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"You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up" opens in Shea's Smith Theatre

Theater SheasSmith You Say Tomato
"You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up" opens in Shea's Smith Theatre.

The two-person show "You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up," started on the book tour done by show-biz veterans and married couple Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn.

During their interactive and quite hilarious presentations about the book, Gurwitch says, "A lot of couples come to see us, and we would see the punching of the arm, like, ‘You do that!’‚" -- and wherever we would go, people would laugh."

So Gurwitch and Kahn got the message.

Onstage, the couple is played by Antoinette LaVeccia and Scott Richard Foster, both experienced actors.

What is it like to see actors play them, sharing the intimate stories of their life together with an audience?

"They’re better than us, actually," says Gurwitch. "I want Scott to take over my own life," says Kahn. "He can be Jeff, and I’ll just take off." Adds Gurwitch, "I like Antoinette’s version of Annabelle better than myself .‚.‚. She’s a better version of me."

"You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up," the 75-minute play distilled from the book and their 16 years of marriage, opens in Shea’s Smith Theatre in previews at 7:30 p.m. today (Jan. 31) and Wednesday (Feb. 1), followed by shows daily until Feb. 12. Tickets are $35 for previews, $40 afterward (box office, www.Ticketmaster.com). For information, visit www.sheas.org.

-- Anne Neville

Avalanche Tour heading to the Falls

The Avalanche Tour, featuring Shinedown with guests Adelitas Way and the Art of Dying, rolls into the Rapids Theatre (1711 Main St., Niagara Falls) for an all-ages show at 7 p.m. April 16.

Tickets are $35 advance, $40 day of show and go on sale at noon Saturday (Feb. 4) through the box office, Terrapin Station, Record Theater, online at www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

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

Theory of a Deadman to perform at the Town Ballroom

Theory of a Deadman, with guests Pop Evil and Stellar Revival, will perform on April 28 in the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Doors open at 7 p.m. for the all-ages show.

Tickets are $22.50 advance, $24 day of show and go on sale at noon Friday (Feb. 3) through the box office, online at www.tickets.com or charge by phone at (888) 223-6000.

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

Rich Robinson to perform at Babeville

Black Crowes co-founder Rich Robinson will perform with his band at 8 p.m. March 11 in the Ninth Ward at Babeville (341 Delaware Ave.).

Tickets for the all-ages show are $13 advance, $15 day of show and are available through the box office, Rust Belt Books, online at www.tickets.com or charge by phone at (888) 223-6000.

For more information, call 852-3013 or visit www.babevillebuffalo.com.

Metal machine: Machine Head headlines at the Town Ballroom

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Machine Head headlines at the Town Ballroom.   Getty Images

Way back at the end of the 1980s, when the Grammy Awards rather hilariously doled out the Best Hard
Rock/Metal trophy to Jethro Tull for that band’s excellent but decidedly nonmetal "Crest of a Knave," it was easy to assume that they’d never get it right when it came to the black sheep of the rock family. Metal was just never gonna get any mainstream respect.

Twenty years later, many in the metal community felt the Grammys had redeemed themselves, at least partly, by nominating Machine Head’s blistering "The Blackening" album for the 2008 award. (The band lost out to Slayer, which one assumes its members would wear as a badge of honor.) 

Machine Head still isn’t exactly mainstream -- its music is too aggressive, knotty and dark-hued for that to happen. But, as the band marks its 21st year with the worldwide metal smash "Unto the Locust" firmly tucked under its belt, one has to accept Machine Head as among the elder statesmen of contemporary metal.

Now, following a successful stint on last summer’s Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival jaunt, Machine Head is headlining its own tour, above friends Suicide Silence, Darkest Hour and Rise To Remain. That tour stops at the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.) at 7 p.m. today (Jan. 29). Tickets are $20 advance, $24 day-of-show (box office, www.Tickets.com).

-- Jeff Miers

Toronto poets Camille Martin and Mark Goldstein bring lyricism to BIG NIGHT

Camille Martin and Mark Goldstein, two Toronto-based poets who share the unusual circumstance of beginning their artistic lives in music rather than literature, headline tonight's Just Buffalo Literary Center's first BIG NIGHT event beginning at 8 p.m. at the Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St. (near Mohawk).

Martin, an Arkansas native and former New Orleans resident, earned a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Literature degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY in 1980, and also exhibited as a collage artist during that decade, before turning her attention to writing and poetics in the 1990's.  She received a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from the University of New Orleans in 1996 and a PhD in English from Louisiana State University in 2003. Her dissertation, "Radical Dialectics in the Experimental Poetry of Berssenbrugge, Hejinian, Harryman, Weiner, and Scalapino”, received LSU's Lewis P. Simpson Distinguished Dissertation Award.  Since 2006, she has taught literature and 
writing at Ryerson University in Toronto.

She is the author of three collections of poems: “Sesame Kiosk” (Potes & Poets, 2001), “Codes of Public Sleep” (BookThug, 2007), and “Sonnets” (Shearsman Books, 2010).  The latter collection, in particular, has been praised for both its inventiveness and its lyrical qualities.  "In these taut, fast-paced, self-aware poems, the lyric meets 21st century paranoia and sparks fly," wrote Pulitzer Prize winner Rae Armantrout.

At their best, Martin's sonnets effect a kind of hybridized syntax and musicality that here encapsulates her physical and psychic migration from the devastation of post-Katrina New Orleans to the treeless plains of the north:

 

katrina, tundra

 

i make up paths that end without warning

in the eye of the storm. i know which path to take,

but once i start thinking, deciding becomes

impossible. on the tundra, old juniper bushes were once

juniper berries. i gaze at the news on tv, old enough

to bury childish nostalgia but not too old to cultivate

obsessive watching. a child in the public library,

i gazed at the yellowing pages of sapphire tundra

lakes. i learn of the yellowish waters

of the flood. i learned that ptarmigans

turn white in winter and gazed at an island afloat

in the middle of water shimmering

in the wintry sun. in my neighbourhood,

islands of red ants float in filthy water.

 

Even more impressive is Martin's unravelling of the image repertoire of her new Canadian 
mindset:  

it is the winter of our maudlin logic. logically,

sadness over spilt clouds includes the drained

colour of snow. crying a puddle

of water, the queen reads the sad story

of her voyage through barren woods. weather

reports expire in yesterday’s puddled

footprints. the queen, painting herself

into a corner, instructs her mournful scribe to write

footprints into the plan. scribbling we go, treading

down the wheat. the wheat belongs to the queen,

who banishes us to a land of barren furrows.

our furrowed brows point to winter’s

orion, toward which the blue queen sails

on a sea of spilt milk.

 

Mark Goldstein spent the first 15 years of his creative life drawing and making art.  He spent the next 15 as a professional musician, most notably as the drummer for the Canadian indie rock band By Divine Right, whose members also included Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning and Leslie Feist, from 1989 to 1999.  For the past 10 years, he recently told an interviewer, "I’ve dedicated myself to literature. All [art forms] are one, inseparable. I see myself moving between them. Coming back to art and to music and to the written word, again and again."

When not writing or lecturing on avant-garde poetics, he has been quoted as observing that "Poetry can’t live without a rhythmic throughline. It’s the sounds of words that delight the ear, not their meanings. Meaning is an after effect of the poem. It’s not something in the control of the author."

Goldstein's first book “After Rilke” (BookThug, 2008) is a set of letters written in homage to the late American poet Jack Spicer and a series of homophonic (i.e., having the same sound and/or melodic line, but differing in meaning) translations based on Rainer MariaRilke’s poem “The Voices.”  His 12 week seminar on “Transtransliteration” (a process he describes as "an excavation of sorts: we brush away the layers of meaning deposited onto a text through time, to reveal the poem beneath the poem-– that rift between rising and falling…groundlessness itself”) inaugurated the Toronto New School of Writing in 2010.

For Goldstein, "transtranslation" bridges several methodologies, including homophonic and homolinguistic play, and lexical word-for-word translations, mapping the sound and sense of the languages with which he works. Through this deep engagement with another voice and with his own voice(s), he produces poems that are both translated and written, that are both the other [author]’s breath and his own breath.

These methodologies are systematically explored in Goldstein's most recent book, “Tracelanguage: A Shared Breath” (BookThug, 2011), his “transtranslation” of poet Paul Celan’s seminal work “Atemwende.”  He describes the book as "my reading/re-writing of a work by Paul Celan [that is] neither “Atemwende” itself nor a pure translation." What is it then?  Goldstein invokes the book's subtitle: “A Shared Breath.”

Also on tonight's  BIG NIGHT program is "Going Down," a multichannel installation by  Buffalo-based film-maker and video artist Carl Lee that explores the intersection of cinematic and actual light and space.  Lee was formerly associated with the Termite TV Collective, which he co-directed from 1996 to 2007.

As with all BIG NIGHT events, the popular and tasty food creations of Culinary Institute of America trained chef and BlazeVox Books publisher Geoffrey Gatza will be featured. Admission is $5, $4 for students, Just Buffalo members, and members of its affiliate organizations. 

 

--R.D. Pohl

Pure AM gold: Marc Cohn hits stage at the Seneca Niagara Casino

Being a kid in the 1970s invariably meant that you heard a lot of your music on a transistor radio. If you were drawn at all toward the Top 40 of the day, then most likely, you became familiar with what at the time was known simply as contemporary pop, but today trades under the nostalgia-soaked moniker "AM Gold." Tunes by the likes of Seals & Crofts, David Gates and Bread, Bob Welch and even the odd Todd Rundgren ditty that somehow subversively became a hit, comprise part of the soundtrack of the early ’70s for many.

Clearly, Marc Cohn spent a bit of time falling beneath the sway of the ’70s singer-songwriter, for he’s spent a few decades now tapping that vein, carving out a career for himself that almost seems to run on, oblivious to the trends that come and go around it. Rooted in pop tropes of that time, Cohn’s songs are well-crafted, narrative-driven vignettes that revel in catchy melodies and that wistful melancholy that defined the time during which he came of age. 

Cohn brings his master class in pop songcraft at 8 p.m. today (Jan. 28) to the Bear’s Den, Seneca Niagara Casino, Niagara Falls. Tickets start at $50 (box office, www.Ticketmaster.com).

-- Jeff Miers

All you need is Dub: Yellow Dubmarine performs at Nietzsche's

Baltimore’s Yellow Dubmarine has pulled off the seemingly impossible.

The band has added to the ongoing conversation that is the music of the Beatles in a manner that is not imitative, redundant, overly precious or merely cloying. The ensemble is at once respectful of the craftsmanship of the Fab Four and eager to reimagine the original works through clear eyes. Check "Abbey Dub," the Dub-sters re-creation of the Beatles’ swan song, "Abbey Road." It’s as musically complex and exacting as it was intended to be, while simultaneously "Dub-iufied." Yes, every single track has been newly imagined as a reggae-dub number. More miraculous still is the fact that it worked, and incredibly well at that. 

I’d recommend visiting YouTube and scoping out a few of the many Yellow Dubmarine live performances. Then, once you’re sufficiently stoked, and convinced that I’m not just pulling your leg, head down to Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.) to witness the band’s Buffalo debut at 9 p.m. today (Jan. 28). Yellow Dubmarine will perform "Abbey Dub" in its entirety. Surprise nuggets from the Fab Four catalog will fill out the rest of the program.

Part of the proceeds from the $12 admission will benefit the Buffalo Urban Outdoor Educational Foundation (www.BUOE.org).

-- Jeff Miers 

Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang to play UB

Blues great Buddy Guy will be joined by Jonny Lang in a concert at 7:30 p.m. June 12 in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts, North Campus, Amherst.

Tickets are $64, $54, $39, $27 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Feb. 3 through the Center for the Arts Box Office, Ticketmaster outlets and www.ticketmaster.com. You can also charge by phone at (800) 745-3000. For more information, visit www.ubcfa.org.

 

The Beards of Comedy scratch out laughs at Babeville

The Beards of Comedy
TJ Young, left, Joe Zimmerman, Andy Sandford and Dave Stone are the Beards of Comedy. 

Make way for the beards.

Tonight (Jan. 27), Buffalo will play host to an up-and-coming comedy quartet whose burly members identify themselves as the Beards of Comedy. The four men -- Andy Sandford, Joe Zimmerman, TJ Young and Dave Stone -- describe their approach as "an original brand of humor that’s deeply rooted in stand-up and lightly blended with avant-garde elements of music, sketch and improv." The Beards are slowly gaining fans with a series of tongue-in-cheek online videos, one of which, "Breakfast Banditos," was recently picked up by the popular comedy site Funny or Die.

The show gets going at 8 p.m. in the Ninth Ward, the hip basement bar and performance space in Babeville (341 Delaware Ave.). Tickets are $12 at the door, with more information at www.beardsofcomedy.com.

-- Colin Dabkowski

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