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Alec Baldwin gives reading with Road Less Traveled Productions

Brigitte Lacombe -CloseUp
Alec Baldwin is in town for a reception and staged reading of "The Big Knife."

It’s a big weekend for Road Less Traveled Productions, the plucky and ambitious theater company headquartered in downtown’s Market Arcade Film and Arts Centre.

At 8 tonight (Jan. 27) in the University at Buffalo’s Center for the Arts in Amherst, Alec Baldwin makes his third visit to town in support of the theater company. This time, he’ll read the lead role of Charlie Castle in a staged reading of Clifford Odets’ noirish Hollywood thriller "The Big Knife," along with a cast of local stage veterans. Tickets for the sure-to-be mobbed event, which run $60 to $75 with $20 student rush tickets available at the box office, are still available.

And at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 28), RLTP will open its much-anticipated production of Conor McPherson’s "St. Nicholas." The one-man play featuring Irish Classical Theatre co-founder Vincent O’Neill as an Irish theater critic who falls into a demimonde of "big-city vampires," aims to perturb and delight in equal measure.

Tickets for "St. Nicholas" are $15 to $30 (www.Ticketmaster.com) with more information online at www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org or call 629-3069.

-- Colin Dabkowski

Terry Gross on 'The Colbert Report'

Last night, "Fresh Air" host Terry Gross, who got her start at WBFO, appeared on "The Colbert Report" to talk about her interviewing approach and her career in radio. Take a look:

Christie's minstrels, at the Met

ChristiewmConductor William Christie, who is originally from Buffalo, is making a splash at the Metropolitan Opera conducting the world premiere of "The Enchanted Island." The show is a kind of fanciful Baroque extravaganza featuring Baroque music, mostly by Handel and Vivaldi.

The New York Times praised the production. On the Met's Web site it is fun to look at videos of the opera. You can watch Joyce DiDonato singing an aria. And one of the videos -- the one on the far right -- features Christie talking about the ideas behind "The Enchanted Island," how it is a pastiche, and the admirable role that pastiches play in music history.

As the New York Times points out, the word "pastiche" comes from the Latin pasticium, a medieval pie containing everything but the kitchen sink, and it relates to the Greek pastitsio. Both words, anyway, relate to a masterful use of leftovers.

And that is what "The Enchanted Island" appears to be. It makes me think of "The Opera Show," the traveling revue that came to UB's Center For the Arts a couple of years ago. You take arias and present them in a new framework, and have fun with the costumes and the dancing and the scenery. "The Enchanted Island" does that, stringing arias and choral pieces together like glittering beads. The story is magical, based on Shakespeare's "The Tempest."

Here is a picture from the production. That is Joyce DiDonato, Placido Domingo and David Daniels.

Enchanted

Christie is one of the world's foremost authorities on Baroque music. An expat who has lived in Paris for years, he conducts the renowned Les Arts Florissants.

You have one more chance to catch "The Enchanted Island" on the big screen at the Regal Elmwood Center at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

 

Rusted Root performs Thursday in the Rapids Theatre

Rusted Root
Rusted Root performs tonight (Jan. 26) in Niagara Falls.    Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News

The tour behind Rusted Root’s last studio album, 2009’s "Stereo Rodeo," threatened to become like the one Bob Dylan has been on for, oh, what, 20-odd years now? Dylan’s "Never-Ending Tour" has been interrupted by album releases from time to time, of course, but Pittsburgh roots-jam-world music party orchestra Rusted Root has decided to keep touring, drumming up enthusiasm and financial support for the forthcoming follow-up to "Stereo Rodeo" along the way.

Like an in-the-flesh version of the Kickstarter Campaign, which allows fans to become investors in the creation of an artist’s work, Michael Glabicki and Co. want to reach their fans directly, play them some of the new music, and offer them the opportunity to become directly involved in the music’s journey from conception to realization. Dubbed "The Fortunate Freaks Campaign," the fundraising journey offers amazing perks for interested fans -- ranging from signed merchandise to private living room performances by the band. Learn more about the campaign through www.rustedroot.com

In the meantime, experience Rusted Root with Big Leg Emma in concert at 7 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 26) in the Rapids Theatre (1711 Main St., Niagara Falls). Tickets are $22.50 advance, $25 at the door (box office, www.rapidstheatre.com, www.Ticketmaster.com). 

-- Jeff Miers

We're Returning to Our Favorite People--Readers

The little lemonade stand that Jeff Miers and I operate at 1 p.m. Wednesdays returns today. The two of us are ready to chat about anything you want to talk about--Oscars, the Blues and WBFO, guitar heroes, whatever is on your mind.
We'll try to put it into our minds too.
See you all soon.
--Jeff Simon

Kevin Hart to perform at First Niagara Center

Kevin Hart returns to Buffalo on his Let Me Explain Tour for a comedy-filled night of laughs at 8 p.m. March 10 in the First Niagara Center.

Tickets are $39.50, $59.50 and $69.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday (Jan. 27) through the box office, online at www.LiveNation.com and www.Tickets.com or charge by phone at (888) 223-6000.

 

Oscar Gets Local

Say what? No Leonardo DiCaprio nomination for Best Actor in Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar?"

No Best Picture Nomination for "The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo" or its director David Fincher, even though the film's star Rooney Mara was nominated for Best Actress in the film?

What gives?

Very simple, really. As Tip O'Neill famously said underneath his overhanging eyebrows, "all politics is local." And what he might have added (if he cared) is that "All Academy Award Nominations Are Political."

Hence, DiCaprio left out of a Best Actor nomination for being a surprisingly persuasive J. Edgar Hoover in favor of the venerable and extraordinary Gary Oldman in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" and, get this, Demian Bichir in Chris Weitz' little seen film about an illegal Mexican immigrant working as a gardner in L.A. "A Better Life". And if that latter isn't an example writ large of O'Neill's dictum, nothing is. THERE, is an Oscar nomination that comes from the heart of L.A. life.

Oldman's nomination over DiCaprio (and, while we're at it, Michael Fassbender in the controversial "Shame) is a little less surprising but what now seems to have happened by the Pacific is that Clint Eastwood's Oscar hegemony is officially over. All those past awards for his films and performers seem to have reached critical mass in Hollywood self-promotion.

As for Fincher and "The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo," what seeemms to have been obvious to Oscar nominators--who, after all, only want to make themselves look good --is that Fincher, at one crucial point, was capable of undermining the brute power of his own film to establish Mara as a major star.

The Oscar nominations, I think, were otherwise quite predictable--even the "no winning chance in hell" nominations for Terence Malick's visionary "The Tree of Life" for Best Picture and Nick Nolte for Best Supporting Actor in "Warrior." Those are the nominations of people overjoyed that rebels like Malick can still make films and that Nolte, at 70, can get along well enough with everyone to still be employable.

All those "Bridesmaids" nominations were Hollywood self-congratulations for being able to get raunchy, just as all those Woody Allen nominations were self-congratulations for continuing to have the upscale cultural yearnings and ambitions of their former, better selves.

If you ask me, three of the four major acting awards are vitually gimmes.

The exception, significantly, is the award for Best Actress which --interestingly--shapes up to be the most important of the whole Oscar shebang in a few weeks. Remembering Tip's Law, you'll understand why the Hollywood Foreign Press Association gave a Golden Globe to an actress so honored for her accents playing a British Prime Minister. Which is why all Oscar prognosticators need to pay careful attention to the Screen Actoors Guild Awards on Sunday at 8 p.m. on the TNT network. If Streep wins again over Viola Davis for "The Help," it will indicate that yes, once again, it's definitely Streep's year. If, on the other hand, Tip's Law takes over and American voters living in L. A. vote for the nitti-gritti concerns of their own country and their own communities, it's Davis for sure.

My guess on Sunday? Davis. Until proven otherwise, Tip must always be heeded.

--Jeff Simon

Springsteen to play First Niagara Center

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Getty Images

The Boss is back.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band bring the "Wrecking Ball Tour" to Buffalo in a concert at 7:30 p.m. April 13 in the First Niagara Center. Tickets are $100.50, $70.50 and $38.50 go on sale at 11 a.m. Jan. 28 through the FNC box office, through www.livenation.com and by calling (888) 223-6000.

Performing with Springsteen in the E Street Band are Roy Bittan, piano and synthesizer; Nils Lofgren, guitar and vocals; Patti Scialfa, guitar and vocals; Garry Tallent, bass guitar; Stevie Van Zandt, guitar and vocals; and Max Weinberg, drums. Also: Soozie Tyrell - violin, guitar, vocals and Charlie Giordano,  keyboards.

The "Wrecking Ball," Springsteen's 17th studio album, will be released March 6 on Columbia Records; the first single is slated to be "We Take Care of Our Own."

-- Toni Ruberto

 

Video: Buffalo's real guitar heroes

Saturday's "Buffalo Guitar Heroes Part 1" at the Tralf Music Hall found four of our area's finest, and most prolific guitarists -- Jamie Holka, Ron Locurto, Bruce Wojick and Mark Krurnowski -- teaming up for four separate sets and one all-in jam session. In this video they talk about their musical inspirations:

Free-form art: Works by Chuck Tingley and Ogre at the Vault

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A mural by Chuck Tingley and the artist known as Ogre, part of an exhibition opening Saturday (Jan. 21) in The Vault.

"Pretentious art world, don’t bother!"

That’s the message from local artist Chuck Tingley about a collaborative exhibition of his painting, mural and sculptural work alongside that of the Buffalo street artist known as Ogre. The show, titled "Free Style," opens Saturday (Jan. 21) in the Vault (702 Main St.), the funky art and music space run by local artist and musician Kevin Cain.

The exhibition features a new collaborative wall mural by Tingley and Ogre along with box-sculpture, painting and other works that the duo has produced separately and together. "No material is off-limits and the focus is on the act of creating spontaneously," Tingley wrote in a statement about the show. "It’s time to put some of the typical art politics and attitudes aside, and enjoy some new artwork."

Sounds like a plan. The opening, which features live painting, music and drinks, gets going at 7 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 21), and the show runs through Feb. 18. For more info, visit www.facebook.com/thevaultbuffalo.

-- Colin Dabkowski

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