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Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble

“Levon started holding these Saturday night shows at his studio in Woodstock in 2005,” wrote Paul Rapp in these very pages on April 14, about one of Levon Helm’s Midnight Rambles. You should go back and read Rapp’s review online, but here’s the money quote: “Everything swung hard, as things do when Levon’s drumming; the room rocked.”

These shows have been a much-sought-after ticket, both for the intimacy of the presentation and, well, because it’s Levon Helm, drummer and singer for one of the great bands, the Band. Now, Helm is bringing this loose, intimate show to the Egg on Friday, along with some as-yet-unnamed special guests; Ollabelle, featuring Helm’s daughter Amy, will open.

Experience Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble at the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) tomorrow (Friday, June 29) at 8 PM. Tickets are $58.50, with a limited number of tickets available at $125 that include a backstage reception with Helm after the show. For reservations and information, call 473-1845.

Tale of the Allergist’s Wife

The Theater Barn’s summer season continues tonight with the opening of Charles Busch’s award-winning comedy-drama, Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. The play, which is very different from Busch’s earlier spoofs (i.e., Vampire Lesbians of Sodom), concerns the midlife travails of Marjorie Taub, who is married to an Upper West Side doctor, tormented by her elderly, “bowel-obsessed” mother and dealing with the fact that her therapist has died. Into this mix comes a “fascinating and somewhat mysterious” childhood friend.

The New York Times praised the original production for earning its “wall-to-wall laughs”; the notoriously picky John Simon (of New York magazine) called it “an intelligently funny and satirically relevant uptown comedy.”

Tale of the Allergist’s Wife opens tonight (Thursday, June 28) at 8 PM at the Theater Barn (654 Route 20, New Lebanon) and continues through July 8. Shows are Thursdays and Fridays at 8 PM; Saturdays at 5 and 8:30 PM; and Sundays at 2 PM. Tickets are $20; $18 for Sunday matinees. For reservations, call 794-8989.

July 4th Celebrations

It’s time to celebrate the 231st birthday of these United States of America.

Of course, the main regional jamboree is at the Empire State Plaza, where the good folks at Price Chopper will again sponsor July 4th on the Plaza. The fun starts at 2 PM and continues through 10 PM, when it’s time for the fireworks spectacular. There will be food, fun and music—this year, the latter is being provided by the Spin Doctors, Melvin Sparks, Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers and Ten Year Vamp.

Over in Western Massachusetts, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus are putting on two shows at the Dream Away Lodge (Becket, Mass.). There’s a “family show” at 3 PM ($15, or “pay your age”) and a “burlesque show” at 7 PM ($15); plus, the Dream Away will feature “classic Fourth of July fare throughout the day and evening, BBQ chicken, burgers, salads and more.” For more info, call (413) 623-8725.

Totally family-friendly is the aptly named July Fourth Family Fest at the Columbia County Fairgrounds (Route 66, Chatham). There will be free rides for the kiddies (over age 3) on more than a dozen amusement rides (pictured) all afternoon and evening; also, there will be free arts and crafts activities, and a petting zoo. For a “modest fee,” there are pony rides, too. Of course there’s a Beer Pavilion, with music by the Skeeter Creek Band (beginning at 6:30 PM) for the 21-and-over crowd, and fireworks. The gates open at 3 PM; admission is $5 (free to 3-years-old and under). For more info, visit

Needless to say, all these events are Wednesday, July 4.

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