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Albany LatinFest

The cast of West Side Story may have taken their final bow at Park Playhouse, but the beat goes on this Saturday in Washington Park as Price Chopper and the Albany Latin Festival Association throw their 13th annual LatinFest. A celebration of Hispanic contributions to art and culture, the daylong event will feature music, food, arts and crafts as well as a kid zone for the niños.

Puerto Rican singer Andy Montañez headlines the event with his trademark “salsaton,” a mixture of salsa and reggaeton; he’s the winner of a Latin Grammy in 2006 for Best Traditional Tropical Album. Sharing the main stage will be Ismael Miranda, the “Pretty Boy of Salsa,” who began touring professionally at the ripe old age of 11. But if that’s not enough to swivel your hips, Amarfis y La Banda de Atakke will deliver a high-energy romp of contemporary merengue straight from the Dominican Republic. Bringing it all back home is Albany’s own Rigo-Rigo, el babyface de la Bachata.

Come sun, the festival begins Saturday (Aug. 23) at 11 AM in Washington Park (Albany) and runs until 6 PM. Come rain, they’re setting up shop at the Corning Preserve Boat Launch underneath Interstate 787. Either way, the event is free. For more info, call 542-7212.

Impressionist Giverny

Claude Monet’s soft paintings depicting the gardens and landscapes in his quiet town of Giverny, France, are some of impressionism’s most iconic images. But Giverny welcomed hundreds of artists to its rolling countryside between the late 1880s and the tumultuous beginnings of World War I. Drawn by Monet’s work and the promise of painting en plein air—working in natural light was key for the impressionist masters—artists from America and across Europe shaped the pastoral town into a vibrant artists community.

Impressionist Giverny: American Painters in France, 1885-1915, drawn from the collection of the Terra Foundation for American Art, explores the work of American artists working in Giverny at the turn of the century. The exhibition includes more than 40 paintings by artists such as John Leslie Breck, Willard Leroy Metcalf, Lilla Cabbot Perry, Frederick Carl Frieske (Frieske’s 1911 oil Breakfast In the Garden is pictured), and Albany artist Will H. Low.

Impressionist Giverny will be on view at the Albany Institute of History and Art (125 Washington Ave., Albany) beginning Saturday (Aug. 23) through Jan. 4, 2009. For more info, call 463-4478.

Journey, Heart, Cheap Trick

The acts on Sunday’s SPAC bill must have sold a billion albums back when music was stamped into the grooves of shiny black platters.

Journey, Heart and Cheap Trick all burst on the scene in the 1970s. Journey were a jazz-rock offshoot of Santana but evolved, thanks to golden-voiced Steve Perry, into the power-ballad masters of the 1980s. If you were around then, you know Journey; today, thanks to Family Guy, American Idol and The Sopranos, the kids know Journey, too.

Heart, led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson (pictured), were ferocious rockers (“Barracuda”) who thrived by following Journey’s path, conquering the airwaves with power ballads. Cheap Trick were prepunk subversives, bending the big beat of the ’60s to their warped point of view; “Surrender” is one of the greatest rock songs, like, ever. Cheap Trick survived the ’80s—when Diane Warren was the Ming the Merciless of pop—with power ballads, too.

Journey’s Perry is retired, but new guy Arnel Pineda is said to be the real deal; and longtime members Neal Schon, Ross Valory and Jonathan Cain are still around. The Wilson sisters still rock, and Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen is still a nut. All is well.

One final, 1981-appropriate request: Please bring real lighters to SPAC. Holding up a glowing cell phone for “Open Arms” would be weak.

Journey, Heart and Cheap Trick will perform Sunday (Aug. 24) at 7 PM at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs). Tickets are $25 (lawn) to $130. For more info, call 476-1000.

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