Arts & Culture

  The Albany Symphony’s American Music Festival is week-long festival of new and innovative music by some of the biggest names in orchestral music today. Audiences will hear thrilling new works by living American composers as David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony give life to their music for the first time.  

This year’s festival presents 5 days of concerts, and 35 new and recent works by 33 American Composers, including world premieres commissioned by the Albany Symphony and GE Renewable Energy.

Maestro David Alan Miller join us with a preview.

LATHAM  -  “Bakersfield Mist” is an imperfect play that overcomes its limitations to provide a pleasant night of theater.  It continues at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham through June 11.

  On June 11th, acclaimed and well-loved alt-rock band, The National, are playing a concert in Joe’s Field at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA that will benefit the museum and the Hawthorne Valley Association in New York’s Hudson River Valley. This concert is the band’s only date in the northeast this year.


The Ohio-raised, Brooklyn-based band, which consists of vocalist Matt Berninger, plus two pairs of brothers: Aaron Dessner (guitar, bass, piano) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), and Scott Devendorf (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums), have landed on every “best of” list in print.

The Dessners recently created, curated and produced Day of the Dead -- a compilation  featuring 59 Grateful Dead covers performed by a slew of incredible musicians including - but not limited to - Flaming Lips, Bruce Hornsby, Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo, Jenny Lewis, Perfume Genius, Vijay Iyer, Lucius, and Bela Fleck. Bob Weir even appears on the album performing both with Wilco and with The National.

Aaron Dessner joins us to talk about the concert and the new compilation.

Gabriel Ebert, Matt Ryan, and Keira Knightley in Roundabout Theatre Company's 'Thérèse Raquin'
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

  Tony Award winning scenic designer, Beowulf Boritt received his third Tony nomination last month for his design for the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Thérèse Raquin.


His previous designs for Broadway include Rock of Ages, Sondheim on Sondheim, The Scottsboro Boys, Chaplin, and Act One -- for which he won his Tony Award.

He also designed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and On The Town at Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, moving those designs to Broadway. He’ll return to BSC this summer, designing their production of The Pirates of Penzance.

Barbara Walsh and Michael Rupert in Presto Change-O at Barrington Stage
Scott Barrow

  Presto Change-O, a new musical with book and lyrics by Eric Price and music by Joel Waggoner, is running on Barrington Stage Company’s St. Germain Stage through June 11th. Directed by Marc Bruni, choreographed by Chris Bailey, the show features a credit not usually seen in your everyday playbill -- illusions by Joseph Waternerchaney.

That’s right - the majority of actors in the piece has to - on top of acting, singing, and dancing - perform parlor and platform magic.

Presto Change-O is a World Premiere from BSC’s acclaimed Musical Theatre Lab and we are joined by actors Barbara Walsh and Michael Rupert - both of whom originated roles in the original Broadway run of Falsettos and have numerous other Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional, and Television and Film credits on their resumes.

  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: A Bigger Splash, X-Men: Apocalypse, The Nice Guys

BIFF 2016 - Bruce Dern

Jun 1, 2016

  Bruce Dern has acquired the reputation of being one of the most talented and prolific actors of his generation. He turns 80-years old on Saturday – the same day he will be honored with a tribute at the Berkshire International Film Festival.

He will be in conversation with famed film director Douglas Trumbull, who directed Dern in the 1972 classic, Silent Running. Their talk will be followed by a screening of the Oscar nominated Nebraska at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington at 7PM.

  The documentary feature film, Life, Animated, will be The Berkshire International Film Festival’s opening night film in Pittsfield, MA at The Beacon Theatre on Friday, June 3rd at 7pm.

Life, Animated tells the story of how Owen Suskind, who is autistic, found a pathway through Disney animation to language and a framework for making sense of the world. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. Owen’s father, Ron Suskind, wrote a book of the same name to tell his family’s story of losing Owen.

The film interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life, the film explores how identification and empathy with characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel forge a conduit for him to understand his feelings and interpret reality.

Life, Animated won the Directing Award for a U.S. Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and director, Roger Ross Williams, join us now. Roger Ross Williams is an Academy Award winning documentarian -- winning in 2010 for the Documentary Short Subject, Music by Prudence.

  From the director of the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom; The Music of Strangers, tells the extraordinary story of the renowned international musical collective created by legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The feature-length documentary follows The Silk Road Ensemble -- a group of diverse instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers -- as they explore the power of music to preserve tradition, shape cultural evolution and inspire hope.

The Music of Strangers is the Berkshire International Film Festival's opening night film at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA on June 2nd at 7 p.m. Yo-Yo Ma will participate in a Q&A following the film.

PITTSFIELD, Mass – Once to be a triple treat in theater meant being able to act, sing and dance.  In the charming musical, “Presto Change-O,” playing at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass., triple threat means to act, sing and perform slight-of-hand magic.

Peter Frampton

May 31, 2016

  Lynyrd Skynyrd and Peter Frampton will be at The Times Union Center in Albany, NY (with special guest Jack Broadbent) on June 3rd.

Here, Joe Donahue speak with Frampton about his career; his seminal live album, Frampton Comes Alive!; and his relationship with David Bowie.

Rob Edelman: Two New Documentaries

May 30, 2016

Documentaries can be powerful visual records. For after all, they are reflections of real life. You can watch a fiction film and always tell yourself “Oh, it’s only a movie” when a character is shown to suffer. If there is graphic violence, you know that at one point during the filming the director yelled “Cut” and all the actors and extras stood up, wiped away the fake blood, and went off into the night. But you do not have this option while watching a documentary.

Any Questions #248

May 27, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel try not to be a boar.

  Kentucky singer-songwriter, Joan Shelley, will perform at Helsinki Hudson in Hudson, NY on June 9th at 8pm. She has been praised by Rolling Stone, NPR and Pitchfork, and the New York Times recently wrote that "her music is folky and pastoral, with a sense of scale that makes her humble about her place in mankind and the universe, and her songs are serene but never complacent."

Her latest album, Over and Even, is a collaboration with guitarist Nathan Salsburg and is available on No Quarter Records.

  Cirque du Soleil's Paramour combines Cirque’s signature spectacle with Broadway's story-telling and song in a brand new production that opened this week at The Lyric Theatre in New York City. Set in the world of Golden Age Hollywood, the show spins the tale of a beautiful young poet forced to choose between love and art.

Ryan Vona - who was most recently seen on Broadway in Once - plays Joey - in Paramour. We spoke with him a few weeks ago - before the show began previews.

  When a group of 20-something theatre professionals, spearheaded by David Turner, Martha Banta and David King, decided to found a summer theatre in 1994, they wanted to take “the road less traveled” and focus on new work.

Each summer the Adirondack Theatre Festival produces a six week season of theatre for an audience of more than 6,000 using professional artists from New York City and across the country. 

Their 2016 Season begins next month.

Chad Rabinovitz is the Producing Artistic Director of ATF and he joins us now for a preview of their season.

  Carrie Haddad was the first art gallery to open back in 1991 on Warren St. in Hudson NY. She has been a pivotal resource for assisting other galleries to follow suit, helping to the economy of the city to bring more people to town as well as giving exposure to local artists who would otherwise have no venue.

Twenty-five years later, approximately 100 represented artists work in mediums including painting, sculpture, photography and mixed media and are featured in 7 annual exhibits. 

Moby's Memoir

May 25, 2016

  There were many reasons Moby was never going to make it as a DJ and musician in the New York club scene. This was the New York of unchecked, drug-fueled hedonism in pumping clubs where dance music was still largely underground, popular chiefly among working-class African Americans and Latinos.

And then there was Moby—not just a poor, skinny white kid from Connecticut, but a devout Christian, a vegan, and a teetotaler. He would learn what it was to be spat on, to live on almost nothing. But it was perhaps the last good time for an artist to live on nothing in New York City: the age of AIDS and crack but also of a defiantly festive cultural underworld. Not without drama, he found his way.

But success was not uncomplicated; it led to wretched excess and proved all too fleeting. And so by the end of the decade, Moby contemplated an end in his career and elsewhere in his life, and put that emotion into what he assumed would be his swan song, his good-bye to all that, the album that would in fact be the beginning of an astonishing new phase: the multimillion-selling Play.

Moby's new memoir is entitled, Porcelain.

  It is always a pleasure to welcome back our friends from the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls. This morning they join us to talk about the newly opened exhibit: Christo & Jeanne-Claude: The Tom Golden Collection.

This exhibition of over 125 original drawings, sculptures, collages, and photographs traces the career of renowned artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, capturing the versatility, longevity, and international scope of the duo’s extensive career.

Tom Golden’s personal and professional relationship with the artists began in 1974, during public hearings for Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s project Running Fence. To tell us more we welcome Erin Coe - Director of The Hyde and the Museum’s new curator, Jonathan Canning.

Any Questions #247

May 20, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats so Mike can get the aisle seat.

Rogovoy Report For 5/20/16

May 20, 2016

The cultural highlights in our region in coming days include a living legend of Broadway, an early music tribute to Shakespeare, a world premiere musical featuring a Tony Award-winning cast and crew, a new vaudeville show, and a double bill of guitar rock.

As we finally are able to see the end of the road for the current presidential primaries—and as we look ahead to the upcoming presidential election campaign, it is an appropriate time to look back at the ways in which previous presidential campaigns have been executed, and recorded through the types of media then available throughout modern American history.  

  In this week's Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their exploration of Jewish Music, sharing George and Ira Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So" from Porgy and Bess, performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

   Since its inception in 1984, the focus of The Jack Shainman Gallery has been to exhibit, represent and champion artists from around the world, in particular artists from Africa, East Asia, and North America.

Founded by Jack Shainman and Claude Simard in Washington D. C. -- the gallery relocated to New York City occupying a space in the East Village before moving to Soho and then to its current location in Chelsea in 1997.

In 2013 the gallery added two additional exhibition spaces, one in Chelsea and the other a 30,000 square foot schoolhouse in Kinderhook, New York.

The former Martin Van Buren Elementary School has been redesigned to include a 5,000 foot exhibition space with 24-foot ceilings, accompanied by traditional gallery spaces on the second floor that have been transformed from existing classrooms. The property sits on five acres of land that provide a temporary home for outdoor sculptural and site-specific installations. Its inaugural exhibition in 2014 was work by Nick Cave.

A Change of Place: Four Solo Exhibitions will mark The School’s second anniversary when it opens this Sunday.

The School's last group show, Winter in America, included some prints from a journal from the late 1800s that was found recently in the Kinderhook Memorial Library. The library is having a reception, also on Sunday, at The Feed & Seed store from 2-6pm.

Jack Shainman joins us along with Collections Manager, Rachel Fainter.

  Donna McKechnie, The Tony Award-winning star of A Chorus Line returns to Barrington Stage Company in her concert, Same Place: Another Time, a musical déjà vu celebrating the scintillating 70’s in New York City. She takes a personal spin on the “ingénue” coming to NY, finding love and success and losing her innocence, perhaps, but never her spirit.

Same Place: Another Time will kick of this summer’s spectacular line-up at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret at BSC. She’ll perform the show at 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 22nd and Monday May 23rd.

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

Coming Up At The Linda

May 19, 2016

  Graeme McKenna joins us each week with a preview of what is coming up at The Linda: WAMC's Performing Arts Studio

  The Ne’imah Jewish Community Chorus’ 24th annual concert will take place at The Linda in Albany, NY this Sunday, May 22nd, at 7:30 p.m. This year’s program is entitled “Jewish Musical Gems: Old, New and Different” and their special guests will be Cantor Elias Rosemberg and his accompanist, David Sparr.

The Cantor at Temple Emmanuel of Newton, Massachusets, Rosemberg personifies the theme of the concert, singing from a varied and unique repertoire that includes Opera, Israeli, Cantorial, Yiddish, Ladino and Broadway selections, including a Yiddish Tango – an homage to his Argentinian roots.

  18-year-old Diggy Lessard's Senior Project at Woodstock Day School is entitled Modern Vaudeville -- it will tell the story of James Hurst’s "The Scarlet Ibis" through music, dance, and comedy in a one-night only variety show at BSP Lounge in Kingston, New York on May 22nd. Diggy’s project was to schedule, promote, and produce the show which will benefit Woodstock Day School’s music programs. (Joe Donahue interviewed Diggy and his dad, Stefan Lessard from Dave Matthews Band earlier this week.)

One of the participating acts is comedian, Bobby Tisdale. Tisdale is an film and television actor and provides the voice for Zeke on Bob’s Burgers on Fox.

  Ira Glass is the host and creator of the public radio program This American Life. The show is heard each week by over 2.2 million listeners on more than 500 public radio stations, with another 2.2 million downloading the podcast. For years, the podcast of This American Life was the most popular podcast on iTunes, until the show started its first spin-off program Serial, which quickly became the most popular podcast ever created.

In Reinventing Radio, Ira will return to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall to talk about how they put together This American Life.