Be Instrumental in Bringing Music to Schenectady’s Schools

December 17th, 2009, 12:05 pm by Greg

In conjunction with the monthly Art Night Schenectady celebration, the Musical Tools for Schenectady Schools program is hosting a special collection event at Robb Alley at Proctors in Schenectady from 5-9pm Friday (December 18), seeking donations of musical instruments, instrument cases and music stands for use by students in Schenectady’s schools.

New or used instruments of all kinds will be accepted, but there is a particular demand for wind and brass instruments (clarinets, flutes, trumpets, trombones, French horns) and string instruments (violins, violas, cellos and upright basses).

During Friday’s special donation drive, you can hear some of the previously donated instruments being put to use by the Central Park International Magnet School Elementary Band, the Central Park International Magnet School Grade 7–8 Chorus, as well as the Oneida Middle School and Central Park International Magnet School Orchestras and Jazz Bands.

Donations of all new or pre-owned instruments are tax deductible.

If you can’t stop by on Friday with your donations, instruments can also be dropped off at your convenience at Proctors’ box office (432 State St., Schenectady) or Hermie’s Music Store (727 State St., Schenectady).

Or you can make arrangements to have instruments picked up by phoning Steve Weisse at 346-4266.


Gift Guide: Kitty Toys for Kitty Rescue

December 11th, 2009, 12:35 pm by Sara

WhiskersCatIf you feel you absolutely MUST go to a shopping mall this weekend (personally I haven’t stepped foot in a mall in years; something about the light and architecture makes me feel I’ve entered Steppford Wives Land) you’ll want to know that Whiskers Animal Benevolent League has a table at Crossgates Mall in Albany every Saturday and Sunday throughout the holiday season.

You can pick up handmade catnip toys and other pet items, and all sales help support their efforts to find permanent homes for abandoned, abused, and stray animals.

Bid on a Baby Taylor signed by … WOW!

November 4th, 2009, 4:07 pm by Sara

BabyTaylorMichael Eck just sent this along – I would have posted it earlier but I just spent the past 1/2 hour listening to different versions of A Million Miles Away, one of the greatest songs of all time, on Youtube.

On January 15 of this year, the great American songwriter Peter Case underwent emergency open-heart surgery. The operation was successful and Case is well on the mend, but the medical bills – as they are for so many uninsured musicians – are staggering.

In support, a group of Case’s friends joined together to create the Hidden Love Medical Relief Fund, and they have been employing various methods to raise funds for Case’s cause. Among these was a three-night May concert series at McCabe’s in Los Angeles featuring a truly mind-boggling array of talent including Loudon Wainwright III, T Bone Burnett, Van Dyke Parks, Dave Alvin, Stan Ridgway, Bob Neuwirth, Joe Henry, Katie Melua, Geoff Muldaur, Sam Phillips, Carla Olsen, Syd Straw, Leland Sklar, Grant Geissman, Eddie Munoz, Ron Franklin, The Dark Bob, Phranc, George Gerdes and Inara George.

That evening a Taylor Big Baby guitar was brought out of its case and signed by all of the performers. That instrument is now being auctioned on eBay as an additional fundraiser for Peter. It’s a chance to own a piece of history while also honoring the man behind such closet classics as “A Walk in The Woods,” “Old Part of Town,” “Cold Trail Blues” and The Plimsouls’ “A Million Miles Away.”

Case’s songs have also been covered by a litany of performers like Alejandro Escovedo, James McMurtry, Chris Smither, John Prine, Joe Ely, Richard Buckner and Chuck Prophet, all – tellingly – know for being pretty serious songwriters themselves.

Click here to bid (or maybe just gaze in wonderment). Bidding ends Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m. PST. Donations can also be made through

Odds & Ends @ the End of the Week

October 30th, 2009, 4:13 pm by Greg

The fine folks from Art for Animals have organized the art exhibition “The Dog Show: When the Model Barks,” which opens at the Spencertown Academy Arts Center on Sunday (November 1). The exhibit features artwork from more than three dozen established artists, including Sylvia Placey, Laurie Anderson, Richard Serra, Kiki Smith and, of course, William Wegman.

Other works on display at the exhibit were created earlier this year by middle school students from Taconic Hills Central Schools. The models and subjects of their paintings were a quartet of registered therapy dogs: an American pit bull terrier, a basset hound, a French bulldog and a Weimaraner.

The student works will be sold via silent auction during the opening reception for the exhibit from 3-5pm on Sunday (November 1). And yes, the models will be present at the reception, so you might want to bring along a pocketful of dog treats.


Albany Comic Con 4 takes over the Wolf Road Holiday Inn in Colonie from 10am-4pm on Sunday (November 1), stretching out the Halloween holiday for at least one extra day. Of course, the convention will feature lots of dealers of comic books, toys, non-sports cards and various other collectibles, but it will also feature panel discussions, a costume contest and a Magic the Gathering tournament. Among the many comics artists and writer who will be on hand are Paul Abram, Bill Anderson, Dennis Calero, Fred Hembeck, Todd Dezago, Ramona Fradon and John Hebert.

johnnyCashPumpkinNeed some inspiration before you begin carving away at that big orange orb that’s staring at you from your kitchen table? Here are a few Jack-O-Lantern Hall of Fame-worthy efforts by Schenectady’s great Picasso of Pumpkins, Walt Mahoski.

Don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour on Saturday night! An extra hour of Halloween! An extra hour of sleep! An extra hour of … whatever!

grace_slickFeed your head: Today is Grace Slick‘s birthday. She’s 70 years old.

Former Nippertown resident Richard Lainhart is performing live with his Buchla 200e/Haken Continuum system at electro-music 2009. The bad news it’s all taking place in Bloomingdale, New Jersey. The good news is that you can tune into the live electro-music radio stream here.

Award-winning poet George Drew will settle in at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 3pm on Sunday for a reading in celebration of his new book of poetry, “American Cool,” published by Tamarack Editions. The Mississippi-born Drew will be joined by two other Capital Region poets, Nancy White and Barbara Louise Ungar.

Here’s a sample from “American Cool”:


I have spent the afternoon with Elvis,
me sitting in a canvas chair on the porch
of a cabin, him shaking his hips so hard
leaves on the red oak flutter like scarves.

Growing tired of him and his unruly hips
I stroll up the road, but it’s not easy
to escape the Elvis that Elvis has become.
A car goes by, a blur of engine and guitar.

Silence returns and it’s nearly unbearable.
It’s the horrible dead air between a last
note with all the fizz of a flat Coke
and Sam Philips’ showy explosive groan.

The elders lied. Silence is not art deco,
not Beale Street on a sizzling Memphis night.
Silence is monotone, it’s a song unsung.
Silence is an audience that never comes.

Copyright © 2009 by George Drew

Help Berkshire Radio Stay on the Air

October 29th, 2009, 10:24 am by Sara

Paul Rapp just notified me that WBCR-lp is having their annual fund drive this week:

Our goal for the week is $14,000, but we could use a lot more. It costs around $50,000 to keep the station on the air, which isn’t a whole lot considering what we do for the community and the world.

It’s local. We’re your neighbors. We’re in our fifth year of broadcasting, bringing you shows about nutrition, the environment, history, comedy, politics, home building, computers, nutrition, auto repair, meditation, and healing. Shows created and hosted by kids. Spanish language programming, Saturday morning storytelling, live music, live interviews, and information about events in and around Berkshire County.

And a variety of music you simply can’t get anywhere else on earth. You might not like all of it, but if you tune in an hour later, you might hear something beautiful that you’ve never heard before. And that you won’t hear anywhere else for 100 miles around.

It would be great if you could give something tomorrow (Friday)–I’ll be at the station all day and probably will be answering the phone—-And will be on the air on and off, but definitely will be on during my regular slot between 3 and 4 PM.

By phone: 413-644-9797.
Online: (all major credit cards and PayPal accepted)
And you can listen in on the internet at

LIVE: The Exit’s Local 518 Benefit Concert @ WMHT-TV Studios, 10/23/09

October 26th, 2009, 2:02 pm by Greg

Sean Rowe and Sarah Pedinotti

Sean Rowe and Sarah Pedinotti

What a great night of music.

If you ever doubted that Nippertown boasts a local music scene worthy of national buzz, this show certainly would have changed your mind.

Read the rest of this entry »

ArtBeat: Art Saves Animals – Tonight

October 8th, 2009, 10:56 am by Greg

We love art.

We love animals.

And we especially love it when Art Saves Animals – which is the name of the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society’s fifth annual fundraising art auction and benefit, which is being hosted by the Albany Institute of History & Art tonight Thursday, October 8 from 5:30-8:30pm. Guha and Karthik Bala, founders of the high tech gaming company Vicarious Visions, are the honorary chairs of the event.

The event features a cocktail reception, as well as live and silent auctions of more than 150 pieces of original artwork and hand-crafted items.

ElephantPaintingNationally acclaimed for his retro-looking dog and cat art, Ken Bailey is this year’s featured artist, and he has donated a signed, limited edition print of “The Good Life.” The auction will also feature “Golden Retriever,” a signed giclee print on canvas by internationally renowned dog artist Marc Tetro. Vicarious Visions has donated a complete Guitar Hero World Tour game, including one-of-a-kind custom-painted guitar controllers. And if you’re looking for something a little extra special to spice up your living room walls, this evening’s auction will also feature a piece created by Sela, a 26-year-old Indonesian elephant from the Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project.

That’s right – artwork painted by an elephant. We hear she’s pretty good, too.

Tickets are still available and may per purchased online or at the door. The cost is $40.00 per person. And it’s all for a good cause.

Be Here Now: Good Sounds for a Good Cause

May 9th, 2009, 8:22 pm by Greg

The Wildwood School benefit concert at the Parting Glass in Saratoga Springs boasts eight bands in eight hours, so organizers just couldn’t resist naming the bash, WildwoodStock 2009.

The family friendly event – taking place from 1-9pm Sunday, May 17 – will raise funds for the not-for-profit school for students with neurologically based developmental disorders. Doors open at noon, and the day-long festivities will feature performances by Wait Until Dusk (1pm), Cooper Union (2pm), the Mark Frederick Band (3pm), 28N (4pm), Erin Harkes & the Rebound (5pm), Sirsy (6pm), Blackcat Elliot (7pm) and the Blisterz (8pm).

Tickets are $5 in advance; $10 at the door. And kids 12 and under are admitted free of charge.

Jim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCartoonist John CaldwellCaffe LenaThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantHolly & EvanAdvertise on Nippertown!Berkshire On StageArtist Charles Haymes