Items tagged with 'arts and sciences'

Pulitzer Prize winner Douglas Blackmon at Siena

doug blackmon bio photoPulitzer Prize winning author Douglas Blackmon will be at Siena Thursday evening for a lecture titled titled "Civil Rights and the Continuing Impact of Slavery in the 21st Century." Blackmon won the Pulitzer for the book Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II -- which was turned into a PBS doc with the same title.

From the author's bio:

Blackmon has written extensively over the past 25 years about the American quandary of race-exploring the integration of schools during his childhood in a Mississippi Delta farm town, lost episodes of the Civil Rights movement, and, repeatedly, the dilemma of how a contemporary society should grapple with a troubled past. Many of his stories in The Wall Street Journal explored the interplay of wealth, corporate conduct, the American judicial system, and racial segregation.

Maybe you saw Blackmon when he at UAlbany a few years back for a NYS Writers Institute event with UAlbany professor Sheila Curran to talk about the production of the PBS version of Slavery by Another Name.

Blackmon's appearance this time is part of The Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture series at Siena.

The talk starts at 7 pm Thursday, April 3 in the Marcelle Athletic Complex. It's free and open to the public, no tickets required.

Discussing "The End of Cannabis Prohibition," at Saint Rose

a new leaf book with dropshadowCould be interesting in light of recent news both here in New York and elsewhere: Journalists Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian -- the authors of A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition -- will be at Saint Rose for a reading and discussion February 6.

Book blurbage:

In the first book to explore the new landscape of cannabis in the United States, investigative journalists Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian present a deeply researched, insightful story of how recent developments tie into cannabis's complex history and thorny politics. Reporting from nearly every state with a medical cannabis law, Martin and Rashidian enliven their book with in-depth interviews with patients, growers, doctors, entrepreneurs, politicians, activists, and regulators. They present an expert analysis of how recent milestones toward legalization will affect the war on drugs both domestically and internationally. The result is an unprecedented and lucid account of how legalization is manifesting itself in the lives of millions.

The Saint Rose event is at the Center for Communications and Interactive Media (996 Madison Ave) on February 6 at 7:30 pm (a Thursday). It's free and open to the public. The event is part of the Frequency North series.

Oh, and by the way: Alyson Martin is a Saint Rose alumna, from Feura Bush (we hear).

Also coming up in the Frequency North series: Jade Sylvan on January 30, 7:30 pm, at the Events and Athletics Center (420 Western Ave) She's the author of Kissing Oscar Wilde, "a star-crossed novelized memoir about love, death, and identity."

NYS Writers Institute visiting writers spring 2014

visiting writers 2014 spring book covers

The spring 2014 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.

A handful that caught our eye on first pass this time around: Walter Mosley, E.L. Doctorow, Christopher Durang, Walter Kirn, Julia Glass, and Lydia Davis.

Here's the full lineup...

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Lydia Davis at Albany Public Library

lydia davis author photoMan Booker International Prize winner -- and UAlbany professor/writer-in-residence -- Lydia Davis will be at the main Albany Public Library this Saturday for a talk and discussion about her work. The Friends of Albany Public Library will honoring Davis with their Author of the Year Award at the event.

Davis won the prestigious Man Booker International Prizer this past May for her body of work, which includes super short stories -- some no longer than a sentence or two -- as well as highly-regarded translations of French works. She also won a MacArthur "genius" grant in 2003.

The APL event is at 1:30 pm on Saturday, December 7. It's free and open to the public.

The APL advertises on AOA.

photo: David Ignaszewski / MacMillan

Khaled Hosseini at the Zankel Center

khaled hosseiniKhaled Hosseini -- author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns -- will be at Skidmore's Zankel Center February 12. The event will be free and open to the public, but tickets will be required.

Hosseini's appearance is being organized by Saratoga Reads. The community reading org's first selection was The Kite Runner a decade ago. And it's 2013-2014 book is Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed.

The event at a the Zankel will be a conversation between Hosseini and WAMC's Joe Donahue. Ticketing will start in mid-January via the Zankel Center box office.

photo: John Dolan

Doris Kearns Goodwin at Saratoga City Center

doris kearns goodwin bully pulpit

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will be at the Saratoga City Center December 6 to talk about her recently published book The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. Tickets start at $25.

As you know, Kearns Goodwin is just about the most famous historian in America. She's won the Pulitzer Prize. She's on TV a lot. Her 2005 book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln was the basis for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. From the blurbage for The Bully Pulipit:

From the country's leading presidential historian, The Bully Pulpit is a masterful and deeply insightful study of presidents - freshly told through the decades-long and complicated friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Like with Lyndon Johnson, the Kennedys, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin meticulously and with great perception and compassion captures an epic moment in history, when in 1912, Roosevelt and Taft engage in a brutal fight for the presidency - a fight that destroys both their political futures, while seriously weakening the progressive wing of the Republican Party, and dividing their wives, their children, and their closest friends.

It was that 1912 election in which Roosevelt ran as the "Bull Moose Party" candidate. William Howard Taft doesn't have the high-profile now like TR, but he was also an interesting character, the only person to serve as both as POTUS and chief justice of the Supreme Court.

The Doris Kearns Goodwin appearance is being organized by the Northshire Bookstore, and is part of the "Off The Shelf" series with WAMC -- DKG will have an onstage conversation with Joe Donahue and it will later be broadcast.

The event starts at 7 pm on December 6. Tickets are $25 / $45 for a ticket and the book / $48 for two tickets and one book.

Ann Patchett
Another upcoming Northshire-organized event: Author Ann Patchett will be at the Saratoga Hilton December 11 to talk about This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Tickets are $25 / $35 for a ticket and the book / $40 for two tickets and one book.

Doris Kearns Goodwin photo via her FB page

Jonathan Kozol at CNSE

jonathan kozolAuthor/educator/activist Jonathan Kozol is the featured guest speaker at a forum November 7 at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering titled "Growing Up in Poverty in America: A Call to Action." The event is organized by the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.

Kozol's career has focused on highlighting the obstacles that poverty creates for children in urban areas, speaking out against the systems that he's argued have contributed to inequalities for low-income children. A Slate article from last year gives a short overview of Kozol's career, and a look at his most recent book.

The event at CNSE will also include a panel discussion. It event is from 1-4 pm (there will be tours of CNSE before and after). Tickets are $40.

photo: Gloria Cruz

NANOvember 2013

college of nanoscale science engineering exterior

October is ending and that means it's time to turn the calendar page to, um, NANOvember.

The SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering has once again lined up a month of events focused on highlighting nanotechnology and what's going at the NanoCollege. The events start this Saturday (November 2) with the annual community day. Blurbage:

CNSE Community Day is a chance for people of all ages from the Capital Region and beyond to receive an up-close look at the exciting world of nanotechnology. Attendees will experience hands-on activities, engaging demonstrations, timely presentations, and guided tours of CNSE's unrivaled Albany NanoTech Complex. Attendees will see firsthand how CNSE and New York State have emerged as the epicenter for the nanotechnology-driven society of the 21st century!

Here's the full list of NANOvember events, many of which are free and open to the public. We've plucked a few that caught our eye -- they're after the jump.

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Carnivore, Locavore, Grocery Store

albany law carnivore locavore posterThis upcoming event at Albany Law caught our eye: "Carnivore, Locavore, Grocery Store: The Economics, Politics, and Regulation of Sustainable Meat Production." It's a panel discussion and community forum November 7. Panel members:

+ Parke Wilde, Associate Professor of Food Policy, Tufts University, and Author, Food Policy in the United States
+ Jerry Cosgrove, Associate Director, Local Economics Project of the New World Foundation, and Author, Agricultural Economic Development for the Hudson Valley
+ Naftali Hannau, Co-founder and Owner, Grow & Behold Kosher Pastured Meats, New York City
+ Anna Hannau, Co-founder and Owner, Grow & Behold Kosher Pastured Meats, New York City, and Author, Food for Thought: Hazon's Sourcebook on Jews, Food, and Contemporary Life
+ Timothy Lytton, Albert & Angela Farone Distinguished Professor of Law, Albany Law School, and Author, Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food

There seems to be growing public interest in where food comes from and how it gets to us, not just ends but also means. So this even could have some interesting threads for a range of people.

The discussion starts at 7 pm on November 7 at Albany Law. It's free and open to the public.

Piper Kerman -- author of Orange is the New Black -- at Skidmore

piper kerman orange is new blackAs you might know, Orange is the New Black -- the popular Netflix series -- is based on a memoir of the same title by Piper Kerman. And that Piper -- as opposed to Piper Chapman, the actual Piper -- is scheduled to be at Skidmore November 12 for a talk. It's free and open to the public.

From the blurbage for Kerman's memoir:

When federal agents knocked on her door with an indictment in hand, Piper Kerman barely resembled the reckless young woman she was shortly after graduating Smith College. Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, Piper was forced to reckon with the consequences of her very brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking.
Following a plea deal for her 10-year-old crime, Piper spent a year in the infamous women's correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, which she found to be no "Club Fed." In Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, Piper takes readers into B-Dorm, a community of colorful, eccentric, vividly drawn women. Their stories raise issues of friendship and family, mental illness, the odd cliques and codes of behavior, the role of religion, the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailor, and the almost complete lack of guidance for life after prison.

Kerman now is as a communication consultant for non-profits and "works on a range of issues including criminal justice reform."

So... how much of the TV show Orange is the New Black is like what actually happened? From a Fresh Air interview with Kerman this past August:

The Netflix series is an adaptation, and there are tremendous liberties. What that means is that when you watch the show, you will see moments of my life leap off the screen, such as Larry Bloom's proposal to Piper Chapman, [which] is not so very different from the way my husband, Larry Smith, proposed to me. There are moments in the very first episode, like when Piper Chapman insults Red, who runs the kitchen with an iron fist -- that is actually very closely derived from what's in the book and from my own life. But there are other parts of the show which are tremendous departures and pure fiction.

Kerman's talk is November 12 at 7 pm in Skidmore's Gannett Auditorium (Palamountain Hall). It's free and no ticket is required, but seating is first come, first sit.

[via Skidmore Unofficial]

photo: Brian Bowen Smith

Troy Author Day 2013

troy author day 2013 logoThis Saturday -- October 19 -- is Troy Author Day. Blurbage:

Twenty of the Capital District's most popular authors will gather to meet readers, autograph books, and discuss their work. Drop in for a few minutes, or stay the whole time. ...
Select authors will participate in two panel discussions: one about their creative processes and another about publishing.

You'll recognize a bunch of the authors on the slate. A few names that immediately jumped out at us: Lydia Davis, Elisa Albert, Paul Grondahl, Dennis Mahoney, and James Kunstler.

Troy Author Day is noon-3 pm Saturday at the Troy Public Library. It's free. Copies of the authors' books will also be on sale, and portion of the proceeds benefit the TPL.

A look at the new mummy exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art

mummy coffin lids

You live your life as a priest or sculptor. You die. You're preserved, sent off into the afterlife. And there you rest for 3,000 or 2,300 years. Then a decidedly unrestful period. Your effects are split up. You're partially unwrapped to make sure you're not "squishy." You're sold for maybe $100. A steamboat ride to the other side of the planet. Fanfare. Hubbub. Outright mania. Gender confusion. Gawkers. So many school children. An x-ray. Another x-ray. Is that the beginning of understanding? Finally?

To put it another way: the afterlife is complicated.

It's one of themes that emerges from the Albany Institute of History and Art's new exhibit, "The Mystery of the Albany Mummies," which opens this Saturday.

Here's a quick look from a preview Thursday.

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NYS Neighborhood Revitalization Conference in Troy

downtown Troy from RPI hill Green Island Bridge backgroundThis Saturday at Russell Sage College: The second annual New York State Neighborhood Revitalization Conference. Event blurbage:

The purpose of our conference is to bring together neighborhood activists, educators, business people, and elected officials to share successes and develop strategies to maintain healthy and vibrant neighborhoods throughout Upstate New York. As residents and businesspeople, we believe that the strength of our past and our diversity in people, cultures, and businesses, will enable us to make our neighborhoods destinations to live, work, and visit.

Scanning through the list of conference workshops, it looks like there are a bunch of interesting people who are doing interesting things. Among the presenters: Abby Lublin from Troy Compost, Laban Coblentz from Tech Valley Center of Gravity, and Anasha Cummings from Project Nexus.

The conference starts at 8 am Saturday (September 21) and wraps up around 5 pm. Registration is $25 / $10 for students.

Sanctuary for Independent Media fall 2013

Vieux Farka Toure by Francesca Perry

Vieux Farka Touré -- "the Hendrix of the Sahara" -- will be there in October.

The fall 2013 slate of events for the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy is out. And, as in previous seasons, its lineup includes some events that are unusual and, at times, challenging.

A quick-scan look at the slate is after the jump.

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Beekman Boys, Anne Rice, Richard Russo appearing in Saratoga for Northshire

beekman boys sitting on steps

Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, AKA, The Beekman Boys

A handful of upcoming author events organized by the Northshire Bookstore Saratoga that caught our eye:

September 17: The Beekman Boys
Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell -- AKA, The Beekman Boys -- will be at the Saratoga Springs store to talk about their Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook. Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell own Beekman 1802, a company based around their farm in Sharon Springs. They have a show on Cooking Channel, and were winners on The Amazing Race. September 17, 7 pm, in store

October 17: Anne Rice
Popular novelist Anne Rice will be at Saratoga Hilton ballroom for a conversation with WAMC's Joe Donahue (similar to the Neil Gaiman event). Rice will be talking about her new novel The Wolves of Midwinter (surprise: it's about werewolves). Rice's son, Christopher, will also be there for his new novel The Heavens Rise. October 17, 7 pm, Saratoga Hilton - tickets $30 (includes Wolves of Midwinter) (or two tickets and one book for $37.50)

October 26: Richard Russo
Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo will be at Skidmore for a conversation with Saratoga Springs Public Library director Isaac Pulver on "the theme of home and place in Russo's work." As you know, the home and place in much of Russo's work is upstate New York (Russo grew up in Gloversville). October 26, 7 pm, Filene Recital Hall at Skidmore - $20 (includes a copy of Russo's memoir Elsewhere)
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Earlier on AOA: A look at the new Saratoga Northshire, and conversation about the future of bookstores

photo via Beekman 1802

Jonathan Franzen at Skidmore

jonathan franzen

Author Jonathan Franzen will be at Skidmore October 3 for a reading and discussion. The event is free and open to the public.

Franzen is among the most famous and acclaimed American writers. His 2011 novel The Corrections won multiple awards, he's feuded with Oprah, writes for the New Yorker, and Time put him on its cover a few years back -- pegged to the release of his novel Freedom -- with the headline "Great American Novelist." He's also acquired a rep for being kind of cranky -- because of the Oprah situation, and comments such as calling Twitter "unspeakably irritating," As Flavorwire wondered last month, has Franzen become an easy target for being tagged a curmudgeon "or is he just simply a jerk?"

Last year Franzen released a collection of essays that had been previously published in outlets such as the New Yorker, NYT, the Guardian. And he has a book of translations of essays by a turn-of-the-20th-century Austrian satirist coming out in October.

The Skidmore event is titled: "The Novel and The World -- A Reading and Discussion." It starts at 8 pm in the Palamountain Hall Gannett Auditorium. The event is part of the ongoing Steloff Lecture series, which included Zadie Smith last year.

Earlier on AOA: NYS Writers Institute visiting writers fall 2013

photo: Greg Martin

Top Obama campaign advisers to speak at UAlbany

axelrod plouffe favreau

Left to right: Axelrod, Plouffe, Favreau.

Update: Here's the link for registration.

The World Within Reach speakers series has lined up an appearance by three of top advisers on Barack Obama's two presidential campaigns: David Axelrod, David Plouffe, and John Favreau. The trio will be talking and taking questions as part of a "Inside the Obama Campaign" program September 28 at the SEFCU Arena.

This should be a pretty big event for political nerds. Axelrod was key adviser to Obama as he moved from Illinois state Senate, to the US Senate, to the White House. Plouffe was the campaign manager for the 2008 Obama presidential campaigns and then served as senior advisor to the White House. Favreau was Obama's chief speech writer for the first presidential campaign and served in the same role at the White House.

The event at UAlbany starts at 8 pm on September 28. It will be open to the public, but a ticket will be required. Details on how to get a ticket are still to come -- the UAlbany Student Association, the event's organizer, says the info will be posted on its website and Facebook page.

This is the seventh event for World Within Reach speakers series. It's put together a string of high-profile speakers, including Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, Howard Dean and Karl Rove (together), and Russell Simmons.

photos via Washington Speakers Bureau

Frequency North 2013-2014

rick moody looking off

Rick Moody will be at St. Rose September 26.

The "aggressively eclectic" visiting writers series Frequency North is back for another season at St. Rose starting in September. One name that jumps out immediately on first scan of the lineup this time around: author Rick Moody.

A compressed, easy-scan version of the lineup is post jump. As in the past, FN events are free and open to the public.

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NYS Writers Institute visiting writers fall 2013

nys visiting writers 2013-fall covers

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

A handful that caught our eye on first pass this time around: Jonathan Lethem, Lydia Davis, Bill Bryson, Roxana Saberi, and William Kennedy.

Here's the full lineup...

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Diary of a pari-mutuel clerk

saratoga pari mutuel window the millions MinkelOver at The Millions, Elizabeth Minkel is writing a diary of her time as a pari-mutuel clerk this summer at the Saratoga Race Course. A clip:

We take bets. It's the simplest explanation for a job that's more nuanced than I'd ever have guessed, before any of this, before the track was something more than a disruptive abstraction on the east side of town. I learned the basic logic of horse gambling ten years ago, hovering over a keyboard as seasoned tellers called out sample bets, struggling to understand the terminology and the different combinations, exactas and doubles, keys and partial wheels, ten-ten on the eight horse, Seabiscuit in the fifth. I've learned a lot in the intervening decade, like how to harness the patience to explain the fundamentals to a novice, or how to decipher the ramblings of a drunk. I work hard to be effortlessly adept when professional gamblers come to the windows, printed stacks of racing stats clipped together, the carefully-calculated permutations of a morning spent handicapping printed at the top in neat pencil. Each series of bets, each exchange is a single moment encapsulated: beneath the numbers, horses and dollar amounts, it's flirtation or anger or joking banter or the drudgery of playing a game only the very lucky can seem to crack.

We enjoyed reading this first part of the diary, the way Minkel reflects on the Track's presence in her hometown and her focus on some of the tiny moments there.

We're looking forward to more.

(Thanks, Darren.)

photo: Elizabeth Minkel / The Millions

TEDxAlbany is returning

TEDxAlbany red xThe local event based on the popular TED conferences -- TEDxAlbany -- is scheduled to return November 14 for the first time since 2011. The conference will be at Overit's converted church space in Albany and "will feature a mix of local and national voices, an after-hours networking event and other fun surprises for attendees to enjoy."

The first TEDxAlbany was in 2010, with a follow up in 2011.

Like the original TED, the locally-organized independent TEDx events include a series of speakers giving short presentations on a range of topics. The first two TEDxAlbany events included talks from the Capital District Community Gardens' EJ Krans about the Veggie Mobile, Sarah Gordon about starting FarmieMarket, Union College psychologist Chris Chabris on inattentional blindness, and science communicator Jeremy Snyder on the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

The organizer for this year's TEDxAlbany is Lisa Barone, who spoke at the 2011 event. She's a VP at Overit, which is sponsoring the event.

One of the things that's different about TEDxAlbany this time around is that attendance is by application only. We asked Lisa about that -- and how speakers are being selected...

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Rensselaerville Festival of Writers 2013

rensselaerville festival of writers poster 2013The fourth Rensselaerville Festival of Writers is coming up August 15-18. Among the lineup for this year's festival:

+ Joan Walsh, Salon editor at large

+ Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show

+ David Rees, humorist/cartoonist (the book How to Sharpen Pencils, the strip Get Your War On)

+ Jan Libby, multimedia storyteller and experience designer

+ Craig Gravina, Albany-area beer historian

+ Music from Matt Durfee and Olivia Quillio

Here's the full lineup of authors and speakers.

The festival is at "several venues throughout the idyllic Helderberg hamlet." There's a range of ticket prices for the various readings, talks, and workshops -- from $10 to $275 (four-day pass). Proceeds go to benefit the Rensselaerville Library.

Prestigious international award for Lydia Davis, author and UAlbany professor

lydia davis author photoThis is great: Lydia Davis -- a professor and writer-in-residence at UAlbany -- has won the Man Booker International Prize, which is awarded every two years based on the body of a writer's work.

Davis is known for her short stories -- some of them as short as just a sentence or two. Said Christopher Ricks, the chair of the judging panel for this year's prize of Davis' stories, in a press release: "Just how to categorise them? They have been called stories but could equally be miniatures, anecdotes, essays, jokes, parables, fables, texts, aphorisms or even apophthegms, prayers or simply observations ... There is vigilance to her stories, and great imaginative attention. Vigilance as how to realise things down to the very word or syllable; vigilance as to everybody's impure motives and illusions of feeling."

Here's an example of one of Davis' ultra short works, called A Double Negative:

At a certain point in her life, she realizes it is not so much that she wants to have a child as that she does not want not to have a child, or not to have had a child.

As she told the Guardian a few years back: "When I first began writing seriously, I wrote short stories, and that was where I thought I was headed. Then the stories evolved and changed, but it would have become a bother to say every time, 'I guess what I have just written is a prose poem, or a meditation', and I would have felt very constrained by trying to label each individual work, so it was simply easier to call everything stories."

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RUST at Radix

Radix 2012 greenhouse from above.jpgComing up at the Radix Center in Albany: Regenerative Urban Sustainability Training (RUST), June 1-2. The workshop is focused on "skills for building ecologically resilient communities in today's cities." Blurbage:

In this class, Scott Kellogg and other sustainability experts give attendees a "toolbox" of techniques and knowledge usable by anyone wanting to create sustainable systems in their own communities. Through a combination of group hands-on activities and lectures, participants will learn how to build infrastructure for self-reliance that is simple, affordable, and replicable. These systems can be applied in either urban or rural environments.

The topics range from aquaponics to beekeeping to vertical farming to vegetable oil vehicles.

The cost for the workshop $150-$350, and includes meals. Space is limited.

Earlier on AOA: Startup contest update: The Radix Center

Neil Gaiman at Saratoga City Center

neil gaiman and ocean cover

Award-winning author Neil Gaiman will be at the Saratoga City Center June 20 to read from, and talk about, his soon-to-be-released book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Tickets are $35 (one seat and one book) and $45 (two seats and one book).

Gaiman's appearance is being sponsored by the Northshire Bookstore and WAMC -- Gaiman will be talking with Joe Donahue for the public radio station's aptly named Book Show. The event starts at 6 pm on the 20th (a Thursday).

Gaiman's work tends toward fantasy and science fiction, and ranges from comic books (The Sandman) to novellas (Coraline) to novels (American Gods). He's won a bunch of awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Newbery.

What about the Saratoga location for Northshire? The Vermont-based book store is aiming to have its new Saratoga Springs location at 422 Broadway open by the end of July. It's currently hiring for a range of positions, according to its website.

Gaiman photo: Allan Amato

Marguerite Holloway and The Measure of Manhattan at the State Museum

measure of manhattan book coverSounds interesting: Marguerite Holloway, author of The Measure of Manhattan, will be at the State Museum Thursday evening as part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series.

The Measure of Manhattan is a biography of John Randel, Jr, an Albany native who laid out the street grid for Manhattan. Blurbage:

Born and raised in Albany, renowned for his brilliance, Randel was also infamous in his own day for eccentricity, egotism, and a knack for making enemies. He was a significant pioneer of the art and science of surveying, as well as an engineer who created surveying devices, designed an early elevated subway, laid out a controversial alternative route for the Erie Canal, and sounded the Hudson River from Albany to New York City in order to make maps and aid navigation. One of the many delights of Holloway's book is that it also reveals, for modern readers, the original landscape of Manhattan in its natural state before it was "tamed" by Randel's grid.

Holloway is a science journalist and heads up the science and environmental journalism program at Columbia.

The talk starts at 8 pm on Thursday (April 11) in the State Museum's Clark Auditorium. It's free.

Brian Stetler at Skidmore

brian stetlerNew York Times media reporter Brian Stetler will be at Skidmore Monday (March 18) night for a talk: "Twenty Somethings: How are they viewed, what is expected of them and by whom?"

Stetler was one of the journalists followed in the recent documentary about NYT, Page One. He's had a remarkable (if still young) career. He started writing the TV Newser blog while still in college and got hired by the Times shortly after graduation. He's now 27.

The talk is Monday at 7 pm in Palamountain Hall. It's free and open to the public.

photo: Brian Stetler Twitter

Judges to discuss "inner workings" of the Court of Appeals at Albany Law

nys court of appeals exteriorJudges from the New York State Court of Appeals -- the state's highest court -- will be at Albany Law March 21 for an event titled "The New York Court of Appeals: The Untold Secrets of Eagle Street."* The judges will "discuss the court's procedure and inner workings."

All of the court's current judges are schedule to participate: Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, Judge Victoria Graffeo, Judge Susan Phillips Read, Judge Robert Smith, Judge Eugene Pigott, Jr., Judge Jenny Rivera. (Rivera was confirmed just this past month.)

The event is from 5-7 pm in Albany Law School's Dean Alexander Moot Courtroom. It's free and open to the public. It's part of the Albany Law Review's annual Chief Judge Lawrence H. Cooke State Constitutional Commentary Symposium.

*Because, you know, the court is on Eagle Street in Albany. It's across Pine Street from Albany City Hall.

Albany Law advertises on AOA.

Adaptive reuse of religious properties conference

Overit 1.jpgInteresting, in part because it's been such a topic of discussion lately: there's a conference on the adaptive use of historic religious properties at the Carey Center for Global Good in Rensselaerville in March. It's co-sponsored by the The New York Landmarks Conservancy. Blurbage:

Re-use vs. demolition of closed religious institutions has galvanized communities throughout the state and country. Successful adaptive reuses have created jobs, boosted local economies, and rescued buildings of great importance to local communities. This conference will be the first comprehensive, state-wide discussion of why officials, communities, denominations and developers should consider adaptive use as an economic development tool.
The conference will present case studies of successful adaptive reuse projects, with an emphasis on strategies for economic development. Among the projects presented: Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, Rochester's former Holy Rosary Church campus, the former St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Harlem, and Albany's former St. Theresa of Avila Church.

Here's the conference program. It's March 6-7. There's a sliding scale attendance fee that starts at $106.

Earlier on AOA: New lives for old churches

Gordon Parks photos at State Museum

gordon_parks_street_scene-_two_children_walking_harlem_ny_1943.jpg

"Street Scene: Two children walking, Harlem, NY, 1943" by Gordon Parks

Opening January 26 at the State Museum: Gordon Parks: 100 Moments, an exhibit of work by the renowned photographer and director. The collection includes one of Parks' most famous photos -- a take on Grant Wood's "American Gothic" (backstory) -- as well as images that weren't previously exhibited.

From a Parks bio at his foundation's website:

Born into poverty and segregation in Kansas in 1912, Parks was drawn to photography as a young man when he saw images of migrant workers published in a magazine. After buying a camera at a pawnshop, he taught himself how to use it and despite his lack of professional training, he found employment with the Farm Security Administration (F.S.A.), which was then chronicling the nation's social conditions. Parks quickly developed a style that would make him one of the most celebrated photographers of his age, allowing him to break the color line in professional photography while creating remarkably expressive images that consistently explored the social and economic impact of racism.

Parks would go on to become Life magazine's first African-American staff photographer, documenting many famous figures of the 20th century.

Also: he directed the movie Shaft.

The exhibit will be on display at the State Museum through May 19.

photo: Gordon Parks, "Street Scene: Two children walking, Harlem, NY, 1943" - Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress LC-USW3-023994-E

NYS Writers Institute spring 2013

nys writers institute spring 2013 covers

The spring lineup for the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series is out. As usual, it's full of notable/interesting/award-winning writers.

A handful of the names that caught our eye on first pass: George Saunders, Marilynne Robinson, Gail Collins, Manil Suri, and Eric Drexler.

Here's the full lineup...

(there's more)

Russell Simmons at UAlbany

Russell SimmonsAs you might have heard, entrepreneur Russell Simmons will be at UAlbany October 13 as part of the university's World Within Reach speaker series at UAlbany.

Tickets for the talk are available to UAlbany students, faculty, staff, and alumni -- they're free require pre-registration. If you don't fit into one of those categories, but would still like to go, the university says you're welcome if you can get someone from the university's community to claim a spot for you while registering.

Simmons is the co-founder of Def Jam records, among many other businesses. He's also a political activist -- recently working with Dennis Kucinich on campaign finance reform efforts.

photo: David Shankbone via Wikipedia (cc)

Ken Burns at The Egg

ken burnsDocumentary director Ken Burns will be at The Egg November 26 for "an engaging evening" with historian and Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer. Tickets are now on sale. They're $10.

Burns -- the man with his own effect -- and Holzer will be discussing Burns' life and "his passion for history," as well as his many respected PBS documentaries, including The Civil War, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, and Prohibition.

The event starts at 7:30 pm. It's a co-production with the NYS Archives Partnership Trust.

photo: Flickr user dbking (cc) via Wikipedia

Genius visits

junot diazThe MacArthur Foundation has announced its 2012 group of MacArthur Fellows, who get $500,000 grants with no strings attached (AKA, the "genius grants"). And as it happens, one of the winners will be here this week -- and another was just here.

Junot Diaz
Junot Diaz is, of course, a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist. And now he's a MacArthur Fellow. (That's him on the right.) He'll be at UAlbany Thursday night as part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series. From the MacArthur profile of him:

Junot Díaz is a writer whose finely crafted works of fiction offer powerful insight into the realities of the Caribbean diaspora, American assimilation, and lives lived between cultures. Born in the Dominican Republic and living in the United States since adolescence, Díaz writes from the vantage point of his own experience, eloquently unmasking the many challenges of the immigrant's life. With skillful use of raw, vernacular dialogue and spare, unsentimental prose, he creates nuanced and engaging characters struggling to succeed and often invisible in plain sight to the American mainstream.

The Diaz reading at UAlbany starts at 8 pm Thursday in the Assembly Hall on the uptown campus. It's free.

Chris Thile
A member of the Punch Brothers, Thile played The Egg this past Sunday. And it was apparently a great show. From the McArthur profile of Thile: "Chris Thile is a young mandolin virtuoso and composer whose lyrical fusion of traditional bluegrass with elements from a range of other musical traditions is giving rise to a new genre of contemporary music. With a broad outlook that encompasses progressive bluegrass, classical, rock, and jazz, Thile is transcending the borders of conventionally circumscribed genres in compositions for his own ensembles and frequent cross-genre collaborations."

By the way: William Kennedy was a MacArthur Fellow in 1983 -- and used part of the money to help found the NYS Writers Institute.

(Thanks, Tom!)

photo: Nina Subin / Penguin

Kate Bolick at Union College

kate bolick the atlantic coverKate Bolick -- the author of the much talked about/circulated/commented/shared "All the Single Ladies" article in The Atlantic a year ago -- is coming to Union College for talk in November.

In that Atlantic piece, Bolick examines the idea of what it means to be a single woman, the changing nature of the "marriage market," and ultimately argues for more flexible attitudes about the way people decide to arrange their lives. Here's a clip:

What my mother could envision was a future in which I made my own choices. I don't think either of us could have predicted what happens when you multiply that sense of agency by an entire generation.
But what transpired next lay well beyond the powers of everybody's imagination: as women have climbed ever higher, men have been falling behind. We've arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown up--and those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you don't want to go out with.

And here's an interview with Bolick at the Hairpin.

Bolick's talk at Union is November 6 (at Tuesday). It's at the Nott and it's free.

Sandra Fluke at Albany Law

sandra flukeA symposium at Albany Law School October 11 -- "From the Page to the Pill: Women's Reproductive Rights and the Law" -- will include Sandra Fluke.

The national spotlight found Fluke earlier this year after House Republicans didn't let her testify at a committee meeting on conscience clauses in health care. House Democrats then let her speak at a different committee meeting. Fluke spoke about the cost of contraceptives and the lack of coverage for them on the student plan at Georgetown, where she was a law student at the time (she's since graduated). Then Rush Limbaugh happened. Then the whole situation blew up.

Fluke was one of the speakers at the Democratic National Convention earlier this month.

The full lineup of speakers and panelists for the symposium, which is organized by the Albany Law Journal of Science & Technology, is after the jump. From the blurbage for the event:

The panelists will be divided into two panels. The first will focus on whether or not the law can and should mandate health insurance provider coverage of women's contraceptives, and the second will focus on legislation currently affecting women's reproductive rights.

The event is from 1-5 pm at Albany Law. It's free and open to the public.

(there's more)

NYS Writers Institute fall 2012

nys writers institute fall 2012 book covers

A few of the recent books from a few of the writers on this fall's slate.

The fall lineup for the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series is out. As usual, it's full of notable/interesting/award-winning writers.

A handful of the names that caught our eye on first pass: Junot Diaz, James Mann, J. M. Coetzee, David Quammen, Steveny Levy, J. Hoberman, and newly-designated State Author Alison Lurie and State Poet Marie Howe.

Here's the full lineup...

(there's more)

Violence, Vulgarity, Lies

albany law school exteriorThe Albany Law Review has a symposium on free speech issues -- "Violence, Vulgarity, Lies ... and the Importance of 21st Century Free Speech" -- coming up September 27 at Albany Law. And it looks like it's gathered a solid lineup of speakers, including:

Floyd Abrams, First Amendment lawyer, whose wins before the U.S. Supreme Court range from the Pentagon Papers to Citizens United
Dean Alan B. Morrison, George Washington School of Law, who co-founded the Public Citizen Litigation Group with Ralph Nader and who has argued more than 20 cases before the Supreme Court
Susan Herman, President, American Civil Liberties Union, and author, Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy
Robert O'Neil, former President, University of Virginia, and founder, Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression
Ronald Collins, Harold S. Shefelman Scholar, University of Washington School of Law
Robert D. Richards, founding co-director, Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment, and John & Ann Curley Professor of First Amendment Studies at Penn State
Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent, The New York Times

The symposium is free and open to the public.

Yep, Albany Law does advertise on AOA.

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