Monday, August 31, 2015

1st Friday with Jeff Strange - 9/4

On Friday, September 4, Jeff Strange returns to the University Club by popular demand! Join us following the reception welcoming Artist in Residence Joleen Button for the after party in the Grille Room!

A founding member of internationally-known Irish folk band Donnybrook Fair and longtime member of The Newports, Jeff is known for his on-stage patter and energetic performances incorporating a broad selection of Irish, rock and original music. He recently debuted a new Irish musical, "Find Your Way Home," written with Jimmy Kelly, at the Fingerlakes Theater Festival.

Jeff will play in the Grille Room from 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. The performance is free and dinner will be served until 9:00 p.m., please call 518-463-1151 for reservations. Seating is limited and Jeff is very popular - call ahead to avoid disappointment!

On the first Friday of each month, as part of the University Club’s celebration of 1st Friday, one need not be a member to enjoy live music, dinner and dancing in the Grille Room, dress is casual, and cash and major credit cards are accepted. Come be a part of the downtown arts walk that showcases Albany's thriving and lively art scene!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

U Club Announces 4th "Artist in Residence"

Joleen Button to Exhibit Work from September - December


In addition to paintings by Jonathan Bradley Morse and Walter Launt Palmer and sculpture by Terri Boor, the Living Room, Lobby and Dining Room of the University Club of Albany have long featured works from a variety of local artists.


From September through December, the University Club will present a solo exhibition of the works of Joleen Button, who will serve as the Club’s fourth Artist in Residence.

The exhibition will open with a Meet the Artist Reception on Friday, September 4 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the National Register-listed University Club at 141 Washington Avenue at Dove Street. The reception is free and open to the public as part of the University Club’s participation in 1st Friday, the arts walk that showcases the lively art scene in downtown Albany. Guests are invited to stay on after the reception for live music in the Grille Room with founding member of Irish folk band Donnybrook Fair and longtime member of The Fabulous Newports, Jeff Strange, from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. RSVPs are appreciated. 

Scheduled to run through Monday, December 28, the exhibition will be on view during public and special events at the Club, and by appointment with the artist, who will receive an honorary membership in the University Club for the duration of the show. Previous Artists in Residence were Ken Ragsdale, Channing Lefebvre, and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. Their work spanned many artistic disciplines, including drawing, painting, sculpture, paper-craft, and photographs.

The Artist in Residence program furthers the University Club and Foundation’s commitment to promote the use of the historic Clubhouse as a venue for performing and visual arts as well as cultural events. It builds on the success of the October, 2011 Athletic Annex Exhibition curated by local artist Chip Fasciana. For 9 days, the University Club’s former fitness annex was transformed into a “pop up art gallery” with an exhibition featuring some 20 local and regional artists. The Athletic Annex Exhibition was part of MoHu – the Mohawk Hudson Art Festival featuring theatre, dance, music, visual and random acts of art throughout the region.

A single mother of three girls and local artist, Joleen Button possesses profound inspiration and appreciation of this world. Particularly, she is charmed by common peculiarities of life such as existence, beauty, desire, and the passage of time.

Joleen’s fine art subject matter and style stems from her life experiences and studies at The Sage Colleges in Albany and Parson’s School of Design in Paris, France. Her portfolio consists of a variety of work such as still life, landscapes of the Hudson River Valley, abstracts, and portraits in oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings and drawings as well as photography, graphic and fashion design.

“Since early childhood I have had awareness that I am an artist, having possessed a passion to express and exhibit my awe, appreciation, and curiosity of this world,” said Button. “I was born in the Midwest, and at a young age my family relocated to Upstate New York. It is here my creativity flourished with the support of family.”

Button has been a part of the local arts community for nearly a decade, through producing, teaching, or exhibiting. Her works have been showcased in galleries, vacant spaces, restaurants, local publications and television and have received honors and awards. Apart from exhibiting art, she has worked as a freelance graphic designer, a personal assistant to established national and international artists, and as an art and graphic design adjunct professor. For information about commissions of landscapes, still life, or portraits, visit www.JoleenButton.com .

This event is presented by the University Club of Albany Foundation, Inc., and one need not be a member of the University Club to attend. The 501c3 Foundation which was formed in 2009 to recognize and maintain the unique historic and architectural significance of the University Club building and property, its neighborhood and the city of Albany, where it has been located since its inception in 1901. Support for educational programming presented by the University Club Foundation is provided by AT&T. For more information contact the University Club at 518-463-1151 or online at www.universityclubalbany.com.


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Explore History: Be Revolutionary! Monday, 9/28

Meet the Author of The Battle of Hubbardton, Sip Nine Pin Cider

University Club Hosts Talk & Tasting on Monday, September 28


The last major land battle of the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Yorktown, began on September 28, 1781. But without the earlier Battle of Hubbardton in 1777, the fledgling United States might have failed in their quest for independence.

On Monday, September 28, the University Club of Albany will host an evening of early American history and beverages. Author and historian Dr. Bruce M. Venter will discuss and sign his book The Battle of Hubbardton: The Rear Guard Action that Saved America (April 2015, Arcadia Publishing) at the National Register-listed University Club at 141 Washington Avenue from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.; and Nine Pin Cider Works of Albany will pour samples of hard cider.

The tasting and meet the author reception will begin at 6:00 with the presentation commencing at 7:00. A book signing will follow the program, and books will be available for purchase courtesy of The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza for $19.

The battle of Hubbardton was perhaps the loss that saved the war for the patriots. British and German troops ran into stubborn rebel resistance at Hubbardton, Vermont, on July 7, 1777. After easily capturing Fort Ticonderoga, Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne pursued a retreating Continental army under Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair. In the fields and hills around Hubbardton, a tenacious American rear guard of about 1,200 derailed the British general’s plan for a quick march to Albany. The patriots, under Col. Seth Warner, left the British and Germans bloodied, though they claimed a tactical victory. Burgoyne and his weakened force ultimately surrendered at Saratoga on October 17, 1777, paving the way for a French alliance which ensured American independence.

A beverage that quenched the thirst of many a revolutionary citizen was hard cider. More than two hundred years later, cider’s popularity has rebounded along with craft beers and spirits. Nine Pin Cider Works crafts delicious Nine Pin New York Hard Cider at 929 Broadway using farm fresh fruit sourced from orchards in Albany, Saratoga, and Columbia counties. Founder Alejandro del Peral includes apples grown from seed on the del Peral family farm. Nine Pin Cider Works will pour samples of their signature cider, as well as seasonal and experimental blends. The Club will be offer specialty cocktails made with Nine Pin Cider, including the “Warehouse District” featuring Ironweed Rye Whiskey from Albany Distilling Co.

A veteran of 26 years of service in the Albany City School District, Bruce Venter is president of America’s History, LLC, a tour and conference company where he leads Revolutionary War tours. This company is best known for its highly successful annual conference on the American Revolution. Bruce is also 1st vice president of the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond and was 1st vice president of the Goochland County Historical Society. He frequently lectures on the Revolutionary War, including at Fort Ticonderoga’s American Revolution Seminar. He is also known for his character portrayals of General John Burgoyne and Charles Earl Cornwallis.

There is no cost for the program but reservations are required and may be made by calling the Club at 518-463-1151; by sending an email to ellen@universityclubalbany.com; or on the Club’s website. The event is sponsored by the University Club Foundation and one need not be a member of the Club to attend.

The University Club of Albany Foundation is a 501c3 corporation formed in 2009 to recognize and maintain the unique historic and architectural significance of the National Register-listed University Club building, its historic neighborhood and the city of Albany, where it has been located since its inception in 1901. Support for educational programming at the University Club is provided by AT&T.

For more information about the University Club, visit www.universityclubalbany.com .

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New York Women: Making History - Tuesday Aug. 18


Author Bruce Dearstyne to Discuss and Sign
"The Spirit of New York"

University Club Hosts Luncheon Commemorating the 95th Anniversary of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment Giving Women the Vote


The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified by Tennessee on August 18, 1920, providing the two-thirds majority of states needed guarantee women the right to vote in the United States. Its two sections read simply: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex;” and “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” Women in New York won the right to vote in 1917.

On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, the University Club of Albany will celebrate suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other New York women who made history with a luncheon at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany, 141 Washington Avenue at Dove Street from noon to 1:00 p.m.

Author Bruce W. Dearstyne will discuss and sign his book The Spirit of New York (State University of New York Press – June 4, 2015). The book presents New York history in a fresh way by exploring sixteen dramatic events that changed state and American history. Chapters describe political changes, historic turning points, and struggles for social, racial, and environmental reform.

Dearstyne puts the people who made history at the center of the story, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the irrepressible crusader for women’s rights; Lillian Wald and Florence Kelley, tireless and highly effective advocates for child labor reform; and Lois Gibbs, who fought for environmental justice as president of the Love Canal Homeowners Association. The momentous events illustrate the “spirit” of New York — the elusive traits that make New York State unique and a leader among the fifty states — and the complexity of its history.

Bruce W. Dearstyne has published several books and has served as a program director at the New York State Archives and on the staff of the Office of State History. He taught New York State history at the University at Albany, State University of New York, Russell Sage College, and the State University of New York at Potsdam. He resides in Guilderland.

The cost for the luncheon is $25, which may be paid at the door, or payment may be made in advance with a credit card at www.universityclubalbany.com. The event is sponsored by the University Club Foundation and one need not be a member of the Club to attend.

The Club will serve a hot and cold buffet from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., with the program commencing at 12:30. The book signing will follow the luncheon, and books will be available for purchase courtesy of The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza for $22.

Reservations for the August 18 luncheon are required by Friday, August 14 and may be made by prepaying online, by calling the Club at 518-463-1151 or by e-mail.

The luncheon is presented by the University Club of Albany Foundation, a 501c3 corporation formed in 2009 to recognize and maintain the unique historic and architectural significance of the National Register-listed University Club building, its historic neighborhood and the city of Albany, where it has been located since its inception in 1901. Support for educational programming at the University Club is provided by AT&T.

For more information about the University Club, visit www.universityclubalbany.com .

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Leadership Luncheon Honoring Lois Wilson - 6/25


Lois (right) in Ghana in July, 2014.

The University Club was founded in 1901, but it wasn’t until 1938 that women were admitted to the Club as “Privilege Members.” A women’s bowling league was organized, tea parties and bridge parties were held annually, but the fairer sex was precluded from joining in the whiskey poker games. A generation or so later, after four years of intense debate, women were admitted to full membership in the Club on March 24, 1983, by a vote of 223 to 85. One year later, in 1984, Lois Wilson was the first woman elected to the board.

The University Club Board will celebrate the leadership – both in the Club and in the community – of longtime member Lois Wilson with a luncheon at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany, 141 Washington Avenue at Dove Street on Thursday, June 25 from 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.

The cost for the luncheon is $25, which may be paid at the door, or payment may be made in advance with a credit card at www.universityclubalbany.com .  The event is sponsored by the University Club Foundation and one need not be a member of the Club to attend. The Club will serve a hot and cold buffet from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., with the program commencing at 12:30. Reservations for the June 25 luncheon are required by Tuesday, June 23 and may be made by prepaying online, by calling the Club at 518-463-1151 or by sending an e-mail to ellen@universityclubalbany.com.

The featured speaker at the luncheon will be Philip McCallion, Ph.D. ACSW, co-director of The Center for Excellence in Aging & Community Wellness (CEACW) of the University at Albany’s School of Social Welfare. The CEACW promotes the adoption of effective, innovative practices and policies that address the needs of aging persons, their families and caregivers with an emphasis on vulnerable and oppressed populations. “Real community change around aging issues comes when key voices in that community speak up and lead,” said Dr. McCallion.”Lois has always been such a voice and leader.”

When she received the 3rd Age Award in 2011, Senior Services of Albany described Lois Wilson as “a woman of many firsts. She was the first woman to be elected to the University Club Board of Directors and was the first woman to serve as president of the Board of Trustees at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany.” Although she retired in 1997 after a 37-year career in the Albany area, Lois has continued to work tirelessly to advance social justice and sound public policy at home and abroad.

  • In 1998, Lois co-founded the Capital District Senior Issues Forum (CDSIF), a grassroots, voluntary initiative among faith communities, organizations and individuals that provide support for seniors in the Capital District through education and dialogue. The CDSIF’s goals are: to recognize the contributions of older adults; to identify issues and unmet needs of the senior community; to serve as the convener of stakeholders to address these issues through forums, legislative programs and educational programs; to educate the community about issues affecting seniors; and to generate the support of faith communities for health, healing and wholeness of older adults.
  • Since 2001 she has been the co-chair of the African Ministries Committee at Westminster Presbyterian Church. The Committee works with more than 45 persons born in Africa who have joined Westminster since 2001, has an affiliation with eight Capital District groups representing African immigrants, is organizing its sixth mission trip to West Africa, and expects to spend about $25,000 in 2015 for projects in Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to support children who need safe water, food, shelter and basic education, including Ebola orphans. The Committee’s final 2015 fundraiser will be Saturday, Nov. 7, from 5 - 8:30 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany.
  • Since 2005 she has been the convener for the Community Coalition that is providing programs for residents at Schuyler Inn in Menands. As of May 29 Schuyler Inn was running senior-support housing for 35 individuals and was providing services to 60 families with 90 children. The community coalition organizes social events, holiday gifts, homework help three days a week, summer recreational programs and a supplies corner stocked with dental supplies (donated by the New York State Dental Foundation), bath soap, toiletries, and diapers.

Lois was born in Batavia, New York, graduated from Ithaca High School and earned a bachelor’s degree at Elmira College and a master’s degree at Cornell University. She began to work in Albany as a Public Administration Intern in July 1960 and worked for the New State Assembly, NYSUT, Governor’s Office, NYS Budget Division, NYS Education Department, NYS School Boards Association, and the NYS Senate Education Committee. She retired in December 1997.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

1st Friday with Off the Record! 6/5/15


Make plans to join us on Friday, June 5, from 8:00 - 10:00 pm as we welcome back one of our favorite bands, Off The Record! OTR is Albany’s own rock n’ roll lounge band that helps to transform the Club’s Grille Room into a swinging cocktail party! The Futurist Trio performs songs from the 60s as well as modern tunes influenced by that memorable era.

  • Joanna Palladino - fresh from treading the boards in ACT's production of "The Night of the Iguana" - uses her background in theatre to deliver memorable performances. She breathes life into each song, letting the song tell its own story. She spends hours before each show to transform herself into a 1960s gal! 
  • Bob Resnick lays down a solid beat using the djembe while adding textures from his customized drum setup. Bob is a mainstay of the local music scene, playing roots rock with The Backburners, funk rock with the Rumdummies, and percussion with a number of other bands. 
  • Lou Sansivero brings diverse influences to his guitar sound, including Rock n’Roll, Blues, Soul, Funk and Country. He has played and recorded with a number of local bands, including Group Therapy, Blues Shaker, The Kleins, and Big Blue Dot.

Dinner will be served until 9:00 p.m., please call 518-463-1151 for reservations. The performance is free and open to the public as part of the University Club’s participation in 1st Friday, the downtown arts walk that showcases the lively art scene in downtown Albany.

Remember - 1st Friday at the U Club is on hiatus in July and August, but we'll be back on Friday, September 4!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

5th Annual Pinkster Celebration with Beth Wood - 5/29

In the spring of 1811, the Albany Common Council banned Pinkster Day celebrations because of “rioting and drunkenness.” The resolution read, in part, “No person shall … collect in numbers … with or without any music under a penalty of ten dollars or confinement in jail.” Two centuries later, in an effort to revive a tradition from Albany’s past, members of the University Club petitioned the Common Council to repeal the prohibition. The Pinkster ban was lifted on May 16, 2011.

On Friday, May 29, the U Club is bringing music back as we welcome singer-songwriter Beth Wood for a concert as part of the 5th Annual Pinkster Celebration at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany.

Beth Wood, based in Eugene, Oregon, is a modern-day troubadour and believer in the power of song. Her exceptional musicianship, crafty songwriting, and commanding stage presence have been winning over American audiences for sixteen years. Beth’s music is soulful, organic, intelligent, barefoot, high-energy communication of joy.

The Club’s first Pinkster Celebration featured readings from four centuries of scholarly and popular publications documenting the people and places of New York’s capital city. In 2012, the University Club Foundation was delighted to welcome Albany’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning author, William Kennedy. The featured speaker for 2013 was Stefan Bielinski, the director of the Colonial Albany History Project. Last year, award-winning journalist and author Paul Grondahl discussed his latest book, These Exalted Acres: Unlocking the Secrets of Albany Rural Cemetery.

The 2015 Pinkster Celebration will feature a cocktail reception with light fare and cash bar from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., followed by the concert by Beth Wood.

Two levels of tickets are available for the Pinkster Celebration with Beth Wood: $25 per person for General Admission or $50 per person for Preferred Seating. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the University Club at 518-463-1151 or tickets may be purchased online.

Proceeds from the event benefit the University Club of Albany Foundation, Inc., a 501c3 corporation, and one need not be a member of the University Club to attend. The Foundation was formed to recognize and maintain the unique historic and architectural significance of the National Register-listed University Club building, its historic neighborhood and the city of Albany, where it has been located since its inception in 1901.