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Ephemeral Beauty

Al Parker, whose work is the subject of Ephemeral Beauty: Al Parker and the American Women’s Magazine, 1940-1960, opening at the Norman Rockwell Museum this weekend, was one of the most innovative illustrators of his time—he helped shape what postwar America looked like, both figuratively and literally. Parker did cover illustrations for women’s magazines—a vehicle through which he “chronicled the evolution of an idealized American family as it prepared for war, homecoming, and rebirth (i.e. the Baby Boom),” according to one historian.

Over 13 years, Parker did 50 cover illustrations for Ladies’ Home Journal; the first featured a mother-and-daughter pair who were dressed similarly, and it created an overnight fashion sensation. Parker also provided cover illustrations for Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, McCall’s, Vogue and Town and Country. Pictured is Tell Me the Time (1946), from LHJ.

The Rockwell Museum collaborated with Washington University in St. Louis (Parker’s alma mater) on this show. Also included are works by other prominent illustrators of that period like Coby Whitmore, Joe de Mers, Joseph Bowler, John LaGatta, and Jon Whittcomb.

Ephemeral Beauty will open at the Norman Rockwell Museum (9 Glendale Road, Route 183, Stockbridge, Mass.) on Saturday (June 9), and run through Oct. 28. The opening reception for this show is Saturday from 7 to 9 PM, featuring Diane Salvatore, the editor-in-chief of Ladies’ Home Journal. Admission to the opening is $35, $50 guests. Also on Saturday, there will be a Glam Gala from 6 to 11 PM; admission is $150 museum members; $175 guests. For more information, call (413) 298-4100 or visit


When Sacramento, Calif.-based melodic post-hardcore group Deftones were announced as one of the first signings to Madonna’s Maverick record label 11 or 12 years ago, the collective response was “Huh?” Here was a label that had just posted a massive, unexpected success with the angst-ridden alternapop of Alanis Morrissette, and they were taking a chance with a decidedly uncommercial—and un-Alanis—act like Deftones. Little did we know: The band, fronted by Chino Moreno’s unmistakable breathy howl, continue to challenge their fans and themselves to this day, with five albums (plus one B-sides collection) of atmospheric and surprisingly interesting metal (for lack of a better term) under their belt, and millions of records sold. For Saturday Night Wrist, their latest, the band broke from longtime producer Terry Date to instead work with Pink Floyd producer Bob Ezrin; and, while they don’t sound any more like Floyd, they maintain an edge on their contemporaries by incorporating that aforementioned melody into their moody, heavy flow, especially on tracks like “Hole in the World” and “Cherry Waves.”

Deftones will play the Washington Avenue Armory (195 Washington Ave., Albany) on Sunday (June 10). Dir en Grey and the Fall of Troy are scheduled to open the 7 PM show. Tickets are $30 at the door, $27.50 in advance, and can be purchased by calling the Armory box office at 694-7160.

Brian Regan

To most people, a trip to the emergency room is very, very unfunny. For comedian and self-described goofball Brian Regan, who makes his living by sniffing the funny out of everyday life, it is a source of hilarity. “I tend to perform on the tame side of the tracks, so to speak,” Regan says of his PG-, possibly PG-13-rated stand-up. “But, at the same time, I don’t like my comedy to be completely devoid of any bite whatsoever.”

Thus, the emergency-room routine.

Tonight (Thursday), Regan is making a stop at Albany’s Palace Theatre, his final performance before he hits the road on a nationwide tour that’ll be backed by Comedy Central. “It [the tour] is actually kicking into a little bit of a higher level, starting in Albany,” Regan says. “Comedy Central is starting to back my tour, and Albany will be kind of a send-off.”

In addition to the tour, Regan’s deal with Comedy Central includes two one-hour television specials, a DVD, and a show on the network. It’s big news for the comedian who began performing in theater venues only a couple of years ago.

Prior to that, more than a decade of comedy-club performances earned Regan acclaim among a younger, college crowd. The jump to larger venues has helped expand the age of his audience, Regan says. “I’ll see teenage kids and I’ll also see 70-year-old people. Sometimes people bring their kids and their parents. It’s flattering that people realize that they’re not gong to hear anything that’s offensive.”

Although Regan, who’s based in Las Vegas, has performed twice before in Albany, both at the Egg, he says ticketholders should expect an all-new show with a sprinkling of his classics.

“When I was performing in comedy clubs, an old bit was an old bit to me,” Regan says. “I just never really did it again, but now that I’m doing these theaters, you get a chance to stretch out a little bit, and I’m realizing that audiences really like to hear some of the older material as well.”

Audiences regularly shout out their favorite requests, including, “You, too”—a spoof about using that phrase improperly when, for example, the ticket clerk says, “Have a nice flight,” or the server invites you to, “Enjoy your meal”—and the one he calls “Pop-Tarts.”

“I have this routine about the fact that there are actually directions on a box of Pop-Tarts, and I just marvel at any kind of person who would ever have to actually consult these Pop-Tarts directions,” Regan says. “You never know when you write a joke what people are going to hook into and what people are not going to hook into, but for some reason this Pop-Tarts routine has struck a chord.”

The Pop-Tarts joke, as with all of Regan’s material, is born out of his own personal experiences and observations. They’re everyday topics—mortgages, parenting, politics, childhood—that most audiences can relate to either in their own lives or in the lives of people they know.

Brian Regan will perform tonight (Thursday, June 7) at 8 PM at the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave., Albany). Tickets for the show are $36. For more information or reservations, call the box office at 476-1000.

—Nicole Klaas

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