Items tagged with 'arts'
The Albany Barn is a weird landlord.
"We kind of like it when people leave," says Barn president Jeff Mirel, "as long as they stay in the neighborhood."
The Barn, of course, is not an actual barn. It's the former Saint Joseph's Academy in Albany's Arbor Hill neighborhood.
More than two years ago it was converted into a mix of HUD-subsidized live/work apartments for artists and studio/theater/office space for art, performance, and community-building activities. The goal: creative placemaking that the Barn's leadership hopes will help the neighborhood with a constant influx of new art and ideas.
"This is a stepping stone for artists," says Mirel of the Barn's assistance to artists, which also includes help with marketing and business. "Success is not required -- trying to achieve is. We say 'Yes, go out into the world, let us serve someone else.'"
Ideally, Mirel says, Barn artists will plant roots in the neighborhood, hiring locally, training young people, and being a part of creating a vibrant area. Meanwhile other artists will move into their affordable spaces at the Barn, so there is always an influx of new artists.
So, that's the plan. After nearly two years, how's it going? And what's next?
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.
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...
In the late 1920s there were 19 theaters in just the city of Schenectady.
"Companies like General Electric and ALCO were booming back then," says Schenectady County Historical Society librarian Michael Maloney, "and the city experienced a huge growth in population between 1900 and 1930. Theaters were able to capitalize on that."
Of course, there were also zero TVs in the city at the time. There was no internet. There was no Hulu or Netflix. There were no video games.
But that time set the stage for some remarkably long running theater institutions in the city. And almost a century later, they're helping Schenectady develop an identity as the Capital Region's theater district.
Something to consider adding to your list of stuff to do this summer: a visit to Williamstown Theater Festival. You might just see the next Broadway hit.
The Tony Award nominees were announced Tuesday morning and the The Visit -- which opened at WTF last season and transferred to Broadway -- took five nominations. The Visit stars Chita Rivera and Rodger Rees, with a book by Terrance McNally and music and lyrics by Kander and Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago), so it has a great pedigree, and the show was many years in the making.
But it's also part of a recent trend of Williamstown launching Broadway shows.
A few food/media programs this summer in Rensselaerville that might interest some people:
Longhouse Food Scholars Program
This year's Longhouse Food Scholars Program is July 5-19 and July 26-August 9. Its mission "is to prepare participants for careers in food media, activism, food writing, and food-related entrepreneurial ventures." Additional blurbage:
The Food Scholars Program is structured like a newsroom, intense and fast-paced, with distinct deadlines and deliverables. Working with masters of their craft, scholars shoot and edit mini-documentaries and slide-shows, conduct interviews, gather oral histories, and create online content.
This food media "boot camp" includes daily writing exercises, weekly specialty seminars in recipe testing, studio and location food photography, basic culinary skills, weekly "salon" dinners with food authors, professors and intellectuals, and professional mentoring sessions.
In addition, each scholar is responsible for creating a personal, online portfolio--drawing from this work as well as any additional work he or she may have.
The founder of the program is longtime food writer Molly O'Neill.
The application process is competitive -- "selection is based on a passion for food and storytelling, a well-established appetite for learning, and well-stated career goals." We hear that they'd welcome some more applicants from upstate, so it could be a point in your favor.
Longhouse Food Revival
This year's Longhouse Food Revival is again set for September (it looks like the exact dates haven't been released, yet). The event "combines original multimedia presentations, curated discussions, insight from leading thinkers in food and plenty of time to make new friends, forge new connections and inspire and brew new ideas."
There's still time to submit ideas for the Public Art Challenge, a local effort to land as much as $1 million for a public art project in the Capital Region. Blurbage:
The cities of Albany, Schenectady and Troy are jointly soliciting submissions for public art projects, as part of a collaborative response to the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. The challenge invites mayors of cities with populations of greater than 30,000 residents to collaborate with artists and arts organizations in developing innovative projects that engage residents and attract visitors.
A committee made up of the mayors' offices and Regional Alliance for a Creative Economy will review the submissions and select one to jointly submit to the Bloomberg competition.
Here's a FAQ -- it says collaboration among people is encouraged, and you don't have to be an artist to submit an idea.
The deadline for local submissions is November 17.
By the way: The Capital Region Creative Economy Regional Summit is this Thursday, November 13 at Proctors. It's free and open to the public (registration required).
Here's the full lineup, compressed and expanded...
Nothing warms my heart quite as much as a creative person making his or her own way through the world. Which is why I was keen to talk with Sean Desiree, a self-taught furniture maker (and musician!) in Albany. Desiree is committed to using reclaimed materials -- primarily leftover wood pallets -- to create tables, bookcases, and other pieces.
I caught up with her recently to talk with her about her business, South End Pallet Works, and how she got started...
Yaddo, The Artist's retreat in Saratoga founded by Spencer and Katrina Trask is opening for tours for one day in September. The house, normally closed to the public, hosts artists, writers, filmmakers, composers and performance artists. Leonard Bernstein, John Cheever, Truman Capote and Eudora Welty are just a few of the artists who have had residencies there.
The main house and cottages have opened for tours about five times, and each time they sell out, and the waiting list is very long. They'll open for public tours for only the 6th time in the organizations 114 year history on September 21. Two hour tours will be offered at 8:30 am, 11am, 1:30 pm and 4 pm. There will also be a deluxe tour available to 50 guests on September 20, from 4-7 pm with a reception. Tours are $50. Tickets are available here. The deluxe tours are $250.
We took the tour in 2011 and it's really interesting. You get to see the dining rooms, a studio, the elegant staircase where John Cheever is rumored to have ridden and antique sled, and artist's studios. Even the pencil sharpener under the stairs made us wonder what was written with the No. 2s sharpened there.
You can check out the rose garden and rock garden at Yaddo anytime between dawn and dusk for free. It's a great place to have a quiet picnic in Saratoga.
AOA's summer tour is headed to Hudson this weekend, so we thought it'd be fun to have Hudson Week on AOA. Each day we'll be featuring posts about things to do, see, and sample in this city on the river.
One of the interesting things about Hudson is the architecture. It's filled with fascinating old spaces in a wide variety of architectural styles.
After the jump, a few interesting Hudson buildings that have found new lives...
The annual GameFest at RPI -- a series of events focused on video games -- returns this weekend. And the showcase of student-designed games is open to the public. Blurbage:
The games Rensselaer students will showcase this year are widely varied and include Kajo, a game in which players run and jump their way through a mystical, floating city and use concepts of physics to improve their parkour-style moves. Another game, Space Luddites, features a group of characters fighting back against an oppressive, dystopian future and a powerful company that controls all technology.
The showcase is at EMPAC from noon-3 pm on Saturday. It's free.
So now that all of the 22 live/work apartments at The Albany Barn are occupied, who lives there? And what does the space look like?
Kristen Holler, The Barn's executive director, says the mix of artists is just what they hoped for. "We couldn't have gotten a more diverse group if we planned it that way. The youngest resident is 23 and the oldest is in his 60s. There's a good mix of men and women and different types of art."
Owens gave us a look at his new place recently, and shared some thoughts on what it's been like for him at the Barn so far.
Do you know any fiction writers groups in the Capital Region, who meet to discuss their work and workshop?
Outside perspective can be a help when working on some sort of creative effort. And there are certainly communities of writers in this area, so we wouldn't be surprised to hear if there are groups -- ranging from the formal to the less so.
Have a suggestion for Joe? Please share!
Dashira Cortes was 10 years old when she auditioned for Winnie the Pooh and won the part of Christopher Robin's favorite bear. That was the first time other people really began to recognize she could sing. Since then this Albany High School graduate has worked with Park Playhouse, played Dorothy and Aida, and even shared an Off-Broadway stage with Jeremy Irons, whom she refers to as "the voice of Scar."
This weekend Cortes plays The Moon in the regional premiere of Tony Kushner's musical Caroline or Change at Schenectady Light Opera Company.
Cortes took a few minutes to talk with AOA about Caroline, how her alma mater Albany High School often appears in the media, and a move toward more diversity in Capital Region theater.
With the end of the year coming up, we thought it'd be fun to ask a bunch of people about some of their favorite/most interesting things from the 2013.
Today, a group of musicians, actors, and arts writers look back at some of their favorite Capital Region shows of the year.
Tickets went on sale today for the Bolshoi Ballet's string of dates at SPAC next July. Tickets start at $34 and they're available online (use the code "SPACROCKS" for a discount). When we checked this morning around 10:30 am, SPAC's website reported that it was "experiencing an unusually high volume of requests" for tickets.
The performances at SPAC will be a production of Don Quixote including not just dancers, but also the Bolshoi's 80-piece orchestra. The run includes four performances, from July 29-August 1.
Proctors has announced it'll start selling individual tickets to the popular musical The Book of Mormon on January 24. The East Coast tour of the show, written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, comes to Proctors March 11 through March 16 of 2014. Until January 24 tickets are only available as part of the Proctors Broadway package.
Also announced by Proctors this week, fifty new shows, including Kristin Chenoweth on February 9. And the touring company of the musical Newsies will hold its premiere in Schenectady in the 2014-15 season.
The slate for the fall 2013 season at EMPAC is now out. As usual, it includes a wide range of events -- performances, talks, screenings. And many of them are the sort of thing you wouldn't be able to catch somewhere else -- locally, and perhaps anywhere.
A compressed, quick-scan version of the fall schedule is post jump.
The Albany Public Library's "Summer in the City PoeTweet Contest" ended Saturday night. The week-long contest was pretty much what it sounds like: short poems about summer in Albany, submitted via Twitter.
We thought it'd be fun to collect the entries from the context hashtag. So... that's what we did.
There were some beautiful entries.
Today's a notable day for Capital Region book nerds because it's the opening of the Saratoga Springs location of the Northshire Bookstore. The 9,000-square-foot store on Broadway in the heart of downtown is just the second location for the much-admired Manchester, Vermont independent.
The last decade or so has been tough on book publishers and bookstores. The big national chain stores have either fallen (Borders) or are teetering (Barnes & Noble). The rise of e-readers has cut into sales of hard-copy books. And Amazon and Apple have been engaged in various attempts to control the pricing of books.
Given all that, we were curious why -- and how -- someone would open a new bookstore. So we stopped by the Saratoga Northshire location on Friday to get a peek at the new store, and talk with co-owner Chris Morrow about why they picked Saratoga Springs, how they made it happen, e-readers, and the future of the bookstore.
Remember that Albany Barn project at St. Joseph's Academy in Arbor Hill? The one that combines subsidized apartments for artists with rehearsal suites, studio space and offices for arts groups and not-for-profits? Well, the apartments are starting to take shape, and later this month the Barn will be opening the building for a night of tours and a fundraiser with the Chefs Consortium.
We got a tour of the building recently, and some details on how plans are firming up, from project founder Jeff Mirel and Albany Barn executive director Kristen Holler.
Interesting: Composer Evan Mack -- a professor of music theory and piano at Skidmore -- has worked out a two-year development deal with William Kennedy to create an opera version of Kennedy's novel Roscoe.
From a press release:
The story takes place in 1945, V-J-day. Roscoe Conway, after twenty-six years as the second in command of Albany's notorious political machine, decides to quit politics forever. But there's no way out, and only his Machiavellian imagination can help him cope with the erupting disasters. Every step leads back to the past -- to the early loss of his true love, the takeover of city hall, the machine's ﬁght with FDR and Al Smith to elect a governor, and the methodical assassination of gangster Jack (Legs) Diamond. "Thick with crime, passion, and backroom banter" (The New Yorker), Roscoe is an odyssey of great scope and linguistic verve, a deadly, comic masterpiece from one of America's most important writers.
"I feel certain that Roscoe would be delighted by this development in his history," said author William Kennedy. "His life was grandly operatic in its high drama and its sweeping dimension. Roscoe was attuned to the music of the spheres."
This would be Mack's third opera. He'll be collaborating with librettist Joshua McGuire.
photos: William Kennedy - Phil Scalia; Evan Mack - Michael Brooks
The Grand Street Community Arts' YouthFX teen filmmaking program is premiering the short films from its 2012 season tonight (Thursday) at the Madison Theater in Albany.
Twelve films are on the slate covering a range of topics, among them: bullying, poetry, the Albany High School girls' basketball team's championship season, and the city of Albany's youth boxing program. The full slate is after the jump.
There are two screenings: 7 pm and 9:15 pm, with a Q&A with the filmmakers after each. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 students. Proceeds go to support YouthFX's summer program.
The schedule is out for this summer's New York State Writers Institute's public readings series in Saratoga.
As usual, there are a bunch of names you'll recognize. The readings are in the evenings on the Skidmore campus -- they're free and open to the public.
Laurie Anderson has a long history of mixing science and art. The experimental artist has invented instruments like a tape bow violin, done a residency at NASA and, for the last year, she's held the first distinguished artist in residence post at EMPAC, where she says science and technology have allowed her to do things she never could have done before.
EMPAC may be a bit of a puzzle to folks outside the media arts world, but inside that world, Anderson says, it's gaining quite a reputation.
"You can't explain it to someone," she says," because there's nothing else like it in the world."
We're going to let you in on a secret here: We don't cover many red carpet events. Let's rephrase that: We've never covered a red carpet event. Until now.
Last night we headed over to the Bow Tie Cinema for the local premiere of The Place Beyond the Pines in Schenectady -- which, like us, is also not accustomed to red carpet events.
For those of you who also have never attended a red carpet event, here -- in no particular order-- are a few things we learned or observed, and some pictures of what we saw.
And, yes, there are a few pictures of Bradley Cooper.
The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza is one of three indie book stores that have filed a class action suit against Amazon and the "big six" book publishers alleging the companies have violated anti-trust law by forming agreements, and using digital rights management, to exclude indie book stores from the e-book market. The suit also alleges the arrangement is moving Amazon toward having an e-book monopoly. [Huffington Post Scribd]
As the book stores' lead attorney explained to the Huffington Post this week: "We are seeking relief for independent brick-and-mortar bookstores so that they would be able to sell open-source and DRM-free books that could be used on the Kindle or other electronic ereaders." [Huffington Post]
So, in other words, the books stores are looking to prohibit the publishers from publishing e-books that can only be read on a Kindle (or via a Kindle app), and Amazon would be required to allow e-books from any store to be read on a Kindle. They also want the publishers to allow indie brick-and-mortar book stores to be allowed to sell e-books with "open-source" digital rights management ("DRM" -- technology that makes it harder to copy something).
We're heading into Oscars weekend, when actors, directors, screenwriters and other people in the film industry are having visions of holding a golden statuette, thanking the Academy, and timing their speeches in hopes they don't get played off.
But let's face it -- most people don't get an opportunity to see Oscar up close.
You can see one right now, though, at the Rensselaer County Historical Society in Troy.
(crotchety old person voice) Oh, teenagers today, with their Facebook and their dubstep and their... public poetry reciting.
Poetry Out Loud is a national contest program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. Sponsored by The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by building on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as demonstrated by the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of rap music among youth. By performing great works of literature, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn more about their cultural heritage.
The first regional final is Thursday evening. There's another next week. And the state final is in March. All three are free and open to the public. The schedule is post jump.
Tickets for the (rescheduled) Stephen Sondheim appearance at Hudson Valley Community College on May 7 go on sale to the general public February 9. They're $25 and "limited" (in other words: they will probably sell out quickly). Update March 22: We've heard the tickets are sold out.
"An Evening with Stephen Sondheim" will include an onstage interview with Sondheim, conducted by AOA's own Mary Darcy. The Sonny Daye & Perley Rousseau Trio will play a short concert before the interview.
photo: Jerry Jackson
With the end of the year coming up, we thought it'd be fun to ask a bunch of people about some of their favorite/most interesting things from the 2012.
Next up: Capital Region musicians, actors, and artists on their favorite local shows of 2012.
That Stephen Sondheim event at HVCC originally planned for this past September now has a new date: May 7 at 7:30 pm. '
Tickets for the general public will go on sale in February.
"An Evening with Stephen Sondheim" will include an onstage interview with Sondheim, conducted by AOA's own Mary Darcy. The Sonny Daye & Perley Rousseau Trio will play a short concert before the interview, starting at 6:45 pm.
Sondheim is, of course, one of the all-time greats of musical theater. His works includes classics such as West Side Story, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Assassins. He's won eight Tony awards, an Oscar, a Pulitzer, and eight Grammys.
photo: Jerry Jackson
The screenings start at 7 pm. There will be a musical intermission from Ryan Ross Smith. It's a $3 suggested donation.
The organizers are Emily Berçir Zimmerman, India Lombardi-Bello, Ryan Jenkins -- all of whom you might recognize from the local arts community. The Troy Record's Danielle Sanzone recently talked with some of the organizers for backstory on the fest.
For the next two weeks you'll be hearing a lot about MoHu -- a festival of the arts in the Mohawk/Hudson region.
Yep, you already knew this is a good place to live and there's a lot going on, but for the next two weeks MoHu is hoping to get people to try something new -- something you've been meaning to try or something that might never have considered before. To encourage that, MoHu is giving away a super-sampler with tickets and restaurant gift certificates so the winner can enjoy not just a show, but dinner in the different parts of the "MoHu arts zone."
One winner will be selected at random and will get:
+ Capital Repertory Theatre - a pair of tickets to an upcoming showing of Pride@Prejudice
+ Bayou Cafe, Downtown Albany - $50 gift certificate
+ Proctors - a pair of tickets to the Friday, October 19th SPENCERS: Theatre of Illusion performance - http://www.proctors.org/events/spencers-theatre-illusion
+ The Waters Edge Lighthouse - $100 Gift Certificate
+ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall - good for reserved seating to Troy Savings Bank Music Hall presented events; expires 05/31/13
+ EMPAC - good for any EMPAC-curated event
+ Illium Cafe -Gift Certificate $100
+ Arthur Zankel Music Center - valid for any Zankel Music Center Presentation. Good through 05/01/13
+ 51 Front Wine Bar & Bistro - Dinner for two, includes appetizer/salad, entree, & dessert
Wine, beer, or other alcohol is NOT included - $90 Value - Drinks not included
+ Fifty South Restaurant & Bar - $50 gift certificate good through October 1, 2013. Does not include tax or gratuity
That is a lot of art. And food. So, to get in on the drawing here's what you need to do:
MoHu is a made up word that stands for the Mohawk/Hudson region. Make up your own word, leave it in the comment section, and don't forget to tell us what it means.
We'll draw one winner at random.
Important: All comments must be submitted by 5 pm on Monday, October 8 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly -- seriously, if you win, we want to give you the tickets) with your comment. The winners will be notified via email by 8 am on Tuesday, October 9 and must respond by 6 pm that day.
AOA is a media sponsor of the MoHu Festival.
The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy starts its fall slate this weekend with Bike!Bike! Northeast (previously mentioned). As usual, the org is offering a schedule of events and exhibits that includes the unusual and, at times, challenging.
A quick listing is after the jump.
The second MoHu arts festival starts next week, and runs from October 5-14. Like last year the festival is aiming to put a spotlight on the arts in the Capital Region by pulling together events at more than 100 venues around the area.
And the opening event for this year's festival is something different: MoHu Takes Flight -- an "interactive arts cocktail party" in a hangar at ALB. From the blurbage:
In addition to enjoying cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, you can help build a 44' sculpture of the Hudson River train bridge, test your musical abilities in the Instrument Petting Zoo, sample local artisans' fare, experience local artist Tony Iadicicco as he creates a work of art before your eyes or just stand back and watch it all to the rhapsodic sounds of the Teri Roiger Quartet. The evening culminates with the art of clothing with The Electric City Couture Fashion Show. Who knows what else the MoHu crew has up its creative sleeve!
We had a chance to talk with some of the organizers and it sounds like they have some fun plans for the space (and there's lots of it). The party is October 4 from 6-8 pm. Tickets are $50 / $30 for MoHu artists.
Not your typical art class: "Pasties, Pencils & Pints" is coming up this Thursday in Troy. Organizer Emily Armstrong describes it as, "The Capital Region's first sassy figure model drink-n-draw. It's sort of like life drawing meets burlesque."
Emily says the first event was this past July, and they've been holding them monthly since. She explains how it works:
There are about two hours of poses with a model, starting with one minute and working all the way up to 20. We don't allow just anyone to model, however -- it's really got to be someone who can and will exude their inner sexiness, and someone who will dress in an interesting costume (or two). As the poses get longer, the model removes parts of her (or his -- though we've only had female models thus far) costume, and like in a burlesque show, the audience in encourage to cheer.
There are also three drawing contests each time, and they always include best non-dominate handed drawing, and two other silly things (like, best incorporation of a sailor, best incorporation of competitive sports). The contests are always for prizes, and sometimes local businesses donate. ...
We always have a DJ who sets the mood, and we ask for a $10 donation to cover fees. It's really important to me that the model gets paid well so that it's a desirable thing to do, and after all, we are asking for A LOT from them. Without the model, we have no event.
The series' Facebook page has a bunch of photos from previous nights, so you can get a sense of the scene. (The "pints" part of the night is BYOB.)
The drink-n-draw is at 51 3rd Street in Troy on Thursday. (Emily says they're trying to keep it the third Thursday of each month.) Prizes this month are from Brown's and CAPow! Art Illustration & Photography.
By the way: Emily says the 51 3rd Street space recently suffered some water damage, and they almost had to cancel this month as a result -- but it's still on. "I was unable to find another venue where we'd be able to pay the model AND pay for the space. There is some cleanup needed to be able to use 51 3rd again, and we're assembling a crew to go in Wednesday at 7 and do it. (And by a crew, it will be at least my mom and I :) )."
photo: Andrew Franciosa
The fall 2012 schedule for EMPAC is now online. A compressed, easy-to-scan version of the slate is after the jump. Be sure to hit the (newly redesigned) EMPAC site for full details.
This season's schedule includes the usual mix of the unusual in all sorts of media -- music, dance, film, animation, science...
HVCC announced today that the scheduled appearance by Stephen Sondheim on September 25 has been cancelled.
The college says it hopes the event can be rescheduled for spring 2013.
If you have a ticket for the event (they hadn't gone on sale to the general public just yet), you can get a refund by calling (518) 629-8071.
photo: Jerry Jackson
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...
The Frequency North series at St. Rose is back for the upcoming school year -- and the slate is now out. The lineup includes fiction writers, non-fiction writers, memoirists (including a former dominatrix), poets, and the return of Pitchapoolza.
The full schedule is post jump.
Frequency North readings are free and open to the public.
Heads up: the Arts Center of the Capital Region has started the process for its next round of community arts grants -- individual grants can include as much as $5,000 in funding. During the last round the Arts Center distributed a total of almost $90k.
There are three types of grants. From the blurbage:
Community Arts Grants fund nonprofit organizations that produce high-quality arts and culture programming in the community.
Arts Education Grants fund cultural organizations or teaching artists to support programs that integrate the arts into non-arts curriculum in K-12 public school classrooms.
Individual Artist Commissions provide funds to individual artists to create new works that engage their local community.
Applicants must show up at an information seminar -- there are a bunch of them over the next month-and-a-half. Check the schedule at the link above.
Five grand can go a long way in the right (creative) hands. Maybe those hands are yours.
The deadline for applying is October 5.
Yep, the Arts Center does advertise on AOA.
A few months back we told you that composer, lyricist and deity to music theater fans, Stephen Sondheim will be making an appearance at Hudson Valley Community College this. "An Evening With Stephen Sondheim" is slated for September 25 -- and AOA's Mary Darcy will be the on-stage interviewer.
Ticket sales have just been announced. Here are the details:
+ HVCC students faculty and staff can reserve tickets as of August 27. They're free for students. $25 for faculty and staff.
+ Tickets will be available to the general public starting September 8 -- they're $25.
The event is expected to sell out, so if you're hoping to attend, act early.
photo: Jerry Jackson
Summer theater festivals in and around the Capital Region are just getting underway for the season. We're pretty lucky to have so many high quality summer festivals within an hour's drive.
After the jump, a quick look at this year's festivals and what they're offering...
The Albany Barn has a groundbreaking/fundraiser lined up for June to celebrate the start of construction on the St. Joseph's Academy building. From the blurbage:
...a culinary & visual happening celebrating the start of construction at St Joseph's Academy, future home of The Barn creative arts incubator & community arts center.
"Lost and Found" - a photo exhibition of St. Joseph's Academy
Food by the Chefs Consortium featuring Rebecca Joyner, Noel Conklin, Ellie Markovitch & Albany's own 2x Chopped™ Champion chef Ric Orlando preparing his own unique "Slow Food" dishes. Fresh, local ingredients from Albany area farms & food producers.
Wine & Beer presented by Harmony House Marketplace and Chatham Brewing.
Groundbreaking! is June 22 (a Friday) from 5-9 pm. Tickets are $25.
Earlier on AOA: Raising the Albany Barn
The slate is up for this summer's New York State Writers Institute's summer public readings series in Saratoga.
Some of the names you might recognize: Rick Moody, Joyce Carol Oates, Jamaica Kincaid, Mary Gaitskill, Russell Banks, Claire Messud, William Kennedy (of course), and more...
The Troy River Street Festival -- one of our favorite local summer festivals -- is coming up June 16. And that means applications are now open for the annual street painting contest at the festival.
The competition includes space for 75 artists, a range of age-specific categories, to chalk designs on a panel of sidewalk along River Street. And there's $1,000 in prizes.
The entry fee is $15. And the competition does fill up -- so the earlier you apply, the better.
Speaking of arts and downtown Troy... the call for entries is now out for the annual Fence Show at the Arts Center of the Capital Region. The Fence Salon will open June 16. This year's juror, Jim Richard Wilson from the Opalka Gallery at the Sage Colleges, will select works from the salon for inclusion in the Fence Select show that opens July 27.
Yep, the Arts Center advertises on AOA.
Experimental media and performance artist Laurie Anderson will spend the next three years at RPI as EMPAC's first distinguished artist-in-residence. Anderson has a history of using science and engineering to create new artwork, inventing things like a tape-bow violin and talking stick.
This isn't Anderson's first experience at EMPAC. In 2009 she spent some time there working on a piece called Delusion -- a series of stories about longing, memory and identity that incorporated multidisciplinary elements that included music, visuals, altered voices, and electronic puppetry.
You can get a little bit of a sense of Delusion (and Laurie Anderson's disenchantment with rectangles) in a video clip after the jump. Heads-up: it's not you -- the interviewer is speaking Swedish, but you'll understand what's going on.
Until now EMPAC's residencies have been project specific. There's no word yet on what kind of plans Anderson has for her three year stay in Troy, but EMPAC says it's looking forward to working with her to combine engineering and science to find creative approaches to the arts. They also say Anderson will be sharing some of her creative practices with the campus through lectures, workshops and demonstrations.
Photo: Leland Brewster courtesy of Laurie Anderson
Looks fun, interesting, and geeky: Level -- a new exhibition of independent video games -- opens this Friday at the Arts Center of the Capital Region. From the blurbage:
Level presents the games in an immersive environment that simulates a 1990s American video arcade. Each game has its own working cabinet, which allows visitors to play free of charge. The game cabinets are designed and fabricated by We Are Architects with assistance from regional game enthusiasts and friends. Collaborators include Donna Fitzgerald's class at Parson's Child and Family Center, circuit bending sound artist Peter Edwards, and regional furniture maker Leonard Bellanca.
The Friday opening is the Level Festival:
Alongside the exhibition's debut of a wide variety of video games in an immersive, arcade-style environment, Level Festival will feature a booth of vintage games and systems by local game enthusiast boutique Pastime Legends and genre bending electronic music. With support from iEAR Presents!, Level Festival features four intriguing performances by musicians that work in a range of electronic sounds, unconventional instrumentation, and take influence from games and other facets of pop culture. Level Festival performers include Evidence (Stephan Moore and Scott Smallwood), Matthew Carefully (Matthew Loiacono), Bubblyfish (Haeyoung Kim), and Extreme Animals (Jacob Ciocci and David Wightman).
The exhibition is organized by We Are Architects. The opening festival starts at 4 pm Friday and runs until 10 pm (it's free). The exhibit runs through May 25.
Speaking of Troy and video games: The annual GameFest symposium and exhibition at RPI is this weekend.
Yep, the Arts Center advertises on AOA.
Among Alec Baldwin's stops this week in DC while lobbying for National Endowment for the Arts funding: Chris Gibson.
The Congressman's office says Baldwin wanted to thank Gibson for his support of arts funding. Baldwin has been working with a group called Americans for the Arts to rally support for the NEA. At the National Press Club yesterday he called Gibson a "hero" of the arts on Capitol Hill. [NPC] [TU CapCon]
Last year Gibson was one of only a handful of House Republicans to vote against a cut to NEA funding. The measure still passed by eight votes. From a political perspective, Gibson's support makes sense. It'd be he hard to represent the Hudson Valley and somehow be seen as anti-arts. And his new district -- NY-19, if he's re-elected -- covers even more of the Hudson Valley and Catskills. [Americans for the Arts]
Gibson's office says the Congressman invited Baldwin to the district to co-host an arts event. Alec Baldwin in Kinderhook would have a certain State and Main quality...
(Press release post-jump.)
photo: Chris Gibson's office
The prize is an annual $20,000 cash award that recognizes outstanding collections of short stories. The other two finalists were Don DeLillo and Edith Pearlman. Not bad company to be in. He's also a finalist -- again for We Others -- for the PEN/Faulkner award.
Millhauser won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for his novel Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer..
photo: Michael Lionstar
The Grand Street Arts' YouthFX filmmaking program is premiering its 2011 short films this Thursday at the Madison Theater. Among the films on the slate: a documentary about Tyler Rhodes, the Albany High student who was fatally stabbed in Hoffman Park last year. From a press release:
Tylerʼs death sent shockwaves through the entire community at Albany High School, where he was a well-known student and athlete. This past summer many Youth FX participants, many who knew Tyler personally, brought up the idea of doing a documentary about his story and raising awareness about the issue of teen violence in Albany. Other films will include fiction shorts about lost relationships, the precarious allure of money, a documentary about local artists and a hilarious mockumentary about competitive texting. All the projects were conceived of and produced by the teen participants of Youth FX.
YouthFX is a summer program for teens that involves "the creative and technical aspects of digital filmmaking and doing hands on workshops to practice their skills." Liz met some of the teens involved last year and came away very impressed.
The screening at the Madison starts at 7 pm Thursday. Tickets are $7 (adults) and $5 (kids under 12).
photo via YouthFX Facebook
This is crazy: Rem Koolhaas has agreed to design a building in Hudson, New York.
New York Magazine reports the superstar architect has signed a deal with performance artist Marina Abramović to design the Center for the Preservation of Performance Art, which would house performance art pieces that go on for hours -- or days:
At the future museum devoted to marathon pieces, viewers will watch in specially constructed chairs complete with wheels, tables to dine upon, and lamps. If they fall asleep, "the attendant will roll you to the sleeping area" of the theater, she said, but sleepers will still be considered part of the performance. "When you wake up, raise your hand and you'll be wheeled back," she promised.
NY Mag reports Abramović has to raise $8 million for the project -- and she's pushing for related development in the city, including a hotel for arts tourists.
Abramović got attention most recently for The Artist is Present, a 2010 performance at the Museum of Modern Art in which she sat motionless and visitors were invited to sit facing her.
Koolhaas is one of the world's most famous architects. Among his notable buildings: the Seattle Central Library. His designs are striking and odd. NYT architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote last year that Koolhaas' crazy CCTV building in Beijing "may be the greatest work of architecture built in this century." In 2008 Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
If the project comes together, it would be a huge step in the ongoing transformation of Hudson. The city's Warren Street already feels like part of New York City on weekends. And it's becoming home to some ambitious and creative projects, from the Basilica Hudson arts venue to Cafe le Perche, which is trying to produce a baguette as good as what might get in France.
(Be sure to read Sam Pratt for more context.)
photo: Flickr user andrewasmith
Pitchapalooza -- sort of like the opening round of American Idol for authors -- will be at St. Rose April 15. At the event authors will get one minute to pitch their book to a panel of judges and get feedback. From the blurbage:
At Pitchapalooza, judges will help you improve your pitch, not tell you how bad it is. Judges critique everything from idea to style to potential in the marketplace and much, much more. Authors come away with concrete advice as well as a greater understanding of the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Whether potential authors pitch themselves, or simply listen to trained professionals critique each presentation, Pitchapalooza is educational and entertaining for one and all.
The judges will pick one winner and that person will get an intro to an agent or publisher.
The catch: to pitch a book or idea you have to buy a copy of The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, who bill themselves as "The Book Doctors" and run Pitchapalooza. (The book is $10.85 online, though it's not clear if you have to buy the book at the event.) Book buyers also get a free 20 minute consultation.
If you just want watch other people pitch, the event is free. It's presented as a collaboration with the Frequency North series at St. Rose.
photo via Book Doctors Twitter
The one and only Stephen Sondheim will be appearing at Hudson Valley Community College September 25. Ticket info hasn't been settled, yet -- but the event will be open to the public. Tickets are expected to go on sale in August. HVCC students will get the first opportunity for spots.
The appearance by the composer and lyricist will be an on-stage conversation. The interviewer: AOA's own Mary Darcy. A short concert from Sonny Daye and Perley Rousseau will precede the conversation.
Sondheim is one of the all-time greats of musical theater. His works includes classics such as West Side Story, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Assassins. He's won eight Tony awards, an Oscar, a Pulitzer, and eight Grammys.
photo: Jerry Jackson
EMPAC's schedule for spring 2012 is out. And, as we've come to expect, it's full of stuff that looks interesting, weird, challenging, or just... different. The works on this season's slate make use of dance, animation, "actual reality," Walden, Infinite Jest, and mosquitoes.
Here are a handful of dates that caught our eye.
And handful of the dates that caught our eye: science writer Alan Lightman, physicist Michio Kaku, director and author John Sayles (who's originally from Schenectady, you know), author Shalom Auslander, journalist Masha Gessen, novelist (and Cooperstown native) Lauren Groff (that's her on the right), and editor Joe Lelyveld.
Here's the full lineup...
The popular Front Parlor storytelling series is adding an Albany night. The first one will be November 14 (that's a Monday) at the Olde English Pub in downtown Albany at 7 pm. The theme for the night: "Firsts."
Front Parlor organizer Abby Lublin says it might end up being the second Monday of each month, depending on how things go.
The Front Parlor series started in Troy at the Ale House this past spring. The storytelling nights -- modeled in part on The Moth -- have turned into standing-room-only events. This past September, the series expanded to Saratoga with nights organized by Tim Dawkins.
The Troy series is back this Tuesday (November 8). The theme is food. It starts at 7:30 pm -- but it's a good idea to show up early.
Earlier on AOA: Front Parlor: story night at The Ale House
Drawing's closed. Winner's been notified.
This Saturday EMPAC will be debuting the results of its most recent DANCE MOViES commissions, which are films that somehow involve dance. For example, here's the description for one of the works, called "Fanfare for Marching Band":
A film following the mayhem created by a ragtag musical militia that embarks on an impotent invasion through a parallel universe, where their exuberant music is out of sync and unheard. The two worlds are finally unified when the band masters the tempo and patience of empathy.
The band -- Mucca Paza -- will also be there to play afterward.
So, not something you see every day. And we have a pair of tickets to give away. To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:
What's your favorite dance or type of dancing?
Four films are on the slate for Saturday, none longer than 20 minutes. The screening starts at 7 pm. Tickets are $6.
Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 am on Thursday (November 3, 2011) to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly -- seriously, if you win, we want to give you the tickets) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Thursday and must respond by 10 am Friday (November 4).
photo: Sangphoon Lee
When Orian Breaux came to RPI he was a little bit shy. He thought checking out a swing dance club might be a way to meet people and have a little fun.
He liked it. A lot.
Now a senior in RPI's aeronautical engineering program Orian is about to launch into a project that has -- well -- pretty much nothing to do with aeronautical engineering. This Friday during Troy Night Out, he and his girlfriend, Emily McNeight -- a math major at RPI, (they met at swing dancing) -- will host the grand opening of The Swing Syndicate, which they hope will be a hub for swing dance in the Capital Region.
The first MoHu Festival starts this Saturday evening and runs through the next weekend. Organizers say they have more than 150 artists and arts orgs participating.
One thing you might have already noticed: all the local art nights this month have been shifted to next Friday, October 14. (That's why there's no 1st Friday in Albany tonight.)
MoHu (Mohawk + Hudson) is basically a wrapper around a bunch of local cultural venues and events for the purpose of highlighting the arts in this region. (Sure, you know there's a lot of great stuff here -- but not everyone does.) That's not a bad thing. As we've said many times, there is a lot of stuff to do in the Capital Region -- you often just have to make a little bit of an effort to find it. If a festival like this helps make that easier for people, good.
If the festival returns next year, it'd be great if there was some kind of pass people could buy to get into multiple events. Or maybe a "buy three events, get one free" sort of thing.
Worth a look: Small Batch Editions, a startup business from local curator Melissa Stafford, which is aiming to put together new art buyers with up-and-coming photographers. As Melissa explained in an email:
The idea is something that has been building in my mind for at least 3 years now. In the course of working at the gallery in Hudson I often met a lot of people who fell in love with a photograph or painting, but were unable to afford it. I also met a lot of artists struggling to sell their work. Considering the economy these days and how limited most budgets are, I wanted to create an opportunity for both artists and buyers to have a meaningful exchange; by publishing special limited edition prints at more affordable prices I hope to grow the market for unrepresented photographers, increasing their visibility. At the same time, we as collectors get to discover new and exciting work and support the artists we love.
Small Batch Editions hasn't officially launched yet. Melissa is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to cover some of the initial costs. Contributors will be able to pre-order prints and be eligible for other rewards. (And, as with all Kickstarter campaigns, the money is refunded if the goal isn't met.)
You might recognize Melissa's name from Carrie Haddad Photographs in Hudson, where she was the gallery's first director. Here's a little bit more about what prompted her to start Small Batch Editions...
You probably remember the 2008 brouhaha over Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal and the "Virtual Jihadi" video game that was booted from RPI. And you also may remember that Bilal's exhibit ended up at a little space in Troy called the Sanctuary for Independent Media -- which then got temporarily shutdown for code violations.
In the years since, the Sanctuary has continued to soldier on, providing a meeting space for seasoned and novice activists to train, listen, plan and party. Now, as protest culture blooms both here in the United States and around the world, the Sanctuary's fall season is focused on "cultures of resistance."
I talked with Sanctuary executive director Steve Pierce and art and education coordinator Branda Miller recently about emboldened protesters, media reform, the necessity of being for something, and allegedly humorless militants.
Voki Kalfayan spent four years in a private school in the Hudson Valley, and two years studying at Vassar, before he discovered his life's ambition during an audition for Ringling Bros. Clown College.
Kalfayan never looked back. He's spent 15 years traveling the world as a clown, actor and humorist, and he'll be back in the Capital Region on Wednesday night in Cirque de Soleil's "Quidam" at the TU Center.
He took a few minutes to talk with AOA last week about the myth of Krusty the Clown, the difference between East and West Coast clowns, and the serious business of being funny.
Earlier this year local writer and St. Rose professor Daniel Nester set up at the Arts Center of the Capital Region as part of a public writing project called "The Memoir Office."
The result of that project -- The Memoir Office: The Writer is Present -- is out today as a Kindle "single" (it's 99 cents):
Inspired by performance artists who take their work to the public, Daniel Nester set up shop in an art gallery lobby in Troy, NY and started to write about himself. He brought a desk, chair, office lamp, and a plant. He called it The Memoir Office. The result, The Memoir Office: The Writer is Present, is a 12,000-word piece of first-person writing--part journal, part memoir, and part essay.
It's too long for a single article, too short for a book, and not really viable as a book. The long form of it really suits the material, if that makes sense. Plus, I am getting into my Kindle a lot these days and buying and reading a lot of these singles things myself. Hat into ring and so forth.
A clip of a portion released this past July in Painted Bride Quarterly is after the jump. (Yes, like an excerpt of an excerpt.)
Well, this evening the Foundry has the grand opening of its converted bank building on Remsen Street, with tours and music from We are Jeneric. It starts at 4:30 and runs into the evening. (They would appreciate it if you could RSVP.)
From the Foundry's vision statement:
The Foundry is dedicated to connecting the arts and creative sectors to the business, civic, education and non-profit community of New York State's Capital Region. The Foundry strives to teach businesses, artists, institutions, and community developers how to use arts and culture in enriching and strengthening the physical, economic, and social revitalization of our region.
photo: The Foundry
Like a beacon in the poetry wasteland, the Nitty Gritty Poetry Slam has arrived. It's been years since Albany had an honest-to-goodness slam, but now they will happen twice a month at Valentine's, thanks to a collaboration between Albany Poets, Urban Guerrilla Theatre, and the Frequency North Reading Series. The city's first slam in 10 years took place on September 6th and there's another one planned for tomorrow (Tuesday).
We spoke to the elusive Dain Brammage, Slammaster of the Nitty Gritty, about the politics of slams, how to score a zero and the haiku face-off.
On Sunday, for only the 5th time in its 111 year history, the mansion and private grounds at Yaddo were open to the public. About 1,400 people wandered the rooms where people such as Langston Hughes, Leonard Bernstein, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, John Cheever and thousands of other artists gathered, ate, slept, held court and of course, created.
The house is gorgeous and filled with impressive antiques, but what we loved was being able to wander through a place where so many amazing and creative people have lived and worked. If there was ever a place we wished that walls could talk, this was it. We walked through the rooms imagining moments of inspiration, unguarded conversations and wondering what kinds of things might have happened in rooms full of so many creative people.
If you weren't one of the 1,400 who took the tour, here's the quick version...
Update: Drawing's closed. Winner has been emailed!
We have a pair of tickets to giveaway for what looks like an interesting performance at EMPAC this Friday and Saturday: 69°S. From the blurbage:
Inspired by Sir Ernest Shackleton's harrowing expedition to Antarctica in 1914, Phantom Limb unites puppetry, dance, film, history, and photography with contemporary music to create a stunning vision of the great arctic continent--past, present, and future. Dim light plays across a lunar terrain dotted with icebergs. Shackleton's crew, played by half-life-size puppets, struggles to survive in this vast landscape, putting into stark relief the power of endurance and camaraderie and the price of knowledge. With sound that combines the junkyard dog aesthetic of the band Skeleton Key playing live, a score recorded by the Kronos Quartet, and glacial field recordings, 69˚S. mines the inherently bittersweet and complex nature of the Shackleton experience and what the future may hold for this fragile environment.
To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:
What place in the Capital Region would you like to explore?
It could be a place you've already been -- or someplace that you just haven't had to chance to get to (for whatever reason). We'll draw one winner at random from the comments.
The performance of 69˚S at EMPAC is a preview ahead of the work's premiere at Dartmouth later this year. The performances are at 8 pm both Friday and Saturday night. Tickets are $18.
Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 am on Tuesday (September 20, 2011) to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. 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 10 am Wednesday (September 21, 2011).
photo: Sarah Walker
[via Hidden City]
There have been a bunch of these shows over the last decade or so -- both in this series and part of others. They're a lot of fun. They involve designers making outfits from objects and materials that would otherwise be thrown away (gives new meaning to a trashy look). Here are photos from the Discard Avant Garb's 2009 show.
The show this weekend includes designers Katie Pray, Amy Orr, and Mischel Nivens (as well as many others). It's a benefit for the Grand Street Arts, Albany Center Galleries, and the Chris Ryan Albany High School Art Scholarship.
Doors are at 6 pm. Tickets are $20.
In the hustle of day-to-day living, the historic buildings you pass along the way can become just part of the landscape, and the people who inhabited them, just names on street signs, monuments and parks.
Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out remarkable things about the history that surrounds us every day.
When video artist Lea Donnan came to Troy a few years ago for a residency with CAC Woodside she didn't plan to steep herself in the industrial history of the Collar City. But a few questions about the CAC building -- formerly a church commissioned by industrialist Henry Burden to memorialize his wife, Helen -- led to more questions. And those led to even more questions.
And all of those questions led to a wealth of long forgotten stories -- and a packet of steamy 19th century love letters.
Donnan has turned all of that into The Burden Letter Project, a video installation that examines the history of South Troy through love letters from a giant of industry to his wife.
The fall lineup for the New York State Writers Institute's visiting writers series is out. And, as usual, it's jammed with events that look interesting.
A handful of the dates that caught our eye -- including William Kennedy reading from his new book, Sylvia Nasar, Dava Sobel, and Tom Perrotta -- after the jump.
Cities are living, breathing creatures. Like other living things, they thrive on positive reinforcement, growth and creativity. And sometimes they exhale the slow reek of decay. Samson Contompasis, owner and curator of the Marketplace Gallery, looks around Albany and sees beauty and possibilities everywhere. He wants to take decaying or barren vistas and make new life out of them, turning them into awe-inspiring pieces of art. So he's launched Living Walls, a public art project aimed at making Albany a bit more alive with art.
He's brought together a slew of mural artists, some local and some nationally regarded, to help create works of art around the city. The public art project will be accompanied by a lecture and workshop series that will run September 16 and 17.
You may have already seen the first completed wall, which is at 74 Livingston Avenue between Broadway and North Pearl Street. That one was done by the artistic team of Gaia and Nanook, who came up with the concept for the piece after touring Albany.
Samson loves to talk about the power of art, legal or illegal, massive or fleeting...
Noted designer Michael Bierut will be giving a talk at St. Rose September 30. Opening a few days before that at the school's Esther Massry Gallery: "Michael Bierut 30 Years 90 Notebooks." From the blurbage:
In this exhibition of work stretching over three decades, Bierut has recorded his work and thoughts in a series of identical notebooks dating back to 1982. Today there are more than 90 such notebooks. The exhibit presents a selection of completed pieces that are juxtaposed with an assortment of Bierut's notebooks. Viewers can make connections between original, very rough sketches and finished work and gain insight into the design process as a result.
Bierut is a partner at the famed design firm Pentagram. He's worked with a long list of well-known clients (example: The Atlantic redesign, the New York Times building sign, the Saks shopping bag.). He co-founded Design Observer. And In 2006 he received the AIGA Medal, the highest award in the design field.
Embedded after the jump is video of Bierut talking about his notebooks.
photo: Christian Witkin
A few weeks ago we talked with Jeff Mirel from the Albany Barn about the plan to turn the old St. Joseph's Academy in Albany into a live/work arts facility.
Recently, Sebastien, Paul and Darren were invited to photograph the inside of the building. Sebastien's put together a good post about the photo trip. And Darren's photos are on Flickr. (The trio also recently had a show at the Albany Barn's Stage 1 space.)
photo: Sebastien Barre
When is the last time you bought a book at a bookstore?
Not a virtual bookstore -- an actual, brick and mortar, physical space where you browse and read and walk around and maybe even talk with clerks or other readers bookstore? A place like Market Block, or The Book House --- or heck, even Barnes & Noble.
With Borders shutting down, the ubiquity of Amazon and the rise of the e-reader, we've been curious about -- OK, baffled by-- how independent bookstores manage to keep going.
Susan Novotny, owner of The Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza and Market Block Books in Troy gets asked about this all the time.
And some of her answers kind of surprised us.
Artist C. Ryder Cooley doesn't talk about her work in terms of how she created a set or a character. To hear her tell it, the characters and sets come to her in dreams and visions, and it's up to her to take those bits of information forward and backward, simultaneously developing them into workable ideas and sussing out their origins.
Through her work with animal themes, she focuses on concepts such as the connection between humans and animals, the destruction of animal habitat and extinction. On the surface, her performances incorporate music, aerial acrobatics, taxidermy and costume to create a kind of fairytale atmosphere. But behind that is a desire to evoke emotion about the current state of chaos and change affecting the world's animal populations.
She spent the past several years in living in Troy, where she worked on her Master of Fine Arts degree at RPI and developed the stage show Animalia as her master's thesis. And after performing it at Proctors in 2009, she set it aside.
But like the deer/human hybrid woman who died at the end of the show, Animalia never really went away. It was just reincarnated into its next life. Last year, when Cooley moved to Hudson, her followup piece, XMALIA, rife with themes of death, came alive. The work picks up where Animalia left off, exploring a fantastical world where the extinct species such as the Tasmanian tiger, the Pyrenean ibex and the Xerces butterfly conspire with the recently deceased half-deer half-human woman (played by Cooley, of course). XMALIA's Songs of Extinction feature Cooley on her ukulele and saw, singing gentle songs to taxidermied approximation of these mythic beasts.
If this all sounds pretty outlandish, it's because it is. It's also wildly engaging and moving. And that's what Cooley is going for. She wants to get humans thinking about what's we're doing to our planet and the other species with which we co-exist. But at the same time, the show doesn't jam politics down the audience's throat and relies more on the atmosphere to make the statement. We talked to her about the politics of extinction, taxidermied animals and her dodo bird trapeze act.
EMPAC's fall 2011 schedule is out today. And, as usual, it's full of performances that look interesting, different, challenging or just kind of odd.
Here are a few events from the slate that caught our eye...
They say everybody has a story. And Abby Lublin wants to hear them all.
Abby is the founder of the monthly Front Parlor storytelling series in Troy.
We've been meaning to make it over for a few months, and last night we were part of the standing-room-only crowd at The Ale House.
Six years ago Capital Region residents Jeff Mirel and George Kansas decided to help raise money for victims of the tsunami in South Asia. A few weeks later they'd packed 2,000 people into the Palace Theater to see dozens of local artists and musicians, raising nearly $30,000.
Fast forward five years.
That successful Rock2Rebuild concert has spawned another effort: the Albany Barn. Organizers hope the project will be a creativity incubator that helps provide resources for artists, offer arts programming for the region, create educational opportunities for inner city kids, and acts as a catalyst to revitalize neighborhoods.
A bunch of local cultural orgs today announced a new multi-day event coming up this fall: MoHu Fest. That would be Mo, as in Mohawk, and Hu, as in Hudson, and Fest, as in fest, as in festival. It runs October
From the blurbage:
Several hundred events, from performances to exhibitions, gallery openings and lectures, will offer MoHu attendees a wide array of experiences. Spectacular opening and closing ceremonies will make MoHu the cultural event of 2011. MoHu should draw tens of thousands of attendees to its mix of regularly scheduled events, specially produced performances and random acts of culture.
Among the "nearly 150" orgs involved: Proctors, The Egg, EMPAC, the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy Music Hall, St. Rose, and Sage. And from that list, you can guess the type of events: theater, art exhibitions, film, dance. And bubbles.
Organizers of the festival are touting the event as a way to "foster collaboration and cooperation between the area's thriving arts communities." It's great to see people working together -- especially if that effort takes an omnivorous approach to what's considered "Culture" and pulls in groups and artists that are a bit outside the usual. It looks like many of the events have yet to be posted -- it will be interesting to see how the slate shapes up.
Fallacious Physics and Scientiﬁc Half-Truths! Alliances and Betrayals! The Latest Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons!
In a world where Good battles Evil, and where stimulated emissions of photons blur the lines between the two, questions are raised! For instance: Why are there apparent violations of the symmetry between matter and antimatter? What was the nature of the quark-gluon plasma in the early universe? And where are our protagonistʼs eyeglasses?! ...
Donʼt miss this moving exploration of friendship, intergalactic warfare, and the incredible longevity of packaged baked goods, coming to your town for one night only.
Also on the bill for that night: music by Brief Bouts of SPIMES, Redefined Arguments, and _11:34.
Music starts at 8:30. Puppets at 9:15. It's $5.
The New York State Writers Institute has released the lineup for this summer's reading series in Saratoga.
There are a lot of names on the list you might recognize, including Mary Gordon, Michael Ondaatje, Robert Pinsky, Russell Banks, Joyce Carol Oates, Rick Moody, and (of course) William Kennedy...
Update at 3:25 pm!!! We just heard from EMPAC that the performance has been cancelled.
EMPAC has an interesting show lined up for Thursday: Euphorie. From the blurbage:
The project Euphorie was born from the desire to develop a project based on interactions between video, sound, movement and accidents of life as a 40-minute theatrical performance driven by low-tech tools.
Really, just watch the video the above. That's probably all you need to know. Euphorie is the work by two artists who work under the name 1024 architecture.
AOA has two tickets for the performance and we'd like to give them away -- maybe to you. To enter, just submit a comment answering this question:
We'll draw one winner at random from the comments.
The performance of Euphorie is Thursday at 8 pm at EMPAC. Tickets are $15.
(By the way: we mentioned this show in our "week ahead" post on Sunday. Just a heads-up if you haven't been scanning those.)
Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 am on Thursday (May 5, 2011) to be entered in the drawing. 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 no later than 5 pm that day.
It's called Chango's Beads and Two-tone Shoes and it will go on sale at the end of September.
From the "PrePub Alert" on Library Journal:
Here's an unbeatable setup. Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur Fellow Kennedy, who gave us Ironweed and the rest of the great "Albany Cycle," puts journalist Daniel Quinn (not of his Quinn's Book) in the Floridita bar in 1957 Havana, where he meets Ernest Hemingway. It's the start of something good: a novel that runs riot from Cuba (with Castro on the rise) through good reporters, bad politicians, and drug-running gangsters, to race riots in Albany as Robert Kennedy's assassination looms. Even Bing Crosby makes an appearance. Kennedy's first in a decade should be pretty amazing; with a six-city tour.
Kennedy's last novel was Roscoe, published in 2002.
Of course, you know all about William Kennedy and his books involving Albany. Did you know the NYS Writers Institute was founded with money from Kennedy's McArthur Foundation "genius" grant?
Capital Region literary notables for $1000, Alex: A: This acclaimed author and Saratoga Springs resident will also be releasing a new novel, The Memory of Skin, at the end of September. Q: Russell Banks.
photo via NYS Writers Institute
There are a lot of amateur theater productions in the Capital Region -- a lot of high quality amateur theater productions.
But few, if any, are as ambitious as Our Own Productions' version of Rent, opening this weekend at The Egg. The $22,000 budget is more that twice what is normally spent on a single local musical theater production.
It didn't start out that large -- but it looks like it could prove to be a worthwhile investment for the relatively new theater company.
In the classroom, Union College junior Tri Trang goes by one name: Tri. On the dance floor he goes by another: B-Boy Squirtle.
The biology and economics double-major is the founder of UBreak, a breakdancing club at Union. Yes, breakdancing. The dance form peaked in the 80s -- but for Tri, it never really went out of style.
Bill Pettit is a little obsessed.
The object of his obsession? A book about, among other things, obsession.
Over the last 30 years the Albany resident has collected about 180 volumes of the same book -- Moby Dick.
Some of them came from libraries, others from bookstores and public schools. Most editions are in English, but some are printed in Japanese, Chinese, Latvian, Icelandic and a number of other languages.
This month, 20 of his books are on display at UAlbany's libary.
To get ready for the show, Bill started to blog about the books. And suddenly the collection he'd been living with for years became even more interesting.
To a history and architecture geek like me, Linda Ellett is a superhero.
The century-old tiled fireplace stood out like a broken tooth. Its central design was supposed to be a three-tile panel of a reclining Roman soldier, but the first tile -- the soldier's head and chest -- was missing. The team restoring this California home asked: Could Linda, founder of L'esperance Tile Works outside of Saratoga Springs, re-create the missing tile?
Fortunately the panel's original creators, the American Encaustic Tile Company, had included a picture of the full panel in their 1902 catalog. Working from a grainy catalog picture -- and drawing from the style of the two remaining tiles -- Linda recreated the missing piece, accounting for variables such as the shrinkage of the clay and the darkening of the glaze during firing, to match the originals in both line and color.
Tile restoration combines artistry with sleuthing and mathematical exactness. And it's only one part of the amazing work going on at L'esperance Tile.
The Albany Symphony announced its 2011-2012 schedule today -- and it includes a performance with acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell at the Palace in December (yes, there's some time to plan ahead).
The ASO is aiming to make the most of the star's appearance. Tickets for the concert are only available to subscribers. If you subscribe to the full 8-concert season (which starts at $139), they'll give you a ticket for the Bell concert for free.
Bell is a renowned performer who's sold millions of albums. He plays a 300-year-old Stradivarius that he bought for almost $4 million. He was also the subject of a great Washington Post story a few years back in which he played incognito for commuters in a Washington Metro station (video embedded above).
The ASO's current season is still in progress. It's performing at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall this Saturday in celebration of conductor David Allen Miller's 50th birthday.
Sure, you know Saratoga Springs: the track, the grand houses, and of course Broadway. But a few blocks away from that showcase street is a growing stretch of alternative Saratoga.
The Beekman Street Arts District is a group of galleries, shops and restaurants a short walk west from downtown. The small-scale streetscape gives the district a different energy than Broadway offers with its wide sidewalks and large shop windows.
Proctors and Capital Repertory Theater announced today that they have teamed up to "sustain the state of the performing arts and to explore economies of scale and shared solutions." The full release is after the jump.
The orgs say that Proctors has taken over ticketing, finance, marketing, development, education programming and group sales for Capital Rep. The press release says Cap Rep will continue to operate independently with its own artist direction and at its downtown Albany location.
The release notes that Cap Rep has been dealing with declining support from municipal and private sources, and "recorded losses along the way." The theater had been getting $60k from the City of Albany, but that funding -- and the funding for other arts groups -- was cut in the last city budget. But the theater had already been scraping to get by -- and had a round of layoffs last summer. [TU Arts Talk]
Capital Rep expects to save $200k under the new partnership. [TU]
Talk of a potential partnership between the two arts organizations has been buzzing in the background for a while -- but as late as mid-December, the players were denying a plan was in the works. [Troy Record]
If this partnership helps shore up the finances of Capital Rep, it could be a good thing for theater fans (beyond simply keeping the theater afloat). It might give Capital Rep the freedom to program adventurously without having to depend on sure-fire hits to pay for more challenging programming.
EMPAC's spring 2011 slate is officially out -- and, as usual, it's full of stuff that looks interesting, challenging, and weird (you know, in the good way.)
Here are a handful of shows/exhibits/performances that caught our eye...
The spring lineup for the New York State Writers Institute is out. And it looks like this season's slate is packed with interesting events. It might be one of the best seasons in a few years.
A handful of the dates that caught our eye -- including Gary Shteyngart, Maureen Dowd, and James Gleick -- after the jump.
There's a short story by Skidmore professor -- and Pulitzer Prize winner -- Steven Millhauser in the January 3 issue of The New Yorker (the same issue that sits in the pile of all the other issues you haven't gotten to, yet). "Getting Closer" is about summer, childhood and anticipation:
Though who's to say when anything begins really? You could say the day began when they passed the wooden sign with the words "INDIAN COVE" and the outline of a tomahawk, on a curve of road with a double yellow line down the middle and brown wooden posts with red reflectors. Or maybe it all started when the car backed up the slope of the driveway and the tires bumped over the sidewalk between the knee-high pricker hedges. Or what if it happened before that, when he woke up in the morning and saw the day stretching out before him like a whole summer of blue afternoons? But he's only playing, just fooling around, because he knows exactly when it all begins: it begins when he enters the water. That's the agreement he's made with himself, summer after summer. That's just how it is. The day begins in the river, and everything else leads up to it.
Millhauser's novel Martin Dressler won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
[via Skidmore Unofficial]
Submissions will be considered for opportunities including solo exhibitions, small and large group exhibitions, installation possibilities, arts-in-education opportunities and more. Visual artists in all media - painting, printmaking, sculpture, installation, video, photography, performance, and mixed media presentations - are invited to submit.
The Arts Center is also interested in offering emerging curators the opportunity to propose exhibits for future programming.
The deadline is January 7.
Looks interesting: EMPAC has a genre-spanning exhibition called "Uncertain Spectator" opening Thursday evening. From the blurb:
A group exhibition confronting anxiety in contemporary art, Uncertain Spectator asks individuals to cross a threshold -- to place themselves in situations riddled with tension, confront deeply charged emotional content, and grapple with feelings of apprehension. The works presented deal with a general mood of uneasiness arising from recent political and economic events that frames a future rife with imminent threats. Uncertain Spectator not only responds to these unsettling situations, but also creates them by challenging individuals to step outside of a place of comfort both physically and emotionally.
Hmm. Shocking they were able to mine recent events for feelings of apprehension.
Among the special events that are part of Thursday's exhibition opening:
+ A performance by the Troy Chainsaw Ensemble
+ A screening of Lars von Trier's film Dancer in the Dark, which stars Bjork.
Events get started at 6 pm. It's free. And we hear there will be free snacks, too.
The exhibition runs through January 29.
Bonus Thursday stuff to do: The annual B3nson Family Funsgiving is Thursday night at Valentine's. Many of the collective members are lined up to perform: We Are Jeneric, If Madrid, Scientific Maps, Que Caro, Barons in the Attic, Sgt Dunbar, and Beware! The Other Head of Science. $10 at the door, $8 with a non-perishable food item.
Yep, EMPAC has advertised on AOA in the past
image: Jordan Wolfson via EMPAC
Silver & Gold (runtime, 45 min) combines film, live performance, and original costumes into a self-proclaimed "filmformance" in which Ms. Bustamante evokes the muse of legendary filmmaker Jack Smith and his tribute to 1940s Dominican movie starlet Maria Montez in a magical and joyfully twisted exploration of race, glamour, sexuality, and the silver screen.
Here's a trailer for the piece (might be NSFW). It looks... well... we're not quite sure what it looks like. That's probably part of the point.
The performance starts at 7:30 pm in EMPAC's Studio 1.
Earlier on AOA:
+ RPI's Nao Bustamante on Bravo's "Work of Art"
Yep, EMPAC has advertised on AOA in the past.
Produced in part during Laurie Anderson's multiple residencies at EMPAC last year, Delusion is a meditation on life and language by way of music, video, and storytelling. Conceived as a series of short mystery plays, Delusion jump-cuts between the everyday and the mythic. Employing violin, electronic puppetry, music, visuals, altered voices, and imaginary guests, Anderson weaves a complex story about longing, memory, and identity. At its heart is the pleasure of language and a fear that the world is made entirely of words. Delusion tells its story in the colorful and poetic language that has become Anderson's trademark.
There are two performances -- Friday and Saturday night at eight. EMPAC's site currently lists the tickets as "limited" and "very limited." Tickets are $15.
EMPAC has advertised on AOA in the past. And they were nice enough to allow us to taste pizza there.
photo courtesy EMPAC and Laurie Anderson
Meghan Daum is the author, most recently, of Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House, a memoir about real estate addiction, published in May 2010 by Knopf. Since 2005, she has been a weekly opinion columnist at the Los Angeles Times. That column is distributed widely to numerous newspapers across the country and in 2006 was a finalist for a National Journalism Award and the winner of the Southern California Journalism Award in column writing. Meghan is also the author of the essay collection My Misspent Youth and the novel The Quality of Life Report. She has contributed to public radio programs such as This American Life and Marketplace and her articles and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, GQ, Vogue, and The New York Times, among other publications. She lives in Los Angeles.
It starts at 7:30 pm in the the Events and Activities Center. It's free.
Next week: Salon.com co-founder Scott Rosenberg will be appearing October 20 as part of Frequency North. He's the author of Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters.
Earlier on AOA: Frequency North 6
photo: Laura Kleinhenz
A few events that caught our eye:
Encounters at the End of the World - September 22
A screening of Warner Herzog's doc about researchers in Antarctica. The evening will include a talk by Samuel Bowser, a scientist from the Wadsworth Center who appears in the film.
Richard Dreyfuss - September 28
An conversation with the actor. A joint event with Archives Partnership Trust at The Egg. It's $10.
Encounters still: Discovery Films
The schedule for the upcoming fall season at EMPAC is out. And, as we've come to expect, it includes a bunch of interesting/odd/challenging shows.
Here are a few that caught our eye while scanning the list...
St. Rose's visiting writer series, Frequency North, starts up again this fall. And this year's lineup looks good.
A couple of the dates that jumped out at us on first pass:
October 14: Meghan Daum
Daum is the author of the novel The Quality of Life Report and, more recently, the memoir My Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in that House. She also writes a column for the LA Times and has appeared on This American Life. (That's her on the right.)
The full schedule is after the jump.
When he was 13, Sean Fallon and his buddies were running around Saratoga making movies with a camcorder plugged into a VCR.
This summer, Sean Fallon and his wife and film making partner, Charlotte Barrett, will be running around Saratoga making movies again. Only this time they'll have high-def cameras, a professional crew and a cast that includes Bronson Pinchot (yep, Cousin Balki) , Paige Howard (Adventureland, daughter of actor/director Ron Howard) and Mika Boorem (Dawson's Creek, and a whole bunch of other stuff).
Sean and Charlotte wrote the script for Virgin Alexander -- their first feature film. They took time out from scouring garage sales and scouting locations to talk with AOA about the script, the cast, and shooting in Saratoga.
Chris emailed this week:
I moved here from NYC less than a year ago. I was deeply involved in off-off-broadway theater, but haven't seen/done any theater since the move. I know about Capital Rep and Proctors, but they're not what I'm looking for. Can you tell me where the fringe/experimental/black box performers and performances are here in Albany or nearby, like in Troy or Schenectady?
OK, here's what we know.
If you're interested in doing theater in the Capital Region, try putting yourself on the Capital District Audition List-Serve. Most theater and film companies will list their auditions there. It won't be all the experimental stuff you're looking for, but you can pick and choose.
There are a lot of theater companies in the Capital Region, and they do a pretty wide range of work. After the jump are a few that stand out for us.
We're sure there are others, so if you see something missing, add it to the list.
This year's Sculpture in the Streets exhibit in downtown Albany will feature works by J. Seward Johnson (a little background). And, for the first time, the exhibit will include a "community sponsored sculpture." From the web site:
One of the sculptures will be sponsored by you- the residents, employees and friends of the Capital Region! $3,000 will support one life-sized sculpture for the duration of the show. We ask everyone in our community to donate $1.00 and show how, especially in today's economy, collaboration is the key to success. To truly involve each of you, the sculpture will be chosen from one of the three [options] -- each $1.00 donation will serve as one vote for [a] sculpture ... Each donor will have his/her name printed in an ad in the Times Union this summer to celebrate our community coming together in this effort!
The thumbnail on the right is one of the options (title "Generation Bridge"). Voting started today and goes through May 21.
The kickoff party for this year's Sculpture in the Streets is June 18.
Dylan from local band Sea of Trees emails:
We recently played a show with our friends in Wobble Dance Co down in Brooklyn, NY. It was the first time we played a show like that, providing the music for a live dance show and it was a great experience! [video is embedded above]
We had so much fun doing this that we are hoping to put together a similar show in Albany. We're currently looking for both a venue and a local dance company that might be interested in putting something together. It occurred to us that it might make a good 'ask aoa' post, since we're not sure where to start looking. We might get some good suggestions. Who knows?
Maybe the who in this case is you. If you have suggestions, please share.
Sea of Trees is a great band. We bet they'd be fun collaboration partners.
Oh, the drama. A report out from the state Inspector General's office today alleges that Patricia Snyder, the director of the New York State Theater Institute (which is in Troy), "repeatedly violated state laws on nepotism and used the state authority to steer nearly $700,000 in payments and benefits to her husband, her children, and herself, while overseeing an additional $475,000 in questionable expenses."
A sampling of the allegations in the IG's report are after the jump.
The IG's office also alleges that Snyder "took actions to frustrate and mislead the inquiry" and at one point said:
"You know, you are getting into very dicey waters, artistically. I will tell you, the arts community will be up in arms with this line of questioning. We are talking about artists . . . Art is not like running an OGS office."
Snyder is NYSTI's founding director. According to the org's website, "Snyder believed that theatre for family audiences must be of the highest quality, and that theatre can be used to make the world a better place."
The Paterson administration's proposed budget this year planned to cut state funding for NYSTI by half this year and completely next year. A group popped up to oppose the cuts. From a recent post on the wall of the Save NYSTI Facebook page by Snyder: "Everyone, write your Senators and ask them to restore funding to NYSTI during budget negotiations. It's the last chance."
Update: E. Stewart Jones, who's representing Snyder, told NYT: "This report is mean spirited and monumental nonsense."
This could be interesting: philosopher Rebecca Goldstein will be at UAlbany Tuesday for a reading organized by the New York State Writer's Institute. It's at 8pm in the Science Library on the uptown campus. It's open to the public.
Goldstein's novel 36 Arguments for the Existence of God was released earlier this year. A reviewer for the Washington Post called it "a brainy, compassionate, divinely witty novel." Janet Maslin described it in NYT as "overcomplicated yet dazzling, sparked by frequent flashes of nonchalant brilliance." Here's an excerpt.
Also: Dartmouth professor Michael Chaney will be at St. Rose Wednesday for a public talk about "Subject and History in The African American Graphic Novel." It's at 6:30pm in the Lally Building.
photo: Steven Pinker. Yep, that one.
Kevin Craig West could easily win the title for hardest working guy in show business. The Arbor Hill native and Troy resident is an actor, producer, director, writer and editor who is constantly networking.
West recently named best actor at the Knickerbocker Film Festival for his work in Mike Feuerstein's film The Greatest Man Alive. And he's currently appearing in Capital Rep's production of To Kill A Mockingbird.
We got together with West last week to talk about the strange way he backed into his career, Arbor Hill, the growing film scene in the Capital Region and car chases with Angelina Jolie.
On entering the installation the visitor is immersed in an environment of near-total darkness, insulated against external sound and vibration. Sparked by an array of sophisticated built-in sensors and devices that emit micro-levels of tactile, auditory, and visual feedback, the slightest motions cause this environment to respond, though so subtly as to test the limits of both perception and interpretation. The result is a revelatory aesthetic experience in which noise shifts towards order, sensation becomes sense, and the apparent randomness of threshold sensory impressions gives way to a new understanding of meaning in the relationship among body, self, and external world.
The installation will now be open until Friday. You have to get a reservation to check it out: 276-3921.
Disclosure: Yep, EMPAC gave us concert tickets to giveaway recently. We're mentioning this installation because it sounds weird and different (in a good way).
WMHT's indie cinema series is looking for another round of submissions:
WMHT is looking for the very finest, unique and original independently made short films upstate New York has to offer in order to showcase on TvFILM, premiering in June. Hosted by Brandon Bethmann, TvFILM will also engage dialogue with winning filmmakers to discuss the inspiration, ideas and concepts behind their work. In addition, TvFILM will profile the people, places and events that are shaping WMHT's growing independent film and media community.
The deadline to enter is April 16.
Precious opened to widespread acclaim last year (it's been nominated for six Oscars). But Push created its own stir -- because of its subject matter, voice and advance -- when it was first published in 1996.
Sapphire told NPR last year that she based the books on her own experiences as a remedial reading teacher:
The author says that she encountered girls like Precious while teaching -- overweight girls who didn't fit into the confines of our society's beauty paradigm, girls who were essentially "locked out" of the broader culture.
"I wanted to show that this girl is locked out through literacy. She's locked out by her physical appearance. She's locked out by her class, and she's locked out by her color," says Sapphire. "I encountered this. I had a student who told me that she had had children by her father."
The talk starts at 8 pm in Schacht Fine Arts Center on the Troy Sage campus -- there's a screening of Precious at 6 pm (the center is at 1st and Division). Tickets are $5 at the door ($3 for students, free for Sage students).
Sapphire recently spoke to a big crowd at the University of Michigan. We've heard from Sage that they've already changed the talk to a larger venue because of expected attendance.
The Foundry -- an arts startup in Cohoes -- is currently seventh in the voting in a national competition for a group of $50,000 grants. The top 10 projects at the end of this month finish in the money.
The competition is sponsored by Pepsi. You can vote online (you have to fill out a form first, and then push the "vote" button on the page).
Artists Lynne Allard and Jesse Matulis are behind the Foundry. From their site:
The Foundry is a unique integration of the arts, design, heritage, preservation and public art; committed to enriching community through culture. Public exhibitions and performances, public art, preservation of significant sites and interpretation of local history deepen our connections to the places in which we live and work.
The project is located in a former bank on Remsen Street in downtown Cohoes.
St. Rose is hosting the first Albany Lit Mag and Small Press Fair this Saturday. From organizer Daniel Nester's web site:
Hundreds of regional and national independent literary publishers will converge to sell their journals for only $2 an issue and books for $4 each. Many publishers will attend in person to meet Albany's eager readers, so don't miss this opportunity to discover literature you are unlikely to find in a single store, and meet the publishers and editors who do the real work of keeping American Literature vibrant and vital.
There will also be readings and discussions throughout the day. The fair runs from noon to 6 pm in St. Joseph's Auditorium on the CSR campus. It's free.
But, wait. There's more. The day will be capped off with an event called "Karaoke + Poetry = Fun" at Valentine's at 7 pm.
Schenectady's Michelle Smith-Carrigan and Mark Carrigan advertise themselves as "your puppet professionals."
Seriously, how much fun must they have at parties?
"So what do you do for a living?"
"Well, actually, I'm a puppet professional..."
Here's the scoop: tickets for the event are $65 and only available via invitation -- but you can request an invitation by sending your mailing address to email@example.com.
HMT will then send you an invite. Then you send back your ticket request immediately, because the event is expected to sell out right away.
The evening will feature cocktails, food, music and "surprise" entertainment that will include David Hyde Pierce.
The schedule for the upcoming season at EMPAC is out and it includes a bunch of events that look interesting/challening/odd/beautiful.
Here are a few that caught our eye...
The Troy Savings Banks Music Hall has a show coming up next week that could be fun: Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco Peña.
From a TSBMH release:
"A Compás" features Paco and two other guitarists, a percussionist, vocalist and three dancers. Its goal is to transmit to the audience the compelling nature of a range of flamenco rhythms, from the almost tribal, trance-inducing quality of the "alboreá"" to the razor-sharp complexity of the "bulería."
Here are a few video clips of "A Compás" from two years ago.
The performance is October 1 at 8 pm. Tickets start at $20.
Bruce Jordan is a funny, funny man.
How funny is he?
Funny enough to make 8 million people laugh.
More than 30 years ago he took a very unfunny play and turned it into Shear Madness -- the longest running play in the history of American theater.
Shear Madness has played all over the US and in more than 15 cities worldwide. Tonight the show will run in Washington DC, Boston, Albany (at Capital Rep), Charlotte, Milwaukee, Athens (Greece), Barcelona and Warsaw, just to name a few.
And Bruce Jordan runs the show from his office off-Broadway. Waaaay off Broadway.
The traveling literary show (yep, that's what we said) is rolling into town tonight for a free show at Valentine's. So, what's the word? From the The Dollar Store Show site:
Stealing from the Chicago improv community's bag of tricks, The Dollar Store uses a "suggestion" for the pieces performed in the show. Each writer is given an item purchased at a local dollar store (mundane to insane) and a month to craft a story (fiction or non-) that involves the item as directly or obliquely as the author wishes. The item is then put on display during, or incorporated into the performance.
Here's a piece about the show from Current.tv.
In addition to TDSS' traveling lineup, tonight's show will feature local writers Colie Collen, Shane Jones and Daniel Nester.
The show starts at 7 pm.
If you're looking for some "cheap fun" this 4th of July weekend, but fireworks and potentially soggy barbecues aren't your thing, here's something you might want to try. Local theaters have a little more trouble filling seats on big summer holidays.
Bad for them -- good for you.
Next week's schedule at Jacob's Pillow includes a ballet featuring the music of Radiohead. We're not sure if Radio and Juliet looks different and interesting... or just a little odd and head-scratch-inducing.
Here's the blurb from the JP site:
Transport into a universe of razor-sharp dancing, video effects, electronic rhythms and beautiful melodies with a new take on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, set to the music of Radiohead, today's most influential alternative rock band. In a rare U.S. engagement, this powerfully gorgeous contemporary ballet by Romanian choreographer Edward Clug, a fast-rising star and artistic director of Ballet Maribor, casts superb ballet dancers that give new life to this timeless tale of conflict, fate and love.
Here's a "trailer" for the performance.
There are performances July 1-5. Tickets are $59.50. But get this: if you're under the age of 35, you can score tickets for $35.
image: Jacob's Pillow
This year's Sculpture in the Streets collection is up in downtown Albany. This year's group includes 16 pieces by 11 artists. There's a walking tour of the collection that starts at the Hudson River Way Pedestrian Bridge.
B has posted a great photoset that includes many of the pieces -- it's sort of like a virtual walking tour.
The current collection will be on display until next April.
Earlier on AOA: Sculpture in the Streets 2008
We saw this dinosaur sculpture in Troy the other day and it made us smile (a bigger version of the pic). The sculpture overlooks the Hudson from a hilltop in Riverfront Park.
Pretty much anytime we go to a theater in the Capital Region these days, the name Brenny Rabine comes up.
Brenny has been working as an actor, playwright, producer, teacher and actor in the Capital Region for years. Not in addition to her day job -- the arts are her day job.
And her night job.
These days Brenny can be seen in Capital Rep's production of Boston Marriage. She took a little time before getting into make-up to talk to AOA about life upon the wicked stage and how she manages to make a living as an actor in the Capital Region.
A divorce, a trip to San Diego and a few YouTube videos helped 33-year-old Jennifer Canton transform herself into the fire-eating, hula hooping dynamo that is Dehva Colure.
The Tribes Hill resident (near Amsterdam) is now a photographer/social worker by day and a fire eater by night.
How it happened and more photos, after the jump.
Yes, we were surprised to learn that David Mamet , the guy who wrote "Glengarry Glen Ross", wrote a play about Victorian era relationships. But not nearly as surprised as we were when we learned he wrote children's books (Really? What would those be like? "The Itsy Bitsy F*&$#ing Spider??!", "Coffee is for Closers Charlie Brown!?").
Anyway, If you're a fan of Mamet's work, or you want to try something new, tonight is the night. It's Pay What You Will night for Mamet's "Boston Marriage" at Capital Rep. It works like it sounds -- you pick the price.
Tickets are on sale now, but get down to the theater as soon as you can -- pay what you will nights tend to sell out.
The Central Ave BID and CDTA are looking for artists to create public works for the new Bus Rapid Transit system that's being constructed along Route 5. It sounds like they're open to pretty much anything:
There are many concepts that could meet the criteria and consideration for public art. Public Art could be simply a metal insignia or representational tiles or words as concepts embedded or attched to nearby sidewalks, buildings, the bus shelter or who knows. Art for this project could even be considerd a multi-media interactive projector that displays art on nearby buildings, or it could be music or sounds. It could be tactile pads, buttons, braile or something that you touch or listen to. You are the artists, and therefor in the medium you are familiar with, tell us your ideas.
The first deadline for submissions is April 17. There are a bunch of other details posted on the project's site.
Bilal's art sparked protests and cries of censorship when the City of Troy temporarily shut down The Sanctuary for Independent Media for code violations after the gallery took the exhibit in.
Well, Wafaa Bilal is back in Troy tonight. The digital media artist is speaking at The Sanctuary for Independent Media to promote his new book Shoot an Iraqi: Life, Art and Resistance Under the Gun. The books examines his experience as an Iraqi living in the United States. The event starts at 7. Suggested donation is $10/ $5 for students and low income.
This Friday night at UAlbany models will be strutting down the catwalk in clothing that's just garbage.
Really. It's trash. Actual trash.
If you're a fan of graphic novels and you can get out for lunch on Wednesday, you might be interested in seeing author Jessica Abel at HVCC.
Abel will be talking about La Perdida, her graphic novel about "an American estranged from her Mexican father, who heads to Mexico City to 'find herself.'"
A review on Bookslut described La Perdida as "fantastic" with panels that "exude an amazing energy."
Abel will be speaking at HVCC's Stapleton Theatre at 1 pm. It's free and open to the public.
image: Jessica Abel
The idea for the "Recovery" art show started here in Albany and made it's way to Afghanistan and New York City. This week it's home again.
The premise of the show -- that art, like war, can greatly affect people's lives.
As an introverted teenager, Donna Marie Tritico spent a lot of time in libraries. Which, naturally, led to become a belly dancer named Habiba.
Actually, the trip isn't as far as it seems.
A couple of weeks ago Paul asked why more well-known bands don't make stops in the Capital Region -- and we've been thinking about it ever since.
So we phoned a friend: Howard Glassman, he's been booking bands for venues such as Valentine's, Bogie's and The Linda for the last twenty years.
His expert opinion?
Sample line: "Because, you see, I have this little policy about honesty and ass kicking, which is: if you ask for it, I have to let you have it."
So we're guessing this will be a little like 8 Mile mashed up with Stand and Deliver.
The reading/ass kicking starts at 7:30 in St. Joseph Hall on the CSR campus. It's free.
OK, before you say "Who?" think back to the beat poets of the 60's. Back then poet and activist Amiri Baraka was known as LeRoi Jones and was palling around with the likes of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. He founded Totem press, published the work of the beat poets and was married to fellow beatnik, Hettie Cohen.
Later he converted to Islam and changed his name to Amiri Baraka. He went on to become a playwright, a Marxist, a professor and even a collaborator with hip hop group The Roots.
This Saturday he'll be at The Sanctuary for Independent Media with New York City-based saxophonist Rob Brown. Baraka will be reading from his new book, "Somebody Blew Up America and Other Poems." It starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10.
Earlier that evening at 6 p.m., the Sanctuary's hosting an opening reception for Brenda Ann Kenneally's new exhibit, a collection of photographs called "Upstate Girls," which examines poverty and working class America through the eyes of women and girls living in Troy.
Amy Biancolli has our dream job. She lives here in Albany, but she's a movie critic for the Houston Chronicle. She's also an author.
And now she's a playwright. Capital Rep is staging her first play, "Kreisler's Long Sleep," as part of its "Biggest Little International Play Festival."
The play is based on her book about world renowned violinist Fritz Kriesler. Now, admittedly, we're not exactly up on our violinists, but this guy sounds pretty interesting. Amy took a few minutes off from the glamorous life of a film critic/playwright to tell AOA a little more about him-- and about herself.
Toward the end of last year, someone broke into Albany Tattoo on Delaware Ave and stole all of the shop's equipment. Yep, all of it, plus a bunch of other stuff, too.
The owners are frustrated -- but not defeated.
Cindy Maxwell, Jinx and company have closed shop and are selling their digs in search of greener pastures. They'll soon be joining forces with the piercers and tattoo artists at Dead President's Lounge on upper Madison Ave. To make the transition easier, the folks of AT will be keeping their same e-mail addresses, phone numbers and Web sites.
In the meantime, though, they're selling some of Cindy's watercolors, tattoo memorabilia and other things from their shop. (That's one of the Cindy's watercolors on the right.) Photos of the items are posted on their MySpace page.
Founded in 1998, Fence is a biannual journal of poetry, fiction, art, and criticism that has a mission to redefine the terms of accessibility by publishing challenging writing distinguished by idiosyncrasy and intelligence rather than by allegiance with camps, schools, or cliques.
The Thursday event will feature readings from three contributors to the issue:
- Ira Sher, who's appeared on This American Life
- Edward Schwarzschild, UAlbany English Department Professor
- Shelley Jackson, who's described as a "groundbreaking creator of hypertext fiction"
The reading starts at 7 pm in the Standish Room of the Science Library on the uptown campus. It's free.
Updated with another video Monday night
Sebastien has posted a few video clips from the performances at EMPAC this past weekend. After watching them, it's maybe a little easier to get a sense of how the performances spaces are being/could be used. Here's a clip from the studio space with the 360 degree screen:
Sebastien also has a photo set posted on Flickr.
More video clips -- including a really weird one -- embedded after the jump.
It killed more people than WWI or the Black Plague, and it was rampant here in Albany.
And the mark it made affected generations in ways they probably didn't understand.
Still, who writes a play about the flu?
John McEneny, that's who.
No, not that John McEneny -- though he did work on it.
Here's something interesting to do this Friday -- and you could come away with some cool art, too.
The Grand Street Arts is holding a closing exhibition for its BoardedUP! project. The series of 40 panels that has adorned (or, well, boarded up) the windows of the org's space on Grand Street will be up for auction.
The exhibition is this Friday, September 12, at 6pm.