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Cher, the Village People

We’ve all seen more than our fair share of not-quite-final farewell tours—hell, the Who have done four or five now. So, it’s gotten kind of tough to take them seriously. On her first run through the ritual, Cher is either being cheekily ironic or just straight-up practical by naming this, her “last” jaunt arount the nation, her Never Say Goodbye Tour.

The uncertain finality of this farewell is only reiterated by the selection of opening act, who serve as reminder that, in pop music, if the paycheck is there the band will be there; or as is the case with the Village People, three of the original members of the band will be there, along with some more recently recruited talent to fill in the gaps. (If you’re keeping tabs, the originals are the soldier, the construction worker, and the Indian . . . er, rather, the Native American; the newbies are the cop, the cowboy, and the leatherman . . . er, that is, the biker.)

Which is not to say that we aren’t looking forward to the show: In the pop pantheon, few types of performer hit the high points like the Outspoken Diva of Long Standing (check Bette Midler, if you’ve got any doubt). In a phrase, Cher ain’t no Ashlee Simpson.

And the Village People? C’mon. Even in the Red States it ain’t actually a party until “Y.M.C.A.” blares.

Cher and the Village People will perform at the Pepsi Arena (51 S. Pearl St., Albany) on Wednesday (Nov. 24). Tickets for the 7:30 PM show are $48.75-$78.75. For more information, call 476-1000.

Help Is Here: Emergency Medical Services in New York

Seen recently on Eagle Street near Madison Avenue in Albany: a beautifully preserved, early-1960s-era ambulance on a flatbed truck headed toward the New York State Museum. This, and 14 other such vehicles, will be on display beginning Saturday, in the museum’s new exhibit Help Is Here: Emergency Medical Services in New York. (Pictured: a steam-powered White-model ambulance used by the Kings County Hospital, 1908.)

The purpose of the exhibit is to trace the history of emergency services. After all, as the NYSM notes point out, hospitals as we know them didn’t exist until the late 19th century. There will be vehicles, memorabilia, photographs and “historic medical equipment used in the field” on display. And though it’s not stated, we suspect the subtext for the exhibit is the importance of “first-responders” in the post-Sept. 11 world.

Help Is Here opens Saturday (Nov. 20) and continues through Sept. 11, 2005, at the New York State Museum (Empire State Plaza, Albany). For information, call 474-5877.

The FBI in Action

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. And we really mean it. Back in the day, when WGY-AM was owned by General Electric and happened to be one of the greatest radio stations in the Northeast, the station regularly broadcast The FBI in Action, a locally produced and written radio drama. We’ve never heard it—do any episodes survive?—but we’re reasonably sure it was an action-packed, two-fisted drama about G-Men busting up Nazi spy rings and slapping down bank robbers, white slavers and two-bit hoodlums.

Well, tonight (Thursday) the New York State Writers Institute is cosponsoring a live performance of an original 1940s episode of The FBI in Action on the UAlbany uptown campus. The cast will include members of the original cast and students from the UAlbany theater department. You can even close your eyes if you’d like, to re-create the original experience.

The FBI in Action will be presented tonight (Thursday, Nov. 18) at 7 PM at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall (1400 Washington Ave., Albany). Admission is free—just like listening to the radio used to be. For more information, call 442-5620.

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