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caffe lena

Caffè Lena staff on stage Saturday, March 14, 2020.
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

Today is one of the stranger St. Patrick’s Days in memory, with venues closed and social gatherings banned due to the coronavirus pandemic. In Saratoga Springs, Caffè Lena, while closed to the public, is opening its doors to musicians. 

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.

Over the next few weeks, SPAC will present “The Nutcracker” by Salzburg Marionette Theatre, an Orchestra St. Luke’s concert of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and British vocal ensemble VOCES8.

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

Paula Cole and album artwork for "Revolution"
Cole: Tim Llewellyn; Album: Frank Olinsky

Grammy Award winner Paula Cole will be playing a pair of shows this coming Friday night at Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York. Her tenth album “Revolution” came out last month.

Her 1994 debut, “Harbinger,” was followed up by a double-platinum second album, “This Fire;” her hit singles “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone” and “I Don’t Want To Wait”; her Best New Artist Grammy, an additional six Grammy nominations; and becoming a Grammy-nominated producer and founder of her own 675 record label.

With “Revolution,” Cole tells a story of those sidelined by gender, age, and race and speaks out for those who have been silenced. These songs explore familial and personal wounds and tell important, and sometimes terrible, truths.

Reflecting Pool at Saratoga Spa State Park
photo provided

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center has completely reimagined their Saratoga Wine and Food Festival – happening this coming weekend. The festival will feature a collaboration between renowned regional chefs and international culinary talent including UK farm-to-table chefs.

Adding to the ambiance of the festival will be a sculpture garden presented by The Hyde Collection featuring works by artist John Van Alstine, considered one of America’s most important sculptors, in addition to live music curated by Caffè Lena, and photographic works of art created from compostables by Terri-Lynn Pellegri.

The festival is set around the Spa State Park reflecting pool, slated for October 4-5. We are joined by President & CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center Elizabeth Sobol and Caffè Lena Executive Director Sarah Craig.

Doc Severinsen
Sean Turi

Grammy Award-winning Doc Severinsen has been celebrated as America’s favorite trumpet player for more than half a century. Welcomed into living rooms for nearly three decades as the leader of "The Tonight Show Orchestra," (with host Johnny Carson hailing him as ‘the greatest trumpet player in the world,’) his impeccable musicianship and charismatic presence still dazzles at 92 years old, with the iconic trumpeter performing his signature stylings of big band, pop, jazz, world, and classical standards, universally hailed as one of our national treasures.

He is playing three shows with his band The San Miguel 5 at Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York on August 23, 24, and 25.

Erin McKeown
Joanna Chattman

Musician, writer, producer  - and one of our favorite guests - Erin McKeown will return to the stage at Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York tomorrow night for a LGBTQ Pride Night concert with opener Crystal Rose.

McKeown is a singer-songwriter, composer, and producer. Her albums encompass pop, swing, rock, and folk. In 2018 her first musical, "Miss You Like Hell," opened Off-Broadway at The Public Theater earning 5 Drama Desk Awards, including Best Lyrics, Best Music and Best Orchestration. The Wall Street Journal named it Best Musical of 2018. She is working on a new musical entitled "Terrarium Behavior" and a new singer-songwriter album.

Darlingside (four men arranged in a cool band photo)
Cameron Gee

The quartet, Darlingside, (named for the creative advice attributed to William Faulkner that in writing you must kill your darlings), is playing two sold out shows at Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs tomorrow night and they'll be at The Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York on Friday. 

Don Mitchell, Auyon Mukharji, Harris Paseltiner, and David Senft have been making music together since they were students at Williams College. Their most recent release is a six song EP entitled “Look Up and Fly Away.” All of their recordings are available on More Doug Records.

Harris Paseltiner plays cello and guitar in Darlingside and he joined us to talk about the band and how they write and perform together.

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: Bad Times at the El Royale

Upcoming:

Field of Dreams
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Thursday 10/18, 7 PM

An Evening with Kathy Mattea
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Thursday 10/18, 7:30 PM

2018 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region
Flow: Works by Alumni Artists from Mohawk Hudson Exhibitions 2009-17
University Art Museum, UAlbany, Albany, receptions Friday 10/19, 5-8 PM (through Dec. 8)

Chandler Travis Three-O, Kami Lyle
Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Friday 10/19, 8 PM

Ballet Hispanico
The Egg, Albany, Friday 10/19, 8 PM

Anders Parker and Cloud Barge
The Low Beat, Albany, Friday 10/19, 8 PM

Holly Near CD Release Show (“Holly Near 2018”)
The Eighth Step at Capital Rep, Albany, Saturday 10/20, 7:30 PM

Emo Phillips & Guests
Comedy Works, Saratoga Springs, Saturday 10/20, 7:30 & 9:30 PM

Shareef Keyes & The Groove
MASS MoCA, Club B10, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 10/20, 8 PM

New movies: "Halloween", "The Hate U Give", "The Sisters Brothers", "The Old Man and the Gun", "Free Solo"

This summer the Saratoga Performing Arts Center will present perennial favorites like The Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, the New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Opera Saratoga; and new series like the Out of this World Festival, SPAC @ Caffè Lena, SPAC on Stage, and Freihofer’s Live at the Jazz Bar.

SPAC President Elizabeth Sobol is here to give us an overview of what the next few months have to offer.


  The folk and son mexicano band David Wax Museum is currently on a tour that marks their 1000th show and their 10th anniversary. To mark the occasion, they’ve  released Electric Artifacts, an album of outtakes and rarities.

The duo of David Wax and Suz Slezak will be joined by their full band with a horn section for a show this Sunday at 7 p.m. at Caff​è Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY.

David Wax 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: The Glass Castle, The Little Hours

Upcoming:
Trisha Brown Dance Company - Jacob’s Pillow, Ted Shawn Theatre, Becket, Mass. - Thursday 8/17 at 2 and 8 PM; Friday at 8 PM; Saturday 8/19 at 2 and 8 PM
Monica Bill Barnes & Company: “One Night Only” premiere - PS 21, Chatham, Friday 8/18, 8 PM
Khalif Neville, Victory Soul Orchestra - The Low Beat, Albany, Friday 8/18, 8 PM
Nona Hendryx and Nick Cave - MASS MoCA, Galleries and Hunter Center, Saturday 8/19, 7 and 8 PM
Colin Hay - The Egg, Albany, Saturday 8/19, 8 PM
Jazz in the Key of Dylan: Keith Pray, Chuck Lamb, Lecco Morris, Arch Stanton Quartet - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Saturday 8/19, 8 PM
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: French Virtuosity (Debussy, Ravel, Chausson) - Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs, Sunday 8/20, 3 PM
Goo Goo Dolls - SPAC, Saratoga Springs, Sunday 8/20, 8 PM
Martine Syms: An Evening with Queen White (video/VR installation) - EMPAC Studio 1-Goodman, Monday 8/21 through September 6
Toy Story 3 - Palace Theatre, Albany, Tuesday 8/22, 1 PM, Free

New movies: The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Step, Logan Lucky, Wind River

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 Dark Tower, Atomic Blonde

Upcoming:

Godspell 2012 - Theater Barn, New Lebanon, opens 8/10 (Thursday) at 8 PM, through August 20.

The Philadelphia Orchestra American Classics - SPAC, Saratoga Springs - 8/10 (Thursday), 8 PM, All-Gershwin program featuring Marcus Roberts Trio; 8/11 (Friday), 8 PM, Ives, Metheny & Mays, Dvorak program featuring Christopher Deviney (vibraphone) & She-e Wu (marimba)

Spamalot - Mac-Haydn Theatre, Chatham, opens 8/10 (Thursday) at 2 and 8 PM, through August 20.

Suzanne Vega, the DuPont Brothers - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, 8/11 (Friday), 9 PM

Capitolfest (Vintage Film Festival) highlighting films starring Fay Wray - Capitol Theatre, Rome, 8/11 (Friday) through 8/13 (Sunday)

Tracy Morgan - Funny Bone Comedy Club at Crossgates Mall, Guilderland, 8/12 (Saturday), 7 and 10 PM

The Stick Men featuring Tony Levin - Van Dyck Lounge, Schenectady, 8/12 (Saturday), 6:30 & 8:30 PM

Banjo Revelry VI - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, 8/12 (Saturday), 8 PM

Buddy Guy - The Egg, Albany 8/15 (Tuesday), 7:30 PM

Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet - EMPAC Theater, Troy, 8/16 (Wednesday), 8 PM

New movies: The Glass Castle, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, The Midwife, City of Ghosts, The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, Annabelle: Creation

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Saratoga Performing Arts Center and stalwart city venue Caffe Lena have announced a new programming partnership.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Caffe Lena has gotten a facelift. The landmark music venue in downtown Saratoga Springs reopens tonight after an extensive renovation.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The entrance to Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs has just as much character as the club itself. It’s easy to walk by the door on Phila Street. Go up the creaky wooden steps, and you’re in the same room where Bob Dylan and Sawyer Fredericks both cut their teeth.

Caffe Lena logo
Caffe Lena website

WAMC's David Guistina talks with Judy Patrick of the Daily Gazette about Bob Freeman speaking at Schenectady County Community College and renovations at a historic cafe in Saratoga Springs.

  Located in Saratoga Springs, New York, Caffè Lena is the oldest continually running coffee house in the United States.

Tomorrow my band, The Berkshire Ramblers, will play a Halloween Hootenanny at Caffé Lena with all proceeds donated TO the café. Championing folk songs of the "old style," The Berkshire Ramblers always donate their performances to help causes and places dear to our hearts.

Here to talk a little bit more about tomorrow’s performance and everything else going on at Caffé Lena, we welcome Director of Caffé Lena, Sarah Craig – and Lena board member and Berkshire Rambler multi-instrumentalist, Michael Eck.

Merri Cyr

    Erin McKeown is a Musician, Writer, and Producer based in Western Massachusetts.With 9 full length albums, 2 EPs, and numerous soundtracks to her credit, she’s a local, national, and international artist and activist and she joins us to talk about her Summer, songwriting, and music distribution. 

    Ellis Paul is one of the leading voices in American songwriting and one of the top songwriters to emerge out of the fertile Boston folk scene. He helped create a movement that revitalized the national acoustic circuit with an urban, literate, folk rock style that helped renew interest in the genre in the 90's.

He is also writes folk music for kids and families and will be playing a free Little Folks Concert tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Caffé Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY. (He’s playing a show there tonight, too. It’s sold out. )

Joe Alper

    We are joined by two dear friends of our program – who happen to direct organizations in Saratoga Springs AND whose organizations happen to be collaborating this season.

Ian Berry is the Dayton Director at the Tang Museum at Skidmore College and Sarah Craig is the Director and is in charge of booking at Caffé Lena. Ian will tell us about TRANSFORMer – a collaborative, community-specific sculptural installation currently on display at The Tang. He and Sarah will tell us about the exhibition, Caffé Lena: Inside America's Legendary Folk Music Coffeehouse.

    Blending country, folk and pop styles, Lucy Kaplansky makes every song sound fresh, whether singing her own sweet originals, covering country classics by June Carter Cash and Gram Parsons, or singing pop favorites by Lennon/McCartney and Nick Lowe.

She is performing at Caffé Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY on Saturday, July 20th.

David Greenberger has just released his latest CD, So Tough, recorded with his new band, A Strong Dog (Kevin Maul, Mitch Throop, and Matthew Loiacono). For decades, David has collected stories from elderly people. Rather than portraying them as repositories of wisdom and memory, Greenberger illuminates their full and present humanity. David's monologues are entwined with live music in a show that is emotionally rich, charming, funny and evocative.

The works all draw from David's conversations with the elderly in nursing homes, senior centers and mealsites. Some reflect memory loss or other aspects of cognitive decline, while others simply mirror the process of two people coming to know one another through conversation and listening.

David Greenberger and A Strong Dog will perform at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY on May 31st at 8pm.