Bing Bamboo Room
It’s the return of the prodigal. After three years as a
mixologist in swinging Prague, impresario Jim Romano returns
to the Capital Region scene with the Bing Bamboo Room at
Valentine’s on Monday.
The Bing Bamboo Room is promised to be a “sassy retro variety
show” with burlesque, comedic juggling and a classic parlor
act from magician Jeffrey Jene (pictured), a two-time winner
of the Houdini Award. Burlesque routines will be in the
style of Betty Page and Gypsy Rose Lee, and performed by
what Romano says will be local, homegrown talent. (See your
favorite waitress take it almost all off.) The parlor
magic will involve the classic elements, including doves,
candles and sleight of hand set to music. And, as a barker
would say, that’s not all: There will be a belly dancer
and what is being characterized as a “never before seen
performance artiste.” Since the said “artiste” is alleged
to be associated with the RPI performance crowd, it seems
unlikely we’ve never seen ’em before.
The Bing Bamboo Room will be presented on Monday (Sept.
27) at 8 PM at Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany).
Admission is $5. For more information, call 432-6572.
Lee: Masks and Puppets
exhibition celebrates the nearly 30-year work of master
puppetmaker Ralph Lee with the Salem-based Mettawee River
Theatre Company. Before Mettawee, Vermont-native Lee acted
on- and off-Broadway, and created masks and puppets for
everyone from Shari Lewis to the New York Shakespeare Festival
to Saturday Night Live (remember the Land Shark?).
As implied by that varied list of collaborators, Lee creates
works that appeal to both children and adults. Since he
became artistic director of the Mettawee in 1976, Lee has
created numerous inventive works that combine giant figures,
masks and puppets with music, movement and text to create
fascinating (and entertaining) performances.
The exhibit will contain more than 50 puppets and masks,
and will include special sections devoted to specific shows
including The Journey to the West, Aristophanes’
Peace and Communications From a Cockroach,
a show based on early-20th century newspaper columnist Don
Marquis’ beguiling characters Archy the philosophical cockroach
and Mehitabel the alley cat.
Lee: Masks and Puppets opens at the Lower Adirondacks
Regional Arts Council’s Lapham Gallery (7 Lapham Place,
Glens Falls) on Sunday (Sept. 26) with an artist’s reception
from 5 to 7 PM. The exhibit continues through Nov. 5, when
Lee will lead a gallery talk at 7 PM. For gallery hours
and more information, call 798-1144 or visit www.larac.org.
Hearts Radio Show
On Saturday, the Kamikaze Hearts will perform a two-hour
show at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio, to be recorded
and rebroadcast at a later date. This is exciting for a
number of reasons: 1) Given the Hearts’—shall we say—“deliberate”
pace turning out their own recorded product, anything that
pads their catalog is a good thing; 2) the very-special-guests
who will add their musical talents to the Hearts’ own woodsy
racket include Mitch Elrod, Brent Gorton and D.J. Miller,
and 3) the possibility—however remote—that one of the band
members, in a fit of public-radio-inspired creativity, might
enliven the evening with a long, soft-spoken monologue about
the quirky salt-of-the-earth types who congregate in the
diners and the hardware stores of their Midwestern (but
somehow so recognizable) hometown, is just too attractive
to turn down.
But if, for some reason, they chose to skip the Gaven Noir
sketches or the Old Man Pohl’s Worcestershire Sauce League
parodies, the other reasons are pretty compelling. The Kamikaze
Hearts’ “porch music” continues to gain popularity and fans,
and their guests for the evening—whom the Hearts will back—are
no slouches either. Elrod has earned consistent praise for
his wild meld of white gospel music, swampy blues and stray
threads of jazz and Eastern musical traditions; Gorton has
wowed critics and audiences both with his sharp pop and
his energetic stage presence; and it wouldn’t be saying
too much to remark that Miller is locally revered as the
guitarist-singer for the powerful riff-heavy “destructo-rock”
band Small Axe.
The Kamikaze Hearts will perform at the WAMC Performing
Arts Studio (339 Central Ave., Albany) on Saturday (Sept.
25). Tickets for the 8 PM show are $10. For reservations,
call 465-5233 ext. 4.