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Gusto TV: A look at what's happening this weekend

The News' Liz Kahn talks with Jeff Simon, Jeff Miers, Colin Dabkowski and Mary Kunz Goldman about what's up this weekend -- and into Thanksgiving week -- in this week's installment of Gusto TV:

Sarah McLachlan coming to Shea's

Sarah

Sarah McLachlan in HSBC Arena in 2004. Photo by Bill Wippert / Buffalo News

Lilith Fair founder Sarah McLachlan is headed to Shea's Performing Arts Center in the new year. The show, sponsored by Star 102.5, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 6. Tickets ($32.50 to $52.50) go on sale through Ticketmaster and at the Shea's box office at 10 a.m. Friday. 

In June, McLachlan released "Laws of Illusion," her first studio album of new material in seven years.

Love & Death in novelist Eric Gansworth's 'Extra Indians'

With an exacting eye for images and ear for language, novelist Eric Gansworth has constructed a rich tapestry of interwoven narratives that speak to the contemporary Native American experience, both on and off the reservation. Without ever relinquishing his primary objective as a storyteller, he has also introduced a discourse on how the symbols and traditions of Native American culture are appropriated and decontextualized in ways that often prove paradoxical for those who hope to honor and live within those traditions.

Beginning with his debut novel Indian Summers (1998), the trajectory of those narratives has grown increasingly circumspect and morally complex, suggesting a broader and more encompassing critique of the soul-crushing forces that drive contemporary American popular media culture into corrupting and desacralizing "traditional" and variant subcultures of all types. Like William Faulkner's "apocryphal" Yoknapatawpha County in northwestern Mississippi, Gansworth's fictionalized version of the Tuscarora Nation in Niagara County (where he was raised as an enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation) is the familiar landscape of memory where "the past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Gansworth's new novel Extra Indians (Milkweed Editions) is perhaps his most ambitious work to date and the first of his books to employ a non-Native American protagonist to reconstruct the cautionary tale of Fred Howkowski, a young man who grew up on the reservation in the 1950s and '60s, served a traumatic tour of duty in Vietnam, and returned to briefly pursue his dreams of becoming Hollywood's first Native American matinee idol (or at least obtain a speaking part) before ending his own life under mysterious circumstances in a Los Angeles flophouse in the early 1970s.

Howkowski is a recurring figure in Gansworth's fiction, having first appeared as a kind of embodiment-turned-victim of Hollywood's stereotypes about Native Americans in a short story titled "The Ballad of Plastic Fred" that became the centerpiece of his first novel Indian Summers. In Gansworth's 2006 PEN Oakland Award-winning novel Mending Skins, Howkowski's brief and ill-fated career in Hollywood becomes one of the principal areas of scholarly study for Annie Boans, a Native America art historian who grew up on the same reservation and whose faculty colleague T.J. Howkowski is Fred Howkowski's orphaned son.

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New Music Tuesday!

Hope you saved up some returnables. Lots to consider purchasing this week. The following albums are released digitally and at retail outlets today.

Annie Lennox, A Christmas Cornucopia (Decca)
Augie Meyers, Trippin Out On Triplets (El Sendero)
Bee Gees, Mythology 4 CD box (WEA)
Bizzy Bone, The Greatest Rapper Alive (Thump)
Lee Dewyze, Livie It Up (SONY)
Frank Zappa, The Torture Never Stops DVD (Eagle Rock)


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Film examines formative Lennon years

     Anyone whose image of John Lennon acknowledges only the peaceful, nearly serene man of his later life might well be shocked by the visage of Lennon presented in "Nowhere Boy," the film now playing at the Regal Quaker Crossing.   Sam Taylor-Wood's strong and often disturbing film directed from a screenplay by Matt Greenhalgh, portrays the iconic Beatle as an incredibly gifted but deeply tormented young man torn between love for the mother who gave him up and the aunt who raised him. Behind this essential conflict hide several others, involving abandonment by his father and the premature death of the Uncle who filled the vacant paternal role in his life. Read my full review here. -- Jeff Miers


    

Gusto TV: An expert's guide to the weekend

The News' Liz Kahn talks with Jeff Miers, Jeff Simon and Colin Dabkowski about what's up this weekend in the latest installment of Gusto TV:

Live chat on all things music with Jeff Miers

'Buffalo Takes Manhattan' slated for Saturday

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Attendees of last year's "Buffalo Takes Manhattan" celebration in New York City.

On Saturday, members of PUSH Buffalo will launch their fourth annual "Buffalo Takes Manhattan" celebration, an event meant to drum up interest in Buffalo's changing artistic and civic landscape among expats living in New York City. The party, which organizer Aaron Bartley predicts will bring 300 to 400 attendees to the 33rd floor of the McGraw Hill Building (at 330 W. 42nd St.) was designed to celebrate and draw attention to the "exciting and innovative work happening in the arts and neighborhood preservation efforts in Buffalo."

In addition to honoring Western New York resident and Olympic gold medalist bobsledder Steve Mesler, the party will also put the spot light on a pair of Buffalo artists. Work by A.J. Fries, whose photorealistic oil paintings have been receiving plenty of attention lately and Julian Montague (look for my review of his work at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in tomorrow's Gusto), will also be on view.

DJs Cuter and LoPro, along with Buffalo-born hip-hop artist Rabbi Darkside, will provide the entertainment. And two films about Buffalo -- the much loved CVB-produced "Buffalo: This Place Matters" and "Green Jobs for Buffalo," which features PUSH Buffalo and the Massachusetts Avenue Project -- will be shown.

The whole affair gets under way on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. If you happen to be in the Big Apple, know that admission is $25 in advance or $30 at the door. And you get a free drink for showing up in "tailgate attire." Ripped Bills zubaz -- I'm just guessing here -- are encouraged. For more info, visit PUSH Buffalo's website.

--Colin Dabkowski

Vincent O'Neill on 'The Dead'

Today marks the opening of the Irish Classical Theatre Company's production of "The Dead," a stage adaptation of James Joyce's famous short story. Anne Neville wrote about the show in last week's Gusto cover story, and her review of the show will run on Sunday. In the meantime, see this short interview (produced by News videographer Joseph Popiolkowski) about the show with ICTC Artistic Director Vincent O'Neill:





--Colin Dabkowski

Thursday Theater Roundup

Buffalo's theater scene is firing on all pistons this week, and we're happy to report that a number of local productions that are delivering the goods. That's especially relevant as local arts advocates continue to fight budget cuts proposed by Erie County Executive Chris Collins. Here's our weekly look at the current shows our reviewers like on local stages:

Above: Kavinoky Theatre Artistic Director David Lamb talks about playing the lead role in the theater's production of "Present Laughter." Video produced by Joseph Popiolkowksi.

"Present Laughter," through Dec. 4 in the Kavinoky Theatre. From the review (coming tomorrow): "Yes, the life of an aging, wealthy matinee idol is almost too difficult for words. But fortunately for the audience at the Kavinoky Theatre, where a production of Noel Coward's frothy comedy 'Present Laughter' opened last Friday, Essendine finds plenty to say. And most of it is hilarious. David Lamb, reprising a role he's played twice before at the Kavinoky, eases back into Essendine's skin as effortlessly as his character slips into one of his expensive dressing gowns. Lamb, the Kavinoky's longtime artistic director, has a special talent for seeming genuinely perturbed and relentlessly upbeat at the same time." --Colin Dabkowski

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