This weekend in the Valley
Will the glory days of Mountain Park in Holyoke return? Well don't exepct a midway and polka bands. Seen here is the park as developer and music promoter Eric Suher has made it over.
This view is from the hill on which patrons of concerts and events will sit. The stage will be at the right of concession area that is under construction. The brown area in the background will be a field of grass and is where the Mountain Park midway once stood.
Two concerts – a free one this Saturday – will be the soft opening of the venue this year. A full slate of events will start next Memorial Day weekend.
Comedy can be hard work. Just ask Dave Attell.
The veteran comedian who will be appearing at the Hu Ke Lau in Chicopee on Aug. 15 told Reminder Publications that the taping of his new comedy special, "Dave Attell: Captain Miserable," was a bit of a challenge.
"They weren't my crowd at all," Attell said.
The special was seen on Comedy Central on July 5 and it is now available on DVD.
Originally taped a year ago for HBO, Attell said Comedy Central had obtained the rights to the show and then delayed broadcasting it.
The show had some classic edgy Attell observations ranging from potential commercials for Jagermeister to performing for American troops in the Middle East.
Attell said the special was taped in a theater instead of his favored environment, a club, and had a "very politically correct" audience.
"When you do a show for a network, you're a hired hand," Attell explained. At this taping, "people weren't rolling with me. It was like going uphill."
Attell's fans know to expect the unexpected from the comic but when he launched in a joke about pedophiles, he had to change gears.
Because of the delay in broadcast, Attell said some of the material was older than he would have liked.
"[Some] made me cringe," he said.
Although he said he doesn't censor himself for Comedy Central - "you know what to say and what you can't" - Attell added, "I try not to edit myself unless I absolutely have to."
There was one political joke in the special, which Attell pointed out as his lone topical gag. He has resisted putting political material into his shows, as those jokes aren't as "evergreen" as others.
He noted, though, "everyone is talking about politics now, [it's] like sports."
He tours a lot, something he called both a "blessing and a curse," and people still recognize him from his show "Insomniac," despite it being off the air since 2004. He would like to reach a point in a couple of years where he can get off the road as much.
When he is home in New York City, he's "constantly thinking of new stuff."
"It comes together in the clubs," he explained.
Attell is working on a new CD. His first recording, "Skanks for the Memories," was a hit and he's planning to do another.
"That's the thing that's constantly there," he said.
"Skanks for the Memories" came out before the dominance of iTunes and other Web-based distribution of recordings, a technology Attell called "interesting."
"People say they love your CD and they stole it [off the Internet]. It's a compliment, but a crime," he said. "I tell them 'You owe me a $1.'"
Despite the economy, Attell said there are still a lot of comedy venues and a night at a comedy club is a "pretty good bet" as a show can provide "four hours of conversation" afterwards.
Despite the rigors of the road, Attell is looking forward to his appearance at the He Ke Lau.
"It's a hidden treasure - the last gigantic Chinese restaurant in America," he said.
© 2009 by Gordon Michael Dobbs