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The Infringement Fest draws to a close

Tonight, after an intense day of Infringing that took me from Ron Ehmke's interactive and semi-fictional tour through Allentown ("Show Me Your City, I'll Show You Mine"), which included Ehmke and Brian Milbrand's Fluxus-inspired "Self-Infringement" project, out to the roof of the Broadway Market where the jovial but sparsely attended fest-closing extravaganza was taking place, to Ella Joseph's whimsical, slightly unsettling and partially edible art installation "Cotton Candy Cawcawphobia," and finally to Nietzsche's popular Closing Ceremonies, I am exhausted and contented in equal measure.

For the above video, I asked several Infringers to recount their favorite moments of the festival's 11 days. The answers, as expected, range from strange to stranger. I've had a few favorite moments myself, one of which was watching Jack Topht perform a hilarious, 45-minute-long stream-of-consciousness storytelling session peppered with raps he'd written at SP@CE 224. Jack Topht does what's called "Awesome Rap," a not-very-widespread style of hip hop to which this graffiti scrawled on the wall of the Nietzsche's bathroom pays tribute:

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Another fave moment, which involved a naked performance artist and a Mark Twain impersonator, I wrote about here.

It's utterly stunning -- just in case I have not been enthusiastic enough about it yet -- that this city supplies so many daring, restless and productive creative minds, and that there exists here an infrastructure to let them do their thing for free and with zero rules. It's great for them, certainly, but it's an even sweeter deal for the ambitious consumer of the arts, who had an almost endless supply of projects and performances to choose from over the past 11 days. The festival proper, as of 1 a.m. Monday, is over. But it's important to stress that many of the acts Infringement has showcased -- along with the art and, to an unfortunately lesser extent, the wacky, one-off theatrical projects -- are going on all year long, often in the same venues that hosted festival performances.

(Side note: The letter below was my "Self-Infringement" project, drawn at random from a box in Rust Belt Books, something I plan to work on in the wake of the festival. I'll report on my progress here. I'm thinking my skill should be juggling, but I'm open to suggestions.)

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I've tried to get across a sense of just some of the acts and projects that caught my attention this year at the festival, but obviously what I've written about on this blog and in the newspaper hardly scratches the surface of what was on offer. Feel free to contribute your own favorite festival moment in the comments section of this blog. I'm sad it's over, but glad I had the chance to see a lot of intriguing new talents, some great stuff, and even some awful stuff. But ultimately, what I gained from the festival was a renewed faith in the creative potential of the city of Buffalo. And that faith was pretty strong in the first place.

Hope you all had a similarly gratifying experience, and until next year, Infringe on!

--Colin Dabkowski

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