Good things to do in the week ahead


He lost to a dog act on “America’s Got Talent,” but comic Tom Cotter got plenty of exposure from his stint on the nationally televised talent show. Cotter, who was a finalist on last season’s “AGT,” didn’t waste any time basking in his success. He’s back on the road playing comedy clubs and a few colleges over the next few weeks, including a stop in the Capital Region. Cotter, who has appeared on Comedy Central, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and CBS’ “The Late, Late Show,” won the Boston Comedy Festival’s grand prize and was voted Best Stand-Up at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival. He’ll do two shows when he plays Albany’s Comedy Works this week. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday. $30-$54.95. The Comedy Works Comedy Club, 500 Northern Boulevard, Albany. 275-6897;

Just call it comedy for the ladies. It’s “Pumps and Punchlines,” a touring comedy show featuring four women comics cracking wise about guys, gossip, family, friends, fashion, and of course, sex. The funny females are Christina Pazsizky (Tru TV’s “World’s Dumbest,”  “Chelsea Lately”), Jill-Michele (“Mad TV,” Comedy Central, TBS), Mary Lynn Rajskub (“How To Be A Gentleman”), Arden Myrin (“Mad TV,” “Chelsea Lately,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race”) and Marina Franklin (“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Comedy Central). 8 p.m. Saturday. $20-$35. Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady. 346-6204;

Words and ideas
Leon Trotsky was a brilliant but very flawed man. The revolutionary, and first leader of the Red Army, was an astute politician but made many mistakes in a power struggle with Josef Stalin in the 1920s. Yet, Trotsky, who was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929, was one of the first to realize that Hitler’s plans for world domination would mean death for European Jews and a possible alliance with the Soviets. Joshua Rubenstein, author of “Leon Trotsky: A Revolutionary’s Life,” and northeast regional director of Amnesty International USA, will speak on “The Tragedy of Leon Trotsky” in a lecture sponsored by UAlbany’s Center for Judaic Studies. 7 p.m. Thursday. Free. Room 200, Milne Hall, UAlbany downtown campus, 135 Western Ave., Albany. 442-4130;

Popular music

The Electric City Barbershop Chorus has been singing barbershop music for nearly 70 years. And the Schenectady-based group will showcase their skills at their 68th annual show this week. Dubbed “The Barbershop Express,” the concert will feature the chorus, led by director Chuck Eaker, and four other groups. Average Joes, a New Hampshire-based barbershop quartet who won the 2011-12 Northeast District Quartet championship, will sing, as will the Homespun Harmony, Revisions and The New Messengers quartets. Banjo Bert and Friends, a banjo group, will also play. 4 p.m. Saturday. $15-$20. Taylor Auditorium, Begley Building, Schenectady County Community College, 78 Washington Ave., Schenectady. 399-1846 or 399-0890;

In Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale “The Snow Queen,” brave Gerta uses her innocence and loyalty to rescue her friend, Kai, who has been captured and brought to the icy home of the Snow Queen. The story has been a holiday favorite of Albany’s Steamer No. 10 Theatre for several years. Young performers from the Creative Arts at Steamer Ten, the venue’s arts school, will star in a stage adaptation of the story by Ric Chesser, Steamer No. 10’s executive director. The play is part of Steamer No. 10’s Kids Fare series. 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $15. Steamer No. 10 Theatre, 500 Western Ave., Albany. 438-5503;

Putting your arm above your head and keeping it there isn’t an odd thing for a 10-year-old boy to do. But keeping your arm there for 30 years, well that’s the makings of “My Arm,” a play by Tim Crouch. Crouch, who wrote the story in 2002, narrates the tale of a boy who puts his arm over his head because he has nothing more meaningful to do. Thirty years later, the man—who still has his arm over his head—reflects back on the impact his decision has had on his life. The play is presented by the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab. 8 p.m. Saturday. $10-$16. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, 87 Marshall St., North Adams, Mass. 413-662-2111;

Chelsie Hightower doesn’t have to worry about preparing for “Dancing With The Stars” for the rest of this season. The spunky professional ballroom dancer was eliminated, along with her partner, Helio Castroneves, in the third week of ABC’s popular dance competition program. So that leaves Hightower with time to make personal appearances, and she’ll be doing just that this week at the Vapor Night Club in Saratoga Springs. Hightower will meet fans and put on a dance exhibition, open to fans ages 21 and older. Fans must be a member of Vapor’s Players Extra Club to attend; it’s free to sign up for the program, which can be done at the venue. 5:30-7 p.m. Saturday. Free. Vapor Night Club, Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Crescent Avenue, Saratoga Springs. 584-2110;


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