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Norm Macdonald heads to Niagara Falls

Comedian Norm Macdonald performs at 8 p.m. Sept. 3 in the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel Event Center (310 Fourth St., Niagara Falls). Tickets for the show are $20-$50 and go on sale at noon June 1 through the casino store, online at or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, visit

Martin Kober's 'Mike' to be exhibited in Rome

Martin Kober, of Tonawanda, stands beside a copy of a painting he and others claim is the work of Renaissance artist Michelangelo.

On Sunday, The New York Times ran a lengthy feature on Tonawanda resident Martin Kober's mission to attribute a painting that's long been in his family to the hand of Michelangelo. That mission is making slow but measured progress, as the Times reports that it will go on view in Rome on Oct. 25 as part of the Rome Foundation's exhibition "Rome in the Renaissance, from Michelangelo to Vasari."

--Colin Dabkowski

Amherst Street is ready for its close-up

My Spotlight story today about the resurgence of Black Rock takes a look at a recently flurry of activity on Amherst Street, from new restaurants like Mark Goldman's Black Rock Kitchen and Bar to popular arts venues like 464 Gallery. News photographer Bill Wippert took a ton of pictures of the burgeoning activity on the street, and I cobbled them together (along with interviews with Mark Goldman and Susan Cholewa) into this audio slideshow. Take a look!

--Colin Dabkowski

A media blitz for Cory Arcangel

CA 05 MIG ROPAC Install
An excerpt from a video installation by Cory Arcangel, whose work is included in "Videosphere: A New Generation."

Cory Arcangel, the Western New York native and Nichols School grad who has a high-profile show opening this week at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, has been all over the arts press lately. He was the subject of a long profile in this week's issue of The New Yorker, a profile and a (rather middling) review in The New York Times, and another long profile in New York Magazine. Seldom do artists "arrive" these days with such fanfare. And if you read all these pieces, you'll begin to see what all the fuss is about.

Locally, Arcangel's work will be on view starting on July 1 as a major part of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's boundary-pushing exhibition "Videosphere: A New Generation," in which the gallery will showcase its small but potent collection of new media art. The show also serves as a sort of declaration by the museum of its committment to collecting new media art much more going forward.

Look for more coverage of that show -- and other interesting developments at the gallery -- as its opening approaches.

--Colin Dabkowski

Jonathan Van Dyke stands up for Jackson Pollock


Artist Jonathan Van Dyke performs a test run of his performance, "The Long Glance," in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Februray.

Starting on Saturday, the performance artist and sculptor Jonathan Van Dyke will be mounting a rather unorthodox project in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. For eight hours per day over a five-day period, Van Dyke will simply stand in front of Jackson Pollock's 1952 painting "Convergence" in an effort to make what the gallery calls "a com­mentary on contemporary culture and the way pervasive technology has influenced how we focus our attention."

Look for my column about Van Dyke's piece in the Spotlight section on Sunday. But in the meantime, you can listen to my interview with Van Dyke, in which I ask him in no uncertain terms to defend his work from those who would characterize it as absurd:

--Colin Dabkowski


Summer concert schedule

Pop music critic Jeff Miers gives us his short take on the summer concerts.

By month:


Also be sure to check out the Gusto music page for more on summer concert information.

June 2  (Thursday)
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
(6 p.m. Square)*
Hipster psychedelia at the Square. Works for me.

 June 3 (Friday)
Josh Groban (8 p.m. HSBC)
Date night, anyone?

June 4 (Saturday)
Kiss the Summer Hello with Marianas Trench, Hot Chelle Rae, Paper Tongues and Travie McCoy (6 p.m. Coca-Cola Field)
Travie McCoy will steal the show!
Patti Austin (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
An evening of Ellington, Gershwin, Ella -- how can you lose?
Robin Trower (8 p.m. Tralf)
The reigning king of psychedelic blues-rock.
The Guess Who (7 p.m. Seneca Allegany)
Guess who it isn't? The original band!

June 9 (Thursday)
Morris Day and the Time (6 p.m. Square)*
What, we couldn't get Prince?

June 10 (Friday)
Tonic (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
Fresh from a several year hiatus, and with a new self-titled album to show off.

June 14 (Tuesday)
Blue Oyster Cult (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
A nice way to kick off Artpark's free summer concert series. BOC can still deliver the goods.
Sully Erna: The Avalon Tour (7 p.m. Riviera)
Godsmack fans might be surprised by the "world music" aspects of Erna's solo material.

June 16 (Thursday)
Blues Traveler with Willie Nile (6 p.m. Square)*
Let's hope Blues Traveler's John Popper hops on stage to jam with Willie Nile!

June 19 (Sunday)
Kenny Rogers (5 p.m. Seneca Allegany)
I can't believe he's still at it!

June 21 (Tuesday)
Creedence Clearwater Revisited (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
The songs are timeless, no matter who is singing them.
Taylor Swift with Needtobreathe (7 p.m. HSBC)
Much buzzed-about. But my hopes aren't high.

June 23 (Thursday)
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals with Fitz & the Tantrums (6 p.m. Square)*
Make sure you get there early to see Fritz & the Tantrums. This neo-soul outfit is amazing.

Music Grace Potter 
Grace Potter and her band The Nocturals will play at Thursday at the Square. (Associated Press)

Daughtry (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
Meh. A snoozer.

June 24 (Friday)
Dark Star Orchestra with Soulive (6 p.m. Harbor)
Simply the finest Grateful Dead repertory ensemble going, joined by Buffalo's own ambassadors of the funky jam. A perfectly matched double bill.
Steven Page (5:30 p.m. Molson)*
It's a shame that Page and his old bandmates in Barenaked Ladies are on the outs. But Page's solo material is very strong. Should be a blast.

June 25 (Saturday)
Tim McGraw with Luke Bryan and the Band Perry (7 p.m. Darien)
Country rules the roost at Darien Lake PAC this year.
Ninety Miles (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
Vibraphonist Stefon Harris, saxophonist David Sanchez and trumpeter Christian Scott are top-flight jazz musicians. Their new album, tracked in Havana, Cuba, drops four days prior to this show.

June 29 (Wednesday)
Starry Night in the Garden with Hanson, Christina Perri and John Vesely (6 p.m. Botanical)
A nice pop bill in a beautiful venue.
Umphrey's McGee (6:30 p.m. Artpark; free)
These guys are incredible live. First time at Artpark, too!

June 30 (Thursday)
Lowest of the Low with Hey Rosetta! and the Do Good Assassins (6 p.m. Square/Wharf)*
Ron Hawkins opens for himself! That's awesome! The first Square show at the Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf.


July 1 (Friday)
Great Blue Heron Music Festival (July 1-3. Wait Corners Road, Sherman)
The pre-eminent family-friendly roots music festival.
Dennis DeYoung (5:30 p.m. Molson)*
Local band Colors In the Air will open, so go early.
Rusted Root (8 p.m. Holiday Valley)
Always a good, jammy time.

July 2 (Saturday)
Dave Mason (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
The former member of Traffic & Fleetwood Mac and an esteemed solo artist, Mason brings a long history and deep catalog to town.
Our Lady Peace with Son of the Sun, Klear, Agent Me (6 p.m. HRC)*
Amazingly energetic Canadian rock! For free! Outside the Hard Rock! OLP is taking a break from recording its new album to play for us. Expect a mix of old and new.

July 3 (Sunday)
KC and the Sunshine Band (8 p.m. Holiday Valley)
Get down with your bad self.

July 5 (Tuesday)
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
Benatar's voice is as powerful as ever. She was last at Artpark in 2007 and the show was a strong one.

July 6 (Wednesday)
The Trews (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
This should be a great night. The Trews' new album, "Hope & Ruin," is gritty, greasy rock 'n' roll.

July 7 (Thursday)
Sloan (6 p.m. July 7, Square/Wharf; free.)
Canada's finest power-pop band has an excellent new album, "Double Cross," to share with us.

July 8 (Friday)
Burton Cummings (5:30 p.m. Molson)*
Cummings has still got the voice, and a strong new solo album, "Above the Ground," to boot.
Sugarland with Sara Bareilles (7:30 p.m. Darien)
Round two of the band's "Incredible Machine" tour. Notable mostly for the inclusion of opener Bareilles.

July 9 (Saturday)
Steve Miller Band (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
With a great new album in the bluesy "Let Your Hair Down," Miller is in fighting form.

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings play at 6 p.m. on July 9 at the Hard Rock Cafe outdoors in Niagara Falls. (Getty Images)

July 12 (Tuesday)
Vans Warped Tour 2011 includes 3OH3!, Less Than Jake, Relient K, Simple Plan, the Devil Wears Prada, the Acacia Strain, the Ready Set, Big Chocolate and a Skylit Drive. (Noon Darien)
Always the most bang for your concert buck.
.38 Special (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
I'll take Skynyrd instead.

July 13 (Wednesday)
The Black Keys with Cage the Elephant (7 p.m. Artpark; sold out)
Because baby, I'm howlin' for you!

Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow (7:30 p.m. Darien)
This should be fun. I'll take Crow for the music, and the Kid for the stage show and energy.

Brian McKnight (8 p.m. Riviera)
Buffalo's ambassador of soul and R&B.

July 14 (Thursday)
Court Yard Hounds (6 p.m. Square/Wharf)*
Two thirds of the Dixie Chicks! Good enough for me.

July 15 (Friday)
John Butler Trio with the Ragbirds and One World Tribe (5:30 p.m. Molson)*
A nice bill of jammy pop and world beat.

July 16 (Saturday)
Miranda Cosgrove with Greyson Chance (Darien in-park)*
Cosgrove was the best thing about last year's Kissmas Bash in HSBC Arena.
The Psychedelic Furs with Colors in the Air, The Albrights, Inlite (HRC)*
Singer Richard Butler is awesome!
Melissa Etheridge (7 p.m. Seneca Allegany)
The new "Fearless Love" is Etheridge's strongest in years.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.

July 20 (Wednesday)
moe. (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
The little Buffalo band that could. Always a good time.

July 21 (Thursday)
Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes (6 p.m. Square/Wharf)*
That other killer band from Asbury Park, N.J.

July 22 (Friday)
Motley Crue with Poison and the New York Dolls (7 p.m. Darien)
The New York Dolls will blow everyone else off the stage on this night, methinks.
Paul Rogers (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
Rogers is rock royalty. His solo band features guitarist Howard Leese and drummer Jason Bonham.

July 23 (Saturday)
Brad Paisley with Blake Shelton and Jerrod Niemann (4 p.m. Darien)
Paisley is modern country's top picker.
John McDermott (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
McDermott singing "Danny Boy" always makes me cry in my beer. Sniff sniff.
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra plays The Song Remains The Same -- The Music of Led Zeppelin with Caitlin and the Jamie Moses Band, the Evil Elite, Six String Circus (HRC)*
Orchestral Zeppelin? I'm in!

July 26 (Tuesday)
Godsmack and Disturbed with Machine Head (6 p.m. Darien)
For my money, Machine Head is the best of this bunch. One of the few metal shows in the area this summer.
Lynyrd Skynyrd (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
I plan to count the number of times members of the crowd yell "Freebird!" during this gig.

July 27 (Wednesday)
Bright Eyes (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
A highlight of the Artpark season. Connor Oberst keeps getting better and better.

July 28 (Thursday)
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic (6 p.m. Square/Wharf; free)
Because funk like this is good for your health.

July 29 (Friday)
Puddle of Mudd with Rev Theory (5:30 p.m. Molson)*
Rev Theory will steal the show!
Goo Goo Dolls with Michelle Branch and Parachute (7 p.m. Darien)
A homecoming! The Goos keep on rolling.
Daryl Stuermer Band (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
An evening of Genesis music! Stuermer's band is incredible.

July 30 (Saturday)
Hawksley Workman with MF Zeis, Ransomville, Grace Stumberg (HRC)*
Workman must be seen to be believed. An uber-talented auteur.

July 31 (Sunday)
Flogging Molly with Badfish (6 p.m. Harbor)
Great pairing! Badfish does Sublime better than Sublime ever did! Flogging Molly brings high-octane Celtic rock.


Aug. 1 (Monday)
The Decemberists with the Head and the Heart (7 p.m. Artpark)
Colin Meloy's voice is an acquired taste. If you've acquired it, this show is a highlight of the summer. New album is very strong.

Aug. 2 (Tuesday)
ZZ Top (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
The little ol' trio from Texas can still bring it, big time.

Aug. 3 (Wednesday)
O.A.R. (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
Dave Matthews Band-lite.

Aug. 4 (Thursday)
Tokyo Police Club with the Sheila Divine (6 p.m. Square/Wharf)*
A great booking. Tokyo Police Club is one of the coolest alt-rock/indie-type band going. It will be nice to welcome the Sheila Divine back to Buffalo, too.
Wiz Khalifa with Big Sean and Chevy Woods (7:30 p.m. Artpark)
The summer season is light on hip-hop. This one should be a blast.

Aug. 5 (Friday)
The B-52's (5:30 p.m. Molson)*
Love shack, baby!

Aug. 6 (Saturday)
54-40 with Free Henry!, Vinnie DeRosa, Brass Monkeez (HRC)*
Help the iconic Canadian outfit celebrate its 30th anniversary!
Big & Rich with Gretchen Wilson (7 p.m. Seneca Allegany)
Been there, done that.
Leon Russell (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
Russell is riding high on a long overdue career resurgence.

Aug. 9 (Tuesday)
Edgar Winter (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
Nice! Winter will arrive directly from European dates with Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band. He should be raring to go!
Selena Gomez & the Scene with Allstar Weekend (6:30 p.m. Darien)
I can almost hear the high-pitched screaming already.

Aug. 10 (Wednesday)
Big Time Rush (7:30 p.m. Fairgrounds)
Hmm. I would have preferred Rush without the Big Time.
Journey with Foreigner and Night Ranger (7 p.m. Darien)
Well, at least Night Ranger has most of its original members.

Aug. 11 (Thursday)
Randy Houser (8 p.m. Fairgrounds)*
What kind of a man releases an album called "They Call Me Cadillac"? You'll have to head to the fair to find out.

Aug. 12 (Friday)
Rascal Flatts with Sara Evans, Easton Corbin and Justin Moore (7 p.m. Darien)
A modern country mini-fest.

Aug. 13 (Saturday)
Blood, Sweat & Tears with More than Me, John Mameli, Dallas, Hey Monea! (HRC)*
This should be good. BS&T is still led by the legendary Bobby Colomby, 40 years on.
The Association (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
More than 40 years after its first No. 1 hit, "Along Comes Mary," the Association is still at it. You decide if that's a good thing.

Aug. 14 (Sunday)
Miranda Lambert (8 p.m. Fairgrounds)
Mrs. Blake Shelton at the fairgrounds! The "Nashville Star" finalist's latest effort "Revolution" continues its reign at the top of the country charts.

Aug. 15 (Monday)
America (8 p.m. Fairgrounds)*
Wouldn't be summer in Western New York without 'em!

Aug. 16 (Tuesday)
Ted Nugent (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
When he lets his guitar do the talking, Nugent is still the man.
Kings of Leon with Band of Horses (7 p.m. Darien)
After Phish, the strongest booking at the Darien Lake PAC this summer.

Aug. 17 (Wednesday)
Ace Frehley (8 p.m. Fairgrounds)*
Yes! I'm hoping to coerce the Space Ace to take in the pig races with me while he's at the fair.

Aug. 19 (Friday)
Grand Funk Railroad (5:30 p.m. Molson)*
No Mark Farner, but original members Mel Sacher and Don Brewer have enlisted former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick. Should be good.
Martina McBride (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
The voice, the big ballads, the dramatic presentation. She's still got it.

Aug. 20 (Saturday)
Johnny Winter (8 p.m. Seneca Niagara)
One of the greatest living bluesmen. The real deal, still.

Aug. 21 (Sunday)
Def Leppard and Heart (7:30 p.m. Darien)
My money's on Heart, but Def Leppard always puts on a high-energy show. Hoping it doesn't come across as a "Sweatin' to the Oldies"-style revue!

Aug. 23 (Tuesday)
George Thorogood and the Destroyers (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
Thorogood's high-octane take on John Lee Hooker's blues has aged well.

HEAVEN Features Cooper Wippert 
Alice Cooper with Anvil play at 6 p.m. on Aug. 26 in the Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor concert series at the Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf. (Bill Wippert/Buffalo News)

Aug. 27 (Saturday)
Great Big Sea with Martin Sexton (6 p.m. Harbor)
The other big Celtic-rock show of the summer. Most notable for the fact that Sexton will blow the headliner off the stage.

Aug. 28 (Sunday)
Ronnie Dunn (5 p.m. Seneca Allegany)
Where's Brooks?

Aug. 30 (Tuesday)
The Machine (6:30 p.m. Artpark)*
The country's pre-eminent Pink Floyd tribute.


Sept. 8 (Thursday)
Keith Urban (7:30 p.m. HSBC)
If you were married to Nicole Kidman, would you tour as incessantly as Urban does? There can be no doubt -- this guy is making music for the love of it.

Indiesound in Allentown schedule

Here is the full schedule for the Indiesound in Allentown weekend festival.


Cool band alert: Typhoon

Here's an MP3 from a new 12-piece band from Portland I'm digging. - Jeff Miers

Biennial fever spreads to Syracuse

Following in the footsteps of Beyond/In Western New York, the massive regional art exhibition that wrapped up earlier this year, Syracuse (itself a fascinating and vibrant arts city, though far smaller in scale than Buffalo) is launching its own biennial. This call for work from Hallwalls Visual Arts Curator John Massier, just popped up in my inbox:

If you're not already out-biennialled, then you should consider applying for TONY 2012, a Syracuse-based multi-venue biennial. I have met with the various groups organizing this project and they've been inspired by Beyond/In to gather their collective forces and do a similar project in the art venues in Syracuse. I suspect it won't be as large as Beyond/In in terms of number of artists, but there are a wide variety of venues involved, including Warehouse, the Everson, and Light Work. I have also confirmed with them that their definition of "upstate" absolutely includes WNY.

Your deadline is June 30. Good luck.

--Colin Dabkowski

Young playwrights step into the spotlight tonight

Tonight, Road Less Traveled Productions will host its second annual Buffalo Young Writers Night in its space in downtown's Market Arcade Film and Arts Center (639 Main St.). The event, the culmination of the company's yearly competition among aspiring playwrights in high school and college, will feature staged readings of five works selected by local playwright and RLTP producer Jon Elston.

The grand prize this year went to University at Buffalo senior Jon Zelasko, whose play, "Enjoy It," was described in a release as "a bittersweet and comical evocation of two estranged lovers reuniting... and finding each other drastically different than their idyllic memories would have them believe." Zelasko's play will receive a spot in RLTP's increasingly coveted New Play Workshop series during the 2011-12 season.

The Young Writers Night will feature readings of work by the competition's runners-up: Stefan Brundage, Megan Kemple, Caitlin McAneney, Courtney Ricigliano and Taylor Zito. The readings are directed by Kyle LoConti and performed by Kristin Bentley, Arin Lee Dandies, Darryl Hart, Amy Jakiel, Elexa Kopty, Aaron Krygier and Bob Grabowski.

Tickets are $10, with more information online at

--Colin Dabkowski

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