Archive for the ‘Books/Readings’ Category

Happy Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

30 years old and more relevant today than ever…


RIP: Leonard Cohen, 1934-2016

Friday, November 11th, 2016

By Greg Haymes

In the middle of her concert at The Egg’s Swyer Theatre last night, one of her adoring fans informed Amanda Palmer (and the rest of the sold-out crowd) that Leonard Cohen had died. Palmer collapsed on the stage, weeping.

“I loved him,” she eventually explained. “He remains the most inspirational performer I’ve ever seen because he’s so humble.”

And at the end of her three-hour-plus, soul-baring performance, Palmer sat quietly at the grand piano gathering herself together. “Some songs get covered a lot because they’re just that good. And that’s OK…,” she half-whispered, before finally easing tentatively into a elegiac, broken-hearted, tear-stained rendition of “Hallelujah,” a song that I had previously thought I never needed to hear again.

I was wrong. I needed to hear it last night…

I only saw Leonard Cohen perform once, and to be quite honest, I don’t remember much about his music. I was a young man at my first big music fest, the Mariposa Folk Festival at Innis Lake, a big open field some 30 miles north of Toronto. The release of his debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, was still months away.

What I do vividly remember, however, is strolling from one workshop to another in the mid-day sun and stumbling across a small, impromptu gathering. I joined them, sitting cross-legged in a circle of maybe 20 people, listening to Cohen’s painfully intimate voice as he read from his novel, “Beautiful Losers,” for an hour or so.

“Do not be a magician,” he read. “Be magic!”

Troy Music Hall Announces Eight New Concerts

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall has announced a big batch of eight new concerts for its 2017 season of shows.

Tickets for the new shows are currently available exclusively to members of the Hall and will go on sale to the general public at 10am on Friday (October 21).

Here’s the round-up of new concerts for the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall:


Congrats to Bob Dylan

Thursday, October 13th, 2016
Bob Dylan outside the Wellington Hotel, Albany, NY, 3am, 4/29/1980

Photograph by Martin Benjamin

Congratulations to Bob Dylan, the 2016 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

LIVE: “Signals: Songs of Raymond Carver” @ Albany Public Library, 8/24/16

Thursday, October 6th, 2016
Michael Eck and Paul Grondahl

Michael Eck and Paul Grondahl @ Albany Public Library’s Local History Room

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Ed Conway

Music meets books…
Songs meet stories…
Poems meet performance…

The Albany Public Library’s Reading Music series gives Greater Nippertown musicians the opportunity to dig in and create music inspired by works of literature.

Singer-songwriter Michael Eck has taken on that challenge before, teaming up with Matt Durfee two years ago to present songs based on John Steinbeck’s classic novel, “East of Eden.”

But with “Signals: Songs from Raymond Carver,” Eck took it one step further. Armed only with an ever-shifting array of guitars, Eck performed a dozen new songs – an entire album’s worth – expertly crafted from the short stories and poems of one of the greatest American writers of the ’80s.

Helping to illuminate Carver’s work and his place in American literature, journalist-author Paul Grondahl teamed up with Eck to offer insightful biographical background on Carver, as well as readings of some of his works, most notably the spare but creepy short story, “Neighbors.”


FREE: NYS Writers Institute’s Visiting Writers Series Kicks Off on Thursday

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

The fall lineup for the NYS Writers Institute’s visiting writers series is out, and its chockfull of award winning novelists, poets, journalists, screenwriters, choreographers and more…

Admission is free for all events, except where noted.

Here’s the fall 2016 schedule:

September 15, 7:30pm: Joyce Carol Oates @ UAlbany Performing Arts Center’s Main Theater, Albany. She’s written more that 160 books, and now the award-winning novelist, essayist, poet, playwright engages in a conversation about “The Creative Life.”


Michael Eck Does Raymond Carver

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
Michael Eck

Michael Eck

Photograph by Tom Lindsay

Singer-songwriter Michael Eck is taking his “maximum solo acoustic” approach to the minimalist fiction of Raymond Carver for a one-time-only performance at the Albany Public Library. He’ll be joined by author and Times Union writer Paul Grondahl for the performance of “Signals: Songs from Raymond Carver” at 7pm on Wednesday (August 24).

The tribute to Raymond Carver in song is the latest installment of the library’s Reading Music series, which features Local 518 musicians composing and performing music inspired by works of literature.


FREE: New York State Summer Writers Institute @ Skidmore College

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

The annual month-long New York State Summer Writers Institute returns to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs for another jam-packed July full of free readings by some of today’s finest novelists, memoirists, poets, short story writers and more.

All of the readings are free and open to the public, and held at 8pm in Skidmore’s Davis Auditorium in Palamountain Hall.

Receptions will be held immediately following the readings in The Spa, in the basement of Skidmore’s Case Center.

Here’s the complete schedule of readings for the 2016 season:


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