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Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker to be staged in Lockport

Performances of Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 and 6 in the Historic Palace Theatre, 2 East Ave., Lockport.

Tickets start at $27.50 and go on sale April 1 through the box office or at Mills Jewelers (51 Main St., Lockport) or purchase tickets online.

For more information, call 438-1130 or visit www.lockportpalacetheatre.org or www.nutcracker.com.

Molkie Cole performs at the Tralf

Spend an evening with the legendary show band Molkie Cole when they perform at 8 p.m. May 21 in the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.).

Tickets are $23 advance, $27 day of show and are available through the box office, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, call 852-2860 or visit www.tralfmusichall.com.

Edwidge Danticat: Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously

"All artists, writers among them, have several stories--one might call them creation myths -- that haunt and obsess them," observes Edwidge Danticat in the strikingly vivid title piece of her essay collection "Create Dangerously:The Immigrant Artist at Work" published last August as part of Princeton University Press's Toni Morrison Lecture Series.

For Danticat, who is the featured guest of tonight's  BABEL Series author lecture and discussion at 8 p.m. at Kleinhans Music Hall, one personal "creation myth" that animates her work is the public execution of Marcel Numa and Louis Drouin, two Haitian expatriate writers who returned to their homeland to join the opposition to the brutal dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier in 1964, only to be quickly captured, summarily convicted by a secret military tribunal, and gruesomely executed outside Port-au-Prince's national cemetery in a spectacle of authoritarian bloodlust organized by Duvalier's feared paramilitary force the Tonton Macoutes, who enforced the death decree as the occasion for an impromptu public holiday.

Brilliant scene-setter that she is, Danticat -- who was born and spent the first twelve years of her life in Haiti, before rejoining her mother and father (who had left earlier) in Brooklyn in 1981 -- foregrounds the unfolding spectacle with newsreel-like narrative detail, before explaining to the reader why this ignominious episode of her homeland's history has left such an indelible mark on her own expatriate writing career.

"Like many a creation myth," she writes, "aside from its heartrending clash of life and death, homeland and exile, the execution of Marcel Numa and Louis Drouin involves a disobeyed directive from a higher authority a brutal punishment as a result...Like most creation myths, this one too exists beyond the scope of my own life, yet feels present, even urgent.  Marcel Numa and Louis Drouin were patriots who died so that other Haitians could [someday] live."

This is where these writers placed their bets," she argues, "striking a dangerous balance between silence and art...How do writers and readers find each other under such dangerous circumstances?  Reading, like writing, under these conditions is a disobedience to a directive in which the reader, our Eve, already knows the possible consequences of eating that apple but takes a bold bite anyway."

Recalling the title of Albert Camus's famous 1957 essay on realism and artistic freedom, Danticat offers this prescription: 

Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. This is what I've always thought it meant to be a writer.  Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them.

Immigrant artists in particular, she notes, face issues of self-doubt in bearing witness to culture they are no longer a part of, yet feel they owe a tremendous debt to those cultures and those ancestors whose sacrificed so much to make their lives possible.  "Some of us think we are accidents of literacy," she writes.

The focus of tonight's lecture and discussion will be “Breath, Eyes, Memory” (1994), Danticat's debut novel which became one of the first selections of Oprah Winfrey's Book Club in 1998, but it may also touch upon some of the themes in "Walk Straight," the second essay in "Create Dangerously" in which the author, on a trip back to Haiti in 1999, confronts many of the paradoxes success creates for the immigrant artist, not the least of which are the accusations that her work--particularly her depiction of the sexual inspections of daughters by their mothers and other aspects of the relations between three generations of Haitian women--misrepresented traditional cultural practices, as well as the more general charge among the diaspora that "You are a parasite and you exploit your culture for money and what passes for fame."

Thoughtful consideration of  these issues led Danticat to add an afterword addressed to her protagonist Sophie to all subsequent editions of "Breath, Eyes, Memory."  In it, she wrote of how "blessed" she felt to have encountered a character and family "as full of love and grief" as Sophie's and to share in their secrets and mysteries. If she depicted some practices that were common in some families, she meant it to be the truth of their particular experience and not Haitian women in general.  "Walk straight, you are in the presence of family," she urged her protagonist.

Danticat, whose other books include "Krik? Krak!” (stories, 1996), “The Farming of Bones” (novel, 1998), “The Dew Breaker” (a novel-in-stories, 2004), and “Brother, I'm Dying” (memoir/social criticism, 2007), was awarded a 2009 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for her ongoing work.  She is a two time National Book Award finalist, the winner of an American Book Award in 1998, and the recipient of the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award in non-fiction for “Brother, I’m Dying.”

In addition to "Create Dangerously," which also includes ten other essays on art, exile, domestic violence, political oppression, and natural disaster, Danticat's most recent most recent publication is “Haiti Noir,” an anthology of Haitian genre fiction she edited for Akashic Books.  It was released in January to coincide with the first anniversary of the devastating Haiti earthquake of January 12, 2010, in which as many as 316,000 people are estimated to have perished.

--R.D. Pohl

Comedian Myq Kaplan to perform at Medaille College

Myq Kaplan, a finalist on the fifth season of Last Comic Standing, brings the laughs when he performs at 7 p.m. April 26 in the Main Building Lecture Hall of Medaille College's Buffalo campus (18 Agassiz Circle).

Tickets are $12. For more information, call 880-2315 or go online to http://alumni.medaille.edu/event/kaplan.

The Revolt Tour featuring Hollywood Undead comes to Buffalo

The Revolt Tour 2011, featuring Hollywood Undead with guests Ten Years, Drive A and New Medicine, will take over the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.) at 6 p.m. April 10.

Tickets are $22 advance $25 day of show and go on sale at noon March 26 through the box office, online at www.Tickets.com or charge by phone at (888) 223-6000.

For more information, call the ballroom at 852-3900 or visit www.townballroom.com.

The Thursday Theater Roundup

Here's our weekly run-down of the must-see shows in Western New York:

"Inherit the Wind,"through April 16 in the New Phoenix Theatre. From the review: "The current political overtones of the play practically leap off the stage and smack us in the face, just as its historically literate authors intended. It’s obvious that the debates of 1925, 1955 and 2011 are stunningly similar to one another. But in its essence, this potentially cynical play is in fact wildly optimistic because it views social progress as inexorable." --Colin Dabkowski

"Over the Pub," through April 10 at Erie Community College in an O'Connell and Company production. From the review (coming tomorrow): "Ultimately, this Irish adaptation [of Tom Dudzick's 'Over the Tavern'] by Dolores Mannion wins out, it 'works,' it's almost as funny as its progenitor, and we learn to care once again for a troubled family: parents Pat and Ellen, teenagers Eddie and Annie -- both with hormones gone amok -- special-needs Mikey and 12-year-old Tommy, a precocious, television-addicted, rules-questioning catalyst who has a problem with his catholicity." --Ted Hadley

"Rock 'n' Roll," through April 3 in the Kavinoky Theatre. From the review: "With this 2006 play, Stoppard ('Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,' 'Arcadia,' 'Shakespeare in Love') reanimates that age-old conflict between the egalitarian ideals of Marxism and its horrendous track record in practice across the past century. His goal, reduced to a gross simplification, is to make a kind of radical argument about how little those arguments seem to matter in the face of the one universally positive transformative force of the 20th century: rock ’n’ roll." --Colin Dabkowski

"Next Fall," through April 2 in Buffalo United Artists Theatre. From the review: "'Next Fall,' a wise and uncommonly witty play by Geoffrey Nauffts that opened March 11 in the Buffalo United Artists Theatre, takes place at the perilous intersection of religion and sexuality. That place, across history, has been the site of more than a few fatal collisions. But in this show, all the common assumptions about who’s right and who’s wrong, who’s innocent and who’s to blame have been tossed out the window." --Colin Dabkowski

Ujima play

Peter Johnson stars as Zooman in "Zooman and the Sign" at TheaterLoft. Photo by Sharon Cantillon / The Buffalo News.

"Zooman and the Sign," through March 27 in TheaterLoft, a co-production of Ujima Theatre, Alemaedae Theatre Productions and Xavier Films. From the review: "This production, directed  by Willie Judson, is powered mostly by the simmering intensity of Peter Johnson, who plays Zooman with a spine-chilling mix of menace and manufactured confidence, so clearly born of insecurity. It is as much because of Johnson's performance as Fuller's dialogue that we see Zooman both as a conduit for certain ugly truths about urban violence and as a cold-hearted product of that violence himself." --Colin Dabkowski

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The cast of "Screen Play" performs in the Road Less Traveled Theatre.

"Screen Play," through March 27 in the Road Less Traveled Theatre. From the review: "You'll recognize the characters of Peter Lorre and Claude Rains and laugh -- and maybe get a chill -- at the rantings of a Homeland Security henchman, Abner Patch, a Bible-totin', chapter-and-verse quotin', good-hair guardian of [A.R.] Gurney's supposed oligarchical government. [Scott] Behrend again directs; his is a labor of love. His cast is young, varied and lapses in the spirit of the evening are few." --Ted Hadley

Mandrake publicity 3
Brian Riggs and David Autovino in "The Mandrake."

"The Mandrake," through March 27 in the Irish Classical Theatre's Company's Andrews Theatre. From the review: "Irish Classical Theatre Company, so adept at these costumed romps, has assembled just the right director — Fortunato Pezzimenti — and cast to tell this foolish tale, one full of Italian Renaissance stock characters and one so faithfully translated by the scholarly Peter Constantine." --Ted Hadley

"Standing on My Knees," through March 26 in Buffalo Laboratory Theatre. From the review: "Buffalo Laboratory Theatre continues a diverse and challenging season with this heartbreaking work. Director Taylor Doherty has moved the story on stage, the audience close by, suddenly voyeurs, and he is right to have done so: Doherty wants watchers to 'see every tear.' BLT superbly integrates light, sound and special effects. Much of it is the work of Steven Fox, who, along with Doherty, underscores [the main character's] ills with the pessimistic music of Bela Bartok and the dissonant sounds of John Cage." --Ted Hadley

Talk movies, TV and books with Jeff Simon at 3 p.m. today

Hinder heads to Niagara Falls

Hinder, with special guests Red, will perform an all ages show at 7:30 p.m. May 17 in the Rapids Theatre, 1711 Main St., Niagara Falls.

Tickets are $25 advance and $30 the day of the show and are on sale now through the box office, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For  more information, check out www.rapidstheatre.com.

Third Eye Blind to perform in the Town Ballroom

Doors open at 7 p.m. May 4 when Third Eye Blind performs in the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.)

Tickets are $30 advance, $34 day of show and go on sale March 25 at the box office, online at www.Tickets.com or charge by phone at (888) 223-6000.

For more information, call the ballroom at 852-3900 or visit www.townballroom.com.

Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience at UB

The son of the legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham heads to the University at Buffalo to celebrate the life and music of his father. Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, a multimedia concert experience, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. May 9 in the Center for the Arts on the North Campus in Amherst.

Tickets, $31.50 and $41.50, go on sale at 10 a.m. March 25 through the Center for the Arts box office, online at www.Ticketmaster.com, or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, call 645-ARTS (2787) or visit www.ubcfa.org.

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