If there were any doubt that the Capital District is solidly on the Funk map, recent events should take care of that. First was last summer’s appearance of Bootsy Collins at Alive at Five. Then came the announcement that the Mother Ship itself would be landing with George Clinton coming to Alive at Five on Thursday, June 27. And as a great prelude, fellow Parliament Funkadelic co-founder Bernie Worrell brought his newest project, the Bernie Worrell Orchestra to Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs last weekend.
Trying to pin down Bernie into a particular musical style is impossible. In my opinion, he is responsible for creating musical styles wherever he plays. His career has morphed from straight rock to jazz to experimental rock – all while maintaining the funk. He has played with what seems to be everybody, including Talking Heads, as well as a few side projects such as Colonel Claypool’s Big Bucket of Bernie Brains with Les Claypool and Buckethead.
So as soon as the show was announced I couldn’t wait…
Robert D. Lohbauer (l) and Jonathan Epstein in “The Jewish Jester: A Fable With Music.”
Review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray
Gail Burns: I didn’t know quite what to expect from “The Jewish Jester: A Fable With Music,” but with Jonathan Epstein in the leading role, how can you go wrong…
Larry Murray: He may be the lowly servant of the king in this play, but he’s also its star. Between Epstein and Robert Lohbauer, his co-star, it’s a pretty dynamic duo on stage, making a great evening entertainment out of a bit of a mushy play. Its advance publicity pointed out that it is a combination of Elizabethan English and Yiddish, but that is only the tip of the Word Play iceberg. It’s also puns, physical comedy and role reversals.
Gail: I was confused as the dialogue is sometimes Elizabethan, sometimes modern, sometimes in verse, sometimes in prose. I wanted to get my hands on a script to clarify playwright Daniel Klein’s rhyme and reason, but that is one of those perks the press can access that the average ticket-buyer can’t. No one should have waste time in the theater trying to figure out what the playwright is up to structurally.
Larry: As to the play itself, it’s like a sweet tsholnt, a Jewish stew that has been simmering for a long time. Some meshuggener (slightly crazy guy) named Daniel Klein put this concoction together. He’s the guy who wrote (with Thomas Cathcart) “Plato and a Platypus Walked into a Bar.” It takes a creative imagination to come up with a nudnik Jewish Jester and condemned King sharing the same jail cell, yet the whole megillah comes together at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge.
Colin Boyd, Arts Center President Chris Marblo and Michael Oatman.
Two Troy artists were the recipients of new, no-strings-attached cash awards that were presented at Wednesday (May 15) night’s gala celebration at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy.
Michael Oatman was honored with the Established Artist Award of $7,500. A faculty member at RPI’s School of Architecture, Oatman is an artist who works primarily in collage (currently on view in the Albany International Airport Gallery’s “Some Assembly required” exhibit) and large-scale installation (including the long-running “All Utopias Fell” at MASS MoCA in North Adams).
Colin Boyd was honored with the Emerging Artist Award of $5,000. A co-founder of Collar Works exhibition space in Troy, Boyd is an artist whose work encompasses sculpture, installations (“Cormorants and the Whale” is on view at the Albany International Airport) and drawing.
The 2013 awards were presented by Arts Center president Chris Marblo and sponsored by EP&M International, with additional funding from Karen & Chet Opalka and the Marcelle Foundation.
Also honored at the gala were David and Katie Haviland for their lifetime commitment to the arts and the Arts Center.
NAME: Richard Barone
BAND AFFILIATION: Solo artist, former frontman of the Bongos
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Snoopy vs. the Red Baron by the Royal Guardsmen
2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Donovan
3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … Silvertone Electric Guitar
4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … “I’m A Believer” by the Monkees
5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … The Snails, first punk band in Tampa, Florida
Singer-songwriter Richard Barone – former frontman for the Bongos and author of “Frontman: Surviving the Rock Star Myth” – has collaborated with everyone from Lou Reed to Pete Seeger, from Tony Visconti to Donovan. Last year, he released the three-disc CD/DVD 25th anniversary edition of his classic debit solo album “Cool Blue Halo.” And at 9pm on Saturday night (May 18), he’ll grace the stage of Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany. Blue Factory opens the show. Tickets are $9 in advance.
BUT WAIT… We’re giving away a pair of FREE tickets to the show. GO HERE to enter to win…
Chuck Miller: Midnight at the Palace Theater @ The Living Room
A Dream in the Dash @ The Living Room, Albany. This exhibit, the grand opening a new exhibition space at the historic St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands, will feature photography and “Dream Windows” by Albany artist Chuck Miller who has framed some of his works in actual windows removed from very old buildings. Opening reception: Friday, May 17, 4:30-6:30pm (Through July 17)
Works by Claire Sherwood and Ali Della Bitta @ Collar Works
Place and Displace @ Collar Works, Troy. Works by Claire Sherwood and Ali Della Bitta that explore domesticity, industrialism, femininity, permanence, ritual and the mundane. Reception: Friday, May 17th from 5 to 9pm. (Through May 24)
The Slide Brothers are Calvin Cooke, Chuck Campbell, Darick Campbell and Aubrey Ghent are the Slide Brothers, carrying on the Sacred Steel tradition. But while rooted deep in the joyous gospel sound, the Slide Brothers’ sizzling pedal steel guitar playing breaks down genres and embraces elements of blues, rock and soul.
Released earlier this year, their debut album, Robert Randolph Presents: The Slide Brothers, features time-honored traditional gospel numbers, including “Motherless Children” and “Wade in the Water,” but also reaches into the unexpected songbags of the Allman Brothers Band, Elmore James, George Harrison and even Fatboy Slim.
But as strong as the Slide Brothers sound on their disc – and they sound mighty hot indeed, thanks in part to producer Robert Randolph, their music roars even louder live in concert. And fortunately for us, the Slide Brothers are about to step onstage at Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs on Friday night (May 17). The show kicks off at 9:30pm with acoustic slide guitarist Danielle Miraglia in the opening act slot. Tickets are $8 in advance; $10 at the door.
BUT WAIT… Have we got a deal for you! We’re giving away a pair of FREE TICKETS to the show to one lucky Nippertown reader! To enter the contest, just post a comment below. Please leave your email address, too. We won’t publish it, but we’ll use it to contact you if you win. The deadline to enter is 12noon on Friday, and the winner will be selected at random and notified on Friday afternoon. Enter today! Good luck! Congratulations to the winner, who has been notified by email.
MUSIC: Device @ the Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park. David Draiman (of Disturbed) leads the band in support of their recently released self-titled debut album. With Nonpoint and Gemini Syndrome. 8pm. $22.
ART RECEPTION/FUNDRAISER: “Drilling for Hope” @ the Spring Street Gallery, Saratoga Springs. The opening reception for Emma Dodge Hanson’s photography exhibition “Faces of Nepal,” with music and food. 4-7pm. $25; $100 sponsor level, with all proceeds going directly to Drilling for Hope, a not-for-profit organization that funds well-building efforts around the world.