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Quality events for this weekend

Friday September 4

Albany First Friday: Food, art, music and more all around Albany.

Concept to Console at Opalka Gallery: “Art & aesthetics in video game design opening reception”.

Fork in the Road at Tricentennial Park: Food trucks, vendors, music and more.

Discofunk at The Low Beat: With Victory Soul Orchestra and more.

Friday Night Cookout at The Cheese Traveler: Hosted by guest Chef Josh Coletto.

Scott Brodie: Retrospective at Albany Center Gallery: Showing 40 years of Scott’s work.

Whatever’s Left at The Brakes: Art by Cat Jones and live music by Leif Solem.

Ed O’Connell at UAG Members Show: Opening reception.

First Friday at Fort Orange with Parker Works: Check out what’s new at FOGS with wine, cheese, music and more.

Goth Night at Fuze Box: 3 year anniversary party.

Hudson Valley Drag Brigade at BSP Kingston: Drag show!

Saturday September 5

Capital District Scottish Games: Lift heavy things, watch people lift heavy things, listen to music, run a 5k and much more.

SMCo. Grand Opening: They’re finally opening!

Triangle Artists’ Workshop Open Studios at Salem Art Works: See work from 25 artists that were part of the workshop.

JD Samson at MASS MoCA: 1/3 of of Le Tigre with her band.

Bobby Previte and the Visitors at The Half Moon: Experimental ensemble.

Sunday September 6

LakeGeorge Brewfest: Beer. In Lake George.

Cyn Elise Memorial at The Low Beat: Remembering a lost friend. Bring stories.

All weekend

The Track: It’s open.

Art Omi: The sculpture fields are awesome.

Day trip to MASS MoCA: Pretty drive and a great museum.

The NYS Museum: Bunch of great exhibits and it’s right in your backyard.

Second-run movies at the Madison Theater: Only five bucks!

Movies at The Spectrum: First run, independent movies at a locally owned theater.

Farmer’s Markets: Troy, Delmar, and Saratoga on Saturday, and Schenectady and Saratoga on Sunday.

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Q. Jane’s Zennigram

Just Pretend Records is a newly formed indie record label based out of upstate New York. They’re meticulously crafting their artist roster focusing on those with unique, raw talent. Their catalog begins with singer Q. Jane, who today released the first single off of her debut EP, Zennigram.

Accompanying the track, “Bad Thing,” is a hauntingly beautiful music video directed by Jimi Woodul. Q. Jane’s music is vibrant, unadulterated and whimsical, aided by the honest place it has grown out of.

Growing up in a small town in upstate New York, Q. Jane started writing songs in her early adolescence and was encouraged by her father to record her own material. As a college freshman, she worked with her brother on a track entitled “Cool Kind.” which revealed a natural energy between the two siblings. Returning to Albany the following summer, Q recorded her debut EP with Just Pretend Records, entitled Zennigram. Music has become her most comfortable medium of expression ushering growth and confidence finding her voice.

Zennigram is available for pre-order on iTunes and you can check out the video below for “Bad Thing”.

Photo: Ben Woodul

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Albany Oktoberfest 2015

Albany’s Oktoberfest block party and celebration is September 26 and tickets are currently on sale. Presale GA tickets are $10, VIP is $50 and Group VIP (Buy 4 get 5) is $200.

This year’s Oktoberfest also features a 5k race, called the Spaten Sprint. Details about the 5k will be available at a later date. As always, there’s wiener dog racing and much more.

For more info about Albany Oktoberfest, check the Wolff’s Biergarten website.

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Grizzly Gato’s While You Were Sleeping: Review

In a post-millennial music industry where the instant gratification of digital distribution has all but rendered the making of carefully crafted full-lengths a lost art, Grizzly Gato’s While You Were Sleeping stands apart as a masterfully executed body of work. Sincere and entertaining, the album effortlessly sidesteps a plethora of hip hop stereotypes that have only intensified their grip on the genre over the decades.

With lyrical teamwork that brings to mind hip hop legends Smif-n-Wessun, the diverse pairing of Grizzly Grimace and Oddy Gato is a surprising success. Grimace brings his own brand of clever and honest lyricism to the table, and though Gato’s big personality has been rightfully placed center stage, it is Grimace who is ultimately responsible for turning the spotlight to Gato’s unique blend of consciousness and comedy. Gato thrives under the guidance of Grimace, and as album producer Grimace also demonstrates his talents in curating samples. Needless to say, the record would not be the triumph it is without its supporting cast either. Mixing engineer PJ Katz brings the duo’s vocal performances to life track after track, and veteran DJ Nate Da Great‘s modest yet highly effective turntable work is precisely what each song needs.

Though While You Were Sleeping has its share of heavyweight anthems and hilarious sound bites, the album also has its introspective moments. On “Sacrifice”, Gato reflects on a personal conflict of family and artistry, unapologetically pledging his allegiance to the flag of the free spirited. “Subway Trip” is proof that not only can spoken word be credibly implemented on a hip hop album, it can also make for one of the album’s most profound moments. Gato’s psychedelic commentary humorously details the weird atmosphere of a New York City subway ride, while Grimace hooks up a bluesy organ vamp to compliment the mood. But the album’s crowning moment has to be “Weiners”. Grimace plays his role by contributing a pair of thunderous hooks and a solid verse, but the song’s nutty funk-rock loop sounds more like a soundtrack for Gato to coolly bop down a busy Bronx street, and the MC faithfully delivers with his signature mash of street life and street knowledge.

While You Were Sleeping is one of the most captivating and addicting albums yet to be offered up by the Albany hip hop coalition. Consistent and to the point, the statement the record makes is a complete sentence that listeners are sure to revisit over and over again. Indeed, Grizzly Gato wins.

The previous post was a guest post written by Rich Capeless.

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Top Ten(-ish) best Albany features from someone who really lives here

Since another piece of bad Albany clickbait has been making the rounds, Liz Richards felt compelled to contribute her own Top 10 list in a facebook status. Laura Glazer has since stepped up and made that list into a lovely print and fold pamphlet for easy distribution and consumption. Hit the pop-out button below for downloading and printing. Give this list a read and if you don’t know any of these places, or haven’t been in a while, make a day out of it!

Albany pennant photo courtesy of Fort Orange General Store (who are on the list above!). You can pick up that very pennant for yourself from FOGS, 296 Delaware Ave.

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Fusion at Albany Barn

On Friday October 16, Fusion returns to the Albany Barn. Fusion includes open studios, performances & live art by artists in residence, creative cocktails and eats by Chef Mark Graham, wine pairings from Empire Wine, craft beer from Druthers, desserts by The Cookie Factory, pour over coffee bar by Stacks Espresso Bar, live jazz with Bryan Brundige Trio and DJs Space, Time & Spacetime. Fusion is a benefit for the Albany Barn.

Find more out on the Fusion website and have some fun all while benefiting the Barn.

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Half Moon Market coming to Washington Park Lake House

There’s a ton of craft markets in our area, but none in our area. The Washington Park Neighborhood Assocation along with Caroline and Katy from the Fort Orange General Store and friend Adelia of Owlkill Studio are working to change that. They’re bringing The Half Moon Market to the Washington Park Lakehouse on October 24 & 25.

From their website:

The market is named for the Half Moon, the ship sailed by Henry Hudson in 1609. The Half Moon sailed up the river as far as the present day location of Albany, New York. A replica of the ship was docked in the Port of Albany until 2014, when it was relocated to the Netherlands.

The Half Moon Market will feature a handpicked selection of the area’s best makers, artists and small companies.

While this event is still in it’s planning phase, you can like em on Facebook and sign up for their email list to be the first to know what vendors will be featured and other news as it’s announced. I’m excited for an event like this to be so close to home and in an awesome building that’s right in Washington Park.