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Jimmy Webb

‘By The Time I Get To Phoenix”—does that do anything for ya? How about “Up, Up And Away”—are you getting excited yet? Perhaps not; those songs aren’t exactly known for being party-starters. But if the very mention of these titles makes you want to spin the AM dial back 30 years, take notice: This weekend brings a rare local performance from one Jimmy Webb, the man who wrote the bona fide classics “Where’s The Playground, Susie?”, “Wichita Lineman”, and “Worst That Could Happen.” And that’s just the Ws.

For the unfamiliar, Jimmy Webb is the single most successful pop songwriter of all time. (That’s unsubstantiated, but read on.) At the end of the 1960s, Webb was responsible for five Top 10 hits in a 20-month period; without Jimmy Webb, Glen Campbell would still be a session guitarist. The rest, it’s all history: Webb established his own performing voice in the 1970s, beginning with the excellent debut Words and Music. He had a number one hit in the 1980s with “The Highwayman,” a recording by the country supergroup of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson. He’s the only person ever to win separate Grammy awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration. He’s been elected to just about every songwriters’ hall of fame you could name. The aforementioned “Phoenix” is the third-most- recorded song of the 20th century. And, he continues to perform and release recordings to this day; last year’s Twilight of the Renegades was well-received by fans and critics alike.

But most importantly (to us, at least), Jimmy Webb wrote MacArthur Freaking Park. Good golly, that’s a great song.

Don’t get left out in the rain like that damned cake—catch Jimmy Webb when he performs live this Saturday (Jan. 21) at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio (339 Central Ave., Albany). Tickets for the 8 PM show are $25. For more information or to reserve tickets, call 465-5233, ext. 4.

Excavating Egypt

We love the Hudson River School collection at the Albany Institute of History & Art. We love the local artifacts; we love the traveling exhibits. But we really love the mummy room; we even loved it when it was in the basement. (We even love the cat mummy, although it’s probably not a cat.) That’s why the prospect of an entire exhibition at the AIHA dedicated to ancient Egypt is pretty exciting.

Excavating Egypt, which opens Saturday, is a collection of artifacts from London’s Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archeology. The items to be displayed were all “pulled from their 5,000-year-old earthen tombs at the turn of the last century” by pioneering Egyptologist William Matthew Flinders Petrie. (Petrie was the model, we are told, for Indiana Jones.)

Excavating Egypt opens Saturday (Jan. 21) at the Albany Institute of History & Art (125 Washington Ave., Albany), and continues through June 4. For more information, call 463-4478.

Before and After Intermission

The latest performance piece from comedian-actor-writer-humorist Dirck Toll, Before and After Intermission, will feature the kind of character-based comedy his fans expect. This 65-minute show will feature a bit about a “deviously inept songwriting scam,” a “spokesperson who won’t shut up,” and a “vegetable clothing craze.”

We are intensely curious about just what would constitute a “vegetable clothing craze.” Pumpkin hats? Cucumber eyeglasses? Rutabaga bras? Interesting. (After years of car and mattress ads on TV—no names needed—we don’t have any problem conjuring up the thought of a spokesperson who won’t shut up.)

Tickets, we are assured, are going fast for this show; Toll’s last local performance sold out. So you might not want to wait any longer to buy tickets.

Dirck Toll will perform Before and After Intermission on Saturday (Jan. 21) at 8 PM at Caffe Lena’s Black Box Theater (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs). Tickets are $12 and $8. For reservations and information, call 583-0022.


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