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The last picture show: Albany’s Madison Theatre. Photo: John Whipple

Art Beat

GONE DARK, INDEFINITELY: When moviegoers showed up at the Madison Theatre last Friday (Aug. 22) to see Seabiscuit, S.W.A.T. or one of their other advertised films, they were greeted instead with a papered-over entrance way. A sign on the marquee read “available,” with a phone number for the Bank of New York—you want to buy a movie theater? One of our intrepid photographers, John Whipple, got an advance tip that the Madison was closing, and took a last-night photograph of the marquee.

BRIGHTER DAYS AHEAD: Ever since 1926, when Bebe Daniels found herself Stranded in Paris, Proctor’s Theatre has been showing films. Lately a second-run house, Proctor’s still shows the occasional film classic (look for Road to Morocco on Sept. 16), and regularly attracts huge crowds. Proctor’s is now fundraising to buy a brand-new Century projector (to replace their 20-year-old Century projector). This will have a bigger power supply, allowing a brighter screen image. The price? $20,000, of which, film programmer Robert Warlock explains, over $2,000 has been raised. Ticket prices haven’t gone up; they’re relying on raffles and donations to foot the bill. So open up your wallets, OK?

SITUATION VACANT: Historic Albany Foundation is preparing for their 2nd annual fund-raiser, Vacancy: Albany’s Abandoned Buildings Through Artists’ Eyes, and they’re looking for artists. (Artist and Metroland writer David Brickman is the honorary chair of the event.) This exhibition and fund-raiser will take place Saturday, Nov. 8, at a location to be announced. The intention is twofold: to raise money (obviously) and awareness about the diversity of Albany’s abandoned structures. As HAF executive director Elizabeth Griffin explains, “Many people are better able to experience the built environment more vividly through artists’ eyes and their art.” According to the guidelines, the work need not be representational, but they “ask that the work be inspired by Albany’s vacant buildings.” Artists will receive 50 percent of the proceeds of any work sold during the show; HAF will keep the other half. Artists interested in participating should contact Susan Olsen at 465-0876.

STRIKE UP THE BAND: Everyone in Troy loves the Uncle Sam Birthday Parade, don’t they? (It’s on Sunday, Sept. 7, this year.) Well, some folks noticed that there hasn’t been a drum-and-bugle corps in the parade in years, and decided to do something about it. There is a fund-raiser today (Thursday, Aug. 28) from 5 to 8 PM at the Irish Mist restaurant (285 Second St., Troy) to bring the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps up from New Jersey. There will be food, prizes, raffles, a DJ and a cash bar. (How would you expect them to raise any money otherwise?) Call 235-0254 for information.

COME AND GET YOUR GRANT: The Arts Center of the Capital Region will be awarding three grants of $2,500 each to individual Rensselaer County-based artists. Artists who live in the county are eligible for the grants for the creation of new work that “involves or engages the community in the creative process.” Projects must be undertaken and completed in 2004. Applications (and more info) can be obtained by calling 273-0552 ext. 229. The deadline is Oct. 14, 2003.

JUST LIKE NEW, CIRCA 1830: You might have the mistaken impression that the Shakers liked things plain. Not so. Researchers have discovered that Shakers actually preferred their built environment to be quite colorful—the interiors, anyway. With this in mind, Pittsfield’s Hancock Shaker Village (Route 20, Pittsfield, Mass.) has restored a room in their 1830 Brick Dwelling with just this in mind. The new chrome yellow, red ochre, and yellow ochre color scheme—the original look, documented by noted paint analyst Susan Buck—is said to be positively jarring. Of course, the paints were ground and mixed by hand, using the same materials and methods the Shakers would have. To find out when you can take a look at this 19th-century wildness, call (800) 817-1137.

JUST LIKE NEW, CIRCA 2003: The New York State Museum (Empire State Plaza, Albany) is installing a new introductory gallery for its popular New York Metropolis permanent exhibit. Using satellite images, computer interactives and new graphics, the idea is to be as 21st-century as possible. Of course, the 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century artifacts from the museum’s permanent collection—like the complete ground-floor façade of a cast-iron building—will be included, too. Some of the changes have already been made, others will be phased in over the next few months. Why not visit regularly to check the progress?

YOU CAN STILL BORROW THE BOOKS: This fall, the Bethlehem Public Library will be undergoing a major building renovation project. So, with the exception of their fall storytime program for kids, all other events and programs for adults and kids will be put on hold from Sept. 1, 2003 through July 1, 2004. (They said it was a major renovation.) The library, however, will remain open throughout the construction—though collection locations will move about the building as renovations progress.

—Shawn Stone

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