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Berkshire Bach Society

They’re back. After taking a New Year’s off, the Berkshire Bach Ensemble are returning with two performances of Bach’s Six Brandenburg Concerti. We don’t need to tell you how J.S. Bach rocks; you know that J.S. Bach rocks.

What we do need to tell you is that Sunday’s performance at Great Barrington’s Mahaiwe Theater is already sold out. So, if you want to start the new year with some old-school German baroque—some of the most beautiful music ever written, by the way—you need to get tickets to Monday’s performance at Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre right now, if not sooner.

Berkshire Bach Society will perform Sunday (Dec. 31) at 6 PM at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center; tickets for this performance are sold out. They will also perform on Monday (Jan. 31) at 3 PM at the Colonial Theatre (111 South St., Pittsfield). Tickets for this show are $45, $30 and $15. For reservations and information, call (413) 997-4444.

Albany Winter Festival, First Night Saratoga

We’re thinking the same thing you are: What happened to Albany’s First Night? After 20-some-odd years, the capital city has taken its big ring-in-the-new-year bash off the schedule. We don’t want to speculate (again), but we have to assume that part of the decline in public interest for the event had something to do with its exodus from the Center Square neighborhood several years back. (It also has much to do with First Night Saratoga devouring any like event in its path, but we’ll get to that.) Anyway, the city of Albany is making up for the lack of an organized New Year’s Eve party with the first Albany WinterFestival, a family-oriented day of activities and entertainment featuring most of the regular First Night attractions (the 5K Last Run, live music, fireworks, freezing-cold temperatures) without the pesky admission price.

Meanwhile, First Night Saratoga continues to grow. Now one of the biggest events of its type in the Northeast, the citywide celebration encompasses more than 30 venues/locations with about a billion acts (give or take) scheduled to perform (including the Ramblin Jug Stompers, pictured here preparing to do some stomping and jugging). Again, it’s alcohol-free and family-friendly; again, there’ll be live music, fireworks, a 5K run, and the bitter chill of the crisp evening air. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Albany Winter Festival takes place Saturday (Dec. 30) from noon to 6 PM. Admission is free. For a complete schedule of events or for more information, call 434-2032 visit

First Night Saratoga kicks off Sunday (Dec. 31) at 4 PM and culminates with fireworks at midnight. Buttons are $12, children under 5 are free. For a schedule of events or for more information, call 584-8262 or visit

Andrew “Dice” Clay

For those who can’t or choose not to remember the ’80s, comedy was all the rage. Stand-up comics were the rock stars of the day, in addition to the regular rock stars, of course. But who would you rather have been stuck in an elevator with: the young, sharp Eddie Murphy, or Boy freaking George? Right—Eddie had the funny dick jokes.

And it came to pass that a pompadour-wearing, North Jersey-asshole type would become the top comic of his day, thanks to a misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic, and wholly mean-spirited act—plus some dirty nursery rhymes. (These were different times, remember; the era of Andrew “Dice” Clay neatly coincided with those of 2 Live Crew and Married . . . With Children.) So Clay sold out Madison Square Garden, grabbed a few movie roles (Ford Fairlane, we hardly knew ye), got himself banned from just about every television network (cable or otherwise), and eventually faded into obscurity. But once the P.C. ’90s were dead and buried, he came back; today, thanks to regular appearances on the Opie & Anthony Show (yeah, thanks!) and Howard Stern’s satellite-radio program, the man behind the classic platter Face Down Ass Up is once again a commodity. Ba-da-bing.

The Diceman cometh to the Palace Theater (19 Clinton Ave., Albany) tonight (Thursday, Dec. 28), with special guests Louis C.K. and Jim Florentine. Tickets for the 8 PM show range from $25 to $55. For more information, call the Palace box office at 465-3334.

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