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'Squares, weirdos and cool people' converge at the Infringement Fest kickoff

Tonight, Nietzsche's hosted the Opening Ceremonies of Buffalo's annual Infringment Festival, a city-sprawling melange of infinite art forms that will run at venues in and around Allentown until Aug. 1.

I had an assignment at Shakespeare in Delaware Park, covering their seriously watchable all-female version of "Macbeth" (see the review in Friday's Gusto), so I didn't make it over until after midnight. But when I arrived, a huge digital image of the Infringement Festival logo was still being projected on the side of the storied music venue and the place was still jammed with Infringers, mixed in with the normal (well, OK, not exactly normal) Thursday night Nietzsche's crowd.

I arrived to find this dude,

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, Tim Sentman (self-appointed position: "tertiary helper monkey extraordinaire"), sitting behind the merch table selling Infringement t-shirts and assorted paraphernalia. He was hanging with fellow Infringement organizer and scenester Melissa Campbell, keeping an eye on the festivities and making sure things stayed true to the happily chaotic spirit of Infringement. By the looks of it, they were doing a pretty good job.

I check out a set by singer/songwriter/actress Megan Callahan, who, like me, had just high-tailed it over after Shakespeare in Delaware Park along with her bandmate Hanna Lipkind. These gals embody the Infringement vibe, multi-talented, eager and industrious as they are. The trio, completed by drummer Matthew Crane, played a lovely little acoustic set of bouncy tunes, the last of which, "Fare Thee Well," is on Callahan's forthcoming record. There was something endearingly Ani Difranco-ish about the brief performance, and it left the crowd in a pleasant afterglow.

Next up (and last, as it turns out) was the rock trio known as the Socialites, whose members all apparently work as local DJs, which explained why they were playing mostly covers. They had a listenable, I-know-we're-amateurs-but-we're-gonna-rock-this-out-anyway sorta vibe, but by the time their set got going, the crowd was thinning out. So I thought I'd better do the same myself and rest up for tomorrow, when the festival really gets going in earnest and you wish you could be in 18 places at once.

But before I split, I caught up with Infringement Music Coordinator Curt Rotterdam, who has the unenviable job of coordinating some 170 musical acts over the course of the fest. See our brief interview above.

Stay tuned for more, leave your own comments about what you saw and what was good, and follow my Infringement tweets at twitter.com/colindabkowski.

Also be sure to check out the fabulously titled official Infringement Festival blog, "Infringe THIS!" with always interesting and enjoyable posts by Infringer Ron Ehmke and many others, here.

--Colin Dabkowski

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