Arts & Culture

Rob Edelman: Downsizing

Dec 4, 2017

A new Alexander Payne film is, for me, always something to anticipate. These days, few filmmakers combine artistry and concepts in ways that are special. Alexander Payne is one of them, and his latest work is titled DOWNSIZING. It momentarily will arrive in theaters and, despite its few faults, it is well-worth seeing and pondering.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch spots for a show about the 12th month.

Rogovoy Report 12/1/17

Dec 1, 2017

The region’s cultural highlights this weekend include outsider music, North Indian classical, roots, reggae, spoken word, and Christmas carols.

Another classic way to celebrate the holiday season is with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. The Albany Symphony Orchestra’s Magic of Christmas concert will be performed this Sunday afternoon at 3PM at the Palace Theatre in downtown Albany.

And then next weekend - In one remarkable year, 1786, masterwork after masterwork would flow from the pen of Mozart:  the “Prague” Symphony, “The Marriage of Figaro”, and three of music’s greatest Piano Concertos. In two different programs over one weekend at Troy Music Hall, the orchestra will present the genius of Mozart.  

To tell us more we welcome Albany Symphony Orchestra maestro, David Alan Miller to tell us more. 

Bob Goepfert Reviews "She Loves Me" At Capital Rep

Nov 30, 2017
A scene from "She Loves Me" at Capital Rep
Photo taken at Pearl Grant Richmans by Douglas C. Liebig

ALBANY – If your idea of holiday entertainment is a show involving nice people who end up in a happy situation – “She Loves Me” at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany is your cup of mulled wine.  

Wilson Bethel and Alex Mickiewicz in The Roundabout Theatre Company production of  "The Last Match"
Joan Marcus

In Anna Ziegler’s new play, “The Last Match,” Tim Porter and Sergei Sergeyev face-off in the semifinals of the US Open: Porter a statesman of the game, Sergeyev an up-and-comer show with unharnessed potential.

Gaye Taylor Upchurch directs “The Last Match” for Roundabout Theatre Company where it runs at The Laura Pels Theatre through December 23rd.

Alex Mickiewicz plays Sergei Sergeyev. His previous work with Roundabout includes the recent Broadway productions of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and “Therese Raquin.”

Jamaican-born Everton Sylvester is a founding member of the Brooklyn Funk Essentials. He has been touring, writing, and recording with BFE for the past 25 years and half a dozen albums. Lead vocalist and/or writer on many of Funk Essentials’ most loved hits.

Everton’s spoken-word lyrics are set to deep Jamaican grooves by Searching for Banjo, lending the feel of a roots-reggae bash. Everton will be performing tracks from his just-released album “Trial Separation,” as well as some Brooklyn Funk Essentials classics when he performs on Sunday night at 7PM at Helsinki Hudson as part of The Rogovoy Salon series. 

On this Black Friday, WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel bid farewell to "Movember."

Rogovoy Report 11/24/17

Nov 24, 2017

Thanksgiving weekend is typically a quiet one, culturally speaking, and this weekend is no exception. But there are a few events worth noting, and it’s also not too soon to start planning for next weekend, which promises more fun things to do.

Ward Horton, Jack DiFalco, Michael Urie, Mercedes Ruehl in "Torch Song" at Second Stage Theater
Joan Marcus


  “Torch Song Trilogy” is a collection of three plays by Harvey Fierstein rendered in three acts: “International Stud,” “Fugue in a Nursery,” and “Widows and Children First!” The story centers on Arnold Beckoff, a Jewish homosexual, drag queen, and torch singer who lives in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In its original incarnation, the trilogy was first produced in those same decades with its Broadway production opening in June of 1982 and running until May of 1985. The show earned Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play for Fierstein.

Fierstein has recently adapted his work into a shorter version entitled “Torch Song” which is running at Second Stage Theatre on 43rd Street in New York City through December 9. The production, directed by Moisés Kaufman, features Jack DiFalco, Roxanna Hope Radja, Michael Rosen, Mercedes Ruehl, Michael Urie, and our guest, Ward Horton.

 

Horton is best known for playing Dr. Scott Strauss on CBS’ “Pure Genius” and was the male lead in the horror film “Annabelle.” He plays Ed in “Torch Song.”

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

Audrey Kupferberg: Films That Play With Time

Nov 17, 2017


For centuries poets and philosophers have warned about the cruelty of time.  We may not consider the influence of time on our lives very often, but once in a while a movie can remind us of the sheer power that time wields over our lives.  Two films bring this concept to mind, one from 1948 and the other from this year.  They are PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, a classic love story from producer David O. Selznick and director William Dieterle, based on a book by Robert Nathan— and MARJORIE PRIME, a recent release written and directed by Michael Almereyda from the play by Jordan Harrison.

Rogovoy Report 11/17/17

Nov 17, 2017

The weekend highlights in our region include a multimedia work in progress, a violin concerto, a homecoming for a folk music icon, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Indian music, Hudson Valley landscapes, and a whole lot more.

In the new film “Lady Bird,” Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson - played by Saoirse Ronan - fights against but is exactly like her deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom, a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird's father loses his job.

Saoirse Ronan is a two-time Academy Award nominee; receiving a Best Supporting Actress nomination for “Atonement,” and a Best Actress nomination for “Brooklyn.” “Lady Bird” was written and directed by Greta Gerwig has already been named one of the best films of the year. It opens locally today. 

Stone barn at Hancock Shaker Village
Sarah LaDuke

Hancock Shaker Village is a living history museum - marrying past and present, proving with every addition to its programming that it is becoming a vibrant, new center for ideas, music, art, food, outdoor activities, and adventure.

The Village, which was settled in 1783, became a museum in 1960, just one year after the last Shakers left. Contained within its 20 historic buildings and 750 acres that sprawl across three towns is the only round Shaker barn in the world that was built in 1826. 

Jennifer Trainer Thompson, who spent the last 28 years helping to co-found and develop MASS MoCA in the Berkshires, took over as president of Hancock Shaker Village in January 2017. Jennifer joins us along with the village’s curator Lesley Herzberg and farmer Billy Mangiardi. 

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is a musical by Rupert Holmes for which he received Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score in 1986. The show, then called “Drood” also won Best Musical that year.

Based on Charles Dickens’ last, unfinished novel and murder mystery, the show stops just before the murderer is revealed and at each performance the audience decides who “done it.”

Rupert Holmes has adapted the script into a new quick and hilarious 90 minute version. The new version will be presented at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, NY with a further adjustment by Holmes for the action of the play to be set at Hubbard Hall.

Performances begin tonight and we are joined now by composer/playwright/lyricist Rupert Holmes and Executive & Artistic Director of the Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education David Andrew Snider.

Reed Tucker is a freelance journalist and writer and has lived in New York since 1999. He writes mostly about pop culture and entertainment, most recently as a staff features writer at the New York Post.

In his new book "Slugfest: Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-year Battle between Marvel and DC" he chronicles the history of this epic rivalry.

Leon Polk Smith (American, 1906-96) untitled, 1968 paper on red Japanese paper, 35 ¾ x 25 in. Leon Polk Smith Foundation, 1968 D.053
mwpai.org

In the first-ever museum exhibition of drawings and collages by a pioneer of geometric abstraction, The Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art is presenting "Geometry in Motion: Leon Polk Smith Works on Paper," on view through the end of the year.

This exhibition examines Smith’s (1906-96) characteristic pieces from the 1940s, as he entered his artistic maturity, through the 1990s, when he was ever-prolific and undiminished by time.

Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Mary Murray joins us.

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

Seen: "Murder on the Orient Express"

Upcoming: The Olate Dogs - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, Thursday 11/16, 7 PM
Performing Artists in Residence Chamber Music Concert (Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, Schumann) The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Friday 11/17, 7 PM
Laura Luna - EMPAC Studio 2, Troy, Friday 11/17, 7:30 PM
David Crosby & Friends: Sky Trails Tour - The Egg, Albany, Friday 11/17, 8 PM
"The Thing/The Thing" - Capitol Theatre, Rome, Saturday 11/18, 2:30 and 7 PM
Albany Symphony Orchestra: The Rite of Spring (Stravinsky, Dukas, Del Tredici) - Palace Theatre, Albany, Saturday 11/18, 7:30 PM
Ashley Bathgate - "Cello: Bach Unwound" - The Egg, Albany, Saturday 11/18, 7:30 PM
Arlo Guthrie Family Show - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Saturday 11/18, 8 PM
Saint Motel - Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, Saturday 11/18, 8 PM
Amythyst Kiah - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Sunday 11/19, 7 PM

New movies: "Lady Bird," "Justice League," "Wonder," "The Star"

Carl Sprague
Sarah LaDuke

Tomorrow night at 6:30, Carl Sprague will give an artist lecture at The Opalka Gallery at The Sage Colleges. The Artist Lecture Series is co-sponsored by the Opalka Gallery and the Department of Art + Design.

Sprague is a Berkshire-based Production Designer, Art Director, and Concept Illustrator for film, theater, and advertising. He’s designed sets for the Berkshire Theatre Group, Shakespeare & Company, Oldcastle Theatre, any many other regional theaters in the Berkshires and around the country.

He’s worked on design elements of films with Steven Spielberg, Nora Ephron, Ron Howard, David Mamet, David Fincher, Steve McQueen - and Wes Anderson. He was a concept illustrator for Anderson’s "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and worked on the upcoming stop-motion film, "Isle of Dogs."

Baseball's over, but WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back with a show about diamonds.

Rogovoy Report 11/10/17

Nov 10, 2017

The weekend highlights in our region include three different concerts featuring music by Bach; a Grammy Award-winning banjo and vocal duo, jazz, Mahler, spoken-word, and a whole lot more.


  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their series of conversations about quoting, sampling, borrowing in music.

 

Close Encounters with Music’s next presentation, THE POLITICS OF OPERA with author and scholar Mitchell Cohen will take place on Nov 12.

In 1919 Britain, Mrs. Conway is full of optimism during her daughter’s lavish twenty-first birthday celebration. The Great War is over, wealth is in the air, and the family’s dreams bubble over like champagne. Nineteen years later, though, the Conways’ lives have transformed unimaginably.

"Time and the Conways" is a time-jumping play by J.B. Priestley that takes place at the crossroads of today and tomorrow. Tony winner Rebecca Taichman directs "Time and the Conways" for Roundabout Theatre Company. The production runs through November 26 at The American Airlines Theater.

The play stars Elizabeth McGovern, Anna Camp, and our guests, Steven Boyer and Gabriel Ebert.

Bob Mankoff / The New Yorker

Bob Mankoff, cartoonist and influential cartoon editor for "The New Yorker," submitted more than 500 of his own cartoons to that publication before getting his first acceptance in 1977. He became cartoon editor in 1997, and is credited with nurturing a new generation of talent before retiring this past April.

He currently serves as the Humor and Cartoon Editor at "Esquire." He is the author of the memoir, "How About Never—Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons."

Mankoff will be in Albany later today with legendary New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast for a New York State Writers Institute seminar at 4:15 this afternoon in the Standish Room at the Science Library on the uptown University at Albany campus. There will be a reading at 8PM tonight in the Huxley Theatre at the New York State Museum in downtown Albany.

The creator of the award-winning TV series "Mad Men" has just written a debut novel - about family, power and privilege.

In "Heather, the Totality," Mark and Karen Breakstone have constructed the idyllic life of wealth and status they always wanted, made complete by their beautiful and extraordinary daughter Heather. But they are still not quite at the top. When the new owners of the penthouse above them begin construction, an unstable stranger penetrates the security of their comfortable lives and threatens to destroy everything they've created.

Matthew Weiner has been entertaining audiences for two decades, most recently as writer, creator, executive producer, and director of "Mad Men," one of television's most honored series. He also worked as a writer and executive producer on "The Sopranos."

On Saturday night at 7:30 pm, Weiner will appear as part of the popular “Yaddo Presents” series. This event will take place in Gannett Auditorium at Skidmore College. Weiner will be interviewed on stage by Elaina Richardson, President of Yaddo, about "Heather, the Totality," which was written at Yaddo.

David Hallberg, the first American to join the famed Bolshoi Ballet as a principal dancer and the dazzling artist The New Yorker described as “the most exciting male dancer in the western world,” joins us this morning to tell us about his new memoir, A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back.

The book brings us through his artistic life up to the moment he returns to the stage after a devastating injury almost cost him his career.

David Hallberg is a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre in New York. He continues to dance around the world and is a Resident Guest Artist with The Australian Ballet. He has also started the David Hallberg Scholarship, mentoring young aspiring boys in a career in ballet, and the Innovation Initiative, a platform for emerging choreographers, both at American Ballet Theatre. 


  To mark the centenary of women’s suffrage in New York state and the re-opening of the state’s oldest surviving theater, Hudson Hall in partnership with The Millay Colony for the Arts commissioned a new production of Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein’s rarely performed opera "The Mother of Us All." Performances take place November 11, 12, 15, 18, and 19 at 4 p.m.

 

Using real and imagined characters, "The Mother of Us All" is about Susan B. Anthony and the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Reimagined as musical theater pageant, performed by a vocal and instrumental ensemble of Hudson Valley residents, and starring the mezzo-soprano Michaela Martens in the lead role, "The Mother of Us All" is directed at Hudson Hall by R. B. Schlather.

 

Schlather is widely recognized as one of the most ambitious, creative, strong, end edgy opera directors working today - having professional relationships with Opera Philadelphia, National Stardust, Wolf Trap Opera, Bard Music Festival, Tanglewood, Glimmerglass and many others.

Bob Goepfert Reviews The Legend of Georgia McBride

Nov 7, 2017
The Legend of Georgia McBride - Curtain Call Theatre - Rocky Bonsal
Amanda Brinke

LATHAM- “The Legend of Georgia McBride” is a piece of fluff with a giant heart.  It’s that heart that redeems and makes pleasant the comedy playing at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham through November 18.

Rob Edelman: Greta Grows Up

Nov 6, 2017

Back in 2012, in a piece on Greta Gerwig, I observed that she was all over movie screens. She recently had appeared in Whit Stillman’s DAMSELS IN DISTRESS and Woody Allen’s TO ROME WITH LOVE, and what was so engaging about her was her naturalistic screen presence. She was appealingly at ease onscreen. Once the cameras rolled, it did not seem as if she was acting. She was just, well, becoming her characters. Most often, they were young women who were approaching or who had approached adulthood and, in a film titled FRANCES HA, which also dates from 2012, her character was, indeed, quintessential Greta Gerwig. Here, she co-scripted with the director, Noah Baumbach, and she played a twentysomething who was flitting through life, attempting to figure out her relationships and where she fits in. Ultimately, she was trying to learn how to be a grown-up. 

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