And the film was written by Schenectady native Ben Coccio.

The screening at Proctors is at 3 pm on Saturday, May 5. Tickets are $20. There's a VIP mixer at 1:30 pm (extra $50). There will be raffles of autographed The Place Beyond the Pines DVDs and movie posters to benefit the Northeast Filmmakers Lab.

Sacred Sites Open House Weekend 2018

cathedral of all saints exterior albany spring 2013

This year's Sacred Sites Open House Weekend is May 5-6. The event, organized by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, highlights the architecture and history of religious buildings. Blurbage:

This year's theme, Sacred Sounds and Settings, provides a backdrop for showcasing musical and performance activities via organ demonstrations, concerts, and special guided tours of religious institutions. Congregations will also highlight their cultural and social programs offered throughout the year.

There are a handful of sites around the Capital Region participating, including the Cathedral of All Saints and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany.

The Cathedral of All Saints -- which is next to the State Education Building -- will be offering tours as well as a pipe organ concert that Saturday, and the 146-year-old Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys will be singing on Sunday.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception -- on Madison at Eagle -- will be offering guided tours that Sunday from 1-4 pm.

Earlier on AOA:
+ A short tour of Albany's historic stained glass

+ Saints vs. The State for Washington Avenue

Y La Bamba at The Linda

music act Y La Bamba

Luz Elena Mendoza of Y La Bamba

Indie folk pop act Y La Bamba is set to play a show at The Linda May 9. Tickets are $12.

From an NPR review of the act's album Ojos Del Sol:

The biggest step forward on the new record lies in how Y La Bamba uses Luz Elena Mendoza's voice: It's employed like a musical instrument, as part of an ensemble sound. That may sound easy, but it's difficult to pull off. Singing delicately in her upper register, she seems enmeshed in the instrumental arrangements, which gives her bicultural storytelling an almost otherworldly feel.
Ojos Del Sol represents a major step forward for Y La Bamba, not least because it fully establishes Mendoza as one of the most innovative and exciting young vocalists around.

The lineup for the show includes two strong locals, as well: The Parlor and Bell's Roar.

photo: Christal Angélique

The Albany All Stars Roller Derby opens its home season this weekend

Albany All Stars at ACC 2017

The Albany All Stars Roller Derby 2018 season opens this Saturday, April 28. The All Stars will be back at the Albany Capital Center to take on the Suburbia Roller Derby Suburban Brawl from Yonkers.

Tickets are $12 ahead / $15 day of / kids 10 and under are $5. First whistle is at 7 pm.

Last season was the roller derby's first at the new convention center. It makes use of the big multi-purpose space on the second floor. (The one with the LED ceiling.) There's food, a bar, music, and halftime activities.

The All Stars have seven home games this season -- one a month through October. Season passes start at $75.

Hellions of Troy
The Hellions of Troy started up their new season in March at the Rollarama in Rotterdam. They're next in action at home May 19 against Suburbia Roller Derby. Tickets are $10 ahead / $12 at the door / kids 12 and under are $3.

Janet Jackson at SPAC

Janet Jackson 2018

The Janet Jackson is set to play a show at SPAC July 26. Tickets go on sale this Friday, April 27 -- they're $29.95 and up.

The SPAC show is an extension of her "State of the World" tour. Blurbage: "The outing will showcase some of the legendary entertainer's biggest dance anthems and powerhouse ballads that have become staples of the music icon's career."

You might remember that Jackson was lined up to play SPAC in 2016, but the show ended up being postponed.

Live Nation advertises on AOA.

photo: Solamain Fazel

The week ahead

Patti LuPone

Broadway titan Patti LuPone will be talking about her career at UAlbany this week, and then performing at Proctors. / photo: Axel Dupeux

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (SPRING), to film, to women in power, to basketball, to Dining Out for Life, to to all sorts of music...


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History days at Cherry Hill and Ten Broeck Mansion

Cherry Hill house

Historic Cherry Hill.

Historic Cherry Hill and the Ten Broeck Mansion in Albany are again hosting early May history days, this time on May 6:

Historic Cherry Hill: Albany History Fair: World War I
The mansion on the south side of Albany will be hosting the 19th annual Albany History Fair, which this year is focused on WWI. The events include an original play about one of the families who lived at Cherry Hill, a virtual reality experience, exhibits, a show-and-tell about what people ate in Albany during WWI, and a bunch of talks.

The events are free and open to the public.

Ten Broeck Mansion: Living History Day
The mansion in Arbor Hill will have its annual Living History Day, with tours, re-enactors, live music, animals, and hands-on activities. It's free and open to the public.

The Ten Broeck Mansion will also be hosting a barbecue later that afternoon to welcome Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan to the neighborhood. (The mayor and her husband bought a home just on the other side of the Ten Broeck Triangle from the mansion.) Tickets for that are $10.

The Bites Camera Action film series is returning to downtown Albany this summer in a new location

Times Union Center exterior video boards 2018-March

The Bites Camera Action movie series is set return to downtown Albany in July. And this time around the movies will be shown on the giant video screens on the front of the TU Center as part of a block party.

As in the past years, the Downtown Albany BID is looking for input about which films to show. There's an online survey with a bunch of choices (you can pick four). One survey taker will be chosen at random to win a $50 downtown Albany restaurant gift certificate. Voting ends at 11:59 pm on May 1.

Using the TU Center screens like this is an interesting idea. They are really big and bright. We've been thinking it could be fun to use them to show art, or maybe something just really chill and relaxing like nature scenes will ambient sounds. Because they really contribute to the feel of that block.

The Downtown Albany BID advertises on AOA.

Stuff to do this weekend

They Might Be Giants 2017

It looks like there are just a handful of tickets remaining for the They Might Be Giants "Science, Kids, and Beyond" show at The Egg on Sunday. / photo: Shervin Lainez

Alright, you've all seen the long range forecast, so let's all get together and decide we're going to ignore Mother Nature until she gets onboard with spring.

Meanwhile, we have a weekend to plan. After the jump, a few weekend goings-on we thought might interest you.

Planning something that didn't make our list? Tell us about it in the comment section so everyone gets to see.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!


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GE Realty Plot walking tours

GE Realty Plot Irving Langmuir House 1176 Stratford Road 2008 CC Daniel Case

Nobel Prize winner Irving Langmuir lived in this home on Stratford Road in the plot. / photo: Wikipedia user Daniel Case (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Schenectady city historian Chris Leonard is leading a walking tour of the GE Realty Plot neighborhood May 19. Blurbage:

Leonard will cover the dynamic events and unique cast of characters who have called "The Plot" their home. The tour includes stories and anecdotes about GE inventors and executives, Schenectady business and political leaders, entertainers, and incomparable individuals, as well as the formation of The Plot and ongoing efforts to protect these stately homes. Some of the many luminaries covered include Charles P. Steinmetz, Irving Langmuir, Izetta Jewel Miller and Ernst Alexanderson.

The GE Realty Plot sits just to the east of Union College. The college sold the land at the beginning of the 20th century to General Electric (it was trying to pay off some debt) and the company developed the plot for homes for its executives and researchers. It's a beautiful, walkable neighborhood.

The walking tour is the morning of Saturday, May 19. Tickets are $20 -- "which includes entry into one of the homes, and a 15-minute break with snacks on its large front porch" -- and available online.

By the way: It looks like this tour will be offered each month through October.

Creative Economy Symposium 2018

Creative Economy Symposium brochure

Proctors is hosting the second annual Creative Economy Symposium June 21-22. The topic for this year's event: "The Next Steps Toward a Diverse Workforce." Blurbage:

Join Upstate [Alliance for the Creative Economy], Workforce Development Institute, and the Themed Entertainment Association, global experts, and regional individuals, entities & industries in exploring critical issues relating to cultural, social and racial inclusion in Upstate New York's Commercial Creative Industries.
This 2nd Symposium in Schenectady involves Employees & Employers in Regional Creative Industries engaged in a conversation about overcoming obstacles, educational curriculum, hiring practices, job placement services, and career opportunities, rural & urban, leading us to a more diverse workforce.

Updated: A flyer with the schedule of events and speakers is embedded below. There's an opening reception that Thursday evening and then presentations/talks/discussions during the day on Friday.

Diversity in the local creative economy was the subject of a recent event at the Opalka Gallery this month. It was a good discussion, and there's a lot to talk about -- especially on how to turn intent into action and results.

The registration deadline for the symposium at Proctors is June 15. The fee is $40. (If that's maybe more than you can cover, we get the sense the organizers don't want to turn anyone away for not being able to pay -- so reach out to them.)

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Tracing the histories of family cookbooks, and bicycles on the road to suffrage at the State Museum

circa 1900 bicycling ladies Schenectady

This photo -- of two women in the Schenectady area in the early 1900s -- is from the Larry Hart Collection at the Schenectady County Historical Society's Grems-Doolittle Library. That link is to a post on the library's blog about the wild early days of cycling in Schenectady.

Two upcoming State Museum talks that look interesting...

A Taste of Change
Food historian Peter G. Rose will be at the State Museum May 6 for a talk about family cookbooks. "Using her knowledge of Dutch customs and food history, [Rose] will discuss examples of such recipe/scrap-books, dating as far back as the late 17th century and ranging to the 20th century that contain Dutch recipes. They show the continued identification with the forebears, but also the gradual assimilation. This can apply to any other ethnicity as well. Photographs of pages in cookbooks as well as 17th-century paintings will illustrate the talk."

Rose is originally from The Netherlands and has written many books about the Dutch and their influence on the food and culture of the Hudson Valley. Her latest book is Delicious December: How the Dutch Brought Us Santa, Presents, and Treats. Sunday, May 6 at 2 pm -- free

Woman on a Wheel
State Parks historian Kjirsten Gustavson will be at the State Museum May 20 for a talk about women and the early history of bicycles. "Women astride their bicycles challenged cherished notions of femininity--everything from the concept of female dependence to their very appearance was about to change. Even Susan B. Anthony once said of the bicycle, "I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance." Join [Gustavson] for an illustrated talk on the way in which the bicycle helped to shape the modern woman and pave the way for suffrage."

Also: Gustavson will be there in her 1895 bicycle costume and you can join her for a bike ride. Sunday, May 20 at 1 pm -- free

Portland Cello Project: OK Computer at Troy Music Hall

The alt-classical group Portland Cello Project is set to play a show of Radiohead songs at the Troy Music Hall October 27. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Wednesday, April 18 -- they're $29 and up.

Show blurbage:

Portland's premiere alt-classical group brings a huge orchestral ensemble, including brass and percussion, to perform a night in homage to Radiohead. Patti King of The Shins joins them as a guest vocalist.
The first set of the evening is a selection of various Radiohead songs and the second set is, from start to finish, Radiohead's OK Computer album.

That clip embedded above is the group playing "Paranoid Android" last November.

Also announced today for Troy Music Hall: The Beatles tribute act 1964 on September 27. Tickets go on sale to the general public Wednesday -- they're $29 and up.

Troy Music Hall advertises on AOA.

The week ahead

author Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie will be at UAlbany this week as part of the NYS Writers Institute.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (gray), to words, to drama, to authors, to Gabriel Iglesias, to hoops, to all sorts of music...


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Stuff to do this weekend

Dirty Dancing musical

Nobody puts Baby in a corner. (The touring stage musical version of Dirty Dancing is at Proctors this weekend.)

Spring just doesn't seem to want to... well -- spring. But just the same, the weekend is coming so plans must be made. We suggest dressing in layers and packing an umbrella.

Below there's a bunch of stuff to do regardless of weather conditions -- well, mostly. Pick your favorites and let the weekend begin. Planning something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comment section.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!


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Walking the Albany Rural Cemetery, for the birds

Albany Rural Cemetery wide shotThis could be a different sort of Saturday morning: The Audubon Society of the Capital Region and the Friends of Albany Rural Cemetery are teaming up for a bird walk / cemetery tour April 21. Blurbage:

In prior years, more than 30 different species of birds have been seen and heard as we walk through the Cemetery grounds. In addition to guided bird identification, historical narratives of some of the historic and interesting people buried in ARC will be provided as we walk through the historic grounds. Wear your walking shoes and be prepared to walk. You also may want to bring binoculars and bug spray (just in case).

The walk starts at 7:30 am that day. Call the cemetery office at 518-463-7017 to register. There's a suggested donation of $10.

The cemetery is a beautiful place for a walk. And maybe spring will actually be in progress by then.

Historic Walking Tour
By the way: That historical walking tour of the cemetery with costumed presenters the evening of May 18 filled up almost instantly. But there's another one in the works for September.

Drink Saratoga

Drink Saratoga logo

The Capital Craft Beverage Trail has a Drink Saratoga event lined up for June 15 at the Saratoga Automobile Museum.

It's a follow-up to similar events in Albany and Schenectady, in which craft beverage producers from around the region will be offering tastings. There will also be food, and the museum will be open for touring. Producer lineup (so far):

Nine Pin Cider, Albany Distilling Company, C.H. Evans Brewing Albany Pump Station, Brown's Brewing Company, Druthers Brewing Company, Chatham Brewing, S&S Farm Brewery, Altamont Vineyard and Winery, Upstate Distilling Company, Wolf Hollow Brewing Company, Mad Jack Brewing Company, Indian Ladder Farms, The Beer Diviner, Great Flats Brewing, Artisanal Brew Works, Hudson-Chatham Winery, Meadowdale Winery, Common Roots Brewing Company, Yesfolk Tonics

Early bird tickets are currently $25. The price increases to $30 after May 11, they're $40 at the door. Designated driver tickets will also be available at the door.

Capital Craft Beverage Trail? From its website: "The Capital Craft Beverage Trail was formed in 2015 to promote craft and farm-based beverage producers in the Capital Region of New York State. This one-of-a-kind "drinking tour" promotes some of the region's most popular craft beverage facilities. Every producer sources ingredients locally, and beverages are created in small batches to maximize quality."

Dining Out for Life 2018

Dining Out for Life 2018 logoThe annual Dining Out for Life event returns April 26 at restaurants all around the Capital Region. The event is a fundraiser for the Alliance for Positive Health.*

Here are all the steps required to take part:

1. Go out to eat at one of the participating restaurants.

2. There is no step two.

Yep, that's it. The participating restaurants will donate a portion of their checks from that day to the Alliance. You don't have do anything else.

Well... you could also make a donation while you're there or later on. There will be envelopes at the restaurants. Look for one of the Alliance ambassadors if you don't see them.

Here's the list of participating restaurants for this year -- some of which are also participating during breakfast and lunch.

Some of the restaurants get busy that night, so reservations are a good idea.

* Formerly known as the AIDS Council of Northeast New York.

AOA is again a sponsor of Dining Out for Life.

Albany's city gardener will be offering tulip tours again this year

Washington Park tulips 2017-04-28

Spring will eventually get its act together and the tulips will bloom. (Right? Right.)

With that in mind... The city of Albany will again be offering tours of the Washington Park tulip beds with city gardener Jessica Morgan during the week leading up to the Tulip Festival. This year's schedule:

May 7-10: 2 pm and 5 pm

May 11: 10 am, 1 pm, and 5:30 pm

The tours are free (and weather permitting), but registration is required -- and they do fill up. Call 518-434-2032 or email to reserve a spot.

Jessica Morgan -- the city gardener -- leads crews that plants tens of thousands of tulip bulbs each year around the city. And as she told us a few years back: "People feel such pride in the heritage of the tulip here ... I feel a responsibility to every single citizen to keep things as beautiful as possible."

Earlier: Portraits of tulips

The Literary Libations tour is returning this summer

karner blue butterfly closeup USFWS

We have a feeling that butterflies that might be mentioned.

The popular Literary Libations event is set to return June 16 in Albany. It's a history tour / pub crawl led by Maeve McEneny. Blurbage:

A team of guides with a tome of tales will lead you and your friends through Albanys historic Center Square. Well admire the buildings, visit some pubs, but more importantly, your guides will tell you the stories behind Albanys surprising literary history. Albany was the home to many literary legends, such as our own William Kennedy and Gregory Maguire. But what other literary luminaries wandered these streets? Did Herman Melville find inspiration for Moby Dick in his own backyard? Whats the connection between Vladimir Nabokov and the Albany Pine Bush? This and more will be revealed on the tour!

The tour meets at 4:30 pm on Saturday, June 16 at the Local History Room of the Albany Public Library Washington Ave Branch and heads out from there.

Tickets are $25 and available online. It's a benefit for the Albany Public Library Foundation.

photo: Hollingsworth, J & K/US FWS via Wikipedia

It's baby farm animal tour season

hancock shaker baby pigs

That's a season, right?

It's spring -- or so we hear -- and that means it's also baby animal season. A couple of regional spots for visiting:

Indian Ladder Farms
Baby Animal Days are April 11-May 6 this year at Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont. "Come into our Baby Animal Barn where tour participants will see, pet and learn about chicks, turkey poults, ducklings, goslings, bunnies, lambs, goat kids, piglets, and calves. Visit our new Goat Playground and learn about goat behavior while cheering on our lively goat kids as they romp and play with toys. Visit our outdoor farm animal exhibits of adult cows, goats, sheep and poultry to see what baby farm animals will look like when they are all grown up."

Admission is $7 / free kids 1 and under / no charge for an adult with child. (Adults not accompanied by a child are $7.)

Hancock Shaker Village
Hancock Shaker Village will have baby animal days April 14-May 6. There will also be tours and other demonstrations at the Shaker site on those days. Admission is $20 adults / $8 ages 13-17 / kids 12 and under free with paying adult. EBT card holders are eligible for free admission for up to two adults and all kids 17 years and under.*

HSV also offers a baby animals behind-the-scenes tour. "Your tour begins with a wagon ride through the HSV gardens and along the Farm & Forest Trail to the 1910 Barn. Here, in your own private viewing area you'll meet, hold and even bottle-feed the baby animals." Tickets are $30 (and in past years they've sold out).

Hancock Shaker Village is a village, museum, and farm on a Shaker site in Pittsfield, Massachusetts -- about 40 minutes from Albany.

* The Albany Public Library has passes for HSV -- and many other museums -- that you can check out.

photo: Dawn Padfield

Capital Region Homebuyer Fair 2018

home for sale signThe Capital Region Homebuyer Fair returns to the Albany Public Library this Saturday. The annual free event, Affordable Housing Partnership, is like a one-stop shop for info about the path to buying a home. Blurbage:

Attendees will meet with lenders, home inspectors, realtors, attorneys, homeownership advisors, and others in the field. People can learn about the latest grant and down payment assistance programs available to Capital District homebuyers. Attendees can also get free credit reports (identification required) and pre-qualification for mortgage financing (recent pay stub required).

There are also seminars about building a credit score, qualifying for a mortgage, and down payment resources.

The home buyer fair is Saturday, April 14 at the APL's Washington Ave Branch from 10 am to 2 pm.

Repair Cafe

The first Repair Café organized by Martine Postma in Amsterdam (the one in the Netherlands) in 2009. That clip embedded above is from one of the events in the Netherlands and includes a short explainer from Postma.

Such is the modern world that a lot of stuff around the house gets thrown out when it's stopped working instead of being repaired.

But there's movement called the Repair Cafe that's trying to fix that (pun totally intended). The basic idea is that people bring in their broken household items to community events and volunteer repair coaches help with the repairs. For free.

There are two local Repair Cafe events coming up:

April 14: Schenectady County Public Library - 10 am to noon
The first Repair Cafe Schenectady will be in the McChesney Room of the central library (99 Clinton Street in downtown Schenectady). "Examples of some of the items you can bring to be fixed include: small electric appliances (especially lamps and vacuums,) furniture/wooden objects, clothing/textiles, Dolls/toys, jewelry, watches/clocks, bicycles, ceramics and general mechanical (small items only, no gas powered machines.)" Repairs are limited to two items per household. There will also be bike tune-ups from the Electric City Bike Rescue.

April 14: Castleton-on-Hudson Village Hall - 11 am to 3 pm
The Castleton Repair Cafe will be at the village hall (85 South Main Street). "This month, electrical, welding and seamstress services are featured (such as repair of lamps, vacuums, metal, clothing), but bikes, toys, crockery, furniture are also possible... anything that is broken is welcome."

Both events are also on the lookout for volunteers -- see the links for how to contact organizers if you have some know-how you'd like to share.

We'd just add based on our own experience: Fixing a broken household appliance yourself can save money -- but it also feels awesome. The sound of a broken refrigerator whirring back to life or the coffee maker burbling again is the sound of accomplishment.

Sanctuary for Independent Media 2018 spring

A trailer for the documentary Sembène, about the influential filmmaker Ousmane Sembène. The Sanctuary will be hosting a screening with the makers of the doc.

The upcoming spring season of events at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy is out. As usual, it includes workshops, talks, screenings, and performances on topics ranging from the environment to social justice to art (and sometimes all those things at once).

Here's a quick-scan look...

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The week ahead

music duo Black Violin

Black Violin is at Troy Music Hall later this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (vaguely springy), to Bill Murray, to drama, to authors, to streetcars, to all sorts of music...


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The Hyde Collection is opening an exhibit of work by Rockwell Kent

Flame by Rockwell Kent

"Flame" by Rockwell Kent, from the Collection of Ralf C. Nemec

The Hyde Collection is opening an exhibition of work by Rockwell Kent this weekend. Blurbage:

Rockwell Kent: Prints from the Ralf C. Nemec Collection includes fifty-two prints and a selection of ceramics by Kent; A Life and Art of His Own: Paintings from North Country Collections features thirty-seven paintings drawn from Plattsburgh State University's Art Museum and private collectors throughout the North Country. ...
Kent's Modernism appealed to a large following, allowing him a successful career in major metropolitan areas despite living in rural Au Sable Forks (Clinton and Essex counties) for forty-three years. Drawn by what he deemed "humanist wilderness," he moved to the Adirondacks in 1928, building Asgaard Farm with views of Whiteface Mountain and the surrounding High Peaks. ...
Kent's painting, woodcuts, and prints fascinated viewers with portrayals of some of the earth's remotest places. Later in his career, he illustrated books, including such classic literature as Moby Dick and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

There's a member opening for the exhibit Saturday afternoon at which Ralf Nemec will speak about his collection. You can become a member for the day by paying the regular admission fee plus $5. And then on Sunday the exhibit will be open to the general public. It's also a second-Sunday free-admission day.

The Kent exhibit will be on display through July 22.

The Hyde Collection is, as you know, in Glens Falls, about an hour's drive from Albany.

Earlier: Day trip: Glens Falls

Albany Word Fest 2018

Albany Word Fest 2018 logo

The Albany Word Fest -- the annual celebration of spoken word organized by Albany Poets -- returns April 16-22 at venues around the area.

This year's festival includes readings, performances, and a regional poetry slam. There will also be a 24-hour Readings Against the End of the World:

All word-lovers and writers are invited to share readings - original work or favorite passages, poems and rants, raps and stories, spoken word and personal visions- enough to fill twenty-four hours the power of words. The event will kick off Friday, April 20 at the Husted Hall Café on the UAlbany Downtown campus, and will continue until Saturday, April 21.

There's info at that second link about how to sign up. The read-a-thon will be benefit the South End Children's Cafe.

Stuff to do this weekend

Albany Craft Beer Festival 2017 crowd

The Albany Craft Beer returns to the Washington Ave Armory Saturday.

We're well into April and while we're wishing Mother Nature would catch-up, we're going to press on and have fun without her.

This weekend's list of stuff is below. As always, if you're up to something you don't see on our list, tell us about it in the comments so everyone can enjoy it.

And whatever you're up to, bring your scarf, and have a fantastic weekend.

Nine Pin Cider in-post ad

Great Flats in-post ad

TacoPalooza in-post ad

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Diversity in The Creative Economy and The Instagram Aesthetic at the Opalka Gallery

40th Photo Regional Opalka Gallery 2018

The 40th Annual Photo Regional will also be on display through April 21.

Two events coming up at the Opalka Gallery that look interesting...

April 11: Diversity in The Creative Economy
It's the first an Open Forum series at the gallery. The event "will feature a discussion about diversity in the Capital Region's creative economy moderated by Ada Harper, creator of Confirmed panelists include Dale Davidson, owner of Umana Restaurant and Wine Bar, Ashleigh Kinsey, CEO of AK Design Digital Media Services & Consulting, Bhawin Suchak Executive Director of Youth FX, DJ Trumastr, founder of Beat*Shot Productions, and Hana van der Kolk, Troy-based touring choreographer and performance artist." Wednesday, April 11 at 6 pm -- free

April 21: Supper Club: The Instagram Aesthetic
It's a discussion about how social media is changing the art of photography + dinner. "Join us for delicious local cuisine as we ponder the role social media plays in the world of contemporary art. Gallery staff and artists from the Photo Regional exhibition will lead a conversation over cocktails and drinks provided by Tara Kitchen, owned by Sage alum Aneesa Waheed." (Space is limited and registration is required -- there's still space, as we confirmed with the gallery today.) Saturday, April 21 at 6 pm -- $35 / $65 for two

The Opalka Gallery is on the Sage Albany campus on New Scotland Ave, just up the street from Albany Med and Albany Law.

See also: Amy Biancolli's recent article about the gallery's new director, Judie Gilmore, and her ideas/goals for its future.

A trio of upcoming spring maker markets

half moon market 2016-April

The Half Moon Market.

Spring maker market season approaches...

April 27-29: Half Moon Market
The Half Moon Market returns to the Washington Park Lakehouse in Albany. "We are proud to feature as many as 40 regional makers, artists and small companies offering handmade jewelry, ceramics, stationery, clothing, herbal apothecary and more, as well as a few local food & drink vendors." Here's the list of vendors for this season. Admission is free.

April 27-28: Collar City Craft Fest
The Collar City Craft Fest is back at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in downtown Troy. It's "a show case of the areas top artists and extinguished exhibitors. Each one will be exhibiting and selling their personally crafted wears to all!" Admission is $5.

May 12-13: Basilica Farm & Flea Spring Market
The Basilica Farm & Flea returns to Basilica Hudson. "Each market features a diverse group of regional vendors selling their wares alongside locally-sourced, farm-fresh foods. The markets embody love of vintage and recycled, locally-sourced agriculture and the beautifully handmade." Admission is $5 for whole weekend / free for kids 12 and under.

The Arts Center advertises on AOA.

Single-show tickets for this summer's Williamstown Theatre Festival are now available

williamstown theatre festival 2018

Just a heads up that the Williamstown Theatre Festival opened reservations Tuesday for single-show tickets during the upcoming season.

The festival box office doesn't open until June 1, but placing the ticket reservation (and paying) now puts you in line for seats. As the festival notes on its website, all orders placed by May 11 will be seated in the order in which they are received prior to the box office opening.

There are also ticket bundles for sale now that include three, four, and all seven of the season's productions. Buying tickets for a group of shows all at once can save you a few bucks per show.

This summer's WTF lineup includes multiple world premieres and new works. As usual, those productions are also set to star a string of high-profile film and stage actors, among them Matthew Broderick, Mary-Louise Parker, Steven Pasquale, Carmen Cusack, and Tavi Gevinson.

One of the interesting things about WTF in recent years is that it's become a venue to try out works -- either new or revived -- with an eye toward eventually moving them to New York. So the festival is often a chance to catch these shows ahead of the hype.

mages via WTF

Outlaw Music Festival at SPAC

musician Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson

The Outlaw Music Festival -- featuring Willie Nelson and Neil Young -- will be at SPAC September 23. Tickets go on sale this Friday, April 6 -- they're $45 and up.

The festival is a Willie Nelson joint that includes a rotating lineup performers that fall somewhere in a Venn diagram of country, rock, roots, folk, and Americana. The announced-so-far lineup for the SPAC date:

Willie Nelson & Family
Neil Young + Promise of the Real
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Lukas Nelson + Promise of the Real
Particle Kid

With more acts to be announced.

SPAC on Stage
Tickets for this summer's SPAC on Stage series are now on sale. And the Black Violin show set for August 20 is already sold out (for the second year in a row).

And speaking of Black Violin... The duo will be at Troy Music Hall April 13 and there still tickets available (at the moment).

Live Nation and Troy Music Hall advertise on AOA.

Justin Timberlake at TU Center

Justin Timberlake Man of the Woods

Justin Timberlake is set to play the Times Union Center October 20. Tickets go on sale April 9 -- they're $53.50 and up. (There are also various pre-sales starting this week.)

The TU Center show is part of Timberlake's tour for his Man of the Woods album.

By the way: While looking for info for this show, we checked in on the tickets for the Elton John show at TU Center next March. They went on sale in February and it looks like the only tickets now available are "verified resale tickets" starting at... $152.

photo via Justin Timberlake Facebook

Elizabeth Zunon and Martha and the Slave Catchers at The Book House

Alonso Zunon Martha and the Slave Catchers coverAlbany artist Elizabeth Zunon will be at the Book House this Saturday to talk about Martha and the Slave Catchers, the new book for middle schoolers by Harriet Hyman Alonso that was illustrated by Zunon. Book blurbage:

Thirteen-year-old Martha Bartlett insists on being a part of the Underground Railroad rescue to bring her brother Jake back home to their abolitionist community in Connecticut. It's 1854 and though African-Americans and mixed-race peoples in the north are supposed to be free, seven-year-old Jake, the orphan of a fugitive slave, is kidnapped by his "owner" and taken south to Maryland. Jake is what we'd now describe as on the autism spectrum, and Martha knows just how to reassure him when he's anxious or fearful. Using aliases, disguises, and other subterfuges, Martha artfully dodges Will and Tom, the slave catchers, but struggles to rectify her new reality with her parents' admonition to always tell the truth. She must be brave but not reckless, clever but not dishonest. But being perceived sometimes as white, sometimes as black during the perilous journey has thrown her sense of her own identity into turmoil. Alonso combines fiction and historical fact to weave a suspenseful story of courage, hope and self-discovery in the aftermath of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, while illuminating the bravery of abolitionists who fought against slavery.

Zunon has created beautiful illustrations for a handful of children's books. And Grandpa Cacao -- the first book she's both authored and illustrated -- is set to be published next year. As she told us last year, that book grew out of her family history and her childhood in Ivory Coast (also: a love of chocolate).

The Book House event for Martha and the Slave Catchers is Saturday, April 7 from 3-4:30 pm. There will be excerpts from the book, original art work, and Zunon will be signing books.

Earlier: Talking with Albany artist Elizabeth Zunon about illustrating a legend, drawing on her family's history, and stoking her creativity

Empire State Comic Con at Albany Capital Center

Albany Capital Center

The Empire State Comic Con will be at the Albany Capital Center this weekend, Friday though Sunday. Single-day tickets start at $20 ($5 for kids), and three-day passes are $55 / $20 for kids ($60 / $22 day of).

It looks like the event all includes all the typical comic con fare, including comics artists, cosplay, talks, and panels.

There will also be a lineup of actors and other special guests, including:
+ Robert Englund, who played Freddy Krueger
+ Ryan Hurst from Sons of Anarchy
+ Cara Buono, who plays Karen Wheeler on Stranger Things (she was appeared on Mad Men)
+ Lou Ferrigno, who played The Hulk on TV back in the day

The con starts runs 3-9 pm on Friday, 10 am-7 pm on Saturday, and 10 am-5 pm on Sunday.

Drawing: A Movable Feast

HAF Movable Feast 2017 cocktail hour

Cocktail hour at last year's A Movable Feast.

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

Historic Albany's A Movable Feast returns April 14.

The event -- a fundraiser for the foundation -- starts with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at the Opalka Gallery. Then guests head off to randomly-assigned historic homes where a host has prepared a mystery gourmet dinner. After dinner everyone return to the Opalka for dessert and coffee.

This year more than 300 guests are expected. And two of those people could be you and guest -- because we was have two tickets to give away.

To enter the drawing, please answer the following question in the comment section of this post:

What would be your own Capital Region movable feast?

Don't worry about distance or anyone else's version of a perfect day/evening -- just tell us about a group of things you'd like to do that would make a fun day/evening in the Capital Region. We'll draw one winner at random.

The 2018 A Movable Feast is Saturday April 14, starting at 5 pm. Tickets are $125 for the general public and available online.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Thursday, April 5, 2018 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 the following Monday.

The week ahead

William Shatner Wrath of Khan

Shaaaaatner!!! He'll be at Proctors this week for a talk following a screening of The Wrath of Khan.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (who knows), to Dyngus Day, to beer, to boldly going, to dance, to kid stuff, to hoops, to music...


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Canstruction 2018

Canstruction2018 Paddington

The annual CANstruction display has returned to the State Museum. Can-what?

CANstruction is an annual exhibit and design competition that connects talented architects, engineers, contractors, and students to imagine and create colossal structures built completely out of canned food items. The structures are on display on the fourth floor of the New York State Museum for two weeks, raising awareness of food insecurity in our region while highlighting the local talent of design firms. At the close of the exhibit, every can is donated to the Food Pantries for the Capital District to help feed families in the Capital Region.

This year's display has a "Bon Voyage" theme, and the structures play on the idea of travel in some way.

They'll be on display on the museum's terrace level through April 11.

Visitors can vote on their favorites by dropping canned goods into bins by each structure. The donations benefit the Food Pantries.

Here are a bunch of pics from this year's display...

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Stuff to do this weekend


The After Dark series for adults at miSci has Butterflies and Brews Saturday.

Passover starts on Friday evening and it's Easter weekend, so our list is a little thinner than usual, but there are things going on this weekend, from Butterflies and Brews to comedy to Troy Night Out.

Below we've put them all into a spring weekend basket. Doing something you don't see on our list? Share it in the comment section so everyone can see.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.


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Tulip Festival 2018 music lineup

the band White Denim

White Denim. / photo: Drew Anthony Smith

The music lineup for this year's Tulip Festival is out. The headliners include the rock band White Denim.

A quick scan version of the music slates for both stages -- along with embedded videos of the acts -- is below. As usual, the lineup includes both national and local acts.

As you know, Tulip Fest includes a bunch of events in and around Albany's Washington Park, including the crowning of the new Tulip Queen and the annual Mother of the Year Award.

Tulip Fest is Mother's Day weekend, which is May 12-13 this year.

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Fresh Grass Festival 2018

the band Trampled By Turtles

Trampled by Turtles. / photo via Trampled By Turtles Facebook

The Fresh Grass Festival is back at MASS MoCA September 14-16. Festival passes are currently $115 for adults / $99 for students / $46 for kids (under 6 free). The passes include admission to the museum's galleries.

Headliners for this year's festival include Trampled By Turtles, Yonder Mountain String Band, Indigo Girls, Ricky Skaggs, and Rhiannon Giddens. Here's the full announced-so-far lineup...

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Blondie at MASS MoCA

the band Blondie

The band Blondie is set to play MASS MoCA August 3. Tickets go on sale this Friday, March 30 -- they're $55 ahead / $65 day of. (There's a also a pre-sale starting Thursday.)

It's been more 40 years since the influential new wave group first got together. And Debbie Harry is now 72 years old. The band released a new album just last year.

Let us all have the longevity and verve to rock like that.

The opener for the MASS MoCA show is And The Kids.

By the way: The Youtube auto suggest column on Blondie's popular songs is a deep rabbit hole of 80s new wave pop and its descendants. Take that as either a warning or an enticement.

YouthFX 2018 premiere at The Spectrum

The short doc embedded above -- The Tone Setters, directed by Imani Peterkin -- is an example of the work created as part of Youth FX.

The Youth FX program will be debuting its 2018 lineup of short films at The Spectrum April 19. Tickets are available online now -- they're $10 / $8 students. (There's also a $25 benefactor ticket.)

Youth FX is in its 10th year, and the young people involved have turned out a bunch of high-quality works. A handful of the films have played at film festivals around the country and won awards. Program blurbage:

Although we run programs across the region, Youth FX's primary aim is to impact and empower young people who reside in the South End, Arbor Hill and West Hill neighborhoods of Albany, NY. These are communities that have been historically under served and in need of meaningful opportunities for training and engagement in new digital media technology. The skills they are learning not only enables them to be more creative and express their ideas, but they are also valuable skills that are in high demand in today's technology based world. Youth FX participants engage in their communities by creating documentary and short fiction films that reflect their understanding and vision of the world around them.

The Thursday, April 19 screening starts at 7 pm. The youth filmmakers will be there for a Q&A afterward. There's also an encore screening April 24 at 7 pm. These screenings very often sell out, so if you're interested in going, it's not a bad idea to get tickets ahead of time.

Also: "Please note that our screening is rated PG-13 as some of our films have intense scenes and explore teen issues."

Earlier: Albany's award-winning Youth FX now has a home of its own

Talking about the history of Albany's streetcars

Western Ave streetcar maybe 1920s

A streetcar on Western Ave, near Manning Boulevard. / photo: Albany Public Library History Collection

The Albany Public Library is hosting a talk about the history of Albany's streetcar system with city historian Tony Opalka April 10. The talk is in partnership with the Historic Albany Foundation. It's at the Washington Ave Branch at 5:30 pm in the large auditorium, and it's free.

Albany -- for that matter, the whole Capital Region -- once had an extensive trolley system. And it helped shape the development of the city in the early 20th century.

There's something about streetcars that still lights up people up, even though they've gone from the city for roughly 70 years. So we wouldn't be surprised if this talk ended up being very popular, so you might want to show up a few minutes early if you want a good seat.

+ Riding the trolley -- everywhere
+ Other Timelines: A brief history of the Capital Region's much-admired light rail system

APL advertises on AOA.

Halsey at SPAC

musician Halsey

The singer/songwriter Halsey is set to play a show at SPAC July 12. Tickets for the pavilion-only show go on sale this Thursday, March 29 -- they're $39.50 and up.

Halsey's popularity has been building steadily over the last few years. Her synth pop songs have racked up millions of plays. She had a chart-topping album last year. That song with the Chainsmokers got eleventy trillion plays on YouTube. And she was on SNL earlier this year.

The opener for the SPAC show is Jessie Reyez.

Speaking of SPAC
+ Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band will be there September 14. Ticket info TBA.
+ It looks like the pavilion for the Chris Stapleton show August 23 is almost sold out.
+ The SPAC on Stage series is returning in August, and the acts again include Black Violin, which sold out last year. (Black Violin is also playing the Troy Music Hall April 13.)

Live Nation advertises on AOA.

photo via Halsey Facebook

The week ahead

Youtube star Tyler Oakley

YouTube star and LGBTQ+ activist Tyler Oakley will be at UAlbany this week. / photo: Luke Fontana

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (springy), to basketball, to ballet, to all sorts of talks, to holidays, to music...


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Albany History Lost and Found

50-52 Hudson Ave Albany 1938

This looks interesting and fun: A bunch of local history nerds are getting together at the University Club in Albany May 4 to talk about lost-and-found history. Blurbage:

Everyone who has studied local history has had the experience of finding a document, an artifact, a landmark, a recording, some piece of evidence that helps us see with new eyes the 400+-year-old city that surrounds us. The excitement of discovery is the focus of this program. We've invited six Albany historians to talk about their research "finds" and explain the significance.

Albany Archive's Matt Malette with MC, and the lineup also includes:
+ Bill Brandow, associate architect, John G. Waite Associates; vice-chair, Albany Historic Resources Commission.
+ Maeve McEneny, education and heritage coordinator, Discover Albany.
+ Aaron Noble, senior historian and curator, New York State Museum.
+ Akum Norder, author, The History of Here: A House, the Pine Hills Neighborhood, and the City of Albany.
+ Paul Stewart, co-founder, Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region.

The event's sponsored by 98 Acres in Albany, Cornerstone Consulting, and The Society of Architectural Historians. It's sort of a follow-up to the "Left on the Drawing Board" local history event in Troy this past January, which was also organized by Cornerstone.

"Albany History Lost and Found" is Friday, May 4 at 5:30 pm. It's free and open to the public.

Capital Region Grown-Up Egg Hunt 2018

Capital Distrct Grownup Easter Egg Hunt 2

The Capital Region Grown-Up Egg Hunt returns April 8, and this year the hunt will be at Collins Park in Scotia.

The event is pretty much what it sounds like. Organizers stuff thousands of plastic eggs with some sort of prize -- candy, or a voucher for some item from a local business -- and then participants go find them. The proceeds from the hunt go to charity. Blurbage:

The Capital Region Grown-Up Easter Egg Hunt started in 2012 as part of a Leukemia & Lymphoma fundraiser. Founders Danielle Sanzone and Karen Jamack started joking with friends on social media about turning the childhood tradition of Easter Egg hunting into a "Grown Up" version featuring prizes geared towards adults. The idea gained so much traction, Sanzone and Jamack created the first event with just a handful of volunteers. It was so successful, they decided to make it an annual tradition benefiting a different charity every year.
We're excited the event has come full circle and will benefit the local Leukemia & Lymphoma Society once again.

The hunt is Sunday, April 8 starting at 4 pm. Tickets are $15 (cash only), available at the event. This year's hunt will be limited to 300 participants.

photo via Capital District Grown Up Egg Hunt FB

Stuff to do this weekend

musician Sean Rowe

Sean Rowe is back for a hometown show in Troy this weekend. / photo: Matt Dayak

It's the first weekend of spring. No, really.

Celebrate with an ice cream cone -- or a hot chocolate.

Below you'll find our list of stuff to do this weekend. Planning something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comments.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.


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"Do you like to eat? Do you like to read?"

Albany Food Book Club book candidates 2018-MayBookmarked: There is an Albany Food Readers Book Club that meets every two months to talk about -- you guessed it -- books about food. Group blurbage:

Do you like to eat? Do you like to read? Do you want to learn more about food? If so, you might enjoy joining our book club: Albany Food Readers! Albany Food Reader's is a local casual book club focusing on books dealing with our food system. The overall goal of this active reading community is to promote overall food awareness. People of all opinions, ideas, locations, and backgrounds are accepted and encouraged to join.
Topics include farming, agriculture, cooking education, nature, ecology, food history, food science, food biographies, and food memoirs. Basically, if it deals with the food system at large, it's right in our wheelhouse.

Here's the list of previous books the club has read.

The group meets in the Honest Weight community room. The next get together is in May when the topic will be either Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Gibney or The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness, and the Making of a Great Chef by Marco Pierre White (there's currently an online vote to choose).

Miranda Sings at The Egg

comedian Miranda Sings Colleen Ballinger

The comedy act Miranda Sings will be at The Egg July 13. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $39.50 and up.

The title for the show is "Miranda Sings Live... No Offense with special guest Colleen Ballinger." Miranda Sings is the YouTube-famous act -- Colleen Ballinger is the comedian / actor who plays her. Blurbage:

The character Miranda was created in 2008 and became mainstream when Colleen received a personal call from Jerry Seinfeld to appear on his series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and subsequently The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. 'Miranda's' origins were intended as a parody of the young, self-absorbed singers with more far more confidence (and vibrato) than talent which Colleen saw uploading videos to YouTube. Miranda is known for her overdrawn red lips, questionable advice about singing and life, a deluded self-confidence, and over-the-top rants about her family and personal problems.

"Miranda" is also the basis for the Netflix series Haters Back Off!

More recently-announced comedy shows
+ March 31: Pretty Much The Best Comedy Show: Julie Kottakis at Proctors
+ April 7: Cuzin Maine at Troy Music Hall
+ May 18: Nick Swardson at The Egg

The NCAA women's basketball regional is at the TU Center later this week

Times Union Center exterior 2018-03-01

Let's look ahead to the weekend: One of the NCAA women's basketball regionals will be at the TU Center this Saturday and the following Monday. The series of three games will decide one of the teams for the women's tournament final four.

The field of four teams for Albany regional isn't set just yet. Three games this evening (Monday) at other sites will narrow the field. But...

+ There's a very good chance that one of the teams will be undefeated, #1 ranked UConn -- women's college basketball's Death Star just has to find a way to somehow slip past the powerhouse that is Quinnipiac. The Huskies beat St. Francis (PA) in the first round 140-52. Yep, 140-52. Presuming they win Monday night, they'll bring a big crowd to Albany. UConn has won the title 11 times.

+ And the group of four already includes #2 seed South Carolina, which won the title last year.

All-session tickets for the games at the TU Center start at $40 for adults / $20 for kids and seniors. Single-session tickets start at $21 for adults / $12 for kids.

Future years: The TU Center is set to host the women's tournament again in 2019, and the men's tournament in 2020.

The week ahead

cartoonist Alison Bechdel

Cartoonist/author Alison Bechdel will be at HVCC later this week. / photo: Elena Seibert

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (hope for spring), to film, to words, to stomping, to eggs, to poetry, to comedy, to all sorts of music...


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40th Annual Photo Regional at Opalka Gallery

40th Photo Regional Opalka Gallery 2018

The 40th Annual Photo Regional -- titled Effects That Aren't Special -- opened this week at the Opalka Gallery on the Sage Albany campus.

This year's exhibition, which rotates among venues in the area, was curated by Tim Davis, a professor of photography at Bard Collage. It highlights the photo work of more than 15 artists from the region. Blurbage:

Effects That Aren't Special is a way to describe the sense that photography is a tool for describing the everyday in a way that we never easily acclimate to. Special effects are aesthetic tools that grab us, but almost always feel like filigree or decoration, abandoning our attention.
The artists in this show employ optical, conceptual, or essential effects that we never get used to and that move to heart of the matter, defining the work rather than selling it to us. The show features generous selections from each artist, as well as a catalog with an essay by the curator.

There's an opening reception Friday (March 15) from 6-8 pm.

The exhibit will be on display through April 21. Admission is free.

Proost! at Crailo State Historic Site

Crailo State Historic Site Rensselaer exterior 2017-July

The beer/spirts/history series Proost! returns March 25 at the Crailo State Historic Site in Rensselaer. Blurbage:

Moderated by culinary writer and historian Deanna Fox, "Proost!" celebrates the rich history of Beverwijk's beer and spririts culture. Distiller Johnny Curtain, beer historian Craig Gravina, and C.H. Evan's brewer Sam Pagano will take you back in time with samples inspired by the beverages that early Americans in Albany drank. Learn how these types of alcohol were produced and how they influenced the city's culture and history. 17th century-inspired refreshments will be offered. Must be 21 or over to sample (attendees should be prepared to present a valid photo ID).

The event is that Sunday from 1-3 pm. Tickets are available online -- they're $25.

The first Proost! event -- at the Ten Broeck Mansion back in January -- sold out quickly. So if you're interested in going, it's not a bad idea to get a ticket sooner rather than later.

The Crailo State Historic Site is at 9 1/2 Riverside Avenue in Rensselaer (spoiler: it's right across from the Hudson). It was once a home for the Van Rensselaer family and now serves as a museum of colonial Dutch history in the Hudson Valley. It was named after the Van Rensselaer's estate in the Netherlands -- Crayloo or Cralo -- which meant "crows' wood" in Dutch.

AOA is a sponsor of Proost.

Stuff to do this weekend

mike birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia headlines the High Mud Comedy Festival at MASS MoCA / photo: Brian Friedman

Top of the weekend to ya. It's the last one of winter. It's also Saint Patrick's Day weekend, so there will be plenty of celebrating going on, including the the parade(s) in Albany on Saturday.

After the jump you'll find our list of stuff to do. Planning something you don't see there?

Share it with the rest of us. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.


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David Byrne at The Palace

musician David Byrne

The David Byrne is set to play at show at The Palace September 9. Tickets go on sale this Friday, March 16 -- they're $49.50 and up.

Tour blurbage:

A twelve-piece band will join Byrne as he performs songs from his recently released solo album, American Utopia, classics from his solo career and favorites from his days with Talking Heads. ...
Byrne called the tour "the most ambitious show I've done since the shows that were filmed for Stop Making Sense." This marks Byrne's first extensive outing since his 2013 shows with St. Vincent and also his first solo tour since 2009.

The opener for the show at Palace is Tune-Yards.

St. Patrick's Day stuff to do 2018

albany st patrick's day parade

The Albany St. Patrick's Day Parade

We're into mid March and that means St. Patrick's Day -- always a big holiday in the Capital Region -- will be here soon. In fact, it's this Saturday, so there many events are clustered around the day itself.

Here are a bunch of local ways to celebrate the holiday. From the parades, to food and drink, to music for the time of year where everyone is Irish, if only for a day.

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AOA event: Great Flats, Slidin' Dirty, and a conversation about beer history

Great Flats Brewing in Schenectady

Sold out!

We're making plans for spring already, and they include sliders, beer, and you.

On April 10, AOA will be at Great Flats Brewing in Schenectady for beer, Slidin' Dirty sliders, and a fun conversation about brewing -- both modern and old school -- with beer historian Craig Gravina.

Tickets are $8 and available online now. We expect this will fill up, so it's a good idea to grab tickets sooner rather than later if you'd like go.

Here's what the ticket includes:

+ Three different Great Flats beers

+ Two Slidn' Dirty sliders selected to pair with your first two beers

+ A chocolate/beer truffle made by Crisan to go with the third beer

+ A fun conversation about modern brewing and the history of Capital Region beer with Craig Gravina. You know Craig from the Albany Ale Project and AOA's popular Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers tours.

+ Meet the brewers and tour the brewery

It all starts at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, April at the Great Flats Brewing space on Lafayette Street in downtown Schenectady. We hope to see you there!

Thank you to The Capital Team at Howard Hanna and the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation for helping to make this event possible.

Charles Frazier at Northshire Saratoga, and more upcoming author events

author Charles Frazier Varina cover

Charles Frazier -- who won the National Book Award for Cold Mountain -- will be at the Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs April 2. Tickets are required for the limited-space event -- they're $5 and available online.

Frazier will be talking with WAMC's Joe Donahue about his new book, Varina, the second wife of Jefferson Davis. Book blubrbage: "Her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner. Davis instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history--culpable regardless of her intentions."

The conversation is Monday, April 2 at 6 pm.

More Northshire author events
Speaking of the Northshire Bookstore, here are a few more upcoming author events...

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Move Music Festival 2018

the band Diet Cig

Diet Cig is at the top of this year's lineup. / photo: Nick Grennon

The Move Music Festival returns April 28 at three venues in downtown Albany. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $25 for a full festival pass / $20 for the main venue.

In past years the festival has included many acts spread across as many as 10 venues. But it's been narrowing down the scope in recent years. This year, the festival will be at three venues: Parish Public House, Dawn's Victory Cafe, and The Olde English.

There's also an industry panel discussion at the Hampton Inn in downtown Albany.

Here's the announced-so-far lineup of regional and local acts...

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This is the last week of the season for the ESP ice skating rink

Empire State Plaza ice rink 2017-Dec Capitol background

An upside of the lingering winter: The season at the Empire State Plaza ice skating rink has been extended another week.

So the last day of the season is now Sunday, March 18. And there will also be another day of free skate rental this Friday, courtesy of Hannaford.

The rink is open seven days a week, 11 am-8 pm (closed 3-4 pm for maintenance) -- weather permitting. (There are updates about the rink status on the ESP events Facebook and Twitter.)

It's free to skate. And skate rentals are $4 / $3 for kids. A photo ID is required for skate rental.

By the way: Our favorite time to go skating at the rink is midweek in the evening. There are often smaller crowds. And it's a fun thing to do to break up the work week.

(Thanks, Julie!)

Earlier: Capital Region Ice Skating

AOA is a sponsor of the ESP ice skating rink.

The week ahead

musician Miguel

Last week Miguel performed at Oscars. This week he'll be performing at Upstate Concert Hall.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (persistently winter), to film, to stories, to history, to art, to all sorts of music...


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Old Songs Festival 2018

old songs festival

The Old Songs Festival is set to return June 22-24 at the Altamont Fairgrounds. And tickets are now on sale.

Old Songs is an org focused on keeping traditional music and dance genres alive through performance, classes, and other programs. And the annual festival plays along with the theme. Blurbage:

Discover the music of the people! Old Songs celebrates folk, Celtic, and roots music; from Ireland, Quebec, the Caribbean, New England, and more. Songs, both current and relevant, by contemporary songwriters are also heard at the festival.
SING, DANCE, JAM and LISTEN at this participatory event for the whole family, Old Songs encourages audience members to join jam sessions, take part in learn-how sessions, sing sacred harp, move their feet to our great dance bands or take a Friday afternoon class.

That link above includes a lineup of performers.

Tickets are $125 for an all-festival pass for adults / $120 for seniors / $55 for students and youth / free for kids 12 and younger. (Prices for all-festival tickets go up starting June 2.) Single-day session tickets start at $45 for adults. Camping is also available.

photo via Old Songs

Stuff to do this weekend

touring production of The Humans photo by Julieta Cervantes

A touring production of the Tony-winning play The Humans is at Proctors. / photo: Julieta Cervantes

First, a public service announcement: Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend -- the one where we spring forward, losing an hour -- so remember to set your clock ahead before you go to bed on Saturday, and prepare to be a little groggy early next week.

Now on to the serious business of fun. We've pulled together some of the weekend goings-on for you to check out. Doing something that didn't make our list? Share please.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!


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Green River Festival 2018

musician Michael Franti

Michael Franti. / photo: Hiroki Nishioka via Michael Franti Facebook

The Green River Festival returns July 13-15 in Western Mass. This year's lineup includes Michael Franti and Spearhead, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dr. Dog, Josh Ritter, Deer Tick, Lucy Dacus, and a bunch of other acts. The announced (so far) lineup is below.

The festival is on the grounds of Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, Massachusetts -- it's about a two-hour drive from Albany.

There's currently early-bird pricing on tickets through March 14. A full weekend pass is $109.99 / $149.99 with camping. Friday day tickets are $34.99, Saturday is $64.99, and Sunday $59.99.

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The Lifestyle Farming Conference is back at SUNY Cobleskill this spring

SUNY Cobleskill Lifestyle Farming Conference 2018 spring logoThe Lifestyle Farming Conference is back at SUNY Cobleskill April 7. The event is a full day of classes on all sorts of topics related to farming, gardening, and cooking.

A quick sampling of some of the sessions:
+ Maple Syrup 101
+ Cultivating cider and heirloom apples
+ BBQ and smoking meat for beginners
+ Summer strawberry patch
+ Garden planning and seed staring
+ Advanced brewing: beyond the kit

Here's the full list of sessions with descriptions. The classes are led by SUNY Cobleskill faculty and other experts.

Registration is $70 for all day ($80 with lunch), $45 for the morning only, and $55 all day for veterans. The registration process also involving signing up for the session, so the earlier you register the better your chance of getting into the classes you want.

By the way: In case you haven't been out that way, SUNY Cobleskill is in Schoharie County, about an hour's drive from Albany.

Grizzly Bear at MASS MoCA

the band Grizzly Bear

The indie rock band Grizzly Bear is set to play a show at MASS MoCA June 16. Tickets go on sale this Friday, March 9 -- they're $32 ahead / $40 day of. (There are also various pre-sales between now and then.)

The band released an album last August, its first in five years, and the MASS MoCA stop is a tour for that album.

By our recollection, this is the closest Grizzly Bear show to the Capital Region their show at Skidmore in 2009. They also played two warm-up shows for the new album last August in Kingston. We wouldn't be surprised if this MASS MoCA show sells out.

Speaking of MASS MoCA
Here's how its spring/summer concert slate is shaping up...

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Knotted is back at the Takk House this coming weekend

knotted takk house 2015

The wedding showcase Knotted is back at the Takk House this Sunday, March 11. Blurbage

What you'll find:
The best indie vendors in the area
Array of music performances so you can listen to bands and dj's first hand
Couples of all kinds!
Food tastings
Cocktail ideas and craft beer sampling
Wedding dress showcase
What you won't find:
Ice sculptures
Cattle herding like crowds
A strange man/lady trying to get you to register for a free cruise
Traditional... anything
Tanning and weight loss booths. (just why?!)

Admission is $8 -- $12 with a drink ticket and tote bag.

photo via Knotted

Tyler Oakley at UAlbany

Youtube star Tyler Oakley

YouTuber/LGBTQ+ activist Tyler Oakley will be at UAlbany March 27 for a talk. It's free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.

Oakley's talk is part of the university speaker series that's brought in Octavia Spencer and Sonia Sotomayor during the past year. Talk blurbage:

With more than 7.5 million subscribers on YouTube and 23 million across his social media platforms, Oakley has been established as one of the nation's most influential LGBTQ+ vloggers.
Among his many accomplishments, Oakley has been a consultant for President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama on using digital platforms to connect with youth; raised more than $1 million for The Trevor Project; and has been nominated - and won - numerous awards.
He was also named one of Time Magazine's "30 Most Influential People on the Internet," included in The Hollywood Reporter's "Top 25 Digital Stars" two years in a row and is on the 2017 Forbes "30 Under 30" list.

Here's one of Oakley's recent YouTube videos in which he goes skating with Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon.

The UAlbany talk is Tuesday, March 27 at 7:30 pm in SEFCU Arena. Doors open at 6:30, the printed registration confirmation will be required for entry, and seating will be first come, first sit.

photo: Luke Fontana

Registration open for this year's CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge

Workforce Team Challenge field start 2017

This year's CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge is May 17 in Albany and registration is now open. The race -- which consists of teams from local companies and orgs -- is capped at 10,000 participants and usually fills up. So if you'd like to take part, it's not a bad idea to sign up sooner rather than later.

The registration fee is $25. This year's race will benefit the Albany Public Library and the Regional Food Bank, as well as the Hudson-Mohawk Road Runners Club, which organizes the event.

Here's the course map -- the 3.5-mile route starts at the State Museum, heads up Madison into Washington Park, and then returns to the State Museum.

Freihofer's Run for Women
Just a reminder that registration for Freihofer's Run For Women also recently opened. This year's 5k race is June 2 in Albany.

CDPHP advertises on AOA.

photo: Hudson-Mohawk Road Runners Club

The week ahead

musician Andrew Bird playing violin in river

Andrew Bird starts off the week at The Egg. / photo: Reuben Cox

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (more winter), to basketball, to the stage, to dance, to talks, to art, to all sorts of music...


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518 Songfest 2018

Moriah Formica The Voice 2017

Moriah Formica

This year's 518 Songfest is May 18 -- 518 Day -- at The Egg. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $9.77-$20.

And the headliner this year is Moriah Formica -- who, as you know, had a strong showing on the most recent season of The Voice. The lineup also includes Super 400 (playing an acoustic set), singer/songwriter Sydney Worthley, Sandy McKnight's Pop-Clique, and Grammy award-winning songwriter Julie Gold.

Blurbage: "Songfest is a unique live concert experience, in that the artists get to perform their songs, as well as talk a bit about their music and experiences as creators and musicians."

The event is a fundraiser for Exit 97.7 WEXT and the Columbia Arts Team.

Ray LaMontagne + Neko Case at MASS MoCA and Ommegang

Neko Case Ray LaMontagne

Ray LaMontagne and Neko Case are teaming up for a tour this summer and they're making stops at two venues around here...

LaMontagne and Case will be at MASS MoCA June 29. Tickets go on sale March 9 -- they're $52. (There's also a pre-sale that starts March 7.)

Brewery Ommegang
The two singer/songwriters will then be at Brewery Ommegang July 4. Tickets go on sale March 5 -- they're $55.

The tour bill has LaMontagne as the headliner and Case as "a very special guest."

Ray LaMontagne played a sold-out show at the Troy Music Hall last October. And, as you know, Neko Case has a voice like she's from Asgard or somewhere like that (and she just recently played a show at The Egg). So getting tickets sooner rather than later is probably a good idea if you'd like to go.

LaMontagne photo via Ray LaMontagne Facebook | Case photo via Neko Case Facebook

Screening for the best of Youth FX's first decade


Youth FX has a "best of" night lined up for March 9 in its new space on Warren Street in Albany.

The program will be screening some of the best films from its first decade, and the filmmakers will be there. This looks like a good opportunity to see the new Youth FX space and learn more about what it's got going on.

Youth FX? Background blurbage:

Youth FX is a hands-on program, based in the City of Albany, designed to empower young people ages 10-24 by teaching them the technical and creative aspects of digital film making and media production. Our primary goal is to work with diverse groups of young people from communities that have been historically under-served and in need of opportunities for training and engagement in emerging media technologies. Youth FX develops leadership, creativity, and critical thinking, through the collaborative process of digital film making and media production giving voice to the stories of young people in the capital region.

The best-of screening is Friday, March 9 from 6-8 pm. It's free.

Earlier: Albany's award-winning Youth FX now has a home of its own

Pentatonix at SPAC

music group Pentatonix

The a cappella group Pentatonix is set to play a show at SPAC August 22. Tickets go on sale March 9 -- they're $25 (lawn) and up. (There's also a lawn four-pack for $75 while supplies last.)

Pentatonix sings mostly pop covers (and Christmas songs). Their path to stardom has been very modern, passing through both reality contest TV (winner of The Sing-Off) and YouTube (14.7 million channel subscribers).

They've won three Grammys and sold millions of albums.

Live Nation advertises on AOA.

photo via Pentatonix Facebook

Sean Rowe has a show in Troy coming up

musician Sean Rowe 2018

PSA: Sean Rowe is set to play another show at The Hangar on the Hudson in Troy March 23. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $20.

As you know, this is a hometown show for the singer/songwriter. And his shows in Troy pretty much always end up selling out. So if you'd like to go, don't wait to snag tickets.

Also: Rowe is playing a show at The Masonic Hall in Bennington March 17. Tickets are $18 ahead / $22 at the door / $10 students.

photo via ANTI-

David Blaine at The Palace

magician David Blaine

Magician David Blaine to lined up for a show at The Palace June 26. Tickets go on sale this Friday, March 2 -- they're $49 and up.

Blaine is, of course, known for all sorts of stunts he's performed on TV -- he described himself as a "magician and endurance artist." This touring show is touted as "one-man show [that] will be an interactive experience to shock and awe audiences."

There are also various pre-sales this week for the Palace show if you're so inclined.

Live Nation advertises on AOA.

Metallica at Times Union Center

the band Metallica

Metallica is set to play the Times Union Center October 29. Tickets go on sale this Friday, March 2 -- they're $65 and up.* (There are also various pre-sales this week.)

The concert will also include a "Light It Up pre-show party" with comedian Jim Breuer, "featuring great tunes, comedy, giveaways and much more."

Metallica first started in 1981. It released its 10th studio album -- Hardwired... to Self-Destruct -- in November 2016, and this show is part of the ongoing tour in support of that album.

* Tangental bit: That is just about the highest starting ticket price around here that we can remember. (The strin