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L’Ensemble’s Souvenir of Florence

It’s a new year, and L’Ensemble will return to the Egg with what The New York Times has called their “wicked virtuosity.”

Their season-opening program takes its name from Tchaikovsky’s famous String Sextet, which is said to have made Tolstoy weep, and Tchaikovsky himself afraid that it would overshadow his other works. Romanticism? This is its essence.

In the “something old, something new” department, there will also be a premiere of American composer Seymour Barab’s Bad Ballads, commissioned by L’Ensemble. (L’Ensemble: pianist Charles Abramovic, soprano Ida Faiella, violinist Barry Finclair, cellist Semyon Fridman and pianist Lincoln Mayorga.)

L’Ensemble will present Souvenir of Florence at 3 PM Sunday (Jan. 9) at the Swyer Theatre in the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). Tickets are $20. For more information, call 475-9001.


We won’t dispute Randy Newman’s famous paean to Cleveland, the lovely “city of light, city of magic.” However, we must also give major props to another Ohio town: Akron. The former tire capital of the universe is also famous as the birthplace of Chrissy Hynde and—more to the immediate point—Devo.

Stylex, also forged in Akron’s fiery furnaces, are spiritual heirs of Devo. No, they don’t wear cute outfits or babble crypto-scientific bullshit, but there’s a certain nervous geek quality that is suggestive of Akron’s elder statesmen. (Musically, they remind us a bit of our own Lincoln Money Shot.) And they rock.

Post-prog, specialty-weirdo, alterna-Sci Fi combo the Amazing Plaid (we are promised the full band, whatever the current incarnation) and power-popsters Kitty Little are also on this musically harmonious bill.

Stylex will perform Monday (Jan. 10) at 9 PM at the Fuze Box (12 Central Ave., Albany). Admission is $3. For more information, call 432-4472.

Citizen King

Filmmakers Orlando Bagwell and Noland Walker trace the last five years of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s extraordinary life—from his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 to his assasination in Memphis on April 4, 1968—in their acclaimed documentary, Citizen King. The filmmakers gathered personal recollections and eyewitness accounts from an array of King’s personal friends and associates, journalists, historians, and others to craft a film that, according to Bagwell, is not “about the last days of a great leader. Rather, it is the story of a man losing fear, gaining courage and becoming great.”

Citizen King will be screened at MASS MoCA (1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, Mass.) tonight (Thursday, Jan. 6) at 8 PM. Tickets are $6, with a 10-percent discount for MASS MoCA members. For more information, or to purchase advance tickets, call (413) 662-2111.

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