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44ndpicIDAThe celebration of Halloween comes from the ancient festival of Samhain, when it was believed that the veil between the living and the dead was at its thinnest. For those of you interested in this possibility and other paranormal phenomena, or if you’re just looking for a spooky—potentially even spectral—Halloween evening, than the Mount Ida Preservation Association in Troy has a spirited event that you won’t want to miss. Following the association’s daytime psychic fair will be a paranormal investigation into the former Church of Ascension gothic church and graveyard—reportedly a very “active” site.

The investigation is 18-and-over (with ID) and will be conducted by ExPERT, an extreme paranormal response team led by “squatch detective” (and demonologist) Steve Kulls, who has appeared on Nat Geo and the History Channel. The investigation includes a barbecue chicken dinner and a historical tour, and will go past the witching hour. Ticket sales will help fund the restoration of the 144-year-old church as part of its conversion into Mount Ida Preservation Hall, a community venue.

The Fall Psychic Fair is free and will have many activities for families and children, including a costume contest for kids, vibro-acoustic harp music, tarot and psychic readings, balloon magic and glitter painting, crafters and vendors, and experts on UFOs, Bigfoot, cryptids, and things that go bump in the night.

The Psychic Fair and Paranormal Investigation will be held Saturday (Oct. 31) at Mount Ida Preservation Hall (548 Congress St., Troy). Hours for the fair are 11 AM to 5 PM; the paranormal investigation will occur from 9 PM to 1 AM. The fair is free; tickets for the paranormal event and dinner are $30. For more information visit extremeparanormalteam.weebly.com.



44concertboxpicGrace Potter, the Vermont soul-rock chanteuse, came up through the jam-band scene (with her ex-backing band, the Nocturnals) by way of constant, grass-roots touring, with Potter’s bluesy voice (sometimes compared to Melissa Etheredge’s) and earthy lyrics becoming the main attraction. But she’s always been versatile and adventurous, appearing with or collaborating with acts as diverse as the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, and Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips, and the pop stylings on new release Midnight show her sinuous voice to moody new advantage. As USA Today opined, “Compared to what came before in her career, it’s as big a stylistic shift as the one Tina Turner made in the mid-80’s with Private Dancer.” A strutting dynamo onstage, Potter undoubtedly will be reaching into her entire catalog—especially the passionate and critically acclaimed 2012 GP&N release The Lion the Beat the Beast, for her show at the Palace, while new songs such as “Let You Go,” a raucous ballad about loss, will likely melt the hearts of fans old and new.

Nashville alt-country singer Rayland Baxter, the son of Bucky Baxter and a former GP&N bandmate, will open.

Grace Potter will perform at the Palace Theater (19 Clinton Ave., Albany) tonight (Thursday, Oct. 29) at 8 PM. Tickets are $48 and $38. For more info, call 465-3334.


44artboxpicYTKJust in time for Troy Night Out, the Arts Center of the Capital Region is opening Traces, an exhibit of works by Mary Pat Wager and Rachel Baxter, a collaborative exhibit in which the artists experimented with a variety of materials and chemical reactions. Baxter said (in the gallery notes), “We spent countless hours experimenting with new materials, and finding what combination created the visual effect we were looking for. We’re both very proud to display these works at the Arts Center.”

Also on view is Monica Bill Hughes’ exhibit of works created as an artist in residence at the ACCR.

Pictured is Baxter’s What Remains (acrylic, iron oxide and spray paint).

Traces will open tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 30) with a Troy Night Out reception from 5 to 8 PM at the Arts Center of the Capital Region (265 River St., Troy). The show will remain on view through Dec. 20. The Monica Bill Hughes exhibit will be on view through Nov. 14. For more info, call 273-0552.

courtesy YTK Photography



44perfboxpicIt was bad enough when the insanity of American political advertising just owned the airwaves. The advent of e-mail—and the constant selling and reselling of your e-mail address, thanks to those harmless little service agreements you blithely click—has meant that politicians and political groups will harass you with increasingly frantic warnings of apocalyptic doom. “Obama will take your guns!” “Hillary will strangle your puppy!” “Bernie will give you better health care!”

Performance artist Elizabeth Orr has taken this phenomenon and used it as the theme and plot device for her work-in-progress film/live performance Mt. Rush.

Mt. Rush “tracks the day to day activities of a Mount Rushmore park ranger attempting to navigate an onslaught of funding e-mails in the lead up to the presidential election.” There will be animation and live action and lots of computer screens.

Elizabeth Orr’s Mt. Rush will be presented tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 30) at 8 PM in EMPAC’s Studio 1-Goodman (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy). Tickets are $6 and can be purchased on line. For more info, call the EMPAC box office at 276-3921.


44ndpicSPUYTENLet’s get the name out of the way: It’s Dutch for “in spite of the Devil” and the name of a creek (and town) in the Bronx. It’s also the name of a Hudson Valley-based Americana band playing at Caffe Lena on Friday night. Led by the songwriting couple Mark Miller and Beth Kaufman, the six-piece band cook up a special blend of roots, blues, bluegrass and folk with what they describe as “a pinch of punk rock energy.”

The Huffington Post called them “a mighty powerhouse. . . . All the playing is hot.” If you’d prefer a more local endorsement, Wanda Fischer, host of WAMC’s Hudson River Sampler, praised their “high energy and traditional approaches to their own songs and traditional tunes.”

Spuyten Duyvil will perform tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 30) at 8 PM at Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs).

Tickets are $20 advance, $22 at the door. For info, call 583-0022.



44ndpicSCREWTAPEThe acclaimed New York City-based Fellowship for the Performing Arts production of Catholic wit C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters comes to Proctors tonight for one show only.

Max McLean is His Abysmal Sublimity Screwtape, aka’s Satan’s “top psychiatrist,” whose specialty is training demons to ruin human lives and collect their souls. It’s a comedy: The Wall Street Journal deemed it “devilishly funny,” and The Boston Globe called it “engrossing and entertaining.”

So enter a stylish Hell where God is referred to as “the enemy” and the devil as “Our Father below,” and a preening demon headshrinker has a sidekick called Toadpipe. The Screwtape Letters will be performed tonight (Thursday, Oct. 29) at 8 PM at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady).Tickets are $20 to $55.  For tickets and info, call the box office at 346-6204.



44notepicBEESThe Guardian has said that they’re “like the White Stripes in reverse,” and The New York Times compared lead singer Jessica Larrabee to a “loose, vehement and unchoreographed” PJ Harvey. The rock duo consists solely of Larrabee and Andy LaPlant, a fan she met while bartending in Brooklyn. He helped her record her music until she taught him to play the drums and they began performing together in 2006. Four of five albums were self-recorded in the artists’ homes, yet still wrought enthusiastic acclaim from notable critics (BBC referred to their third album, “Dig On,” as “an album of fire, spirit and sweat”), and even earned Larrabee the chance to record with electronic party giants Groove Armada. Larrabee sums up their sound: “I sing until my stomach hurts while Andy beats the shit out the drums.”

(Nov. 4, 9 PM, 48 S. Front St., Hudson, 828-1562)



44notepicPAULJKonrad Wert came up with the Possessed by Paul James stage name as a way to channel the spirits of his late father and grandfather. Until recently, he worked as a full-time teacher and performed music on the side. Whether he’s stomping on a box, sawing on a fiddle or going to town on his banjo while hollerin’ a song, Wert’s fans know they aren’t seeing and hearing something from this realm. Drawing from a background of southern punk rock, blues, jazz and country influences, Wert’s live show has been compared to “a live electric socket missing its cover as stripped wires spark with flickers of enthralling danger.”

And he just keeps getting better—as a performer and, it seems, as a person. Wert, who has a background in social advocacy in education, special education and arts outreach, tours with his family and has just begun production on a documentary.

(Nov. 1, 7 PM, $7, 335 Central Ave., Albany, 432-6572)



Did you ever have the felling that you’re being watched?

Of course you have. And, of course, you know that you’re being captured by someone’s lens whenever you’re out in public. The new exhibit at the Tang, No Place to Hide, is the work of three contemporary artists “who all address the impact of ‘being watched.’”

Hasan Eliahi’s work confronts the FBI after he was mistaken for being a terrorist; Addie Wagenknecht shows “how are devices are constantly sending out information” about us to the cloud; and Aaron Zinman “elegantly reveals just how easy it is to find information about yourself.”

Pictured is Elahi’s Stay (2011).

No Place to Hide opens Saturday (Oct. 31) and will remain on view through Feb. 21, 2016, at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery (Skidmore College, 815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs). For more info, call 580-5542.



44notepicCELLOBelieve it or not, the Portland Cello Project are a group of Portland, Ore.-based cellists who’ve been performing together for nine years. And they have goals. Namely, to “bring the cello to places you wouldn’t normally hear it” and “play music on the cello you wouldn’t normally heard played” on a cello. These sounds include jazz standards, contemporary pop tunes and hip-hop; they released a digital-only collection of Kanye West and Rihanna covers, for example. The PCP experience can range from experimental originals to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” You’ve probably heard them and don’t know it, as they’ve done their share of music for commercials. As the band told City Weekly (Salt Lake City), “More often, we’re asked to write epic instrumental stuff to make you want to get a credit card or fly on an airplane.” Buckle up.

(Oct. 31, 8 PM, $22, 1036 Madison Ave., Albany, 438-2094)