Since first enchanting moviegoers with a screening of The Desert Song on May 30, 1929, Madison Theater continues to treat attendees to the latest cinematic offerings. Designed by acclaimed American theater architect Thomas White Lamb, Madison Theater remained a single-screen establishment until 1994, and now projects motion pictures on seven screens, playing Hollywood features alongside films from local and independent moviemakers. As cinematic stories unfold before their eyes, visitors can scarf down handfuls of daily made, cholesterol- and trans-fat-free popcorn. Snackers seeking richer treats can request kernels slathered in canola oil or drenched in a soy-based buttery topping, which concessions employees also insert in the middle of the corn for lasting buttery taste and protection from the beaks of butter-syphoning hawks.
Still emanating fumes from their drag race to the top of the bluegrass scene, Grammy-nominated group The Grascals inspires infectious toe tapping and hand clapping during impassioned performances. Building on roots that trace back more than two decades, the tightly spun sextet fuses harmonious, twang-packed vocals with the plucks of a banjo, fiddle, and mandolin. Light-hearted, jovial jams peppered among soul-searching ballads and dramatic diary readings work together to weave a wondrous catalog–an effort that has led to collaborations with country legends such as Dolly Parton and Hank Williams Jr. This year, the group continued their blitz on the bluegrass genre with four more award nominations from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Local favorites the Ramblin Jug Stompers lay the groundwork for an evening of two-steps, as they carry on the tradition of American string bands and air-harmonica solos of the 1960s.
Though the locally owned ABC Sports and Fitness has been in business since 1989, its sparkling rows of modern fitness facilities make it seem brand new. Past its rows of circuit machines and strength-training equipment lies a full gymnasium with a cushioned indoor track, where instructors lead more than 80 fitness classes throughout the week. Within a private cycling studio, 30 professional indoor bikes bustle and hum during group spinning sessions. Changing rooms house sleek wooden locker rooms and a sauna, along with showers where guests can belt out commercial jingles in privacy. While visiting the gym, members can also take advantage of onsite childcare facilities, professional tanning booths, and regular senior-citizen community group meetings.
The treats at Control Tower Ice Cream are so tasty that they regularly cause pilots to land their planes near the shop. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Albany International Airport’s north runway is paved a few 100 yards from the creamery’s door. Regardless, from March to September, the staff serves nearly 20 specialty sundaes and more than 40 flavors of ice cream that woo adults and kids alike. More savory foods, such as hot dogs, burgers, and paninis, complement the desserts. After eating, guests can watch the planes land and take off or visit Control Tower’s go-kart track, miniature-golf course, or batting cages.
Surviving in the wilderness can be challenging—especially during the zombie apocalypse. But some of Wilderness Survival's courses prepare students for just this situation, incorporating practical lessons into a simulated battle between zombies and humans, complete with optional paintball warfare. Other courses focus purely on the practical aspects of survival, such as building a shelter, finding wild edible plants, purifying water, and learning how to roundhouse kick the wings off pesky mosquitoes.