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The Autonomadic Bookmobile and Medicine Show

All-righty-folks! Step right up and witness Human Marvels Doctor Henceforth Flummox and Professor Okra P. Dingle (pictured) “demonstrate the superhuman feats of strength and skill that good reading has afforded them.” This fantastical exhibition of philosophical physical foolishness includes: a Bed of Nails, the Broken Glass Dancer, Sweet Sally the Singing Saw, Psychic Surgery, Mystifying Escapes . . . and much, much more!

If you’re still with us, folks, it’s time to move inside the bookmobile. It’s not just a spectacle of bizarre wonders, no sir. The Autonomadic Bookmobile, which wheels up to Albany’s Free School (in the Mansion Neighborhood) this Tuesday evening, is just what it says it is—a bookmobile featuring small-press books and zines. Along with titles from Autonomedia books (a New York City-based book-publishing collective), there will be a wide variety of independent publications offered for sale: squatter comics, situationist classics, books on sideshow history, DIY bike-repair zines . . . and (as promised before) much, much more.

A joint venture of the aforementioned Autonomedia collective and the better-known Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, the bookmobile began its journey of wonders and weirdness in 1994. According to its sponsors, the bookmobile “has brought radical cultural theory into the Florida swamps and the Nevada desert, and self-published statements of dissent to small-town streets across the country.” Dear friends, cough up three clams and see what it will do for you!

The Autonomadic Bookmobile will set up shop on Tuesday (Sept. 2) at 8 PM at the Free School (8 Elm St., Albany). The suggested donation is $3. For more information, call 436-0929.

The Blue Man Group

For over 15 years, the New York-based experimental theatrical troupe the Blue Man Group have been flouting conventions and defying the expectations of audiences; in so doing, they’ve become a minor theatrical institution in their own right. They’ve become so successful, in fact, that they’ve franchised, establishing four permanent splinter groups in Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas and Berlin. Now, in a wonderfully perverse bit of logic (artistic perversity being their modus operandi), the Blue Man Group have subverted their own subversion by using the momentum of that cult popularity to go mainstream—after a fashion.

With the release of The Complex, the outfit’s second album, the Blue Man Group have continued the exploration of the sound studio begun on 1999’s Audio. But where the debut album relied on many of the “homemade” instruments the group use in their theatrical presentations (giant, curved lengths of PVC, etc.), The Complex is at its weird heart a rock & roll album, complete with guest-vocalist turns from the likes of Dave Matthews, Bush’s Gavin Rossdale and Tracy Bonham. It’s the Blue Man Group’s cooption of arena rock; so, it only makes sense to stage an arena tour.

Hence, the Complex Rock Tour.

The Blue Man Group have teamed with Marc Brickman—the production designer behind the elaborate tour sets of Pink Floyd, Genesis and Nine Inch Nails—to devise a setting appropriate for a full-scale mauling of the routines typical of the big rock show. They’re promising a “playground,” combining the elements of performance art, rave culture and rock, and even the tentative set list is tantalizing: From the introductory “Drumbone (Rock Manual)” to “Your Attention”—which includes fragments of “Whip It,” “Crazy Train,” “Kashmir” and the Peanuts theme—to “Piano Smasher (Jungian light dimming)” and the closer, “What Is Rock,” the songs suggest the same gleefully anarchic approach that has made the Blue Man Group, heretofore, a hip household word. Now, the Blue Man Group seem ready for the big time; the question is, is the big time ready for them?

The Blue Man Group featuring Tracy Bonham play the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Springs) on Saturday (Aug. 30). Tickets for the 8 PM show are $30-$45. To purchase tickets, call 476-1000.

Ugo Mochi

Ugo Mochi was an internationally acclaimed artist who worked in several different media in his lifetime. He was a designer, sculptor and painter, but the exhibit opening at Opalka Gallery this week, curated by Matthew McElligott, focuses specifically on his illustrations, which Mochi described as “shadows in outline” (pictured is Elephants). These works consist of black silhouettes, usually of animals or of scenes consisting of animals. The Florence, Italy-born artist honed his craft so well that it looks as though he practiced surgical precision when creating these works. In addition to these pieces, the exhibit will feature a newsreel documentary on the artist from 1925, a filmstrip from 1966, and a catalogue with an essay by the curator and a CD which contains both of the films.

The Ugo Mochi show will open at Sage’s Opalka Gallery (140 New Scotland Ave., Albany) on Tuesday (Sept. 2), and it will run through Oct. 19. The opening reception will take place on Friday, Sept. 12, from 4:30 to 7 PM. For more information, call 292-7742 or visit

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