Arts & Culture

Rob Edelman: Holiday Fare

Dec 21, 2015

Looking for a few good films to enjoy during the holiday season? Well, it's easy to cite such traditional fare as A CHRISTMAS STORY, MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, HOLIDAY INN, WHITE CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT, and the various versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, among many others. But there are other films to be discovered and savored.

Any Questions #225

Dec 18, 2015

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch spots for a show about football.

Audrey Kupferberg: The Girl King

Dec 18, 2015

New to DVD and streaming this month is an oddly disappointing film called THE GIRL KING.  The feature, produced and directed by Finnish filmmaker Mika Kaurismaki, has an exciting story to tell, but THE GIRL KING provides little excitement as it relates the unusual life of 17th Century Swedish Queen Kristina.

Rogovoy Report For December 18, 2015

Dec 18, 2015

This weekend’s cultural highlights in our region include Moroccan trance music, a Messiah singalong, a Frank Sinatra tribute, and a community staging of Charles Dickens’s holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol.”

  The Albany Symphony will present a thrilling program of Rossini’s “William Tell” Overture, Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, “The Great,” and the world premiere of “Three Manhattan Bridges,” a major new work by Michael Torke featuring piano soloist Joyce Yang, in concerts at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

"Three Manhattan Bridges" was commissioned by the Albany Symphony and written expressly for Yang, Torke’s favorite pianist. The work was inspired by Torke’s adopted home, New York City. Its three movements are: “George Washington Bridge,” “Queensboro Bridge,” and “Brooklyn Bridge.”

To tell us more we welcome Albany Symphony Orchestra maestro, David Alan Miller and composer Michael Torke.

  Since it first opened on Broadway in September, 1964, Fiddler on the Roof has constantly been onstage somewhere. The new Broadway revival starring Danny Burstein and Jessica Hecht opens at The Broadway Theatre in New York City on Sunday.

Published in celebration of Fiddler's 50th anniversary, Tradition!: The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World's Most Beloved Musical, is a book by Barbara Isenberg -- for which she interviewed the men and women behind the original production, the film and significant revivals to produce a lively, popular chronicle of the making of Fiddler.

  Andy Griffith and Don Knotts met on Broadway in the 1950s. When Andy went to Hollywood to film a TV pilot about a small-town sheriff, Don called to ask if the sheriff could use a deputy. The comedic synergy between Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife ignited The Andy Griffith Show, elevating a folksy sitcom into a timeless study of human friendship, as potent off the screen as on.

Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show is a new book written by Don Knotts’s brother-in-law and featuring extensive unpublished interviews with those closest to both men.

  It might be a silly week to talk about the other "Star" franchise, but actor Michael Dorn has appeared in more Star Trek episodes as the same character than any other actor; playing Worf, son of Mogh of the Klingon House of Martok on both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

The Seth McFarlane movie Ted 2 is out on DVD, BluRay, and for digital download this week and in it Michael Dorn has a memorable role as the lover of Patrick Warburton's character, both of whom cosplay at New York Comic-Con as the real-life geek properties they’re best known for -- The Tick and Worf.

  In MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson, Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper delves deeply into Michael Jackson’s music and talent.

From the moment in 1965 when he first stepped on stage with his brothers at a local talent show in Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson was destined to become the undisputed King of Pop.

In a career spanning four decades, Jackson became a global icon, selling over 400 million albums, earning thirteen Grammy awards, and spinning dance moves that captivated the world. Songs like “Billie Jean” and “Black and White” altered our national discussion of race and equality, and Jackson’s signature aesthetic, from the single white glove to the moonwalk, defined a generation.

Despite years of scandal and controversy, Jackson’s ultimate legacy will always be his music.

  Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas is a very popular holiday tradition. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the group's annual tour. They have a new album out as well.

Grammy Award-winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the beloved Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. The spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller music.

Chip Davis has sold over 40 million records - 27 million in the Christmas genre - making the group one of the top 50 biggest selling musical artists of all time and the biggest selling Christmas artist of all time.

Rob Edelman: Son Of Saul, Etc.

Dec 14, 2015

As each year passes, time increasingly separates us from the events in Europe during the 1930s and 40s and, specifically, World War II and the Holocaust. The youngest concentration camp survivors now are elderly and the question is: Will the Holocaust simply fade into history? Will it be at all remembered? And if so, how so?

“When I Grow Up” - The Company of Matilda The Musical National Tour
Joan Marcus

“Matilda the Musical,” which is at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady through Sunday, is a work that respects its audience. The show is the most mature young person’s entertainment you can imagine and should be appreciated equally by young and old.  But a word of caution – not too young as this is a thoughtful but dark story.

Any Questions #224

Dec 11, 2015

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel rate this week's show NC-17.

Rogovoy Report For December 11, 2015

Dec 11, 2015

This weekend’s cultural highlights in our region include a multimedia performance about the first family of Indian music; a troupe of storytellers including one big fat liar; a husband-and-wife piano duo playing holiday favorites from the classical canon; an opera legend singing seasonal songs; a photo exhibition about the decline and fall of the Catskills as a resort region; and a P-Funk-style holiday party.

  Sinatra’s Century is a collection of one-hundred short reflections on the man, his music, and his larger-than-life story, by a lifetime fan who also happens to be one of the poetry world’s most prominent voices.

David Lehman uses each of these short pieces to look back on a single facet of the entertainer’s story—from his childhood in Hoboken, to his emergence as “The Voice” in the 1940s, to the wild professional (and romantic) fluctuations that followed. Lehman offers new insights and revisits familiar stories—Sinatra’s dramatic love affairs with some of the most beautiful stars in Hollywood; his fall from grace in the late 1940s and resurrection during the “Capitol Years” of the 1950s; his bonds with the rest of the Rat Pack; and his long tenure as the Chairman of the Board, viewed as the eminence grise of popular music inspiring generations of artists.

  Frankie Liked to Sing celebrates the life of Frank Sinatra, whose iconic voice changed popular music forever and influenced generations of listeners all over the world.

From his early days in Hoboken, New Jersey, to making it big in New York City, Sinatra was determined to follow his dream of being a singer and moving people with his voice. And now, one hundred years after his birth, his legacy lives on with this spirited and loving tribute by John Seven and Jana Christy.

  In 2010's Frank: The Voice, James Kaplan, in rich, distinctive, compulsively readable prose, told the story of Frank Sinatra's meteoric rise to fame, subsequent failures, and reinvention as a star of live performance and screen.

The story of "Ol' Blue Eyes" continues with Sinatra: The Chairman, picking up the day after Frank claimed his Academy Award in 1954 and had reestablished himself as the top recording artist in music.

Frank's life post-Oscar was incredibly dense: in between recording albums and singles, he often shot four or five movies a year; did TV show and nightclub appearances; started his own label, Reprise; and juggled his considerable commercial ventures (movie production, the restaurant business, even prizefighter management) alongside his famous and sometimes notorious social activities and commitments.

  In honor of Sinatra's 100th birthday we speak with Pete Hamill about his classic tribute, Why Sinatra Matters

In this unique homage to an American icon, journalist and award-winning author Pete Hamill evokes the essence of Sinatra--examining his art and his legend from the inside, as only a friend of many years could do.

Shaped by Prohibition, the Depression, and war, Francis Albert Sinatra became the troubadour of urban loneliness. With his songs, he enabled millions of others to tell their own stories, providing an entire generation with a sense of tradition and pride belonging distinctly to them.

Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Rolling Stone called the show “hands down the best musical of the season.” Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, Matilda continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages on Broadway and in London’s West End.

The show is playing through Sunday at Proctors in Schenectady.

Rob Edelman: Youth

Dec 7, 2015

These days, so many films explore issues relating to young people: teens or twentysomethings who are coming of age, or falling in love, or seeking their place in the world. This is not surprising given the ages of the majority of contemporary moviegoers. But still, there are films that center on the lives of older folks. This list only begins with THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL and its sequel; ELSA & FRED, starring Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer; and 5 FLIGHTS UP, also known as RUTH & ALEX, with Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman.

Any Questions #223

Dec 4, 2015

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are out to prove this wasn't all a flash in the pan.

Rogovoy Report For December 4, 2015

Dec 4, 2015

This weekend our region boasts orchestral indie-rock, blissful folk, gothic folk, art openings, literary readings, country-pop, holiday funk and original roots-rock.

Photograph of Robert Battle
Andrew Eccles

  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized as a vital “American Cultural Ambassador” to the world and New York City Center’s Principal Dance Company, returns to the New York City Center stage for the 45th consecutive year from December 2 (that’s today) through January 3rd. Led by Robert Battle in his fifth season, Ailey’s renowned artists will bring to life an expansive repertory of two dozen works by some of America’s most celebrated dance-makers during this annual season.

Dancer and choreographer Robert Battle became Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater after being personally selected by Judith Jamison, making him only the third person to head the Company since it was founded in 1958.

My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey is a children’s picture book about Robert’s life. It is published by Simon & Schuster.

  Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings have just released a new record, It’s A Holiday Soul Party. Their previous album, Give the People What They Want was nominated for a Grammy Award. The new Christmas album features soul revivals of holiday classics and original songs like “There Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects” and “8 Days (of Hanukkah).”

Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings are performing at The Egg in Albany, NY this Saturday, December 5th at 7:30pm -- bringing their inimitable energy and sound to the stage of The Hart Theatre. They are also guests on “Michael Bublé’s Christmas in Hollywood” which will air on NBC on December 10th. The Dap Kings blast and blare, side-step and put on a great show at the center of which is the incredible vigor of Sharon Jones - providing lead vocals and more power than seems possible.

Rob Edelman: Hitchcock Truffaut

Nov 30, 2015

In recent years, there’s been an explosion of new documentaries highlighting a host of subjects. This year, quite a few have been biographical in nature. Two high-profile titles, which have earned heaps of PR, deal with the lives and fates of very different young women. The first is AMY, a biography of Amy Winehouse. Then there is HE NAMED ME MALALA, the tale of the Pakistani schoolgirl who was harassed by the Taliban after speaking out in favor of the rights of girls to attend school.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Charley's Aunt"

Nov 28, 2015

If this holiday season you get a yearning for chestnuts roasting on an open hearth, a visit to Curtain Call Theatre in Latham might satisfy you.  There’s no open hearth, but the comedy “Charley’s Aunt” is a certainly a theatrical chestnut.

Any Questions #222

Nov 27, 2015

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel salute this Black Friday show.

One-hundred years ago, renowned American actor William Gillette stood before the cameras at the Essanay Studios in Chicago to make a celluloid record of his celebrated stage performance as Sherlock Holmes. The play was based on four of the popular Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and was adapted by Gillette with the author’s blessing.  Gillette played the legendary fictional detective on stage 1300 times from 1899 to 1932. He acted the character wearing the deerstalker cap and smoking the large, curved pipe, according to 19th century illustrations by Sidney Paget in the Strand Magazine.

Sarah McLachlan At UPAC

Nov 25, 2015
photo of Sarah McLachlan
sarahmclachlan.com

  Three time Grammy winning folk-pop singer and songwriter Sarah McLachlan is best known for her emotional ballads, including "I Will Remember You," "Sweet Surrender," "Adia" , "Possession", "Building a Mystery" and "Angel."

She founded the concert festival Lilith Fair, and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. She will perform at UPAC in Kingston, NY on Sunday, November 29th.

  This holiday season, Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany presents A Christmas Story: The Musical.

The Chinese food, the Red Ryder BB gun, the frozen pole, and the leg lamp are all there in this musical based on the classic 1983 movie, which itself was based on stories by legendary radio humorist Jean Shepherd. The show features music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and a book by Joseph Robinette. Maggie Mancinelli Cahill directs.

Preview performances for A Christmas Story: The Musical take place November 27th through the 29th. Opening night is Tuesday, December 1.

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