Arts & Culture

Photograph of a portion of Tanja Hollander's "Are You Really My Friend?" at MASS MoCA
MASS MoCA's Instagram


  How often do you get a friend request on Facebook from someone whose name you don’t recognize? You have mutual friends. You check those names -- and then you aren’t sure exactly who some of those people are either - or how you know them. Imagine telling someone 15 years ago that you have friends you don’t know -- and not in that “a stranger is a just a friend you haven’t met yet” optimistic way.

Tanja Hollander’s new exhibition Are You Really My Friend? is currently on view at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. The show explores, through portraits and paraphernalia, what friendship means to Tanja and what friendship means today - in the age of social media and easy surface relationships. She set out to connect with and photograph her 626 Facebook friends.

I spoke with Tanja and curator Denise Markonish at the museum recently and began by asking Tanja when and where she had the idea for the project.

Rob Edelman: Robert De Niro, Comedian

Feb 27, 2017

I was initially intrigued by the idea of seeing and hopefully enjoying THE COMEDIAN, the latest Robert De Niro film, in which he plays an aging, foul-mouthed insult comic. Other bonuses surely would be its attractive supporting cast, from Danny De Vito to Cloris Leachman, Charles Grodin to Edie Falco to Patti LuPone. Not to mention Harvey Keitel, who appeared with De Niro an eternity ago in MEAN STREETS and TAXI DRIVER. And then there are the famous faces and names-- the most prominent is Billy Crystal-- who show up as themselves.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back with a miraculous show.

Rogovoy Report 2/24/17

Feb 24, 2017

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include psychedelic pop, Electric Latin soul; jazz; dance for social justice; Americana; and a whole lot more.

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their series of discussions about women who influenced classical composers. This week’s composer is Ludwig van Beethoven.

It’s usually a toss-up as to which genre is more popular with theater audiences – comedies or mysteries?   Home Made Theater in Saratoga Springs is trying to appeal to both with its current production of “The Games Afoot.”    It’s a comedy by Ken Ludwig that incorporates the plot of a mystery.

Thelma Adams is an established figure in the entertainment industry. For two decades, she has penned celebrity features and film criticism for high-profile publications. She writes a weekly column for the New York Observer.

She joins us to discuss the 89th Academy Awards which will take place this Sunday.

  In Identity Unknown, Donna Seaman brings to life seven forgotten female artists, among the best of their day: Gertrude Abercrombie, with her dark, surreal paintings and friendships with Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins; Bay Area self-portraitist Joan Brown; Ree Morton, with her witty, oddly beautiful constructions; Loïs Mailou Jones of the Harlem Renaissance; Lenore Tawney, who combined weaving and sculpture when art and craft were considered mutually exclusive; Christina Ramberg, whose unsettling works drew on pop culture and advertising; and Louise Nevelson, an art-world superstar in her heyday but omitted from recent surveys of her era.

Donna Seaman is Editor, Adult Books, Booklist, a member of the advisory council for the American Writers Museum, and a recipient of the James Friend Memorial Award for Literary Criticism and the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award. 

She will be at Oblong Books and Music in Rhinebeck on Saturday, February 25.

Shawn Stone, Digital Editor of The Alt joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

 Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints from the Rodbell Family Collection is the first exhibition at the Clark to focus on the Institute’s permanent collection of Japanese prints. The exhibition spans more than a century of Japanese color woodblock printing as represented by three generations of artists who produced prints from the 1830s to the 1970s.

We went to The Clark in Williamstown recently to check out the exhibition with Jay A. Clarke, the Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the museum.

Rob Edelman: Oscars and Journalists

Feb 20, 2017

Momentarily, the latest Academy Award ceremony will be at center stage. Combine this with a new U.S. president who has declared war on the media, and it is well-worth recalling that the Best Picture Oscar winner from just a year ago celebrates the importance of journalism in a free society. That film is SPOTLIGHT, and it is the fact-based tale of reporters who doggedly knock on doors and ask questions, all in a search for truth. The bottom line in SPOTLIGHT is that, if not for the tenaciousness of the Boston Globe journalists presented in the film, would we ever have known about the long, distressing history of a massive scandal involving the sexual abuse of children and its cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese?

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are stuck in the middle with each other.

Audrey Kupferberg: Hidden Figures And 20th Century Women

Feb 17, 2017

In so many ways, we look at feature films as means of expressing our aspirations.  We want films to mirror the best in us.   People of various philosophies differ in which character traits they want defined in films.  As a woman with a feminist philosophy, I relish films that depict independent-thinking women who strive to lead full and meaningful lives.  

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their series of discussions about women who influenced classical composers. This week’s composer is Ludwig van Beethoven.

The African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, Inc., (AACCCR) is proud to present, for the third year in a row, The African American History Month Celebration at the Palace Theatre on Friday, February 24th at 7:00pm.

The annual celebration features the best and brightest talent in the region. This year’s theme is “Where Do We Go From Here?” focusing on participating in grass roots activism for social change. Bervin Harris, co-founder and CEO of the Renaissance Youth Group, will be the keynote speaker.

To give us a preview, we welcome Angela O’Neal – Executive Director of the African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region and Holly Brown – Executive Director of the Palace Theatre. 

Shawn Stone, Digital Editor of The Alt joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: The LEGO Batman Movie, John Wick Chapter 2

The Creative Life: A Conversation Series at UAlbany is an initiative of the New York State Writers Institute, UAlbany Performing Arts Center, and University Art Museum, all of which are housed and function on the main campus of the University at Albany. Guests in this inaugural year of the series have included author Joyce Carol Oates and dancer/choreographer Savion Glover who appeared in September and October 2016, respectively.

Jay Rogoff is the author of six books of poetry. His latest full-length collection, Enamel Eyes, A Fantasia On Paris, 1870, a lyrical sequence with the breadth and depth of a historical novel, considers the events of "the terrible year" through multiple perspectives.

The Franco-Prussian War, the siege of Paris, and the Commune come alive through the eyes and voices of a variety of historical figures who witnessed and participated in the events.

Jay Rogoff will have a poetry reading on Friday night at the Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga to celebrate his new collection, Enamel Eyes, A Fantasia on Paris, 1870. 

Rob Edelman: Withdrawn

Feb 13, 2017

Purely by chance, the first 2017 film I happened to view in the new year just may be a portrait of our world in 2017. And it is not a pretty picture. The film is titled WITHDRAWN. It is a low-budget independent production from Canada, and it was screened at the Slamdance Film Festival.

Shakespeare & Company has announced its lineup for the 2017 summer season, which includes three Shakespeare plays: Cymbeline, The Tempest, and A Midsummer Night's Dream; plus two Edith Wharton comedies, Roman Fever and the newly adapted The Fullness of Life.

Additional titles include the Obie Award winning 4,000 Miles by Amy Herzog; New York Drama Critics Circle and the Outer Critics Circle Recipient, Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage; and Tony Award Winner, God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza.

This year marks the 40th Season at Shakespeare & Company -represents an opportunity to celebrate the company’s legacy. To tell us more we welcome Artistic Director Allyn Burrows and Shakespeare & Co. Founder, Tina Packer. 

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are just two pawns on a quiz show.

ALBANY –“Grand Concourse” is a title of a play you’ve probably never heard of.  It is, however, a play that once you see it you will always remember it.

Rogovoy Report For 2/10/17

Feb 10, 2017

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include a theatrically staged concert of new music about guns; chamber music; funky jazz; bluegrass banjo; writers reading their work; and a whole lot more.

J.M.W. Turner is one of the most important figures in Western art, and his visionary work paved the way for a revolution in landscape painting. Over the course of his lifetime, Turner strove to liberate painting from an antiquated system of patronage. Bringing a new level of expression and color to his canvases, he paved the way for the modern artist.

Franny Moyle studied Art History at St John's College, Cambridge. She enjoyed a career in arts programming at the BBC that culminated in her becoming the corporation's first Commissioner for Arts and Culture. She is now a freelance executive producer and writer and lives in east London. Her new book is Turner: The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W. Turner.

In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani pick up where they left off last time when Yehuda told us about the life and tawdry adventures of Alma Mahler. Today, he shares some of her music and contrasts it with that of her first husband, Gustav Mahler.

Regina Carter is a violinist of unbridled artistry and imagination who has brought her exquisite improvisational skills to a broad diversity of styles ranging from classical and soul to African and traditional music of the South. Recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship for “pioneering new possibilities for the violin and for jazz,” she is widely considered to be the foremost jazz violinist of her generation.

She will discuss her career and musical inspirations with Joe Donahue at UAlbany in a New York State Writers Institute event on February 11th at 4:30 p.m.

She will perform at The Egg that evening at 8 p.m. Her recent work involves adaptations of music by Ella Fitzgerald.

Dwight David Eisenhower
Unnamed photographer for US Army / Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

 

On this edition of The Power of Words, WAMC's Alan Chartock and Author and Historian James Ledbetter discuss President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Farewell Address. In addition, listeners will have an opportunity to actually hear the speech as it was delivered to a joint session of Congress on January 17th, 1961.

Over the past few years, Proctors has become an important destination for Broadway shows readying for the road. The 2017–2018 Key Private Bank Broadway Series at Proctors will continue that tradition with the Tony Award-winning revival of The Color Purple, which will tech in Schenectady before traveling the rest of the country.

Proctors announced their upcoming season with shows including, the 2015 Tony Award winning Best Musical Fun Home, Finding Neverland, The Bodyguard, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I and On Your Feet! Plus, much, much more. We learn more about that from Peter Hughes; Heidi Nathanielsz and Michael Eck. 

David Bianculli is a guest host and TV critic on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. A contributor to the show since its inception, he has been a TV critic since 1975. From 1993 to 2007, Bianculli was a TV critic for the New York Daily News.

Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his.

Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way. In tracing the evolutionary history of our progress toward a Platinum Age of Television - our age, the era of The Sopranos and Breaking Bad and Mad Men and The Wire and Homeland and Girls—he focuses on the development of the classic TV genres. In each genre, he selects five key examples of the form, tracing its continuities and its dramatic departures and drawing on exclusive and in-depth interviews with many of the most famed auteurs in television history.

David Thomson is a film critic and frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Guardian, and more. He is the author of The Biographical Dictionary of Film, now in its sixth edition, and Moments that Made the Movies.

His latest book, Television: A Biography celebrates and analyzes the stories being told on the small screen.

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