|NYSNYS INSIDE THE LCA: 'Amazonked!' LCA show is on May 21, Daily News space repopulated, new pressroom manager on the job.|
|By Kyle Hughes|
ALBANY, N.Y. (May 2, 2019) -- The 119th LCA show heads to the finish line. The Daily News reboots the feng shui. The LCA gets a new pressroom manager.
"Amazonked!" takes shape
The 119th LCA show is entitled "Amazonked! Amateur Hour at Albany Public Access TV" and this year's staging is an echo of the event's origins more than a century ago.
Some things remain, such as rebuttals by politicians and the singing of "Goodbye Boys," the traditional closer. But much is changing.
Gone are costumes, makeup, a full band, meals, expensive tickets, and an open dress rehearsal. Instead, this year's show will be a one-night performance with pianist Chris Dunn on May 21 at the State Room, an ornate former bank in downtown Albany that before its current incarnation was a Fedex/Staples copy/shipping center.
The informal evening will be more in keeping with how the show once unfolded, rather than the more elaborate (and increasingly very costly) productions of recent decades. The show is believed to have gotten its start at the end of the 19th century on a drinking barge moored in the Albany Basin, the docks at the base of State Street that were near the entrance to the Erie Canal. All of that is gone and was later landfilled.
Guests and reporters drank and mingled and sang songs, individually and together, to entertain each other. Over the years, the show changed and grew, a black-tie weekend event for years that comprised an open dress rehearsal, a stag male-only dinner, then a third performance for the wives of reporters hosted by the governor's wife.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has kept his distance from the LCA during his time in office. He has neither delivered a rebuttal nor attended the event itself as governor, though he dropped in for face time during the pre-show reception for a couple of years.
Tickets for the this year's show are now on sale at in the pressroom or online via PayPal at lcapressroom.blogspot.com. This year introduces tiered pricing: $40 for anyone 35 or younger, $80 for "early birds," and $120 for full price tickets purchased after the cheaper tickets sell out.
The ticket buys entry to the show, with free appetizers to munch on and a cash bar.
Only 250 tickets are available. This year for the first time, there will be no comped guests. Organizers say everyone in the audience will be a paid ticket-holder. The goal is to raise more money for the Food Bank of Northeastern NY, the beneficiary of the LCA show funds for the past few years.
Another big change is there will be no public dress rehearsal. The dress rehearsal always drew a crowd, but now the only way to see the show will be to buy a ticket or participate in the production.
This year, the rebuttals are from Democratic Senators Alessandra Biaggi and Jessica Ramos, two freshman legislators who have grabbed a lot of headlines. Biaggi is the granddaughter of Rep. Mario Biaggi, a Bronx Democratic legend whose career ended with prison for corruption. Queens Democrat Ramos is the first generation American daughter of Columbian immigrants; her mother was undocumented.
The Republican rebuttal will be offered by Nick Langworthy, the Erie County GOP chair who is running for state GOP chair in an intra-party election this summer.
Doors open at 7 and and the one-act show is at 8 p.m.
Daily News reconfigured
The New York Daily News area of the pressroom has a whole new feng shui, sharing the space with two non-newspaper outlets. The News's four desks have sat mostly empty as the paper has downsized. Ken Lovett's resignation to go into public relations opened up the space under the LCA's unwritten grandfather clause that gives squatter's rights to desk space.
City & State, the online news and event promoter, has one desk and Bloomberg Law has another. Bloomberg Law is part of of Bloomberg BNA, the former BNA Bureau of National Affairs that sells its services to law firms and trade associations. Jerry Silverman was BNA's Albany reporter for 36 years before his retirement at the end of 2018.
The new Bloomberg reporter is Keisha Clukey, an alumna of the Times Union, Politico NY and Newsday.
New pressroom manager
Bernadette Phillips is the new LCA pressroom manager responsible for scheduling press conferences and otherwise keeping things running for reporters. She replaces Teresa Snyder, her sister. Both are retired Senate employees hired for what is now a very part-time job.