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Lyle Lovett to perform at UB

Country singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett and his band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5 in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts, North Campus, Amherst.

Tickets are $37, $47, $57 and $67 and go on sale at 10 a.m. May 4 through the box office, online at or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, call 645-ARTS (2787) or visit

Rick Ross tops UB Springfest

   Rapper Rick Ross -- or Ro$$, as he is sometimes known -- will headline the University at Buffalo Springfest 2012, starting at 6:30 p.m. today (April 29) at Baird Point, UB North Campus.

The Miami-based Ross is currently touring behind his latest effort, "God Forgives, I Don’t," which has already yielded such singles as "You the Boss" and "Stay Schemin’."

Joining Ross on the Springfest bill will be up-and-coming hip-hop artist Tyga (cousin of Gym Class Heroes frontman extraordinaire Travie McCoy), as well as pop/rap strutter Fabolous.

Although in recent years, Springfest lineups have increasingly reflected musical diversity in their lineups, this year’s roster represents a full commitment to hip-hop, based on student votes tallied through UB’s Student Association. 

The event is free to UB undergrads, as well as other college students with valid ID. General admission tickets are $35 ( Gates for the show will open at 5:30 p.m. In the event of rain, the concert will be moved into Alumni Arena.

-- Jeff Miers

BIG NIGHT presents a tribute to poet Adrienne Rich

"Someone is writing a poem," wrote Adrienne Rich in her 1993 essay by that same title.  "Words are being set down in a force field. It’s as if the words themselves have magnetic charges; they veer together or in polarity, they swerve against each other. Part of the force field, the charge, is the working history of the words themselves, how someone has known them, used them, doubted and relied on them in a life."

"Part of the movement among the words belongs to sound—the guttural, the liquid, the choppy, the drawn-out, the breathy, the visceral, the downlight. The theater of any poem is a collection of decisions about space and time—how are these words to lie on the page, with what pauses, what headlong motion, what phrasing, how can they meet the breath of the someone who comes along to read them? And in part the field is charged by the way images swim into the brain through written language: swan, kettle, icicle, ashes, scab, tamarack, tractor, veil, slime, teeth, freckle..."

Tonight Just Buffalo Literary Center's BIG NIGHT Series presents a tribute to Adrienne Rich (1929-2012), the award-winning poet and major transformative figure in 20th century American Letters, literary activism, and contemporary feminist and lesbian writing, who died on March 27.  Among the featured celebrants of Rich's life and work are two of Just Buffalo's own Literary Legacy Award winners, Alexis DeVeaux and Jimmie Gilliam.  The event begins at 8 p.m. at the Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St. (at Mohawk St.).  Admission is $5, $4 for students, Just Buffalo members, and members of its affiliate organizations.

"In a political culture of managed spectacles and passive spectators, poetry appears as a rift, a peculiar lapse, in the prevailing mode," writes Rich in "Someone is Writing a Poem."  Indeed everything about the trajectory of her six decade long career, from the high modernist imitations of Yeats and Auden in her 1951 Yale Younger Poets Award winning debut collection "A Change of World" through the personally and politically charged dynamics of her National Book Award-winning "Diving into the Wreck" (W.W. Norton, 1973) and "The Dream of a Common Language" (Norton, 1978), to the valedictory tone of her recent collections "Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth: Poems 2004–2006" and "Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010," suggests a movement away from the formalisms of literary patriarchy towards an engagement with the particulars of language and experience that is specifically feminist in its poetics.

Precisely because of this sense of personal transformation and political engagement in Rich's work, there are no two better representatives of this sense of writing as a form of social activism in our own community than Alexis Deveaux and Jimmie Gilliam.

DeVeaux is a University at Buffalo-based poet, playwright, novelist, short fiction writer, editor, lecturer, performer, educator, activist, prize-winning essayist and author of children's stories whose best known scholarly work "Warrior Poet"--her 2004 W.W. Norton biography of Rich's friend and colleague Audre Lorde--was the recipient of several awards, including the Gustavus Meyers Outstanding Book Award (2004), the Lambda Literary Award for Biography (2004), the Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award for Non-Fiction in 2005.

Gilliam, a former co-editor of Earth's Daughters magazine and Professor Emerita at Erie Community College, where she taught English Literature on the College's City Campus from 1971 to 1995, is co-author of the poetry volume "The Rime & Roar of Revolution" (as Jimmie Canfield, with Bob Dickens, 1975) and author of the prose poem/novel "Ain't No Bears Out Tonight (as Jimmie Gilliam Canfield, 1984) and Pieces of Bread (as Jimmie Canfield Gilliam, 1987).  She is the founder and mentor of the “Women of the Crooked Circle,” one of the Buffalo area's most successful writers groups, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in January. 

Joining Deveaux and Gilliam on tonight's BIG NIGHT program is poet, musician and songwriter Damian Weber, whose most recent album is his self-released "Soul Night".   As has become the custom at all BIG NIGHT events, gourmet chef and BlazeVOX Books publisher Geoffrey Gatza will supply his always popular spread of event-themed food creations to the celebration.

--R.D. Pohl

GustoTV: Blues artist Johnny Winter performs tonight

When Johnny Winter released his debut album some 43 years ago, the music world was a far less regimented place. Today, a blues artist is considered that and only that -- a pigeonholed, genre-specific performer whose reach will not exceed the already defined target market for the blues. Back then, Winter took the rock world by storm, emerging in a New York City already rife with the nascent rumblings of punk and art-rock as a major figure, and within a few short years, becoming a significant arena star. Winter is likely responsible for turning on countless rock fans to the blues, folks who otherwise might not have fallen beneath the deeply American form’s sway. 

Today, his fiery playing and deeply Southern soul singing can be heard as an influence on everything from the Tedeschi-Trucks Band to newer outfits like Howlin’ Rain, or even the supergroup Black Country Communion. Wherever the blues is played loud and with the conviction of soulful rock ’n’ roll, a tip of the hat to Winter’s seminal work should be mandatory. 

The never-ending road trip continues as Winter approaches his 70th year. With his band -- drummer Vito Liuzzi, second guitarist Paul Nelson and bassist Scott Spray -- in tow, Winter performs at 8 p.m. today (April 28) in the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.). Wanted By the FBI will open. For ticket information, visit

-- Jeff Miers

GustoTV: "Hungry" feeds your appetite for art

In the past two years, the Hi-Temp Fabrication building at 79 Perry St. has become a hive of artistic activity. During Beyond/In Western New York in 2010, it housed installations of work by Michael Bosworth, Bill Sack and JT Rinker. Its fourth-floor warehouse space played host to a popular exhibition of paintings by Sarah Myers last September. Various exhibitions by students in the University at Buffalo’s MFA program will have solo exhibitions there in May.

At 6 p.m. today (April 28), "Hungry," a show featuring work by UB seniors that doubles as their collective thesis exhibition, opens. The sprawling space, punctuated by huge concrete pillars, will serve as the backdrop for a range of media, from painting, photography and mixed-media work to sculpture and video. In a statement, UB professor Ben Van Dyke praised Hi-Temp’s John McKendry, who owns the Perry Street building.

"He has loaned our senior thesis students over 5,000 square feet of exhibition space and has made all of the necessary accommodations for the sake of young up-and-coming artists and designers," Van Dyke wrote. "Creating a bridge between our students and the downtown community is incredibly important to our curriculum. It is also important that we continue to make lasting connections with local businesses and expand our department’s [and the university] footprint beyond North Campus and deep into the city of Buffalo."

-- Colin Dabkowski

John Dickson show opens in Indigo Art

In 2010, as part of Beyond/In Western New York, Buffalo hosted a wide range of accomplished artists, many of whom hailed from outside the Buffalo Niagara region. One of them was the Toronto-based John Dickson, whose installation at Big Orbit gallery featured an intricate model of a cityscape periodically interrupted by puffs of smoke. In the Beyond/In catalog, Big Orbit director Sean Donaher wrote that Dickson’s works "examine the complex relationships between the natural and constructed worlds in which we exist."

An exhibition of Dickson’s work, "Big John and Other Small Works," goes on view today (April 27) in the Indigo Art gallery (74 Allen St.). The show, which features work from an 18-year period of Dickson’s career, is a promising sign of increased cultural interaction between Buffalo and Toronto.

"All the work is playful, especially in its use of material and process. Everyday materials are transformed from something static and lifeless into creations filled with energy and movement," Dickson wrote in a statement. "There is an interest in capturing and fixing the ephemeral and transitory: the dripping of a tear, the sinking of a ship, the passing of a cloud, or a moment in a film."

The exhibition remains on view through May 27. Call 984-9572.

-- Colin Dabkowski

GustoTV: Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad at Tralf tonight

News Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers recommends the jam/reggae fusion of Rochester's Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, which visits the Tralf tonight.

Vinyl gains more ground

VinylBritish music author and blogger Norman Lebrecht just posted the latest on the ongoing vinyl comeback, always a subject of great interest to me. I love vinyl!

There is a lively discussion going on in the Comments section with CD fans and LP fans going at it. These discussions are like political debates -- nobody is going to change anybody's mind. With vinyl, I think you either get it or you don't. Still, you have to admit that vinyl never went away as a lot of people predicted it would. It lives on!

It is time to post my own paean to the LP.

I believe this is the only video I ever got my act together to post on YouTube. It would probably not win any awards from Squeaky Wheel -- I remember my husband could not believe I was putting it up on YouTube. But I am glad I did because I have to say, I watch it a lot. I think my little video captures the beauty of vinyl (as well as of Buffalo in December!). The pianist is my friend Leonard Pennario, the late virtuoso and Buffalo native. He gave me a bunch of his old records and this is one of them, a beautiful Capitol record from the 1950s.

The stereo I got from a Buffalo News Thrifties ad. Watch those Thrifties ads! You can find great stuff.

Anyway, such nostalgia, a wintry Buffalo twilight, snow falling, this beautiful Chopin etude, Pennario.

Vinyl forever!

-- Mary Kunz Goldman


Miers on Music live chat with Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers at noon today

Join Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers for a live chat at noon today.

GustoTV: 'Blithe Spirit' opens tonight at Kavinoky

What's more fun than a drunken seance? In the mind of the great wit Noel Coward — at least for one week in 1941 — not much. Which is why he dashed off the breathless comedy "Blithe Spirit" in a mere six days, swiftly creating a collection of juicy comic characters who have been haunting stages around the world ever since.

The Kavinoky Theatre (320 Porter Ave.), in what is surprisingly its first attempt at the piece, opens "Blithe Spirit" tonight. The show involves a novelist (Chris Kelly), his wife (Kristen Tripp Kelley) and an eccentric medium (Anne Gayley), who accidentally brings forth the ghost of the writer's deceased ex-wife Elvira (Diane Curley). After that, things go a tiny bit mad in Coward's oh-so-sophisticated way. Kavinoky founder David Lamb, no stranger to Coward, directs.

Tickets are $36, with more information at 829-7668 or

— Colin Dabkowski

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