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The King in Cheektowaga? Micah Nathan's Elvis Fantasy...

If he'd lived, Elvis Presley would have been 76 on Saturday.

It's the American way in our time that we don't let such birthdays pass without special cultural carousing--especially when they involve that most merchandised of Americans, Elvis Presley.

In all the commercial and cultural carryings-on that are likely to happen in this, Elvis' 76th birthday season, one of the richest may be Micah Nathan's second novel "Losing Graceland."

Here is Nathan's description of his own new fiction: " 'Losing Graceland' begins in Buffalo with an old man who might be the still-living Elvis hiding in plain sight in--where else--Cheektowaga."

As an Elvis impersonator.

Lest anyone think fantasist Nathan is a Micah-come-lately in the world of pop music, you should know he's the grandson of the great Buffalo pop music mpresario Jerry Nathan, whose Festival East productions was the major '70's competition to the early days of Harvey and Corky.

Here is how Nathan now describes the town of Boston where he was raised: "a once-quaint farming community now slowly succumbing to the sprawl of duplexes and McMansions. Beer is still $1.50 at the local bar-- it goes perfectly with a kettle of deep-fried crayfish known as lobster dainties--but the farms are being sold off and the pioneering suburbanites chop down every tree on their property...It's changing and I don't like it."

Nathan will come home, read from his book and meet all comers at 7 p.m. Thursday Jan. 13 in the Talking Leaves Bookstore on Main Street.

The book is a paperback original published by Broadway Books (211 pages, $14).

Thank you. Thank you "vare much" as the King himself would say.

--Jeff Simon 

Beyond/In Western New York: a compendium of coverage

For the past few months, we've been running plenty of coverage of Beyond/In Western New York, the gargantuan collaborative art exhibition now winding down at three remaining venues. Here's a round-up of some of the previews, reviews, columns and mini-features on the exhibition for those curious about what they may have missed:

Preview: Beyond/In takes on the world (also: a venue overview)

Gusto Features:

Tom Hughes

Jeremy Bailey

McCallum and Tarry

Kim Adams

PSBlbot creator Cayden Mak

Bruce Adams

Tom Sherman

Alex Young

The Burchfield Penney

Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood

Stefan Petranek

Reactionary Ensemble

Buffalo Arts Studio

"Artpark: 1974 to 1984"

David Mitchell



Looking at the bigger picture of Beyond/In

Public art projects enrich the landscape

Art offerings reach beyond 'Beyond/In'

Roundup: Looking back at 'Beyond'

--Colin Dabkowski


Mr. Green comes to Buffalo

"Forty" on view in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Photo by Derek Gee / The Buffalo News.

Over at Modern Art Notes, art critic, blogger and rabid hockey fan Tyler Green has posted the first of at least a pair of posts on the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's current efforts to reach out to the local sports-crazed populace. Today, Green takes a look at the recently acquired work of Paul Pfeiffer, whose three video pieces the gallery has on display in conjunction with "Forty," an exhibition meant to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Buffalo Sabres. There are some problems with that particular show and, according to Green, with the placement of Pfeiffer's work. Green's post is insighftul and well worth a read -- but I'm betting tomorrow's piece (which will talk about "Forty" and about the ways museums reach out to their surrounding communities) will be particularly fascinating reading.

My coming Sunday column, incidentally, is about that very issue. As museums try bolder, riskier (and sometimes more desperate) ways to get people inside their doors, they too often make sacrifices that could come back to bite them. It's good to see Green -- a national voice both for the preservation of integrity and need for deeper public engagement in American art museums -- focusing his attention on the Albright-Knox.

UPDATE: Green's review of "Forty" was published this morning, and it is as scathing and unflinchingly critical of the Albright-Knox as exepcted, perhaps even more so. Green rakes the Albright-Knox over the coals for assenting to what amounts to an advertisement co-conceived and paid for by a local business (i.e. the Buffalo Sabres.) As a secondary argument, Green turns his critical eye on the exhibition itself, calling it "likely the worst exhibition I have seen in an American art museum of the Albright’s stature."

--Colin Dabkowski

New releases: Not much this week, but be patient!

This is a notoriously dead time for the release of new music. There are, however, some interesting efforts from newer artists and some nifty remasters and vinyl editions slated for later in January. Here's a quick guide to what's coming in the not-too-distant future. - Jeff Miers

January 11th

Alter Bridge, "Alter Bridge Live"

British Sea Power, "Valhalla Dancehall"
Cake, "Showroom of Compassion"
Cake, "Sick Of You"
Stacy Clark, "Connect the Dots"
The Cult, "Pure Cult Singles Collection"
Deep Purple, "Burn" 180 gram vinyl edition

DJ Observer & Daniel Heatcliff, "In Trance We Trust"
Lemuria, "Pebble"
N.E.R.D., "The Best of N.E.R.D"
The Pixies, "Wave of Mutilation"

Robert Plant, "Band of Joy" 2-LP vinyl edition
The Soft Boys, "A Can of Bees"
The Soft Boys, "Underwater Moonlight"
The Stooges, "A Thousand Nights: Live in 1970"
Tapes 'n' Tapes, "Outside"
The Cure, "Entreat Plus" 2 LP vinyl version
Wire, "Red Barked Tree"

January 18th

Afro-Soultet, "Afrodesia"
Blackmore's Night, "Autumn Sky"
Brad Mehldau, "Live in Marciac"

The Decemberists, "The King Is Dead" Greg Allman, "Low Country Blues"
James Blunt, "Some Kind of Trouble"
The Jayhawks, "Hollywood Town Hall" deluxe edition
Social Distortion, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes"

January 25th

Aloha, "The Great Communicators"
Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman, "The Living Tree"
Breaking Laces, "When You Find Out"
Cold War Kids, "Mine Is Yours"
Deerhoof, "Deerhoof Vs. Evil"
Bill Frisell & Vinicius Cantuaria, "Bill Frisell & Vinicius Cantuaria"

Iron & Wine, "Kiss Each Other"

Robin Zander, "Countryside Blvd."

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