The musical Once was playing at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady in May. The Wife and I got into our seats about 20 minutes before the 7:30 opening. Already there were a bunch of people, some singing and playing instruments, but others just milling around.
We ascertained from another patron that the audience members could go up on stage and hang out or even buy a drink at the bar. Why we didn’t I’m not sure, other than the desire not to climb over people to get in and out of our seats. But it was very cool to watch.
Then the audience members leave the stage, but the music continues. One man sings a solo. The house lights are still on. Then Guy (that’s the name of one of the characters) sings the first song from the show as the house lights begin to dim but not so much because Girl (the other main character) has to walk down one of the aisles to walk up the steps to the front of the stage.
I saw the movie Once, and I recall enjoying it. This iteration is somewhat funnier, especially the banter between Girl and Guy early on. All the other musicians stay on stage, taking on various roles, moving sets, and singing. The large mirror on the set was used to great effect.
It was such a wonderfully organic production that I may have failed to mention that it was very good. A review.
“The annual celebration began on the morning of the Monday following…Pentecost…While the majority of the Dutch population attended early mass, African-American slaves and Euro-American servants would congregate on the hill by the ‘thousands’ and await the arrival of the Pinkster King…”
This coming weekend, Albany, NY is having its 63rd Annual Albany Tulip Festival. It will be held in historic Washington Park. “The tradition stems from when Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd got a city ordinance passed declaring the tulip as Albany’s official flower on July 1, 1948. In addition, he sent a request to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to name a variety as Albany’s tulip…She picked the variety ‘Orange Wonder’…”
The event kicks off on Friday with a special musical program on City Hall’s historic 49-bell carillon at 11:30 a.m. Then at noon, there will be “the traditional Dutch practice of scrubbing the streets,” which frankly still fascinates me. Saturday features the coronation of the Tulip Queen, plus performers and vendors on both Saturday and Sunday. The whole schedule is here. The greatest challenge involves getting the majority of the bulbs to be in bloom that weekend, not too early or too late, despite unpredictable weather. The strategy in recent years has been to plant different types of tulips with varying blooming times.
At the same time, this term “pinksterfest” has ALSO used for the weekend, more or less synonymously, but not quite. So I needed to track this down.
From the Wikipedia: “Pinkster is a spring festival, taking place in late May or early June. The name is a variation of the Dutch word Pinksteren, meaning ‘Pentecost'”
This weekend in Albany, NY is also the the Tulip Festival in Washington Park, featuring the Funk Brothers and the Family Stone Experience (featuring founding members of Sly and the Family Stone -“oooh-lawd!”) on Saturday and Little Anthony and the Imperials on Sunday.
You don’t know the Funk Brothers? They’ve played on more hit songs than anyone as the sensational backing band for Motown’s biggest stars. Even if you don’t live around Albany, find out more by renting or buying “Standing in the Shadows of Motown”. I saw it in the theaters, enjoyed it tremendously, and learned a great deal about the music I love.