The first Improv comedy club had virtually nothing to do with comedy. Broadway producer Budd Friedman founded the now legendary franchise in 1963 as an intimate spot where performers could eat, drink coffee, and sing along to piano ditties after their shows. Soon after, the club's first comedian, Dave Astor, tried out some new material on a whim. The stand-up set was a hit and led to the venue's eventual transformation into a full-blown comedy club. New York's hottest comedians would do nearly anything to be featured on the Improv stage; for instance, it's rumored that Lily Tomlin hijacked a parked limousine in order to make a stunning entrance when first meeting Budd.
Since 1989, Cleveland Improv has lived up to the lofty reputation of its parent club by showcasing comedic heavyweights such as Drew Carey, Jim Breuer, and Dave Chappelle. A diverse calendar draws instantly recognizable comics from the airwaves of Showtime, the E! channel, and Comedy Central—including Tommy Davidson, Godfrey, and Christina Pazsitzky—but it also opens the stage to promising up-and-comers such as "Uncle" Larry Reeb, Craig Doyle, and Cleveland's own Mike Polk Jr. Like a well-catered intervention, the menu surprises audiences with gourmet flavors. Blueberry-habañero sauce douses the wings, while bleu cheese and applewood bacon crown the burgers. Gut-busted patrons can replenish oxygen-deprived lungs over a cocktail on Cleveland Improv’s patio, which offers nice views of the Cuyahoga River.
Sistah Sinema started, alliteratively, in Seattle. The mission is simple: to celebrate queer women of color in film. Each month, the team screens a movie created by a queer woman of color, followed by a discussion, in which viewers share their thoughts and unanimous feeling that popcorn could become popular. The events in Seattle drew such a following, that organizers quickly expanded across the country, to cities such as Portland, Greensboro, and Atlanta. The collective has displayed a diverse patchwork of films ranging for rom-coms and dramas to documentaries.
Since opening with a Frank Sinatra performance in 1990, the stadium now known as Times Union Center has seen more than 15 million guests pass through its turnstiles. That’s only slightly smaller than the population of the Netherlands and roughly equal to the number of people worldwide who enjoy candy corn. Besides attracting such entertainment titans as the Rolling Stones, U2, Disney’s “On Ice” series, and the Harlem Globetrotters, the multifunction arena is also home to the AHL’s Albany Devils and college basketball’s Siena Saints.
Entering their 85th season, the Harlem Globetrotters have entertained millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a unique brand of athletic precision and showmanship. For their latest “4 Times the Fun” North American tour, the Globetrotters will add a new 4-point shot spots located 35 feet from the basket, which is 12 feet further than the official three-point line but several thousand miles closer than the prime meridian. See the arch-nemesis Generals try to keep up as the Harlem hardwood sorcerers evade gravity’s oppressive clutches and court clairvoyants distribute unassailable alley-oops. Youngsters can learn about the benefits of teamwork while laughing along with the jovial jocks as they perform classic routines of unconventional passing and sudden transmutations of water into confetti.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
Every year, Cinema at the Square takes over the Palace Theatre's 20'x47' screen to treat moviegoers to an eclectic lineup of classic flicks. With a restored 1927 Kimball organ played before the films, the month-long festival transports viewers back in time, allowing them to forget their everyday cares and give fellow show-goers new everyday cares by dumping a pack of Milk Duds into their purse. The Palace Theatre was originally built in the roaring '20s, and proffers the perfect locale for breathless escapism, with rich red carpet and a lobby dominated by a sweeping marble staircase.