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Will Waldron

Condolences to the friends, family and admirers of Albany watercolorist Rafael Joseph Gonzalez, who died on March 23 at the age of 55. A Puerto Rican native, Gonzales relocated to New York in his youth, then studied drawing before turning his eye to biology. After getting his bachelor’s in biology from the College of Saint Rose, he taught the subject in area schools until Parkinson’s Disease derailed his career. After nearly two decades of struggling with the disease, Gonzalez returned to art in 1999, and found that creating watercolors was therapeutic. In December of last year, Gonzalez told Metroland: “I paint because the biggest thrill is when someone comes into the gallery, I put a smile on people’s faces. God truly has given me more than I have lost.” A memorial service was scheduled for early today (Thursday), but those wishing to pay their respects can also view Gonzalez’ watercolors at the Samuel E Gallery, located at 127 Jay St. in Schenectady, where the artwork will be on display until May 4. . . . Area singer-songwriter Liv Cummins is preparing to launch a novel new performance series, called Saturday Night Liv—with the last word pronounced “leave,” just like the singer’s first name. Cummins says that the first show in the series will happen on May 18 at the Pleshakov Music Center, located at 544 Warren St. in Hudson, and that the future of the series will depend on how well it’s received. But before any determination of where the series will go can occur, Cummins has to gather her own version of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players, because she says she wants the show to feature “actors, singers, comedians, novelty acts” and more. Toward that end, the series’ enterprising producer-director-host will hold auditions this Saturday (April 6) at the Pleshakov Music Center, beginning at noon. For more information, call 329-5484. . . . The Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council recently added a new display area to its network of spaces where members can showcase their wares. The new area is in the Mary McClellan Hospital in the Skilled Nursing Facility in Cambridge, and Cambridge on Canvas, an oil painting by Saratoga Springs artist Stu Eichel, will be on display there through April 22. For more information, call LARAC at 798-1144. . . . The lineup for the third annual Lake Placid Film Forum, which takes place from June 5 to June 9, is quickly taking shape, and it appears the event’s organizers may even outdo the first two festivals. The schedule is loaded with seminars and master classes led by luminaries from Hollywood and independent film, and seminars will tackle such timely subjects as how filmmakers can remain independent in an increasingly corporatized world. Some highlights include appearances by cult-fave director Kevin Smith, who will appear on a panel about comic books and also lead a discussion about the evolution of his notorious movie Chasing Amy; a discussion of special effects led by legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen; an acting class led by John Turturro; and a discussion of how other countries regard American films, featuring Indian-born director Mira Nair and critic-turned-filmmaker Paul Schrader, among others. For more information, check out . . . Send Art Beat items to or call 463-2500, ext. 144.

—Peter Hanson


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