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Juneteenth Celebration

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

With that proclamation—General Order No. 3—Union Gen. Gordon Granger, on June 19, 1865, informed Texans that slavery was over. While it took 100 years, and the blood, sweat and tears of the civil-rights movement, to attain an “absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property” for African-Americans, the date, June 19, became enshrined as an annual celebration of the end of slavery—first in Texas, and, eventually, across the United States.

Including Schenectady: This Saturday and Sunday, the Hamilton Hill Arts Center will host the 6th Annual Capital Region Juneteenth Celebration in Central Park.

Saturday morning, the festivities begin at 10 AM with a parade starting at the Hamilton Hill Arts Center (409 Schenectady St.) led by the Federation of Black Cowboys. The festival officially gets under way at noon at the Agnes MacDonald Music Haven stage in Central Park, with a welcome from Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton. There will be ethnic food and crafts; a tent featuring local African-American artists; entertainment including NAACP Step Team, Hamilton Hill Steel Drum Band, Colaberayshun, Sheila Gaddy, Carla Page, Kendra Jones and many, many more. The Federation of Black Cowboys will be leading workshops on lasso use and the role of black Americans in the expansion of the West.

The Juneteenth Celebration will be held Saturday and Sunday (June 17-18), beginning at noon, in Schenectady’s Central Park. Admission is free. For more info, call the Hamilton Hill Arts Center at 346-1262.

All Is Not

Beginning this Wednesday, the Adirondack Theatre Festival will debut the new play by Melissa James Gibson, All Is Not. Well, the debut of a full staging of this promising work; cast members Mark Setlock, Christopher McCann and Haerry Kim all participated in a staged reading of All Is Not—when it was something of a work-in-progress, and titled, simply, Lost—last year.

According to AFT artistic director Martha Banta, All Is Not “examines how when we lose one seemingly small item, it can take on a huge meaning for other things in life, particularly our relationships. . . . All of these characters become caught off guard when they misplace or lose something and end up facing feelings they didn’t even know they had. As with all of Melissa’s plays, she writes this play with much humor and insight.”

All Is Not opens Wednesday (June 21) with a pay-what-you-can preview performance at 8 PM at the Charles R. Wood Theater (207 Glen St., Glens Falls). Tickets for this performance go on sale at 6 PM at the box office. The show then continues through July 1. For information about ticket prices and times, please call 798-7479.

Nine Inch Nails, Bauhaus, Peaches

The special-events season at SPAC gets off with a bang this year—well, after the Dave Matthews shows anyway. This Sunday, Trent Reznor and the group of dudes he’s calling Nine Inch Nails these days bring 15 years of self-loathing to Saratoga. This show already looks to be a summer highlight, mostly because of who’s sharing the bill: None other than Bauhaus will play the middle slot, and potty-mouthed electroclasher Peaches will open.

Bauhaus reconvened eight years ago for a string of shows dubbed the Resurrection Tour (bassist David J ended the band’s final show in 1985 by saying “rest in peace”). Miraculously, the band has held up; word has it they sound better now than in the days when “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” was the soundtrack for the strobe lights at 288 Lark. Peaches will be on hand to debut songs from her soon-to-be-released Impeach My Bush LP. Titles include “Fuck or Kill,” “Tent in Your Pants,” “Hit It Hard,” and “Two Guys (For Every Girl).” As you can tell, it’s a political record.

Back to the headliners. Nine Inch Nails’ With Teeth was one of the best dance records of 2005, producing three No. 1 modern-rock radio tracks, including the discoriffic “Only.” A throwback, sonically, to simpler times (i.e. the Broken EP), the record featured Dave Grohl on most of the drum tracks, proving that anything that guy touches turns to gold. While Grohl’s not touring with the band, fear not—area NIN live gigs are the stuff of legend. Just don’t throw any shoes, alright?

Nine Inch Nails, Bauhaus and Peaches will perform at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Spa State Park, Route 9, Saratoga Springs) this Sunday (June 18). Inside tickets for the 7 PM show are $39.50; lawn seats are only $15. For tickets or more information, call 587-3330.

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