colorfully coiffed George Clinton is best known as the frontman
and master of ceremonies for Parliament-Funkadelic, a collective—and
a category unto itself. You don’t describe what Clinton
and his cohort do—though chucking around words like “psychedelic,”
“funk,” and “flying saucer,” will get the ball rolling—you
experience it. (Yes, flying saucer.)
Seriously, you should experience this—in whatever form and
with whatever personel descend from the Mothership.
Formed originally as a doo-wop group in the late ’50s, the
band grew up and soaked up the ’60s in a near omnivorous
fashion: Combine protest politics, homebrew Age of Aquarius-style
crackpot mythos, and virtuosic classical and jazz musicianship
distilled through a blues-informed raunchy hedonism, and
you’ve still got to dance yourself damp to be primed.
We could list the nicknames of its rotating cast of members
and collaborators—Bigfoot, Bootsy, Catfish, P-Nut, Diaperman—or
the titles of tracks—”One Nation Under a Groove,” “Dr. Funkenstein,”
“Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)”—but,
again, we’re just hinting here at the mayhem that the creators
Their music is among the most sampled in rap, and it’s impossible
to imagine the existence of performers such as Red Hot Chili
Peppers, Outkast or any of the G-Funk crew without acknowledging
Clinton and/or P-Funk. Fortunately, there’s no need to imagine
life without them, as they’re still going strong, and strange.
Ringleader George Clinton plays Northern Lights (1208 Route
146, Clifton Park) on Wednesday (Feb. 24). Tickets for the
8 PM show are $20. For more information, call 371-0012.
sharpness of Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic operas takes
a turn for the literal in The Mikado, which deals
with an unlikely executioner: Ko-Ko, a former tailor in
a Japanese town, has been been sentenced to death for flirting,
a degenerate act the Mikado (emporor) has decided to no
longer tolerate. In a clever act of legislative loopholing,
though, the authorities of the village appoint Ko-Ko, himself,
to the post of Lord High Executioner—he can’t very well
execute himself, now can he? This briefly stymies the Mikado’s
desire for discipline.
And things get further complicated: There’s a prince traveling
incognito, a lovely maiden, an older amorous lady and a
love rectangle between—yep—a disguised prince, a beautiful
young woman, a possessive old woman and a Lord High Executioner
feeling imperial pressure to wet his blade. Thoughts of
suicide, promises of marriage, threats of execution, deals
for execution and threats of marriage. . . . It gets messy.
But in the wittiest way. The Mikado is one of Gilbert
& Sullivan’s most performed and beloved comic operas—which
is to say one of the most performed and beloved comic operas,
period. Libbretitst W.S. Gilbert took great advantage of
the exotic setting to satirize institutions and types in
his native England. And very, very few could satirize so
well—and with Sullivan’s expertise, so melodically—as Gilbert.
Mikado is staged by C-R Productions at the Cohoes Music
Hall (58 Remsen St., Cohoes) beginning tonight (Thursday,
Feb. 18) through Feb. 28. For showtimes and tickets, call
“a night of quartets” this Saturday at the Mahaiwe, courtesy
of the good folks behind the Close Encounters With Music
concert series. They’re presenting the acclaimed Avalon
String Quartet, who are “impassioned and imaginative,” according
to poo-bahs of The New York Times.
program will highlight the works of Beethoven, Arensky and
Prokofiev, so be prepared for a long look into the Russian
and German souls. The works selected all have a connection
to the folk music of their respective countries of origin.
Close Encounters With Music will present the Avalon String
Quartet on Saturday (Feb. 20) at the Mahaiwe Performing
Arts Center (14 Castle St., Great Barrington, Mass.) at
6 PM. Tickets are $35. For more info, call (800) 843-0778
or (413) 528-0100.