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Miami Art Basel 2012: Photos and Recap

This year’s annual Art Basel affair fell on December 6-9 and just about a week prior, I decided to book a spontaneous flight to Miami to check it out for myself. (Do something stupid like that sometime, it feels amazing).

Essentially, Art Basel has grown massively since getting its start in 1970 and now has expanded to include an incomprehensibly huge amount of representative galleries, artists and of course, copious amounts of artwork itself, all contained in one place, at one time. Simply put, Art Basel is reputed to be the most prestigious art show in the country and features galleries from all over the world. What I learned during my trip is that Art Basel is the jump off for almost a dozen other giant art fairs that are all organized during the same time frame, all hosted in Miami.

Our game plan was solely to solidify our booking at a $18-per-night hostel in South Beach and take it from there. We ended up overdosing on art in the best way imaginable during our time in Miami.

We hit up separate fairs, Fountain, (which featured work from local artists, including Samson Contompasis and friends of ours who run a gallery in North Adams), Scope, Pulse and another one focused mainly on fine art that was free admission. It was nice to get some contrast between fairs, as most had a subtle DIY pop-up gallery feel (some with live painting occurring at all hours outside its walls) and all featured top tier artists of today’s scene and countless others of impeccable talent and creativity.

The Wynwood Arts District was absolutely the highlight and focal point of the weekend, with art by day and countless parties at night, with so many people walking around cars had a hard time moving down the street. Walking down one street one day had a completely different feel the next, as new murals popped up on walls literally overnight. There was also a shift in energy from Wynwood during the day into the art district’s night life mode that helped remind us that we were on vacation in the first place and artists, well, they like to have their fun as well. SPIN Magazine sponsored one of the parties we went to and we saw araabMUZIK, Mr. MFN eXquire, Kool Keith perform under an artfully constructed stage. Other performers throughout the weekend included MikeQ (who we unfortunately missed), Ben UFO and JOGYO, featuring kuxxan SUUM.

Art-wise, it was a happy challenge attempting to see it all (this is virtually impossible) and although we probably only hit 30% of what was fully offered as a part of the festivities, it was more than satisfying and by the end of the weekend, we were ready to not look at art anymore. Additionally, it was hard to NOT take pictures the entire time, as the level of artistic quality and quantity were both at all time highs. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it in any comparable capacity and now that I’ve gone this year, it feels like a staple for next December as well.

Plus you know, seeing palm trees everywhere and experiencing warm weather in December is always nice. And I had a fried-avocado taco that changed my life.

Hit the jump or click on the image above to see the full gallery.

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Quality events for this weekend vol. 69

If I’ve missed something leave it in the comments, there’s not much going on this weekend in the way of events. Time to check out the NYS Museum or take a day trip somewhere!

Friday, December 14th

Ugly Sweater Christmas Party at Finnbar’s Pub: First annual Ugly Sweater Party at a really great new spot in Troy. Cash for the best sweater, too!

The Chronicles CD Release Show at the Bayou: The Chronicles new album is coming out so it’s time to celebrate.

Party Boat, Hand Habits, Linear North and Josh Robin at Bailey’s Cafe: It’s that time again for some of that good ole rock and roll in Saratoga.

Saturday, December 15th

Bulldoze, Vehement Serenade, War Hound, GhostxShip at Bogies: Get your hardcore fix before spending all that time with your family in two weeks.

Tight Knit: Get your holiday gifts sorted out locally, and hit the farmers market too!

Sunday, December 16th

Job for a Cowboy and Cephalic Carnage at Bogies: Bring a food item for the local food pantry and get $5 off your admission. This show will be awesome.

2-for-1 at McGeary’s: Trumaster. Cheap drinks. End the weekend right.

Rumored Upstate New York chip factory likely to involve Apple

Neil Huges, for Apple Insider:

“We’re shopping a lot of different companies at any given time,” Cuomo said. “Apple has a lot of competition, obviously, for their location. I don’t think they’re anywhere yet in the decision-making.”

The secret Apple customer eyeing upstate New York has reportedly been scouting sites such as the Luther Forest Technology Campus in the city of Malta, as well as Marcy NanoCenter in Oneida County.

This isn’t a huge surprise, as all of Apple’s iPhone/iPad chips are already made stateside, in Austin, Texas by Samsung. But with mounting anti-Samsung sentiment from Apple (and vice-versa), it makes sense for them to have their chips manufactured through a different supplier. With the emergence of Tech Valley in our area, putting another chip fab in our area seems to only make sense.

We’re So Cool: The Professional Critics v. Bikini Kill

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Last month, Bikini Kill released the 20th-anniversary edition of their self-titled debut EP on their new eponymous label.

Dischord Records commemorated the occasion on its website; Ian MacKaye produced the record and was an early fan of the band. Coincidentally, in a Nov. 20 interview with The A.V. Club’s Marah Eakin, Kathleen Hanna compared herself to a “female Ian MacKaye, but with fewer morals.” Spin ran an entertaining oral history of the band’s first years. (Best part: Justin Trosper of Unwound’s anecdote about flunking high-school English after bringing Kathleen Hanna to speak to his class.)

All the requisite fanfare for a big-deal reissue, in other words. And as far as rock music goes, Bikini Kill is undoubtedly an important record. It provided inspiration to thousands of listeners; it rightly made a lot of detractors very uncomfortable, particularly in hardcore. Even in the late 1990s, an era hardcore fans remember for political correctness—in both the Old Left and Fox News senses of the term—run amok, columnists admitted or confessed to liking Bikini Kill in such right-on zines as HeartattaCk and Maximumrocknroll. It ushered in new discussions about gender politics, sexism, and sexuality in rock—punk and “alternative” rock especially, which so often believed themselves to be beyond criticism in that regard. It was confrontational. It was direct. In a very real sense, it had not been done before.

Yes, truly a groundbreaking release. What gets overlooked, though, in Bikini Kill’s historical significance, is the music itself. And let’s be real: the music isn’t there yet.

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KC’s Music Monday: The Chronicles

The Chronicles are feel-good music. The Albany-based six-piece (with occasional guests) combine a variety of genres, taking elements of modern and classic jazz, hip hop, funk and R&B, and blend it into their signature feel-good sound.

I’ve caught the Chronicles live several times over the years, including at the Big Up festival, the Bella Terra festival and at the BeatShot music fest, and have always enjoyed myself. Like I said, feel-good music.

This Friday marks their long-anticipated debut with their first full studio album, which is appropriately self-titled. I was a bit surprised to learn that this is their first full-length endeavor but I also think that helps add to the value of the album, especially considering how impeccable their live sets consistently are.

Comprised of Bryan Brundige (trombone), Jeff Nania (flute, alto and tenor saxophone), Justin Henricks (guitar), Daniel Lawson (bass), Andrae Surgick (drums) and Tyrone Hartzog (keyboards/piano/organ), the combination of various instrumentation is done so well that each instrument can be heard individually and one sound doesn’t overpower another. The Chronicles build with balance; some tracks feature heavy vocals, while others will have a keyboard or brass-focused solo and it’s never “too much” of anything.

I find the Chronicles to be welcoming and fresh in their sounds, appealing to people who don’t listen to that much jazz music in general – they’ve got something for everyone. So don’t be afraid of the word jazz. It’s more than that. The Chronicles make me want to listen to more jazz-influenced music – or rather – their new album on repeat. For the rainy day we had today, if I wasn’t listening to their album all day, I’m pretty sure I’d be in some kind of a mood by now. It’s upbeat and full of charm, while also being beautifully composed and a bit spontaneous at the same time.

Do yourself a favor and check them out this Friday at the Bayou Cafe alongside Mr. Breakdown for their official CD release party. Doors are at 8pm. Pick up their new album while you’re at it and see for yourself if you can put it down.

KAB picks:“Triumph,” “Rain Drops,” and “Suburban Grind.”

Don’t forget: parking permit system in Albany actually going to happen

Remember this? Albany’s residential parking permit system? Well, it’s actually going to happen and a tentative date has been set for enforcement. January 15th.

As you may have noticed, signs have begun to be installed throughout the area after months of the city talking about it. According to the Times Union, the system is tentatively scheduled to begin on January 15th so you’re going to want to get your parking permit before then.

Here’s what you need:

– Proof of residency, your driver’s license, your car’s registration. Full info see here.
– $25 (or $35 if you want to get a guest pass in addition)
– Patience (because you have to go to City Hall and that’s never fun)

Don’t put it off like I probably will.

Quality events for this weekend vol. 68

Friday, December 7th

First Friday! Be sure to check 8th Annual Members Show at the Albany Center Gallery, for a show consisting of all the ACG’s members work.

First Friday at Fuzz: Local art and tunes form Tall A$$ Matt, White Lotus and Paul Nice at the cities best record store.

40 Broadway Changed My Life: The last big jammer at a space that has shaped the Albany art and music scene for a long time.

Goonies and Gremlins: Goonies, then Gremlins, at Proctors. Can’t go wrong with these classics.

Vinylmania at Eldas: Time for Round Two! 40s, 50s, and 60s dance music, all on spinning plastic plates. Weird.

Break Science at Valentines: Electronic jams at Albany’s CBGBs.

Saturday, December 8th

The Santa Speedo Sprint: You know what this is! And it’s for a good cause.

Winter WonderLARK: Outdoor holiday market and all sorts of festive wares.

Such Gold, A Wilhelm Scream, After the Fall, Drug Church, Pentimento and Broken Field Runner at Valentine’s: All star local line-up with some great out of towners. Not a show to miss.

The Point Winter Semi-Formal: Trumaster spiining some tunes while you dance your behind off in some fancy-ass clothing.

Tight Knit: Get your holiday gifts sorted out locally.

Sunday, December 9th

2-for-1 at McGeary’s: Trumaster. Cheap drinks.