days: Toys, Trains, Dolls! at the Schenectady Museum.
ABOARD: Pity the trainspotter. Once upon a time there were
dozens and dozens of North American railroads, each with its
own flashy color scheme for locomotives. Back in the day,
even the boxcars were distinctive. Now there are 6 or 7 major
lines left—on the entire continent—and each is too cheap to
decorate its engines with anything resembling flair. If you
want to see an aesthetically pleasing train today, you either
have to track down a historical society operation, buy model
trains or go to a museum. Which brings us to the Schenectady
Museum’s current exhibit, Toys, Trains, Dolls!,
which continues through Jan. 5 and celebrates the beauty of
train-related toys and memorabilia. Starting this weekend
(Dec. 11-12), volunteers from Upstate Train Associates
will be exhibiting and operating a “newly updated” layout
of model trains. This Saturday and Sunday, train hours will
be noon to 4 PM; future days and hours can be accessed at
the Schenectady Museum’s (Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady)
Web site, www.schenectadymuseum.org. For more information,
call 382-7890. And don’t forget to stop on Nott Terrace (just
down the hill from the museum) and check out that Schenectady-built
Alco locomotive on permanent display—it’s the one painted
in the groovy old Great Northern Railroad color scheme with
the mountain-goat logo.
WOULD YOU LIKE ART WITH YOUR JAVA? Caffeine junkies and art
lovers alike have a new destination: the Daily Grind’s
new location in Troy. Located at 46 Third St., the coffee
mecca’s new space is, well, huge. (I don’t get to Troy much,
but everyone says so.) The owners decided all that wall space
was a perfect place to hang art, too, explained Chris DeMarco,
the coordinator of the current exhibition of works by Paul
Shapiro (photographs), Deborah Chess (paintings)
and David Brickman (photographs). Metroland
contributing critic Brickman helped DeMarco hang the show.
“It’s a great spot to have a two- or three-artist show,” said
DeMarco. “It’s a beautiful space.” If you want to check out
the art, just visit the Daily Grind when they’re open and
OUR ENDOWMENT’S BIGGER THAN YOURS: Bard College, which
has the newest world-class performing arts complex in the
Northeast (the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher
Center for the Performing Arts) and a significant music program
that hosts one of the most innovative summer arts-and-music
programs in the region (Bard Summerscape), is expanding again.
A full-fledged Bard Conservatory of Music will formally open
in the fall of 2005. Part of this will be a vocal and vocal-dramatic
program that will begin in fall 2006; earlier this week (Monday,
Dec. 6) Bard announced that Dawn Upshaw, one of the
leading sopranos in, uh, the world, has signed on to design
“a course of study” for that program. According to the press
release, Bard president (and American Symphony Orchestra conductor)
Leon Botstein said the college was “profoundly lucky
to have an artist of such wide-ranging accomplishment” join
the new conservatory. No argument here.
OUR ART IS LESS EASILY PIGEONHOLED THAN YOURS: Let’s play
a game. I’ll relate an informational quote about an art event
at a local university or college; you guess which institution
it came from. Here we go: “Once inside the building it is
recommended that people pick up a map in the 1st floor near
the fishtank area and begin the exploration of Electronically
modified spaces in the building.” You shouldn’t need a Jeopardy!
musical minute to guess Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
This Wednesday (Dec. 15), RPI will host an Electronic Arts
Show at West Hall from 5:30 to 9 PM. There will be digital
video, digital graphics, “tactical media”, etc., on view.
For more info visit www.arts.rpi.edu.