Arts & Culture

Rob Edelman: Presidents And Movies, Part 2

May 16, 2016

Across the decades, a number of biopics about U.S. presidents have come out of Hollywood. And if fictional senators, mayors, or aldermen have understandably been depicted as liars and cheaters, most American presidents have been portrayed as American heroes. Such is the case with fictional chief executives and, as for the films spotlighting real presidents, most also have stressed the positive.

  18-year-old Diggy Lessard is a senior at Woodstock Day School and he had created just about the coolest senior project we’ve ever heard of: Modern Vaudeville 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.

The event will benefit Woodstock Day School’s music programs and Diggy joins us now along with his father, Stefan Lessard – who happens to be the bassist for the Dave Matthews Band.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Once" At Proctors

May 14, 2016
Bristol Pomeroy, Jenn Chandler, Patricia Bartlett
Joan Marcus

SCHENECTADY -  “Once” is one of the most Irish musicals you will experience.  But some clarification is needed.  If you assume Irish as The Clancy Brothers or Riverdance think again.   “Once” is closer to the plays of Sean O’Casey and Brian Friel, or even the literature of James Joyce.

Any Questions #246

May 13, 2016

It's a superstitious show for resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel and WAMC's Ian Pickus.

Rogovoy Report For 5/13/16

May 13, 2016

The cultural highlights in our region in coming days include a string quartet, a jazz concert, an art exhibit by a legendary rocker, a folk-rock jamband, and a whole lot more.

  The 11th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival will take place from June 2nd through the 5th in Great Barrington and June 3rd though the 5th in Pittsfield, MA.

The festival will bring films, filmmakers, industry professionals and film fans together for a celebration of independent film featuring documentaries, narrative features and short films – along with special tributes, parties, and discussions.

Kelley Vickery, Founder and Executive Director of BIFF and she joins us with a preview.

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda - Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their exploration of Jewish music, playing Bruch's Kol Nidrei - op. 47 with solo performed by Pierre Fournier.

  The Albany Symphony and Music Director David Alan Miller will present Gustav Mahler’s youthful masterpiece, the Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” at the Palace Theater in Albany on May 14, 2016.

This major work from the late Romantic Period is scored for an enormous orchestra including off-stage brass and percussion, chorus, and two vocal soloists.

The Albany Symphony will be joined by the acclaimed voices of Albany Pro Musica, 120-members strong, under the direction of Jose Daniel Flores, as well as Met Opera Diva Lucille Beer and rising soprano, Angela Vallone. We welcome David Alan Miller and Jose Daniel Flores.

Delta Lady: A Memoir

May 12, 2016

  She inspired songs—Leon Russell wrote “A Song for You” and “Delta Lady” for her, Stephen Stills wrote “Cherokee.” She co-wrote songs—“Superstar” and the piano coda to “Layla,” uncredited. She sang backup for Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, and Stills, before finding fame as a solo artist with such hits as “We're All Alone” and “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher.”

Following her story from Lafayette, Tennessee to becoming one of the most sought after rock vocalists in LA in the 1970s, Delta Lady chronicles Rita Coolidge’s fascinating journey throughout the ’60s-’70s pop/rock universe.

    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 12, 2016

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

Once at Proctors

May 11, 2016

  The National Tour of the musical Once is now playing at Proctors in Schenectady. Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards including Best Musical and the 2013 Grammy Award for “Best Musical Theater Album.” 

Based on the movie of the same name, Once is an original Broadway experience, featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage. Once tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs.

Sam Cieri (Guy) and Mackenzie Lesser-Roy (Girl) join us at The Linda for a live interview and performance this morning.

  The Octavo Singers of Schenectady is an 80-year-old community chorus of about 100 singers. They generally perform large sacred works and present their concerts almost exclusively in big urban churches and synagogues.

For their 2016 Spring Concert they will perform Haydn's The Seasons on Saturday, May 14 at 7:30pm at the 1st Reformed Church of Schenectady.

The Octavo Singers’ Artistic Director and Conductor, Curtis Funk, joins us.


May 11, 2016

  Lebanese sound artist Tarek Atoui returns to the region to present the final version of a project he has developed around the world and with students at RPI under the instruction of Pauline Oliveros. The group will perform on instruments they have invented to perform music to a hearing-impaired audience.

Atoui has been working in collaboration with Distinguished Research Professor of Music Pauline Oliveros and her students from the New Instrumentation for Performance seminar to think through propositions for new instruments and performance techniques. Several instruments that Atoui has been developing concurrently will be played throughout the public spaces of EMPAC and broadcast into the Concert Hall. The audience will be encouraged to explore the acoustic relationships between individual instruments and the architecture that they inhabit.

The project – Within – will be presented at EMPAC on Friday night at 8PM.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Clybourne Park"

May 10, 2016

One of the great treats for theater lovers is when the quality of a performance is equal to the excellence of the material.

  In The Trip to Bountiful by Horton Foote, Carrie Watts, a charming, aging widow escapes her controlling daughter-in-law and son’s three-room Houston apartment to visit her childhood home one last time.

Along the way, Miss Watts befriends fellow travelers, sharing her wisdom and courage on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to renew strength and dignity for all.

The Trip to Bountiful is current running at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY. Kevin Craig West plays Ludie Watts and he joins us.

  Nationwide statistics have proven in-prison educational and rehabilitation programs to be extremely successful, yet many states across the country have cut large portions of the funding for these programs.

The film, The Game Changer, the winner of multiple festival awards, follows New Paltz’s renowned choreographer Susan Slotnick in her work rehabilitating prisoners through dance at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility.

The film will screen at Unison Arts Center in New Paltz, NY this Saturday, May 14th at 8pm in a special event that will also feature dance performances and discussion.

Susan Slotnick joins us.

  The Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary this year. The largest non-for-profit theatre company in America, Roundabout has grown from a small 150-seat theatre in a converted supermarket basement to operating five stages on and off Broadway.

Education at Roundabout is a branch of the organization that connects with students and teachers through customized school partnerships, residency programs, mentorships and workshops, internships, apprenticeships, backstage tours, talkbacks and pre-show workshops. For each Roundabout production, Education also creates Upstage guides, which include interviews, contextual information, teacher resources and activities, and presents a post-show Lecture Series -- reaching 22,000 students and teachers each year.

Jennifer DiBella is the Director of Education at Roundabout.

Education at Roundabout’s 6th Annual Student Theatre Arts Festival will take place on May 16th.

Rob Edelman: Presidents And Movies, Part 1

May 9, 2016

Crooked senators, lying governors, and sleazy political kingpins may be found in endless Hollywood films produced across the decades. One could spend hours citing examples-- and one need not wonder why celluloid politicians have long been collectively depicted as crooks and liars.  

Grace Kelly

  Berkshires Jazz presents a memorial concert in honor of the late alto saxophonist Phil Woods in Pittsfield, MA on Saturday, May 14 at 8 p.m. The tribute will be performed by the NEA Jazz Master’s quintet, with Brian Lynch on trumpet, Bill Mays on Piano, Steve Gilmore on bass and Bill Goodwin on drums, along with Woods’ protégé Grace Kelly on alto saxophone.

Woods introduced the 14-year-old saxophone prodigy Grace Kelly to Berkshires audiences at the second annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival in 2006, when he was guest soloist with the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors big band. Having mentored Kelly at a jazz workshop, Woods invited her to the stage, an event that has become part of jazz lore.

Fast forward and Kelly has headlined more than 700 shows in 30 countries and is part of the house band, Stay Human, for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Any Questions #245

May 6, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are off to France for this week's show.

Rogovoy Report For 5/6/16

May 6, 2016

The cultural highlights in our region in coming days include a concert by an all-star jazz lineup at MASS MoCA; a folk-rock legend at the Mahaiwe; an indie-pop artist from Austin at Helsinki Hudson; klezmer in Spencertown, and a whole lot more.

  The Capital region has long appreciated the Battenkill Chorale for the quality of their singing and also for the originality of the music they sing. Mozart and Haydn and Brahms all certainly have their place for the Chorale but so do contemporary Norwegian compositions, South African freedom songs and music performed by prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.

On May 7 and 8, the Chorale - now in their twenty-first year - will sing a Bluegrass mass. Banjos and mandolins will be featured along with melodies inspired by the Bluegrass tradition of Appalachia and Bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe himself. The Chorale will be joined by the acclaimed bluegrass quintet, Monroe Crossing.

The chorale will perform: Carol Barnett's, "The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass” at the Immaculate Conception church in Hoosick Falls. Janet McGhee is Conductor and Artistic Director of the Battenkill Chorale and she joins us .

  Gary Cole stars in the new independent movie Divine Access -- the film is equal parts comedy and drama. Set in the South, it’s a road movie, a buddy picture and an often sweet, thought-provoking story of redemption. It will be released in theaters on May 13th and available on VOD on May 17th. 

Cole is an actor most will recognize from his work in film and television. Selected credits include Office Space, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Veep, Pineapple Express, Entourage, The West Wing, and The Good Wife -- which will have its series finale this Sunday night on CBS.

  Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center is the House, Studio and Woodland garden of mid-century designer Russel Wright. It is a National Historic Landmark, an Affiliate Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a World Monuments Watch Site.

Manitoga’s Artist Residency program was initiated in 2014 to foster creative responses to Manitoga that invoke Russel Wright's legacy of creative experimentation and celebration of place.

This year’s residency artist, Peter Bynum, is known for his light-infused sculptural paintings and large-scale installations. He creates his work by pressing paint between sheets of glass - allowing it to spread, span, and split according to its own plan. He then layers these branched paintings over each other and illuminates them from behind. The effect is singular.

Bynum’s work has been exhibited all over the world. His residency exhibition, Ecstatic Light, presents a site-specific installation of several pieces in Russel Wright’s House and Studio, marking Manitoga’s first presentation of a contemporary artist within the interiors of the property.

  Derek McLane is a Tony and Emmy Award-winning production designer for stage and screen. He designed the last four consecutive Academy Awards telecasts and all three of NBC’s recent LIVE musical events: The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, and The Wiz. He was the production designer for the HBO documentary, Becoming Mike Nichols and the European tour, Hans Zimmer Revealed.

McLane’s most recent design to open on Broadway is for Fully Committed written by Becky Mode, directed by Jason Moore, and starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson. A selection of previous Broadway show’s on his resume are: Noises Off, Beautiful, the Carole King Musical, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Follies, Anything Goes, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, and 33 Variations -- for which he won his Tony Award in 2009.

In our region he’s worked at The Williamstown Theatre Festival and is designing Barrington Stage Company’s Musical Theatre Lab World Premiere of Presto Change-o, which opens later this month in Pittsfield. He’s a busy guy - that list includes less than half of what he’s done and we didn’t even mention everything he’s working on this week.

Coming Up At The Linda

May 5, 2016
The Linda Logo
The Linda

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

  CENTERstage Productions hosts Warrior Productions and The Second Annual Short Play Festival at The CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck May 6, 7 & 8.

Eight short plays of new and original works will be showcased and we are joined by Elaine Fernandez, playwright and President and Founder of Warrior Productions; and playwrights Marianna Boncek and Nadeen Currie.

The heyday of the silent cinema ended almost nine decades ago. But the very best silent films still are visual feasts. They are pleasures to discover and pleasures to enjoy-- and I am not just referring to the classic comedies of the legendary Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd. Films like F.W. Murnau’s SUNRISE, NOSFERATU, and THE LAST LAUGH; King Vidor’s THE CROWD; Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS; E.A. Dupont’s VARIETE; and so many others have long been personal favorites.

  In the summer of 1925, The New Yorker was struggling to survive its first year in print. They took a chance on a young cartoonist who was about to give up his career as an artist. His name was Peter Arno, and his witty social commentary, blush-inducing content, and compositional mastery brought a cosmopolitan edge to the magazine’s pages—a vitality that would soon cement The New Yorker as one of the world’s most celebrated publications.

Alongside New Yorker luminaries such as E.B. White, James Thurber, and founding editor Harold Ross, Arno is one of the select few who made the magazine the cultural touchstone it is today.

In his new biography of one of The New Yorker’s first geniuses, New Yorker cartoonist Michael Maslin dives into Arno’s rocky relationship with the magazine, his fiery marriage to the columnist Lois Long, and his tabloid-cover altercations involving pistols, fists, and barely-legal debutantes.

Michael Maslin’s cartoons have been appearing in The New Yorker for nearly forty years. He is the author or coauthor of eight books of cartoons. His new biography is: Peter Arno: The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist.