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photo:Joe Putrock

CHAIN OF FOOLS: PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have been responsible for some of the more entertaining protests of the last year. Remember, for example, the disabled chicken guy in front of the KFC on Delaware Avenue in Albany last year, which, if nothing else, made a great photo spot for this paper. And, to be fair, highlighted the often disgusting lives of the chickens we eat. In that great tradition, PETA sent their Tiger Lady (pictured, in chains) to the state capitol on April 21 to protest the appearance of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Pepsi Arena this week. Why? The circus, you may have heard, is alleged to not treat their critters very well; PETA loves animals; and nothing gets press like mostly naked, attractive people. The circus, however, still attracted a large crowd for their parade of animals on S. Pearl Street Tuesday (April 26); it was reported that the baby elephant, in particular, was very cute.

—Shawn Stone

STICKS AND STONES MAY BREAK MY BONES, BUT BOOKS CAN GIVE ME A NASTY LUMP ON THE BACK OF MY HEAD: At last Thursday’s early start to Word Fest, a featured reading by poet Amy Ouzoonian at the Lark Street Bookshop’s monthly open mic, things got a little more exciting than intended. In the pause between the second open-mic reader’s introduction and his first poem, the new-arrivals bookcase broke free of its teetering top-heavy balance, pouring hundreds of books on the audience in front. Luckily, the shelves didn’t land on anyone, so a few packs of ice and 10 minutes of clearing piles of books were enough to send the reading sailing forward. Slightly shaken by the excitement, Ouzoonian, up from Brooklyn just for this reading, nonetheless pulled off a stellar set, pulling a breathless audience through ups and downs on topics from parents to war without a cliché to trip over. (She sold out the copies she’d brought of her book, Your Pill, if that’s any indication—selling poetry ain’t easy.) That heady start primed Albany’s poetry community for the full weekend of open mics, readings, and a poetry CD-release party that was Albany Word Fest 2005.

—Miriam Axel-Lute

A ROSE IS STILL A ROSE: This week, Proctor’s Theatre received its largest private gift in the Schenectady theater’s history—a $750,000 donation from the Golub family, owners of the Price Chopper chain of supermarkets. The Golubs have been longtime supporters of the theater, a local landmark that’s become a (the?) key component of the city’s downtown revitalization efforts. The most notable aspect of the donation, however, is that it won’t require a name-change to “The Price Chopper Theater.” While the shopping arcade outside the theater was renamed the “Golub Arcade” in appreciation of the gift, the theater won’t go the route of venues like the Knickerbocker, er, Pepsi Arena.

—Rick Marshall

BLIND EYE: Alas and alack, the elusive blogger Albany Eye remains, well, elusive. The Eye had tentatively agreed to participate—through the sweet anonymity of instant messaging, of course—in Blogging 101, a program held April 27 at the Business Council of New York State building in Albany, and sponsored by the Women’s Press Club of New York State. According to spokesperson Holly Cargill-Cramer, however, Albany Eye—“he, she or it”—backed out, explaining that as the Web log is currently on hiatus, it wouldn’t be appropriate to participate. Albany Eye hasn’t posted the usual news tidbits, mildly snarky commentary on local media and effusive praise for the Times Union since February; instead, it’s been song lyrics. (Memo to Albany Eye: loose the Tweedy and Dylan, but run more Jobim.) As for Blogging 101, it went on without the Eye. Cargill-Cramer said that it was “a very good program” that went very well.

—Shawn Stone


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