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Cabin Fever Comedy Tour

In order for our population to survive the serious code-salmon cabin-fever outbreak of recent weeks, area inhabitants should immediately commence self-medication. Aside from begging your doc for stronger meds (which isn’t always effective), we’ve found that laughter—anything from a giggle to a piss-your-pants guffaw—is a viable remedy. Comedian Gregor Wynnyczuk has stepped up to the civic-duty plate, and has set up a few temporary-relief tents around town. With a little help from his friends, Wynnyczuk is infusing the weary with laughter. There is still a chance we might pull through.

A six-year veteran of the stand-up circuit, Wynnyczuk and fellow comedian Greg Aidala have assembled a group of comics for a mini-nightclub tour, the Cabin Fever Comedy Tour—which had a three-night stint at the Larkin last week and is coming to Justin’s on Saturday. The two are carving out a somewhat unique path for an art form that is usually found amid the walls of a comedy club. It’s a refreshing change for Wynnyczuk, who often finds that comedy-club crowds don’t get his humor.

“If a comedy-club audience doesn’t like what I’m doing, I’ll be like ‘Listen, give me five more minutes of doing this, then we’ll do as many dick jokes as you want,’ ” he says. “Comedy-club audiences come in with certain expectations.” So what to do with his current-event laced monologue? That’s where the slightly more sophisticated, slightly more urban crowd comes in handy.

“You can trust the crowd a little bit more,” the comic says of a nightclub show.

“Because you can assume that they’re going to be with you a little more, maybe politically. And you can experiment.

“I did a big rant about the state of affairs in America, where we’re on the verge of going to war but all we can do is watch the Michael Jackson special,” recalls Wynnyczuk. “It wasn’t six jokes a minute, but the audience was really into it, and at the end they were super appreciative. But it wasn’t full of punchlines. It was full of honesty—and people thought it was good.”

It’s Wynnyczuk’s hope that more venues for alternative comedy will crop up, as the art of stand-up seems to making a resurgence. “It’s sometimes a matter of convincing the someone at Justin’s or the Larkin to let you get some stage time to put a show together.” As it stands, he’s scheduling a series of Sunday shows at the Larkin beginning April 20 called the Comedy Lab, which will incorporate a rotating cast of comics, “with the emphasis being on trying new and different material that you couldn’t necessarily do at a comedy club,” he says.

The Cabin Fever Comedy Tour’s finale will take place Saturday (March 8) at Justin’s (301 Lark St., Albany), and includes performances by Aidala, Mik Bilaz, Holly Chiesa and Aaron Ward. The show starts at 11 PM; tickets are $5. Call the club, 436-7008, for information about the show. Call Wynnyczuk, 209-3001, for information about the Comedy Lab.

—Kate Sipher

Beggars and Choosers: Motherhood Is Not a Class Privilege in America

Just before Valentine’s Day, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a welfare-reform bill increasing work requirements for single mothers on welfare, while limiting the amount of time these women can spend in classes or job-training programs. While it includes only a slight increase in child-care subsidies, there is $1.5 billion in the legislation for five years’ worth of programs promoting marriage and sexual abstinence. Not exactly a bouquet of roses from Cupid.

In fact, it seems more than a little like class warfare. How timely, then, that a photographic exhibit challenging the preconceptions behind this kind of punitive public policy is coming to the area. Beggars and Choosers: Motherhood Is Not a Class Privilege in America will open tomorrow (Friday) at Skidmore College’s Schick Art Gallery.

Curators Rickie Solinger and Kay Obering object to the idea that only women with “proper resources” are fit for motherhood. They have selected more than 60 photographs by 43 photographers documenting the love and dignity of mothers denied their proper status, they argue, “by public opinion, public policy and the media.” They aim “to present a photography exhibition that challenges prevailing ideas that motherhood in America should be a class privilege.”

Beggars and Choosers: Motherhood Is Not a Class Privilege in America will be presented at the Schick Art Gallery of Skidmore College (815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs) beginning tomorrow (Friday, March 7), and running through April 6. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM, and weekends from 1 to 4:30 PM. A reception and lecture—Nine Ways of Looking at a Poor Woman—featuring cocurator Ricki Solinger will be held on March 27 at 6:30 PM. The exhibition, lecture and reception are free and open to the public. For more information, call 580-5049.

Capital Heritage Commissions

In celebration of old Albany, 13 members of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, led by maestro David Alan Miller, will perform three world-premiere compositions inspired by three architectural landmarks—at each of the landmarks, no less—on Saturday as part of the Capital Heritage Commissions.

James Matheson’s Collonnade will start the program at the New York State Education Building (89 Washington Ave., Albany). The building’s 36 giant pillars are the inspiration for this 17-minute composition. Matheson was awarded the 2000 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and has also received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The ASO is also scheduled to premiere a large-scale orchestral composition by Matheson in April of next year.

The tour will then move on to Albany’s Wilborn Temple (121 Jay St.), where the orchestra will perform a piece by Allen Shawn. The late-19th-century building served as the Temple Beth-Emeth prior to becoming a Pentecostal church in the 1960s. Shawn has received the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Concluding the tour will be Daron Hagen’s composition in the Lansing Gallery of the Albany Institute of History and Art (125 Washington Ave.). Hagen’s three-part Chamber Symphony was inspired by artwork from the institute’s permanent collection. Hagen also has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and has been the recipient of the Barlow Foundation grant and prize.

The tour begins at noon on Saturday (March 8) at the New York State Education building. Dr. Warren Roberts, a professor at the University at Albany, will hold a discussion of the landmarks before each premiere. Tickets are $12 per show and discussion; $75 for all three shows, including discussions and dinner at Albany’s University Club. For tickets and further information, call 465-4755.

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