Arts & Culture | WAMC

Arts & Culture

Audrey Kupferberg: Bong Joon Ho Films

Apr 24, 2020

Fifty-year-old South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho has made award-winning, box office hits for close to two decades.  Yet he had not gleaned the attention of mainstream American audiences until the 2019 feature, Parasite, which he directed and co-wrote.  Parasite won four major Academy Awards, including Best Picture.  It has made approximately $270 million, as of mid-March, and it currently is being adapted as an HBO series.

Rogovoy Report 4/24/20

Apr 24, 2020

There’s a great new documentary available for streaming about the greatest music group ever to emerge from the Hudson Valley. And I don’t mean Steely Dan, who are probably the second greatest. I mean the roots-rock group The Band, who emerged in Woodstock in 1968 with their landmark debut album, “Music from Big Pink,” and who are the topic of the new film, “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band.”

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | Flickr

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are together, but apart.

Rogovoy Report 4/17/20

Apr 17, 2020

Throughout history, whenever there has been a plague, one of the casualties has always been a group of people defined as “the other” who get blamed for it. I don’t know of any case where a group of people has actually caused a plague or pandemic – other than when Europeans brought infectious diseases to the Americas, thereby killing millions of the continents’ inhabitants in a kind of proto-biological warfare --  but that never stopped anyone from blaming Jews, Gypsies, Mexicans, or name-that-tribe. We are witnessing it right now whenever the occupant of the White House or one of his henchmen refers to COVID-19 as “the Chinese virus.” Often in history, the people who get blamed wind up being ostracized or fall victim to violence, expulsion, pogroms, massacres, etc.

Drawing on forty years of published work, Jay Rogoff’s "Loving in Truth: New and Selected Poems" marks a milestone in the career. The volume presents over one hundred poems from earlier collections alongside forty¬-seven poems previously unavailable in book form.

Throughout his body of work, Rogoff interweaves craft and feeling as he contemplates immigrant ancestors, foreign adventures, baseball, ballet, and the uncanny entwinings of art and life.

Jay Rogoff is the author of six previous collections of poetry, including "The Art of Gravity" and "Venera." His poems and criticism have appeared in numerous journals, and he serves as dance critic for the Hopkins Review.

Hello from inside! This is Sarah LaDuke, the Producer of The Roundtable and The Book Show on WAMC - and I contribute interviews to The Roundtable. 

Under “normal" circumstances, The Roundtable features The Roundtable Panel, a current events discussion from 9 to 10:50 a.m. featuring WAMC President, CEO, and Political Commentator Alan Chartock, The Roundtable and Book Show host Joe Donahue and a rotating team of panelists. Then we air The Congressional Corner where Alan speaks with members of the U.S. Congress, Senate, or a political scientist or pollster. The 11 to noon hour of the show usually features assorted interviews and segments; frequently spotlighting artists and arts organizations in and beyond our region.  

During the pandemic, the last hour of our show is often preempted by vital updates from one executive or another - typically New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. It is very important to hear what he has to say each day and we are glad to be able to bring it to our listeners. Joe's other interviews feature not-for-profits that are helping people cope with these uncertain and confusing times and experts and authors who talk about assorted serious topics related to COVID-19 or other serious issues. 

But we’re missing our friends in the arts.

We're starting a new series of arts interviews on the WAMCRadio Instagram account. They will be live and I will be doing them from my home where I have been working for the past four weeks. It’s called “A Face for Radio Video Series.”

Any Questions logo
Any Questions logo/WAMC

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel swap seats without coming within 6 feet of one another.

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York is associated with summer in our region, but over the last few years, SPAC has begun offering programming year-round through collaboration with other community venues and organizations.

But, these are tough times – especially for the arts. CEO of SPAC Elizabeth Sobel is here to discuss the huge threat to survival all artists and arts organizations are confronting right now – and also discuss some of the ways art brings us together in times of uncertainty – and how one engages with art in an era of pandemic.

Elizabeth Sobol is the President and CEO of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Rogovoy Report4/3/20

Apr 3, 2020

Last Friday, Bob Dylan recently released a new song, “Murder Most Foul.” It’s Dylan’s first new song in eight years, and clocking in at 17 minutes, it’s also his longest song ever. You can hear it on all the major streaming services, and what you’ll hear is a spoken-word surreal fever dream about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It’s not only a work of epic genius – formally, structurally, and otherwise – but it veritably demands a close reading in order to comprehend fully what the Nobel Prize-winner hath wrought.

An empty stage sits in an empty brick courtyard with a few people looking at it
Josh Landes / WAMC

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel host a socially distant quiz.

Audrey Kupferberg: Self Made/Madam C.J. Walker

Mar 27, 2020

Netflix recently debuted a new limited series called Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker.  Directed by Kasi Lemmons and DeMane Davis, and executive-produced by LeBron James, the four-part series is a tribute to the first female millionaire entrepreneur in the United States.  Madam C.J. Walker was an African-American woman born just two years after the end of slavery into a family of slaves-turned-sharecroppers.  She manufactured and sold hair restorers and beauty products made specifically for women of color.

Rogovoy Report 3/27/20

Mar 27, 2020

Today I want to tell you about my visit to the pharmacy this past Wednesday. It was in several ways the highlight of my week. Wednesday was the day I had long feared and dreaded – when I would have to break down and walk into a pharmacy to get my prescription for, of all things, my anti-anxiety medication.

Audrey Kupferberg: Red Beard

Mar 27, 2020

When the names of the world’s greatest film directors are discussed, the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa often enters the conversation.  As a screenwriter, director, and producer, he worked in Japan from 1936 into the 1990s.  His most productive period was in the 1950s and early 1960s and the films of that time, including Rashomon which marked Japan’s entrance onto the international film scene, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, and Yojimbo, are considered classics. 

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel do a show based on an event that has since been canceled, but they have fun anyway!

Rogovoy Report 3/20/20

Mar 20, 2020

As you probably know by now, concerts have all been cancelled. Movie theaters are closed. Performing arts venues of all kinds are shuttered. So what’s a culture vulture to do?

Audrey Kupferberg: Wild Nights With Emily

Mar 19, 2020

Wild Nights with Emily sounds like a film about a rebellious teen who spends her nights at raves and overnight orgies.  It is not.  Wild Nights with Emily, which was released on DVD and other home-viewing formats this month, is an unusual independent feature film about Emily Dickinson, whom we grew up knowing as a prim recluse, a spinster-poet who didn’t socialize or have a very real passionate love in her lifetime, a woman who wrote of death and immortality.  It certainly is true that she was a homebody. She hid many of her works even from her family, and only a small portion of her 1800 poems were published during her lifetime.

BTG PLAYS! 2019-2020 Touring Show is "Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon," based on the book "Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon" by Mary Pope Osborne. This musical features a book by Jenny Laird and Will Osborne, lyrics by Randy Courts and Will Osborne and music by Randy Courts, with direction by Travis Daly.

Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon is an adaptation of the fourth of Mary Pope Osborne's award-winning fantasy adventure books from the Magic Tree House book series, which has sold more than 100 million copies and is available in more than a hundred countries around the world.

BTG PLAYS! Touring Show is a part of Berkshire Theatre Group’s year-round education program, which reaches 13,000 school children annually. Beginning in October and running through the school year, this production is appropriate for elementary and middle school aged children and family audiences, and is designed to introduce students to the excitement of live theatre.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel swap seats for a show on -ologies.

Gina-Simone Pemberton in "Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille"
Richard Ruotolo

If ever a show deserved to be termed a “tragic musical,” its “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille.”  

Michael Farrell

It’s common to call a puzzling mystery a head scratcher.

“Switzerland” is a mystery, playing at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham through March 14.   The play centers about famed mystery writer Patricia Highsmith.    It’s a head scratcher in a way that is not entirely complimentary.

Ferrin Contemporary is presenting "Nature/Nurture," a group exhibition of twelve contemporary female artists invited to explore the influence of gender and its impact on their practice. The show was organized in honor of Women's History Month in conjunction with FOREFRONT2020, a symposium on women in the visual arts taking place on the MASS MoCA campus.

The exhibition explores these ideas that range from direct interpretations of the natural world to more abstract notions, such as the construction of gender and the endowed role of women within their personal and professional careers. Works in clay range in form from individual vessels to composed still lifes and figural and abstract sculpture.

Considering the impact that the #MeToo movement is having on all professions, artists were asked to pause and reflect on the role gender plays in their artistic practice and to consider the nurturing experiences that have shaped them. To tell us more, we welcome Senior Curator of Visual Arts at MASS MoCA Susan Cross, an artist featured in Ferrin Contemporary's "Nature/Nurture" group exhibition Anina Major, and director of Ferrin Contemporary and curator of Nature/Nurture Leslie Ferrin.

Danny Burstein and the company of Moulin Rouge on Derek McLane's set

  Derek McLane is an award-winning production and set designer for stage and screen. He’s designed for The Academy Awards, NBC’s live musical productions, and nearly countless theatrical productions around the country - including on and Off-Broadway.


His work is currently represented on Broadway in the opulent Bohemian-Parisian spectacular of the set for “Moulin Rouge!” at the Hirschfeld Theatre and in Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of “A Soldier’s Play” at The American Airlines Theatre.

Sabrina Gschwandtner, American (born 1977) Elizabeth Keckley Diamond, 2014 16mm polyester film, polyester thread, and lithographic ink in a light box, 15 7/8 × 16 13/16 × 3 1/16in. Museum Purchase, 2017.19

The new exhibition “Celebrating Suffrage” at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York marks the 100-year anniversary of Congress’s ratification of women’s suffrage, the right for American women to vote in all government elections.

Women found unique creative outlets before and after they were officially recognized as full citizens of the United States. This exhibition explores the role of art as a vehicle for women, as individuals or in groups, to reflect, reform, or challenge social beliefs and political practices of their era.

“Celebrating Suffrage” examines how women created their place within the larger art community, adding an important vision that has often been overlooked or undervalued. This anniversary presents the opportunity to celebrate the contributions to subject matter, materials, and means of expression that women have made to the visual arts in the United States.

Miranda Hofelt is Curator of 19th-Century American Art at MWPAI.

"Fiddler: A Miracle Of Miracles" poster
"Fiddler: A Miracle Of Miracles"

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel play defunct football league categories.

Rogovoy Report 3/6/20

Mar 6, 2020

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include indie-pop, comedy, indie-folk, bluegrass, cabaret … plus a whole lot more.

  The ornamental motif known as arabesque has ancient sources and first appeared in Islamic cultures as a form of sacred writing. It figures in key movements in European art, bridging cultures and materials, arabesque did not settle into a single form or style.


The nineteenth-century flowering of this motif is featured in the Clark Art Institute exhibition “Arabesque,” on view at the Williamstown, Massachusetts museum through March 22.


Anne Leonard, the Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, and curator of the exhibition, takes us on an audio tour and discusses several of the featured works.

Bob Goepfert Previews Proctors/Cap Rep Seasons

Mar 5, 2020
Buyi Zama (Rafiki) - The Lion King
Deen van Meer / ©Disney

It’s difficult to top last season during which the musical “Hamilton” played in your theater for two weeks.  

Matt Haimovitz, Ashley Bathgate, Mike Block, and Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company

J.S. Bach composed his Six Suites for Solo Cello around 1720 and they remain the Everest of the cello repertoire to this day.

There will be a celebration concert on Saturday night at 7:30 at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, New York will which will feature a complete Bach Cello Suite, contemporary works inspired by and composed in tribute to Bach, and the world premiere of a dance in homage to Bach choreographed by the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company.  

Three exceptional cellists, Matt Haimovitz, Mike Block, and Ashley Bathgate, will play a captivating and illuminating variety of solo, duet and trio pieces that underscore the deep influence of J.S. Bach’s Cello Suites on them and how that music fuels their artistry today.

Marc Violette and Margaret Lanoue are President and Vice President of Bach Cello Suites Workshop.

  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: "Seberg"


  • Nellie McKay - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Thursday 3/5, 7 PM; Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Sunday 3/8, 8 PM
  • "The Irish and How They Got That Way" - Capital Repertory Theatre, Albany, opens Friday 3/6 at 8 PM through April 5
  • Peter Asher & Jeremy Clyde - The Egg, Albany, Friday 3/6, 8 PM
  • Caroline Rose, Good Baby - The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany, Friday 3/6, 9 PM
  • Eddie Griffin - Funny Bone Comedy Club, Guilderland, Friday 3/6 at 7:30 & 10 PM; Saturday 3/7 at 7 & 9:45 PM
  • Bach Cello Suites at 300: Then & Now with Matt Haimovitz - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Saturday 3/7, 7:30 PM
  • Chris Pureka - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Saturday 3/7, 8 PM
  • Robert Cray - Turning Stone, Showroom, Verona, Sunday 3/8, 7 PM; Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Tuesday 3/10, 7:30 PM
  • "Key Largo" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Monday 3/9, 7 PM

New movies: "Emma," "Portrait of a Lady on Fire," "Onward"

Gin Blossoms will be performing at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on March 6 at 8 p.m.

In the late 1980’s, Gin Blossoms started to grow a huge following as the #1 local music draw in Phoenix and were the hometown heroes of their favorite hang, Tempe, Arizona. Gin Blossoms indelible jangle-pop sound was evolving during radio’s diverse mix of hair bands and grunge music superstars like Nirvana. After the Phoenix New Times chose them the cities best rock band, they qualified to play at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin Texas in 1989. That same year, College Music Journal dubbed them the “Best Unsigned Band in America” and added an invitation to perform on MTV’s New Music Awards in New York City.

Taking their name from a caption on a W.C. Fields photo, Gin Blossoms signed a record deal with A&M and recorded their first EP “Up And Crumbling” in 1991. But, it was not until their breakout record “New Miserable Experience” in 1992 that their rise to fame began. “New Miserable Experience” kept the band on the charts for almost 3 years with singles “Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road,” “Until I Fall Away,” “Mrs Rita,” and “Found Out About You.” The album took the airwaves by siege and held MTV hostage with multi crossover hits in 4 different radio formats. It was this record that rocketed the band into the mainstream going on to sell over 5 million copies making the band a 90’s radio mainstay.

Gin Blossoms lead singer Robin Wilson joins us.