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59th Annual Tulip Festival

Let’s all go to the park! Spring’s finally here to stay—we hope—and it’s just in time for the 59th Annual Tulip Festival, starting with a kickoff party tomorrow (Friday, May 11), and ending Sunday (May 13). The tulips and the fried dough will be in full bloom at Albany’s Washington Park this weekend, as artisans, vendors, games, kids’ entertainment and all that stuff will be strewn about the park, making for a good afternoon (or two) out with the fam. And other, tulip-related activities are scheduled around town, including a benefit luncheon on Friday at the Crowne Plaza’s Grand Ballroom and the Royal Tulip Ball on Saturday at Wolfert’s Roost Country Club, not to mention the coronation of a new Tulip Queen, and the Mother of the Year contest.

Plus, there’s music! The fun begins Friday afternoon (at 5:45 PM) with a performance by the Empire State Wind Ensemble. The amphitheatre stage at the Lakehouse will feature regional favorites on Saturday and Sunday. The main stage, on the parade grounds, features an alternative-rock lineup on Saturday, headlined by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts; Sunday brings mom-friendly fare, including lite-jazz trumpeter Chris Botti (pictured), and classy jazz-blues singer Kevin Mahogany.

The 59th Annual Tulip Festival takes place in (and around) Washington Park in Albany tomorrow (Friday, May 11) through Sunday (May 13). For a full schedule of events and locations, visit or call 434-2032.

Capitol Chamber Artists

If you missed April in Paris—we did, and we’re genuinely annoyed that we couldn’t make it this year—then you can experience a bit of France in May this weekend with the Capitol Chamber Artists. The acclaimed chamber ensemble will present a pair of concerts with a French theme.

Of course, this means French composers; the program will include Faure’s Fantasie (for flute and piano), as well as works by Ravel and Durufle. The concerts also will feature the world premiere of the Piano Trio by cellist and Albany native André Laurent O’Neil (pictured). O’Neil is known for his performances with the ensemble New Trinity Baroque, and has had his music performed in both Europe and the states.

Capitol Chamber Artists will perform Saturday (May 12) at 8 PM at the First Congregational Church (405 Quail St., Albany). There is a preconcert recital at 7 PM. They will also perform Sunday (May 13) at 3 PM at Community Hall (Benson, Vt.); the preconcert recital is at 2 PM. Tickets for each performance are $16 general admission and $8 students. For more info, call 458-9231.

Heaven and Hell

Ronnie James Dio is not so much a rock star as he is a force of nature, a mythical creature born of something both primal and ethereal, an ageless elfin warrior prepared to rock for an eternity. Although it is rumored he is somewhere between his late 50s and early 60s, most would rather not know exactly what day he was born, because knowing such a date would be like staring into the eye of Medusa, listening to the voice of God, or turning for one last glimpse of Sodom and Gomorrah. On Monday, not only will the throngs of metal faithful have a chance to bow at the leather-clad feet of he who is metal, they also will have the opportunity to thank those who forged the metal: Black Sabbath. When the Sabbath and Dio join forces as “Heaven and Hell” on stage at the Times Union Center, it is possible that there will be a rift in the time-space continuum and all will cease to be, so consider yourself lucky that in the moments leading up to Heaven and Hell you will be serenaded—er, berated by thrash behemoths Machine Head (pictured) and Megadeth. Be warned: To miss the Dio is to diss the Dio, and no one disses Dio.

Heaven and Hell will hit notes you never thought possible on Monday (May 15) at 7 PM, at the Times Union Center (51 S. Pearl Street). Tickets are $49.50 and $39.50. Call 1-800-30-EVENT for more information.

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