From the crowded streets of Manhattan to the majestic beauty of Niagara Falls, New York State teems with a wide range of different landscape settings. Not Just Another Pretty Place: The Landscape of New York highlights more than 100 scenes of the Empire State, as depicted in paintings, photographs, prints, as well as on ceramics and furniture. Created for artistic as well as more practical purposes (such as advertising), these works span approximately 200 years of the state’s history. Daily 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Through March 2011. • New York State Museum. Madison Ave., Albany. 518-474-5877 or www.nysm.nysed.gov
Songbird (and Valley resident) Natalie Merchant joins the Hudson Valley Philharmonic at the Bardavon this month. The creative force behind the ’80s band 10,000 Maniacs, Merchant is also known for several solo hits, including “Carnival” and “Wonder.” The HVP backs her up on these chart-busters, as well as on selections from her April release, Leave Your Sleep. Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. $60-$100. • 35 Market St., Poughkeepsie. 845-473-2072 or www.bardavon.org
The October lineup at the Jacob Burns Film Center includes the annual Global Watch series: 15 thought-provoking (and often controversial) films — from the prize-winning war documentary Restrepo to Countdown to Zero, a look at the nuclear arms race — examine the issues of our time (Oct. 1-20). On the lighter side, Movies for Kids includes the original Clash of the Titans, the fantasy-adventure epic based on the mythical story of Perseus, Andromeda, and the winged horse Pegasus (Oct. 30-31). Call for times and ticket information. • 364 Manville Rd., Pleasantville. 914-747-5555 or www.burnsfilmcenter.org
Two unusual theater works stop by the Paramount this month. In Stories by Heart, actor John Lithgow (of the ’90s TV hit Third Rock from the Sun) presents a one-man show in which he reflects on family, life as an actor, and the art of telling stories (Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. $35-$55). Actor Alan Safier channels the late George Burns in Say Goodnight Gracie, a look back at the (very long) life of the cigar-chomping comedian (Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. $28-$48). • Paramount Center for the Arts. 1008 Brown St., Peekskill. 914-739-2333 or www.paramountcenter.org
From Cortlands and McIntosh to Red Delicious, it’s all about you-know-what at the Applefest in Warwick. Join an estimated 35,000 fruit lovers at this one-day celebration, now in its 11th year. More than 200 craft vendors, five stages of entertainment, food and wine purveyors, a farm market, children’s carnival, and an Apple Pie Baking Contest (with slices available) make this a unique fall event for the whole family. Oct. 3 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the village of Warwick. • For additional information, visit www.warwickapplefest.com.
It’s an eclectic menu of entertainment that opens the season at the Eisenhower Hall Theatre. The all-male Irish vocal ensemble Celtic Thunder starts things off on Oct. 8 with a concert of traditional and contemporary Irish ballads. Classical Chinese music and dance is performed by the New York City-based troupe Shen Yun Performing Arts on Oct. 16. And homegrown comedian Jim Gaffigan — whose 2006 Beyond the Pale CD was certified platinum — discusses his obsession with Hot Pockets in his quiet-but-clever stand-up routines (Oct. 23). All shows begin at 8 p.m., call or visit Web site for ticket information. • 655 Pitcher Rd., West Point. 845-938-4159 or www.ikehall.com