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'Memphis' to screen at local theaters

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In case you can't wait until June of next year, when the Broadway musical "Memphis" comes to Shea's Performing Arts Center, a two local Regal cinemas will host screenings of the show starting on April 28. The production, which tells the story of a pathbreaking DJ and a gifted singer he helps to promote, won the 2010 Tony Award for best musical.

The musical will screen at Regal Elmwood Center in Buffalo and Regal Transit Center in Williamsville on these dates and times:

April 28 at 7:30 p.m.

April 30 at 7:30 p.m.

May 1 at 12:30 p.m.

May 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20.

--Colin Dabkowski

k.d. lang to perform at UB

k.d. lang returns to the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts in Amherst with her new band, the Siss Boom Bang, for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27.

Tickets are $52, $62 and $72 and go on sale at 10 a.m. April 29 through the box office, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

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

Khords for Kids to benefit Kids Escaping Drugs

Khords for Kids, a benefit event for Kids Escaping Drugs and the Renaissance Campus presented by Dash's Markets, begins at 8 p.m. May 7 in Asbury Hall at Babeville, 341 Delaware Ave.

The event features musician John Ford Coley (formerly of England Dan and John Ford Coley) and includes performances by Lance Diamond & the 24K Diamond Band and Party Squad. Also included in the event will be decadent desserts and fine chocolates along with an auction.

Tickets are $25 and are available online at www.clicketix.com. For more information, call Christina Kruzer at 827-9462.

The Decemberists to play Artpark

The Decemberists will be joined by the Head and the Heart for a concert at 7 p.m. Aug. 1 in the Artpark Mainstage Theater in Lewiston. Tickets are $34 reserved and go on sale at 10 a.m. April 22 through the box office, online at www.Tickets.com or charge by phone at (888) 223-6000.

For more information, call 754-4375 or visit www.artpark.net.

Reel Big Fish at the Rapids Theatre

Ska-punk band Reel Big Fish is joined by Streetlight Manifesto for a concert at 7 p.m. Aug. 12 in the Rapids Theatre, 1711 Main St., Niagara Falls.

Tickets are $22.50 advance and $25 day of show and go on sale at noon April 23 through the box office,  www.Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at Record Theater (3500 Main St. or 1800 Main St.) or Terrapin Station (1172 Hertel Avenue).

For more information, call 205-8925 or visit www.rapidstheatre.com.

Buffalo's Common Council gets an earful on the arts

Earlier this evening, many members of Buffalo's arts community gathered in the chambers of the Buffalo Common Council to make their case about the need for restoring city arts funding, which has been absent for more than a decade. The council already voted on a resolution authored by council member Michael LoCurto in support of allocating $300,000 for the Fund for the Arts (an alliance of local foundations), and council members expressed a hope that Mayor Byron Brown would include that funding in his budget.

(If not, Common Council President David A. Franczyk said he thought it would be possible for the council add in that funding and to gather the six common council votes needed should Brown veto that decision. But it hasn't come to that yet. Council member Michael Kearns, for his part, suggested allocating the money outside of the current budget process, which would avoid political tussling among a council and mayor that generally prefer to work together on budget matters.)

As has been typical of these meetings over the past several months, a wide range of cultural personalities made eloquent and forceful cases for investing public money in the arts. The usual suspects were there: Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center Executive Director Edumund Cardoni, Theatre of Youth Executive Director Meg Quinn, Music Is Art Executive Director Tod Kniazuk -- and they did their cause justice. But what set this meeting apart from some of the previous ones was the presence of a couple of impassioned and deeply informed younger voices who expressed what is becoming an increasing realization of Buffalo's very real potential to become a cultural center in the mold of Portland, Ore.

Out of the hour of speeches, these two, by actor Megan Callahan and curator and artist Jeff Maciejewski, are the highlights:

Listen to the full slate of speakers, which together represent an incontrovertible case for funding the arts at a far greater level than they're funded today:

--Colin Dabkowski

Highlighting the music of Sting, the Police

"Synchronicity," the music of Sting and the Police for Two Pianos will be performed from 7 to 9 p.m. May 18 in Denton, Cottier & Daniels (460 Dodge Road, Getzville). Featuring Yuma Sung and Angelo DeLoreto, the concert will benefit the Amherst Symphony Orchestra and includes a silent auction.

Tickets are $15. To reserve tickets or for more information, call Michelle at 689-6996 or e-mail michelle@dcdpianos.com.

A call for work: '6x6x2011'

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In 2008, the Rochester Contemporary Art Center launched the first-ever version of its "6x6" art show. Thousands of small works, each six by six inches per the exhibition's requirement and submitted by artists from Western New York and beyond, lined the walls.

Over the next two years, the exhibition grew into what gallery director Bleu Cease dubbed an "international phenomen," drawing many thousands of submissions from across the United States and, last year, 22 countries. The work varies widely in style and medium, from photography to watercolor, and the sight of so many miniature artworks arrayed across nearly every inch of gallery space is quite impressive.

Cease is seeking entries for the 2011 edition of the exhibition, expected to be the largest and most far-reaching yet. The show is scheduled to open June 4 and run through July 10. Entries are due by May 1, and should be sumbitted by using this form.

Here's a cool video of gallery workers installing last year's version of the exhibition:

--Colin Dabkowski

A statement from the Buffalo library

Organizers of "Library Obscura," (along with library patrons), an art and advocacy event about recent funding cuts and administrative changes in the Buffalo and Erie County Public LIbrary System.

At this moment, "Library Obscura," billed as an arts and advocacy event to raise awareness about the funding struggles of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, is under way in the Karpeles Manuscript Library at 220 North Street. I wrote about the event, organized by former library employee Jillian Mertz along with many others, in Friday's Gusto.

Many of the library's current and former employees remain frustrated about what they see as a lack of action on the part of the library's administration to oppose the funding cuts proposed late last year by Erie County Executive Chris Collins. From the perspective of many of them, that administration's perceived lack of spine (something I wrote about as it applies to the arts community in my column today) means that they are in some ways playing a key role in their own demise. Not being aware of the complex political machinations of the upper echelon of library management, I can't say whether that's true or false.

In Friday's story, I quoted from a statement written by Sharon Thomas, president of the library's board of trustees, defending the administration's actions during the funding crisis and in its wake. Given space, I wasn't able to quote the entire statement, so I'm reprinting it in full here:

“The Library system board and library administration worked tirelessly and continue to work to get our message directly into the hands of elected officials and to the public. During last year’s budget crisis, we communicated on a regular basis with our library users, the general public, elected officials and our staff in an effort to address the implications of the proposed cuts. Meetings were held, phone calls and presentations were made to legislative committees and library staff. Additionally, throughout the budget process Library administration participated in more than a dozen interviews with the local media to present our message about how library funding cuts would greatly reduce the significant services expected from our libraries. Public feedback was also garnered through the three Re-Image community meetings held last November which specifically addressed the library of tomorrow.

"Dealing with the reality of budget cuts, primarily based on a downturn in the economy, Library administration was challenged to work with less while keeping all 37 public libraries in Erie County open. We continue to focus our efforts on doing the most effective job of providing quality library services to the people of Erie County.

Currently, we are working with member-library boards, staff and outside consultants to explore options for a predictable and sustainable funding source.”

-Sharon Thomas, Chair, Library Board of Trustees

--Colin Dabkowski

Riviera film series honors Streisand

 
This year's annual summer film series at the Riviera Theatre (67 Webster St., North Tonawanda) will honor entertainer Barbra Streisand. "A Tribute to Barbra Streisand" takes place on most Thursday evenings starting June 30 and continuing through Sept. 1.

Whats Up Doc 3141_5 Barbra Streisand in "What's Up, Doc?"

The films are: "What's Up Doc?, June 30; "A Star Is Born," July 7; "Funny Girl," July 21; "The Main Event," July 28; "Hello Dolly," Aug. 4; "Funny Lady," Aug. 11; "The Owl & The Pussycat," Aug. 18; "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever," Aug. 25; and "The Way We Were," Sept. 1

Tickets are $3. Music from the Mighty Wurlitzer starts things off at 6:30 p.m. each night; the movie begins at 7 p.m. For more information, call the box office at 692-2413.

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