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DJ AVICII brings his LE7ELS Tour to the First Niagara Center

Grammy-nominated DJ and producer AVICII heads to Buffalo on the AVICII -- LE7ELS Tour with a stop at 8 p.m. June 20 in the First Niagara Center. This is an 18 and older event, ID will be required at the door.

Tickets are $39.50 and go on sale at noon March 26 through the box office, online at or charge by phone at (888) 223-6000.

Zadie Smith's rules for writers


Zadie Smith is the kind of writer that critics need to invent new genres to describe.

She's unquestionably one of the great prose stylists of her generation (she just turned 36 this past October) and of our era: a fiction writer with a narrative voice so distinctive that the English literary critic James Wood coined the term "hysterical realism" (somewhat disparagingly) to describe the manic juxtaposition of absurdist elements of plot and characterization with longer, discursive passages that can almost be read as social theory in her debut novel "White Teeth" (2000).  Woods then proceeded to fold the mid-career work of such noted male postmodern writers as Don Delilo, Thomas Pynchon, Salman Rushdie, and David Foster Wallace into the same genre.  

Yet if all you've read of Zadie Smith's writing are her three critically-acclaimed novels "White Teeth,"  "The Autograph Man" (2002) and "On Beauty" (2005), you've probably missed the emergence of one of the leading non-fiction prose critics and essayists of the past decade--a voice that combines unflinching directness and honesty with intellectual heft and linguistic megawattage--without ever losing its emotional fixedness on its subject.

Smith, who visits Buffalo today to deliver tonight's BABEL Series lecture at 8 p.m. in Kleinhans Music Hall, recently left her stint as monthly New Books reviewer for Harper's Magazine, but the archive of her recent work in such publications as The New York Review of BooksThe New Yorker, and The New Republic, ranks with that of any literary journalist currently available in wide print circulation.

As with her fiction, Smith's non-fiction prose sparkles with a kind of vibrant immediacy, and with an a equivalent ease of both historical and contemporary pop cultural references that seems perfectly calibrated to the internet age.  The great and perhaps overarching theme of her fiction--how multi-racial and multicultural experience has enriched rather than impoverished the intellectual traditions of the U.K. and the U.S.--carries over, albeit with a more rigorous, critical edge, into much of her non-fiction.

Two years ago, the U.K.'s The Guardian ran a series of short essays by British authors in which they attempted to distill their advice to fellow writers into a set of rules.  Most responses were the familiar rote stuff of workshops and writers' conferences, but Zadie Smith's rules for writers proved to be the most cogent, tough-minded, and self-aware of the lot.  Quite predictably, they were widely circulated and commented upon.  In honor her BABEL series lecture tonight, here they are: 

1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.

3. Don't romanticise your "vocation". You can either write good sentences or you can't. There is no "writer's lifestyle". All that matters is what you leave on the page.

4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can't do aren't worth doing. Don't mask self-doubt with contempt.

5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.

6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won't make your writing any better than it is.

7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ­internet.

8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.

9. Don't confuse honours with achievement.

10. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied.

Tickets for Smith's lecture and the subsequent question-and-answer session moderated by Just Buffalo's Michael Kelleher are still available as of this morning.  Call 832-5400 for information.

--R.D. Pohl

Kiss, Motley Crue set to rock Darien Lake

Motley Crue and Kiss 2012 Mega Tour News Conference
Kiss and Motley Crue announce a concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center      Associated Press

Legendary rockers Kiss and Motley Crue join forces for a night a entertainment on Sept. 15 in the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $36.50, $56.50, $76.50, $96.50 and $157 reserved seating and $36 lawn (with special limited early bird lawn tickets for $15 available through March 25) and go on sale at 10 a.m. March 24 through, at select Wal~Mart locations or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

The key of she: Buffalo Chamber Players perform in Buffalo Seminary

The Buffalo Chamber Players is a freewheeling confederation of musicians from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and throughout the community led by BPO violist Janz Castelo. They are celebrating Women’s History Month today (March 21) with a concert of music written by women.

A top curiosity is music by Barbara Strozzi. She was a singer who lived in Venice in the 17th century and, rare for a woman in her day, made her living as a composer. Soprano Colleen Marcello will perform a selection of Strozzi’s songs.

Louise Farrenc was another rarity, a French composer and professor of piano at the Paris Conservatoire in the 19th century. The great violinist Joseph Joachim played in the premiere of her Nonet in E, Op. 38, scored for strings and wind quintet, to be heard today.

There also will be a "Berceuse," or lullaby, by Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983), whom Erik Satie called "his musical daughter" -- and by the wonderful American composer Amy Beach. Rounding out the evening is "Shadow Rings," a 2010 composition by Buffalo-based composer Caroline Mallonee, whose music has been heard on "A Prairie Home Companion."

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Buffalo Seminary, 205 Bidwell Parkway. Tickets, available at the door, are $15 general admission, $5 for students.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

Students for the Arts tonight at Kleinhans

Give for Greatness Executive Director Megan Callahan speaks in June, 2011 in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Photo by Charles Lewis / The Buffalo News.

Give for Greatness, the fundraising and arts advocacy organization launched last year during the Erie County cultural funding crisis, is hosting its first Students for the Arts festival this afternoon in Kleinhans Music Hall.

The event, meant to highlight the organization's incipient mentorship program and to spread the word about its 2012 fundraising campaign, features work by G4G mentors Jennifer Fitzery, Cassondra Argeros, Patrick Moltane, Jill Greenberg, Jim Bush, Sarah Haykel and Marcus Wise and many local students. Representatives from 18 local cultural groups will also be on hand so local sutdents can learn more about the educational opportunities they offer.

Visit G4G's website for more info.

--Colin Dabkowski

'Spell' bound: Daughtry performs in Shea's

DAUGHTRY features Chris Daughtry Cantillon 4
Chris Daughtry brings his band to Shea's Performing Arts Center.       Sharon Cantillon/News file photo

It took only four weeks for "Break the Spell," the third disc from rock act Daughtry, to be certified gold, signifying sales of 500,000 copies. Proof again that Chris Daughtry, the band’s namesake, has that Midas touch when it comes to making music people enjoy. His winning combination of effortless charm and deeply emotional vocals helped the band’s self-titled debut become the fastest-selling rock debut in Soundscan history and spawned such radio-friendly hits as "It’s Not Over," "Home" and "Feels Like Tonight."

The second leg of Daughtry’s "Break the Spell" tour kicks off right here, in a concert at 7:30 p.m. today (March 20) in Shea’s Performing Arts Center (646 Main St.). Safetysuit and singer-songwriter Mike Sanchez are also on the bill. Tickets are $30.50 to $50.50 (box office, Call 847-1410 or visit

… Toni Ruberto

Screening Room Reading Series features Kessel, Ross, and Runfola

The Screening Room Reading Series continues this week at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (March 21st) with featured readings by Joyce Kessel, Gary Earl Ross, and Ross Runfola.

Kessel is Associate Professor at Villa Maria College and a longtime co-editor of Earth's Daughters magazine.  Her most recent chapbook is "Secret Lives".

Ross, an award-winning novelist, playwright, essayist, and Language Arts Professor at the University at Buffalo's Educational Opportunity Center, is the publisher of Writer's Den Books. His most recent book is "Flash 55," a collection of "very brief, quirky stories with a twist."

Runfola is an attorney, an award-winning poet and spoken word performer, and professor of Sociology at Medaille College.  He was among the founding members of the National Guerrilla Poetics Project in 2007.

In addition to the featured readers, there will be additional three minute reading slots available on a sign-up basis.

The Screening Room is located in the Northtown Plaza Business Center, 3131 Sheridan Drive in Amherst.  Admission to the event is $2.  

--R.D. Pohl


Freedom walls: The Bogside Artists in residence at St. Bonaventure

Peace Mural_print
A mural in the Irish town of Derry created by the Bogside Artists.

In the city of Derry, in Northern Ireland, the story of 30 years of social and political strife plays like an outsize graphic novel on the side of 12 buildings in the Bogside area. The collection of murals, dubbed the People’s Gallery by Derry’s inhabitants, is the work of a trio of muralists known as the Bogside Artists.
The three artists -- brothers Tom and William Kelly and Kevin Hasson -- will visit St. Bonaventure University for a weeklong residency beginning today (March 19). During their visit, the muralists will paint a new mural with the assistance of students from the university’s visual and performing arts department on the theme of "freedom of speech." Students from nearby high schools also will participate in educational activities connected with the artists’ visit.

The residency coincides with the opening of "Peace and Reconciliation: For Them, For Us, For Me," a collection of photographs of the Bogside murals by St. Bonaventure student Karen Vester, in the San Damiano Room in Francis Hall.

For more information on the events surrounding the residency, visit To learn more about the work of the Bogside artists, visit

-- Colin Dabkowski

Petrol Bomber_print
"The Petrol Bomber." Mural created by the Bogside Artists.

Stand will deliver

Ireland’s Stand returns to the Sportsmen’s Tavern, 326 Amherst St., today (March 17) for a St. Patrick’s Day blow-out. If you’ve seen the band before -- and by now, you should have, since the band has been including Buffalo in its touring itinerary for the better part of a decade -- then you already know what to expect. Passionate alt-rock with some grandiose touches. It’s arena-sized music that sounds bigger than life in an intimate club like the Sportsmen’s. 

The band has been splitting its time between Ireland and its adopted hometown of New York City, and has been working up new material in the process. Expect to hear a bit of that, a dash of the older stuff, and some choice covers to boot. 

Stand hits the bandstand at 9:30 p.m. sharp. Tickets are $15, and can be found through

-- Jeff Miers

Sweet send-off: Sugar City kicks off month-long closing celebration

Sugar City celebrates its final days with a month of special events.

Sugar City, the plucky alternative arts venue that opened its doors in 2009 and quickly became a major center for the city’s vibrant DIY art and music scene, is closing. Word has it that its building at 19 Wadsworth St. has been purchased by someone who intends to turn it into a venue for chamber music. It’s a surprising about-face for a place that had built a reputation for outside-the-box programming over the past three years.

But Sugar City’s founder, Aimee Buyea, is optimistic about the future of the organization, which she said is looking for a new home. In the meantime, Sugar City will celebrate its final days at 19 Wadsworth with what it has dubbed, in characteristic Sugar City style, "30 Days of Awesome."

The month of awesomeness kicks off today (March 17) with the organization’s periodic "Soul Night" fundraiser at the Elmwood Lounge (522 Elmwood Ave.) and continues Wednesday (March 21) with open figure drawing at Sugar City, a poetry workshop Thursday (March 22) and lots of other events, many to be announced. Check out the venue’s Facebook page ( for updates on its final month.

-- Colin Dabkowski

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