to Witness: Rwanda
tragedies of the last decade equal the horrors of the Rwandan
genocide. In this small central African nation—Rwanda is
bordered on the west by Congo and north by Uganda, and is
geographically similar in size to Maryland—approximately
one million ethnic Tutsis were slaughtered by the ethnic
Hutu majority. Most of this killing took place between April
and July 1994 at the rate, according to one estimate, of
one murder every 17 seconds. Within Rwanda itself, it was
a complete societal breakdown, with government officials,
the army and police, teachers, and Protestant and Catholic
officials deeply implicated in the genocide. The international
community, particularly the United Nations, the United States,
Belgium (Rwanda’s former colonial ruler) and France, were
aware of the killings but did nothing.
In March 2002, Catholic Relief Services sponsored Called
to Witness, in which a diverse group—including Saratoga
Springs artist Catherine Wagner Minnery—traveled to Rwanda
to visit genocide sites and meet with both survivor groups
and prisoners who committed the murders. The goal was understanding
and healing. This experience has led to Minnery’s Called
to Witness: Rwanda, an exhibit of paintings, drawings,
writings and photos opening tomorrow (Friday) at the Visions
Gallery in Albany. As Minnery explained in the gallery’s
press release, “The exhibit is one of the ways that I have
been telling the story of my week in Rwanda. . . . To bear
witness is to struggle under the weight of what you know
and to be held accountable. It is a great gift. My challenge
is to make this visible.”
to Witness: Rwanda will be presented at the Visions
Gallery in the Diocesan Pastoral Center (40 N. Main Ave.,
Albany) tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 10) through Feb. 28, with
the opening reception Friday from 5 to 7 PM. On Jan. 26
at 3 PM, Eugenie Mukeshimana, a genocide survivor and current
College of Saint Rose student, will give a presentation.
A donation will be requested for this program, the proceeds
of which will help Mukeshimana defray the costs of her education
Gallery hours are 8 AM to 7 PM weekdays, and the exhibit
is free and open to the public. Call 489-5311 for information.
Call Theatre continues its 2002-2003 season with a world-premiere
comedy-thriller by Saratoga Springs native Victor L. Cahn,
opening tomorrow (Friday).
Cahn, a professor at Skidmore College, has had several of
his plays produced both locally and in New York City, and
his current production also is receiving much NYC buzz.
It’s the story of a high-powered CEO in the exercise business,
her chess-playing husband and an alluring stranger. There
are plot twists galore in this 90-minute puzzler. The production
will be directed by Curtain Call’s resident director Steven
Fletcher, and features Eva Dolan, Agnes Kapusta and Howie
to Kill will be staged at Curtain Call Theatre (210
Old Loudon Road, Latham) starting tomorrow (Friday, Jan.
10) and running through Feb. 2. Performances will be Wednesdays
through Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM. Tickets are
$15. For more information, call 877-7529.
Extras CD-Release Party
haven’t seen Albany punk band the Extras lately—if you think
you have, you must have just woken up from a 20-year sleep.
’Cause the Extras were hot then—20 years ago—banging out
power chords to adoring audiences all over town. Now many
of you who may remember the band—frontman and bassist Mark
DeForge, guitarist Eric Van Sleet and drummer George Lipscomb—may
not be clubgoing regulars these days, but that’s OK. It’s
just like riding a bike. For the kids who are perhaps unfamiliar
with the early-’80s music scene ’round here, let us tell
you a little story.
There was a time when many area band names were littered
with those letters relegated to the end of the alphabet:
the Scuzzies, the Dizzies, the Dronez, the X-Istentials.
The Extras, an integral part of that era’s scene, ran with
that crowd. “It was a great time to be alive and into music
in Albany, New York, USA,” DeForge claims on the liner notes
of the band’s recent release, Ugly American.
Which brings us to our point: The Extras recorded Ugly
American on a June day more than 20 years ago (1982
to be exact) in a mad dash to get their songs recorded before
DeForge did time for a drug rap. Those tapes sat around
for 18 years until onetime Extras fan Jim Furlong (who provided
the dough for the session) decided they should see the light
of day. After some remastering and tweaking, the CD finally
was finished, and the reunited band will celebrate at Savannah’s
tonight (Thursday). Ugly American contains a load
of original material and select covers such as the Barbarians’
“Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl,” the Young Rascals’ “Good
Lovin’ ” and the Modern Lovers’ “Rockin’ Shoppin’ Center.”
You can revisit early-’80s Albany when the Extras play their
CD-release show tonight (Thursday, Jan. 9) at Savannah’s
(1 S. Pearl St., Albany). Local pub-punk favorites Nogoodnix
will open the show. Doors open at 9 PM, and $5 gets you
in the door ($4 advance tickets). Call the club, 426-9647,
for more information.