Arts & Culture

Rob Edelman: One Past President

Mar 26, 2018

How many times have we heard our president, Donald Trump, label himself the all-time best-ever American political leader? In his view, the lone exception just may be Abraham Lincoln. But then again, maybe not. Well, now is as good a time as any to revisit American history and familiarize ourselves with the lives and times of other American presidents. Their histories have unfolded in plenty of documentaries; one, for example, is titled THE INDOMITABLE TEDDY ROOSEVELT. Its producer and director is Harrison Engle; it dates from 1983; its narrator is George C. Scott; and Flicker Alley recently released it to home entertainment.

Any Questions #343: L-A

Mar 23, 2018
The seal of L.A.
L.A.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel swap seats once again this week.

Rogovoy Report 3/23/18

Mar 23, 2018

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, new and modern art, 19th century French music, a salute to 20th century composer Leonard Bernstein, and a whole lot more.

'Sumer is icumen in' - old sheet music
Image taken from Summer Canon [Reading Rota]. Originally published/produced in England [Reading Abbey, co. Berks.]; mid 13th century. Held and digitised by the British Library, and uploaded to Flickr Commons.

In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue a series of conversations about fakes, forgeries, and lost or misattributions.

Some world class musicians across the region are teaming up to present a new concert series highlighting classic albums performed by local artists. Capital Records Live debuts at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, March 23rd at the GE Theatre at Proctors.

Performing selections from The Beatles "White Album" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in its entirety, six unique acts: Bryan Brundige Collective, Clear Mind, Eastbound Jesus, Girl Blue, Let's Be Leonard and Wild Adriatic will come together on stage to celebrate the work of the Fab Four.

Jim Murphy, Director of Marketing and Publicity at Proctors, joins us.

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "Game Night"

Upcoming:

http://empac.rpi.edu

Composer and Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon presents his new choral work, Anonymous Man, performed by the 24-voice ensemble The Crossing on Thursday night at EMPAC in Troy.

The hour-long piece expands on Michael Gordon's architectural approach to composition, layering minimalistic swirls of vocal sounds on top of one another to create a hypnotic group incantation. 

Performing this tour de force is the Philadelphia-based choir The Crossing. Conducted by Donald Nally, The Crossing was formed in 2005 and has dedicated itself to expanding the contemporary choral music experience through commissions, collaborations, community, and performances that are characterized by a distinctive unity of sound and spirit.

Rob Edelman: Beauty... And Dogs

Mar 19, 2018

Whenever I see a newly-released film or whenever I view one that is decades-old, I ask myself and my students: What is this film telling us about the time in which it was made and the culture that produced it? For example, when I teach a course on the history of the American crime film, I ask: What do films like LITTLE CAESAR, THE PUBLIC ENEMY, or I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG tell us about the America of the early 1930’s? What does a film like WALL STREET, which is as much a crime film as a cops-and-robbers thriller, tell us about corporate America in the 1980’s? When I teach a course titled New American Cinema, my question is: What do films like FIVE EASY PIECES, THE GRADUATE, TAXI DRIVER, SHAFT, EASY RIDER, and KRAMER VS. KRAMER, among many others, tell us about the changes that then were rapidly occurring in the United States beginning in the late-1960’s? What do these films have to say about the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, women’s rights, the sexual revolution, and the general feeling of alienation among the young? 

Kathleen Madigan
Luzena Adams

For 29 years, comedian Kathleen Madigan has been touring 250 nights per year and squeezing in hour-long filmed specials and performances on every late night show ever made. From 25 appearances on the Tonight Show and multiple appearances on Letterman and Conan to recently riding around with Jerry Seinfeld in his internet series "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," Madigan sells out theaters across the country. 

Her most recent standup special "Bothering Jesus," is currently streaming on Netflix and she’ll be performing at The Egg in Albany, New York on Thursday, March 22.

Victorian dresses on display at The Albany Institute of History and Art
Courtesy of the Albany Institute of History & Art

Spanning more than 250 years, from the mid-eighteenth century to the present, the Albany Institute of History & Arts’ costume collection includes more than 4,000 garments and accessories that were used or worn by upstate New Yorkers of all ages, social classes, economic conditions, and cultural groups.

To celebrate and display some of that collection, they’ve created the exhibition “Well-Dressed in Victorian Albany: 19th Century Fashion from the Albany Institute Collection.”

From wedding gowns to walking suits, the garments featured in the exhibition reflect the changes in styles during the reign of the British monarch, Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. “Well-Dressed in Victorian Albany” is on view through May 20. Diane Shewchuk, curator at The Albany Institute, hosts this audio tour.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back with a show about one of their favorite topics.

Audrey Kupferberg: Outstanding Film Performances Of 2017

Mar 16, 2018

Frances McDormand is astounding audiences as the rage-filled, maniacal mother of a young rape and murder victim in THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, and Gary Oldman is thrilling viewers of DARKEST HOUR with his multi-dimensional portrayal of Winston Churchill.  They are rightful winners of this year’s Oscars for actors in leading roles.

Rogovoy Report 3/16/18

Mar 16, 2018

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include a comedy festival, chamber music, orchestral music, author readings, and a whole lot more.

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "A Wrinkle In Time"

Upcoming:

  • Lunasa with special guest vocalist Natalie Merchant - The Egg, Albany, Thursday 3/15, 7:30 PM
  • "A Night at the Opera" - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Thursday 3/15, 7 PM
  • The 40th Annual Photo Regional: Effects That Aren’t Special - Opalka Gallery, Albany, Thursday 3/15 through April 21; opening reception Friday 3/16, 6 to 8 PM
  • Paramount’s Laser Spectacular presents The Music of Pink Floyd - Times Union Center, Albany, Friday 3/16, 7:30 PM
  • Thrash for McGrath - Pauly’s Hotel & The Low Beat, Albany, Saturday 3/17, 7 PM
  • Rolston String Quartet: Haydn, Debussy, Tchaikovsky - Friends of Chamber Music, Emma Willard School/Kiggins Hall, Troy, Saturday 3/17, 7:30 PM
  • Performing Artists in Residence Concert performing Brahms, Hugo Wolf, Robert Khan, Jules Massenet Edward Arron, cello; Jeewon Park, piano; Hyunah Yu, soprano; Jeffrey Multer, violin - The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass., Sunday 3/18, 2 PM
  • "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Monday 3/19, 7 PM
  • The National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba - Troy Chromatics Concerts/Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Monday 3/19, 7:30 PM
  • Restless NYC's "This Was the End" - Opening performance Monday 3/19, 7:30 PM; Installation Tuesday 3/20, 1 to 5 PM - EMPAC Studio 1—Goodman, Troy

New movies: "Tomb Raider," "Entebbe," "Love Simon"

Louie Anderson is an iconic comedian, Emmy award winner, one of the country’s most adored comics and named by Comedy Central as “One of 100 Greatest Comedians.” He currently co-stars with Zach Galifianakis in the hit FX series, “Baskets,” Anderson’s extraordinary role as Christine Baskets, the matriarch of the Baskets clan won him his third Emmy Award.

He will perform at The Bardavon in Poughkeepsie, NY on Sunday, March 18.

Mike Birbiglia
Evan Sung

The High Mud Comedy Festival takes over the campus of MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts this Friday and Saturday.

Friday night, Sasheer Zamata hosts “Sasheer Zamata Party Time!” in the Hunter Center. On Saturday, there will be a satire writing workshop by the Reductress, comedian-led gallery tours, and a performance by Nellie McKay.

To close the festival, Mike Birbiglia will present his new one-hour of stand-up, aptly entitled “The New One.” Birbiglia’s previous popular shows include “Thank God for Jokes,” “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend,” and “Sleepwalk with Me.” The latter was adapted into a film co-directed by Birbiglia and his stage-director Seth Barrish. In 2016 Birbiglia wrote and directed “Don’t Think Twice” starring Gillian Jacobs and Keegan-Michael Key.

The 13th Annual Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival, presented by the Springfield Jewish Community Center, runs March 15 – 27 with 25 film screenings at 18 community venues across Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin Counties in Massachusetts.

Year after year, PVJFF presents critically acclaimed films that not only entertain, but also provide opportunities for reflection, discussion, and a deeper understanding of our complex, diverse world.

We are joined by Festival Director Deb Krivoy and by director of communications for the Yiddish Book Center, Lisa Newman. The Yiddish Book Center is one of the Pioneer Valley Film Festival’s venues.

Rob Edelman: War...

Mar 12, 2018

JOURNEY’S END, a new and just-released British film, is a property with a storied history. This tale of survival among a cluster of British soldiers in the trenches of World War I originated as a play. Its author is R.C. Sherriff, and it premiered on the London stage at the tail-end of 1928. One of its stars, by the way, was a 21-year-old actor by the name of Laurence Olivier, and it ran on the West End for two years. The success of JOURNEY’S END resulted in stage productions mounted across the globe. Its first screen version, a U.S.-UK co-production, dates from 1930. It is the first feature directed by James Whale, who momentarily guided Boris Karloff to horror film immortality in FRANKENSTEIN. Intriguingly, a German remake of JOURNEY’S END came out a year later. This of course was pre-Adolph Hitler. Plus, it has been revived on-stage across the decades. I saw it a number of years ago in a West End production.

The Tampa Bay Rays
WikiCommons

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back with a show about Rays.

Rogovoy Report 3/9/18

Mar 9, 2018

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include stars of Afropop, art-rock, New Orleans funk, opera, and a whole lot more.

In this week’s "Classical Music According to Yehuda," Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue a series of conversations about fakes, forgeries, and misattributions - sharing music by Fritz Kreisler from the album "Kreisler Plays Kreisler."

Bob Goepfert Reviews "The Humans" At Proctors

Mar 8, 2018
Richard Thomas, Pamela Reed, Daisy Eagan, Luis Vega and Therese Plaehn
Julieta Cervantes

SCHENECTADY – “The Humans” is 90-minutes long, without an intermission.  For the first 75 minutes of the production it is a very funny play that touches on the serious issues of family life.  For the final 15-minutes, it is powerful, heartbreaking theater that gives clarity to the entire play.

Still from "A Fantastic Woman"
Sony Pictures Classics

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: The Oscars, "Death Wish"

Upcoming:

  • Ellen Arkbro - EMPAC, Studio 1—Goodman, Troy, Thursday 3/8, 7:30 PM
  • An Acoustic Evening with Lyle Lovett & Shawn Colvin - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Thursday 3/8, 7:30 PM
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, Mass., Friday 3/9, 8 PM
  • Cedric The Entertainer - Funny Bone Comedy Club, Guilderland, Friday-Saturday 3/9-10, various times
  • Albany Symphony Orchestra: Kennedy Center Debut Preview Performance - Music of Joan Tower, Michael Daugherty, Dorothy Chang, Michael Torke - Palace Theatre, Albany, Saturday 3/10, 7:30 PM
  • Eli Young Band - Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, Saturday 3/10, 8 PM
  • Chip Taylor - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Saturday 3/10, 8 PM
  • Dumpstaphunk - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Saturday 3/10, 9 PM
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tashi Dorji - MASS MoCA, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 3/10, 8 PM
  • The Chieftans - Proctors, Schenectady, Tuesday 3/13, 7:30 PM

New movies: "A Wrinkle in Time," "Gringo," "Thoroughbreds," "A Fantastic Woman"

Stephen Karam’s “The Humans” is an uproarious, hopeful, and heartbreaking play that takes place over the course of a family dinner on Thanksgiving. Breaking with tradition, Erik Blake has brought his Pennsylvania family to celebrate and give thanks at his daughter’s apartment in Lower Manhattan. As darkness falls outside the ramshackle pre-war duplex and eerie things start to go bump in the night, the Blake clan’s deepest fears and greatest follies are laid bare. Our modern age of anxiety is keenly observed, with humor and compassion, in this new American classic that won the 2016 Tony Award® for Best Play.

Directed by Joe Mantello, the National Tour of “The Humans” is at Proctors in Schenectady this week.

Richard Thomas plays Erik Blake. Thomas’ most recent stage appearance was in the Broadway revival of “The Little Foxes,” for which he received a Tony Award Nomination. He is an Emmy award winner and a TV icon for creating the role of John-Boy in “The Waltons.”

Pamela Reed is a veteran character actress who has over 60 film and TV credits. She is known for her roles in “The Right Stuff,” “Kindergarten Cop,” “Junior,” and “Proof of Life.” Her TV credits include “Parks and Recreation,” “NCIS: LA” and her portrayal of Jack Tanner's campaign manager, T.J. Cavanaugh in Robert Altman's “Tanner '88.”

Few television shows revolutionized comedy as profoundly or have had such an enormous and continued impact on our culture as "In Living Color." Inspired by Richard Pryor, Carol Burnett, and Eddie Murphy, Keenen Ivory Wayans created a television series unlike any that had come before it.

Along the way, he introduced the world to Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, David Alan Grier, Rosie Perez, and Jennifer Lopez, not to mention his own brothers Damon, Marlon, and Shawn Wayans. In Living Color shaped American culture in ways both seen and unseen, and was part of a sea change that moved black comedy and hip-hop culture from the shadows into the spotlight.

David Peisner is a freelance writer based in Decatur, Georgia. He has been writing about music, film, television, books, politics, technology, sports, and world affairs for a wide array of publications for nearly twenty years.

David Peisner is a freelance writer based in Decatur, Georgia. He has been writing about music, film, television, books, politics, technology, sports, and world affairs for a wide array of publications for nearly twenty years. His new book is "Homey Don't Play That!: The Story of In Living Color and the Black Comedy Revolution."

What do Susan B. Anthony, Alexander Graham Bell, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, Leonard Nimoy, Elizabeth Taylor, Sylvia Plath, Dr. Seuss, Sojourner Truth and Kurt Vonnegut all have in common? They have all impacted the historical fabric of the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts!

The Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Mass. will present “The Valley Letters Project: Live on Stage,” a new series celebrating the art of letter writing and its connection to the region’s history. The evening will feature letters by historic people of note connected to the Western Massachusetts/Pioneer Valley region read aloud by contemporary people of note who are currently impacting the Western Massachusetts and the Pioneer Valley landscape.

The event, taking place on Saturday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m., is a fundraiser for The Academy of Music Theatre.

Here to tell us more are Academy of Music Theatre's Development and Marketing Manager Emily Curro, and the Artistic Director of Eggtooth Productions and Academy of Music Theatre Board Member, Linda McInerney.

Rob Edelman: Appreciating What You Have

Mar 5, 2018

In recent years, so many American films have centered on characters who for a range of reasons are dissatisfied with their lives. They question the world around them. They view themselves as losers, as failures and, at their core, they also are self-involved.

New Jersey's state seal
New Jersey

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats for a show about the Garden State.

Rogovoy Report 3/2/18

Mar 2, 2018

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include a folk-pop singer-songwriter, an exhibition of emerging and rising artists from the area, an avatar of Americana, a concert of protest songs, a wild and wacky trombone recital, and a whole lot more.


  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani begin a series of conversations about fakes, forgeries, and misattributions.

 

In this segment we hear Trumpet Voluntary Suite in D Major by Jeremiah Clarke (recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) which was long attributed to Henry Purcell for years.

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