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Alexander M. Stern

Email: alexander1228@gmail.com

Alexander M. Stern

Dirty Laundry

by Alexander M. Stern October 30, 2014

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  Nicky Silver’s uneven The Lyons gets an enthusiastic staging at Curtain Call with a strong cast that comes off better than the play itself. Ben Lyons (Jack Fallon) is an unloved and unlovable man dying of ...

0 comments Curtain Call Theatre

Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela

by Alexander M. Stern October 9, 2014

  For those of us who came of age in the ’80s, South Africa was the human-rights cause. College campuses were filled with signs urging divestment and condemning apartheid, the South African policy of institutional segregation. ...

1 comment The Egg

Fear and Loathing in Palm Springs

by Alexander M. Stern October 2, 2014

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  Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities is—on the surface—another play about dysfunctional family dynamics. What revelations will surface, like bloated corpses, from the murky bottom of everyone’s collective past once granny’s had one too many ...

1 comment Capital Repertory Theatre

Shaken, Not Stirred

by Alexander M. Stern September 18, 2014

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  Curtain Call kicks off its 15th season with the regional premiere of A.R. Gurney’s Family Furniture, a wickedly funny piece of postwar Americana. It is summertime on the shores of Lake Erie. Here, Buffalo’s elite play ...

0 comments Curtain Call Theatre

Pomplamoose

by Alexander M. Stern August 21, 2014

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Pomplamoose are a musical duo from the Bay Area who have been producing hugely entertaining videos since 2008. A real life couple, multi-instrumentalists Jack Conte and Natalie Dawn are probably best known for the series ...

0 comments

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

by Alexander M. Stern August 14, 2014

On paper, the partnership of Joshua Redman and the Bad Plus seems unlikely. The saxophonist was embraced by the jazz mainstream on the release of 1994’s Moodswing, and he’s been both a critical and commercial ...

0 comments

The Last Silly Walk

by Alexander M. Stern July 24, 2014

  The parrot is finally dead . . . for now, anyway. Surviving members of Monty Python took their final bow Sunday evening (July 20), bidding a fond farewell to fans across the globe. The simulcast event ...

Regal Crossgates Stadium 18

James Taylor

by Alexander M. Stern July 23, 2014

James Taylor certainly knows how to draw a crowd. Saturday night saw a multitude descend upon SPAC to see the Capital Region’s favorite next-door neighbor perform his greatest hits. This is not an exaggeration. Even Taylor ...

Good Grief!

by Alexander M. Stern July 17, 2014

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  Long before everyone's childhood was ruined by the Internet, a few things were still sacrosanct. Chief among these was Peanuts, Charles Schulz's ode to childhood fears, failure, and disappointment. Schulz never sugar-coated childhood; never romanticized ...

Not Forgotten

by Alexander M. Stern July 17, 2014

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  An elderly father and his family face Alzheimer’s and the right to die with dignity. Sounds like a rollicking good time. Oddly enough, the production of Bruce Graham’s impressionistic black comedy The Outgoing Tide, currently running ...

Curtain Call Theatre

Freihofer’s Jazz Festival

by Alexander M. Stern July 3, 2014

Toward the end of his set in the amphitheater of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Terence Blanchard introduced the members of his quintet by saying that they have been “blurring the lines of jazz since ...

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell

by Alexander M. Stern June 26, 2014

The banjo was developed by African slaves who fashioned gourd-bodied instruments similar to ones used in Africa. One of the most likely direct ancestors of the modern banjo is the akonting, found in Senegal, Gambia, ...

1 comment

Ray LaMontagne

by Alexander M. Stern June 5, 2014

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  Did somebody put something in the water? Psychedelia seems to be the go-to for bearded alt-rockers this season. Ray LaMontagne, whose previous effort was 2010’s pastoral God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise, joins the Black ...

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs

by Alexander M. Stern June 5, 2014

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  Early-’90s wunderkind Matthew Sweet and late-’80s siren Susanna Hoffs have released their third all-covers album, Under the Covers, Vol. 3. The two previous volumes featured faithfully rendered performances of songs from the ’60s and ’70s, ...

Lou Donaldson

by Alexander M. Stern May 30, 2014

  Lou Donaldson brought the funk to Schenectady on a Friday night. His extraordinary quartet features Akiko Tsuruga on the Hammond B-3 organ, Randy Johnston on guitar, and Fukushi Tainaka on drums. Each musician is a star ...

1 comment A Place for Jazz

Al Kooper 70th Birthday Concert

by Alexander M. Stern May 30, 2014

  Toward the end of the first half of Al Kooper’s 70th Birthday Concert, Kooper introduces the next number as the one song everybody expects him to play. “I’ve played it so many times,” he says, “I ...

2 comments The Egg

It’s Punk to Wear Sunscreen

by Alexander M. Stern May 22, 2014

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  “This band is really good,” says Ben Garrett. “They play surf rock.” The guitarist and vocalist for Saratoga band Party Boat sits with his bandmates on a curved sofa that’s seen better days inside their rehearsal ...

Rhett Tyler and Early Warning

by Alexander M. Stern May 15, 2014

  At 8 o’clock on the dot, veteran blues guitarist Rhett Tyler hit the stage at Schenectady’s Van Dyck Lounge for a Saturday night show that rocked the Stockade. With his band Early Warning, consisting of Bo ...

Miles Davis

by Alexander M. Stern May 15, 2014

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  Few recording artists have had the sweeping, long-term effect of Miles Davis, and even fewer have been as divisive. While Davis continues, more than two decades after his death, to enjoy acclaim and strong sales, ...

Bring Out Your Dead

by Alexander M. Stern May 15, 2014

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  Let’s make one thing perfectly clear right at the outset: The Schenectady Light Opera Company absolutely kills it in their production of Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks’ musical adaptation of his classic 1974 film. Their high-energy ...

2 comments Schenectady Light Opera Company

Bloody Brilliant

by Alexander M. Stern May 1, 2014

  It could be any bar in Albany on a Saturday night. The crowd is young. The air is close, smelling of sweat and beer. The sound of shouted conversation fills the air, while a telephone ...

Talking Blues

by Alexander M. Stern May 1, 2014

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  At some point between the first and second gin and tonic, Evan Conway orders a corned beef sandwich on rye. We’re at Slick’s, a bar in Schenectady’s historic Stockade District, not far from Union Street. ...

1 comment

B.B. King

by Alexander M. Stern April 23, 2014

  Don’t let anybody fool you: Robert Johnson had it easy. Jimi Hendrix? Stevie Ray Vaughan? They had it soft. They may have departed too soon, but by leaving in their prime, they left a legacy ...

6 comments Palace Theatre

Copper and Congress

by Alexander M. Stern April 17, 2014

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  When former Capital Region resident Katie Haverly decamped for greener (?) pastures in Tucson, Ariz., she found something there besides a dry heat: She found a new band and a new direction. Copper and Congress is ...

The Randy Simon Jazz Project

by Alexander M. Stern April 17, 2014

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  Randy Simon’s latest effort—the double-CD Nyhavn Live—marks the talented composer’s first foray into live recording, capturing an extraordinary group of area musicians in full flight, while reminding us that exceptional jazz does indeed exist outside ...