Items tagged with 'people'

Figuring Sh!t Out with Amy Biancolli

figuring shit out amy biancolli

Amy Biancolli is a self-described mom, ink-stained wretch, and survivor of suicides.

We would describe her as a gifted and thoughtful writer with an ability to find the joy, truth, and humor in living -- even in the aftermath of great personal tragedy.

Three years ago, Biancolli's husband, well-known Capital Region writer Chris Ringwald, took his own life. It was not Biancolli's first experience with suicide. Years earlier her sister, Lucy, killed herself, and her father survived his own suicide attempt.

Biancolli -- a former film critic for the Houston Chronicle and the current arts writer for the Times Union -- has turned that experience into a new memoir. Figuring Sh!t Out (and her blog of the same name) take a look at her first year without Chris, and the, well, stuff she had to figure out -- from who she is now without her husband of 20 years, to how to help her children, to how to work the lawn mower, to whether she should bother to shave her legs anymore. Tales of "crisis ziti", memos to George Clooney, surviving a monkey attack only to be bitten by a dog in Ecuador, and whether to search for a "Mr. Manly Pants" alternately prompt laughter and tears -- and sometimes do both at once.

Biancolli spent a few minutes with us this week, to share some thoughts on the bizarre ways humor and grief can overlap, why she decided to share such a deep personal tragedy, and the experience of being carried by her Albany community.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Ladder No. 1, a different ridge, Chatham, the Walkway over the Hudson, the time machine, entertainment options then, the Tour de Cider Donut, Italian sausage, falafel, comparing donuts, an order-again appetizer, savory and sweet, uncertain status, and a FATMUP issued.

Broadway Plaza Liquor in-post ad

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Altering history with Jacopo Della Quercia: The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy

Giacomo Calabria.jpg

Giacomo Calabria aka Jacopo Della Quercia, author of The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy

Giacomo Calabria grew up watching movies like Back to the Future, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Indian Jones and The Last Crusade, and listening to his parents tell bedtime stories about Genghis Kahn. Maybe that explains a little about how this Albany resident approaches history.

Under the pseudonym Jacopo Della Quercia, Calabria has been a frequent contributor on fun and fascinating bits of history at the humor website Cracked. He came to Albany a few years ago to be closer to family (his brother and sister-in-law own the popular Lark Street bakery Crisan) and started work on his first novel -- the newly released Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy -- "an equal-parts cocktail of action, adventure, science-fiction and comedy" that brings together William Howard Taft, Robert Todd Lincoln and other historical figures to solve a mystery that stretches back to the Lincoln assassination.

Calabria will be at Northshire Books in Saratoga Friday evening for a reading and signing of The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy.

He talked with us this week about his passion for history, leaving Easter eggs for curious readers in the age of Google, and Albany's disturbing connection to the Lincoln assassination.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the Tournament of Pizza, taking on TWC, three days and three lakes, Vroman's Nose and beer, Crane and Hurricane, the Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon, Normanskill Farm, iconic documents of the modern state, grave stones, striking up conversation, sushi, dinner for six, Nibble, pie, vinegar peppers, and guidelines.

Broadway Plaza Liquor in-post ad

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: miraculous human synergy, defending Albany, red light camera arguments, Kaaterskill Falls, the Ragnar relay, New Hampshire, a toilet paper holder emergency, faith in the pizza universe, Next Door Kitchen & Bar, Public House 42, breakfast before apple picking, salad, supermarket shopping, mini hot dogs, and another duel with the car dealer data industrial complex.

Broadway Plaza Liquor in-post ad

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the 46th peak, autumnal scenes, paddling, Rensselaer, red light cameras, Tournament of Pizza, meatballs, sample zombies, Nibble, Grille at 138, healthy eating, crepes, kitchen equipment, life-changing jam, artwork, and raptors.

Broadway Plaza Liquor in-post ad

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Memories, of laser cats and laser dogs

schenectady high school laser cat dog photo

Remember Schenectady High School senior Draven Rodriguez and the laser cat yearbook photo?

Here's the compromise photo planned for the yearbook: Rodriguez and Mr. Bigglesworth along with principal Diane Wilkerson and her dog Vivian. CBS6 has some behind-the-scenes photo from the shoot, and reports the photo will appear on the principal's page of the yearbook with a message about pet adoption. [Daily Gazette] [CBS6]

Oh, and if you'd like your own laser cat portrait, the photographer -- Vincent Giordano of Trinacria Photography -- is offering them for $225.

photo: Trinacria Photography

The Sea The Sea

Something to listen to today: "Love We Are We Love" by The Sea The Sea.

Singer/songwriter duo Chuck e. Costa and Mira Stanley are a national touring act that have gotten attention from outlets such NPR and Daytrotter -- and they recently relocated to the Albany area.

They're playing a show at The Low Beat this Thursday, October 2 at 8 pm. Great Mutations is the opener. Update: It's $10.

We hear Costa and Stanley will be hanging around the area over upcoming months as they work on their next album, and they're looking to connect with people in the local music scene. So, if you see them, give them a hello wave and a welcome.

New donut shop for Troy: Nibble Inc.

Michael Cunningham and Jessie Cramer

Nibble Inc. owners Michael Cunningham and Jessie Cramer.

By Lauren Hittinger

Sometimes food can inspire you.

Jessie Cramer and Michael Cunningham had no plans for a donut shop until "eating a really good donut," says Cunningham -- "a mind-blowing donut."

"The best doughnut I've ever had," Cramer adds. "And I thought 'How can I make this donut so I can have it whenever I want?'"

The pair figured out how to make their ultimate doughnut and they're opening a shop -- Nibble Inc -- this Saturday to bring those donuts to Troy.

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This part of the State Museum is for the birds

curator of birds jeremy kirchman

State Museum curator of birds Jeremy Kirchman with a snowy owl specimen.

What's on display at any one time at State Museum is just small slice of all the items in the museum's collection. And because the State Museum is almost two centuries old -- it's the oldest state museum in the country -- there are a lot of things in that collection.

So we were happy to get the chance this week to get a behind-the-scenes look at the museum's large bird collection with its curator of birds, Jeremy Kirchman. He's giving a talk this Sunday about the passenger pigeon -- a current exhibit at the museum commemorates the bird's extinction a hundred years ago.

OK, let's get to the photo tour -- and a quick chat about museums as data sets, global warming, extinction, and some reasons to be hopeful.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: a mistake, the Washington County Cheese Tour, the Saratoga Native American Festival, 44 and 45 of 46, the Madison Ave Barrens, Windham High Peak, the Kayaderosseras, McDonald's, Taiwan Noodle, Shake Shack, FDR, certificates, ribbons, and holy crap! life moments.

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TOP2014: Meet the judges

TOP2014 judging through window at DCs

Somebody has to eat all that pizza, you know.

Here are the judges for the 2014 Tournament of Pizza -- AKA, Tournament of Pizza: Clash of Champions; AKA, the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- sponsored by Keeler Mini.

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

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"I have no idea what we're going to play. I won't be able to tell you until it's about to happen."

Jazz vibraphonist Stefon Harris -- an Albany High School grad -- is playing at Proctors this Thursday. And while doing a little bit of background on him, we came across this TED talk he did a few years back.

We enjoyed the clip because 1) Half of it is Harris and his improvisational jazz quartet doing their thing and the vibraphone is kind of this dreamy, magical instrument; 2) Harris talks a bit collaborating with others on the fly, and how mistakes are an opportunity.

The show at Proctors is at 7:30 pm Thursday in the GE Theater. It's a benefit for the Schenectady Ring of Hope Boxing Club. Tickets are $40 and up.

Oh, and here's one more fun clip, of Harris playing a short vibraphone solo.

Proctors advertises on AOA.

Margination: An attempt to create a different sort of local economy

Margination members

Margination members.

By Lauren Hittinger

In North Troy there's a group of nine individuals trying to promote economic development and social change with very different approach. This collective, working under the name Margination, is an ongoing experiment in collaboration and interdependency -- sharing financial resources, expenses, even housing.

Their goal is to use the skills of group members to provide secure work and secure housing to demonstrate that anyone with determination can flourish inside of a local economy.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Hoffman's Playland, red light cameras, birthing lessons, having nice things, Roosevelts in Albany, the Long House Revival, wine prices, Troy on Tap, sandwiches, fried oysters, Shwe Mandalay, Thacher Park, Moreau Lake, and head cases.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: not voting for Cuomo, jazz at the rumble site, woodland finds, a long hike, Grant's Cottage, the Saratoga Wine & Food Fest, beer week in Troy, salad, the right decision at the right time, sashimi with twigs, watching football, a metal silhouette of a massacre, an abandoned car wash, and goodbye.

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Enigma.Co

EnigmaCo_Jonathan_Brust_in_the_store.jpg

Jonathan Brust

By Lauren Hittinger

Maybe it's just me, but I've noticed a distinct lack of stores for men in the Capital Region. Women get all of the fun boutiques and quaint shops, while the men are left waiting on the couch for shopping to be over.

Recently Jonathan Brust has done something to change that. He just opened Enigma.Co, a men's clothing shop. Located in downtown Troy, Brust is aiming to elevate men's style by offering interesting brands and goods.

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The history of Albany as seen through beer-colored lenses

upper hudson valley beer cover and craig gravina

Upper Hudson Valley Beer and co-author Craig Gravina

There are many ways to look at the long history of Albany and the surrounding region: politically, economically, architecturally, and so on. Craig Gravina and Alan McLeod have chosen to do so through beer-colored lenses.

The two beer scholars -- you might remember them from the Albany Ale Project -- have teamed up to write Upper Hudson Valley Beer, a book about the rich history of brewing in this region and its resurgence over the last few decades. There's a launch party for the book -- with a beer tasting -- at the Albany Institute on September 11.

We bounced a few questions to Gravina this week about the role of beer in Albany's history, the state of the region's beer scene today, and where it might be headed.

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East Coast Screen Print Biennial in Troy

screen print biennial 2014 composite

Clips from pieces from some of the artists whose work will be on display (clockwise from top left): "They Said Stones" by Shawn Bitters; "Canopy" by Taryn McMahon; "Demos Onoiroi" by Mark Hosford; "Laugh Riot" by Midwest Pressed (Tim Dooley and Aaron Wilson).

By Lauren Hittinger

This September the first East Coast Screen Print Biennial is coming to the Capital Region, and it's a pretty big deal.

Screen printing as an art form has been around since the early 1900s, tracing its roots to industrial printing. And most of us have screen printed items in our houses, probably in clothing and other textiles. Even so, there hasn't been a recent large scale exhibition in the United States to showcase the art form.

Local artist and RPI faculty member Nathan Meltz decided to change that. So he organized the biennial at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy to celebrate the artistic side of the medium and showcase many of the different paths this artform can take.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: embracing the end of summer, Adirondack goodness, paddle boarding, Indian Kill Preserve, leaving Albany, foods for the new to here, Burger 21, Saigon Pearl, salads, Paris-Brest, Pints 4 Paws, flower crowns, and the 44-hour week.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: protected bike lanes, skepticism, deer and guilt, Westchester County, the Jersey shore, Glens Falls, high peaks, Woods Hollow, where to stay in Albany, beef in a blanket, pasta for lunch, good carrot cake, food trucks, the Bazaar Shirt, a daring chipmunk, the car dealer data industrial complex, and nuts.

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98 Acres in Albany

98 Acres in Albany 158 Hudson

A scene captured by state Department of Public Works photographer in 158 Hudson during the time leading up to the demolition of the neighborhood for the construction of the Empire State Plaza. Pfau and Hochfelder say it was one of the first photos they turned up that prompted them to think the materials could lead way to telling more intimate, human-scale stories about the neighborhood replaced by the ESP.

Almost everything about the Empire State Plaza is big: its physical size, its place in Albany's skyline, its presence in the city's history over the last century. It is architecture and history on a huge scale.

But a new project is aiming to focus on the smaller, more intimate parts of the ESP's history. A group of historians, on Twitter as @98AcresinAlbany, is uniting two sets of photos -- a series of meticulous exterior shots in the Albany Institute collection, and a series of interior photos from a collection at the State Archives -- to recover a more detailed picture of that time.

98 Acres in Albany is the creation of Ann Pfau (independent historian), David Hochfelder (professor at UAlbany), and Stacy Sewell (professor at St. Thomas Aquinas College). Their ultimate goal is to create a website to host these photos, document the history of the neighborhood, and collect memories and stories related to the ESP.

As Pfau recently told us: "We've found that everyone has a story about the Empire State Plaza, and everyone has an opinion about the Empire State Plaza."

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: "cowardice" and compassion, an unusual story, summer trips, tubing, a mission to find blooms, Hoosick Falls, Texas de Brazil, brunch at The Low Beat, Dock Brown's, boneless wings, a veggie burger, BCTC, patience for fall, crowdsourced hydrology, a new home, and that first month.

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World on a string


Fun: Here's a clip of Andrew Maider, a 16 year old from Clifton Park, competing at the World YoYo Contest in Prague earlier this month. Maider finished 17th -- in the world -- in the highest competition class.

Here's a profile of Maider by TWCN's Geoff Reddick.

And a bio blurb from his page at his yo yo team's site:

Andrew Maider is the definition of new school. He's got the flow, the flair, the raw talent, the personality, and the passion to make him his own full package. In a very short time Andrew has risen to the top of the game as a creative innovator and a national competitor. His performances will have you in an awing anticipation as he pulls out banger upon banger with a seemingly infinite amount of energy.

There are a few more clips after the jump that have a closer look at some of Maider's yo yo work.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: when nothing seems like the right thing to say, cycling response, the Palmer-Gavit House, Montreal, the Berkshires, riverbank flowers, Blackhead Mountain, polo, Urban Raid, Sunday in Schenectady, a gem of a breakfast spot, bacon stromboli, and shrugging off the Altamont curse.

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The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

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