Big news from the folks at the Ulster Performing Arts Center: Serious Laughs: Art, Politics, Humor, a three-week-long comedy and arts festival, kicks off this month in Kingston. Fourteen comics perform at clubs and restaurants throughout the city, with headliners Kathy Griffin (Apr. 21) and Lewis Black (Apr. 28) yukking it up at UPAC. The arts center and Kingston Public Library also host two related exhibits of paintings, sculpture, installations, and video works by a dozen artists from around the country. This event is the first installment of “The 4 Seasons of the Hudson Valley Festival,” a yearlong collaboration between UPAC and Poughkeepsie’s Bardavon Opera House that celebrates the arts and culture in each city (more information on this initiative in future issues). Apr. 20-May 12. Call or visit Web site for exact schedule, venue locations, and ticket information. Ulster Performing Arts Center. 601 Broadway, Kingston. 845-339-6088 or www.bardavon.org
Renowned for his panoramic paintings of the American West, Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) also often sought inspiration from areas on the East Coast, including the Hudson Valley. Albert Bierstadt in New York & New England, an exhibit which opens this month at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, includes works both large and small that the artist completed between the late 1850s and the 1880s. Views of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Niagara Falls, and the Catskills (among other sites) are included. Apr. 28-Nov. 3. Curator lecture and open house on Apr. 28, 2-5 p.m. Site hours Wed.-Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $10, $9 seniors & students, under 12 free. 218 Spring St., Catskill. 518-943-7465 or www.thomascole.org
Two evenings of contemporary movement, music, and multimedia works are on tap at the Next Move Festival of Modern Dance. Four companies — the Caitlin Trainor Dance Company, Melanie Maar, Lucky Plush Productions, and the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company — offer performances of cutting-edge dances that you’d expect to encounter in venues in New York or Boston. The fest is curated by Sinopoli, the Capital Region’s premier choreographer. Apr. 5-6 at 7 p.m. $25 per night, $45 for two nights. Proctors. 432 State St., Schenectady. 518-346-6204 or www.proctors.org
Musician Jake Shimabukuro has been compared to Jimi Hendrix. No, he isn’t a guitarist — he plays the ukulele. But like Hendrix before him, this young Hawaiian has redefined the use of his particular instrument. His show-biz credentials include performing with Bette Midler and Jimmy Buffett, and he’s known for combining jazz and rock influences in his music, as well as for his dexterity on the fretboard. Hear him at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Apr. 27 at 7:30 p.m. $25, $15 students. 30 Second St., Troy. 518-273-0038 or www.troymusichall.org
Beacon’s Howland Cultural Center plays host to a brand-new concert series. Dubbed Change of the Century: New Jazz for the 21st, these monthly performances attempt to debunk the idea that jazz is an outdated musical style. Drummer Tom Rainey and tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock take the stage on Apr. 26; this noted husband-and-wife duo have jammed with flutist Anthony Braxton and guitarist Mary Halvorson, among numerous others. The series continues through June. 8 p.m. $15, $10 seniors & students. 477 Main St., Beacon. 845-831-4988.