folks, Cheap Trick are alive and well, and coming to a theater
near you (the Egg, actually). For those of you who spent
the ’70s and most of the ’80s in an oblivious, drug-induced
haze—and there are many of us out there—Cheap Trick burst
out of the Midwest (theretofore undistinguished Rockford,
Ill.) in the mid-’70s with a high-powered brand of pop-rock
that was equal parts assaultive and harmonious. Though heavily
and unmistakably influenced by the British invasion, Cheap
Trick’s music, at its core, nonetheless boasted a big, loud
sound that can only be described as quintessentially American.
Driven by the I-am-a-rock-star guitar of Rick Nielsen—plus
Robin Zander on vocals/rhythm guitar, Bun E. Carlos on drums
and Tom Petersson on bass— Cheap Trick would have none of
the dark, existential writhings of certain of their contemporaries.
Rock & roll, by God, should be fun, the band
Cheap Trick’s 1977 instant-classic album, Live at Budokan,
went triple platinum, with the hit single “I Want You to
Want Me” taking its place as a solid (if grossly overplayed)
radio anthem. Though the band seemingly have fallen off
the radar at times, they’ve been busy. Cheap Trick have
created soundtrack songs for myriad movies, including such
cultish gems as Spring Break, Encino Man,
Say Anything and American Gladiator. They’ve
collaborated with Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, Slash
of Guns N’ Roses and Art Alexakis of Everclear—not to mention
recording with no less than John Lennon, back in the day.
Their latest release, Silver, was recorded live at
a three-day 25th-anniversary bash held in 1999 at Rockford’s
Davis Park. The disc contains a live version of at least
one song from each of the band’s 17 albums.
Cheap Trick will come to the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany)
on Tuesday (April 22). The Anniversary will open the show,
which starts at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $24. For information
or tickets, call 473-1845.
Letter Without Words
it comes to Nazi-era Germany, it might seem like we’ve seen
it all before. (Entire cable-TV empires have been built
on recycled footage of the Nazi rise to power.) The home
movies taken by Ella Lewenz in the ’30s confirm the obvious:
We haven’t seen it all.
Who was Ella Lewenz? Born in Dresden in 1883 into the German-Jewish
aristocracy, she married and moved to Berlin in 1909, where
she remained until her family emigrated to New York in 1938.
Lewenz was an avid amateur filmmaker. While this wasn’t
unusual in the ’20s and ’30s, the quality of her work was.
The technical level was far above the usual home movies.
She shot, developed, edited, titled and dated her films,
capturing—with impressive skill and craftsmanship—images
of Germany between the wars.
These films were long forgotten, however, when Lewenz’s
granddaughter, Lisa Lewenz—who never knew her grandmother—found
them in the attic of the family home three decades after
Ella Lewenz’s death. A documentary filmmaker herself, Lisa
Lewenz set out to learn as much about Ella as possible,
interviewing family members around the world, and returning
to Germany to shoot new footage in the same places her grandmother
did. She combined the footage to make A Letter Without
Words a unique portrait of Germany then and now.
As befits someone who moved in the highest social circles,
Ella Lewenz captured celebrities like film star Brigitte
Helm (Metropolis) and Albert Einstein, who are shown
at happy social occasions. As the Nazis advanced their racist,
murderous social agenda, she captured this too—giving A
Letter Without Words power and historical significance.
Methodically, the rare color footage reveals the depth and
breadth of official Nazi anti-Semitism—giving the lie to
claims that ordinary Germans didn’t know what was going
Lisa Lewenz will present and discuss her film A Letter
Without Words in the Weis Cinema of the Bertelsmann
Campus Center at Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson) tonight
(Thursday, April 17) at 7 PM. Sponsored by Bard’s Jewish-studies
program, the event is free and open to the public. For more
information, call (845) 758-6822.
an unusual come-on for a celebration, we’ll admit right
up front: Dumpster diving probably ranks fairly low on your
list of staples for a successful spring festival. But that
may change. With any luck, EcoLogic—that’s the Rennselaer
Polytechnic Institute’s environmental club—will sneak in
enough education among the good times that you’ll leave
its Earth Day shindig with a whole new respect for the environment,
and a whole new criterion for outdoorsy fun.
Over three days, Eco Logic will hold seminars and events
with just that aim in mind. Beginning on Wednesday, the
club will stage several presentations advocating the more
responsible, more efficient consumption of our resources.
From the aforementioned tutorial on dumpster diving, which
will show you just how much recyclable material is needlessly
wasted every day, to a seminar on the deleterious effects
of unchecked grazing on public lands, EcoLogic will hip
you to the myriad ways in which we’ve been reckless. The
next day, participants will be reminded why a more enlightened
approach is in everyone’s best interest during a hike to
Grafton State Park and a campout on RPI’s campus. (Be honest,
after the long winter, you could use a bit of aerobic exercise;
a little fresh air probably won’t kill ya.) The whole thing
wraps up on April 25 with a benefit concert for Habitat
for Humanity, featuring local bands Off White, Sirsy, Tangent
and the Wait—and all sorts of good and good-for-you vegan
EcoLogic’s Earth Day celebration begins Wednesday (April
23) with a presentation on dumpster diving at RPI’s Sage
Quad at noon, and a 2 PM lecture by Mike Hudak in DCC 330
on public land use. On Thursday (April 24), the group meets
at the RPI Student Union horseshoe at 2 PM for a hike through
Grafton State Park; that night there will be a campout in
front of the library beginning at 7 PM. The festival concludes
on Friday (April 25) at the RPI Student Union (Sage Avenue
and 15th Street): Food, special events and bands will be
featured beginning at 3 PM. For more information and driving
directions, visit www. rpi-ecologic.org.
Scenic Hudson’s annual Great River Sweep takes place Saturday
(April 19) and next Sunday (April 27). Thousands of volunteers
from up and down the Hudson Valley will remove trash and
debris from the area. Call (845) 473-TIDE or e-mail email@example.com
to join an existing crew or to get information on how to
But that’s not all. Other Earth Day fun includes an Earth
Day Vegetarian Feast on Tuesday (April 22—the actual
Earth Day date) at Brandow’s & Company (340 Warren
St., Hudson). In addition to a six-course vegetarian meal
prepared by chef Ken Lammer, Global Hunger Alliance’s Pattrice
Jones will speak on Food & Bombs: Factory Farming, War
and What You Can Do to End Both. The price is $35 for adults
and $17 for children under 12. Call 392-8344 for reservations
Siena College (Route 9, Loudonville) hosts its first annual
Earth Day Celebration on Tuesday (April 22). The festivities
include a Frisbee tournament, live music by Natural Occurrence,
games, food and information about environmental awareness.
Wear earth tones and get groovy.
Finally, the Spring Eagle Magick Shoppe (123 Jay St., Schenectady)
will host an Earth Day Celebration Saturday (April 19) from
midnight to midnight, featuring poets, musicians, drummers
and more. There will be a continual potluck supper, so bring
something tasty and eco-appropriate. For more information,