Proctors, Schenectady, Tuesday-Wednesday, 12/20, 6:30PM; 12/21, 7PM
This South Korean psycho-sexual crime thriller set among the upper classes has been making a lot of critics’ “ten best” lists for 2016. Park Chan-wook (internationally renowned for the Vengeance Trilogy, which includes Old Boy and Lady Vengeance) directs this tale of a con man and con woman who worm themselves into the life of an heiress with the intent of robbing her. Based on Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, Victorian England becomes Japanese-occupied Korea, but the chicanery remains the same.
Hamell On Trial
The Low Beat, Albany, Wednesday, 12/21, 6 PM
Your pals at The Low Beat are billing this as the “Hamell holiday happy hour that you need.” Once upon a time Ed Hamell was an angry young man; now he’s an angry middle-aged man. His most recent LP, released 2 years ago, was titled (with cheerful irony) The Happiest Man in the World. We’re gonna bet that the trainwreck that was 2016 hasn’t improved this fierce, acoustic guitar-wielding singer songwriter’s mood.
Funny Bone Comedy Club, Albany, Wednesday-Saturday, 12/21-22, 7:30PM; 12/23, 10PM
Richie Redding is a recovering corporate drone; he’s also a recovering alcoholic; he’s also an Ivy Leaguer, which is something you can never recover from. His “edgy, high energy and autobiographical” set draws “on a lifetime of ridiculous true stories.” that can only happen to a recovering alcoholic Ivy Leaguer that lives in the ‘hood. Like every standup worth their salt, he’s won a comedy competition (Bermuda International, 2013), appeared on HBO and been selected to go on a USO tour. He’ll give 2016 the proper comedic kiss-off.
EQ Xmas Show
Jupiter Hall at Lucky Strike Social, Albany, Thursday, 12/22, 8 PM
Your friendly local Vermont indie rock radio station WEQX-FM is bringing the big EQ Xmas show to Crossgates Mall this week. Rustic Overtones, renowned for their rhythm section and smooth blend of rock and soul, will headline. Their fellow Portland, Maine, pals Paranoid Social Club, will open. Well, actually–the two bands share members, so this is more like schizophrenia and less like a twin bill. Ho ho ho!
Cliff Brucker and Full Circle featuring Leo Russo
The Van Dyck, Schenectady, Thursday, 12/22, 7-9:30 PM
If you want to enjoy jazz standards performed by a crack local band, then Saint Rose mprof Cliff Brucker’s combo is for you. This is the second CD-release party for their eponymous August release, which features the multi-instrumentalist Brucker alongside saxman Leo Russo, bassist Tony Berman, drummer Jim Ketterer and guitarist Roger Noyes. It’s only five bucks at the door, or $10 if you want a copy of the CD.
North By Northwest
Time + Space Limited, Hudson, Thursday-Friday, 12/22-23, 6PM
Why not take a holiday vacation with Cary Grant? Ride the 20th Century Limited to Chicago; take a day trip to a cornfield in the American midwest; and fly off to Mount Rushmore and get up-close and personal with Abe, George, Teddy and Tom. Of course, there are also a gang of people trying to kill him in North By Northwest, a classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller co-starring Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. Stick around afterwards, TSL is also showing Hitchcock’s Dial “M” for Murder at 8:15PM both nights.
Miracle On 34th Street
Madison Theater, Albany, Thursday-Saturday, 12/22-24, various times
George Seaton’s film about a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real thing is a storehouse of delights. It’s a glimpse at what the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade looked like in the 1940s. It presents the birth of a movie star, when 8-year old Natalie Wood walks onscreen and steals the film. And it offers Edmund Gwenn’s Kris Kringle, who’s just the right blend of benevolence, playfulness and egomania for us to believe he’s really Saint Nick.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Palace Theatre, Albany, Friday, 12/23, 7 PM
This beloved holiday classic tells the tragic story of a stalwart Trumpian banker, Henry Potter (Lionel Barrymore), beset on all sides by lamebrained do-gooders like George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), and how Potter’s vision is crushed with the supernatural aid. Ha, just kidding. It’s the heartwarming story of community good defeating selfishness. The Palace screening is an annual highlight, thanks to the trailers, announcements and vintage featurettes preceding the beloved feature.
Racquette River Rounders
Caffe Lena at The Parting Glass Pub, Saratoga Springs, Monday, 12/26, 7 PM
Boxing Day is an English holiday also generally celebrated in Canada and other countries that didn’t separate themselves in a timely fashion from the U.K. It’s also celebrated in Saratoga Springs with an annual reunion concert by the Racquette River Rounders, “an eclectic string band performing everything from traditional reels and jigs to Fats Waller, Elvis Presley and their own original music.” As Caffe Lena itself isn’t quite ready yet, this year’s show is at The Parting Glass Pub. Eh, hosers?