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05/31/2017 | "Activist artist to headline Troy’s Freedom Festival"

Activist artist to headline Troy’s Freedom Festival

Taina Asili y la Bande Rebelde will perform at the Freedom Festival on Saturday at Freedom Square in Troy.Taina Asili y la Bande Rebelde will perform at the Freedom Festival on Saturday at Freedom Square in Troy.Photo provided


05/24/2017 | "Taina Asili on the importance of Troy’s Sanctuary for Independent Media"

Taina Asili on the importance of Troy’s Sanctuary for Independent Media
Jaya Sundaresh | Wednesday, May 24 2017

Taina Asili on the importance of Troy’s Sanctuary for Independent Media
Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde is back in the Capital Region, and will be playing the Freedom Festival with the hip-hop duo Katani at the Sanctuary for Independent Media on Saturday, June 3, from 3 to 6 PM. Freedom Festival will be free and open to all, with free food and kids’ activities, as well as opportunities to get involved with the local organizations that will be tabling during the event. Freedom Festival is the launch of the Sanctuary’s “Summer Series”, a series of free performances held outside, utilizing the Sanctuary’s outdoor “Freedom Stage”.

“It should be a really fun time,” Asili says over the phone. “It’s going to be an opportunity to dance in the grass and enjoy food, enjoy one another, and really connect to each other, as a community working towards greater social justice.”

05/04/2017 | "Journalist Taibbi to speak at Sanctuary for Independent Media"

By, @troyrecord on Twitter
POSTED: 05/04/17, 1:14 PM EDT | UPDATED: 4 DAYS AGO

TROY >> Rolling Stone magazine writer Matt Taibbi will speak about his new, bestselling book, “Insane Clown President,” at 7 p.m. Friday, May 12, at the Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 6th Ave.

In a battery of dispatches from the heartland of America, Taibbi shares his take on the Trump phenomenon, from its tragi-comic beginnings to the apocalyptic election. Filled with on-the-ground reporting and gallows humour, Taibbi’s analysis goes beyond the bizarre election to tell a wider story of the apparent collapse of American democracy.

Taibbi, who also authored New York Times bestsellers “The Divide,” “Griftopia” and “The Great Derangement,” is a contributing editor and columnist for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2007 National Magazine Award for columns and commentary.

Admission to the event is by donation ($10 suggested), with advance tickets available at For more information, call 272-2390, email or visit

02/09/2017 | "Sanctuary for Independent Media officially launches radio station"

By,, @troyrecord on Twitter
POSTED: 02/09/17, 1:13 PM EST | UPDATED: ON 02/09/2017

TROY, N.Y. >> After a more than a year of test broadcasts, The Sanctuary for Independent Media has officially launched a new listener-supported, non-commercial radio station.

WOOC (105.3 FM) is transmitting from studios at the group’s home, with a broadcast signal that covers Troy and Albany and an online stream at The station offers alternative news and public affairs programming in partnership with the Pacifica Radio network from 6 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays and at other times offering a cultural format featuring 50 years of music from the African Diaspora, focusing on reggae and African pop.

“At the sanctuary and WOOC, our mission is to use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression,” said Steve Pierce, executive director of the sanctuary, in a news release.

The station’s launch will be celebrated with a benefit concert at The Egg Performing Arts Center in Albany’s Empire State Plaza at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, featuring Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars and legendary South African anti-apartheid singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela. Tickets to the all-ages show are $29.50 and are available at The Egg box office, by phone at 473-1845 or online at

01/19/2017 | "Amy Biancolli: Musical homage to Albany's jazz lady"

AMY BIANCOLLI Published 4:45 pm, Thursday, January 19, 2017

I did not know Lee Shaw personally. It grieves me to say this, but I never met her. Never became a regular at her gigs, though I do recall her at the piano in Justin's. Never knew her as anything but the much-loved, much-talked-about éminence grise of the Capital Region jazz scene, a tiny woman with a giant presence whose influence spanned decades.

10/18/2016 | "Bill Ayers & Bernadine Dohrn: Demanding the Impossible"

By Michael Rivest on October 18, 2016 at 3:36 PM

I once asked the great theologian and activist William Sloane Coffin if he was optimistic about the future. “No, I am hopeful,” he said, explaining that optimism and pessimism are two sides of the same determinist coin. “In a world of infinite possibility, anything can happen. So I just act, then hope.”

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn make that identical point. They came to Albany last weekend to visit old friends and fellow Weather Underground leaders Jeff Jones and Eleanor Stein, and to appear at Troy’s Sanctuary for Independent Media. Ayers and Dohrn are both successful authors, but Bill’s Demand the Impossible! A Radical Manifesto is the latest work and what drew the full house.

At a gathering the night before, I overheard a woman introduce herself to Dohrn, asking her personal advice as a woman. Bernadine never let go of the woman’s hand from the initial greeting. Their voices became whispers, as though a cone of confessional intimacy had suddenly dropped over them. I sensed the same focus and sensitivity in Bill. When he listens his intensity is disarming. He is entirely present to you.

10/03/2016 | "Biancolli: The art of Bloomberg-funded 'Breathing Lights'"

By Amy Biancolli Updated 11:54 am, Monday, October 3, 2016

They're odd. They're unexpected. They'll stop you in your tracks, prompting you to hit the brakes and pull to the curb. The abandoned buildings now blinking in the night throughout Albany, Schenectady and Troy resemble sleeping giants, silent behemoths huffing calmly from the streets of struggling neighborhoods.

They're also beautiful. Weirdly, undeniably, disconcertingly beautiful.

Dignitaries gathered on a Schenectady basketball court Thursday evening to greet the start of "Breathing Lights," the temporary art installation funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies that illuminates vacant structures — from 6 to 10 p.m. each night, now through Dec. 1 — with softly incandescent LEDs. All three mayors were there, alongside scads of politicos, community members, "Breathing Lights" team members and Bloomberg representatives.
One by one, the VIPs stood and spoke under a canopy outside the Boys & Girls Club on Craig Street, hailing the project, its innovation, its community spirit and creative approach to blight, the way art can raise awareness and engender cooperation among the cities. And as they talked, six enormous creatures — empty clapboard homes rigged with lights — heaved slow, deep breaths on Stanley Street behind them.

08/27/2016 | "Troy neighborhood comes together for annual anti-violence festival"

By,, @troyrecord on Twitter
POSTED: 08/27/16, 5:35 PM EDT | UPDATED: ON 08/27/2016

TROY >> The North Central Neighborhood Community Center, in partnership with several other community organizations, hosted the fifth annual Unity in the Community Anti-Violence Back to School Festival on Saturday afternoon in Freedom Square.

This year’s event included free food, live entertainment, a 50/50 raffle, face painting, arts and crafts and a bounce house for kids, with backpacks distributed to all children from kindergarten through 12th grade in attendance. Last year’s event delivered 940 full backpacks and served about 2,000 plates of food.

The North Central Neighborhood Community Center is a nonprofit organization and relies on fundraising and donations. All donations are tax deductible.

“This event [kicks] off the fifth year of creative resident-driven activities that show the unity and dedication of those who live here,” said Joycelyn Henderson, fundraising coordinator for the event. “We feel that the best start to turn positive is to do positive.”

06/19/2016 | "Breathing Lights announces featured art projects"

By,, @troyrecord on Twitter
POSTED: 06/19/16, 1:31 PM EDT | UPDATED: ON 06/19/2016

ALBANY >> Several Troy-based artists were selected for recognition through an innovative regional project that annually illuminates vacant buildings around the three major cities of the Capital Region.

Breathing Lights will light up hundreds of vacant buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy nightly in October and September to spark community conversations around the issues of vacant buildings and community revitalization. Through its Community Arts Awards program, though, organizers aim to “magnify the stories of residents who live around the breathing lights and focus attention on the region’s urban landscape,” according to a news release announcing the eight projects to be recognized.

Breathing Lights and its community hub partners, the Albany Barn, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady, and The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, chose the eight winning projects from more than 55 entries submitted by artists from the region and beyond. These works will debut in October, at the same time as the debut of the Breathing Lights installations.