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The Master Plan

The term “supergroup” give us the shivers—we’ve been burned before. But the Master Plan, who will headline the first-anniversary party at Artie’s Lansingburgh Station on Saturday, really can’t be referred to in any other way. I mean, what else would you call a band featuring members of both the Fleshtones—whom Artie’s regulars know to be one of the greatest live acts going—and the Dictators? (Pictured are the Fleshtones, left, and the Dictators, right.) If those names don’t yet set your heart to racing, young rock & roller, you’ve got quite a treat in store for you, because if the Master Plan can even approximate the sheer balls-out glory of their formative elements, you’re going rush home after this gig and slap your White Stripes, Hives and Strokes CDs up on eBay and start telling your family members that all you want for Christmas is a copy of the Dictators live album Fuck ’Em If They Can’t Take a Joke.

The bands both formed in the mid ’70s in New York City, and both were driven by a love for the crude, exuberant racket of the American garage rock of preceding decades. Each shaded their sounds differently—the Fleshtones also drew on ’50s-style rockabilly, R&B and surf, while the Dictators referenced the slash-and-burn pop of the British Invasion, particularly the sonic aggression of the Who—but both emphasized the joyful, irreverent, hedonistic and visceral aspects of a pre-disco existence: a racket that critics have now tagged proto-punk. Each band released an album or two regarded as minor classics (the Fleshtones’ debut, Roman Gods, and 1983’s Hexbreaker, and the Dictators’ phenomenal first release, 1975’s The Dictators Go Girl Crazy), but they ended up being overshadowed by bands for whom they had helped pave the way. The Dictators called it quits in 1978, though members remained active in the music industry (bassist Mark Mendoza ended up with Twisted Sister, Scott Kempner started the Del-Lords, and Ross “the Boss” Funichello spent some time with the Spinal Tap-meets-Gwar act Manowar, later hooking up with his former bandmates Andy Shernoff and Handsome Dick Manitoba in Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom), and the Fleshtones continued to tour and record while juggling numerous side projects.

And now, the side projects collide: Fleshtones guitarist Keith Streng and drummer Bill Milhizer (a Troy native, don’t you know) have teamed with Dictators bassist-keyboardist-visionary Andy Shernoff to form the Master Plan, a project members describe as “a bit of rootsy-ness, a swig of booziness, and a blast of fun from the hop.” (Just between you and us, they also describe themselves as a “band whose destiny was colossus,” but we don’t really understand what that’s supposed to mean.)

The Master Plan, along with locals the Decadent Royals and the Lawn Sausages, will celebrate the one-year anniversary of Artie’s Lansingburgh Station (606 Second Ave., Troy) on Saturday (July 13). Tickets for the 9 PM show are $5. For more information, 238-2788.

After Cocktails With a JackAss

If the title After Cocktails With a JackAss won’t get you to an event, nothing we say will either, but what the hey. We’ve got the space.

After Cocktails With a JackAss is actually three comic plays written by our very own Jack Doll (pictured): Take the Money and Run, about our fascination with reality television; No Toe People Are Alike, starring Doll as conjoined twins preparing for a prom; and A Mad Tea Party at the Adult Learning Center, a twisted journey through the Mad Hatter’s party as experienced through those at an adult-education center (“underachievers and hasty decision makers,” says the press info).

The whole shebang (taking place at Changing Spaces beginning Wednesday) is produced by J.E.R.K. Theater, made up of Doll (who recently left her post of general manager of Capital Repertory Theatre), producer Elizabeth Doran, artist-designer Ryan Sharkey, director Kwinn Doran and a cast of seven area actors.

After Cocktails With a JackAss begins Wednesday (July 17) at Changing Spaces (306 Hudson Ave., Albany). There will also be performances July 19, July 25-26 and Aug. 1-2 at 8 PM, and July 21 at 7 PM. Call 433-1537 or visit www.jerktheater.com for further information.

Lake George Arts Project

Photography by Mark Abrahamson and Jean-Paul Bourdier will be on display at the Lake George Arts Project’s Courthouse Gallery (1 Amherst St., Lake George), beginning tonight (Thursday, July 11), and running until Aug. 26. Both artists’ work in the exhibit are landscapes of a sort, with Abrahamson’s aerial shots (pictured is his SUB 98) taking on a painterly quality, and Bourdier’s work consisting of traditional-style landscapes dramatically imbued with shockingly artificial colors and insertions. Call 668-2616 for information.


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