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GustoTV: The Met returns a favor

Earlier this year, Niagara University’s Castellani Art Museum loaned its sketch of the famed art collector and critic Leo Stein by Picasso to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for its exhibition “The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde.”

So it’s only fair that the Met should return the favor. It will do so at 10 a.m. Tuesday, when Met research assistant Mary Clare McKinley appears at the museum to give a lecture on the Met’s exhibition and the role of the Castellani’s sketch within it.

McKinley has worked for the past few years on the exhibition and has had a hand in research for catalog essays, tracking down the ownership histories of the works in the show and various other aspects of the exhibition’s planning and installation.

The lecture is the first in this year’s version of the Castellani’s popular “Meet Me at the Cam” membership series, which attracts students and lifelong learners interested in gaining a deeper appreciation of the museum’s collection and of modern and contemporary art in general. The rest of the five-part series, titled “Paris: La Ville Lumiere,” features lectures by members of Niagara University’s faculty. For more information or to register, visit

—Colin Dabkowski

Charles Clough's 'Big Finger' project

This afternoon, I stopped out to the Unviersity at Buffalo's Anderson Gallery to check out Charles Clough's ongoing painting project. Here's what he had to say:

--Colin Dabkowski

GustoTV: 'The Devil's Castle' at New Phoenix

The New Phoenix Theatre on the Park, continuing its happy tradition of exploding theatrical conventions, has teamed up with the Buffalo Soundpainting Ensemble to present an unorthodox series of performances called “The Devil’s Castle.”

Soundpainting, both a language and an artistic mode, was invented in 1974 by composer Walter Thompson and has since expanded to encompass more than 1,200 individual gestures, each of which serves an instruction from a director to a group of assembled performers. The Soundpainting Ensemble, under the direction of local actor Christian Brandjes, will present a series of performance workshops based on the 1903 memoirs of Daniel Schreber. The performance, according to a release, “uses voices and gestures to evoke the legend of Cassandra, the prophetess whom no one believed, and Schreber, who believed himself to be the wife of God.”

The show, which opens at 8 tonight and runs through May 26 in the New Phoenix Theatre (95 Johnson Park), features Jennifer Fitzery, Kristen Tripp Kelley, Toni Smith Wilson, Susan Drozd, Todd Benzin and Kate Olena. Tickets are $25 or $15 for students, with more information available at 853-1334 or

GustoTV: Ella Joseph's 'Jonah Interrupted'

Most summers, during the annual Infringement Festival, performance artist Ella Joseph opens her Linwood Avenue home and studio to curious visitors. Her dreamlike installations, capable of charming and disturbing an audience in equal measure and always somehow concerned with human vulnerability, have helped her forge an under-the-radar reputation as one of the city’s most intriguing emerging artists.

This weekend in Ascension Church (16 Linwood Ave.), Joseph will perform “Jonah Interrupted,” a contemplative tribute to Romanian writer Marin Sorescu’s 1968 play “Jonah,” loosely based on the biblical character who is miraculously swallowed by a fish. Her performance, Joseph wrote in a statement, “is not a continuation of Jonah, only another personal interpretation of Sorescu’s play using a visceral, spiritual and intellectual approach that seeks to involve the audience in their ‘interrupted’ existence.”

Joseph performs the piece at 8 tonight and Saturday in Ascension Church and will be accompanied by members of the University at Buffalo’s music department. Tickets are $15, with more information at

—Colin Dabkowski

GustoTV: 'Battleship' is enjoyable summer fun

Jeff Simon says "Battleship" is an enjoyable big money summer action movie. Read his full review.

My favorite singer has died

No, it's not Donna Summer. (Had to say that!)

Anyone who knows me at all probably knows right away who it was. It is the Lieder and opera baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. I read it on Norman Lebrecht's blog. As soon as I saw his headline, "The world's greatest Lieder singer is dead," I knew who it was. He was probably the greatest singer in the world by any account.

Up above is DFD singing the beautiful Bach cantata "Ich habe genug." It is about death and people all over the world are commenting on the video, posting their RIPs, mourning his death. This is a big one, a big loss.

It's tough, you know, being into music. You lose people. In Gusto today there is this interview I did with cabaret singer Michael Feinstein and I asked him about this. I asked him if it was tough for him losing people he has admired and known, people like Ira Gershwin and Rosemary Clooney.

There was this brief silence and then Feinstein gave me this brief, cool answer about how he believes the spirit goes on, and nothing is lost.

Continue reading "My favorite singer has died" »

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

GustoTV: "Marigold" is a 4-star film

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" has a great cast and is one of those rare 4-star films, according to The News' reviewer. Read Anne Neville's review.

Review Critics' Corner video chat with Simon, Miers

News Arts Editor Jeff Simon and News Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers are answering your questions directly into the camera. Submit your questions about books, movies, television, music and more in the chat console below (please excuse the missing audio for the first 10 seconds or so).

Come One, Come All; It's Only a Party When YOU Show Up

Miers and I are nothing if not brave. We're assuming the gods of video chats are willing to work in our favor this week, instead of wiping us out (as they did last week.) So please come at 1 p.m. and give us your comments and questions on anything you want. We need to hear from you, especially after last week went by without any chats at all (Miers couldn't do his regular Friday written chat because of weekend assignments.)
All electronic things willing, we'll see you shortly.
--Jeff Simon

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