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Good news from the Shaw Festival


The Shaw Festival, which is now in the midst of its 50th season, today announced some positive news today in a release. Here are the highlights:

•Its production of "My Fair Lady," is projected to be the best-selling show in the history of the festival, with more than 90,000 tickets sold through the end of the run.

•Three shows by George Bernard Shaw -- "Heartbreak House," "On the Rocks" and "Candida" -- have sold a combined 60,000 tickets, which the festival claims is proof of the "continued importance of The Shaw's namesake in the fabric of the Festival." The Shaw productions represent 24 percent of the fest's total ticket sales, which, according to the Shaw, is a "marked increase over the last four years."

•Two shows, "Maria Severa" and "Drama at Inish: A Comedy," have been extended through Oct. 2 and Oct. 9, respectively.

--Colin Dabkowski

The unanswered question


Last Friday I got to do Gusto Live Chat. I got a lot of interesting questions, about music and about other things. And because I am just getting to know the system, it got to be a challenge keeping up with them. I kept thinking of the famous Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel go to work in the chocolate shop ...

... because that is how it felt with the questions, coming in faster than I could deal with them!

Don't get me wrong, I am so grateful to everyone who participated because imagine if no questions had come in. I would have been just sitting there! At the same time I regret that there were a few questions that got away from me.

One was from someone asking me what I was looking forward to in Curtain Up! I simply could not get to that one. Today I was thinking I could answer it here.

There is this play at the Paul Robeson Theatre, "Cool Blues." I like plays about music. I remember going to see "Taking Sides," the play at the Kavinoky Theatre about the controversial conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, and "Master Class," about Maria Callas, also at the Kavinoky. And, of course, "Amadeus," which is a whole separate story.

Does anyone else remember "Two Pianos, Four Hands"? That was fun, about kids who take piano lessons and, as adults, try to keep up their chops. At the Ujima Theatre, I loved seeing August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson." August Wilson comes at music from an interesting angle, being African-American on one side and German-American on the other.

Back to "Cool Blues." It is about -- I love this -- a fictional jazz musician who is so famous that he goes simply by "B." And here is a great quote from the summary on the Theatre Alliance of Buffalo's Web site: "His manner and his mood shifts are as mercurial as his music." Ha, ha! Typical jazz musician!

The play takes place in 1955, a wonderful era in music. B spends a fateful weekend at the apartment of the dizzyingly wealthy Baroness Alexandra Isabella von Templeton. The name makes me wonder if this play might be a comedy. It sounds kind of ridiculous. I mean, the German "von" with the British "Templeton."

Well, comedy or not, it sounds as if it has potential. You have to figure that the Baroness is modeled after the real-life Baroness Pannonica ("Nica") von Konigswarter who was famously involved with Thelonious Monk (he wrote that beautiful song 'Pannonica' for her, and you can hear him talking about her, sweetly, in this clip) ...

... and was friends with Charlie Parker and a lot of other jazz greats. Looking at Wikipedia I see that not only did Charlie Parker die in her apartment, but I guess Monk passed away at her home too, in New Jersey. She is quite a footnote in music history!

And I am loving listening to that solo recording of "Pannonica." I love Monk's solo piano performances.

Anyway I would guess that "Cool Blues" focuses more on Charlie Parker ... the "B," now that I think about it, must stand for "Bird." It should be interesting. That is one Curtain Up! performance I am looking forward to.

See, ask a simple question, you get a long convoluted answer.

No wonder I could not answer this question on Live Chat!

-- Mary Kunz Goldman


Big Time Rush headlines Kissmas Bash

Big time rush 01 

Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News
The popular Nickelodeon band Big Time Rush, fresh off its sold-out concert at the Erie County Fair, has been announced as the headlining act for the KISS 98.5 "Kissmas Bash 2K11" at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 in First Niagara Center (formerly HSBC Arena). More acts will be announced.

Tickets are $15, $20, $35, $45 and $80 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Sept. 2 through the box office, online at or charge by phone at (888) 223-6000.

For more information, visit

Some interesting moments at the MTV VMAs (and some silly ones, too)

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music

Tedeschi Trucks visit UB Center for the Arts

A concert featuring husband and wife Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi has been announced for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16 in the University at Buffalo Center for Arts, North Campus, Amherst.

The two, who have worked together through their successful solo careers, are now collaborating as the 11-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band. The group recently released the disc, "Revelator."

Tickets are $62, $52, $37, and $27, and go on sale at 10 a.m. Sept. 2 through the center's box office and Ticketmaster or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000. For more information, visit


Chat with News Buzz Columnist Mary Kunz Goldman

At Canalside, DeWitt Clinton lives

DeWitt Clinton
A portrait of former New York State Governor DeWitt Clinton from the collection of the Library of Congress.

Today at Canalside, from 5 to 9 p.m., visitors may come across a man dressed in early-19th century garb holding forth on the construction of the Erie Canal. No need to call the men in white jackets -- that's just actor Nick Russo doing his best impression of former New York State Governor DeWitt Clinton, who was instrumental in fostering the canal's construction. The monumental waterway officially opened in 1825 in Buffalo.

The idea of having a roving historical character at Canalside came from the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, which worked with MusicalFare Theatre to make the project happen. If all goes well, MusicalFare Artistic and Executive Director Randall Kramer said, more characters will be on their way. They may even develop a bit of good-natured historical rivalry while they're at it, he said.

For now, audiences can catch Clinton doing his thing at Canalside today from 5 to 9 p.m., Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Sept. 3 from 1 to 5 p.m.

--Colin Dabkowski

Seneca Casinos announce shows for October and November

Patti LaBelle, Lindsey Buckingham and Neil Sedaka join the fall lineup of shows for Seneca Casinos.

At 8 p.m. Oct. 29, R&B and pop great LaBelle will hit the stage of the Seneca Niagara Events Center in Niagara Falls. Tickets start at $45.

Buckingham, lead guitarist, male vocalist and producer for the legendary Fleetwood Mac, headlines a show at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 in the Seneca Allegany Events Center in Salamanca. Tickets start at $35 and go on sale at noon Sept. 6.

Still going strong, Sedaka will perform at 8 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Seneca Niagara Events Center. Tickets start at $30 and go on sale at noon Aug. 26.

Funk-rock band Rare Earth will perform at 8 p.m. Oct. 1 in the Bear's Den of the Seneca Niagara Casino. Tickets start at $37.

Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack Show will make a stop at the Bear's Den for two performances (3 and 8 p.m) on Oct. 15. Tickets start at $45.

Smooth jazz singer-songwriter Michael Franks will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Bear's Den. Tickets start at $50 and go on sale at noon Sept. 12.

All tickets are available through the casino store, online at or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000. For more information, visit and

'Blood of a Poet' screening canceled

A screening of Jean Cocteau's film "The Blood of a Poet" with an original score written and to have been performed by Steven Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees, has been canceled. It was originally scheduled for Saturday night at 7 in the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center. Here's what Hallwalls Executive Director Edmund Cardoni had to say about the cancellation: "Disappointingly, Steven Severin emailed from the UK that he must cancel his entire US tour at this time, including this date in Buffalo. We hope it will be rescheduled at a later date."

--Colin Dabkowski

Tyler Green on the Albright-Knox's Nancy Rubins

Albright Art
Colin Cook, installer for Nancy Rubins, put the finishing touches on a piece of art on the front lawn of the Albright-Knox Art gallery on Thursday, June 16, 2011. Photo by Harry Scull Jr. / The Buffalo News

Today on Modern Art Notes, Tyler Green has glowing things to say about Nancy Rubins' canoe sculpture on the west lawn of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Here's an excerpt:

...Instead of self-consciously providing Buffalo a point of greatness around which to rally, the A-K has struggled to define itself in recent years. (Everyone in Buffalo seems to know that it is a home to great American architecture, but in my experience residents seem much less aware that the Albright is anything special.) Several years ago the A-K sold off its best non-modern/contemporary art in an effort to devote its limited resources to what it has done best for the last few decades, modern and contemporary art, but handled the situation poorly. Last year it hosted the worst and most problematic exhibition any significant American art museum has shown in at least a decade.

Fortunately, through the administrative bungling the museum’s curators have continued to buy and exhibit significant art. Few American art museums are as dedicated to exhibiting their collections as is the Albright. While this focus is an obvious necessity for a cash-strapped museum, the A-K has done it particularly well. Witness its recent installation (and promotion) of a particularly fantastic late Sol LeWitt wall drawing or its strong, ongoing installation of video art from its collection.

Here’s hoping ‘The Canoes’ is an indication that the Albright-Knox is getting back to what great art museums should do: Acquiring and exhibiting great art — and using it to make lasting connections with the museum’s hometown audience.

Green, an astute observer of the museum over the years, is correct that the Albright-Knox has struggled recently. The mammoth deaccession was, as he writes, above-board but poorly handled from a public relations perspective and its Sabres exhibition was indeed shameful.

Continue reading "Tyler Green on the Albright-Knox's Nancy Rubins" »

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