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Public Enemy

Say what you will about Wikipedia’s accuracy, but for the most part users are scrupulous about eliminating blatant editorializing. That’s why this sentence in the entry for Public Enemy struck us: “For five years in the uneasy ’80s and the early ’90s, Public Enemy was to hip-hop what the Clash was to punk: the only band that mattered.” Seems no one’s willing to say otherwise.

Nor should they. Flavor Flav’s behavior these past few years may have cast the hype man’s career in somewhat cartoonish light, but it’s tough to find a harsh word to say about Public Enemy. For those of you who missed the ’80s, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet heralded “the golden age of hip-hop,” and Chuck D’s lyricism made the art form a radical political tool. And it seems the group, and Chuck D especially, still have plenty to say. They have continued to put out records through this past decade, with How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul? the latest.

Wednesday’s show features a (nearly) full original lineup including Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff and the S1Ws, as well as special guests Kendo the Almost Famous, the Banned, J-Live, Has-Lo, Propaganda, Giant Gorilla Dog Thing, and DJ Playground.

Public Enemy will come to Northern Lights (1208 Route 146, Clifton Park) on Wednesday (Aug. 10) at 9 PM. Tickets are $25. Call 371-0012 for more info.

Yin Mei Dance

Paper, ink, video projections, traditional art, computer animation and contemporary movement merge in Yin Mei Dance’s repertory work City of Paper to explore a year of the choreographer’s childhood during the Chinese cultural revolution.

Yin Mei creates a dream landscape of unfurling pages, set to an original score by Richard Marriott, performed live by viola virtuoso Stephanie Griffin and layered with strains of French bossa nova and the experimental compositions of Bora Yoon, for an experience the Pillow promises will be “a stirring meditation on history and perception.”

The Los Angeles Times called Yin Mei “a dancer of luminous clarity,” and the Village Voice described her work as dance that “brushes our mind with images whose poetry ensnares us, whose enigmas taunt us.”

Yin Mei Dance brings City of Paper to Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (Doris Duke Theatre, 358 George Carter Road, Becket, Mass.) tonight (Thursday, Aug. 5) at 8:15 PM, with five performances scheduled through Sunday (Aug. 8). Tickets are $37.50, $34.50 for students and seniors. For more info, or to purchase tickets, call (413) 243-0745.

Miss Saigon

Composer Claude Michel Schönberg and lyricist Alain Boublil, the genius musical-theater team behind Les Misérables, were inspired by a photo Schönberg unearthed by chance one autumn afternoon in Paris: a Vietnamese woman giving up her child at a Saigon airport gate to the hope of better opportunity with her father in America.

The anguish of the parting mother and daughter was palpable. Their story resonated with the stories of thousands of Vietnamese children fathered by American GIs who immigrated to America under the Amerasian Homecoming Act—and echoed through history, to the similar story of love and abandonment Puccini made famous with Madama Butterfly.

Schönberg and Boublil penned their own musical saga on the common but extraordinary theme: the evocative story of love and sacrifice in a world ripped by war. The resulting hit, Miss Saigon, has been seen by more than 33 million people in 12 different languages throughout 25 countries.

Miss Saigon opens at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady) on Tuesday (Aug. 10) at 8 PM and runs through Aug. 15. Tickets range from $20 to $75, with a 20-percent discount available to members of the military. For more info, call 346-6204.

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