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Wallace Shawn

We remember sitting in the Albany Public Library many years ago, reading playwright Wallace Shawn’s affecting, disturbing play Aunt Dan and Lemon and trying to connect this with the actor Wallace Shawn from The Princess Bride. This, we concluded, must be an interesting fellow.

It makes sense, though. Shawn is from an accomplished artistic family: His late father was the longtime editor of The New Yorker, his brother is an accomplished composer, and his sister-in-law a great novelist. He has, over the last few decades, managed to be an edgy, searching writer and sharp, often comic character actor. (We’re thinking of him as the columnist in The Moderns, dressed in drag to attend his own, faked, funeral—and weeping in joy at the good turnout.)

Shawn will be coming to the University at Albany, under the auspices of the New York State Writers Institute, this Tuesday to give the annual Burian Lecture. To get the flavor of his work, check out the film version of his play The Designated Mourner, starring Miranda Richardson and directed by David Hare, at Page Hall tomorrow (Friday) night.

Wallace Shawn will give the Burian Lecture at UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center Recital Hall (1400 Washington Ave., Albany) at 8 PM on Tuesday (March 20). The Designated Mourner will be screened at UAlbany’s Page Hall (135 Western Ave., Albany) at 7:30 PM tomorrow (Friday, March 16). Admission to both events is free. For more information, call 442-5620.

Close Encounters With Music

The Great Barrington, Mass.-based organization Close Encounters With Music will present the program Patrons and Protégés, a salute to “the beneficent power of patronage that has spurred creativity from the ancient régime to modern times,” this Saturday.

In a sense, it’s a salute to themselves: The concert will feature the premiere of its own recent commission, Jorge Martin’s Ropa Vieja, for accordion (Bill Schimmel), cello (Yehuda Hanani) and percussion (Arti Dixson). Other artists participating in the concert will be the Aviv String Quartet (pictured) and violist Toby Appel.

Patrons and Protégés will be presented on Saturday (March 17) at 6 PM at St. James Church (Main Street and Taconic Avenue, Great Barrington, Mass.). Tickets are $35, $30 and $10 for students. For reservations and information, visit or call (800) 843-0778.

Fu Manchu

SoCal rockers Fu Manchu have been going at it since their debut single, “Kept Between Trees,” hit the radio waves in 1990. Since then, they’ve made more than a dozen albums, changing their lineup and record labels, but keeping with their signature stoner-rock roots.

Fu Manchu are hitting the Capital Region this week during an ambitious tour of the United States; they’ll take off to do the European leg of the tour at the end of April. They’re touring in support of their new album, We Must Obey (Liquor and Poker Music), which was released last month. Rolling Stone says of the group’s sound: “Super heavy and bass happy Detroit rock ’n’ roll is totally deep-fried, fuzzed out, window breakin’, pot sellin’, sleepin-in-the-van, skater metal.”

Fu Manchu will perform an all-ages show at Revolution Hall (425 River St., Troy) on Tuesday (March 20) at 7:30 PM (doors open at 6:30 PM). Special guests include Seemless, Valiant Thorr, and Great Day For Up. Tickets for this show are $14 or $12 if they’re pre-ordered. For more information or to order tickets, call Revolution Hall at 274-0553 or visit

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