Archive for the ‘News’ Category

RIP: John Caldwell, 1946-2016

Monday, February 22nd, 2016


By Greg Haymes
Photograph by Sara Ayers

He was a seriously funny guy…

A proud member of the Usual Gang of Idiots at Mad magazine, Ballston Lake cartoonist-illustrator John Caldwell died early Sunday morning (February 21) following a short battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 69 years old.

A Cohoes native who graduated from Hudson Valley Community College and later attended NYC’s Parsons School of Design, Caldwell was a definite outside-the-box thinker when it came to the art world and his cartoons, which appeared everywhere from Playboy to Women’s World; from Rolling Stone to The National Enquirer; and from The New Yorker to The National Lampoon to The Wall Street Journal. His unique take on funny transcended the usual low art vs. high art boundaries.

As a syndicated cartoonist his singular single-panel gems were published in daily newspapers around the country, including The Albany Times Union. He also published a half dozen books, including “Running A Muck: A Bunch of Zany” Cartoons (Writer’s Digest Books, 1978); “Mug Shots: A Splendid Collection of Cartoons” (Fantaco, 1980); “The Book of Ultimates” (McGraw-Hill, 1983); “Caldwell” (Fawcett Columbine, 1988); “Fax This Book: Over 100 Sit-Up-and-Take-Notice Cover Sheets for Better Business” (Workman, 1990).



RIP: Dan Hicks, 1941-2016

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Dan Hicks

Benito Cortez, David Bell, Dan Hicks (right) with Hot Licks Benito Cortez and David Bell @ The Egg, 4/23/10

By Greg Haymes
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

No question about it – Dan Hicks was the walkin’ one and only.

He was a ham on wry kind of guy. A hepcat with a heart of gold. A romantic who was quick with a sarcastic putdown. A folkie with swing on his brain. Back in the 1970s when Hicks was leading the Hot Licks, he was the hippest of the hipsters, whipping off sensational albums like Striking It Rich and Where’s the Money?

Dan Hicks died on Saturday (February 6), following a lengthy battle with liver cancer. He was 74 years old.

Even back in their heyday, Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks were obviously caught up in some kind of time warp. While bands like Foreigner, Foghat and Frampton were clogging up the airwaves in the ’70s, Hicks forged a wickedly witty hybrid of Django Reinhardt’s Gypsy jazz, Jim Kweskin’s jug band jams, Mose Allison’s sardonic jazz, Bob Wills’ western swing and Cab Calloway’s jumpin’ jive.


RIP: Joe Alaskey, 1952-2016

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Emmy Award-winning voice actor and Troy native Joe Alaskey died on Wednesday (February 3) in Green Island. He was 63.

Originally an impressionist, whose impersonation of Jackie Gleason was hailed by Gleason himself, Alaskey found his true career as a voice actor, taking over the roles as the voice of such Looney Toon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety and Sylvester the Cat following the 1989 death of the great Mel Blanc, who originated the voices.

Over the years, Alaskey also provided voices for numerous films (“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” “Forest Gump,” “Casper”) and television shows (“Rugrats,” “Back to the Future,” “Tiny Toon Adventures,” “Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law”) in addition to dozens of video games.

Relatives and friends are invited to call at the Parker Bros. Memorial in Watervliet from 4-7pm today (Monday, February 8). The funeral service will follow the wake at 7pm at the funeral home.

Joe Alaskey’s obituary

CANCELLED: The 2016 Clearwater Great Hudson River Revival

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Clearwater Festival

The Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival – the annual Hudson Valley music festival that American music icon Pete Seeger founded and hosted for decades – has been canceled this year because the environmental conservation group that operates the two-day festival is facing financial trouble.

During a meeting on Wednesday (January 20), the board of directors for the Sloop Clearwater organization based in Beacon decided to cancel the long-running festival which had been scheduled to take place at Croton Point Park in Croton-On-Hudson on Saturday & Sunday, June 18 & 19.

Clearwater Executive Director Peter Gross says that the organization can’t risk money on the festival which earned $31,000 last summer, after posting an average net income of $162,000 over the previous six years. The 2015 Clearwater festival featured an all-star line-up of performers, including the Mavericks, Neko Case, Guster, Ani DiFranco, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Angélique Kidjo, Bettye LaVette, the Felice Brothers, the Lone Bellow and many others.

The festival has been Clearwater’s primary fundraiser since it was started in the 1970s by folksinger, environmental activist and longtime Beacon resident Pete Seeger, who died two years ago at the age of 94.

Facing ‘deep trouble’ financially, Clearwater cancels annual festival by John W. Barry at The Poughkeepsie Journal

RIP: Mark Wilken, 1959-2016

Thursday, January 14th, 2016
(photo: Jeff Mattice)

Mark Wilken (photo: Jeff Mattice)

By Greg Haymes
Photographs by Jeff Mattice, Nicholl Bautochka

Mark Wilken died on Monday afternoon (January 11) following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 57 years old. Wilken’s bass playing was the foundation of numerous Greater Nippertown bands. He was a founding member of ’70s-’80s garage rock greats the A.D.’s and later went on to join the popular Local 518 band, Mambo-X.

After moving to Schoharie Valley with his wife Yvonne Bautochka in 1999, they ran the Hotel Austin, a Central Bridge venue dedicated to hosting live music. And Wilken continued to play in bands, most notably with Crash Course.

But Wilken may ultimately be best known for his generosity in providing dozens of young bands the opportunity to record their music inexpensively (and often for free) at his home studio on Park Avenue in Albany. The music was often released as seven-inch vinyl singles on his own record label, Blue Lunch Records. Wilken often helped out in the studio by playing bass, producing or co-producing, engineering, helping with songwriting and even contributing cover design. A short (and quite incomplete) list of bands on the Blue Lunch roster includes releases by the Dugans, El Extreme, Glasnost, Sleep of Reason, Tilted Edge, Birds of Prey, the Good Sons, Fat Albatross, Mudflapp, Eve Had an Apple, Working Class Stiffs, Push, Frontier Salesman and numerous other bands.


Pamela Tatge Takes Over as Leader of Jacob’s Pillow [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016
Pamela Tatge will lead Jacob’s Pillow into the future.

Pamela Tatge will lead Jacob’s Pillow into the future.

Pamela Tatge will lead Jacob’s Pillow into the future…

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket has announced that esteemed arts leader Pamela Tatge will join the organization as Executive Director in April, succeeding Ella Baff, who served as the leader of Jacob’s Pillow from 1998 to 2015.

Following a record-breaking 2015 season, Jacob’s Pillow, a National Historic Landmark, National Medal of Arts recipient and home to America’s longest running dance festival, launched a national search for its next leader. For the past 16 years, Tatge has served as the Director of the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, overseeing robust programming and acclaimed artistic initiatives for dance, music, theater and the visual arts.

At Jacob’s Pillow, Tatge will set the artistic vision and strategic goals for all aspects of the organization, including festival programming, education, preservation, audience engagement, residency programming and artist support, long-term planning, collaborative programming, fundraising, marketing and more.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

RIP: David Bowie, 1947-2016

Monday, January 11th, 2016
David Bowie, Sound + Vision Tour, SPAC

David Bowie, Sound + Vision Tour, SPAC, Saratoga Springs, 7/7/90 (photo: Martin Benjamin)

Photographs by Martin Benjamin

He was a fiercely creative cultural icon whose influence extended far beyond the realm of popular music to include film, fashion, art and theater. David Bowie died on Sunday (January 10), following a private 18-month battle with cancer. Just two days earlier, he celebrated his 69th birthday with the release of his new album, Blackstar. His new theatrical musical, Lazarus, is also running off-Broadway through Tuesday, January 19.


CANCELLED: Wizards of Winter @ The Egg

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Wizards of Winter – a Trans-Siberian Orchestra-like band downsized from arenas to theaters – were slated to make their Greater Nippertown concert debut at The Egg in Albany at 8pm on Saturday (December 26), but that concert has now been cancelled.

Refunds are available to ticket holders at the place of purchase.

Holly & EvanCaffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!Albany PoetsArtist Charles HaymesBerkshire On StageKeep Albany BoringHudson SoundsLeave Regular Radio BehindThe LindaThistle Hill Weavers