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Dave Sgalambro

LarkFest

Good news: Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello went to Minneapolis, took the power back, and will, under the guise of his solo moniker the Nightwatchman, deliver it to “the largest one-day open-air street festival in New York State.” That’s right: LarkFest. While Rage MC Zack de la Rocha will, no doubt, be off somewhere hassling the GOP this weekend, Morello will be far from alone. We’re talking five stages, plus food, art, music, kids’ shows, magic and—yes—juggling.

Morello shares the limelight with strange bedfellows: popster Eric Hutchinson, actor-turned-songwriter Val Emmich (pictured), and Belfast pop-punks Oppenheimer. More exciting, though, is the host of area acts who will grace one of many stages throughout the day, including Aficionado, the Sense Offenders, Broadcast Live, knotworking, Taina Asili, Erin Harkes and Rich Ortiz. Toss in Cirque de la Nocturne with all their burlesque-belly-fire-tango-break-dancing, and it’s safe to say there’s gonna be a little something for everyone.

The festivities begin Saturday (Sept. 20) at 10 AM, on Lark Street in Albany (between Madison and Washington avenues), and will run until 5:30 PM. Admission is free. For more information, call the Lark Street BID at 434-3861.

Stacy Mitchell

A couple of years back, a Daily Show correspondent entered a Wal-Mart in Ohio and exited somewhere in Kentucky. He’s lucky, too, because, with one wrong turn in the electronics department, he could have been disemboweled by the beast Cerberus in Dante’s third ring of Hell.

We all know, by now, that big-box stores are evil, but Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, is coming to tell us why. She’s the author of Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses, a book über-activist Bill McKibben called “the ultimate account of the single most important economic trend in our country.”

Beyond explaining how mega-retailers, backed by government policy, have contributed to rising gas consumption, increased pollution, diminished civic engagement, escalated poverty and a shrinking middle class, she’ll offer concrete strategies on how communities can fight back.

Stacy Mitchell will speak tonight (Thursday, Sept. 18) at the Guilderland Public Library (2228 Western Ave., Guilderland) at 7 PM. Admission is free. For more information, call 456-2400, or go to capitaldistrictlocalfirst.org.

The Russian Question

With the recent unpleasantness between Russia and Georgia, memories of the Cold War have forced their way back into the national consciousness. This 1947 Russian movie, which will be screened Monday at the Spectrum, will take you deep into the bizarro world of Soviet propaganda.

The plot is irresistible. An all-American journalist visits the Soviet Union and sees the glories of communism in action. On his return to the United States, he’s offered a handsome sum to write a book about Soviet life. There’s only one catch: The vile editor who cut his check represents the reactionary plutocrats who rule America, and wants the journalist to write a “hatchet job” on Soviet society. Will the proud representative of the press take a dive for cash, or will he tell the “truth” about communism?

Don’t let our mocking tone fool you, however, as the film is presented (and performed) sincerely. Seriously: It’s always worth checking out what the other side believed—or say they believed. There’s a bonus for music buffs, too, as the film’s score is by Aram Khachaturian.

Nadieszda Kizenko, who teaches Russian history at the University at Albany, will introduce the film.

The Russian Question will screen Monday (Sept. 22) at 1 and 6:45 PM at the Spectrum 8 Theatres (290 Delaware Ave., Albany). Regular admission prices apply. For more info, call 449-8995.


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