Items tagged with 'stuff to do'

Albany Symphony 2016-2017 season includes Yo-Yo Ma and an opera based on novel by William Kennedy

yo-yo ma

The scheduled for the next Albany Symphony season is out. It includes a concert with Yo-Yo Ma, a performance of Beethoven's 9th symphony (you know this one), and the premiere of an opera based on a novel by William Kennedy.

Tickets for many of the dates are available via a season subscription. (Individual date tickets will be available later on.)

The 2016-2017 season with the Albany Symphony's 87th -- and it will be the 25th season with David Alan Miller as music director.

Without further ado...

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Comedy Get Down at the TU Center Albany

Comedy Get Down tour promo photo

The Comedy Get Down tour will be at the TU Center April 9. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 12 -- they're $26.75 and up.

The lineup for the tour includes a bunch of comics who have been all over TV and movies: Cedric 'The Entertainer', Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, George Lopez, and Charlie Murphy.

Augusten Burroughs at Skidmore

Augusten Burroughs 2016

Author Augusten Burroughs will be at Skidmore April 13 for a talk about his new memoir Lust & Wonder. Northshire Bookstore is hosting the event. Tickets are on sale now -- they're are $32 (1 book / 1 seat) / $39 (1 book / 2 seats) / $29 for students, seniors, active duty military (1 seat / 1 book).

Burroughs has written many books, including the memoir Running with Scissors. Here's some blurbage on the new one:

In Lust & Wonder, Burroughs chronicles the development and demise of the different relationships he's had while living in New York, and examines what it means to be in love, what it means to be in lust, and what it means to be figuring it all out. With Augusten's unique and singular observations and his own unabashed way of detailing both the horrific and the humorous, "Lust & Wonder "is an intimate and honest memoir that his legions of fans have been waiting for.

The book is set to be released March 29.

The event at Skidmore is Wednesday, April 13 at 7 pm in Palamountain Hall's Gannett Auditorium.

photo: Christopher Schelling

Janet Jackson, Dead and Company at SPAC at this summer

janet jackson 2016

More summer concert announcements...

Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson will be at SPAC August 26. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, February 13 -- they're $29.50 and up (there's a also a four-pack for $80).

Jackson is touring in support of her Unbreakable album, released last year. (By the way: It's been 27 years since Rhythm Nation 1814.)

Dead & Company
Dead & Company are set to play at SPAC June 21. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 12 -- they're $40 and up.

The lineup for this show: Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzman, John Mayer, and Bob Weir, with Oteil Burbrdige and Jeff Chimenti.

via Janet Jackson FB

The week ahead

bruce springsteen 2014 jeans jacket

He's the Boss. And he'll be at the TU Center Monday night.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (wintry), to birds and beer, to neighborhood history, to stories, to hoops, to music...

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Phish back at SPAC for 2016

phish 2016

Phish is flocking back to SPAC for three shows July 1-3. Tickets go on sale February 26 -- they're $45 (lawn) and $65 (pavilion). (There's also an allotment of tickets available via an online ticket request presale.)

FYI: The Fourth of July is on a Monday this year. So those shows are Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Earlier: Dave Matthews Band at SPAC 2016

photo: Peter Yang

Stuff to do this weekend

molly ringwald

Molly Ringwald will be at Proctors for a 30th anniversary screening of The Breakfast Club.

Yes, it's the first weekend in February, but you should probably cancel your plans for tobogganing and snowball fighting. Still, a winter carnival, Chowderfest, roller derby and plenty of other events -- both indoor and outdoor-- are slated for the weekend.

After the jump, we've collected a bunch of stuff we thought might be fun. Doing something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comments.

And whatever you're up to, enjoy he weather and have a fantastic weekend.

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The Triplets of Belleville with live score at Proctors

This could be fun: Proctors will be hosting a screening of the animated film The Triplets of Belleville with a live performance of the score in the GE Theater February 13.

The score will be played be a nine-piece jazz ensemble -- Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville -- led by Benoît Charest, who wrote much of the music for the film. The clip embedded above is the ensemble playing along with the film in Montreal a few years back.

And if you've never seen the film -- it's a surreal blending o 1930s jazz, the Tour de France, the mob, and a mystery.

The performance at Proctors is Saturday, February 13 at 8 pm. Tickets are $20 and up.

A sampling of cooking classes, winter 2016

kitchen tools in metal holder

Even in this winter of non-winter, February and March can be a good time to take a cooking class. It's a chance to gather somewhere warm, learn something new, and eat something good.

So, here's a new a batch of cooking classes over the next few months that caught our eye -- and maybe you'll find them interesting: From Valentine's Day treats, to sausage making, to tagine, to ramen, to sushi, to pancakes.

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It's winter beerfest season

NYSBA Craft New York at Desmond 2014

From a previous Craft New York Brewers Festival at The Desmond.

Coming up over the next month or so:

February 20: Saratoga Beer Summit at Saratoga City Center
It's the cap to Saratoga Beer Week. "Sample over 150 releases from some of America's best craft breweries. Plus hang out in an atmosphere filled with live music, delicious food available for purchase, and great vendors." Saturday, February 20 two sessions 1-4 pm / 5:30-8:30 pm -- $40

March 5: Craft New York Brewers Festival at The Desmond
The third year for this festival organized by the New York State Brewers Association. "The Craft New York Brewers Festival will bring together 45 New York Breweries (and brewers) from every region of the state featuring up to 100+ hard to find and award winning beers. To make this very special event more exclusive, we will feature food sampling and pairing from local Albany restaurants and food vendors to go along with each brewery attending at no extra cost!" Saturday, March 5 5-8 pm -- $40 ahead ($50 day of) / $55 VIP ahead ($65 day) gets you in an hour earlier and access to handful of one-off beers / $15 designated driver

March 12: Snommegang Invitational Beer Festival in Oneonta
"For the third annual Snommegang Invitational; Brewery Ommegang will be inviting a host of our craft brewing brethren to sample their wares and wow our audience. In addition to the seven breweries that are represented by Duvel Moorgat USA LTD we will feature brews by at least 30 of our good craft beer friends." Saturday, March 12 2-6 pm -- $50

photo: New York State Brewers Association

"Anachronisms & Inaccuracy" at SCPL

SCPL event poster historical fictionThis could be interesting, even if you're not setting out to write a book: The Schenectady County Public Library is hosting an event called "Anachronisms & Inaccuracy: The Challenges of Writing Historical Fiction" with with historical mystery author Eleanor Kuhns. Topics-to-be-discussed blurbage:

+ Resources for research-from using Wikipedia to Writing software
+ How to avoid information dumps-working key historical facts into a narrative
+ Using period slang properly
+ Getting published
+ Working with editors

Heck, we'd be interested in a whole event about period slang. It'd be the bee's knees.

The event at the SCPL central library is Saturday, February 27 from 10:30 am-noon. It's free, but the library does ask that you pre-register.

Adult coloring book night: By the way, the SCPL's next adult coloring book night is Wednesday, February 10.

Talking about the history of the Rapp Road Community Historic District

Rapp Road smokehouse

The building that served as the neighborhood smokehouse.

The city of Albany is hosting an event at city hall about the history of the Rapp Road Community Historic District February 9. Blurbage:

Beverly Bardequez, a third generation Rapp Road resident who is president of the Rapp Road Historical Association, and Dr. F. Maxine Fantroy-Ford, a former Albany School District principal who was raised on Rapp Road, will present a history of this vibrant community.
The area was settled by African Americans who came to Albany from Shubuta, Mississippi, as part of the Great Migration. They were among the millions of African Americans who fled the racial and economic oppression of the South from about 1910 to 1970. Many who came to Albany settled in the South End, but a group moved to Rapp Road to establish the rural lifestyle they were accustomed to and preferred.

A few years back, Casey Normile talked with Beverly Bardequez, a third-generation resident of the neighborhood, about the origins of the community in the Pine Bush.

The event at city hall on Tuesday, February 9 starts at 5 pm. It's free.

2016-2017 lineups for Proctors Broadway shows and Capital Rep

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

The Broadway season at Proctors includes the Tony-winning play The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. / photo: Joan Marcus

The Broadway season at Proctors includes the Tony-winning play The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. / photo: Joan Marcus

Proctors and Capital Rep have jointly announced their lineups for the next season of Broadway shows and theater productions. The Broadway series at Proctors includes a bunch of prominent shows -- including a little musical called Wicked. And the Cap Rep lineup again includes a world-premiere play.

Tickets for both series go on sale today (February 2) as part of subscription packages. Individual show tickets will be available closer to the season starting.

Some shows end up being very popular, so you might want to plan ahead a little bit for tickets if you're interested in going.

Without further ado...

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Tedeschi Trucks Band at SPAC

tedeschi trucks band 2016

The Tedeschi Trucks Band is set to play SPAC July 13. Tickets go on this sale this Friday, February 6 -- they're $25 and up (there's also a four-pack of tickets available for $75). It's a pavilion-only show.

Openers for the SPAC show are Los Lobos and the North Mississippi Allstars.

The blues rock band led by Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks has become very popular over the last few years. It's sold out multiple shows here in the Capital Region, including a date at The Egg this past December.

Mumford & Sons: Speaking of sold-out shows, the Mumford & Sons show at SPAC June 15 is now sold out.

photo: Mark Seliger

The week ahead

carlotta walls lanier and memoir cover

Carlotta Walls LaNier -- one of the Little Rock Nine, the first African American students to enroll at the segregated Little Rock Central High School in 1957 -- will be at UAlbany this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (almost spring-y), to civil rights, to animal courtship, to Stooges, to Groundhog Day, to hoops, to music...

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Stuff to do this weekend

Sanjay Super Team still

Sanjay's Super Team is one of the Oscar-nominated animated shorts showing this weekend at The Spectrum.

Ready? Set? Weekend!

And it's the last one in January.

After the jump, all kinds of fun ways to make the most of it.

Planning something we missed? Let us know about it in the comments.

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

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Chuck D at Siena

Chuck D by Jason Persse CC

Hip hop titan Chuck D will be at Siena April 4 for a talk. The event is free and open to the public.

Chuck D is, of course, a founder of Public Enemy. In the years since founding the group, he's also been a political activist, writer, producer, radio host, and collaborator with all sorts of artists. His talk at Siena will be the keynote lecture for the college's annual Hip Hop Week. He'll also be talking with students in a course called "Rhetoric(s) of Hip-Hop Culture," which is taught by Todd Snyder, an assistant professor of English.

The lecture on April 4 is in the Sarazen Student Union. It starts at 7:30 pm (doors at 7 pm). There will be no ticketing, so it's first come, first sit.

photo: Jason Persse via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Capital Region ice skating spots 2016

ice skaters on Buckingham Pond

Buckingham Pond is always a popular spot on the weekends when the ice is in shape.

The last few weeks have been good outdoor skating weather -- cold nights, some sun during the day, and very little snow. So ponds and other outdoor skating spots should be shaping up with the season. (Though you'll probably have to hold off for a few warms days this week.)

There are a bunch of spots around the Capital Region for ice skating, both outside and inside. AOA has a listing/map of more than 20 places and it's now updated for the current winter -- so go have a look.

Skating is either free or cheap at a lot of these places. And it's a fun reason to get out of the house.

If you know of a place that should be on the list, please let us know in the comments.

Gathering of the Farm Cideries 2016 at Nine Pin

Nine Pin production space

Nine Pin's production space.

Nine Pin Cider Works is hosting another "Gathering of the Farm Cideries" at its production space in Albany's Warehouse District on February 27. A dozen of the state's farm cideries will be there offering tastings, and products will also be for sale by the glass, growler, and bottle.

As you know, Nine Pin was the state's cidery to start operating under the state's special "farm" cidery license. The program smooths the way for small producers, and in return the cideries are required to use New York State apples for their products.

It's easy to take the apples -- and apple orchards -- for granted in Upstate New York. But we really do live in one of the premier apple-growing regions of the world -- both in terms of quantity and variety. And the recent rise of farm cideries around the state is another way to explore that.

The Gathering of the Farm Cideries is Saturday, February 27, in two sessions -- noon-3 pm and 4-7 pm. Tickets are $15 ahead and available online.

Nine Pin advertises on AOA.

Science Cafe talks at City Beer Hall

nysm science cafe posterThis could be some nerdy fun: The State Museum is starting a series of "Science Cafe" events at the City Beer Hall.

That first Science Cafe event is February 9 and will feature State Museum curator of birds Jeremy Kirchman. Craig Gravina, who's a State Museum exhibit designer (and, of course, also a beer historian), will moderate. We emailed Kirchman for a preview:

I suspect Craig and I will veer off on a few tangents regarding such things as the origin of birds, how I became interested in museum collections and bird evolution, response of birds to climate change, maybe the domestication of chickens if we really end up in the weeds.
The idea with the Science Café is that it will resemble a discussion you might have at a party, more so than a lecture in an auditorium. The series will give the museum scientists a chance to teach the public about on-going research in biology, archaeology, and paleontology, and maybe reach an audience we won't get in our Huxley Theater.

Kirchman says he'll be showing a few pictures, but it won't be a parade of Powerpoint slides.

The Science Cafe event on Tuesday, February 9 is from 6-7 pm. Admission is free, and does not include food or drink.

Earlier on AOA: This part of the State Museum is for the birds

Dave Matthews Band at SPAC 2016

 dave matthews band

The Dave Matthews Band will be making its seasonal migration back to SPAC July 15 and 16. Tickets go on sale February 19 -- they're $40.50 for a lawn position, $75 and $85 for seats in the pavilion.

This summer's tour is marking the 25th anniversary of the band. The band will be taking a break from touring in 2017, according to its website.

photo: Danny Clinch

Chris Gethard at MASS MoCA

comedian chris gethard

Comedian/TV host/writer Chris Gethard will be at MASS MoCA this Saturday (January 30) for a stand-up show. Tickets are $16 ahead / $22 day of / $10 students.

Gethard's done a little bit of everything: authored a Weird New York book, done improv with Upright Citizens Brigade, appeared on late night shows, and hosted a public access/internet talk show. He's recently been producing episodes of the show for Fusion, and will be back for another run this spring.

The MASS MoCA show will be hosted by Joseph Greene, and include an opening set from NYC-based comic Josh Carter. It starts Saturday at 8 pm in the museum's Club B-10.

Free Day
By the way: Saturday is the annual free day at MASS MoCA. It's what it sounds like -- admission to the museum is free from 11 am-7 pm. There will also be a series of events and tours that day.

photo via Chris Gethard Show FB

The week ahead

Capital Rep Naked Influence

Naked Influence premieres at Capital Rep this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (vaguely winterish), to Garrison Keillor, to a play premiere, to hoops, to dummies, to music...

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Stuff to do this weekend

comedian josh gondelman

Josh Gondelman, a writer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, headlines Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show at Proctors this weekend.

Snow or no snow (probably no snow) the weekend is here. And with it we predict stuff to do.

OK, we don't so much predict it as go out and look for it, turn it into a list and show it to you.

So, after the jump, a frosty mountain of stuff to do this weekend.

Planning something we missed? Tell us about it.

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

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Spending a winter day in Saratoga Springs

winter day saratoga springs composite

By Julie Madsen

Gray skies and freezing temperatures are outside. You don't want to leave the house because you have to layer yourself like a lasagna and the air hurts your face. Oh no, it's happening again. The winter time blues.

I crave the warmth and sunlight of summer just like you do, but it's no excuse to hibernate through winter! There are plenty of things to do warmly in and around the Capital Region to help shake off the wintertime sluggishness.

Let's start in Saratoga Springs. Forget about the track, SPAC, and Yaddo until summertime. Give some of these warm inside activities a try to forget about the world outside...

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NYS Writers Institute visiting writers spring 2016

nys writers institute 2016 spring cover composite

The spring lineup for the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series is out. And, as usual, it's full of notable, award-winning writers and events for which to look ahead.

Here's the full lineup, compressed and expanded...

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Sherry Turkle at Union College to talk about conversation in the digital age

MIT psychologist sherry turkle 2015MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle is set to appear at Union February 25 for a talk about her work into how digital technologies affect people and their relationships with each other.

Bio blurbage:

Referred to by many as the "Margaret Mead of digital culture," Professor Turkle has investigated the intersection of digital technology and human relationships from the early days of personal computers to our current world of robotics, artificial intelligence, social networking and mobile connectivity. Her New York Times best-seller, "Reclaiming Conversation™: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age" (Penguin Press, October 2015), focuses on the importance of conversation in digital cultures, including business and the professions. Her previous book, "Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other" (Basic Books, 2011), was a featured talk at TED2012, describing technology's influence on relationships between friends, lovers, parents and children, and new instabilities in how we understand privacy and community, intimacy and solitude.

If you do a quick scan through Turkle's Twitter feed, you'll quickly get a sense of the sorts of topics she's interested in: conversation, the way people use mobiles, dating apps, privacy, robots. Here's an Atlantic interview with Turkle from last fall about her recently published book Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age.

Turkle's talk is the keynote in Union College's Founders Day. It's at 1 pm on Thursday, February 25 in the Memorial Chapel. It's free and open to the public.

Saratoga Jazz Fest 2016 lineup

smokey robinson

Smokey Robinson is among the headliners.

The Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival returns to SPAC June 25-26. And this year's line-up includes Smokey Robinson, Chick Corea, Shemekia Copeland, Joey Alexander Trio, a still-to-be-announced headliner, and many others. The full announced lineup is after the jump.

Tickets for the general public go on sale on today (January 19) -- day tickets start at $65, and festival passes start at $110.

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The week ahead

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella at Proctors

Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella 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 (actual winter), to MLK Day, to stories, to Cinderella, to ShakesBEER, to music...

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Norman Rockwell in the 1960s at Hyde Collection

Norman Rockwell Final Impossibility

"The Final Impossibility" by Norman Rockwell, published in LOOK magazine in 1969. From the Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collections.

If you're looking for a prompt for a quick trip: The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls opens new exhibit this weekend -- Norman Rockwell in the 1960s. Blurbage:

In the 1960s, leaving behind the beloved storytelling scenes that appeared on the covers and pages of the nation's prominent periodicals, Rockwell threw himself into a new genre--the documentation of deeply felt social issues.
In 1963, after ending his 47 year association with The Saturday Evening Post, Rockwell began work for the reportorial magazine Look with a true sense of purpose. He invited consideration of important social issues including the Space Race, depicting the moon landing before and after it actually happened. His 1964 painting, The Problem We All Live With, gently presents an assertion on moral decency. This first assignment for Look magazine was an illustration of a six-year-old African-American schoolgirl being escorted by four U.S. marshals to her first day at an all-white school in New Orleans. In 1965, Rockwell illustrated the murder of civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and in 1967, he chose children, once again, to illustrate desegregation, this time in the nation's suburbs.

The exhibit includes 21 illustrations and magazine covers created by Rockwell during the decade. It'll be on display through April 3.

You can definitely make a day of trip to Glens Falls and the Hyde Collection. And here are some ideas on where to eat.

Speaking of Norman Rockwell...
As you might know already, the Norman Rockwell Museum is just over the Massachusetts border in Stockbridge. (Rockwell lived in Stockbridge.) It's open year round, seven days a week.

And Rockwell used Troy as inspiration for a handful of his illustrations.Two of them sold at auction a few years back -- "Saying Grace" for $46 million, and "Walking to Church" for $3.25 million.

Stuff to do this weekend

Monster Mutt

FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY!!! SATURDAY SATURDAY SATURDAY!!!

Wait, what? The weekend, did you say? Well then -- what is there to do?

So glad you asked.

After the jump -- our list of stuff to do this chilly January weekend. Planning something you don't see here? Tell us about it.

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

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High Mud Comedy Fest with Tig Notaro at MASS MoCA

comedian Tig Notaro

Tig Notaro

MASS MoCA has a two-day comedy event -- The High Mud Comedy Fest -- lined up for March 11 and 12. The headliner is comedian Tig Notaro. Festival tickets are on sale now -- they're $42 ahead / $55 day of / $32 students.

Notaro is a standup comic and writer who's appeared a bunch of places, including Comedy Central and This American Life. In recent years, she's been recognized for a set in which she announced she had breast cancer -- Louis C.K. called it one of the "truly great, masterful standup sets." And she has a new semi-autobiographical TV series -- One Mississippi -- coming out on Amazon Prime later this year.

The festival lineup also includes Ophira Eisenberg as host (she's a comedian and host of NPR's Ask Me Another), Sean Patton, Dave Hill, Thomas Attila Lewis, Seth Brown, and Mark Jagiello. There will be stand-up comedy in the evenings, and screenings of comedy films and shorts in the afternoon.

photo via Tig Notaro FB

Coffee class at Superior Merchandise Co.

superior merchandise coffee cupThis could be something different and interesting to try: Superior Merchandise Company in Troy is offering a "Coffee School" class about coffee tasting on February 1. Blurbage:

Lead by SMCo.'s Director of Coffee Matthew Loiacono, the class will delve into a history of coffee, ideal growing conditions for coffee, general coffee region taste characteristics, how coffee professionals evaluate coffee, an intro to the SCAA taster's wheel and will wrap up with a tasting and discussion of three single origin coffees. The 90 minute class will be presented in a loose lecture-style format, interspersed with flash "taste and describe" breaks.

The class is Monday, February 1 from 6-7:30 pm. Tickets are $30 and available online.

The shop already one of the classes scheduled for January 25 and it sold out. So if you're interested in attending, getting tickets sooner rather than later is probably a good idea.

Earlier on AOA: Superior Merchandise Co.

Mountain Jam 2016 lineup

beck in turquoise

Beck is among the headliners.

The lineup for the 2016 Mountain Jam music festival is out. Headliners include: Beck, Wilco, The Avett Brothers, Gov't Mule, Umphrey's McGee, Thievery Corporation, Brandi Carlile, and Jason Isbell.

The full lineup (announced so far) is post jump.

Mountain Jam is June 2-5 this year. Tickets are are currently on sale: a 3-day pass (without camping) is $185 and a 4-day pass (without camping) is $205.

As you know, Hunter Mountain is in Hunter, New York, in the northern Catskills. It's a little more than an hour drive from Albany.

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Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show: Josh Gondelman

comedian_josh_gondelman.jpg

The Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show series at Proctors brings Josh Gondelman to town for a stand-up show January 23. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $15 ahead / $20 day of.

You might not recognize Gondelman's name, but you've probably seen his work. He's co-creator of the Modern Seinfeld Twitter feed. And he's also a writer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver -- he wrote the pumpkin spice latte bit for the show's web series.

Gondelman co-authored a book -- You Blew It!: An Awkward Look at the Many Ways in Which You've Already Ruined Your Life -- published last month. And he has a half-hour special set to run on Comedy Central later this year.

Here's a New York Observer profile of Gondelman from last fall.

The show at Proctors (in the Education Center) starts 8 pm on Saturday, January 23.

Festival of Manliness 2016

Festival of Manliness deerThe annual Festival of Manliness returns to Revolution Hall at Brown's January 24. It's a beer dinner paired with a chance to watch the NFL conference championships on a big screen.

Event blurbage:

Amazing hand crafted pints of Brown's beer are paired with every course at this 21+ event. Catch the AFC and NFC championships on the big screen. After dinner, settle in with hand rolled cigars from Habana Premium Cigar Shoppe. Enter the Pints for Prostates nation wide raffle with a grand prize of a nine night trip for two from BeerTrips.com to Prague, Bamberg and Munich for Oktoberfest (September 21 to October 1). This national drawing will take place on July 30.

Tickets are $80 and available online. The event is a benefit for Pints for Prostates.

Chili cook-off: Speaking of Brown's, the annual Firehouse Chili Cookoff is February 6 at Rev Hall. It's $10 general admission.

Bowl Me Over speed dating

This sounds like it could be a fun twist on the speed dating concept: The Albany Singles & Social Meetup group has a "Bowl Me Over" speed dating event set for Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy this Saturday, January 16.

Explains organizer Josy Smith in a message to us:

Half the lanes at Uncle Sam's will be dedicated to the event. The ladies will be stationary & the gentlemen will rotate. The "speed" part will be in that no more than half a game (5 frames) will be bowled.
This will ensure there's both no pressured rush, and no long drawn out full length game. The event will also be to "midnight bowling" atmosphere; dimmer lights and music (but not too loud so as to detract from getting to know your partner).
There will also be dedicated waitstaff for food/drink service during the event.

Any speed dating situation is probably going to feel a bit odd/forced/something. But having something to actively do while you're getting a sense of a person sounds like it could be a good idea -- maybe it makes things a little more relaxed and fun.

The bowling starts at 8:30 pm on Saturday. The cover charge is $5. There will be drink specials and, during the first hour, free finger foods.

The week ahead

the band guster

Guster will be at Upstate Concert Hall this week with David Wax Museum.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (easy going), to stories, to hoops, to magic, to wine and dine, to music...

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Stuff to do this weekend

Albany All Stars Roller Derby 2016

The Albany All Stars season opener is Saturday at The Armory.

Congratulations! You made it through the first full week of 2016. If you have any celebration left in you, check out our list of stuff to do this weekend.

If not, we won't judge you if you lay on the couch with Netflix and leftover cookies. We might even join you. (On our own couch... you know what we mean...)

Got something planned that you don't see on our list? Tell us about it.

Whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!

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Coloring night -- for adults -- Schenectady County Public Library

SCPL Adult Coloring PosterThe Schenectady County Public Library is hosting a coloring night for adults on the second Wednesday of each month staring next week (January 13). Blurbage:

Tons of recent research suggests that coloring is one of the best ways for adults to reduce stress and relax! We will have relaxing music, stunning patterns, coloring markers & pencils, and hot drinks while we enjoy a peaceful hour of coloring. Sorry kids, this program is for ages 14 and up only!

It's free to attend, and the library will also provide free coloring materials. As the library's Doug Bixler said to us in an email: "People only need to bring themselves and a fun attitude! We provide the rest."

Here's a quick piece over at the The Atlantic last fall about the almost meditative aspect of coloring, and the recent popularity of the activity with adults. (The coloring books for adults are a bit more detailed and intricate than the ones for kids).

The adult coloring nights at the SCPL are at the central library on Clinton Street in Schenectady in the McChesney Room. They start at 6:30 pm. They're the second Wednesday of each month through May.

Drawing: Wine & Dine for the Arts gala tickets

wine and dine for the arts wine glasses

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The annual Wine & Dine for the Arts food and wine festival in downtown Albany starts January 14. The multi-day event includes tastings, chefs and restaurants, seminars, and competitions for sliders, baristas, and bartenders.

The grand gala reception and six-course dinner that Saturday night is sold out -- but we have a pair of tickets for it. And we're giving them away.

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

What is your 2016 resolution for the Capital Region?

It could be big, it could be small. It could be for yourself, it could be the area generally. We'll pick one person at random.

Though tickets for the gala are sold out, tickets for the festivals other events are still available -- including the mayor's opening celebration at Albany City Hall that Thursday, the grand tastings on Friday and Saturday, the Slider Slam on Friday, and the barista competition pairing coffee and donuts on Saturday.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Friday, January 8, 2016 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, January 12.

AOA is a media sponsor of Wine & Dine for the Arts.

EMPAC spring 2016 season

Cellist Okkyung Lee will be at EMPAC January 28, along with clarinetist Rane Moore, to "explore a greater sonic range of the clarinet and cello."

Right to the point: EMPAC's 2016 spring schedule is now out. And, as always, it's full of performances and events that promise to be interesting, thought-provoking, even challenging.

Here's a compressed version of the schedule...

(there's more)

Capital Roots Garden Bowl 2016

capital roots garden bowl trophyThe annual Capital Roots Garden Bowl is coming up January 30 at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy. It's a bowling-themed fundraiser for the community gardens org. How-it-works-blurbage:

Each year, Capital Roots teams up with friends and businesses in the Capital Region for a winter bowling extravaganza called Garden Bowl! In the months leading up to this annual event, bowlers invite donors to sponsor their games. Then they strap on their bowling shoes and compete winning prizes for high scores, highest fundraising, and more!
Whether you throw gutter balls or bowl a perfect 300 you are welcome to join the fun. You have a chance to win ski passes, dining certificates and more while you spend the day bowling with friends, family and co-workers.

The minimum entry fee is $25, though of course, the goal is for teams to raise more than that from donors. The first 50 people to raise $50 or more also get a Garden Bowl t-shirt. Details at that link above.

Albany All Stars Roller Derby opens 2016 season this weekend

2016 Albany All Stars Roller Derby Season posterThe Albany All Stars Roller Derby opens its new season this Saturday, January 9 at The Armory on Washington Ave in Albany.

The Brawl Stars will be taking on the Battle Cats of the Southshire Roller Derby. There will be music from DJ Trumastr and halftime activities. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Orange Street Cats.

The first whistle Saturday is 7 pm. Tickets are $10 ahead / $12 at the door / $4 for kids 12 and under.

The All Stars have home bouts scheduled just about once month from now through June. And if you're interested in joining the derby, there's an info/recruitment night Wednesday, January 13 at 6:30 pm at The Armory.

Earlier on AOA: How to behave (or not) at a roller derby bout

David Cross at Troy Music Hall

comedian actor david cross

Comedian/actor David Cross is set to make a stop at the Troy Music Hall March 20 for a stand-up show. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday, January 8 -- they're $34 and $44.

Cross is famous for his role as Tobias Fünke on Arrested Development, and before that for his work on Mr. Show. He's also appeared in a bunch of other shows, movies, and music videos.

The tour bringing Cross to Troy as the "Making America Great Again!" tour.

The Troy Music Hall advertises on AOA.

Titus Andronicus + Craig Finn at The Hollow

craig finn patrick stickles titus andronicus

Afterward, Craig Finn and Patrick Stickles are going to arm wrestle. (OK, probably not.)

Titus Andronicus and Craig Finn are set to make a stop at The Hollow March 23. Tickets are $15 ahead / $18 day and on sale now.

Both acts have been through here a few times. Titus Andronicus released the 29-track rock opera The Most Lamentable Tragedy last year to good reviews. And Finn is, of course, the singer for The Hold Steady.

Odds are it will be a good show. And it's just $15.

Speaking of The Hollow: Ra Ra Riot will be there March 2 -- tickets are $10.27 ahead (because EQX)
/ $17 day of.

photo via Titus Andronicus

The week ahead

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is at Proctors early this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (hello, winter), to a many-colored coat, to poetry, to hoops, to cooking, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Irving Berlin's White Christmas touring production

A touring production of Irving Berlin's White Christmas is at Proctors this weekend.

Since Christmas is on Friday, many places are closed from late Thursday through Saturday morning -- and things are looking a little slow for the rest of the weekend. After the jump, a few things for you to check out.

Doing something you don't see here? Tell the rest of us about it. It's the season of sharing. Meanwhile, enjoy the company of family and friends.

Happy holidays!

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New Year's brunch/farm tour at Heather Ridge Farm

heather ridge farm donkeysThis could be something a little different to round out the holidays: Heather Ridge Farm in Preston Hollow is offering a farm tour and brunch buffet the weekend after New Year's Day. Blurbage:

The brunch buffet will feature many items including caramelized French toast, maple chipotle breakfast sausage, eggs to order, Dublin Coddle, Irish Brown bread and many more items. Many of the items on the buffet were raised and made on the farm, including the pork sausages, grassfed corned beef hash, no nitrate bacon in the Dublin Coddle and the eggs. Heather Ridge Farm is certified Animal Welfare Approved. ...
The farm animals will be in their winter quarters. Among the animals to see are goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas, donkeys, laying hens, geese and guinea fowl. The tour will last approximately an hour.

The brunch is $24 per person (kids pay their age), and the tour is included. It's Saturday, January 2 and Sunday, January 3 from 11 am to 3 pm -- reservations recommended. The farm is located just a bit over the Albany County line in Schoharie

If the name Heather Ridge Farm rings a bell, it's the same farm that provided the goats for the "goatscaping" project at Albany's Loudonville Reservoir. And the farm has also been offering a series of monthly supper club dinners, of which we've heard many good things.

photo: Heather Ridge Farm

The week ahead

hip hop nutcracker

The Hip Hop Nutcracker is at Proctors Monday.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (unDecember), to Christmas, to holiday shows, to stories, to hoops...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

It's a Wonderful Life still

And Clarence gets his wings.

Well, we're in the thick of it now. Shopping, wrapping, holiday parties. But in case you're not busy enough, or you're looking for a fun way to procrastinate further, we've stuffed your weekend stocking with a whole bunch of stuff to do.

Got something planned that you don't see here? Drop it in he comment section so we can all see.

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

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Neko Case at Troy Music Hall

neko case 2015

The Neko Case is set to play a show at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall March 5. Tickets go on sale to the general public December 21 -- they're $35 / $15 students. (And they're currently available to music hall members.)

Case's solo music is somewhere in the area of indie rock, alt-country, and folk rock. She recently released a new collection of her solor work -- Truckdriver, Gladiator, Mule -- on vinyl.

Also: We're reasonably certain Case is some of sort of superhero. Anyone with a voice like hers is either from Asgard or was bitten by a radioactive spider.

The Troy Music Hall advertises on AOA.

photo: Dennis Kleiman

"As If! A celebration of Clueless" in Saratoga

as if clueless jen chaney coverNorthshire Saratoga and the Saratoga Film Forum are hosting a screening of/talk about the film Clueless January 23. Journalist Jen Chaney -- author of As If: The Oral History of Clueless as Told by Amy Heckerling and the Cast & Crew -- will be appearing via Skype for a talk and Q&A.

Blurbage:

Acclaimed pop culture journalist Jen Chaney celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the classic film's release in the first book of its kind, weaving together original interviews with writer and director Amy Heckerling; key cast members, including Alicia Silverstone (Cher), Paul Rudd (Josh), Stacey Dash (Dionne), Donald Faison (Murray), Elisa Donovan (Amber), Wallace Shawn (Mr. Hall), Twink Caplan (Ms. Geist and associate producer); ... Chaney explores the influence of Jane Austen's "Emma" as the unlikely framework for Heckerling's script, the rigorous casting process (including the future stars who didn't make the cut), the functional yet fashion-forward wardrobe, the unique slang that drew from the past and coined new phrases for the future, the sun-drenched soundtrack that set the tone, and above all the massive amount of work, creativity, and craft that went into making "Clueless" look so effortlessly bright and glossy. "As If " illuminates why plaid skirts and knee socks will never go out of style, and why "Clueless" remains one of the most beloved comedies of all time.

The event is Saturday, January 23 at 7 pm at the Saratoga Film Forum at The Arts Center (320 Broadway in Saratoga Springs). Tickets are $29 for one seat and one book / $39 for two seats and one book -- and they're on sale now.

Northshire advertises on AOA.

Sean Rowe at Takk House

Sean Rowe 2015

Sean Rowe is set for a hometown show at Takk House this Saturday, December 19. The opener for the show is The Sea The Sea.

Tickets are $27.24 and available online (second link above). Show starts at 8 pm.

The show is a benefit for Joseph's House & Shelter.

Rowe's shows around here often sell out, so if you're interested in going, it's not a bad idea to get tickets sooner rather than later.

photo: Anthony Saint James

The National at MASS MoCA

The National band 2015

Update: Pre-sale tickets for MASS MoCA members go on sale Thursday, December 17 at 11 am. Tickets for the general public go on sale Friday, December 18 at 11 am.
____

Indie rock kings The National are set to play a show at MASS MoCA June 11. Ticket info is still sparse (the museum says it will be updated soon) -- but it looks like early bird tickets will be $49.

It will be an outdoors, standing room show, rain or shine. And it's a good bet it will be very popular. So keep an eye out for when tickets go on sale. (We'll update the info here.)

photo: Shane McCauley

The week ahead

capital rep christmas story bunny suit

Capital Rep's production of A Christmas Story, The Musical continues this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (not snow), to movies, to cooking, to all sorts of holiday stuff, to music...

(there's more)

Internet of things hackathon at TVCOG

Tech Valley Center of Gravity Quackenbush BuildingThe Tech Valley Center of Gravity is hosting an Internet of Things Hackathon January 30-31. Blurbage:

The hackathon's theme is The Internet of Things (IoT) which is the network of physical objects or "things" embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.
There will be a top prize of at least $1,000, as well as other giveaways including a free TVCOG membership. But [Erica] Iannotti says most hackers will come for the camaraderie, the excitement of competition, the good food (in addition to Cheetos) , the bragging rights and, most of all, the opportunity to mess with hardware they cant afford to own themselves.
"Most hackathons focus on software, this one will combine software, hardware and the Internet," Iannotti said. "Teams of hackers will spend the weekend at TVCOG making software to connect physical objects to the Internet in new and interesting ways."

Judges will include Jeff Branson from SparkFun Electronics and Kishor Bagul, an entrepreneur former chief technology officer of New York State. The event is being sponsored by AT&T.

It's free to participate, but pre-registration is required.

And when an army of internet-connected toasters recruits the Green Island Bridge as part of their uprising, you'll know what happened.

AOA is a media sponsor of TVCOG

Stuff to do this weekend

Santa Speedo Sprint

It's Speedo Sprint weekend!

It's December, and this weekend the Capital Region will be flirting with 60-degree weather -- a fact that should make for some happy Speedo Sprinters on Saturday.

In addition to the sprint, there are lots of other fun things happening this weekend. You'll find our list after the jump. Got something planned that you don't see there? Drop it in the comments so the rest of us can see.

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

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Where to karaoke?

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Sing out Louise.

Judie reached out to us this week with a question about where to go for karaoke.

New-ish to the area and looking for fun bars that do karaoke - a request for a friend's upcoming birthday. I couldn't find anything on your site, but know your readers would know the scoop. We promise no Free Bird or American Pie.

OK, since Judie promised no "Free Bird," maybe we can help her out. We'll start it off. Circus Cafe in Saratoga has karaoke on Saturday nights.

Where else can Judie and company sing out?

photo: Flickr user Ilmicrofono Oggiono (CC BY 2.0)

Neil deGrasse Tyson at Proctors

Neil deGrasse Tyson

The Neil deGrasse Tyson will be at Proctors April 11. Tickets go on sale to the general public December 15 -- they're $25.75 and up.

Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. But he's become a prominent pop culture figure as a communicator and advocate for science, hosting TV shows such as the rebooted Cosmos, appearing on The Daily Show, and accreting a huge following on Twitter.

The Proctors event is billed as "An Evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson." Further blurbage: "Join America's favorite science communicator in an 'engaging conversation on science, exploration and the world as we know it.'" It also looks like there will be Q&A with the audience.

photo: Cutty McGill

Deer Tick at The Egg

deer tick band 2015

The indie band Deer Tick is set to play a show at The Egg March 18. Tickets go on this sale this Friday, December 11 -- they're $31.50. (There's also a pre-sale.)

The show is billed as an acoustic set in support of the album Negativity. The opener is Mutual Benefit.

Deer Tick has been making stops in the Capital Region for a bunch of years, and the shows often seem to be popular. So, getting tickets sooner rather than later might not be a bad idea. The show is in the 450-seat Swyer Theater.

photo via Deer Tick FB

Drawing: Historic Albany Holiday House Tour, Ten Broeck Mansion Candlelit Tour & Capital City Gastropub

HAF holiday house tour 2015 interior

It's holiday house tour season in the Capital Region.

Historic Albany Foundation's annual Holiday House Tour -- a self-guided tour of historic homes around Albany, decorated for the holidays -- is this Sunday, December 13. And the Ten Broeck Mansion in Albany is Candlelit Tours -- a look back at how 18th and 19th century inhabitants of the Ten Broeck Mansion celebrated Christmas in their home -- on December 17 and 18.

AOA has a pair of tickets to give away for each of these events. And to make it even more fun, we're throwing in a $25 gift certificate for the Capital City Gastropub on New Scotland Ave in Albany.

To enter the drawing answer the following question in the comment section of this post:

Holiday house tours have become a Capital Region tradition. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to this season?

We'll pick one entry at random. That person will get the tickets and gift certificate.

The Historic Albany holiday house tour is this Sunday from noon-4 pm. Here's some blurbage about this year's tour:

Two highlights of this year's tour are SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher's home, as well as an art show at the home of David Hinchen. Chancellor Zimpher's three story brick residence on State Street is in the Classical Renaissance Revival style, featuring ornate woodwork and a library whose walls are covered with foliate-patterned fabric wallcovering, which appears to be original to the building.
Additionally, artist David Hinchen's home will be open with an art show and sale showcasing architectural art of Albany, as well as lamps and mixed media collages by Gail Hinchen. Holiday House Tour ticket holders will receive a 25% discount on artwork at this show.
In addition to these two stops, attendees will see the beautiful home built in 1954 for the Headmaster of Albany Academy, a home currently being restored using the best techniques in preservation, and several other homes in the Helderberg, Buckingham Pond, Pine Hills, and Center Square neighborhoods - including one with a Little Free Library.

Tickets for the tour are $25 ($30 after December 9) / $15 for students ($20 after December) -- and they're available online (see the first link above). Check-in for the tour is at the Massry Atrium at Saint Rose.

The Ten Broeck Mansion Candlelit tour is being offered on Thursday, December 17 and Friday, December 18th at 7 pm. Here's more about that tour:

We enjoy holiday traditions every year, but how did some of those traditions originate? Have they always been the same? How would the original 18th and 19th Century inhabitants of the Ten Broeck Mansion have celebrated Christmas in their home? How did the Civil War change popular Yuletide traditions in America? We'll give you a candle to light your way on a journey through time that sheds light on the history of the American Christmas.

Tickets for the Ten Broeck tour are $15 per person (reservations encouraged).

Important: To be part of the drawing, you must submit your comment (that answers the question) by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. You must include a working email address (that you check regularly). The winner will be notified by noon on Wednesday, December 9 and must respond by noon on December 10.

photo via Historic Albany Foundation

Stuff to do this weekend

empire state plaza ice skating

The ESP skating rink opens for the season Friday.

In between the shopping and the decorating, make time to have a little (more) fun this weekend. The Capital Region holiday season is well underway with Victorian strolling, holiday markets, shows, exhibits -- all kinds of stuff.

Take a look at the list we've pulled together. We checked it twice but if we're missing something you're doing, be sure and tell us in the comments. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Bruce Springsteen returning to the TU Center

bruce springsteen jean jacket

Announced this morning: Bruce Springsteen will be playing the TU Center February 8. Tickets go on sale December 11 -- they're $58 and up.

Springsteen will be joined by The E Street Band. They'll be promoting a retrospective collection looking back on the 1980 album The River.

The Boss was last here in 2014, and then in 2012 before that. So he's right on cycle.

The Oregon Trail at Nortshire Saratoga

oregon trail book cover rinker buckIf you're certain age you probably remember playing The Oregon Trail computer game*, trying to get your virtual covered wagon from Missouri to Oregon.

Well, a few years ago a journalist named Rinker Buck and his brother actually did try to get from Missouri to Oregon by wagon. And he wrote about it in the aptly-titled book The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey. Buck will be at Northshire Saratoga this Saturday, December 5 at 7 pm to talk about the book. It's free.

Book blurbage:

Traveling from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Baker City, Oregon, over the course of four months, Buck is accompanied by three cantankerous mules, his boisterous brother, Nick, and an "incurably filthy" Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl. Along the way, they dodge thunderstorms in Nebraska, chase runaway mules across the Wyoming plains, scout more than five hundred miles of nearly vanished trail on foot, cross the Rockies, and make desperate fifty-mile forced marches for water. The Buck brothers repair so many broken wheels and axels that they nearly reinvent the art of wagon travel itself. ...
But The Oregon Trail is much more than an epic adventure. It is also a lively and essential work of history that shatters the comforting myths about the trail years passed down by generations of Americans. Buck introduces readers to the largely forgotten roles played by trailblazing evangelists, friendly Indian tribes, female pioneers, bumbling U.S. Army cavalrymen, and the scam artists who flocked to the frontier to fleece the overland emigrants. ...

Here's a recent NYT review, and NPR interview.

And if you ever played the Oregon Trail computer game, you'll appreciate this bit: Buck's brother is an actual carpenter.

* You can now play one of the early versions of The Oregon Trail online.

Northshire advertises on AOA.

Day trip: Utica and Rome

utica rome composite

By Julie Madsen

Utica and Rome are like Albany and Troy. They go together and when visiting one, you may as well visit the other to double your fun.

These cities rose with the canal and railroad connecting eastern New York with the Great Lakes region. But, like many other upstate cities, the last half century has included some rough times as they lost manufacturing and population. Today they are doing their best to come back.

You can reach the cities with ease -- just an hour-and-a-half drive on I-90 will get you into Utica and an additional 20 minutes to get to Rome. (Just about an hour farther west and you're in Syracuse, but save that for another day.) You can also take the Amtrak train into either of the cities.

There is a lot to see here, fine food, history, and fun to be had. Just head west.

(there's more)

Capital Region holiday events 2015

Troy Victorian Stroll balloon man

It's now December and the Capital Region's bag of holiday-themed events is stuffed with tree lightings, Victorian strolls, concerts, screenings of holiday classics, and a bunch of other activities.

And here's a big list of them...

(there's more)

Babes in Troyland

babes in troyland holiday market posterAnother holiday market for the calendar: Babes in Troyland will be at The Takk House in Troy December 12 and 13. It's presented by Troy Flea. Blurbage:

This isn't your grandma's holiday market. More than 30 vendors: Antiques, Vintage & Crafting. Whiskey tasking - Beer Garden - Coffee & Espresso by Stacks - Chair Massage - Game Room - Improv - Burlesque by Persephone Pomme - Bad Santa Photo Booth - Man Cave w/Basement Barber Babes (Haircuts & Trims) - Music by DJ Trumaster & More!

Also: "Ugly sweaters and crazy Christmas clothes encouraged!"

The market is Saturday, December 12 from 1-7 pm and Sunday, December 13 from 11 am-4 pm. Admission is $5.

Earlier on AOA: Holiday markets 2015

AOA is a media sponsor of Babes in Troyland.

Albany Holiday House Tour 2015

HAF holiday house tourHistoric Albany Foundation's annual Holiday House Tour is Sunday, December 13 from noon to 4 pm. The self-guided tour includes 10-15 historic homes around Albany, decorated for the holidays. (The homes tend to be clusters so you can drive to a spot and then walk to a few different homes.)

Tickets for the tour are $25 ($30 after December 9) / $15 ($20 after December) for students -- and they're available online (see link above). Check-in for the tour is at the Massry Atrium at Saint Rose.

photo: Historic Albany Foundation FB

The week ahead

sharon jones musician

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings will be in town later 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 at all), to film, to radio drama, to hoops, to speakers, to the Victorian Streetwalk, to ice skating, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Cap Rep Christmas Story leg lamp

A Christmas Story: The Musical starts this weekend at Capital Rep

Welcome to the holiday season in the Capital Region -- when there are more things to do than you can shake a peppermint stick at.

After the jump, you'll find a weekend guide to shopping, movies, theater, and all kinds of other fun stuff. Got something planned that you don't see here? It's the season of sharing, so drop the details in the comment section for everyone to see.

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

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Talking about Santa and the Dutch at the Mabee Farm

delicious december cover peter g roseFood/history/holidays: Food historian Peter G. Rose will be at The Mabee Farm Historic Site December 5 for a talk about Santa and the Dutch.

Food historian Peter G. Rose delves into the early history of the life of the Saint; explains the various changes in his veneration; and relates how he was brought to America by the Dutch in the seventeenth century and, again, transformed to Santa in the 19th century. The talk encompasses such subjects as literature, religion, the fine arts, and Dutch food ways to describe the extraordinary story of his generosity that had a lasting impact on us all.

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:

Delicious December mixes food and history in a celebration of Dutch and American holiday traditions. In more than one hundred tried-and true recipes, award-winning food historian Peter G. Rose draws on traditions that date back centuries, as well as on reminiscences of her native country and suggests many ways to incorporate true Dutch treats into American celebrations.

The talk at Mabee Farm is Saturday, December 5 at 2 pm. Admission is $5.

Earlier on AOA:
+ What did Albany eat in the 18th century?
+ Baking that Albany Cake

The week ahead

mythbusters stage show

The Mythbusters stage show is at Proctors Tuesday.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (November-ish and not), to Thanksgiving, to turkey trotting, to mythbusting, to museums, to music...

(there's more)

Tanglewood 2016 lineup includes Seth MacFarlane

seth macfarlane

Next summer seems like forever from now, but Tanglewood released its 2016 schedule this week. Among the the dates that caught our eye:

+ A Prairie Home Companion on June 25. (There has been some talk this would be Garrison's Keillor's last Prairie Home show.)

+ Violinist Joshua Bell on July 8.

+ Seth MacFarlane -- yep, the Family Guy Seth MacFarlane -- with the Boston Pops on July 10.

+ Superstar pianist Yuja Wang with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on July 17.

+ Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble on August 7.

+ Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me on September 1.

And, of course, there will be appearances by many other performers you'd recognize, such as Renee Flemming, John Williams, Chick Corea, Jeremy Denk, and on and on. And there are sure to be additions to the schedule before the start of the summer.

Tickets go on sale January 24.

photo via Seth MacFarlane Twitter

Stuff to do this weekend

Sandra Bernhard

Sandra Bernhard is at the Troy Music Hall Saturday.

Before you start worrying about turkeys, stuffing, trees, latkes, and pumpkin pies, you have one last pre-holiday autumn weekend. Use it wisely. Sure, you can get a jump on your holiday prep, but if you'd rather play, we've compiled a list of fun options after the jump.

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

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Empire State Plaza skating rink opens soon

empire state plaza ice skating rink

The ice skating rink on the Empire State Plaza is scheduled to open December 4, the state Office of General Services announced today. (That is weather permitting, of course.) The rink is on the Capitol end of the plaza, near The Egg.

It looks like the details for this season are the same as in years past. The rink will be open seven days a week from 11 am-8 pm. It's free to skate. Rentals for skates are $4 for adults / $3 for kids. And skate rentals are free on Fridays.

The rink will also have free learn-to-skate clinics during the season (with free skate rental). The first is the morning of December 5. These clinics tend to fill up very fast, so keep an eye out for the registration (it's already open for the December 5 clinic).

It's fun to skate on the plaza. It can get a bit crowded on weekends -- we've found the best time is often to stop by after work on weekday. A little early evening skating + dinner downtown is a nice night out.

Tree lighting
OGS announced a whole slate of winter events at the ESP today. And of course that includes the annual holiday tree lighting event, which is December 6 this year.

AOA is a media sponsor of the ESP ice skating rink.

David Sedaris at The Egg

david sedaris 2015

Author David Sedaris will be at The Egg April 9. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday, November 20 -- they're $38.50 and $48.50.

It's been a few years since Sedaris last made a stop here -- 2013, we think. And his appearances are often very popular. So, if you'd like to go, getting tickets sooner rather than later is probably a good idea.

The most recent book from Sedaris is Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls.

If you've never seen Sedaris in in a live performance, (in our experience) it goes something like this: he reads a bit, he talks a bit, reads a little bit more, talks some more, people laugh -- sometimes not exactly sure of when they should. So it's kind of like you'd expect.

photo: Hugh Hamrick

Drawing: Tickets for Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Celebration 2015

AIDS Council Beaujolais event 2012

The scene from a Beaujolais Celebration in a previous year.

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The Alliance Positive Heath's annual Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Celebration is this Friday, November 20. We have a pair of tickets for it -- and they could be your pair of tickets. Update: And they're VIP tickets, which include a pre-event receptions and post-event cigar and cognac reception.

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

What's something local that you'd like to bottle?

It could be a beverage, of course. But it could also be the warm autumn sunshine. Or the sounds of dogs parking at the park. Or whatever. We'll draw one winner at random.

The Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Celebration is Friday, November 20 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center starting at 6:30 pm. It includes samples of wine -- both Beaujolais and other varieties -- as well as food from local from local restaurants and purveyors, along with music and silent auction. Tickets -- $85 / $150 VIP -- are available online.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Wednesday and must respond by noon on Thursday, November 19.

AOA is a media sponsor of Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Celebration 2015.

It's a Jazzy Christmas! at Massry Center

Massry Picotte recital hallThe annual "It's a Jazzy Christmas!" concert at the Massry Center at Saint Rose is coming up soon -- December 4. It's a fun show, and great for kids. Blurbage:

A Celebration of Vince Guaraldi's Holiday Jazz Music," a "high smileage," family-friendly evening of Guaraldi's signature style of jazz made famous in the "Peanuts" holiday specials. The Peanut Gallery Jazz Band will take concertgoers on an interactive musical journey reminiscent of 1940s radio serials, evoking images and emotions from an innocent childhood and days gone by. Guaraldi's music from the "Peanuts" specials makes this concert perfect for the jazz lover and the entire family, just in time for the holidays with all new elements this year making the show even better!

There's a milk-and-cookies reception after the show.

The show is Friday, December 4 at 6 pm. Tickets are $20 / $10 students / free for kids 5 and under (ticket required). It's a popular show and often sells out.

The week ahead

ginger strand the the brothers vonnegut

Ginger Strand will be in town this week to talk about her new book The Brothers Vonnegut, about the Kurt Vonnegut's time working for GE in Schenectady. Vonnegut's brother Bernard was also working for the company at the the time, as a researcher on cloud seeding tech.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (nice), to Motown, to histories, to the Brothers Vonnegut, to film, to hoops, to all sorts of music...

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Jerry Seinfeld at The Palace

jerry seinfeld standup

Jerry Seinfeld is set to return to The Palace for a stand-up show March 3. Tickets go on sale Friday, November 20 to the general public -- they're $48 and up.

Seinfeld has made a recent habit of playing the Palace in October every two years (he was last here in October 2013). So, a March visit? What's the deal with that?

Stuff to do this weekend

tim hecker corn field

Tim Hecker is at EMPAC this weekend

We're ticking down the days until Thanksgiving, so shopping, travel, and menu plans may be on your mind this weekend. But don't forget to celebrate the here and now -- otherwise known, in this case, as the weekend.

After the jump we've pulled together all kinds of pre-holiday goodness for you to enjoy -- from movies and shows to a cider pressing party to cooking classes and day trips.

Pick your favorites and make some plans. Got something in mind that you don't see here? Drop it in the comments for everyone to see.

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

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Native Peoples of Hudson Valley at the State Museum

Mahican leader Etow Oh KoamThis place has a long history -- Henry Hudson sailed up the river in 1609. But the history of this place extends before that, of course, with the many Native Americans who lived here. So this event next week might be an interesting way to learn a little bit more about that history.

From the blurbage for "Native Peoples of Hudson Valley" at the State Museum on Wednesday, November 18:

At this time of year people often refer to the role of Native Americans in the founding of what became the United States of America. These origin stories, however, combine fact and myth. come learn about the actual history of Native peoples in the Hudson Valley from Archaelogist Michael Lucas and Jon Lothrop at a special [Albany] City Hall Rotunda Event at the Nw York State Museum. All Museum galliers will be open to the public until 7:00 p.m. following the presentation and Michael and Jon will be available in exhibit areas to answer visitors' questions.

The event starts at 5 pm (it looks like the talk starts at 5:30 pm), and it's free.

That portrait on the right is of the Mahican chief Etow Oh Koam -- it was painted during a visit he and three Mohawk leaders made to England in 1710.

It's a play. It's a ping pong game. It's both.

ChipandGus John Ahlin ping pong

John Ahlin

Something a bit different: A show at Proctors next week -- ChipandGus: A Comedy with Balls -- is both a play and... a ping pong game. Blurbage:

The action takes place during an actual 90-minute game, with two college town colleagues meeting for their monthly session. But this night is different; there is something else in the room, and the evening becomes something more than just another match.

As it happens, the play is set in Schenectady. Backstory blurbage:

[Writer/actor John] Ahlin discovered the city's curious name as a child, on family drives from Westchester to the Adirondacks, and he was held forever in thrall by its odd collection of consonants ("I became one of the fastest spellers of Schenectady around," he says, chuckling). As fate would have it, he married a woman from Schenectady, and his longtime fascination found fruition in ChipandGus.
"My character," he says, "in particular, is a champion of the city's great dynamic history, and its glorious denizens and visitors over the years."

Ahlin plays one side of the game, fellow writer/actor Christopher Patrick Mullen the other. And apparently they really are playing ping pong during the show.

ChipandGus is Friday, November 20 at 7:30 pm in the GE Theater at Proctors. Tickets are $20 and $30. Proceeds benefit the Schenectady Light Opera Company.

photo via ChipandGus FB page

Santa Speedo Sprint 2015 registration now open

santa_speedo_sprint_2014_11

At the starting line of last year's sprint.

The Albany Santa Speedo Sprint -- now in its tenth year -- is back December 12. And registration is now open.

The sprint is what is sounds like: a bunch of people in holiday-themed underthings running down Lark Street in Albany for charity. The event is organized by the Albany Society for the Advancement of Philanthropy and is a fundraiser for the Albany Damien Center and the HIV/AIDS program at the Albany Medical Center. The sprints have raised more than $125,000 over the years. It's easily one of the happiest events of the year -- a bunch of smiles and a lot of cheering.

Here are photos from last year's sprint.

It's $25 to make the dash, and the first 175 people get a t-shirt. There's also a "super santa sprinter" $100 level that includes a special edition long-sleeve t-shirt. (And non-runners can chip in a donation of their own.)

Tracy Morgan at Funny Bone

tracy morgan 2015

Comedian Tracy Morgan is set to play a series of standup shows at the Funny Bone at Crossgates November 19-22. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $35 and up.

Of course, Morgan is famous for time on Saturday Night Live and his role on 30 Rock. He was in the news last year after a tractor trailer rear-ended the limo he was in on the New Jersey Turnpike. One of the other passengers in the limo died, and Morgan was seriously injured along with three others. (Morgan's tour at the time -- which had been scheduled to stop at the Egg -- was canceled.) Last month he made his first extended appearance on TV following the accident when he hosted SNL.

Morgan's website bills the shows here as part of a string of warm-up dates ahead of a national tour that starts next year.

photo: Paul Mobley

Drawing: Collar City Fall Ball at Takk House

collar city fall ball 2015 promo image

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The Takk House in Troy is hosting the first Collar City Fall Ball -- a prom for adults -- November 21. Blurbage:

The first annual COLLAR CITY FALL BALL Prom is taking place at Takk House in Downtown Troy, NY on November 21, 2015. This is a 21 and up event. Ticket price includes two hours of full open bar, gourmet comfort food snacks provided by Nicole's Catering, prom style photo booth printed photo and musical entertainment by the fantastic Graham Tichy Band all night long! ...
Best dressed couple will be entered to win a chance to be crowned prom King and Queen!
No dates are required! Come alone to mingle with other singles or come with friends! Dance to all the best classics and replace all your awful prom memories with these!

(And the theme is vintage Hollywood.)

We have a pair of tickets for the Fall Ball, and they could be your pair of tickets. To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

What would be the title of your Capital Region teen movie?

You know, a teen movies like Pretty in Pink or the like. One entry will be selected at random. We'll be awarding non-redeemable bonus points if you include a very short pitch about the plot with your answer.

The Collar City Fall Ball is Saturday, November 21 at the Takk House. Tickets are $60 per person and available online.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon Thursday, November 12, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Friday and must respond by noon on Monday, November 16.

Takk House advertises on AOA.

PostSecret: The Show at Proctors

postsecret the show promo image

PostSecret: The Show -- a stage show based on the popular web project -- will be at Proctors for a multi-show run January 29-31 in the GE Theater. Tickets are now on sale -- they're $30 and up.

Blurbage:

With original music, recorded voices, projected images, and video, PostSecret: The Show becomes an immersive experience as three actors guide the audience through a crowd-sourced narrative of the stories behind some of the most sexual, sad, funny and controversial - many of which have never been seen before.

Various PostSecret exhibits and talks have come through the area in recent years, and they seem to be popular. So you might want to get tickets sooner rather than later if you'd like to go this show.

Mumford & Sons at SPAC

mumford and sons

The rock band Mumford & Sons is set to play at SPAC June 15 (yep, next summer). Tickets go on sale this Friday, November 13 -- they're $30 for the lawn / $59.50 for the pavilion.

Mumford & Sons has become very popular the last few years. They've sold a ton of records. They won a Grammy. Their music pops up in all sorts of media. This show will probably be packed.

photo via Mumford & Sons FB

The week ahead

lidia bastianich

Chef/restaurateur/cook book author/television host Lidia Bastianich will be at Proctors later 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 Veterans Day, to stories, to illustrating, to grains, to all sorts of music...

(there's more)

TEDxAlbany 2015 speakers lineup

Overit 1.jpgThe lineup is out for this year's TEDxAlbany, which is December 3 at Overit in Albany.

This topics for this year's talks range from empathy, to exotic physics, to the experience of transitioning gender, to farms. The full lineup is after the jump.

TEDxAlbany is the locally-organized version of the popular TED talks series. Overit hosts the event at a studio in its converted church building on New Scotland Ave.

Tickets are now available. They're $90 and include breakfast and lunch. There's limited number, and the event has filled up quickly the last few years.

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Jake Shimabukuro 2015

Ukelele master Jake Shimabukuro is at the Massry Center this weekend.

We're down to one of the last weekends before the holiday madness sets in, so relax while you can, folks. Put down the rake and check out our list of stuff to do this weekend instead. You can catch up later. Right now there's art, music, theater, comedy, and outdoor expos to get you ready for winter.

Planning something that didn't make our list? Drop it in the comments so everyone can see.

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

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Registration open for Troy Turkey Trot, Albany Last Run 2015

troy turkey trot 2014 pat hendrick photographyJust a heads up about two popular races...

Turkey Trot
Registration is open for the Troy Turkey Trot. The annual Thanksgiving morning race includes a 5k ($30), 10k ($30), walk ($10), and grade school mile ($12). You can register online.

The Troy Turkey Trot is now in its 68th year. And is said to be the 12th oldest road race in the nation. Last year almost 7,500 people took part.

Albany Last Run
Registration is also open for the Albany Last Run 5k on December 19 through the Capital Holiday Lights in Washington Park. Registration is $30. The race is capped at 1,700 people and often sells out, so if you're interested in signing up, do so earlier rather than later.

photo: Pat Hendrick Photography / Troy Turkey Trot

Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show: Beth Stelling

comedian beth stelling

Comedian Beth Stelling will be at Proctors this Friday for a stand-up show as part of the Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show series. Tickets are $15.

Stelling appeared on Comedy Central last month in a half-hour feature of her stand-up. And she's been on a bunch of the late night shows. And she has a new comedy album out, Simply The Beth. Here's a recent interview with Splitsider.

The show this Friday (November 6) at Proctors is on the Fenimore Gallery stage. And a guest comedian will open. Show starts at 8 pm.

Day trip: Syracuse

day trip syracuse composite

By Julie Madsen

When you think Syracuse your thoughts probably shift towards collegiate sports, or the image of a snowbound post-industrial city.

But Syracuse is reinventing itself and has a lot to offer. The drive from Albany is a little more than two hours on I-90, so why don't you see what's going on there for yourself?

Here are a few ideas to get you started...

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Brain Food for the Curious at State Museum

state museum from plazaSometimes it's a good idea to get away from your office, or wherever you work, during lunch if you can. And sometimes it helps to have an actual reason to do so.

So, if you're around downtown Albany, you might be interested in this upcoming series at the State Museum: "Brain Food for the Curious" is a series of short lunchtime talks by State Museum scientists. Topics range from how birds in the state are responding to climate change, to household archaeology, to slavery in the Hudson Valley, to sabertooth cats.

Each talk is in the museums Huxley Theater. They start at 12:10 pm and last 20 minutes, followed by a Q&A. So, you can probably duck out right after the talk portion if you need to get back. And they're free.

A condensed schedule is after the jump.

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Lewis Black returning to the Palace

Lewis Black angry promo photo

Comedian Lewis Black is scheduled for a return to the Palace April 15. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday (November 6) -- they're $29.50 and up.

As you know, Black is famous for his many appearances on The Daily Show. This stand-tour is called "The Emperor's New Clothes: The Naked Truth" and is being promoted as "all new." (Spoilers: He's probably angry about a few things.)

Black has performed in Albany a bunch of times, mostly recently in October of 2014.

The week ahead

journalist Elizabeth Kolbert

Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will be at Skidmore this week for a talk titled "We are the asteroid."

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (good), to films, to Uber, to extinction, to space telescopes, to practical jokes, to all sorts of music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Nosferatur

You can see the classic film Nosferatu for 35 cents this weekend at The Madison Theater.

Boo!

Happy Halloween weekend. After the jump, a list of weekend treats for you -- all fun sized.
Pick them, trade them, share them with your friends.

Got something going on that you don't see here? Share it with the rest of us.

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


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NANOvember 2015

CNSE rotunda exterior

It will be November soon, and that means the return of Nanovember. (It's not a month -- it's a temporal innovation ecosystem.)

SUNY Poly will be hosting a series of events at the Albany NanoTech campus during November. The schedule starts off with Community Day on November 7. Blurbage:

SUNY Poly will give people of all ages the chance to receive an up-close look at the exciting world of nanotechnology. Guests will experience hands-on activities, engaging demonstrations, and guided tours. Attendees will see how SUNY Poly and New York State have emerged as the epicenter for the nanotechnology-driven society of the 21st century!
Adults and children will have the opportunity to interact with SUNY Poly students, faculty and staff, and to participate in a variety of activities that promote a greater understanding of nanotechnology.

It's Saturday, November 7 from 11 am-3 pm. It's free -- here's how to pre-register.

Among the other events on the schedule:
+ CNSE CMOST Family Day on November 14 at the museum in the Rensselaer Technology Park.
+ "An Evening of Q & A With Dr. Alain Kaloyeros" on November 16: "Community members will have the opportunity to ask Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, about the growth of the nanotechnology industry across New York State, its impact on the Capital Region, pertinent educational and economic opportunities, as well as any other topics of relevance."

Literary Legends 2015

APL literary legends maguire smith

Maguire and Smith

The Albany Public Library Foundation's Literary Legends gala returns November 14 -- and it will be honoring Gregory Maguire and Barbara Smith.

Maguire is the author Wicked, which was, of course, adapted into the huge Broadway hit. He grew up in Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood and graduated from UAlbany.

Smith is a noted activist and author, and longtime Albany resident who served on the Common Council.

The Literary Legends gala is a fundraiser for the Albany Public Library. It includes live music; food catered by Café Capriccio, New World Bistro, Saati's, and Yono's; a silent auction, and the awards ceremony. It's Saturday, November 14 at the APL's Delaware Branch. Tickets are $75 and available online.

AOA is a media sponsor of the Literary Legends event.

Drawing: BUILT 2015 tickets, Lark + Lily gift card

BUILT logo 2015

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The Historic Albany Foundation's annual BUILT event is at the State Museum November 7. We have two tickets to the event and they could be yours. UPDATE -- BONUS PRIZE: Lark + Lily Wine Bar and Kitchen, the recently opened successor to the Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark, is adding a $50 gift card to the drawing prize!

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

What would you like to see built over the next year?

You can interpret this broadly -- it could a building, it could be a collaborative spirit, whatever. We'll draw one winner at random. That person gets both the BUILT tickets and the Lark + Lilly gift card.

BUILT is an exhibit and auction of artwork inspired by Albany's built environment, and is a fundraiser for HAF's programming and technical services. This year's event includes more than 170 works by 75 artists from around the region. The evening also includes a reception.

BUILT is Saturday, November 7 from 7-10 pm. Tickets are $75 per person / $50 for people under age 35 and available at the link above.

Lark + Lilly is at 200 Lark Street in Albany. It's open Tuesday-Sunday, opening at 5 pm.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Thursday and must respond by 5 pm on Friday, October 30.

AOA is a media sponsor of BUILT.

The week ahead

dead and company john mayer

Dead and Company -- featuring John Mayer -- is at the TU Center this week.

Updated

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (not bad), to films, to trivia, to speakers, to Halloween, to all sorts of music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

cider donut

A moment of autumn zen.

Well, it looks like October out there. Take a walk, kick up some leaves, have a hot apple cider, and think about what you want to do with your weekend.

After the jump, we've pulled together a few ideas. Got something planned you don't see here? Drop it in the comment section so everyone can see.

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

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The Half Moon Market

washington park lake house exteriorComing up this weekend: The Half Moon Market, an indie marketplace, at the Washington Park Lake House in Albany. Its organizers include the Fort Orange General Store, Owlkill Studio, and The Washington Park Neighborhood Association.

Blurbage: "The Half Moon Market will feature over 30 regional makers, artists and small companies offering handmade jewelry, ceramics, stationery, soaps, and more, as well as a few local food & drink vendors. To see our full lineup, check out our vendors page here."

The market is Saturday, October 24, from 6-9 pm, and Sunday, October 25, from 11 am-6 pm. Admission is free.

AOA is a media sponsor of the The Half Moon Market.

Exploring New Hampshire

new hampshire composite

By Julie Madsen

New York and New Hampshire are separated by Vermont, but it's still only a two-hour drive from here to the state of "Live Free or Die."

And it's worth making the trip over -- whether it's just for the day or a whole weekend -- because there are also sorts of things to see and do, from natural wonders to the world's largest arcade.

Here are a few spots you might want to check out...

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Capitol Hauntings Halloween day tour

creepy state capitol

Update: The tours are now full, according to the OGS registration website.

The state Office of General Services has added two more of the very popular Capitol Hauntings tours for Saturday, October 31 (yep, Halloween) at 1 pm and 3 pm.

It's rare for this tour to be offered on a Saturday, and the time slots will probably be full by the end of today -- so if you'd like to go, do not wait to sign up. The tours are free, but you must pre-register.

Tour blurbage:

In tales that mix history with the macabre, tour guides will tell shocking stories about the night watchman who died in the Capitol fire of 1911 and still makes his rounds and the two United State 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 has been offered week days all this month, and prior to the Halloween day tours being posted, all the remaining tour dates were full except for just a few slots.

image: NYS OGS

Mark Bittman at UAlbany this Thursday

mark bittman

Just a reminder that popular food writer Mark Bittman will be at UAlbany Thursday (October 22) as part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series. The event is at 7:30 pm in Page Hall on the downtown campus.

Bittman be talking about his new book A Bone to Pick. Blurbage:

Bittman's latest book complies his most memorable and entertaining New York Times columns into a single volume for the first time. Bittman's columns help readers decipher arcane policy, unpack scientific studies, and scrutinize corporate greed when it comes to defining what "eating well" truly means. A Bone to Pick is an essential resource for every reader eager to understand both the complexities of the American food system and the many opportunities that exist to improve it.

Bittman has written a bunch of cookbooks -- notably, How to Cook Everything. And until recently he had been regularly columnist and writer for the New York Times, in recent years focusing on food policy. This past September he announced he was leaving his regular column at the paper to "take a central role in a year-old food company."

photo via Mark Bittman's website

Molly Ringwald Revisits the Club at Proctors

molly ringwald

Treasured old movie screening + live appearance by one of its stars has apparently become a bit of thing lately. And here's the latest lined up to come through town: Molly Ringwald will be at Proctors February 6 for a screening of The Breakfast Club followed by an on-state discussion and Q&A with her. Tickets go on sale November 2 -- they're $20 and up.

By the way: The Breakfast Club is now 30 years old.

This Breakfast Club/Molly Ringwald event follows the similar Blazing Saddles/Mel Brooks event that was at Proctors last weekend. And a year ago a similar sort of event with The Princess Bride and Cary Elwes sold out in Saratoga Springs (it was also pegged to a new memoir from Elwes). As it happens -- and probably not as some wish -- Elwes was scheduled for another similar event at Proctors earlier this month, but it was canceled (apparently the tour itself was canceled because of some sort of conflict with filming schedule).

rUNDEAD 5k

rundead logoThere are so many 5k races now -- colorful, inflatable, and so on -- but the info for the rUNDEAD 5K at Saratoga Spa State Park this Saturday, a benefit for Special Olympics New York, made us smile.

The twist for this race is that it's zombies chasing after people with tasty brains. As an organizer mentioned to us, "You can be a runner or a zombie, depending on your mood." (There will also be members of "the CDC" there to keep the zombies in check.)

Further blurbage:

Will You Survive?
Each runner will start off with a flag belt and three flags. These flags represent your lifelines. Zombies throughout the course will be attempting to take these one at a time. If you lose all three, you're dead and the zombies have won.
Individuals who raise 100 dollars or more will receive two additional flags as lifelines for the course the day of the event. These lifelines will increase your chance at survival and your opportunity to win one of our great prizes. ...
The Zombies
Running races not your thing? Be a zombie! Each zombie will be transformed in our "Mob Tent" the day of the event from 8:00am to 9:30am. Bring your own attire and let us make you into the undead.

Also noted: "All zombies this year will be walker or crawler zombies for a more authentic zombie experience. Walker zombies will not be able to bend their knees while roaming around our outbreak zone."

The rUNDEAD 5k is Saturday Sunday, October 25 at Saratoga Spa State Park. Pre-registration is $30 to be a runner or zombie / $35 day of.

The week ahead

book of mormon cast

The Book of Mormon is back 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 (typical), to films, to sushi, to The Book of Mormon, to narcissism, to burlesque, to all sorts of music...

(there's more)

Alton Brown returning to Proctors

Alton Brown 2015

Announced today: Alton Brown will be back at Proctors April 30 for another live show. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $20 and up.

Show blurbage:

With "Eat Your Science," fans can expect more comedy, talk show antics, multimedia presentations and music (yes, he sings) but Brown is adding a slew of fresh ingredients including new puppets, songs, bigger and potentially more dangerous experiments and what every cook needs in his kitchen: FIRE.

As you know, Alton Brown is a longtime Food Network personality/host. His Good Eats series is probably one of the best cooking shows of all time -- it explored the technique and science behind food in an accessible and fun (often goofy) way.

He was last at Proctors in 2014, all bundled up.

Stuff to do this weekend

mel brooks

Mel Brooks is at Proctors for a screening of Blazing Saddles and a talk with the audience.

Wait, what? It's the weekend? Already?

Well, alright then.

After the jump, a few events we thought you might enjoy. Planning something you don't see here? Share them in the comments so everyone can see.

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

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William Kennedy + Michael Oatman at Albany Institute

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William Kennedy and Michael Oatman will be at the Albany Institute this Sunday for a conversation about creativity. Blurbage:

Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and Oatman, an artist, curator, and professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, are highly regarded for their creativity and their contributions to the Capital Region's rich art and literary environment. Kennedy and Oatman will talk about the creative process and how they have used the Capital Region as inspiration and basis for their work.

The conversation is connected to the exhibition The Capital Region in 50 Objects, which includes one of Kennedy's typewriters (above).

The event is Sunday, October 18 at 2 pm. It's free with museum admission -- stop at the front desk to get a ticket.

The Albany Institute advertises on AOA.

Night of the Walking Red III

night of the walking red 2014

From last year's Night of the Walking Red. / photo: Neil Grabowsky

The League of Extraordinary Red Heads has its annual meeting set for this Wednesday at Brown's Brewing Co. in Troy. Blurbage:

The fiery festivities feature an upstate New York autumnal rite known as the "Toast of Coppertops," during which members of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads raise glasses of locally crafted Pumpkin Ale from the first batch of the season. As is their custom, the League will also discuss the items on their concise meeting agenda: "1) Us. 2) Them."

The league is, of course, about fostering ginger fellowship and solidarity. But it's an inclusive group:

Carrot tops, Cheez Doodle orangies, strawberry blondes, auburn-types, distinguished white heads ... all gingers are welcome to attend meetings of the League of Extraordinary Red Heads -- and that includes transgingers, redbeards, friends and family of the fiery follicled, too! But only those who demonstrate true extraordinaryness shall receive the highly coveted "Member" card. Our ranks include award-winning authors and journalists, college presidents, politicians, mirth-makers, lawyers, biker dudes, farmers, activists, inactivists, actors, barflies, giants, wee people and folks from all walks of life.

The event at Brown's is Wednesday, October 14 from 5:30-8:30 pm.

photo: Neil Grabowsky

The week ahead

singer kat edmonson

Kat Edmonson is at The Egg this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (fall for real), to Ghostbusters, to boozy cupcakes, to silent film, to visual journalism, to Mel Brooks, to all sorts of music...

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Stuff to do this weekend

you-pick apples in bag

Oh, and if you haven't gone apple picking yet this season, this weekend's a good time to go. (We're already a third of the way through October!)

Well, we're in the thick of it now -- apples, pumpkins, decorative gourds and foliage people from other parts of the country might actually be willing to pay to see. So pull on a wool sweater, go for a hike, find a apple cider donut, and do some other fun stuff this weekend.

We've raked up a pile of stuff to do for you to dive into after the jump. Got something planned you don't see there? Drop it in the comments and share it with the rest of us.

And whatever you're up to this weekend -- weather you've got two days or three -- enjoy!

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NPR Family Matters at UAlbany

NPR Family Matters David Greene A crew from NPR will be at UAlbany next Thursday (October 15) for a series called Family Matters. Blurbage:

Facing first-time loans as a college student or a new mortgage as a third-time home buyer both come with risks, opportunities and, of course, questions. In collaboration with WAMC & WMHT, NPR Presents: Family Matters connects regular people with financial experts for an unconventional conversation about money. This live, lively and entirely FREE event is driven by an audience ready to talk strategy: from accumulating debt and amassing wealth; to saving for college, home ownership, retirement and even fitting in a midlife extravagance, or two.
NPR Presents: Family Matters is led by NPR Morning Edition host David Greene; Business correspondent Yuki Noguchi; nationally-syndicated personal finance columnist for the Washington Post Michelle Singletary; and personal finance expert Louis Barajas, who together equip audience members with greater confidence in their financial futures.

(Apparently NPR's version of Family Matters doesn't involve Urkel.)

The event is Thursday at 7 pm in the UAlbany Performing Arts Center's recital hall on the uptown campus. As the blurbage mentions, it's free -- and you can reserve a ticket online.

photo: Richie Wireman

Saratoga International Flavorfeast

saratoga flavorfeast 2015 logoThe second Saratoga International Flavorfeast is this Saturday, October 10.

More than 30 restaurants will be offering $1 samples of dishes from a range of international cuisines, Turkish to Italian to German to Thai. Here's the list of participating restaurants with the samples they'll be offering.

The festival is in downtown Saratoga Springs from 11 am to 4 pm. Admission is free. (And it sounds like some $1 bills for samples is a good idea.)

Elizabeth Kolbert at Skidmore

journalist Elizabeth Kolbert

Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will be at Skidmore November 3 for a talk titled "We Are the Asteroid." It's free and open to the public.

Kolbert's a staff writer for The New Yorker, and in recent years has been writing frequently about climate change and extinction. Her book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, won a Pulitzer Prize last year.

Talk blurbage:

According to Kolbert, "The earth changes slowly, except for extraordinary moments when it doesn't. At times of sudden change, vast numbers of species have died out. There have been five major mass extinctions over the last half a billion years. We are now living through the sixth. The rate of change on the planet today is faster than at any time since the asteroid impact that ended the reign of the dinosaurs. This time around, we're the asteroid. We are warming the planet, cutting down rainforests, and moving plants and animals between continents. Look around: this is what mass extinction looks like."

The talk is Tuesday, November 3 at 7 pm in Palamountain Hall.

More upcoming talks at Skidmore

+ October 15: journalist Graham Roberts, "Seeing is Believing: Visual Journalism York Times"

+ October 15: ethicist Roger Scruton, "The Law of the Land: Reflections on Law and Migration"

+ October 20: novelist Colm Toibin, "Fresh News from a Small Town"

+ October 21: former US Senator George Mitchell, talking about his new memoir

+ October 29: Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree, "Do Black Lives Matter? Race and Justice in America Now!"

photo: Nicolas Whitman

Drawing: Albany Barn Fusion 2015

albany barn fusion 2015 logo

The Albany Barn's annual Fusion event -- which brings together art, food, and music -- is October 16. We have a pair of "catalyst" tickets for Fusion. And they could be your tickets for the event.

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

If you could "fuse" any two elements from the Capital Region together, what would they be -- and what would they create?

You can interpret however you'd like -- fuse together two different places, fuse together an idea and a place, fuse an event with an idea, whatever. We asked a similar question last year for this drawing and the were some fun answers, so we're looking forward to what bubbles up this year.

Here's what's lined up for Fusion this year:

+ Open studios, performances & live art by artists in residence
+ Creative cocktails and eats by Chef Mark Graham
+ Wine pairings from Empire Wine
+ Craft brews from Druthers
+ Desserts by The Cookie Factory
+ Pour over coffee bar by Stacks Espresso Bar
+ Live jazz with Bryan Brundige Trio from 6 - 7 pm
+ Deejays Space, Time, & Spacetime from 7 pm to...

Tickets are $75 and available online. Catalyst tickets -- the tickets in this drawing -- are $125 each or $200 for a couple, and include limited-edition Albany Barn glassware with signature cocktail, valet parking, and trolley transport between parking and the event.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Friday, October 9, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Friday and must respond by 5 pm on Monday, October 12.

AOA is a media sponsor of Albany Barn Fusion.

It's curling season again

schenectady curling club ice wide

The Schenectady Curling Club

Autumn has arrived and that means that curling season is near.

Curling? Yeah, curling. You know, that sport in which people slide stones down a sheet ice while other people furiously sweep the path of the stone with brooms. It's an Olympic sport -- and a wintertime way to get together with other people.

The Capital Region has two curling clubs, the Albany Curling Club (which is in Guilderland) and Schenectady Curling Club (which is in Niskayuna).

If you're curl curious, the Albany Curling Club has a free open house at its facility off Schoolhouse Road this Saturday (October 10, 10 am-4 pm) and Sunday (October 11, noon-4 pm). You'll have a chance to try out curling (bring clean sneakers so you can go on the ice) and check out the place.

The Schenectady Curling Club's fall open house was last weekend (we dropped the stone on that). But its offering beginners' curling classes tonight (October 7) and Friday (October 9) that are open to anyone for $15 each night. (The cost of the classes is deductible from your membership fee should you decide to join the club.)

So what's a curling club like? Casey wrote about visiting the Schenectady Curling Club a few years back: "Overall, going to the curling match was... relaxing. I like the idea of a sport that is tight-knit, informal (in some leagues), and friendly. The players laugh, joke around and, sometimes, drink a beer while they're playing (though only from cans, glass isn't allowed on the ice)."

And here's Jess writing about her experience trying out curling at the ACC.

By the way: Curling has some great vocabulary -- bonspiel, kizzle kazzle, keen ice, and so on.

APL Silent Film Spectacular 2015

Peter Pan 1924 still

The 1924 version of Peter Pan is among the silent films on the slate.

The Albany Public Library's Silent Film Spectacular returns for another season this month. The APL will be screening silent movies with live soundtracks performed by local bands.

The screenings are the next four Wednesdays in the large auditorium of the APL's main branch on Washington Ave, starting at 7 pm. They're free.

Here's the full lineup:

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The From Scratch Club food swap back in Troy

the homemade kitchen by alana chernilaThe popular From Scratch Club food swap returns to the Oakwood Community Center in Troy this Sunday, October 11 with a both a swap and a visiting author.

Alana Chernila, whose cookbook The Homemade Kitchen is out this week, will be there for both a pre-swap food writing class, and a talk and Q&A during the swap. Blurbage for the class, "From the Plate to the Page: Eating, thinking, and writing with Alana Chernila":

Food is never just food. It's memory, family, love, loss, and everything in between. Come early to this weekend's food swap and join Alana for an inspirational workshop on translating tastes into words. Open to beginners and seasoned writers alike. Come hungry and ready to write. Bring a notebook.

The class is Sunday from 1-2:30 pm and it's $30 to attend ($50 with a copy Chernila's The Homemade Pantry). There's a sign up page on the From Scratch Club website.

The food swap is Sunday from 3-5 pm. Pre-registration is required, and there's a requested $2 donation at the door to help cover expenses. (And be sure to read through the swap guidelines at that first link above if this is your first time at the swap.)

Capitol Hauntings tours are back

creepy state capitol

The popular Halloween tours of the state Capitol -- Capitol Hauntings -- start this week and run through October 30. Blurbage:

Does the night watchman who died in the Capitol fire of 1911 still make his rounds?
Which two United States Presidents visited the Capitol after they died?
What happened to the "lost" Capitol murals and their eccentric artist?
Does the secret demon carved in stone hold a Capitol curse?
Come to the New York State Capitol for a special tour that explores these questions and other legends connected with this historic building.

The tours are offered Monday-Friday at 12:30 pm and 5:30 pm (except Columbus Day). They're free -- but they fill up very fast. So if you'd like to go, you should pre-register sooner rather than later.

image: NYS Office of General Services

The week ahead

wynton marsalis jazz lincoln center

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra are 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 (not bad), to Jets and Sharks, to Troy politics, to the history of marriage, to neuroscience, to cooking, to music...

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(there's more)

This week was brought to you by

Nine Pin: Now serving cheese and charcuterie plates in their Broadway tasting room.

This week was brought to you by changing leaves, hot apple cider and sweaters.

And by fantastic AOA advertisers. People always say "we couldn't do it without you," but in this case, we seriously couldn't. Really -- without them there would be no AOA . So if Morning Blend, Stuff To Do This Weekend and all the interesting info in between is important to you, please take time to visit our advertisers and thank them.

This week, we're extending special thanks to the great folks who make Nine Pin Cider. Nine Pin hosted a wonderful cider and cheese pairing this week to roll out their new cheese and charcuterie plates in their tasting room. $7, $10 with a 6oz cider.

Want to advertise on AOA? It's easy and affordable. Just send us a note at advertising@alloveralbany.com and we'll get you started.

Food and Drink

New World
New World Bistro Bar, named #1 Best Restaurant, according to Times Union 'Best of the Capital Region' Readers' Poll and also listed as one of 'the 13 Best New York Restaurants, not in NYC' according to Thrillist.com.

Umana
Umana Restaurant and Wine Bar, serving Ethiopian fare every Friday and Saturday evening with traditional Ethiopian flatbread (Injera), and choice of vegetarian choices or meat all seasoned with special Ethiopian spices (berbere).

Local, healthy, delicious
Honest Weight Food Coop. Eat healthy, eat local. Their annual Local Harvest Festival is Sunday, October 5 in Albany's Washington Park.

Cider
Nine Pin Ciderworks -- now offering their delicious cider in cans. You can stop in at Nine Pin this summer and grab a beverage and dinner from a food truck in the loading bay next to their Broadway tasting room -- Wednesdays through Saturdays this summer.

Farmie Market
Farmie Market -- Farm fresh food delivered right to your door.

Catering
New World Catering, from weddings and big parties to small gatherings in your home.

Fine wine
Capital Wine at the corner of State and Lark Streets, with a wonderful supply of wines from around the world.

Stuff to learn
The College of Saint Rose, offering 52 Graduate Programs with a purpose. Programs include: MFA in Creative writing, MBA, Computer Information Systems and more.

Ways to get where you're going

CDTA: whether it's work or play, CDTA can get you where you're going and safely back home again.

Capital Car Share. Share cars for just $8 an hour.

Stuff to do

Dutch Apple Cruises.Dutch Apple was a big part of the AOA Rail, River Hudson tour this summer. There's still plenty of time to sneak in a Hudson River trip of your own this season. Dutch Apple is cruising until the end of October.

The Albany Institute of History and Art, presenting its new exhibit: The Capital Region in 50 Objects. From cannons to billiard balls to tulip queens to Uncle Sam's chamber pot -- 50 objects and background images that help tell the story of the Capital Region.


Mop & Bucket Improv Companypresenting a new season of TheaterSports, every Friday night at Proctors.

Spectrum 8 Theaters. Enjoy a movie at The Spectrum. And don't forget the mint brownie.

Places to Live

The Capital Team
Brian Brosen and Reggie Monroe at The Capital Team at Realty USA. Brian and Reggie can help out with your residential and commercial real estate needs in the Capital Region.

Harmony Mills
Harmony Mills Lofts in Cohoes -- Manhattan style loft living in the Albany area.

Helpful stuff

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C.. Staff Ciampino can help you with your business and personal tax needs. They're also the sponsors of the All Over Albany Start Up Grant business contest, so they're not only good at what they do, they're awesome too.

Banking
Berkshire Bank, providing the $1,500 prize money for this year's AOA Startup Contest. Great rates on home equity loans.

Libraries
The Albany Public Libraries. Their mobile app helps you find library locations and hours, check your library card account, learn about upcoming events, download eBooks, audiobooks, music and more. You can even check ISBN bar codes on books, DVDs and CDs to see if the library owns what you need.

Stuff to do this weekend

Dave Chappelle 2015

Dave Chappelle is at the Palace Sunday.

Congratulations and welcome to the weekend.

In addition to the traditional apples and cider donuts of the autumn, there are tons and tons of festivals, films, shows, and other fun stuff to do. Well, maybe not tons and tons, but a lot. Really. Check out our list after the jump.

Doing something you don't see on our list? Drop it in the comments so everyone can see.

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

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Albany Comic Con returns this weekend

albany comic con 2015 fall posterThe Albany Comic Con returns this Sunday, October 4 at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road. General admission tickets are $8 ahead, and there's a also family pack ticket that includes admission for two adults and two kids for $20. (Kids under 12 are free with a paying adult.)

As usual, the con includes exhibitors, speakers, artists (including longtime Marvel artist Joe Sinnott), panel discussions about topics ranging from Star Trek to cosplay, and charity auction of character sketches to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

Earlier on AOA: Hey there, Jen Wicks, cosplayer

Four fall hikes (and post-hike bites)

fall hikes composite

It's all about the view.

By Julie Madsen

The leaves are starting to change, the days are getting chilly, fall is inarguably in the air.

Hiking and fall go together like peanut butter and jelly. Cooler weather makes the exercise comfortable and the forests in our region are bursting with color. We are lucky.

So, to take advantage of this glorious season, go take a hike! Here are some hikes to get you started, along with places to east post-hike...

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Film Columbia 2015

The trailer for Band of Robbers, a modern day take on Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, that's playing as part of FilmColumbia.

The annual FilmColumbia film fest returns October 19-25. And this year's festival has expanded to include screening venues in both Chatham and Hudson.

As usual, the festival slate 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 the jump.

Tickets for the general public go on sale October 9. They're $12 for day films, $16 for evening films. There are also festival passes for all films ($225) and all films + events ($250).

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Drink Albany

albany craft beverage trail map

Two things:

1. There is now an Albany Craft Beverage Trail -- it includes C.H. Evans Brewing (the Pump Station), Albany Distilling Co., Nine Pine Cider Works, and Druthers Brewing.

2. Said beverage trail has organized an event called Drink Albany for this Saturday, October 3 at Quackenbush Square. Blurbage:

Drink Albany features live music from Mirk, North and South Dakotas, and other local bands along with free samples of beer, cider and spirits from C.H. Evans Brewing, Druthers, the Albany Distilling Company, and Nine Pin Cider. Food trucks and other local vendors will also be present. Ticket includes an Albany Craft Beverage Trail signature glass and the opportunity to drink from Albany's best.

Drink Albany is Saturday from noon-5 pm.

Advance tickets are $10 / $25 VIP ticket. (And it looks like there's a $5 designated driver ticket.)

Nine Pin advertises on AOA, and Druthers is a sponsor of the AOA BBB Tour.

Palace Movie Series 2015-2016

ghostbusters still

The season opens with Ghostbusters on October 12.

The schedule for the new season of The Palace's movie series is out. It includes 18 dates, with films that range from classics (Rear Window) to holiday favorites (A Christmas Story) to popular recent releases (The Minions).

Here's the schedule...

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Tickets now on sale for the AOA Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers Tour!

bad boys broads bootleggers tour badge 2015

Update: Sold out!

AOA's popular Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers Tour makes its return October 17. And tickets are now on sale -- follow this link to buy them online. They're $30.

The tour combines beer, fun people, and a history of the Capital Region that you won't find in text books. Duncan Crary and beer historian Craig Gravina of the Albany Ale Project will share stories of gangsters, bootleggers, and the area's brewing history. We'll also stop for tastings at fun local bars and producers.

As we mentioned earlier this week, the tour has changed a bit since the last time in 2013 -- there will be new stories and new things to taste, so we hope you'll join us. (Here are some photos from BBB I and BBB II, which both sold out.) A few details for this latest version of BBB:

+ Tales of characters such as gangster Jack "Legs" Diamond, political boss Dan O'Connell, and Troy madam Mame Faye, and a cast of characters from Albany's political and brewing history.

+ Stops at the speakeasy below City Beer Hall, Nine Pin Cider Works, Druthers Brewing in Albany, Smith's in Cohoes, and the Malt Room in Troy.

+ Swag and other surprises all the way.

The tour will both start and end on River Street in Troy near Brown's Brewing Co. We'll be traveling in CDTA's brand new accordion bus. The bus leaves at 2 pm and we'll be back around 5:30 pm.

The Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers Tour is presented by Brian Brosen, Reggie Monroe and The Capital Team, and sponsored by Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Druthers Brewing Company, Patsy's Barber Shop and Shocker Tattoo, and Historic Albany Foundation.

The AOA Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers Tour is back!

bad boys broads bootleggers tour badge 2015

AOA's Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers Tour is back this October 17.

The tour combines beer, fun people, and a history of the Capital Region that you won't find in text books. Duncan Crary and beer historian Craig Gravina of the Albany Ale Project will share stories of gangsters, bootleggers, and the area's brewing history. We'll also stop for tastings at fun local bars and producers.

The tour has changed a bit since last time -- there will be new stories and new things to taste, so we hope you'll join us. (Here are some photos from BBB I and BBB II.)

Because the tour has sold out so quickly in the past -- before many people had a chance to event see that it was happening -- we're giving everyone the heads up before tickets on go sale. So ask around, coordinate with your friends, whatever you have to do. ***The tickets will go on sale on Tuesday, September 29 at noon.***

We don't want to spoil it all, but here are a few details for BBB III:

+ Tales of characters such as gangster Jack "Legs" Diamond, political boss Dan O'Connell, and Troy madam Mame Faye, and a cast of characters from Albany's political and brewing history.

+ Stops at the speakeasy below City Beer Hall, Nine Pin Cider Works, Druthers Brewing in Albany, Smith's in Cohoes, and the Malt Room in Troy.

+ Swag and other surprises all the way.

The tour will both start and end on River Street in Troy near Brown's Brewing Co. We'll be traveling in CDTA's brand new accordion bus. The bus leaves at 2 pm and we'll be back around 5:30 pm.

Tickets are $30 and will be available online starting this Tuesday, September 29 at noon.

Bad Boys Broads and Bootleggers is presented by Brian Brosen, Reggie Monroe and The Capital Team, and sponsored by Albany County Convention and Tourism, Druthers Brewing Company, Patsy's Barber Shop and Shocker Tattoo, and Historic Albany Foundation.

The week ahead

capital rep 4000 miles

4000 Miles opens at Capital Rep this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (season's changing), to drama, to the civil rights movement, to cooking, to music...

ad Dave Chappelle at The Palace

ad Albany Barn Fusion 2015

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Genealogy Day at Schenectady County Historical Society

schenectady county historical associationThe Schenectady County Historical Society's annual Genealogy Day is October 3, and it will be offering a series of workshops about how to use local historical resources to research family history (or just indulge your inner history nerd). Blurbage:

Our annual Genealogy Day is a great way for family history researchers -- from beginners to experts -- to learn more about where and how to find information, to share stories with other researchers, and to have time to use resources in our Grems-Doolittle Library. This event will feature four speakers on various topics of genealogy along with open research time in our library.

The workshop topics include using the Albany County Hall of Records; using wills, deeds, and marital records; and using the New York State Library. (There's a schedule at that link above.)

The various talks are from 9 am-4 pm on Saturday, October 3 at the Schenectady County Historical Society (32 Washington Ave in Schenectady). It's $5 to attend.

photo: Schenectady County Historical Society FB

Stuff to do this weekend

wolffs oktoberfest 2010 sebastien barre

The annual Oktoberfest block party returns to North Albany Saturday. / photo: Sebastien Barre

Happy Autumn!

In typical fall fashion this weekend is packed with festivals, corn mazes, music, theater, and all kinds of other stuff to do. So finish putting away your summer clothes and make some plans. The weekend awaits.

After the jump we've pulled together a few things that might interest you. Planning something else? Drop it in the comments so we can all see. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!

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Schenectady Wing Walk 2015

wing walk 2015 logoThe Wing Walk returns to downtown Schenectady October 3, which is a Saturday (a change from last year). Blurbage:

From noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3, wing fans will try samplings from eighteen downtown Schenectady restaurants and vote for their favorite. Classic garlic parm wings will, of course, be in the running, but expect deliciously creative variations, too, like Mexican Radio's Vidalia Onion Georgia Peach Wing, Aperitivo Bistro's Seven Hour Cherry Pepper Wing, Taj Mahal's Spicy Masala Wing and Ninja Asian Restaurant's Boneless Chicken Yakitori Wing.
Other participating restaurants include: 2014 Wing Walk winner 20 North Broadway, Backstage Pub & Grill, The Bier Abbey, Bombers Burrito Bar, Café NOLA, Centre Street Public House & Garden, The Grog Shoppe, Isopo's Downtown Pizza, Katie O'Byrne's, Nico's Rooftop Tavern, Pinhead Susan's, Thai Thai Bistro and the Van Dyck. New nightspot Firestone 151 makes its Wing Walk debut this year, and will host the official after party.

Some of the restaurants will be offering beverage specials, along with live music. There will also be a comedy show rotating among some of the venues.

Wing Walk tickets are $10 / $5 for students (with ID) and available via Proctors. (That's also where you pick up the ballots for voting for your favorite wings.) Tickets for the rotating comedy show are $15, and there's a $5 discount if purchased with Wing Walk tickets.

Shows coming up, fall 2015

shows coming up 2015 fall composite

Clockwise from left: Sharon Jones, The Indigo Girls, Jake Shimabukuro, Oneohtrix Point Never.

There are people who like to go to concerts. You may be one of these people.

There are also people who just like to know that there are concerts. You might be one of those people if you're not the other kind of person.

Either way, here's another roundup of concerts that will be happening in the Capital Region during the next few months.

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Albany and the 1960s civil rights movement

college of saint rose signSaint Rose is hosting a screening of the documentary The Brothers: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in Albany on September 29, along with a talk and discussion about the civil rights movement and Albany in the 1960s. Blurbage:

The program will begin with a screening of the 19-minute documentary, "The Brothers: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in Albany." Dr. Scott Lemieux, associate professor of political science at Saint Rose, will deliver the annual Kermit Hall Memorial Lecture, "Connecting the Struggle for Civil Rights and Racial Justice in Albany to the National Movement and Supreme Court Decisions of the Era," followed by a conversation with two Capital Region members of The Brothers: Earl Thorpe and Persell McDowell, as well as with Lemieux. Dr. Shai Butler, associate vice president for student success and the College's chief diversity officer, will moderate the discussion.

The event is Tuesday, September 29 in the Carondelet Symposium of the Lally School (1009 Madison Ave) at 7 pm. It's free and open to the public.

Hannibal Buress at Skidmore

hannibal buress comedian

Comedian Hannibal Buress is set for a stand-up show at Skidmore October 2. Tickets went on sale today -- they're $20 for the general public. (It looks like the method for the general public to buy tickets hasn't been announced, yet. So if you're interested in going, keep an eye on the event page.)

Buress has been showing up all over TV during the last few years. He's had his own special on Comedy Central, co-stars on The Eric André Show during Adult Swim, is part of the cast of Broad City, guested on Louie, Bob's Burgers, The Mindy Project, and also made appearances on the late night shows. (He's also gotten some notice for a bit about Bill Cosby that was part of the surge of attention to the rape allegations involving Cosby.)

He was last in town for a sold-out show at The Egg this past February.

The show at Skidmore is the Skidmore Student Entertainment Committee's annual Big Show. The opener is Kevin Barnett.

photo via Hannibal Buress website

Troy preRAMBLE

collar city preramble 2013 by Jonathan Flanders

A scene from a previous year's preRAMBLE. / photo: Jonathan Flanders

The Troy preRAMBLE -- and alternative transportation festival -- is lined up for this Saturday, September 26. What is it?

The preRAMBLE (to the Collar City Ramble) is an alternate transportation festival exploring Troy by alternate means. Tour Troy by foot, bike, boat or whatever - discover places you've never seen. The event includes group tours as well as self-guided tours for biking and walking. There will also be kayak rides, bike safety classes and giveaways. Many local venues will be open for our event. The day-long festival concludes with a tour to Freedom Square, 101st St and 6th Ave, for a free concert with community food. All events are free.

There's a schedule at that link above.

The preRAMBLE is organized by a coalition of groups that are looking toward the creation of the Collar City Ramble, a non-motorized transportation path that would string together various sites throughout Troy.

Talking about the history of apples

apple book Marcia Reiss coverApple nerding: Marcia Reiss -- author of the new book Apple -- will be at the Historic Barns of Nipmoose in Rensselaer County October 18 for a "an illustrated talk about the history of the apple and its place in myth, religion, art and today's environmental challenges."

Here's publisher blurbage about Apple:

Journeying back to the apple's germination in the mountains of Central Asia, Reiss travels along the Silk Road to Europe and the New World. She reveals that, from Charlemagne to Johnny Appleseed to the colonization of South Africa, where settlers were required to plant apple orchards that led to the development of new towns, apples have become a global commodity. In addition to delving into the latest debates about chemical sprays, Reiss looks at the rise of heirloom orchards and the hopes and fears of genetic developments. She also tells the parallel tale of apple cider, its decline during the Temperance Movement and its return as an artisanal alternative to wine. Beautifully illustrated with historic and contemporary images and containing a directory of popular and heirloom varieties, Apple is a book ripe for devouring.

The event at the Historic Barns of Nipmoose is Sunday, October 18 at 2 pm. It's organized by the Agricultural Stewardship Association and Battenkill Books. It will also include heirloom apples and cheese from Berle Farm, along with samples of local cider. The event is free, but the ASA asks that your RSVP at 518-692-7285.

Earlier on AOA: Beyond boring apples

Hyperplace Troy

hyperplace Troy logoThis could be interestingly weird or weirdly interesting: Hyperplace Troy, a series of events this weekend. Blurbage:

Our contemporary notions of place have shifted and expanded as technology and mobility touches the lives of local and global communities. Virtual environments, GPS signals, gentrification, psycho-geography, local ecology, and urban decay are some of the themes artists traverse while navigating their relationships with Place. ...
Hyperplace Troy's program will feature media and visual artists, readings, performances, workshops, and discussions. Hyperplace Troy seeks to bring together artists and audiences from various backgrounds and to foster engagement, sparking new discoveries and conversations.

The events this Friday and Saturday include iParade ("a locative film experience" through downtown Troy), a discussion panel at the Rensselaer County Historical Society, and a performance at the Troy Music Hall ($15).

The Punch Brothers at Troy Music Hall

the punch brothers

Progressive bluegrass (plus other stuff) band The Punch Brothers is lined up for a show a the Troy Music Hall December 10. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday (September 25) -- they're $39 and $49.

The band's leader is Chris Thile, a mandolin virtuoso whose omnivorous blending of influences and styles (classical, jazz, indie rock and more) helped earn him a McArthur "genius" grant. And band is filled out with a team of accomplished musicians: Gabe Witcher (fiddle/violin), Noam Pikelny (banjo), Chris Eldridge, (guitar), and Paul Kowert (bass). Here's an NPR Tiny Desk concert from earlier this year.

(The Punch Brothers were one of the headliners for this past weekend's Fresh Grass festival at MASS MoCA. It's pretty clear they just can't stay away from this area. Understandable.)

The opener for the Troy Music Hall show is singer/songwriter Gabriel Kahane.

The Troy Music Hall advertises on AOA.

photo: Brantley Gutierrez

Albany History Race

albany history race 2015 logoThe Albany History Race is set for this Saturday in (you guessed it) Albany. Blurbage:

The Albany History Race is an Amazing Race style afternoon scavenger hunt for history experts, novices, and new residents interested in learning about Albany's past. The event will begin in the local history room at the Washington Avenue Branch of Albany Public Library and conclude at McGeary's Pub where participating teams will receive 20% off their food and drink that afternoon, plus additional discounts and prizes for the fastest teams!

The event starts at 1 pm on Saturday, September 26. It's free to participate, but pre-registration is required. All the members of a team must be able to fit in one vehicle.

APL advertises on AOA.

The week ahead

gentlemans guide to love and murder

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder 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 (September-ish), to love and murder, to the architecture of the ESP, to music...

week ahead in-post ad Albany Barn Fusion 2015

(there's more)

15 Minutes Max film fest

15min max film fest logoThe 15 Minutes Max film festival returns to the Madison Theater October 2. Ten student films -- no longer than 15 minutes -- will be competing for prizes at the festival, which is organized by the College of Saint Rose.

Blurbage: "The juried competition was open to students attending colleges within a 50-mile radius of Saint Rose and, for the first time, to high school students within the same radius. More than 50 entries were submitted by students from 12 area colleges and high schools. Categories included fiction, non-fiction, music video and animation."

The screening is Friday, October 2 at 5 pm. It's free.

Stuff to do this weekend

Thumbnail image for punch brothers 2015

The Punch Brothers are part of Mass MoCA's Fresh Grass festival this weekend

Last call for summer.

Monday is the first day of autumn, and while that brings with it a crisp, apple-flavored, pumpkin-spiced deliciousness of its own, it can be hard to say goodbye to summer upstate.

This weekend there is more than enough fun of both the summer and fall variety -- from music and apple festivals to theater, comedy, and gallery openings.

After the jump, we've pulled together a few ideas for your weekend. Got something planned that you don't see here? Drop it in the comments so we can all see.

And whatever you're up to in these final days of summer, have a fantastic weekend.

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TEDxAlbany returning for 2015

TEDxAlbany logo skylineTEDxAlbany -- the local, independently-organized version of the TED talks series -- is set to return to Overit in Albany December 3. And the call for speakers is out. Blurbage:

Interested speakers are encouraged to apply early as demand is high and available speaking slots considerably less so. This year, we're looking for interesting, thought-provoking talks that:

+ Tell us something new
+ Evoke contagious emotions
+ Are focused
+ Think globally

There are more details about applying for one of the speaking spots at that link. Here's the YouTube playlist of talks from last year's event, some of which were really good.

Tickets for the event are set to go on sale in October.

The Capital Region in 50 objects

albany institute capital region 50 objects composite

What do Nipper, a video game, a steel butterfly and a chamber pot have in common? They're all part of a collection of 50 objects that help tell the story of this area.

The Capital Region in 50 Objects opens on Friday at the Albany Institute of History and Art. The exhibit is inspired by the British Museum's History of the World in 100 Objects and the New York Times' History of New York in 50 objects. The exhibit opens on Friday with a reception at 5:30 pm, and will remain open through April.

Chief curator Doug McCombs says the selection process took about three years. First they surveyed the region's museums and cultural institutions to see what was in the collections that might be appropriate. Next they took public polls through the Times Union to help determine which topics people wanted to see addressed. Finally, they worked with an advisory committee to select 50 subjects and items that would represent those subjects. Among the topics highlighted: the Empire State Plaza, Albany Ale, industry, The Anti-Rent Wars, the Underground Railroad, literature, food, entertainment and broadcasting.

Each object is displayed with a background image that helps to tell its story -- and the images are just as interesting, in some cases even more interesting -- than the objects themselves.

Here's a sneak peek at what you'll see.

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Capital District Printathalon

makerbot printerThe first Capital District Printathalon is lined up for this weekend at the NanoCollege campus in Albany. Printatha-what?

The Printathalon bills itself as a "premiere 3D printing showcase." So the events are centered around the growing field, in which actual physical objects are essentially "printed" from digital plans. An example: Last year a 3D printer on the International Space Station printed a wrench based on design that had been uploaded from Earth.

The schedule for the Capital District Printathalon includes demonstrations, talks, and a "24 Hour 3D Printing Challenge" in which teams will compete. The event is free for kids 18 and under. And for adults, tickets are $10 for the whole weekend.

Stockade Walkabout 2015

stockade lawrenceThe annual Stockade Walkabout returns to the eponymous historic Schenectady neighborhood for its 55th year on September 26.

What is the walkabout? Blurbage:

The Stockade Walkabout grants visitors the chance to step inside six privately-owned homes in the neighborhood, including:
+ A 1792 home featuring beautiful original fireplaces, beams, and wide pine floor boards.
+ An 1827 house featuring a historic kitchen, complete with the original fireplace and bake oven.
+ The clock house! With unusual antique clocks, and incredible views of the Mohawk River.
+ The "Home of the Friendless", the original site of Schenectady's oldest charity.
+ And then the "newest" house, dating to 1900!

Backyard gardens will also on display, and there will be costumed characters, exhibits, demonstrations, and music.

The walkabout is Saturday, September 26 from 11 am-5 pm. Tickets are $20 ahead / $25 day of / $10 for students (available day of).

Wine and film at the Madison

madison theater la strada posterThe Madison Theater is hosting an event September 26 that will pair wine with film. Blurbage:

Attendees will sample six Italian wines prior to watching La Strada. Controversial in it's day, La Strada has become "One of the most influential movies ever made," according to the American Film Institute. Many critics believe it to be Fellini's best work. This event marks the third of a wine and movie series that looks to both educate attendees on wine and serve as a social event for the Pine Hills neighborhood and local colleges.

Another event in the series earlier this summer paired six Napa Valley wines with the film Bottle Shock. (It also has an event pairing local craft beer and a screening in October.)

The tasting/screening next week is Saturday, September 26 starting at 6 pm (the film will screen at 8:15 pm). Tickets are $20. It's a 21+ event.

The Madison advertises on AOA.

"Bridging the Gap: Police and Community Relations" at Albany Law

albany law school exteriorAlbany Law is hosting an event -- Bridging the Gap: Police and Community Relations -- this Wednesday (September 16) to "to discuss police relations with minorities and young adults in the community."

Panel members include:

+ Albany Law professor Christian Sundquist, moderator
+ local attorney Gaspar Castillo
+ Albany police commander Michael Hicks
+ Jasper Mills, assistant district attorney in the Albany County DA's office
+ local attorney Mark Mishler
+ Reverend Edward Smart, chair of the Albany Citizens' Police Review Board
+ Albany Law professor Donna Young

Questions for the panel can be submitted to bridgingthegappoliceforum@gmail.com.

The discussion is in the Dean Alexander Moot Courtroom (80 New Scotland) at 5:30 pm. It's an open event -- no pre-registration required.

Ink & Drink at The Ruck

ink and drink logoProbably not your typical Wednesday evening: Troy Cloth & Paper will be at The Ruck for an "Ink & Drink" night September 23.

For $16 you get to print your own t-shirt (from pre-determined designs) and have a beer. Other t-shirts, along with beer and food (of course), will be also be available.

Pre-registration is required -- see the link above for all the details. The event is from 6-9 pm on Wednesday, September 23. It's 21 and over.

A sampling of cooking classes, fall 2015

a big bin of apples

Updated

You can feel fall in the air and out thoughts are turning back indoors, toward the kitchen and the warmth of the stove.

So, here's a new a batch of cooking classes over the next few months that caught our eye -- and maybe you'll find them interesting: From Chinese take-out made at home, to apples, to sushi, the power of cauliflower, to grown-up cupcakes...

(there's more)

Lidia Bastianich, Garrison Keillor at Proctors

lidia bastianich

Lidia Bastianich

Proctors announced a handful of new shows today and two caught our eye:

Lidia Bastianich
Chef/restaurateur/cook book author/television host Lidia Bastianich will be at Proctors November 13 for An Intimate Conversation with Lidia Bastianich. It's billed as "an evening of conversation and storytelling celebrating our love of Italian food." $20 and up

Garrison Keillor
Radio personality/author Garrison Keillor will be at Proctors January 25 for An Evening with Garrison Keillor. Blurbage: "fans can expect a warm, funny and enlightening session of humorous conversation and hilarious anecdotes drawn from a life spent on the stage and on the page." $20 and up

(By the way: Keillor has said his last Prairie Home Companion show will be at Tanglewood in July of next summer.)

Tickets are on sale for both events.

photo: Diana DeLucia Photography

The week ahead

empire state plaza model closeup at State Museum

The Empire State Plaza at 50 series starts this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (warm), to Troy Restaurant Week, to the ESP, to comics, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

pearl palooza crowd phantogram 2012

Pearl Palooza -- one drop in the deep bucket of events in the Capital Region this weekend.

Wow -- if you're bored this weekend, you can't blame the Capital Region. There is so much going on this weekend. Just so, so, sooooo much.

Did we mention there's a lot going on?

OK, so let's get on with it. After the jump you'll find a listing of just some of things to do, hear, taste and see this weekend -- from jazz and tugboats to food festivals and cheese tours. We've lined it up for you so all you have to do is choose.

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

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

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Nicholas Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn in Albany

a path appears coverPulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn will be at 90 State in Albany October 29 to talk about their newest book A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity. The event is being hosted by the Schuyler Center -- tickets are $60.

You probably know about Kristof, a columnist for the New York Times who's become known for his advocacy of issues related to the developing world (advocacy which has sometimes prompted criticism). WuDunn also worked for NYT (she and Kristof won a Pulitzer for their coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests), she's since moved into investment banking.

The couple's previous book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, was published in 2009. A Path Appears also took the form of a PBS series earlier this year.

12 hours in the Berkshires

12 hours berkshires composite

By Julie Madsen

Take a ride an hour east of the Capital Region on I-90 and you will find yourself over the state border in the Berkshires. Western Massachusetts is saturated with culture and nature, with many different things to see, do, and eat.

Here's one way to spend a day immersed in the local flavor.

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Longhouse Food Revival 2015

longhouse food revival 2015 logo

The Longhouse Food Revival returns to Rensselaerville this weekend. This year's focus is the Chinese American experience. Blurbage for the Saturday program:

Located on a historic dairy farm in upstate New York, the LongHouse Food Revival combines original multimedia presentations, great discussions and insight from leading thinkers in food media today. It's a place to make new friends, forge new connections and cook up new ideas. Our meals are one-time, unscripted happenings that emanate from our Live Fire Cooking Arena -- you won't experience anything like this anywhere else. People leave LongHouse Food Revival with full bellies and full minds.
The weekend will kick off with a lunch of chun-bing, Northern China's version of a burrito, crafted from scratch and made-to-order by the young kitchen powerhouses from Junzi Kitchen of New Haven, CT.
After lunch, we'll gather in the barn for our Pop-Up Food Magazine, a series of multimedia presentations, original documentary films, presentations by authors, bloggers, publishers and producers, as well as spoken word and cooking demonstrations, to set the stage for an afternoon of discussion. The experience has been called magical by more than one hard-bitten veteran of the nation's food media corps.

One of the organizers of the event is author and former NYT food writer Molly O'Neill -- here's a video in which she explains the background.

There's also a Saturday evening dinner headed up by chef and author Kian Lam Kho -- "at the helm of a team of fearless chefs to orchestrate a spectacle of stir-frying, braising and steaming, offering a Chinese take on the bounty of the Hudson River Valley" ($125). And on Sunday there's a food flea event with 50 food entrepreneurs, farmers, and artisans ($25).

Tickets for the whole weekend are $250. That's not cheap, but we've heard from people who have attended in past years and they seemed to get a lot out of it, so it might be worth it if you're interested in these topics.

(Thanks, Deanna)

"The Mid-Century Stepchild"

harriman office campus sculpture

You know that big midcentury architectural project in Albany -- no, not that one, the other one -- the Harriman State Office Campus. Historic Albany Foundation has a tour lined up of the campus for October as part of Docomomo* US Tour Day. Blurbage:

Tour the much lesser-known state office project built at the western edge of Albany, the W. Averell Harriman State Office Campus. Governor Harriman began this office park in the 1950's to relieve congestion in the state offices on and around Capitol Hill. Nelson Rockefeller took on the development of the campus once he succeeded Harriman, named it for Harriman, and then proceeded to make it a suburban South Mall, complete with reflecting pools and modern artwork from George Rickey, and others. Harriman Campus is comprised of over 15 extant buildings built between 1958 and 2013 by a variety of architects. The remaining 13 mid-century modern buildings bear the influence of the modern masters, one in particular - universal spaces, buildings on stilts, a building that is, in its detailing, a copy of a Philip Johnson homage to Mies...and on and on.

The tour is Saturday, October 10 from noon-2 pm. It's $10 and reservations are required. (HAF's tours often fill up -- so grabbing a spot earlier rather than later is a good idea.)

We walk the campus fairly often with the office dog in the evenings and it's remarkably park-like. But, like the Empire State Plaza, it's oddly disconnected from its surroundings -- in this case not by fortress walls, but a moat of ringed roads.

* "Docomomo stands for the documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement."

AOA event: Cider pairing at Nine Pin

Nine Pin Cider Works four flight

Update: Sold out!

Apple season has arrived. And when we think of apples our thoughts also turn to cider.

Nine Pin Cider Works is rolling out a new charcuterie offering at its tasting room on Broadway in Albany. So we thought it'd be fun to organize a get-together there on October 1, pairing four Nine Pin ciders with a variety of New York fruits, cheeses and meats. Here's what you get:

Cider flight
Taste four Nine Pin ciders: Signature Cider, Belgian Cider, Blueberry Cider, and Ginger Cider.

Local foods
Ciders will be paired with samples of cheeses fruits, veggies and charcuterie from farms and orchards both local and from around New York State, along with Saratoga Crackers.

Tour
Guests will get a tour of the cider works with founder Alejandro del Peral to see how Nine Pin is made, bottled, and canned.

Dessert
The Dutch Udder will be scooping free samples of its Nine Pin Cider Sorbet. (We got to taste this during the Startup Grant final and it was delicious.)

The Nine Pine tasting room will be also pouring that evening, so more of your favorite Nine Pin ciders will be available for purchase. And of course, you'll get to enjoy it all with other fun AOA people.

The event is Thursday, October 1 at the Nine Pin tasting room on Broadway. It's 21 and over.

Early bird tickets (purchased before September 15) are $15. After September 15, tickets are $20. Space is limited for this event, and we expect it to fill up, so buying early will both save you a few bucks and ensure you get a spot.

Nine Pin advertises on AOA.

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings at The Egg

sharon jones musician

Sharon Jones

Soul band Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings are lined up for a show at The Egg December 5. Tickets go on sale this Friday (September 11) -- they're $34.50 and up.

The group will be touring in support of their last album, as well as their upcoming holiday album -- It's A Holiday Soul Party -- that is scheduled for release in October (here's a preview).

photo: Jake Chessum

Troy Craft Beer Week / Restaurant Week 2015

brewery equipment at Rare Form in TroyUpdated

Troy Craft Beer Week is set to return next week (September 14-19) with events around Troy.

The week includes with < href="http://www.getrucked.com/site/event/troy-craft-beer-week-tcbw-beer-launchpub-crawl/">a pub crawl celebrating the release of a beer brewed for the week: "The style is a Hoppy Wheat brewed with oats and locally sourced honey fermented with brettanomyces."

And the week concludes with the American on Tap beer festival in Riverfront Park that Saturday. Beers from more than 50 craft brewers will be available for sampling. Tickets are $35 ahead / $45 at the event ($55/$65 for VIP).

Restaurant week
Next week is also restaurant week in Troy. Participating restaurants will be offering special prix fixe menus at $5, $10, $20, and $30 price points. (And the Tavern Noodle pop-up will be returning, temporarily taking over the Peck's Arcade space, Wednesday-Saturday.)

The week ahead

perfume genius

Perfume Genius is one of the acts set for Basilica Soundscape later this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (good September), to video games, the NYS Writers Institute, Tyler Perry, immersive theater, to music festivals...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Thumbnail image for fork_in_the_road_2015-05-01_1.jpg

The Fork in the Road food truck event is back to kick off Labor Day weekend.

The bad news first: It's Labor Day weekend -- the unofficial end to the summer season.

The good news? It's Labor Day weekend! And there's still time to do some of that stuff you've been trying to pack in all summer. So grab swimsuits, towels, picnic baskets, baseball hats, and whatever else you need for your good time. And don't forget the sunscreen, you'll need it.

After the jump, a handful of things we thought you might like to try. Planning something else? Drop it in the comment section. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Wild edibles foraging and wilderness skills classes with Sean Rowe

sean rowe tree to table mushroomAs you know, Sean Rowe is a singer/songwriter from Troy who's risen to fame over the last few years, touring around the world and performing on TV. He's also an accomplished naturalist -- and he's teaching a handful of foraging and outdoor skills classes over the few months. Blurbage:

Ok so forget Naked and Afraid. How about Naked and Comfortable? Sort of. How about just for fun, we go out on a day hike and leave our matches and lighter at home? How would you like to go out into the landscape, pull off a dead branch from a Cottonwood tree, take your knife or sharp rocks and carve out a bow and drill fire set with nothing but your bare hands? Then, make some rope from the wild Dogbane plants that live there to use in your fire kit. Sound cool? Let's do it!

The dates include:
+ A foraging and skills class at Kawing Crow Awareness Center in Greenfield Center on September 27.
+ A journalist naturalist class for kids at Kawing Crow on October 12.
+ A foraging and skills class at East Greenbush Town Park on October 18.
+ A natural history walk at Peebles Island on October 25.

photo via Sean Rowe FB

Ira Glass at Troy Music Hall

Ira Glass 2015

The Ira Glass is set to return to the Troy Music Hall May 22. Tickets go on sale September 11 -- they're $35 and up.

Glass is, of course, the creator of the radio program This American Life, and a hugely influential figure within public radio. His appearance at the music hall will be another "Reinventing Radio" talk. Blurbage:

In Reinventing Radio, Ira will return to the Hall to once again talk about how they put together This American Life: what makes a compelling story and where they find these amazing tales. He mixes stories from the show, live onstage, recreating the sound of the show. And he plays funny and memorable moments from the show and talks about what was behind their creation.

Let's hope he goes easy on the crowd this time around and no one passes out.

Selected Shorts
The Ira Glass event is one a handful of new events the Troy Music Hall announced today. Also among the new slate: a performance of the popular public radio show Selected Shorts on November 13. Blurbage: The theme of the night at the Music Hall is "Uncharted Territories" - moving, comical, and surprising stories about unexpected encounters. Featured readers: Sam Underwood (The Following, Dexter), Patricia Kalember (Sisters), and Tony winner Boyd Gaines."

Tickets go on sale September 11. They're $27 and up.

photo: Jesse Michener

Drawing: Murder at the Mansion

Ten Broeck Mansion gardens 2015

The garden at the Ten Broeck Mansion.

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The Ten Broeck Mansion is hosting an 1890s Murder Mystery Garden Party September 12. The evening will feature a live murder mystery show, along with food from chef Josh Coletto (of Rock 'n Roll Brunch fame). We have two tickets to the event and we're giving them away -- the mystery is... TO WHOM?!?.

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

What's the title of your Capital Region mystery novel or police procedural TV show?

It could be anything: The Affair in Center Square, CSI: Green Island, whatever. (Goofy and fun is a good angle here.) We'll draw one entry at random -- that person wins the pair of tickets.

Here's a synopsis of the event's murder mystery, which will be played by Murder Cafe, a theater company from the Hudson Valley:

t's 1890, the height of the Gilded Age, and banking tycoon Dudley Olcott is hosting a summer garden party at his Arbor Hill estate, the Ten Broeck Mansion. The Olcotts are known for their soirees and there's no shortage of famous guest who may attend; luckily you're invited. Mingle with the Vanderbilts, John Jacob Astor IV, and his unlikeable wife Lady Astor. Enjoy drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and live music in the mansion's enchanting gardens and elegant parlors. But don't let your guard down, the evening might take a deadly turn.

And Josh Coletto will be making era-appropriate hors d'oeuvres (menu is post jump).

The 1890s Murder Mystery Garden Party at the Ten Broeck Mansion is Saturday, September 12 at 6 pm. Tickets are $35 ahead (available online) / $40 at the door. They include the show, live music, and food. There will be a cash bar.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Thursday, September 3, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Friday and must respond by noon on Tuesday, September 8.

(there's more)

Scott McCloud at Skidmore

comics artist scott mccloud

Artist, writer, and comics theorist Scott McCloud will be at Skidmore September 17 for a talk. The title: "Comics and the Art of Visual Communication." Blurbage:

McCloud is best known as the award-winning author of the influential "Understanding Comics" (1993), a visual treatise on the definition, history, vocabulary and methods of the medium. Later works include "Reinventing Comics" (2000) and "Making Comics" (2006).
His graphic novel "The Sculptor" was released this year. McCloud also wrote 12 issues of DC's "Superman Adventures" and the series "Superman: Strength." In 2009, he was featured in "The Cartoonist," a documentary film on the life and work of Bone creator Jeff Smith.

The talk is Thursday, September 17 at 5:15 pm in Gannett Auditorium. It's free.

Talking about board games at Overit

the networks board game preview croppedThis cold be fun/interesting: Overit in Albany is hosting a discussion event about creating and crowdfunding board games September 10. Blurbage (links added):

Gil Hova, founder of Formal Ferret Games, and Jeff Warrender, co-founder of Spielbany, will present on their process for developing games, and how to stay creative in the gaming industry. In addition, Gil will discuss running a successful crowdfunding campaign stemming from his experience raising $30,000 from over 1,000 backers for one of his games.
Guests will also have the opportunity to play Gil's latest game, called The Networks, following the presentation.

That game -- The Networks, in which you compete as a TV network exec to acquire shows, stars, and ad revenue -- starts a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter today, September 1 (as of this morning it hadn't started just yet).

"Games at Overit: The Creative Process of Building & Crowdfunding Boardgames" is September 10 from 5-8 pm. It's free -- and you can register to attend online.

screengrab from Gil Hova YouTube

Craig Finn at The Hollow

craig finn solo

Indie rock guitarist/singer Craig Finn is set to play a show at The Hollow October 16. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $15 ahead / $18 day of.

Finn is, of course, the frontman for The Hold Steady. His second solo album is scheduled for release this September, and this tour is in support of that effort. The new album, Faith in the Future, was recorded in Woodstock -- Finn is also playing there, at the Bearsville Theater, October 14.

The opener for both shows is Esme Patterson.

Whenever The Hold Steady rolls into town the show usually sells out. So, if you're interested in this show, getting tickets sooner rather than later isn't a bad idea.

The week ahead

counting crows band

Counting Crows is at SPAC this week. It's end of August and the beginning of everything after.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (hot streak), to the last week at The Track, to the last home stand of the season, to the last county fairs, to the first event of the new season at EMPAC, to music...

(there's more)

North Albany Oktoberfest / Spaten Sprint 2015

spaten sprint 2015 posterThe annual Oktoberfest block party in North Albany organized by Wolff's is set for September 26. The event will again include food vendors, dachsund races, and other activities.

Admission is $10 and includes a commemorate 1-liter stein. (We haven't seen the ticket info posted yet -- but tickets are usually available ahead of time online.)

New this year is the Spaten Sprint 5k that morning. The course follows along Broadway and North Pearl Street in the Warehouse District.

Registration is $30 ($35 after September 18) and includes a commemorative beer stein, free beer (in the stein), free entry to the Oktoberfest block party, and the usual 5k stuff like chip timing. There are also cash prizes for top finishers, both individuals and teams.

Stuff to do this weekend

Dion Headshot 2013.jpg

UAlbany Alum and Tonight Show regular, Dion Flynn is at Proctors Sunday with his one-man show.

We hate to be the ones to say it, but it's the last weekend in August. If there are any items remaining on your summer to do list, we suggest you get cracking.

For those of you looking for stuff to do, you'll find our weekend round-up after the jump.

Mix them, match them, trade them with your friends.

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


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New name, grand opening for CAC Woodside

The Contemporary Artists Center at Woodside in Troy is now called PostContemporary, and it has a grand opening event for its renovated church building lined up for September 19. Event blurbage:

After three years of sweat and planning, our doors will open on September 19 in a celebration that will unveil the renovated neo-gothic church and usher in the first push of an unapologetic art and performance schedule.
For you, for this evening, we have curated a wall-to-wall environment of artwork, food, and sound, spanning multiple disciplines and spilling outward into adjacent sites.
There will be a ribbon cutting if you come early, and dancing and DJ under the stars if you stay late. We've put some of the best creative minds together to plan this event and it is shaping up to be quite something. Something new, something different, and something wildly fun.

The evening includes a "strolling dinner" from Peck's Arcade, a special "Post Pale" beer brewed by Rare Form, along with performances and art. Tickets start at $85 / $55 (under 35) -- they're available online.

That night also will mark the opening of the second "movement" of Rural Violience at PostContemporary. The exhibit, curated by Brandon Stosuy (Pitchfork editor, Basilica Soundscape collaborator), includes the work of Matthew Barney, Cindy Daignault, Lionel Maunz, and Prurient (with John Sharian). The opening will feature a performance by Brennan Hall and Dana Wachs.

The org formerly known as CAC Woodside moved from North Adams to the Woodside Presbyterian Church in Troy in 2009, and has been providing workspace and living space for artists as the buildings were transformed.

Robert Putnam at UAlbany School of Public Health

putnam our kids coverHarvard political scientist Robert Putnam will be at the UAlbany School of Public Health September 16 for a discussion about income inequality in the US. Event blurbage:

The University at Albany School of Public Health has initiated an "All School Read" program, which invites students, faculty, staff and community members to select and read an important book covering issues relevant for those preparing for careers in public health. The first book chosen is Putnam's Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, a groundbreaking examination of the growing inequality gap in the United States. The book details how children and grandchildren today have had harder lives amid diminishing prospects compared with earlier generations of Americans.

The forum is Wednesday, September 16 at 5 pm at the UAlbany School of Public Health campus in Rensselaer.

Putnam is probably most famous outside of academic circles for his book Bowling Alone, in which he argued that Americans were withdrawing from civic and social organizations, and becoming less engaged with their communities.

Here's a Washington Post article from earlier this year about Our Kids and what Putnam has been up to recently.

Touchstones at The Mount 2015 fall

meghan daum 2015

Meghan Daum is among the authors on the lineup.

The Mount -- you know, the former Edith Wharton residence in Lenox -- has a series of conversation events lined up for this fall that looks interesting. It's hosted by journalist Kate Bolick. Blurbage: "This year's featured authors tackle provocative and controversial topics including race, gender, class, marriage,and motherhood."

Here's a compressed schedule...

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Dead & Company at TU Center

dead and company logo

Dead & Company -- featuring Grateful Dead members Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, and Bob Weir -- will be making a stop at the TU Center October 29. Tickets go on sale this Friday (August 28) -- they're $50 and up.

The lineup for this tour is being filled out by John Mayer (yep, that John Mayer), along with bassist Oteil Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. Mayer has apparently been playing with members of the group since this past spring.

The show at the TU Center is the first stop on the group's 10-date tour. Other stops include Madison Square Garden (both dates already sold out), Philadelphia, DC, Worcester, San Francsico, and LA.

Historic beer tour of the Stockade

 stockade lawrenceThe Schenectady County Historical Society has a tour that could be interesting -- "Schenectady Suds" -- lined up for September 24. Blurbage:

Take a walk along what was once known as "Brewer's Street," looking at local history through the lens of a beer glass. This walking tour of the Historic Stockade District will examine the history of brewing and its impact on our history, from the Colonial era to today's craft brew revival. The tour begins with a look at the SCHS exhibit Hops & Hogsheads: Beer from Colonial to Craft Brew, and concludes with a tasting and tour at Mad Jack Brewery / The Van Dyck Restaurant and Lounge!

The tours depart at 5:30 pm, 6 pm, and 6:30 pm on Thursday, September 24 at the historical society at 32 Washington Ave. Tickets are $12 and available online. (Pre-registration is required.)

The week ahead

saratoga race course entrance statue jockey

It's Travers Week at the Saratoga Race Course.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (nice), to The Track, to baseball, to comedy, to the fair, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Gin & Tonic at the pool.JPG

There's still time for cocktails by the pool.

Only two more August weekends left! If there's some summer thing still on your "to do" list, you'd better get it done.

If you're looking for some summer stuff to do, look no further. Well, look a little further. Not much further. Just after the jump. We've made you a list of some of this weekend's goings-on and it's waiting for you there.

Got something planned that didn't make our list? Tell us about it.

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

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Downtown Albany Yard Sale

acg haf yard sale sample photo

Maybe not the typical sort of yard sale: Albany Center Gallery and Historic Albany Foundation are co-hosting a "yard sale" in downtown Albany's Tricentennial Park September 19. Blurbage:

The Albany Center Gallery will offer an eclectic mix of old and new items, all donated by supporters, ranging from clothing, tools, jewelry, furniture and more; proceeds will help to fund programming efforts. Donated pieces for the event are being accepted through August 26 and can be dropped off at the gallery, 39 Columbia Street, from Noon to 3:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday.
The proceeds collected from these items will go toward the local non-profits and their programming efforts. Any items that are not sold during the yard sale will be donated to Goodwill and Salvation Army.
At their booth, Historic Albany Foundation will sell items from their Lexington Avenue warehouse, including antique furniture, original windows, and light fixtures, at the yard sale. Proceeds from sale of these items will go toward the foundation's preservation programs.

The sale is from 8 am to 3 pm on Saturday, September 19. ACG has been posting photos of sale samples on that event page linked above.

photo via Albany Center Gallery FB

NYS Writers Institute visiting writers fall 2015

nys writers institute visiting writers 2015 fall composite

The fall lineup for the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series is out. And, as usual, it's full of notable, award-winning writers and names you'll recognize.

Here's the full lineup, compressed and expanded...

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12 hours in the Catskills

12 hours catskills composite

By Julie Madsen

Sometimes it's easy to forget just how close the Catskills are to the Capital Region. The northern edge of the area is in Greene County, immediately to the south of Albany County. And it's just an hour's drive away.

So you can head out to the Catskills for a day full of hiking, shopping, and eating -- and still be back home to sleep in your own bed...

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Mel Brooks at Proctors

mel brooks

Mel Brooks is set to appear at Proctors October 16 as part of a screening of his film Blazing Saddles. Tickets go on sale this Thursday (August 20) -- they're $40 and up.

The event will include a screening of Blazing Saddles on the Proctors main stage screen, followed by "a live conversation and audience Q&A" with Brooks.

It's been four decades since Blazing Saddles was first released. It's #6 on the AFI's list of "100 funniest American films of all time." Last year Brooks talked with Entertainment Weekly about the film -- touching on the conflicts with the studio, the contributions of Richard Pryor, and whether the movie would be made today.

Quick trip: Sharon Springs

smith empie smith building sharon springs 2015-August

This handsome building on Main Street was once a department store -- it now houses the antique store Heritage Living Country & Vintage.

Sometimes you just want to get out of town for the afternoon. A quick trip to Sharon Springs is an easy way to do that -- and you can still be back by evening.

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Tour de Habitat returning

tour de habitat logo

The Tour de Habitat is making a comeback this year after a few years off. The cycling event -- a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity Capital District -- is set for September 26 in Albany.

The tour offers four different routes in lengths of 10 miles, 25 miles, 50 miles, and 100 miles. The last three make their way through both Albany and Rensselaer counties. All routes start and end at Druthers Brewing on Broadway in north Albany. The routes will be supported with rest stops and aid stations.

All rider receive a Tour de Habitat t-shirt and ticket to the post-ride party at Druthers, which includes free food and beer.

Entry fees start at $25 and increase as the route length increase. And because this is a fundraiser, riders are also encouraged to raise donations from supporters.

Washington County Cheese Tour 2015

Thumbnail image for washington co cheese tour 2015 posterThe annual Washington County Cheese Tour returns September 12 and 13. It is pretty much what it says on the label -- a tour of farms in Washington County that produce cheese. Blurbage:

At each farm, guests will sample specially selected cheeses while experiencing first hand the region's long-standing cheese making traditions reaching back to the nineteenth century. All are active farms, raising cows, sheep and goats that supply the milk for the cheese-making process.

A few years back Tim wrote a recap of the tour, which can you give a sense of how it goes. If you like cheese + farms (and farm animals), it's a pretty good bet you'll like the tour.

The participating farms will be open for touring from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13. The tour is free.

Tour preview
On Sunday, August 23 the Honest Weight Food Co-op is hosting a "Meet Your Maker" event to preview the cheese tour. Cheese makers from farms on the tour will be there from from noon-2 pm offering samples and talking about their farms.

The week ahead

joshua bell

Star violinist Joshua Bell will be at SPAC this week with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (August is trying), to The Track, to the orchestra, to bourbon, to burlesque, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Altamont Fair ferris wheel

The Altamont Fair closes this weekend / photo: Kimberly Dunham

Fairs and farmers' markets and baseball and road trips and hikes and swimming pools -- or just sitting on a porch and doing nothing outdoors. We've got a few weekends of summer left, folks -- let's make the most of them.

If you don't have plans for this weekend yet, you'll find a few ideas after the jump.

Got something planned you don't see here? Share it with the rest of us in the comments.

And whatever you're up to, soak in a little sunshine and have a fantastic weekend!

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Autumn Evening in the Garden 2015

capital roots autumn evening in the garden 2015 BowdenCapital Roots' annual harvest fall harvest celebration -- Autumn Evening in the Garden -- will be at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy on September 17. Blurbage:

"An Autumn Evening in the Garden" brings together more than 15 of the region's most talented chefs with 30+ local growers, producers, and beverage makers from all over the greater Capital District for a delicious "strolling supper." The farmers contribute their meat, cheese, and produce. The chefs use these contributions to create their dishes. Guests sample outstanding cuisine drawn from the creative kitchens of some of the area's finest restaurants while enjoying local wines, beers, and spirits, while mingling with chefs, farmers, and friends.

This year's featured chef is Brian Bowden of 15 Church in Saratoga Springs.

Tickets for the fundraiser are available online -- they're $150 / $75 for people 35 and under.

As you know, Capital Roots is the org formerly known as Capital District Community Gardens.

ASAP Festival of Meats 2015

ASAP Festival of Meats 2015 posterThe Albany Society for the Advancement of Philanthropy's annual Festival of Meats & Celebration of Bacon returns September 19 to the Elks Club in Albany.

Blurbage about the offerings this year: "Whole Pig, Pit Beef, Bacon Surprises, Amazing and Fantastic Meats, and fantastic apps from R'Eisen Shine Farm!"

There will also be a raffle to win $500 worth of meat and a Thanksgiving turkey.

Tickets are available online -- they're $20 until September 2. The price goes up $5 after that.

Dave Chappelle at The Palace

Dave Chappelle 2015

Comedian Dave Chappelle is set to play The Palace October 4. Tickets go on sale Monday (August 17) -- they're $58 (four-ticket limit).

Chappelle was riding a big wave of popularity back in the mid-2000s thanks in part to his Chappelle's Show on Comedy Central. And then, after two seasons, he famously quit, citing the effect the show was having on his life. (He moved his family to a small rural town outside of Dayton, Ohio.) The last few years he's been slowly making a comeback doing stand-up shows.

The Palace is big, but we're guessing this has a good chance of selling out. So, if you'd like to go, getting tickets sooner rather later is a good idea.

A stolen summer day: eating

stewarts happy camper ice cream in cup

"Happy Camper" ice cream from Stewart's got a mention.

By Deanna Fox

Seasonal foods are one of summer's pleasures. Fresh berries, salads, corn on the cob, and ice cream from a favorite seasonal stand are the stuff of many summer memories.

So if you could have your favorite summer treat from anywhere in the Capital Region, what would it be?

Deanna Fox asked a few local food lovers that question.

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Saratoga Wine & Food Festival 2015

saratoga wine food festival 2015 chefs

Left to right: Ellie Krieger, Josh Capon, Zak Pelaccio, Ric Orlando

The annual Saratoga Wine & Food Festival returns to SPAC September 11-13 this year. Among the details for this year's event:

+ The headlining food personalities are Josh Capon of Spike TV's Frankenfood cooking competition show, and cookbook author/dietician Ellie Krieger, who had a show on the Food Network about cooking healthy food.

+ Capon will be hosting the "Fired Up!" event on Friday in which "five of the Capital Region's best chefs" will go up against "five Manhattan grill masters." Krieger will be hosting the festival's grand tasting on Saturday.

+ Chefs Ric Orlando (of New World Bistro Bar) and Zak Pelaccio (of Fish & Game in Hudson) will also be there doing demonstrations as part of the grand tasting.

The list of events is after the jump.

Tickets for the various events are now one sale. They're $75 and up.

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A stolen summer day: wandering

Mass MoCA Tony  Iadicicco.jpg

One of the stolen day destinations mentioned. / photo: Tony Iadicicco

Summer comes and goes so quickly upstate. And there's that constant tension between accomplishing all of the everyday tasks that are necessary to complete in our daily lives and diving into summer's pleasures.

During winter we get the occasional surprise snow day in which to curl up with a good book and a hot chocolate, or make a snowman. So what about summer?

We asked a handful of people what they would do with a stolen summer day...

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Saratoga Arts Fest Fridays

Saratoga Arts Fest Beekman Vintage Fest promo photo

A promo image for the Beekman Street Vintage Fest. SAF is pitching it as "part street fair, part street performance, the event offers an energetic mix of period music, costumed performers, antique cars, and great ethnic food."

Organizers of the annual Saratoga Arts Fest -- in past years an event at multiple locations around the city in June -- reformulated the idea this year as a series of single-location events on Fridays this fall.

And the schedule is now out -- it includes a street fest, a multi-genre music and dance event, a vaudeville circus, and a backstage look...

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The week ahead

altamont_fair 4-H_cows_kids_in_ring

The Altamont Fair is this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (rain near the start), to the fair, to the orchestra, to The Track, to a food festival, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Thumbnail image for fork_in_the_road_2015-05-01_1.jpg

The food trucks are back in Albany's Tricentennial Park for Friday's Fork in the Road Friday evening.

Weekends! Weekends here -- summer weekends. Get your summer weekends while they're still hot.

There is no shortage of fun stuff to do in the Capital Region this weekend -- from food trucks and fairs to summer shows and concerts, to baseball and blueberries. It all depends on what you're in the mood to try.

After the jump, we've pulled together a few of the options we thought you might like. Got something planned that you don't see here? Tell us about it.

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

River Week in-post ad Dutch Apple

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Queen Size Swap

queen size swap 2015-March

Next month at The Hangar in Troy: The Queen Size Swap, a swap for plus-size clothing (sizes 12/14 and up). 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. Nice and easy. Anything no one takes home will be donated. ...
What should I bring to swap?
CLOTHES - Dresses, tops, pants, jeans, skirts, jackets, shrugs, cardigans, coats, jumpers, shorts
SHOES - Heels, boots, sandals, flats, any shoes in good condition or 'new'
BAGS - Handbags, clutches, purses, wallets, satchels
ACCESSORIES - belts, scarves, hats, costume jewelry, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings, sunglasses, hair accessories
WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T BRING:
Stained, ripped, dirty clothing. Bras, panties or swimsuits.

The Queen Size Swap is Sunday, September 20 from 11 am-2 pm. There's free pre-registration so you can claim a swap spot -- it's then $10 at the door when you arrive. There will be door prizes from places such as Nibble Inc. and Market Block Books.

photo via Queen Size Swap FB

Opalka Gallery 2015 fall season

Here's the slate of events for this fall at Opalka Gallery on the Sage Albany campus. One of the things that caught our eye about the lineup is that it includes a bunch of events about video games.

Without any further ado....

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Ballston Spa Film Festival 2015

zepo short film still

One of the films on the schedule is Zepo by César Díaz Meléndez, which was animated with sand. Here's a making-of video.

The Ballston Spa Film Festival is back this Friday and Saturday in the eponymous village. As in years past, the "open air, bring your own chair" festival screens a family-friendly slate of short films. Blurbage for this year:

This year's festival will present 45 short films, ranging in length from 1 to 14 minutes each. The films come from young filmmakers, emerging student filmmakers and established (but still emerging) filmmakers. Submissions to this established, local film festival arrive from across the country as well as all over the globe. Many of the films have won awards at other film festivals, while some will be making their world premier at the Ballston Spa Film Festival.

Here's the list of film slates and the schedule. The films are shown at two sites: Ballston Spa High School and Old Iron Spring Park. And it's free.

AOA is a media sponsor of the Ballston Spa Film Festival.

Capitol now offering Saturday tours

state capitol interior archesThe tour program at the New York State Capitol is now offering tours on the second Saturday of each month. The first one is this Saturday, August 8 at 11 am and 1 pm. The tours are capped at 25 people each, and pre-registration is required. They're free.

In recent years Capitol tours were only available during the day Monday through Friday. So the Saturday tours are opportunity for people who otherwise wouldn't have been able to make it during the week to take the tour.

And you should take the tour. The state Capitol is a remarkable building, full of different architectural styles, art, and all sorts of history and stories. You can also get a look at the once-again-open Hall of Governors. Also: It's all looking sharp after years of renovations and restorations.

By the way: Keep an eye out for the very popular Capitol Hauntings tours this fall -- they fill up very quickly.

Favorite lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and other bodies of water

canoes at Grafton Lakes

Grafton Lakes got a mention.

It is currently time to do all the summer things. And "all the summer things" often includes finding a lake, river, stream, some body of water to take in the view, relax by, dine next to, kayak in.

A few weeks back as part of the River Week drawing, we asked you about your favorite bodies of water around the Capital Region. There were a bunch of good suggestions. So, as with the neighborhood highlights, we combined all the suggestions into a clickable map and listing.

Have a look...

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Stuff to do this weekend

Cherry Plain beach

This could be a great weekend for a trip to the beach.

A midsummer weekend awaits, full of sunshine and stuff to do. Savor it. Enjoy it. Commit it to memory so you can conjure it in February.

After the jump, we've pulled together a list of things that looked interesting. Got something planned that you don't see here? Drop it in the comments so we can all see.

And whatever you're up to, bring your sunscreen and have a great weekend.

River Week in-post ad Dutch Apple

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Pick-your-own blueberry season 2015

box of blueberries at samascott

We are into the thick of blueberry season around the greater Capital Region. And as we've mentioned before, blueberries are just about our favorite pick-your-own crop because they're easy to pick (on bushes about waist high), relatively cheap (usually between $2-$3 per pound), and they freeze beautifully, so you can stock up for later in the year.

There are a handful of farms around the Capital Region that offer pick-your-own blueberries. Here's a list with some info. And, of course, if you know of a place that should be on the list, please share.

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Massry Center 2015-2016 season

Jake Shimabukuro 2015

Ukelele master Jake Shimabukuro will be there in November.

The schedule for the upcoming 2015-206 season at the Massry Center at the College of Saint Rose is out. The slate includes a ukulele virtuoso, a couple of banjo titans, a river-spanning jazz festval, and the return of the popular Christmas concert featuring the music of Vince Guaraldi.

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EMPAC fall 2015 season

Composer/performer Holly Herndon caps off the schedule in December.

Without ado, further or otherwise, here's the slate for the upcoming fall season at EMPAC. It is, as usual, full of performances, talks, and events that promise to be interesting, thought-provoking, even challenging.

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The week ahead

Interpol band 2015

Interpol is set to do its thing at Upstate Concert Hall this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (hot, hot, hot), to The Track, to baseball, to theater, to barns, to all sorts of music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Track betting slips crystal capritta.jpg

It's opening day at Saratoga. Pick a winner.

A holiday has been declared throughout the land.

OK, not exactly throughout the land. Just here at AOA. We are starting the weekend a little early. We hope you can do the same.

And speaking of the weekend, here's your weekend tasting menu of stuff to do. There's a pretty wide variety this week, from racing and beer festivals to county fairs and drive-in movies. There's lots of mid-summer stuff going on and a lovely weekend ahead.

Got something planned that you don't see here? Drop it in the comments for the rest of us to see. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Drawing: Capital Region Brewer's Fest at The Joe

Brewfest 2.jpgBeer and Summer: two good things that are even better together.

This Saturday is the annual Tri-City ValleyCats Capital Region Brewer's Fest at Joe Bruno Stadium, where more than 30 brewers from around the Northeast and beyond will be on hand with samples of some of their best brews. AOA has a pair of Grand Slam passes to Saturday's festival and they could be yours. The passes include:

+Admission
+Souvenir Sampling Glass
+10 Tasting Tickets
+Commemorative T-Shirt
+Admission to VIP Area with a Catered Buffet
+A Ticket to a Future Tri-City ValleyCats Baseball Game

To enter, just answer this question in the comments of this post:

Beer and summer are a great combination. What is a great Capital Region combination? Maybe it's a beer or wine and food. Maybe it's two places you'd like to push together. Maybe it's something more philosophical. Just something you think is or could be a good Capital Region combo.

The Capital Region Brewer's Festival is this Saturday, July 25, from 2:30pm to 6:30pm. Tickets are still available and range from a $10 designated driver ticket through a $47 Grand Slam package.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59pm today (Thursday, July 23, 2015) to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 10am on Friday July 24, 2015 and must respond by 4:30 pm on Friday, July 24.

Capital Region county fairs 2015

altamont_fair__4-H_cows_kids_in_ring

County fair season in the Capital Region started this week with the Saratoga County Fair in Ballston Spa. And there will be a county fair somewhere around the region pretty much each week through Labor Day.

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

Now go eat some foods on a stick...

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Craig Ferguson at Troy Music Hall

comedian Craig Ferguson 2015

Comedian Craig Ferguson is set to for a stand-up show at the Troy Music Hall September 27. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $37 and up.

In addition to being a comedian, Ferguson is also an actor and author -- but he's best known for his 10-year run as the host of The Late, Late Show on CBS, which ended this past December. Last year, in explaining his exit, he said he wanted to leave the show before he stopped enjoying it.

He's moved on to hosting a game show, an upcoming sitcom, and stand-up touring. Here's a Guardian review of one of his stand-up shows in New York City earlier this year.

The Troy Music Hall show is at 8 pm on Sunday, September 27.

Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival 2015 lineup

booker t jones 2015

Booker T.

The Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival is September 12 at Jennings Landing in the Corning Preserve. And the lineup for this year's festival is out -- it's headlined by Booker T. Jones (of "Green Onions" fame). The full lineup is after the jump.

The Riverfront Jazz Festival is from 1-9 pm on Saturday, September 12, with fireworks following. It's free.

More music that Saturday
+ Pearl Palooza will be on Pearl Street in downtown Albany,
+ And Basilica Soundscape will be going on in Hudson.

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Pearl Palooza 2015 lineup

pearl palooza crowd

The crowd at Pearl Palooza a few years back.

Updated September 7 with scheduled set times.

This year's Pearl Palooza -- the WEQX-organized free music festival on Pearl Street in downtown Albany -- is Saturday, September 12. And the lineup is now out.

Here's the list of national and local acts -- with video clips...

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Drawing: miSci's Science of Brewing

ommegang beer cafe

A tall, frosty glass of art and science.

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

There is science behind everything, including beer. This week miSci in Schenectady is offering a chance to explore the science of brewing and taste the resulting beer. And AOA is giving away a pair of tickets.

To enter, just answer this question in the comments of this post:

What is something you'd like to do before the summer is over?

MiSci's Science of Brewing event is Thursday, July 23 from 6 pm to 8 pm. Brewers from Brown's, Brewery Ommegang, Nine Pin Cider Works, Wolf Hollow Brewing and other local brewers will offer samples. There will also be food, music, and a chance to check out some of the museum exhibits. Tickets are still available and are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Tuesday and must respond by noon on Wednesday.

All Over Albany is a media sponsor of miSci's Science of Brewing event.

The week ahead

the decemberists 2015

The Decemberists (and Lucius) will be Ommegang later this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (so July), to stories, to ballet, to writers, to drama, to the county fair, to The Track, to so much music...

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Stuff to do this weekend

NYCB Pictures at an Exhibition

The NYC Ballet is at SPAC this weekend, and the annual ballet gala is Saturday.

Updated

And cue the weekend. And with it the summer weather.

There is so much great stuff going on this weekend -- from music festivals and ballet to street festivals and drive-in movies. All you have to do is choose. To help you out, we've assembled a weekend tasting menu after the jump.

Doing something you don't see on the list? Share it in the comment section so everyone
can see.

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

(there's more)

To Athens by ferry

Hudson-Athens ferry composite

By Duncan Crary

Ahead of the Rail, River, Hudson II tour this coming weekend, we have a series of posts focusing on the Hudson River this week.

Last summer, in anticipation of AOA's Rail, River Hudson trip, I made the case that "How you get there matters, because getting there is half the fun." This time around, I'll add that getting there by boat will make any location feel more exotic.

Here in the Capital Region we have a few cruise boats that offer roundtrip sightseeing and/or party cruises (like the Dutch Apple II in Albany, The Captain JP II in Troy and the The Caldwell Belle in Schuylerville). These are all great ways for the public to experience our rivers by boat. But except for special events, these local cruisers are rarely used for commuting between destinations. And while there's been a lot of talk over the years of bringing water taxis to Albany, we're still waiting to see that happen.

You don't have to go too far downriver, though, to find public water transit. For the past three years, the Hudson-Athens Ferry has been carrying people between that city and village, across the Hudson River.

Two weeks ago, I finally made it onboard with a fellow traveler from Troy. Here are a few notes from our adventure...

River Week is sponsored by: Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Albany BID, Dutch Apple Cruises, Harmony Mills, Hudson River Greenway, Nine Pin Cider, Sweet Sue's, and Downtown Troy BID.

River Week in-post ad Dutch Apple

River Week in-post ad Hudson Valley Ramble

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Sean Rowe at the Ale House

Sean Rowe

Sean Rowe is set to play a show at The Ale House in Troy August 15. Tickets are $15 at the door.

As you know, Rowe was a staple of the local music scene before his career's trajectory took a sharp upward turn a few years back -- he signed with ANTI records, toured around the world, got pub in all sorts of media outlets, and has appeared on TV. The show at The Ale House is a chance to see him again in a not-big venue. We're guessing it's going to be packed.

Across the street
While we're talking about The Ale House, check out the old-school rock 'n roll/country/Americana-inflected upcoming schedule of events at The Ale House and The Hangar across the street:

July 14: Parker Millsap at The Hangar
July 19: Robbie Fulks and Redd Volkaert at The Ale House
August 15: Sean Rowe at The Ale House
August 28: Frog Holler at The Hangar
August 31: JD McPherson at The Hangar
September 30: Wayne "The Train" Hancock at The Hangar
October 24: Ray Wyle Hubbard at The Hangar

photo: Anthony Saint James

New York City Ballet back at SPAC

NYCB SPAC 2015

The New York City Ballet opens its 2015 residency at SPAC Tuesday evening. It's the start of a two-week run for the company at SPAC.

Opening night is an all-Balanchine program. Among the other highlights from the schedule: the annual ballet gala is this Saturday, July 11; and next week, on Friday, July 17, there will be a performance of La Sylphide.

Justin Peck
The SPAC schedule also includes of two works by rising star choreographer Justin Peck, this Wednesday and during the gala performance on Saturday. Peck and his work to create a new ballet were the subject of a recent documentary called Ballet 422. The Bow Tie theater in Saratoga Springs will be screening the doc Monday, July 13 -- and Peck will be there for a post-screening Q&A. The screening starts at 7 pm.

photo via SPAC website

Pasties, Pencils, and Pints 3rd anniversary

pasties pencils and pints 2015 JulySassy drink 'n draw Pasties, Pencils, and Pints returns to The Hangar in Troy July 16 after taking a few local months off. It's the 3rd anniversary of the series.

The model for this month's session is Miss Couple. There will be a cash bar, and music from DJ Heat Machine. And it's BYODS -- Bring Your Own Drawing Supplies. (There will also be coloring books available.)

So, what's the motivation behind these drink 'n draw nights? We talked with organizer Emily Armstrong about it almost two years ago:

It needs to be sassy. And it's like, the model is supposed to be sexy and everybody's encouraged to cheer for them. The model's working their sex appeal -- whatever that means for for him and her. And people are supportive of it and people cheer, no matter if that's somebody that they'd be attracted to. That's irrelevant, they're there and they're participating and doing an encouraging, fun thing.

The event starts at 8:30 pm on Thursday, July 16. It's $10.

Albany I Spy 2015, game on

AlbanyISpy2015 mapThe clue sheet and map for this year's Albany I Spy, the popular photo scavenger hunt from Albany Archives and the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau, is now posted online.

Here's how it works (emphasis added):

Step 1: Download the form
This is your Master Albany I Spy Clue Sheet. Sounds important, right? It is! Be sure to write your name and contact information where indicated because this is how we will contact the winners.
Step 2: Set your course
You'll use the clues on this form to identify the mystery landmarks. Then, set your course each day - or wait for one spectacular day - to head to downtown Albany to spy and write the name of the landmark on your Master Clue Sheet.
Step 3: Get extra clues
Stumped? Don't worry, we're here to help! Each day, we'll be posting a special extra clue on our social media sites: Albany Archives, Discover Albany, Downtown Albany Business Improvement District, and All Over Albany, or search using the hashtag: #albanyispy.

The contest runs through July 18. And there are prizes from Cider Belly, Parish Public House, Wolff's, Bombers, the ValleyCats, The Olde English, and City Beer Hall.

This year's end-of-contest event -- where you can submit your answers -- is at the Parish Public House in downtown Albany on Saturday, July 18 from 1-3 pm with drink specials, and Albany history trivia.

(You can also email your answers -- details at the link above -- but only one entry submitted this way will win a prize in a drawing.)

AOA is a media sponsor of Albany I Spy

The week ahead

weird al 2015

Weird Al -- and his accordion, presumably -- will be at The Palace later this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (like summer), to spying history, to the ballet, to drama, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

ESP fireworks by Bennett Campbell

There's gonna be fireworks. / photo: Bennett Campbell

We're starting the weekend a little early. But we wouldn't leave you without stuff to do this weekend...

Happy 4th of July weekend.

There are plenty of options for celebrating Independence Day this weekend, from fireworks, to parades, to drive-ins, to swimming pools, to baseball games, to summer theater.

So grab your sunscreen, bug spray, and your umbrella (just in case), check out our list of stuff to do and go pursue some happiness. You deserve it!

Doing something you don't see on our list? Drop it in the comments.

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

(there's more)

The week ahead

dave matthews band bw

The Dave Matthews Band makes its seasonal migration back to 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 exactly July), to authors, to actors, to baseball players, to the Fourth of July, to music...

(there's more)

Capital Region Swimming Pools 2015

victoria pool large

The Victoria Pool at Saratoga Spa State Park is opening daily starting Saturday, June 27.

Pool season has arrived. Many municipal pools around the Capital Region have already opened, or will very soon.

After the jump, a list of town/city swimming pools (and state beaches) around the Capital Region with info about when they open, hours, and cost.

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

erykah badu

Erykah Badu headlines the Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC this weekend.

Into every weekend a little rain must fall. Well, not every weekend, but this weekend. Probably. Still, it's a weekend, it's the summer, and there is a long list of stuff to do in the Capital Region.

After the jump a few things you may want to check out.

Planning something you don't see here? Drop it in the comments so all of us can see.

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

(there's more)

Albany I Spy 2015

Albany I Spy 2015 promo

The popular Albany I Spy photo scavenger hunt from Albany Archives and the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau is returning for a third year. How it works:

Step 1: Download the form [from the Albany I Spy site] on July 6
This is your Master Albany I Spy Clue Sheet. Sounds important, right? It is! Be sure to write your name and contact information where indicated because this is how we will contact the winners.
Step 2: Set your course
You'll use the clues on this form to identify the mystery landmarks. Then, set your course each day - or wait for one spectacular day - to head to downtown Albany to spy and write the name of the landmark on your Master Clue Sheet.
Step 3: Get extra clues
Stumped? Don't worry, we're here to help! Each day, we'll be posting a special extra clue on our social media sites: Albany Archives, Discover Albany, Downtown Albany Business Improvement District, and All Over Albany, or search using the hashtag: #albanyispy.

The contest runs through July 18. This year's end-of-contest event is at the Parish Public House in downtown Albany on Saturday, July 18 from 1-3 pm. There will be prizes (we've seen the list -- they're good), along with drink specials, and Albany history trivia.

You can also email your answers to admin |at| albanyarchives |dot| com, but only one entry submitted this way will win a prize in a drawing.

Rail, River, Hudson II update

rail river hudson composite for 2015 promo

Rail, River, Hudson -- July 11. Tickets are limited.

Update: Sold out!

We're a little more than two weeks away from the All Over Albany Rail, River, Hudson II adventure, and plans for a great day are shaping up nicely.

If you've been meaning to get your tickets, now would be a good time. Last year's event sold out, and space for this year's trip is limited.

In addition to the Amtrak trip, Dutch Apple sunset cruise, cocktail party at Helsinki Hudson, and other fun surprises, Sweet Sue's of Troy will be catering the trip home.

Here's a look at the menu she's planning:

+ Moroccan Lamb Sliders with Taziki and Arugula
+ Chicken Salad w/ Walnut Cranberry, Dill
+ Mustard Egg Salad
+ Tuna Salad w/ pickled Onion
+ Summer Rice Paper and Lettuce Wraps with Sesame and Nori (V,GF)
+ Merlot Poached Pears and Plums with Almonds, Cherve, and Apricote Vinigarette (V,GF)
+ Chilled Strawberries, Honey, Pine Nuts and Mint with Spinach Chiffinod (V,GF)

Oh, and homemade strawberry shortcake.

The price for the entire day -- round trip tickets, tastings, party, and dinner -- is just $65 per ticket, thanks to our sponsors. You'll find them listed below.

Need more incentive? Here's a look at last year's trip.

Sponsors

rail_river_hudson_sponsor_badges_175.jpgThis event is possible thanks to the following sponsors:

+ Dutch Apple Cruise lines

+ Amtrak®

+Capital District Physicians Health Plan

+ CDTA: The Capital District Transportation Authority.

+ Hudson Development Corporation

+ Columbia County Tourism

+ Hudson River Greenway

+Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau

+ Downtown Troy Business Improvement District

+ Columbia County Chamber of Commerce

+ Hudson River Exchange

+ Nine Pin Cider Works

+ The Lofts at Harmony Mills

+ The Honest Weight Food Co-op

+ Helsinki Hudson

+ The Downtown Albany Business Improvement District

ValleyCats open home season this week

tri-city valleycats night game at the joe

The Joe

The Tri-City ValleyCats open their 2015 home season Thursday evening at The Joe. They'll be facing the Staten Island Yankees in the first of a three-game series. (If it seems like the season started a little late, it's probably because the team played its first six games on the road.)

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 Hunter Pence, Ben Zobrist, Jose Altuve, George Springer, and most recently, Vincent Velazquez (who made his debut for Houston this month).

Many of the Astros top draft picks -- especially older players out of college -- end up being assigned to the ValleyCats. And this year should be no different.

Tickets start at $5.75 if you buy ahead of time, so it can be relatively cheap night out. The Joe -- er, Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College -- is a nice venue. And, this being minor league baseball, there are a bunch of promotions and wacky theme nights.

The week ahead

J Roddy Walston and The Business

J. Roddy Walston & The Business are headlining Alive at Five this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (summery), to ballin', to garden touring, to baseball, to music festivals...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

troy river street festival 2013 wide

River Fest is back in Troy Saturday.

Spring officially turns to summer this weekend. Whoo-hoo!

Got plans?

After the jump, our weekly collection of stuff to do with your weekend.

Planning something you doing see here? Drop it in the comments so the rest of us can see.

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

(there's more)

"The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol" at The Hyde Collection

wigs andy warholAn exhibit of drawings by Andy Warhol -- The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol: 1973 - 1987 -- opens this weekend at The Hyde Collection. Blurbage (link added):

More than any other medium, drawing was essential to Andy Warhol's creative output. This exhibition, organized by The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, offers works created during on of the most prolific periods of his life employing a confident and fluid contour line to depict some of the same motifs of his iconic paintings: celebrity portraits, flowers, and ads. Many of the drawings in this exhibition are on view to the public for the first time.

Opening night for the exhibit is this Saturday, June 20 from 6:30-8 pm. It's $30 per person and includes hors d'oeurves, wine, and beer.

The exhibit will be open as part of general museum admission on Sunday. It will be on display through September 27.

image: Andy Warhol, Wigs $8.95, ca. 1983. ©AWF

Winslow Homer
Also opening Sunday: Homer's America: Selections from the Permanent Collection, "a selection of approximately two dozen works, including engravings, etchings, and paintings that focus on the artist's chronicling of American life."

Earlier on AOA:
+ Day trip: Glens Falls and The Hyde Collection
+ Eating in Glens Falls: 5-10-15-20

Basilica Soundscape 2015 music lineup

perfume genius 2015

Perfume Genius (AKA Mike Hadreas) is among the acts.

This year's Basilica Soundscape festival at Basilica Hudson is September 11-13. And the initial music lineup for this is now out:

Haxan Cloak
Wolf Eyes
Health
Actress
Jenny Hval
Viet Cong
Weyes Blood
Circuit Des Yeux
Perfume Genius
Blanck Mass
Gourisankar & Indrijat Banajeer

There's more yet to be announced. Past festivals have included visual arts, performance art, readings, and food. Blurbage:

This site-specific, weekend-long experimental music and art event draws unconventional connections, parallels and collaborations between a diverse array of artists, presented by Basilica Hudson's Founders and Creative Directors Melissa Auf der Maur and Tony Stone in collaboration with Pitchfork Managing Editor Brandon Stosuy and Brian DeRan of Leg Up Management.

Basilica Hudson is a converted factory space near the train station in Hudson.

Early bird weekend passes are currently $60, and available online. Last year's festival sold out, so it's probably a good idea to get tickets sooner rather than later if you'd like to go.

photo via Matador Records

Drawing: Prize pack for Shmaltz "Two Beer Fests in One" celebration

shmaltz brewing beer glasses sky

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

Shmaltz Brewing Company is celebrating the second anniversary of its Clifton Park brewery with a "Two Beer Fests in One" party June 27. Blurbage:

First Feature - Session Beers from around New York State
Second Feature - Double IPAs and Imperial Beers from New York State Brewers
Confirmed Breweries Include: Rushing Duck, Rare Form, Keegan Ales, Speakeasy, Brown's Brewing Company, Paradox Brewing Co., Common Roots, Adirondack Brewing, CH Evans, and more to come...
You'll also find all of Shmaltz Beers Including double IPA's, rare, barrel-aged and cask offerings and brewery tours.
Proceeds to benefit the New York State Brewers Assoication
Rock and Soul by SIRSY- "A Little Band with Big Sound" Boston Globe
Bring your appetite for great beer and delicious food because we'll have plenty of comfort food from THE RUCK and ESPERANTO'S of Saratoga.

We have a prize pack for the party to give away that includes: a pair of tickets to the party, a growler, a $20 gift certificate to the Shmaltz tasting room, a $25 Esperanto gift certificate, along with assorted Shmaltz bottles, a pint glass, a bottle opener, and t-shirt.

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

What's on your local "must do" list of summer things this year?

It could be a day trip somewhere. It could be hiking a specific Adirondack mountain. It could be just hanging out by the pool. We'll draw one winner at random.

The Shmaltz Brewing Company "Double Feature" 2nd Anniversary Party is Saturday, June 27 from 1-5 pm. Tickets are $25 general admission / $15 designated driver, and available online.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Thursday, June 18, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Friday and must respond by noon on Monday, June 22.

Huck Finn's Playland set to open this week

Huck Finn's Playland posted this clip of the relocated rides in action on its FB page last week.

The new Huck Finn's Playland -- which, as you know, includes the rides moved over from the now-closed Hoffman's Playland -- is set to open this Thursday, June 18 from 5-9 pm, according to its website. (And it sounds like that's weather dependent, too.)

Regular hours -- Monday-Sunday noon-9 pm -- will start Friday, June 19.

Ride tickets are $1.75 / 8 for $12.25 / 25 for $29.95, and they're available online.

The new playland is at 25 Erie Boulevard in Albany, just north the Huck Finn's Warehouse furniture store. (You can see some of the rides from 787.)

Earlier on AOA: What I'll miss about Hoffman's Playland (2013)

The week ahead

Kinky Boots touring production 2015

Kinky Boots 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 (onward June), to stories, to shows, to weirdos, to comedian, to all sorts of music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Capital Pride Drag Queens Sebastien Barre.jpg

Albany's Pride Parade and Festival is Saturday in and around Washington Park. / photo: Sebastien B

What's up? It's the weekend. That's right.

Time to do some fun stuff. But what fun stuff to do?

Well, our list is after the jump. If you're planning something you don't see here, drop it in the comments and share with the rest of us.

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

(there's more)

Found Footage Festival 2015

The Found Footage Festival tour returns to Proctors June 17. Tickets are $9 and on sale now.

What is the Found Footage Festival. Well, look at this blurbage that we found in our inbox:

The Found Footage Festival is a one-of-a-kind event showcasing videos found at garage sales and thrift stores and in warehouses and dumpsters throughout North America. Curators Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher take audiences on a guided tour of their latest and greatest VHS finds, providing live commentary and where-are-they-now updates on the people in these videotaped obscurities. From the curiously-produced industrial training video to the forsaken home movie donated to Goodwill, the Found Footage Festival resurrects these forgotten treasures and serves them up in a lively celebration of all things found.
Among the clips featured in the Found Footage Festival's Salute to Weirdos:
+ An arts & crafts instructional video by a woman who is psychotically enthusiastic about sponge painting.
+ A montage of exercise video weirdos, including Angela Lansbury, Traci Lords and a bearded hippie named Zar.
+ Highlights from 24 years of public access TV weirdos, featuring a woman singing about hairdressers, a speedo-wearing man dancing for elderly people and a piano-playing rabbit.
+ Consummate weirdo Arnold Schwarzenegger in a 1983 travel video called "Carnival In Rio," seductively feeding a woman a carrot.

The show starts at 8 pm on Wednesday, June 17. Also: "For Mature Audiences Only."

Drawing: Hidden City House & Garden Tour + Lark Street goodies

HAF Garden Tour .jpg

One of the gardens on this year's tour was frequented by FDR while he was Governor.

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The Historic Albany Foundation's annual Hidden City House & Garden Tour is coming up in and around the Center Square neighborhood. Beautiful, historic homes and gardens will open as people go on a self-guided tour through the streets around Lark Street.

AOA has a pair of tickets for the tour -- and a basket of Lark Street goodies -- to give away. The prize package includes:

+ A pair of tickets to the Hidden City House & Garden Tour
+ Three $20 gift certificates to The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark (gift certificates must be used separately)
+ Two $5 gift cards to The Brakes Coffee House on Lark Street.
+ A bottle of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut champagne from Capital Wine at the corner of State and Lark.

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

Hidden gardens are lovely. What else is lovely?

We pass by things that are lovely everyday. If we're used to them, we may not notice, but sometimes they stop us in our tracks. Tell us about something you find lovely. Bonus points
if you tell us what makes it lovely in your eyes.

We'll draw one winner at random.

The Hidden City House & Garden Tour is Thursday, June 25 from 5-8 pm. The tour includes historic homes, backyard gardens, and some community gardens that are part of Capital Roots. Advance tickets are $15 and available online. After June 20, tickets are $20.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Thursday, June 11, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Friday and must respond by noon on Monday, June 15.

Pick your own strawberry season 2015

strawberries box strawberry field samascott

So very June.

Strawberry season is here! Many local farms have recently opened for pick-your-own strawberries, or will be very shortly.

It seems like there's a fair amount of variability across farms this year -- some have gotten an early jump and others are still waiting for their berries. If we get a few sunny days following this rain, things could move along quickly.

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!

(there's more)

New York Capital District Renaissance Festival 2015

New York Capital District Renaissance Festival joust

The New York Capital District Renaissance Festival returns for a second year at Indian Ladder Farms this weekend. Blurbage:

The New York Capital District Renaissance Festival, a two day event, will feature over 30 craft and food vendors, and more than a dozen acts on five stages. Entertainment includes performances involving sword play, Shakespearean acting and musical acts. Special programming for children include: A Pirate Initiation Ceremony; The Princess and the Pea Mashup Puppet Show; and Dragons and Dreams science show, and more. A royal joust will be held twice each day.

Not just any old joust -- a royal joust.

The festival is this Saturday and Sunday (June 13 and 14) 11 am-6 pm. Pre-event tickets are $10 adults / $3.50 for kids (ages 3-12) -- they're $12 for adults, $5 for kids day of (and free for kids 2 and under).

As mentioned, last year was the first year for the festival in Altamont. If you attended, we're curious to hear how it was.

photo via New York Capital District Renaissance Festival

The week ahead

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman 2015

The Bad Plus + Joshua Redman are the headliners for the first Alive at Five concert of the season this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (June-like), to film, to Pride, to summer free concerts, to all sorts of music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

victoria pool large

Victoria Pool season begins on Saturday

It's the weekend and there is plenty to do.

After the jump, a few options we thought you might enjoy.

Doing something you don't see here? Drop it in the comments for the rest of us to see.

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

(there's more)

Rail, River, Hudson II

rail river hudson composite for 2015 promo

Last summer's Rail, River, Hudson trip was such a good time, we thought we'd try it again. And we'd love for you to come along.

What is Rail, River Hudson?

On Saturday, July 11 AOA will lead a group of people to Hudson via Amtrak and back home on a sunset cruise on the Dutch Apple. In between there will be plenty of time to explore this fun and historic city, plus tastings and dinner.

Tickets are on sale now. (Last year's trip sold out.)

There are more details after the jump, but these photos from last year's trip will give you a good sense of what to expect.

(there's more)

NYS Summer Writers Institute 2015

author claire messud

Claire Messud is on the authors who's part of this year's series. / photo via Claire Messud FB

This summer's schedule for the New York State Writers Institute's public readings series in Saratoga Springs is out. And as usual, the lineup is full of names you'll recognize, such as Michael Ondaajte, Claire Messud, Joyce Carol Oates, and William Kennedy.

The readings are on Skidmore's campus and are free and open to the public.

Let's get to it...

(there's more)

Yo La Tengo at Troy Music Hall

yo la tengo 2015

Revered indie rock band Yo La Tengo is set to play the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall September 23. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday (June 5) -- they're $15/$27/$34.

The band has a new album coming out in August. Tour blurbage:

On August 28, we'll be releasing the new Yo La Tengo album, 'Stuff Like That There', a 14 song collection of covers, originals and reworking(s) (see below) that happens to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the band's landmark 1990 album, 'Fakebook'. Recorded with Gene Holder, 'Stuff Like That There' has the trio of Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew augmented by the guitarist and former Yo La Tengo member Dave Schramm, with James negotiating the wonders of the upright bass for the first time. This specific fearsome foursome -- playing material from 'Stuff Like That There' and maybe, possibly/probably (we really don't dictate repertoire around here) 'Fakebook' will kick off a world tour on September 23 in Troy, NY. These will almost certainly be your only opportunities to see Yo La Tengo take the stage in this particular format ...

The show on Wednesday, September 23 starts at 8 pm.

Albany Tea Festival

Overit 1.jpgThe first Albany Tea Festival is set for this Friday evening at the Overit building in Albany. Organizers are touting the event as "the Capital Region's leading experts on tea in one room."

Speakers topics include kitchen herbals, ginseng, fermentation, making cold brew and iced teas, and tea trivia.

The lineup of local vendors includes Short and Stout Tea Co (Guilderland), Divintea (Schenectady), The Whistling Kettle (Ballston Spa and Troy), and The Brakes (Albany).

The Albany Tea Festival is Friday, June 5 from 5:30-9 pm at Overit (435 New Scotland in Albany). Admission is free.

Earlier on AOA: Capital Region spots for tea snobs (2013)

Tech Valley Game Space: River Jam

TVGS River Jam FlyerOne of the projects in the recent AOA Startup Grant competition that really caught our interest was the Tech Valley Game Space, a Troy-based project aimed at opening the world of video game creation to a wider group of people.

TVGS has a public event coming up this month called River Jam, "a free, 'learn to make a game in 48 hours' event tailored for first time game makers who identify as women." Blurbage:

The first event in the #include series will be River Jam - a free, 48 hour "game jam" that will be held at The Arts Center in Troy starting on the same day as River Fest (Saturday, June 20th) and continuing throughout the weekend. The jam will also be preceded by an optional "intro to game development" workshop that will take place over the prior weekend (June 13th-14th), also at The Arts Center. While the jam is open to all participants, the primary goal for this event is to encourage first time game makers who identify as women to sign up. As such, participants that meet this criteria will be given priority in the event that spaces are limited.
In addition to making an effort to reach out to participants who identify as women, we are also seeking women to help serve as voluntary mentors and provide guidance to the jammers. If you are a local developer that would be willing to contribute some time to help provide expertise and support during River Jam, please send a message to info@techvalleygamespace.com with a brief summary of your background and availability during the weekend of the jam.

River Jam is just one of the upcoming events organized by TVGS -- others include showcases and book-club-like gathering but for video games.

The TVGS co-working studio is at 291 River St. in downtown Troy.

The week ahead

historian david mccullough

Famed historian David McCullough will be in town this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (weird start for June), to poetry, to history, to film, to art, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Freihofers Run for Women 2010

The Friehofer Run for Women is on new course this year through downtown Albany.

Wait, what? It's the weekend? Already.

Haven't made a plan yet? No worries.

We've pulled together our weekly (weekend-ly?) list after the jump.

Got something planned you don't see there? Drop it in the comments so the rest of us can see.

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

(there's more)

GE Realty Plot tour 2015

GE Realty Plot tour 2015The GE Realty Plot Home & Garden Tour returns this year on Jun 6 and 7. Tickets are $25 and available at a handful of locations listed at that link.

The plot is just east of the Union College campus. General Electric bought it at the end of the 1800s and it was subdivided as a neighborhood for company executives. The design of the neighborhood was inspired by New York's Central Park.

The tour has been offered sporadically in recent years -- the last one was 2013 -- but it sounds like the plan is to now offer it biennially.

This year's tour includes six homes. A listing is after the jump.

Albany tour
Just a reminder that the annual Hidden City House and Garden Tour in/near Albany's Center Square neighborhood is set for Thursday, June 25 from 5-8 pm. Tickets are $15 through June 19 and are available online.

(there's more)

The New Pornographers at Bearsville

new pornographers band

A bit farther afield, but they never seem to stop here: The New Pornographers are set to play The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock July 9. Tickets go on sale this Friday (May 29) -- they're $35.

The New Pornographers are an indie "supergroup" -- sort of a Canadian indie rock Avengers -- that includes A.C. Newman, John Collins, Blaine Thurier, Dan Bejar, Kathryn Calder, Neko Case, and Todd Fancey. They first assembled in 1999 in Vancouver -- bright, pop-y rock ensued.

Neko Case (who's obviously a superhero) has since become a big indie star in her own right, which has kept her from touring with the group sometimes. We can't figure out if she'll be at the Woodstock show. (Maybe you know.)

Openers for the show are Thao and The Get Down Stay Down

photo via The New Pornographers website

The week ahead

Pippin Sasha Allen and the cast 2015

A touring production of Pippin 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 (very summer), to Memorial Day, to Pippin, to the Warehouse District, to art, to speakers, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Moreau Lake State Park Beach

State park beaches open this weekend.

Congratulations, you've reached the weekend. And for many of you, it's three days long because of Memorial Day on Monday.

If you're looking for a few things to do, we've collected a few things you might like and posted them after the jump.

Doing something you don't see listed here? Drop it in the comments section so everyone can see.

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

(there's more)

Music Haven 2015 lineup

Red Baraat band

Red Baraat will be there in July. (Their music is really fun.)

Here's the lineup for this summer's Music Haven concert series in Schenectady's Central Park, which is now in its 26th season. The Sunday evening series starts up June 26 28.

One of the things that sets Music Haven apart from the other summer series is that it tends to focus on world, jazz, and roots music. And this year is no different.

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Troy River Fest Street Painting Competition 2015 registration open

Sidewalk chalk Troy River Street Festival 2013

The Troy River Fest* is back in downtown Troy June 20, and that means the return of the Street Painting Competition organized by the Arts Center of the Capital Region. The contest, in which artists create panels on the sidewalk, is one of our favorite parts of the festival.

Registration is now open for this year's contest. It's $15 to enter, which includes a set of chalk. There are four judging categories: adult, grades 9-12, grades 6-8, and grades 1-5. The competition is limited to 40 participants, so it's a good idea to pre-register. And be sure to read the guidelines.

Here are a bunch of entries from 2013.

(* This festival has been called the Troy River Street Festival in years past. This is first time we've noticed it's now called the Troy River Fest.)

At the Plaza 2015

at the plaza 2015

On the schedule: The Vaccines, Maxi Priest, and Monsters University.

Updated

The slate of summer events at/near the Empire State Plaza is out. It includes the usual mix of concerts, festivals, and movie screenings.

One change this year: The events that typically would have been held on the State Museum end of the plaza will be on the Capitol end of the plaza this year because of the ongoing construction on the State Museum steps.

OK, let's get to the schedule...

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The week ahead

welcome to night vale live show

A live stage show from the popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast is at The Egg Monday night.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (familiar), to small town conspiracies, to sushi, to the Warehouse Districts, to hidden gardens, to music...

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Stuff to do this weekend

20041-SLOC-Spamalot-PROMO+LR.jpg

Spamalot at SLOC: Always look on the bright side of life...

Of all the weekends in all the world, we walked into this one.

And we're glad we did. Lots of sunshine, temperatures around the 80 degree mark, and a long list of springtime stuff to do.

After the jump, a few items we thought might interest you. Planning something else? Tell us about it in the comments.

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

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Alive at Five 2015 lineup

atlas genius bw

Atlas Genius is one of the acts that will be making a stop back in town for Alive at Five.

The lineup for this year's Alive at Five series in Albany is out. As in years past, each date has a headliner and opening, often local, act.

The Thursday evening free concert series at Jennings Landing along the Hudson River in downtown Albany starts June 11. Each shows begins at (surprise) 5 pm.

Let's get to it...

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Ultimate Field Day at The Joe

ultimate field day 2015 posterAn event called Ultimate Field Day will be at The Joe Saturday, June 13. It's pretty much what it sounds like: a collection of "field day" type challenges -- but for adults. Blurbage:

You and a team of three of your coworkers, friends, or family test your skills in a series of non contact sports challenges. QB 2 Minute Drill, Tug-A-War, Soccer Shootout, Obstacle Course, Hoops Shot From The Sports, Cornhole Express, Music, BBQ & Beverages. Includes T-Shirt, Medal and No Permission Slips Needed!

The day has three sessions: 9 am-11 am, noon-2 pm, and 3 pm-5 pm. Registration is currently $29 for the early and late sessions, $39 for the midday session. (And $19 for participants under age 18.)

As you know, "The Joe" is Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College.

StoryCorps founder at The Mahaiwe

storycorps logoDave Isay -- the founder of StoryCorps, AKA, the Morning Edition segment most likely to make you get a little teary -- will be at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington August 5. Tickets are on sale now -- they start at $25.

Along with Isay's appearance, there will be opportunity for people to record their own stories. Blurbage:

In conjunction with the Isay event, the Mahaiwe and Great Barrington Fair Grounds will sponsor a three-day opportunity (August 7 though 9) for local people to interview and record stories with loved ones--both through a formal StoryCorps recording process and through supported use of the newly-launched StoryCorps mobile app.

It sounds like details on how to sign up aren't quite ready, yet -- so keep an eye out for them if you're interested.

As you know, Great Barrington is just over the Massachusetts border, about an hour drive from Albany.

Lyle Lovett + John Hiatt at Troy Music Hall

John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett 2015

Hiatt and Lovett

Singer/songwriters Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt are set to play a show at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall October 6. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday (May 15) -- they're $38 and up.

Lovett and Hiatt have been playing shows together for years, including stops in the Capital Region in 2008 and 2011. The upcoming show in Troy is being billed as "an acoustic evening."

Those local Lovett/Hiatt shows in past years have sold out, so if you're interested in going, it's probably a good idea to get tickets sooner rather than later.

Proctors 2015-2016 season

carey elwes 2015

You'd like another chance to see Cary Elwes talk about making The Princess Bride? As you wish.

Proctors announced a bunch of new shows Monday for the next year -- some 60 in all. (We had to admit we didn't count.) And tickets are now on sale for them.

Here are a few that caught our eye on the first scan through the schedule...

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Troy Rockin' on the River 2015

troy rockin on river green island bridge 2012-06-20

The schedule for this summer's Rockin' on the River concert series in downtown Troy is out. The free Wednesday night series starts up June 10.

And here's the lineup of acts...

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The week ahead

capital rep hamlet

Capital Rep's production of Hamlet has been extended later this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (turbulent start), to lions and tigers, to stories, to architecture, to cooking, to music...

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Stuff to do this weekend

the kooks smiling

The Kooks are the music headliners for this weekend's Tulip Festival.

The tulips are in bloom, the bands are ready to play. and all around Washington Park the scent of funnel cake and fried Oreos pervades the air.

After the jump, a list of stuff to do this weekend from tulips and chalk drawings to music and drive-in movies.

Doing something you don't see on our list? Drop it in the comment section for everyone to see.

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

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Upbeat on the Roof 2015

rosary beard

Rosary Beard will be one of the acts up on the roof this summer.

The Upbeat on the Roof Friday evening music series returns to the Tang Museum at Skidmore this summer. And there's a strong lineup this year -- the schedule is post jump. It starts up in July this year.

The concerts are all on the roof of the Tang (thus the name). And they're free.

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Drawing: Mamma Mia! at Proctors + Aperitivo

MamaMia tour photo

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

A touring production of the musical Mamma Mia! will be at Proctors May 15 and 16. We have a pair of tickets for opening night and we're giving them away. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE. The winner will also get a $50 gift certificate for Aperitivo Bistro, which is just down the street from the theater.

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

The musical Mamma Mia! was a comeback of sorts for ABBA. So what's something you'd like to see make a comeback in the Capital Region?

We'll pick one winner at random. That person gets the tickets the opening night tickets and the gift certificate.

Mamma Mia! includes ABBA's greatest hits, including "Dancing Queen," "S.O.S.," "Super Trouper," "Take A Chance on Me" and "The Winner Takes It All." The production will be at Proctors for three performances: May 15 at 8 pm, and May 16 at 1 pm and 7 pm. Tickets are $20 and up.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Thursday, May 7, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Friday and must respond by noon on May 11.

photo: Kevin Thomas Garcia

Troy Hidden Garden Tour 2015

troy hidden garden tour promo imageThe annual Hidden Garden Tour in Troy returns Thursday, May 21 from 4-7:30 pm. Tickets are currently available online -- they're $10.

This is the 16th year for the event, which is self-guided walking tour of backyard gardens in the districts around the Sage and Washington Park in downtown Troy. The tour is rain or shine.

Proceeds from the tour benefit the Friends of Prospect Park. There will also be a dinner benefit for the org at Carmen's that evening from 6-8:30 pm. It's $33 for a prix fixe menu.

Albany tour
The annual Hidden City House and Garden Tour in/near Albany's Center Square neighborhood is set for Thursday, June 25 from 5-8 pm. Tickets are currently $15 and will be available online soon.

photo via Friends of Prospect Park

Mythbusters at Proctors

mythbusters jamie and adam

Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage

The live show MythBusters Jamie & Adam UNLEASHED! will be at Proctors November 24. Tickets go on sale this Friday (May 8) -- they're $20 and up.

So, obviously, this show is based on the popular Mythbusters TV series, and Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage are the hosts. Show blurbage:

MythBusters Jamie & Adam UNLEASHED! presents a fantastical evening of on-stage experiments, audience participation, exciting videos, and behind-the-scenes stories. With this show, fans join Jamie and Adam onstage to assist in their mind-blowing and mind-twisting approaches to science. MythBusters Jamie & Adam UNLEASHED! brings you face-to-face with the curious world of Jamie and Adam as the duo matches wits on stage with each other and members of the audience. Jamie Hyneman has announced that he will end touring with the live show this year.

The Proctors show is at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, November 24.

David McCullough at State Education Building

historian david mccullough

Another opportunity to see David McCullough next month: The famed historian will be at the State Education building in Albany for a public event June 3 presented by the New York State Archives Partnership Trust. Tickets for the event are $15 and available via The Egg box office.

McCullough will be receiving the 2015 Empire State Archives and History Award. And he'll talking about "his career as a writer, historian, lecturer and narrator" with Harold Holzer (who is, of course, also a noted historian).

The event is Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at 7:30pm in the Chancellors Hall of the State Education Building, just across Washington Ave from the Capitol. (There's also a VIP reception ahead of the event for a $75 ticket.) We would not be surprised if this event sells out, so gets tickets sooner rather than later if you'd like to go.

Saratoga Springs: David McCullough will also be appearing at an event June 2 at the Saratoga City Center to talk about his new book about the Wright brothers (as mentioned last week). Tickets for that event are $40 (one seat, one book) and $50 (two seats, one book).

photo: William B. McCullough

David McCullough at Saratoga City Center

david mccullough the wright brothers

Famed author/historian David McCullough will be at the Saratoga City Center June 2 for a talk about his new book The Wright Brothers. Tickets are $40 (one seat, one book) / $50 (two seats, one book) and on sale now.

The event is part of the Off the Shelf series organized by Northshire Bookstore and WAMC. McCullough will be talking on stage with WAMC's Joe Donahue.

Book blurbage:

In this thrilling book, master historian David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers' story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them.

The event at the City Center is Tuesday, June 2 at 7 pm.

Jane Smiley
Another Northshire author event coming up: Pulitzer Prize-winner Jane Smiley will be at the Saratoga Springs store June 5 for a conversation with Issac Pulver, chair of the Saratoga Springs Public Library. Tickets are $5 and redeemable for a $5 discount on Smiley's novel Early Warning.

photo: William B. McCullough

Stuff to do this weekend

Troy Waterfront Farmers Market River Street

May marks the return of the outside farmers' markets in the Capital Region.

Did someone order a perfect spring weekend?

Well, you order is up -- along with a heaping side of stuff to do.

Throw open your windows, let some fresh air into the house, and check out our list of weekend options. Planning something you don't see here? Share it in the comments so the rest of us can see.

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

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Drawing: Mayweather-Pacquiao at Wolff's

Floyd_Mayweather_Jr_vs._Manny_Pacquiao_at_Wolff's.jpgDrawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao boxing match -- "the Fight of the Century" -- is this Saturday evening. It's been getting a lot of hype, even beyond the sport of boxing. And it's on pay per view.

So, people will be gathering in various places to catch the match. Among the local spots are both Wolff's Biergarten locations, in Albany and Schenectady. We have a pair of tickets for the evening at Wolff's -- including two wurst plates + two liters of beer -- and we're giving them away.

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

What are you fighting for?

As with all these sorts of questions, we're interpreting "fighting" very broadly -- it could be fighting for a cause, fighting for a better job, or even fighting the weeds for a better yard. So, it could anything.

We'll draw one winner at random. That person gets the pair of tickets, along with the food and beer, at one of your choice of Wolff's locations.

Tickets for viewing the match are Wolff's are $20 each and available online.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 1 pm on Friday, May 1, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 2 pm on Friday and must respond by 8 pm that day.

"Stick It To Hunger" stick ball tournament 2015

stickball tournament 2015The "Stick It To Hunger" stick ball tournament, hosted by DeFazio's, is returning to Troy's Little Italy neighborhood this Sunday. Blurbage:

Join us Sunday, May 3rd for our 7th annual Stickball Tournament at the Little Italy Marketplace! Blue Hand Luke will perform from 2:00-4:30pm! Also, the Montreal Circus Group will be performing during the day! All you need to enter is a non-perishable food donation! We will have our wood fired oven setup and we encourage everyone to bring their own beverages. If you would like to enter a stickball or bocce team in the tournament please email Matt at defaziospizza@gmail.com. ...

The tournament is from 11 am to 5 pm.

Last year the event raised about $14k in donations, and this year it's aiming to raise $20,000 for Joseph's House and other local food pantries.

GameFest 2015

rpi gamefest 2015 posterReturning to EMPAC this weekend: GameFest. What is GameFest? Blurbage:

GameFest at Rensselaer is an annual celebration of creativity and innovation in digital games, with a student showcase and competition, music performances, and presentations from veteran game designers, critics, scholars, and indie developers.
Since 2003, GameFest has grown into a regional event that brings together game design students from schools throughout the Northeast, with a competition judged by industry experts. 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.

This year's event, which runs Friday evening through Saturday, includes:

+ A discussion about games for purposes beyond entertainment.

+ A concert featuring "game music, chiptunes, livecoding, circuitbending, beats, and interactive visuals from this eclectic collective of DJ's, musicians, and video artists."

+ The game design showcase with work from students from eight colleges and universities.

+ A keynote by James Portnow, "a game designer and consultant known for his theories on socially positive design."

Here's the full schedule. It's free and open to the public.

Fork in the Road lineup

food truckThe first Fork in the Road food truck event in Albany's Tricentennial Park is this Friday from 4-8 pm (as mentioned). Here's the lineup of confirmed trucks for Friday, via the Downtown Albany BID:

Emack & Bolio's Ice Cream
The Chuck Wagon
The Hungry Traveler
Sweet Mama Mia
Wandering Dago

And confirmed vendors for the park:

72 Pearls Thrift Store
Kernal Cravings
Irish American Heritage Museum
Denise Poutre (artist)
Mary Elise Rees Event Design
Meghan Ruch (artist)

Earlier on AOA: Albany food truck pilot program for summer 2015 to include up to 25 trucks

The week ahead

capital rep hamlet

Capital Rep's production of Hamlet continues 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 at all), to the Prince of Denmark, to A Taste of Albany, to the circus, to food trucks, to music...

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Stuff to do this weekend

Electric City Couture 2015 promo

Electric City Couture, Saturday at Universal Preservation Hall.

Ready, set... weekend.

There is no shortage of things going on in the Capital Region this weekend. You may not have time to do them all, but after the jump, we pulled together a few we thought you might want to try.

Got something planned that didn't make our list? Share it in the comments so the rest of us can see.

And whatever you're planning, have a fantastic weekend!

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Urban Raid, Color Me Rad return for 2015

urban raid albany 2014

From last year's Urban Raid 5k in Albany.

The Urban Raid 5k obstacle course will be back in downtown Albany September 12. Registration currently starts at $30. Blurbage:

Starting and finishing inside the Times Union Center the 3.1 mile Urban RAID course will take racers past the Capitol, Lincoln Park and other Albany landmarks. Along the way runners will be asked to complete a series of 10-12 massive obstacles including a two-story high Cargo Climb, Marine Hurdles, Ropes and the signature RAID Series Wall. Post-race, a consumer festival will be held right on the Times Union floor featuring music, a sponsor village, and the Shocktop Beer Garden!
Urban RAID Albany is open to men and women of all fitness levels over the age of 16 who desire a new challenge. In addition to open age divisions for both male and female racers, Urban RAID Albany also welcomes teams made up of a 3-10 racers.

"Consumer festival" is a new term to us.

Silvia ran the race last year -- here's her recap.

More odd 5k-type events

+ As mentioned, the Insane Inflatable 5k will be back in Ballston Spa September 5.

+ The Color Me Rad 5k will be back at Saratoga Spa State Park October 4. (This event sold out last year.)

+ This isn't a 5k, but it's sort of in the same category: A event called Slide the City is planning to make a stop in the Albany area this year. From what we can tell, it's basically a 1000-foot-long slip 'n slide. The date hasn't been announced yet (but August 8 looks like a good bet).

screengrab: Raid Series Youtube

Spring plant sales 2015

cornell cooperative extension albany county plant sale 2013

The garden education day/plant sale at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Vorheesville is always popular.

As the April rain falls and the grass regains its green, we're thinking about all the things that will be growing soon. And maybe some of those things will be growing in your garden.

Here's a quick list of some upcoming plant sales...

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Events for Bike Month 2015

bike pedal mediumMay is almost here, and that means Bike Month events. Here are a few...

Albany Bike Expo 2015
The Albany Bike Expo will be back at the Washington Park Lake House May 3 from 10 am-4 pm. The event is organized by the Albany Bicycle Coalition. Admission is free.

The event includes tables from bike shops, bike clubs, and advocacy orgs, along with some food vendors and music. Past years have also included a sidewalk sale of bike equipment.

Troy Bike Rescue BikeFest
The 5th annual Troy Bike Rescue BikeFest is May 30 from 5-8 pm at the Sanctuary for Independent Media.

The day includes a family fun ride, bike info, music, burritos, and cake. Tickets start at $10 and are available online.

The week ahead

they might be giants 2015

From the outside I am thinking / I'm a number, not a man / From the outside I am thinking / What were they thinking?

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (April showers), to wrestling, to Lebowski, to Hamlet, to the machine, to gardening, to music...

(there's more)

Insane Inflatable 5k 2015

insane inflatable 5k obstacle

The Insane Inflatable 5k is set to return to the area September 5. The race with giant inflatable obstacles (like the one above) will be back at the Ellms Family Farm in Ballston Spa.

Registration for the race has already started -- it's currently $52 until June 12, and the price will rise every few weeks after that. The race releases people in waves at 15 minute increments, starting at 8:45 am through noon.

We get the impression this event was popular last year. And if that info on the race website is correct, it looks like it's already a little more than half full. So if you're interested in running it this year, it's probably a good idea to sign up sooner rather than later.

photo courtesy of Insane Inflatable 5k

AOA Startup Grant finalists presentations are this Monday

startup 2015 finalists preview composite

Just a quick reminder that the finalists presentations for the AOA Startup Grant are this coming Monday evening (April 20) at the College of Saint Rose. This is the first year the presentations are open to the public. It's free to attend -- we just ask that you pre-register.

The finalists for this year's grant are:

+ Jerzey's Dog Resort, a dog boarding and day care facility.

+ The Dutch Udder, an ice cream company.

+ Flower Scout, a floral design business and flower farm.

The finalists will be pitching their projects to the panel of judges in short presentations, and the judges will be asking the finalists a few questions. These interactions have been interesting in years past, as the judges get into topics like business structure, marketing, and how the business fits into a person's life.

The three judges who will be selecting this year's winner are:

+ Lissa D'Aquanni: director of community relations at the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region, and former small business owner.

+ Rhea Drysdale: founder and CEO of Troy-based online marketing firm Outspoken Media.

+ And, stepping in because of a scheduling conflict, Duncan Crary of Duncan Crary Communications.

The presentations are Monday, April 20 at 6:30 pm in the Science Center (993 Madison Ave) Room 369.

Thanks to Berkshire Bank for providing the prize money and to Staff Ciampino & Company P.C., Certified Public Accountants and The Huether School of Business at the College of Saint Rose for sponsoring the contest this year.

Stuff to do this weekend

beauty and the beast

Tale as old as time.

Psst. Hey, you. Yes... you. Guess what? It's the weekend.

Yep, at long last your weekend is here, and it's filled with potential. After the jump, a few thoughts on how to fulfill that potential.

Planning something you don't see here? Drop it in the comments so the rest of us can see.

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

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The 1780 Beer Challenge

1780 beer challenge logoThis could be fun: The Middleburgh Library, the Albany Ale Project, and Green Wolf Brewing Company are collaborating for an event called "The 1780 Beer Challenge and Revolutionary War Festival" on May 16 in Middleburgh. Event blurbage:

The day's activities include a Revolutionary War encampment, colonial brewing and cooking demonstrations, 18th century toys and games for kids, talks on the history of beer and hops in upstate New York and the Schoharie Valley, a Schoharie Valley hops display at the Library, beer samples from Green Wolf and MacKinnon Brothers, and Green Wolf brewery tours. Middleburgers BBQ and Under the Nose gift shop and bakery will be offering barbeque and baked goods for sale, and Craig Gravina and Alan McLeod will be selling and signing copies of their book Upper Hudson ValleyBeer. The day culminates in "The 1780 Beer Challenge", cask tapping and tasting!
The Albany Ale Project, Green Wolf Brewing Co., and MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co. have issued each other a challenge. A beer-infused re-enactment of the 1780 stand off in Middleburgh between New York's Loyalist raiders and the Albany County Militia--this time with hops, grain, and yeast, instead of muskets and cannons!
The Albany Ale Project's Craig Gravina, of Albany, is working with Green Wolf, while his partner--and Kingston, Ontario native--Alan McLeod is working with MacKinnon Brothers [Brewing Co. of Ontario] to create two Revolutionary War-era inspired beers--both made from locally-sourced, traditional late 18th-century ingredients and historical brewing techniques. The beers will be blind judged against each other by WNYT NewsChannel 13's morning anchor Phil Bayly, food and drinks writer Deanna Fox, and Middleburgh Library Director Teresa Pavoldi. The winner receives bragging rights and the official "1780 Beer Challenge Champion" barrelhead. The loser must hoist their opponent's flag in their respective brewery or taproom. There will also be a "People's Choice" vote for best beer.

The 1780 Beer Challenge is from 1-5 pm on Saturday, May 16. It's an all-ages event Tickets are $15 -- that includes beer sampling tickets and a Green Wolf sampler glass. Tickets for non-drinkers are $10. And kids under 15 are free.

And while you're out in Middleburgh, you can make your way up Vroman's Nose.

Earlier on AOA: Resurrecting a beer, and part of Albany's history

Drawing Up Central 2015

Drawing Up Central 2014 winner koi pondThe Drawing Up Central sidewalk art contest is back May 9. The grand prize for this year's contest is $500 cash.

Contest blurbage:

This community-wide event, which is part of the City of Albany's 67th Annual Tulip Festival, will feature artists from all over the region, competing for cash and prizes in a sidewalk chalk art contest. Join individuals, families, students, and organizations, and create your masterpiece, right on Central Avenue's sidewalks. Every participant will receive chalk and other materials as part of their registration. "Drawing Up Central" will be staffed by young people from Equinox's Youth Outreach Center. Providing youth at risk with opportunities to perform community service within their community and support local businesses is one of the positive development objectives of the center.
This year's contest will take place on Central Avenue, between N. Lake and Quail Street, in the heart of Albany's Midtown Grid. ...

The photo on the right is last year's grand prize-winning entry.

The contest is organized by the Central Avenue BID. Registration is $10 and available online at the link above.

photo: Central Avenue BID Twitter

Paul Grondahl on the O'Connell-Corning Machine

Dan O'Connell historical marker

"Uncle Dan" was a South End native.

Journalist/author/historian Paul Grondahl will be at the Albany Public Library's Howe Library April 21 for a talk titled "The O'Connell-Corning Machine: How it Controlled the South End to Uptown for Decades." The event is a fundraiser for the South End Improvement Corporation -- tickets are $25.

Grondahl is, of course, Albany-famous for his work with the Times Union. He also literally wrote the book on Erastus Corning II. Here's a clip from Grondahl's Mayor Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma about machine boss Dan O'Connell and one of the ways he exerted influence:

... Whatever slim thread of independence remained in the citizenry of Albany was co-opted by the machine. Dan O'Connell always said he wanted a thousand little jobs instead of a few big commissioner-level patronage positions. Everyone in Albany, it seemed, got a little slice of the patronage pie or was related to somebody who did. there were all the old fellas raking leaves in the park, the lift operators running automatic elevators in City Hall, the surfeit of janitors in the city's buildings, the plethora of laborers on county road crews, the scores of clerical workers tucked away in forgotten cubbyhole offices in city and county agencies. Freedman in his book The Inheritance recounts what has come to be seen as a classic symbol of machine payroll padding and patronage corruption: that Dan's Albany County courthouse required seventy-two janitors for six floors while the Empire State Building employed just sixty for its 102 floors. One estimate put the number of full- and part-time city and county jobs controlled by the machine at about 5,000 -- perhaps as high as fifteen percent of the county's entire adult workforce -- attesting to Dan's philosophy of spreading the patronage broadly. ...

The event at the Howe Library starts at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, April 21. You can get tickets online at the first link above.

Outstanding in the Field at Beekman 1802

outstanding in the fieldCould be worth the splurge if this is your sort of thing: The well-known Outstanding in the Field series of farm dinners will be at the Beekman 1802 farm in Sharon Springs August 20. The hosts are Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, AKA, The Beekman Boys (it's their farm). And the featured chef for the dinner will be John McCarthy from The Crimson Sparrow in Hudson.

What is Outstanding in the Field? From its about page:

In the summer of 1999, I [founder Jim Denevan] came up with the idea of setting a long table on a farm and inviting the public to an open-air feast in celebration of the farmer and the gifts of the land. I decided to call this idea Outstanding in the Field. I thought a big table, carefully composed alongside the ingredients for the evening's feast would inspire both a conversation at the table and a broader discussion about food, community and the meaning of place. A traveling feast with a central vision of farmers, chefs, cheese makers, ranchers, foragers and winemakers in delicious communion with the people they sustain. It would be a terrific challenge to bring this message to the field and to the world -- it would also be a lot of fun and adventure.

There have been more than 600 such events since then. Here's a Serious Eats post from a few years back about attending one of the dinners.

Tickets for the event are (gulp) $210 and available online.

One-time events like this can be expensive to stage, and no doubt a lot of skill and experience will go into pulling off this event. For some people, the experience will be worth it. It's just... you know, it makes us think that $210 could buy you a lot of delicious communion directly from the farmers at one of the local farmers' market.

[via]

photo via Outstanding in the Field Instagram

Drawing: Taste of Albany 2015

taste of albany 2011 bennett campbell

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The annual Taste of Albany will be back at the State Museum April 30. The event includes a cocktail hour and samples from more than 30 local restaurants. It's a benefit for the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless.

We have a pair of tickets for the event, and we're giving them away. Maybe to you.

To enter, please answer this question in the comments:

What's something local that you're looking forward to eating this summer?

It could be anything -- a specific dish from a local restaurant, a tomato from from your backyard garden, whatever. We'll draw one winner at random.

A Taste of Albany is Thursday, April 30 at the State Museum. The cocktail hour -- with hors d'oeuvres and complimentary beer, wine, and soda -- is at 5 pm. The tastings from the participating restaurants start at 6 pm. Tickets are $75 each and available online at the link above.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Wednesday and must respond by noon on April 16.

photo: Bennett Campbell

The week ahead

sufjan stevens 2015

Sufjan Stevens is at the Palace this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (finally), to words, to bikes, to Shakespeare, to milk, to Jeffrey Tambor, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

price is right live publicity photo

"Come on down!" The Price is Right Live! Returns to The Palace in Albany

Far be it from us to jinx it, but it may actually feel like spring this weekend.

Shhhhh!

Temperatures will approach the 70 degree mark, and if you take a walk, you may even come across some crocuses. Croci? Whatever. They're pretty.

After the jump, a few other things you might want to try this weekend. Got other plans? Share them in the comments so everyone can see.

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

(there's more)

Author of Sustainable Communities: Creating a Durable, Local Economy in Troy

sustainable communities creating a durable local economy book coverCould be interesting: Bruce Seifer, co-author of Sustainable Communities: Creating a Durable, Local Economy, will be giving a talk this Saturday in Troy as part of a Transition Troy event at Sage.

Seifer worked for almost three decades leading Burlington, Vermont's community and economic development efforts. Curious about Seifer's perspective, we came across this Peak Prosperity podcast interview with him. This clip, in which Seifer talks about how Burlington pursued business growth, was interesting:

The other thing that we did, which is not rocket science but it's pretty much behind everything that we did, is pretty simple. We asked people in need what they needed and then we tried to figure out how to meet their needs. We were more like a gardener for small businesses. We'd focus on small businesses and try to find ways to help them grow to become major employers and economic players. So, we did things...you know if they needed financing we ended up starting a small business loan fund. If they needed training around understanding finance, we set up training programs for them. Sometimes they said they'd like to work with other like type of businesses and learn from each other. So we would set up trade associations working in concert with them. You know, we would tend to them over the years. We provided ongoing technical business advice to those business people so if they had an issue on getting a permit or they had problem with sewer overflow or whatever it may be, we were always there trying to solve their problems. As a result of all of that, we ended up helping a lot of small companies become bigger companies.

In addition to Seifer's talk, the event at Sage will also include "a few brief, uplifting 'pop-up' presentations from leaders of recent local initiatives."

The event is Saturday, April 11 from 3-6 pm in the Bush Memorial Auditorium. It's free and open to the public.

Author of H is for Hawk at Northshire

H is for Hawk coverHelen Macdonald -- the author of the best-selling, award-winning H is for Hawk -- will be at Northshire Saratoga this Saturday to talk about her book.

H is for Hawk is part memoir/part biography/part natural history that follows Macdonald's effort to train a hawk following her father's sudden death. It's received very strong reviews. A clip from Vicki Constantine Croke's review in NYT:

Although "animal as emotional healer" is a familiar motif, Macdonald's journey clears its own path -- messy, muddy and raw. Early on, she drives to Scotland from her home in Cambridge to pick up a captive-bred, 10-week-old, Czech-Finnish-German goshawk she's seen online. At the first glimpse of her bird, Macdonald's "heart jumps sideways." And so does the reader's, for here is a creature worth writing about: "A reptile. A fallen angel. A griffon from the pages of an illuminated bestiary. Something bright and distant, like gold falling through water."

Last fall H is for Hawk won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction ("the UK's premier prize for non-fiction books") -- one of the judges called it "a book unlike any other."

The in-store event at Northshire Saratoga is at 7 pm on Saturday, April 11. It's free.

Drawing: Pianoply at EMPAC + Peck's Arcade

pianist vicky chow

Vicky Chow is one of the pianists who will be performing.

Drawing's closed!

EMPAC has what sounds like an interesting show coming up this Saturday: Pianoply, in which four pianists will be playing pianos in four different spaces at the arts venue.

We have a pair of tickets for the event, and we're giving them away. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE. To the pair of tickets we're also adding a $75 gift certificate to Peck's Arcade, the new restaurant in downtown Troy.

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

What's one of your favorite sounds?

It could be something general, like laughter, or a specific sound in a specific place, like the carillon in downtown Albany. We'll draw one winner at random. That person will get the tickets and gift certificate.

Here's a little more about Pianoply:

This evening of piano performances brings together some of the leading soloists working today in new music to explore their instrument's full color spectrum in EMPAC's complete range of acoustic environments. Performing on grand pianos of varying sizes and manufactures, Pianoply will examine virtuosity through the lens of situation and setting.
Pianoply will feature soloists Vicky Chow, Stephen Drury, Mabel Kwan, and Marilyn Nonken, performing on a selection of pianos: a 9' Hamburg Steinway, 9' New York Steinway, 7' Fazioli, 6' 7" Bösendorfer, and 7' 6" Yamaha pianos.
The audience will be guided through all of EMPAC's venues--the reverberant warmth of the Concert Hall, the intimacy of the Theater, the detailed crispness of Studio 1 and the enveloping diffusion of Studio 2--to explore the sonic properties of contemporary repertoire performed through particular instruments placed in particular spaces.

The event starts at 7:30 pm on Saturday, April 11. Tickets are $18.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 am on Thursday, April 9, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Thursday and must respond by 7 pm that day.

Electric City Couture 2015

Electric City Couture 2015 promo

The Electric City Couture Fashion Show will be back at Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs April 25. Tickets are $15 and for sale online now.

Blurbage for this year's show:

The evening will showcase Signature Collections of 5 Regional Designers including Schenectady based special guest 'MA+CH (f. Marika Charles),' an international fashion brand and for the first time ever, a full mens line by Saratoga based 'frittelli and LOCKWOOD' supported by upcycled footwear designer Schenectady based 'The Last Gentleman Co.' The show will have roughly 55 male and female models on the runway. Targeted proceeds from this years show will go to the ongoing restoration work of Historic Universal Preservation Hall. ...
The Electric City Couture mission is to provide a platform to increase awareness for regional fashion designers and fashion support industries to stimulate a regional fashion based economy.

The show starts at 8 pm on Saturday, April 25. It's general seating, first come, first sit, with standing-room overflow.

photo: Lea Sophie Foto

Tour of the Battenkill 2015

battenkill 2010 pelotonThe Tour of the Battenkill returns to Greenwich in Washington County April 18-19. Blurbage:

America's largest one-day Pro/Am cycling race. Racers compete over 65+ miles of rolling terrain on both dirt and paved roads as they travel through the world famous Battenkill Valley. Set in early spring, the race courses includes covered bridges, family farms, and rural villages along the many challenging backcountry roads that traverse Southern Washington County, New York.
The 2014 edition played host to nearly 3,000 amateur and professional cyclists from throughout North America and 15 countries.

The weekend includes an open gran fondo on Sunday for "racers, non-racers, and cycling enthusiasts" in lengths of 23 and 68 miles. Registration is currently open for that race -- it's $45 for the 23-mile version and $110 for the 68-mile version (free for active and retired military members).

photo: A Mengel

The week ahead

author Mary Norris

Mary Norris, "Comma Queen" of The New Yorker, will be at the State Museum this week as part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (April showers), to film, to groupthink, to the Comma Queen, to classes, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

nellie_mckay.jpg

You can catch Nellie McKay twice this weekend -- at The Van Dyck or Helsinki Hudson.

Into every weekend a little rain must fall.

Well, not every weekend -- but this weekend.

April, true to form, is bringing some showers. But that doesn't have to keep you from enjoying your weekend. After the jump, a list of stuff we thought you might like to try.

Got something else planned? Share it in the comments.

And whatever you're up to, keep your umbrella and rain boots handy, and have a fantastic weekend.

(there's more)

The Decemberists at Brewery Ommegang

the decemberists 2015

Announced today: The Decemberists are set to play a show at Brewery Ommegang July 26. Tickets go on sale Friday (April 3) -- they're $35 ahead. (There's also a presale starting today for members of the mailing list for promoter Dan Smalls Presents.)

The Decemberists by themselves are a pretty big draw -- they've been playing a string of sold-out shows recently. (Here's a review of a show this week. A giant paper mache whale was involved.) But the show also includes a strong opener -- indie pop act Lucius will take the stage first. They played a sold out show at The Hollow in Albany this past December.

Old Crow Medicine Show
Also announced today: Old Crow Medicine Show will be back at Ommegang July 24. Opener is Sturgill Simpson. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 3 -- they're $40 ahead.

More Ommegang shows this summer
May 22: The Pixies with TV on the Radio
June 13: The Avett Brothers with John Prine - sold out
August 1: Bonnie Raitt

photo: Autumn de Wilde

Tulip Festival 2015 music lineup

the kooks smiling

The Kooks

Here's the music schedule for this year's Tulip Festival. The headliner is the britpop/rock band The Kooks.

A quick scan version of the music slates for both the main and local stages -- along with embedded videos of the acts -- is post jump. As usual, the lineup includes both national and local acts.

As you know, Tulip Fest includes a bunch of events, including the crowning of the new Tulip Queen. Here's the full event schedule.

Tulip Fest is Mother's Day weekend, which is May 9 and 10 this year.

(there's more)

Hudson Valley Hops 2015

time for Beverwyck beer ad Albany InstituteThe Hudson Valley Hops event returns to the Albany Institute April 18.

The event will again include regional craft beer and cider tastings, and an opportunity to check out the brewing and distilling items in the museum's collections. Also: Chatham Brewing will be creating an "Albany Institute Ale" exclusively for the event. Blurbage:

While Chatham Brewing has created custom beers for bars and restaurants, this is the first time they are making one for an event. The theme of Hudson Valley Hops inspired them to try to get as close as they can to an all 100% New York State beer. According to [Tom] Crowell, the beer can be described as "a standard ESB [Extra Special/Strong Bitter]" with a nutty sweetness. Albany Institute Ale was made with New York State 2-row pale malt as a base; some Light and Dark Crystal to show off a copper hue and give a slight caramel flavor; and local Columbia County grown hops, including Cascade from Germantown Hop Farm and Nugget from Spring Hill Farm to add a subtle bitterness. Although it is called an extra special bitter, compared to an IPA, this will not be a bitter beer.

There will also be a handful of guest speakers throughout the evening talking about food, brewing, and the history of brewing in this area.

Hudson Valley Hops is Saturday, April 18 from 4-7 pm. Tickets are $35 ahead / $40 at the door.

The Albany Institute advertises on AOA.

"Time for Beverwyck," Beverwyck Breweries, INC. / Albany Institute of History & Art

Drawing: Monarchs & Moonshine at miSci

monarch butterfly

Drawing's closed!

The Museum of Science and Innovation -- miSci -- in Schenectady is hosting a Monarchs and Moonshine event this Thursday with a butterfly house, cocktails made with local spirits, music, demos, planetarium shows. and more.

AOA is a media sponsor for Monarchs & Moonshine, and we're giving away a pair of tickets to the event.

To enter, please post an answer to this question in the comments:

Butterfly sightings are the kind of little moments we're looking forward to this spring. What are you looking forward to this spring?

It could be anything. We'll draw one winner at random.

Monarchs & Moonshine is this Thursday, April 2, from 6-8 pm. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Tickets includes food and one free drink ticket. There will be a cash bar and door prizes. It's a 21-and-over event.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Tuesday and must respond by 5 pm on Wednesday, April 1.

Move Music Festival 2015

MOVE music festival poster 2015The MOVE Music Festival returns to Albany April 24-26. All-weekend passes for the multi-venue festival are currently on sale -- they're $20.

Also, the lineup for the festival is now out. And, as in years past, it includes a ton of bands and performers -- a hundred acts will be playing at 10 different venues around downtown Albany.

The lineup is a mix of out-of-towners -- such as Young Magic and Locksley -- and locals -- such as Titanics and Wild Adriatic.

The festival also includes an industry event for "all performers to network and gain varied perspectives of the multi-faceted music industry." This year's keynote speaker is composer and producer Tony Shimkin.

The week ahead

Delta Spirit band 2015

Delta Spirit is at The Hollow Monday night.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (spring-ish), to NCAA hoops, to Canstruction, to Passover and Easter, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Jekyll & Hyde.jpg

The national tour of Jekyll & Hyde is at Proctors Saturday.

Oh, weekend -- we were afraid you'd never arrive.

But it's Friday, and like clockwork, here you are. After the jump, we have some plans for you that do not involve catching up on dishes and laundry.

Got some weekend plans you don't see here? Share them with the rest of us in the comment section. Everything is more fun when you share.

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

(there's more)

Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show: Giulia Rozzi

comedian giulia rozziThe Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show series at Proctors is bringing Giuli Rozzi to town on Saturday for a standup show.

Rozzi has appeared on The Moth, a bunch of TV shows, and in print around the web. And he's had her own Upright Citizens Brigade show, "Bad Bride." Here's a clip from a recent Washington Post interview with her about her comedy:

Most of it is just really silly and stupid -- and probably some of it is self-serving. It's like: "Oh, I just want to tell this story about me." But I try to discuss issues that affect women -- in a funny way -- and issues about depression and anxiety and relationships. I think that just sharing a very open, self-aware style of comedy and storytelling, I think that . . . helps other people have permission to be more honest themselves.

The show at Proctors starts at 8 pm on Saturday. Tickets are $15.

Geoffrey Canada at Siena

geoffrey canada promo photoThe founder of the Harlem Children's Zone, Geoffrey Canada, will be at Siena this Thursday for the college's annual King Lecture on Race and Nonviolent Social Change. Canada's talk is titled "The Crisis Facing Youth: What Adults & Communities Can Do to Save Our Children."

The Harlem Children's Zone is, in its own description, aimed at "disrupting the cycle of generational poverty in Central Harlem through our innovative and effective programs." Toward that end it's attempting to provide comprehensive family, social service, educational, and health services to kids in a roughly 100-block area of Harlem.

In recent years the program has gotten the support of the Obama administration, which has touted the program as a model to replicate. And the HCZ has been one of the inspirations for the Albany Promise program.

The Canada talk is at 7 pm, Thursday, March 26 in Siena's Marcelle Athletic Complex. It's free and open to the public.

Stories about Albany

Partners for Albany Stories logoA group of local historical and cultural groups has teamed up for a series of events to collect family stories that somehow related to the history of Albany. Blurbage from the Partners for Albany Stories:

Come and share a story about you and your family that relates to the history of Albany. You will have 10 minutes at the microphone to enchant and enlighten the audience. Sign up is on a first-come, first-tell basis. Stories will be video documented for preservation at the Albany Public Library.
Interested, but not sure what to talk about? Check our website for story suggestions. Interested, know what you want to talk about, but want help with telling your story? Come to a free coaching session one hour before the event. Interested, but don't want to tell a story? Just come and listen.

The first event is this Thursday, March 26 at the Albany Institute at 6 pm. Admission is free.

Additional dates, at spots around the city, are listed after the jump.

PASt describes itself as "organizations working together to develop a comprehensive and compelling story of Albany's rich history."

(there's more)

Proctors Broadway series 2015-2016

The Lion King touring production 2015-2016

The Lion King is set for a month-long run at Proctors in spring 2016.

Corrected.

Proctors has announced the lineup of Broadway-style shows that will be at the theater for the 2015-2016 season. As usual, the slate includes some very popular shows, including The Lion King and the return of The Book of Mormon.

A condensed version of the lineup is after the jump.

Tickets for the shows are currently only available through season-long subscriptions. Individual show tickets will be available closer to the season starting.

Some shows end up being very popular, so you might want to plan ahead a little bit for tickets if you're interested in going.

(there's more)

FIFA video game tournament at Wolff's

FIFA15 AO tournamentThis could be fun: Wolff's is hosting a FIFA 15 tournament this Sunday organized by the American Outlaws, the US soccer fan group which has a local chapter in Albany. Spots in the tournament start at $5 and all proceeds go to support Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.

The tournament is one of many similar tournaments around the country. Prizes for the local tournament include a copy of FIFA 15, an American Outlaws beer stein, and Wolff's gift certificates. The winners will be entered into a national drawing for prizes that include US Men's National Team jerseys signed by Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin and keeper gloves signed by Nick Rimando.

The tournament starts at 12:30 pm on Sunday, March 29. The entry fee starts at $5 for having your team randomly assigned (cross your fingers for Real Madrid or Bayern). For $10 you get to pick your team. And there are a few other levels above that.

The week ahead

bill nye science guy 2015

We can only hope Bill Nye's bow tie will be accompanying him to UAlbany this week. (The talk is now sold out.)

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (glimpse of spring), to YouthFX, to Bill Nye, to novelists, to food, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Peter and the Starcatcher.jpg

Peter and the Starcatcher, an imaginative Peter Pan prequel, is at Proctors Saturday.

Welcome to the first weekend of spring -- at least according to the calendar. If you're using any other marker, it might be tough to tell.

But it's a weekend nonetheless, so put on your scarf and your boots and get out and do something fun. After the jump, a few things we thought you might like to try.

Planning something else? Drop it in the comments and share with the rest of us.

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

(there's more)

Belgium Comes to Cooperstown 2015

ommegang beer cafeThis year's Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival at Brewery Ommegang is set for August 7 and 8. Tickets go on sale April 1 at noon and they usually sell out very quickly.

The festival includes beer (of course), food, and music. Blurbage for this year's festival:

This year's 90s theme will pervade the festival while more than 100 breweries will be on hand pouring more than 300 unique beers for the 3,000 attendees. In addition to great beer, BCTC promises gourmet food vendors, live music, on-site camping, fireworks, and much more.

Tickets for the Saturday afternoon tasting event are $110, $125 with camping that night. There's a VIP tickets for $275 that includes a five-course beer pairing dinner Friday night, additional access to beer tasting on Saturday, and two nights of camping.

PechaKucha at the Opalka Gallery

PeckaKucha Albany 2015-03-20 posterThe local PechaKucha series will be at the Opalka Gallery on the Sage Albany campus this Friday night. Lineup blurbage for the very short talks:

Tom Crowell from Chatham Brewing is bringing beer and will talk about it too!
Molly Belmont, "Job/History" - Molly has had over 35 jobs since the age of 8; she'll tell us about the 20 most memorable
Greg Dahlmann from AllOverAlbany.com will talk about how to be a more effective complainer
Tom Stebbins from the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York on why we need Tort Reform in New York State
Chet Boehlke Jr, "The Way I See It" (a study of the world through my photographic eye)
Branson Quenzer takes us to China for "Dynamic Perspectives from a Culture with a Relative View of Itself as Opposed to Absolutism"
Kate Cohen gets biblical with "My Passover Seder"
Clifford Oliver presents the history of his family, the "Baltimores of Troy" - a 19th century African American family well on their way to prosperity
George Guarino, "Cause Persistence" - on creating artwork that causes the viewer to become persistent in achieving their goals

Yep, Greg is going to attempt to argue that we should all complain (and compliment) more often (if perhaps a bit differently). Looking forward to the complaints about that.

The event starts Friday, March 20 at 6:30 pm with beer and snacks. Talks start at 7 pm. It's free.

Photo Regional
If you're near the Opalka Gallery -- like, say, for an event Friday night -- it's a good chance to take some time to check out the 37th Annual Photography Regional. It's also free.

Streetfilms Mini-Festival at The Madison

A "mini-festival" of films from the influential Streetfilms project -- which is focused on urban planning, cycling, and transit -- is queued up for the Madison Theater in Albany on April 13. Event blurbage:

These short films show how smart transportation design and policy can result in better places to live, work and play. The event will include a Q and A with Streetfilms' own Clarence Eckerson following the screening. Mr. Eckerson, a UAlbany alum, is often called, "the hardest working man in transportation show biz" for his dedication to making difficult, wonky concepts more accessible and entertaining to the general public. He's been documenting transportation advocacy for 15 years and has produced over 600 Streetfilms.

The short video embedded above -- Gronigen: The World's Cycling City -- is an example of the sort of film Streetfilms produces.

The Streetfilms Mini-Festival is being organized by the Albany Protected Bike Lane Coalition, which (as the name would imply) is working to get protected bike lanes built in the city. We hear that about eight short films will be screened, with a total runtime of about 45 minutes.

The screening at the Madison on Monday, April 13 is at 7 pm. (Information tables will be set up at 6:15 pm.) Admission is free.

One Plastic Bag at Albany Institute

one plastic bag coverThe Albany Institute is hosting an event this Saturday with Isatou Ceesay, a Gambian woman who created a community-based recycling program. Her story is the subject of One Plastic Bag, a new picture book by author Miranda Paul and Albany-based illustrator Elizabeth Zunon. Paul and Zunon will both be at the event.

Here's a Guardian feature about the program Ceesay and group of women started in Gambia. It's a remarkable story -- they built a recycling program in place where there wasn't even municipal waste collection, and did it in a way that helped provide jobs and income for people.

The Albany Institute event will include a reading and talk, as well as a project for kids to create their own recycled art project -- there are workshops at noon and 3 pm. It's free with museum admission.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Holiday gifts: Elizabeth Zunon
+ So, how do you create a giant clog sculpture?

New York State Maple Weekend 2015

mountain winds maple syrup amber 2012

Sappy: The annual New York State Maple Weekend is this coming weekend, March 21 and 22. (And it's also next weekend -- March 28 and 29 -- so it's more like Maple Weekends.)

What is the Maple Weekend? Blurbage:

Every spring, the New York State Maple Producers Association invites families from across the Empire State and neighboring areas into their "sugar houses" to learn all about the production of maple syrup and other related products. Our goal during Maple Weekend is to provide an educational demonstration with a maple producer where visitors can experience many aspects of pure maple production. Maple producers will demonstrate how to make syrup and other pure maple products -- whether it's simply boiling the sap over an open fire or running it through highly scientific equipment or heating and stirring it into delicious sugars and creams -- the results always taste great!

And the tours and samples are free.

New York State is the nation's second-largest producer of maple syrup. (Vermont is #1.) And there are a bunch of local producers around the greater Capital Region -- the Maple Weekend website lists 25 participating producers within 50 miles of Albany.

Earlier on AOA: The art and science of maple sugaring

The week ahead

Cap Rep Souvenir maraca

This is the last week for Souvenir at Capital Rep.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (midweek dip), to stories, to a drink 'n draw, to gourmet burgers, to garden planning, to music...

(there's more)

Capital District Grown Up Egg Hunt 2015

Capital District Grownup Egg HuntThe Capital District Grown Up Egg Hunt is set to return April 12 in Troy's Prospect Park. It's pretty much what it sounds like. Blurbage:

The event, based on the childhood Easter tradition, will include more than 3,000 prize-filled eggs with items ranging from jewelry to alcohol vouchers to gift cards worth $50 or more. Prior to the main egg hunt, there will be food, a DJ, and Easter-themed activities like egg decorating and an Easter costume contest.
Along with offering thousands of dollars' worth of prizes in the eggs, in raffles, and the silent auction, the event strives to better the community and use a fun activity to help worthy causes. This year, the Egg Hunt will benefit Pints for Prostates and the Col. Albert Pawling Memorial Statue Project.

The will be the fourth year for the hunt. Organizers say it's raised more than $20,000 for charitable causes over the first three years, and it's aiming to raise $10,000 this year.

Admission to the hunt is $15. Registration starts at 2:30 pm on April 12, hunting at 3:15 pm. (You must be 18 to participate, and 21 and over to redeem the alcohol prizes.)

photo via Capital District Grown Up Egg Hunt FB

Stuff to do this weekend

albany st patrick's day parade 2014

The Albany St. Patrick's Day parade is Saturday.

This is it -- last weekend of winter! Better make the best of it.

After the jump, we've pulled together a few things going on this weekend we thought might be fun.

Got something else planned? Drop it in the comments so everyone can see.

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

(there's more)

Bill Nye the Science Guy at UAlbany

bill nye science guy 2015

Bill Nye -- you know, "The Science Guy" -- will be at UAlbany's SEFCU Arena March 25 as part of the World Within Reach Speaker Series. It's free and open to public (ticketing details below).

Nye is, of course, famous for his kids science show Bill Nye the Science Guy. (Before that he had been a mechanical engineer at Boeing.) Since the show finished in the late 1990s he's continued to be a pop culture figure and frequent commentator on issues such as climate change and vaccines. Also: He's been trying to crush Ed Begley, Jr.

Tickets to the UAlbany event for the general public will be available March 13, 23, and 24 in the Campus Center West Lounge from 11 am until 4 pm (four ticket max), and then on March 25 from 11 am to 2 pm in the same place. Any remaining tickets on March 25 will be distributed in the Physical Education (PE) building lobby across from the SEFCU Arena starting at 3 pm.

There will also be a limited number of free copies of Nye's book, Undeniable, distributed at the arena.

photo via Bill Nye the Science Guy FB

YouthFX 2015 premiere

youthfx summer 2015 students working

The award-winning YouthFX filmmaking program has the premiere of its 2015 short films lined up for March 26 at the Spectrum. Tickets are $11 adults / $7 for students. (Proceeds go to support YouthFX.)

Blurbage for this newest group of films:

Among the wide range of topics the Youth FX filmmakers explored this past year were documentaries about local refugee youth, a profile of a local legend from Grand Street, a story of two girls who fall in love against the wishes of one of their fathers, an exploration of Black hairstyles, and the program's first film written, directed and starring an all Karen, Burma cast.

The aim of YouthFX, part of the Grand Street Community Arts, is to help teens in the city of Albany become producers of media so they can tell their own stories. Films from the program have played in festivals around the world.

The screening at the Spectrum on March 26 starts at 6:30 pm, and it will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Last year's premiere event sold out, so if you're interested in going, it's a good idea to get tickets ahead of time.

Earlier on AOA: Hey there, Bhawin Suchak, YouthFX program director

photo: YouthFX

A whole bunch of gardening classes

garlic shoot spring garden

Soon.

The sun is shining, the snow is melting, and spring will be here soon. (Current status: So ready for spring.)

So now is a good time to be giving some thought to garden plans for the spring and summer -- whether it's just a few flowers, tomatoes in containers on the porch, or raised beds in the backyard. Toward that end there a whole bunch of garden classes / info sessions coming up around the area, on topics ranging from seed starting to composting to backyard chickens.

Here's a quick scan of upcoming classes...

(there's more)

Jeffrey Tambor at RPI

jeffrey tambor

Actor Jeffrey Tambor will be at EMPAC April 16 for a talk. Tickets for the event are available to RPI students and community members starting March 16 -- they'll be available free to the general public, pending availability, starting April 1 at the EMPAC box office.

Tambor is probably best known for his role on Arrested Development. But over the last year he's gotten a lot attention for his role as the transgender parent on the Amazon show Transparent -- he won the 2015 Golden Globe for best actor for the role (and the show won the award for best TV series).

Tambor's talk is titled "Performing Your Life," which is described as "part one-man show, part seminar, part question-and-answer session, and endlessly entertaining ... This down to earth conversation is about using life experiences to advise others to face their fears, attain their goals, and break out of their shell."

It's very likely this event, which is in the EMPAC concert hall, will fill up. So if you're interested in going, it's a good idea to tickets sooner rather than later. And be sure to check the Rensselaer Union FB page for updates about availability.

photo via American Program Bureau

St. Patrick's Day stuff to do 2015

albany st patrick's day parade

The 65th annual Albany St. Patrick's Day Parade will make its way down Central Ave on Saturday.

Updated March 13

St. Patrick's Day is a big holiday in the Capital Region. It's on a Tuesday this year, so many of the activities commemorating it will be the weekend before -- Saturday, especially, will be St. Patrick's Day (observed).

Here are a bunch of local ways to celebrate the holiday later this month. From the parades, to food and drink, to music for the time of year where everyone is Irish, if only for a day.

And remember: It's St. Paddy's Day, not St. Patty's...

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The week ahead

blue man group drumbone

Blue Man Group 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 (not cold!), to documentaries, to Blue Man, to urban revitalization, to authors, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

empire state plaza ice skating 2012 state library

It's the last weekend of the season for the Empire State Plaza ice skating rink.

On your list of stuff to do this weekend -- set your clocks ahead an hour for daylight savings time on Sunday. At least, the clocks that don't set themselves ahead. If you're not sure,you can just do what we do and incessantly check your phone on Sunday to make sure you're on time for things.

Other, more fun things to do this weekend are listed after the jump. Pick your favorites, call your friends and go do stuff. Got something planned you don't see on our list? Drop it in the comments so everyone can see.

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

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Solid Sound 2015 lineup

solid sound 2015 posterThe lineup for the Solid Sound Festival this summer at MASS MoCA is now out.

It's headlined by Wilco -- because, you know, it's Wilco's festival. The band will be playing two shows, one each on Friday and Saturday of the festival. A few others from the lineup: Mac Demarco, Parquet Courts, Real Estate, Shabazz Palaces, Cibo Matto, and John Hodgman.

The full announced lineup is post jump.

This year's festival is June 26-28. The ticket currently on sale is the advance 3-day pass -- it's $149 plus service fees. (The festival is also taking reservations for camping.)

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Cheryl Strayed at HVCC

author cheryl strayed

Author Cheryl Strayed will be at HVCC March 12 for a talk. It's free and open to the public.

Strayed will be talking about Wild, her memoir about her 1,000-mile solo hike along the Pacific Coast trail. It was a best seller, and part of Oprah's book club. The book was made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon that was released last year.

But her work extends beyond Wild as an award-winning essayist. And she also wrote the popular Dear Sugar column for the Rumpus.

Strayed's talk at HVCC starts at 7 pm on Thursday, March 12 in the Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium. Doors open at 6:15 pm -- seating is limited and first come, first sit.

[via @DanielleSanzone]

photo: Joni Kabana

The week ahead

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is at Skidmore Thursday.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (thawing), to the stage, to activism, to pizza, to beer, to music...

(there's more)

Gathering of the Farm Cideries at Nine Pin

gathering of farm ciders logoNine Pin Cider Works in Albany is celebrating its one-year anniversary this Saturday with a Gathering of the Farm Cideries. It starts at 11 am and runs through 9 pm with cider tastings (of course), food from Slidin' Dirty, and music. Tickets are $10 ahead, $15 at the door.

As you know, Nine Pin was the first cidery in the state to get a farm cidery license. It will be joined by eight other farm cideries from around the state at the event, and they'll be offering 1 oz samples (along with products for sale). A list of the cideries is after the jump.

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Stuff to do this weekend

Cap Rep Souvenir maraca

Souvenir is in previews this weekend at Capital Rep

So long, February! The end of the longest shortest month of the year is at hand. Sure, it's still pretty cold. But it's the weekend, and there's stuff to do.

What is there to do? We're glad you asked.

Well, after the jump we've pulled together a few things we thought might interest you.

Got something planned you don't see here? Drop it in the comments so the rest of us can see.

And whatever you're up to, don't forget your scarf, and have a fantastic weekend.

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The Country of Ice Cream Star at Northshire Saratoga

country of ice cream star coverCould be interesting: The author of the new novel The Country of Ice Cream Star, Sandra Newman, will be at Northshire Saratoga Friday evening.

The book has been getting a lot of attention recently because it pushes the boundaries of the dystopian YA genre (some sort of disease kills off people once the reach their late teens or early 20s) and it's written almost entirely in the evolved teenage English dialect of its protagonist.

From a WSJ article about Newman and the book:

Author Sandra Newman thinks Katniss Everdeen, of the 'Hunger Games' trilogy, is kind of a wuss. The 15-year-old heroine of Ms. Newman's coming dystopian novel, "The Country of Ice Cream Star," has "certain crucial differences," Ms. Newman says. "Instead of agonizing over kissing a boy, she just has sex. Instead of killing people with her archery skills, she has an assault rifle. I also think she's a lot smarter and funnier than Katniss Everdeen, but clearly I'm biased."

From a Washington Post review:

But what makes the novel so fascinating -- and, yes, so challenging -- is the language Newman has created for Ice Cream and the way we see this disease-ravaged world through her eyes:
"Days that come been clean bonesse. We keep to 495, a highway broad as any field. Got a twin highway the same, these two companion faithful. Together, they go stretch and snake across all unkept distance, till they find our new Connecticut. All this way be forest. Ain't scarcely notice when the Massa woods be left, and yonder start. A hummock seem familiar in your eye; then it come queery that the individual trees be strangers."

Here's an AV Club review that's a bit more reserved in its praise.

The event at Nortshire starts at 7 pm Friday, February 27. It's free.

Brandi Carlile at The Palace

Brandi Carlile

Alt-country singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile is set to play The Palace May 23. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 27 -- they're $29.50 and up.

Carlile will be touring in support of a new album coming out next month. Over at NPR, Ann Powers described the songs on the album: "Some of them rattle the floorboards; others are quieter, offering beautiful harmonies or rich storytelling. But no matter what they sound like, the songs on this release feel like rock and roll."

photo: David McClister

Pixies, TV on the Radio at Ommegang

pixies tv on the radio

Pixies, TV on the Radio

Announced today: The Pixies and TV on the Radio will be playing outside at Brewery Ommegang May 22. Tickets go on sale this Friday, Feburary 27 -- they're $45. (There's also a pre-sale starting February 25.)

The Pixies are, of course, one of the most influential alt rock bands ever. One of the bands influenced by the Pixies: TV on the Radio.

Alas, Kim Deal is not part of the lineup for this tour.

Also on the bill for the Ommegang show: John Grant.

Already announced for the 2015 Ommegang concert season: The Avett Brothers, with John Prine, on June 13.

Pixies photo: Michael Halsband | TV on the Radio via the band's FB page

The week ahead

NYU professor Jennifer Jacquet

Will you feel bad if you miss Jennifer Jacquet's NYS Writers Institute talk about mobilizing people to address environmental problems?

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (February fights to the end), to restaurants, to Stooges, to shaming people, to cooking, to music...

(there's more)

Daniel Tosh at The Palace x2

comedian daniel tosh

Comedian Daniel Tosh is set for a stand-up show at The Palace June 17. Ticket went on sale today (Friday, February 20) -- they're $49.50 and up.

Apparently the tickets have sold well. The Palace announced Friday that it's added a second Tosh show on June 17. So the first show is at 7 pm, and the second show is at 9:30 pm.

Tosh is most famous for his Comedy Central show, Tosh.0, which is largely focused on internet videos (and making fun of them). It's been Comedy's Central most-watched show.

Cosby
The Palace also announced Friday that it's Bill Cosby stand-up show scheduled for April 24 has been postponed indefinitely (a date in Rochester that week was also canceled). That's not surprising -- Cosby shows around the country been canceled in recent months as the accusations of sexual assault against the comedian have accumulated.

Stuff to do this weekend

mavis staples

Gospel/soul queen Mavis Staples is at Helsinki Hudson Sunday.

Hey, guess what?

Only four more weekends until spring! And temperatures this weekend could get as high as 37 degrees!

After the jump, a few things to do that are better than sitting on the couch wishing for June.

Got something planned that didn't make the list? Drop it in the comments so everyone can see.

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

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It's a circus in Troy

FAQ Circus Frear Atrium performer Nicky Faubert photo Doug Liebig

Nicky Faubert performing during the FAQ preview in the Frear Atrium earlier this month. / photo: Doug Liebig

By Lauren Hittinger

It's not every day that you get to meet and interview a professionally trained clown.

Set aside your preconceived notions, because Aaron Marquise isn't just some guy in bright pants and a painted face. He's about to graduate from the National Circus School in Montreal with a diploma in clowning.

Originally from Round Lake, Marquise is back in town this week to produce a series of shows at the Gasholder Building in Troy alongside the FAQ Circus collective. And he's got his sights set on continuing to expand circus in the Capital Region.

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The week ahead

the illusionists magic act

The Illusionists are 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 (really !@#$%#$%^ cold), to magic, to beer, to blooms, to music...

(there's more)

Kevin Hart at the TU Center

kevin hart 2015

Comedian Kevin Hart is set a stand-up showat the TU Center August 27. Tickets are $49.50 and up -- they go on sale February 20.

Hart is easily among the most famous stand-up comedians working now, and he's appeared in a bunch of movies and TV shows. Along the way he's built an entertainment empire for himself.

This will be Hart's second appearance at the TU Center -- he was also there back in 2012.

Live Nation advertises on AOA.

photo via Kevin Hart Twitter

Stuff to do this weekend

palace annual step show

The annual college step show is at The Palace this Sunday. / photo courtesy of The Palace

With temperatures dropping to -4 this Presidents/Valentine's Day weekend, who could blame you if you spent the whole thing under blankets on the couch watching movies?

For those of you battling the urge to hibernate this weekend, we have your secret weapon. OK, it's not so secret. Actually, it's not a secret at all. Everyone can see it. And it's not so much a weapon as a list of stuff to do in the Capital Region this weekend.

Pick the ones you like and try them with the ones you love. Got something planned that you don't see here? Share it in the comments -- we'd love to see.

And whatever you're up to, don't forget your hat and scarf -- and have a great weekend.

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Beer, beer, beer

NYSBA Craft New York at Desmond 2014

Last year's Craft New York Brewers Festival.

A handful of beer events coming up:

February 21: Saratoga Beer Summit at Saratoga City Center
The annual cap to Saratoga Beer Week. Blurbage: "Sample over 200 releases from some of America's best craft breweries. Plus hang out in an atmosphere filled with live music, delicious food available for purchase and great vendors."
Tickets: $40 ahead / $50 at door

February 28: Snommegang Invitational Beer Festival in Oneonta
Brewery Ommegang partnered with America On Tap Beer Festivals. Blurbage: "In addition to Brewery Ommegang and our six brewing siblings, more than 30 breweries from across the United States will each pour at least two of their best offerings at the event. The beer tasting is accompanied by live music, food and activities - all within heated tents along Muller Plaza and surrounding businesses on Main Street."
Tickets: $50 ahead / $55 day of

March 7: Craft New York Brewers Festival at The Desmond
This is the second year for the event. Blurbage: "The Craft New York Brewers Festival will bring together 40 New York Breweries (and brewers) from every region of the state featuring up to 90+ hard to find and award winning beers. To make this very special event more exclusive, we will feature food sampling and pairing from local Albany restaurants and food vendors to go along with each brewery attending at no extra cost!"
Tickets: $40 ahead / $50 day of / VIP ahead $65 / VIP day of $75 / designated drivers $15

photo: New York State Brewers Association

Williamstown Theatre Festival 2015

williamstown theatre festival logoAn earlier that summer is out there: The schedule for this year's Williamstown Theatre Festival is out today. As usual, it includes notable shows and actors you'll recognize, such as Kyra Sedgwick, Audra McDonald, and Cynthia Nixon.

The schedule is post jump.

Ticket bundles are currently on sale, starting at $165 for three shows, through March 6. Many of these shows end up selling out, so if you think you'd like to go this summer, buying early can be a good idea. (And you can a discount by buying one of the bundles.)

Single ticket sales start in April.

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Screening of Hits, and Skype Q&A with David Cross, at The Spectrum

Hits -- a new film from actor/comedian/director David Cross (you know, from Arrested Development) -- will screen at the Spectrum February 19, with a live Skype Q&A with Cross following the screening. Tickets are pay what you will, and sales will be directly split between the film and the Spectrum.

Splitsider describes Hits as "a darkly caustic journey into the pathetic depths of viral videos, internet fame, and the insatiable vacuum of lowest-common-denominator post-reality culture."

It's the first film directed by Cross, and he's using some unusual ways to get the film out there. There will be pay-what-you-will screenings -- like the one at the Spectrum -- at < href="http://www.hitsfilm.com/">a handful of theaters around the country. And the film will also be released using BitTorrent.

The pay-what-you-will screening at the Spectrum is Thursday, February 19 at 6:30 pm. The Skype Q&A with Cross will follow.

The Spectrum advertises on AOA.

The week ahead

author jess row

Author Jess Row is in town this week to talk about his novel Your Face in Mine.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (slo-mo snow), to stories, to authors, to the stage, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Awkwafina

Awkwafina is at Proctors Saturday.

Mittens? We don't need no stinkin' mittens!

But if you have them, sure -- we'll take them.

Yep, it's going to be nippy out there this weekend. And we're expecting to see more snow before it's over. But we're hardy upstaters. When the temperature drops we don't retreat to the couch. We bundle up, open the door, and say: "Bring on the weekend!"

In that spirit, we've pulled together a list of things we thought might be worth going out for this weekend. Doing something you don't see here? Drop it in the comments and share it with the rest of us.

And whatever you're up to, stay warm and have a great weekend!

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"Triple Play!" at the Albany Institute

Hawkins Stadium c 1950 Menands

Hawkins Stadium in Menands was the home of the Albany Senators.

Despite out evidence outside to the contrary, it won't be long until spring arrives. (It's true. We checked a calendar.) And along with spring will come baseball.

The Albany Institute is getting an early start on the season (both of them) with a new exhibit called "Triple Play!" It includes a bunch of historical baseball photos, memorabilia, and items from the major leagues and the Capital Region's own rich baseball history.

The exhibit opens this Friday night, February 6. We got a look earlier this week. Here's a quick trip around the bases...

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Collar City Kilt Fest

collar city kilt fest logoBreezing through Troy: The Collar City Kilt Fest on March 7.

Blurbage:

The Collar City Kilt Fest and 5K Kilt Race is a healthy lifestyle event designed to help us all break out of winter in fun form. Formerly held in Sand Lake with approximately 750 runners, the Kilt Race is a great opportunity for runners and novices to get outside in a social setting. Participants are encouraged to compete in a costume contest, and most runners delight in going all out.

And about the 5k:

The day includes a scenic 5k Kilt Run through the city ending at the party tent that hosts music, food and entertainment. The city is yours to explore with the City Pass. The pass makes you a Troy VIP with access to tastings and treats and special discounts in many of our unique Troy venues.

Registration for the Kilt Run/Walk is open -- it's $25 ahead of March 5, $35 after.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park

sky zone trampoline park albany wide view

By Lauren Hittinger

For those of us who don't enjoy the cold, it can be really tough to stay active in the winter. And even if you do like getting outside for winter activities, a day in near zero temps can be less than appealing.

So, to avoid the cold and still stay active, I peeled myself off the couch and headed over to Sky Zone last week to check out its indoor trampoline park.

Mostly I wanted to see if it was worth the visit -- and if a 20-something like myself could fit in among all the bouncing kids at a trampoline park...

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Circus in the Gasholder Building

FAQ Circus promo photo

The Montreal-based FAQ Circus will be in Troy February 20-21 for three performances in the former Troy Gas Light Company gasholder building. Tickets for the performances are $15 / $10 students, and they're on sale now.

Blurbage:

Founded in 2012, F.A.Q. Circus is a collective of contemporary circus performers who push the boundaries of what Americans typically think of as a circus. The company does not use animals or feature large bright colored costumes. Instead, their focus is on the incredible capabilities of the human body demonstrated through contortion, gymnastics and juggling. The venues, too, are smaller and more intimate than the typical American arena productions where large-scale circus normally occurs. ...
Contemporary costumes will resemble what one would need to wear if running away -- not too tight, not too loose, Marquise said. The show will feature hoop diving, acrobatics, juggling, hula hoops and a clown. One performer will manipulate her body using a "German Wheel," fashioned from two giant metal hula hoops. Another act includes an acrobatic ladder.
The emphasis in "Running" will be on ground acts, because the gasholder building is not outfitted for trapeze rigging at the moment.

It will be the circus company's second appearance at the building -- it performed there last October. And it's also performed twice at the Theatre Institute at Sage. (The artistic director of the circus, 23-year-old Aaron Marquise, studied at the former New York State Theater Institute in Troy.)

FAQ will be offering a three free preview shows this Saturday, February 7, in the Frear Building atrium at 10:30 am, 11:45 am, and 1 pm.

Circus or no circus, the Gasholder Building is a sight to see. And noted about the performances there February 20-21: "This is a standing event. However, if you require or prefer seating, please bring foldable seating and aim to arrive at least 30 minutes before the show starts. 'Running' is performed inside a minimally heated historic venue. It is STRONGLY advised that attendees dress in warm winter clothes. (i.e. hats, scarves, gloves, large jackets, long-johns, etc.)."

Ta-Nehisi Coates at Skidmore

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates will be at Skidmore March 5 for a talk as part of the college's Speaker's Bureau series.

Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic. And he's one of the most prominent (maybe the most prominent) writers about race and diversity in the United States. His 2014 June cover story -- "The Case for Reparations" -- got a ton of attention.

The talk at Skidmore is at 8 pm on Thursday, March 5 in Gannett Auditorium and is open to the public.

photo via The Lavin Agency

The week ahead

hannibal buress comedian

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (lots of snow to start), to Laverne Cox, to Peter Carey, to entrepreneurs, to Hannibal Buress, to cooking classes, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Saratoga Chowderfest 2012 Mamatoga

Chowderfest returns to downtown Saratoga Springs this Saturday (this time with more snow). / photo courtesy of Mamatoga

One more weekend until they let the groundhog loose in Punxsutawney.

Regardless of whether the little rodent sees his shadow we're in the middle of the coldest part of the year in the Capital Region -- when cabin fever is a constant threat. So before you get sucked into the couch and your comfy clothes, check out the cabin fever busting list of stuff to do in the Capital Region this weekend. It might help stop cabin fever before it starts.

Doing something you don't see here? Share it with the rest of the crowd.

Whatever you're up to, put your booties on, because it's cold out there today -- and have a fantastic weekend.

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Day trip: Glens Falls

glens falls day trip composite

By Lauren Hittinger

As the winter drags on, I'm continuing to look for accessible day trips to keep away cabin fever. I recently visited Glens Falls, which was a perfect spot for a little adventure and exploration.

Glens Falls is far enough away that it's not a regular destination for me, but close enough for an impulse day trip.

Plus, the town is filled with arts and culture.

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Welcome to Night Vale live show at The Egg

welcome to night vale live show

A touring live show of the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale will be at The Egg May 18. Tickets are $30 and they're on sale now.

From the show's blurbage:

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.
Turn on your radio and hide.

The show has been described as "Lovecraftian", "caught somewhere between Weird Twitter and Tales of the Unexplained", "like NPR meets The Mothman Prophecies," and channeling David Lynch and Orson Welles. As co-creator Jeffrey Cranor explained to All Things Considered:

I've always been fascinated by conspiracy theories. And also, to a lesser extent fascinated by the Southwest desert. Fascinating things probably happen there on a regular basis. So I came up with this idea of a town in that desert where all conspiracy theories were real, and we would just go from there with that understood."

The live show at The Egg is in the Hart Theater.

photo via Welcome to Night Vale FB

Drawing: Valentine's Day dinner at Nine Pin Ciderworks

nine pin valentines day dinner

Drawing's closed!

Nine Pin Ciderworks and Jeff Loshinsky Catering are teaming up to host a "Cider is for Lovers" Valentine's Day dinner on February 14. Blurbage:

Bring your Valentine for a unique dining experience at New York's first farm cidery. For one night only,Nine Pin's industrial setting will be staged for lovers. Award Winning Chef Jeff Loshinsky will showcase a romantic four course dinner paired with four glasses of Nine Pin's finest ciders.

We have a pair of tickets to the dinner, and we're giving them away. To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

What's a small, everyday way that someone expresses love for you, you express love for another person, or you see how other people express love for each other?

Grand gestures -- the elaborate marriage proposal, the extravagant gift, or whatever -- get a lot of attention. But life is mostly a bunch of small moments strung together. And showing your love for someone -- whether it's your partner, friend, family member, whoever -- is often about the small things we do for each other. Maybe it's time made for someone, listening during a tough day, or cooking that person's favorite dinner on a Tuesday night.

So, this could be anything. We'll draw one comment at random. That person gets the pair of tickets.

The Valentine's Day dinner at Nine Pin starts at 7 pm on February 14. Tickets are $85 per person. For reservations: 449-9999.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Thursday, January 29, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Thursday and must respond by 5 pm Friday, January 30.

Jeff Loshinsky Catering catered the Rail, River, Hudson tour, and Nine Pin Ciderworks was a sponsor.

Capital Region ice skating spots 2015

hockey skates on ice

The long stretch of cold weather this month and (until now) lack of snow has made for some good outdoor ice skating.

There are a bunch of spots around the Capital Region for ice skating, both outside and inside. We recently updated AOA's map/listing of those places with information for this winter -- check it out.

And if you know of a place that should be on the list, please let us know in the comments.

Sufjan Stevens at The Palace

sufjan stevens 2015

The Sufjan Stevens is set to play a show at The Palace April 15. Tickets go on sale this Friday, January 30 -- they're $30 and up. (There's also a pre-sale.)

Stevens will be touring to promote a new album, Carrie & Lowell. (Not to be confused with Carey Lowell.) Tour blurbage:

Thematically the 11 songs address life and death, love and loss, and the artist's struggle to make sense of the beauty and ugliness of love. The album is named for Stevens' mother and stepfather and is a return to Stevens' folk roots.
A singer-songwriter currently living in Brooklyn, NY, Stevens' preoccupation with epic concepts has motivated two state records (Michigan & Illinois), a collection of sacred and biblical songs (Seven Swans), an electronic album for the animals of the Chinese zodiac (Enjoy Your Rabbit), two Christmas box sets (Songs for Christmas, vol. 1-5 and Silver & Gold, vol. 6-10), and a BAM-commissioned programmatic tone poem for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (The BQE). In 2010 Stevens released an expansive EP (All Delighted People) and the full length The Age of Adz, a collection of songs partly inspired by the outsider artist Royal Robertson.

photo via Asthmatic Kitty Records

The week ahead

demetri martin publicity photo

Comedian Demetri Martin is at The Egg this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (early week snow dump), to arts and sciences, to works on stage, to comedy, to chowder, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

RPI Union hockey Doug Kerr cc

RPI and Union renew their rivalry in the Mayors Cup at the TU Center Saturday night. / photo: Flickr user Doug Kerr (CC BY-SA 2.0) (cropped)

Hot chocolate? Check. Blankets? Check. Netflix? Check.

Stuff to do for those of us who want to do more than huddle under blankets with hot chocolate watching Netflix this weekend? Check.

After the jump we've pulled together our list of stuff to do this cold January weekend. So pick a few, bundle up and get out and have some fun.

Doing something that you don't see listed here? Drop it in the comments for the rest of us to see.

And whatever you're up to, keep warm and have a great weekend.

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The Love Story Masquerade

Zhenelle Falk TheLoveStory promo photo

Zhenelle Falk

By Lauren Hittinger

There's a new kind of Valentine's Day event at the Takk House in Troy this year. And it involves masquerade, burlesque, a mysterious host, and a whole lot of secrecy.

Zhenelle Falk is planning The Love Story, a carefully-orchestrated alternative to Hallmark cards and heart-shaped boxes.

I chatted with her about this immersive event that is aiming to be frightening, exciting, and sexy all at once.

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Interpol at Upstate Concert Hall

Interpol band 2015

Rock band Interpol is set to play Upstate Concert Hall July 29. Tickets go on sale this Friday, January 23 -- they're $25 ahead / $28 day of.

Noted: It's been more than 12 years since Turn on the Bright Lights was released.

Anyway, it's good to see they're up for braving upstate New York again after their last experience.

Concerts, concerts, concerts...
It's concert announcement season. Also announced for UCH today:
+ Thomas Rhett February 27
+ Circa Survive May 2

And for the Times Union Center:
+ Eric Church with Drive-By Truckers March 12

And for Troy Music Hall:
+ Mary Chapin Carpenter April 23

photo via Interpol FB

Drawing: Tickets for Demetri Martin at The Egg + City Beer Hall gift certificate

demetri martin city beer hall drawing composite

Drawing's closed!

Comedian Demetri Martin will be back at The Egg January 29 for a stand-up show. We've have a pair of tickets and we're giving them away.

BUT WAIT -- there's more. In addition to the pair of tickets, we're adding a $30 gift certificate for The City Beer Hall, which, of course, is right near The Egg.

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

Demetri Martin is known for his one-liners. So, tell us all a joke.

One-liner, knock-knock, very short story, whatever. Goofy, groan-inducing joke? Go for it. In fact, we'll start with one:

Q: Why was the banana always picked first for games on the playground?
A: Because it had a peel.

There's nowhere but up from that one.

The Demetri Martin show at The Egg is at 8 pm on Thursday, January 29. Tickets are $42.50.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Thursday, January 22, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Thursday and must respond by noon on Friday, January 23.

Live Nation advertises on AOA.

Weird Al at The Palace

weird al mandatory tour 2015 poster clip

In retrospect it should have been obvious that totalitarian dictatorship was the inevitable endgame of the Weird Al situation.

The "Weird Al" Yankovic is set to play a show at The Palace July 11. Tickets go on sale to the general public January 30 -- they're $29.50 and up.

Tour blurbage:

Weird Al released his 14th studio album Mandatory Fun on July 15th. The album features parodies of some of the biggest hits of the past year, including Pharrell Williams' "Happy" ("Tacky"), Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" ("Word Crimes"), Lorde's "Royals" ("Foil"), Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" ("Handy") and Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" ("Inactive"). The album also features several inspired originals and pastiches ("Lame Claim to Fame," "Sports Song," "My Own Eyes," "Mission Statement," "First World Problems" and "Jackson Park Express") along with Al's latest accordion-fueled medley, "NOW That's What I Call Polka!"

Weird Al was last in town in 2011 for a show at The Palace. The according uprising has been waiting for this moment ever since.

The week ahead

how water behaves capital rep

How Water Behaves -- about an internet charity ruse gone wrong -- opens at Capital Rep this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (relative heat wave), to MLK, to fake charity gone wrong, to common ground, parodying Fifty Shades..., to music...

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events 2015

martin luther king jr speech 1962 nyc NYS Archives

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

Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and for a lot of people will have the day off as a holiday.

And if you do, here are a few events you might think about attending...

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Stuff to do this weekend

MonsterJam.jpg

Monster Jam is at the TU Center this weekend.

Hey, guess what? 63 days until spring!

Meanwhile, there's the weekend, which, for some of you, will be three days. You're going to need something to do. After the jump, a few interesting items we collected. Got something else planned? Tell us about it in the comments.

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

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Drawing: Caribbean tapas party at New World Catering

New World Catering kitchen on Delaware Ave

New World Catering Kitchen on Delaware Ave.

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

New World Catering Kitchen in Albany is hosting a Pop Up Rhum and Caribbean Tapas tasting party January 22. 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:

If you could hop a plane tomorrow for any warm destination in the world, where it would it be? And why that destination?

Yeah, this is totally mid-winter fantasy. We'll pick one winner at random.

Blurbage on the tapas event at New World Catering:

We are featuring cocktails made with Rhum Clement for Martinique presented by Brendan Edwards. Ric Orlando is creating authentic tastes in grazing tapas format which will include real Conch, Calalloo with crab, oxtails, salt cod fritters and more!

The event is Thursday, January 22 from 6:30-9 pm. Tickets are $50 per person, and only 40 will be sold. Call (518) 465-3465 for tickets.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Friday, January 16, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Friday and must respond by noon on Monday, January 19.

New World Catering advertises on AOA.

Mountain Jam 2015 lineup

the black keys 2014

The Black Keys

The annual Mountain Jam music festival at Hunter Mountain announced the lineup the 2015 festival today. Headliners include: The Black Keys, Gov't Mule, moe (all three already announced), Robert Plant, Alabama Shakes, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and Michael Franti and Spearhead.

The full lineup (announced so far) is post jump.

Mountain Jam is June 4-7 this year. Early bird tickets are currently on sale: a 3-day pass (without camping) is $185 / a 4-day pass is $205.

As you know, Hunter Mountain is in Hunter, New York, in the northern Catskills. It's a little more than an hour drive from Albany.

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Shows coming up, winter 2015

2015 winter concerts composite

Clockwise from left: St. Vincent, Mavis Staples, Awkwafina.

There are people who like to go to concerts. You may be one of these people.

There are also people who just like to know that there are concerts. You might be one of those people if you're not the other kind of person.

Either way, here's another roundup of concerts that be happening in the Capital Region. And during the next few months.

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The week ahead

jersey boys tour 2015 promo photo

Jersey Boys 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 (as expected), to Jersey Boys, to stories, to a sassy drink 'n draw, to wine and dine, to music...

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Stuff to do this weekend

david wax museum

David Wax Museum is at Caffe Lena Friday night.

This time of year can fill you with the urge to hibernate.

There's nothing wrong with a little hibernation, but for those of you looking for something to do, we've compiled a list after the jump. Doing something you don't see listed here? Share it in the comments.

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

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Day trip: Williamstown and The Clark

The Clark Clark Center exterior 2015 January

The new building at The Clark.

By Lauren Hittinger

Normally I am a very active person, but the cold weather makes me an unhappy shut-in. This winter I want to change all of that. I'm going to be highlighting some great day trips and activities that work well in the winter, by either celebrating the snowy weather... or by staying mostly indoors.

Our first destination is Williamstown, which is great for art lovers. I started out the day at the newly renovated Clark museum, and spent the rest of my time enjoying this old Western Massachusetts town.

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Drawing: Wine & Dine for the Arts gala tickets

Thumbnail image for wine and dine for the arts wine glasses

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The annual Wine & Dine for the Arts food and wine festival in downtown Albany starts January 15 (next week). The multi-day event includes tastings, chefs and restaurants, seminars, and competitions for sliders, baristas, and bartenders.

We have a pair of tickets to the grand gala reception and dinner on Saturday, January 17 and we're giving them away. To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

What is your 2015 resolution for the Capital Region?

It could be big, it could be small. It could be for yourself, it could be the area generally. We'll pick one person at random.

The gala starts Saturday, January 17 at 6 pm with a reception, dinner at 7 pm. Gala tickets are $125 each. Tickets for other events at the festival are currently on sale, though some events are already sold out and others have just a few remaining.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 am on Saturday, January 9 10, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 10 am on Monday and must respond by noon on Tuesday, January 13.

AOA is a media sponsor of Wine & Dine for the Arts.

NYS Writers Institute visiting writers spring 2015

nys writers institute 2015 spring cover composite

The spring lineup for the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series is out. And, as we've all come to expect, it includes both authors you'll recognize and authors you'll probably soon recognize.

Here's the full lineup, compressed and expanded...

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Drawing: Sparks and Spirits at miSci

misci sparks and spirits promo image

Drawing's closed!

MiSci is hosting a "Sparks and Spirits" night at the museum January 15. Event blurbage: "Enjoy signature drinks and eats with a 1920s vibe: running model trains, music, planetarium shows & more. 1920s attire optional."

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 to which you're looking forward this year?

Could be anything. We'll draw one winner at random.

Sparks and Spirits is from 6-8 pm on Thursday, January 15 at miSci. Tickets are $35 ahead / $40 at the door. They include admission, food, and one free drink. The event is 21 and over.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 5 pm on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Wednesday, January 7 and must respond by noon on January 8.

MiSci advertises on AOA.

Stuff to do this weekend

capital holiday lights in the park 2014

Capital Holiday Lights in the Park continues for one more week.

Happy holidays!

If you're not already occupied by parties, visits and holiday entertaining, you may be looking for something to do this weekend.

We've wrapped up a few ideas with some virtual ribbon and they're waiting for you after the jump.

Got something planned that you don't see here? Drop it in the comments for the rest of us to see. Holidays are a time for sharing.

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

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The week ahead

Elf stage show

Elf 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, wet), to Christmas, to Christmas films, to an oversized elf, to hoops, to museums...

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Stuff to do this weekend

It's a Wonderful Life

Playing this weekend at The Palace in Albany and The Bow Tie in Saratoga Springs.

There's lots going on the the Capital Region this weekend -- both holiday and non-holiday. So if you're looking to take a break from all of the shopping and baking and wrapping and meal planning and whatever else is keeping you busy these days, after the jump you'll find a list of stuff we thought you might find interesting.

Got something else planned? Let us know about it in the comments.

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

Saint Rose Stuff to Do This Weekend in-post ad

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ComFest 2015 headlined by Tig Notaro

comedian Tig Notaro

Tig Notaro

The National College Comedy Festival -- ComFest -- is back at Skidmore February 13-14. And the headliner for this year's festival is Tig Notaro.

Notaro is a standup comic and writer who's appeared a bunch of places, including Comedy Central and This American Life. In recent years, she's been recognized for a set in which she announced she had breast cancer -- Louis C.K. called it one of the "truly great, masterful standup sets." And this past November, Notaro -- who had a double mastectomy and didn't get reconstructive surgery -- performed a set topless.

Other headlining acts for this year's ComFest: Chris Thayer, the sketch comedy troupe Gentlemen Party, and improvised musical Baby Wants Candy. And, of course, there will be many college groups.

ComFest annual festival is a showcase for up-and-coming comedy writers, performers, and improv troupes -- and many past performers have gone on to great success (example: the festival's founder, David Miner, worked on 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation). Here's a good piece on the festival and its history over at Splitsider from a few years back, and a feature about an earlier festival in NYT.

The festival always sells out. Tickets for the general public go on sale online February 10.

photo via Tig Notaro FB

The week ahead

cirque dreams holidaze promo photo

Among the holiday-themed events this week: Cirque Dreams Holidaze at The Palace.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (not bad), to ongoing holiday-ing, to Hanukkah, to words, to cooking, to music...

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Concert announcements: The Black Keys, They Might Be Giants, Avett Brothers

the black keys 2014

The Black Keys

A few concert announcements today:

Black Keys at Mountain Jam
The Black Keys will be the headliner for the Mountain Jam festival at Hunter Mountain June 4-7. The duo is set to play the Saturday of the festival. Other headliners announced: Gov't Mule and moe. Tickets for the festival are currently $185 for a 3-day pass and $239 for a 4-day pass.

They Might Be Giants at UCH
They Might Be Giants return to the area to play Upstate Concert Hall April 22. Tickets are $20 ahead / $23 day of and they're on sale now.

Avett Brothers at Brewery Ommegang
The first announced show of the outdoor summer season at Brewery Ommegang: The Avett Brothers on June 13, with John Prine. Tickets are $55 and on sale December 19.
____

Earlier on AOA: Talking with They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh about The Egg

photo: Danny Clinch

Stuff to do this weekend

comedian john oliver

John Oliver is at The Palace Saturday.

It looks like the snow is taking a break just in time for the weekend. And there is a long list of stuff to do, both holiday and non-holiday themed. So put on a pair of waterproof boots and go have some fun.

After the jump we've pulled together a list of things you might like.

Got something planned that's not on the list? Drop it in the comments so we can all see.

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

Saint Rose Stuff to Do This Weekend in-post ad

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Downton Abbey season premiere at Proctors

downton abbey promo photoThe next season of Downtown Abbey starts running on TV here in the United States on January 4 -- but Proctors is screening the premiere episode December 17 in the GE Theater. The screening is free, though WHMT asks that you reserve a spot.

Given how large the screen is in the GE Theater, it will probably feel like sitting down to dinner with the Crawleys. So, you know, maybe it's not a bad idea to wear your tails.

Neighborhood That Disappeared: A quick reminder that The Neighborhood That Disappeared, the doc about the neighborhood replaced by the ESP, is set to air on WHMT this Friday, December 13 at 8 pm and again on Saturday at 3:30 pm.

Neutral Milk Hotel at MASS MoCA

neutral milk hotel

Indie rock band Neutral Milk Hotel is set for a show at MASS MoCA's Hunter Center April 17. Tickets are $36 ahead / $45 day of -- they go on sale this Friday (December 12).

The show will be the second stop for Neutral Milk Hotel in this wider region over the last year. The band played a show at Brewery Ommegang this past September. (And Neutral Milk Hotel founder Jeff Mangum played at MASS MoCA back in 2013.)

As you know, Neutral Milk Hotel wasn't hugely popular during its first run -- but it has ended up being very influential. You can hear strains of its 1998 album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea pop up in a bunch of indie rock over the last decade plus.

The opener for the MASS MoCA show is The Dot Wiggin Band.

photo via Neutral Milk Hotel FB

The week ahead

capital rep 2014 secret garden

Capital Rep continues its production of The Secret Garden this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (messy), to all sorts of holiday stuff, to stories, to money, to music...

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Stuff to do this weekend

Santa Speedo Sprint 2013

Santas in Speedos will be sprinting down Lark Street Saturday.

There is absolutely no shortage of stuff to do in the Capital Region this weekend -- from Santas in Speedos to tree festivals to ice skating, theater and a PechaKucha.

After the jump, a list of stuff we thought would be fun. If you're planning something that you don't see on the list, drop it in the comments and let everyone know about it.

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

Saint Rose Stuff to Do This Weekend in-post ad

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Solid Sound 2014 early bird

solid sound festival logoBelieve it or not, ticketing is already starting for next year's slate of summer music festivals around the region. And 2015 will mark the return of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA.

The Wilco festival is back June 26-28 after skipping 2014. Early bird tickets go on sale this Friday, December 5 -- a 3-day pass is $124.

A lineup for the festival hasn't been released yet, but in years past it's included a range of musical acts, comedy, and of course, Wilco.

Mountain Jam: The Mountain Jam festival is back at Hunter Mountain June 4-7. And it's already sold through its first presale. Tickets will be back on sale when the lineup is announced, which usually happens in January.

Capital Region holiday events 2014

santa playing sax troy victorian stroll

It's the season of sax-playing Santa.

December is here and the Capital Region's schedule of holiday-themed events is stuffed with tree lights, Victorian strolls, concerts, screenings of holiday classics, and a bunch of other activities.

And here's a rundown of them...

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The week ahead

Lucius band

Lucius will be in town later this week for a show.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (melt-y), to so many holiday things, to authors, to film, to music...

(there's more)

Stuff to do this weekend

empire state plaza ice skating state library

Ice time.

Somewhere between "I couldn't eat another bite" and "Is it time for leftovers?" comes the time to stretch your legs a bit and find something to do.

So, after the jump, a buffet of Capital Region fun. Pick a helping of your favorites and feel free to go back for seconds.

Got something planned that you don't see here? It's the holiday season, so share with the rest of us.

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

Saint Rose Stuff to Do This Weekend in-post ad

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The Trial Before Christmas returns

trial before christmas 2014 posterThe Trial Before Christmas -- a mock trial to settle who really wrote "A Visit from Saint Nicholas," first published in the Troy Sentinel -- will once again be held at the Rensselaer County Courthouse in Troy on December 7 during the Victorian Stroll at 2 pm. It's free to attend.

Last year's trial -- featuring a judge, jury, attorneys, expert witnesses, a sax-playing Santa -- was in front of an overflow crowd of almost 500 people. As a result, event organizer Duncan Crary is aiming to have a feed of the trial in the courthouse rotunda this year to handle the overflow, and to post a video of the trial online afterward. To cover the costs involved, there's a Kickstarter.

One of the pledge premiums is a a fun poster designed Ben Karis-Nix of Troy Cl