50 Theater Artists + 24 Hours = Five New Plays @ UAlbany PAC [Berkshire on Stage]

March 31st, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara
Theatre Project in 2012: Alexia Trainor, Tony Pallone, and Erin Ouellette. Photo by Enrico Spada

Theatre Project in 2012: Alexia Trainor, Tony Pallone and Erin Ouellette. Photo by Enrico Spada

The UAlbany Performing Arts Center is hosting the 24 Hour Theatre Project at 7:30pm on Saturday (April 2). Presented in collaboration with WAM Theatre and in conjunction with the NYS Writers Institute, the event boasts the best in theater talent from across Greater Nippertown. Given just 24 hours to write, rehearse and perform five new plays, the project combines the spontaneous creativity of improvisational theatre with the rigorous professionalism and production value of scripted theater.

After a two-year hiatus, this fast-paced, adrenaline-packed event is back. Sponsored for three years by WAM Theatre and MopCo, the event has taken place previously at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy (2011), Shakespeare and Company’s Bernstein Theatre in Lenox (2012) and the John Sayles School of Fine Arts in Schenectady (2013). The UAlbany Performing Arts Center is this year’s host and will welcome all 50 participants on Friday (April 1) to kick off the event. Playwrights will spend the overnight hours creating new work which will be delivered to directors, actors and designers at 8am on Saturday morning leaving them less than 12 hours to rehearse before the 7:30pm curtain.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.


Celebrating the Work of Zora Neale Hurston [Berkshire on Stage]

January 26th, 2016, 2:00 pm by Sara

Zora Neale Hurston fascinates us for many reasons, not the least of which is that she is claimed as part of LGBTQ history. As was common in that era, this basic identity was masked and hidden, and both scholars and journalists are hesitant to make the claim outright for lack of specific attribution. Nevertheless, one only needs to read her work, her hilarious portrait of men and unsparing depiction of the foibles of life as a minority to sense that this was no ordinary daughter of a Baptist minister, but an authentic and rebellious voice that rarely held back. Still it seems the one inhibition she could not overcome was revealing her own basic identity. To me, it is and has always been there, between the lines, for those who know how to parse the truth from literary obfuscation. – Larry Murray

The UAlbany Performing Arts Center and the NYS Writers Institute are pleased to present Eyes on Zora: The Life and Legacy of Zora Neale Hurston, a series of events focusing on the life and work of one of the most important and celebrated figures to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance. Outspoken, spirited and gifted, Hurston (1891-1960) was an anthropologist but is more identified and well-known as a prolific writer, her books defining the black American experience. Famous for her vivacious and unapologetic personality, Hurston wrote works of fiction and folklore which drove forward both the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights movement.

Ushering in February’s Black History Month, public events take place beginning on Friday (January 29) in various locations both on and beyond the University at Albany campus. The schedule includes:

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Three Glorious Nights in February: WAM Takes Its Hit Show “Emilie” on Tour [Berkshire on Stage]

February 10th, 2015, 2:00 pm by Sara
There’s more to an enhanced “reading” than you might imagine.

There’s more to an enhanced “reading” than you might imagine.

By Gail M. Burns

WAM Theatre has been invited to present an enhanced staged reading of their critically acclaimed 2013 production of Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight by Lauren Gunderson at three different locations in Berkshire County and the Capital Region, beginning at 7:30pm tonight (Tuesday, February 10) at Williams College’s Adams Memorial Theatre in Williamstown.

Directed by WAM Theatre Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven, much of the acclaimed original cast returns. Kim Stauffer reprises the title role as Emilie and is joined by returning cast members Suzanne Ankrum, Brendan Cataldo and Joan Coombs as Soubrette, Gentleman and Madam, respectively, along with new cast member Timothy Carter (national tour of The Lion King, Adirondack Theatre Festival’s The Whale) as Voltaire.

This enhanced staged reading will feature some audio and visual elements from the original production, of which Berkshire On Stage and Screen said, “WAM’s brilliantly staged production of ‘Emilie’… is totally entertaining.” The Berkshire Eagle deemed the 2013 production “…highly imaginative…highly theatrical…” and Berkshire Fine Arts stated it was “an absorbing evening of theatre for a sold out audience.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Real Good for FREE: NYS Writers Institute’s Visiting Writers Series

January 28th, 2015, 12:00 pm by Greg
Katha Pollitt, Peter Carey and Tina Packer

Katha Pollitt, Peter Carey and Tina Packer

The the winter/spring 2015 Visiting Writers Series sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute kicks off on Thursday (January 29) with a reading by The Nation columnist Katha Pollitt.

All of the events are FREE except for the American Place Theatre production of “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.”

Books are available in advance of events and at the events, from the following bookstores:
the University Bookstore at UAlbany and the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza.

Here’s the upcoming schedule of Visiting Writers Series events:

Thursday (January 29)
Seminar: 4:15pm @ UAlbany Campus Center Room 375
Reading: 8pm @ UAlbany Campus Center Room 375
The essayist, critic and poet is an influential voice of American feminism and long-time columnist for The Nation, as well as the author of a much-talked-about new book, “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights.” Pollitt received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Book Awards in 2010, and is a two-time winner of the National Magazine Award for commentary. Her books of poetry include “The Mind-Body Problem” (2010) and “Antarctic Traveller” (1983), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Tuesday, February 3
Seminar: 4:15pm @ UAlbany Campus Center Room 375
Reading: 8pm @ UAlbany Lecture Center 20
The Australian novelist is one of only three writers to have received the Man Booker Prize twice – for “Oscar and Lucinda” (1988) and “True History of the Kelly Gang” (2000). His new novel is “Amnesia,” a cyber-terrorism political thriller set in a counter-historical Australia that has endured American interference in its governmental affairs.

Friday, February 6
Film screening and discussion with director Jason Osder: 7pm @ UAlbany’s Page Hall
The award-winning documentary examines the history of the escalating conflict between the City of Philadelphia and the Black Liberation organization, MOVE, in the mid-1980s.
Osder teaches documentary filmmaking at the George Washington University and is also the co-author of the filmmaking guide, “Final Cut Pro Workflows: The Independent Studio Handbook.”

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Real Good for FREE: The New Music & Cultural Symposium @ UAlbany

January 27th, 2015, 12:00 pm by Greg
Marianne Gythfeldt and Ray Furuta

Marianne Gythfeldt and Ray Furuta

The UAlbany Performing Arts Center will host the New Music and Culture Symposium from Thursday-Saturday (January 29-31). Organized by Max Lifchitz – composer, musician and long-time UAlbany faculty member – this SUNY-wide conference will celebrate and highlight the artistic accomplishments of SUNY-affiliated composers and musicians with a weekend of nine public concerts, four lecture/recitals, two panel discussions and a master class. All of the festival’s events are free and open to the public.

A total of 29 composers representing eight different SUNY schools from around New York State will showcase their works during the three-day event.

Highlights include performances by the Buffalo Ensemble, the Stony Brook Contemporary Players and the New York City based North/South Consonance Ensemble. Among the distinguished soloists slated to perform are soprano Martha Herr (an American singer residing in Brazil), baritone Joseph Han, Canadian violinist and Stony Brook grad Claudia Schaer, oboist Karen Hosmer, trumpeter Allyson Keyser, French horn player Ann Ellsworth, percussion virtuoso Tom Kolor and guitarists James Budinich and Zane Merritt.

And in addition to several premieres and recent works employing new technologies, the festival will also showcase new electronic instruments such as the Soundplane (performed by William Pfaff) and the Theremin Cello (performed by Jonathan Golove).

Here’s the schedule of concerts and other event for the New Music & Cultural Symposium:

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Real Good for FREE (Mostly): NYS Writers Institute’s Visiting Writers Series

September 16th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg
(from left) Alison Lurie, Edith Grossman, Kirsten Gillibrand and John Lahr

(from left) Alison Lurie, Edith Grossman, Kirsten Gillibrand and John Lahr

The New York State Writers Institute has announced the fall schedule of its Visiting Writers Events, beginning with the current New York State Author Alison Lurie who will read at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall at 8pm on Thursday (September 18).

Events are free of charge, except where noted. Here’s the NYS Writers Institute’s schedule for fall of 2014:

Alison Lurie, New York State Author
Thursday (September 18)
Seminar — 4:15pm, UAlbany’s Campus Center Room 375
Reading — 8pm, UAlbany Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall
Alison Lurie, novelist and current New York State Author (2012-2014), is widely regarded as the Jane Austen of contemporary American letters for her modern “comedies of manners,” including “Truth and Consequences” (2005) and the Pulitzer-winning “Foreign Affairs” (1984). Her new nonfiction book is “The Language of Houses” (2014), an exploration of the expressive power of everyday architecture. Author Edmund White said “[Lurie] has culled the best ideas from a vast literature and passed it all through the sieve of her brilliant mind.”

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MacArthur “Genius Grant” Winner Junot Diaz Reads @ UAlbany’s Campus Center Today

October 4th, 2012, 11:00 am by Greg

Junot Diaz (photo by Nina Subin)

Junot Diaz (photo by Nina Subin)

Born in Santo Domingo and raised in New Jersey, author Junot Díaz started off his writing career with a bang. His first novel, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” earned him the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

And, of yeah, the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, too.

On Monday, it was announced that the 43-year-old Diaz – who will be reading at UAlbany today – was also the recipient of a coveted MacArthur Fellows Program award (known more commonly as a “genius grant”), from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. One of this year’s 23 MacArthur Foundations fellows, he will receive $500,000 over the course of the next five years to use in whatever way he chooses.

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ArtBeat: Regarding Place and Wolfgang Staehle at University Art Museum [Get Visual]

September 6th, 2011, 1:30 pm by Sara
Marilyn Bridges: Castillo from Perpendicular, Yucatan, Mexico

Marilyn Bridges: Castillo from Perpendicular, Yucatan, Mexico

The University Art Museum is blessed with a pretty impressive photography collection, and has been showcasing a sizable chunk of it through the summer under the title Regarding Place: Photographs from the Permanent Collection. Paired with three digital projections of web- or video-derived color images by the New York City-based, German-born Wolfgang Staehle – who will give a talk at the museum at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (Sept. 7) – this offers a nice opportunity to take in a nearly century-long swath of fine photography.

Regarding Place includes over 100 black-and-white pictures by 17 artists, some of them iconic, some cult favorites, some little-known. The great majority of the prints in the show were donated to the museum’s collection over the last few decades by the Brown family, whose two children attended UAlbany in the 1980s and 1990s, and the show was organized by UAM curator Corinna Schaming, giving a sort of bi-level structure to the selection process. The result is somewhat uneven, but of a very high quality overall, and the installation takes on a subtly intriguing life of its own, as framed prints are variously grouped in rows, stacks, and grids, sometimes loosely spaced, sometimes tightly packed.

The premise of the show is, frankly, half baked. Many of these pictures struck me as being fairly indifferent to setting, or distinctly not about place at all – and the trouble it took to try to come up with a unifying theme for the show seems forced. This is evident in the rather tortured language of the press materials – for example, Schaming writes that these photographs “consider the resonance of a given site” and “foreground the direct and emotive appeal of black and white photography, while also informing current photography’s renewed interest in faithfully reproducing the visual world.” I’m sorry, but this is not my idea of meaningful description.

Click to read the rest of this story at Get Visual.

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