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Picture Book

The times they have a-changed: Richard D. Schoenberg’s photograph of Bob Dylan.

Harken back, if you will, to the area’s rock shows of the late ’70s, and your memory will likely place you in the late-great J.B. Scott’s. It seems every big name came through the place. The Pretenders, the Plasmatics, the Jam, the Band, Bob Dylan, the Tourists (who went on to become Eurythmics) and a fella who was known then as John Cougar all came to the club. And photographer Richard D. Schoenberg, who was in Albany to attend college, captured all of those acts on film—chronicled in his recently published book, Seventy-Nine Eighty.

The book is broken up into two years, ’79 and ’80—for those of you who don’t make connections quickly—and includes a slew of photos taken at J.B. Scott’s shows, with a handful of happenings at the Palace Theatre and the RPI Field House thrown in. But most of the shots are at J.B.’s since Schoenberg coerced the owner of the place to allow him free admission in exchange for being their in-house photographer. (Sounds like a win-win situation.)

“What I really enjoyed about this project was the fact that I knew that I was capturing something at the time I was taking these pictures,” Schoenberg says. His photographs of that time followed him wherever he moved—he wasn’t even 21 when he took them—and he took care to preserve them. “I knew that it would be interesting someday to look back and see how many of these people started and where they went,” he says.

Veteran music critic Carlo Wolff, a freelancer for Metroland based in Ohio who experienced many of those shows of yore, helps explain how those people started and where they went in the photos’ accompanying text in Seventy-Nine Eighty.

Richard D. Schoenberg will be back in Albany to sign copies of Seventy-Nine Eighty and discuss rock & roll photography and all subjects related. He’ll be at the Saratoga Springs Borders Books & Music (395 Broadway, 583-1200) tonight (Thursday, Oct. 16); at the Albany Borders (59 Wolf Road, 482-5800) tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 17); and in a unique venue which fills a similar niche as J.B. Scott’s, Albany club Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., 432-6572), on Saturday. Each event begins at 7 PM.

—Kate Sipher

We’re Ready for Our Close-Up

A growing desire to attract more film productions to the area has led to a shared effort between the Chambers of Commerce in cities around the region, including Albany and Troy, to start a film commission. With the help of the contacts and resources of Upstate Independents, a local organization dedicated to the advancement of filmmaking in the area, the concerned parties are working to form a film commission that would help to promote the filming of both mainstream movies and smaller independent films around the Capital Region.

The goal of the film commission is to not only have a fulltime focused effort to support local filmmakers, but to also be proactive in drawing production companies from Hollywood and New York City. The proposed commission would also help to facilitate a director’s needs for production locations, permits, etc.
“We want the area to become known as a very user-friendly place to make films, videos, commercials, TV shows, documentaries, corporate videos, and all of the other outputs of this industry,” says Thea Snyder, advocate for the formation of a Capital Region-centered commission.

Commissions already exist around the area, the most well-known being the Saratoga Film Commission, which has brought many productions into Saratoga, the best-known being Seabiscuit. “The products are different so there would be no competition,” says Linda Toohey, executive vice president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.

“We believe that this can be a positive, cooperative effort between the many local jurisdictions,” says Snyder, “to help build a solid base of creative talent living and working in this area.”

The commission will be forming at a time when there is a movement away from filming in New York City, due to the expense.

In the future, this group potentially can have a significant positive impact on the arts community in addition to the economic base of the area, supporters argue.
“We want this creative industry to help provide cultural vibrance in balance with technical creativity that is emerging in Tech Valley,” says Snyder.

—Christen Deming

Art Beat

LET THERE BE LIGHT: The Albany Institute of History & Art will celebrate the opening of their new exhibition, The Art of Tiffany Lamps, tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 17) at 5:30 PM (125 Washington Ave., Albany). The distinctive and deliriously decorative Tiffany lamps, it turns out, were introduced in the 1890s by Louis Comfort Tiffany to supplement his lucrative stained-glass window business. (This Tiffany was the scion of the well-known jewelry family.) The exhibit will include 34 table lamps (including the snazzy one pictured), four floor lamps, five chandeliers and two of the famous windows, all taken from the collection of the late Egon Neustadt. The opening is open to the public; tickets are $15 for AIHA members and $20 for everyone else. For more information, call 463-4478.

A HAND-UP: Schenectady’s Hamilton Hill Arts Center recently received approval for five Americorps/VISTA positions to “help build infrastructure.” What, you may wonder, does that mean? Well, that HHAC—a nonprofit, cultural arts center that has been doing fine work in the Electric City for 35 years—will be getting two grantwriters, a program development specialist, a marketing specialist and a business developer, with the aim of “turning the Arts Center’s gift shop into a profit-making” enterprise. Hopefully, these future profits will help ease the perennial fund-raising pressures, and allow HHAC to, eventually, expands their programs. Folks interested in applying for any of these positions should call the center at 346-1262, or e-mail them at:

WHAT THE HELL IS A KINKAJOU? A kinkajou (pictured) is a fruit-loving rainforest mammal—a yellowish-brown cat-sized critter that’s sometimes called “honeybear.” (Aww . . . ) You can peruse the October issue of National Geographic and see for yourself, courtesy of the efforts of Albany’s Ronald Kays. Kays, the curator of mammals at the New York State Museum, studied the unusual kinkajou in Panama’s rainforest in the mid-1990s. He climbed into the “rainforest canopy” to study the weird little animals, which live like primates but are related to the raccoon and bear families. Kays hopes that his findings—and the swell color photos of the “kinks”—will help interest people in these mammals, and “value the habitats they live in.” National Geographic isn’t sold on newsstands, but everyone knows someone with a subscription.

COLD FUN IN THE WINTERTIME: Though Groundhog Day is months away, the folks putting together the second annual Fire & Ice Festival are getting ready for the post-Groundhog, Feb. 7, 2004 event. Lest you forget, the first annual Fire & Ice Festival was a smashing success, bringing gangs of people to Albany’s Lark Street (and surrounding environs) to enjoy music, art, cinema, dance and poetry. Well, the organizers are looking for artists and performers to supply said music, art, cinema, dance and poetry. Would-be performers need to send a sample of their work (CD, video, poems, slides or photos), contact info, self-addressed envelope, artist’s statement/bio and a $25 check (made out to the Fire & Ice Arts Festival) to: Changing Spaces Gallery, 306 Hudson Ave., Albany, NY 12210. For even more details, call 433-1537.


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