Tang Gallery at Skidmore

Illuminated creature-like structures pulled me into the Alumni Invitational 3 room upon entering the Tang Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. These perfectly constructed and stunningly beautiful creations are a collaboration of art and design, which showcase Johnny Swing’s thoughtful and environment-friendly use of satellite dishes and various types of glass jars. The figures are large without being ominous. They are oddly inviting, asking you to walk through the black, metal arches and plant yourself underneath the span of radiant and peaceful light.

After swinging through the metallic archways, I was faced with Bradley Castellanos’ large color photos that he cropped, cut, and layered with oil, acrylic paint, and resin. His works explore the conflict between beauty and destruction. He takes devastated scenes (typically demolished man-made structures embedded in nature) and makes them beautiful and vibrant by overlapping different techniques onto the photo, such as adding unnatural colors, like turquoise, to natural scenes. Bones and rib cages entwined in vines and tree trunks made his piece “Choke” stand out the most.  It gave me the vibe that nature is evil, which is quite contradictory to the typical view of nature being a place of innocence and tranquility.

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Local tweeter looks for a #winning

When it comes to Twitter celebs there are a handful of obvious choices – such as @MCHammer, @snacksthecat, @big_ben_clock, and @Sn00ki – but one local tweeter, @patrickdodson, is looking to get on their level by #winning the @timesunion Best of 2011 “best local tweeter” category. His name appears on the ballot alongside the Times Union itself.

“I like to think I’ve been ‘tweeting’ my whole life, just never via web until 2008,” said Dodson, a 23-year-old photojournalist who splits his time between Albany and the Berkshires. “I use Twitter skills IRL too, by speaking @ people and emphasizing certain words similar to hash-tagging.”

UAlbany’s fresh paint job

If you’re walking around UAlbany’s campus today, look up from your cell phone screens and take notice of the fresh stencil work that appeared overnight, scattered throughout the podium.

On roughly 25-30% of the cement columns, reads the message, clear in purple spray paint (for “school spirit”):  “Did you know 99% of UAlbany students were NOT part of the Kegs N’ Eggs riot but were punished for it.”

The stencil is designed as a riff on the University Counseling Center’s infamous “Did You Know?” social norm campaign.

Edward Durell Stone, the renowned architect of the uptown campus’ unique design, must be cringing in his grave, as this chronic daily headache returns to the University and its reputation. 

Looks as though many are making it clear that the Kegs ‘N Eggs and Fountain Day fiasco from a couple weeks back is far from over.  This quasi-experiment very well could be foreshadowing that the still-pissed-off students are continuing to rally in response to the cancelation of Fountain Day.  There’s potential something big could go down in the weeks ahead.  Any else got Shoenice revenge theories?

Community Cries Fowl Over Albany’s Urban Chickens Ban

Chickens. Vegans love to save them, carnivores love to eat them, and many folks in the great City of Albany would love the chance to raise them for eggs. Problem is, there stands a law on the books that forbids them within City limits, under the premise that they are “incompatible with City life”.

Enter the Albany Chicken Coalition. A concerned group of citizens has taken it upon themselves to change this law because, frankly, it’s just wrong. The law is built on a dated, (and false) premise. Chickens absolutely belong in cities — they have existed in them for thousands of years, and continue to thrive in cities big and small throughout the world. In the US, cities such as New York, Chicago, LA, Austin, Portland and so on allow chickens, and more cities every day are amending their legislation to follow suit.

Chickens are clean, quiet and adapt well to small spaces. They are easy and fun to care for. They eat food scraps, produce nitrogen-rich fertilizer for your garden, and give you delicious, healthy protein in the form of eggs. As anyone who has a garden knows, being a part of your food cycle is not only a deeply rewarding experience, it’s a step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Urban agriculture contributes to food safety and food security as well as a vibrant community’s social life. It is detrimental to the health and vitalization of our cities to continue to believe in the misconception that cities should solely be consumers and not producers.

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Recap: Lightning Bolt, Girls of Porn, Beware!

If you were looking to relax from your work week, hanging out at Valentine’s last night was definitely not going to help you find anything remotely close to calm solace, to say the least.  The bill for this show garnished a necessary, chaotic, pick-me-up many had been waiting for all month. For those anticipating kicking the weekend off on a weird, PBR-and-synth-infused note, Valentine’s was the place to be. Sweaty, loud and packed to nearing capacity.

Upon arriving at Valentine’s, scoping out the crucial (upstairs or downstairs?) and haphazardly ducking up the stairs and into the crowd, it dawned on me fairly quickly that I’d be kicking myself later for forgetting my earplugs.

The only normalcy of this evening was that the show took some time to get off on its feet.  An hour plus in and the first and only band to grace the actual stage got started.  Everything else about last night as a whole felt weird, or at least a little bit off, to me.  Good weird or bad weird, musically for me it varied, but I’ll leave it up to you.

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