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Save the Sound System

The locals have been bitching and moaning for some time about the lack of decent venues for live, original music, and for good reason. Albany has watched countless music rooms come and go, and over the last several years, we’ve seen more go than come. What venues are left have been subject to bitching and moaning over their various perceived shortcomings, including décor, booking or sound. Nobody’s jumping out of their chair to open another rock club right now, so what’s left to do but improve what we already have?

This weekend, the bands will take matters into their own hands and stage Save the Sound System. Fifteen bands have agreed to donate their time and talent to upgrade the sound equipment at that local stronghold of live rock & roll, Valentine’s. On Friday, the Erotics (pictured), Crookshank, En-dor-Phin and Tolmantown take the upstairs stage, while the Sixfifteens, Brian Bassett and Five Alpha Beatdown rock the downstairs stage. Saturday’s show features the Sofa Kings, Chloroform Dream, Clitorture and Gunthur Weasel upstairs; North Allen, Wasteform, Small Axe and Cliff Street downstairs.

Save the Sound System will take place tomorrow (Friday, March 12) and Saturday (March 13) at Valentine’s Music Hall & Beer Joint (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany). The shows start at 8 PM, and tickets are $8 Friday and $10 Saturday. For more information, call 432-6572.

Paul Auster

Though envy is an ugly emotion, we’re thinking of indulging in a bit—even planning on it—when Paul Auster speaks in UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center tonight (Thursday). Not only did he emerge from obscurity in the middle ’80s to the kind of reviews people strike deals with the devil to obtain, but he actually deserved the praise. After slaving away—more or less anonymously—as a poet and translator of French literature for years, Auster published three novels, each more enthusiastically received than the previous. These books—now known collectively as the New York Trilogy—turned the detective genre on its head, long before Jonathan Lethem conjured his own Tourettic shamus, and secured for Auster both critical and popular success. Auster’s success has not been confined to postmodern pulp: His other novels have consistently won prestigious prizes, and his screenplays (Smoke, Blue in the Face, The Center of the World) have been made into well-regarded films—paving the way for his own directorial foray, Lulu on the Bridge. His most recent novel, Oracle Night, and his even-more-recent Collected Poems have been called “a moving meditation on chance and loss” and an “instance of a master at work in the form” respectively. Oh, and he’s got a collection of True Tales of American Life out, which is a compilation of stories from his show on NPR. Couldn’t you just kill him?

Paul Auster will speak in UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center (1400 Washington Ave., Albany) tonight (Thursday, March 11). The 8 PM performance is free. For more information, call 442-5620.

BeauteeZ’n the Beat

Combine tap, hiphop and Afro-Cuban beats, and you have BeauteeZ’n the Beat, the all-woman dance and music company bringing a major new work to our own back yard this Saturday night (March 13). IMPROVIzIONS will officially debut at Manhattan’s Symphony Space next month, but you can see it this weekend at Columbia-Greene Community College’s Arts Center Theater.

Company director and choreographer Roxanne Butterfly (pictured) describes IMPROVIzIONS as a “collage of freestyle tap- dancing with live music interactions blending electronics, words, Afro-jazz rhythms and movements . . . [into] a vibrant hymn to life.”

Led by the French-born Butterfly, BeauteeZ’n the Beat will also feature, among others, pianist and Afro-Cuban dancer Goussy Celestin, saxophonist “Sweet” Sue Terry, tap dancer Charon Aldredge, break dancer Rockefella, and Hannah Leah, a 7-year-old tap dancer. The New Yorker has praised the group’s “unabashed and unruffled showmanship.”

BeauteeZ’n the Beat will perform Saturday (March 13) at 8 PM at Columbia-Greene Community College (Arts Center Theater, 4400 Route 23, Hudson). Tickets are $10, $5 for students and seniors and $15 for families (two adults and two children). There will be a dance workshop with BZ’nB at the Hudson Opera House (327 Warren St., Hudson) at 10:30 AM on Saturday, too. The workshop is $5 for adults and free for children. For reservations and information for both the performance and workshop, call HOH at 822-1438.

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