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Michelle Shocked

For those who are of a certain age and remember the Years of Our Lord 1987 and 1988, folk rocker Michelle Shocked was an artist, like Jane’s Addiction and Melissa Etheridge, who embodied “indie.” This doesn’t mean “indie rock”; it means that her records were broken on college radio and then crossed over to commercial rock stations. While we will happily concede that most commercial radio sucks even more now than it did in the late 1980s, the way it sucked back then was plenty tedious. And like Perry Farrell and company, Shocked had a don’t-fuck-with-me attitude that shined through on her biggest hits, the haunting ballad “Anchorage” and the bluesy rocker “If Love Was a Train.”

Twenty years later, Shocked—who looks and sounds eerily the same—is still making happily in-your-face music. Only this time, it’s for the Lord: Her latest album, ToHEAVENuRide, is firmly in the African-American gospel tradition, and, as ever, the she’s making a big, rocking sound. Only now, it’s for Jesus.

Don’t worry, old fans, because she still sings her old songs, too.

Michelle Shocked will perform tonight (Thursday, Dec. 6) at 8 PM at the Linda, aka the WAMC Performing Arts Studio (339 Central Ave., Albany). Tickets are $30. For reservations, call 465-5233.

Albany Pro Musica

Wherever your personal beliefs fall on the whole Christmas-Hanukkah-nothing continuum, you can’t help but admit that the holidays are one of the best times of the year to hear glorious, spiritually inspired music. If you don’t believe us, flip ahead a few pages to the calendar listings and note the numerous concert bands, choirs, chamber ensembles, college orchestras and community groups performing Handel and Mozart and Dvorák and Leroy Anderson (“Sleigh Ride”) this week—and next.

One of the great Capital Region community treasures is the large vocal ensemble Albany Pro Musica, who will perform the program With Voice and Harp twice this weekend, at the St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham and the Scotia Reformed Church. The choir will perform both a cappella and accompanied by harpist Karlinda Caldicott; the seasonal program will include parts of Benjamin Britten’s wonderful Ceremony of Carols.

Albany Pro Musica will perform Saturday (Dec. 8) at 8 PM at St. Joseph’s Provincial House (Carondelet Music Center, Route 155 and Delatour Road, Latham) and Sunday (Dec. 9) at 3 PM at the Scotia Reformed Church (224 N. Ballston Ave., Scotia). Tickets are $10 to $25. For information, call 438-6548.

Nellie Bly: The First Woman Reporter

In 1887, Nellie Bly pitched a story idea to New York World publisher Joseph Pulitzer: She would feign insanity, get herself institutionalized in the Women’s Lunatic Assylum on Blackwell Island, and return to Pulitzer with reports from the inside. The fer ocity of the stunt, and her deft coverage of the cruel treatment she re ceived, launched a reform movement, landed Bly a full-time job, and catapulted her to na tional fame. Bly continued to champion women’s rights, oppose corruption in business and government, and amaze the world with her “stunt journalism.”

Steamer No.10 Theatre artistic director Ric Chesser has adapted her story into a live drama, opening this weekend. The script draws extensively from two of Bly’s books, Ten Days in a Madhouse and Around the World in 72 Days, and, according to Chesser, “attempts to emphasise the power [in] the words Nellie Bly wrote.”

Nellie Bly: The First Woman Reporter will be presented at Steamer No.10 Theatre (500 Western Ave., Albany) this Saturday (Dec. 8) at 3 PM and Sunday (Dec. 9) at 11 AM and 3 PM. It continues next weekend (Dec. 15-16) at the Saratoga Arts Center (Dee Sarno Theatre, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs). Tickets are $12, $10 for students and seniors. For more information, or to make reservations, call 438-5503.


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