5/31/15: Today’s Top Tips: Sunday

May 31st, 2015, 1:42 pm by Greg

MUSIC: Lady Antebellum @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs. Yes, it’s opening day for SPAC. Let the summer concert season begin… With Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt. 7pm.

MAGIC: “Obscura” @ the Bridge Street Theatre, Catskill. An intimate evening of close-up magic, fairy tales, dark fables and strange happenings. 2pm. $15; $10 students.

FILM/MUSIC/FUNDRAISER: Sunday With Sinatra @ Arthur’s Market, Schenectady. Emcee and singer Joe Sinatra hosts a benefit concert for Arthur’s Market featuring a delicious buffet dinner and a screening of the 1999 Rat Pack film, “One of a Kind.” 3pm. $20 minimum donation.

THEATER: “Pippin” @ Proctors, Schenectady. Last chance! With a sparkling score by Tony nominee Stephen Schwartz (“Godspell,” “Wicked”), the classic musical tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence. Will he choose a happy but simple life? Or will he risk everything for a singular flash of glory? This captivating new production is directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus and stars Adrienne Barbeau, Sam Lips, John Rubinstein, Sasha Allen and others. 2pm. $20-$80. GO HERE to read review…

MUSIC: Matt “MV” Valentine @ the Low Beat, Albany. An Albany Sonic Arts Cellective presentation. With Wovoka and Fossils From the Sun. 8pm.

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5/30/15: Today’s Top Tips: Saturday

May 30th, 2015, 7:47 am by Greg

MUSIC: Eastbound Jesus @ Putnam Den, Saratoga Springs. CD release party for their new album, Hollerin’. With Lucid. 9pm. $15; $20 if under age 21.

MUSIC: Capowski @ Pauly’s Hotel, Albany. Robert Capowski leads the CD release party for Wild Animals with Jeff Sohn, Jamie Hurst and Jimmy Eppard. 9pm. $5. GO HERE for more info…

MUSIC: Nixon’s Spirit @ the Low Beat, Albany. EP release party for The Most Expensive Ride Into Hell. With Society High, Evan C and Lame. 9pm.

EVENT: Troy Bike Rescue’s Bikefest @ Freedom Square, Troy. Celebrate Bike Month and support your local volunteer-run bicycle resource center with a day of music, prizes, burritos, beer, and — of course — bikes! Featuring a biking tour (3pm), the music of Troy Samba (5pm), cash bar and burrito buffet (5:30pm) and a live cake auction (7pm). $20.

MUSIC: Patrick Porter @ the Albany Center Gallery, Albany. The artist-singer-songwriter performs new songs from his “secret church sessions,” as well as old songs in conjunction with the current exhibition of self-taught artists, “Edge.” 6:30pm. $5.

MUSIC: Jim Weider’s Project Percolator @ the Falcon, Marlboro. With Holly & Evan. 7pm. Donations encouraged.

MUSIC: Trio Los Pajaros @ the Valatie Community Theatre, Valatie. Mariachi, a form of folk music in Mexico, has evolved from humble beginnings, but continues to shape and influence Mexican culture. The band features three generations of the Ortega family, who are working to keep the mariachi tradition alive and well in the U.S. 8pm. $10.

MUSIC: Jimmy V’s Billion Dollar Bash @ Levon Helm’s Barn, Woodstock. Guitarist Jimmy Vivino leads the band, which also features Rich Pagano, Tony Garnier and Ed Alstrom. 8pm. $45 & $65.

COMEDY: Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show @ Proctors’ Underground, Schenectady. Featuring Brooke Van Poppelen. 8pm. $15. GO HERE for more info…

THEATER: “Pippin” @ Proctors, Schenectady. With a sparkling score by Tony nominee Stephen Schwartz (“Godspell,” “Wicked”), the classic musical tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence. Will he choose a happy but simple life? Or will he risk everything for a singular flash of glory? This captivating new production is directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus and stars Adrienne Barbeau, Sam Lips, John Rubinstein, Sasha Allen and others. 2 & 8pm. $20-$80. Through Sunday. GO HERE to read review…

MUSIC: The Tee Mox @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs. Pete Pashoukos has left the Tequila Mockingbirds, and George Fletcher is carrying on with the project under a new name: The Tee Mox, featuring Fletcher and Steve Mulvaney. 8pm. $18.

MAGIC: “Obscura” @ the Bridge Street Theatre, Catskill. An intimate evening of close-up magic, fairy tales, dark fables and strange happenings. 3 & 7:30pm. $15; $10 students.

MUSIC: Uday Bhawalkar @ the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy. He’s a standard bearer for Dhrupad, an evolving North Indian classical music tradition. 8pm. $10.

FESTIVAL/MUSIC: LakeGeorge.com Elvis Festival @ the Lake George Forum and various other locations, Lake George. It’s the 10th annual fest for the King at Vacantionland, USA… GO HERE for more info and complete schedule…

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It’s the Weekend!

May 29th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg

The heat wave is over, but now I'm addicted to ice cubes.

Kudos to you for making it through another work week, so now it’s time to get out there and soak up some fun. But before we head out for the big weekend, we’d like to send a great big thank-you to everyone who dropped by this week to add encouragement, support, proof-reading and, yes, criticism, too. And thanks for helping to spread the word about Nippertown.com.

Of course, we couldn’t possibly cover the wide, wonderful scope of art and entertainment offerings around Nippertown without a dedicated bunch of wonderful writers, photographers, artists, tipsters and other assorted enablers who continually enrich us all with their contributions. So a big salute goes out to this week’s community contributors:

Don Wilcock
Mary Kozlowski
Andrzej Pilarczyk
Fred Rudofsky
Timothy Raab
Timothy Reidy
Rudy Lu
J Hunter
Joel Patterson
Gail M. Burns
Larry Murray

Please consider adding your name to this list. Just send us something – a review, preview, interview, photo, list, rant, crayon drawing or whatever’s on your mind. Remember, Nippertown is your hometown, and we can’t possibly do this without your help.

Thanks to the fine folks who provided us with cool give-away merch – tickets, CDs, downloads and other swag – for the faithful Nippertown readers:

Proctors, Schenectady

And thanks to all of the folks from the area venues and organizations who were gracious enough to provide us with review tickets and/or photo passes for their events:

The Eighth Step, Schenectady
The Egg, Albany
Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs
WAMC-FM’s The Linda, Albany
Proctors, Schenectady
The Palace Theatre, Albany
The Van Dyck, Schenectady
Albany Office of Special Events, Albany
Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield
Bard College’s Fisher Center, Annandale-On-Hudson
The Half Moon, Hudson

Thanks for keeping Nippertown alive… and lively,

Sara Ayers
Greg Haymes

LIVE: Cécile McLorin Salvant & Aaron Diehl Trio @ Bard College’s Fisher Center, 5/8/15

May 29th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg
Cecile McLorin Salvant and Aaron Diehl

Cecile McLorin Salvant and Aaron Diehl

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

Billie Holiday’s 100th birthday was last month, so there are many tributes and celebrations of the occasion throughout the jazz world. One of the best of these was at the beautiful Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, sponsored by Catskill Jazz Factory.

Cécile McLorin Salvant is a jazz singer whose lineage can clearly be traced back to the old masters – Lady Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan – yet she is not merely an imitator; she is further developing their form. At the young age of 25, she certainly has her own style. She not only digs into the emotion of what she sings with her voice, but also uses her expressive face and hand gestures to get to the very heart of the music.

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LIVE: Willie Nile @ The Linda, 5/16/15

May 29th, 2015, 2:00 pm by Greg

Review by Fred Rudofsky

His songs have a deep sense of history and fervent hope for the future, but something else also is for certain: Willie Nile inhabits the world of live performance like no other. He’s dialed into the now, as his welcome return to The Linda showed on a recent Saturday night.

Old fans, some from as far away as Toronto, and the newly converted got the full depth of Nile’s canon of work, which dates back some 30-plus years. Joined his talented band of brothers – bassist Johnny Pisano, drummer Alex Alexander and guitarist Matt Hogan – Nile brought energy and passion, as well as candid stories and about many of the songs, throughout a two-hour set.

“Hear You Breathe,” from his 2010 masterwork The Innocent Ones, blended romance and a propulsive rhythm, a fine showcase for Nile and Pisano’s harmonies. The Penny Lane-like images of “Live on Bleecker Street,” punctuated by Nile’s left leg kicks, kept the mood uptempo. “You make me feel like I’m at home!” shouted Nile to the appreciative audience before dedicating an anthemic “Innocent Ones” to the people of earthquake-stricken Nepal. “Heaven Help the Lonely” from 1991’s Places I’ve Never Been got a good number in the crowd up and dancing, with Hogan channeling a blend of Richard Lloyd and The Edge in a series of chiming, melodic solos on his black Telecaster. Setting aside his Stratocaster for a weathered acoustic, Nile sent out his delicate ode to love, “She’s Got My Heart,” to his three granddaughters.

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LIVE: Albany Tulip Festival @ Washington Park, 5/10/15 (Day Two)

May 29th, 2015, 1:00 pm by Greg
Oh Honey

Oh Honey

Photographs by Timothy Reidy

After perfect mid-summer weather for Saturday’s Tulip Fest festivities… well, really, what’s Tulip Festival without a little rain? And we got some on Sunday, but fortunately, it held off til near the end of fest, and most of the bands escaped from Washington Park without getting soaked.

The folk-popsters Oh Honey – featuring singer-guitarist Mitchy Collins and singer-Clifton Park native Danielle Bouchard – were the headliners on the Parade Grounds stage, which also featured Local 518 pop-rock faves Sirsy and an all-star ensemble headed by rockabilly kingpins Johnny Rabb and the Lustre Kings’ Mark Gamsjager paying an 80th birthday salute to Elvis Presley.

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FEST: The Battenkill Runs Through It Festival on Saturday

May 29th, 2015, 12:00 pm by Greg

The Battenkill Runs Through It – the fifth annual beach, music and food festival sponsored by the Battenkill Conservancy – is slated for Saturday (May 30) at the Greenwich Town Beach in Greenwich.

As always, the day-long fest features an array of family activities related to the River Watch Discovery Program such as the popular “bug table,” canoe and kayak rides, fly fishing demonstrations and water & beach contests.

The Battenkill Picnic Plate – which is included with the price of a ticket – offers a heaping selection of foods from local restaurants and food purveyors.

And of course, there promises to be plenty of great Local 518 music all throughout the fest, including Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius & Heard, Peter Maine & the Graveyard Poets, Cradle Switch, Bob Warren, multi-instrumentalist George Wilson and the Adirondack Fiddlers. Area musicians are also invited to bring along their instruments and join the impromptu jam sessions that will take place throughout the day, culminating with a community square dance in the late afternoon.

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REVIEW: “Butler” @ Barrington Stage Opens Season with Laughs, History, Great Acting [Berkshire on Stage]

May 29th, 2015, 11:00 am by Sara
Maurice Jones (l) and David Schramm (r) in Butler.

Maurice Jones (l) and David Schramm (r) in “Butler” (photo by Kevin Sprague)

Theater Review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: When Julianne Boyd announced the opening play of Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company season would be about the Civil War and the long forgotten Major General Benjamin Franklin Butler (1818-1893), and that it was a Civil War comedy, it seemed an odd choice. And having just seen Butler, it seems an unlikely blend of biography, political drama and comedy that takes us back a century and a half, and delivers quite a theatrical wallop. But I am not sure how to classify this play, do you, Gail?

Gail M. Burns: Playwright Richard Strand tells the story in a broad sit-com style, and director Joseph Discher has wisely chosen a talented and recognizable American sit-com star David Schramm to play the lead. Schramm is so much more than Roy Biggins, the odious greasy owner of a tiny airline who he played on Wings (1990-1997); he is a Juilliard graduate and has been acting non-stop since he was a teenager. But when we see him, we are primed for laughs, which he and the rest of the cast deliver in spades.

Larry: Strand could not have had an easy time imagining the conversation between the newly minted General Butler – he has been in the military just four weeks on May 23, 1861, the day the play takes place – his adjutant Lieutenant Kelly (Ben Cole) and the runaway slave Shepard Mallory (Maurice Jones). The plot revolves around the question of what you do with a slave seeking sanctuary when the law says you are required to return him to his owner. But as the play unfolds we learn it’s all so much more complicated than this since this is no ordinary slave. The supposedly illiterate and uneducated Shepard Mallory is anything but. Butler is at its most intense in the encounters between the General and the aggressive slave who will not take “no” for an answer. Their verbal volleys lead the lawyerly officer to conjure up a rationale for the Union to accept and conscript slaves as contraband from the war, and in so doing, it deprived the South of thousands of slaves whom they had been using in their own conduct of the war. As the war progressed, the South found their former slaves now part of the Army determined to beat them down. Sometimes at this historic distance from the conflict, we forget how breathtaking those years were. So much gets lost in the mists of time.

Gail: Mallory is the character who Strand undoubtedly had to invent from whole-cloth since he and the two slaves who arrived at Fort Monroe with him, were property, not people. I cannot find a record of their names. So Strand had free rein to make this man who he needed him to be for the purposes of the play.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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