any time among local musicians and/or performing artists
in the Capital Region and you’ll hear the complaint that
the area’s shortage of venues is keeping us from artistic
preeminence—and, historically speaking, there’s something
to that point. Now, the good news is that in recent months,
a handful of smaller, forward-looking (and forward-booking)
spaces have cropped up; the bad news is that these are often
fragile, sadly temporary niches (the recently departed Miss
Mary’s Art Space is a case in point). On Sunday, one such
space, 51 3rd Street in Troy (which already has gained some
notoriety for an adventurous window display, as well as
a film screening or two and the odd performance artist)
is hosting a show that should be more than tempting enough
to get you out across the river and into a budding venue,
thereby sparking your undying devotion and unwavering support.
Praised poetically by rock-critic guru Byron Coley as a
“magnificent gauze of lost-commune-folk-smoke-damage,” the
New England-based Iditarod ply a hushed, lush, richly textured
blend of lo-fi psychedelia and British Isles folk à la the
Incredible String Band or Pentangle. Comparisons to Robyn
Hitchcock and Donovan are also frequently thrown into the
mix, suggesting in the end an atmosphere redolent of incense
and folky flights of fancy.
Working a similar vein is Fursaxa, the solo project of Tara
Burke, formerly of Un. Burke pairs mesmerizing (as in Otto
Mesmer) vocals with the mournful drone of the chord organ,
the accordion or the guitar, “turning folk into lo-fi, and
then into sheer psych and back again,” according to the
Philadelphia Weekly’s Joey Sweeney.
The Capital Region gamely chips in, offering up a handful
of its own genre-bending, mind-expanding lo-fi troubadour
types to round out the bill: The Kamikaze Hearts’ Troy Pohl
will team up with the Stars of Rock’s Brent Gorton for a
performance of—if we had to guess—stylistic diversity, convincing
emotionality and a liberal dose of wise-assery; and, finally,
sonic adventurer Jason Martin will chart the outer regions
of pop for your pleasure.
The Iditarod and Fursaxa will share the stage at 51 3rd
Street (51 3rd St., Troy—duh) on Sunday (April 27) beginning
at 8 PM. Also on the bill: Troy Pohl, Karen Codd, Brent
Gorton and Jason Martin. Tickets are $5. For more information,
are some numbers. By various accounts, the number of people
worldwide who were newly infected with HIV last year totaled
5 million. Of these, 3.5 million live in sub-Saharan Africa.
The number of people worldwide who were living with HIV/AIDS
last year was 42 million. There were also, worldwide, 3.1
million deaths from this pandemic, often described as the
worst in human history.
The total number of AIDS deaths, from the beginning of the
scourge through the end of 2002, is around 22 million. Of
these, 4 million were children under 15.
Academy Award-nominated director Robert Bilheimer—who is
based in upstate New York, near Rochester—has made a documentary
that both addresses the almost unimaginable scope of this
plague and puts a human face on it. A Closer Walk
takes audiences around the world, from Kansas City to Haiti,
from Ukraine to Uganda, in an attempt to capture the broad
spectrum of the AIDS crisis. Patients, caregivers, government
officials, scientists, economists and human-rights activists
are interviewed. The political and personal are brought
together with immediacy, for maximum impact.
It’s the kind of film in which the star cameos—Kofi Annan,
the Dalai Lama, Bono—are secondary to the subject. The fact
that folks like these participated, however, illustrates
the importance of the project. (It’s narrated by Will Smith
and Glenn Close.)
Closer Walk will be presented at the Spectrum 8 Theatres
(290 Delaware Ave., Albany) tomorrow (Friday, April 25)
through next Thursday (May 1) as part of the Spectrum’s
spring documentary film series. Call 449-8995 for ticket
and showtime information.
will present a mix of the familiar and the lesser-known
in the final concert of their season, Bows Across the Water.
This is perfectly in character for the adventurous chamber
group, who consistently conceive programs both compelling
and intriguing. Who else would organize a concert of works
around the songs of Bertolt Brecht, as L’Ensemble did this
year, offering the beguiling melodies of Kurt Weill side-by-side
with the thornier compositions of Hanns Eisler?
For the familiar, there is Robert Schumann’s Piano Quartet
in E-flat Major. Often recorded and performed, Schumann’s
chamber pieces are well-loved staples of the literature.
It’s easy to hear why: Romantic and passionate, Schumann’s
piano works are arguably his most compelling. Less known,
however, are the other two works on the program.
Ottorino Respighi’s The Pines of Rome and The
Fountains of Rome are celebrated; his Sonata in B
Minor for Violin and Piano, composed around the same
time, is rarely performed. Romantic where his larger orchestral
works are impressionistic, the sonata demands both nuance
and virtuosity. Charles Martin Loeffler’s Four Songs
for Voice, Viola and Piano is set to texts by Baudelaire
and Verlaine, and is, according to L’Ensemble’s own description,
“mournful, eerie and . . . macabre.” The latter will feature
guest violist Irene Breslaw, of the New York Philharmonic.
L’Ensemble will present Bows Across the Water in the Swyer
Theater at the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) this Sunday
(April 27) at 3 PM. WHMT-FM host Mary Fairchild will lead
a preconcert discussion at 2:15 PM. Tickets are $20. For
reservations and information, call 473-1845.