Today’s news:

Outdoors craft festival at Bruce Museum

Longtime Riverdale resident Bob Robinson is having a

one man show of his acrylic paintings, watercolors and etchings at the Ethical Culture Society at 4450 Fieldston Road till May 30. There will be a reception, with refreshments, on Sun., May 17, at 1:15 to 3 pm. The exhibit is open Mon. though Fri. from 10 am to 5 pm.

Robinson has participated in numerous juried group shows and won prizes for his artwork at Atria, Cabrini Gallery, Pratt Institute, Vintage Art Show, Bronxville Library and The College of Mount Saint Vincent. He is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and has attended The New School, Art Student League, Pratt Institute and The Sorbonne. He is a member of the Riverdale Art Association. He has enjoyed over 30 years as an art director in advertising.

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Lehman Center for the Performing Arts presents a spectacular evening as five-time GRAMMY® Award and three-time Latin GRAMMY Award-winning merengue and Latin pop superstar Olga Tañón brings her Fuego en Vivo Tour 2009 to Lehman. Known as La Mujer de Fuego (The Woman of Fire), the Puerto Rican native will burn up the stage with hit after sizzling hit, including “Es mentiroso,” “Como olvidar” and “Asi es la vida” on Fri., May 29, at 8 pm. Also on the bill for this not-to-be-missed concert will be legendary sonero and master improviser Jose Alberto “El Canario.” With his unique voice, “El Canario” is one of Latin music’s most successful artists, with a career spanning over 30 years and 27 solo albums, many of them gold and platinum.

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West,. Tickets for Olga Tañón and Jose Alberto “El Canario” on Fri., May 29, at 8 pm, are: $50, $45, $40 and $35 and can be purchased by calling (718) 960-8833.

Olga Tañón has been a force in Latin music since her first solo album, 1992’s Sola. Her powerful voice complements a wide range of musical genres, from pop ballad to merengue, from salsa to boogaloo, and she has sold over four million albums and performed to sell-out crowds all over the world. A skilled dancer with a dynamic stage presence, she began performing as a little girl in Puerto Rico, singing in her church choir by the age of eight and performing in school theatrical productions and various talent contests. After she joined the popular late-‘80s merengue girl-group, Chantelle, in Puerto Rico, they scored their biggest hit with “Aunque tĂș no quieras.” Following her solo debut, 1993’s Mujer de fuego, established Olga as one of merengue’s reigning divas and also marked her debut as a composer with the song “Presencié tu amor,” a Top Ten hit on Billboard’s Top Latin Tracks. Her next album, 1994’s Siente el amor, was even more successful, breaking into the Top Five on the Top Latin Albums chart and generating six hit singles. With 1996’s Pop/Tex-Mex CD Nuevos senderos, featuring Latin pop songs written by Mexican star Marco Antonio Solís, she became the first Puerto Rican musician to sell over half a million records (Gold status). The album’s lead single, the ballad “¡Basta ya!” topped the Top Latin Tracks for several weeks and became Olga’s first #1 hit. In 2001 she became the second Puerto Rican female artist (the first was legendary performer Rita Moreno) to receive a GRAMMY Award, for her live, double-disc Olga viva, viva Olga, which produced the #1 hit “Como olvidar.” In 2002 Olga won another GRAMMY and collected her first Latin GRAMMY for her album Yo por ti, which also garnered a Billboard Award for Best Merengue Album. In 2003 she received a GRAMMY for her album Sobrevivir; with its #1 hit “Asi es la vida.” And in 2006, Una nueva mujer won the GRAMMY for Tropical Contemporary. With 24 solo albums, her latest releases are 2008’s Fuego en vivo, Vol. 1 & 2.

José Alberto, nicknamed “El Canario” because of his exquisite voice and melodious whistling skills, is one of Latin music’s most influential vocalists. Since recording his first single in 1974 and attracting international attention in 1977 as musical director and lead vocalist of Típica ‘73, he has gone on to record a dozen exciting albums and perform at festivals world-wide with his New York-based band José Alberto ”El Canario” Y Su Orquesta. The Dominican-born Alberto moved with his family to Puerto Rico at the age of seven, and, inspired by Latin music, sharpened his vocal skills at Las Antillas Military Academy. Moving to New York in the early ‘70s, he became a master improviser singing with an extensive list of orchestras. He formed his own band in 1983, and in 1987 he was the first artist signed to the Tropical division of Ralph Mercado’s RMM label, recording the international smash hit “Sueño contigo.” The 1991 album Dance with Me was a salsa romántica hit. Alberto frequently toured as co-vocalist with the late Queen of Salsa Celia Cruz. His latest CD is 2008’s Greatest Salsa Ever.

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The Bruce Museum’s 24th Annual Outdoor Crafts Festival takes place on Sat., May 16, and Sun., May 17, 2009, on the grounds of the Bruce Museum at 1 Museum Drive in Greenwich, CT. The Festival, which runs from 10 am to 5 pm both days, features juried exhibitors specializing in ceramics, jewelry, wood, wearable and decorative fiber, metalwork, leather, paper arts and glass, all available for purchase. Over eighty artisans gather together to share their unique talents and crafts at a nationally recognized event that attracts thousands of visitors each year.

The Outdoor Crafts Festival also includes fun, hands-on craft activities for children, international cuisine, acoustic musicians, and dance performances. The entertainment schedule features classical guitarists Ed Wright and AnnaLisa Ewald performing in separate shows on the grounds of the Museum each day. In addition, the duo Sean and Deirdre Murtha present a children’s concert of traditional, acoustic folk tunes. A dance program spotlights students at Jazzarts.

This year features several new faces along with some previous favorites, according to festival manager Sue Gordon. For many, this is the first show of the season, and many will be premiering their new work at this event.

This year is especially strong in the jewelry category, with a wide variety of examples in fine and artistic wearable creations ranging from precious metals and stones to the truly imaginative whimsy of woven fiber jewelry. Ceramics is also strong, with over 15 amazing ceramic artists exhibiting vessels, decorative teapots and elaborate raku-fired wall pieces. Turned wood, metal furniture, and the brightly colored blown glass exhibited will provide something unique for every taste and collecting budget.

As an added bonus, Bruce Museum members can enjoy 10% discounts from participating artists.

The Bruce Museum’s Outdoor Crafts Festival was named one of the “Top 100 Events” in Fairfield County by the Fairfield County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Festival is held rain or shine on the Museum grounds at 1 Museum Drive, in Greenwich, CT.

Admission to the Outdoor Crafts Festival is free from 10. to 11 am each day. Admission from 11 am to 5 pm is free to members, $8 for non-members, and free for children under five, and it includes all festival activities, plus admission to the Bruce Museum galleries, which are open to the public during Festival hours. Members are encouraged to bring membership IDs to take advantage of the discount program. Visitors are asked to park on Museum Drive and Steamboat Road or in the Island Beach Parking lot near exit 3 off I-95. For information call (203) 869-6786.

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The Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture, 4450 Fieldston Road, will show Shanghai Triad on Sat., May 16, at 7 pm.

Shanghai Triad is a film that was shut down during production because of political problems in the previous film To Live, which addressed itself to recent Chinese history with an openly critical tone. The new film tells of a powerful gangster and his bored, capricious mistress. The part is that of a floozy, complete with singing and dancing, and it summons all the tawdriness, evil and eventually dignity this story demands. The power of redemption is all the greater for a glittering vixen who leaves such damage in her wake. Xiao Jingbao Li, nicknamed Jewel, is actually a prisoner, living a life that is closely supervised and tightly confined.

The life of a ganglord mistress has filled Xiao Jinghao with loathing and makes a startling impression on Tang Shuisheng, the 14 year old boy who is brought to Shanghai to be her servant. Shuisheng is shocked by his new mistress’s cruelty.

A donation towards the Film Club of $3 to $5 per person will be accepted at the door. For more information call (718) 548-4445.

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Come and start a new project of your choice or learn a featured project at the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture, 4450 Fieldston Road. The knitting get together will be held on Sun., May 17 at 1 pm. Jill Staats, master knitter, spinner and designer, will lead the group.

Bring knitting materials, pattern and instruction supply or bring a project you need assistance with, or just come dabble. Some needles and yarn will be available on-site.

For more information call (718) 548-4445.

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The Lehman College Community Band will give its final concert of the season on Sun., May 17, at 2 pm in the Lovinger Theatre. Titled “A Mélange of Music,” the concert will feature a performance of Satoshi Yagisawa’s epic tone poem “Machu Picchu: City in the Sky,” which depicts the majesty of the ancient Incan civilization and grandeur of their mountain-top city. This event is free and open to the public.

The band will also perform a Renaissance work for brass choir by Giovanni Gabrieli; Peter Graham’s “The Red Machine,” which was written in honor of the British Coldstream Guards; a medley of familiar tunes entitled “Big Band Favorites,” as well as works for symphonic concert band. In addition, Karl Watson, a member of the Music Department, will perform an adaptation for solo baritone saxophone of George Gershwin’s “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’” from the musical “Porgy and Bess.”

Rounding out the concert will be a special guest performance by Jose Castillo, winner of the 2009 Jerome Sala Wind Competition, who will perform Pietro Morlacchi’s pastoral showpiece for flute, “The Swiss Shepherd.” Castillo, a senior at the Celia Cruz Bronx High School for Music, plans to attend City College in the fall to study computers and to further his musical education.

Lehman is located at Goulden Avenue and Bedford Park Boulevard.

For more information call (718) 960-8247.

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