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Close Encounters With Music

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Close Encounters with Music presents American Myths, a salute to Hollywood composer Leonard Rosenman. The evening will feature Jorge Martin’s premiere of his new work based on Rosenman’s score for East of Eden, which will be performed with scenes from the film. Other highlights of the program will include songs from Porgy and Bess by Gershwin, Samuel Barber’s Four Excursions for Piano, and selections by Kenneth LaFave and Paul Schoenfield. The compositions will be played by CEWM artistic director and cellist Yehuda Hanani, with James Tocco on piano and Yehonatan Berick on violin.

American Myths will be presented at 6 PM on Friday (Nov. 28) at the Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington, Mass. Tickets are $25, $10 for students, and can be ordered by calling (800) 843-0778 or online at

Coal Palace Kings CD Release Party

They’re a whole lotta country, and a whole lotta rock & roll: No, we’re not talking about the Osmonds on crank, we’re hyping those Coal Palace Kings. Since their humble beginnings in ’95—bonded by their universal desire to rock it Hüsker Dü style and string-tug ŕ la Hank Williams—CPK have tweaked their lineup a bit, released a handful of Americana-soaked albums, and managed to sneak up on area audiences. They killed at last year’s CD-release party for Upstate, playing to a packed Valentine’s house. They’re likely to maim again on Friday, when CPK perform at Albany’s Garden Grill, namesake of the band’s new CD, Live at the Garden Grill, in celebration of the release.

The disc, their fourth LP, was recorded during a May performance at the venue, and since the mudflappin’ ragamuffins are a favorite with Garden Grill crowds, we’re sure the set was lively. (Too lively, it seems, as area musician- multitaskers Brent Gorton and Troy Pohl recorded three hours worth of CPK’s raucous rock, which had to be cut down to 50 minutes.) And it’s a good bet their show Friday night will be spirited as well, as CPK have performed some of their best shows at the cozy and welcoming Garden Grill.

CPK will use their Friday (Nov. 28) show at the Garden Grill (276 Second Ave., Albany) to kick off a mini-tour that will also include a show across the river at Troy’s Ale House (on Dec. 6). The CD-release show starts at 6 PM and will cost you a mere $2. Call the club, 462-0571, for further information.

Blue Car

There are 10,000 or so movie screens locally. All right, this is exaggeration for effect, but if you’ve ever wandered the wilds of the various Crossgates Mall cinemas, you know what we mean. Despite this, and the various worthy art cinemas in the region, there are still plenty of interesting films that never find a home—like Blue Car, which was released last May and is finally making its local debut at Saratoga Film Forum this weekend.

Actress Karen Moncrieff makes her directorial debut with this coming-of-age drama about Meg (Agnes Bruckner, left), a restless, unhappy teenager who finds encouragement and support from her English teacher (David Strat hairn, right) still one of the most skillful and compelling actors around). Meg, alienated from her distracted single mom and aloof young er sister, is inspired to write poetry along the lines of “I am the disease that rots the bark of trees.” Meg also finds herself drawing closer, emotionally and physically, to her much-older teacher. As that old song goes, “breakdown dead ahead.”

Blue Car divided the critics—more often than not, a good sign—but most agreed that the performances and direction are compelling. Or, as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer put it, “Moncrieff’s evocation of the awkward, clashing relationships between daughter and mother, and sister and sister, and her clear-eyed look at the idealization of an inspirational teacher by a student in need of a daddy have an unsettlingly honest feel.”

Blue Car will be shown this Friday (Nov. 28) and Saturday (Nov. 29) at 8 PM at Saratoga Film Forum (320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs). For more information, call 584-FILM.

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