We're giving away tickets for Cirque du Soleil at the TU Center...

TOP2014: RD1: Mario's vs. Marino's

Marino's and Mario's exteriors

The 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- rolls along with a showdown between 2010 tournament champ Marino's of Schenectady and two-time semifinalist Mario's of Niskayuna

This year's clash-of-champions format includes first round matches consisting of two pizzas. Highest aggregate score advances. And, again, the types of the pizza for this first round: sausage and the ever-tricky broccoli ricotta white pizza.

Pizza judges, assemble!

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

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"My boots were soaked, and the air reeked of overripe apples. I felt as if I were bathing in the cider I'd come to drink."

Over NYT, an account of making the rounds during Cider Week in the Finger Lakes by Freda Moon -- really bizarre apples, typically closed orchards, and cider in every possible form. (The Finger Lake Cider Week is next week this year, and November 14-23 in the Hudson Valley.) [NYT]

StoryCorps at State Museum

storycorps logoThe StoryCorps oral history project will be at the State Museum October 10-12. The project is asking for submissions from people who'd like to record. Blurbage:

Interview someone you love and care about....or a person want to get to know better. Submit a short story explaining why you would like to be chosen for a StoryCorps® interview slot.
A StoryCorps® interview is a meaningful conversation (approximately 40 minutes) between two people - brother and sister, grandchild and grandparent, two friends - who know each other and want to record their special relationship, their shared history or a significant event in their lives. It's an opportunity to ask the questions that matter and preserve your stories for future generations.

(You might recognize StoryCorps from the segments on NPR's Morning Edition. Or, as they also might be called: That time you were listening to the radio on the way to work and ended up crying a little bit.)

There are additional, important details at that link about how to submit a story. The deadline is midnight October 2 (this Thursday).

That Saturday -- October 11 -- is Family Heritage Day at the State Museum, presented by the Archives Partnership Trust, NYS Archives, State Museum, and State Library. The day includes a bunch of programs and activities about researching and preserving family histories.

Grilled cheese at The Cheese Traveler

cheese traveler grilled cheese

That's the Sweet and Savory grilled cheese in the foreground.

By Deanna Fox

Ah, fall. How nice to see you again. I'm looking forward to fully enjoying you with cozy knit sweaters, marled wool socks, nights by the fire, and cheese... lots and lots of cheese.

There's just something about cheese that lends itself to cooler temperatures. Macaroni and cheese. Cheese fondue. Cheese-filled pastries. And did I mention grilled cheese?

The grilled cheese of my youth -- potato bread slathered with mayonnaise on the outside, holding together stringy slices of white American cheese -- is very different from the preferences of my adulthood. Today, artisanal cheese and bread is where it's at for me. And Thankfully there's a place that perfectly merges my autumnal longings with melty, oozing delight.

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Drawing: Cirque du Soleil at TU Center

cirque du soleil dralion

Cirque du Soleil will be at TU Center Thursday-Sunday for a run of six performances of its show "Dralion." We have a pair of tickets to the opening night and we're giving them away. Maybe to you.

To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

What's something in the Capital Region that would qualify as a "circus"?

We're interpreting the word circus here very broadly. It could be traffic at a particular traffic circle, the spectacle of state politics, or the rush for honey crisp apples during pick your own. Whatever. We'll draw one winner at random -- that person gets the pair of tickets.

Here's the description of "Dralion":

Fusing the 3000 year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil, Dralion draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature. The show's name is derived from its two emblematic creatures: the dragon, symbolizing the East, and the lion, symbolizing the West.

The peformance for the drawing tickets is Thursday, October 2 at 7:30 pm. Tickets for that show are $38 for adults / $31 for children.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 am Wednesday, October 1, 2014 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Wednesday and must respond by 7 pm that same day.

photo: Cirque du Soleil

What to do with old chinaware?

china saucer in paperPack Rat emails:

I'm currently in the process of un-stuffing my house, and some of that stuff is old china that found its way to me from various family members. I can't imagine ever using it, but I'm not sure what exactly to do with it. I looked online and it appears that at least some of the stuff has some value. But really I'd just be happy for it to go someplace where it's used and appreciated.
Any suggestion on places in the Capital Region where it could be sold or donated?

There is probably so much stuff like this in so many attics and basements.

Got a suggestion for PR? Please share!

Cuomo admin seeking waiver to import marijuana, questions about parking at One Monument Square site, RPI professors developing assistance robot

The Cuomo admin is asking the feds for a waiver that would allow the state to import certain types of marijuana to be used medicinally as treatment for a seizure disorder in children. (Transporing the drug across state lines is considered illegal by the feds.) New York's request to the feds is being backed by Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. [Buffalo News] [TU] [Buffalo News]

State investigators recovered and disbursed $16.4 million from wage theft cases during the first half of 2014, according to the state Department of Labor. [WNYT]

Based on comments from "several people familiar with the matter" and internal documents, the Times Union reports that PEF leaders "shielded a downstate council leader from potential prosecution after she allegedly used a union debit card to make at least $20,000 in questionable purchases." [TU]

UAlbany president Robert Jones says his school and Albany Law are moving toward some sort of affiliation that could include the law school becoming part of UAlbany. [Biz Review]

The anonymous donor who gave $10 million to St. Peter's Health Partners has been revealed as Heinrich Medicus, a 95-year-old retired RPI professor who credits his longevity to wine and chocolate. [TU]

SaintRose_all-over-albany_generic_525x40.jpg

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Palace Premier Movie Series 2014-2015

The Goonies Chunk

You'll neither have to plead nor do the truffle shuffle -- the schedule is below.

The schedule for the new season of The Palace's Premier Movie Series is out. It includes 18 dates, with films that range from classic classics (The Wizard of Oz) to holiday classics (It's a Wonderful Life) to cult classics (The Big Lebowski) to 80s classics (The Goonies) to modern could-be-classics (Frozen).

Tickets are $5 , but The Palace is also offering a season pass -- $45 for all 18 dates (half price). They're on sale now.

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Memories, of laser cats and laser dogs

schenectady high school laser cat dog photo

Remember Schenectady High School senior Draven Rodriguez and the laser cat yearbook photo?

Here's the compromise photo planned for the yearbook: Rodriguez and Mr. Bigglesworth along with principal Diane Wilkerson and her dog Vivian. CBS6 has some behind-the-scenes photo from the shoot, and reports the photo will appear on the principal's page of the yearbook with a message about pet adoption. [Daily Gazette] [CBS6]

Oh, and if you'd like your own laser cat portrait, the photographer -- Vincent Giordano of Trinacria Photography -- is offering them for $225.

photo: Trinacria Photography

TOP2014: RD1: Mama Mia's v 5th and 50

TOP2014 RD1 MamaMias 5th50 shops

And so it begins: The 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournament of Pizza -- opens with a matchup between 2011 tournament champ 5th and 50 of Scotia against two-time semifinalist Mama Mia's of Saratoga Springs.

This year's clash-of-champions format includes first round matches consisting of two pizzas. Highest aggregate score advances. And the types of the pizza for this first round: sausage (classic, a test of fundamentals) and a broccoli ricotta white pizza (a little tricky, if only because of the lack of red sauce).

The judges assembled at the shops for the tasting...

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

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Drawing: A bag of items from the Honest Weight Local Harvest Festival

local harvest festival 2014

This Sunday is the annual Honest Weight Local Harvest Festival in Washington Park. Dozens of local producers and food vendors will be set up in the park from noon to 4 pm, sampling and selling all kinds of good stuff. And AOA is giving away a bag of some of that good stuff.

To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

What's something local that you like to share with people who don't live here?

Maybe it's your favorite cider donut or cheese, maybe it's your favorite place, maybe it's something else entirely.

We'll draw one winner at random. The winner should bring a big bag to the Harvest Festival on Sunday, where they can collect their prizes in person, directly from the producers.

Here's what's in the "basket" of prizes:
+ A $50 Honest Weight gift card
+ A bag of each of Gatherer's Granola flavors.
+ An Autumn Sweet Pack from DreamPuff Marshmallows - a collection of seasonal sweets: marshmallows, caramels, and macarons.
+ A $25 gift card that is useable at Tierra Coffee Roasters, on Tierra Farms products or at The Madison Theater
+ A granola/muesli sample pack from Our Daily Eats, and an Our Daily Eats shopping bag.
+ A mason jar of juice from Collar City Hard Pressed.
+ A half gallon of cream line milk or quart of kefir or yogurt from Grafton Village Cheese.
+ A bowl of pumpkin bisque, two pickles-on-sticks, and Two Bears Kitchen Mulling Spices from Two Bears Provisions.
+ A box of truffles from Le Marais Chocolat
+ Three $5 vouchers from Bread and Honey

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 am Wednesday, October 1, 2014 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Wednesday and must respond by 10 am on Thursday.

AOA is a media sponsor of the Local Harvest Festival.

The Sea The Sea

Something to listen to today: "Love We Are We Love" by The Sea The Sea.

Singer/songwriter duo Chuck e. Costa and Mira Stanley are a national touring act that have gotten attention from outlets such NPR and Daytrotter -- and they recently relocated to the Albany area.

They're playing a show at The Low Beat this Thursday, October 2 at 8 pm. Great Mutations is the opener. Update: It's $10.

We hear Costa and Stanley will be hanging around the area over upcoming months as they work on their next album, and they're looking to connect with people in the local music scene. So, if you see them, give them a hello wave and a welcome.

Questioning numbers from local IDAs, Cuomo visits Afghanistan, tenants caught in landlord-city situation over water bill

A Times Union review of data from local industrial development agencies -- the orgs that hand out many tax breaks to businesses and property developers -- concludes almost a third of projects haven't met their promised levels of job creation (or the reported numbers are somehow flawed). [TU]

Consensus from local law enforcement officials: this area is experiencing a spike in heroin trade and use. A ride-along with the investigation and bust of an alleged heroin distribution operation in Colonie. [TU x2]

The new Albany County land bank has an executive director, $500k to start, and 83 properties. (And Troy also recently got the OK for a land bank.) [TU] [Troy Record]

Andrew Cuomo made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan this past weekend as part of a delegation of US governors. Cuomo said the trip was related to learning about counterterrorism efforts: "I'm doing my job as governor of New York, that's exactly what this is about." [NYT] [TU]

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The week ahead

capital rep other desert cities

Capital Rep opens its production of Other Desert Cities this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (mostly delightful), to drama, to drugs, to the walking red, to cirque, to wings, to music...

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This week was brought to you by

new honest weight exterior close thumbnail

Honest Weight's annual Local Harvest Fest returns to Washington Park next Sunday

This week was brought to you by annual rites of fall: changing leaves, cider donuts and the return of the AOA Tournament of Pizza. It was also brought to you by the Local Harvest Festival, sponsored by Honest Weight Food Coop -- Sunday, October 5 from noon to 4pm in Albany's Washington Park.

You'll find more of the advertisers that make AOA possible in the list below. Please patronize them when you can, and thank them for their support. If there's something you want to pass along to the AOA crowd, we can help get you started. It's easy and affordable. Just send us a note at advertising@alloveralbany.com.

Stuff to do

Wing Walk
Proctors hosts its annual Wing Walk, this coming Thursday, October 2. Sample and vote for your favorite wing recipes from restaurants. $8 for adults, $5 for students.

Historic scavenger hunt
Albany I Spy, September 20 through October 4. The Capital Region's largest scavenger hunt.

Beverage Trail tour
Check out the wineries, breweries and distilleries along the Columbia County Beverage Trail.

Fusion
The Albany Barn's annual Fusion fundraising event, custom couture, creative cocktails and culinary creations. Friday, October 17 at 6pm.

Albany Institute
The Albany Institute of History and Art, presenting the 2014 Exhibition by artists of the Mohawk-Hudson region,highlighting the work of the best visual artists in the region.

Lewis Black
Live Nation presents Lewis Black with his stand-up show The Rant is Due, Thursday, October 16 at The Palace Theater.

A Couple of Blaguards
Proctors presents A Couple of Blaguards, written by Frank and Malachy McCourt, Septemeber 26-28 and October 3-5.

Other Desert Cities
Capital Rep's production of Other Desert Cities opens September 30.

Take a cruise
Dutch Apple Cruise Lines, sponsors of the All Over Albany Rail, River, Hudson trip. Dutch Apple offers sight seeing and charter tours as well as trolley tours of the Capital Region throughout the summer and fall.

Laugh
The Mop & Bucket Improv Company has started a new season of improvisational comedy at Proctors Underground. Every show is created by audience suggestion, so ever show is totally different. MopCo is also offering classes in improv, creativity, writing and more.

Stuff to Drive
Keeler Mini -- Sponsor of AOA's 2014 Tournament of Pizza.

Food and Drink

Shmaltz Brewing, host of the All Over Albany Tournament of Pizza People's Plate tasting event. Sample Shmaltz brews, get a tour, and taste and vote for your favorite pie in the Tournament of Pizza finals. Tickets are only $20.

Farmie Market -- Farm fresh food delivered right to your door.

Cider
Nine Pin Ciderworks in Albany, sourced entirely from Capital Region apples.

New World Bistro Bar, named #1 Best Restaurant, according to Times Union 'Best of the Capital Region' Readers' Poll and also listed as one of 'the 13 Best New York Restaurants, not in NYC' according to Thrillist.com.

Cheese
The Cheese Traveler has launched Cheese School. Upcoming classes include: Cheese 101, Cheese 102, Charcuterie, and Artisanal Foods from Spain. Information and tickets can be found here. Sign up for the Cheese Traveler Newsletter to be notified of weekly specials and events here .

Harvest Fest
Honest Weight Food Co0op, offering all the flavors of the season plus events and cooking classes. They're annual Harvest Festival is coming up on Sunday, October 5 in Albany's Washington Park.

Now Open
Broadway Plaza Liquor is now open at 418 Broadway, next to Coulson's News.

Kimchi fries
+ Mingle on Delaware Ave in Albany. Be on the lookout for Fin the Fishmonger's "Fin"-tastic specials, including fresh haddock fish tacos & pan-seared whole trout. Their chef will be using local products to create new specials daily to keep the menu fresh. Try the Kimchi fries.

Fine wine
Capital Wine at the corner of State and Lark Streets, with a wonderful supply of wines from around the world.

Food and beer
+Brown's Brewing hosting Ginger City's first Night of the Walking Red event, Wednesday, October 1.

Helpful stuff

Historic home help
Historic Albany's architectural parts warehouse -- the Capital Region's only not-for-profit architectural parts warehouse.

Taxes
April 15 has come and gone, but Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. can still help you with your business and personal tax needs. They're also the sponsors of the All Over Albany Start Up Grant business contest.

Banking
Berkshire Bank, providing the $1,500 prize money for this year's AOA Startup Contest. Great rates on home equity loans.

Stuff to learn

Grad school
The College of Saint Rose, offering 52 Graduate Programs with a purpose. Programs include: MFA in Creative writing, MBA, Computer Information Systems and more.

Libraries
The Albany Public Libraries. Their mobile app helps you find library locations and hours, check your library card account, learn about upcoming events, download eBooks, audiobooks, music and more. You can even check ISBN bar codes on books, DVDs and CDs to see if the library owns what you need. APL's

Stuff to help you stay healthy j
CDPHP's new InMotion app, a free fitness tool to help start or maintain an exercise plan.

Places to Live
Harmony Mills
+The Lofts at Harmony Mills, Manhattan style loft living in the Capital Region.

A quick recap of the week

week review 2014-09-27

Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:

+ We gave away tickets to the Oktoberfest block party by asking: If you could create any sort of (something)fest in the Capital Region, what would it be? (Lots of fun answers.)

+ Lauren talked with the people from Margination, an attempt in Troy to develop a different sort of local economy.

+ Mary (and Django) asked about good dog parks.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: a mistake, the Washington County Cheese Tour, the Saratoga Native American Festival, 44 and 45 of 46, the Madison Ave Barrens, Windham High Peak, the Kayaderosseras, McDonald's, Taiwan Noodle, Shake Shack, FDR, certificates, ribbons, and holy crap! life moments.

+ Some thoughts and questions about red light cameras as Albany considers the idea.

+ Amanda asked about good thrift stores.

+ We got a tour of the State Museum's extensive bird collection. (It was our first time seeing shelf after shelf of owls.)

+ The Corning Tower saluted Derek Jeter.

+ Lauren got the backstory on Nibble Inc, the new donut shop in Troy.

+ Eva asked about van rentals. (We could use a more suggestions on this one.)

And the Tournament of Pizza returns with the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza:

+ This year's tournament is a clash of champions with a new format.

+ Here are the judges.

+ And for the first time ever, the TOP final is a public event -- come eat a bunch of good pizza, drink some beer, and have some laughs with a bunch of fun people. Tickets are on sale now.

Here's the whole week all lined up.

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea or photo this week!

Today's moment of autumn

blue sky locust tree branches autumn

Along Western Ave near UAlbany.

Where to rent a passenger van?

car steering wheelEva emails:

I'm looking to rent a 7+ passenger van for 24 hours. Everything I'm looking at is too fancy - it just needs to be functional for short-distance transportation, not the newest Dodge SUV. Ideally I would like this to be a recurring rental (once or twice a month), so I'm hoping to find someone reliable. Any leads?

We're curious if there are options beyond the typical rental companies.

Got a suggestion for Eva? Please share!

New donut shop for Troy: Nibble Inc.

Michael Cunningham and Jessie Cramer

Nibble Inc. owners Michael Cunningham and Jessie Cramer.

By Lauren Hittinger

Sometimes food can inspire you.

Jessie Cramer and Michael Cunningham had no plans for a donut shop until "eating a really good donut," says Cunningham -- "a mind-blowing donut."

"The best doughnut I've ever had," Cramer adds. "And I thought 'How can I make this donut so I can have it whenever I want?'"

The pair figured out how to make their ultimate doughnut and they're opening a shop -- Nibble Inc -- this Saturday to bring those donuts to Troy.

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Stuff to do this weekend

north albany oktoberfest 2010 by sebastien b

Wolff's Annual Oktoberfest Block Party is Saturday. / photo: Sebastien Barre

Yes, your calendar says it is the first weekend of autumn, but it's going to feel more like summer. It's a little reprieve for those who haven't gotten enough flip flop wearing and sweater-free visits to the ice cream stand in 2014. After the jump, a list of things you may be interested in doing with your lovely, warm weekend.

Got something planned you don't see here? Be sure to drop it in the comment section so we can all see.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

Dutch Apple ad

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Looking for more? Check out the last week's worth of posts or the archive.

And you can always try searching for it:

The Scoop

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Rants, raves, suggestions, tips, shout outs:

editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com

Recent Comments

The insane amount of lakes we have. When I left this area for a bit I was so confused that I couldn't just drive for 10-15 minutes and find a lake.

Drawing: A bag of items from the Honest Weight Local Harvest Festival

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Drawing: Cirque du Soleil at TU Center

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Memories, of laser cats and laser dogs

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