Category Archives: entertainment

At the Movies

Spectrum TheatreI went to the Spectrum Theatre recently, and it turns out they no longer accept these pre-paid passes.

The theatre changed hands in 2015. The new owners bought the Spectrum’s funky hippy-dippy indie vibe, the art exhibits, the homey slideshow ads, the cake and cookies and popcorn with real butter, but there’s one thing they didn’t buy: a long-term commitment to honor these cards.

At the box office, I explained that it’s not cool to turn down the passes. The box office clerk explained back to me, “I can’t help you. Call customer service if you have a complaint.”

And he handed me this fortune cookie-sized piece of paper.

Landmark Theatres

Landmark wants to hear from you. Or not.

The woman I talked to at Landmark was impatient with my call. I suggested that when they bought the theatre, they also bought the Spectrum’s loyal long-time customers — and their passes. “Too bad,” she said. I was obviously not the first person to bother her on this topic.

No biggy. I can afford to buy movie tickets and I’ll still go to the Spectrum.

But one more thing: the passes you and I bought may not be any good, but it turns out that the former owners — Keith Pickard, Sugi Pickard, Scott Meyer and Annette Nanes — got a nice bonus as part of the purchase deal. Keith Pickard told the Times Union:

“We have passes forever. That was negotiated. That was part of the negotiating deal — that we have movie passes for as long as Landmark is leasing the property. Don’t forget,” he added, “we’re film lovers.”

Well. that’s terrific. Too bad your long-time customers — the film lovers who patronized you business for decades — don’t get to use the passes they purchased “forever”.

Keith Pickard also said:

“We’re very happy to be a part of this, and we think Landmark will serve the community well. … The legacy is very important to all of us, and I can’t stress this enough. We feel we have a good partner for this. It’s stewardship.”

You’ve got your legacy, Mr. Pickard. And your lifetime pass.

Anchorman

One might suggest that having Ron Burgundy co-anchor your newscast ruins your credibility, but really, how much credibility can you possibly have in Bismark, North Dakota?

Will Ferrell showed up on the air Saturday at small-market KXMB and showed that with maybe a tiny adjustment in attitude, he’d fit right in.

Local TV news can certainly be accused of taking itself too seriously, so cheers to the people who run this station for being realistic about their place in the world.

Not to diminish the role of the news anchor, but there is a degree of theatricality involved. A certain studied demeanor, proper inflection, playing to the camera — how much different is that than acting? And when you switch from channel to channel, you see the same role being played by different people.

At the Movies

The Ape

The paper Don Draper was reading in the theatre.

The internet went crazy over Mad Men revealing the iconic ending of Planet of the Apes during its April 28 episode. Pardon me for being slow on the uptake; I’m still a few weeks behind.

But Planet of the Apes is something like 45 years old, so I’m not sure it matters. Should there be a statute of limitations on spoilers? If so, 45 years is long enough. Did I mention that Rosebud was Charles Foster Kane’s sled? Ooops, sorry.

The scene with Don Draper sitting in the movie theatre with his son watching Planet of the Apes was poignant for a lot of reasons, but for me it was a real hit in the gut because I was about that age when my father took me to see the same movie. And the ending completely freaked me out.

I recall other movie-going experiences with my father. My earlirest movie memory was going to see the 1966 Batman movie, which featured a brief on stage appearance by some guy in a Batman suit. In the twisted logic of a five-year-old, I was convinced it was my Uncle Ed dressed as the Caped Crusader. And then there was the James Bond marathon, where we sat through three or four 60s Bond movies at the Park East theatre.

Going to the movies will always be more special than TV. Sure, you may remember seeing things on television, but the intensity of the experience you have in a theatre is so much greater — and it’s not just about the film, but about who you were there with.

Movie Night in Afghanistan

I always enjoy rooting through the $5 DVD bin at Walmart. As it get easier to stream, download, and store films at home we’ll probably see the format disappear — which is too bad because I really like them. Better than VHS tapes, at least…

Anyway, I often see DVDs listed among the things to send to our troops, so I included some cinematic masterpieces in my most recent box of stuff for my son Alex in Afghanistan.

Here’s what’s playing:

28 Days Later / 28 Weeks Later: One disc, two great movies, the first of which was  directed by Olympic opening ceremony mastermind Danny Boyle.  It features the very worst sort of zombies, those who sprint like Usain Bolt.

Jeremiah Johnson: I first saw this at ten-years-old and it had a profound impact on me. At the time it was one of the coolest movies I’d ever seen, except maybe for The Great Escape and Planet of the Apes.

Superbad: Any teenager with nerdy glasses shall forever be called McLovin.

Gran Torino: Clint Eastwood at his badass best. For those of you who thought Chrysler’s Halftime in America commercial came out of left field, Eastwood plays a retired Detroit autoworker in this flick.

Pineapple Express: Dude…

Stripes: I think the Army has changed a lot since Stripes came out in 1981. What goes on in this movie is probably more like what the Afghan army looks like today. And that’s more sad than funny.

Albany Featured in The Other Guys Trailer

Have a look at the trailer for The Other Guys!

The film did extensive shooting in Downtown Albany last year, including all sorts of scenes with car chases, helicopters, gunfire, car chases, and car chases. The Albany stuff is ALL OVER the trailer, albeit in short bits. Enjoy.

The Other Guys opens in August.

Win $800 Worth of Entertainment!

Kevin Marshall charms Katherine Buckley in The Importance of Being Earnest (photo Confetti Stage)

I’ve noticed that people who read blogs love free stuff. Just look at On the Edge. They give things away all the time, most recently $800 in legal services from an area attorney. That’s a pretty nice prize!

Not to be outdone, I am also giving away something worth $800: two tickets to see Times Union blogger Kevin Marshall in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, presented by Confetti Stage at the Albany Masonic Hall, directed by Neilson R. Jones. Performances are May 14, 15, 20, 21, & 22 at 8:00pm and May 16 & 23 at 2:00pm.

Yes, you could buy these tickets for just $30, but we’re talking about value here, not price. These days people know the price of everything but the value of nothing. I’m here to tell you that the price of these tickets may be $30, but the value? That’s $800.

The good news is that the IRS can’t bag you for $800. They deal in cost, not value. How typical!

To enter, just send an email to winstuffwithrob@gmail.com. The winner will be randomly selected on Wednesday, May 12. Include your name and phone number in the body of the email so I can contact you.

You may choose the performance you’d like to see, but tickets are subject to availability.

And by the way, I’m not doing this for readership, I am doing this because I love you. There, I said it. I love you. I hope that doesn’t make you uncomfortable. How could something that feels so right be wrong?

Circus Town

If you’ve ever considered running away and joining the circus, now is your chance.

All Over Albany had some picturesof the Ringling Bros. elephants being walked through the streets on their way to the TU Center. You can’t miss an elephant, but if you look around you’ll see signs of the circus everywhere. There are circus trucks, RVs that performers often live in while on the road, and grandest of all, the circus train parked in the railyard at the Port of Albany.

Oh, yes, and the tigers.

I was able to sneak a peek at the big cats this morning in their cages behind the arena. This one looked up after I made the same noises I do when summoning the cats at home.

The Greatest Show on Earth is also the most complex. This is more like moving an army than bringing in the sort of events you usually see at the TU Center. What’s really amazing is that Ringling runs two completely separate shows simultaneously, the Blue Tour — which we’re seeing this week — and the Red Tour, which is hitting another set of cities.

The Providence Journal has a couple of good behind the scenes circus stories they did recently when the Red Tour hit town; one is about feeding the clowns (and others) and the other about life on the road with the show.

Ah, to be Toby Tyler for just ten weeks.