4/14/11: Today’s Tips: Thursday

COMEDY: The Second City @ the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy. Chicago’s legendary sketch and improv theater performance troupe shreds current events with their latest show, “Fair & Unbalanced.” With special guest Benita Zahn of WNYT-TV. A portion of every ticket sold will go to Building on Love, an organization dedicated to supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities. 7:30pm. $20, $27, $32; students $10.

MUSIC: Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds @ Jillian’s, Albany. 9pm. A heapin’ helpin’ of New Orleans-styled, horn-fueled funk and blues. $5.

DANCE/MUSIC: Mark Tayac & the Piscataway Indian Nation Singers & Dancers @ Hudson Valley Community College’s Maureen Stapleton Theater, Troy. A living history program of authentic American Indian dance, drum and song. 12noon. FREE.

MUSIC: Kevin Warren & Friends @ the Crandall Library, Glens Falls. Warren plays his original acoustic-bluegrass tunes on mandolin, joined by guitarist Adam Brockway, bassist David Wright and vocalist Chelsie Henderson. 7pm. FREE.

TALK: James Howard Kunstler @ the Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy. One of the world’s loudest critics of suburban sprawl and the impending fossil fuel shortage will talk about the need to make new arrangements for daily life in the years ahead – in particular, how we inhabit the landscape. 7pm. $10 suggested donation; students and low income $5.

MUSIC/FUNDRAISER: Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys @ the Academy of the Holy Names Art Center, Albany. All the proceeds of the evening will go directly to the Father Young Foundation to help fund his programs of housing, industries and treatment. 7pm. $20.

MUSIC: The Al Haugen Trio @ the Stockade Inn, Schenectady. Jazz accordion. 7pm. FREE.

FILM: “A Small Act” @ MASS MoCA’s Club B-10, North Adams. When a Swedish woman named Hilde Back sponsored a rural Kenyan student in the 1970s, she never expected to hear from him. Now a Harvard graduate and a Human Rights Lawyer for the United Nations, Chris Mburu decides to find the stranger that changed his life and, inspired by her generosity, starts a scholarship program of his own and names it for his former benefactor. As Back’s own history as a Holocaust survivor is revealed, and Mburu grapples with the inherent limitations of sponsorship philanthropy, “A Small Act” becomes a graceful and potent meditation on the ripple effect a single action can create. 7:30pm. $8; students $5.

MUSIC: O.W.L. @ Red Square, Albany. A fusion of rock & roll with elements of jam-band flavors and blues dirtiness, featuring vocalists Christina Clifford and Anna Clifford, vocalist-guitarist Christopher Cagnina, bassist Rob Daley, drummer Tim Frank and guitarist William Beal. With Sound Economy and Gypsy Scholars. 8:30pm.

READING: Susan Choi @ Biotech Auditoruim at RPI’s Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building, Troy. The prize-winning fiction writer is the author most recently of “A Person of Interest” (2008), a thriller about a mild-mannered Asian American math professor falsely accused of killing prominent scientists with mail bombs. In a review, The L. A. Times said: “With nuance, psychological acuity, and pitch-perfect writing, [Choi] tells the large-canvas story of paranoia in the age of terror and the smaller story of the cost of failed dreams….” Choi was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for “American Woman” (2003), a novel based on the 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst. Choi’s first novel was “The Foreign Student” (1999), winner of the Asian-American Literary Award. 8pm. FREE.

FILM: “Poetry” @ Time + Space Limited, Hudson. On a whim, 60-year-old Mija enrolls in a poetry class at the local cultural center and begins a personal quest to find the perfect words to describe her feelings. Plagued by the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and struggling with new vocabulary and the challenges of the creative process, she finds her world turned upside down by the discovery of a monstrous crime. It is Mija’s unique and touching poetry that allows her to defy the weight of shame and distance herself from a painful proximity to violence. A film by Lee Chang-dong. South Korea. 139 mins. 7:30pm. $7; students $5. (Through Sunday, May 1.)

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