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