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Darby Penny

One of the most talked-about exhibits in the last decade at the New York State Museum featured the artifacts found in suitcases belonging to long-dead patients at Willard State Hospital, a mental asylum in New York’s Finger Lakes region. The suitcases, which were stored in an attic by the hospital and forgotten for decades, were all that remained to show that these people had “aspirations and accomplishments.”

Tomorrow (Friday) night, the Women’s Building will host a presentation by one of the people associated with the exhibit, mental-health advocate Darby Penny; Penny wrote the recently published book, The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases From a State Hospital Attic. The slide show and lecture will focus on two immigrant women who spent decades in the wards at Willard.

Darby Penny will appear at the Women’s Building (79 Central Ave., Albany) tomorrow (Friday, March 14) at 7 PM. For more info, call 462-2871.

Albany Symphony Orchestra

That peculiar-looking instrument being played in the photo by soloist Wu Wei is a sheng. Wei and his sheng will be featured tomorrow (Friday) night with David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony Orchestra in the debut of Huang Ruo’s Concerto for Sheng. This new work was inspired by ancient Chinese folk music. And in case you’re curious—why not?—a sheng is described as sounding like a cross between a “church organ and a giant harmonica.”

Also on the program of the Key American Music Festival concert will be George Tsontakis’ October and Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1. The latter will also feature mezzo-soprano Lucille Beer.

The Albany Symphony Orchestra will perform tomorrow (Friday, March 14) at 8 PM at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (2nd and State streets, Troy). Tickets are $23 to $46. For more info, call 273-0038.

Louis XIV

Get ready for a blogger-approved riot: San Diego’s great hipster hope, Louis XIV, are coming to town! The band, led by cheeky frontman Jason Hill, currently are hip-shaking their way across the land in support of their second major-label full-length, Slick Dogs and Ponies, and its hip first single, “Guilt by Association.” Be forewarned, though, that this is not one for the kiddies: Hill and company were banned in the state of Alabama for their lascivious lyrical content.

Also on Sunday’s bill are Austin, Texas-based rockers What Made Milwaukee Famous, who pair quirky alt-pop sensibilities with an indelible sense of melody on their new What Doesn’t Kill Us. Holiday and the Adventure Pop Collective and Carolina Liar round out the bill, making this show a real gift to recession-pinched music fans: Four bands for five bucks.

Louis XIV and all those other bands will perform at Jack Rabbit Slims (895 Broadway, Albany) on Sunday (March 16). Tickets are, like we said, only $5, and are available in advance through Ticketmaster or at the door the night of the show, which starts at 7:30 PM. For more information, call the club at 434-4540.

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