My top cultural experiences of 2014

In my former career as an arts editor at a daily newspaper, the year-end best-of lists were a standard. And now that I’ve change jobs this year, and I’m reading so many other journalists’ best-of lists, I am impressed by how many cultural things they (and my past me) have been able to experience in a year. Now I also know how people who aren’t paid to experience so many things can find such lists to be impossible recommendations, a bunch of things that most people will never have the time to get around to. Though arts journalists try to present as complete as possible summaries, I think readers of such lists may only be looking for one thing that might inspire them to go out and experience that cultural thing for themselves.

So here’s a lean look back at 2014.
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What happens when crickets voices are slowed way down

This morning’s ear worm is crickets, slowed way down:

Chilling with Brian Eno’s Music for Airports 1/1

Best chill-out song ever. Enjouy

Tonight: Chic Gamine with Olivia Quillo and Maryleigh Roohan at Red Square

Four girls and one dude, Chic Gamine is a wicked, witty update on the quintessential ’60s girl group. The Canadian (Winnipeg and Montreal) combo first got together in 2007, as Ariane Jean, Andrina Turenne and Annick Bremault brought in drummer Sacha Daoud and singer Alexa Dirks to create this intriguing configuration. Since then, the group has opened for Smokey Robinson, toured with Marc Broussard, played the Vancouver Olympics and earned two Juno (Canadian Grammy) nominations.
The music, featuring just vocals and drums, sounds wonderfully retro, from the early ’60s ooh, ooh, ohh of “Closer” or “Days and Days.” And there is certainly no need for more than these sweet, wicked and witty sounds.

Opening are regional favorites Olivia Quillo (who dropped out of college to pursue songwriting) and Maryleigh Roohan (Metroland’s best female songwriter 2012), who both play in the band Babe City.

— David Malachowski

Chic Gamine, 9 p.m., Red Square, 388 Broadway, Albany, $12, 465-0444

And, check it out, concert promoter Greg Bell is offering a money-back guarantee:


New rules for Summer at the Plaza events beginning with The Zombies

The Zombies

The summer season of entertainment at the Empire State Plaza begins Wednesday night with a concert featuring the Zombies (with opening act Et Tu Bruce).

One thing that is new this year, besides the higher number of acts than last year, is the policy on what can be brought onto the Empire State Plaza grounds.

People will not be allowed to bring in their own alcoholic beverages, coolers or glass containers, the Office of General Services has announced in an email interview. Visitors should also be prepared that any bags, containers or packages will be subject to search. On a further note, animals and pets are not allowed, unless the animal is an ADA-defined service animal.

Vendors will be on the plaza selling food and alcohol.

If you go

The Zombies With Et Tu Bruce

When: 5 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Empire State Plaza, Albany

Admission: Free

Info: 877-659-4377;

Tonight’s Social Distortion concert at Upstate Concert Hall canceled

Concert promoter Step Up Presents has announced that “due to unexpected illness,” Social Distortion is cancelling tonight’s concert at Upstate Concert Hall.

Refunds will be available at point of purchase.

For more information, visit the Upstate Concert Hall website.