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SOMETHING INDIE THIS WAY COMES: In case you haven’t noticed, something indie has been going on at the Albany Public Library of late. The Albany Independent Film Forum has been hosting a series of distinguished, intriguing films. The series continues this Wednesday (April 28) with the landmark 1954 film Salt of the Earth. Why a landmark? Well, it’s a true-life film about a Mexican zinc miners’ strike, examining the social and economic issues from a Marxist and proto-feminist perspective. Oh, and it was made with an entirely amateur cast by blacklisted Hollywood personnel, led by director (and member of the Hollywood Ten) Herbert Biberman. Upcoming titles include Life or Liberty, a personalized look at post-Sept. 11 law-enforcement excesses (May 15); and the award-winning documentary Love and Diane (May date TBA), a haunting look into a mother-daughter relationship over a period of several years. Salt of the Earth screens April 28 at 7 PM at the Albany Public Library (161 Washington Ave., Albany). For more info, call 427-4300, or e-mail albanyfilms@yahoo.com.

PATTI SMITH DIED FOR SOMEBODY’S SINS, BUT NOT MINE: You think you have identity problems? Filmmaker James Spooner ponders the contradictions of being an African American punk rocker in his documentary Afropunk: the “rock n roll nigger” experience. According to one critic, the film captures the deep alienation that can color the experience: “African American on one hand, punks on the other, they don’t fit in, even in a community of outcasts.” The documentary mixes interviews with numerous black punk rockers (remember 24-7 Spyz?), with scenes from the lives of four specific punks. Of course, since this is a movie with “rock n roll” in the title, there’s plenty of music footage, too, featuring the likes of Bad Brains, Tamar Kali, Cipher and Ten Grand. You can check out Afropunk: the “rock n roll nigger” experience at the Lionheart (448 Madison Ave., Albany) this Sunday (April 25) at 8 PM. As this is a bar offering a variety of legal beverages, the screening is 21-plus. Oh, and it costs $5.

DON’T TOSS THAT, IT’S ART: It’s often observed that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Hubbard Hall has taken this theme and turned it into a nifty fund-raising idea. This Saturday (April 24), the folks at the hall promise that “newly refurbished ‘treasure’ will be offered at auction.” Translation? A number of area artists have taken assorted found objects—furniture, vases, old toys, picture frames—and have transformed them into “original artistic pieces.” The dough raised will go to Hubbard Hall Projects, Inc. (the official moniker for their arts organization); the auction will be hosted by Ron Seifert, starting at 8 PM. You can start previewing the “stuff” (it’s treasure, remember) at 6 PM at Hubbard Hall (25 E. Main St., Cambridge). For more information, call 677-2495.

WHICH HOOF DO YOU WRITE WITH, MR. ED? Of course, a horse doesn’t sign autographs. The horses’ owners can, though. This Sunday (April 25), several of Funny Cide’s owners will be signing copies of the brand-spankin’-new book Funny Cide: How a Horse, a Trainer, a Jockey, and a Bunch of High School Buddies Took on the Sheiks and Bluebloods . . . and Won. The book, credited to the “Funny Cide Team” with Sally Jenkins, is pretty much as titled. It’s the story of the New York-bred gelding who won two-thirds of the Triple Crown—and the hearts of Capital Region residents. The owners who are supposed to be present include Jack Knowlton, Lewis Titterton, Gus Williams, David Mahan, Larry Reinhardt, Jon P. Constance, Harold R. Cring, and Mark J. and Peter J. Phillips. Book sales start at noon, and the signing will take place from 1 to 3 PM on Sunday at the National Museum of Racing (Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs). For more information, call 584-0400.


What’s Color, Anyway?

Author Debra J. Dickerson spoke to a packed audience at the Albany Public Library last Wednesday evening (April 14) about her controversial book, The End of Blackness. Subtitled Returning the Souls of Black Folk to Their Rightful Owners, Dickerson’s work has let loose a barrage of criticism from liberals and conservatives alike. The audience at the library had plenty to say, too. A Gulf War I vet-turned-journalist, Dickerson’s articles and essays have appeared in The New Republic, the Washington Post, Slate, Essence and Vibe, among many other publications.

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